You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Blog for February 23, 2012 ----- The Almost Five Decade Marriage

Today is my wedding anniversary.
My life has been written in era chapters:  There were the dormant years, the discovery years, the awakening years, the reality strikes years, the pinnacle years, the ebb years.  All of these have been punctuated by moments of bliss, of chaos, of clear thinking and of confusion.  But the best thing I could have possibly done is sign on for Sidekick.  Now, did I know then what was in store for me?  Absolutely not--but I did have a pretty good idea it would be interesting, and  had little doubt it would be fun.  I didn't know, for instance, that I'd have to grow up, even if I was only the sidekick.

When I signed on as Sidekick, I'd had the grace to research the Chief.  He'd been analyzed to death, though neither of us knew it at the time.  He considered himself the diamond-in-the-rough, and thought of me as the polisher.  I now see why he thought that, because I'm all about quality control.   Why paint an ugly color when a pretty one is the same price?

But the Chief is in charge of the real stuff that actually takes you somewhere.  He/she has a sixth sense about honesty among the tribes, the horses to get you there, the duplicious paths you should not wander down.  He sets goals and has the ability to reach them.  He knows when a task is finished and when to modify it. 

The treat comes in when the Chief has a twinkle in his eye.  He says things in a way that lifts a spirit.  He sings when he's happy, silly lyrics he makes up or contorts from some clueless songwriter.  It's about an attitude of positive, forward thinking-never looking back-never regreting.  He's really kind of an entertainment center I can always count on to make a day more user friendly and fun.

So when I think about it being 49 years since I signed on, it doesn't seem probable my hard head would accept being relegated to Indian instead of Chief, I who knew everything at age 20.   It doesn't seem possible we're still here, still the same, still so different.  And I wonder what adventure will happen next.  But I do know it'll be interesting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My blog for February 20, 2012 ----- Finding My Father

Since all men were drafted into the military up through the Viet Nam era, almost 100 percent of our male relatives and friends are eligible to be buried in a military cemetery.  My father who died in 1980 is one of these men.  In the past, I went to the cemetery where he is buried only three times because we could never find his grave.  At the time of his death, my mother was so distraught that she either did not know/it wasn't offered then/or she didn't care to have a real funeral.  So it was pretty grim when I went with her for his interment.  No ceremony, no flowers, no casket, no grass, no headstone.  We were shown a one acre field of bulldozed
dirt where he was supposed to have been buried minutes before we arrived.  A church funeral was attended by loved ones, but when my mother and I went to the cemetery it felt more like a pauper's buriel than a military one.  I was so upset I only went back about six months later, to find there was still no headstone, no grass and nobody could be sure exactly where he was.  At first I spent time angry with my mother for allowing such a thing to happen, then just tucked it into the back of my mind as one of those circumstances over which I had no control so let it go best I could.  About two years later I went back to see if I could find his grave and see the actual headstone.  Again, the VA system was so complicated, and it was a weekend, and there was no help to find it.  So I thought it may never happen.  Finally, 22 years later and with my husband better understand the workings of a VA cemetery, we went back. 

VA has taken a lot of hits lately for the mismanagement of their cemeteries and funerals and they're finally getting a system that at least is possible to work with.  They now have kiosks, which are electronic--rather like an ATM machine. You put in the loved one's name and the number and area location are given, along with a cemetery map which is printed with the information right then.  You take the map with you and you can eventually find the exact place.  Apparently all of the military cemeteries work this way now.  We went to San Diego's Ft. Rosecrans and found some uncles, then drove 100 miles north to Riverside National and found my dad and some friends' plots.

We put flowers on all of the graves, after a lesson in how to do this from some friends a week ago who showed me how at a public cemetery we went to with them.  At issue is the flower stems are too long for the cemetery cups, so one can't just "put" a bunch of flowers there without them looking sad and forlorn, tipping to the side like they were blown over.  One must cut all the stems off by about six inches, (which means bringing a cutting tool with you) then individually arrange them in the cups, which first one must find at the cemetery, as well as finding the water hosebib.  It's daunting to such as I.  Daunting enough it took me 22 years to figure it out.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Blog for 2/17/2012 Donna Small

Yesteday was the first anniversary of my friend's death from a car accident on ice.  So we drove up to the cemetery a couple of towns away to take some flowers to her gravesite.  It turned into a joyful occasion when her daughter texted me to ask if we were in town.  The kids and grandkids had been painting their father's new house and were going to go to the cemetery after they stopped to pick up some food to bring with them, did we want onions on our hamburgers?

