Monday, February 20, 2012

Homeland Security, or Eyes and Friends

Little Red-Haired Girl was limping again today, so I took her for a short walk, returned her home and went on.
For several camera-less walks now, I have wanted to take a shot of the above tree because it looked a beautiful red in the distance. I think my time of day was too late today, not so red, still pretty.
As I continued along, I took shots of things I like. I went further today since I knew I wouldn't have to carry LRHG half way through.

Our little town has a history steeped in the railway that travels along the main drag. Several years ago, a local group arranged the funding to plant these evergreen, I'm told, white pines. They are so hardy. I don't think a single one has been lost and they just grow and grow, rather rapidly. I think they look so nice running all along the rails.

There is an old motor inn that is terribly dilapidated; but these shingles have a patina that is rustic and endearing.

This lone shoe was just laying there as if it came off of the person while they were running away from something. A whole story subsequently runs through my mind.

Wonder how the person managed to leave just one behind?

Many charming little dwellings and pretty flora.
I forced myself to go up a big hill and back down the other side. Coming down the other side made it worth it.

We're just a little dilapidated town, but I feel very lucky to live where there are blue skies, wide open spaces and a true sense of community. You can't go anywhere where there isn't somebody you know. Neighbors stop as they are walking or driving by..."What 'cha doin'?" Everybody knows everybody and there is a true sense of security in that. It's very comforting. No borders. Just eyes and friends.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Flintstone Effect

All the trouble of the world, at least Fred's world, would be resolved by the end of a thirty minute episode of the Flintstones. Most of his troubles were of his own creation, but he was happy to oblige us with his shenanigans toward finding a suitable outcome.
Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty were touchstones for me in my early teens and throughout high school. 
I guess it came on about the time my mother would arrive home from her day job. Once she was home, being Latchkey kids, everything felt okay again.

I've always loved cartoons in general for their use of primary and secondary color, simple shapes and their general simplicity. Story lines included, except for the contemporary ones. I prefer to relish the good old days when men opened doors for women and only glanced sideways, when their wives weren't looking, at the other beautiful girls in the room. Profanity wasn't funny and lewd conduct wasn't necessary to get a laugh.

I had a free preview of a station a couple of years ago and recorded hours of The Flintstones. It's been a long time since I felt a compulsion to bring it out and escape for awhile into the animated life of friends of mine.

About the same time, suffering severe anxiety over life in general and the loss of income in specific, I sought out the advice of a doctor, "Do you think I should try an anti-depressant?" I was really hoping he would say no as all the research I had found indicated that it was a gamble, not much was really known as to how they work and often the side effects were worse than the cure. Their effectiveness could diminish over time and it would be an ongoing pharmaceutical guessing game. I'm so suspicious of Big Pharma anyway.

His advice to me was to rent a bunch of comedy films and watch them. He said laughter was the best cure. I think he is right.

Lately I've been concerned for my health and it is very easy to let that worry zap the good energy that could be focused better elsewhere. The fears can overcome almost any good thoughts.

I have always found that my best defense against worry is information. Whenever I have a struggle like this, I seek out information to better know the risks, symptoms, diagnostic techniques, and methods of treatment. Once I get that information in my head, as fearful as it is at first to research, I feel armored.

The side benefit to this type of worry is that it helps one get a better focus of life. All of a sudden nothing matters except being well and touching things that are real. Living breathing things that have true meaning. Certainly not material things. The bucket list comes into the forefront and all the things being done "just to have the life you dream" seem fruitless. All the hoards of things collected are a burden. Of course, once the scare is diminished or alleviated, it is really easy to go back to the status quo. 

The other thing this information seeking has exposed to me is the extent to which those dreams we've all been coerced into believing would be so wonderful are in great part the main culprit for all of our ill health.

Centralized agriculture, urbanization, fossil fuel exploitation, the good life...
runoff, smokestacks spewing, water and air pollution, toxic dump sights, radiation..."Poison is the wind that blows..."

