Tuesday, April 20, 2021

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends

Our little neighborhood has become a sweet, loving community. We are enjoying these friendships in a way we never have before.

That being said, it has been an enlightening and interesting experience to walk side by side with our neighbors R & S as their adult child transforms from the daughter they gave birth to, to the person they have become. We’ve learned together to honor their request of going from Julie to Lance. Watching R&S with their need to acknowledge both their love and their grief. When referring to the past, when Lance was a child, they were a little girl. That can’t be ignored. It doesn’t disappear because the narrative has changed. We, including them, slip or forget but we help each other to embrace imperfectly. It’s a wondrous walk of unconditional love on their part and good friendship on ours. 

Love and acceptance are something everyone wants, at least to some degree. There is a little more love and acceptance on this street of ours and I like it......a lot.

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Trip Down Memory Lane

If one is traveling, attempting to drive from the southern part of California to the northern part and beyond, one must pass through a large section that could be considered a vast wasteland from the point of view of visual interest. Four or five hours of dirt colored nothingness except for an occasional small town that can leave me wondering...."How could anyone possibly, ever live here?"

Truth be told, it’s a cornucopia. It’s called the Central Valley and here are a few facts:

  • More than 250 different crops are grown in the Central Valley with an estimated value of $17 billion per year
  • Approximately 75% of the irrigated land in California and 17% of the Nation's irrigated land is in the Central Valley
  • Using fewer than 1% of U.S. farmland, the Central Valley supplies 8% of U.S. agricultural output (by value) and produces 1/4 of the Nation's food, including 40% of the Nation's fruits, nuts, and other table foods.
  • The predominant crop types are cereal grains, hay, cotton, tomatoes, vegetables, citrus, tree fruits, nuts, table grapes, and wine grapes.
  • About 20% of the Nation's groundwater demand is supplied from pumping Central Valley aquifers, making it the second-most-pumped aquifer system in the U.S.
  • The Central Valley is one of the more notable structural depressions in the world
It's all that but, for me, it is also an olfactory bounty of memories. Each crop or dairy farm conjuring recollections of early vacations with family that lived near Yosemite National Park. The odors, whether good or bad, bring back the sense of hot summer days on the water, skiing behind the boats sporting beautiful metal flake paint in assorted colors. I loved they way they sparkled in the sun and water. 

Always hoping that the person driving the boat was sober. If it was Harold, I never had to worry. He could go as fast as we wanted and the nervousness I felt was an exciting sense of freedom and adventure. Harold was a wonderful and safe adult male in my life.

This morning, while in my car watching the sunrise, I smelled the strong scent of an onion crop and it brought back some sweet memories of time with family and friends, when life was, perhaps, a little less complicated.

Did you have a Harold? 

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Old Gray Mare, She Just Ain't What She Used To Be....

Business is very slow and I don't feel confident that my contract will be renewed next year. I am, therefore, for the first time in 35 years, applying for jobs.

At 57 this is a humbling experience. I am very qualified for most accounting positions, except those requiring CPA or bachelor degrees. I got my degree in the school of life and done OK for myself. Back to the humbling part......each time I send out the resume there is a part of me that wishes I could condense my work experience into a shorter timeframe but I can't get away from the fact that my first Payroll job was in 1985.

Having sent out at least 25 resumes, thus far this is what I have heard........

Ah well, not completely unexpected.

I forge forward.....I've got a number of good earning years in front of me. I need something to fill more of my time. I'd really like to be socking away a little bit of dough for retirement. Mostly, I'd love a little help paying my $1000.00 per month health insurance bill. Yep! $1000.00 per month with a $3000.00 a year co-pay. Can you believe it?

More and more I am thinking of getting a job with one of the local cities. Good benefits and paid insurance. That would mean an extra  $15000.00 in my pocket per year right off the bat. 

Wish me luck.

Monday, April 12, 2021

In The Home Stretch

I've lived in the city of Ventura for 38 years. You would think that it would be the place I call home but, deep within my heart, when I say I want to go home, I am talking about Sunland/Tujunga, the place I was raised, and maybe a little bit of La Crescenta, which is where we moved when I was 13ish. Both cities are suburbs of Los Angeles.

Ventura (60 miles NW) is podunk compared to LA and driving here is, well...........(yawn) kind of sleepy. I am completely accustom to it though, it's been a long time. 

On those days when we decide to venture east to LA, whether to sight see or visit one of my siblings, it's a chance to enjoy the ride.....and I do. Something happens when I get about half way there. I sit a little snugger in my seat, I make sure my mirrors are quite well adjusted, we often have the music on and I morph back into the person I was meant to be. It's like putting on a favorite old pair of jeans and a lovely soft flannel shirt. It just fits. 

I become more aware, more aggressive (which required to get anywhere) and feel like I belong. Traffic doesn't bother me in the least, unless I am late to the airport, and rude drivers are expected, no surprises there. 

I love to drive but I really love to drive back home.

Even after all these years, and even though I would never move back, I am still an LA kind of girl.

Where is your "home"?

Monday, March 29, 2021

Therein Lies the Problem

 Text from neighbor:

  • HEADSUP: Two friends of ours, both in their 50's, got appointments (this hour) for vaccinations at the CVS. Site is easy to navigate.  Good Luck
I gave it a try but I still did not qualify, not having any of the exceptions.

Me to Boy Scout:  I'd make the appointment but I don't want to lie. I'm not comfortable with that.

Boy Scout to Me: I get it. I wouldn't be either.

I stare at him astonished, he stares at me sheepishly, and we both start laughing hysterically.

Boy Scout, the man who cleverly omits facts, changes directions of conversations, can be honesty challenged when it is going to make him look bad and is known to boost his boasting in fantastical ways then says, almost ashamedly but not quite, "That was a lie." 

The man is working on it.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Angels in America #4

Working was all I could do for awhile. I didn't sleep or eat. I certainly wasn't parenting or reaching out to friends. It was a dark time and I just couldn't find a door or even a cracked window. But I could work and work I did. 

I took a client call, a gal I've know very surfacy for decades. She's educated, wise and witty. We talked once every 4 or 5 years, discuss a solution to a problem, and say our goodbyes. This time was different. Maybe she could tell by the tone of my voice. I'm not sure how she knew. but with her sweet, southern drawl she said, "So tell me dear, how ya doin?" I held my breath for a moment, trying to quell the coming downpour, trying to steel myself against the tide. She said something else, with a caring tone, I can't even remember what it was. 

I told her I was doing ok. "Come on honey, what's on your heart?", she says. I didn't mean to say it, it was so unexpected. I didn't say my husband's an addict, gone off his rocker, cheated, lied and won't leave me alone. I didn't say I am scared for my kids, for what they saw and how they will heal. "I feel so silly but I just don't think I can do this without my mom." 

"Aw baby, that's not silly. Do you know I am 73 years old. My mama is still alive and just the other day I sat, fully clothed, in the shower as I washed her. We were both crying. She doesn't want to be here and I don't want her to go. I know it looks dark but you'll find your way. But you're way stronger than you think honey.", says the woman who was an acquaintance but is now my friend.

I don't actually believe in angels like some people do, but I believe in the goodness of people who bother to connect and lend a hand when a mere hand will make all the difference. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Purposeful Not Random

Sometimes I need to be reminded how many really wonderfully decent people there are all over this planet. YouTube has a channel called Random Acts of Kindness. In a time when we often see people at their worst, it warms the heart.

I heard this somewhere and I've adopted it for my own:

Kindness is my religion