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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Archive: Jennifer Forsberg Meyer

The rural life: Keeping it rural

Do you appreciate the rural nature of western El Dorado County? If so, I hope you’re aware of the brawl taking place right now over the future of our neck of the woods. The battle lines are complicated, but in this column I hope to encourage you to learn more about what’s going on. I […]

April 28, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 5 Replies

The rural life: Kafkaesque

I knew I was in trouble the first time I saw it, in my kitchen. It looked and acted like no insect I’d seen before. It seemed almost to gasp when it saw — or sensed — me. Then it whirled crazily for an instant before scurrying to the edge of the counter and disappearing. […]

The rural life: Friends with roots

I hear the eucalyptus trees first. On a morning walk, I’ve gone beyond the range of the mockingbird that’s been mesmerizing me; this allows me to notice the whispering of the eucalyptus trees planted along either side of my neighbor’s driveway. The breeze is just enough to set their papery leaves rustling. Now that I’m […]

The rural life: Before you speak (or text or post)

Words can be weapons. They can also be catalysts for great good. It all depends on how we use them. My husband is the principal of a large public high school in the Elk Grove Unified School District. A few years back, he began popularizing a certain expression among his students. His goal was getting […]

The rural life: Savage love

His name was Spunky, but it could just as easily have been Slasher the way he wielded those claws. My hands and arms and ankles were often threaded with tiny scabs back in the day, when my family owned this magnificent cat, from 2002 to 2004. Half Siamese and half Himalayan, beautiful Spunky had medium-length […]

The rural life: Slower living

At the risk of sounding geezerly, I’d like to suggest a new catchphrase for the new year. “Just slow down.” It’s not fancy, but it’s almost as catchy as “Just do it,” and I’ve lived with that one (thank you, Nike) for decades. I use it to rouse myself from my natural state — procrastination […]

The rural life: Gifts of true love

  Usually it’s children who find it hard to sleep the night before Christmas. Two years ago, however, I had this problem myself, though not for visions of Santa and reindeer. My restlessness came from knowing that my daughter would likely be up during the night, busy as a North-Pole elf, baking special Christmas gifts […]

The rural life: Curiouser and curiouser

It was so odd. It happened about a week ago, during my daily walk. I paused at the top of a hill and watched, dumbfounded, as a skunk hurried by me on the left side of the road, passing me just as a car would. Alert and wily as any wild creature, the skunk had […]

The rural life : End of the zipless ‘bleep?’ If only

Now she tells us. Author Erica Jong, whose sensational 1973 book “Fear of Flying” promoted the liberated joys of the “zipless” sexual union, now admits she doesn’t really believe in such encounters. “For the most part, when you fall into bed with a total stranger, it’s a great disappointment,” she told National Public Radio’s Susan […]

The rural life: Achilles’ heels

I could not, for the life of me, figure out what was wrong with her. The young woman and I were both guests at a wedding, and as she made her way to her seat, her halting, stilted gait was like that of an elderly matron. Yet this girl was no more than 15 and […]

The rural life: Lions among us

In the spring of 2012, our Saanan goat and his two equine pasture mates told me an interesting story about a mountain lion. I was returning from my morning walk when I found Buddy and the two horses clumped in a corner of their pasture, standing at attention with ears up, riveted toward the neighbor’s […]

The rural life: Meditate on this

It seemed so easy. Sit quietly, breathe deeply, clear the mind, reap the rewards. I’m speaking of meditation, the ancient technique that’s increasingly in the spotlight as researchers discover more and more benefits of it. What is meditation, exactly? I’m not sure. Its main goal seems to be stopping the incessant chatter that normally fills […]

The rural life: Life isn’t fair

My intent was to save young jackrabbits from drowning. The events of last week, however, suggest I may have done the opposite. A little background. About this time last year, after I saw a baby jackrabbit nosing around our horses’ plastic water tub, I took action. I’d already found a young hare drowned in this […]

The rural life : Linked in or creeped out?

