Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little Did We Know

Dear Trisha, It seems impossible that a year has passed since we lost you. Not a day goes by I don't think about you and I'm sure that's true for all of us, friends and family.

Sunlit Wagon Wheel

Being a visual person, I think of you as the hub of a wheel, each spoke a different aspect of your diverse array of friendships. You had an irresistible enthusiasm for adventures of all kinds, pursuits you delighted in sharing with your pals. You left a wonderful legacy of spirit that brought together the people who shared your life. Thank you for being in mine.
Trisha was a gifted photographer with an uncanny ability to capture fleeting moments before they disappeared: the impetuous expression on a child’s face, a shell on the tideline, or a quiet moment that captured a doe in the glowing long-light of a late Ruby Mountain winter afternoon, a moment when friends were relishing their bond of friendship, Vince reading his last poems, sharing the awe at the beauty of the light on the land. 

She loved horseback adventures and long days in the saddle, nights around the campfire under the stars giggling with friends, entranced by music and stories, coyotes singing in the distance. She was passionate about music and trains and went on just about every Roots on the Rails adventure offered from Canada to Mexico. She would regale me with stories and introduced me to new music I might not have discovered on my own.

 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Betty, Trisha and Carol

 Rod's paper airplane that won Trisha
a Professional Bull Riding Championship jacket
signed by Adriano Moraes

Betty and Trisha in Monument Valley

Trisha, Michael and Martha in Churchill, MB
on the Polar Bear Train

We all shared everyday cares and joys with her in different ways: maybe while organizing a closet, on a horseback ride or perhaps on hands and knees working in the garden. The girl embodied serenity and grace dusted with a wicked sense of humor: a true and honest friend and the ultimate straight shooter. All would agree she was the perfect partner in crime. We shared the gamut of emotions over the years we were in each other lives ~ but mostly irrepressable laughter.

The great Benbow Adventure 2009

Each of us had future plans with her and said “see you next week” or “see you in April” with the absolute expectation we would. Little did we know. To her friends each escapade shared was a grand, unexpected and priceless adventure: be it a music train, cowboy poetry or thrift store shopping, playing Mexican train or penny slots, road trips with cameras and no promises to keep, or riding in the back country. All of our lives would be less rich had she not been part of them.
Heartfelt thanks to Betty P, Betty R, Martha, Margo and Melinda for allowing me to share their thoughts and words. Trisha will always fill our hearts and her gift to us is that we have all found each other along the trail.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Breast Cancer Journey - Radiation Therapy

So after a few days off, I am back in the saddle.

Last Wednesday was a test drive of what will be my treatment scenario at the Rohnert Park Cancer Center. My radiation therapist and nurses checked and rechecked all settings and finalized positioning for safety and efficacy of treatment. It took about half an hour and I was done. I'm now familiar with the layout and very comfortable with the crew who will see me through each session.

I received a scan card so I can check myself in each day and head to the changing room. Once changed you come out to a pleasant little cove of chairs until called. My appointments are all at 10am, so I cross paths with the same dedicated warriors every day. We share stories, bits of our lives, and find laughter in our little corner of reality.

Sun's rays via a raindrop
on the tip of an apple blossom bud

My team double checks all the parameters to make sure all is in proper alignment before we start. The treatments take less than 5 minutes and I don't feel a thing. So far I'm not experiencing any side effects, but radiation therapy is cumulative so I've been told that the treated area may appear to get a sunburn and I may experience fatigue a few weeks in. There are creams and potions for the skin, but my friend El says good old aloe vera works the best. Fortunately I have a large plant that has gone feral under our pear tree.

I've always been a visual person so I decided to track the days until end of my treatments like I did when my friend Trisha and I retired. All you need are two vases or jars ~ one with the number of marbles for each day until you're done and one empty. Transfer a marble everyday after you return from your treatment session and feel the glee of seeing the balance change!

Deep Space Phenomenon

Speaking of marbles, check out this beauty from Sean Clayton. Suggestion for a daily plan after your session: take a time out, put on some music and loose yourself in a universe of your choosing. They're playing "Dance to the Music" on the radio right now, how perfect!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ah Autumn!

