It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

After 5 years of drought in California we have not only reached our average for the year we have surpassed it!  The storms moving in this week are expected to drop as much water as the entire month of January and the warmth will raise the snow levels to above 9000′ which will cause melting snow levels to create even more flooding.

I love the winter weather, the crisp days, snow and rain. I love power outages, but we are prepared with oil lamps on the walls, wood stove and a 1953 (6) burner stove, batteries for the radio and a phone that is a land line not just the cordless handset. I think this is one of the best parts of rural living, our ability to disconnect from the world and truly relax after feeding and chores with books, handwork or games and not only survive it but relish the peace and quiet it brings.  The only bad thing on the home front is perhaps things going bad in the fridge if the power is out too long, but realistically I need to clean it out properly so now’s my chance.

This is why I have so much on hand to complete any painting (including not only prefab canvas’, stretcher bars, a bolt of canvas, and gesso), craft, sewing, knitting, crochet, cross stitch project and a shop with an old magazine side table to be refinished and broken chair to be mended.  Days like today are meant for project completion, as long as you don’t rely on the ability to connect to power.

It is hard to believe in one week I will be at Disneyland in much warmer (mid 50’s) southern California for a 10k and seeing sunrises while it is still dark from storm cloud and just above freezing at 8 AM here.

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This picture is blurry because I was so excited to go out and take it I didn’t grab a jacket and am shivering!  It is cold!

We send friends, family and communities good wishes for a safe and comfortable week.  From our Blue family to all other First Responders, may you return home safely to your families at the end of shift.

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A dark and stormy morning in Mendocino County, California.

 

 

 

 

New Year, Renewed Hope

Well, we have officially closed our 2016 calendars (except for tax purposes) and are ready to tackle 2017 with renewed hope and some trepidation.  I have seen the United States and world become more divided than in several decades and also many more are once again outspoken about love and unity.  The equal and opposite reaction of our pendulums (faith and fear, brotherhood and racism, factions opposing each other, and good and evil) are in full swing.

We as a nation, and our global community, are facing new challenges and as history has shown us good people with good hearts can overcome and prevent further pain and devastation. We are the key to preventing history from repeating itself and writing a future based upon hope, love, equality and peace.

From the ashes of events which have rocked the world, broken our hearts and made us feel helpless, have risen the unified voices louder than any hatred can drown out.  We will not be silenced and we will continue to live our lives free and without fear.  We will prosper and those who have died senseless deaths will not have died in vain. We will carry them in our hearts and act on their behalf.

Terrorism, genocide, global warming, nuclear weapons, polution, violence, freedoms of religion and press; these topics unify us more than they divide. This life is ours to embrace and our legacy to leave.

For my friends and family here and around the world, I am so glad I have been touched by your lives, enriched by the things we share, that I am allowed to be part of your joy and pain.  I am grateful we are facing another year of opportunities to make the world a better place, practice random acts of kindness.  I look forward to Anna’s pictures showing me beauty and wonder and Dave’s strength that helps me heal and know I’m not alone.

From my heart to yours, may 2017 be filled with good people, sweet memories, love, laughter, and peace.

Karen

 

A New Chapter

 

The last couple of weeks have been pretty big for me. I recently turned 50, YAY ME!  It was the perfect time to resolve to come to terms with my retirement, (I announced it to every one), come out of my shell a bit more, focused on healing and in turn plot a clearer path to help others.

A major part of healing for me I believe lies in helping others who are facing the same types of difficulties and those who have no idea what we live with understand a bit more about why we are “JFU” (just fu&#%d up).  While I am in no position to speak for any one, and there are as many different stories of First Responder PTSD/PTSI as there are people dealing with it, I do understand so much more than two years ago and know there have to be a multitude of people who were just like me and just don’t get what happened to them or why.

I was asked to be involved with a new group starting at my college (Mendocino College) focused on healing though art.  I was super honored and excited!  Hopefully, it will bring some peace of mind and a new form of expression to people dealing with the “gift that keeps on giving”.  I will be posting some of my art work in a new catagory here, and hopefully will have a bit to choose from for the art show in early fall 2016 to kick off the new group.

I am going to have my second manuscript, the first chapter of my PTSI story, critiqued tomorrow in Creative Writing English class.  Kinda nervous about that one but also can’t  wait to get feed back from 20 people.  I edited it twice and still found a few mistakes!  Thinking about real incidents and the nightmares, smells and thoughts associated with PTSD on an in depth scale was nothing like I expected.  I really hope it is well received and I can take it to a new level in the near future.

