Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Album of the Heart ~ Mar 27, 1880

Hold the presses ~ my friend Margo Metegrano found the rest of the poem and the author. Margo is the driving force behind www.cowboypoetry.com and one of her aims in life is to unite poems with their rightful authors. The poet is Josephine (J.P.) Pollard 1834-1892. She wrote children's books, poetry, hymns and edited magazines. What was written in Flora's journal was but the first half of the poem.

Another entry from my great grandmother's "Album of the Heart". Sadie Hill was, I believe, a childhood friend. I have tried to research the poem, thinking it may have been transcribed from another source, but to date I have found no reference to it.

Romantic Victorian Vintage Print  -- 1880s Illustration Perfect for Framing
Romantic Vintage 1880's Postcard
One little word we oft bestow
The root from which all friendships grow
Which joy and sweetness may impart
If given truly from the heart
But if with careless ease it slips
Too frequently o'er honeyed lips
It falls unnoticed to the earth
To any heart of little worth
But coming from a heart sincere
And spoken tenderly, how dear
The little word of letters four
Thus consecrated evermore
Sadie Hill

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Album of the Heart ~ May 12, 1881

I recently found an ornate little journal that belonged to my maternal great grandmother, Flora Kidde White Hobson Beals. The entries, from 1871-1882, are from friends, family and teachers .
She was born June 1st, 1859 on Russian Hill in San Francisco, the eldest daughter of Colonel James Monroe White, who came to San Francisco via Cape Horn in 1849 and Sarah Francis Mansfield who joined him in Panama in 1852. They were both originally from Boston.


I believe this entry from May 12, 1881 is from her mother Sarah (signed Mrs. S.F. White). Flora would have been 22 at the time so my guess is this was a bit of motherly advice.
Keep your distance with a stranger
Is a maxim you should know
Keep your eyes upon your neighbor
Be he friend, or be he foe
Keep your money, keep your secrets
Everything you've got that's nice
And you'll have both peace and comfort
If you take this good advice
In January, 1894 she and her second husband, Charles W. Beals, purchased what would become the family compound at 237 Summit Avenue in Mill Valley. The price for the 5/8 acre parcel, purchased from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company, was $1,600. I grew up on the property, a magical place to be sure. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just a Thought Series ~ April 24, 1976

April 24, 1976

The synchronicity of my life continues to baffle and entertain. I was looking through some of my old journals this afternoon and came upon something I'd written 37 years ago today. It is as timely now as it was then.

Prelude to spring
Buds full to bursting
Carpets of color
Tickle fancies and feet

Minutes to hours to days
Ocean's rhythm
A continuum
As vital as a heartbeat

Within touch or in solitude
The river runs deep
Knowing this loves exists
Beyond the everyday
Is a simple joy
Worth more than any fortune
Today the words are for my husband Rod, the delightful bear who has surrounded me with love, warmth, laughter, and good food for the last three decades. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shakedown Cruise ~ April 16, 2013

When was the last time you removed everything from your vehicle to see what was there? Our cars have always had a small road box with tools, an emergency kit, and changes of clothes for the primary driver. Sounds simple, but add to that the vast array of stuff accumulated over the years, deemed necessary at one time or another, and you have controlled chaos.

We had to unpack the Jeep (which is for sale) and outfit the Explorer so it seemed reasonable to unload the Honda too. Yesterday morning our entire living room floor was covered with the STUFF out of the two cars. One look and we took it as a sign we needed to THIN IT OUT.

About noon we took a break and did a lap around the vineyard next door, a nice 1.5 mile walk, then came back to fix lunch. We looked at the wasteland we ironically call the "living room" and decided it was time to run away for the afternoon. The perfect time for a shakedown cruise in the Explorer.

North of Bodega Bay, South of Jenner

We headed out to Bodega Bay and up the coast to Gualala for coffee and treats Trink's CafĂ©. A springtime weekday is the perfect time to explore the coast on Hwy 1. There were very few cars on the road and wildflowers are everywhere: poppies, lupine, paintbrush, and ceanothus to name a few.

On the return trip we decided to take a road even less traveled: a gravel road that takes off from Hwy. 1 and winds up through forests and the Kruse Rhododendron Gardens. Though it's the right time of year there were few in bloom ~ perhaps it's been too dry a winter.  

Kruse Road

Next spot we come to was at one time the town of Plantation. In the 19th century, the Plantation House, a thirteen room hotel, was built and operated on the current Plantation premises. At the turn of the 20th century, the town  boasted a post office, meeting hall, and a stop on the Wells Fargo Express route. Sadly, the hotel burned down in the 1920’s. In 1952 Abe and Eve Crittenden envisioned another way to share this magical place and transformed it into a farm summer camp for children. The link is www.plantationfarm.com.  

