I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Old Year..., Goodbye

















My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again,before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that's true,
For we've been comrades, you and I
--I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!

~Robert Service~
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reminders and a Bag of Magic Sand

I put my coat on this morning to take Carl for a walk and when I reached into my pocket I retrieved a handful of this....
Reminders of my day with the Bean. There, I found a Kleenex, half a candy cane, a tiny white feather, a dried yellow flower and a small fake poinsettia flower. The bean had found or used them all. What wonderful memories in my pocket. Each one a reminder of the "handsome" day at the Martinez Marina. ( My grandson's new, favorite word is HANDSOME. Everything that is wonderful and beautiful..., and worthy of comment is, by his definition, "handsome". I love this expression.

I found this Christmas decoration in a box at my son's house. It was something I had given Mom two Christmas' ago. It made me laugh and it made her laugh too . For all you Cat lovers out there, it's kind of a "blond" joke about cats. In a way it says..., do the things you're good at and don't try to be something you're not. It's funny but there's a message here.
Mrs. Claus looks a bit exhausted. She is probably going to recommend using REINDEER to her husband.... Now you know the rest of the story.



The last photo(below) is an ornament that I bought years ago. It's Santa holding a big bag of MAGIC SAND. Don't we all wish we could find some of this stuff?
This small ornament reminds me that the wishes of my childhood were made out of the magic sand of my imagination but the reality of growing up is knowing that we don't always get everything we want and that most things we do receive require a lot of effort.
Magic sand is there but it's inside of us.I think, though, that it's kind of like Dorothy's Ruby Slippers in the Wizard of Oz. We all have the answers to our problems and the ability to have our dreams come true. We just have to believe and be flexible..., and not invest too heavily in the outcome. We may need someone like the "good witch"( or faerie, or angel) to lead us in the right direction. We may need a compass, a star or a guiding light. But, in the end, we find that we are all made of magic sand and every grain is unique to each of us.
This small blue sparkly ornament reminds me to wish big but to put life into perspective. From across the room this decoration is a shiny presence sitting below the Christmas tree. But, up close, a star is bent and Santa has no shoes on. From a distance it's flaws are unseen. Up close I see the chipped paint and a tired Santa. I must be aware of the difference. It sparkles now in a season of sparkle. But, will it be here when I need to click my heels and make a wish? Will it give me everything I want or will I have the wisdom to know that my acceptance of what comes may not be so easy and the answer..., a reply that I'm not willing to heed. Will the desires of my heart be in balance with the knowledge of my rational mind?
An end of a long year and so many questions....
My only resolution will be to look at each day and try to understand..., to try and make it better. But there's still a little place inside of me that believes in magic sand and hopes that some of it is thrown in my direction. What do you think?
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guest Commentary; The Bean tells a Story

Hi everyone. My Noni asked me to tell this story about our trip to the Martinez Marina. She said that you should start at the top left corner of each piture and go around like a clock goes.
When we first got to the lake where the birds and ducks were Noni was glad that Mommy gave me boots to wear because it was muddy all over. I loved walking in the mud even though Noni kept telling me to be careful that I didn't slip and fall.
Then we saw a whole bunch of birds . I chased them. They all flew up in the air and over the top of us. I laughed.
I ran over to the ducks but they went swimming. I found feathers and little rocks.

I drawed a picture in the sand and then I ran as fast as I could. I found a red twig and showed it to Noni. We took a hike to the river and Noni kept saying "Slow down." I ran in 5 puddles.
I fed the birds with chips that Mommy gave me and I made friends with a white Seagull. He wasn't afraid like the other birds. He would wait for me to throw a chip and then he came up really close to me. He was a handsome seagull.
I played on the swings and then I spinned on the thing that went around when Noni pushed it. I held on real tight. It made me giggle.

This was a good place. Noni and I had fun and we will come back when it's warmer. It was verwy cold.
We went and ate a Happy Meal at Mc Donalds and I got a special horse that lights up. It is an Avatar. It has six legs. It is a very handsome horse.

Merry Christmas, The Bean
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas in My Other Home


I stayed at my sister's house for the first two days. We went shopping, had lunch together, laughed at ourselves and talked..., and talked about everything.

I went to see Mom. Brought her a little tree with Christmas decorations and small pine cones on it. I wished her a Merry Christmas and we talked..., and talked...

