July 30, 2016

Question Of The Month

July's question passed me by, maybe even June's. Life is still slamming me from all directions but when I opened the email from Michael @ A Life Examined and read his question of the month, I slammed on the life-brakes and decided to take a break.

This question is so good because it does not have the tiniest bit of political, religious, racial or life & death impact. I really, really, really need that.

"What's your favorite beach?" That's it! Incredibly exhilarating in it's mundane-ness! Love, love, love it. What's best, there are two beaches that are totally awesome. My heart sings when I think of them.

First beach, is at Whiskeytown Lake in Shasta County. It is a fresh-water lake, surrounded by pines, mountains and wildlife. We've seen bears, deer, fish, osprey and eagles while floating on the crystal clear water. One can easily see the bottom of the lake at least 20 feel down.

Our whole family spends whole days on the beach. My kids were basically raised on the beach. When they were young, we would pack up breakfast, lunch and dinner, and hit the beach around 9 a.m and swim, go rock hopping up the creek, and, occasionally hike. My husband would come up after work, we would bbq hot dogs, hamburgers or chicken drumsticks and stay until it got dark.

The water is always perfect because summer days in Redding tend to hang around the three digit temperatures.

Now that our kids are grown up, we continue the joy by taking the grand-kids out and our great granddaughter loves it too. We toss the kids or they dive off of our shoulders. They still love to jump rocks in the creek or hike up to the falls.

My second favorite beach (again, fresh-water....I am a mountain girl....what can I say?) is in a remote area on an arm of Shasta Lake. It is called Chirpchatter Campground. There are only 3 campsites, though, you'll have to look hard to find them.

It's a must to bring rakes with you and gloves, so you can remove all the blackberry vines that have intruded into the camp sites. A snake kit is probably a good idea too, as well as, one of those scare-a-bear air horns. Once you've cleared your campground, grab a towel and hike downstream along the creek.

The water makes a 90 degree left turn at a huge granite boulder. Over the years the granite has been ground down and has formed a little beach. Just big enough for the five of us when the kids were young but now perfect for two of us.

Do not drive or ride your bike down the road past the campsite because it the road is usually washed out.

If you swim about 30 feet down from the little beach, you'll find a good size boulder in the middle of the stream. There is a long rope tied to a tree on the bank. You can swim to the edge of the water, grab the rope and swim back and climb the rock. Swinging out over the water and dropping in is loads of fun no matter what age you are but watch out for rope burn.

Sleeping in your tent at night is an awesome experience. You can hear the babbling of the creek, wind blowing in the pines and an occasional snort from a bear rustling around in the under brush.

There you have it. Two fantastic beaches and not one seagull or crab!

p.s. July's question of the month answer: Book series: Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys! Book: Tiger Tiger. Loved them both and read them all. 

July 22, 2016

Womens' Weekend Away!

Portland bound.

Gonna love the Oregon scenery.

Gonna love the conversation.

Gonna love the wine tasting.

Gonna love the shopping.

Gonna love the photo ops!

Bye bye Redding heat! See you on Monday!

July 20, 2016

Well, That Was Fun!

Have I mentioned that life is definitely keeping me in the fast lane of late?

The exits from the fast lane are often quite scary. I took one of the exits last week and, despite the title of this post...the merge was not fun.

Saturday evening, I was working on my Catechesis Certification class. Not actually working, just reading the assigned readings. The house was quiet and I was alone. During the third reading an incredible feeling, much like an angry bull, rushed up from my chest and was trying to bust through the area just below my right jaw. The pain almost knocked me out.

I sat wondering what the hell was happening, when my chest became totally constricted by what seemed a girdle that kept tightening and tightening. My heart beat was racing. I became a little light headed and was holding my chest as my husband walks in from work, actually about 15 minutes earlier than usual.

We raced to the hospital where two teenagers (why does everyone under 30 look like a teenager when one is over 60?)  did a trauma review of my symptoms. They gave each other those raised eyebrow looks and sent me back to the waiting room for 5 minutes. The waiting room that had no one in it.

After our 5 minute wait, someone brought out a wheelchair to take me in, stating they didn't want me to walk since it appeared I was having a heart attack. Okay to die in waiting room but not while walking back to ER....hmm.

