Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Road to Elko

Once again I'm headed to Elko, NV for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Last year was my first experience. I went with my friend Carol and had an absolutely incredible adventure. I had no idea what to expect and got my boots blown off.

The Gathering is a grand celebration of the west. This years focus is the southwest, specifically Arizona and New Mexico. Both states celebrate their centennial year of statehood in 2012. I'm especially interested because I have ties to Arizona history. My great grandfather, Stanley Chipman Bagg was at one time the editor of the Tombstone Epitaph. My grandfather John Sherman Bagg discovered the Catherine Mine near Lake Mojave. Some of the historic information states SC discovered it, but the real story is that JS was under 18 when he filed the claim and had to put it in his father's name!  

Children's book illustration from 
The Poet of the Sierras published in 1937

Cowboys, ranchers, and denizens of rural and urban environments come together in Elko to enjoy a week of workshops, poetry, music, art and history. I'm introducing my darling husband, a rural Oregon boy, to the Gathering this year. We'll meet up with friends from Idaho, Nevada and California that we rarely get to see. Trisha's Posse rides again and we'll celebrate the friends who could not join us, but who will be there in spirit!

Vince and Trisha Pedroia

Instead of making the drive all in one day like last year, Rod and I decided to take it easy: have dinner with friends and spend the night in Reno. We were planning on getting home by 2/6 but we just found out we have no promises to keep so if the weather holds we may do a little exploring.

I'm taking my camera this time so there will be words and pictures. Do put this one your Bucket List. For more information go to the Western Folklife Center website at

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Breast Cancer Journey ~ Post Script II

It's been awhile since my last post. After completing four weeks of radiation in early December I decided to take the rest of the month off and just heal.

My oncologist was out of town most of January, but I had a chance to meet with him yesterday to further discuss my concerns about a 5 year course of the drug Anastrozole as a preventative measure. I am what is called estrogen positive and the drug is supposed to help reduce estrogen hormone levels (as if menopause wasn't enough). Conventional wisdom is that there is a 45% chance it may help reduce chances of re-occurrence but there is no definitive evidence to support it. The list of potential side effects is daunting and I already have a compromised liver and osteoporosis which this drug could further exacerbate.

He said "Look you are already under a microscope because of the breast cancer and we'll be watching tests and mammograms closely. I feel there is no need to take the Anastrozole if you don't want to." I cannot tell you what a weight off my shoulders that was.

Lightness Becomes You

So where from here? You Really Are What You Eat ~ I'm working with a nutritionist to make adjustments to my diet. I don't drink or smoke and rarely eat red meat so that's a plus for me. However there are changes afoot and this is now the "No Excuses Tour"

  • Drive by the Drive Thru
  • No more processed foods ~ We grow a lot of our own, but will shop at local stores and farmers markets for fresh, organic, locally grown produce.
  • Reduce fats
  • Eat whole grains
  • Embrace a plant based diet and seek out foods high in cancer fighting phytochemicals like kale, broccoli, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Check out:
  • For me it has been suggested that I stay away from soy products (no problem as I'm not too fond of them in the first place)
  • For information and helpful tools check out:
More exercise ~ walking, weight bearing and/or resistance training. I visit my gym several times a week and take walkabouts in my neighborhood and local parks. I'm looking into Yoga classes and Zumba dance at my gym.

Education ~ Learn more about xenoestrogens, the estrogen mimickers that are rampant in our environment and everyday lives. Learn what to stay away from and make simple changes to avoid these bad boys. Start with this website:

The journey continues ~ It's up to me to further my education and make the right choices, to question authority and be my own advocate. It's a tough job but each of us has to take responsibility for our actions.

The Journey ~ Her Story

Artisan and Travellers ~ Thank you to the amazing Etsy artisans who have given me inspiration and helped me illustrate my blogs. To my fellow travellers ~ thank you for keeping me company on the journey. I will continue posts as I find new resources and inspiration.

The Whole Story: If you type "breast cancer" in the upper left hand search box all the blogs of the series will come up starting with August 23, 2011.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Handy Man

I'm the first to admit that I sometimes take my better half for granted and at times question his methods. Rod is a hands on kind of guy: most times his approach to a problem is well thought out, other times frustration takes over and the take is if it doesn't work force it.

I often see alternatives to his train of thought and don't hesitate to voice my opinion. You know "work smarter not harder" or "whoa, whoa, whoa wait a minute, time out". This has been know to rankle his good nature but then again he sometimes sees the sense in my suggestion and follows through.

The water pressure in our shower has been getting worse and worse, we're talking seriously wimpy. One morning we both looked at each other and in a blinding flash of the proverbial light bulb it occurs to us to check the little filter screen in the shower head (we're on well water).

Sounds easy enough until our vintage plumbing comes into play. The shower head comes off easily but so does the threaded part of the pipe. Oh Boy, now we have to remove the entire "S" extension that's screwed into the plumbing in the wall to replace it. A collective holding of the breath proved worth our while, it easily came out of the wall, threads intact. Off to Sebastopol Hardware for a replacement part and a low flow shower head (will enhance pressure of a small amount of water).

Handy Boy has all back in running order in no time and says "I think you're going to be happy with the water pressure." I am so looking forward to a real shower I'm in there in a flash. Wahoooo! I had to hold on to the soap dish to keep from being shot to the other end of the enclosure. The hot and cold water faucets are barely a open a quarter turn and we've got Niagara Falls. We plugged up the tub for both our shamelessly long showers and it was less than a third of a tub of water for both. Something to be said for low flow shower heads!
The Man of the Shower

Kudos to my plumber and all men who put up with their women making suggestions. Sometimes we're right and sometimes we're slightly off base, but that's what teamwork is all about ~ compromise.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rain with a Chance of Butterflies

We're expecting our first rains of the season today and it's about freaking time. We've had to water the gardens the last two months and that's just not right. Awoke this morning to a delightfully cloudy sky.

These little beauties are ones we discovered in the Rain Forests of the World Exhibit at California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. We met up with a friend from Vermont last April and spent the entire day on a walkabout. If you've never been it's a must adventure, put it on your to do list.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beauty in Small Packages

 Mt. Tamalpais 12/25/11

“Consider the Lichen. Lichens are just about the hardiest visible organisms on Earth, but the least ambitious.” Bill Bryson

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Proceed with Caution

One of our favorite breakfast spots is Cousteau Bakery in Healdsburg, CA. We always stop if we're in or on our way through town. You have to cross the main street to get there and you pretty much took your chances at the crosswalk. To be fair it's only a two lane road, but people everywhere seem to be distracted or in too much of a hurry to pay attention to those on foot.

Minnie was an aggressive drive

The town recently put in one of the flashing cross walks to hopefully get the attention of drivers. You hit the button and wait for the flashing lights. I was rather taken aback with an audio addition in a rather nice male voice that said:

"Proceed with caution, Drivers may not stop"

My husband and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing and we still look both ways and make eye contact with drivers before crossing any street. Small towns are bad enough I can't imagine living in a big city where drivers are not only distracted, but usually upset about something!