The Cross

A cross is an upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion. 

When we visualize the cross, most if not all of us think of Jesus – the pain and suffering He endured for the sake of mankind, to wash away our sins and offer us salvation.

“The Cross is a great contradiction. Death and life; hate and love; violence and peace; accusation and forgiveness; sin and purity; brokenness and wholeness; all is lost, everything is gained; destruction and restoration; defeat and victory. Once the cruelest form of execution, yet now, a symbol of abundant life.” – Sarah Coleman

Let’s delve deeper into that fateful day when Jesus lost his earthly life through the the “Sorrowful Mysteries

 The First Sorrowful Mystery: AGONY IN THE GARDEN

Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed to the Father agonizing what He was about to endure, knowing what He was going to endure. But alas, “Thy will be done.”
     • His friends fell asleep on Him, although He had asked them to keep watch, not once, but thrice.
     • Let us not fall asleep on Jesus or our faith.
     • He had faith and love for His/Our Father to pray and trust with the knowledge that The Father knows best.
     • “Thy will be done.” We don’t always know what our Father has in store for us, but we need to learn to trust in Him, like Jesus.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR

Scourging is the worst form of punishment; Jesus, innocent and sinless, was tied to a pillar with no type of cloth layer between Him and the whip. Here He was flogged over and over again.
     • Jesus went through the worst kind of torture for us. He did this as prophesied. He gave up His pain to the Father in accordance to His will.
     • When we are suffering physically, we need to offer up our pain and suffering to the Lord.
     • Think about Mary, our blessed Mother, and what she went through during this horrendous time: watching her innocent and only Son, tortured, watching Him being scourged, and not being able to do anything to help Jesus.     
This is much like when we watch our loved ones suffer, and we cannot ease their pain. I thought about this a lot when my mother suffered through her intense pain from the cancer that was slowly eating away at her. I wanted so much to take that pain away from her, but I couldn’t. I felt Mary’s pain then and what she endured while watching what her dear Son, our Savior, went through.

Third Sorrowful Mystery: CROWNING OF THORNS

Jesus is “crowned” with thorns, however these thorns weren’t just a wreath upon His head. These thorns were like nails being pounded into His skull!

Notice the spiked thorns in the “Crown of Thorns” plant

The soldiers continued to mock Jesus by giving Him a staff made from a reed (like a scepter), and clothed Him in s purple cloak. The PURPLE cloak symbolizes royalty, wealth, and status. 

     • Jesus offers us courage as He was brave and courageous to go through these last moments leading up to His death.
     • Christians are persecuted every day for their faith in our savior, Jesus Christ.
     • Believers in Christ are mocked by those who do not grasp what Jesus went through to wash away the sins of mankind.
     • Those with mental illnesses can offer up their sufferings to Jesus.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: CARRYING OF THE CROSS

The carrying of His Cross was extremely burdensome especially since He had just been  scourged and had thorns practically nailed into His head. He fell, and although others around Him tried to help Him up and carry His cross up the steep rocky incline, the soldiers did not allow this. They even whipped Jesus to get Him to move faster.
     • We all have our crosses to bear, and they may seem, at times, too heavy to carry, let alone lift, BUT this is when we need to ask our Lord to help us.
     • Carrying the weight of the world upon our shoulders is very tiresome. It is extremely frustrating when we keep stumbling upon our path. This is when we need to turn to Jesus, and remember what He went through.
     • We are not alone in our suffering, we have loved ones and authority figures to help us out. We only need to ask for help. We don’t need to fall over and over again, and get up without help like Jesus did.

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery; THE CRUCIFIXION 

The ultimate sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ being nailed to the cross, to His Cross. The Five Wounds of Christ healing us. 
The soldiers nailed Jesus, pure and innocent to a cross and then lanced Him in His side to check if He was still alive – blood and water gushed from Him. Divine Mercy Sunday 
• He died on the cross to save us from sin. We are lucky to be able to go to confession and have our sins erased. completely forgiven so we can start anew.
     • Christ dying for us and then being resurrected, promises us that a life of faith will lead us to eternal paradise, in the Kingdom of God where there is no strife, no pain, no suffering. We are reborn!

The CROSS is the symbolism of our Lord being crucified for the sake of humankind to be ultimately saved. 

*** NOTE: The images are mostly from the movie, The Passion of the Christ which is a very difficult movie to watch as it closely portrays what Jesus Christ went through to prepare the way for us to live within Him. I highly recommend this movie!
#SorrowfulMysteries #TheCross #FinalDaysOfJesus #JesusSaves

Almost Homeless

How did I get here? My life seemed to be going pretty good and then bam 💥 I’m almost homeless.

