July 05, 2015

Abominations!

The King James version of the bible states, "Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you." Leviticus 11:12

I don't see anyone picketing outside the crab shack with signs reading, "Crabs Cakes are a sin!"
or "Crabs Today...What next? Calamari?"

For a woman to wear jeans is an abomination for it states in Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James again) "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man...for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God."  Do you see any "REPENT" signs in front of Levi Strauss or Wranglers? Don't even get me started on those sinful Blazers or T-shirts? 

I wonder how many Christians read Stephen King books against the advice of Proverbs, Chapter 6, "a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations" is also an abomination! Oh yeah, "he that soweth discord among brethren" are an abomination too. 

What is really sad is that according to Proverbs a "proud look" is an equal abomination as the "hands that shed innocent blood"!

It is sinful for a woman to go into the temple (attend church) when she is menstruating or for 40 days after she has given birth.....the bible says she is dirty...okay, it says 'unclean' but doesn't that mean dirty? Funny, I've never seen any sign posted in a church entrance warning unclean women to stay away.

The bible instructs us not to name a baby for 40 days after birth because the poor child has traveled through a vagina and needs that length of time to exorcise the evilness it may have picked up during the journey. How many Christians are standing outside the maternity ward at your local hospital screaming at new mothers to keep the baby anonymous for a month or so? 

There are many versions of the bible. Catholics have the original bible but in the 1400's (or there-abouts) Protestants changed some words and eliminated 7 books from their version to support their revision of what Christianity means. Then they accused the Catholics of adding the books to scripture.

The Protestants have a practice called "sola scriptura" which means "the Bible alone". They stand on the pillar of belief that nothing can be added to or taken away from God's Word yet they violated their own preaching.

Oh, yeah, does anyone remember the part in the Bible that warns, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7 1-5

There is a little quote from James 4:11-12 that reads, "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?"

John 8:7 is one of my favorites. "Let him who is without sin among you to be the first to throw a stone at her."

The Bible is not a cafe menu, as I recall from years of Catechism. If one proclaims to  lead their life according to "God's Word" then you can't pick and choose which words pertain to you, which pertain to others and which ones to toss aside.

p.s. In America, we also have a great piece of literature. It is called the Constitution. You should read it, especially if you haven't read it since 8th grade. Equal rights, can you imagine?

June 19, 2015

Hey Frank!

Last evening my husband was tending his business booth at the county fair. He asked me to tag along.
I haven't been to the fair in over 25 years. Being raised in the San Francisco bay area, I attended the Santa Clara County Fair every year. This county fair is a mosquito on a bear's back in comparison. It makes me a little sad.

My husband is a pretty pleasant fellow, so I thought I'd go: I could check out the quilts, the booths and the sheep. After I arrived I realized that it would have been a perfect opportunity to do some long exposure shots of the ferris wheels and other flashing lights in the dark of night. (dang!)

After walking around, nodding at strangers and seeing two or three friends, I returned to Frank's booth.  Settled in on a chair at the back, I observed an incredible evening.  It appears that every fifth person in Shasta County knows my husband!

Two or three people would wander past the booth, looking at the slide show of fantastic photos taken by local photographers. Almost every forth or fifth person would spot my husband from the booth across the aisle or maybe from a couple of booths away.

"Hey, Frank!"
 
"Frank! Good to see you!"

"Hey Frank! How the hell are you?"

"Frank, I've been meaning to come in and see you!"

"Frank, my dad and uncle used to haul moonshine back in the old days and I have a great picture of them. Do you do restorations?"

"Frank, loved your class!"

"Frank, I messed the settings up on my camera...."

"Frank, did you get in that (fill in the blank)
               Nikon D5500;   Nikon D3200;   Olympus TG-4;  that little waterproof camera, those binoculars, that lense I ordered, Canon Powershot, etc.

"Frank! How's the family?"

"Frank, I was out at your tree during that last lightening storm. Where were you!"

"Well, if it isn't Frankie! Are you still out there?"  (didn't know if that was in regards to living in the country, working at the shop, flying hang gliders or just "out there"!

"We missed you at this year's Butterfly shoot, Frank!"

"Frank, I've got 4 memory cards with 1600 pictures. Can you make me a CD?"

This went on for four hours!  Of course, there were people who walked up to him who said, "Hey, aren't you the guy on that commercial?" There were actually people who didn't know him but had a question about exposures, apertures, point and shoots, tripods, memory cards, even film.