It's the first time we'd been on the Plantation Road in over 30 years. We met at the Ft. Ross Volunteer Fire Department Picnic in Cazadero in May 1981.

A couple of summers later we took off from Rod's place on the Navarro Ranch and headed out for an adventure. Reversing the course we were on today we got to Seaview Road and asked the age old question "shall we turn right or left?". We chose right and ended up in Mendocino for a couple of days. As you can see our travelling style dates back to when we first met. 

One of the reasons I wanted to retrace our steps coming back from Gualala to Cazadero was a sign we saw along the Kruse Road on that trip. At the time the phone lines were buried along the banked roadside.  At various places along the way there were angled wooden bulwarks to hold soil back and protect equipment. Neatly carved into one of them, in official looking lettering, were the words "ET Phone Home". We had just seen the movie laughed ourselves silly. It was no longer there, but what I would have given for a camera at the time! No iPhones in 19 ought 83.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eyes Wide Open ~ April 8th, 2013

By o'dark thirty and we're up, dressed and fed. Rod fixed breakfast and packed snacks to take with us. We have to be at the UCSF Transplant Center to start the day of interviews at 6:50am. We're a little worse for wear due to our sleepless night, but you can't let a little thing like that get in your way.

7:00am ~ The first stop is for a presentation to the group of us being evaluated today. It's primarily informational and a forum for any questions. There's a certain amount of comfort derived from running into one or more of your "teammates for the day" at each appointment. We are all in this together so we share a common bond.

9:30am ~ Meet with the hepatologist (liver specialist) who let's us know up front that a possible show stopper for being listed for a transplant is my run-in with breast cancer in 2011. They may request further information and evaluation from one of their oncologists.

10:30 ~ Meet with social worker who has a lot of questions for us and clarifies UCSF's stance on drugs and alcohol. Many patients needing transplants have abused or continue to abuse drugs and alcohol. So even though my liver problem is due to chronic disease and cancer the playing field needs to be level. If I'm listed, they can request a random drug test at any time and it must be done the same day. If we're in Tucson or Telluride and get a call, we have to find a local lab. If we're traveling where there is no cell service we need to let UCSF know ahead of time.

I haven't had a drink since 1990 but I need to avoid any alcohol which includes that used in cooking, mouthwash or cold medicine. I don't smoke but I need to stay away from any source of second hand smoke because it will register in my system. Though restaurants and venues in California are smoke free, in many other states there are no such laws. Casinos and penny slots are off my dance card.

12:00 ~ Meet with the financial person who goes over our insurance coverage. 

1:30 ~ Meet with one of the transplant surgeons. He doesn't mince words. At first we thought him a bit arrogant, but then realized he is on the front line of these surgeries and is a realist. Age can play a major role in success and recovery (I'm 68 and could be 70 by the time I reach the top of the list).

Northern California is one of the largest regions in UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) and I have type "O" blood, the most common. What this means is the pool of people in our region waiting for livers is huge. There is a 15 month to 2 year wait once you're on the list. He suggested we look into "Multiple Listing" which allows me to be listed in other regions such as Jacksonville, FL or Cleveland, OH with a smaller population base. If we take advantage of that option it would mean relocating for 6 months. Yikes!

If I have a liver transplant I will be on immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of my life. A body considers any transplant an "introduced species" and will try to reject it. Though there will be much tweaking and fine tuning of the drugs there are a host of potential side effects.

2:30 ~ An ultrasound is my last appointment. I've been fasting all day so by now I'm hungry, tired and cranky. The afternoon's saving grace is the amazing view from the 6th floor waiting room: Golden Gate Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and Mt. Tamalpais (where I grew up).  

Room with a view 

 Urban Getaway

3:30 ~ We make our escape from UCSF, take off for a bite to eat and head back to the flat. The plan had been to spend another night in SF so we could play tourists for a day, but were exhausted. Time to head home and get a good nights sleep.

We met our host for the first time this afternoon and let him know we were prepared to give up the cost of the room for not staying a second night, but he insists on refunding it. We visited until about 6pm and then headed north.  Our first experience with airbnb (www.airbnb.com) was a positive one. It's a great way to meet new people wherever you're travelling.

