Let us ride together, Blowing mane and hair, Careless of the weather, Miles ahead of care, Ring of hoof and snaffle, Swing of waist and hip, Trotting down the twisted road With the world let slip. Anonymous riding song.
The Artistic One scored this week, in many ways. Big win; passing his written test to renew his License to drive; after a dozen fruitless treks to the DMV and many attempts on my part to explain that he needed to answer as if a Cop were asking the questions, not as if recounting an amusing anecdote to another cliche French Driver. (The California Department of Motor Vehicles deserves credit for the availability of a French Language written test and the courtesy shown at each visit.)
Second win was to find a pleasing pair of new glasses. The old ones were horrible when he first selected them and then he just had the lenses replaced over time, rather than changing the frame, so the ugliness was with us for years. No change in his eyesight over a two year period and the enormous surprise that insurance kicked in and there was no charge. Flabbergasted!
There have been several weeks of TAO complaining of general fatigue and lack of interest in anything but sleep. He's barely set foot at our business since before Christmas and I've been envisioning a future with a spouse in a diminished mental state, unable to drive or participate.
He had a similar malaise a year, or so ago. That episode included falling asleep at the wheel and crossing three lanes of midday freeway traffic, before the vibrations of scraping along the concrete center divide woke him up. The Doctor diagnosed Sleep Apnea and TAO was fitted with a breathing machine for use at night. Much whining ensued.
"What's this for?" "Why do I have to wear this?" "I don't like it" "I don't see anything wrong with me?" and repeat...
I've felt angered by the impression of dealing with a recalcitrant toddler and worried about where this was headed.
I emailed TAO's doctor and she set up a full range of blood, urine and EKG tests. She brought him in to examine him up close and determined something we've heard before; that his oxygen level is low, but he's otherwise healthy. He needs to breathe better at night.
The breathing device has a chip that discloses how often it is used and how it is functioning. At our latest meeting to review, the Tech told us that TAO was using the machine less than two hours a night and that, during those two hours air was often leaking from the face mask.
Armed with the info that this had to change, as he was otherwise deemed healthy, I asked the Tech if the extended swoops of TAO's mustache were the culprit. Of course they were!
The riot act was read, a trim ensued and the machine stayed on with less leakage. After only a couple of days, brain function and concentration swam back up out of the murk of oblivion and TAO was no longer lying in bed for eighteen of every twenty-four hours.
We went to the DMV and the written test was passed at first attempt.
Blogging is harder than it used to be. Technical issues ; such as blue-tooth connections to i-pad keyboards being unreliable or Blogger deciding it can't upload photos when needed; as well as less mental bandwidth for composition in a life, of necessity, filled with other things, have reduced Blogging from a fulfilling passion to a peripheral destination.
The year end season being a symbolic nudge to evaluate Life, I recognize that the changes are not all bad. That doesn't mean I don't miss certain things. Yesterday, on my way to visit a friend in Hospital, I detoured off the freeway and drove up the canyon, past the reservoir, winding up into forested hills to collect Bay leaves for my kitchen. Bay trees grow freely along the roadside, at certain elevations; where the oaks begin to give way to the redwoods. It's as wise to watch for deer as for cyclists, although on Christmas morning there were neither. I was returning to a known tree; a natural resource with a safe place to pull over; no Ravine and no Poison Oak.
When I cut the engine and got out of my vehicle I was flooded by memories of things I hadn't even registered that I had missed. The pungent scents of moist dirt and plants; The patent leather sheen of dark green Bay leaves catching winter sunlight and roiling waves of birdsong, personifying the movements of branches lifting and falling on the tides and eddies of wind-gusts.
I had to stop hiking due to arthritis in my knee. I have greatly reduced my dog fostering for that same reason and due to some things in life that meant I had to take up some slack caring for my husband and being engaged in a long commute every day, as house prices and rents became unaffordable in our area.
