August 30, 2017


Any of you hear of a blog by the name of  "VseinstrukciiDate"?

My computer has been on the blitz for a couple of days but coming back to Blogger today, I find a gazillion posts from the site on my Reading List. Stranger yet, all the posts are written in Cyrillic alphabet.

Since I didn't choose to follow the site and there is such a huge amount of daily posts from it, I am not going to check it out. I just deleted it from the 'Following' file.

So have any of you had this happen to you?


Anyone know where I can get a body transplant?

I'm willing to travel if necessary.

Tendon and rotator cuff surgery this month (left shoulder), broke a finger on my right hand last Friday and right knee still hurts like an S.O.B. in spite of total knee 4 or 5 years ago.  Like my 3 year old great-granddaughter says, "What the heck!"

Computer crashed, too. Missed you all and will catch up on visiting your blogs.

Enough whining!

Okay, not really whining, BUT we are having a record breaking hot-as-hell summer. More than sixty days of three digit temperatures. Remember the pretty little garden I planted in the spring? Fried!  Having to walk out the door or get out of your car is staking your life on the slim chances that you won't spontaneously combust!  Yeah, I know, that was kind of whining! Enough!!!

My husband is going to help me put eclipse 'shadow bands' video on YouTube and I will post link!

My friend who is moving to Oregon sold her house to the first person who looked at it for full asking price!  She's really going and the universe is putting all the pieces together for her.  She is scared and excited! Hard to leave the home and town you've lived in for 35 years, all your friends and familiar places. At the same time, she is looking forward to the new adventure. She is making the most of Act III of her life!

While in Idaho, I bought a couple of quarts of Dixie Belle Chalk paint and have been painting a couple of tables. Thank god there were no cameras around as I held the paint brush with one swollen finger pointing in opposite direction.

We hung out in the mountains last weekend. Frank was judging photo entries for a county fair. I drove around a bit, hung out by a river, took some photos, wrote in my journal and read! Best part, it was only 97 degrees in the area! Nice and cool!

This coming weekend we are going to Oregon. He will be judging for another county fair. I will be observing the quilt judging for a little bit and then off to play! 

Now, back to some cleaning and straightening before surgery. Any of you have shoulder surgery in the past? Got any ideas on recovery and therapy issues? Can I get a little help from my friends?

Not a sharp photo but it was nice being surrounded by flowers at the fair grounds!

August 26, 2017


Apologies to all the eclipse totality seekers and chasers of the world!  I laughed, I derided and, mostly, I huffed and puffed about having to drive to Idaho to view it.

My husband is a smart cookie! We avoided Oregon, except for the tiniest south east corner of it. We also missed the 'going-to' traffic by traveling 3 days before the event.

We discovered Abert Rim, a giant basalt wall that goes on forever. It is over 30 miles of soaring cliffs. Then there was Abert Lake!  There is nothing worse than observing a huge geological phenomenon and realizing you left your Roadside Geology books at home. Never again! (I wish I had a dollar for every time one of us said that!)

We found the perfect spot for viewing the eclipse. The Payette River was 20 feet to the north of us, a small mill pond sat 10 feet south of us. Hills surrounded the area but for enough away that our view of the sun and moon's dance would be unobstructed.

We set the cameras up just before sunrise. Frank and our nephew, Joseph, kicked back for some quick naps while I wandered around snapping shots of the hills slowly lighting up. My brother-in-law John warned us to be aware of mountain lions but I figured we were in Idaho and two out of three people are armed, no problem!

Light came fast. There was absolutely no wind! The Payette River sang a peaceful morning song, soon joined by the birds.

Once the sun rose, the saturation of color on the hills was intense. Yellow hills turned orange, both in and out of the mill pond reflections.

The guys woke up. We enjoyed a little breakfast of granola bars and boiled eggs. Sad to say that we passed a Dutch Bros and a Starbucks on our way out to the site from my in-laws (best hosts in the world) but both coffee places are closed at a quarter to crazy in the morning. Cold bottled water is good!

We hung a large quilt on the car, white side up. We read that just prior to some total eclipses there is a strange phenomenon called 'shadow bands'. They look like snakes slithering across the landscape but only last seconds.

Then we waited!

"Joseph, would you like another granola bar?"


And waited a bit more! We had three cameras on tripods, so we caught many different aspects of the transition.

In the meantime, the crowd grew around us. A large van with three boys and an off-leash dog who absolutely ignored the three adults as the 'grown-ups' screamed the names of the miscreants.

"Donny, get away from the water!"  Splash! Splash!
"Teddy, not too deep, get back here!"  Splashing to the deeper middle!
"Fido, get out of the water!"  Splash! Splash!

