Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday's Spectacular Find ~ March 29, 2014

There are some things that just stop you in your tracks. The wonder a full moon is one of my treasures. I never tire of it's grace, strength, and wisdom. I discovered this photo in a treasury entitled "A little inspiration..." on Etsy this afternoon. Thought I'd share it on the eve of the full moon. It's raining here, but perhaps the clouds will open a bit this evening. 

Railroad Tracks to the Full Moon with Crow Matted Picture A256
Railroad Tracks to the Full Moon with Crow

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
George Carlin

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day Tripping to Jimtown ~ March 24, 2014

Last week our friend Margo asked if we'd like to meet her for lunch at the Jimtown Store. It's just a few miles northeast of Healdsburg on Hwy 128. Any excuse for an adventure and we're on board. There was also the fact that during the four decades we've lived in Sonoma County we'd never been there. What's with that oversight? 

Richard Sheppard
The day was picture perfect shirtsleeve, windows down, 72 degrees and no hint of the rains forecast for the week. I keep forgetting it's March. The first thing I did was hop out of the Honda with my camera and stalk some of the local the wildlife. 

The inside of the store is an eclectic collection of food, wine, treats, and anything else you can think of from flower seeds to folk art. We ordered lunch at the counter and went out onto the patio to eat. Sandwiches were delicious and the potato salad out of this world. 

Photo Credit

There was an intriguing, partially open shed door on the patio that kept calling to Rod and he finally got up to look and found the small shed was full of antiques and folk art. 

We also discovered the back room of the store was filled with more wonderful stuff. Chef Boy was immediately drawn to a vintage chuck wagon cook box. A wonderful contraption with storage shelves, drawers, a built in coffee grinder and of course a mirror for shaving.

As we were leaving we noticed a barn out back and wondered if that held more good stuff. I called today and confirmed that it is indeed full of treasures ~ oh darn we have to go back. 

Decided it was too nice to head home so we headed over the hill to the Calistoga Museum. The docent gave us a wonderful tour and shared some delightful trivia about the town and it's founders. Wherever you travel check out museums and historical sites. You will be delighted, entertained and maybe even learn something.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Album of the Heart ~ May 29, 1880

For a Friend 
from Leanna Johnson

In the good olden times, on the bark of a tree,
Friends would carve out their names, where smoothest it would be
On the rind of the bark, they would carve them so plain
The friends would depart, but their trace would remain,
When Spring, after Spring, would make green it's bed,
The names they had left, would continue to spread.

"If you can't find it here, you can't"

Yet better by far is the album I ween, 
where we scribble on white, to keep memory green,
The leaf is so large, we can write a whole song
And the book is so small, we can take it along.
We need not be roaming, our friends to recall,
But turn over the leaves, and we meet with them all.

I've been researching this entry in Great Grandmother Flora's Album on and off for months. Most of the poetic entries written in her Album are excerpts from published poets, but I can find no reference, no famous poet, no vaunted author associated with these wonderful words and clear imagery. Flora was 21 in 1880 so her friend Leanna was probably about the same age. Are these lines too world wise for a young woman? Who's to say, but regardless of who penned it, it was meant to be sharedIf you know who the author is please let me know and I'll correct the attribution. 

The tree photo was taken on a walk at Maroon Bells in Aspen, CO in 1970's. I hope it's still standing tall in the forest. It would be interesting to see how the carvings changed with the growth of the tree. The pup in the background was my dog Charis, a black lab/golden retriever mix who never found a puddle he didn't like.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

De-Liver Me ~ March 20, 2014

It's occurred to me I'm seriously overdue with an update on the Liver Times. To set the stage, there is a scene in the movie "Dave" with a docent leading a tour through the White House. She's walking backwards, motioning with her hands like she's directing a plane on the tarmac, and repeating the phrase "we're walking, we're walking". The segue mantra here is "we're waiting, we're waiting" but I know a lot more now than I did six months ago.

