Saturday, June 30, 2007

Miss Kate's Definition Of Love

I'm not quite sure how Turtle Doug took this picture, but if this isn't a sure sign of love from Miss Kate to her owner, I don't know what is. She rides all over the truck cab; no seat belts for her. I love this picture. Just wanted to share.
Posted by Picasa

Cat Pictures To Come wants pictures of the cats. As soon as they slow down enough, I will catch them on camera. Right now they are either hiding or dashing for cover when I enter their inner sanctum. I did get Georgio to sit in my lap for a nanosecond this afternoon. It may be a few days. I think about the Nick and Nora combination but he looks like a Georgio; I can't explain it. Stay tuned.

We Have Cats....

My sister had to be at the airport this morning at roughly the same time my son and his girlfriend flew in. Mark and Robin took one of Kerry's car and headed for San Francisco and a Brian Eno Exhibit. If you want to know more about this go to Eno's name shows up in crossword puzzles all the time.

On Thursday Vicky and I chose two one-year-old tabby cats to bring home: Nora and Georgio. For the next three weeks they will be in one bedroom (the nursery) in the house along with all assorted toys, condos, food, water and litter box. Our house has too many hiding places for them so the shelter recommended one small space until they are over the jitters about the new home. So who are they?

Nora is a bitch; my sister's words not mine. She regularly swipes at Georgio who is rather timid but loving. She quickly claimed the top portion of the cat condo; when she found Georgio there she hissed at him until he got down and hid under the ottoman again. Nora seems to like Kerry better than me.

Georgio is sweet, adorable, loving; just an all around delight to have. He spends a lot of time under the ottoman. I did see the two of them touch noses (Georgio initiated it), but within seconds Nora had hissed at him. I've heard Georgio purr but not Nora. Georgio likes me better.

Both are eating, drinking and pooping; all good signs in new members of the household.

I'm going to nap in the nursery so keep the little ones company.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Few Photos From Our Last Trip

The first two pictures are of Mono Lake. It's significant for political and environmental reasons. In 1941 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) began diverting water from all the tributaries that fed water into the lake. The diverted water went 350 miles south to feed the growing water needs of Los Angeles.

The lake very quickly began to dry up. By 1995 the lake level was 40 vertical feet below it's historic level. Islands were now connected to the shoreline so predators could come across to feast on nesting birds and their babies.

A committee was formed in 1978 to restore the lake, but it took until 1994 for the group to prevail in court. Since then the lake level has been steadily coming back. The islands are once again cut off from the shore. It will never come back to the 1941 level but it will once again become a healthy body of water. Sadly, the person who started the group to save the lake was killed by a drunk driver six years before the court decision. The group continued, despite the huge loss.

The bullet hole is in the window of the lodge where we stayed in Lee Vining which is on the shore of Mono Lake. The lodge has been there for quite a while so we read some of the earlier comments from people who stayed in the room. The bullet hole has been there a long time. No explanation as to how it got there.

The bottom picture is of Icelandic Poppies outside a coffee place in Lee Vining. I'm going to try to grow them next winter. They really can't handle our summer heat but they can grow in the cooler months.

That's all for now. My sister is here and we are having a great time. Shopping and eating have consumed most of our time. Tomorrow we go to look at cats and perhaps come home with some four-legged creatures.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 23, 2007

My Sister Is Coming For A Visit

That's my brother and sister on top of a mountain near Evergreen, Colorado. She was visiting my brother and his wife for her birthday; she's younger than I am. Yes, he's tall and Vicky and I are short; not fair. I still got the big feet. She won't have to pack the warm clothing for her visit; it's going to be in the mid-90s F here. The photo below is Lake Tahoe taken from Tahoe City, CA

We are picking her up at the Reno Airport on Sunday and then driving to Tahoe City for lunch at Jakes on the Lake; good food and a great view. Then we will head for Lincoln, which is about a 90 minute drive.

Not too much planned for her visit. She works very hard as a trainer for the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis. Her visit is a chance for down time and a chance for her husband, who is staying home, to try out his new driver that he got for Father's Day.

