Sunday, June 29, 2008


Here is a miracle shot - all three kids in the living room, nobody fighting. Max is napping (okay he never fights with anything but his dinner), Bay is on the computer, and Sarah is multi-tasking her cartoons and her paperdoll-stickers. I ran today - first run in a month, I looked it up in my log. I still can't exercise outside, had to use my treadmill, but I needed the movement. I need to get out of my head. I've gained quite a bit of weight and I feel uncomfortable in my skin. Not a good feeling and definitely not a good look.

Tomorrow is going to be hard, I suspect. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I should pick up something for the girls and I to do in memory of Grandpa. Possibly a Hibiscus. Or something tropical for the patio. I'll see what they've got at Lowe's.

I tried to take some photos from the cat's point of view. There's always a kitty on the patio these days. Geez, every word is a struggle right now. Enough of this. Tomorrow I'm reclaiming my brain.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I worked on my patio today. My flowers seem to have enjoyed the smoke. I know it sounds odd, but there was an inversion layer that kept the weather from getting as hot as it normally would be this year. Today was warmer and a bit breezy. It cleared some of the smoky smell, but I doubt it was helpful to the firefighters. When I checked earlier today, a nearby fire was 15% contained. Every morning, that's the first thing I do - boot up the computer, check the local news.

I spoke with my sister and she and Mom drove through Yreka - the town we used to live in. I moved to Chico from Yreka 15 years ago, next month. I've lived here longer than I've ever lived anywhere else for this long of a span of years, but I still think of Yreka as "home." I've always wanted to move back. It's a really beautiful part of the state, up in the mountains, with views of Mt. Shasta.

Mom and Robin are spending the night in Eugene, Oregon, with Rob's in-laws. Years ago, in 1987, Robin was a recent high school graduate and we drove her graduation gift-Camaro up to my dad's house in Spokane. Along the way, we stopped in Eugene and ate Chinese food for lunch. To me Eugene has always meant Chinese food and a funny boy's name in movies. I think most people think of it as the home of the Oregon Ducks.

I'm sorry, this is not a very interesting post. I'm trying, but I'm really pretty boring right now. My heart is just not into........ well anything. I'll try to come up with something better tomorrow. I'm hopeful that the air will be clear enough for me to get a ride in. That will help. I need some exercise.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday, Mirror Photos, and I Am An Oddball

I joined a Flickr group today. It is I now belong to two groups, but I actually posted photos to this one. Here's the first one. I had a hard time getting the shots in focus without the flash. Then, I got Bay in on it. She acted like it was a big deal, but she really seemed to love it when we got started.
When we were done, I took some of her when she was working on the computer. She is so pretty. I think that every time I look at her. She's spending the night with her friend, Kim tonight. I felt so sad when she left, which was very silly.
I feel so odd. I've been stuck in the house for a week because of the smoke. Max can't be out in it, so he has been unable to go to Summer school. Mom has been helping me get Bay to her Summer school classes and back. I've appreciated that so much.

Robin brought Sarah home today. I was so happy to see her, I may have hugged her too long. They had to cut their trip short so that Mom and Robin could drive up to the funeral.

Robin and I wanted to take Mom out for a margarita at Chilis. They make lovely margaritas over there. First we walked over to Kohl's to look for a funeral dress for Robin. I felt like sick to my stomach in the store. We had a hard time finding something that would work with Robin's boot - she had her cast removed on Monday - but eventually she found something. She needed earrings to go with the dress. I kept wondering if she would ever wear the dress or earrings again, as they would forever be the Grandpa's Funeral Dress and Earrings. I do think that Grandpa would enjoy seeing her in something cute.

We started over to Chilis - this is all just about about a quarter mile from my house - and I got a call from Bay. She said, "Max barfed, hurry home!" I took off, but I could not run because I had the wrong kind of bra and flip-flops. I did hurry and I kept trying to redial her the entire way. Max is scary when he barfs. When I got home, she was sitting on the couch, using my computer, and talking on both her phone and the home phone. I was so angry because my mind was jumping to thoughts of the paramedics and 911 and why couldn't I make my feet move faster!! the entire endless way home.

Mom and Robin are now over at Mom's. I am afraid that I acted oddly, which makes sense since I feel so odd. I would really like to talk to Steve, but he hung up on me when we had a discussion about the Constitution yesterday. I wish he was here. I wish he was here and he was hugging me. I also wish he'd never hang up on me again because it's rude and when he does it reminds me that sometimes he can act a bit like Bailey.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Love Thursday - Rob and Chance

My sister, Robin, is a good mom. Her children are confident, happy kids and I believe that much of that comes from the love that she shows them every day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Brad In the Sprinkler

Here's my Ruby Tuesday.......... my handsome nephew running through the sprinkler. See his cool red trunks? He came in momentarily for a sip of water..........
Then, he was off again. Look at that kid move. He's very fast.

