Thursday, June 30, 2011

Real Life

 Summer repeats itself.
 Everything happens all at once.
This has been my life. The last two weeks has been all about putting up food. 27 quarts of salsa, more pickles and blueberry jam. My kitchen has been in industrial mode.

I'm fortunate to be able to do it! I have had some kind of weird thing with being dizzy and nauseated for a couple of weeks. I always think of Meniere's first but then the Hunny and my  daughter felt off too. Maybe there is a virus running around?  When I worked in the hospital I always heard about what was floating around in the masses but now I am out of the loop.

My arm is recovering. The little improvements feel like major milestones. Using my arm and hand to work in the kitchen is just amazing. I still have to be in control of my life, I couldn't punch a time clock.
However! The progress is more than I ever hoped for. I can wash my hair with two hands and shave my legs with both. Isn't that tricky? Might sound boring to some but if you knew what I've been through, this is a big deal. When you are right handed and can't use your right hand or arm at all; washing your hair is the Olympic gold medal.

The world is full of projects, most of them in my head. Moving forward everyday and giving thanks for what gets done is the lesson in this valley. If I have learned anything through this it is to SEE.
I feel like an Avatar saying , "I see you." Stopping to see, slowing down enough to really look at life is the gift in this.  My life is so slow I would drive a techie completely insane in less than 5 minutes.
No cell phone
No schedule
Empty calendar

Just today.

Today is all I have. It's all any of us have. Each day we manage and have our needs met. Each day we are full, I still haven't lost weight. Food arrives at the house. Jobs happen just in time. The sun shines and the grass grows. The birds sing and I listen. The wind brushes by and I look at where it comes from, which way it's blowing and enjoy the wind chimes as it passes by.

I think one of the devils biggest tricks is to keep people so busy they can't think. When you are running all the time you feel harassed and out of control. It's easy to yell at the people you love the most because you feel wound up in knots.  It's a drag. My favorite motto has always been, "I either have time and no money, or money and no time." It's been true in my life.  I don't think people have to quit work to slow down but we can take an inventory of our calendars and life styles asking if such and such is really worth it. I'm finding out how to make a lot happen with a little.

When I was a teenager we had a dial telephone. There was no such thing as an answering machine or call waiting. If you were on the phone and someone tried to call, they got a busy signal. I used to get in trouble for that. Tying up my mom's phone for an hour blabbing about nothing to another teenage friend.
We had 5 channels on the TV set, and plenty of shows to watch. How much more do you need when Star Trek came on and the Man From UNCLE. There were funny shows and lots of movies. I never felt deprived.

 I do feel deprived if my husband and I are driving some where and right in the middle of a great conversation he answers his cell phone. Car trips are for conversations. Cell phones are causing everything from possibly brain cancer to bees dying out. I am happy not to own one.

Cell phones are cool with all the apps and stuff but they cost you more than money.  They cost you time and make you multi task.  More immediate answers, immediate action, hurry hurry hurry----rats race. A fast pace makes life fly by in a blurr, it's hard to see.

These are just thoughts, ideas that I can reflect on because my life as it was has ceased to exist. This is a new life. Each day unfolds based on how I am physically and what there is to do. My biggest fears have never materialized. I am learning to trust God. To really trust God. When self reliance goes out the back door there is nothing else. Hope is replacing worry. Trust is replacing self. Gratitude is replacing want.
And I know I am just at the very beginning of discovering what life is really about.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Harvest

 We have been busy. In two different trips we picked 7 gallons of blueberries at friends yards. Translated into plain English that means free.
 Our friends from the farm drop off their surplus of what doesn't sell at the farmer's market.
 It's really great to have friends like that. My garden is doing a little something too. This is from my yard.
 I cannot take credit for these. The type is Goliath. They are as delicious as they look.
 All ten tons of them...well it feels like 10 tons.
 When you are standing at the sink dicing them.
 When the counter gets cleared we can start on this boxful.
 The daughter is working up all the peppers.

 and the onions.
 Can you guess what we are making yet?
 Roman thinks it smells good, he is so beautiful. I am in love, stuck to the hip style love. What do you think of that tail? The fur has never been cut.
 It IS possible to have too many flowers in one place.
 My new roof! The chimney is fixed too. This is a digression but if I don't digress you won't know who you are reading. I would not want you to feel lost.
 Do you see how tall the Zenia's are in the side yard? It is nuts over there again. Next spring I need to thin ruthlessly! Be ruthless and pull those little sprouts. I am so ridiculous, it is hard for me to thin plants. Then I get this overcrowded mess and can't get to anything. I need to bush whack flowers.
 Yum mm  spicy home grown jalapeno and banana peppers, delicious. Can you feel your sinuses burn?