We will just see each day what everyone wants to do. She flies home next Saturday from the Sacramento Airport. It's the same day my son arrives with his girlfriend. Busy time, but I love it.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 22, 2007

Not My Best Day

So far this has been a day I don't want to duplicate any time in the future. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. with a sinus headache. I rarely get them but when I do they are real killers. It's better now but my balance is still a bit off. Then I put in my contact lenses. I had used a new cleaning solution last night. This morning I discovered that like so many other chemicals, I'm allergic to the new solution. My eyes turned red almost immediately. I've had this happen before; the only way to fix the problem is to throw away the pair that is contaminated by the cleaner I'm allergic to and put in a brand new pair. I did that but my eyes still look like I've been on a week long binge. Then I went to fix myself some breakfast and discovered that the cheese was all moldy.

So I'm seriously considering going back to bed (I've been up for nearly four hours) and trying to start the day all over again.

I know there are folks with far worse maladies than the ones I've written about today, but these are my maladies and I'm pissed that I don't feel better. Got that off my chest; I feel better already

My big job today is recycling; I've put it off for probably a week longer than I should have. I'll put the back seat down in my Prius and fill it with all kinds of bottles and cans. If I don't go today I will have to take the truck or something of equal size because the load of recyclables is considerable.

I'm really into recycling. In fact, I'm currently doing battle with the company that makes Skinny Cow desserts. They package the ice cream sandwiches in these plastic cartons which cannot be recycled. I sent them an e-mail about the packages and got back this "corporate speak" about how much they like hearing from customers. So I wrote another much more direct e-mail which got a little bit better reply. Then two days ago I got a letter from them with coupons for free Skinny Cows. I threw them away. I will not be bought!!

This is really a pretty boring post, but it's the best I can do today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Eastern Sierra

This is Ducks Pass in the Mammoth Lakes area. We did not hike to it; I found it on Google images. I'm posting it because it shows why I think that the Eastern side is the most beautiful side of this mountain range. Ducks Pass is not a difficult hike. I did one similar to it a few years ago. Our destination then was Mosquito Lake. It was aptly named. I was eaten alive. Those little buggers can survive 11,000 feet better than I can.
Posted by Picasa

We Are Back From Our Eastern Sierra Trip

We came back a day early; Monday morning we looked at each other and said, let's go home. We are not good at staying away from home for more than three days unless we've taken a long flight somewhere. So we packed up and headed home. It was nice to leave behind the 8,300 foot elevation of the place we stayed.

Despite our early departure, the trip was wonderful. The picture on the left is the Twin Lakes Chapel where the wedding was held on Saturday afternoon. The fellow on the ladder in the picture was busy putting up a garland of flowers. Both the bride and groom are really into outdoor activities; they are rock climbing in British Columbia for their honeymoon.

So this was a perfect place to have the wedding. About 100 of us sat on the split logs and listened to the wind whipping through the pine trees. We walked across a small bridge over Twin Lakes to get to the chapel. The bride's brother had the most important job; keep the fly fisherman away from the chapel. It's public land so you can't put up a "keep out sign." He did a great job. I'll have more photos when Kerry empties his camera.

What you can't see in this photo is the enormous granite wall that rises probably a thousand feet right behind the trees. That kind of natural splendor always helps me put into perspective just how important it is to treat nature well.

Everyone drove to the Convict Lake Resort Restaurant after the wedding. Despite it's name, the food and ambiance were wonderful. We danced a bit and then bid farewell to the family and headed back to Mammoth Lakes and the Austriahof Lodge where we stayed.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Getting Ready For Kids Kamp

Jesus came to work with his mother today. He brought me a bud vase with three pink roses and a thank you card in which he'd written a note. He just completed second grade so his language skills need a bit of work, but the thoughts were great. His mom took a picture of us together so she could send it to her mother in Mexico. Her mother has not seen Jesus in five years and she has never seen the new baby Karina. That's why these stupid immigration rules really suck big time.