There are carcinogens in lipstick! There seems to be no where to go to get away from it.

I have come to the conclusion that since almost all of the efforts to "cure cancer" are in bed with the same ones who make profit from producing the things that cause it and the industry that treats it, that it is their job to pay for the externalities they create by funding the medical plans for all of us. Sounds fair. Think? At the least they should be contributing funds to true prevention instead of cures, since they can't seem to find one, dah?

If they are going to make us sick, they should pay to make us well.
Of course the devil is in the detail and they want us all to believe we are victims of our own devices. That it is because we eat too much fat, don't exercise and smoke that we are sick. Those things possibly having an adverse contribution to sickness, they pretty much deny that it has anything to do with "dietary pesticides, hazardous waste sites, ionizing radiation from nuclear plants, and non-ionizing radiation". 
This was supposed to be a light and happy blog. Once in awhile, things really find me mad. I can't believe that we are all letting this happen to us. I had to say something.

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone;
They paved paradise,
And put up a parking lot." - Joni Mitchell

Where's that Little Red-Haired Girl? She always makes me happy.
I looked around to see where she was and she was right beneath my table, quiet as a mouse while I rant above her. Usually she is curled up, too big to fit right, in Orphan Annie's bed farther back in the corner.
It's almost time for her to hang up her fur coat. A few more weeks I think. At least by the signs of the fruit trees...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Value of Gasoline

I think this must be a pre-digital shot. This sky is so turquoise. I can't imagine that it was really that color when I shot this.
I think I was out looking for Quonset Huts.
Just a ride somewhere, anywhere.

Every time I think now of going for a ride to "clear the cobwebs in my mind", I think twice, three times.
Cha ching, cha ching.
I guess it is a good thing. I can't just run from myself anymore...I have to sit still and stew.

Keeping up an automobile and supplying it with energy is just about a full time job in and of itself. Part of the motivation that has delivered me to this place in my "work" was the fact that a good third of any energy I was expending was going straight to the transportation to just get to the job and back. And of course, I was an outside salesperson. Lots of wear and tear and the companies were getting squinchier and squinchier. (That's my new word: Tight, greedy, profit driven, anti-kind, anti-nice, anti-people centered.)

I'm trying to dis-enslave myself from all of the energy zappers I can so that more and more of my life can be filtered through more or less rose colored glasses instead of dread.

I can't think of a job I have had in my life that I truly looked forward to going to. There were certainly things I enjoyed. Things that made me feel purposeful. People I liked being with. But, sadly, I truly cannot think of a single one that I actually couldn't wait to get to.

Diggin in the dirt. That is the best thing. Listening to the birds and diggin in the dirt.
And driving. But that has just about become a true luxury; in every sense.

I did love my drives. I still do. Whenever anxiety wells up in me, a driving force overwhelms me to get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere. Sometimes even going the three offramps of our town and back is enough. Just forward motion and pretty scenery. "That'll do Pig."

This was through the windshield of my little truck going out the 60 in California toward Beaumont, Banning, Palm Springs, many years ago now. As a matter of fact, this is the very same road my drivers ed teacher asked me "where the fire was?"

He called me Celery and I thought it was because he thought I had a vegetable for brains. I think he just couldn't remember my name. There were three of us in the car with him. I was scared for sure when the others were driving, but fearless when I was. He made us back up in the school parking lot for near two days, doing figure eights, before he would let us drive forward. Then we were unleashed on these long, long drives through the then rather remote freeway north of our school. Sometimes we would get on the same parallel back road that ran the same distance but all along the railroad track, farther down in the valley.

All of my life, I have used driving to curb anxiety. Like putting a restless baby to sleep.

For so many years I have thought I had forever. Forever to make more money, forever to make up what I spent on things I really didn't need. I've always thought a meal out or more clothes than I needed was nothing to be alarmed about. There would always be more.

