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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A glass of Whine.

Sometimes I think that with one huge storm (or earthquake), here in California, the whole state will break off and (like some think) fall into the ocean.  We are like the spoiled children of the USA. We are such wimps when it comes to "real weather" that we just fall apart when the wind starts to blow. I'm not talking about 150 mile an hour tornadoes or level 5 hurricanes... I'm talking about a small wind storm that lasted for one night... with some rain. That's it! No blizzards, no volcano eruptions... just a windy day and all of a sudden the valley news has a "BREAKING NEWS ALERT"... folks are sliding off the roads and  big rigs are jackknifing all over the place.
Well, we here in the foothills usually take these "news alerts" with a grain of salt because they usually amount to taking in the outdoor furniture pads and closing the chicken house door for the night.It's so rare to have really bad weather that we kind of don't pay attention.
So, on Wednesday, I was expecting my friends to arrive for our SCAT meeting. I was hosting the group this month and I was going to show everyone how to make these folded paper Rosettes.
You cut strips of card stock and fold them, glue them together and make these wonderful ornaments of any size you wish. Then you use doilies, cutouts, and embellishments of any kind. Very easy to do.
Add some glitter and sparkle them up a bit and you have gifts, ornaments and package tops to give any time of the year.
This one is not finished yet. I still have to do something with the dragonfly... not sure what. We had a great time even though it was raining and the wind was blowing.
Do you see the oil lamp in the first photo? At one point, just as we gathered around the table to start the project, the lights went off.  I got the oil lamp down, washed the glass chimney (It was very dusty. We don't use them much) and lit it... when, all of a sudden, the lights came back on. This was a two or three minute event.
Well, that was a relief. I'm not sure what we would have done without the glue guns or the hair dryer. The rest of the afternoon was uneventful and the soiree was a success. Everyone went home with a beautiful medallion for the holidays and we had a great time. I cleaned up and then went to my computer to check my email and start a blog post about the meeting.
Now, before I start, I want you to know that although I act like I know what I'm doing with all this blogging, Facebook, emailing, storing and using photos ... I really know nothing. If it wasn't for the local computer store, my oldest son and a couple of friends that are more computer accomplished than me... I WOULD NOT BE DOING ANY OF THIS. This is my "mission statement", or better yet, my mantra when things go terribly wrong.

I found my computer in a state of suspended animation. We had even use it to look at Pinterest, when everyone was here and that was after the outage. I wanted to show them what else they could do with these little rosettes. Pinterest and Google have endless ideas on the subject. But, now, an hour after everyone left, the computer was Tabula rasa... a blank slate... void of information and access. 
I said my usual, "I can fix this." It's called the power of positive thinking and sometimes it works.  I went to the start button and checked to see if I was "connected". I wasn't.
 So, I waited for a while and then restarted the computer. That was the extent of my knowledge. My first and last hurrah. Well, the computer did come back on, but it only went to the home page and no further. I couldn't go anywhere else and my Nexus7 tablet was stuck too. When I read the "error" window, it said that either my connection was bad, the network was down (temporarily), I should clear my cookies, or the wireless router needed to be reset. The thing was that the "wireless router" had wires coming out of it... so I, with all my vast knowledge of routers, thought that maybe we needed to CALL SOMEONE. 
I called the local computer store and got this really nice, young man who went though a whole bunch of "do this and do that" until he announced that everything seemed to be OK and, yes, I was connected to the Internet. He didn't understand why I wasn't able to move to different windows. Then he said that the router might have gotten "FRIED" when the outage happen. They could come out, bring a router, switch the old one and see if that was the problem. He couldn't come until the following Monday and it would be $95. just for the service call. Oh boy!!
I made an appointment for Monday. 
Then I got up and went for a walk. The Prospector said I was being "cranky" and ".. it wasn't the end of the world." So I left. 
I went to find solace in the wind and wilderness.
I found it. It was windy and cold, and the sun finally showed its face within an hour of going down.
I let go of the "tude. 
I settled down.

I watched the last of the sun reflecting on the oak trees.
I watched the beautiful oak leaves falling in the sunlight and tried to photograph them as they fell. I need practice. I couldn't remember how to capture these leaves. Which settings on my camera would stop the action and catch these beauties in mid air? I can't tell you how many shots I took of them...
Before I got this one.
 My only "floating" leaf... ever. I actually had the camera on AUTO, so I didn't have to manually set the exposure time, ISO or the aperture. The "auto" setting was 1/500 of a second, not the 1/1000 of a second which I needed to freeze the leaf in mid air. It's not sharp enough, but I'm slowly learning what I need to get the image I want. With this camera I don't mind the learning curve, but I have to be brave and leave it on the manual settings.

