Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thoughts on a cold rainy day~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Well I did something unusual for me, I went in very early to work, did everything that needed to be done and was through by 11 a.m. and took the rest of the day off.

Why? I really don't know except that it felt that kind of day, and I really don't know why, the day was rainy, heavy dark clouds, heavy rain, wind, really not a special kind of day, but for some reason I was drawn back home and I took a walk along the beach.

The tide was high, the water choppy and a sort of green gray color, with small white caps, a few venturous souls were para sailing but not for long, the rain came and put an end to that, I kept walking away from my home, just looking out at the beach and the water, just enjoying the elemental nature of it.

There was something almost hypnotic watching the waves coming in and going out, eroding the beach a little at a time, it's like life, if you allow all the stresses and worries of your life work upon you it begins to erode you feelings of comfort, of joy, of self confidence.

But if you instead look upon those waves as if they are really wearing down all the worries instead of one's self confidence, and allow the wush, wush, wush sound of the waves lull you into a relaxed state what happens is that one's worries are eroded away instead, and you feel relaxed and in a positive state of mind.

I found myself feeling that way after watching the waves for a while, from a convenient bench, just watching them

I wish I had brought my camera but I was more in a mood to look at things as oppose to capture them on film.

There were a few hardy joggers braving the rain, as they ran along the cemented walk way above the beach proper. Eventually I got up walked some more but then I turned away from the beach when I reached the post office and headed towards the open air mall and the Starbucks, I thought it would be crowded but it wasn't, at least not yet, so I had my Hazelnut Mocha (with whipped cream) don't need sugar with whipped cream.

It's one of my indulgences, and just sat back and let my thoughts float, watching the rain come down through the window, watching the people run to and from their cars, watching a couple of students type away on their laptops.

And an older man also typing away, I wondered what he was doing---writing the great American novel? Who knows, each so wrapped up in their thoughts. The music playing was Eartha Kitt, jazz, it was a jazz mood blues kind of day.

I found myself sort of lulled by the music, the rain and the warming flavor of the coffee.

I realized I didn't want to cook dinner tonight, so finishing my coffee I went over to the China Gourmet, and ordered one of their dinner's for two to go. I knew I could heat up the left overs for tomorrow and I walked back home along the beach walk, the water sometimes looking threatening, and then the rain stopped and the clouds broke up and the San Francisco skyline looked beautiful in the late afternoon watery sunlight.

Promises of things to come perhaps.

When I got home, I started up the fire in the fireplace, put on Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, after all it is a Jazz Blues kind of day.

Kisses Sweet Things

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A dog in one's life~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Life has a way of thrusting things into my sphere of life, be it adventures, problems, good friends, family events or things that seem to develop for some reason that’s unknown to me~~~at least at this time.

I have traveled up to my country house and had a very nice, relaxing and fun Valentine’s weekend, enjoying the town’s Valentine’s Dance and the Fireman’s Valentine’s Fund raising Pancake Breakfast---they add 7-up to the batter, for some reason it makes it fluffier.

Laughter, catching up with events and people, finding things for the house, enjoying the peace of the area.

And a dog.

In my last blog I told you that when I arrived there was a stray dog on the front porch that my caretakers were not familiar with, but the next day Hal took another look at the dog and said he thought it might belong to an old man who lived on the other side of town, a bit of a recluse in his old age, but he’d come into town from time to time as he needed things in his old truck and a big dog that “rode shoot-gun”.

But what puzzled him is if it’s that same dog why so far away from home? I said that maybe we can find the answer at the Vet’s, I had called earlier and the receptionist said to bring the dog in, the Vet had a very light day for a change she said.

At the Vet’s office we were surprised when the receptionist upon seeing the dog said “Buddy!!! Where have you BEEN!!?” came over and rubbed his head and the dog responded very affectionately. The Vet came out and confirmed that it was Buddy, the old man’s dog.

As sad story in a way, the other day a sheriff’s deputy was doing a standard-welfare check on the old man, it was the deputy’s habit to stop by the fellow’s place every day, especially in the winter time, the old man was over 90 years old and the historical society had made arrangements for the daily check since the elderly fellow had no living family.

The deputy found the old man dead on the back porch from a heart attack, the dog no where to be found, supplies in the back of the truck, but the house was locked. The deputy found strange human foot prints and believed that the old man and his dog had frightened off trespassers and the dog must have chased them for a long time, being so far away from his home the dog wandered around and somehow came to my house.