They also brought several bunches of flowersl.  We went to the cemetery office to pick up some of the temporary flower holders because we thought there would be too many for the permanent cup installed at Donna's gravesite.  However, when the kids got there (altogether eight of us), we began eating hamburgers while the girls set about preparing the flowers to fit in the cup.

It was a beautiful cold windy day, if that's not too much of an oxymoron.  Donna's gravesite is fabulous, with the lush green one expects from a cemetery but also with a spectacular flow of lesser mountains followed by bigger ones then monster ones behind those. 

The kids had brought chairs for us old people.  (And here I thought this was a spontaneous mutual support meeting). Darrel took the cup over to the nearest hosebib and filled it with water.  By the time Kate had cut the flowers the appropriate length and added them one by one instead of sticking what came from the corner flower store in that cup (like my husband and I had done), the arrangement looked professional.  The bouquet she made was augmented by some greenery from across the road that her sister, Kirstin wandered over to pick.  Their mother would have been proud of them for their ingenuity.

We sat there with her family on that lovely day eating hamburgers while we discussed flowers and Donna.  What could have been more perfect for my friend? 

Friday, February 10, 2012

My blog for February 10, 2012 ----- The Darrel

My husband, Jesse Darrel Scott, retired from the working world when he was 55.  He started working in cotton and potato fields when he was six years old, the fourth child of nine born to parents who came from Oklahoma during the great depression  His one burning desire was to never see another cotton field for the rest of his life.

His heroes were the confident Green Hornet type of superheros who fought for truth, justice and the American way in the idealistic world of his childhood.  Because of the draft, Darrel joined the army, became a military policeman then took advantage of the GI Bill that paid for college following his service.  A great turnaround with that opportunity for an education occurred in him, and he at first graduated with a Police Science major, which was later modified to include Business.

After being a city policeman/sergeant/detective for many years, he recognized that what he was doing was for only young men and he was getting older all the time.

So he reinvented himself, moved 2200 miles across our great country and became a businessman.  When he later retired, his natural gift went dormant for a long time.  What he had painted on him by God when he was born is leadership ability.  Men will follow him anywhere. 

This job, this temporary job is one he did for thirty years.  The products have not changed significantly.  The procedures for their installation (irrigation systems) have not changed significantly.  He was hired to implement this job, i.e. smooth out all the wrinkles so impatient and frustrated people could manage to work as a team to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

The really interesting thing I've been able to witness in coming to California with this man is the crash course learning that went on for the first few weeks.  The electronic world changed impossibly since he was in business.  The Veteran's Administration's tools have changed, though their techniques have not.  The amount of traffic has multiplied as well.  The California freeway system is entirely different than the one in Georgia.  He knew nothing about procedures for a cemetery, especially a hallowed ground one of military men whose lives have been lost in the service of our country.

Three weeks later, he's implemented electronic devices he didn't know existed.  VA procedures were expected but not explained.  Forget help with the freeway system--the HOA lanes, the HOV convertible lanes, exits, rush hour and local driver techniques.  Cemetery procedures are extremely sensitive and tearing holes in the ground is a very insensitive job done in this environment.  Significant under-researched facilities were on location.  No phones, no office, no cell reception, no restrooms.

Darrel started over.  None of the men knew him.  He's ancient compared to them.  Now 19 men and one woman either call him "dad" or "boss" and all of them designate him to get all the answers for them from the others.

Life is good.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Blog for February 6, 2012 Another Abby Adventure

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel travels around with its nose in the dirt, tail high, ears dragging a trail through the dust.  So many smells, so little time.

On our hike yesterday, Abby began staggering, then fell down, twitching pitifully.  My first thought was she'd been bitten by a rattle snake, which in a dog her size (14 pounds) I knew would be fatal.  Panicked, we grabbed her up, running to the house while looking for a bite location on her, which we never found.  Having had experience with poisoned dogs and allergic dogs, I immediately gave her a bowl of milk and the only antihistamine I had, a people size Benadryl.  Then I figured I'd poisoned her myself.  The spasms went away before she got into a full fledged seizure.  Of course it was Sunday—my vet was 2200 miles away, and the closest one had only given Abby a rabies shot a couple of weeks ago.  The local vet's answering service gave me the number of an urgent care vet—the real advantage of living in more civilization.

They told me my 25 mil. Benadryls for people wouldn't really harm Abby and if she'd avoided a seizure, she'd probably be okay.  But to watch for more symptoms and of course to expect her to sleep for 24 hours.

Darrel and I finally decided Abby must have been stung by a bee, a wasp, a centipede or a scorpion.  No swelling has arisen that we can find on her, but what can you see under five pounds of fur? 