In the ER, all the beds were empty. There were seven or eight personnel sitting around the nurses station. The RN who met us at the door told the wheelchair driver to push me to Trauma Room 3.

Begin Questions: Same 11 questions asked and answered by me or my husband to about 14 different people.

Chest is getting tighter, bull under my jaw has been joined by the rest of the herd.

So, I would share with you the whole sordid details, describe the bruises from shots in my stomach and collapsed IV's and blood draws but I'm going to pass.

What I am going to tell you is that after every heart test, scan, contrast-thingy things, including an angiogram and full body scan for blood clots, I am 100% okay!  The cardiologist even asked me to trade arteries with him because mine are so clear (that deserves some Ben & Jerry's, right?)

I have a bundle blockage from a past heart attack, which everyone said could not in anyway have caused this 'event'!

So, I am home. No new meds, no new diet (blood work was awesome, even dropped 4 points in my cholesterol!) No new anything except advice to bring the stress level in my life down.

Really? Ya think?

July 07, 2016

ISO and Monet

A week ago we took a drive out to Mom and Dad's house. They live along the Sacramento River in a fairly remote area. We forgot to take our cameras. (What's that you say? Photographers who don't carry their camera bag in the trunk of the car....!)

We took the 'back-way' on the return trip and saw 3 osprey nests with big chicks peeking over the sides, a giant blue heron standing on a rock in the river, several hawks, a woodpecker, rabbits and an incredible build up of bright white clouds over Mt. Lassen.

"Never again!" cried my husband.

Sunday, Frank had his camera. He pulled it from the bag sitting on the desk since our vacation to June Lake near Mammoth.

We visited with folks and headed home, the back way.

Osprey, here we come.

Oh my god! It was incredible. We actually saw 5 huge osprey nests. One had four birds in it, all staring straight into Frank's lens. Three nests had three birds in and one nest had only two. One of the birds of a trio clutched onto the edge of the nest and gave us an incredible show of his wings. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. Frank's Nikon takes about 12 shots per second and he was going for every one of those shots.

Around one of the bends in the road we spotted the largest hawk either of us had ever seen. He was standing on a fence post.  Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. The hawk was not bashful. He wasn't going to leave his perch. Then we realized he was eating a fresh catch and he realized we weren't going anywhere. He grasped his squirrel in both claws and flew away. Awesome shots, wings spread, clutching his prey.

We discovered a couple more bunnies and snapped their portraits. We've been searching for a Western King Bird and found a guy who would not only sit for his portrait but sang to us as  Frank snapped away.

We rode home into the sunset, talking about the incredible photos that we can submit to this and that contest, talked about printing on metal or canvas.

We skipped dinner and headed right for the computer to load the pictures....

Here's where Monet comes in!

It appears that the last time we used the camera was at twilight up in the mountains for family group shots. Flash was wiping everyone out so the ISO was set up high....very, very high.

Those perfect photos at unbelievable close range? Not so sharp! Claude Monet would have been extremely envious of our osprey. Superb impressionism!

Sidenote: Check your ISO!


LIFE! Dang, it does have it's moments.

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post.

Catch up time:

Book is done: went to layout 3 times but is now awaiting diocese approval for imprimatur before publishing

Proposal at diocese went well: going to start pilot program at three parishes

Class Handout is done:

Still working on Syllabus

Daughter is moving to east coast with her two daughters and husband....3000 miles away
(thrilled for them, dreams come true but I know the minute they leave I will crawl into a dark corner and suck on my thumb for a month or two)

Taking an online catechesis certification class through Notre Dame....dang, a lot of reading but really, really good class. Love the discussions.

First day of vacation I took a bad fall and landed on both knees, titanium one and one that needs titanium.  Bruised and ugly but was a great excuse to sit along the river and read while everyone went hiking at 8000 foot elevation.

So, basically, been running (or falling) as my blog gathers dust.

I miss you all.

Secret Love

Imaginary Garden with Real Toads is having a little poetry contest about secret loves.

While I wish I had time to write a poem, I do not, but many, many, many years ago I memorized a poem that touched my heart. I didn't however memorize the author, for that I am sorry and will try and find out who to give credit to.

"In secret we met,
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
In silence and tears."

Memorized it in high school, there was no secret love.....or was there?