Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

It WAS My Birthday

Mabel Lou here.

I didn't want to say anything yesterday cause we were celebrating Pip and Puddles visit but, it WAS my birthday. Not that my mean old Momma cared.

She did take me to the creek EARLY in the morning but then she left to teach an ALL DAY class...on MY birthday. What's a sad and lonely eleven year old pup to do??

I read the funny comments here on Creekhiker and took a long nappy. Then I puttered about the yard a bit. It was getting dark and windy when finally... Momma was HOME!

And, while we didn't get another creek hike, she did bring me pizza and lasagna and some soft mozzarella (off her salad) from our favorite Italian place down the mountain! We had a pawsome dinner and then I got some serious cuddle time on the sofa! It ended up kinda nice after all!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pip's Bucket List Tour Stops In Sunland

Mabel Lou here. My Mom is making me allow Barticus, a/k/a Farticus, co-write this post for our furiend Pip’s Bucket List Blog Tour.   

We all thought we would show Pip and Puddles our creek and then introduce them to one of our favorite new treats. We were quivering with excitements at the thought of meeting our Internet furiends!

Pip and Puddles were to meet us at the creek and they were a little late. We feared they might have stopped at one of our "green" pharmacies like they did on the way to see the Rottrovers the other day.  We have heard rumors they've been using Pip's new med card all over the place!

 It turns out   we just should have been more explicit about parking instructions. Puddles was so mesmerized by our shallow flowing waters, she drove right in!

I was non-pulsed by the car parked in my creek, naturally! Truth be told, it happens several times a year!

“Com’on in guys! The water is lovely!”

Pip and Puddles were not so sure they wanted to swim… the water is kinda chilly this time of year. So Bart enlisted his mom to demonstrate one of his favorite activities at the creek: catching rocks!

BART: I LOVE to catch rocks! I love to dive for rocks and chase rocks and hide rocks. But catching rocks my mom tosses is the BEST! 

MABEL: He’s CLEARLY been hit in the head with a few as well! 
Pip and Puddles weren’t too sure about this activity either… what to do??? I took them over to the pond for some tall grass sniffies. Everyone loves sniffies!

But it turns out, Pip and Puddles were so much shorter than us, we kept losing track of them in the big tall grass! Can you even SEE Pip in the tall grasses???

We lost track of Puddles altogether for a bit until I remembered one of the local creek residents always has a nice selection of beer!  Puddles apparently had made a friend and shared a few bevvies!  At least they recycle!

But she wasn’t going to leave Pip unattended for long. She caught up with us just as I was trying to get “someone”  to quit messing around….

BART: I wasn’t messing around… it’s just that grass makes me iiitttchhhh!

MABEL: Whatever… I was a little worried that our creek adventure was a bust so I suggested our Moms drive since the Pip n Puddle mobile was still drying out. We went up and over our mountain to La Canada where they have a new hamburger restaurant called Hamburger Habit... Boy is it ever addictive! Pip perked up at this news! You know he loves his cheeseburgers!

I explained to him that we were going to have something better than cheeseburgers! Pip was simply flabbergasted! He couldn’t imagine what on earth that could be. We got to the Hamburger Habit and waited patiently with Bart’s Mom outside while my mom got the foodables.   Pip and Puddles were ever so patient as the line was long. They were way better behaved that "someone" we know.

BART: Want foodables NOW!

Since Pip REALLY wanted a cheeseburger, my mom got us some. She cut them up into bite sized pieces while we waited…

BART: …and waited and waited and …

MABEL: We got the idea Bart! 

My mom always just gives me a burger with no bun. Pip just rolled his eyes and assumed it was some California low carb diet thing. Well, I do keep a lean figure but I made a mental note to con ask Mom for a cheeseburger on a bun soon! After we all had our burgers, Mom brought out the treat: a tri-tip steak sandwich. 

BART: MMMMMmmmm steak sammich good!

MABEL: How do you know? You had never had one before.

BART: I could tell by the way you licked the sammich before Auntie got it ready for us! You didn't even let Pip or Puddles go first!