What happened?

Well, a series of bad luck happened. I lost my paying job at a veterinary hospital five days post op of having ligament surgery on my right ankle.

See, I was working and my right knee kept giving out and I’d fall. Turns out I had a meniscus tear in my knee, along with severe osteoarthritis. And because I needed surgery on my knee, my right calf muscle also needed ‘stretching’ which is called a gastroc release . The surgeon cuts the muscle so it’ll lengthen, allowing me to flex my foot easier.

I was in physical therapy doing the exercises for my knee and calf muscle, my right ankle hurt badly. I told the physical therapist that I think I just ruptured my ligament in my ankle. She said that there was no way this could have happened.

Another trip to my orthopedist, and yes, I did in fact rupture the ligament in my right ankle. Sigh.

I told my work that I could walk around in an ankle splint and could get back to work sooner. My supervisor told me it was OK. I’d have my job when I became 100% again and to go ahead with the surgery.

Ha! Five days later, I received the call that my work terminated me with an opportunity to reapply.

Living Off 401k Funds

So, now I was back on disability, no chance for unemployment benefits until I healed from my 3 surgeries on my right leg. By the time the disability ran out, so did my unemployment benefits that I never was able to collect. (You only have a certain time frame to collect unemployment.)

I do not recommend collecting money from your 401k retirement plan. First, the state and federal take way too much of the cut, and secondly, there are other ways to collect money that I should have looked into.

But that’s neither here nor now.

So, I delved into my 401k funds and tried to build a website to sell my jewelry.

My Mom Dies

This is by far the worst pain I’ve ever suffered. She wasn’t just my mom, she was my best friend. (Which I’m sure is the relationship most daughters have with their mothers.) At least I was able to spend more time with her. And I was able to give her her medicine through her IV because I was unemployed and also felt comfortable doing this.

I was also able to plan my mom’s funeral and help my dad save about $5k. (Funeral homes want you to buy their caskets which are marked up incredibly, and cemeteries want you to use certain funeral homes of which they get a cut from.)

The Fire

Having my home burnt to the ground by an arsonist definitely doesn’t help. My home had all of my business stuff in it too. I also lost my cat due to this fire and so many of my belongings. I literally evacuated with the clothes on my back and my six other animals- 3 cats and 3 dogs.

Funds Are Gone

So, now I have no money, both of my knees are going (need partial knee replacements on both knees,) and I only have experience as a veterinary technician. Crap!

I’m looking into receiving social security benefits (this is a long process all in itself and if I’m not accepted, I need to appeal.) This could take anywhere from months to years.

So, I’m wondering what I should do in my present situation. I need money, but cannot work as I don’t have the skills to work in an office with multi phone lines. A sit down job would be ideal but sitting for long periods of time also hurts my knees.

Not Giving Up

With the last amount of my money, I just bought a pair of waterproof shoes as it’s raining in these mountains. I also bought a tarp for the RV I’m living in because the window leaks. I’m still waiting for medi-cal to kick in (it’s been six months now,) and I’m waiting for food stamps.

Bipolar Disorder

I have type II bipolar disorder and need to be on my medications to stay mentally stable. Living with this mental illness is also an arduous “hike” all on its own. I have to make sure I get enough sleep and stay focused on one problem at a time, otherwise I get overwhelmed and depression sets in.

Keeping the Faith

Having my faith in Jesus helps tremendously. I know that He went through a lot more than me. I know He’s always by my side, and will be my crutch when I stumble on this life’s path. He’ll catch me when I fall.

Halo, My Golden Shadow

Searching for Mirrors

I was looking through a Facebook group looking for mirrors, table top ones for craft shows, and I came across the photo above. It stated that the owner couldn’t keep her any more and was looking for a free home.

😡 People should know better than to offer up their dogs (or pets) for free to strangers. I messaged the gal and gave her my references and let her know I used to work at a veterinary hospital and gave her this as a reference too. I don’t know if she called my references or not, but she did call me to let me know I could come and get “Zoey.”

Drive to Hayward

My friend, C (who’s also a veterinarian,) came with me to pick Zoey up. The drive was very long and oh my gawd, I had to drive across a bridge! This is one long a55 bridge, and I have a serious fear of bridges. 😬

We finally made it to Hayward and met the woman and her daughter at a park. Zoey wanted nothing to do with us. The lady told us Zoey’s heart wrenching story.