We went over to the Park and Rec department offices so Jesus could thank the staff for his scholarship. They treated him like a super hero; I could tell he was really pleased by all the attention. Then he got his camp t-shirt, which he's modeling on the left. That's our Bird Girl that I've written about before.

On the way home from Park and Rec he told me he didn't think he'd go to college. I told him I'd graduated from college and so had Kerry. He looked really surprised. We spent the rest of the trip home talking about all the people in my family who have graduated from college. By the time we got home he told me he was definitely going to college. My motto: you can never start too soon.

Camp starts on Monday at 8 a.m. The first day is spent at the community pool in the park. He loves to swim. He's a bit worried about the field trip on Thursday; they are going roller skating and he's never skated before. He asked Kerry about it. Kerry told him to just hang on to the sides and walk around the rink. I remember those days only mine was an ice skating rink.

Now I just have to check into Head Start for his little sister. There is an office right near his house.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life Is Good

The past ten days have been blissfully relaxing. I get up, read some blogs, water my plants, walk on the treadmill while I listen to a very funny book by Janet Evanovich (Motor Mouth), then shower, read, maybe run errands, fix dinner, read and then go to bed. Sometimes I watch Dr. Phil that I've Tivod. It's been heaven.

Besides the 12 years I had my own business, I was part of the corporate world for 28 years and before that I was a newspaper reporter for six years. I know; I'm old but not down for the count.
I also raised a wonderful son and was married; that meant my life was highly scheduled. Now, it's all about me and I love it. I'm sort of the senior citizen Paris Hilton only I've never done jail time.

But we have a whole lot of socializing coming up starting tomorrow. Remember my little friend Jesus who got the scholarship to day camp in Lincoln. He's coming with his mother tomorrow, and Jesus and I are going to the Park and Rec office so he can personally thank the people who awarded him the scholarship. It's not that his mom wouldn't have done this, it's just that she's busy cleaning houses so she can keep a roof over their head and feed her kids.

Then I'm going fabric shopping and having lunch with my friend Jan. Thursday it's dinner and a movie with my friend Barb and her husband. She and I have known each other since kindergarten. Truman was president when we went to kindergarten. I know, old.

Friday we leave for a wedding in Mammoth Lakes which is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. I think it's the most beautiful part of the Sierra; Kerry has never been there. The photo above is the Devils Postpile; it's a geologic formation in Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth is a highly active earthquake area. There are parts of the forests that are closed to everyone because of all the carbon dioxide coming up from below ground. One day the place will just blow; meanwhile it rumbles quite a few times.
We come home Tuesday evening just in time for my book group. Then I have my knitting group on Thursday night and our game group on Saturday night. My sister arrives on Sunday for a week's visit. The same day she leaves my son and his girlfriend arrive at the same airport. They leave on July 4th after spending some time in San Francisco to see a Brian Eno exhibit (his name shows up in crossword puzzles all the time; guess why?).

We love all these people and all this activity but we will easily settle in to our relaxing life of early June.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Some Random Thoughts....

  • I'm glad Paris Hilton went back to jail. BTW, she probably doesn't look good in orange; it's a complexion thing.
  • We went to a high school graduation party today for a neighbor's son. They served a whole smoked pig; I felt sorry for the pig. They placed the pig on a table and the front end of the table collapsed. I cheered for the pig. Turns out the front table legs had not been properly secured. We invoked the five second rule...if it's on the ground for less than five seconds you can still eat it.
  • Retirement is great; I've gone from being a type A to being a Type C-; I'm proud of that.
  • The temperature is 91 degrees F. at 6:30 p.m. One hundred can't be far away.
  • I love my slow cooker; tomorrow it's dry-rubbed ribs slow cooked and then smothered in barbecue sauce. Yum!
  • I am still contemplating the elk meat. At least I don't have to see the whole friggin' thing lying on a table.
  • Our neighbors got the pig from Pigs R Us in Yuba City, but they had to take it to Orangevale for the smoking part. Now I know where to go.
  • I miss rain; our sky is the same And it will be like this until October/November.
  • I woke up this morning pretty early because the cows behind us were not happy...a moo here and moo there.... Turns out the goatherder was back with his flock and the cows definitely don't like the goats and the goats really don't like the black lab who is their boss. Somebody is always not getting along with someone else.
  • Scooter Libby should go to jail for his full term; no pardon.
  • Immigration is a much bigger problem than those idiots in Washington think. U.S. farmers are moving their crops to Mexico so they can be sure to have a stable, legal workforce. We moaned and groaned when chipmakers and TV manufacturers went south of the border. Well now we are killing U.S. grown fruits and vegetables because the folks in D.C. don't realize that this issue is about the economy not just about terrorism.
  • I'm still a Democrat
  • I really want to see Michael Moore's new movie "Sicko."
  • I'm glad a girl (filly) won the Belmont Stakes race today. It has been 102 years since a girl had won. Kudos to Rags to Riches and her trainer.