The Vet told us that Buddy was voice trained so if Buddy ran after any trespassers and the old timer was unable to call out Buddy would have kept after the strangers until exhausted and lost. Somehow the dog must have thought that my house looked familiar and went to the shelter of the front porch until we let him in.

Hal remembered that the old man did come to the house a few times with the dog, delivering old time farm and ranch equipment for the barn for the historical displays, and the dog would romp around the place.

The Vet gave Buddy a through checkup and told us what he is suppose to have, so Josie made arrangements to pick up Buddy’s things and it looks like we have a dog.

The Vet offered to have Buddy bathed, since he had volunteers arriving in a few minutes and we could pick Buddy up later in the afternoon, that way he could also run some blood tests as well to be on the safe side although he pretty much was healthy. I said I would pay for the bill since this was a special case.

The question came up who would be the legal owner of the dog? Josie, Hal and I looked at each other, I could see that Josie would like to have the dog, so then I said, “All three of us” and was happy to see the relief on Josie’s face.

As Hal and Josie left to get Buddy’s things, I said I would walk around the town and would contact them by the cell phone to let them know where I was. We all had planned to come into town anyway for groceries and things and I wanted to look in the antique shops again to see what could be added to the house.

Bit by bit we are having it go back to the 1880’s which isn’t too hard to do, much of what was found in the attic and in the barn could be used, and some pieces were being refurbished but still there was a thing here and a thing there I wanted to add, especially in my Bedroom.

Josie had suggested that I look at an old treadle sewing machine at one of the shops that was in excellent condition, she thought it would look very nice in the very small room to the back of the house, she remembered her Grandmother-in-law saying that way back when it was the sewing room because it got such good light, to keep it warm there was a very small stove and a pot of hot water for tea was always on it, and we had found the vent in the room for the stove and the old stove in the barn, so I suggested that we re-install it, and that did seem right for it to be the sewing room since the cedar lined linen closet was just off of it.

Not only was the sewing machine just right, there was also an antique dress maker’s dummy, so I bought them both, and made arrangements to have Hal pick them up later in the week.

They called me on my cell and we met at the coffee shop for lunch, and there I discovered that word traveled fast about the dog and us. More than once someone came up to us saying they were glad we found the dog and was going to adopt it. Josie told me that she found Buddy’s food, and such and his bed but wanted to wash the bedding at the Laundromat and Hal bought some flea spray and was going to spray the basket while the bedding was washed.

I told them what I had purchased, so after lunch we went back to the shop and Hal set the date and time to pick up the large items while the smaller things I bought were packed in the SUV. Grocery shopping was next, and while we were at the store we ran into some of the historical society board members, they were going to take care of the old man’s funeral arrangements, he left his house to the society with the proviso that anything of value or historical interest be used for the museum or the exhibits that will be set up at the house, fortunately they were not interested in selling the house but instead will rent it out to a family who can maintain it and the income of the rent will pay for taxes and upkeep until they can decide what to do.

We picked up Buddy next and he looked wonderful and ready to go, so with just a few voice commands he took up his space as “shot gun” Josie said to me, “I’ve been displaced!” but Hal with a few words told Buddy to go to the back seat, and he joined me resting his massive head on my lap. Looking at his size I was glad that more food was bought for him.

That evening after dinner we went to the Valentine’s Dance, Buddy came along and was a perfect ‘gentleman’, lying down under the table out of the way and occasionally getting a tidbit from someone. Josie said to me we might have digestion problems during the night---but we didn’t.

I had my share of dances with various partners including one 8 year old boy who appears to have crush on me, I’m going to have to be gentle with him until his attention turns to another girl or cars.

We got back tired but happy, and Buddy was once again in his old sleeping bed, his familiar things with him, but I noticed during the night he’d walk around the house checking things, even coming into my bed room, since I have a habit of opening the door after I’ve dressed for bed, some how it felt very reassuring. And he was a good boy, no accidents.

The next morning dawned a bit gray and cold but the Pancake breakfast was a success, such a huge turn out, and again word had traveled around that Buddy had a new home. At the house I noticed that he seem to prefer being around Josie which was fine since I would only be coming up only now and then, I suspected because Josie is the “food maker” and with his sleeping bed under the kitchen table he can lay there close by the delicious smells of food.