Social media platforms are getting…icky. They’re an entity in themselves, stalking you with “friendly” messages about people you might want to connect with or actions you might want to take to raise your profile in the world. I dislike them. I’m a member of both Facebook and LinkedIn, the latter a Facebook-like site for professionals […]

The rural life: Remembering Rocky

What’s faster than a racehorse and as loving as a Labrador? If you guessed greyhound, a gold star. I was reminded of this wonderful breed when I came across a greyhound rescue organization online. I hadn’t known there was such a group (there actually are several), and discovering it brought two thoughts to mind. One […]

The rural life: Songs my father sang

Our parents influence us in ways that are sometimes mysterious. My late father, Bill Forsberg, was a Renaissance man of sorts, with talents for writing, art, poetry, music and more. He certainly influenced my own love of writing and music, but until recently I didn’t realize how much he influenced the writing of my sister, […]

The rural life: Holy crepes

A few months ago, I did something I felt a little funny about. I wasn’t sure it was OK to do, but I couldn’t stop myself. I used our local homeowners’ association email-address list to send out a message that wasn’t about homeowners’ business. I know. Bad. I rationalized, of course. I told myself it […]

The rural life: Dog’s life … at 60

Sixty is a big birthday. Even we baby boomers, so fond of redefining age groups (50 is the new 30, and so on), find 60 problematic. It’s hard to claim you’re still middle-aged when you’ve reached this milestone. Sixty is seniorhood, or at least the gateway to it. All those discounts and whatnot. I turned […]

The rural life: April foolin’

Have you been pranked today? Are you planning to play a prank on someone else? April 1st is celebrated in many parts of the world, including ours, with practical jokes and hoaxes. The idea is to prompt someone to believe something that isn’t true, thereby making that person feel like a fool. Kind of silly, […]

The rural life: Missing our kites

It’s fitting and somehow satisfying that the words rapt and raptor both come from the same Latin word for seize violently and carry away. Raptors are birds of prey; they get their living by seizing other creatures and carrying them off to devour. Depending on the species of raptor, the unfortunate seizee may be a […]

The rural life: Get my goat. Please.

Buddy!” If you listen carefully on any given morning, you might hear me yelling at our goat, around breakfast time. Buddy is a 9-year-old white Saanan wether (Swiss dairy breed; neutered male), and he’s been in our family since he was a kid. An adorably cute kid, I might add — and you might recall […]

The rural life: Get off your duff!

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Too many of them have languished, unkept. There was, for instance, the “Decade of Decluttering” I ushered in for New Year’s 2000 — that was a hoot. (If anything, my family and I moved in the opposite direction by adding on to the house in 2003 and creating […]

The rural life: Friend or foe?

What do you do when a friend of 30 years turns into a menace? An unpredictable hulk, threatening you and your family? I’m facing that situation right now. In fact, as I type these words, this menace is out in my front yard, not two dozen feet from my door.   It’s a pine tree. […]

The rural life: Thoughts the morning after

Last Wednesday, on the day after the election, though my guy had won I didn’t feel like doing the naked happy dance. The anguish of voters on the other side of the divide was too palpable. What I wished more than anything, and still wish, is for a way to reach out that resonates with […]

The rural life: Tyranny of the sliding scale

“Vee get too soon oldt, und too late schmardt.” These words, which I saw on a wall plaque in a mountain cabin years ago, have never stopped resonating with me. The older I get, the truer they seem. I find myself wishing I could go back in time to counsel my 30-year-old self. “Don’t agonize […]

The rural life: Navel-gazing, but in a good way

Are you an introvert? Most people aren’t. By some estimates, 70 percent of us fall into the extrovert — more socially inclined — category. But you might be an introvert if: • You really enjoy your alone time. You find yourself to be good company and appreciate the chance to think, read, plan, and chill. • You […]

The rural life: 10 tips for rural walkers

 Is walking THE best exercise in the world? Just think — it’s easy and involves no learning curve. It’s accessible and can be done virtually anywhere. It’s enjoyable and a mood-enhancer. It’s the routine you come back to after flirting with the expensive club membership or the boring home equipment. It won’t wreck your joints, […]

The rural life: Battles

It’s an alarming sight. The big red horse lunges at the smaller black one, ears pinned, teeth bared. The black horse stands his ground, bracing his legs and preparing for battle. Two handsome heads dart in and around as the animals feint and dodge, seeking an opening. Necks snake and twist, muscles bulge, manes fly. […]

The rural life: My dog, decoded

Have you “decoded” your dog? I thought I knew as much as I needed to know about my own dog. Then I saw, just recently, the 2010 NOVA program “Dogs Decoded.” It presents the fascinating science behind the bond that has evolved over thousands of years between humans and dogs. It explains many things that […]

The rural life: Providing care, or taking liberties?

