Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 304: Family Walk with Dogs...

A family walk this morning. Kylie (being 10 years of age going on 21) didn't want to go. With a bit of persuasion, she consented. I offered a reward to the first child who found a deer track.

With all the rain lately, things are turning green. That is the best part about starting the rainy season in the Foothills: Everything turns green. When Mark was here, he commented over and over about the shades of brown and tan. Midwesterners get accustomed to green in the summer and black and white in the winter. The colors here are Tan in the summer and green in the winter.

The dogs like to romp...I drink my coffee...

Is there anything more joyful than a dog at full gallop?

48 degrees Fahrenheit this morning outside. Without a heat source, the Addition was 60 degrees. Quite tolerable...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Days 301 and 302: Books and the Addition

The dogs sleeping in our warm Addition...

The past couple of days I've had some dog walks. And the grass is starting to turn green. But mostly I'm excited to be fully using our new Addition. After a couple years of not having much extra space, being in the new part of the house (and being comfortable) is a pleasure beyond pleasures.

I've moved all the books for the umpteenth thousandth time. It is hard to part with a book. I've winnowed them down many times before. Like when I moved to Grand Junction, Colorado. Or when I moved to Nevada. I still have a few thousand in my Dad's house in Minnesota.

Is it selfish to hang on to a book? Would it be best to pass them on? Donate them to a library? Send them to the recycling center? I appreciate the work that went into writing a book--even a bad one. Somehow it just seems nasty to toss out a book.

And then there are all the books I wanted to read but just couldn't get through them. Do I hang onto them? Leaves of Grass comes to mind: never could read that. And Gore Vidal's fiction---I try and try to no avail. Should I hang on to them? Will I grow into them? Will I be smarter in the future?

The best arrangement is to have someone come over and "borrow" them---never to bring them back. So come on over. Peruse my bookshelf. Most are available for an indefinite loan. Just don't ask for my Ed Abbey books...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 301: Tightened Up....

A work day today. I used scads of insulation and tightened up our Addition. This is the first evening that I've had in the new Addition where there wasn't any wind blowing through the thing. Nice! Joni has been keeping track of the morning temperatures inside the cabin, in the new addition and outside. It has been fun to watch the temps climb in the Addition as I get more and more of it insulated.

Of course, after I'd plugged the last hole, a bat came out of the ceiling. Disoriented, he flew in circles---looking for his exit point. He'll find his way out one way or another.

Also did my normal dog walks today...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Days 298 to 300: A Week With Mark...

The finished wall...
Mark and I putting up a tin wall...

Just got done spending the week with my old college roomie. Mark was kind enough to forego a late season backpacking trip in order to help me put up some tin on the inside of our Addition.

We also spent four days in the Napa Valley together: Mark out tasting wine while I worked. A fun time was had by all...

Thanks to Mark for being such a trooper!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Days 295-297: With a Friend...

Mark and I are hanging out in the Napa Valley. While I work, Mark (who makes his own wine in Minnesota) is out tasting and exploring. During the day, I show him around and give him the history and gossip of the area. I'm the tour guide.

This is fun!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Days 291-294: My College Roomie...

My old college roomie is here: Mark. And as usually happens when we have visitors that are more talented than yours truly (easily done) , we are working on the house. Nice to have him here for a week.

Mark and I have had many adventures in our twenties together. He was a great friend to experience those silly things that immature young men do together. These experiences create a bond that sticks with you for life.

So despite our very infrequent visits over the last twenty five years, our visits are always a celebration. And I admire his kindness, gentleness, generosity, positive attitude. It reminds me the luck I have had when it comes to friends. Much of it undeserved.

So we shall catch up with these adventures a bit later. For now, we have work to do. Wine to drink. Life to catch up on. And maybe a couple more rascally and immature adventures to be had.

Photos to be added when our computer gets out of the shop.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 291: Rush and the Nanny Corporation

Drove to work across California this morning. Along the way I listened to His Heftiness: Rush Limbaugh. Of course he is gloating about some recent polls that put the Republicans way, way ahead. Jabba da Rush fully expects that the Republicans will get 75 to 80 seats in the House of Representatives.

Several callers also commented on Michelle Obama's weight gain. Now I've only seen snippets of Michelle lately; she always looks quite beautiful! We should be proud to have such a classy First Lady. And she did put in that garden at the White House.

Well, several women callers (sounding catty) commented that Michelle has become quite fat. They then went on to state that Michelle shouldn't call for an end to child obesity until Michelle takes off her recent weight gain. The just of the matter is that We-don't-want-Government-to-tell-us-how-to-live. They hate the Nanny State.

