Monday, 15 September 2014

Monday Mellow Yellows - Garden Yellow

Now that I am back to blogging, I was really excited to see that one of my favourite memes, has been continued :-)Thank you Gemma !! Monday is certainly brighter with a bit of yellow :-)
Morning harvest of yellow tomatoes, squash and pepper, from my garden. This growing year, in my part of WA, we have had lots of sun and only a little rain, so it's been a good year for tomatoes. I swear the darn things are procreating overnight, like rabbits, as this is my usual morning yield of yellows, plus the same of reds. Keeping busy freezing and preserving :-)

MONDAY MELLOW YELLOWS

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Camera Critters - Water Fun


Camera Critters


Been a couple of years since I posted to Camera Critters, so glad to see it hasn't disappeared :-) Misty , our Lab/Blue Heeler cross, has been convinced for ages, that immersing herself in water is a VERY BAD THING !!! No amount of gentle persuasion on our part was going to change her mind. It was definitely a case of 'If us dogs were meant to swim, then we would have been given gills and webbed feet', as far as she was concerned. That was until we moved up to WA and took her to one of the salt water inlet parks in Olympia. The pictures say it better than words do :-)
Happy puppy = water + big stick + Mum & Dad getting exhausted throwing it :-) Also Saturday Critters

Friday, 12 September 2014

Skywatch - Life in WA



Moved up to Washington State just over a year ago. Feels very much like I moved home to New Zealand. I love the green, the trees and YES, even the rain !! It's lovely to have four distinct seasons again. Sure we do have more than our share of rainy and cloudy days, however it gives you an appreciation of the sun, when it decides to appear. Despite what many will tell you, the sun does makes it's appearance quite frequently :-) I love this time of the year, early Autumn, when you wake up to a foggy landscape, however by midmorning it has burnt off to reveal blue skies and soft sunshine. I need to get my SLR sorted out, because there are pictures just aching to be taken!!!
A little church in the small town of Roy, just a couple of miles from where I live. Love the green and the blue skies..
The local bar and dancehall in Roy ... it's only open a certain times of the year, such as the Roy Rodeo..
Mt Rainier on a clear day with blue sky and a couple of tiny clouds :-) Rainier is a active stratovolcano and is overdue for an eruption. It is also considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes, being one of the 17 volcanoes that are on the Decades Volcano list. I live fairly close to the mountain, however, from looking at the maps of where the lahars will go when the mountain erupts again, it looks as though I should be safe. One has to think positively, correct? :-)

Go to SKYWATCH for views of the sky from all over the world !

Monday, 8 September 2014

I'M BAAAAAAACK !!! :-)

Well... I must say it's been a little while ...about two years since I've updated my blog. Made the big move up to Washington State in April 2013. Reminds me a lot of New Zealand... green .. trees... water and it rains a bit. Contrary to what they tell you, it doesn't rain all the time and the sunny days are absolutely gorgeous. Both of our furbabies are loving it up here. Misty, our Lab/Blue Heeler cross as decided that she likes the water after all. We took them out to Priest Point Park in Olympia and Misty did not want to come out of the water.
Mandy, our Minature Italian Greyhound/Jack Russell Terrier was not so keen on the wet stuff :-) I've been a little isolated, as we do live out in a rural area and our only car was a manual, which despite many lessons, I am unable to drive. However, we recently replaced it with an automatic, which I can drive. Of course, there is that little matter of figuring out what side of the road I should be on, but I'm getting the hang of that...LOL. There is quite a community of Kiwis, Aussies and Brits in the area, so I'm finding it easier to get food products from those countries. There is also a NZ group that meets a number of times a year for a Hangi and other activities. I've also found a Fish 'n Chip shop in Sequim (about a 1 1/2 hr drive from us, that is owned by a New Zealander ...so you know that they are fish 'n chips like I'm used to back home. They also sell pies and sausage rolls :-) Planning om making a trip over there very soon!!
MmmmmmmmmMmmmmmm !!! I'm also told it's for sale. Cheers...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

YAAAYYYYYY

Remembered the password to my old email account and was able to log in. Now all I have to do is figure out how to associate it to my new email address ....no problem..right?