Who in the working class knew that it would get as hard as this.
Again though, having to sit still and stew, having to think twice, three times, having to wait, having to weigh and measure every nickel spent, isn't all bad..

It has made me study politics, seek out brilliant minds, listen more to wisdom and care about others more.

It has made me more cognizant of the preciousness of life and time and of valuing the simplest of things.
Like birds and bees and diggin in the dirt. Like Little Red-Haired Girl and Orphan Annie making sufficient if not preferred company. Spending more time at Church. Carpooling.

Most of all, it has brought me to the place of realizing just how necessary it is to be able to conjure up your own way of creating wealth, and that isn't just about money.

This picture is a scanned copy of an illustration in one of my mother's childhood "Atlantic Readers", the book dating 1921. I can't find copyright info.

Good thing I like my own company. It's all I've got sometimes.
Marbles found...
"The fish are the last to see the water."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Speaking of Latchkey

"Positive effects of being a latchkey child include independence and self-reliance at a young age." 

This woman went to Goose Bay, Labrador to work for the civil service in the early 50's. Women were outnumbered about 10 - 1. That's the greater part of the reason she went. She was in her 30's already and hadn't married.

Independent sort. All by herself she went.
I heard plenty of stories about Goose Bay and loved to listen to her recount all of those magical days of her life.

She met my father there and it wasn't long before she had three little girls and was living in America, alone, while he was off in a foreign country serving the United States Military. 
Far away from her own home and family in Canada, she would spend the rest of her life (kids never do grow up you know) raising those three little girls, mostly by herself.

I guess I was about 10 when my father left home for good. We thought of ourselves then as "Little Women".

Before he left though, our mother had managed to learn to drive, get a GED, American citizenship, and a job with the U S Civil Service. The only trouble was that her first assignment was at a base some 30, seemingly million, miles away from her little girls. Of course, at the same time he was stationed somewhere away from home as well.

It was all she could do to function. But she did. We did have a babysitter for a little while, Mrs. Smith and her dog Alvin; but it got to be that it was too hard for her to squeeze out the money, so we became "latchkey kids". Even a nickel was a hard thing to come up with in those days, no kidding.

"Deborah Belle, author of The After-School Lives of Children: Alone and With Others While Parents Work suggests that being left home alone may be a better alternative to staying with baby-sitters or older siblings."

We didn't latch the door. Most people didn't in those days, it was just a safer time of the world (Cuban Missile Crisis aside). So, we didn't need a key, and there was never one hanging around anyone's neck. 

I do remember having a key around my neck; however it was my rebellion to being part of the herd mentality of which whom were, e-ve-ry-one, and I mean everyone, wearing a peace symbol. Not me though. I just wasn't gonna do what everyone else was so I bought myself a chain with a giant key on it. That'll teach 'em! Ain't gonna get me to cooperate with the masses, no way. 

It was the late 60's. Independence at a young age? Me thinks. 

Self-reliance, that too. 

Loneliness, boredom and fear. Depression. Low self-esteem. Peer pressure, drug and alcohol use. These are all listed as negative side effects of the same circumstance of being home alone. There were three of us and one or all of us were affected by one or all of these previously listed symptoms. We pulled through. Not unscathed, but alive. That's something.

Today, I didn't find the time to take any pictures myself. Today I was busy looking for nickels. I found a few and I think I can keep myself going again, at least for a little while. No cardboard box just yet for a home. And not for the lack of something that that woman from Goose Bay independence didn't do to make sure I could. Thank you Mama. Thank you for the strength you instilled in me. Thank you for all the things you paid forward. Thank you for being in my mind now, reminding me what to do. 

It wasn't anything for all of the three of us little girls 10, 11, and 12ish (and on up forever from there) to spend the day traipsing around the complete neighborhood looking for bottles to collect a deposit on. It wasn't anything for all of the three of us to have after school job(s) and/or babysitting every day of the week.