Then a large, diesel engine truck pulled up, ran his air conditioning for a loud, annoying bit! We ended up liking him because he pulled his speakers out and played his music loud enough to block off some of annoying van-people. He played Van Morrison! It was good.

Lots of people on social media reported that, just prior to Totality, the area got quiet. Birds stopped singing. A peaceful energy seemed to settle. We did not feel that at all prior to the awaited event.

All the colors of the hills and river lost their glorious saturation and became muddy.

We photographed the shadows of our hands, and the auras were clearly visible in the photos.

I probably don't need to remind you that I wasn't on the Yay!-We're-Going-To-See-The-Eclipse bandwagon. Thankfully, I had a good book, though a small pint of schnapps might have been nice.

Frank suddenly yelled, "Check out the quilt!"  Alternating waves of dark and light, dark and light moved across it. I caught a short video of it.  For those of you old enough to see old black and white television, remember when the station signed off for the night and the rolling bars would flash across the screen? That's a little what it looked like, except it was definitely more  X-Files!  You could almost feel them running through you.

They disappeared  just as quickly and as they had appeared.

Full, honest to goodness Totality. We shot a couple of shots and then lost it.

There was a huge crowd on the other side of the pond who cheered and applauded.

We abandoned the cameras and stood, mouths gaping, goose-bumps rolling up and down our bodies, tears rolling down our faces.

It was incredible, almost heavenly yet primal. 

Going to have to brush up on my 'un poquito' amount of Spanish because I want to be in Argentina in 2019 for the next total eclipse.

Can't tell you what a impact it had on all of us.  I will never make fun of Eclipse Followers again because I've decided to be one!

All I can say is, "WHOA!"

August 18, 2017

Kicking and Dragging

Off we go.

Headed to Idaho to Eclipse Totality.

Can't tell you how excited I am (sarcasm, just in case you didn't recognize it coming from me!!!!)

August 13, 2017

What a Day!

Yesterday was filled with woman power, meaningful conversations, and some damn good coffee!

It was a GOOD day...mostly.

Early solo swim to get the kinks out and the peace in.

Was joined by pregnant niece, sister-in-law and, later, mother-in-law.  We sculpted a baby bump belly for beautiful Mari.  Baby girl inside moved all around and settled in to mommy's left side, with head or tushie prominently protruding!

Is it possible that the newest member of our family was mooning us?  It's definitely in the DNA!

The final sculpture is true to Mari's belly; big curve and little bump to the left and flat on the right.

Next step in decorating baby girl's room? Mari will paint sculpture (will probably be dry enough to paint by the time baby is in middle school). Then we will do casings of mommy's and daddy's profiles, painting accordingly!

Wonderful 'village elder's" talk about birth, lactation, expectations and all that stuff that baby showers evolved from, only to go on to silly games of crossing legs, not saying 'baby', and worst of all, sniffing diapers smeared with candy bars and guessing which is a Mars bar and which is a Twixt. Very helpful for sharing the wealth of knowledge  that experienced mother's hold.

Best advice:
Listen to advice but trust your gut, mommy always knows best for her own child.
When you go into labor stay home as long as you can.
When in hospital, the nurses are going to make you lay on your back to place monitors.  Do what is best for you. Monitors only need to be checked every 15 minutes or so. If walking is best for you, walk. If standing in the shower relieves discomfort, shower. Take a strong-ass warrior into labor room with you who will make sure you have a powerful delegate (especially 1st time mommies). After your first baby, you become your own kick-ass advocate.
Gently bounce on large yoga ball for weeks leading up to labor and after baby is born, Yoga ball is awesome tool for putting baby to sleep, burping, soothing, etc. Hold baby in arms and gently bounce...great for backs of mommies, daddies and nana's!

Some ideas we talked about for painting cast:

Later in afternoon, my best friend for the last 38 years, Julie, came over. She was my Maid-of-Honor at our wedding, truly the best friend anyone could have. I love her.

Best Maid of Honor ever!

We have been through some 'stuff' together and that makes us both thankful to all the gods above that there were no cell phone cameras or social media in the early days. Skinny dipping in Whiskeytown Lake on a cold summer's day, drinking bottles (many) of wine while we sat on the front planter wall at my old house in Palo Cedro. We moved her whole house of furniture, all by ourselves, years and years ago; hooked up the washer and dryer, moved the fridge, built the crib, packed and unpacked boxes. We then celebrated with a large bottle of Almaden French Colombard.

As we matured (no laughing, I'm serious) we stopped smoking (years and years ago!),  we drink far less wine (with a 'praise the Lord' from our livers), and Julie has cleaned up her language quite a bit more than I  have.  My f-bombs are probably thrown four or five times the amount of hers but I'm working on it (no, not really, that's a lie! ).

