Settling In

It was broken; now it is not.
It was broken; now it is not.

After my last post (seems so long ago) much has happened. Wednesday, Young Son and I moved all the heavy stuff from the storage unit to the apartment. By the time I turned in the truck, I was too done to go back to the unit and prepare to sleep there. So I returned to my hotel room and spent one last night there.

Thursday morning I packed my gear, loaded the rig, and drove over to the apartment. I dropped my gear, got the Girl out for a short walk/play, then returned to assemble a computer and participate in a conference call for one of my projects.

By noon I was able to get started on my place. The bed slats were tired, so I attempted a fix but elected to reject them and build some new ones. But that was too late for the day, so I decided to sleep on the sofa. That old leather sofa sleeps well, as my kids and many friends can attest. The Girl slept on her small bed on the Ottoman.

It was strange to sleep in my own space again. But it is good!

Friday morning I got my invoices out and was going to walk the Girl, but I had a morning webinar (to keep my certifications active) that cramped my time. So I grabbed a bite of breakfast and learned that I do not care for Jack-in-the-Box breakfast burritos. So the Girl played at the park while I nibbled my breakfast. Then the webinar happened and I was able to get back on task.

I built new slats for the foundation, assembled my bed, broke open the boxes labeled “bedding,” and then had a place to sleep. I started work on the kitchen, but made little progress. So that would be the Saturday task.

I was surprised when I started breaking boxes and came across some things Wife bought/gave me. There were some wine glasses we shared. There is a China teapot and Chinese cups for tea. There is a set of whiskey glasses that are fun. These things made me pause for a moment and reflect on Wife, the years we shared, the things, times, and places we shared, and her death. I still miss you, Old Girl!

That’s when I discovered I needed the drawer above. The guide rail was broken and the drawer unstable. The landlord mentioned it when I met her to get a key. I figured they’d get to it, but the lack of a drawer was impeding my progress. So I spent a little time on YouTube, learned how to replace the rail, and drove over to Lowe’s for parts. (I also needed some no-slip drawer/shelf lining and a new lampshade to replace one that died in transit.)

The repair was simple, but I’m unskilled so it took me an hour. But it works now and we’re good to go. When that was done, it was time to quit, go walk the Girl, and figure out some supper.

My best friend dropped by to visit and was ecstatic about my place. I will enjoy entertaining a few people again. I plan to cook for Christmas and have my friend and Young Son over to celebrate the birth of the Christ.

I should finish the kitchen today. The next task will be to tackle my workroom/office. I have a floorplan in mind that will give me good use of space and decent Feng Shui.

But I have to find the pins to my bookshelves! I have a ton of books (literally) and the job will not be complete until I stow my books.

Therefore, once the kitchen is workable (and I have a number of things to make go away), then I’ll start breaking boxes to search for my bookshelf pins.

There are still a few boxes in my last unit to bring over to the house. I might make a run at them today so I can get a sense for what remains to be dealt with.

I should be settled in after a few more days. My place won’t be like I want it (I’ll still have to figure out where wall hangings go and how to organize everything). But I’ll have made the first pass through my things. I’ll have a workable setup. Then I can begin on the next phase, which will be to continue eliminating things I don’t want/need until I get down to my essentials.

I could live with less (and might choose to). We will see…

Friends

The Girl made a new friend Saturday, Sandy. What a cutie she is and a great match for the Girl.
The Girl made a new friend Saturday, Sandy. What a cutie she is and a great match for the Girl.

Although the weather changed abruptly Saturday evening, Saturday morning was beautiful — cool and sunny. On our morning outing, we met Mike and Sandy. I’d watched Mike working Sandy a day or two before and he handles her well. They play a jumping game with a bird dog lure that is fun. Sandy can jump.

While we were visiting with our friends, Mike and Sandy drove up. She came over to the Girl and introduced herself. And then… the game was on.

Sandy has a bit of bull terrier in her. She’s has a gorgeous coat and color. Her personality is funny and she is engaged and interactive with her handler and her friends. Interestingly, she is laid back but has a no-bullshit side to her that the Girl discovered.

So, once that was sorted out (the Girl can be a real bitch at times), off they went to play. The Girl loves to chase the ball; Sandy loves to chase and tease. So for the next half-hour Mike and I took turns throwing the ball and playing with the two playful canines.

During one break in the action, I had the opportunity to make a few images of the girls together. They were relaxed and social.

