November 26, 2022

Pagan Ritual..ready, set,...


Time for the most fun pagan ritual. Time to get out my purple satin cape to catch the mistletoe as I harvest it. Time to Sage and sweep the house out and best of all, time to set up the holiday tree. 

We're still purging...boy, have we got a lot of shit! A lot less than a year ago. We've shredded enough paper to keep snowglobe companies in business for decades!

On the IPF side of things. The medication my pumonologist prescribed ended up being a little bit over $14000 a month and our insurance will cover enough that our cost will only be a little over $2900 a month. After we laughed until our sides ached. We declined the medication. Then the pharmaceutical company said there were several programs/ grants that helped pay the copays. Alas, we didn't qualify. Apparently we make about $15 too much per year! LOL.

We discovered that we can get a month's precription from Australia for about $895/mo and Canada between $1100/mo to 1800/mo. Crazy! Are there really people who can afford that kind of long term costs for medication? 

I started pulmonary rehab. Nice people and really nice getting back into a regular exercise routine. Other than having some chest pain and O2 dropping down into the high 80's a couple of times, I'm doing pretty good.

I was accepted into a Stage 2 clinical trial for a new medication. (happy dance!!!) The research company offered to pay my travel expenses for visiting the clinic once a month for the duration of the trial. I agreed and then discovered that the research labs are right across the river from us! 

Can't tell you how much it breaks my heart to rob the pharmaceutical company of their big bucks but I'm sure they'll get it out of someone else!


Over the years I have seen a therapist off and on, mostly for my PTSD flame ups and some of life's bigger challenges. I have the best therapist in the world (totally biased). She calls me a Kick-Ass Warrior Woman, so I occasionally need a Kick-Ass Warrior Woman tune-up!

I was telling her the biggest fear I have about dying is that I'll miss my kids. We talked about how I probably just am afraid of "missing out" on their life's events. I was primed to believe she was right.

My baby girl's birthday is in November. She turned 50 this year! (you remember, baby girl with PhD, working for the Department of Defense!)She and her husband came out to California for a nice visit, not long enough ever but still nice.

Participation is great but there is a lot to be said about observation. I did a lot of both while Nicole and Brian were here. I've spent some time with my sons and their wives, again participating and observing. When Nicole and Brian returned to Virginia, boys retured to their homes, I had a huge epiphany. I'd call it "life Changing" but I think if was more like "Dying Changing"!

I realized that what made me afraid to die was not so much "missing" my kids, it was more that I was afraid that they would need me and I wouldn't be here to help them. Now I know that kids always need their parents in some ways. My mom and dad have been gone since 2018 and I still want to call them and share things with them. I miss them dearly. My realization was that my children and their spouses, their families are solid, they're successful, they're settled, they're independent. They've made it! 

Bottom line. They don't need me to jump in and rescue them! (Once a mom, always a mom!) Honestly, they're all so successful, they would probably be the ones rescuing me! 

It's okay if I'm not around one day (except for my doggies who might sit by the door wondering why I'm gone so long). My kids have got this! They're rock stars. 

I'm so proud of them and I know whatever comes they will rise to the challenge! Makes a momma proud. 

I'm not ready to jump ship by any means but if the ship dumps me, it'll be okay!

Now. gotta go harvest some mistletoe and sage. 2023, here I come!



October 17, 2022

Plunking Around

 Sunday! Football. More purging! It's crazy how many times I pull things out  of a box when the first thought is "what was I thinking!"

While going though old files do any of you find yellowed paper with random phone #'? No name, or a first name, no last, and you have no idea who, what or where! Found a post-it note that said "Tuesday, 10:00"! Makes me think  someone called and said they were on their way to our house, so I gathered up a bunch of odd and ends, magazines, nail files, polish remover, cool I'll-check-that-out-later catalogs and a partner-less sock, dumped it all in a box and the box ended up in the garage.

At least, by purging now, there is the promise that we will not be hauling tons of useless ephemera with us to Ohio!

Visited Denver last week to celebrate our oldest granddaughter's 25th birthday with her. Quarter of a Century! How did little Alli get to 25 when I'm only 42?