Well, that's enough for now.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Impatience Of An Imperfect Painter

Now that I'm retired I have a list of projects that I just never got to when I was still working. One of those projects was to do some accent painting in the great room/kitchen area. The wall shown here is one that I painted yesterday. The other walls are sort of a peachy yellow. I painted the area below the island first, ran out of paint, bought some more and discovered that it's not quite the same as the original which had sat in its can for a year. I had a few holidays (paint not quite covering the wall) on the area under the island. I used the new paint to cover them. This morning I discovered that there is a tiny bit of difference between the two paints; the most recent purchase is lighter in tone. So now I have what amounts to a whole "vacation" that I need to paint again. Argh!

I have never been known as a patient person; so this is really annoying to me. I do love to paint, which surprises my family and friends. I guess it's because it is so gratifying. You immediately change a room when you paint it.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Elk Burgers Anyone?

A former neighbor of Kerry's in Fresno decided to give us some elk meat; it's ground elk. It's sitting in my freezer with the big letters on it "ELK." They are beautiful animals. Anyone have any good elk recipes? I hear it's pretty lean.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 02, 2007

He Has Waited 51 Years For This Photo

This is my brother Richard skiing on June 2, 2007. He's always wanted to ski this late in the season and have it recorded. In the winter you don't ski in your cargo pants. He's at A Basin in Colorado. Love the smile....
The snowboarder below is my brother's son Andrew who also skied on June 2, 2007. He didn't have to wait as long as my brother did. The fact that he's a snowboarder may be why he's wearing more clothes than his father. Andrew just graduated from Columbia University and will begin teaching this fall for Teach For America.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 01, 2007

Meet My Friend Jesus...Pronounced "Hayzus""

He's 7 and just finishing the second grade. Wonderful young man. I've gotten to know him through his mother, Francesca, who cleans for us every other Wednesday. He has a little sister Karina (she was in an earlier posting when she was about two months old). Mom is getting a divorce. Not a good situation for a young man who is obviously very smart. We brought him a panda bear from our China trip and a book on creep-crawley things that live in Costa Rica from that trip. Boys like that kind of stuff. He is bi-lingual; his mom is sort of.

They are now living in an apartment in downtown Lincoln that has lots of moms like Francesca, but not all the kids are like Jesus. This is the first summer he will live there. Kerry and I decided we needed to find a way for this kid to go to day camp at the local park. Hanging out at the apartment complex did not sound like something that would be good for him. His mom did the paperwork with the help of some friends. We got the good news today; he got a full scholarship ($225). Kerry and I will pay the extra expense each week for the field trips.

Jesus is so excited; he just ran to me and hugged me. He mentioned he wanted to be a Boy Scout. I told him he had to be a Cub Scout first. I found out who does Scouts in Lincoln; he will join a Cub Scout troop at his school this fall. The uniforms will be free because of his mom's low income. Plus the Boy Scouts now have all their information in Spanish so his mom will be able to understand what he is doing. For any of you out there who think that English should be the language of the United States...get over it. I live in California where we think that communication is good regardless of the language. Glad I got that off my chest.

We feel better about this than I have about a lot of other "charitable" things we've done. I hope you can see from his face that he is a wonderful young man. He is capable of great things. I keep thinking of that phrase: "give a hand up not a hand out."
Posted by Picasa