Thursday, June 30, 2016

Right in my Backyard...

Growing up in an average suburb of Southern California, I honestly cannot remember seeing a whole lot of what I'd consider wild animals. Aside from birds, and pets, I had to go to a zoo to see any remotely interesting fauna. A few years ago, however, I starting seeing squirrels in a nearby park. I thought it was cool, but I wondered where they had come from, and how they had managed to get there. The nearest mountain range, is miles away, and although there is a nature center across town, I had a hard time imagining these little guys crossing the busy streets it would take to get to my area. I'm pretty sure they don't wait for the traffic lights to change. I'd also seen the occasional raccoon or skunk, but that wasn't too hard to understand since they appeared to live in the sewer system.
But then, there were the coyotes. Early one morning I saw what appeared to be a large grayish dog, wandering down my street. It was joined by another one. and the two of them darted down a small drainage canal. All righty. At the moment, a family of opossums live behind my house. Hawks have swooped down to catch small birds in our backyard. Thankfully, so far they haven't tried to grab one of my small dogs. You just never know...
So one warm spring day, my daughter stepped out into our backyard to find what she describe as a "blue dragon". It had huge blue wings and was flying across the middle of the yard away from our...oh no...koi pond. We have a beautiful pond that my husband and sons built,surrounded by brick, that had been filled with a few medium sized koi, as well as dozens of goldfish. The goldfish had been just ordinary feeder fish, but had gotten quite large over time. As I approached the pond, I realized in horror, that there was not a single fish left. Okay, maybe one little black one who'd managed to blend with the pond liner, but all the others had vanished.  I wanted to cry. That huge creature, which we later determined was not a blue dragon, but a Blue Heron, had not only left us enormous white bird poop droppings all over the brick pond perimeter, but had swallowed up pretty much all my fish. My beautiful koi, had been the bird's main course, with about forty goldfish as dessert. Gulp, gulp...gulp.
Since then, we redesigned the pond to include more hiding places for the fish to escape to, should our uninvited guest reappear, which, as you can see, he did.  Perched up on a telephone pole, he scoped out the area. He may have seen our new fish, but this time, they were apparently able to escape the carnage. We haven't replaced the koi yet, but since the new hiding areas seem to be working, we may someday. Meanwhile, as people infringe even more into the wilderness, I fully expect to find more and more wildlife lurking in my backyard. Hopefully, we can all respect each other's personal space, and learn to live together.  Although if that fish thieving Heron comes back...I may not be too happy to welcome him in.

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Okay, so I know I said I wanted a little summer, but what I meant was relief from the June Gloom, not 100* temperatures! Seriously, right after I posted that, the temps jumped up 20 degrees. A gradual increase would have been nice. At least today is nicer. There's a pleasant breeze in my backyard, and opening the door is not like opening a kiln. The forecast shows more hot weather to come however, (yippee) so I'm bracing myself.  I have this feeling that I may spend a lot of time inside my house this summer. Yes, I know, I'm a wimp. Born and raised in Southern California, I enjoy a huge range of temperatures, like say...between 75 and 85.  Anything under 65, and I'm pulling out my parka. Anything over 90 and, well, I just want to jump into the fridge.
Now, if I can get to the beach...I am a happy camper. Most days the shoreline is easily 20 degrees cooler, and although the water tends to be (again, I say this as the California wimp that I am) FREEZING, the warm air feels wonderful in contrast. That said, the beach will not be happening today. Things to do, bills to pay, blah blah blah. So until later, stay cool my friends.

Caren E. Salas

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I Need a Little Summer...Now

I woke up this morning in a panic, thinking, oh no! We must have slept in! The whole bedroom was bright, and the sun was practically blinding! I looked up at the clock. 5:20. Ugh! Nope, we didn't sleep in. It took me a few minutes to realize that I couldn't remember the last time the sun was shining first thing in the morning. No overcast skies? Whaaaat?
Today just happened to be the last day of school for my daughter. So I'm kinda' wondering...can it be summer now? I know technically summer starts on June 20 - the Summer Solstice and all that, but come on.  I need a little, now. And for all my theater friends and those of you who have at least seen the musical, "Mame".....sing it with me, won't you?

Haul out the chaise lounge,
Put on your shades before the fog rolls in again
Fill up the beach ball
I may be rushing things, but get your hula skirt now!

For I need a little summer, ♫
'Cause this year's been a bummer, ♪
Hats and shorts and tank tops,
Bathing suits and flip flops,
Oh we need a little summer,
'Cause this year's been a bummer, ♪
It hardly rained at all this year,
So since the weather's been so clear,
Lets get out the beach towels,
Fill up the ice chest full of, lots of snacks and beer,
Slice up the melon,♫
It's time we pulled the ukulele out and sang "Wow!"
For I've grown a little weary,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little fatter,
Grown a little older,
And I need a little sunscreen, ♪
Right here on my shoulder,
I need a little Summer now!!!! ♪

Caren E. Salas

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Well, What Do You Know?

Can you believe it? I'm back, and only a day later. Shocker. Granted, I'm getting in just under the wire, but still...
Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to talk about the most exciting thing that happened today. I found out the gender of my grandchild. My daughter wants to have one of those "Gender Reveal Parties". That's a "thing". Yes, I know. I'm showing my age. When I had my first baby, I think I only had one, maybe two ultrasounds. Now, they do them all the time. I didn't know what my baby was until she was born. And now my baby, is having a baby. I'm going to be a grandmother. Yikes.
So since they want to make a big announcement, I have to keep it under my hat for a while.
Well if I'm going to post this before midnight, I better go.
Until (hopefully) tomorrow. (Which technically is 2 minutes from now...)