Grandpa Harold

This is Hayden. He is my youngest nephew, our newest family member. I took this a couple of days ago. He's probably already grown a half inch since then - he changes quickly. I'm feeling pretty sad and looking at him makes me feel better. He's one of those sweet babies who smooshes himself into your when you hold him and smiles everytime you make goofy faces at him. He is a delight and a treasure. I'm very lucky that I get to be his Aunt. I wish he was here right now - I could use a good Hayden cuddle.

I got some really bad news today and I wrote about it in a sort of flow-like thing in my Live Journal. I'm going to repost it here, not because I'm lazy, although sometimes I am really very lazy, but I just want to tell people how wonderful my Grandpa was.

My grandpa died this morning. He was a really, really good Grandpa. He had cancer for a long time. He used to be a tugboat captain down out of Long Beach, in Southern California. Then, he moved up to Copco Lake and he owned and operated a carpet cleaning business until he was about 80 years old - he might have actually been over 80, I'm a bit upset and not clear on the details at the moment. When I went to town with him, he knew more people than I did and I'm the one who actually lived IN town. My grandpa taught me how to swim, how to ride a two-wheel bike, how to fish, how to squirt water through a hole between my pressed-together palms. He used to make jokes to distract me when I got hurt, said things like, "Look at that! You put that big crack in the sidewalk!" He used to tell me stories about being at sea - I especially remember the one about the monkey with greased tail and about how scary it was when they were with the fuel tankers during the War. He called himself the "old goat," and he called Santa, "Santy-hooks." Don't know where he got that one. He did this little dance thing, where he put out one heel and sort of swiveled with his arms out and do this little Grandpa sound. He gave big, big hugs and his cheek felt both smooth and prickily next to mine. I used to cut his hair and it was really soft, like a baby's hair, which always surprised me because he put this hairdressing (Four Fingers? Three Fingers, something like that)on it that kept it in place. When he smiled there were deep crinkles next to his eyes and he sparkled. I'm serious, he really sparkled. Grandpa was my height - 5'4". He had a permanent tan and a smudgy tattoo of a harbor on his shoulder. He was a great diver - did a perfect jack-knife, then slide across to the other side of the pool, under the surface. He loved to watch sports. He helped anybody and everybody who ever needed any help, at any time. People would get stuck up on the low spot on the lake where he lived and he'd head down to his boat, help them out. He was like my dad for the first part of my life - we lived with him and Grandma off and on for a long time. He smelled really good and he wore white t-shirts and blue jeans and cute running shoe sneakers. I haven't seen him in a few years, he moved up to Washington and I only made it up there once. I still thought about him all the time, the girls still talked about him regularly. Even in his absence he was a big part of our daily lives. He was fun and funny and warm and loving. He loved my grandma so much. He was a really, really good Grandpa.

Thanks for listening/reading.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

This is my first post since Thursday. I've been really busy visiting with my family. I got to keep the kids overnight while my sister and her husband stayed in a bed and breakfast. We had a lot of fun. I love spending time with those kids.

Here's Robin and her son, Casey. Casey is a great baseball player. He has a great sense of humor as well. He keeps us laughing.

This is Chance with Robin. Chance is going to be in the 6th grade this year. I can't believe how grown-up he is. When he was a baby, I did his daycare. I loved every minute of it.
I love this photo of Robin and Matt. They've been together about 20 years now.
Here's Trinity, the youngest. I shared some photos of her on Thursday. This one is at the creek. I guess I talk about the creek a lot. Maybe I should branch out a bit this Summer.
Sarah is on her way down to Rob's house, with them, right now. She will be gone for a week and a half. We've never been away from each other for that long before. I'm feeling a bit lost without her.

Have you ever seen that movie RV or maybe it's called something else - with Robin Williams. He is doing the stupidest things that I have ever seen a person do with an RV right now. Funny, though. We had an RV when I was a kid, we lived in it for awhile. I can remember my stepfather taking it places it shouldn't go. That was definitely an adventure.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This Post Brought To You By Trinity

My sister's family arrived yesterday. I took some quick photos of my niece, Trinity this morning. She went from one pose to the next, like a pro. This one is my favorite.
This one is Robin's favorite. She asked me to do some black and white of each of them. I took a bunch of her in the yard, because she was dressed up for her romantic get-a-way and she looked so pretty. Also got some of Matt, Casey, and Chance. I'm going to end up with a lot. Pretty exciting.
Trin showing her teeth.
Here she is tapping her chin. She did this for awhile.
Time to take the kids to the pool.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Creek and Kitty