We had plans on visiting my 90 year-old aunt and lots of cousins but the altitude threatened to strangle me. We had to head home after just one day at that altitude! Another Pulmonary Fibrosis benefit! Also found out that wrapping a scarf around my mouth and nose when outside in weather below 40 degrees is advised unless I want to go for marathon coughing!

No Cold Air
No High Altitudes
Learning a lot with this diagnosis. Also getting some excellent naturopathic advice from good friends. 

Pulmonologist looked at my white white hair (ignoring the purple highlights) and asked when I first starting going gray. I answered that I got my first gray hair in high school, true. He stated that families predisposed to premature gray hair are also predisposed to Pulmonary Fibrosis. 

Sorry, Dude, (Dr. Dude) but no history of IPF in the family and longevity is the best part of our DNA. Family members live to be late 90's. 100 and even 102. ( I thought my great-grandmother lived to be 104 but I was corrected by my mother. Great grandma only lived to be 102!

Before I let you go, I want to share a little entry from my mother's journal. (No wonder, packing is taking so long, I keep pulling out the journal and catching up on Mom's life)

Quote from journal:

"Mama's mother, grandma Daisy is 102. While we were in the kitchen I asked her if she's always been healthy. She replied that she has rarely been ill. No time living on the ranch! I asked her, Grandma, have you ever been bedridden? Yes, mi hija, hundreds and hundreds of times, even once in a buggy!"




October 06, 2022

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Hi all, I've missed you all, though I do check up on you now and then. 

Life has been crazy here in Shasta County. Los Angeles Times and New York Times have actually written articles about the craziness. 

Several years ago a rich guy came to town, built a gorgeous winery, event center and chapel all without permits. The county charged him and he had to pay penalties...which of course the entitled white rich man was above doing. He closed everything up (or the county did, not sure). He moved to Connecticut  but with a soul dedicated to revenge! We have a huge bunch of Trumpers, Election deniers, White Militia and GOP cowboys here in the county and they are taking over the county all with the financial backing of Mr. Revengeful. It's damn scary. 

That's exactly what we needed to go with Covid and forest fires and smoke and drought. If you see any green lawns in our county it's because they've been sprayed green or your very rich and don't mind paying the fines.

We've been slowly packing and purging to make our exit from California and were seriously considering North Carolina or Virginia. It looks like it's going to be Ohio! Yup, OHIO!

When I told one of my granddaughters that her hippy grandmother was moving to Ohio she laughed her head off (almost). "Ohio!" she said, "I almost forgot there was a state named Ohio!"

Ohio is not my first choice. I need mountains. Every time I see a drone view of a house on Zillow or Realtor.com and see that flat horizon my heart pounds and I can't breathe for a second or two. Flat scares me. A friend that lives in Ohio said not to worry, they have hills. He just doesn't get my attachment to Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta and all the surrounding mountains. 

Why am I considering Ohio, you're probably asking yourself. Not such a long story. 

I've been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Not a good thing. Average kicking-of-the-bucket typically happens within 1 to 3 years after diagnosis. Diagnosed two months ago by accident, my worthless doctor actually had a report from a CT done in 2020 that showed the beginnings of IPF but failed to tell me. A CT done this year to look for something completely different showed progression. My chiropractor actually diagnosed it. No cure, just progression and then cough, choke, death. Crap!

 Ohio has Cleveland Clinic, which has an outstanding pulmonary department. So flatland it is. 

I'm extremely anxious and depressed with this. I've taken all the tests and am awaiting next doctor visit (with pulmonologist not old GP). In the meantime, I'm trying all the naturopathic things I can do. NAC, Vitamins C,D, & E. Doing some breathing exercises and (don't laugh) third chakra work. 

I'm working with a therapist on a Death with Dignity plan, which probably means coming back to west coast or another state that allows it. Ohio doesn't have that option. The thought of suffocating while my family stands by just doesn't have any appeal.

I have three kids (kids all in their 50's) but they are the most intelligent, funny and glorious humans. It makes me sad how much I will miss of their lives but mostly their humor and intelligent conversations. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not giving up. I will put every effort into delaying the progression of this disease but there is no cure (YET). 

Dr. Pulmonologist says there are medications to help slow progression but the cost is about $70,000 a year which insurance will pay approx $1000 per month. He doesn't prescribe it, unless his patients insist, because it only has about a 5% efficiency in slowing progression. Can you imagine? $70,000 a year. Big Pharma scores again!