Monday was a relaxing day, I put some of my new purchases for my bedroom up and Hal and I walked about the property to see what to do next, Buddy came with us checking on this and that and seeming to fit in with the place.

Afterwards I felt a bit tired and took a nap, since dinner wasn’t going be on for a few hours but the house bit by bit is coming together as it looked when it was a working place, so not only will we live in it but it is also ready for tours for the season. One thing we replaced esd the stove, the original stove is sitting in the barn waiting to be worked on, and it will go into the smaller foreman’s house, and be used for living history demonstrations, but we replaced it with a more modern one that was rebuilt that uses gas and is also a wood burner, one of the areas for major renovation is the kitchen it had gotten a modern work over in the 70’s but doesn’t look well, fortunately there are some old snapshots showing the old kitchen before the 70’s re-do and we can use those photo’s to re-adapt the kitchen back to it’s original style but with some modern things; we still have to have a way to hide the dish washer. But the pantry room which now looks dreary, we discovered was at one time quiet bright, some how a window got covered up so we are going to restore that as well and we'll put the refrigerator into the pantry area as well, since we discovered that it had been partitioned.

Plans lots of plans.

Hal and Josie e-mailed me saying that Buddy has settled in real well, but when they went back to the old man’s house, Buddy looked around and whined, Josie thinks Buddy is missing his old master. Not knowing what to do she found an old flannel shirt that belonged to the man and placed it in the SUV and Buddy seemed to settle down with that.

They told me that the Historical Society has made arrangements with a retired military vet and his wife to stay in the house to maintain it and keep vandals away, until they can go through and catalog everything and move anything valuable out to a safe location. And they will help the Society with things.

Right now I’m back in the Bay Area coming back on Tuesday Morning and driving directly to work seemed to be the right thing to do. And I caught up with everything,

It will be a while before I go back again, a lot of things to do here and family events.

It’s cold right now as I write this, I’m tempted to start a fire in my fireplace but I need to see if it’s an O.K. day to have a fire first. My friend Janet called me and wants to do something together, she’ll be here any minute, so we’ll decide what to do.

Lillian is still visiting her sons, I had a nice chat with her last night and she’s doing well.

But this cold just creeps into the bones. I will be so glad when Spring finally gets here, although some of the trees are blossoming and Yoshi and I are planning to once again go to the Chinese New Year’s Parade, that means layering on the clothing and be prepared for rain.

Janet is here, time to go.

Kisses, Sweet Things.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

I'm here at my country home, snow and cold but I'm enjoying it.

I've had a chance to see the new handicapped ramp that's been installed, the Historical Society board members are glad that I've installed it. And a member of the society who is wheelchair bound volunteered to try it out and it met with her approval.

The feedback that I've received is that they enjoy holding their meetings in my home, than in the dreary meeting area that's now being fixed up.

So I've been asked if it's possible to hold their meetings there on a more semi-permanent basis, my caregivers who are members at large with the group have told me they have no problem with it, but since it's my home, it's my decision.

Frankly with the liability agreement in place I see no harm, bit by bit the place is slowly looking like itself back in the 1880's so maybe they should meet here.

So I'm spending the weekend here, and driving back Tuesday morning. The silence here is amazing, I do feel like I'm in another world, and it's healing.

They are holding a Valentine's Day Dance tomorrow night at the Hall, and Sunday is a Valentine's Breakfast at the Firehouse, proceeds to go to Haitian Relief.

I've also been in contact with my renters at my other house and they are in a position to buy the property from me, that sounds good, as much as I like the other house I'm not as bound up in it as I am with this one, I'll work the details out with my lawyer who handles real estate law.

I'll make a little profit, not much, just enough to pay off any capital gains tax. And then I have to figure out a way to re-invest my money.

A strange thing happened earlier this evening, a stray dog was on the front porch when I arrived, I thought that maybe my care takers had adopted one but that was not the case, they never saw it before. Poor thing just as they opened the door he went in like a flash and settled himself in front of the fireplace.

Once we got the situation about the dog cleared up, we didn't know what to do, so I said "let the poor thing sleep in the kitchen for now well figure it out in the morning, it seems house broken, asked to be let out and then came back in.