So life is meandering along here. Still not up in Washington, but should be in the next month or so. Hoping to have this place ready for sale in a couple of weeks, then as soon as it sells, I'm off to WA to join the hubby.

So what's new with everyone else?

Karen

Friday, 12 November 2010

Hello out there...;-)

Me again. Just a short update.....

Jay's job is still going well...though we may be moving up to Washington State instead of down to Southern CA. Jay has put in for a position at Ft Lewis...it's the same job that he is doing down at Ft Irwin. It's a federal job and they are giving priority to veterans. Being that he is already in the system, we are hoping that will give him another advantage.

I really would prefer WA to CA. Ft Lewis is close to Tacoma, Seattle, etc and the weather and scenery is more like New Zealand, but not quite as beautiful, of course I'm biased :-). I am not looking forward to moving to CA, especially since we will probably be living in the Barstow area. It's at the entrance to the Mojave Desert and gets really, really hot in summer. They also have more snakes down there, including the deadliest rattler in Nth America, the Mojave Rattlesnake. Did I ever mention that I'm terrified of snakes!!

Weightloss is still going well, especially now that I'm able to exercise. I saw a short video that a friend had taken of me, as I was about to go in for my gallbladder surgery. Looking at that and at me now, you can really see the amount I've lost. I've gone from a 2X to a Large ( size 24 to a size 16). Feels really good !!!

Anyway...just wanted to let everyone know I was still alive and kicking. Still no internet access at home..but hopefully soon and then I'll catch up on everyone's blogs :-)

Loves and hugs to all..

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I'M Back Again :-)

Well...life is going well. The hubby (Jay) has been working down in Southern California since July 6Th. I'm still up here in Reno.

Unfortunately, my compute went down (still trying to figure out what's wrong) and I lost my Internet service, so my access to the net has been rather limited. Hopefully, I'll be back online in the next month or so.

The Drama Gods are obviously not quite finished with me, as there have been a couple of *moments* , since Jay left. :-)

In early August I started having severe upper abdominal and chest pain. Thought I was having a heart attack, so I called an ambulance at about 1am and got hauled off to the local hospital. Turned out that my gallbladder was badly infected and about to explode, so later that afternoon, it and I parted company. If you have to have surgery, laproscopic is the way to go. My recovery has certainly been a lot easier.

About 6 weeks after the surgery, just as I was about to be released to go back to Karate, I came down with shingles. Grrrrrrrr !!!

Shingles is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. I was lucky, in that my Dr got me started on anti-virals within 24 hours of the rash starting to appear, so it did limit the severity of the attack ...but it's still been rather painful and I hate having to take the pain killers , etc , that they have me on. They make walking, especially cornering and changing direction...interesting :-)

The really good news though, is that I have managed to lose about 34 lbs ..YAAAYY :-)

Other than all that...as I previously said ... life is pretty good. I'm thankful that all we really lost, through the whole out of work/getting him to his new job/senate game playing kerfuffle was cable and Internet. The power stayed on and we didn't lose the house. Jay is happy in his new job and I am busy sorting out the house and getting it ready for sale. If all goes well, I'm hoping to move down there in about 6 months time. By then we should know that his job is secure..

Now...all I need is my computer running again and Internet and I'll be around these parts a little more often !! :-)

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

HELLOOOO ?? KNOCK .. KNOCK ...ANYBODY THERE ???

Which is what I feel I should be yelling, considering how I have neglected my poor blog of late. I also apologize for neglecting your blogs ... I've missed your humour, the insight into your lives,the things I've learnt from you all, the inspirations I've found, the friendship that most of you give, just to name a few.

I think for the last 17 months or so, I've been existing ...sort of swimming upstream through a river of liquid cement, and being pushed under by a flotsam of shipwrecked dreams, sinking hope and boatloads of stress.

