Friday, August 30, 2013

Out of Control

My art flat files to replace the ones wrecked in the warehouse flood last October arrived this week, and are quickly getting stuffed from piles in the garage.  I'm ecstatic. 
A trek to King's Nursery last week revealed this sunflower hugging the six foot fence. It must be twelve feet tall . Like my heart, it doesn't know when to stop.
How lucky that Catherine was able to accompany me to the cardiologist's yesterday because the medical terminology is out of my league.  He reviewed all my tests and concluded that my heart muscle is strong, my three leaky valves and cyst in my liver are not significant, but that my heart is racing as if I were running a marathon.  Stronger methods are needed to try to soothe the atrial fib. So today I start on new meds including a blood thinner to prevent stroke. Not thrilled with the idea, but as the Norwegians say, "It could be worse."  If you have any experience or thoughts on this, I welcome your comments.
Yesterday the government reported that same sex married couples may now file federal returns jointly. About time. My current events group here today is going to be jumping up and down. My gratitude is also out of bounds.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bountiful Harvests

Asian pears are continuing to fall down in profusion. Tomorrow I'm going to peel some and try to make Asian Pear crisp.  Don't faint! That's a stretch for an old lady who doesn't like to cook.
Meanwhile I have another bounty to celebrate.  Fourth of July weekend up here was our one and only heat spell. It reached 107 on my deck. When my air conditioner failed the first day of the heat swell I called the original installer as the unit is only two years old. He came shortly and declared the problem the PGE Smart Meter. A circus followed, with many visits from both PGE and the A/C company pointing fingers at each other.  I had to evacuate to a friend's house. Four days and $309 later all was fixed. But that is not the end of the story. About a week later a friend noticed an article on a back page of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Air Conditioner Failure Due to PGE SMART METER. It explained that over 100 homes had lost their A/C because the smart meter, programmed to turn on and off every 15 minutes, turned off and never turned back on. One was instructed to call a certain number and request a refund for expenses paid for repairs.
Of course, the clerk answering the PGE phone line indicated she knew nothing about it.  Shuffled from desk to desk I was about to give up when I finally reached someone who agreed to send me an application for a refund. Ten days went by; no application received.
I called PGE again. They sent a second refund application. (8 days later two applications came, one each on successive days.)
I promptly mailed a copy of my A/C repair bill, a copy of the newspaper article, and a letter of explanation (omitting curse words). The photo below is blurry, but believe me it shows a check for the full amount $309.  This will pay for my B&B for two nights coming up next month in White Rock, Canada----and maybe even some fish and chips.
But the best part is winning over a buerocracy! I'm indebted to Catherine Dodd for teaching me how to persevere in fighting the system. Sometimes it works! Thank you, Catherine.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Like most Fridays today at 1,
I attend the current events discussion group here, a lively interchange among 60 or so residents far more tuned into national and international events than this writer.  They are mostly armchair experts proudly  tuned in to the breaking news, so in order to appear coherent I pay special attention to the media on Friday mornings. I've even subscribed to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in order to read the editorials. Its been just about a year since I purchased this modest home in sleepy Oakmont Village which is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a retirement community. Who would have predicted I would be more worldly informed in this rural setting?
Whereas the daily news in Oakland centered around muggings and driveby-shootings and gang wars, the local news up here reports a goat got loose from some one's yard, and the dates the various grape harvests are predicted to begin. Its a different world. Of course the international news is the same, today's headline being the riots in Cairo. I feast on the debate, even though the democrats outnumber the republicans 40 to one, so its a fairly one-sided dialogue. The rest of the week I busy myself with visiting guests (many this week including my realtor and her family from Oakland, Catherine with guest Jaymi from Colorado, Michele from San Francisco,  Beth and Barb from Alameda, and Jac and Valerie from France. I'm not lacking in social stimuli.
Every day I admire my garden, picking up buckets of Asian pears which some critter knocks down every night, and hauling them to the food bank. I also am busy making plans for garden revisions. Please come and visit if you haven't already! And painterly friends, there is much to photograph and paint!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fireside Chat

FDR isn't the only one to do fireside chats---now I can too, for my new gas insert arrived yesterday making my whole living room and indeed my whole being glow with the lovely patina of the copper surround.  Now I have to get busy and  create some paintings with the same scrumptious color. Perhaps dark, dark sunflowers? My new flat files will be coming in two weeks replacing the ones wrecked in the warehouse flood.  Then I can organize my paint studio and get to painting.
The past three weeks have been a medical scramble for me. Tired of me complaining of feeling puny my primary doc ordered some blood tests which showed my heart overworking, probably due to my lifelong atrial fib. I'm in the process of having some other heart tests, some not so fun. My good friend and Oakmont neighbor Sue Dibble who first encouraged me to move up here has been hauling me to and from appointments. What would I do without Sue and partner Jeanne? They get seven stars for devotion. Sue, a retired nurse, informs me that my pee is probably still radioactive from Wednesday's test.  I find that fascinating, do you?
In my side yard is an Asian Pear of impressive size probably nesting five hundred not quite ripe fruit. At the base of the tree there appears to be a small hole in the fence separating me from my neighbor (a renter I do not know). Each morning I find 15-20  Asian pears on the ground, perhaps ten with bite marks. Clearly whatever creature is doing the damage also rejects them as not quite ripe. Is it a racoon, a fox (many here), a skunk, or a rat? I wouldn't mind sharing if whatever it is would pick up after himself.  I'm thinking of going out in the dark and peeing by the hole in the fence. Perhaps then the interloper would get his pinkies wet and

 like my copper fireplace, glow in the dark.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Trayvon Martin (cont.)

     Though he was from humble origins, my father had become a successful business man.  Like me, he may have never seen a black person until the war brought other races to Seattle. This was before the days of television, of course. But growing up in the Rockies near the Mexico border he must have encountered many Indian and Hispanic people, though I was not aware of that at the time.  Raised in poverty, he probably experienced his own kind of discrimination. 
      One of my favorite bedtime stories was the true adventure of when he was a very young man working alone laying telephone cable in rural Mexico. He rode into an empty town at dusk. Not a soul stirred. Then on closer examination he discovered the trees in the zocolo were decorated with dead bodies: men, women and children, all  hanging from nooses. "This must be the work of Pancho Villa and his men" he concluded. He rode out fast, learning the next day that this particular town was suspected of colluding with the government, and indeed Pancho Villa's men chosen them to set an example. It was a week or so later when almost dark, he saw a campfire in the desert. He was warmly welcomed and even fed by the men gathered around. A while later other riders came in, and it turned out to be Pancho Villa himself, who extended a warm welcome as well.  When Daddy saw how much he was worshipped by the other riders he was puzzled. How could a slaughterer of women and children be held in such high esteem? It was the kind of  puzzle we often discussed.  
     Back to me, age 12, and the sailor on the bus experience. “Daddy,” I said, after finishing whatever I’d cooked for dinner with our allotted ration stamps, “something happened on the bus coming home today”. I explained the whole incident, including my lingering discomfort. “Did I do the right thing?”  A significant silence followed.  Even my dog, Mike, looked pensive.  It was then
I peered at Daddy’s tired eyes behind his trifocals and saw them softly watering.  Finally he looked at me gently and said softly, “It’s ok, dear.” “Just don’t ever let it happen again.”