It appears to be a shepard mix he has the shepard head and ears and the long tail, large body but his hair is longish and brindle colored, we don't have the heart to take it to the animal shelter, so we'll post a found ad in the papers, maybe someone will claim him. In the mean time I'll take him into the vet for a check up and maybe any shots that might be needed. No collar, no tags, but there might be a chip embedded. We can hope.

Josie, one of my caretakers, found a nice thick clean old blanket and a bowl for water, he ate good tonight, some beef stew and rice, but he's not getting real beef all the time, he's getting Alpo tomorrow or something, I'll see what the Vet recommends. He may even know the dog.

Right now he's lying at my feet while I type, on occasion he gets up to see where Josie or her husband is. I think he's trying to figure out who is the "pack leader", he knows that Josie is the food maker.

It's strange but I feel sort of protected with this "big boy" around. I hope we can find his owners.

Now I feel tired, so to bed, and sleep to unravel the cares of the world.

Kisses Sweet Things

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kisses, Tears and Healing~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

I want to thank "Cuban in London" for his/her remarks, yes music can do many things, to relax, to heal, to revel in and to reveal.

The last few days have been revealing to me, and I’ve been taking steps to put myself back together, like a mirror that has been shattered because it revealed too much, and the slivers of glass like pin-pricks upon one’s nerves, and like slivers working themselves out, but like a broken mirror the reflection is not the same as it was before.

Once again the warm, practical, abrasiveness of Lillian helped me see things further.

When I called her for Sunday Brunch she was more than happy to go out, even if it threatened rain. However rain never showed its cloudy head and instead bright sunshine opened the day like a promise of the Spring that is still to come.

I let Lillian select the place so we left early, and following her directions we found ourselves in Petaluma, at this place called McNaers on Petaluma Blvd.

After we put our orders in and coffee was poured, she fixed me with her eyes and said simply “Spill”. I told her everything from the beginning, leaving nothing out, and what triggered my reaction.

She said “You had a break down, for so long you’ve been holding this in, you buried it, making your mind focus on other things, even with dealing with your Father. The original anger you had towards your Father broke down the minute he changed and finally saw “the light”. So now it was you, but you hid it, by buying property, making money even in a flat economy, volunteering, fund raising, helping your college roommates find jobs, you even helped Janet when her car was wrecked by paying for the repairs, she told me that you never asked for the money back, and even being supportive to Frank and Joe and their friends, you kept looking outward, but you never took the time to heal yourself, you never looked inward.”

She was right, I had been afraid to do any real examination of myself. Lillian continued on by saying that hearing that musical piece was a 1 in a 1,000 chance, considering that I listen to mostly Big Bands, Sinatra, Dino, some jazz, and when I have listened to the classical radio station it was always in the afternoon, usually nothing so rich sounding, she noticed my taste had always been Vivaldi, Corelli, Mozart, Debussy, she never saw anything in my collection by Rachmannioff.

She said I had suppressed my grief, had subjugated it to my desire to succeed in life. And then for some reason at that moment I was vulnerable, the passion in that music triggered the memory of the passion of what I had and lost. She said it takes a strong person to do that, but one can’t do it forever, that is why I reacted the way I did.

She told me that was how she felt when she lost her husband, the man of her life, she went into a cave, to mourn, and she was getting ill without realizing it, if it hadn’t been for her children and the energy of her grandchildren she would have been happy to have rolled over and die. “You do come out of it” she said. “But it takes time and you didn’t have time on your side, at that moment despite what you wanted your friends were right.”

She said that what My Love's family did was only in their own self interests, they really weren’t aware of what happened between their son and me, they did what they thought was right. And she said what my friends did to keep me going was right, “You had to pass those exams, and your Degree was on the line.”

She said the hardest thing we have in this world is to have time to grieve, we are constantly being pushed forward, the Victorian niceties of a year of mourning, and then a year of half mourning doesn’t exist. The law, the government, having to make a living force you to face life and reality, when really it’s important, both mentally and physically to heal from loss.

“There really should be a law to allow people to mourn, not just the three days if it’s a close family member, that only allows you time to bury them then it’s back to work” she snorted in indignation at that thought. She went on a tirade about the luxury of the rich to afford to mourn but the poor don’t have that.

