Sheltering in Place

I’m sitting in my home as I write this and I assume you are as well. Sitting in your own home, that is. Not mine. What?! You’re not? Well then, what the hell are you thinking? Or a better question might be: Are you thinking? Anyway, I’m not here to berate you for completely ignoring every virologists recommendation that we “shelter in place” to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. (Although apparently I just did.)

Virologist

Are you sheltering in place?

Now don’t get me wrong; I haven’t completely sequestered myself either. Other than visiting the store, which I’ve only done once (because I tend to shop like 5 other people live with me), I’ve left only to tend to some ferals. Can’t exactly let those kitties starve. Therefore, my forays into the theater parking lot, into the field next to Target, and behind the college dumpsters are considered “essential activities.” Life saving stuff, my friends.

feral eating

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What’s a Dog to Do?

I imagine many people awake in the morning to the scent of coffee brewing, the aroma of eggs and bacon wafting throughout the house, thanks to a thoughtful significant other. Now don’t get me wrong; none of that describes my mornings. For instance, take Thursday morning last week.

You know that sound people make when they’re about to vomit? Sort of a dry heaving that comes in 3 second rhythms until it’s no longer dry? You know what I mean if you’ve ever had food poisoning or possibly one too many Moscow Mules. So I immediately recognized what was happening on the floor of my bedroom.

Moscow Mules

Go easy on these

You see, my latest mutt, Taffy, has taken to eating cat litter. Just another non-endearing trait from this adorably obnoxious canine. At least it’s corn-based litter, which might be the attraction. But her obsession with it is unwavering and my attempts to block her from that room (while giving the cats access) have obviously proven unsuccessful.

Taffy close up2

Adorably obnoxious

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Oh So Grateful

Do you know what I did today? Well, of course not. How could you?

Unless, that is, you’re stalking me. And if so, that’s creepy. Why would you be following me to the shelter to distribute my version of Hostess cupcakes? Then over to a friend’s work to offer her a few. After a quick stop at Chipotle for a veggie bowl, I head up north to one of our feral cat feeding stations to put netting around it so the crows don’t keep making off with mouthfuls of kibble.Hostess cupcakes 2

Then it’s on to Costco and Safeway to grocery shop for my sister who has trouble walking. A new volunteer needs cat food so I drop it off before heading home to walk my mutts, check emails and answer text messages. After feeding my pets and 2 foster kittens, Lassen and Posey, I make myself dinner and watch the news before sitting down to write.

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What I’ll Never Do

The other day as I drove down the freeway, a car suddenly left the fast lane and cut across 2 other lanes to reach the upcoming exit. A bold and reckless move. I caught myself saying out loud, “Whoa, that was crazy. I would NEVER do that.” (Although I admit I’ve come close.) And thus an idea was born for my blog. So here’s what I’ll never do…

HITCHHIKE

As you learned from my Boogeyman posting, I’m a fan of murder documentaries. So I know what can happen when someone, especially a lone woman, sticks out her thumb while standing alongside a road, asking a complete stranger to take her somewhere. Seriously? Have these people never heard of the Texas Killing Fields? You might as well be saying, “Hey psychopathic ax-murdering rapist-kidnapper, where ya goin’? Can I come along?”

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying all those who pick up hitchhikers are any of the above. But am I willing to take that chance? I think not. Let it be known I’m not a lucky gambler, the sole reason I avoid casinos. It’s one thing to lose a bundle of cash. But by hitchhiking, I’d inevitably be playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded chamber.

BUNGEE JUMP

Speaking of death wishes, I’ve tried a lot of things that could be considered adventurous, maybe even dangerous. Or stupid. I’ve jumped from a plane; went gliding; rafted down a class IV river; biked around Lake Tahoe before I was a biker; kayaked alongside Orca whales off British Columbia; camped on a safari in Africa where a hyena slept against our tent; sat mere feet from a towering bull elephant; took up snowboarding at age 58 (not my brightest move); enjoyed hot air ballooning; tried parasailing, and more. But bungee jump? Nuh-uh. Never wanted to. Never will. That’s just crazy.

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Growing Up Rich

My family, 1963

My family, 1963. Brother Bill, Dad, Mom, sister Vicki and me, the shrimp

Being a weekend of remembrance, I drove by my childhood home, taking the familiar road I ventured down for 44 years until my parents died in 2004. Our once tan and brown home is bright blue now. Concrete sits where plants once grew and our paneled wood door is painted white and harbors a metal security door that screams STAY AWAY.

Parked in front of a house that holds special memories for me (but today looks almost unrecognizable), I realize it’s not really about the house but the people inside who made it a home.

I grew up in Santa Venetia, which sits in an unincorporated section of Marin County, CA. Situated along a canal, the small community was originally planned to resemble the water roadways of Venice. That never happened but some winters seemed to prove otherwise.

Santa Venetia in 1914

Santa Venetia canal in 1914

You see, whenever it stormed, sections of our neighborhood flooded, especially during high tide. Since our home sat near a dip in the road, my parents bought a sump pump they shared with our neighbors. In hindsight, a rowboat might have been a better investment. That’s because during severe storms, water often seeped into our dining room, ruining the floor and staining the grass-cloth wallpaper. Both needed replacing more than once so every winter Mom worried herself sick.

Our family home from 1950 to 2004

Our family home from 1960 to 2004

When my parents bought our home on Galerita Way, it was intended to be our “starter” house. But we never left. And thank goodness for that. Now don’t get me wrong; it was a modest home for sure; not much to look at and not in a desirable neighborhood. But what a spectacular upbringing.

Day at the beach

Day at the beach

I grew up back when kids played outside until way past dark, grudgingly coming inside only when summoned. Money was tight even though both my parents worked, yet each year they managed a 2-week family vacation to Lake Tahoe. That was our big treat. And most Sundays during summer we skied at Lake Berryessa with friends. It was bliss.

dad in boat with us

To us kids, new shoes were a big deal. Just going to a drive-in movie caused my sister and I to dance excitedly in anticipation. We lived in a tiny house with bedrooms the size of matchboxes but that didn’t matter to us. We’d never heard of a family room and didn’t care that our dining room was once a bedroom.

I grew up in the 60s with orange shag carpet, a one-car garage and an above-ground Dough-boy pool neighborhood friends helped us erect. We had block parties and dinner parties; on weekends the adults often gathered in front yards to visit. It was a simple, innocent time. At least it seemed that way to me.

The day we got a color TV, neighbors piled in to watch; it was quite an event. I remember the first time I saw the colorfully bright NBC peacock.

NBC peakcock

Sunday evenings after dinner we gathered in front of the TV. I’d sit on that orange shag while we all watched Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

I still recall many of my neighborhood friends, which is pretty amazing considering my pathetic memory. My young life was filled with ping pong games, carefree days of swimming and countless summer BBQ’s. I tell ya, I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood.

Remembering those days now, I wouldn’t change a thing; not the community we lived in or our tiny tan and brown house on a street that flooded. Although we didn’t have much, we had what we needed.

Celebrating my birthday

The truth is, I always knew I was adored. And if you’re blessed enough to have that, you somehow know you have all you need.

My family

My family, 1985

 

I haven’t been able to post anything new the last couple weeks. Just got my internet back today, so here’s a post from May, 2015. I’ll be back next week tho!