More soon, cheers!

If you could do anything

If you could do anything without fear of family or friends disapproval, and had unlimited resources, what would it be?  I had this question posed to me recently and it was not as difficult as I thought. I immediately realized art, including writing and textile (sewing) would be the primary thing on my platter. I can imagine having a studio space and allocating myself hours each day to do nothing but create. No judgement regaeding my choice to drop out of ‘traditional’ life, work, career and total support from others who cook and clea up after themselves. Unlimited resources, I’m hiring a maid and cook.

Imagine finally being allowed to be yourself without being bitched at or hearing snide comments daily eluding to laziness, failure to take care of perfectly capable people while focusing on growth and healing. Would it ever be possible to rewrite the lines of caring for people out of desire rather than years of obligation as the “woman of the house” in a house so obviously not now, nor ever to be, shared equally with me or my haven should, Heaven forbid,something ever happen to him.

This would be what I would do.  Me truly being me, expressing myself as an independent adult, placing myself and my needs first… finally.

Finding Chicken Sutra

So, I’ll just put it out there… I’m a bit bonky over chickens.  I never cared for birds much and then one day, about five and a half years ago, we ran out of eggs. I decided it would never happen again and we have had chickens ever since.  I don’t particularly like eggs, I have never really fancied them.  I don’t kill our flock for food (Lord knows the blood and meat at the market is enough to set me on a panic attack).  We have had some rough patches such as two sets of predator attacks.  The first time only our Barred Rock, Pepper, survived.  The most recent attack by a bobcat I chased off could have been the end of my chicken farming, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

I’m living in a different place and moving my chickens there.  Not only have I missed taking care of them, they need more attention, people time and I worry about them way too much when I can’t see and hear them often.  In addition to my sweet little Confetti and frizzle Cochins, our foster rabbit will live in the new run.  The rabbit formerly known as Fluffy is now called Cadbury.  The Cadbury Bunny after all lays eggs and lives with chickens, right?

Cadbury was given to us by my niece after he grew too big for her daughter to pick up.  I like raising rabbits and had just read about keeping rabbits and chickens together which I was  curious about trying anyway, must have been meant to be.  This has been a wildly successful venture. Cadbury is very kind and docile.  He is the perfect hospital mate when an ill or injured chicken needs to be separated from the flock.  He does groom his friends a bit too efficiently on rare occasions, clipping a feather once in a while, but he doesn’t bother wounds or startle easily and loves to help keep the patient warm.  My daughter calls the infirmary her ICCU, Intensive Critter Care Unit. Do they make naughty nurse costumes for rabbits?  I find myself being a bit carried away trying to set it all up.  Finding the right run, predator proofing the top, revamping an old dogloo doghouse for a coop, and the like.  I want to reuse and recycle as much as I can.  Not only am I huge penny pincher, I’m on a tight budget.  Old fence boards and used 4×4’s are awesome.

Two of my friends have been invaluable helping put all of this together. One was out with me in the dark tonight until 10 PM while I moved cages and fiddled about. The other insisted on working in 106° weather on a stand for the coop to be on and Cadbury’s nighttime crate to set on and slide out for easy cleaning.  I’m so grateful I had no idea where to start on that stand.

I’d like to create a more natural setting than our large breed poultry coop and run since these small birds will not free range as much as the larger fowl.  This is primarily because of our Buff Orpington rooster, Bo.  Bo was originally named Dorothy…he weighs in around fourteen pounds now.  He is a very good hen protector and provider, however to any women or children he is a big jerk.  I’m sure Bo would kill my four pound frizzle roo,  Kevin, for hormonal blood sport and kill the two pound girls by crushing them if he tried to be amorous.

I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow of the progress and direction we’re heading.

Hello Everyone,

I am a parent, grandparent, struggling college student and law enforcement officer with 25 years in my career.  I was diagnosed with PTSD, or preferably PTSI (Post Traumatic Stress Injury).  I am trying to live life one day at a time, find who I am now and function while I have the symptoms associated with this malady.

This “condition” is kicking my arse, but I have to believe there is some reason I am traveling down this path.  Having this in mind, I decided to start a blog so maybe someone else can gain insight into PTSI, themselves, a loved one or just have mindless entertainment through my life experiences and live vicariously through me.

For anyone who has, or thinks they may have, PTSI I strongly urge you to reach out to someone,  anyone.  If it doesn’t work the first time do it again.  Your significant other or spouse, friend,  doctor, priest, or me.  Do not give up or give in.  Do not let this win.  Most importantly, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Enjoy and best wishes.