Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Notes From The Canyon

My neighbor, isn't she pretty?

Me with my former tenants, Jordet and Aniko, at the L. A. house.

Mother and daughter. The filly is beginning to lose her dark coat and will, in time, look more like her mother.

My L. A. house. Errol's work, all tongue and groove cedar on the walls, pine on the floor. The kitchen is gorgeous, but I didn't take any pictures. It's an all custom house and I worry, even though so many love it, will buyers want a cabin in the city? Fortunately, it's perfectly situated, so we will see. A little scary to do this on my own. And it feels so strange to call it "my" house. 

My front yard, before.

My front yard, after the tractor guy mowed it.

He also mowed my two lower fields, removed many rabbit brush bushes, did my back yard and another field to the east of the house.  


My life has fluctuated between me being really busy and then totally tired, so tired all I could do was rest. From this I have deduced that I need to pace myself and I'm working on it. My doctor says I'm fine, just old. 

This is how my Merry Month of May went:

On April 30th, I drove to Los Angeles to meet the realtors I hired to sell my house, their handyman, and my former tenants. After I visited with the tenants for a while, the realtors and their handyman came and we walked the house, deck, yard, bonus room, garage and made notes of all that needed to be done. The work is now complete, the house is staged, photos will be taken tomorrow, and it will be listed later this week. 

On May 12th, I went to Ojai with Rachael. On the 13th, I participated mildly, just a little, in the canyon road clean, something our CERT team does a couple of times a year. On the 15th, I went to the Tire Store and got new tires for the Jeep. And found out there are special tires for Jeeps, and also that mine were a size too small. With that taken care of, the Jeep drives so much smoother and handles better in our almost constant wind and wind storms. 

I also put Old Betsy (Errol named her), my 1989 Ford Ranger pickup truck in the shop. She needed some expensive treatments, but is now fine. Then on the 16th, I took the Jeep to the dealer in Lancaster to, finally, get my Takata airbags changed. While in Lancaster, I had lunch with my two nieces, or nieces-in-law, may be more correct, not sure. They are my BIL Glenn's daughters, they are family, their names are Monique and Erika, lovely ladies both. Can't believe they are in their late 30s early 40s already. 

He's looking good in this picture, which is from earlier this year.His eyes are really bad now. But he's getting good care, good vet, medicine, and a mommy who tries her best.

Then Samson got sick again. So we went to the vet twice and we are going tomorrow again. More about him and our girl, Faith, later. 

On the 22nd, Robert, the tractor-mower guy came with his two grandsons, ages 16 and 17. They worked for six hours and did a great job, including cutting back two juniper trees and a lot of weed-whacking. After the horrific, wind-driven, Erskine fire in our county last year, they are not fooling around with the fines: If not done by June 1st (used to be the 15th) a $500.00 fine (used to be $250.00) is imposed, which increases if you're not in compliance when they recheck. So it was a great relief to get all that work done. Great guys, great team-work, no issues. 

That day, I picked up six large trash bags of stuff, old things that were laying (oh, Ms. Junebug, I hope I got that right) around out on the land. Took it to the dump with Old Betsy this morning. 

Somewhere in there, in the middle of the month, my eye started to act up, so I called our local optometrist and got an appointmet. All is well, just a bad case of dry eye in the middle of where the tears are supposed to be, or something like that, which caused an intense and sudden pain. 

On the 24th, my friend Judy came to see me and we hung out in town, eating, talking, shopping, and taking a few pictures. I will post more about our day later.

Are you bored yet? 

Don't worry, I'm done. Hope you all had a nice Memorial Day. How young they are those who give their lives for our country, I thought, as their ages flashed by on the TV screen. Tears came to my eyes. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ojai, California ~ The City

The Chumash Indians lived here early on and the town gets it name from a word for "moon" in their language. Later, the area became part of a Mexican land grant, Rancho Ojai, made to Fernando Tico in 1837. After he sold it, well, you know the history of California: Native Americans, Spanish settlers, Mexican settlers, and then the white folks arrive. And, for a change, we didn't ruin Ojai. Yes, it's a tourist attraction now. The town has fancy shops, spas, music festivals, wines and organic food. 

It is what it doesn't have that makes it so special. Chain stores, with the exception of a few gas stations, are prohibited by Ojai law; so no Walmarts here, no McDonalds or others like it; and no high rises. Local small businesses are encouraged and seem to thrive.  

I first saw this town over 40 years ago and the last time I visited was in 2005, but then Errol and I were looking for a place to retire, so my impressions are from 40 years ago. 

Of course, much has changed, the fancy store pictured above and many more like it were not here then. More cars and tourists are here, but the rich history of spirituality is very much alive. Ojai is still unique, I felt it in a few short hours, a city unlike any other I have ever visited. 

