July 09, 2021

Made It!

 Time to tick off the boxes of surviving being exiled for the good of the realm.

We made it! Vaccinated, never got the dreaded virus and relieved that our world is only mostly a mess!

We actually thrived through social distancing said the introvert) and fell even more in love with each other! 

We finished remodeling the guest bathroom.(Except painting ceiling but if you don't look up and just take care of business, it looks done).

The remodel plans for master bath were cut back to painting, new baseboards and new curtains. Instead of knocking out old tile and shower pan for fancy new tiles, we had our dog's butt remodeled. Rex had a giant tumor which cost $3500 to removed. I do have to say, though, that his new butt is pretty dang nice...for a butt! He's doing well and is just as beautiful and loving as ever. 

The Guy, Little Lily and Rex in his cone of shame!

The Guy and I have been getting out about 3 days a week for long drives in the mountains with photos of fall color, snow covered trees and volcanos, spring flowers and now, back to airplanes bombing fires. 

Frank had one of his photos featured in a local magazine in March. He also submitted six of his photos to the new court house and four were accepted for hanging in the halls! Really proud of him. Six of his wild flower photos have been chosen by the city for wrapping utility boxes around town. 

I purged all the 'stuff' from my studio and have been painting again. Trying my hand at watercolors, acrylics, and furniture. My favorite is watercolor but I'm better at furniture. I'm tempted to paint my piano but might have to leave it behind in move to North Carolina and no one wants a hippie painted piano. Instead I painted a picture of my guitar...so far it's saved the piano, though never say never!

After a long, long, long time apart our youngest son and his family came up from southern California for a very nice visit. We hiked in Lassen Park one day, and had a picnic and hike in the upper Sacramento River near Castle Crags one day. Our great granddaughter joined us; youngest grandson and great granddaughter are both 7. We skipped rocks, rock jumped, slipped and fell or pretended to slip and fall in water. Temps were in high 90's that day so just laying in the water was super refreshing. Thank goodness for leather seats and towels for ride home.

Ms. B and Lukas preparing to lose control!

It is 117 degrees at our house. Smoke from the 3 fires has gone in some other direction for the evening so deep breaths are possible...slow...deep...lazy breathing. Too hot to do anything else.

It's time for a blended margarita and another dip in the pool. 

Missed you all sooooo much!

September 30, 2020

Here We Go Again

 You may have read about our fires...again. 

It's just too much on top of everything-else-2020!

We had one day of blue sky and that was the day the Zogg Fire blew up. PTSD blew up to. 

I'm thinking really hard that I'm done living in California. We have a swimming pool that we keep up all year long but can't swim in half the summer because the air quality from smoke keeps us inside. Swimming with N95 mask kind of defeats the purpose of swimming. The temperatures are in the triple digits so going outside and not swimming is crazy!

We are seriously considering relocating to North Carolina; more specifically Pfafftown or Lewisville. Away from the coast...trading triple digit heat and fires for hurricanes doesn't appeal to either of us.

Anyone familiar with North Carolina? 

Hope you are doing well. Will catch up when done fretting and pacinge!!!

Meanwhile some photos The Guy took this past couple of days.

Photo by Frank Tona

Train trestle over Sacramento River at 9 a.m. Sun was bright red for two weeks, dull orange a bit longer.

Photo by Frank Tona

Big Boy dropping fire retardant. The mountains behind are scarred from Carr Fire of 2018.

Photo by Frank Tona

Photo taken from east side of town, we live on the west side but are not in the fire's path as of this morning's fire brief.

Final photo, smoke at Lassen National Park. Nice to get above it when we've got the chance!

Photo by Frank Tona

August 13, 2020

Romance At 7000'

 Tuesday evening The Guy and I had a romantic date scheduled to watch the sunset at Lassen Park.

We missed the sunset. Romantic Man fell asleep around 4 and didn't wake up until 7. Then there is packing the cameras, tripod, chairs, etc. We left the house about 7:30. 

We didn't actually miss the sunset, it happened all around us while we were driving. No cuddling or smooching but there were a couple of ooh-aah sights.

We got up to the meadow that we wanted to set up for the meteor shower. Frank set up his camera and tripod. I didn't want to take pictures, so I just settled myself in a lawn chair prepared to stare at the sky.

It was awesome. At 7000' we were above smoke layering the valley. The air was crisp and clean. 

Then it got really, really, really dark. 

