Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Accidents, Good Neighbors, and Caregiving

Good Neighbors

Sunday morning while I was a home recovering from a bad cold, my husband had gone to church. About the time I was expecting him to come home, my doorbell rang. I wasn't going to answer because I was still in my robe and PJ's, and I figured it wasn't someone I knew or wanted to talk to, but I asked through the door who it was. "Your neighbor. Your husband fell outside." 

I ran out to see him flat on his back with blood on his face, surrounded by my closest neighbors who had already called 911. I hadn't heard his cries for help. The neighbors stayed with him while I ran in to get dressed to go to the hospital. He landed here at Twin Cities hospital while I was driving  over. 

The Emergency Room at Twin Cities Hospital

This is the first time either of us had ever taken the ambulance ride to Twin Cities. I wrote about our updated emergency room there in another post,  and I've also written about some of our other visits. Sunday I was more concerned about provisions and reading materials, should they be needed, so I didn't take my camera along. I knew my husband would need me there. And I knew he'd be hungry and need a snack for strength before the trip home.

By the time I arrived he was in a bed and someone was X-raying his arm. They had determined that nothing was broken. The blood on his face came from the glasses he was wearing, though, fortunately, they didn't break. They must have torn the bridge of his nose when they fell off. His cheeks and knee also had some scrapes. He had fallen on his right side. 

They finally determined he had injured the rotator cuff on his right arm. They put the arm in a sling, gave him some Norco, and sent him home with me. By the time we got home he was dizzy from the Norco, so I went across the street and two neighbor men from that house came and helped me get Hubby from the car to the house. 

Learning to Be a Caregiver

There was a reason I never became a nurse. I empathize too much with people in pain, and often have passed out when I see people in pain. I hope I've gotten over that, but I still leave the room rather than watch blood being drawn or bandages yanked off, etc., if there's nothing I can do to help. 

I never was a mother to a baby or toddler. My youngest child came to us when he was five. So learning to help put on and take off four layers of clothes (undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, and two pullover sweaters) hasn't been easy. Today during Hubby's cataract surgery, a nurse taught me a trick to make it easier. The pain level has subsided a bit, but both of us are frustrated when he can't do normal everyday activities without a bit of help. I don't mind helping, but first I have to watch him try to do something himself before he will let me help. He doesn't like my having to help him do what he normally does himself. 

I'm still not quite over my cold, and all the early hours of getting him to medical appointments and the extra workload have left me more exhausted than usual. I noticed today that either a root canal or a dental implant may be failing. The tooth hurts, but I can't remember whether it's an implant or root canal. That could be contributing to my tiredness. 

In any case, the added daytime responsibilities and night exhaustion are preventing me from blogging or doing much social networking. Sleep seems more important now. 

There are still unsolved medical issues, like what is causing my husband to suddenly lose his balance. Sunday morning he thought he had tripped while taking a can to the curb, but the night before he got off-balance in the kitchen for no reason at all. All this will mean more medical appointments and I don't really want him to drive himself until we find out why he's losing his balance or getting light-headed. We've decided it's best to stay home than to travel to be with family over the holidays. 

I'm hoping to get back to more regular blogging by New Year's Day. 

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to all, whatever and wherever you are celebrating. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Greatest Gift

The Best Gifts Express the Heart of the Giver

God expressed his heart of love for mankind when he gave himself as the ultimate gift.

He saw hate and darkness and exploitation of the poor by the powerful. He saw lust and greed and abuse of power. He saw that those who were supposed to lead and guide his people were often abusing them for their own gain. But he had promised throughout the Old Testament to deliver them.

 Like many today, though, they didn't really understand what he meant. They expected a powerful warrior king who would deliver them from the Romans. They weren't expecting a babe who would grow up to deliver them from their sins. They weren't expecting the Light of the World to expose what was in their own hearts. That is why so many rejected the gift. They wanted to hold onto their sins -- not be delivered from them.

What is in Your Heart?

Today, wherever in the world you live, there may be fear in your heart. Many fear we are on the brink of the worst kind of war ever -- nuclear war. Many feel they are at the mercy of powerful interests and barbarian terrorists. Many wonder how peace is possible. They wonder what happened to the Prince of Peace they hear about during the Christmas season. 