On Friday I went to my son and daughter-in-law's house. This, of course, is also the home of my two beautiful grandchildren. What a coincidence!We had so much fun. I slept in Baby Bean's bed which was very comfortable. Life never stops when you are a child except when you're asleep..., so Noni slept very well at night.
My oldest grandchild, The Bean, has taken up Photography. I'M SO PROUD! He is learning the nuances of a point and shoot digital camera. We took LOTS of pictures. This is very serious business for him. I think he has inherited my genes. The ones that let him see the world more clearly though the lens of a camera. He also makes really funny faces.
My youngest grandchild, Baby Bean, seems in awe of the whole Christmastime, decorations, lights, presents thing. I see magic in his eyes. While The Bean is wanting to know how the big Santa man is going to get down the chimney , Baby Bean is content to listen to Mom read him a story and watch a Christmas CD. He's at one with the spirit of the Holiday.
Saturday The Bean and I spent the day at the Martinez Marina. I will have photos of this tomorrow. That night I Noni-Sat the boys so Mom and Dad could go out for dinner together. I think that was like a major Christmas present for them. I could see it in their eyes and hear it in their thankyou's.
On Sunday I drove to my oldest son's house in Oakland. He took me to Mass at Saint Jarlath's Catholic Church. I wanted to go back to this beautiful, stone church where I had lit a candle for Mom right after she died. This is not my son's church but he took me because I asked him too. It was the most beautiful experience a few months back..., lighting the candle, saying the Lords prayer in a small chapel inside the church and having my son say this prayer, in Latin, for his "Noni" and for his mother. After this Mass, on Sunday, we went into the little chapel and lit another candle for Mom.
My Mother was raised Catholic, my son adopted the faith as an adult and I'm the person that fell in between. I used to call myself a "closet Catholic" because of the pull that it seemed to have on me as I was growing up. I'm sure that some of this influence was Mom's "fish on Fridays" habits that she never let go of. She didn't raise us as Catholics. It's a long story for another day, but the pull is still there and so it is that I always love sharing this experience with my son.

I came home yesterday..., tired, happy and feel the strength of being able to do this kind of traveling I do. Feeling thankful for Family and knowing that even though I can't always be everywhere and do everything that I want to, I am so lucky to have the life that I have: To share my world with people who are good, caring, loving human beings and to know how fortunate I am to have them all in my life.
Now I need to go and hug my husband, play with Carl and get back into his good graces( he's a little upset with me for all this leaving), feed the goats and chickens, go for a hike in the woods and, as my blog friend Laura, in Georgia, would say... " I'm gonna get me some lovin'." It's a "southern" expression. I'm probably not saying it right but you get the idea.

Tomorrow we will all go to Martinez with The Bean. Please join us.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I think I found Carl's alter-ego in a Christmas card...., it's Snoopy; Charlie Brown's dog.
Snoopy is jumping up and down, all excited about Christmas. Look at him! He's so happy and excited and filled with energy. "It's Christmas!! It's coming. Let the festivities begin...























and then this..... Total collapse. The sugar high is gone and there's nothing left.




Maybe it's not Carl's alter ego..., maybe it's mine.
How are we all feeling out there? Does this little dog look familiar to you 5 days before
Christmas? Is this what they mean when they say "dog tired"?

I got home this afternoon. Had a great time but, oh my gosh, I'm tired. Tomorrow I will post some photos of my trip and start some baking. Right now..., it's a good nights sleep.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Birthday To You Baby Bean


Look at this cute little boy. He's my second grandson and he's three years old today..., so Noni's bragging.

