No Worries

While I was flipping out about the dog attack on my hens, I was messaging my despair and anger to Pedro. Soon there was a knock on my door and this cheery bouquet arrived to make me feel better because he wasn’t able to come. Yes, he’s my Cabroncito.

Who am I kidding? There are always worries. But in this case, I mean I do not have cancer. Thank you for your kind words when I was worried about it. Thank you also for being exactly the kinds of friends I appreciate the most, and not freaking out about it. I am fine. I unexpectedly had house guests all weekend, including a sister-in-law who is an ER nurse, so I was occupied and cared for.

I still can’t bring myself to do a One Year Later post and talk about the big day for me, March 12th, when the pandemic became real for me. Also, I have one final project remaining and I simply don’t have time to mess around with my blog. But I had to come today, to let you all know, in case anyone was worrying.

A lot happened in a week too! For Practicing Anthropology I had to create a career portfolio and I used WordPress because I’m already familiar with the tools. It’s like a visual resume, but more fun. Here, take a look if you are interested: Crystal M. Trulove Career Portfolio – Conscious Engagement (

My next project is going to look at cemeteries and burial goods to learn about worldviews of residents of the Pacific Northwest Coast people from about 2000 BC to the time of contact with white people. It’s only a simple term paper, so it won’t be groundbreaking, just fun.

Then finally I will get a break to get outside and start doing needed spring work on my property.

Kids and dogs at the beach in Rainier. Wrigley thinks the ducks are more interesting than sea lions.

My new brother Tanner (I call him “new” because prior to him taking a DNA test, we did not know each other existed) and his family were here all weekend. Two teenagers and three in-the-house dogs. It was a big change from my usually very quiet and predictable life with Racecar. Racecar, by the way, is a diva, and detests all non-human creatures. I kept her locked in the master bedroom all weekend. At one point, the littlest dog wandered into the bedroom and promptly got pounced by the cat! So I had to keep the dogs protected from my Diva.

Anyway, we were lucky and the sea lions were here, so we got to go down to the tiny Rainier Marina and watch them. My sister-in-law Laurie was joking about them being river squirrels for the dogs to chase. But only the smallest dog seemed interested in the river squirrels. Most of the time the dogs ignored them. We people did not ignore them.

Sea lions lounging on a dock in front of a couple tugs.
This group of sea lions swam in a circle with their fins up in the air. At first we tried to guess why their fins were in the air, was it for body temperature regulation? Then we decided it was synchronized swimming practice, and they were an Olympic team.
Tanner and me. It was 34 degrees and raining, but we kept smiling.

I have been taking care of a few tasks around here. One of them is a renewed burst of inspiration to rid my property of these destructive moles. Holy moly they tear up the earth. I mean, they seriously tear it up so much. They can dig 18 feet of tunnels in an hour! All that dirt needs to go somewhere, so I have a vast landscape of mole mountains that kill the grass, put big rocks on the surface for my lawn mower blades to get chipped on, and just look terrible. Tanner and his son were interested in trying the next two methods on my list: trapping and flooding.

I’ve tried traps before, to no avail. I simply cannot get the spike kind to work. During a recent eye exam my optometrist recommended scissor-traps, and gave me step by step instructions on how to set them. And if you can’t take varmint advice from your optometrist, then I ask you- who CAN you get advice from? Tanner and I followed the instructions and set the two traps I had purchased. Then we hauled my long hose over to a different spot in the yard from the traps, and I turned them loose with it. By uncovering the mounds we could access the tunnel system. Then we put the hose in there and turned the water on full blast. The idea was to hold a shovel at the ready, and whack-a-mole when they escaped the flooded tunnel. It was very very cold out so I left them to it and went back in the house. After an hour they came back inside too. No moles.

But the traps worked! Well, one sprung and didn’t catch anything. But the other one caught a monster of a mole. Seriously, the biggest mole I have ever seen.

Scissor blades grabbed this beast.
Have you ever seen a mole up close? They are so weird looking. Very specialized body design for digging and eating, and not much else.
This guy hasn’t been skipping any meals.

About 15 minutes after my brother’s family left to continue their Spring Break vacation, the construction guys showed up to work on my awning. Two years ago…three?…I had my roommate tear down the shed attached to the side of the house because it was full of termites. That left the back door of the house exposed to the weather. So far, I don’t think rain is coming in that door, but it’s a poor set up over all. The steps are plywood and touch the wood of the house, so eventually, it’s all gonna rot. My hired man is going to rebuild the steps after the awning is done.

This is what it looked like after one day of work.
This is what it looked like when I got home from Portland yesterday.

Yesterday I spent the entire day helping Frank, a Cherokee elder with stuff. First of all I took him to the VA Hospital to get his second COVID-19 shot. Yay!! He’s 89 and in relatively good health, but in a high risk category despite that, so it’s a relief to get him fully vaccinated. I was able to get an appointment for my first shot too! VA is allowing people as young as 45 to get shots, and that includes me. So Friday is my day. I’m curious about how it will go. When I used to get mandatory flu shots in the military, I always got sick (even though YES every healthcare provider swears it’s impossible, but still, it happened). I got sick 100% of the time after a flu vaccination, and when I got out of the military I swore I would never get another flu shot in my life, and I haven’t. But… I guess technology may have improved and I am getting older, and I am ready to get the COVID-19 shot in any case.