Of course this is all plain and simple bullcrap. Part of Government's function under the preamble of the Constitution is to "promote the general welfare". Public information campaigns, health campaigns and the like, work. We get plenty of unhealthy campaigns from corporate advertising (but nobody on the Right Side of the Aisle complains about the Nanny Corporation). Where are the healthy campaigns going to come from if not from Government? And since we pay for healthcare for millions of Americans (Medicare and Medicaid), the Government does have a vested interest in promoting healthy lifestyles.

Rush's hatred of Obama borders on being pathological. He really believes that Obama has some secret Socialist agenda. He states that after the election Obama won't move to the center. Rush feels Obama is too ideological for that. Let's hope so.

Took a walk with the patients today. A beautiful day in the Napa Valley. Daily walks are a central component of our program greatly appreciated by the Clients. Usually we walk out an old wagon road to take a look at a creek (which is dried up right now).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 290: Rain...

Raining today---just a one day event. Puts us on notice that we are headed into another rainy season unprepared. We had a reminder of rain in the middle of September, but this is the first real rain we've had since the first week of June. We've begun that unavoidable slide into winter. I'm tempted to hop in the car and live in a tent outside of Tuscon.

I've been puttering around the yard. Joni has been doing some clay slip work. We have a herd of girls visiting. Spending the weekend. Good girls who love to be outside working on a variety of "forts" around the property.

I walked the dogs. Puttered in the yard. Tomorrow the rain should clear out all the dust and dirt in the air so that when I drive to work, I just might catch a glimpse of Mt Shasta. For sure I will see Mt. Lassen. Onward!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Days 288 and 289: Ecotopia...

I'm writing this on Joni's old Laptop. Kylie decided to take a gander at downloading some music (unbeknownst to me) and managed to crash our old Gateway with a virus. A really nasty bug that made it so that our internet program would automatically open (even while doing other stuff) and the next thing you know, you have been whooshed off to a site not very appropriate for a ten year old. And then you couldn't leave the site!

So the computer is in the shop. I'm typing this on a Lap Top that likes to put the words in randomly. Look away from the screen and I find myself typing words into the last paragraph. Quite frustrating!

I've been living by the Four Hour Rule these last couple of days. The weather is near perfect. I saw a new bird (some sort of Flicker) that flies in a swooping sort of fashion. Beautiful!

And I finally read Ecotopia by Callenbach. What an amazing novel! Published in 1975, it was so far ahead of its time. Reading this grand book, I couldn't help think that Joni and I are living the values that Callenbach so wonderfully expressed back in the age of Ford (the President).

Forget the Tea Party, which gets all the attention---if you really want to see a real Grassroots movement, head down to your Farmers' Market. These are the true American Patriots!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Days 286 and 287: Four Hours a Day...

One of my work colleagues put up this poster at work. The photo didn't really turn out. The caption says: "Allan Stellar meets John Muir on the Appalachian Trail. Where's the action?"

Work places in my line of business are healthiest when there is a sense of humor present...

Okay. New goal. Drove home yesterday, traipsing in the door at 1:30 am. Since I'm finally feeling well, I decided it is time to get some work done around here.

Scott and Helen Nearing lived very segmented, disciplined lives. Of course they wrote the bible when it comes to hippy dippy "back to the land" types when they authored The Good Life. They broke the day into four hour segments: one of the four hour segments consisted of doing work on their homestead. Six days a week they lived by that rule; they took one day off as a day of rest.

Since I can wile away a day easily by watching clouds or contemplating my navel, it would be good for me to adopt such a rule.

So here it is.

When I am home and don't have any guests or an illness, I will work four hours a day on improving this bit of planet that I live on. Most of the work will be done outside.

So that is what I did today. I'm getting one of our tiers ready to be transformed into a garden. And also since my friend Mark is coming next week (he is a very talented gardener), I'm trying to get this place looking a bit better in the hopes that he won't turn around and catch the next flight back to Minnesota.

I spent four hours today weed whacking and hauling old crusty, moldy straw into a compost pile.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Days 282 t0 284: New Schedule...

I'm in the Napa Valley.

One of the things I admire about my fellow health care practitioners is their ability to adapt (and function) with new schedules. Most folks go through life working their normal 9 to 5 lives of quiet desperation. Weekends are weekends for these people. Bedtime is always the same. Make one little change outside of the urbanus rattus schedule and chaos ensues: most don't deviate at all. I remember when we had to stay up all night with my Mom who was in the hospital, nobody could take the night shift. I had to do it. Staying awake all night was just too painful for my siblings.