Bridging TherapyThe four TACE (transarterial chemoembolization) treatments done last summer have accomplished their goal. December and February CT scans show that my tumors, Audrey II and Carmine, are stable and not growing. 

Something new on the Horizon ~ The long term effects of Hepatitis C and hemachromatosis are the likely cause of the hepatocellular carcinomas. I have an appointment in late May with the Viral Hepatitis Clinic at UCSF to get information on a 1-2 month regimen of the new drug combo of Ribivarin and Sofosbuvir. It's been effective in making the Hep-C viral load undetectable in the blood. The longer it is suppressed the less likely it is to return after transplant. Treatments will start this summer.

The Waiting Game ~ The transplant list is a numbers game, played by the book, and driven by something called a MELD score: an acronym for Model for End-stage Liver Disease (most transplant patients would really like to see a name change). A combination of three blood tests are done quarterly and then points are added to your existing MELD score. 

Siamese Cat Patiently Waiting for Dinner - Art Print or ACEO by Bihrle ck196
Patiently Waiting
My actual MELD is a 6, but with the diagnosis of cancer it was automatically kick started to a 22 in April 2013. Quoth my transplant nurse: "Your liver is functioning fine, you just have a couple of F#%*?$G tumors." My current score is a 29. I'll earn 2 more points in May, 2 in August and 1 in October which will bring me to 34. You normally reach the top of the transplant list when your numbers reach the mid 30's, but the number may vary, up or down, depending on availability of organs. 

The Irony of It All
Iron overload girl is now anemic with a ferritin level of 14. No one has been able to figure out why. My gastroenterologist had suggested taking ferrous gluconate, but the ingredients read like car wax and cleaning products so I declined that dance partner. My UCSF doc suggested only a low dose supplement so I'm taking all natural Floradix. The drug regimen mentioned above to deal with the Hep C will also lower ferritin levels so it's important for me to stay on top of this.

Valkyrie 8.5 x 11 fine art print. Warrior Angel and Eagle mount.
Warrior Angel and Eagle Mount
Challenges ~ We all face challenges of one kind or another. The key is to embrace them with grace, humor and a warrior attitude. Choose to be fearless, be your own advocate, and question authority. Don't waste any hour of a day and keep your creative side engaged at all times. 

"Challenges make you discover 
things about yourself 
that you never really knew". 
Cecily Tyson

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On Turning Sixty Nine ~ March 17, 2014

Here's a little something to put things is perspective and garner some respect for shear perseverance: 69 years = 25,185 days = 604,440 hours.

I think most of us in our sixties are amazed we survived our youth. I mean really: our parents smoked, the paint on our cribs was lead based, and cars didn't have seat belts. We fell out of trees, never rode bikes with a helmet, and drank water from the hose. My girlfriends and I were always outside playing in the woods of Mt. Tamalpais or building things from scrap lumber, old wagons, and roller skates. 

Every decade brought new challenges in the stupid human category. There is something to be said for trial and error: what were we thinking, it seemed like a good idea at the time, I meant to do that, oops and of course, oh well. Now in our prime, there is less tendency towards being stupid but we still continue to learn on the fly, fall down, get up, and dust ourselves off. 

Three seventeen twenty fourteen ~ make it up as you go day.

First stop after breakfast is the Salvation Army complex north of Healdsburg. We love digging through the old book bins and today we hit the Jackpot with 18 paperbacks and a blank journal for $12. From there we headed up to Geyserville to document Coyote, an incredible metal sculpture from Bryan Tedrick. You can climb up his leg and sit in his belly, his ears are like windmill blades and his head turns with the wind. 

We were also on a mission to find wild mustard and poppies, but decided to eat first. Our neighbor suggested we try Diavola in downtown (all three blocks) Geyserville: excellent pizza and Rod was delighted to find one of his favorite beers called Death and Taxes. When we crossed over the river and turned south on Highway 128 towards Healdsburg we hit the mother lode of Spring color.

Decided it might be a good idea to walk off some of the Pizza so next stop was Riverfront Park just west of Windsor. Hardly a soul there, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, sunny and 69 degrees. We watch the herons for awhile, starting to gather at their favorite nesting trees.