It's been a long day...  says Mr. Owl -  8-1/2 X 11" Art Print
It's been a long day

Today was an eye opening experience: surreal, real, fascinating and scary. It was a lot to take in. Now it's a waiting game to see whether I get listed for a transplant or not. If not, we started exploring Plan B.

It's time for an adventure under the stars!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Off to San Francisco ~ April 7, 2013

We took off for San Francisco about 3:00pm Sunday. The marathon liver transplant evaluation at UCSF was to start at 6:50am Monday. A good night's sleep and not driving the morning commute to SF sounded like a good idea at the time. I had mentioned to the scheduling nurse at UCSF we were having a hard time finding a place to stay and she suggested we check out www.airbnb.com. As luck would have it the first listing I saw fit the bill and put us about 3 blocks from campus.

Our hosts wouldn't be back until 10pm so they left the key and house rules in the mailbox for us. This vintage upstairs flat (and I do mean up stairs) was warm and inviting.

Dining Room

Guest Room
We settled in and decided a walk was in order. Bundled up against the wind we took off down the hill. This is Farnsworth Lane, just down the street from our abode. Can you imagine the shape you'd be in walking this every day?

We strolled to the Panhandle, past what remains of Kezar Stadium and over to the Haight Ashbury district. I grew up in Mill Valley but had never been there. There's an incredible mix art and architectural on the streets.

Let there be light
Rod used to live in area during the 1970's and took great delight in regaling me with stories. This was a photographer's paradise, glad I had my IPhone.

We put in about 3 miles and on the way back stopped at Zazie's for dinner. It's a delightful little hole in the wall French restaurant. You get to the back patio through the kitchen. Our kind of place and the food was fabulous.
We toddled back up the hill after dinner and read for awhile. Lights out about 9:30 in hopes of a good night's sleep. Unfortunately high winds from an unexpected storm kept us awake most of the night. Oh Well!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Life is a Zip Line ~ April 7, 2013

We've been talking about selling my beloved 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (the one you can hear coming a half mile away) and our 2000 Dutchmen Motorhome. The Jeep because it has 187,000 miles and the motorhome because it costs to much to run and repair. We've had a ball for 7 years but it's time to rethink the game plan.

What next? Well, there are no guarantees ~ I'm facing the possibility of a liver transplant in the next two years and we think it's high time to start working on the bucket list.

We had to go to Petaluma on Tuesday to pick up Rod's weed whacker in the truck so on a whim we headed to Petaluma's Auto Row. We looked at a few used Jeeps, but all were high mileage and I don't like the new design. Our last stop was Henry Curtis Ford where we get the motorhome serviced.
We met Edward and told him we were looking for a newer Jeep, low mileage, V6, tow package, etc. We saw one there, but again too many miles. He said they had a couple more at the SR store, and offered to drive us up to take a look. He ushers us into a used 2013 Ford Explorer and off we go to SR. We looked at the Jeeps but decided we liked the Explorer better. He let us drive it back, first Rod, then me. We fell Hook, Line and Sinker! It's comfortable, quiet, powerful (V6), gets good mileage, and is set up for Flex Fuel. It's built for back roads and bad weather (Hello Elko Jan 2014). We got a good deal, though still more than I've ever paid for a car! This is my Christmas and Birthday present for life. My goal is to outlive the 7 year warranty!
There have been a lot of innovations since 1998, I used to be impressed by heated seats. This puppy is a computer on wheels, can you spell learning curve? We are actually in "novice mode" right now. Got to laugh!
We unpacked the motorhome Wednesday (I have a second household stacked in my studio) and Thursday we took it into Santa Rosa RV to see if they'd take it on consignment. We were hoping for $10K-13K, but he was offering $9K. The downside with consignment is that it might not sell and we didn't want it back.
What do we really want to do? We want to explore the National Parks, camp under the stars, and travel blue highways. We start thinking, always dangerous. A Forest River R-POD (like a full size tear drop) caught our eye. It's brand new and on sale. He said if we bought he'd give us $10,500 on the trade in. Life simplified - best of both worlds we can camp in one place and explore. We pick it up next week.
 Forest River R-Pod
We're going to take the Jeep down to the Car Mart at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. My mechanic says it will probably sell quickly. There are a lot of motor heads in the neighborhood that would love this puppy.
White Fang the Elder looks like this
So we're off to San Francisco today for a couple of days. My big interview at UCSF Transplant Center is all day Monday, Tuesday is a play day. In a week or so we'll know what my options are and we can start planning some adventures. Thinking April would be a good time to check out the Mojave poppies, Las Vegas, Valley of Fire, Bryce Canyon and Zion.