As an RN, I've worked all the schedules. I've had the cushy 9 to 5 job working with the State of Nevada. I've done the 12 hour night thing (never again!). I've worked swing shifts. I've worked days. There isn't an hour of any day that I haven't been awake and working during it. I don't think many professions can say they've endured through that.

So now I'm in a new shock to the body. Working from 1pm to 9:30 pm. I've fallen into a pattern of taking some semblance of a walk in the morning. Or sometimes in the evening. My goal is to start jogging/running during the morning. Soon. Very soon.

But right now I just have to let this body get used to a new schedule. For me, I find that it takes about six months to make the adjustment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Days 279-281: Voting and Being Outside

Got my ballot in the mail, filled it out, put a stamp on it and will mail it today. California has "vote by mail" which is quite an excellent thing. Half of all voters vote this way. Hopefully this easy access will prevent the more regressive elements in our society from carrying the day in California. Maybe?

I went conventional and voted for the Dems in the big elections: Barbara Boxer for Senate; Jerry Brown for Governor. I voted Yes on the State Parks initiative. Voted against Prop 23 that seeks to overturn California's Global Warming law.

But when it comes to the small State wide offices, I always vote Green. Gotta encourage them somehow (for being on the cutting edge of history). Gotta reward them for asking the right questions and having the right values.

As for being outside? Just some dog walks, as Joni has been ill.

I swiped the Green thing above from Albert Bates. Albert has the world view of the Green Apocalypse--much in evidence in his most recent blog post.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 278: Time Flies

I'm in the Napa Valley for a couple of days. Getting used to my new job and a new schedule. Took a walk last night after work. Took another short one this morning, just to stretch my legs and enjoy the cold, brisk morning.

The seasons just seem to fly on by the older you get. Time flies. From a 10 year old's perspective, a couple of months might as well be a couple of years; from a 50 year old's perspective, a couple of years might as well be a couple of months.

I hope reincarnation is a reality. "One life at a time", Ed Abbey and Thoreau used to say. True. But one life ain't enough. I'd rather be stuck on the Hindu "wheel of 84" than head on up to some astral realm. I'm sure that realm is great (if it exists), but if that is the case, why bother with having this material existence? The New Agers state we are here to learn lessons; to have our souls learn something. So they focus on returning to a realm that they don't know exists but forget to learn to know the flowers. Or much of anything else.

Give me flowers over eternity. Give me good hard earth under my feet. Give me the discomfort of an upper respiratory infection. Give me conflict, loss, failure, betrayal. These things are all good. Why? Cause at least you know you are alive and kicking for another day.

Take a walk today. Learn a flower. Identify a new tree. Breathe in this sacred air. Love!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 276 and 277: Back to Work...

Drove down to the Napa Valley yesterday. Chilly here. Fall. Cold. Met Springer for a beer and watched the Giants clinch their division. I'm pulling for a Giants vs. Twins World Series.

A walk this morning around the college town of Angwin. Discovered the college library (why didn't I think of using this place sooner?). One of the great things about a decent religion is their usual commitment to both education and health. I work at a hospital affiliated with a religion. This same religion has a college up the road with a decent library.

When is the last time you saw an Atheist found a hospital? Or a college? Or open a library to the public?

Off to work...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 275: Antler Hangers

Finally felt good enough to putter about the property today. A glorious day here in the Foothills. I set up a "family room", moved our bed and hung up my Sierra Club backpack and the dog leashes on our Antler Hangers.

Okay, this is silly, but I can't tell you what joy I get from these Antlers that Joni lodged into the Cob. No Deer was injured in the process: Joni found the Antlers in the woods back in Colorado. She used to use them in sweat lodge ceremonies. Now they adorn our home.

I love them! Just another aspect of our custom dirt home...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 274: Yes on 21; Money For State Parks...

There is much more to politics than just voting. What you do for a living, how you live your life, where and what products you buy---all are political acts. Yet, voting can be helpful.

California's State Parks are always hopelessly underfunded. Last year they were even threatened to be closed. Closed! In response to that comes Proposition 21, which, for a mere eighteen dollars per car registered in California, the State Parks would be fully funded. And better than that: they would become FREE for Californians!

Isn't that how it should be?

We take up tons of space for our cars. Cars are the sacred cows of California. Vast parking lots; roads everywhere; drive thru pharmacies, burgers. So why not take a bit of the price of operating a car, and use that money where people can safely get out of the Toyotas and walk?

Yes on Proposition 21! Now there is a reason to vote!