So, breathe deep, my friends. Keep moving. Get out of town when the skies fill up with wildfire smoke. 

I'll keep you all up to date. Back to packing and hacking!!!

March 12, 2022

Inspiration

We survived another sleep-over with our 7 year old great-granddaughter, Ms. B! 

We picked her up from school yesterday, came home for a picnic that she set up. We sanded a couple of bedside tables that I'm going to paint. 

We came inside. She is quite the gymnastic kid so she moved a couple of items, a table, plants and ottoman, so she could do forward hand springs or stand on her hands whenever she felt the urge. She felt the urge often, sometimes in the middle of a sentence.

At one point, after an exceptionally spontaneous handspring, she sat on the ground holding her shin and announced loudly, "It hurts to be cool!"

If you ask Ms. B how old she is she will tell you "7 and a half so technically I'm 8!" She rounds up on her age but not when passing out cookies. She and The Guy (technically The Papa!) made chocolate chip cookies and ordered pizza (forget Keto this weekend).

She went home early this evening. The Papa and I took some Tylenol and are watching the clock. We don't want to be wussy and go to bed before 9 p.m. It would somehow make it official to us that our butts were kicked by a little girl. Two to One and she still kicked butt!

As soon as that long-hand hits the 12...14 minutes from now, I'm fluffing the pillow and calling it a day. Before I sleep though, I will be sending out a little prayer of gratitude...for not falling off my bike, for being able to get off the ground after the picnic, for being Ms. B's star student during a game of School, for Papa making pancakes with sprinkles and Boysenberry Syrup, and to Ms. B for inspiring me to get back on my bike and ride!

I'm sleeping good tonight because tomorrow WE RIDE!


March 09, 2022

Where's My Glasses!

 I hopped on my blog today to check out the blogs I'm following.

As I scrolled down the right side, a widget from long ago caught my eye. It is some long forgotten link proclaiming myself a Democrat. I hadn't read the description in a long time. These words are the widgets, not mine.

You are a Working Class Warrior, also known a blue-collar Democrat or Occupier.
You believe that the little guy is getting screwed by conservative greed-mongers and
 corporate criminals, and you’re not going to take it anymore.


With my reading glasses sitting next to my coffee on the table,  I had to squint with my "good eye"! "Good eye" meaning not the worst one,  I read, "the little guy get screwed by conservative good-manners!...WTF!!!!

My neck almost snapped as I reached for my readers.

                                                              "...conservative greed-mongers.".

I guess I'm going to find one of those reading  glass necklace holder thingies. Are they called Glass Retainers? I'll hippy it up with some peace-beads and keep my reading eyes safe from fake news!

Photo courtesy of Wish.com





March 08, 2022

Daily Self-Care Distractions!

Craziness going on in the world! I'm CNN-Twitter-ABCNews-PBS-ed Out! 

Need a bit of self-care, I typically self-medicate my chronic depression and anxiety with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia but my thighs begged me in a dream last night to have mercy on them!

So, what can I do for the sake of my thighs and waistline? I know...random questions about things that will never be! (Sorry, gave up sanity for Lent!)

My sister posted this on FB yesterday:

Not sure of original author...sorry!

A commenter announced that they would love to have their life narrated by Morgan Freeman!

That would indeed be pretty cool but I'm a woman so as much as I love Freeman's voice (and boy do I love it) I think it would be more self-affirming and less condescending to have a woman's voice in the narration department. 

Who would you like to narrate your life story on the next Netflix Made-for-TV movie or do you think your life is Big-Screen-ish?

I've been around the sun 71 times. In that time I've had some highs and some lows but nothing big-screen worthy. My biography is definitely closer to TV, I mean if professional bowling has a show why not me Why not you, right?

After the first 10 minutes of national news, I flipped over to Ed Sheeran channel on Pandora, grabbed a soda, and tried to figure out who would be the voice to my ups, downs and long, long flatlines!

Helen Mirren. That's who I want! It was a tie between her and Emma Thompson. Deciding was a challenge until I figured Mirren should narrate and Thompson would play me!  

Now my sisters-in-law would probably suggest it be more appropriate that Roseann Barr narrate. I haven't won a lot of brownie points with them the last couple of years! We'll leave that part out of the movie!

