Goodbye My Friend

It was fun watching the Salt Lake City Soccer Team (RSL) play their game in the snow.  The ball didn’t roll away as fast, the players were ever cautious about slipping and getting hurt, and they won their first game since August of 2016.

After the news was over I looked outside and it was snowing here.  The weather man said it would, but it seemed like fiction – it’s April.  But April showers will bring May flowers.  And you know those are for the living. 

As Tracy finishes up fixing the front flower box I need to decide what flowers will live there and what native plants.  It will have water for the hot dry summer days but otherwise they will have to live on what mother nature provides.  That’s what my mother is doing these final days of her life – living off what she has within her and the morphine that smothers the pain from more suffering.  What a terrible way to end one’s life.  Whether you get treatment or not,  it saps your energy, life and spirits.  There’s no sense sending flowers while she’s still with me because she can’t see or smell them.  So I’ll just have to depend on her knowing that I’m with her in spirit. 

I’d plant her favorite pink rose, but the deer with eat them long before the aphids.  And carnations take too much water.  So pink penstemon will be planted in her remembrance.  Pink was her favorite color – she would have loved that 56 carat pink diamond (since she’s an April child) that was just at Sothebys.  She will pass on this week and I will be thankful for the snow.  The peace and quiet it provides as it covers the scars on the earth – much like death.  May you rest in peace my friend.

As for me, I shall begin life again, sine it too has been on hold since August of 2016, waiting for the phone to ring with a strange voice on the other end telling me my best friend has passed on.  I’ll miss her – but I’ll watch for the pink penstemon to bloom each year and remember.

New Moon – Black Moon

Yesterday was a new moon, a black moon because it was the second new moon in one month.  A new cycle begins and a new time to focus on personal goals that express positive energy.

Should we focus on –

  • Work
  • Our budget
  • Our business
  • A special relationship
  • Or just having fun?

We’ll have trick or treaters tonight.  That will be the first time in 20+ years I’ve been in a neighborhood that is conducive to having children knock on our door.  In Bandon, Or. We our home was tucked back behind our commercial building and hidden amongst the huckleberry bushes.  Too spooky and no real neighbors.  In Escalante our home was again behind our commercial establishment and even though there were children nearby, they didn’t know us and didn’t stop to trick or treat.

We have a nice family two doors down now and they still have two children at home.  They plan to come tonight and that will be fun.  Their mom tells us we’ll probably get about a dozen stoppers, and that’s perfect for us.  We’ve got a bowl full of Goldfish treats for whomever knocks.  In addition, I’ve got a special enough basket for each of the girls.  I’ll include my poem and list of what is your enough for each.  It will be fun to see what their costumes are.  I still have the scar on my thumb here the knife slipped cutting a slot for a hobo stick.  We had great fun when my girls were little.  I have a couple of pictures of them dress up for Halloween.

One of those pictures is with the San Diego Chicken.  We lived in Santee, CA at the time and I was a PTA volunteer.  My job was to help with the entertainment for the school Halloween carnival.  The Chicken was brand new and indicated he would love to visit your school.  So, I asked if he would, and he did.  It was a huge success and great fun.  More fun than elections.

Maybe that’s why there’s such a big interest in Halloween, even for adults.  It’s a time you can dress up and pretend to be someone else.  It’s a great distraction from politics and nasty elections.  I’ll be glad when

  • the nasty negative and stupid ads go away;
  • when the Clinton News Network (CNN) goes dark;
  • when the media realizes they’re no longer providing news and need a disclaimer that their report is only for entertainment;
  • and for snow – the weather event that brings peace and quiet.  A few feet would be fine.

Until next time.

Helping Hands – Volunteering in Today’s World

Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations.  Rotary, Lions Club, Job’s Daughters, Scouting, musical organizations, political organizations, and a rock club (I’m sure there are more but they don’t currently come to mind).  Over time, they all come down to some type of political/power struggle.  I volunteer to do something, and later on wonder what was I thinking?

I was thinking I want to help.  I want to assist their progress in some way.  I want to see them succeed. How can I help?  With my take-charge personality I end up the chairman, the president, the leader.  I find myself pulling away from those decisions more and more.  Would I be Secretary of the Rock Club. No thanks.  How about the Membership Coordinator? Grant Writer? Publicity Chairperson?  NO, NO and NO.   I’ll help where I can, but I don’t want the board meetings, the distraction to creating, the politics.

So how can I help?

I’ve been knitting for years.  As my little sign says, “knitting keeps me from unraveling”.  I can create something useful and keep hands busy.  I’m a much nicer passenger when I knit and don’t watch Tracy drive.  I’ve gifted hundreds of blankets over the years both knit and crochet.  I’ve taught both my youngest daughter and grand-daughter how to knit and they also have “busy hands”.  So what do we do with all that stuff?

When we had our art/gift gallery we sold well over 100 scarves to travelers looking for something useful to offer that would remind them of their trip.  Grandmothers love the scarves as gifts for grandkids.  And some locals bought them on a regular basis as gifts and for their own families. But now that the store is closed what happens to them?

One day on Facebook an ad showed up for an organization called “Operation Gratitude”. They provide “Care Boxes” for our active military, veterans, first responders, and wounded warriors.  They take only scarves made of acrylic fibers – check;  4-6” wide – check; in masculine colors – check.  If you go to their website you can download their donation form to see all the other ways you can help.  They recently had a “service day” at their base of operation in California and created 3,000 “care boxes” for the first responders in Dallas.  This is an organization I want to give to.