 Could you thin them?
 Lindsey wanted to know how I do this? I had to tell her it was God.
This is what we made 17 quarts of homemade salsa and 7 new quarts of dill pickles. Also have some plain canned tomatoes and I reduced down into a strong "spaghetti sauce base."  Lindsey named our second batch of salsa, "The Crowd Pleaser." Since it is tomato based we just make it the way we like it no recipe. This one was full of all kinds of peppers, everything that was here. It really gave it a great flavor. When tomatoes are at their perfect peak of ripeness you can't go wrong.

Tomorrow is blueberry jam day. Most of them went into bags in the freezer but we need some good home made jam.

After researching dill pickle recipes I decided to try Mrs.Wage's dill mix. It seems people like it very much and I'm tired of making dill pickles that don't taste good.

Speaking of good.

Roman has been a good boy. He is getting smart now. He gets to lay on my bed and there is almost room for me, but not much. He likes it like that. This morning he was sprawled on his back with his hiney on my end so that I could massage his back foot. He loves a good foot rub, just lays flatter and flatter until he resembles a poodle pancake extra large.

The new roof is very good. The fixed chimney is very good. Keeping the paint the same is very good.
If HGTV showed up to do a curb appeal redo that would be very good.  All our trees and trellises completely block the house from view which may be good, or not.

I have more good days than bad, and that is very very good, OR as we say back here vera vera.
I lost my accent or most of it in one week back in California. Amazing.
It has returned quickly.

 This is my dearest Aunt, my Auntie Mum. We took a walk one day with her dog which maybe on the list for the cutest dog ever. Don't tell Roman that I said that. She thinks she is a Tibetan Spaniel. We think she is Tubby Tuna.

Her name is Molly and she is the reigning Queen supreme of the house, approximately 35 pounds of personality plus. Did I mention she is cute?  OK just so I don't forget that part.

Salsa and chips anyone?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Thoughtful Morning

I can't find my camera anywhere. I have been talking and thinking all morning about focusing more on God and gratitude. How to hold loosely to my agenda, my possessions, my future. To learn more what it really means to surrender and trust, to fall back and let go...

my camera.

I was thinking on the large grandiose scale of my house, my furniture and stuff. I almost don't care what happens to any of this stuff anymore. I certainly can't take it with me into a 6 foot hole in the ground.

Isn't that just like God to show you what you do hang onto? He knows what object holds my affection.
My camera..."thou shall not have any other gods before me".
It's not about having, it's about having a love that is before God.
He just wants first place.
That's the challenge because WE  want to be in first place. 
The "I am always on my mind," thing. 

After frantically searching every single spot I have ever placed my camera I decided to take a deep breath and let go. Only two things can happen, I will find it or it is lost.
In the scope of all that is going on in this world today that is a very small problem.
The droughts, the heat, the fires, the floods, to name a few. 
I am safe

I am not  

I am blessed.
God is our provider
a present help.
Each and every need.
Free medicine.
Fresh food given to us.
Beautiful clothing.
Increasing health.

Knowledge to become even more frugal.
The home made house hold cleaners are AMAZING!
Are you interested ?
Want to make some?

What gives you contentment?
One definition of content is,
happy enough with what one has or is; not desiring something more or different; satisfied.

Am I happy with what I am and what I have? 
Am I in a thankful grateful state of mind not desiring something more OR DIFFERENT?

To be able to just be. To give thanks for what is. To have a restful peaceful trust that GOD is in control and because that is true; I CAN RELAX.

Wowzas, this is tough. It is tough because my mind is always on the go. I am always thinking about what can be different. I have been thinking about the front yard it's too overgrown, our house is invisible. Our shutters are dated...blah blah blah...different different different.
When something happens to make things "better," I notice for a couple of days and then just like a toy soldier wound up with a super energizer bunny battery, I'm marching on.
Moving forward!