He welcomed them with that great smile of his, introduced himself, then answered all their questions. Damn, that man knows a lot of stuff!

By the time the strangers left, they were on first name terms with the old guy.

"Thanks, Frank, I'll see you at the store!"

Next year at the fair, they will probably join the long line of "Hey, Frank"s!

While walking back to the car after the fair, holding hands, he stopped me and pointed to the two bright lights in the sky!

"That's Jupiter and Venus. They are getting closer and closer to each other every night. By the end of June they will appear so close to each other that you will be able to hold your wedding ring up and see both in the little circle!"

Is there anything this man doesn't know!!!!


June 15, 2015

Whiskeytown Hike

The temps shot from hot to hotter yesterday. Three digits by 11 a.m.

I was peacefully splayed out on the bed under the ceiling fan contemplating a dive into the pool.

My husband, bless his heart, comes in to suggest a drive to get out of the house.

OUT OF THE HOUSE!  Is he crazy? It is 76 inside these walls and a hellish 106 outside. I wouldn't even consider jogging out to the car to retrieve the who-done-it book I have invested hours in and the murderer is just about to be outed!

Being the cooperative wife that I am (and after a short burst from the uncooperative wife side of me) I agreed to take a ride.  A RIDE!  Anyone see the words hike in the short phrase 'a ride'?

We drove out to Whiskeytown Lake to check out the Dry Creek Group Campground for a future family camp trip.

Every parking lot, every little turn out on the side of the roads, every spot of beach or rocks close to shore were taken up with cars, people, floaties of all types and coolers. And the cars were lining up behind us.

We hadn't read the newspaper yet, leaving it in it's little blue plastic wrap on the bed. I imagined the headlines must have read "MANDATORY EVACUATION OF REDDING,"  Sub headline reveals that Whiskeytown Lake to be temporary evacuation site!

We drove around the lake, past all the inviting blue water filled with swimmers, splashers. sail boats and kayaks. Did we stop to dive in? No, we kept driving.

At the Dry Creek Group Campground entrance is a long locked metal gate! Past the gate is a nice, dry, sunny trail...all down hill!  Doesn't 'down hill' mean there will be 'up hill' involved if we listen to the psycho-babble of my bat-shit crazy husband that we should venture out of the comfort of the car's AC to hike down to the campgrounds?

Again, cooperative wife smiles and agrees how much fun it would be to walk the dusty hot trail. (I am definitely having a talk with that part of me today!)

I open the car door. Who left the oven on?  Fry eggs on the side walk? Hell, we could make a pizza on any rock of our choice!

So we walk, Sun, dust, heat....it was a very nice hike. We walked hand-in-hand down the trail accompanied by the song of a bird who, apparently, loves the heat.  We saw both campgrounds and the big sign half a mile down the road that warns (in red capitol letters) REGISTERED CAMPERS ONLY.

We hike down....nice. We hike back up....nice.  I never even had to pause to rest my new-ish knee or my old-ish body!  My hubby mentions several times that he is concerned for me.

"Want to sit on a rock or rest?"

Nope, I just keep walking, though I do stick to the left side of the road which occasionally offers a little shade; about as often as Leap Years offers a February 29th!

We get to car, which is now hotter than the outside air.  My husband is blown away by how quickly we made it up the trail. He suggests we take our pulses....ever the fan of competition!

His pulse:  96
My pulse: 81

I win!!!!!!

p.s. "Now get me back to my house and my pool!"

June 14, 2015

Ferris Bueller Philosphy and Graduation

Remember the movie? Ferris Bueller's Day Off!

Most likely we have all quoted it at one time or another....."Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?"...."Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?"......"You killed the car!"..."I'll go! I'll go! I'll go! I'll go! shit!" ( might have missed an "I'll go" or two!

My oldest granddaughter graduated high school last week. Her class motto was taken directly from the movie.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Opening the graduation program to see the words Ferris Bueller's Day Off surprised me!  We expect quotations from the classics; East of Eden, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird on education related literature. We don't typically see a reference to a pop-culture movie, let alone a movie that gives center stage to three kids cutting classes and making a fool of the school principal. (Though, honestly, he didn't need a lot of assistance in showing that aspect of his personality).

