It's been an emotional month. One of our best friends, Kevin Chen, passed away on April 13th. Today marks the one month anniversary of his passing. I loved this man, oh how I loved this man! My Kevin did too... as did so many more of us.
He loved us right back, he supported us, stood up for us, encouraged us, laughed with us, cried with us, was there for us. It is a huge loss in our lives to not have him present and hug-able.
We had a 'club' called the QOL - it stands for Quality of Life, but then was changed later to Quest Out Laws... We would laugh so much when we called ourselves that. Actually it's because our friend Kate thought that was what QOL stood for. We liked it and adopted it straight away.
Kevin Chen was a difficult man to get to know. A lot of people were afraid of him because of his looks. Very stone-faced. No nonsense. It was all a front! A farce! A lie! Once he let you in (which wasn't easy) you were in for life. Once he was your friend, you were his friend for life. He was one of the funniest people I'd ever met. He had the kindest heart of anyone I've ever known.
I remember the first time I found out that he was all mush, I called him a Marshmallow Man. He protested, slightly. I found a Stay Puff Marshmallow Man on Amazon.com and bought it. We all signed it's butt and gave it to him as a present. He proudly displayed it in his office and it was his Facebook page profile for the longest time.
Today the QOL has grown from it's original 10 members to around 24. It's a rocking party when we all get together... which we will do at 3pm today to honor our fallen member.
Pictures of Kevin Chen, AKA the Marshmallow Man, the Iron Man...
Kevin Chen, Kevin Russell, Tim Tubman
Fernando Torres, Christine Nguyen, Kevin Chen
Kevin Chen, Melanie Clarke
Lisa Nagurski, Kevin Chen
Back: Fernando Torres, Lisa Nagurski, Kevin Russell, Melissa Castro, Suemy Magaña
Front: Kevin Chen, Lien Nguyen
Missing: Josh Walters, Edrick Javier, Christine Nguyen
Lisa Nagurski, Kevin Chen
Perhaps prompted by the realization that life can be cut down so short, Kevin Russell has (not quite) asked me to marry him. He picked a date, said to go ahead with wedding preparations, but he hasn't been down on one knee yet with a ring and a proposal on his lips. He says that's coming. What I have to content myself with was a bent knee and a promise to marry me - in front of our friends. I'm not sure if this link will work - please people let me know!! But - here is the Promise (http://www.facebook.com/v/10150184515213539) It was taken with a cell phone and it's sideways... but it's adorable.
We were at Rose Hills (a cemetery, which is fitting for anyone who knows us) to offer food and drink to our departed friend Kevin Chen, and to help his soul cross over to the other side. It was a bunch of friends only. Maria Anguiano made the ring that Kevin gave me - I think it was made from a leaf she found, and the 'stone' was a piece of baby's breath from a bouquet someone had brought for Kevin Chen.
So the date of the wedding has been set. It will be April 13, 2012 (Friday the 13th). I think I have the location of the wedding set, but I still have to confirm - because we changed the date. And the reception will be a 3 day Carnival Cruise leaving out of Los Angeles (San Pedro) on the same day. We'll get married in the morning and the boat leaves at 5:30 pm.
I forgot to tell you in an earlier update that I'm down to 3 hens now.
When Kevin and I went to Montana my sister and her husband 'babysat' the chickens, ducks and rabbits - I left little Roo and Miss Priss, both Mille Fleurs, with her so that she can start her own chicken flock. Miss Priss is now sitting on eggs.
Then Peep, the hen that I hatched in my shirt became injured. The other hens picked on her constantly. She would stay behind the rabbit cage to keep away from them. One morning I hear a loud squawk and think it's one of the hens laying a particularly large egg. When I went out to feed, water and clean I found Peep laying on her side, unable to get up. I put her in a box in the kitchen where she lived for 3 days. She was eating and drinking alright, but every time she tried to stand, she would fall over. One of her wings looked like it was broken, as did her back. Instead of her body being straight, her tail was at an angle. I talked to my neighbor who used to raise chickens in Tijuana and he took her to his house to become dinner. I feel good about that. If it had been a dog, I would have had to put it down. This way, one life sustained a family of four.