Being out there and doing what I love to do...I forgot about the computer... routers... connections.
I saw the oak leaves changing color.
I heard the wind coming from across the canyon. I followed the sound as it moved through the trees and grasses, moving everything with unseen hands.
I saw the old Manzanita branch near Maggie's grave and wondered why it still looked so beautiful even in its dry and bent position on the ground.

I looked at the broken pieces of Manzanita, drying all summer in the searing heat...now lying on the moist ground surrounded by the leaves and earth. Does it know that it will become a part of the whole... that it will blend into the earth where it came from? Did I see resignation or acceptance in its dry branches?

I noticed the barbed wire on the fence and thought about the Prospector's comment. Kind of reminded me of ME... cranky, barbed and a little rusty, but fulfilling a purpose. Being what it is suppose to be. Just being barbed wire.
I was letting go of the anger at the computer and my inability to find out what was wrong.
It just felt good to be out there in the wind. 
I turned and walked back down the road to our house.
Nature is a great leveler. It's the one place I can go for reassurance that everything will be and is... OK. 
The next day the Prospector unhooked the Wifi router and I changed one thing in my Blogger settings and guess what? This morning the computer was working. I still don't know what specifically happen, but with a little ingenuity and that $95. still in our bank account, I'm online again and posting on my blog. 
The Nexis7 isn't working. We will have to wait until our son comes up and maybe he can hook up the Wifi again. Maybe I have too many toys.
Is it just me or does everything seem more and more difficult. We have four remotes for the TV. We have a water system that requires an engineering degree to understand. Our septic system is a complicated Minnesota Mound. We can't pull our car behind the RV without a special trailer. Even the new coffee maker is a learning curve. I'm always telling the Prospector that he can't die before me. I will be up the creek without a paddle. You will see me move to an apartment or just let everything go and live in one of the mine shafts on this property.
Do we do this to ourselves or is this a conspiracy?
I'm I getting old? Is everything getting more difficult and more complicated? It seems like nothing that we do gets any easier.
Sometimes I feel like this Manzanita branch... bent, twisted and going in the wrong direction.

And sometimes I feel like the Tombstone rock that I see, here on the mountain...  very old and being guided by geographic forces that I don't understand. 
I use to dream that I lived in a cave. The dream was a continuous one, that I remember dreaming many nights in a row. It was a huge cave with many rooms. It was dry and cozy. I was happy there. 
We didn't have much of anything. There were other people living there with us... relatives, I think.  I mention this because life seemed so simple... so fundamental. 
I mention all of this because I needed to whine. I don't like to whine and I don't like to hear others whine, but sometimes the whine just starts flowing and goes right to my head.


  1. hey...we may have to live in a cave again in the future so....smiles....the golden grass looks so soft and wispy....cool art...i think we are supposed to get that storm on tuesday...i want some snow....

  2. I understand your frustration. You got away from the problem and took in the nature that surrounds you. The pictures are great as usual. I love the crafts that you and your friends made. Great idea for putting on top of packages. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  3. You got some beautiful photos there, farmlady. My favorite is the one before your "floating leaf;" the oak trunk with leaves falling like confetti.

  4. I'm back, and have just read your latest posts...and enjoyed them very much. Oh the woes and joys of the computer and electricity and traveling with your doggies! And, sounds like you have a wonderful sister and family! That's so great...so much to be grateful for!

  5. your 'whine' turned into a beautiful post, with gorgeous pictures. I think I will turn off the computer and take myself for a little walk in the woods, who knows, I just may find peace there.

  6. I think the more stuff we have the more we make our lives more complicated. Maybe your dreams of living in a cave make you feel more in control and safe?.
    I too find solace in the winds, the leaves and the skies.
    Sometimes we just have to breathe!

  7. P.S and sometimes we just need to whine! Gets it off our chests and all!

  8. P.P.S! What a pretty little nest you captured.

  9. Please don't apologize for the whine. Whining is a great emotional release. If you don't have a human to listen to you, dogs and trees are great spirit evener-outers! Remember you can whine to me any time. I understand your complaint about technology and the very aggravating complications of every little detail in our lives now. Wouldn't you think that as we age we'd continue to get smarter? But, no. We don't. Maybe we get wiser but the ability to learn new things wanes. And that sucks!!
    Love, Dawn

  10. If that's a whine, it's a pretty spectacular one, beautifully illustrated. I've been having a hissy fit about my router and thinking much the same thoughts about technology. I've been so tempted to call it quits on all things technical and let the tech world float on without me. But we hang in there, don't we, too stubborn to be beaten just yet!


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