As I watched granddaughter-one march onto the field, remembering her sister's 8th grade graduation earlier in the day, thinking of another granddaughter graduating from 8th grade 600 miles north, the class motto hit with full impact.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Life, like Superman, travels "faster than a speeding bullet"! If you are not fully engaged, you will, indeed, miss it.

Ferris is quite the extrovert, known and loved by all. He is a full participant in life. Who is this class motto for?

The introverted Cameron's, the kids who are afraid to get out of the car, to risk failing or risk succeeding, those of us who might be a bit afraid of the world or what-people-will-think if you get out and have a little bit of fun. Maybe the Cameron's who don't think they are worthy of fun.

I have to admit, there are those times when I have buried my head in the sand and missed the opportunities for some good 'days off'! For the most part, though, I feel I have been about 95% engaged in life, especially where my grandchildren are involved.

Still, to see my little Alli cross that stage to receive her diploma was a bit of a shock! It really felt as if it was just yesterday that her father crossed a similar stage to shake right hands with a principal and take his diploma in his left.  I remember the day with crystal clarity.

I witnessed many of the grandchildrens' firsts. First swim without a life jacket, first bike ride without training wheels, first day in big-kid undies and the way to first driver's license and first car.  Now I am at ring side watching our great-granddaughter try her first steps, say her first words. (She can say Nana and reaches for me....unless Papa is in the room....then she only has eyes and heart for her Papa).

There are so many "little' moments that mean so much....what if I was moving too fast and missed them?

Yet...what have I missed because I wasn't focused on the moment but on the next moment or two or some distant tomorrow?

Stay tuned in! Slow down! Cherish the moments, the smiles, the trials, tribulations and successes!
Cherish Life and all it brings.

May 31, 2015

Walking In Their Shoes

We watched Adam Sandler's movie, The Cobbler this evening. Not your typical Sandler nasty-slapstick!

The cobbler stumbles on an old machine in the basement of his shop to re-sole a pair of shoes because his modern machine breaks. He tries the repaired shoes on and mysteriously and magically turns into the owner of the shoes. It's still the cobbler on the inside, his virtues and integrity, only his physical appearance changes.

He 'walks' into the lives of various characters, visits their homes, witnesses their lifestyles.

If you found yourself in that magical cobbler shop with, oh, let's say 10 pairs of shoes, who's shoes would you like them to belong to. Who's life would you like to walk a mile in?

I would love to try on a pair of President Obama's shoes. What would it be like to have the weight of the free-world on your back? What are the things that he knows now that he is in office that he didn't know prior to stepping in?  How does it feel to have half of the government representatives throwing you under the bus every chance they get?

Michelle Obama's shoes would be interesting, too. She has all of her own challenges plus the stress of watching her beloved trying to move mountains while the Republican party pushes back.

Keeping in the realm of government, donning a pair of  Sonia Sotomayor's pumps (and black robe) would be an inspiring adventure. To be the first latino woman to sit on the Supreme Court, to see how she is treated, how she makes her decisions, how she relates to the other judges...now that is what I'm talking about!

Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava might have a pair of leather Berluti's in need of new soles. Slipping into them to wander through his studio would tickle me pink, just like his Sundial Bridge during Think Pink week.

Dr. Anthony Atala heads the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina where organs (kidneys, livers, bladders) are created to help heal thousands. As long as it is not a day where major decisions have to be made, traveling around his world would excite me to no end. To observe organs being built from scratch, knowing someone's life would be saved because of it; Wow!

If wearing the shoes could actually make one think like the owner, I would give my eye teeth to slip into novelist, Michael Chabon's slippers. He is one of the most celebrated writer's of our time. I'd want to know his process, his thinking, his inspiration.  Nevermind the shoes, I would just like to sit with him for an hour or two or six and talk....no, just listen.  Maybe he could squeeze his feet into my black pumps and look over (edit) my novel!

Aung Sang Suu Kyi spent 15 years in house arrest for her pro-democracy campaigning in Burmese. She was quoted, "In societies where men are truly confident of their own  worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued."  What must it of been like to be restricted to your home for 15 years for speaking your truth? 


Another author, J. K. Rowling, would definitely be on my list. Oh, to play with her imagination!

I doubt that many of you have heard of Margaret Lowman. She is an explorer or trees. Many of you that know me personally, know that some of my best friends are trees. Naturally (pun intended) I would want to live in her world, high, high up in her world.