I feel very lucky it wasn't a snake that got her, and I have pointed out to her that all those buzzing spring blossoming bushes are only there to do her harm.  And now she has to stay on a leash when we go outside.  Isn't that sad?  But it's better to be confined than dead I suppose.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My blog for February 4, 2012 Fruit Basket

Yesterday we stopped in at Juan's (picture a very tiny apple barn next to the highway) to look at a houseplant hanging by its wire.
We checked out the plant then stepped inside to see what else Juan might have.  What he had was Vista Strawberries, the most delicious strawberries on the planet, (three baskets for six dollars!  Yay!).  He also had longstem flowers which he brought over from the flower fields.  Escondido grows acres of nursery cut flowers for commercial businesses.  Avocado groves line all the roads over the hills, as avocados will grow on a cliff.  They remind me of a trip we took to Greece where we saw olive trees growing on impossibly steep hillsides.  As a matter of fact, the terrain here is very much like Greece and grows all the same oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and tangelos, lemons, limes, limitless citrus.  The Valencia oranges grown in Florida are a whole different animal than the California Navels.  Naturally, since I grew up in the middle of the groves further north from here, I prefer the Navels.

My old friend, Static Electricity shows up from time to time on the Santa Ana winds that blow from the desert to the sea.  Both the desert and the sea are on the other side of the mountain ranges.  We're smack in the middle of the valley between them.  So there is a teeter totter weather issue--the cold ocean air is sucked in by the hot dry desert during the night, then the hot air blows back out to sea in the daytime.  I'm not sure where the name "Santa Ana" comes into play.  I've always thought it was because the winds blow from the desert west into Orange County and a town named Santa Ana.  But there may be another reason for the name.  I will be looking that up on the magic internet today.  Anyway, those winds can rage across Southern California, mounting to 120 degrees and causing ferocious wildfires, the scourge and fear of all the people here.  Most of the time the winds are more tepid and welcome in winter.  But polyester is not your friend when they blow.  Very few people wear silk unless they have nothing under their clothing  they don't want people to see.

We had a party a week ago for Riverside friends we love.  We have three more parties planned as our house is little though our hearth is wide.  I can hardly wait for The Darrel's family to come down (they live further north from here) and my mother's family to come up (they live down by the Mexican border).  My father's family live nearby, so we'll probably see them in the interim.  Unfortunately, now that my husband is a working man again, we're relegated to only weekends, and this one is Superbowl Sunday.

Our new plant looks wonderful on its bookshelf.

* Addendum:  I was half right about the name "Santa Ana" for the So. Cal. winds.  The name is because of the direction of the winds, or some think it comes from a Spanish name meaning "devil winds."  Locals call them "Santana Winds," which fits the "Satan's Wind" description more accurately.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My blog for February 1, 2012 Night Owls

Last night, as I lay sandwiched between the man on the right reading with his night light and the dog on the floor, snoring impolitely, I decided to try out the loft. The loft is at the top of a red ladder, right outside of the bedroom door. In my nightgown and with my dot light in my hand, I climbed up about ten feet. With no standing room, I then got to crawl over to where the bed was supposed to be. Oh yeah, I had a dot light. When I figured out how to turn it on, I reached the little twin bed. Since I'd made it up in anticipation of some grandchild eventually coming to see her grandmother, I was able to snuggle down into its smallish comfort. As I began to doze off, Abby's dog alarm system went off in tune to a coyote just outside which sounded more like a dog than a baying scavanger. Combined with this cacophony, an owl chimed in with it's plantive "who who's". When the coyote ran off, the Abby barks lowered to rumbles and I could hear better, another owl "whootie whooed" way off across the canyon. Next there was a small chorus of whooties all around the house where there are a few trees, including the one off in the distance. Then apparently the owls did a change tree thing and the sounds came from different directions, still around the house. I don't know if this was a weird mating dance, a warning to wandering coyotes, or mating call thing or not, but it is Spring here, so I suspect it's why it took me four attempts to actually sleep. As I wandered to the front of the property yesterday a red tailed hawk screeched at me and flounced out of its nest overhead, flying in circles, explaining the error of my ways while its mate took up his/her own diatribe. I recognized this alarm system as a warning that I was too close to its nest. None of the trees get much higher than about thirty feet tall, so Mr. and Mrs. Hawk had made a nest on the top of a 40 ft. power pole, the better to see further I suppose. I tried to explain to them my innocence. But until I skedaddled away they continued their harangue. Mother Nature is alive and well in Escondido.