I think it was because of being a Latchkey Kid that I don't fear what might be up for tomorrow. 

Who really knows what makes the whole of anyone. It's all things together. But, I do know that whenever I get through a hard time, I appreciate things more and the happiness I experience is enriched.  

It would be nice to still be the "bag of bones" I was called by my older and younger sisters. Yes, that is the fact, I'm a Malcolm in the middle and there is some truth to that in there.
Twist and Shout!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Psycho Babble

"Good morning Little Red-Haired Girl. What are you gonna do today?"

"I don know, you have a bowl of cereal in your hands, I can't think right now."...
"Okay, well, I'm gonna go out and get some sun and eat MY bowl of cereal, you already had breakfast."
"Yeah, but do you really think that was enough for me to keep my girlish figure? 
I thought that was just an appetizer, no?"

I tried to look away, enjoy the scenery and bask for a minute, peacefully in the natural vitamin D.
She just wouldn't go away...
Until... she had licked the last of the bowl of "no sugar added" - Almond Milk with particles of cereal floating around completely clean...
Then she couldn't get away fast enough..
Little Orphan Annie, waiting patiently in the shadows for her to come back over.
I got up right behind her and walked back into the house...time to go, go, go..

"Faux" bug. We do have bugs this big and I have been in the tub with one crawling down the shower tiles...
...a scene from Psycho ensues..

"Time to get ready to go," I tell the little girl.
It's another "Cleaning Lady" day.  (no affiliation/recommendation. just used clip art)

I tell Little Red-Haired Girl, "You be a good girl, I'll be right back." 

She knows what that means and she asks to get up on her perch on the arm of the sofa with all her pile of fluffy soft stuff..
Poor little latchkey kid.
Today my friends on Facebook shared this with me, now I will share it with you...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Suspending Disbelief

This little birdie hopped all over my yard that year, early in my arrival to AZ.

I suppose he couldn't fly. I followed him around and managed to get these shots.

We see these beautiful specimen every year. The girls are browner with red decorations. They're all lovely to watch.
So, now you have seen some of the progress pictures of the yard(s) development. Here is a very old picture of the messes that keep reinventing themselves, with a little, just a wee bit of help from me.

The only thing that has stayed in it's place here is the green plastic chair way in the background, under the big tree. All the trees remain, but the bricks (oh, all the places they've been) for the most part have complicated joints in my bones many times...where's the dolly?! Hiding somewhere with the camera, no doubt. Never convenient.
Back yard..
Front yard along the sidewalk...
Carport...where they remain.

That's Stevie Weevie's resting place back there where the bricks still are. Her footprints in cement blocks on one side of her.
I want to plant zinnia's above her.

The canopy frame leg in the upper right hand corner is the leftover skeleton that is now my "clothesline". Where's the clothesline cord I bought 10 years ago for this plan that I didn't see coming...?

These railroad ties were a birthday gift from a friend several years ago and I embedded those two all by myself with about a day's labor of digging and leveraging only to donate them (sometime later) to Church and have two young boys come and, in about 30 minutes, lift and load 8 of them without breaking sweat. Thank you Brian and Matt. They are now car stops in our Church parking lot.

I would just like things to be where they belong, once and for all...

Slowly but surely...
Things do get done. If I could just leave well enough along...

Nature doesn't always help. The lilac bushes, third picture above, struggled. That area gets some direct sunlight. In AZ almost nothing likes direct sunlight. I think two remain, but have likely been transplanted with many other shrubs and bushes, the ones that didn't expire...

Suspending disbelief...
The more things change, the more they remain the same, eh? Always a mess to attend...which is where I'm headed this day I don't have work outside of home...
Little Red-Haired Girl is in the shadow, under the purple Adirondack chair, she's in the corner with the Flintstone bone and Stevie Weevie...

and here...When she was just a bitty thing and her head almost fit her body..