I’ve put together a box of scarves with the labels as requested and will send them off this next week.  They also ask for letters to the care box recipients.  It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what to say, and how I might help take their mind off where they are.  I wrote a letter using pictures from our previous time in the heart of the Grand Staircare Escalante National Monument.  I hope it will give them something else to think about.

It also reminded me to add their service as volunteers to my gratitude journal.  I’m grateful they believe our freedoms are worth fighting for. My grandmother, mother, father, and 1st husband all volunteered for the Marine Corps.  They each had their own reason for that service, and each contributed in a unique way.  They wanted to help in some way.  I guess it’s in my blood.

Until next time – – –

 

Be Careful What You Ask For!

My world has been upside down and inside out for the past almost 60 days (my goodness it feels longer than that) A local business offered to purchase our home and we said yes. Wow, how to set your life in a diferent direction in a hurry.

Paper work, agreements, contracts, CPA’s, bankers, how to move, where to move, when to move, and the list goes on and on. Part of it is done. The house is sold, the money in the bank and now the task of finding somewhere to move to and back to paper work, agreements, etc.

We have a wonderful realtor that isn’t local so I email or text her of a house we’d like to see and she makes arrangements with other realtors for us to go in. I took time to go back on our text message chain and found we’ve looked at too many houses in the past 60 days to count and we’re back to the house we started with. In the meantime we’ve tried to see several but were sold just before we got there. One was in a neighborhood where the hillside has caused the ground to move and the houses also. We looked at a great ranch property, but missed that one by hours. We looked at another ranch style home but needed $20,000 worth of water damage repair. We looked at a house where the garage and shop were wonderful but the modular was from the 1990’s early mode with the paper-thin walls and short ceilings. We’ve driven the neighborhoods so many times we have a much better understanding of the towns and rural areas than ever before. And we are back at the house we started with.

And then we looked at a wonderful little stick-built house with a great view and minimal repairs. And now we’re in a bidding war with several other buyers. We should know our fate by Thursday of the coming week. Hopefully we’ll have one or the other of the two houses under contract and can move on with our plans. Especially since we have to be out of our house by December 31st and we have to be in Quaztsite by Jan. 1st.

I’m excited to have all this done with and know our fate. But getting into these situations always reminds me “Be careful what you ask for”.

Until next time………

3 Reasons Towns Die

Consistency – Reliability – Fairness

These are the cornerstones of a three-legged stool that constituents look to government to uphold on a daily basis.  They count on fairness to every member of the community no matter their religion, age, or family connections.  They rely on their knowledge of government and how it works that it will be reliable every day.  They depend on consistency in order to establish their own lives.  In turn they agree to abide by the rules and laws of the place they live.

Government has failed to provide all three pegs of that stool and thus citizenry are reacting.

They are moving out of towns and cities that don’t balance the stool to places that do.  And if they can’t move because of age or finances, they are demanding changes be made to once again balance government and the elected officials seem to have no clue how to fix it.

In our own town of Escalante, Utah, the stool is totally out of balance and the town council and mayor, for whatever reason, haven’t righted the stool.

First, the county school district is concerned about the declining enrollment of the schools.  Long-time residents look to blame the creation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument for the decline in the communities.  Yes, it has impacted the cattle grazing and logging and that has resulted in several cattle raising families moving to places where they are welcome.  And yes, the sawmill has closed and all those family wage jobs have gone away, and the children they supported. But that’s just one leg of the stool.

Second, the federal agencies that promote tourism are providing some jobs that could help replace the others, but they can’t replace them all and tourism based jobs are not family wage.  The same employee that worked at the sawmill now has two jobs to replace the one at the sawmill.  In addition, Payment In Leiu of Taxes (PILT) has not been increased in many years.  The town is expected to provide emergency services, water, sewer, trash without the federal government paying their fair share of the costs.  The county Sheriff is now the only  response to 911 since the city police position was removed due to finances. The lack of reliable funding for services puts the total burden on the property owners.

Third, city and county ordinances are not enforced with any consistency leaving people to conclude they don’t wish to move here until they are.  Case in point, the City of Escalante uses the State’s abandoned road facility and the state offers little or no incentive to keep it updated and in good repair.  When the wind storms of last summer took out one of the sheds the debris from was removed and the fences repaired by the state.  However, the contents of the building remain on the ground (pipe parts, old buckets, etc) to this day. The weeds are now growing up amongst them and the highway frontage lot does not say “we care about our City”.  If you drive the streets, there is no enforcement of a number of ordinances and vacant houses “For Sale”  might sell but the neighborhood is in such disrepair it reminds a lot of them of what they’re trying to escape from not a lush, small town where everyone works together.  And the disproportionate number of absentee owners because of “Holiday Home Rentals” is removing the “home town” flavor because of City Government.

The stool needs righting and placing blame elsewhere is not the answer.  The answer is here in our National Historic District Town of 750. Demand the city, county, state and federal government agencies rebalance the stool.  How?

  1. The Federal resource management agencies need to pay their fair share for upkeep and management of facilities their visitors use without cost. Fairness.
  2. The State highway department needs to find a way to transfer management of the old highway dept. facility to the city or enter into an agreement to allow the city to make proposed improvements and help pay for them. Reliability.
  3. The City needs to place a limit on the number of Holiday Homes as a percentage of the total number of homes available in the city. And they need to enforce the building codes, and other ordinances on a regular basis with the same answers for all. Consistency.

It wouldn’t solve all the problems, but it would get this small town well (and many others of all sizes) on its way to re-balancing the three-legged stool.

Until next time – – – – –