Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chico – On the home front

This narrative covers over a month of time – there will be others covering the same time frame, but on different subjects, so bear with me!

Let me introduce you to the household. Carol is a “retired” massage therapist. She was married to my brother, Jim, who as most of you know, passed away a couple years ago.

She’s very athletic, and very competitive. She used to ride her horse in marathons all over the country. Now she does it on two wheels. She regularly rides “centuries” – which is what they call a 100 mile bike ride. Last year, she spent a week riding around the finger lakes in New York State, camping out each night. She got my brother onto a bike, and on his 60th birthday, he completed his first 100 mile ride. He may not have come in first, but he didn’t come in last either!!! She did her best to keep him healthy.

Ken is a “retired” house painter. Well, that’s a little like calling Van Gogh a scribbler! He’s a very creative perfectionist. The fireplace here had been painted white. I don’t know how he did it, but it now looks like natural stone. Beautiful! Ken actively entered Carol’s life about a year ago. I am very happy for both of them.

(I put “retired” in quotes, cause neither one of them knows how to quit. Or – they decide to do another job to pay for a new toy!!!)

The 4-legged family member is Max. He’s a black and white Scottish Fold cat, so called because they normally have a fold in their ears. No so Max – he does have a crimp in the end of his tail, and grows long puffs of fur on the bottom of his feet like a Hobbit! He is also long-haired – but not like a Persian cat – his hair lays along his body like a dog’s. He’s only 2 years old, and still kittenish and loves to play.

One stormy night, he got out of the house. In the morning, he showed up at the door complaining loudly about the discomfort he had to suffer. (Not meowing either, he has another voice for major complaining) Since that day, he does not venture out of the house. In fact, one day the front door was left open while we were going in an out – Max came down the hall, spotted the open door, plopped belly down, all 4 legs gripping the floor like he was afraid the house would tip and dump him through the door.

Carol and my brother bought this house a few years back. It’s a 3 bedroom ranch style home. They painted and repaired, removed carpet, refinished hardwood floors and remodeled the kitchen, adding a dining room.

They added a big island, put in new cabinets with lots of big deep drawers for storage, a pantry and French doors on either side of the dining room to enter the side yard on one side, and the dining deck on the other side.

It wasn’t until I got up in the morning I saw the real attraction of the kitchen area. At the end of the dining room, is a huge picture window – with no coverings – looking right out at the beautiful back yard. When I first spied it, I gasped! No kidding. I want this kitchen, you hear? I want it, I want it, I want it. Well, I guess not. I don’t think it would fit in my rv.

How would you like to work in this kitchen?

With a view like this?

We went to the farmers market – held every Saturday in a park in downtown Chico. We got there during the last hour, so a lot of stuff was sold out. It not only had organically grown food, but other items, too, like a craft show – pottery, jewelry, tie-dyed t-shirts, art work. But the best part of it was just people watching. The hippies are here, too!!! There are two colleges here – Butte State – a junior college, and Cal State at Chico (formerly Chico State)

We were parked downtown when a large black lab walked by. He was on a leash, but it was dragging on the ground. Behind him strolled a tall young man shaking a plastic cup and singing at the top of his voice, “If you want to shut me up, put a quarter in my cup!!!” People watching is becoming my favorite past-time

In the afternoon we shopped at Costco, and Carol picked up a book called “Belly Fat Cure” It’s all about cutting way back on sugar and switching to “good” carbs. Sort of like South Beach – without the 2 weeks of deprivation. And Wine is legal!!!!

Oh the way home, Carol received a call from a friend of hers who said it was her birthday. We detoured and went there to help her get through the rest of her birthday – we stayed til midnite, having a wonderful wine tasting party.

We went to the Fairgrounds Wednesday and walked around all the 4-H and FFA livestock exhibits. In the rabbit barn, I saw the weirdest rabbit I ever saw – it was called a lion-head. Looked a lot like a wookie! She had 2 young – one was just like her, the other pure black. The proud owner explained that when the black one was born, it’s mother had too many to take care of, so this black one was put in with the Lionhead. Doing it immediately after birth insures that the adoptive mother will accept it – she thinks it is her own baby!

We saw goats, and pigs, and lambs. In one of the barns, I talked with a young owner of a pair of goats. She said one was for milk – which they used to make soap, and the other was breeding stock. Her name was Renate, and said they had about 30 goats at home.

Renate and her charges.

A young farmer washing her lamb before the judging.

We thought we were going to see Tanya Tucker, but had the dates wrong date, so returned home for some wine. I was introduced to “Two Buck Chuck” For those who are not familiar with it – it is from Trader Joe’s, and is really Charles Sawyer wine and costs $1.99 a bottle. It’s really not bad!!!! Of course, my palette is still in kindergarten!!!

On Friday Afternoon, Carol and Ken headed south to the SF area to attend a graduation and a wedding. They plan to stop again in Morro Bay and try out some other kayaks. They came home with a bright green kayak on the top of Carol’s car, and a bright yellow one on order for Ken.

I put together the top for the Texas quilt, made 4 covers for the face plate of Carol’s massage table, and worked on one or two other projects.

On the domestic side – I made a lap quilt for Kit’s Mom, and started another quilt, but have put it away to finish another day.

I also got into the bread making – what fun, and so easy! I’m including photos of my first 3 loaves.

It tasted as good as it looks, too!

California is so broke, you have to do your own road repair!!!!

Some of my brother's small sculptures.

Until next time,

Bear Hugs


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