What great fun the morning was. Life is good…

Snowy Morn

It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.
It snowed Saturday night for the first time this year. We had about three inches of beauty in the morning.

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Northern Nevada. The morning was gorgeous and the Girl and I were out and about early to walk and play. About noon the wind came up and our afternoon hike was blustery, to put it mildly. I knew weather was coming in — I could see the advance guard creeping over the Carson Range.

Sure enough, when I woke Sunday morning (the first time), I peeked out the window and saw the coating of white. The Girl had to go out, but we delayed our morning outing until the sun was up and shining brightly. After breakfast, we dressed for the cool and headed out.

The Girl, like many dogs, is frisky when it’s cold. She loves to play in the snow as well. She will dash about, kicking up snow and laughing. This makes me laugh (which is good) and it’s fun to chase her playing a little grab-ass and rough-housing with her. She loves play but I have to manage her energy or she can be a little over-excited. I have torn jeans and sweatshirts that will attest to that.

Over on the old State Orphanage property, there is a line of pines along our regular path. This Sunday morning they were adorned with a sheath of snow and ice. The morning sun illuminated that combination of color and texture with a beautiful light. So, while the Girl checked all the squirrel holes (uneventfully), I paused to make a few images before we headed back to the room for warmth and coffee.

There will be more snow, I’m sure. Perhaps we’ll wander up into the mountains this winter for some play and photography. That could be fun. But one thing I know is that winter is coming. It’s not here yet, but this little snowfall reminded me that winter is on its way.

Going Forward

It appears that someone did not escape…
It appears that someone did not escape…

While on walkies, we often come upon interesting things. The other day when we walked out on the Silver Springs Ranch, we came upon an escapee who did not make it. I suppose the sight of another 12 miles was too much to bear. But, I digress from my original train of thought…

Of all the applications filed, none produced a new engagement. I have no new applications pending and I don’t think I will tender any new ones. At least, I think I will tender any new applications for now.

A rental is available here in Carson City and I can afford it. It will give me a place to live and work while I process my durable goods. I don’t intend to rush the processing of my things, so that will take me a few months. There is project work for me. Money will be thin, but I’ll have enough to pay my bills and feed us.

Months ago I was troubled about leaving the States for Bolivia without dealing with my personal property. Traveling with my dog (the Girl), dental work (that is now done), and the rapid movement was too much for me to process. Therefore, I stopped moving that process forward to deal with the immediate.

The dental work is done and now I am back in maintenance mode. I am working through other regular reviews and should be done with those by the end of the year. I am healthy.

With my wandering (mostly) done, my intention is to be stable for awhile so that I can work through my personal property. I lived without any of those things in storage for more than a year. I now know there is a group of them I want to use. I have a pretty good idea what those things are. I also have a good idea what things I need to maintain my life.

The remainder are in two groups: Things that are unnecessary and can be used by others, and things that are nice to have but are unnecessary. The former group I’ll ferret out and eliminate. The latter group I will process and decide which I will keep, which I will give to my kids (like family pictures), and which will be eliminated. That will take time. God willing, I have time.

This process was my intention at the beginning of 2016. The Bolivia experience, the aftermath from that trip, travel to see loved ones and for interviews, and dental work interrupted my plan. Those occurrences didn’t stop my plan, but they delayed it.

Now I’m healthy. I learned that the probability of finding another full-time engagement seems reduced to the point where I should seriously consider running my own business. I am running my own business — it simply needs a little more development such that I have a few more projects.

So, I’ll move into my apartment, set up a life, and get to work. I have projects to find and execute, photographs to make, guitars that need my attention, my durable goods to deal with, and a dog who loves me.

Gratitude

On the Carson River
On the Carson River

Thanksgiving morning we rose and started our day. The day began like so many others — with the routine. I then sat at the computer for a few minutes, ruminating on what I might write and what image I might share. I considered the day, its meaning, and reflected for a few minutes on all that I am thankful for. I paused for a few minutes to pray, to give thanks for God’s provision for me and my family.

I received a text message from a friend (a travel nurse) that her apartment-mate was taken to the hospital, potentially with a serious illness. I paused for a few more minutes to sit before God in prayer for my friends.

My muse passed and I began me day. Traffic was light and morning walkies were alone. Our usual suspects were not at the park when we arrived and not there when we left. Yet, the Girl and I had a good time walking, hunting squirrels, talking, and playing. The air was cool and the Girl was frisky, so the play was rough and rowdy. But, eventually the ball won and she was ready to return to the room for breakfast.

