Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Desk Thoughts

After I got up this morning to a partially cloudy sky.... I greeted the dogs, ate breakfast, watered the garden, fed the chickens, contemplated the fire zone, picked some weeds, choose the colors for the potting shed... I  finally sat down to write my scintillating blog post, as promised, on where I write and what my thoughts are about the area around me.
Let's start out where I left off yesterday because that's where I am this morning and it's a good place to begin again.
This is my comfortable chair where I sit and write my blog.
It's in the guest bedroom/craft room/computer room.
The whole room only measures 10X12 ft.
My desk is in the southwest corner. next to a closet that contains .... stuff.

No, you can't have that red purse. It's one of the few things that I can find in there. I also have a picture of the  aftermath in the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (on the right).... for those of you, on the east coast, who would like to see what  REAL earthquake damage looks like.
I'm sorry. We know that this doesn't happen too often back there. It was scary for you.... Poor things.
OK! Moving away from the desk, along the wall, to the north is the printer cabinet, a night stand and a single bed.
 We only do sleep overs for one person at a time here unless you want to sleep on the floor or with the goats. The bed is covered with a lovely knitted coverlet to protect the bedspread from Carl and Cutter paws.
As we move around the room you will see the rest of the window and the craft corner.
 I told you this would be an life altering and inspiring post.
I have purposely not taken a vertical photo of this corner that includes the floor area because... well, it's just not necessary. Somethings have to be left to the imagination.
It's my little corner that inspires comments like " What's all that stuff under the exercise ball?" My friend "C" says that it's where the Hoarding starts.... like where the fire was lit.
I will skip over the door, hallway and one more table. You can only take so much of this and I don't want to loose followers from abject boredom.
So, now, I will continue with the purpose of this post . I want you to see what inspires me to write and what I need to surround myself with in order to spur my unfocused mind into action.
This is a self portrait of my sister. She painted it when she was an art major at UC Berkeley. She was very good and I love this painting of her. She never wanted to hang it in her home so I told her I would like to bring it up here and she said "Sure.". It keeps her with me all the time.
There is a wonderful plaque  hanging below her painting that says..
"If the angel deigns to come, it will be because you have convinced her, not by tears, but by your humble resolve, to be always beginning: to be a beginner.
It's written by Rainer Maria Rilke, a Bohemian poet born in Prague.
I would love to have known him and the artists that he knew.
He met Tolstoy. He was Rodin's secretary. OMG! as the youngsters say.
... and some creative drawing by my grandchildren, who will be famous artists someday. Each drawing is  unique and wonderful.

A copy of the 1922 local paper that tells of the horrible mine disaster at the Argonaut Gold Mine in Jackson. Forty seven men were trapped and lost their lives down there.
This tragedy always reminds me, with our news media that can make a mountain out of a molehill, that there is a difference between a real Tragedy and a burnt potato.

I love Mother Teresa's ..."We can do no great things, only small things with great love." and below this is a clock that my oldest son gave me.... a reminder of how fast time passes and that doing small things with great love is really an easier task that waiting to accomplish the sometimes impossible.

This is the "core" of my desk. My favorite books of reference and important information. I love the Internet but sometimes you just have to have a book. It's old fashion... I know, but I have to keep these books within my reach.
And the Kelly Rae Robert's card from Trader Joe's that reads, on her breast...
Embrace change
Take the journey back to your self.
Love with abandon
Speak of your gratitude
Wear yellow shoes
unleash your creative spirit
Dance in the moonlight
Share you inner light
Surprise yourself and do the thing you didn't think you could 
(And last of all)
Live as if you've only been given one chance.

It's a reminder to be a bit braver and reach a bit further. 
I love her face too.
Over the desk is an old frame of my Mothers that I backed with cork so I could pin things to it and a medal card holder that holds postcards, photos and the envelopes that I make. 
Oh, and one of my first little gourd ornaments.

And, of course, in a place of honor... and don't ask me why because I don't know.... the ten lined beetle that I accidentally stepped on. I find it comforting to know that its little body has been left behind and rests in this beautiful candle on the shelf next to a small, fragrant soap.  It reminds me of how quickly life can be over.

I could show you the underneath side of my desk with three pairs of shoes, more files and dog hair. I could show you the two IFC connectors, the camera  lens cover I keep loosing and the dusty computer speakers, but I won't. I don't want you to fall asleep.... or worse yet... stop following my blog.
Yes, I'm done.... except for one more photo... no... two more... no, just one more.
This one was going to be my lottery ticket.
When we took a ride to the river the other day. We were on the beach and I spotted a very shining gold color in the water. I waded out to what I knew was the biggest gold nugget that I'd ever found. I reached down and pried it from the gravel. I was so excited. I just knew my ship had come in.
Well, after unleashing all the wonderful  anticipation of this discovery, I found an old bottle cap in my hand. Someone, who was panning for gold a few feet away said, "Whatcha got there?" I walked over and showed her my find. She smiled and said..." Well, it could have been a nugget. You have to reach down and look for everything around here. The water has been running so fast and it's moving a lot of dirt around . You just never know."
I said " Yes, you just have to keep hoping for the best."
I walked back up to the Prospector and showed him the bottle cap. He asked me if I was going to take it home. I said yes.... it's an old one. It might be worth something.
He picked up another one in the sand,
"Here, This one might be worth something too.... someday."
It was a Corona Extra cap. He has no vision.
My find is very rusty, blue with a gold yellow  drawing of water and a ship or shark fin and fireworks or palm trees on it. The only words are "pry off". It's one I haven't seen before.... but then, I don't drink much beer.
Please tell me that it's worth millions.
I will save it... on my desk... until I hear from you.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Haunting

Sometimes things happen to my computer and I don't know how, or what, or why. I have been sitting in this chair most of the morning...