We were near a small stream and could hear the moving water as it flowed through the rocks and made twists and turns. A couple of deer came to hang out with us. Probably figured that there was less of a chance of being chased by a mountain lion if humans are around. Maybe they figured they could outrun us if a big cat wasn't above chowing down on a of slow clumsy human.

The night was awesome. Between the two of us, we saw at least 28 shooting stars. I ran out of wishes after the 6th one so defaulted to World Peace for the remainder of meteors. 

I couldn't believe how many satellites are flying around up there! Who does the air traffic control? Must be a nightmare!

We cuddled under a blanket...not because it was romantic but because it got cold. Really cold. Almost an hour past midnight, the moon rose above the mountains behind us. Lit up the sky a bit. The Milky Way was incredible and intimidating. We packed up and headed home. Left the park about 1:30, got into town about 2:30 a.m. 

We are not usually doughnut kind of people (I've lost 85 pounds this last year having changed to a keto lifestyle...pastries are not on the menu). As Highway 44 rolls into town there is a 24-hour doughnut shop on the left hand side of the road. We crossed all three lanes, ordered giant apple fritters in the drive-thru and giggled like teenagers as we chomped on forbidden fruit! It was great!

Frank couldn't wait until morning to see his photos, insisting that it was morning! He got some awesome shots and a lot of plain old gorgeous starlight. 

I'm so thankful for They Guy. He makes life an adventure!

We had our eyes checked today. I go back in two weeks to have some measurements taken, then will be scheduled for cataract surgery. I'm not nervous! It's 2020...what could go wrong!

Speaking of doughnuts, we visited our daughter and her family in Massachusetts last year. Some of you east-coasters probably already have this bit of trivia in your head but we discovered that in the great state of MA, directions are given using Dunkin' Donuts (Dunks). "Turn right at the first Dunks, then take the third left after the second Dunks!"

Any of you able to get your hair cut by a professional lately? Frank is starting to go crazy with his bushy curls but he doesn't trust me to trim it!

We're bushy twins! I still need to buy some blouses that fit but as long as we're social-distancing, I'm holding off...maybe I'll lose more!!! (not eating ginormous apple fritters in the wee hours of morning).

Have a great weekend everyone.

August 10, 2020

Lightning and other stuff!

 The Guy talked me into loading a lightning detector app. His cell provider reception is crappy. My cell phone provider is awesome (can you hear me now)! We were in the Marble Mountains on Friday, chasing lightning, got caught in a torrential rain and hail. The storm moved off  but we didn't know whether to head north or jump I-5 and go east. He batted his puppy-dog eyes and made a couple of epic promises; so I downloaded the app.

Every day since then my phone is going off with little synthesizer lightning strikes! Then The Guy tells me where it is and how many miles away; how quick we could make it there. Yet, here we sit!

Not that I'm antsy but I didn't get out of my pajamas to just sit around the house.

As it was, we didn't get any lightning photos because rain and hail aren't camera-friendly. We did get some great sunset photos. Well, to be honest, Frank got the great photos, I was reading a truly hard-to-put-down book. I did put the book down now and then to click off a couple of just-okay pics with my phone (so sad to have a killer camera in the backseat and be too lazy to reach back and grab it, but that's how good the book was!).

We were south of Yreka before the storm let up and, to be honest I took this from the car window. Couldn't get out of car...can you spell "lazy"?

Missed sunset on Mt. Shasta but the clouds gave the impression of a mini-eruption!

Our high temp today was 109! We spent the afternoon in the pool with our fur-babies. Rex and Lily got a great bath; both smell like tea tree this evening...nice!

I snapped a photo of Rex after his bath and sent it in to our local news. KRCR broadcast our beautiful boy on the 5:30 news!  Cool!

He is usually much fluffier but soaking wet he looks a little like a mop with eyes. I told him he was a local celeb but he seems completely unimpressed. Humble baby!

The Guy is sooooo romantic. He has invited me to go to Whiskeytown Lake to watch the sunset tonight! Don't anyone say "ahhh!"  "As long as we're there" he is going to practice videoing the meteor showers tonight so he knows what adjustments to make when he heads to Mt. Lassen tomorrow night!

Honestly, I don't mind being part of a practice date night! There will be at least an hour between sunset and meteors to make out under the stars!