So, share with us. 
Who would narrate your movie?
Who would be play you?

Maybe Lily Tomlin would make a better me in the movie? What actor  is a cross between Tomlin, Thompson and Cher (okay, just a little Barr)!

Next meaningless and random distraction: What characters in a movie or tv show would you hire to take Putin to the Train Station (wink wink, nudge nudge)?






Tapering Off

 Hi All (or maybe I should say (Hey ya'll!) 

The Guy and I are seriously considering selling our home on the west coast and vaulting all the way to the east coast...Virginia, that is! Or North Carolina, or, uh, maybe just Ohio!!!!

(you'll never believe how much time it's been since I started this post...I got a little distracted!)

Art courtesy of Scoot Smith

So, yeah, we're trying to taper off our deep love of California and our California-ness! There is a certain "west-coast vibe" that many this side of the country have, but we're up here in Northern California. This is where take-it-easy-don't-harsh-my-mellow does not exist, and actually could get you shot if you openly display anything but  rage and distrust! But this is not about that!

This is about being a couple of a certain age who need out! We have been through many huge fires in our life together and several mandatory evacuations and several more evac warnings. We've had summers when we can't swim in our pool because the smoke levels are "unhealthy"! It's weird that the news casters announce that smoke levels are high and we should remain indoors as if we liked walking the river trails inhaling small glowing embers!

Then there's the fact that in good ole California 66% of the cost of a gallon of gas is actually taxes! Yup 66%! But, again, this is not about that!

This is about PTSD and Drought and a bit of ignorance.

The evening news on March 3 announced Wind Warnings for the morning of March 4. You know the big red banner Wind Warning

Morning of March 4 the guy takes dogs for a walk. Upon returning he states, "There's smoke rising in the north hill." I responded, "Yeah, I think they're doing a controlled burn today." (they being Cal Fire)

"Not today," responds the guy. "have you seen the wind out there?"

Fifteen minutes later on scanner there is a request for a dozer at the site of controlled burn! Surprisingly (not) the fire has jumped! 

Can you imagine?

Half hour later we receive a mandatory evacuation alert on both our phones! The alert was not for our neighborhood but the fire is north of us and headed south! 

Goose bumps, chest pain, tight jaw and a couple of veins throbbing in our foreheads...NOT AGAIN!


It's only March! We need to get out of here before summer!!!

They've got it under control. Evacuations have been lifted for the immediate area of fire, The sheriff's department announced that the fire was under investigation...apparently Cal Fire was hesitant on taking responsibility for burning on a High Risk day with incredibly harsh winds but too many people have scanners and heard the first couple of calls for help go out. The next day they sent out a press release announcing that a controlled burn went out of control but nothing like, "We sincerely apologize to the Peeps of Shasta County for lighting a fire on a day we warned you all not to!"

We're going to miss this beautiful area. Mountains are my best friends and people have promised me there are mountains in Virginia, though they are a little stooped like my and The Guy!


Sunset from the lookout above Shasta Dam!


 
I swear this is through the windshield on out way to photograph lennies on the mountain. My camera lens is never that dirty!



I do know that east coast color is more vibrant than ours...maybe more of it but can it really be more vibrant.


Well, until next time...The Guy is telling me there are lennies on the mountain and we gotta get up there!

p.s. I know there is a war going on, and a pandemic and apparently some kind of civil war in the U.S. but I thought we could all use a distraction!

 




July 09, 2021

Made It!

 Time to tick off the boxes of surviving being exiled for the good of the realm.

We made it! Vaccinated, never got the dreaded virus and relieved that our world is only mostly a mess!

We actually thrived through social distancing said the introvert) and fell even more in love with each other! 

We finished remodeling the guest bathroom.(Except painting ceiling but if you don't look up and just take care of business, it looks done).

The remodel plans for master bath were cut back to painting, new baseboards and new curtains. Instead of knocking out old tile and shower pan for fancy new tiles, we had our dog's butt remodeled. Rex had a giant tumor which cost $3500 to removed. I do have to say, though, that his new butt is pretty dang nice...for a butt! He's doing well and is just as beautiful and loving as ever. 

The Guy, Little Lily and Rex in his cone of shame!

The Guy and I have been getting out about 3 days a week for long drives in the mountains with photos of fall color, snow covered trees and volcanos, spring flowers and now, back to airplanes bombing fires. 