The Prince of Peace is here. He came to bring peace to human hearts by offering himself in order to reconcile sinful humans to their holy and sinless God. He brings the gift of peace and reconciliation to all who confess the sin in their hearts and want new hearts. He offers the gift of new hearts that are inclined to love rather than hate their Creator. He offers forgiveness for sin and a peace that passes human understanding. 

Jesus said of himself: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." He is both gift and giver. He forces himself on no one, but offers a relationship to all who want to walk through life with him. What you do with that gift is up to you.   

Today is Theme Day for City Daily Photo Bloggers. This month's theme is "Gift." See what other bloggers around the world posted to this theme

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

On the Road to Who Knows Where

The Photo Walk that Wasn't

I was in Templeton today for a doctor appointment I didn't know had been cancelled. But I decided to make the most of it and take a photo walk. I started at the construction site on the corner of Posada Lane and Las Tablas that I started photographing last week. The plan was to then go to rural east Templeton and take some pictures, so I headed off on Templeton Road. I parked along the side of the road and hadn't walked far when I found this lost glove in the bike lane. I don't want to even think about what's on that glove.

On the Road to Who Knows Where
Lost Garden Glove on the Road, © B. Radisavljevic


When I visited the doctor a week ago, I noticed construction was underway to replace the medical building that had burned down a couple of years ago. Last week the foundations were almost finished. This week framing was off to a good start. I took several photos, but I'm just sharing these two now. I took these shots from Las Tablas Road.

Construction on Posada Lane in Templeton
Construction on Posada Lane in Templeton, © B. Radisavljevic

Below is a new trench. I noticed when I uploaded the photo that I'd shot past this olive tree which is loaded with olives.

Trench on Templeton Construction Site on Posada Lane
Olive Tree Loaded with Olives near Construction Site on Posada Lane, © B. Radisavljevic

East Templeton

When I'd finished shooting my construction photos I drove over to Templeton Road in rural East Templeton, where I intended to shoot a lot of rural photos. Here are the only two I have to share. First this odd shaped oak tree caught my eye. It's had quite a pruning job. It is currently sharing its space with some trailers, trucks, and heavy equipment.

On the Road to Who Knows Where
Grotesque Oak Tree in Rural Templeton, © B. Radisavljevic 

The horse properties were a bit prettier. I took several photos at this farm, but liked this one best.

Horses Grazing in Rural Templeton
Horses Grazing in Rural Templeton, © B. Radisavljevic 

After I shot this, something strange started happening to my camera lens. It zoomed and wouldn't come back. then I got the message that there was a lens error and my camera would shut down automatically and I'd have to restart it. So I put it back in its case and decided to take the scenic route home to Paso Robles via El Pomar.

I got as far as Finley Family Nursery and decided to park there and see how the camera was doing. This is how it was doing.

On the Road to Who Knows Where
Blurry Photo Taken When Lens Malfunctioned

I kept trying to get it in focus and couldn't. Then I got the message that it was shutting down and I needed to charge the battery. Fortunately when I finally got home and charged the battery, the camera started to work again. Meanwhile, I missed a lot of good shots, including a spectacular sunset on the way home.

Getting Home Was a Nightmare

I thought I knew how to get from El Pomar to South River Road. I've done it. I wrote down the instructions for my husband. But I didn't have them with me. When I got to Creston Road, I turned south instead of north and got lost.

I drove for miles trying to figure out the way home and my gas tank was getting dangerously close to empty and the sun was going down. All I could see were vineyards and farms and no people. Finally I found a couple of men near the road and stopped. They told me to turn around and go the opposite direction on Creston and I'd finally get to Paso Robles. I guess I had driven all the way to Creston. Maybe it is time to get a smartphone -- or at least carry a map.

It's awful to be going full speed who knows where until one can find the way home. But I finally got to territory I recognized again and made it home without running out of gas. I've not been so happy to get home in a long time. It's what we think we know that we don't know that can get us in trouble.

On the Road to Who Knows Where - Getting Lost is No Fun

Have you been lost lately? How did it make you feel? 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Weatherman Predicts Rain and So Does this Sky

Rain Tonight?

As I saw the sky getting grayer and darker out the front window in the late afternoon, I thought it looked like rain was coming. As I cleaned up after dinner, I saw the view to the east still had some blue. But even this sky still appeared to predict rain.

The Weatherman Predicts Rain and So Does this Sky
Sky Predicts Rain, © B. Radisavljevic

So I checked Yahoo's Weather Page. I discovered I was right. Even Yahoo thinks it will be raining from about seven until nine in the evening. I will know about an hour after I post this if the prediction will hold. Meanwhile, better finish raking any leaves left in your yard, since it will be harder after the rain. Sycamore Leaves and Other Leaves Are Everywhere. 