What follows now is a rant. I really don't know how long it will be ..I'm just going to let it flow. Hopefully it will give me a little clarity and release.

Right now, apart from mind numbing fear, the emotion I feel most of, is anger. I am so angry ! There are a number of descriptive words that I could use, to describe that anger, but I'll be polite and just leave it as 'so angry'.

As many of you may already know, My husband was laid off, from his job, 17 months ago. It was on 12/1/2008, to be exact. I think when I die, like Mary Tudor and Calais, that date will be found engraved on my heart.

Since then, he's put in many applications, sent out resumes, knocked on doors. He's either heard nothing back (they'd be the majority) or he's received polite letters of what is basically a refusal, couched in various terms. Looking at the stack of job applications, resumes and refusal letters, I could save a bit on paint for my living room...I'll just paper them with the stack, instead !

To say it's been difficult, is probably somewhat of an understatement. It's also been an education, in a way ...I've learnt inventive ways to stretch a pound of meat ... and I'm getting to be an expert at pleading my case to the utilities company, phone company and so on. I've been my husband's cheerleader through all this ...finding ways to pump up his flagging self esteem, encouraging him, trying to be the one steady thing he can cling to in the storm. Wonder if I can add those new found skills to my resume??

A miracle happened, a couple of weeks ago. After months of being rejected, he found a job !! It's a good job, one I think that he will enjoy doing.

However, that's when the pot of anger, that had been simmering, came to a full boil. That anger is well peppered with frustration and fear and outright panic.

The job is out of state. In Southern California, to be exact. He's going to be working for an army civilian contractor, doing security work at Fort Irwin, just out of Barstow, CA. It's fitting in a way. He started his working life off in the military, as a Marine. He will be hopefully ending it, back in the military, albeit as a civilian. When he left the Marines, he was a Sergeant in charge of a security platoon. This job also involves security for the military. Lot's of coincidences :-)

The decision to take the job was pretty much a no brainer. After being out of work for so long, plus jobs being hard to find here and unemployment benefits close to running out, there really was not much choice but to take a deep breath and say yes.

That's when the fun really started. Being unemployed for so long, our savings are exhausted. That left the problem about how we were going to find the money, get him down there and pay for a place to stay, plus feed him and put the gas in the car to get him back and forth between Barstow and Ft Irwin.

Just when I thought that things could not get worse, his unemployment checks stopped. The emergency extensions bill ran out on May 31st and so far, the Senate has failed to pass the bill that would extend those emergency benefits to the millions of Americans that are employed through no fault of their own. That situation has sent the mercury on my anger meter, right through the roof. More on that later.

One would have thought, that when someone who has been on long term unemployment, as a result of a lay off, that was directly due to the current economic climate ... that when they finally found a job, there would be assistance to ensure that they were able to take it, if there was financial hardship.

Think again ... If you are single, pregnant and already have a parcel of kids .. there is help. If you are a drug addict, etc .. the raft of help to get you back on your feet is a true miracle. If you're a minority person ..open arms on the help front. If he was going back to school ... grants,benefits and low cost loans are almost limitless. If we'd been hit by a natural disaster and a state of emergency was called ...help pours forth. And so on. Wonder if I could wave a magic wand and turn him into a unemployed, recovering drug addict, pregnant with 6 kids, minority person who was going back to school and had just had their house flattened by a tornado ?? Nahhhh..he's still a 57 yr old,sober, white male, no sign of six kids and neither of us are pregnant and NV doesn't get tornadoes....

I've called various government departments and been told that they know of no programs to help the unemployed get back on their feet. I've also been told that in our case, there probably would be no help as 'We don't extend assistance to those that make a personal choice to relocate.'