A few photos from yesterday's walkabout between appointments

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Luck of the Draw

Rod and I decided to go to the movies last Wednesday afternoon. Once there we realized we were an hour early so off we went for a walk. Many of our local parks have benches along the trails to honor the memory of someone. I always read them and as I passed one in particular, I was struck by a dedication to a 20 year old. I started thinking about some of the amazing moments in my life that have occured since turning 20 in 1965.  

1967 ~ Bought my first car a 1963 VW Bus
1969 ~ Watched a man walk on the moon with my grandma Olive
1970 ~ Spent a month on the road exploring western Canada with my dog Charis as co-pilot, climbed Mt. Robson with some new friends I met along the way and experienced a glacier calving at Berg Lake

1972 ~ Visited the Colorado Rockies for the first time, the same month John Denver released "Rocky Mountain High" in the summer of my 27th year
He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him,
you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door…

1973 ~ Started what would be a 33 year career at the Bodega Marine Lab
1975 ~ Looked a grey whale in the eye as it raised its head up out of deep water next to Death Rock at Wrights Beach - I have witnesses
1981 ~ Met the love of my life at the Ft. Ross VFD music festival in Cazadero
Rod and Hazel Sit Down

1985 ~ Was present at the birth of my goddaughter Casey
1986 ~ Rod and I married at the haunted Gold Hill Hotel in Gold Hill, NV
1988 ~ Bought our first home and have been here 23 years
1996 ~ Celebrated our 10th anniversary by renewing our vows at Gold Hill
2006 ~ Retired on April Fools Day with my best friend Trisha. We treated ourselves to 2 weeks in Hawaii and never looked back

Trisha, Rosie and Me in Waimanalo

2008 ~ Attended my 45th HS reunion and had lunch with some of the gang

Julia, Lynn, Laurie, Melinda, Gayle
Mary, Lynn and Taffy

2009 ~ Saw NYC for the first time
2010 ~ Attended the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV
2011 ~ I'm winning the battle with breast cancer and we're celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on December 21st

How lucky we all are to still be here looking forward. Just yesterday morning I was laughing out loud as several of us Mill Valley kids were on Facebook trying to identify our classmates in a 6th grade class photo from 19 ought 50 something.

Your homework: Initiate random acts of kindness, thank a Veteran and take care of your little corner of the world. Wealth is not defined by financial success, but how you spend the time you have, spend it well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Waltzing Trees

So what did you do yesterday? We took 2 trees on a road trip.

Our long time neighbor Elder Tom passed away in late September. He and Rod were buddies and Rod has been maintaining his yard and fruit trees for over 15 years. We're now working with the executor of his estate.

Tom had two favorite trees in planter boxes. The one on the front patio is a Japanese maple. It was planted in a 30"x30" redwood box about 20 years ago when it was a wee sprout. It's now close to 18' tall and has a trunk about 8" in diameter. It's so root bound it needed to be watered daily and was starting to show signs of distress. The other is a 10 foot tall blue spruce that was at the corner of the guest room.

The trees needed to be moved but there was no accessible place on Elder Tom's property to plant additional trees so we asked the executor if we could move them to our property as a memorial to Tom. He felt this was a a great solution so we called our friend Chuck at Apple Blossom Nursery to come up and give us a hand. He is a master on a tractor.

The spruce was the easy one, the Japanese maple proved to be challenge.
Chuck had to negotiate our power lines, a low hanging oak branch and thread his way between the blue spruce and our herb bed to reach the spot.

Root bound was an understatement for the maple. The redwood planter box had to be pried off and a breaker bar used to loosen some of the roots before it was gently lowered into its new home.

Several hours of watering and a B-1 feeding last night and a couple of hours of water this morning should get both trees on the path to recovery and growth. It's really cool to see them when I look out of my studio window. A variety of small birds are already exploring. The pictures are from early this morning.

Oh, and the old apple stump we removed for the maple planting was relocated on a whim and a prayer to a place down with 2 other apple trees in the pasture. It had a little bit of new growth on it so we're hoping it will get a second chance. It was one of my favorite eating apples before the gophers got to it.