If a child is injured or sickened, that’s a bad thing, right? And the purpose of a pediatrician is to keep a child healthy, correct? If these statements are true, then why would it be a bad thing for a pediatrician to ask a parent questions meant to protect the health of a child? I’ve […]

The rural life: Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Are the Beatles the best ever? If you’re a baby boomer like me, you probably think so. No less an authority than Rolling Stone magazine puts the band at the top of its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. Have you noticed, though, that a lot of younger folk agree with us as well? […]

The rural life: Stay off the bus!

Really? Legislators?! That was my reaction when I first heard about SB 1295, a proposal to allow California school districts to sell commercial advertising on school buses. The bill, introduced by Southern California Republican Bob Huff, was rejected by the Senate Education Committee last month — but granted “reconsideration,” meaning it could return for a […]

The rural life: An indelicate matter

Can dogs get embarrassed? Animal behaviorists say no, but sometimes I wonder. I could’ve sworn, for example, that my little dog was blushing under her haircoat at something that occurred just the other day. It was near bedtime — which is about 9 p.m. in the Meyer household. My husband, Hank, was already in bed, […]

The rural life: ‘Mean and ugly’

I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh. It was back in the early 1990s, when the talk-radio host, who started at Sacramento’s KFBK, was first coming to national prominence. I found his shtick original and entertaining, so I tuned in fairly regularly. As his star began to rise, however, his edge began to harden, and […]

March 19, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 7 Replies

The rural life: Help your child learn — and love — to read

Would you like your young child, or grandchild, to be an early reader? Researchers tell us that reading proficiency by the end of third grade can predict whether a child will graduate from high school. High school graduation, in turn, influences a person’s income, health and happiness over a lifetime. So it’s a worthy goal. […]

March 05, 2012 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged | 7 Replies

The rural life: Custom kittens

It’s hard to admit this, but I haven’t always been a responsible pet owner. In the late 1970s, when my husband and I moved from our first apartment to our first house, I bought our first pet—a Siamese kitten. Buying her was error No. 1. Then, as she matured, I didn’t have her spayed. That […]

The rural life: Don’t call ’em ‘Canadian’

It’s a sound that’s mysterious and familiar at the same time. It begins as a distant, solitary honk, high up and lonesome. Then it’s two honks, then a few, then a barrage, coming nearer. Finally, when the sound is as close as it’s going to get, you look up, and there they are, a magnificent flock […]

The rural life: Arnold Schwarzen-ants

 Out on a walk the other day, I saw something odd. I knew it must be an ant, carrying a twig that was, from the ant’s perspective, humongous. But from 15 feet away, the speck moving delicately across the road looked like a tiny bit of plant stalk walking on its own. It was only […]

The rural life: You lie?

“Pants on fire.” That’s the mocking expression we use to disapprove of someone who lies. Or we used to use it, anyway. These days, it seems few people care if their or someone else’s britches are burning. Saying what’s convenient and advantageous — whether or not it’s true — has become commonplace. It’s especially noticeable, […]

The rural life: Stressbuster

These are anxious times. Do you feel it? I do. Seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to worry about all the things that seem worrisome. The global economy, the U.S. economy — heck, our own personal economies. Climate change, weather changes — droughts/floods/hurricanes. Tainted food, tainted water, knowing what’s healthy and what’ll kill […]

The rural life: Four-legged teachers

 I’m on my way back downstairs to my home office after lunch. My little dog, Sadie, is sitting on the landing between floors, watching my approach. As usual, she’s anticipated my next move and is already where I mean to be.   As I reach her, I bend down on impulse and stroke her soft, […]

The rural life: Childhood joy, revisited

One of life’s greatest pleasures is being able to do the thing you did — and loved — as a kid. It’s a rush to feel the same thrill that a particular sport, pastime, or activity gave you as a child. And when you do recapture that feeling, it keeps that part of your youth […]

The rural life: Little orphan Annie

Small dogs are special. I’ve owned and loved dogs of all sizes, but somehow the littlest ones really bring out my maternal instincts. Maybe it’s akin to how we naturally feel more protective over a (small) toddler as compared to a (larger) teen, I don’t know. Whatever the case, the best example of it for […]

The rural life: Culture? Or abuse?

Should culture or compassion hold more sway? Legislation now headed for the California Senate would ban the sale and import of shark fin. The motive is an end to shark finning, the process in which live animals are stripped of their fins and returned to the ocean to be eaten alive by other fish or […]

The rural life: The bully that neighed

Bullying is in the news these days. Experts caution us to teach our kids how to avoid being a bully, or the victim of one. Bullies get their power from the negative emotions they cause. So the less you react to their taunts, the less likely they are to persist. Animals can be bullies, too. […]

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