I received a text later that day with relief that the nurse’s illness was not life-threatening, but still possible serious. I paused, again, to pray for a few minutes.

When I took the Girl out later, the day was gorgeous. So, I elected to go for a longer walk out by Carson River. I took one of our favorite routes. Although the air was cool, the sun provided much-loved warmth. The Girl had great fun sniffing, leaving pee-mail, and critter-hunting.

She sometimes is distracted and falls far behind. When she realizes that I’m ahead a hundred yards or more, she tears after me, beating feet with that happy-dog face that is so enjoyable. That face, that engagement, this relationship I have with an alien species is another item I am deeply grateful for. That thought often comes to mind while we are out walking and playing. I laugh when she zooms past me, kicking up sand to patter face and body as she passes.

These sun-bleached kayaks were parked along the river all summer. I passed them many times on our walks. But they are particularly striking now, with the drape of winter colors surrounding them. They really caught my attention in the afternoon sun. And so I paused to make an image.

We headed back to the rig to go home and clean up for supper. Young Son, my friend Jimmy, and I shared a Thanksgiving supper in a man’s fashion. We had New York strip steaks, French bread, salad, and pumpkin pie. Jimmy brought a nice wine and we toasted Thanksgiving and Wife. My kids and I always toast Wife when we are together. The meal and conversation were fun and to be thankful for.

My friend texted that her apartment-mate was home with no clear diagnosis. There was another thing to be thankful for.

The celebration broke and Jimmy and I headed home. With the darkness, the air turned cool and I was ready to settle in for the evening. It was a good day.

Life is good…

Squirrel Hunting

Yesterday morning was cool, but not cold... and perfect for some squirrel hunting.
Yesterday morning was cool, but not cold… and perfect for some squirrel hunting.

Yesterday morning broke cool, but not cold. I overdressed us, I think. There was a bit of sun early and the Girl wanted to get out for morning walkies. I think I was ready too, after a coffee. I was ready enough to go ahead and make breakfast (for both of us) and then dress to get outdoors.

It was not as cold as I expected. It was certainly not as cold as this morning. This morning she’ll need her coat and I’ll want my thermals. But I’m still looking forward to getting out into the outside air — and, hopefully, some sunshine.

Reflections

While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children's Home.
While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children’s Home.
A couple of weeks ago, the Girl and I were out for a late afternoon walk. A favorite place is the old Nevada Children’s Home (Nevada State Orphanage), which is now relegated to what appears to be state storage and a great place for dog owners to gather with their fur-friends. I had not noticed this inscription before, but the late sun caught the texture of the concrete just right and it caught my eye.

We are entering the portion of the year when I like to stop and reflect. The ending of the year and the beginning of a new year is a great time to review what is done and look ahead to what might be done. I like that.

I woke really early Sunday morning, dreaming of Wife. She was not happy and was telling me about it in no uncertain terms. As I shook off the dream, I wondered “What was that all about?” I’m uncertain yet what it might be. But I trust my intuition and I’ll know if/when I need to know. Regardless, being awake, I rose, emptied my bladder (always a good idea), and decided to make a cup of tea. Tea is good for the soul, I think, and the process/ritual is also good.

I really didn’t want to sit at the computer too long, so I wrote a short weblog post and turned off the machine. With my tea finished, I took up a book I was reading, The Peaceful Warrior, which I picked up on my travels last summer. I decided to finish the book. I don’t have to be anyplace most days, so if I want to read a bit and sleep a little late, I can.

(Although the truth is I live a very regular life. It’s not regimented — in that I get upset if I don’t keep my regimen — but it’s orderly. I like that.)

I finished my book and the Girl wanted to go out. It was not raining, so we went outside in the morning dark. She took care of her business, scratching the ground furiously after relieving herself (and grinning at me in the process), and was ready to go back to bed. I snuggled up close, loving her smell, her heat, her small sounds of contentment, and I fell asleep too.

I rolled out a bit late, but not really late, made some coffee, and sat down to wake. Before long she asked for her morning routine.

Laughing, I dressed us, collected my things, and peeked outside. There was a little sun shining and not much wind. So, out we went.

As we walked toward the usual place, the Girl danced around me, looked over her shoulder, grinning, and pranced about. She makes me smile and laugh, so we started trotting toward the park, both of us laughing and playing. We met up with another pair, an old man and his dog, who get it. He’s seen a lot of life, is retired, and enjoying his time. His girl knows what’s doing on. She’s intuitive, engaged, and social. She and the Girl get along very well, despite the disparity in physical size.