August 06, 2020

Old Friends

The only time I've ever been able to get close to a Giant Blue Heron! Apparently it was just too cold to fly away!
Do you remember the old Wonderful World of Color show on Sunday evening television (dating myself)?

Sometimes it would show an elegant, proud eagle flying in, wings stretched out in regal glide over a frozen lake. Landing appears to be pure perfection until regal eagle slips onto its tush and slides on ice for 15 feet. That's what it's like on Tule Lake!

This one was not so happy after such a humiliating landing!

Don't laugh at them. They get mad and leave!

Assured of less humiliating landing. Eagles are fun to photograph but they're very thin-skinned when it comes to humor.

Maybe if the hawks didn't laugh so loud, the mighty eagles could have a little chuckles now and again at their own expense!

Need I Say More

August 05, 2020

The Waiting Game

Good news! We finally got our new roof! Been waiting for 18 months!

So, we were in the Carr Fire, had some minor roof damage, but didn't discover it until 6 months later when we had a severe snow storm which took out our pergola, swimming pool filter, and various trees and bushes. Then we (Redding) had tornado warnings and an incredible hail storm which damaged all the roofs that weren't destroyed in the Carr Fire or snow.

We needed a new roof but we still had shingles and gutters (and a house, which, sadly many didn't even have that). We got put on a waiting list. We could have had one installed by a bay area roofer but they wanted an average of $14,000 more than the local super roofer. We waited.

Poor guys finally got to our house in triple digit weather! Felt bad for them but am so happy to look up and see light gray shingles and white rain gutters! No to repair the ceiling by the chimney and we're good!

Really, really, really good news! Our daughter just earned her PhD! She is the Director of Distance Learning at an East Coast University, has directed the whole university to distance learning in this pandemic, trained faculty and staff and finished her dissertation! I can;t imagine the stress! She did it!

So proud of her!

We interrupted a coyote on his hunt for breakfast when we were in Klamath Wildlife Refuge. I didn't get the "Best" photo of a coyote but I did get the First one (extra points for first) of the day!  Not a sharp focus but can't win them all!

It was a cold foggy morning. My birthday, and this was the best present I could imagine. We were up at 4;30 to get to the spot we wanted. Kind of mystical!

Also took The Guy's mom to Oregon last fall to photograph the color in Lithia Park, oops, too late. Leaves dropped early last year! So we went up to Roseburg to check out another Wildlife park.

Have a good Wednesday, Friends!

August 04, 2020

What The?


I can't believe I haven't been here for over a year! 

What a year, right?

How are you all?

I've missed you all tremendously, though I do check in on Bob Statten's Twitter! ( Thank god for you, Bob! I've needed the voice of righteous reason so much!)

What to say about this year?

Ups. Downs. Haven't choked, killed or slapped anyone so I guess I;m ahead of some! I also think I deserve a "Good Job" sticker for not slapping or choking people...I do live in a Red county! I guess I could tell you all that I've been working on my tolerance, patience and self-control but really, I've just been sitting on my hands a lot and swearing quietly behind my covid mask.

Made rainbow masks for my husband and me. My own little passive-aggressive  act to all the shitheads fine people of Shasta County!

What have you been doing during this global social distancing? Vodka, Tequila, Zanax?

The Guy and I have been taking off to take pictures of nature about 3 or 4 days a week. Neowise comet actually had us up at 2 or 3 a.m. to drive up to Lassen Park (6000 to 7000 ft elevation to photograph it in mornings. Then we were all over the place to catch it in the evenings. 

Photography by Frank Tona

Here's a shot the Guy took at Whiskeytown Lake; Glory Hole in foreground!

Milky Way from Lassen Park!

In January we took of to Klamath Wildlife Refuge and caught some awesome photos of gloriousbirds and wildlife.

Goose bumps when one of these guys is staring at you through the lens!

Can you believe the frost on on those feathers?

Not as sharp on the focus but I was so excited I might have been shaking! Or, it could have been the cold; it was 10 degrees F.

I'm hoping it won;t be another year before I remember there is more to life than cameras and audio books!

In the meantime, Friends,remember to 

April 10, 2019


Wow. Couldn't remember how to make a new post for a second there.

Life continues. Spring has sprung. FINALLY!

Ashes removed from yard from fire.

Snowed. Snow caused trees to fall on pergola and in pool.

Insurance claims filed.

Even more trees fell on grandson's new house, taking out cars, power, shop, fences.