Her original owner had died, and then she went to live with the lady’s sister who had two boys. These boys tortured Zoey. They would pick her up and drop her, lock her in a drawer or closet, and who knows what else may have happened.

So, the lady was Zoey’s third home in less than two months… and my house became her fourth home.

Zoey was very attached to the lady’s daughter. I had bought a big crate which C and I had to put on the ground and lure Zoey in, but she wasn’t having any of that.

So, we had to gently drag her into the crate and leave her leash on because she was a land shark.

This is actually an image of her in mid-bark, but you get the idea of what she looked like with us.

Home in SC Mountains

I had set Zoey up in a smaller crate within a pen with pee pads, water, and food in my living room. It took a lot of coaxing and a few days later, I was finally able to remove the leash from her collar. Removing her collar took about 1 1/2 weeks.

Zoey to Halo

I didn’t really like the name Zoey. Too many people name their pets this, and I didn’t think it really suited her. Plus, if she has any bad memories associated with that name, I wanted to quell those right away.

Since this little blonde dog followed me everywhere, I thought of her as my golden shadow, and then was thinking of a name that summed that up. Halo stuck.

The Facebook ad had said she was spayed, but she wasn’t. So, I brought her and my cat, Felipe in to be spayed and neutered, respectively. Spayed usually refers to ovarian-hysterectomy, but she ended up only having a hysterectomy.

The photo above is after she had her surgery and was licking at her incision. Tsk tsk.

Miscellaneous Photos

Here’s Halo sitting in a chair beside me. For a long time, she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She had severe separation anxiety.

When I first picked her up from Hayward, she came with her bed, brush, food, and shampoo, but not a toy.

This little duck is the first toy that she received from me, and she immediately started chewing on it and playing with it.

Here she is in her parka. It gets super cold in the mountains.

You cannot really tell, but she has an underbite.

Living in Pumpkin Center

After the fire consumed our home, we moved to Pumpkin Center, a small town outside of Bakersfield. She, my dogs Lance and Gwenyth, and my three cats: Blur, No Mar, and Abygayle were my companions.

Here’s sweet Halo resting on my bed. She is sleeping on her pillow.

Halo in her bunny 🐰 coat that I picked up at Ross.

IMHA

IMHA is abbreviated for Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, which is also known as AIHA or Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia.

IMHA is a disorder where the body doesn’t recognize its own red blood cells and starts destroying them. Without red blood cells, the dog becomes listless and can die.

When Halo first started vomiting, I gave her an antiemetic, famotidine, also known as Pepcid. I didn’t take her into the hospital right away because she has been known to eat strange things in the yard and then get a tummy ache from it.

But her urine was bright yellow, and her gums were pale. I brought her into the emergency clinic, and the doctor said she had a heart murmur and also did some radiographs on her. Her intestines were full of gas. But the doctor also thought it’d be best to run a PCV (packed cell volume) on her to check her red blood cell percentage because her gums were so pale.

Her PCV was 20%. 😮 It should be about 45%! Then he ran a full blood panel on her – liver enzymes were high, and although her red blood cells were low, her reticulocyte count was high, which means she didn’t have non-regenerative anemia. Her body was making red blood cells as fast as her body was destroying them.

Prognosis and Treatment

Her prognosis was very guarded, and the doctor suggested hospitalizing her and starting a blood transfusion. 😮

From working in the veterinary field for over 20 years as an ICU/emergency vet tech (animal nurse) and running many cross matches, I knew that you cannot check to see if the blood donated would be a good match for the recipient.

Why? Because to run a cross match, you need to check to make sure the donor blood doesn’t agglutinate with the recipient blood. If the blood does agglutinate, then the animal will have a reaction to the blood. Plus, it’s not always recommended to give a dog with IMHA a blood transfusion because the body will go into hyperactive mode trying to destroy all of the red blood cells.

So, instead, I opted to take her home and start her on the prednisone, a corticosteroid. The doctor also gave her an injection of dexamethasone.

On the next recheck, her red count was up. I did a lot of research on her condition and asked the doctor if we could start her on an antibiotic and liver support medication.

He said that we could start her on this, but he didn’t think this would help at all because usually AIHA caused by infection is from ticks, and there aren’t a lot of ticks in this area. However, where we used to live, ticks are very prevalent.

Halo is Recovering

Here she is, telling me what she thinks of her bad haircut.

And this was just last week. She chose the smallest blanket in the house to cuddle up on.

Last Recheck

Halo’s PCV went up to 56%, and she’s off of her prednisone! 😮🙂 But because her ALT (liver enzyme) is still high, she went back on her Denamarin (a liver support medicine.)