Finally, there is Frosty Woodridge, a man, who penned the book "How To Live With A 21st Century Woman."  The short description of book from Amazon (and, I would imagine, from the book's cover states, ""How to Deal with 21st Century American Women teaches men from all walks of life how to understand and adapt to the evolving male-female paradigm shift occurring at every level of American society. Today, women run companies, become school principles, military generals, police chiefs, corporation CEOs and dozens of other power positions where they make more money and give orders to male employees. It’s no longer exclusively “a man’s world.”

I'd like to walk around in his world for just a little bit. It seems strange that a whole book could be written about how to "deal" with my gender!

So, what about you? If you were going to walk a mile in someone's shoes, who would you choose?

May 30, 2015

Stalking Is A Crime

Have you ever had a stalker or know someone who has been the victim of a stalker?

Stalking is an ambiguous crime. The victim suffers the psychological effects of their stalker's actions; the effects include anxiety, stress, emotional distress, but the actions of the stalker are so obscure that it is difficult to call the police to make a report.

When describing the actions of the stalker to my therapist, who has known me for over 30 years, she nods her head in complete agreement.

"Yes, in the truest definition of stalking, you are being stalked!" she says.

What is the definition of Stalking you might ask!

Wikipedia states: "Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them."

The psychological effects can be overwhelming, in my case, the symptoms of my PTSD are exacerbated.  In the article, Cyberstalking, Lamber Royakkers writes, "Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, un-wantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have). Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)."

 Wikipedia also notes that women typically stalk other women while men will usually stalk women.

Five different types of stalkers have been identified in an article in the monthly magazine Psychology. It is titled,  A Study of Stalkers and defines the five distinct types as:

1. Rejected Stalkers. These individuals pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection.
2.  Resentful Stalkers. The stalking is to pursue a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten or distress the victim.
3, 4 and 5 are described as Intimacy, Incompetent or Predatory Stalkers, which, for this post, we will ignore.

Stalking was deemed illegal in the United States in 1990 but remains a controversial crime because a conviction does not require proof of physical harm to the victim.  How does one build a case?

Documentation is vital. Are you being watched? Does the stalker read your blog and make calls to family or friends to get the details, to gather information about you? Do you feel that you are being watched or does stalker intrude on your personal life?

Manipulation? Stalkers are looking for interaction with their victims, even though it is uninvited interaction. Is your stalker making up stories about you to others thinking that you will have to interact with them to "set the story straight?"

Internet Stalking, other wise called Cyber-stalking is also a crime. Has your stalker intimidated you into changing your online habits?

Defamation of character is another tactic for forced interaction.Stalkers try to isolate their victims from family and friends by releasing character-damaging information, whether it is true or not. Most people will pull away from such exchanges. Don't let yourself be isolated. Step up, tell the truth or explain your side of the situation. Again: Document the event.

Stalking is subtle but pervasive. Cumulative unwanted contact can harm you. Document all unwanted contact.

Call the police and file a complaint and request a restraining order. Your documentation will help.



May 29, 2015

How To....

As I was wandering through Blogville this morning I ran across a riveting series of blogs and posts.

It has me wondering how we have lived this long without these bits of random wisdom.

First title I tripped on,  "HOW TO CRAFT A PARTY PUP OUT OF A CANDY BAR".  Damn if I wasn't just wondering about how to do that.

A mere two blogs later came "LEMON AND ORANGE HEAD HANDKERCHIEF DOLLS"!  I am ashamed to admit that neither my children or grandchildren, nor nieces and nephews have ever received a handkerchief doll from me let alone a wonderful and whimsical lemon headed dolly!

Skipping over to a little blog interestly entitled "LIFE HACKS"! It even promised a printable life-hack! Now that is something I can get into!  (slumped shoulders and heavy sigh)  Turns out it is a a notepad to remind yourself what to pack if you are 'flying' somewhere, anywhere.Though there are several backgrounds to choose from on the printable hack. That makes it exciting....well....maybe not.  The post is "HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE"!

Really?

Honestly, I do want to fly away at times but I am not taking anything TECH-ish nor do I need to be reminded! BEAUTY-wise, I always carry a good moisturizer and body butter.

Reading further down that particular blog, I discovered the author (at 24 years old) is appalled that her weight is up to 112 pounds! 