I threw her a baby shower a little more than 35 years ago. We moved her daughter to Oregon about 15 years ago to attend college. We actually even worked together for a short period of time at a home health care agency. I warned her, when she applied, that it was not a pleasant atmosphere. The administrator was a bit of a monster (Cruella DeVille of Health Care). She got the job therefore, we shared many liquid lunches.  We even introduced some of our workmates how glorious a 2 martini lunch was. The atmosphere in the workplace greatly least afternoons did!

Now that we live in town, Julie lives less than a quarter mile from us. We see each other often, talk lots and conversations are always deep, meaningful and totally loving.

Julie is moving! She had an offer she would be nuts to refuse in Oregon. She will head out October 1!  You may not understand this, after I've told you how much she means to me, but I am soooooo happy for her. The details of the move are out of this world. The home she will be living in is a little bit of paradise; spent a long weekend with Julie and a couple of friends a year ago in the house and DID NOT want to leave it.

We cried a little yesterday, had a little glass of ice cold Riesling to toast the new opportunities opening up for her (and the fact that I have a place to stay when I ever I go. I will be going often).

I guess we will both be getting very familiar with Facetime. Best part is, she has seen me at my worst, so she can call before I comb my hair and wash my face and probably won't even notice!!!

Life evolves, changes are inevitable.

Good luck, my friend. You will thrive in your new surroundings. I will miss you but you are only 1 speed dial away and a beautiful drive of canyons, mountains and vineyards to see you.  You will always be my Bestie!

Congratulations Portland! You are gaining an incredible woman! Welcome her with open arms.

August 12, 2017


"Travel implies a path, a way, a journey. We are always on a journey whether we know it or not. Our journey is to any place different from where we are now. This can be to a foreign or exotic land or just across town or outside… A journey can also be an inner journey or time travel back in time… We encounter many things along the way..."  Steve Maimes

We're headed to Idaho this week to declare our little spot of Totality. Excited but a little bit nervous about the predicted 'apocalyptic-traffic' of eclipse seekers.

Last time I was in Idaho, it was just a drive-thru on our way to Montana. It will be interesting to actually be there for 3 days. Hopefully not the last 3 days of my life! (Anxious much?)

Find myself on a wide path of journeys lately, sadly none of them exotic...okay, some of the inner ones are!

My shoulder is a bit of a disaster, so:

Driving to Chico to see an Ortho doc to make a plan. (Easy decision, don't want a Redding doctor).
Cut my hair so it will just curl and I don't have to use a blow dryer. (Tough decision, hair was just to mid-shoulder length. Now I am 100% my own white hair, no dye! Well, except for the lead in my brain and blood from years of coloring my hair!)
Learning to think before moving and not using left arm. (Not so successful but at my age the learning curve is substantial).

Total transparency: Not a real human, as there is little to no pockets of fat!

End of a life-long relationship with someone I dearly love, so:

Learning to create boundaries. I know, you'd think I would have clear ones by now, but, alas, I am truly a slow learner.

Repairing crack in heart. Taking collagen supplements and drinking lots of bone broth. Good for tendons and hearts!

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Phil website

Eclipse event, so:

Packing two coolers with ice and water bottles and bone broth. No dehydration for us while stuck in predicted traffic in a state where two out of three people are carrying a loaded weapon.

Packing lawn chairs, pillows and blankets:  We are staying with my husband's brother but one never knows, does one!

Buying a small box of Depends and taking a small shovel:  Traffic jams, water and bone broth!

Aging Parents that I dearly love, so:

Seriously considering selling house and moving closer to folks. They live 40 minutes from our house (25 minutes in emergencies). Husband suggested purchasing a motor home and parking it at the RV park a couple of miles from parents house.

Saying good-bye to my swimming pool. Swimming as much as I can this year to fill my tank!

Potential of living with a man (love you, honey!) in an RV.  Note to self: Ask doctor for increase in Xanax prescription!

What journeys are you on?  Are you sailing through or occasionally stumbling? Is there a journey you want to take but afraid of the first step?

Remember what Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: 
"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you and that you will work them, and water them, with your blood and tears and laughter ‘till they bloom, ‘till you yourself burst into bloom."

August 10, 2017

Poor Frank

Frank groaned a little as he climbed out of bed Tuesday morning. He complained that he felt he needed more sleep.

He jumped into the shower. I continued to lay in bed, throwing a ball for Rex. (Rex has got this down. He retrieves the ball and places it on the bed right where I can reach it).

Suddenly, Frank was getting violently ill in the shower. I mean violently. The vomiting continued off and on for at least five minutes.

He finished his shower and started dressing for work. As Alaina and three-year-old Brinley say, "What the heck!"