HUH??? Choose to relocate??? I don't think so. We are relocating, but it's not much of a choice !! We live in the state, Nevada, that now has the country's highest unemployment rate, currently standing at 14% !! For every one job, even the lowest paying, there are 100's of applicants. While my husband has a great resume and is well qualified in his line of work, he is 57 and he is long term unemployed. While it hard to prove age discrimination, it's obvious that it's happening. There is also the disturbing trend, of employers either stating in ads that only those with a current job need apply, or telling employment agencies that they will not consider the unemployed.

It's either relocate or go completely under water. Not really much of a choice...

Then there is the personal cost of relocating. We'll be apart for a year as I will be staying here in Reno. He has a year's probationary period with this job, and we don't want to sell our home here, until we know his job is secure there. We will also be leaving our friends here, who have been my support system through all this (I truly love and appreciate you guys)and the life we have built for ourselves here. It's not an easy thing to do, or something we would have chosen to do in this way.

We have been struggling to get the money together to get him to the job. Currently, I have some of our possessions up for sale on Ebay..so far I've made enough for gas to get him down there and getting him back and forth to Ft Irwin, supposing that he can find somewhere to stay in Barstow or close by. I'm still working on getting enough to give him a place to stay and enough to eat, until his first pay check at the end of July. I've had a some help from friends, which I appreciate more than words can say. It's a situation that I never though we would find our self in ..sadly we are not alone, there are millions of other unemployed Americans that are treading the same rocky path.

In many ways, this is a disaster .. not a natural disaster, but an economic disaster. If millions of Americans were put out of work, lost their homes, could not feed themselves or their families, by a flood, wildfire, earthquake, or some other natural disaster, then a state of emergency would be issued and help would be forthcoming from all sorts of sources.

This is a disaster, an economic disaster. The people who are caught up in it, are there because of no fault of their own. They had no control over it. I also don't think that many ordinary Americans have really caught up with what the repercussions could be, if something is not done soon. If you take into account that there is something like 1.2 million Americans, whose emergency employment benefits have now come to a shuddering halt, you can then add in maybe another 1.5 million Americans who are also directly affected ...in the shape of spouses, children and other dependants. That makes for a lot of angry people and the numbers are growing..

All that flows on .... as people on unemployment do pay taxes, buy food, clothing, pay rent and mortgages, pay utilities, etc. This in turn keeps businesses going and people in jobs.

How can this not be a disaster??? Put yourselves in my shoes and the shoes of others in my situation...and I can tell you right now ...this is a huge disaster.

I'm currently listening to the Senate on TV. It's the first time I've ever done that. It's been an eyeopener. Many of the Senators have absolutely no empathy or clue, as to the effect that their inaction is having on people like me. I've gotten so angry at times, that I've had to walk out of the room...it was either that or put a fist through the TV..

Because of their inaction .. this next month or so, is going to be really scary, especially for me. In all probability, because of the loss of those last weeks of benefits, I'm going to have my power, phone, etc cut off in a couple of weeks. The though of being here, on my own, without the security of power and phone, is pretty frightening. Not to mention the fact that it's currently in the 90's here, so there will be no means of cooling the home. Any money that I can manage to scrape up has got to go to ensuring that my husband gets to this job, that is the one thing , the one hope, that's keeping me sane right now..

As to my situation... well there is always candles and the camp stove !!

I just can't believe that in a country like America, that this is happening to hard working people like us and others like us.

My husband is a Veteran, someone who as a not quite 18 yr old, chose to voluntarily sign up with the Marines, during a time when America was at war. He knew that on all probability he would be sent to Vietnam. However, he had pride in his country and was prepared to give his life for the protection of his country and the freedoms that so many of his fellow American enjoyed and are still enjoying, thanks to men and women like my husband. He is one of America's Heroes.

How dare the Senate let down American Heroes like my husband, other unemployed Vets and unemployed Americans in general. How dare they use them as pawns in their political game. How dare America turn it's back on people like my husband ..how dare they !

I just want you to know, though, that my anger is not being directed at my readers... I know that you are all good, caring people. :-)

But nevertheless, I am angry, frustrated and as I said, a couple of times, scared.