Left Click!

Moving on!

Following chubby- chick's blog on life hacks and her personal morbid obesity crisis was another incredibly deep blog: PAINTED POPSICLE ART.

Sorry, I just can't eat a popsicle that smiles back at me.

I never realized how lucky I am to have THE VIEW FROM THE BRIARPATCH to peruse when my dear friend and author is not working on his book.

BERTRAM'S BLOG is filled with life's ups and downs, losses and gains. (Hi, Pat, I am still reading but may not comment as I should. Hope the renovations are moving along),

Then there is BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION, Cliff Burns' wonderful blog which includes a list of members of the NAA (Neglected Authors Alliance).

I often visit COSMIC VAGABOND. His pages give me the hallucinatory flashbacks that were promised so long ago (which, by the way, I regret to report have not manifested and I demand my money back).

Nathan Brandsford is one of my favorites for hints and advice about the secrets of writing and publishing.

Sadly, I remain sorely deficient in my ability to create puppies from candy bars and handkerchief dolls. I prefer to stick with my own system of tossing 'stuff' in a suitcase and having someone sit on it to zip it shut (hell, it probably isn't going to get to the same airport I do, so who cares!)

I enjoy my little library of favorites and am off to catch up to see what all are up to!

May 28, 2015

Crazy

Crazy?  "...to be or not to be..."

There is a car outside, filled with gas. It can get me about 380 miles, depending on traffic and speed.

If I don't pay the mortgage, utilities and insurances I could probably rent a rustic cabin in the mountains for at least 6 weeks. Wait, need my meds, so maybe 5 and a half weeks in the wild. If I take my camping gear I could probably stay easily 3 months.

Three months in a forest with bears, mountain lions and slithery snakes....I'm there!

Plan:

I.  Download 5 books into my Kindle:
             A. Wilderness Survival Handbook by Mike Pewthere
             B.  Ageless Goddess by Christiane Northrup
             C.  Newest Odd Thomas book by Dean Koontz (better to be afraid of scary spirits than 'lions and tigers and bears').
             D.  Untie The Strong Woman by Clarissa Pinkola Estes ( can never be read too many times)
             E.  Original Blessings by Matthew Fox (again, can't be read enough).

II.  Pack camping gear:
           A. Tent, camp stove, shovel, case of Hundred Acre Vineyard Cabernet, matches and flint (yes, I said flint....I watch Survivor!) Blankets and my favorite pillow.

III.  Essential Toiletries:
            A.  Toilet Paper
            B.  Good Moisterizer
            C.  Large Towel

IV.  Food:
           A.  Grapes, Apples, Pears, Tangerines, Peppered Beef Jerky, Broccoli and a couple of bags of rice (One can learn lots from Survivor, including don't trust any alliances, especially the ones that say, "Trust me" and then shake on it!)

V.  Clothing:
          A. Jeans, t-shirt and tennies for the drive.
          B.  Two pairs of jammies (one for day, one for night)

VI: Lap Top:
        Just so I can work on book while the power lasts and good for squishing crawly things.

II.  Items to be left at home - no question about it:
        A. Cell Phone
        B.  Day Planner and Calender
        C.  Cell Phone
        D. Worries
   

p.s.  Note to hubby:
                Get an advance and pay mortgage.
                There is a map to campground under the I-Pad....do not bring I-Pad.
                Please bring corkscrew, small pot for rice and AA batteries.
       

April 29, 2015

Numinous Moments

Our little commune is blossoming.

If you drive by the house, you might observe little bubbles of joy popping out of the chimney or escaping from open windows. The laughter is contagious and inspiring.

There seems to be a subtle contest being waged on who can create the tastiest dessert. It started with my husband sneaking into the kitchen one evening after NCIS and baking the absolute best brownies in the world (no, not that kind of brownie!). He mixed peanut butter in the batter and OMG....yummy!

Sadly for me I am trying to stay to juices and low carb/low cholesterol foods so I only had a small piece. I went to bed and prayed with all my might that the brownies would be consumed before morning!

The next night, sister and grandson decided to 'build' a cake that could compete with Tuesday evening's brownies. The conversation between the two was hilarious as they cracked eggs, debated which type of oil to use and which pan to use.  After the batter was spread out in the pan, grandson spot-poured caramel sauce and fudge sauce (leftovers from last weeks sundaes) over the batter. He than swirled the sauces throughout.

