Sunday, November 15, 2015


In the midst of the big day Thursday, the gals who were cleaning the yard came to tell me that there were bees in my water meter. Interesting. I wondered what the bees were doing there, but assuming it was making a hive, I called the water department and asked for someone to come check it out.

Today is Sunday and the beekeeper came. Odd to have a beekeeper drop by, but especially on a Sunday, rather than a work day. Whatever. He pried off the lid to the meter box, smoked the bee hive, and then sealed it all back up with caulk and sprayed something to tell the bees it's no longer a friendly lodging place.

He showed me the 5-gallon bucket filled with the bee hive, indicating that the bees have been busy for about 6 months building this sanctuary. He assured me that the bees will leave and not return to the meter box and/or start another hive nearby.

We'll see. I'm lucky this way: if another place on my property seems propitious, the bees will start building another hive.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Today has not been a good day. I know we need bad days to balance out the many good ones that we enjoy, but it would have been nicer to space things out a bit.

I hired two women to come clean up the yard before Yucheng comes back from China on Tuesday, bringing his female cousin, Lian, with him. The yard has been looking pretty bad, so the women said they’d do the front today and the back tomorrow. I could do it, but my asthma has been kicking up quite a bit this season and I’d rather avoid all the complications of that situation. They did a lovely job and I’m really glad that I was able to find someone who actually works, does a good job, and doesn’t try to gouge me.

In the middle of the yardwork, I got a call from my next-door neighbor’s sister asking me to go check on the neighbor. She had been sending weird texts to both the sister and the neighbor’s daughter, who is away at college. I went over to the house to see what was up and my neighbor was a mess. At first, I thought she was probably drinking again, but that was not the case. She was sobbing her heart out and really upset that she had been fired during her probation with the postal service. She was so happy when she made it all the way through the application, interview, and testing process and had started driving a route. For the first time in a long time, she was looking forward to finally having a good job with benefits and appropriate pay.

I held her in my arms and let her cry it out, then told her I’d go back home and be back shortly to check on her. She told me she was okay, not to worry – she wasn’t going to kill herself. Red flag flies: people who assure you they aren’t going to kill themselves are planning just that, which is why it is in the forefront of their thinking. I said, whoa, and sat back down and talked to her a bit more until she was more settled down. I asked if she had eaten anything and she told me she wasn’t hungry, so I left to go back and supervise the yardwork.

I called both her sister and her daughter and told them she seemed to be getting through her bout of upset, but told them I’d go back and check on her throughout the day. But there’s always that nagging voice that says a person who talks about suicide often attempts it, so after waiting 10-15 minutes, I went back next door. She didn’t respond to my repeated knocking, so I used my key and opened the front door, calling her name to tell her that I was coming into the house. I got no response so went down the hallway to her bedroom and found her “passed out” on her bed. I tried to get her to sit up and talk to me, but she was out like a light. I persisted until she finally semi-roused, and that’s when she told me she took some pills because she can’t face another day.

I called 9-1-1. Lots of things I can do in life, but reviving a patient hell-bent on committing suicide isn’t one of them.

The two women working on the yard were done with today’s work, so they came over to ask me for their pay for the day. I told them I had called 9-1-1 and needed to stay with my neighbor, but I had one of them wait at her door while I ran back home and got their first payment on the work completed.

It took emergency personnel about 5 minutes to show up, with a police officer and a big fire truck the first to arrive. She was really out cold, but I gave my statement to the police officer and then handed him what I assumed to be the empty bottle of pills. The fire department personnel tried to rouse her, but weren’t having a lot of luck. When the ambulance arrived, they immediately put in an IV drip of something based on the bottle of pills she took. Before they could transport her to the local hospital, they had to change out the IV drip because it wasn’t doing what they wanted it to do. Once the ambulance left, I came back to my house – and the neighbor’s sister was arriving in my driveway.

The sister and I had been in contact for about an hour, with me trying to get my neighbor out of her funk and failing miserably. The sister decided to drive out here from Riverside – and she made it in record time. She followed the ambulance to the hospital and came back here about 2 hours later to tell me she’ll be at the ER until a bed comes available for a 51-50, which is a psych eval. She’ll be held on the 51-50 for 72 hours, and then can be held on a 52-50, which is a danger to herself or others. She lives alone, so her sister told me that sometimes they keep a patient for two weeks (or more), unless someone can arrange to be with the patient during the healing process from the suicide attempt.

