Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wanna take a walk?

these are magic words in dogdom. Nothing like them to perk up their ears and eyes and get them ready for their walks. In the country, walking is our favorite activity. Especially when the campground is quiet and we don't have manic episodes with Lulu imagining impending danger from all quarters.

On our last trip, we had several nice quiet days and we met another doggie friend. Murphy. Looks a lot like Lulu. When she first saw him she went ballistic, and tried to lunge and attack him, barking furiously. He's a calm little terrier, and had no response. So, I asked Wendy (his owner) if I could let Lulu off her leash so she could try to make friends, trusting that she would be good. She dashed at him like she would attack, but soon as she was withing sniffing distance, she calmed right down and they had a sniffing contest and became fast friends. Nikki is always ready to make new friends, so she joined right in too. and we spent some quality dog time with the three little pooches. We will make it a point to visit them regularly, and set up some play dates in the future. One of the other good things that came from this was that Lulu was much less nervous about other people's golf carts and coming s and goings. She didn't feel as threatened. I guess, Murphy arriving on a golf cart changed her mind about their danger. So, we rode around in ours for awhile and that went well too. This was our first ride this summer. Next week, we'll be there for several days, and hope to find more new friends.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Funerals and families

I've noted previously of the passing of some of my friends here. First Paul, then his mother Rosie and last year it was his dad Ray. And now I have to add Marlene (Ray's sister) to the list. Marlene is the last of her generation. She did not have children. She had been a widow for many years, a cattlewoman, rancher and person with personal strengths and determination. Raising cattle was her life work. She could brand, herd, and birth them. She could buy and sell. She owned hundreds of acres of land on which to house them. Now she is gone. She was buried yesterday in the family plot at the remote little cemetery which most people do not know exists.

Marlene was raised at Comanche, which is now at the bottom of a reservoir. Later she lived in San Andreas. She worked in a bank until she retired, but at the same time she kept the cattle business alive. Marlene was diagnosed with Cancer about 6 years ago, and I never saw anyone put up a braver battle to survive. Two surgeries, multiple barrages of chemo and radiation could not stop the cancer. It spread to bones and throughout her body. Eventually it took her, but not without a fight. I think it was her strong will that kept her alive, although some joke that it was stubbornness. She leaves behind a nephew and two great nephews. The nephew had taken her to live with them the last months, and she died in the same room as Rosie and Ray when they lost their battles with other forms of cancer.

There was a nice Catholic service at her home church, and a big reception afterwards. I have never been in a room with so many cowboys. Who even knows many of them. She did. With the family dwindled down there was really no one to do all the work associated with putting on the reception, so of course my bff Cat and her husband stepped up and took it on. Marlene's great nephew is their grandson, so they are shirt tail relations, I guess you could say.

The food was catered by DaVinci's in Lodi. Gene had to drive down to pick it up and haul it back to the reception hall behind the church. Marlene's friends started to show up with desserts. We got ice and packed huge chests with ice and soft drinks and bottled water, cut cakes and pies, laid out the serving things, and made it ready for food. Wow! The food was wonderful, it is the traditional family funeral food! Raviolis, Chicken, Tri Tip, Salad. Wine, beer, coffee, lemonade. And in quantities that far exceeded the crowd's appetites. The unopened portions were donated to local shelters and churches. I'm sure there are a lot of people enjoying the good food that never knew Marlene. BTW we only had one person volunteer to help with the food. He was my hero of the day. A tall handsome cowboy. Wish I had taken his picture.

Marlene will be missed. It is very sad to see this proud family slip away. It probably will be a long time before there is another generation, if ever. Zachary is their only hope and he is still young and unmarried. Time will tell.

Senior awareness day at Micke Grove

June is here. Where did May go? Whooosh! Another month flew by. Full of fun and interesting things to do, places to go, people to see.

The last Thursday in May is Senior Awareness Day in this county. It is celebrated each year with an annual event at Micke Grove park between Stockton and Lodi. It's a lovely old grove of Oak trees with a zoo, an historical museum grounds with many buildings and farm equipments, a Japanese Garden, a playground, and lots of lawns and picnic tables. It is an awesome place.

This year, I got a call from the woman who puts it on, and it seems that there were not a lot of artists represented there, and she asked if I would be able to participate. With nearly perfect weather this year, it seemed like a good place to be, so I said yes and then had to decide what art to take. And who could I get to help with the logistics, carrying , setting up, watching my stuff while I was looking around at other people's art. Trevor!!!! My grandson was laid off recently from his security job, so he was available and always happy to help me out. He was the answer to my prayers that day. This is an event that starts early. Why do they think older people are up with the birds? I like things that start at 10, but this one starts at 8 in the morning, which means set up starts at 7. That's pretty early for me, and even earlier for Trevor who is a night owl. But we managed by loading the car the day ahead, and only had to get ourselves together the next morning. Trevor unloaded the car at the art show section and I moved the car to the assigned parking lot. A shuttle car picked me up and my friend Jean who was in the parking lot too, and took us back to art show. There we set up our things, hung our works, and set up our tables. There were many empty spaces for more art. We could have hung twice as many paintings. The three dimensional art works took up only two tables, and things were spread out pretty far.

The day was perfect. I got to spend it with good art friends and we were all close enough to visit most of the day. Trevor fit right in, he likes people and can converse with most anyone. The streets were full of booths and tables with freebies and lots of information for seniors. There was a little parade, horses, decorated carts, a small band. And on stage there was a good band and a fantastic Patsy Cline type vocalist. We could smell the BBQ, and just relax and visit with old friends and make some new ones. A couple of people came by that I met the first year I showed there, who have remained in touch over the years.

There were three judges of the art this year. It was pretty obvious who they were, once they had their clipboards and started looking at everything and making notes. When I first started showing my work, this would make me pretty nervous, but after doing it more often, I am more confident and it does not bother me a bit. I am more amused by the process than intimidated.
One judge returned a couple times and sat and looked at every little detail of my cloth book entered as a three dimensional piece. I also took Alice Meets the Internet and set it on a corner so both sides could be viewed. It got a lot of attention and comments. Several people took pictures of it on their Iphones. I also entered the collage piece that was used for the Spring art Show, and the torn paper face I did a few months ago.

Finally the winners were announced. I took First Place in 3 dimension with the Alice piece, an honorable mention for the Fabric Book, and a Third Place for the torn paper face. Some of my friends got ribbons as well, and we are all happy for each other. One of Jean's students (a 90 ear old) got a ribbon for her watercolor. This is her first and she was so pleased, and Jean was so proud of her. Her picture is shown here.

At the end of the short day there (It's all over at 1 o'clock) we reverse the process and take things down and get the car and load it up again. Trevor was my lifesaver. He not only helped me, but some of the others as well.

I'll post pics soon.