Rising from the Ashes

In hopes to find a place before Thanksgiving of 2017, (that’s when my pets wouldn’t be able to stay at the boarding facility any more) I had offered a deposit of $300/pet. That may not seem like a lot of money to some folks, but for me, after losing my previous home to a fire and having six pets, it’s a lot of dough.

I had sought out the above property prior to my home in Boulder Creek being destroyed, by some crazy guy taking revenge on someone else’s house via arson.

This blue and white house is in a very small town called Pumpkin Center, located just outside Bakersfield, a five hour drive south of where I was currently staying. The property management company agreed to me living there as long as I paid $3000 deposit plus six months rent at $1200/month in advance. $10,600 is a lot of money to put down on a rental!

I drove down there, without looking at the property, and signed the lease for my new home. (Don’t ever do this, no matter what your situation is. Always, always, ALWAYS look at the place you’ll be moving into first.)

My only regrets is I think I could have found something less expensive, and if I had looked at the property first, I would have noticed the shared lot with a taqueria truck (that would steal my electricity and water for eight months before I’d be able to convince either the property management company about my plight or the taqueria people to not steal what doesn’t belong to them.)

After I signed the lease, I went to my new house. The inside was mostly clean, but there were rodent droppings in the drawers (eww), the cupboards were extremely sticky with grease and god knows what (another eww), and the oven – eww again. The inside of the cupboards and drawers were filthy. I’m not talking about a little bit of dirt, I’m talking about built up grime as in black and yellow. Disgusting! The backyard was a mess too. Beer cans, some half full, all over the yard.

I was so tired that first night and slept on the hard carpeted floor with a sleeping bag. The next day, I bought an air mattress from Walmart. Sleeping was much better.

Movers

Weren’t expected to be arriving for another week. I knew I needed a refrigerator because eating out of an ice chest is a bit tedious. (Buying ice and arranging everything so it’ll fit.) I also bought a folding table and a couple of chairs.

After the movers arrived and left, I sat in my living room – full of boxes. Emotional I was. I had just lost everything. There are no words to describe the pain I felt at that very moment. Yes, I lost everything in my house, but I also lost my home (the longest place I’d ever lived.) I lost my cat, Felipe, I lost my family and friends as I had to move away. And my boyfriend had chosen to stay in the Santa Cruz mountains to be closer to his daughter.

Rebuilding

So, I bought the fridge (the cheapest one I could find), a bed frame and mattress, sheets, and blankets, towels, toiletries, a futon, another table and chair for the living room, an antique sewing table as my bedside table, and then a washer and dryer.

I also had to purchase a microwave, silverware, rice cooker, blender, serving utensils, a couple of throw pillows, vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, and the list goes on.

People who lose everything are in dire need for a lot more than just clothes. I got a boatload of clothes, but no jacket, no shoes/boots, no bathrobe. And of course, nothing to replace the furniture and daily things.

Replacing everything in a house gets very expensive. I bought the sales and deals, I went to Goodwill (but there isn’t a whole lot in Bakersfield to choose from.)

Nine Months Later

My boyfriend decided to move down south to help me with expenses and ease my loneliness. He didn’t see his daughter much, and he missed me too.

And then in the fall, I was asked to move…

Retaliation

As there was a taqueria truck that shared the property with my home, they were stealing my electricity and water. They weren’t supposed to use the electricity from my house. They knew this, but they did it anyway. And then the water… they have their own water, but washed their truck three times per week using my water.

I had asked my neighbor across the street how much she spent on electricity, gas, and water… she has five adults living in her house. And she spends 1/3 of what I was paying. Hmm 🤔

So, I told the property management this, and I had to constantly ask them. I emailed them, and got no response back. I called and kept calling. They never returned my calls or emails. So, I wrote a review about them.

When the broker saw my one star review, he called me and tried to bribe me with $50 to change my review. I told him that if his employees had gotten back to me in a timely fashion, I would not have left a poor review. I also asked him if he was going to take care of the water situation as the electricity problem was already taken care of by the owner’s contractor.

So, I think because I left a poor review, the property manager wanted me out and had first posted a notice on October 3rd telling me I had one month to move out. I had to call them and let them know that my lease wasn’t over until 11.20.2018.

Last Chance Lance

Lance was a Shiba Inu X that I got from a colleague of mine.

She had told me his heartbreaking story… he was dumped off near her sister’s house, who took him to the San Jose Animal Shelter. The shelter did a “behavioral test” on him and decided that he should be euthanized. Why? Because Lance failed their “pinch test.” This is where they grab his sides and see if the dog bites them. Well Lance didn’t bite them, but he did get mouthy with them.