Then Frank wanted me to help him bring his old flip phone back to life. At his last VA visit, while he was with the doctors, I was on the phone with Tracfon for about an hour. Finally they decided to send a new SIM card. It had arrived, and on this visit I was on the phone with them again, getting the phone set up. His vision is poor and reading anything – much less strings of numbers for phone ID and purchase of minutes – is practically impossible. But we got it up and running. I hope. Then he explained that his brother is now unable to get groceries for him and he’s been considering a delivery service from Fred Meyer. So again, all of this is next to impossible for his vision level, so I created a Fred Meyer account for him which required finding his email which he never uses because he can’t see it. There were over 17,000 unread messages. I told Frank to get on those unread messages, “Chop! Chop!” Then he walked around his house calling out: “Cranberry juice, 64 ounces.” and “Dishsoap – store brand.” Etcetera, till we had his order completed. I scheduled it for right away. I’ll call him today and see if it worked. It would be nice if he could independently get his goods this way in the future.

Last evening after I got home I actually managed to read two academic articles about burial goods on the southwest coast of British Columbia before I was too sleepy to go on. And now this morning, I need to read more articles. Talk atcha’ later.

I almost forgot!! Look at this: my 11 year anniversary. What an adventure these 11 years have been. And to think some of you reading now have been with me for about 10 of them. (the first year I had zero followers, I think because I didn’t understand about how to connect to the community) It’s so great being a part of this world with you.

14 thoughts on “No Worries

  1. Very glad about the good news. But I was curious about your comment on Practicing Anthropology being that was my career after leaving grad school at Penn. Is that what you are pursuing?

    1. Thanks for sharing my joy in good health, Lou. I earned a masters degree in Cultural Anthropology with specialization in the field in international conflict resolution in 2007 from Brandeis University. I fully expected to work in a field to use that training. Partially because I had no idea what I was doing, and partially because 2007-2009 were terrible years in the economy to find work, I could not find employment in those fields. Brandeis did not have a course like this one, called Practicing Anthropology, which teaches students what kinds of jobs are available with an anthropology degree, then teaches us how to find a job that uses our education.

      Now that I am retired, I realize I won’t be satisfied going the next 30 or 40 years with no job, so I can try again to use my education. It was expensive, after all. Portland State University has this amazing class and I’m so excited about all the things I can do with an anthropology degree! Oh, how I wish that Brandeis had offered this same exact course back in 2007.

      Anyway, I’m sort of dancing around your question. I’m retired, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m never bored because it’s my personality to have dozens of projects on deck at all times. School is a blast. I don’t need money. And…yes, I am pursuing employment in the anthropology field, but not with any hurry or determination. I am making contacts, doing a lot of volunteer work, doing research, and taking my time. The longer I am retired, the more I like it. So maybe I’ll work in anthropology one day. And maybe not.

      1. Being a practicing anthropologist is rather exciting. It is totally unlike academia in that each new job calls on your skillset in a new manner. I focused on educational program development, traditional crafts, and horticulture. I hope you will love it as much as I have. You will never be bored.

  2. Wow, you’ve certainly been busy. So glad to hear it isn’t cancer, Crystal. And happy ‘bloggeversary’ to you. I’m sure you’ve had a lot of fun over the years as you’ve learned the ropes. I love how it builds community.

    1. I have enjoyed the WordPress community so much. It has been great developing these relationships, and getting glimpses into peoples’ lives around the world. It has showed me how much so many of us have in common. Thank you for enjoying the “no diagnosis” diagnosis with me. 🙂

    1. I hope you have not seen one because you don’t have one in your garden! They are cute and efficient, but no friends of mine. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. The visit with Tanner was so nice. They are a wonderful family.

  3. Wowww, 11 years!! This is spectacular, congratulations! And all the news is good, most excellent. Except for the mole, that is. 😀 (And Cabroncito is extra cute.) Good luck with your vaccination today. I’ve never had a flu shot but will have this one when I realise how to go about it and in which country.

    1. Yep! Your position on the vaccine is the same as mine. I hope you learn something soon about where you can go. It’s so frustrating to be so close to having something that can help, but not having access to it yet.

  4. Congrats on 11 years!!! That’s a lot of blogging. Been up since 3 this morning trying to catch up here. Glad you had a good visit with Tanner and family. The moles my dog brought in the living room did not look like that. Ours had no hair. Of course the dog ate half of it before I saw it. Made her very sick. Which is why I don’t use poisons outside. We tried everything too. They eventually moved to my neighbors yard. Good luck with the vaccine. I don’t get flu shots either. Am I going to get this vaccine? Not sure yet. Same reason. Glad you are there to help Frank with his vision limitations. I understand only too well. My driving days are done and I have a built in shopper. I have to enlarge everything on the computer and my phone so I get it. My vision is probably much, better than your friends. Sounds like Pedro is very caring and thoughtful. Hang in there with school. The right position will open in the perfect time. I, like you, do not have enough time to be anything but retired. 😉

    1. Being retired can keep a person very busy!! ha ha, as you well know. Yes, I think hearing about the things that have challenged you help me be more aware of how Frank needs help. He is humble and doesn’t ask for much, and I am glad when I can think of a way to help. What a relief to have a built in shopper. Oh your poor dog who ate the mole. Sounds like it could very well have been poisoned, to make her so sick. My Racecar used to bring moles to me alive, and turn them loose in the house so she could chase them. But I guess she prefer mice and chipmunks now, because that is what she brings into the house. Oy. I think it’s funny that I don’t like dogs in the house and yet my cat brings plenty of challenges and I think “oh well, she’s just being a cat.” I must be a hypocrite. Yes, Pedro is so thoughtful. And he remembers things so well and checks up later, which I am not good at. You are wise to be careful with your vaccinations, because of your particular health concerns. I know you make all your health decisions carefully. ❤

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