Bart's famous outdoor bookstore was nothing then, like it is now. I remember home-made bookshelves lining the sidewalk, coffee cans on top, where you left your payment. The coffee can system, in lieu of a cash register, began Bart's now famous honor system. It's still in place for books left on the sidewalk shelves during night-time hours. 

Bart's bookstore is a truly fabulous place, a book lovers paradise. I think I heard someone say they have more than 150,000 books there. 

Rachael and I had lunch at a lovely vegan restaurant she discovered last year. Then it was time for some shopping, beginning with this thrift store.

Continuing in this new age store, full of interesting things to peruse and buy. 

I bought this amethyst necklace and two stones, one for Rachael, with hearts on one side, and the text "You are loved" on the reverse. And for myself, this rock:

A sailboat with "Journey" painted on the back. A good way to look at life, I think.

There was also an outdoor area under this old oak, where I found the rusty scales and old Coca Cola sign I posted earlier. 

And many other interesting things to look at and perhaps buy.

This house was across the street and Rachael noticed this

magnificent tree in the neighborhood. We had to turn the car around and take a picture. 

Then we headed out, past orange groves, to Meditation Mount. After our walk down the path through the gardens I wrote about earlier, it was time to leave.

On our way home we pass this place, Thomas Aquinas Chapel and college close to the small agricultural town of Santa Paula. Then it's on toward busy highways and freeways and home. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rust ~ Post No.6

I love these rusty things, whatever they may be. I have no idea. They were left behind by previous owners.

I may bring them up closer to the house and give them a second life as garden ornaments. 

Or something......

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Interview With Rachael As Alpacas And Tortoises Arrive At Wm. S. Hart Park

Click on the link to see an interview with Rachael as the William S. Hart park, where she works, welcomes several alpacas and two tortoises. Check it out, the critters and the children are adorable. And Rachael is great as always. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Meditation Mount, Ojai, California ~ The Path and The Views

The Path

Many people who are drawn to Ojai are on a path of some sort. Serious people with an interest in finding a path that will lead to a better life, better understanding, peace, truth, maybe even enlightenment. Rachael and I thought the inscription on this rock a very good idea. Good Will, it says. Something we truly need in our lives now.

Oleanders line the beginning of the path.

You walk through this wooden gate and

arrive in the garden that I pictured last week.

The path is not long, but the gardens are so massive, if gardens can be that. So many different plants, all so beautiful and interesting, growing together in harmony along the path.  

The Views

Ojai, is located in a valley, about 15 miles from the Pacific coast. The town is surrounded by mountains and hills. The Topatopa range, with an elevation of more than 5,000 ft., borders the valley to the north. Other mountain ranges surround the town, making for some gorgeous views from Meditation Mount. 

The climate is Mediterranean with many orange groves dotting the landscape. Since I spent springtime in Ojai all those years ago, the smell of orange blossoms evokes memories of this lovely town. 

But Ojai is more famous for its oak trees. Krishnamurti actually gave his talks in an oak grove, where all of us who came to hear this remarkable man, sat on the ground under canopies of ancient, magnificent oaks. 

Rachael and I talked about how each person we share time with in our lives, leaves us with something. And I am grateful for my eight years, plus, with Henry, who introduced me to Ojai and opened my eyes to a more thoughtful and spiritual life. He was a good man.

When you arrive at the end of the path, the views are gorgeous, amazing, and just plain beautiful. Rachael is enjoying it all here.

I will finish my Ojai posts next Sunday with some pictures of the town itself. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rust ~ Post No. 5

A few rusty pieces from Ojai. The town has become pretty fancy since I used to come here regularly. Not surprising, perhaps, since I first came here more than 40 years ago. Still, it was nice to find some of the old vibe. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Meditation Mount, Ojai, California ~ The Garden

Happy Mother's Day!

Rachael and I took a road trip the other day, through the high desert, the mountain pass at the Grapewine, ending up in Ojai, a place we have wanted to visit together for a while.

In the 1970s and early 80s, I spent ten May vacations in this lovely town. It's a spiritual place, home to among others the Krishnamurti Foundation of America, the Krotona Institute of Theosophy, and a Buddhist Temple. 

I'm very busy right now, both with springtime chores around here and visiting with friends, some of whom I haven't seen for years. And then spending the day after the fun or the work resting. I get so tired, but you can't let that stop you from having fun. Right? My point being, I haven't got that much time to think up blog stories and take pictures. But now I feel lucky to have a lot of pictures from Ojai to share. I will post some on Sundays for a while. 

I love to see a cactus in bloom and this one was really special.

I've never seen one so healthy and with such lovely yellow flowers before. 

The views from Meditation Mount must be among the most beautiful in the world and I will share them, the town, the cute shops, the famous bookstore, the beyond gorgeous oak trees, and even some rusty items I found. 

Again, have a wonderful Mother's Day!


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