Funnily enough, having to relocate our business at the end of our lease, for the same rent tripling reasons, has been a gift, in terms of hours that are now returned to us for things other than stop and go traffic. It also turns out that same commute had inflamed my poor knee. I've gone a year without a cortisone shot, that I previously begged for every twelve weeks. Walking was always a time to enjoy sights and sounds. When my feet move, my brain does the same. Many years ago, when my parents were still alive, I'd fine tune descriptions of what I was seeing to include in the letters I wrote to them. Later, I'd write those thoughts down in my blog. I still revisit older blog posts occasionally, to relive a moment and refresh a memory. That's always been one of the best things about having a blog.
Delilah went to her new home yesterday. She'll have a collie companion and a couple of cats.
Too weak, when she first arrived, to eat standing up and with a massive infection in her teeth and jaw, she was also in heat when found on the streets. As an older dog with health issues, the pound was going to euthanize her if we didn't collect her immediately. Several people detoured many miles to run a relay of rescue as she was several hundred miles away.
Despite the stinkiest bad breath you could imagine, Delilah turned out to be a gentle and gracious collie-star.
If you look closely at the photo of her eating, you can see the protrusion of her hip bones through her fur. The vet wanted to wait for her health and weight to improve before spaying her and treating her teeth. He gave her antibiotics and pain meds, which worked well. We were also afraid she might be pregnant. Relief! No more puppies for this one.
She's gained 20lbs in just a few weeks; begun growing in a respectable collie fur coat; discovered the pleasures of being a couch potato and made many cat, dog and human friends.
Delilah's been the easiest dog I've had around for a long while. There's a serenity to her. She loves being with people, although sometimes chooses to sleep near the cat instead, and has none of the separation anxiety that we so often see in rescues.
Bless the adopters who will take on a mature creature.
Few people push me to the point of no return. An excecreble human who betrayed us and did us harm has died at a relatively young age. When his name has come up in the past, I have answered one of two ways. "When I have nothing good to say, I was taught to say nothing", followed by a telling silence, or "I would'nt piss on him if he were on fire".
The news just trickled through that he has died unexpectedly of a possible stroke. My husband is shocked that I cannot be a hypocrite in this situation. I wish he had been struck down many years ago. As it is, I will be thankful that I will not ever have to make a choice to waste perfectly good urine.
The Artistic One came with baggage, and I don'tmean the kind with wheels! However, it seemed that the drama was left behind so many years ago that it was not even a shadow on the rear view mirror of our lives.
Last Saturday, as we were working hard to meet a client deadline, TAO had what might be called a near death experience. One of his sons called on my cell phone, asking if his Dad was all right. I passed the phone to TAO, who was next to me and he headed to a quieter part of our building to take the call. He came back chuckling and telling us we should celebrate his return from the dead.
His ex-wife had called her son to tell him that his Father had died. He was very upset, as one would imagine. Several minutes into the conversation, the Ex mentioned she wasn't 100% sure of her facts. Multiple anguished phone calls between siblings ensued, followed by calls from France to the US.
My understanding of the facts leads me to the following interpretation. The first is a given; someone is batshit crazy (more than before) and needs to be watched closely from now on. Second; the alchoholic cousin who left a message on her answering machine that started the ball rolling was interested in selling a painting TAO had given him long ago. He'd counted the decades on his fingers and made a self-serving leap to the conclusion that TAO must be long gone and, as such, the painting must be more valuable.
The good news is that Slinkie does not have a mystery disease, or cancer, as I had feared. The vet said she'd put on weight and was disinclined to torture herself with the Kitty-Yoga poses necessary to keep herself clean.
The diagnosis was made from a distance, as my, usually sociable, cat hissed and growled from her solidly anchored position on the table top scales. 14.8 lbs is just over a pound more than she weighed three months ago, when she came in for her yearly shots. The vet had suggested that I start feeding her some dry kibble to keep her teeth clean. It also kept her from waking us up in the pre-dawn hours, begging for breakfast. That's been lovely, but no more. Kitty diet is on.
I bought cat shampoo to go and once home with my grumpy feline, donned an apron as I filled a plastic bowl with tepid water. The kitchen sink has a movable shower head attachment which is great.