Is anybody else wired like that?

The people I most admire are always off the grid. They are farmers or live in rural areas. They are connected to the land, connected to God and are keenly aware of their dependence on Him for every good thing. For rain...
Is it turning off the TV? The computer? The cell phone?
Is it possible to reach a level of satisfaction wherever you are? 
It should be, so why is it so hard to do?
Can we find that rich relationship with the FATHER in a busy suburb in the city?
Do you know anyone who has?

These are real questions for me. I'm not just trying to write a post. I'm really asking.
I have never been on the frugal, non-consumer, page before.
When I go to the store it sometimes appalls me.
The quantities we have to chose from, it's gross.
We waste so much.
I have not been a good steward with my money or my time or my heart.
I am still alive and change is something that I can chose to do.
I want more of God and less of me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tugging at Our Hearts

Once a year just doesn't cut it. I had a blissed out day enjoying every minute with the new generation of little grands. Aren't they cute? They are being trained to have good manners and be nice people too and it just doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seeing California

 colors....the smell of the sea
 beauty on street corners..
 vibrant color in the sun..
 which way catches it best?
 the shapes, the green, the tips of red, just captivating...

 great kids...what a charmer
 My baby and her friend. They are just friends. If he was my just friend I think I would like him more than that. He is very cute with those eyes. They are always goofing around. They have been friends for YEARS.
 The window in this funky little breakfast joint. Signature Santa Cruz.
 I love this type of sage,
 it not only looks like velvet it feels like velvet...spectacular
 right in the middle of some funky trailer park...
 this's great isn't it?
 and this,

 so beautiful Nasturtium's and this palm tree, growing together
 arranging themselves so attractively without human hands...
 the breakfast choice- Paula's
Good deal!

 Windblown happy.
 We are hungry and happy
 he is contemplating the food while he waits,
 breakfast of champions forget cold cereal,
 Roses everywhere and they were in their big flush. Even by an IHOP there was a big rose garden.
When I lived in California I had a lot of roses. They don't do so well out here. My 36 bushes have dwindled to 10.
 If I could pick a house this one is it, walking distance to the beach and beach cottage style
 fabulous yard, love the windows the paint everything..
 Isn't this inviting? I might not have noticed it but I was walking. I wanted to knock on the door and go inside.

 A sense of humor at this shop.
 This is where I was walking too. It was COLD and grey and still beautiful.
 The things you can appreciate when they aren't your everyday experience anymore.
 A common pigeon looks so colorful, so pretty as it walks, singing it's little pigeon coo song...
 Last night I dreamed I was playing volleyball, it was more of a nightmare. I was lousy.
 Cute huh? A place to rinse the sand off your feet in universal language, done in artistic style of course. I want those tiles for my bathroom.

 It was very windy and cold. This seagull was trying to stay put and stay warm and this was how he did it,  interesting.
These birds have no fear here of humans so I got to shoot some close ups.

What used to be a pesty bird to me is now so interesting. Everything was beautiful to me. I savored the time. Attempting to capture blissful moments to share. My time here was so brief there is so much more to enjoy, but the main reason to be there was for my Aunt and Uncle. I spent most of my time with them.
I hope they come down to the beach soon. A trip would help them with their grief. 
Time, we always need time. It's just that when grief is fresh and pain is raw it seems the clock stops, and that you will never quit hurting. When your breath exhales in deep sighs and that heavy cloud of sadness hangs and hovers over everything... how do parents ever recover from the death of their child no matter the age?

 I think it is the hardest test.

We can handle our own illnesses our own losses. We can manage the loss of our parents and grandparents because it's the normal course of things. They are older than us and it is supposed to happen like that.
Having your 45 year old son collapse and die suddenly? Or finding your son gone in his bed?
Or having your 4 month old grandson die of SIDS? This list is endless, how sad. I'm sure you can add something of your own.

These trials are especially hard to navigate threw. If not for God's mercy we would perish.
I just stayed with them. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we were just quiet together.
I didn't feel like I did anything but both my Aunt and my Uncle said I was a great comfort to them.
 I am glad. That is what I wanted to do.

The sudden death also gave me the vision to see that everywhere we go there is something to treasure, something to praise God for. It is so important to slow down enough to appreciate life. With all the "hurry" we can lose this very precious life we are living and not see anything at all.