Saturday, August 24, 2013


This is the best Moon picture I've ever taken with my Sony camera. I used the action setting and it came out pretty good. We've been sitting outside in the evenings, in the shade of the eucalyptus tree, watching ants move their colonies into my raised vegetable beds. Like geese flying south, or dogs shedding their summer undercoats, ants moving eggs is a sure sign that autumn is nearby.

This evening sitting time cuts into blogging time, and as a result, I haven't had many entries over the past couple months. I'll make up for that with some mightily-compressed paragraphs, bringing readers and myself up to date.

We rented a truck and bought a cord of almond wood. The suspension on the Chevy Prism (2000, and 281,000 miles) is really getting rough, and without an income, replacing the Vibe (2003) isn't an option, so we opted out of ferrying the wood in the cars' trunks and spent a few Andy Jacksons and got the wood. It's stacked now, after one of the most pleasant stacking experiences I've ever had; the weather in the mornings has been wonderfully cool (it was only over 100 degrees when we picked up the wood) and I could take as much time as I needed to bring it in and find niches for each piece. I swear every other year we got wood coincided with a hellish heat wave. Also, possibly because Dink is off pasture and in a paddock, I may have better upper-body condition from shoveling horseshit cleaning up after him.

Ah, Dink. The old man is in fine fettle at 23 years of age, still good under saddle so that I can ride him out alone if need be. He's feeling quite feisty for his years, and I've had to really ride like I know what I'm doing as he prances and postures, like liquid, like wind-blown clouds, surging forward, lofting side to side, as we prepare to ride out into the orchards. I rode today, too; although he was an asshole prior to the ride, he was perfect on it. Good horse.

Joan (also called JoMa) is in a phase of vocabulary-building known as the Screaming Meemies. Can't figure out what she wants? She will pierce your eardrums for you until you do with a scream that is incredibly high-pitched and pure mind-blasting sound. I can't wait for her to grow through this one. She's also taking a few steps, but can still travel faster quadrupedally.

Lillian started school at the Historic Durham Ferry campus of Venture Academy. Already we can see a difference in her homework assignments: she's expected to learn practical English and math! After six years of schlock and stupidity, (no wait, her fourth-grade teacher was really good) it looks like she will finally learn something that might actually stand her in good stead.

Bernie has expanded his culinary skills to include tempura and a kickass key lime pie.

I tackled a new cooking skill, too. Mine had to do with buying whole squid, and learning to clean and cut them up. But that's a whole blog post of its own, and I hope you'll check back for "Dancing with the Squid" in days to come.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Good Life

I think that this is my favorite picture of me in the past ten years.

Just looking at it reminds me of how pleasantly cool the water was on my be-sneakered feet after a two-hour ride; how sweet the air was off the reservoir, carrying the sound of water-birds and distant motorboats; how good it feels to ride a clever and intrepid horse.

Bernie asked me the other day (as we were sitting out under the delicious shade of the eucalyptus tree on the front lawn) if I hadn't wanted to be rich and famous when I was a kid. My honest answer was that I hadn't. By the time I was eight, I'd already had it up to the eyebrows with childhood snobbery ("My daddy makes more money than yours does!") and anyway, if I was rich, I wouldn't be spending so many hours playing in the creek ("crick") or around the town's landfill, which was across the street from our house, and I wouldn't have given those adventures up for the world.

What I did want when I was older/grown-up was to have a horse and to ride as long as I could as often as I could.

And here I am, riding my little horse into the lake, splashing and getting my shoes and pants and chaps wet, playing with good friends who are almost always up for a ride.

I've had a great life, thanks to Bernie, who never minded that I didn't want to be rich and famous, or powerful and privileged. The other thing I wanted in my life came to me when I was about sixteen, and was a junior counselor at a 4-H camp. I was in charge of a cabin of nine-year-old girls and helped with all the youngsters with songs and crafts and hikes. A very sweet little boy decided I was his favorite counselor, and I fell in love with taking care of him. From then on, what I wanted to be was a wife and mother. A home-maker. I've had the delight of doing that with Bernie, and though it sounds a bit unreal, I savor ironing clothes, and folding laundry, and love love love being able to sit under the shady tree in the front yard with my husband and watch the world go about its business while I rejoice in mine.

I'm riding that horse into the lake again tomorrow, too!

P.S. Photo by Aggie Smith, taken from aboard her beautiful mare, Sis.