After harassing each other about the oven buzzer over and over, the cake was brought out. The great debate, To Frost Warm vs To Cool Before Frosting begin. Short lived as 'To Frost Warm (NOW) won out! Chocolate frosting was added.

Now, I am not a fan of chocolate, although I do make exceptions for Almond Joys. This cake was a hint of what heaven may hold for us. (I promise, God, to be a good girl from here on).

One evening the Food Channel had a 'upside down cake' competition!  Not to be outdone, sister and grandson decided on a peach upside down cake for dessert. Again, the laughter and joking from the kitchen was infectious. The debates and teasing included who is going to break the eggs and possibly if a couple of pieces of egg shell would corrupt the final product. The egg shells were removed.

Great deliberation was conducted regarding the viscosity of the batter! Should it be thinned with a little juice from the can, should 8 pats of butter, 1 more than the recipe called for, ruin or improve the taste. The extra pat was lovingly placed in the pan with the mutual decision that 'rich is better'!

The house was filled with a heavenly scent (still trying to be a good girl, Heavenly Father). 

Again, the great 'that's the buzzer' teasing and their masterpiece was done. Perfection!

But wait! Can upside down cake be served from the pan 'as is' or should it be flipped upside down on a serving platter? (Serving platter! PLATTER! P-L-A-T-T-E-R).

Flipping the cake won out....yes, we are enablers to grandson....get over it!

A platter was not found but a long oval serving bowl was located. This may be an opportune time to advise you, the reader, to not attempt tricky maneuvers while laughing so hard the tears are running down your face and your bladder is chuckling uncontrollably!

1....2....3.....Flip.....Fly....miss the not-platter and land across the counter in many, many pieces followed by hysterical laughter.

Yes! It was consumed and it was delicious!

Next day! Pineapple upside down cake....and that, my friends is a whole other story!

I love our little family! I do have heaven on earth.

April 09, 2015

Chasing Photo Opportunities

Photo by Toni Tona

My husband has been snapping photos of this tree on Millville Plains for about 20 years. Most photographers in the area call it "Frank's Tree" and have started gathering at the spot for sunrises and sunsets, lightening and moon rises.

Our Easter picnic was snatched from us by thunder, lightening and a torrential downpour a half hour before the picnic was to begin....'best laid plans'!  We watched the storm though until about 6:00 when we saw the clouds breaking up. My husband ran into the house, "Grab your camera, I think this is going to be good!"

We dropped Easter baskets off to two of our granddaughters then bee-lined it to Millville Plains. As we turned the last curve before 'his' tree we spotted six vehicles, six tripods and cameras and six shivering photographers standing behind their cameras! 

"Hey, Frank!" everyone yelled. "We were wondering if you'd show up!"

"Did you bring a Lightening Detector?"

"Two are expected at the store tomorrow!"

A chorus of boos was accompanied by smiles and laughter.

I usually jump out of the car and take my share of photos but this group of photographers clearly intimidated me.  They are some of the best on the west coast. I stayed in the car reading my Kindle, observing the sky with an occasional head swivel.

The sky was dramatic. The thunder and lightening did not disappoint. Every now and then I would jump out of the car and snap a photo or two, then jump back in out of the wind (and competition).
I did capture the photo above but it is definitely sub-par from the photos the camera jocks posted the next day; my husband's being the best (in my humble opinion).

Wednesday was the first day the storm was expected to break up. Frank was chomping at the bit to get a fresh-snow-on-Lassen pic. We checked the weather and road conditions for Lassen Park. Roads clear, temperature 29 degrees! 

We packed up the cameras, lenses, tripods, gloves, hats, blankets and  Chex Mix (Bold) to nourish us in case we get snowed in!

The beauty of the park was amazing. Fresh snow everywhere; only our footprints on the paths around Manzanita Lake. I stopped at my favorite spot and Frank hiked a half mile past me. We snapped pictures and waited patiently for the clouds to clear around Lassen Peak.

This was the last photo I took just before the mountain momentarily cleared. As the final clouds begin to clear, a huge bald eagle flew above me. It soared across the lake and circled several times, then flew off.

I stood with my camera at my side, mesmerized. No photo of eagle, no photo of cleared mountain top, no reflection of cleared peak in the lake...but the majesty of the eagles flight was worth it.