Frank had one of his photos featured in a local magazine in March. He also submitted six of his photos to the new court house and four were accepted for hanging in the halls! Really proud of him. Six of his wild flower photos have been chosen by the city for wrapping utility boxes around town. 

I purged all the 'stuff' from my studio and have been painting again. Trying my hand at watercolors, acrylics, and furniture. My favorite is watercolor but I'm better at furniture. I'm tempted to paint my piano but might have to leave it behind in move to North Carolina and no one wants a hippie painted piano. Instead I painted a picture of my guitar...so far it's saved the piano, though never say never!



After a long, long, long time apart our youngest son and his family came up from southern California for a very nice visit. We hiked in Lassen Park one day, and had a picnic and hike in the upper Sacramento River near Castle Crags one day. Our great granddaughter joined us; youngest grandson and great granddaughter are both 7. We skipped rocks, rock jumped, slipped and fell or pretended to slip and fall in water. Temps were in high 90's that day so just laying in the water was super refreshing. Thank goodness for leather seats and towels for ride home.

Ms. B and Lukas preparing to lose control!

It is 117 degrees at our house. Smoke from the 3 fires has gone in some other direction for the evening so deep breaths are possible...slow...deep...lazy breathing. Too hot to do anything else.

It's time for a blended margarita and another dip in the pool. 

Missed you all sooooo much!



September 30, 2020

Here We Go Again

 You may have read about our fires...again. 

It's just too much on top of everything-else-2020!

We had one day of blue sky and that was the day the Zogg Fire blew up. PTSD blew up to. 

I'm thinking really hard that I'm done living in California. We have a swimming pool that we keep up all year long but can't swim in half the summer because the air quality from smoke keeps us inside. Swimming with N95 mask kind of defeats the purpose of swimming. The temperatures are in the triple digits so going outside and not swimming is crazy!

We are seriously considering relocating to North Carolina; more specifically Pfafftown or Lewisville. Away from the coast...trading triple digit heat and fires for hurricanes doesn't appeal to either of us.

Anyone familiar with North Carolina? 

Hope you are doing well. Will catch up when done fretting and pacinge!!!

Meanwhile some photos The Guy took this past couple of days.

Photo by Frank Tona

Train trestle over Sacramento River at 9 a.m. Sun was bright red for two weeks, dull orange a bit longer.

Photo by Frank Tona

Big Boy dropping fire retardant. The mountains behind are scarred from Carr Fire of 2018.


Photo by Frank Tona


Photo taken from east side of town, we live on the west side but are not in the fire's path as of this morning's fire brief.

Final photo, smoke at Lassen National Park. Nice to get above it when we've got the chance!


Photo by Frank Tona

August 13, 2020

Romance At 7000'

 Tuesday evening The Guy and I had a romantic date scheduled to watch the sunset at Lassen Park.

We missed the sunset. Romantic Man fell asleep around 4 and didn't wake up until 7. Then there is packing the cameras, tripod, chairs, etc. We left the house about 7:30. 

We didn't actually miss the sunset, it happened all around us while we were driving. No cuddling or smooching but there were a couple of ooh-aah sights.

We got up to the meadow that we wanted to set up for the meteor shower. Frank set up his camera and tripod. I didn't want to take pictures, so I just settled myself in a lawn chair prepared to stare at the sky.

It was awesome. At 7000' we were above smoke layering the valley. The air was crisp and clean. 

Then it got really, really, really dark. 

We were near a small stream and could hear the moving water as it flowed through the rocks and made twists and turns. A couple of deer came to hang out with us. Probably figured that there was less of a chance of being chased by a mountain lion if humans are around. Maybe they figured they could outrun us if a big cat wasn't above chowing down on a of slow clumsy human.

The night was awesome. Between the two of us, we saw at least 28 shooting stars. I ran out of wishes after the 6th one so defaulted to World Peace for the remainder of meteors. 

I couldn't believe how many satellites are flying around up there! Who does the air traffic control? Must be a nightmare!

We cuddled under a blanket...not because it was romantic but because it got cold. Really cold. Almost an hour past midnight, the moon rose above the mountains behind us. Lit up the sky a bit. The Milky Way was incredible and intimidating. We packed up and headed home. Left the park about 1:30, got into town about 2:30 a.m. 