trying to figure out why my photos wouldn't transfer to a file. I put them all into the tray and push "export" like I have done for a thousand years and each time a window would open up saying "Error... unable to write all files due to disk error."
WRITE? These are photos not short stories or poems. What is it really saying?
Then I made the real mistake of trying to troubleshoot the problem myself.
I went into Picasa and asked for HELP. What a joke!
I went into Google and asked for HELP.... nothing. They wanted me to ask other people who had this problem what they did to correct it.
I'm I crazy or is this self help attitude becoming an excuse for lackadaisical work ethics?
Doesn't the company know what's wrong with its own program?
I went into Windows... and by then I'm ready to feed someone to the rattlesnakes.
So about the same time that I had a small meltdown, my sweet little virus protector decides that it has had enough and it pops up with a small meltdown of it's own.
It shuts everything down and then tells me that it's "non responsive" and that I have a serious problem. I paid this company over a hundred bucks to have it tell me I HAVE A PROBLEM!!
I already knew that.
Then it tells me that I had better save all my "information" on a separate disk.
I did this, thinking that some malicious demon was going to destroy all of my computer programs... That all my photos would be thrown into the netherworld never to be seen again.
I would loose EVERYTHING.  This was de ja vu on a much smaller scale than the feelings during the fire, but none the less, it threw me into a panic.
I finally found the blank disks in the closet, (No small task.) and copied everything. I say "everything" because the extent of my knowledge about all this is so minimal that I really have no idea what actually went onto that disk.... but it said that the transfer was complete, so I guessed that it was now on this safe little silver orb and I remove it from my hard drive.
Then I tried to transfer my photos to a file again so that I could write and publish this galvanizing little vignette about what I look at when I'm sitting at my desk and what significance these things have for me.
I thought that I had beaten the system until the window came up again saying ERROR, ERROR, ERROR.
 and then, as if to make the whole experience even more like a true horror movie, the screen when gray and just sat there looking at me.
I finally make the decision to manually shut the computer down.
I left the computer to die without an audience and, while eating lunch, I told the Prospector my woeful story.
He said "Leave it off for a while and try it later."
He always cuts to the chase.

After lunch I turned on the computer.
I went to Picasa, pick the photos that I needed, pushed the "export" button and ,
YES, it loaded the photos right into a little folder file, waited for me to start  posting and nothing has gone wrong since.
The malevolent entity was gone.
The Jinks was lifted.
The Leprechaun left the building

I didn't have much to say today, anyway...

Tomorrow, I will thrill you with my thoughts on the little corner of my computer world.
I know you just can't wait.
There will be insights into the exciting world of blogging...
and beer bottle caps.
I think I need a good stiff drink... and I don't even drink.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Beauty of a River

I came where the river
Ran over stones;
My ears knew
An early joy.
And all the waters
Of all the streams
Sang in my veins
That summer day.
-  Theodore Roethke, The Waking, 1948

Paint me a picture of the landscape. 
Dance me the dance of the waves. 
Sing me of the legends of the river. 
Tell me the story of the sky.
~author unknown~

No one can  see their reflection in running water,
It is only in still water that we can see
~Taoist proverb~

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge 
and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, 
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."
~Winnie the Pooh~

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bantam Bravery

"Once upon a time there was a tiny, tiny chicken named Chicken Little."

"One day Chicken Little was scratching in the garden when something fell on her head.
"Oh," cried Chicken Little, "the sky is falling. I must go tell the king."

"How do you know that the sky is falling, Chicken Little?" asked Henny Penny.
"I saw it with my eyes, I heard it with my ears, and a bit of it fell on my head," said Chicken Little."

This is MY Chicken Little.
Her name is Squeaky because she has this squeak instead of a cluck.
She is a Bantam chicken.
She's kind of a nervous bird.
She ALWAYS thinks the sky is falling and rightfully so. She is the only Bantam hen in the coop. A little chicken in a land of amazons.
There use to be another Banty. Her name was Henny Penny. She has gone over the Rainbow Bridge and now Squeak is on her own. We also have a Bantam rooster.

Napoleon is kind of busy staying on top of things so he's not much help to Squeak. He is a kind and benevolent ruler and has always been good to the "ladies", but he doesn't have time to defend Squeak from the other hens.
So, over the years, Squeaky has learned to be a survivor. She grabs the food and runs. She gets pecked and knocked around. Stepped on and chased... but, as the old worn out adage says, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". It would appear this is true.
The flock loves to "free range" but we don't let them do this everyday. There are so many predators around that it's not really safe to just let them run all over the place. So, when we know that we will be home most of the day, we let them out.
Squeaky loves these wonderful days of fresh grass and bugs.
She has space to be her own chicken.
She has room to roam... usually by herself.
So it was a surprise to see this the other day...
Not surprising because the chickens were dusting and resting in my chicken/turkey/deer ravaged garden near the driveway.
Not  surprising because they were all together soaking up the early morning sunshine...
but completely surprising because, on closer inspection, look who is with them.
There on the left... tucked right down next to all the Amazonians.
Yes, it's Squeaky.
She was all scooched down, covered with dust and acting like one of the clique... the sisterhood of feathers.
What a brave little chicken she is.  Even when another big hen came in to flop around and scatter dirt. Even when the barred rock behind her readjusted and kicked her accidentally... she just made a loud squeak and held her ground. What bravery! What fortitude!
She may be a "chicken little" but she's a tough little bird and we love her.
This post was for my friend Jan, at Little Pink Houses,  who always asks about Squeaky.
Jan has a cat named Rusty that is going through a very rough time. He had a leg amputated because it had a fast growing cancer in it.  Poor kitty is not having an easy time of it. Please leave her a message and a few good thoughts.