When my colleague heard he had less than 24 hours to live, she got him out of the shelter, and asked me if I wanted him. (I had wanted a Chihuahua, but I took Lance in and named him, ‘Last Chance Lance.’

He was hesitant at first, but he was just dumped by his owner(s), and being at that shelter didn’t help either.

He was neutered at the animal hospital I used to work at – a state of the art veterinary hospital, open 24/7, every day of the year.

Lance took to my dog, Toby, more so than my dog, Gwenyth. He didn’t mind the cats either!

He was a great dog! (He passed last night hence I’m writing about him in the past tense.) 😭

Periodontal Disease

Lance has severe periodontal disease. The first veterinarian I took him to (to save $$$) said he didn’t need his teeth cleaned. 😮 What?! He had built up tartar on his teeth and he was missing some teeth too… and knowing his previous history, those roots may still be retained in his gums. The veterinarian said she may have heard a heart murmur too. Hmm 🤔 he either has one, or he doesn’t. She also said this about Gwenyth, whom I knew had a heart murmur.

So, I scheduled Lance to see the state of the art vet, Adobe. Sure enough, he had stage III periodontal disease. Another colleague of mine cleaned his teeth and did multiple extractions. And many of his teeth were retained in his gums. He had a heart murmur that would get worse.

Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is a swooshing sound heard between the beating of the heart. It is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart. Some murmurs are harmless, and some are indicative of something wrong with the heart.

When a veterinarian auscults the heart and hears a murmur, they’ll want to do diagnostic tests to rule out any potential heart problems. Usually this is done by radiographing the heart and checking the size of it. In Lance’s case, his heart did appear to be enlarged.

The next diagnostic test is a cardiac ultrasound. The veterinarian will look at your pet’s heart, take measurements and also look at the blood flow.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

The mitral valve is a valve on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and ventricle that keeps the blood from flowing backwards.

How the Heart Works

Blood that isn’t oxygenated returns back to the heart (from the body) and enters the right atrium, then the right ventricle. From there, it is pumped into the lungs to become oxygenated, and then flows into the left atrium and ventricle, respectively. Then the oxygen rich blood is pumped throughout the body via the aorta and arteries.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation is caused when the mitral valve wears out. And this is when a heart murmur is heard.

It can be secondary to periodontal disease… this is what happened to Lance. 🙁 His teeth were so bad. But after he was diagnosed with this heart condition, it wasn’t advised for him to have any more dentals. Why? Because he could die under anesthesia.

Here’s Lance with his flying squirrel, but his favorite toy is Lamb Chop. He adored that toy so much that I bought quite a few of them.

Here’s his collections toys before the fire consumed them. Most of his toys are missing limbs.

Lance wearing some too large for him Doggles. 😂

Lance yawning.

Lance eating his Frosty Paws ice cream treat.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

When a dog has heart problems or an arrhythmia, he can suddenly die. And this is what happened with Lance.

Before I had left to go pick my boyfriend up from work, I had given Lance some milkbone cookies. He was acting normal. I would have never thought that he’d be dead when I arrived back home. 🙁😮😭

Symptoms

Lance not only had a murmur that continued to increase (started with stage I and ended up being a stage VI in only a few years,) but he also coughed a lot. This was from fluid in his lungs.

He was on medications for his heart: pimobendan, enalapril, and furosemide. The pimobendan was by far the most expensive of his meds.

Here’s Lance with his Hartz orange squeaky bone that he loved to chase.

My sweet boy, I love you and miss you! I have your lamb chop that now sleeps in bed with me because you’re not there. You were a great dog, and I’m so glad I was able to spoil you.

Unpacking

(Not my car in the driveway)

Oh the joys of moving!

When we first looked at this house, we liked the fact it had a garage and a big yard. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms… the extra bathroom is a plus. It had some problems though… the garage door wasn’t operational (and still isn’t) and the kitchen cupboards are hideous.

When we signed the lease on October 24, 2018, we were told it was “move-in ready.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.

The garage door (like I mentioned above) was hanging down, 1/4 of it off the tracks, and extremely dirty. The walls have chunks missing from them.

There were lightbulbs and light covers missing, sliding glass door doesn’t slide on its track very well, ceiling fans hanging off the ceiling (one is still not fixed.)

Oh, but it has new carpets. Whoopee! No screens or blinds on any of the windows, and there was a broken pane in the kitchen. Windows are filthy, both inside and out.