MABEL: Well, I do love a good tri tip sandwich! Pip LOVED it too but  he was not ready to admit it might be better than his beloved cheeseburgers! But he did agree that the tri tip made a really nice chaser for a cheeseburger! I have to agree! At least the food made up for the scary trip to our creek!

It was so nice to meet Pip and Puddles in the furs! We loved visiting with them and we sure hope they make it safely to their next Blogville stop!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Graveyard

I was cutting grass with the weed whacker the other day, trying to clear a spot for Mabel's bathroom needs and to get some of the grass in Mallory's area short enough that we wouldn't lose baby ducks in there. (I can't use the lawn mower as it's too rough on my tennis elbow!)

I discovered a stuffed Panda buried near the pool motor. I danced a jig and sang out to Mabel, "I found your hidey hole!" as I always do. I do this because it pisses her off, which I really enjoy (mean Momma that I am)! She came and got the stuffie and disappeared.

Later as I was trying to pick up the side yard... just a nothing bit of grass and a sweet lemon tree but otherwise used to store my wheelbarrow, compost bin and Mallory's spare floating island... and I noticed a well worn path through the tall grass:

I thought I was imagining it...what would Mabel be doing back there? As we are the only two bodies here... either she was using it or someone was jumping the fence!

 No, there was a definite path. I assumed it was because the grass here was actually shorter than the back yard... I got the pooper scooper and headed in... only to discover this:

I uncovered it:

It was the panda from earlier in the day...

On the other side of the compost bin, I was surprised to find another burial site:

Curious, I dug it up to find:

Our stuffed Mallory! Mallory stuffie has been on our bed since the first year with the ducks. I think since Mabel was alone so much during my recent trip, she took the opportunity to off her nemesis! Or maybe it was to punish me!

I reburied my finds....until I want to piss the princess off again!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Winter's Bone

This is a Thai Basil. It was given to me by one of my California soul sisters. I thought I had murdered it the first time I saw it in this state. It's a rather amazing plant in that it can look completely dead but... start watering it and it springs back to life.

This time, it wasn't a lack of water but some nights in the upper twenties we had before Christmas.

There is a hint of green here and there... she's still in there, waiting. I can already taste the tomato and mozzarella salads I love to serve with these leaves!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rottrover Shoots Mabel

We've been hiking quite a bit with the Rottrover's newest addition, Otto . (I think I'm in love!) What a sweet boy! It breaks my heart to see him so skinny... but he's gained 10 pounds since moving in!

Ms. Rottrover had her fancy camera out with us yesterday...we need new photos for their new blog header... and she shot some lovely pics of Ms. Lou. Funny but Mabel hates posing for me but her Auntie Rottrover got lots of nice shots with no cookies and no threats!

Here's a couple:

Monday, February 18, 2013

She's Back Again

The day before Valentine's, it crossed my mind that I really missed Mallory! I hadn't been able to spot her at Dirty Creek (There are so many ducks there now but sometimes, she does make her presence known!)

Well, I know to be careful what I ask for... Valentine's night, Mabel and I were getting out of the car when I heard a rather distinctive "Quack!" I looked to the sky and was ducks.

We came in the house and just as I sat down for dinner, "QUACK!" This one got Mabel's attention. Her poor face said, "OH NO! NOT HER!"

I went outside and there she was, surveying all the winter mishaps to the pool and deck. Mallory seemed none to happy but then, that is her general demeanor. I chatted with her a bit and left her to her work.

Forgive this photo... my phone was the only thing handy and it was dusk.

I came in and called the hiking buddy. We both are so puzzled by Mallory's schedule.

When she first came, I saw her on May 6th and the ducklings arrived on June 10th.
Last year, Mallory arrived March 20 and her ducklings hatched on May 4th.
This year, her first appearance is Valentine's Day! That would set us up for April Fools Ducklings!