Photo by Toni Tona






April 07, 2015

I Love Your Mug



One of my special friends is starting up a new business creating inspirational mugs that hold a substantial amount of liquid and the handle can take three large fingers. Nothing dainty about these cups. Each mug will nourish the spirit, one sip at a time.

Mugs, cups and certain pieces of glassware are very vital instruments of life, a tool for daily rituals. I have several mugs that are favorites, depending on the mood, the weather and the drink, in other words, which ritual is at hand. I am not much of a dainty cup person..hands are big, fingers are long and dainty isn't my forte.

For a cold, winter's afternoon of reading there is my hand-crafted mermaid mug. It is no less than 4 inches across.  It holds a considerable amount of hot ginger-green tea so that refills are few which makes for more pages read under my blanket curled up in my favorite chair. The mug is thick walled so the tea remains hot for chapters and chapters of erudition.

Two of my granddaughter's, Alli and Katie, gave me my next favorite cup. The interior is pink; the handle is striped white and pink. The whimsical font on the sides reads: "Fairy Grandmother. She grants wishes and gives kisses." It is a tall-ish cup, wide diameter but thinner walls. It is great for sitting at the table on a cold morning. I wrap my hands around it and I am warmed from finger tips to  heart. It can be used for coffee or tea, mood can start out in any of my vast dispositions but I always end up feeling blessed.

Another granddaughter, Haley, gave me my next treasured favorite. It is a tall latte mug, also has a striped handle though this one is white and purple (one of Haley's favorite colors). She hand-painted it herself, inside and out; and in my favorite colors (purple being one of them). My favorite part of the cup is that she painted a peace sign on it. Does she know me or what?

We all have auspicious memories that were accompanied by a hot cup of coffee. An early morning discussion with a loved one or spouse (not that a spouse isn't a loved one but you know what I mean!).  Making some big decision or sharing earnest emotions.

Coffee is a very meaningful ritual for most of us. Henning Mankell in his book One Step Behind said it quite succinctly:

"“Police work wouldn't be possible without coffee," Wallander said.
  "No work would be possible without coffee."
  They pondered the importance of coffee in silence.”"


"“Coffee first. Schemes later.”" is how Leanna Hieber states it in her book, Darker Still.

We know, however, that cups and mugs are not for coffee alone. We do need our teas on occasion!

Monty Python always says, "Make tea, not war!"

In Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett says it best, at least in a way that I can relate to. She states,
"Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”

Let's see; coffee; tea, oh, don't forget those cold mornings around the campfire with your big-handled cup filled to the brim with open-fire percolated coffee and Irish Cream. The smell of smoke in your hair and clothes. That's the best.

April 02, 2015

When Does It Stop?

Ever have those periods when life just dumps a huge bucket of 'stuff' on you and no matter how you dodge and duck every single drop hits it's mark?

The lyrics of an Anna Nalick song, Wreck Of The Day, has a line that goes a little like this: "driving away from the wreck of the day....and I'm thinkin' 'bout calling on Jesus."

Those lyrics have been going through my head for about 3 years now. Typically, just before I call on Jesus.

He (Jesus) has been real busy lately and has me on hold. I don't know if you've ever called heaven on a cell or landline but the wait-for-the-next-operator music is extremely tinny and a little on the flat side; must be an early 1900's recording of Amazing Grace. The only words that are clear is the phrase about a 'wretch like me'!

Apparently there is a lot of shit going down for a lot of people. A recording, that I could swear is the voice of Sister Marie Claire, my fifth grade catechism teacher, frequently disrupts the incommodious music to repeat, "We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls, please be patient and an angel will be with be you shortly."

If I get to the pearly gates...which will probably happen before I get off 'hold', I will definitely inquire of St. Peter to define "shortly".

Now is the part where I could list all of the events that have motivated me to make this call to Jesus, but with the "high volume" of calls, it sounds like a bunch of you are probably up to your knees, if not neck, in your own detritus of life.  I'm not sure any of you would be interested in the details. Let's just leave it at 'this sucks' and I'm a little worn out.

If any of you get your call through to Jesus or even his assistant can you relay the message that I'm about done...having to put down my puppies took the last ounce of reserve. I have the energy left for two, maybe three red lights on my drive to Red Bluff to see my parents and possibly the Raisin Bran box being empty...

No More, Can't Do It!