Her daughter will be home tomorrow for the weekend, so it will be her responsibility to follow up with the medical personnel. I’ll drive over to the hospital if my neighbor is still local and give her some reassurance that this will be okay with time. Whatever that means.

The carpet cleaners arrived as scheduled in the middle of it all, so this was a busy, big day for an old retired schoolteacher!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Doggone Rain

Our neighborhood is organized into long rectangular boxes, with 15 houses on each long side of the rectangle, backyard to backyard, two houses wide. For “the walk” we take each evening, we go up to the cross-street, turn left, walk down three sets of the shortest side of the rectangle, then up one of the long sides, across three short sides, and back down the long side to our house. It’s about a 15-minute walk, but we take a brisk approach to the walk and make it count.

Yesterday, when I put the harnesses and the leashes on and then opened the garage door, I could see a storm front across the freeway (to my south) that appeared to be heading northwest toward Banning/Beaumont. There was some lightning and thunder, but nothing to worry about as it wasn’t headed in our direction. The dogs and I made it across the three short-side blocks and up one of the long sides before the first rain drop fell. Still not concerned, we headed down the three short-side blocks toward our street, but by the time we got that far, the heavens opened up and drenched us.

There was lightning everywhere, thunder booming enough to shake the streets, and more rain than we’ve seen in a year.

I hurried the dogs along, but Cinnamon, the baby, was terrified. She was both trembling and whining, and sat down on the pavement and refused to move. I tried to get her moving but that was not going to happen, so I picked her up and resumed jogging toward home.

The rain never let up and the lightning was ferocious, but we kept moving. I tried putting Cinnamon down once, but she simply would not move, so I had to pick her up again and keep jogging toward home. One neighbor, who sees us each evening, offered to let me come into his garage to wait out the storm, but we were already so wet that it was just as smart to keep moving. Farther down the street, another neighbor offered an umbrella, but I was carrying one dog and holding onto the leash of the other, so there was no way to add an umbrella to the scenario.

Of course we made it home, soaked to the skin and shaking from the cold. We dried off and curled up on the couch to cuddle as the storm stayed overhead for a good 45 minutes. At one point, I thought a lightning strike had hit in my front yard as there was a brilliant light and then a resounding boom! of the thunder, which shook my house. I’ve looked and there is no burn spot, but it was darned close.

Rain has continued throughout the Valley, but we haven't had any since the downpour we were caught in the middle of. It's so dry from the lack of moisture that I wish we'd have more rain, but it's going along the mountains and causing a lot of mudslide issues due to the recent wildfires. It never rains but what it pours -- in the places that need it the least.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dump Trump

Donald Trump embarrasses me. He’s a rude, offensive bully who seems to relish his megalomania-like tendencies to rule the world. The Apprentice showed him at his best: ridiculing other people simply because he could; humiliating people viciously just because he could; and running roughshod over others because that seems to be his primary management style. He doesn’t seem to have a kind word for other people, but he expects others to show him top-notch courtesy because … he’s The Donald.

I don’t like Trump representing me as an American. It scares me to think that there are far too many Americans taking him seriously as a presidential candidate. I don’t want the rest of the world to think that we’re all like Trump and then fear that he could become our President. Imagine what other world leaders must be thinking … .

UPDATE: Donald totally shows his true self with the recent comments he made about a female politician. He asked who would vote for her the way she looks, then backed off and tried to amend his statement by claiming he meant her persona. First, his amendment makes it clear that he has no idea what a persona is, but secondly, it's bad enough that Donald says the things that he says, but when he's called to account for his vicious personal attacks, he should own them -- not try to weasel out by saying he was misunderstood.

Those of us who are listening to him know exactly what he meant and are offended by his lack of candor in not owning his words.

Monday, August 31, 2015


I wonder if, when Miley is an older woman (say past age 30), she'll regret any/all of the wardrobe choices she's made while participating in celebrity events such as the recent VMAs? Women my age were taught to be discreet with what they shared with the world, especially prior to marriage, but Miley seems to think that walking on stage totally nude but for a couple of strips of sheer fabric or colorful post-its is just fine.

If that's the choice she makes in her personal life, okay, but when she's representing America? Let's raise our expectations: I vote for a more modest look.