Then she looked at me and asked “How do you feel?” I said that now I felt lighter, that it felt like a weight had been removed, I found I could look at his photo Sunday morning, the one that I had boxed away years ago, because I couldn’t bear to look at it back then or even a few weeks ago. But now I find that I can.

She said that in time I’ll smile when I think of him and the time we had together, she told me that what Yoshi did for me Saturday was good, but now I had to be careful because I could get ill, come down with a cold again or worse another bout of the flu. She scolded me and rightly so, about walking in the cold the other night and by myself. “That was reckless, I’ve never known you to be that reckless.” Then she smiled, and said that if in that emotional position she might have done the same thing, but I was lucky. I am taking her advice and taking steps to at least make sure I could possibly avoid coming down ill.

After Brunch we took in some of the shops that were on the more popular part of town, I found a small Art Deco style frame that was perfect, in an antique shop, his photo fit it perfectly.

We drove around some more just wandering a bit, I wanted to soak up that sunshine , then eventually we drove home; I offered left over Chinese for dinner to Lillian, Yoshi insisted that I have it since I had barely eaten anything the night before. So with a fire built up in my fire place, Chinese food, and wine Lillian and I continued talking and talking. But she made sure I recorded Retro Night saying “I’m not missing ‘Mission Impossible’” I couldn’t argue with her.

As we drank our wine and talked, Lillian told me that everyone has to have one Great Love in their life, she told me that among teen girls they think their high school crush is the great love, but its’ not, “Merely Hormones” she said waving her wine glass, “Just hormones” she knew what I experienced, because her husband was her great love.

“Some people” she said “Will never know that great love, choosing Mr. or Ms. Alright and do their best to make it work, and most do, and a number of them don’t, some are lucky and their great love will be with them forever, like a team of horses working beautifully in harness, some will lose them, feeling empty, eventually finding safety in someone who can give them security and a form of love, they will love that person for being the helpmate in their lives, but that person will not be the great passion, that will be locked away forever, only taken out and thought about on lonely nights.”

She looked at me and winked, I knew she was a little drunk, but she still had her wits, “Pity those who will never know a Great Love” she said “They will always be reaching for something that is not within their grasp, always beyond their reach.”

She talked about the Portguese Fado songs, Fado meaning “Fate”. “I had an Uncle who was Portugues, I asked him about those songs he said that it was boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl, boy cries about it; they have different styles for different areas, but it’s always about Fate” Lillian went on how although her Uncle and his wife her aunt were happy people, but her Uncle always seemed to have a bit of sadness about him, longing for something even he didn’t know. “Fado” she said “Fate”.

It grew late , the fire had burned low, almost out, I had Lillian fall a sleep on my bed, I slept on the camp cot next to her in the bedroom, I really needed to have her in my place that night, everything was all prepared for work the next day and I faced it much better.

I look at his picture, I can still see his eyes, no camera could ever capture that look, it is so fleeting but so magical, no actor can capture it, it comes from hidden depths within a person, and it is when a person is at their most vulnerable.

I remembered now I did see that look once more, but it was not directed to me. I took Yoshi and her Mother to the hospital a few years ago; Yoshi’s sister had given birth and her Mother couldn’t wait to see the baby, but Yoshi’s car was in the shop, so I gave them a lift, I didn’t want to intrude there were so many in the room, but the family insisted, then the nurse brought the baby in and gave it to Yoshi’s sister, the new mother, she held the baby for a minute and then handed the baby to her Mother, the baby’s Grandmother and said “Here you go, Grandma”

The minute the baby was in her arms, a transforming look appeared on Yoshi’s Mother’s face, it was “The Look.” It was unconditional, all encompassing, radiant, all loving. Why I didn’t break down then I don’t know, perhaps because it was in a different context, but now thinking back upon it, it was the same. It was Love, total unconditional Love.

Thinking on that, thinking on the support of my friends both in the past and the last few days, I know I’m very fortunate and very blessed. I may never experience that “Great Passion”, as Lillian calls it, ever again, but having experienced it I can see things, feel things better, the grief is there but now its revealed to me, and I will cry from time to time until it eventually heals.

I have new goals now, beyond our original plans, evolving, changing, even morphing. I find that each new day will bring new wonders, new adventures for me to experience, to ponder, to write about and I find myself giving “Thanks” to everyone I’ve been in touch with, no matter how briefly.

Kisses Sweet Things.