Have I updated and said that George had 8 baby bunnies? They turned 6 weeks just this week and I was able to find new homes for 4 of them earlier this week. 2 more are supposed to go to new homes today... that leaves me with 2 more. Please spay and neuter your pets! This is what happens when you don't. A rabbit can get pregnant at 3 months of age. They have 2 uterus' so that while they are pregnant with one litter, they can get pregnant again with another litter. (Hence the term "Breeding like rabbits").
Buddy, our duck, is sitting on a large clutch of eggs. Kevin was thinking she would stop laying at around 15 or so - at last count I saw 19. It's hard to see now because during the rare times she's off the nest, she has them covered with straw and feathers. She's so funny when she's off the nest, she is very protective. She hunches her shoulders up, pulls her head in and hisses at anyone (or any other pet) that crosses her path. She thinks she's so scary, but everyone just ignores her... even the cats & dogs.
Poor Buster, the male duck, has been left to fend for himself with no companion to follow around. He spends his day at the chicken coop trying to woo the hens through the fence. When he gets in, or they get out - he always tries to mate with them. It's just not working for him. Hopefully the eggs will hatch soon, we'll have babies running around and I'll have a new problem - trying to get rid of some of them. - I hear that Dr. Jon is or has gotten a farm, maybe he could use a few ducks?! And a rabbit or two?
Plants are growing like crazy - sorry no pictures this month... Maybe I'll get some later and post them. I have 50 tomato plants and most all are in flower and/or fruit. The yellow crookneck squash is out doing itself. Lettuce is still producing with only a few of them bolting in the heat. I have 4 heads of cabbage - I wish I'd followed every book's advice and planted one more seed every 2 weeks. I have jalapeño peppers growing, the potatoes are like weeds they are so big, the Blue Hubbard squash is doing nicely, as are the watermelons. The onions and garlic are doing fabulously. And a new plant for me is the Jerusalem Artichokes. They grow like potatoes, and I can see that the plants are growing - so we'll see how that goes.
In the front the blueberries are ripening, the blackberry plant has green berry buds and the plum has still green fruit on it. The persimmon though it's never given fruit, looks like it's going to live - it's been half dead these past few years. The citrus trees have turned from the heady fragrance of flowers to baby buds of fruit. Hopefully it will be a good year for the trees.
Work, Work, Work
I am blessed with work. Great news! When it rains it pours... and it's raining.
April 14th, 2011 was the Grand Opening of Minis And More, Yes MAM! - It is at The Perris Farmer's Market opens on Thursdays from 4 - 8 PM, and I believe that it's a seasonal market. I sell Mini Donuts and grilled cheese and drinks, sunflower seeds and chips.
On April 5th I stopped in at the Marbella Farmer's Market in San Juan Capistrano yesterday and spoke with Jose the produce manager. I asked where they buy their produce and can they buy from a private party who grows tomatoes in their back yard. I explained that I have 50 heirloom tomato plants. He said yes, if I give them a good price, they can buy them... what is a good price? I have no idea. But I said of course I would.
Then I proceeded to have lunch with an old friend who I worked with on and off for years. She's the Director of West Coast Operations in a small laboratory. She is interested in hiring me part-time (12-16 hours a week) to update their SOPs, organize supplies into a central location and help design work flow.
From there I had drinks with the Chica's to talk about gardening. I'm trying to convince them all to grow gardens and I would provide the seeds (share from what I have) and even start them if need be. Two friends hired me to put their gardens in for them.
My friend Chris, owner of Paws Pet Resorts has shared her mom's recipe for making dog biscuits and I'm thinking of having that as a side line too. We'll see how they turn out and if random dogs actually like them. If this works well, I'm going to see about getting a booth at next year's Pet Project Foundation's annual fundraiser.
All of these things are things I love to do!
Take care of your feet!
I'm in a cast! Have you ever gotten out of bed, or up to walk from sitting and the bottom of your foot hurt? Get it checked out now! I have plantar fasciitis. The tendon that goes from my heal to the ball of my foot is not only inflamed, but it's so bad that the jaw breaker ball I feel on the bottom of my foot is actually my tendon that has been breaking. The doc said to think of celery or string cheese. When those strands break I still have the tendon, but parts have broken off. My foot is in a cast for 3 weeks while they try to get the swelling down - and then some therapy - but he's pretty sure that it's way too late for me and I'm going to need surgery. Not good! Especially when you're just starting a business! Take care of your feet. If what ever you're doing isn't working - see a specialist.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anaïs Nin