Lifting Slinky into the waiting bath, holding strategically to the scruff of her neck with one hand, pointing the rearing, clawing side of the cat away from me, I was able to give her a good soaking, despite her vertical position and charming commentaries. Next was time to add shampoo to the mix. I flipped the cap, inverted the bottle and squeezed...nothing.
Technical hitch being the interior plastic seal that was unbroken. Wet cat at arm's length in one hand, shampoo bottle gripped under same arm, I managed to unscrew the cap, find a knife and perforate to allow free flowing shampoo. After several applications and rinses, Stinky cat has been reborn as soft and silky cat. Once she finished drying herself off and was served her carefully apportioned dinner, she seemed much happier.
Having Facebook World Headquarters just down the road from our business premises has a certain novelty value. The ebb and flow of the Big White Buses sweeping along twice a day to transport the workforce hither and yon, although monochromatic, has lent a dimensional aspect, previously lacking in our commute.
It often takes more than thirty minutes now to go less than a mile; to escape from the grid of Feeder Roads;
( here I include University Avenue, which was previously better known as the Feeder Road, in the opposite direction, to Stanford University) and reach the bridge that will carry us across The Bay to less crowded freeways and lower property values.
It's entertaining, as we idle in the tired Conga Line waiting-out the traffic light at Hacker Way, to see inexplicable, multinational hoards, with selfie sticks, waiting their turn to complete the pilgrimage and return to Earth with digital proof of their presence before the big hand (and thumb) of Destiny.
Our plain industrial warehouse building, which used to stand out among a crowd of rickety structures that had seen better days, is now outshone by mixed retail and luxury apartments that are stretching steadily skyward just across the street with not even a nod to their blue collar foundations. The attractive banners with renderings of what is to come promise a Fitness Center, Doggy Day Spa, Custom Bicycle Emporium and more. The multilevel garage has already been completed and windows and doors fill the openings in the walls of the project.
Did I forget to mention the coming transformation of our space into a well protected berth for exotic cars and a home for collector wines? All to be tastefully arranged so that the new tenant can also entertain parties and conferences in such intriguing surroundings. I do think it's a smart business plan to be paid to store and because you store such things. He already has one such Event Space. He knows what he's doing.
As a local Police Officer said the other day, during a visit to write tickets for illegally parked motor homes that have been an ongoing blight on the neighborhood "Just wait until those additional cars start streaming in and out to further snarl traffic and also the place will be a magnet for property crimes"
Well, the good news and the bad news are that we won't be here to see it or experience it. Today we signed a lease on a new work space further south. The move is on. Our commute will be but a memory. We are reclaiming a couple of hours of our living time every day. I may even have time to get a dog of my own again.
If I were a tree, I would be a London Plane. I am gregarious but enjoy solitude. I am English in my heart and soul, but still have room for other nations. I have lived in six countries and picked up a French husband along the way. We have a wonderful, kind, strong-minded daughter who has become a "Human of whom to be proud". I am a magnet for the lost. I foster collies (and collie cousins and the occasional, accidental, cat or crow). Those I have saved have saved me in return. I notice the world around me and often talk to strangers. Traveling alone is interesting, liberating and fulfilling. I am good at most things that I undertake but have few formal qualifications. I am able to have and treasure friends with whom I disagree about almost everything. My life is not over. Who knows where I am headed?
A ponyism is one of Life's Truths perceived from the perspective of an Effing Pony: - Life's a Bluff! - Those who aspire to make their mark on this world must expect to scrape some skin on the walls of experience. - The greatest value of money is as the currency of Hope.
- To be an Ass or an Asset, that is the question?
-Selective memory is but the first step on the path to magical thinking.
-Not all Baggage comes with wheels. -When your hero is a horse you are less likely to be disappointed than were he a human.
-Unfortunately, great wealth does not always equate with class.
-A dick, surrounded by puppies, remains a dick. -What better antidote to evil than kittens? -Any time you have something heavy, ready to drop, your cat will sit right below and look up at you.