Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And You Thought Your Job Was Rough....

This photo from the Imperial Valley Press puts a face on immigration from Mexico. The people shown here live across the border in Mexicali. Everyday they get up at 2 a.m. to get to Calexico to get a job picking. Picking starts at sunrise but first they have to get bussed to the field. The bus pulls a porta-potty. They make $8.84 an hour with no benefits. In this photo they are picking cabbage. There are fewer and fewer immigrants to pick because the work is hard and it pays little. Pickers are advising their kids to do something else. The pickers don't speak English so this is about the best they can do, but still it's better than in Mexico.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Our Anniversary

January 27th was our five-year anniversary. Kerry is such a warm, wonderful person. We went to one of our favorite restaurants on Friday night, Ruth's Chris Steak House. We'd been to the one in Jacksonville, Florida after our golfing trip to Charleston, S.C. And I've been to one in Houston many years ago. But now there is a new one in nearby Roseville. We have our standard order. We each get a filet mignon medium rare. I get the petite one, which I never finish and he gets the regular size, which he never finishes. Then we share a one pound potato with all the trimmings. Last, but not least, we have the creamed spinach. It is to die for. They will not give out the recipe. But suffice to say, it barely counts as a vegetable. To honor our anniversary the restaurant treated us to dessert, creme brulee and bread pudding with a whisky sauce. Then Kerry treated me to another wonderful piece of jewelry. It's a white gold band with five sapphires (for five years) and six diamonds. The stones are in a channel setting. It's beautiful. The waitress gave Kerry a big thumbs up for knowing how important jewelry is to women. Another wonderful year together has started.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Today Is My Birthday

I was born in the evening so technically I am not another year older yet. I have about an hour to go. As a kid I couldn't wait to be a year older. Something new and wonderful might happen when you were 9 not 8. But then you reach a certain age and you start to think that birthday's aren't such milestones afterall. I'd rather think of my life as a continuum of events, some good and some not so good. Alright, there were a few awful ones, but for the most part I feel good about my life. At this age it's not so much about what you can accomplish each day as about what you can enjoy. I spent most of today, except for the urine test, planting bulbs. Many of mine are already peaking their little heads out of the soil. This year I want to do a map of where bulbs are on the property. The first year it didn't matter because there weren't any bulbs, but now I don't want to dig them up.

Ah yes, the urine test. Maybe this is a sign that I am getting older. You remember birthdays now by the medical tests you have. I've had a bladder infection for about three weeks. Antibiotics have not cured it so I had the test. At least the woman at the lab wished me a happy birthday.

Kerry and I will celebrate our anniversary and my birthday on Friday. He's the planner so I don't know what we are doing. We like to get trees to celebrate important days. Last year we got a fig and a Fuji apple. The fig had a sun stroke and died in the July heat. The Fuji is doing well. I went to the nursery that has bare root trees. Those are the best to buy because they take root and grow quicker. I think we are going to replace the fig, add a few more fujis and pick another fruit as well. They had pear trees which I think would be yummy.

Only 55 minutes to go until my real birthdate and birthtime. My brother and his wife sent me some books on China both fiction and non-fiction. With a 12-hour flight each way I'll have lots of time to read. They always pick out good presents.
I think I'll close while I'm still a year younger.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Introducing My New Phone

The screen on my 18-month-old Motorola phone was slowly being obliterated by a pinkish color. Eventually I wasn't going to be able to see the screen. Went to my Cingular store and was told that I was entitled to a new phone. I have the same number but my phone is a shiny new Nokia flip phone. I love it.

Some Thoughts In The New Year

Haven't written much so far this year. Kerry and I have both been sick since the day after Christmas. He's finished his antibiotics; I still have three days to go. I'm just glad we got this over with before our China trip.

New subject: My brother Richard has a friend named Stan who has a blog. Stan probably writes the most thought provoking entries of anyone I know who blogs. His topic recently was are you a "baker" or a "cook" in your approach to life. If you think about it, bakers have to follow the recipe quite closely. They need to be more detail oriented. Cooks, on the other hand, can play around with a recipe. These are the people who say that a recipe of theirs never turns out the same way twice. I've decided that I'm a "cook". I made corn bread yesterday, which really showed me that I'm not a baker. I sorta measured the ingredients. "Sorta" would never enter into the vocabulary of a baker.

New subject: The subtitle of this blog is "The simple life is best". With each passing day I believe that more and more. One of my great delights this morning was checking my garden to see signs of bulbs emerging. I found lots of them. Also pulled a few weeds. Then I walked out to the road to get the New York Times. On the way back I checked out our fig tree that we may have killed last summer due to 100+ temperatures. I noted the level of water in the irrigation ditch; it's higher because it rained last night. Then I spent quite a while watching the lower pond. As I suspected, the muskrat is back. Drat. Those little guys are impossible to get rid of, and they love to dig tunnels in the banks of our ponds. Last year one side of the pond started to give way thanks to this furry little creature. Our neighbor Steve came with his dozer and mended the breach before we lost too much water. Steve has moved on. The drug police found a meth lab in his wood shop. That put a quick end to his life on Fruitvale Road.

For those of you who have known me for a long time you are probably amazed that I have come to enjoy the simple life. Ten, fifteen years ago I couldn't get enough activity stuffed into one day.

Last subject: Got a card from a cat-loving friend with the following on it: "Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Our First Golden Retriever, Molly

I found a bunch of photos stored on a zip file. Among them was this wonderful picture of Molly taken when we lived in Alameda. Even when she slept her tennis ball was not far away. This is her yoga master expression...very wise and very patient. I sure do miss both Molly and Emily. She died in October 12, 2000.  Posted by Picasa

It's a Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Our Life In The Country
It's warm and sunny here today. This is the second straight day in a row that we have seen the sun. California always has at least two seasons going at one time. The only exception to that is mid-summer when you know it's miserably hot and everything in the garden is gasping for moisture and shade. Right now we have winter going (it gets dark early, the birds are eating lots of seed and suet each day and the temperature drops 20 degrees at night) and spring (all the grass is green, tomatoes are still ripening and my geraniums and gerbera daisies are blooming.) I still need to plant some more bulbs. And at night the crickets make such a racket. It won't be long before the trees will start to bloom. In California, even Mother nature leads a fast-paced existence.