Saturday, July 11, 2009

OT: Off to the Hi Lo Country again

I'll be out of town for the next week, chilling as it were in the Hi Lo country of New Mexico. Oh that drive, down California's Central Valley on Hwy 99, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens country, large parts of it sucked up for suburbs during the Bubble and now forlorn and half-empty seeming and among the poorest regions in the country; then over the Tehachapis into the Mojave and through the scrub and the Joshua trees, the Panamints, and on to the Colorado River, a silver thread in the hazy distance. It's a desert, yes, but I've been chased by thunderstorms and torrential rains while driving through the Mojave. It's a trip.

It takes forever just to get out of California. It is as far from my starting point to the border with Arizona out of Needles as it is to my desitination in New Mexico from the Welcome to Arizona sign on the highway. A highway now called Interstate 40 but which parallels Route 66 most of its way, little remnants and reminders of the Mother Road all along the drive through Arizona and into New Mexico where the spirit of the Road lives as strongly now as ever.

There I'll plop myself down in our turn of the 20th century adobe, listen to the birds, do some fixing and cleaning, maybe write some things, go off to visit the ruins, maybe even go to Santa Fe -- haven't done that for a while, and every now and then venturing among the touristas to listen to their complaints about finding "nothing but art galleries" in Santa Fe can be bracing. Where else do tourists complain of too much art? I ask you.

As a friend refers to my expeditions to New Mexico, "Release and Relief."

Nothing much has changed with regard to the collapse of California's government; there is still no budget agreement; our hot-tubbin, stogie smokin gubna is still issuing his fruitless commands and demands, protestors still assemble at the Capitol -- sometimes even blockading parts of it, discommoding (at least for a little while) the routines of posturing and statement making of the higer mucky-mucks, and Dems still mewl and wring their hankies about how hard they're working to reach a compromise that Stogie-man with the Wrinkled Ass will accept.

It's nuts-making.

We're no longer doing Hospice Care at Home; glory be, the patient was discharged a couple of weeks ago, because she's made such an amazing recovery. They really didn't expect her to live more than a few weeks, and after 9 months, the hospice service said, "Well, she's not gonna die, is she? So let's put her in Home Care for a while, and take it from there."

The shift from Hospice to Home Care was smooth enough; it's basically the same, but for the fact that the visiting professionals are not on Vigil any more, and they really do have an interest now in getting her up and around, but I don't really think that's going to happen. She's still blind and very frail, becomes exhausted easily, and she continues to suffer from various ailments, some the consequences of old age, some due to her vulnerabilities from all the surgery and other procedures over the years. She's not returning to hearty hale health, but she is doing remarkably better than when she first came from the hospital last October. There are such things as miracles.

Meanwhile, since we're OT, a note about cats. Those who follow the blog know that our cat Mao died on New Year's Eve after an illness. He was deeply, profoundly missed as he still is. No other cat pal we've had over the years has formed the kind of bond we had with him.

So, a couple of months ago, we noted that a very beautiful and well-groomed tabby had seemingly moved into the garage (where we assumed she was going to have kittens, but she never did.) Then a fluffy black cat showed up. He had a red heart on his collar and after a while, I got him tame enough to pick him up and read what was on his collar; it was his name: Louie. How cute. Then a big black and white, huge, showed up. And a little black and white. The little black and white strongly resembled Mao, and she (not a he; she) marched right into the house and moved in. As if she'd always lived here and we were her guests.

And she's been here pretty much ever since. She's taken on many of Mao's characteristics, many of his places, many of his attitudes. It's quite an amazing transformation. We look on in awe.

All right, gotta finish packing, then it's back to the road. If there is an internet connection at my destination, I may be able to post about what the recession is continuing to do to that rural and thinly populated, somewhat isolated region of the old west. Last time I was there in March, it was obvious what kind of effects the economic collapse was having and it wasn't pretty.

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