In the morning, I saw that her nest was cleaned out.  Here we go again!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mabel Working Granny

For the record, my dogs are not allowed to behave this way... except with their Granny. While I only have one dog at a time, all of my girls seem to innately know that their grandmother is completely open to manipulation! This is how Mabel works her Granny to get "20 bites" of delicious Manda Sausage. Sorry it's vertical...still getting used to my phone. And I cut the footage when I thought Mabel was walking away, however, her Granny asked her "Who do you love??" and Mabel rushed back in for hugs and kisses!

Friday, February 15, 2013

So Different, So Alike

NOTE: This post keeps disappearing and rearranging photos... very odd! 

I often focus on how different my sister and I are; were. (That's so hard - the past tense.) As I was lying in bed, wide awake at 2 a.m. the other night, I started to wonder why Patsy loved me at all! We were just so opposite.
I adore this photo of us because I know exactly what I'm doing... playing with Patsy's long fingernails. 

I always felt like an ugly duckling next to her. She was thin and gorgeous, perfect hair, long nails. I never felt attractive for even a few seconds in my entire life. If there was a gathering of people, she wanted to be in the thick of if. I would rather be at home, alone. Crowds make me anxious.  Even small groups make me uncomfortable. I'm always analyzing motives. Patsy took people as they are.
One of the only photos we have of Patsy as a baby. Her father who never made any effort to see Patsy broke in and stole all her photos after our mother divorced him.

And maybe that's the key. She took me as I am with all the faults that are so self-evident to me and she embraced me.

But it's made me wonder if we were alike at all.

We both love animals. It's more obsessive with me...I will bend over backwards to make mine happy. She left the care and feeding and exercising of hers to her hubby. But it was petting her Bailey boy that found her 2nd tumor. He kept sniffing a particular spot that led to her doctors finding the cancer.  I know she always adored him for saving her life and giving her almost another decade!
Making ice cream in our aunt's driveway.

We often bonded over our disjointed relationships with our mother. We both tried to be good daughters, even though only one of us would be allowed to be in Mom's good graces at any given time. We could congratulate and console each other as our rank shifted in the quicksand of our Mom's love.

Ugly is a harsh word used by Southern mother's that has nothing to do with a child's appearance. It has to do with behavior and is used to infer that you've messed up or insulted someone. "You're so ugly when __________is around!"

My mother has told me I'm ugly my whole life. I was never the social butterfly my sister was. I would say hello when Mom had a friend over and, as soon as possible, head to my room or open a book. I always understood that my Mother's friends were there to visit her...they had no interest in me. Why did I need to hang around and participate in their conversation??? The fact that I didn't made ugly. Mother would scream and yell after her friends left, leaving me to wonder what exactly I had done wrong.

Some years ago, my mother called my sister ugly for not listening to Mother's driving directions. My sister cried for three days straight and for the first time in ages, stopped calling my mother every day. I would call Patsy and console her and finally admitted that I didn't get why she was so upset. I mean, I've been told how ugly I am often once a day since I was a small child. What's the big deal? It turns out, Mother had never called Patsy ugly, ever! And Patsy was so hurt. When she found out that this was commonplace to me, she cried even more, this time for me. It was one of those moments that made me so glad I have a sister to share this weird experience of growing up with the odd rules and volatile parent we both shared.

We both love being outdoors. We are both drawn to water, especially the ocean. We both love our cousins and fun we had at family outings.

We love going to the movies. I was always amazed at her "movie rules." It wasn't a movie if there wasn't a giant coke and popcorn involved. Me? I'd rather save the money to see another movie.

We both loved to laugh; at each other, at ourselves, at our crazy, practical joke loving family. There was lots of laughter.

Patsy always wanted a baby sister and she took the one she got with joy in her heart.

There is an old Indian proverb that goes, "I will pass this way again for I like myself when I'm with you."  That's what my sister did for me. She made it O.K. to just be.

The way we were...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grief, Interrupted

The inevitable and yet unthinkable happened January 25. I knew my sister's cancer had spread into her liver and possibly her brain. I knew she had lost muscle control. But we had a good conversation the night before she died. She had asked me to make some beads for her friends and I was thrilled they were finally finished. We said our I love yous and hung up.