Then there’s the problem with the back gate, leading out to the alley where the garbage bin is. We cannot open the latch because the gate is warped.

Once we viewed it, we told the property manager precisely why it wasn’t “move-in ready.” She said we could come and collect the cashier’s check. Hmm 🤔, she can’t fix it so it’s ready to move-in?!

We talked to her about this, and we met with her beginning of November. Her handyman came to the house too. I pointed out 26 problems. She said he would fix them.

To date, he has fixed:

  1. Ceiling fan in master bedroom
  2. Dryer vent
  3. Broken glass pane
  4. Glass missing from outside door
  5. Front door locks
  6. Batteries in the carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms
  7. Replaced some of the burnt out bulbs
  8. Fixed the garbage disposal
  9. New range as promised
  10. Added blinds to 4 windows (2 rooms still missing blinds.)
  • But there’s still the other problems…

    • Garage door
      Sliding glass door
      Window screens
      Back gate
      Not all outlets are GFI
      Plumbing (raw sewage trickling down driveway)
      Heater doesn’t heat house properly
      Evaporative cooler installed wrong (window unit in the wall + whoever installed it shoved newspaper into the crevices between swamp cooler and wall)
      Sink stopper broken; sewage smell coming up from drain
      Kitchen faucet leaks at base
      Ceiling fan in 2nd room is hanging loosely from ceiling
      and the list goes on and on
  • And the property manager will not return calls!

  • So, I’m now keeping track of all texts and phone calls to property manager, as well as photographing and taking videos of everything in case we need to take this to court.

  • Before Signing a Lease
    1. Always check the property (again)
      Do a walk-through with the property manager
      Inspect everything! Plumbing, heater, air conditioners, lights
      Read the lease carefully (take it home and read it)
      Ask open-ended questions and make sure you get answers that you like.
  • Before Moving into Rental

    1. Take pictures of everything and also do a video.
      Have property manager or landlord/lady walk through and inspect everything in question
      If things need to be repaired, get this in writing with dates of when it’ll be completed.
  • I wish I had known about this. This house is definitely a learning experience of the worst kind. In hindsight, I would have not signed the lease, and I also wouldn’t have moved in here right away if I had known that I couldn’t trust the property manager to do her job.
  • Broken Promises

  • So, on November 1, 2018, we met with the property manager, E B Preferred (preferred over what?) and she promised us everything that was on my list of things wrong with this house. She said (verbally/not written) that she would complete the repairs and then fill out a new lease for us to sign.
  • Well, she didn’t get any of the repairs done by the time we moved in on 11.17.2018. And she wouldn’t respond to any of my phone calls, texts, or emails. I left a message on her work phone and then followed up with a certified letter to her, mailed to her office.
  • Apparently her office assistant opened the letter. (It was addressed to Ethele Barron, not Corinna Rose.) When I called a few days later, Corinna informed me that she received the first phone message and my letter. She said she spoke with Ethele, and was told everything was done. Excuse me?! I had to tell her that nothing had been done. We were still waiting for all of the necessary repairs.

    Repairs over $500 require a licensed contractor

    Did you know that? That repairs over $500 (parts and labor) have to be done by a licensed contractor? It’s true. Well, she hired this guy named Rick Alvarez who said he was a licensed contractor. And he started doing the work on this house. But he didn’t know about that the outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms need to be GFI within 6 feet of the sink. He said they were fine. Hmm 🤔

    If you look closely at the outlet, it is a 2 prong outlet, this is not a GFCI outlet.

    Not a licensed contractor

    When Rick first called in regards to the repairs of this house, I told him 8:00AM would work great for me. He said that was too early for him, so the time was moved up to 10:00AM. But scheduling a time with this guy is laughable. He never showed up on time, he’d call 15 minutes after the fact, and a few times, he called one minute before he was to arrive to cancel on me! WTH?! I had to rearrange my whole day for this guy multiple times. After 2 of his no shows, I figuratively threw my hands up in the air and told him enough already. He can now schedule for 5:00PM when my boyfriend would be home too.

    Again, Rick was late. 15 minutes late always. One no show. We were late once (stuck in traffic.)

    The Final Straw

    Rick was supposed to be at our house at 5:00 sharp. He called at 5:15 to tell us he’d be coming at 5:45. Umm no. He could come again on Monday or Wednesday, but he needs to let us know which day.

    Moving

    Once again, I find myself looking for a house to call home. Moving is stressful when you’re renting, and even more so when you have pets.

    A lot of people cannot find rentals that will allow pets, and some people start looking for homes for their furry kids. I’m not one of these people.