Mommy, Daddy and The Bean( his older brother ) had a party for the little Bean in Elk Grove, at a place called MY GYM. It's one of those wonderful "kid" places that is so perfect for a child's birthday party that you wonder why no one ever thought of this kind of business before. It's a kid's paradise. Structured play with all kinds of exercise and supervision. Both of my grandchildren have been going to this "gym" since they were babies.
I think that Baby Bean had the most fun of all in the parachute (above). Everyone got in a circle and held the parachute. My little grandson got in the middle. Then we rolled and bounced him around. I was lucky to get any photos of this at all. They are not clear because he was moving and laughing so hard. I had to show you anyway. The four photos together gives you the wonderful, fun feeling that he was having. By the end, at the bottom right, he was laughing so hard that Daddy had to help him up.
Clockwise from the upper left... This was just before he got tossed in the parachute. He's looking kind of serious because he's not sure what's going to happen. This is the look that lets me glimpse into the future..., when he's a teenager; serious, guarded and watching..., waiting to see what will happen next. No little bean, I want you to be the baby for a while longer. No growing up yet.
The upper right photo is him sitting with his Mommy opening presents. At three years of age this was a TASK and even though he looks like he's having fun here, two minutes later he was diving into a huge container of different colored rubber balls. Children are not very good at being "politically correct".
We ate sandwiches, apple juice and cake which he did sit still long enough to eat and it gave us a few moments to get some clear shots with our cameras. In the last picture(bottom left) is Mr. Cool (aka; The Bean, Big Bro, Silly Face) and one of his friends. The Curious George take home bag had these great, dark glasses inside and these little gentlemen thought that they were the epitome of coolness.

It was a Curious George birthday for my little monkey and a good time was had by all.

Happy Birthday Baby Bean!! Noni and Papa love you.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas


It's official! Christmas has arrived at Three Dog Farm. Not everything is in it's place and I'm finding that the old adage of "Less is more" seems to sound better every year. So, as I try to honor the holidays after a long and sometimes heavy hearted year, I have decorated the house with the things that make us feel happy. Not an over abundance but a collection of decorations that have meaning and memories. I think it all looks very pretty and thought I would share some of it with you.

The Tree is a bit disappointing this year. I decided to buy a four foot artificial tree that was very inexpensive at Wal Mart. It had clear lights that were already attached and I thought that a small tree on a table would avoid "Pupster" damage, if you know what I mean.
This is probably the most "Charlie Brown" tree we have every had. It's not very straight and the top seems different than the bottom. (There were two pieces that you had to put together). It looks OK, now, that I have ornaments on it but I think I need a garland or some pretty bulbs to spiff it up a bit. I will work on it.
When I went back to Wal Mart the other day and bought the tree, I passed those blue lights again. The ones I didn't buy the first time. Well, guess what. I couldn't pass them up again.
I guess it's going to be a "blue" Christmas without you Mom..., because I put them on the Christmas tree and outside on the Mock Orange near the porch. They are really very beautiful. They reminded me of you. I hope you can see them.

This is my little Birthday Boy.

Tomorrow will be Baby Bean's 3rd. Birthday. We had a celebration on Saturday at a place called MY GYM in Elk Grove. I took lots of pictures..., imagine that. I will post some photos tomorrow .
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow Dreams

Did this really happen or was I dreaming?
The snow is gone now
and it's raining.

Thursday I drove to El Dorado Hills for our annual Gourd Club Christmas Potluck. We had a great time.It's about an hours drive from here and the weather was dry. The snow was everywhere on the hills. The drive was beautiful.
Yesterday I cleaned the house, then went out and did some Christmas shopping (in the rain).
Today I'm driving to Elk Grove to Baby Bean's Birthday party. They are having the party in Elk Grove because all of his friends are still there. Even though my little family has moved to the Bay Area and lives in my mother's house, they decided to have the party in their old neck of the woods.
I miss the beautiful snow but I'm glad it's gone when I have to drive anywhere. I'm use to driving in the rain but the snow makes me nervous. We had so many accidents in this county when it snowed. People just don't know how to drive in the white stuff. I prefer to stay home and stay out of the car when driving is so hazardous.
So, because I have to travel over the hills and through the woods to the valley today, I'm very thankful that the snow is gone...., FOR NOW. It can come back anytime it wants to though. I'm hoping...., I'm wishing...., for a White Christmas. Wouldn't that be a California miracle; twice during the holidays? I'm doing a little snow dance.....
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 11, 2009

Busy Day Post


Wouldn't life be worth the living?

Wouldn't dreams be coming true?

If we kept the Christmas spirit

All the whole year through?

~Author Unknown~
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Frosting On the Cake


Some mornings you wake up and wonder what you did to deserve such a beautiful day. Yesterday morning was one of those days. I must first remind you that this is California; California below 1200 ft. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains get a dusting of snow maybe once a year in the winter and if we're lucky, the snow lasts for a few hours until the sun come up.
Now, to all my blogging friends out there who live in the Northern US, please forgive my childlike excitement and blatant, enthusiasm but...., It snowed yesterday and I took almost 300 photos of this place..., and Oh my gosh it was beautiful...., and I was here to see it..., and I only came inside to eat and get warm..., and I built a snowman, a real snowman...., and the dogs ran around with me..., and look how BEAUTIFUL IT ALL IS.

