Monday, February 28, 2011

Taping the Academy Awards

The Soroptimist held its generally annual Chinese Auction Sunday evening, a major fundraiser. I don't know whether the Chinese have auctions or whether it simply provides a decorating, food and dress theme.

I have a friend who holds an Academy Awards Party every year, and this year she and I were otherwise occupied with the auction.

So I taped the Academy Awards.

That sounds so anachronistic, even to me, who happens to be old, and still has a VCR hooked up for capturing multiple programs when necessary. In fact, I have a Beta machine, just in case someone has old Beta tapes they want to transfer to, well,VHS.

But I didn't really "tape" the Awards, I DVR'd them. That doesn't roll easily off the tongue and I have to think about about that term. (Not in TIVO territory.)

I got a few photos at and around the event. