Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Birthday!

She began as a baby.  (Yeah, we all do...) But she scared me out of my wits. I didn't "know nothing about birthin' no babies!" Much less raising them. Heck, I had rarely even babysat. But there she was and it was my job to take care of her.

Orlando, Florida
And then she began to grow.
Minot, North Dakota

Sunnyvale, California
And I grew less afraid and more in awe of this child. Smart, inquisitive, and a life force all her own. She learned how to crawl out of her crib and get the left over chips from the kitchen before she was 2. (that entailed going down a full flight of stairs while her parents slept in peaceful oblivion. She came back up and woke us up asking for more chips!)

And she kept growing.

San Luis Obispo, California
And accomplishing.

Los Angeles, California
San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo, California

I am so grateful that she is here and that I get to share in her life.

Happy Birthday.

I love you more than you know.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Beautiful and the Scary

This is our piece of paradise. Secluded, quiet and, oh, so beautiful.

In Spring everything bursts forth in color and bloom.
Cactus in bloom
And it stays that way for several months.

But summer has its moments here.

Seclusion can mean isolation. And isolation is not good when sparks and sagebrush meet.

This morning when I left for court (Yeah, I have to finish up a couple of cases) there was the yellow house on the top of the ridge closest to the main road. I like the yellow house. It stood sentinel on the top of its hill and it was so bright and cheery.

But at about 5pm, I was taking out the remnants of my salad makings for the local critters (wild rabbits really do like lettuce!) I noticed a white plane with orange markings. It was VERY low, barely skimming the top of the hill in front of us and circling back behind our property. I immediately recognized it as a Cal-Fire plane.

Before I could wonder why a Cal-Fire plane was playing hop-scotch on my hills, I smelled the smoke.

With 15-20 mile an hour winds swirling from the south and south-west, we thought that the fire was behind us.

But it was not. It was coming from the west and it appeared to be very close.

Momentary panic set in as we rushed to grab the animal carriers and the computers.

That has always been our plan.

Pictures and documents are on the cloud. Animals and us and we are gone.

But then we realize that there are three Cal-Fire planes circling but no tankers. The smoke is white not black. There have been no phone calls either from Cal-Fire or the neighbors. There is no evacuation.

So we watch and wait.

And I go on the internet. Cal-Fire lists all MAJOR incidents but  minor local ones are put on their twitter feed which goes to their web site.

And that is how we found out the the yellow house was in trouble.

We walked up the road after a couple of hours (and the smoke was gone) to see how bad.

This is what we found.

The yellow house was GONE. Nothing left at all.

The amazing thing is how quickly Cal-Fire responded and how efficiently they worked. The fire could have touched the sagebrush and there would have been no stopping it. But it didn't. Because of Cal-Fire.

These guys are good.

I am glad that my neighbors are ok.

But I am thrilled that our fire protection is first rate.

We may be secluded and we may be isolated but we have protection when we need it.

Thank you, Cal-Fire.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ninety Three Years Ago

Christmas 1972
Today she would have been 93. She has been gone since June 30, 1982.

I see the picture above and my feelings are so mixed.

I miss her.

But I don't miss the addictions. I don't miss stopping at the door when I came home from school, taking the deep breath, wondering what I would find on the other side of that door.

Some days it was wonderful. She was having a good day and projects abounded. Or she was working and the house was quiet.

Other days...well, they might be quiet because she was "asleep". She might be asleep because she had a migraine (very true and she suffered with them) or because of alcohol or pills. Both used (to start with) because of the migraines or because of her "surgically repaired" back.

If I sound a bit harsh, I find that I remain a bit angry. Not at her. At the culture that put her in an untenable position. Whatever abilities she had to face the world began to erode when doctors gave her cigarettes (to calm her "nerves") and pain meds for her back.

I bring this up today because I happened to mention today's significance to my daughter. And her question to me was "did you and your mom ever talk like we do?"

I had to answer in the negative.

Do not misunderstand me. Mom and I had some GREAT fun.

There are probably still red feathers at the cabin from the making of my Lindsay Cardinal outfit. (Feathers, glue gun, and a jumpsuit--hysterical!)
Lindsay Cardinal Mascot - 1968
Then there was the time that Vicki and I got our clocks cleaned on the tennis court.

And there were a lot of those times.

But we did not talk about "things".

When I talk to my daughter, I am so grateful that we CAN talk to each other. I am thankful that we share and grow with and through each other.

And I remember Mom and I thank her. I thank her for doing the very best that she could.