Except for the Heavenly Bamboo berries, all these photos were taken during the storm in the morning. Later, when there was more light, I took this close-up of these berries because they looked like ornaments out there. Against the snow they glittered like a red string of lights.

I don't know what it is about snow. This is what I consider one of the "gifts" in my life. I want to be out in it...., walking, by myself..., feeling the cold and listening to the QUIET. I know that it can be deadly. I know that we couldn't drive down the road to town and have gotten back up to the house easily yesterday. I know, now, after the power went off all day, that we would need a wood stove and a decent gas generator to survive this weather longer than a day. And I know that we are at the age where living in this kind of weather all Winter would be much harder than we can imagine but.... look at this. A birthday present I didn't expect. A wonderful coat of Mother Nature's silent rain. The picture postcard of my dreams right here at 3 Dog Farm.

The animals all did quite well. Maggie wasn't sure at first but then she got into it. She enjoyed following me around, trying to find any good smelling stuff under the snow that she could eat. Carl acted like he was born in "snow country". He took to the whole thing as if it was just another day. He has been off his leash since the last Rattler crawled back into it's hole for the Winter, so he was running, flat out, all over the yard, playing in and eating the snow. Since he is such a low rider, we had to dry him off from top to bottom every time he came in.
The goats were not as happy about all of this as the dogs. They didn't like the numbing cold, the frozen water in their buckets or the fact that I was running around like a crazy lady taking pictures. Brownie was no where to be seen. Annibel was in the garage trying to stay warm and the chickens were inside their house and not saying a word.
Please indulge me for the next few days. There will be more pictures. This is a major event in my life. Each time that it has snowed in the last few years I was gone, down in the Bay Area. This time I was home and, not only did it snow for most of the day but it's so cold that the snow is still all over the area this morning. Which gives me an opportunity to go outside and play some more.

I have found my "inner child" and I'm indulging her. I know this makes no sense to people who live with snow all Winter and I can see that 5 or more feet of this would bring life to a halt for a while. But just give me one Winter. I want to live in.., oh.., maybe Montana, for one Winter. I could go over the mountains to Nevada. I could just go up to Lake Tahoe. Just once..., for one Winter...

But yesterday, for a few hours, I was living in snow country. Now, excuse me while I go outside and play. The sun is shinning, the snow is all around us on the hills and I have MORE pictures to take....
(Please remember to click on these photos to see them close up.)

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Enlightened Heart- with thanks.


I didn't realize that this little book had traveled with me for so long. My oldest son gave it to me for my birthday in 1989, the year that I found out that the cancer I had fought so hard to eradicate was still in my body and had returned to mess with me again. The struggle to rid myself of breast cancer at 39 years of age had come once more, five years later and I faced even more therapies and decisions. It was not a good year.

...and then as the year came to a close, my son, who was going to college then, sent me this book. It was a lifeline. A beautiful, inspiring volume of words written by some of my favorite poets and filled with a way of thinking that helped me survive another year of living dangerously. Each page was a candle of light to guide me through a dark and scary passageway.
Now, it is filled with torn pieces of paper marking my favorite poems and old photos that for different reasons needed to be side by side with certain words and phrases. This small book has developed character and each poem has become a life companion.

Many things have happen in the last twenty years. People have come and gone from my life. But death has taken on a different meaning since then. It's not the menacing, premature destroyer that was going to take my life so many years ago. Now, it will be the final kindness. The secret that answers itself and the chance to widen the circle of my knowledge.
Chuang-tzu wrote, " When we understand, we are at the center of the circle, and there we sit while YES and NO chase each other around the circumference" . If you question at all the ideas of this world this last statement really hits home.
I prefer to think that it's about that HOLY GHOST, of which Mr. Gerard Manley Hopkins writes
" Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs....
because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods....
with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. "

Thanks, my son, for this gift of hope when I needed it most. Thanks for your beliefs and the person that you are. You make a difference to everyone around you. You and your brother(the poet who will write his own book someday) are my true joy and happiness in this life.

Posted by Picasa