River Front Pond
2.3 miles and a Selfie

Time to head home and fix dinner. Walked up on the porch and the front door is blocked by bouquets ~ this birthday just keeps getting better.

Pleasantly exhausted we curl up in our easy chairs to read (TV broke yesterday and won't be fixed for two weeks ~ no doubt a message from the gods). Wait, a light bulb goes on, we have desert. Our neighbor Susi brought down this incredible, decadent cake the night before. We showed amazing restraint to not get into until today. A little bit goes a long way.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

There's a Five Dollar Fine for Whining ~ March 13, 2014

It's so easy to get caught up in your every days and start whining. Here we have a $5 fine for such nonsense. We choose to start each morning with irreverence, a good breakfast and a game of cribbage. Sets the tone for the day and reminds us to not take ourselves, or the world, too seriously.

We are all dealing with something, for us it's aging and health issues, but it's only part of who we are. The concept here is that you have options, so be sure to make good use of them and enjoy the ride. We find joy in giving time to favorite charities, the creative process, daily walks, getting dirty in the garden, blue highway road trips, and spontaneity. What is it that gets your motor running and takes you to a positive place?

It's our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
J.K. Rowling

LOVECHILD of the WIND: Oak tree with autumn sky, a photograph about beauty and aging; signed, numbered, ready to hang
Lovechild of the Wind
A photograph by Jinn about beauty and aging

"All we know about aging is that we're learning as we go"
Rod Helvey

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Great Escape ~ March 07, 2014

Do you remember the 1950 film noir classic Sunset Boulevard? In the last scene Gloria Swanson, the fading silent film star, utters the infamous line "I'm ready for my closeup Mr. DeMille". Well for me the was "How I Spent my Thursday Morning at Kaiser" posing for a couple of internal closeups. 

Our response to Thursday was that it must be time for a road trip. Over breakfast Friday morning we picked a general direction: North by Northwest and left the house about 10:30. First stop was Pacific Market to build a picnic: potato salad, mixed fruit, organic lime corn chips, and Sandwich #3 (chicken, Havarti cheese, greens, sliced Gravenstein apple and sweet Vidalia onions on Ciabatta bread ~ oh so very good!). 

We drove north on Hwy 101 and took the Stewart's Point Skaggs Springs Road out of Geyserville towards the coast. The world is electric green from the rains, wild mustard abounds in the vineyards, cherry trees are in blossom and the oaks are starting to leaf out. 

The paved road, though some would call it a trail, is about 40 miles of incredible scenery: steep canyons, high ridges, creeks and oak forests that give way to redwoods and ferns near the coast.

We stopped on a ridge top near the gate to the Wolf Creek Ranch and had our picnic on the tailgate before continuing west to Stewarts Point to pick up Hwy 1 north. 

Walk On Beach is just south of Gualala at the north end of Sonoma County. There is a bluff trail through Sea Ranch that takes you to Gualala Point. We made a three mile round trip. It was sunny with a light breeze, not your usual March day on the coast. The wind is often screaming this time of year. 

Next stop is Trinks Cafe in Gualala to share a slice of warm blackberry pie with vanilla ice cream and a cup of green tea before we head home down Highway 1 through Bodega Bay back to Sebastopol. 

The perfect getaway ~ close to home and time out of mind. Life is short and it's important to just leave reality and the to do list behind once in awhile and embark on a spontaneous adventure. Go explore your neighborhood: unplug, walk away and feel the sun on your back. You'll be glad you did! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Saturday's Discovery ~ March 1, 2014

While researching Western history and the origins of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering I came upon Montana artist Chris Owen ~ The Art of the Cowboy. Chris's paintings just stopped me in my tracks and his observations and thoughtful words speak volumes on horses and humans. Take a time out from your busy life and explore his world. 

A Cowboys's Morning

"The cowboy is the most important, most relevant figure 
to our nation's past, present and future". Chris Owen