    My pets are my fur babies. They go with me wherever I go. They are not “adoptable,” as they all have their problems. They are all rescues.

    So, while I look for a new house to call home, I have to keep them in mind. Is the rental going to allow pets? What is the pet deposit like? Do I need renters insurance? Is there a yard? Do I need to pay extra money/month for my pets? Is this a one set fee? Or it it per animal per month?

    It is quite outlandish to me how in this day and age, property management companies and realtors can still discriminate against people with pets.

    If only I had bought a house way back in the day… then I probably wouldn’t have this problem. But then again, if I had bought a house and it burned to the ground like my home in Boulder Creek, would I still be in the same conundrum?

    Then while looking for rentals, and having a move out date looming over me just adds to the stress. I’ve been packing as much as I can every day, but I also run a jewelry business and a jewelry supplies business. I can’t exactly pack up my inventory yet. What if something that I packed is sold?

    I was hoping to not have to move until after the holidays. But that is out of the equation now.

    I’ve never been asked to move before now. I pay my rent on time every month. So, if the owner of this house knew he was going to sell in a year, why rent to someone? Why not let me know before I spent $2500+ to move five hours south of my family and friends? 🤔

    My 50th birthday is fast approaching, and last year with the fire, and this year with having to move, I’m really beginning to not like the month of October.

    What are your thoughts? Have you ever been under the gun to move ASAP? What did you do?

    Bear Fire

    This image shows where my house (red pointer) was in relation to the fire (white dot.)

    October 16, 2017 started out just like any other day…

    I had packed some items and had them in storage, but a lot weren’t in boxes. Instead of bringing the boxes to the storage facility, I brought the items home with me to pack: clothes, jewelry and supplies/tools, shoes/boots, and paintings – some by my brother.


    Fear of Fire 🔥

    My worst fear, living here, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was what happens if a fire breaks out. And I made an evacuation plan for this very reason (before my boyfriend moved in with me. He had only been living with me for the last few months.)

    There have been other fires near this area – always occurring during the day. Some were close, some farther away.


    Before picking up my boyfriend from work, I had been calling for my cat, Felipe, but he had caught a squirrel earlier on in the day. And I think he might have eaten it.

    I hate having my cats outdoors, and Felipe was the only cat allowed outside during the daylight hours because he’d annoy the other cats with his antics. You see, he was younger than my three other cats by several years.

    My boyfriend and I managed to get home at about 10:00 PM. I continued to call for Felipe, who normally comes to his name. There’s only been one time that he stayed out until after midnight before coming inside the house.

    So, my boyfriend and I, were on the deck, smoking our cigarettes, when I received a text from my neighbor up the road, stating there was a fire.


    Fire Below the Deck

    This isn’t the greatest picture, but that little spark in the darkness is the fire, about a mile away as the crow flies.

    We had about 30 minutes to evacuate. I gathered my three other cats: No Mar, Blur, and Aby, and then attended to my three dogs: Lance, Gwenyth, and Halo. I continued calling for Felipe. Crying and screaming his name.

    I grabbed my laptop, iphone, my CPAP equipment, pet food, and my pets’ and my medications. And then we left, literally with the clothes on our backs.

    We were just about to leave when my landlord drove up to tell us we had to go right now. (But he would end up staying at his house for 4 1/2 more hours to fight the fire.)

    As we were driving down the mountain, there were embers floating in the night sky.


    RV Living

    I drove all of us to my friends’ house. They set us up in their RV. It was cramped with all of the cat carriers, but it was somewhere to call home. And it’d be home for the next couple of weeks.

    (My boyfriend was actually going a separate way from me, and he moved into a room for rent in Brookdale within the week.)

    In the collage above: Lance and Halo are on the bed, No Mar is laying on top of a cushion that’s atop the two cat carriers underneath for Miss Blur and Abygayle, who are scaredy-cats by nature. Gwenyth, my 17 year old Miniature Pinscher is in the dog crate, also underneath the cushion.

    October 17, 2017

    This text message was from my neighbor who lived up the road from me.

    In the morning, we drove up Bear Creek Road to see if we could go back home and call for Felipe. There was a road block, actually there were several of them… but we couldn’t even make it through the first one.


    We had been waiting to hear if we could go back to our homes, but the fire was anything but contained.

    Every day, I drove up Bear Creek Road, in hopes to be able to look for my kitty, Felipe. And every day, I had to turn around and drive back.

    My boyfriend and I went to the Red Cross, as we had heard that the fire evacuees would get $100 vouchers, but they were out.