He looked grey. He was weak. He was totally Frank, and went to work.

He gave it a good go but apparently the vomiting continued at work. He stayed working until about noon.

He came home and was sound asleep by 12:30 and slept until dry heaves woke him about 8:30.

I offered him broth, tea, water. He refused it all and was back asleep by 8:45 and slept through the night.

Wednesday morning he slept until 8:30 a.m. Totally unheard of.  He stumbled to the living room, queasy and weak, landing on the sofa where he spent the day, in and out of sleep.

He did wake up for the Hang Gliding Nationals! Watched every launch, twist and turn, rise and fall, of each of the 129 (I think) pilots.  He fell asleep after the first 20 landings.

He ate a little chicken soup.

This morning, he is back at work.

If I ever start a business, I'm going to hire that man. He has a work ethic that doesn't quit!

August 02, 2017


Prediction for today's temperature is approximately 116 degrees, though it may only climb to 114, like yesterday.

Again, let me remind all, bad things can happen to anyone who responds to me with the ugly phrase, "yeah. but it's a dry heat!" I have a large array of cloth dolls and many, many long, sharp pins.

Will we be taking a long stroll on the River trail? No, we will not.

We will be working in the yard? Too late! It is only 9 a.m. and already 88 degrees.

We won't be riding bikes, picnicking in the park or strolling across the glass Sundial Bridge.

Photo Courtesy of Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Maybe we'll take the 45 minute drive up to Mt. Lassen and see if the roads are open yet. The record-breaking snow still has the road through the park closed. We could lay in the snow and pretend it is January. The photo below was taken on the weekend before July 4th!

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

Frank says he needs a haircut and we need chlorine tabs for the pool. If I want to be with him, it means going in and out of air conditioned spaces and crossing hot asphalt parking lots. I want to be with him but walking through walls of hellishly hot air are so uninviting. What if the soles of our shoes melt?

I'm considering making him a deal. I'll match his two hours of errands together in hell town for four hours of swimming, a movie at the air conditioned dollar theater and a six pack of icy cold 805. I'll even have dinner delivered because this chick is not turning on any burners or ovens and absolutely not standing next to a lit gas BBQ. I'd even order pizza so it can be slid under the door, preventing a rapid loss of precious cooled air.

Better still, while he's getting his gorgeous silver wavy hair trimmed (which is a sin, I'm sure), I will run into Trader Joe's for a big, round watermelon. Juicy sweet melon with a bit of salt beats out pasta or steak on a day when it is just too hot to chew, right?

Graphic Courtesy of Deviant Art

If you don't hear from me in the next day or two, call the City of Redding Waste Management department and ask them to come scrape me off the sidewalk!

August 01, 2017

Hey, It's Okay Until It Ain't

(Yes, my daughter is the all-time grammar police chief! I am fully aware that the title above might make some jaws grind a little. Good news, my daughter doesn't read my blog, so, unless one of you is a grammar narc, I'm safe!)

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful visit with one of my Massachusetts' granddaughters and all California granddaughters and grandsons. We had a ball. Alaina made her own plans. She tried to max-out with cousins. She gave my parents a beautiful violin recital which included the theme to Pirates of the Caribbean, Vivaldi, and a wonderful bit of fiddling of an Irish drinking song!  Well-rounded repertoire!

We took off to L.A. for 4 days to meet my newest grandson and hang out of with the SoCal granddaughters. Alaina and Alli visited the Dollar Store and returned with $30 worth of cookies, candy and popcorn for movie night!

P.S. to  granddaughters' parents (and concerned readers):  We also ordered real food from Big Red's BBQ, drank lots and lots of water and brushed our teeth before bed!

No longer my hostage, Alaina spent her last day here, with local cousins and a cousin from Santa Cruz. They did some swimming, laughed and ate at Red Robin's.

Papa and I drove her to the airport at 2:00 a.m., hugged her a gazillion times then watched her board the shuttle to her boarding gate (barely visible through the tears).

She arrived home safely. After a day or two of rest, she accompanied her mom and sister to a local Comic Con!

Three days later, we discovered three-quarters of the Dollar Store goodies from L.A. still in a bag on the dresser in the guest room, next to the loaf of San Francisco Sour Dough bread that Papa was sending to our daughter (she complained that she couldn't find it anywhere in Massachusetts).

The bed in Alaina's room was made perfectly, the room in perfect order; pillows fluffed, quilt folded, tables clean.

Other than the semi-full bag of goodies and forgotten bread, there was no sign our granddaughter had even been there.

Hence...more tears.

Today, all is quiet. Grandchildren are living their lives, husband is at work, house is empty.

I guess it's back to swimming naked and reading good books...and since it's Tuesday, Hey It's Okay!