We are not usually doughnut kind of people (I've lost 85 pounds this last year having changed to a keto lifestyle...pastries are not on the menu). As Highway 44 rolls into town there is a 24-hour doughnut shop on the left hand side of the road. We crossed all three lanes, ordered giant apple fritters in the drive-thru and giggled like teenagers as we chomped on forbidden fruit! It was great!

Frank couldn't wait until morning to see his photos, insisting that it was morning! He got some awesome shots and a lot of plain old gorgeous starlight. 

I'm so thankful for They Guy. He makes life an adventure!

We had our eyes checked today. I go back in two weeks to have some measurements taken, then will be scheduled for cataract surgery. I'm not nervous! It's 2020...what could go wrong!

Speaking of doughnuts, we visited our daughter and her family in Massachusetts last year. Some of you east-coasters probably already have this bit of trivia in your head but we discovered that in the great state of MA, directions are given using Dunkin' Donuts (Dunks). "Turn right at the first Dunks, then take the third left after the second Dunks!"

Any of you able to get your hair cut by a professional lately? Frank is starting to go crazy with his bushy curls but he doesn't trust me to trim it!


We're bushy twins! I still need to buy some blouses that fit but as long as we're social-distancing, I'm holding off...maybe I'll lose more!!! (not eating ginormous apple fritters in the wee hours of morning).


Have a great weekend everyone.




August 10, 2020

Lightning and other stuff!

 The Guy talked me into loading a lightning detector app. His cell provider reception is crappy. My cell phone provider is awesome (can you hear me now)! We were in the Marble Mountains on Friday, chasing lightning, got caught in a torrential rain and hail. The storm moved off  but we didn't know whether to head north or jump I-5 and go east. He batted his puppy-dog eyes and made a couple of epic promises; so I downloaded the app.

Every day since then my phone is going off with little synthesizer lightning strikes! Then The Guy tells me where it is and how many miles away; how quick we could make it there. Yet, here we sit!

Not that I'm antsy but I didn't get out of my pajamas to just sit around the house.

As it was, we didn't get any lightning photos because rain and hail aren't camera-friendly. We did get some great sunset photos. Well, to be honest, Frank got the great photos, I was reading a truly hard-to-put-down book. I did put the book down now and then to click off a couple of just-okay pics with my phone (so sad to have a killer camera in the backseat and be too lazy to reach back and grab it, but that's how good the book was!).

We were south of Yreka before the storm let up and, to be honest I took this from the car window. Couldn't get out of car...can you spell "lazy"?

Missed sunset on Mt. Shasta but the clouds gave the impression of a mini-eruption!



Our high temp today was 109! We spent the afternoon in the pool with our fur-babies. Rex and Lily got a great bath; both smell like tea tree this evening...nice!

I snapped a photo of Rex after his bath and sent it in to our local news. KRCR broadcast our beautiful boy on the 5:30 news!  Cool!


He is usually much fluffier but soaking wet he looks a little like a mop with eyes. I told him he was a local celeb but he seems completely unimpressed. Humble baby!

The Guy is sooooo romantic. He has invited me to go to Whiskeytown Lake to watch the sunset tonight! Don't anyone say "ahhh!"  "As long as we're there" he is going to practice videoing the meteor showers tonight so he knows what adjustments to make when he heads to Mt. Lassen tomorrow night!

Honestly, I don't mind being part of a practice date night! There will be at least an hour between sunset and meteors to make out under the stars!

August 06, 2020

Old Friends

The only time I've ever been able to get close to a Giant Blue Heron! Apparently it was just too cold to fly away!
Do you remember the old Wonderful World of Color show on Sunday evening television (dating myself)?

Sometimes it would show an elegant, proud eagle flying in, wings stretched out in regal glide over a frozen lake. Landing appears to be pure perfection until regal eagle slips onto its tush and slides on ice for 15 feet. That's what it's like on Tule Lake!


This one was not so happy after such a humiliating landing!

Don't laugh at them. They get mad and leave!

Assured of less humiliating landing. Eagles are fun to photograph but they're very thin-skinned when it comes to humor.



Maybe if the hawks didn't laugh so loud, the mighty eagles could have a little chuckles now and again at their own expense!