More insurance claims filed.

Grandson and family moved in with us for 32 days while trees were cut, power poles reset, etc.

Get a new pool sweep, pool pump and filter and new pergola. Yay!

Received offer on folks' house.

Had Dad's funeral service with Patriot Guard procession, Military honors, gun salute, VFW presentation, U.S. Flag presented to me. Incredible. (remember we had to cancel first funeral because of Carr Fire).

Folks' House flooded ruining 4 month old floor.

Hi Insurance Adjuster! Remember us?

New floor being installed.

Buyer leaped out of escrow. Bye Bye, Felicia.

Spent yesterday at folks' house.

What a beautiful day. Spring actually was bursting around us as we worked in yard and did some tweaks to put house back on market.

My mom and dad had both talked about how Ted, a wonderful and loving family member who passed from cancer 20 years ago would often visit them in their backyard. When they thought of him a butterfly would show up within feet of them. Mom often said she would do the same if she was to visit us.

Yesterday as my sister and I worked in the backyard and talked about Mom and Dad, two butterflies came and hung out with us.

In spite of chaos, things are good. The Guy retired. We paid off out mortgage. We know the house will sell, but to the right buyer.

My Mother and Father are missed but we know they are in a good place.

The day before the funeral service, the Guy was washing the kitchen floor. He moved the refrigerator to wash underneath. Under the fridge there was an old, yellow clipping from a newspaper. It was crisp with age but couldn't have been under there any length of time because Frank always moves the fridge when washing the floor. (I know, a bit OCD but works for me!).

The clipping was of this poem, just in time for Dad's services.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die. 

We cried and cried but in our hearts we knew it was from Dad. He was generous like that. We also knew the message was for Frank because Dad knew damn well, I wasn't gonna be moving no refrigerator when I wash the floor.
Life is good. Busy. Crazy. But good.

Can't wait to catch up with everyone's blogs.

Thinking about you all! 

December 13, 2018

High Seas - Sunday Kind Of Love / We Go Together - DMG 4000 - 1960

This is the High Seas, on of my Uncle Adrian's bands. He is back row, second from the right, my Uncle Bill is far right (handsome dudes, right?) My Aunt Anita's brother John is back row, second from the left. Funny, both Uncle Adrian and John were called Sonny by their families. I saw the other Sonny (John) at Uncle Adrian's funeral. He kept telling me how beautiful my mom was (over and over and over)! He must have had a heavy duty crush on her "back in the day"!

My dad took these photos for them in our living room.

The band started out as Little Al and the Uniques. Then just the Uniques. When they started touring with Jan and Dean, they got a new manager who wanted them to change their name. They became the High Seas. Uncle Bill joined the army and left the group.

Uncle Bill continued to play guitar and he had a voice like Elvis. He sang all the old Elvis songs when ever we were around.

December 07, 2018

C'mon 2019!

Hi all.

Missed your blogs and comments and wondering what's been going on with you all. Will try to catch up on blogs soon.

Therapy is doing the job, only half a bubble off now!

Camp Fire was crazy scary. Can't believe the devastation and so many lives lost.

Air was bad but better than Carr Fire.

Two of The Guy's aunts lost their homes and everything else in the Camp Fire. Lots of friends and friends of friends are homeless but community is rising strong.

We lost two uncles in November. The Guy's uncle died on Veteran's Day. My uncle passed last week.

Saw incredible cousins and aunties and had our heart tanks filled up. Nothing like family misbehaving with cousins to make one feel young again!

My uncle was in a band in the late '50's and early '60's. His band opened for the first Jan & Dean Tour. He also sang back-up for Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. His voice was incredible.

The folk's house on the river is on the market. (Phew, that was a lot of work, but it shines!)

Almost tempted to live there ourselves. The folks owned it for over 42 years.

So life moves on, but, to be honest. 2018 was a bit of a shit-show and can't wait for 2019!

October 16, 2018

New Day

First day back in therapy.

Best cry I've had in years.

Felt like my brain had been scooped out of my skull but Patty says there's hope! I'm choosing to believe her.

Another fire on Sunday on the ridge in front of us. Fire out but tired of front row seats to such destruction.

Dad's house is almost ready for market.

Three rooms in my house are back to normal, only partly instead of mostly storage units!

Going to see my daughter and family in Massachusetts in November.

Seven sentences and I am ready for a nap (nap=code word for hiding under the covers).