We walked a bit while watching the weather blow over the hill (much like yesterday morning). There are good relationship to be had between men. I’m learning something of that these days. We talked about the weather and our experience with life. Then the sky darkened with the increasing wind and a few drops of rain fell. The Girl began to shiver a little, although it was not too cold, but the vanishing of the sun took away that warmth and the wind was cool.

“We’d better go. She’s cold and there is rain coming. She’s fine with snow; but she hates being in the rain and being wet.”

Life is good. I am happy, regardless of whether a full-time gig comes or not. I am confident that God provides what I need and that there will be plenty of work in 2017. I’m expecting my apartment to be ready soon and will have a place to live, work, and process my durable goods. It will be good to have my own space again.

I think the path for the next few months is starting to come clear. What I thought I should do and what I’m going to do were not aligned. I think they are aligning with the passing of each week. I’m beginning to see the path and that’s good for me. It isn’t necessary that I see, but it is comforting to have a plan, even if it’s only for a few weeks or months.

Truckee River Charlie, thanks for your inscription. You gave me an interesting photograph and a nice wonder about who you might be.

I am thankful. Whatever I have, it will be enough. Life is good.

Fall is Fallen

On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
The Girl and I returned from our trip to Denver about a week ago. The weekend and first few days of the week were filled (for me) with work. A client needed help with a critical phase of her project and I was able to help her. I returned with a Winder$ box that needed some work (a failed hard drive for starters and additional upgrades) and spent a couple of days working through its issues before it was stabilized.

But, even with being busy, part of every day is spent outdoors with the Girl. She needs outside time and interaction with me. I need outside time and interaction with her and our circle of doggie-friends. Even on cold mornings (and we’ve had a few already) we get out at least once and usually twice. With the shortening days it’s more difficult to get in two walks a day, but we’re managing.

One cold morning I noticed the light on the street sign near the hotel where we stay. The irony of “fall” made me chuckle as I paused for a capture. The Girl, impatient as she can be in the morning (“gotta poo!”) pushed her energy at me (“let’s go… now!”) and so I made the hasty capture and off we went for morning walkies.

I’m settling back into my routine after the odd days of travel. It looks like the Grand Junction engagement is not going to happen. I’m completely OK with that — if they don’t offer me the position then I don’t have to decide.

That is my approach these days. I can make a living (I think and God willing) without a full-time gig. I’ll have less money. I’m OK with that. I’ll have more time. I’m OK with that too. So, whether or not a full-time (or part-time) gig materializes, I’m OK with it. God provides what I need and I have an abundance already. I do not need more.

So, back here in Carson City I’m happy. I like it here. I like the climate. I like the outdoors. I like the mountains. I can go to the coast if I want to (and if I want to spend time in PRK). I’ll have time this winter to work on some projects I want done. In the spring we’ll spend more time outdoors as the days lengthen again into summer.

I have more captures and more thoughts rattling around in my head. For the next few days, though, I’m going to spend some time reflecting on thankfulness. I do that as a kind of tradition. But it’s more than a tradition; it’s real. I am thankful.

I also have a little work to do. Work is good, too.

It’s good to be back in Nevada. This place feels like home to me.

Happy Birthday, Wife

Wife and Pier at Crissy Field Today, Wife would have been 64-years old. She’s been gone for three years and change. Rarely does a day pass when her memory does not arise, often in the context of an event I think she would have like, a sight she would have enjoyed, or a song we shared.

I still miss her and think I always will. As I wander my way back toward Nevada, there are times when I think “Wife would have enjoyed that…” in the context of something I see or hear. The thought occurred to me yesterday when I was driving through Glenwood Canyon on my way to Grand Junction, Colorado. The light played on the rocks in the afternoon fall sun. The way the rocks were illuminated was interesting and we would have shared that sight.

Birthday celebrations are supposed to be happy affairs. I think when I settle in for the evening, I’ll raise a glass of wine to the east and salute Wife, her life, and her love. Happy Birthday, Wife!

Happy Birthday, Nana

The grandmother I knew as “Nana” died a few weeks ago. She was 100-years old. She saw a lot over her years and knew quite a lot. She shared that wisdom freely. She was the sweetest person I ever knew.

Today she would have been 101-years old. I miss her. Happy Birthday, Nana!