The Weatherman Predicts Rain and So Does this Sky. Rake leaves now.
Man Raking Leaves into Pile, © B. Radisavljevic

Looking Forward to Rain

The Salinas River wants to look like this again. The grass is tired of being brown. The trees are thirsty. And I want a good excuse to curl up with a good book and drink cocoa and eat popcorn.

Funny Prescription Hot Chocolate MugFunny Prescription Hot Chocolate Mug

Get yourself a special hot chocolate mug for those bad weather days. Here are some of my favorites. And don't forget the popcorn. I prefer non-GMO popcorn

And if you need a good book, head on over to my book review site, Bookworm Buffet, for some suggestions.

Whatever you do, stay warm and content inside when the weather is cold and wet outside.

What do you like to do on rainy days?


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A November Sunset at Doce Robles Vineyard.

Doce Robles Has a Great View of the Sunset

There is a clear view of the sky all the way around with no trees or buildings close enough to block the sight of the setting sun. I don't mind getting a silhouette of a tree in my pictures, though I wish the bottom of this oak hadn't been blocked by a shadow. It is just one oak but you can't see the trunk.

When I arrived and got out of my car, the security officer greeted me with loud barking but then calmed down when her owner told her to.

Guess she decided I wasn't a security risk since she immediately got to more important business than me. Did you notice the lawn is lined with oak leaves.

Back to the Vineyards and the Oak

At sunset, it's like there is more than one sky. One part is close to the sunset and contains the actual position of sundown. That's what we saw in the introductory photo. If we look away from the sun to shoot the sky we see the sunset reflected on the surrounding clouds. We also don't have the shadow hiding the vineyards and lower parts of the trees. This next shot looks away from the sun. I confess to adding a bit more light in processing than there really was because I wanted you to see the vines wearing their autumn colors.

The introductory shot faced west into the sun. This shot faced north. It was taken behind the tasting room.

Now that some time passed, the sun is no longer bright. Let's take another shot of the oak tree. This shot faces south, and no shadow hides part of the oak. Instead we have the silhouette with the hills and golden glow in the background. I believe the gray strip coming from the right towards the oak is Highway 46 West. If you look carefully you can see a car on it.

Calling it a Day

As the sun was almost gone, I walked back to the parking lot by the tasting room. It seemed to glow from within. Did you notice that unique weathervane on top?

As I write tonight,  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. I'm very thankful for the free sunsets I get to see each day and the winery owners that let me access their vineyards to take pictures.

I hope you all have a safe and joyful celebration of Thanksgiving, even if it isn't a holiday where you are. It's always time to be thankful.


This last photo was taken facing south. If you want to share it, it's the perfect size to pin.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away

I Found the Crow First on a Power Line

I'm trying to get back to walking again to get stronger, so after I got attached to my Holter monitor this morning I walked all over Posada Lane and behind MedWorks to a drainage ditch. I took almost 300 photos, some of which you will see in future posts. But today I will show you the crow I followed. I first saw it when I had walked over to Las Tablas Road toward the hospital to get a shot of where they are rebuilding a medical complex that burned down a year or two ago. Then I heard some cawing and looked up.  That's when I saw it.

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away
Crow on a Power Line. Will it Fly Away? © B. Radisavljevic

It appeared that the crow couldn't decide whether or not to fly to the tree. Eventually it made a decision and flew away. That was almost the end of the story. Until I walked back around the corner to Posada Lane.

My First Introduction to Crows

I've seen crows around all my life, but I first learned a bit about what they were like when I read Blacky the Crow by Thornton Burgess.  I highly recommend the Burgess animal stories for getting children acquainted with nature in a fun way.

I Find the Crow Again

I was almost back to where my car was parked when I stopped to take this photo. I had never noticed this tree before. The color resembled a sycamore at this time of year, but the leaves were wrong. A woman walked by, saw me with a camera, and asked me if I were taking a picture of the hawk. I told her I was taking a picture of the tree and was trying to figure out what it was. She said, "It's an oak." I knew the leaves were the right shape, but I'd never seen oak leaves so big. 

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away: Photos from a Nature Walk
Red Oak, © B. Radisavljevic

This is my go-to book when trying to identify my local trees in San Luis Obispo County. It's written by a professor at Cal Poly.