All I can do now is pray ... pray that this is going to turn out okay ... pray that help will come from somewhere... pray that we will come out of this storm somewhat intact and with our boat still afloat, if somewhat leaky.

There is so much more I want to say, but I need to keep this rant reasonable short..

Please include me in your prayers, I'd really appreciate that..plus thanks for listening ..oops ..reading!!

I guess one thing in all this, and the one thing that has kept me going ..is that I still have my sense of humour. It's kind of battered, but it's still there...

Have a Happy 4th !!

Oh, and if anyone has any contacts in the Barstow area and knows of a really cheap place to stay ..like $300 or so a month, please let me know !!!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Skywatch Friday ... Monterey Sunset



Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Monterey, for three days, on a 6th Grade school trip.

After 14 years of living in the High Sierra Desert, it was an absolute joy to be back by the ocean again ... I so miss it !!

These two photos, were taken on our first night there, just as the sun was beginning to set. It was glorious !!

It doesn't matter how huge you think your problems are ...sitting down on the beach and watching the waves crash in and seeing the immensity of the ocean in front of you ... makes those problems seem seem small in comparison. The smell of salt in the air and the rhythm of the sea is so soothing ...





Go to SKYWATCH for views of the sky from all over the world !

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Promise Of What's To Come ...



Ah! Sunflower

Ah! Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake





Blue skies and cheerful sunflowers, from the end of last summer..

Go to SKYWATCH for views of the sky from all over the world ! Have a great day everyone :-)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

My latest adventure...

Every so often I tend to shake my life up a bit. I think that in many ways I've always walked to the beat of a slightly different drum...

I moved to America from NZ ... which has left me with a mixed bag of feelings. I regret leaving my family and miss them constantly. I've had some pretty bad experiences here. There have also been some positive outcomes of the move ..my husband and my grandchildren (my daughter's children). Life over here has also had it's humorous moments as chronicled here , here and here !!

I went skydiving a few years ago. It was one of the most scary, but liberating, moments of my life. I have no wish to repeat the performance, but I'm glad that I did it .. even if I nearly killed myself in the process !! That story is here and here .

I've kind of become a bit lost at sea recently. Life has had a lot of stresses and ups and downs. Heavier on the downs than the ups. It seems that many of my goals and dreams are floating away .. becoming shipwrecked, for want of a better description.

My solution to finding my path again, other than a good kick in the bum .... I've become a martial art student !!

I'm learning Tang Soo Do , a Korean martial art.

So far, I'm rediscovering muscles that I'd forgotten I had ...mainly because they hurt ! I'm reaffirming the fact that I have abysmal coordination. I am firmly convinced that standing in the 'Cat Stance' for any length of time, is almost like the pain of labour !!

However ... I can now twist lids off jars by myself without having to ask Jay to loosen them first. I'm getting fitter. I'm walking faster. My coordination is improving. My balance is improving. Most importantly, I'm finding a new confidence in myself.

When I first started, about 3 months ago .. the height of my front kicks, would probably have hit an ant in the kneecap (if an ant had a kneecap) .. they were that low. Now I'm kicking about waist high. I've gone from having to lift my leg up with my hands, to get it to kitchen table height so I could stretch ... to now being able to throw my leg up on to the kitchen counter top, without the assistance of my hands.

In class the other night, our instructor demonstrated the correct way to move ones hips while going down the floor in various stances. It consists of twisting your hips back in the direction of where your block or punch is going to come from and then as you move your foot forward and down, you 'snap' your hips around. Needless to say, I'm still hunting for the 'snap' in my hips and hoping like heck that I don't snap something in the process !!

If you're interested in following my latest journey ..I have another blog where I'm posting Tang Soo Do related stuff .. you can find it here .

I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt ... it perfectly describes how I feel..

"I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sunsets..




The smoke plume from a wildfire on the outskirts of Reno..taken in the early evening.

Two days later ..all the smoke particles in the air certainly made for some brilliant sunsets..




Go to SKYWATCH for views of the sky from all over the world !