    I went to the SPCA looking for Felipe, and posted his pic to see if anyone knew of his whereabouts.


    October 18, 2017

    Still not able to look for my kitty.

    But I did receive a text from my landlord, Marvin, in response to my text:

    When I read these texts, I lost it, of course. My whole life was in that house. And if my home is gone, where is Felipe going to go?


    Kevin Foster is the leader of the Facebook group, Boulder Creek Neighbors, and I posted about my home being destroyed in the #BearFire. The residents (members) came together for me, and had me start a list of everything I may need for my new home.

    I’m still floored to this day for the abundance of love I received from my townsfolk. They rallied together and helped me out with clothes, kitchen items, dog and cat stuff, donations to name but a few.

    Summit Veterinary Hospital boarded and vaccinated my dogs and cats for free. (Bless their hearts too!)

    Capitola Groomingdales also boarded my pets for free when I moved into my Dad’s house for the next two weeks after living in the RV.


    SIFTING THROUGH the ASHES

    After calling for Felipe and looking for him, I started sifting through the ashes, looking for beads and my rings (diamond/gold rings, ruby/white gold ring.)

    Every day I spent doing the same thing – looking for Felipe and sifting through the place I once called home. I found a porcelain piglet figurine that was in my jewelry box, but I didn’t find any of my rings. I also know that there were some people who never left the mountain, and went through people’s homes looking for anything of value, and also had metal detectors.

    Once the police found out about this situation, there were law enforcement that came out to protect people’s homes, but not those who lost their homes.


    Next up: Rising from the Ashes

    About JC Heart Designs

    Welcome to JC Heart Designs – wired gems in Christ.

    Wired (adj.)

    • Reinforced by wire for strength
    • Bound with wire
    • Connected (to a network)
    • Excited

    Gem (n.)

    • Jewel
    • Highly prized/loved person

    Each and every one of us is a precious gem in God’s eyes, and we’re connected through Him, with Him, and in Him.


    Passion for Wire

    Wire has no limits. Wire can be used to create jewelry findings, such as eye pins, head pins, links, chain, jump rings, connectors, beads, rivets, bezels, ear wires, clasps, and so much more!

    When I first started making rosaries, I ran out of eye pins. These little guys are what’s used to connect the beads together. It never dawned on me until that moment that eye pins are just wire with a loop on one end. Huh, what do you know?

    I began exploring other common jewelry findings, and looking at them a whole new way. How can I make these?

    Of course, some elements are easier to create than others. For instance, French hook ear wires are easier to create than kidney ear wires. Eye pins are definitely easier than head pins.

    Plus, wire comes in a variety of metals, gauges, shapes, and tempers.


    Self Taught

    Image above is a pair of herringbone weave hematite earrings, wrapped in 14K gold filled wire with French hooks.

    I’ve been working with wire for years now – making my own clasps, French hook ear wires, kidney ear wires, head pins, and eye pins, links, etc.

    And I’ve only begun to delve into wire weaving and braiding.

    I’m self taught through books, online tutorials, and lots of practice because as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”


    Inspiration

    My designs are inspired by life. I have a few jewelry lines:

    • In the Garden
    • Feeling the Blues
    • Autumn Reveries
  • These will be added to my Etsy shop soon, under their title.
  • The In the Garden Series includes everything you can find in the garden: bugs, squirrels, bunnies, reptiles and amphibians, and plants.
  • These squirrels on 14KT rose gold filled French hooks with beige river stone beads.
  • Feeling the Blues is in memory of my Mom who passed away in February 2016.
  • Autumn Reveries is the line I was working on right before the Bear Fire consumed my home and business.
  • And coming up is Rising from the Ashes.
  • I also create Christian inspired jewelry, rosary bracelets, and rosaries.

  • The Calling
  • In 2008 I felt a calling to make rosaries. I had no idea how to make one. But like everything else, I researched how to do it, then bought some beads.
  • I remember walking on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, headed towards Lulu’s, my favorite coffee shop. And I felt a presence (Holy Spirit?) turn me around and head in the opposite direction into an antique shop that I’d never been in before. This presence led me directly to a case with crucifixes and a miraculous medal.
  • I was working at a veterinary hospital back then that had online access. So, after work, I perused a website that sells everything rosaries.
  • I’ve made rosaries for me, my family, friends, and the pro-life movement.
  • Rosaries aren’t difficult to make, but they are time consuming. And the motion is very repetitive, causing a great deal of pain to me. So, I take breaks in between creating these.

  • Read about The Rosary and its precious gifts.
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