There are some cheaper copies at eBay if you prefer that to Amazon.

As I found out later, she was right about the tree, but wrong about the "hawk." It turned out to be my elusive crow, or its friend. There were two of them. This is the one that stayed in one place long enough for me to get a shot. 

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away: Photos from a Nature Walk

Another crow began to circle and call and it flew to the next tree. Finally this bird decided to follow. 

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away: Photos from a Nature Walk
Crow in Flight, © B. Radisavljevic

I think being among the birds and the trees had a healing effect today. How often do you take nature walks?

Watching a Crow Decide Whether to Stay or Fly Away: Photos from a Nature Walk

What is your favorite way to interact with nature?


Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Lovely End to a Peaceful Sunday

Health Issues Have Plagued Me This Week

It's been a rocky week with a heart that would not settle down and beat the way it should. It either raced or my blood pressure dropped really low. It hit a peak on Thursday leaving me almost unable to function to meet my basic needs. I would get dizzy walking from the bedroom to the kitchen or even sitting at my computer. I felt really old.

A Lovely End to a Peaceful Sunday

I haven't had any new episodes yesterday or today, so I'm hoping I'll be able to drive again before the family Thanksgiving Celebration in Fresno. People are praying and I'm hoping. My husband can't drive that soon after his cataract surgery on Tuesday. All plans are moment by moment. But today had a beautiful ending. I'm blessed with a beautiful church family.

A Busy Week Ahead

The beginning of the week is full of medical stuff. Both I and my husband have appointments -- me to get a Holt monitor for my heart, and Hubby to have cataract surgery. We do not know yet if we will be staying or going away for Thanksgiving. People have offered help whether we go or stay home. I really appreciate the offer to bring dinner over Thursday and another to drive us to Fresno if we are well enough to go.

We also have to choose a new Medicare plan soon if we are going to. There are bills to pay and decisions to make and I'd love to stick my head in book and pretend it isn't so. But tomorrow I'll  do what I need to do as God gives the strength.

Meanwhile, I'm thankful for such a gorgeous sunset. And tomorrow will be another new day.

A Lovely End to a Peaceful Sunday

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere

Many of my Neighbors Have Sycamore Trees

When I walk down to get the mail or even go into my own yard, there are sycamore leaves everywhere at this time of year. These were in a neighbor's yard.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere

It almost goes without saying that the sidewalks will be full of leaves. So are the gutters beside the curb.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Girl Walking Dogs on the Sycamore Leaf-Strewn Sidewalk, © B. Radisavljevic

The sycamore trees in the yards blow leaves onto and into the hedges and shrubs. You can see that below. They also wander onto the sidewalks and collect beside the curbs where the cars park.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Leaves under Sycamore Tree, © B. Radisavljevic

 I have a sycamore tree next door and another almost right across the street, so the leaves are always blowing into my yard. I had to get me a pair of these leaf grabbers to get them out of my flowerbeds. They go where my rakes can't.

See what I mean? A normal leaf rake would be too wide and need to scrape from the bottom. They are great for the lawn and sidewalks, but not not so great among the flowers and herbs.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Leaves around my Scabiosa Flower and Herb Bed, © B. Radisavljevic

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Leaves around my Gazanias and Herbs, © B. Radisavljevic

I guess that's why some people get leaf blowers, but I hate the noise they make. They just blow the leaves somewhere else where they may make your neighbors mad, or they could even come back to you if the wind changes. If you don't care about all that and just want the convenience, this is a good one.

If you don't want to bend over and you don't like the noise of the power leaf blowers, this might help you. It reaches into those hard places and brings them out where you can get them without tromping on your flowers.

Not all leaves are as easy to reach as those Mother Nature lets land on top of shrubs and hedges, like this juniper.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Sycamore Leaves on Juniper Bush, © B. Radisavljevic

Juniper, holly, and some other bushes where leaves land can be prickly and not much fun to touch while you are getting the leaves off them and into your bag. Of course, gloves can also help with that. And you can use them when you prune your roses, too.

The grabbers are especially useful for grabbing sycamore and other really large leaves that tend to stick in the tines of rakes. You can also use them to drop leaves directly into a bag or can easily. I even use them on the lawn when too many blow leaves blow over from nextdoor.