Today was a creek day! Sarah and I floated for a couple of hours while the big kids were in Summer school. How lucky were we? She held onto my foot or my raft and I steered - there wasn't much current. We saw some fish and lots of rocks. I took my camera, which thrilled Sarah. Okay, I'm kidding. She is very tired of the camera. I don't need her to pose, just BE and I'll catch what I can.
She wanted to play Truth or Dare. I picked truth twice and she asked me super easy questions. I don't think she gets the game exactly. I gave her two dares. One was to touch a slimy stick that we passed while floating and the second was to put her face in the water. She would only put her face in the water with the mask on. I said, hey that's not hard, but I let her get away with it. She squatted down and dipped her face in. Pretty funny.
She's a great sport.
After we got home, Taylor and Alana brought this little kitten over to meet us. They found it where Alana's mom works - he's a homeless guy. They called him Creamsicle and I came so close to keeping him. He was soft and fuzzy. I resisted. No I am not heartless. I want a kitty, but I want a house first. He was a cutie.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ruby Tuesday #2 - My Phone

I got my cell bill today............
Seems like a good red for Ruby Tuesday.

The Big Kids Have Summer School

Today was the first day of Summer school for the big kids. I waited until 10am for Sarah to wake up. Finally, I wrote "bike bbl" on a scrap of paper and I left. I saw a lot of interesting sights on my ride through the park.

*Some beautiful shirtless boys running - lovely, but really wasted on the ladies my age. Where are all the young girls?

*Three grandmas picking their way carefully across the dirt path in their in-line skates.

*A bald head, sliding gracefully through the water at the creek pool at One Mile.

*A little pink bike, leaning against a bench with no one around. I hope it was not forgotten.

When I got home, Sarah was awake. We picked up so lunch and went to the creek for a few minutes. I forgot my camera - these are photos from last year.

There's a spot where a tree went down - it's been that way for years, but when we arrived today, I noticed that there are now 3 trees laying in the water. That's going to make floating a little tricker. I imagine the fish like it.

Boys were loudly hunting for polliwogs. Their voices really carry over the water. If you go earlier in the day, it's much quieter.
Sarah and I walked down to the dam (it's barely visible at the left of this picture, toward the middle). Looking down we saw the biggest polliwogs I've ever seen. Sarah was worried because they weren't moving. They were resting.
Tomorrow we are going back with our rafts. The water is cold, but we're tough. There's nothing like floating in the creek - total relaxation. I need that before the big kids come home from Summer school. Teenagers.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mom's Garden

Today I went over to Mom's house to pick her up for dinner. I wanted to take some photos for her to share with her cousin, Pam. I'm a dork. I'm still learning my camera. Much of it was not in focus. I was disappointed, because I had to dump a lot of pictures. Now I know I have two places to focus. Oops.

Anyway, here's what I got..........Mom working in the garden. These are a couple of mini rose bushes.
I was with Mom when she found this Japanese Maple at Costco. It's lovely, very fringe-y.
Here's another Japanese Maple. Mom lived with me for a bit and at that time we had 3 large-ish Maples on my little patio. It looked pretty cool, but it gets way too hot out there later in the Summer. Mom's yard is sheltered by a lot of large trees. There are Redwoods and Oaks - it's really very pretty and lucky to find in a rental. The squirrels love it back there.
This Gardenia was huge. Mom cut it way back and it's waking up again. Gardenias always make me think of Grandma Artie. She grew Gardenias in her "tropical" garden, the one I mentioned yesterday. I'm going to se if I can scan some pictures to show how pretty that yard was. They used to entertain there all the time. They had Luaus and family reunions and there was dancing. So much fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Feeling Lost

I haven't been riding much lately. The wind made it tough, then it was the smoke. This morning I decided to go for it. I lose my fitness so quickly - it wasn't a struggle, but it was struggle-ish. My original plan to was to take Sarah swimming when I got back, but my Grandma called. My Grandpa has cancer and a few days ago, he had to move to a nursing home. My grandparents have been married for a long time, well over 60 years, possibly 64. Grandpa has been ill for a long time - he's had prostate cancer for ....... sheesh, I'm bad with numbers.... I think about 8 or 9 years. At times his numbers have read as if he was cancer-free, but he wasn't.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this........ he is dying. Grandma is having to contemplate life without her partner. They live up in Washington (the moved there about 5 years ago) and I'm not able to offer much in the way of support. Grandma's voice sounded so tiny on the phone today. I'm scared for her, for the uncertainty that she's facing. And it gets worse because she's going to lose her home, as well. They put all of their money into building a home on my Aunt's property and now I hear that my Aunt is going to lose her property. She was sick with cancer, as well, and that has lead to all sorts of financial problems. So, basically, my Aunt is going to live, but she doens't know where she is going to do that living. Cancer sucks.