It had been a rough day for her. My brother-in-law was at his saintly wit's end trying to lift her onto her potty chair. She had managed to puke and defecate on herself all at once. She feared they were sending her to the hospice hospital but after a family pow wow with the PA in charge of her case, it was decided that 24 hour in home care would be a better fit. She had exactly two 12 hour shifts before it was all over.

I had bought a plane ticket home. I asked the nurse to shout into her ear that I was coming. But she couldn't wait. My brother-in-law called. I was working in the studio.
She's Gone.

She's gone. I think Sis is gone. My face contorted as that ugly cry started. And then my rational brain took over, "What do you mean 'you THINK?'"

She was cold. She was not breathing. They were waiting for the doctor to come pronounce.

And so I fell into some new form of grief. Something so foreign to me, I don't feel as if I occupy my own body anymore. Even now, weeks later, I seem to be floating above it...Numb.

I had a massive number of orders to ship that day. I had one of my biggest ever wire wrap classes the next. I had to pack. I ended up with THREE people taking shifts to care for Mabel. That long flight home. And there were arrangements - started over nine months before - to finalize. And hundreds of people to greet and hug and console. And endless thank you notes to write. And a dog to comfort. And my sweet brother-in-law. And my 89 year old mother.

And Then There Were Three

My whole life, there were the four of us. My sister met my brother-in-law when I was barely a year old. I was two when they married. I've often wondered why my brother-in-law put up with three such loud, opinionated, volatile women.

Just as I've wondered why my sister loved me so much. I know it could not have been easy for her. I was born of an affair in 1964 when that just wasn't done and certainly not talked about. My sister had wanted a baby sister all her life and was always thrilled to be my big sister. But I'm sure there were whispers. It made far more sense to some that I would belong to the 21 year old instead of to my 41 year old mother. My brother-in-law told her that it was OK...he would adopt me after they married. It was only then that she spoke of my mother's secret for the first time.

My sister was one of those glue know the ones...they hold their family together. She simply would not allow any of us to be mad or hold a grudge. She would make us talk to one another.  I attribute her glue skills to the fact that she was the only one allowed in the bathroom with all of us. It's how family fights always ended... someone gets hurt and skulks off to the bathroom to be alone. My sister would wait a few minutes and let herself in. After an hour or so, someone else would knock and ask if everyone was decent. (My brother-in-law was always this person when it was my turn to skulk off.) And then eventually the last party would get lonely and come in the bathroom where it would all get worked out.

As I popped in on my brother-in-law, alone and lonely save for his dogs; then would see my mother so sad and know that I was headed home to California alone... I couldn't help but wonder, how do we hold it together without our glue?

Malfunctioning Robot on Autopilot

I've lived the last few weeks running around and doing but not thinking. I found myself in a Walmart and decided to look for the comforter my sister has been wanting for months. My cousin, brother-in-law and myself all left the house one night; each of us with an errand to run before meeting the rest of the family at a restaurant. Each of us made it down the driveway without the items we needed to complete our tasks.

I drove to the funeral home so many times the first day - I kept forgetting things I needed to take or would take the wrong pile with me - I felt like a robot. A clearly malfunctioning one.

And now, weeks later, the numbness has not worn away. Last night driving, I was suddenly angry at myself for not calling my sister since I got home. I'm not sure that ugly cry is going to come. Was I just overly prepared to lose her? Am I finally a grown up who copes well with loss? Or am I in too much shock to cry? I just don't know...

Look for a number of photo posts, a bit of sadness, and some silliness in the weeks ahead. It's how I cope.

Friday, February 08, 2013

For Snow

Mabel Lou here. I'm kinda sad because I've been alone a lot for a couple of years (well, it FEELS like years). My auntie told me Mr. Snowbrush needed some new Mabel Lou pics so she took some of me. If you see my momma, tell her how mean she is for leaving me!

Special thanks to my auntie Rottrover for the pics and for tucking me in every night!