It's Time to Tackle those Leaves, Sycamore or Not

I hope the tool suggestions above will help you if you've been using your old leaf rake forever and want something that works better. Since I hate the noise, I use the grabbers. They would help free this baby oak from the mulberry, oak, and sycamore leaves almost covering it.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Autumn Leaves Smothering Baby Oak Tree, © B. Radisavljevic

Rakes are useful in cleaning up the gutters beside the curb -- until you get to the parked cars.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere
Sycamore Leaves on Sidewalk and Gutter around Car Tire,  © B. Radisavljevic

Those sycamore leaves really do go everywhere.

Sycamore Leaves Everywhere: Clean them up with the right tools.

Do you have a sycamore tree in your yard? Does a close neighbor have one? How do you deal with the leaves?


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blessings in Disguise

Unexpected Blessings from an Inconvenience

If you have followed my last two posts, you know that I went for a photo walk on Wednesday and lost all but five of my 71 photos I took on my block. Seems I had a bad SanDisk. I was fortunate that all the photos were within quick walking distance and could be reshot. The plan today was to replace the shots I lost.

 Off I went with my camera. It was a beautiful day. Wednesday had been dark and overcast. One of the shots I had planned to reshoot was this pomegranate tree. I loved the sign at the bottom.

Blessings in Disguise
Loaded Pomegranate Tree with Sign, © B. Radisavljevic

I Left with Just a Camera and  Came Back with Much More Than Photos

Today as I walked by the tree I noticed someone was there, but it appeared to be a workman. I thought I'd ask anyway if the tree was his. He said it belonged to the homeowner, but he was authorized to let me have some fruit. He picked two lovely pomegranates for me and I brought them home.  Aren't they beautiful? The man who picked them for me told me they were ripe when they cracked. I never would have known that.

Blessings in Disguise
A Gift of Pomegranates,  © B. Radisavljevic

A Chat with the Neighbor Who Owns the Other Pomegranate Tree

I found Judy back in her front yard today, and stopped to chat and take pictures of her garden. I had noticed on Wednesday that all the pomegranates had been picked, so I figured she was planning to use them.  That's one reason I'm so glad the other neighbor shared. As we were talking, the neighborhood cat came up to us. I mentioned him in What's Going on in Kitty's Mind a couple of weeks ago.  He was a bit friendlier this time. I found out his name is Mack and that the neighbors want to fatten him up because he had been sick and not eaten. I didn't realize until I unloaded my photos that while I was trying to photograph him, Judy and I were both in the photo with him -- in shadow form.

Blessings in Disguise
A Shadow Chat over a Cat, Literally. © B. Radisavljevic

Then I caught Mac with his shadow.

Blessings in Disguise
Just a Cat and his Shadow, © B. Radisavljevic

We actually did chat about more than the cat. We talked about her plants and I found out the names of some of them I didn't know. Then she told me she had just dug out some bulbs she didn't want and offered them to me. She thinks they are daffodils. I can always use more of those, but it means I'll have to start working in my garden again. I really need to do that.

I didn't have anything but my pocket to carry the bulbs in, but I stuffed them in my pocket. Then I put them in this strawberry basket so you could see my gift.

Blessings in Disguise
A Gift of Bulbs to Plant, © B. Radisavljevic

It always amazes me how something as beautiful as a daffodil begins like this.

A Final Gift

This last gift was one only God could provide. There was quite a sky show as I was returning home after my walk. There were a lot of contrails going in different directions. Here's a photo.

Blessings in Disguise
Contrail Signs Lead to the Oak, © B. Radisavljevic

Now let's watch the contrails as they are made. Pretend you aren't in a hurry and spend this minute and a half watching jets you can't see making contrails you can see. You can even still see them when they are partly into the cloud.

The sky show was an added blessing and I would not have seen it had it not been for another inconvenience. After I'd talked to Judy and had a pocket full of bulbs, I shot a few more pictures on the way back home. As I was almost back to the pomegranate tree, which was to be my most important shot, my camera battery died. I had to go home and charge it. So I put it on the charger and fixed dinner and ate while it charged. It had charged enough to shoot again by the time I finished eating and the sun was beginning to go down.

I went back to the pomegranate tree and got my final tangible gift. Then the sky show started and I shot as much of it as I could. So I guess it was also a blessing that my camera battery died when it did or I would not have been outside for the sky show.

Blessings in Disguise: Gifts I didn't expect.

All in all, it's been a day of blessing. Have you had days when inconveniences were blessings in disguise?

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