Caren E. Salas

My baby.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

No Promises...

If I felt bad having not written the last post for 6 months, now that it's a year and a half later...well...
I'd like to say that this time I mean it; that I'm going to continue writing everyday from now on, however I can't. It's like New Year's Resolutions. I just don't believe in writing down a long list of specific goals that I might try for, but realistically won't attain.  When you have a disease like MS that comes and goes at random with continually changing and evolving symptoms, you tend to be a little jaded when it comes to plans. This is not to say that I don't look forward to things, or that I am a pessimist when it comes to my future. I just believe in each of us being real with ourselves.  There are people that respond to the pep talks, or the "no pain no gain" attitudes. Other people respond to kind encouragement. Honestly, I don't respond to any of that. I don't want to be bullied, compared to someone else who "pulled themselves up against all odds" (or worse "they have MS and look what they did!). "Encouragement" from others can feel condescending.  The only one who can get my butt up out of bed is me. I focus on one day at a time: getting through it despite the exhaustion, the pain, the frustration of everyday existence. Getting through, is all I have energy for. Getting the normal chores and necessities that I "have to" do is pretty much all I can manage most days.
But I realized that because I was spending so much time on all the "have-tos" in my life, there was no time for anything I wanted to write. So for now, I'm trying to set a little time aside everyday for me. Not easy, but I try. So I am writing today. Hopefully, I will write tomorrow. I'll go from there. 
No promises.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

And Now for Something Completely Different

Wow, it's been about 6 months since I last posted on this blog. Sadly, it's probably been about that long since I've gone to the gym. In my defense, there were lots of reasons for that. I worked a bit for The Living Christmas Company in November and December. Then, in January I caught a cold; then I was in a car accident; then I caught the flu (I ducked, but it still hit me) which in turn, turned into Bronchitis. In the middle of that I was convinced by my friend Jane, to audition for a play: Oliver. She called one night, saying she was going the next night, and that I should come and audition too. I had 24 hours to get a resume typed and printed, a head shot and a song prepared. Somehow I did it. My husband, Bill cheered me on as well. "Just have fun." Everyone was saying.
Well, I ended up getting cast in the "Adult Ensemble" which really means I have no particular part, but I sing and dance in the chorus numbers. What that means to me is "Oh my gosh, I'm going to perform on a stage for the first time in..." I can't even remember how long it's been. What it means now is SO MUCH FUN!  I am loving it so much, I can't even begin to describe it.  I feel like me again. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom, and I wouldn't trade my life and my kids for all of Broadway and the Big Time. With my kids being pretty much grown now though, I can get out and do more. It's been so great to go back to this wonderful life that I've missed for so long.
So while I may not be swimming a mile, or working out at the gym, I am getting my exercise. The set has a bridge that goes up one side and down the other. Somehow, the choreography is such that I end up running up and down those stairs over and over throughout the play. Who needs a stair-master?
The only downside is that I have been feeling really tired. That comes with the MS of course, but the occasional late nights have taken a tole. Still, it's all been worth it. Seriously. And as long as I can do this, I really want to do as many of these plays as I can. I know I'll be able to work out a good resting schedule, it's all just been sort of new for me. Well, not "new" but different for my current situation. I'm not the 20-something college student anymore. (Side note: for those who don't know me personally, I have a degree in Theater Arts and was intensely active in Theater when I was diagnosed with MS at 23, and spent a year in and out of a wheelchair. I tried to do some work after that, when I was feeling better, but feared the stress and activity would cause a relapse. At that time there was no drug therapy, and there is still no cure.)
Currently, I have a high school student to take to school early in the morning, my other kids coming and going, my husband to pay attention to, meals to prepare, a house to take care of, as well as many other things to do throughout the days. Boy, and I thought I was busy back then, lol.
So forgive me for not writing sooner, as you can see I've been a teeny bit busy. Hopefully I'll have lots to tell you though, as my theater and life adventures continue.

Caren E. Salas

The Rose Center Theater, Westminster, CA

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation...

Wow. It's been almost a year since I wrote my last post on this blog. Pretty sad. In my defense, it has been a crazy year. Not that that is unusual, but still.  I'd like to say that I've been swimming regularly, and writing non-stop, but well...not so much. 
Summing up the last few months...I took a class to be a notary public, passed the state test, and am in the process of becoming an official notary for the State of California. That's pretty cool (if I do say so myself). I also took a publishing/marketing class which has inspired me to get busy on a new book.  Finding time to focus on stuff like that has always been difficult, but I'm working on it...little by little. Lately I've been working as a cake baker/decorator's assistant, which is way fun, but unfortunately not very consistent. I'm also trying to get to the pool more, which is, and always will be a struggle, but one worth the effort. Once in a while, I've even taken some time to enjoy the summer. (Imagine that!)
So there you have it: the past few months in a very compact nutshell. Of course many other important events and experiences filled that time, but this here, is not my next novel, so I should probably stop before you doze off, if you haven't already.
Sometimes I think my whole life is a "one step forward, two steps back" story, but I suppose as long as I keep trying, eventually I'll get an extra step or two in, maybe even take the lead at some point. Who knows? It could happen. I go....

Caren E. Salas

See? I really did take a  few moments to enjoy the summer.