Mom is worried about both Grandpa and Grandma. She isn't able to get up there, can't miss work, can't afford to travel. My cousin has been helping the grandparents out a lot. She has a family of her own to take care of, as well as two businesses. I wish we were all closer together, that the taking care could be shared among us, instead of heaped on a few.
These pictures don't fit what I'm talking about. I took them today for a Shutter Sister's thing. The challenge was to do things in 3s. These are my 3s. For some reason one didn't show up. It is 3 Cosmos. Cosmos are my favorite flower and I've tried to grow them every year that I've lived here with very little success. When I lived in Yreka, I had no problem. I don't know if it was the soil or the weather. They grow really well over at Fort Bragg, about 2.5 hours away, on the coast. The air is cool and damp there - smells like the beach, because well it is the beach.

My grandparents had a gorgeous yard when they lived in Garden Grove (Orange County, Southern California). They had a tropical theme with Hibiscus and all sorts of spiky tropical greenery. They had a waterfall and a pool and a tiki that my uncle carved.

When I was little, we lived there and I played in that yard - on the other side of a fence that my Grandpa put up for safety. I had a swingset and a sandbox that had a little shade over the top. Grandpa used to roast meat on a spit over his grill back there. For some reason, the sound of the motor that turned the spit is one that I remember clearly.

I love Grandpa and Grandma. I've been lucky to have them for so long, but I'm greedy, I want more. I don't want my Grandpa to die.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Duraflex and an Argoflex

A few months ago, I found some photos done Through the Viewfinder. I thought they were gorgeous and different and just I wanted to try it myself, so yesterday Sarah and I went out on a search through the local "treasure" stores and I found two box-type cameras that I could use for the process.

Just looking down into these cameras gives me this silly sort of thrill. The picture looks so silvered and it's hard to explain if you haven't actually looked into one yourself. They remind me of an old mirror that has had part of the back scratched away.

The cameras were really inexpensive - I don't know if either of them work, you just use them for the lens - but they are so cool-looking. I'm going to have them as part of my decor when I'm not using them.

Sarah loved the treasure shops. She is fascinated with old equipment - especially typewriters. She told me a story yesterday and it went something like this....... when she was in the first grade and changing in her teacher's office for the Halloween parade, she saw an old typewriter and she admitted to me, "I might have maybe touched a key or two." I love that idea, that she was so fascinated by the typewriter, that she was tempted to touch it.

I used the cameras to take her picture yesterday. She was pissed. I don't know how I'm going to get her to let me keep practicing on her.

This was one of the first images that I took with the TTV. It's the trees out front, up through the branches, which is something that I enjoy shooting. I'm not sure why. I do it over and over.
I'm not sure which camera takes better pictures yet. I still need to figure out a better box for the camera to fit into - you shoot down the box, with the duraflex at the bottom of the box. When I get that right, then I can figure it out.

There are some huge fires in my area. The wind kept the smoke away, but made the fires really hard to contain. They had to evacuate some areas - down in the canyon where my friend Tony's family lives, up in Paradise, where Steve's dad lives. The fire burned out by my college - the campus is in large part a wildlife preserve.

This morning the wind died down and I woke up to a smokey smell in my room. Sarah just came in from playing on the patio and she smells of it. Strong of it. The people in Paradise are being allowed back into their homes. I can't imagine what these people have gone through in the past 36 hours. I feel very lucky.

In this picture, you have no clue that there's any smoke, but a little to the left, there's a huge plume of it.

Here's my son, Max, taking a nap. He lies on this big pillow called a Cloud Nine. His head is to the right, but it's hard to see.
I'm taking off now. It's time to give him his before bed medicine. Take care.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Love Thursday - Sarah and Ashlee

This morning I woke up and I remembered that I got this one the other day: It's my daughter and my niece cuddling after a swim. The girls had a slumber party and this was the morning after.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Love Thursday - Friendship

This is Taylor and Alana - pals. They came by this evening to visit me for a bit and we took some shots of Alana dancing all
silly-like. As they were leaving I said, hey let me get a shot of you that you can use for your My Space. This was the first try. See how Taylor almost has a smile? Alana's confident chin and her peace sign - she's one step away from middle school. I love the ease that the girls show here, the arms slung over the shoulders, the hands relaxed.

In Or Out - Shutter Sisters Daily Photo

In response to Shutter Sisters "Either Or" challenge, I present this - my daughter, Sarah, half in, half out of the pool. I love her feet. :D

Wordless Wednesday - Sometimes You Gotta Dance

My niece dancing at the playground. I can't look at this one without smiling. Great day.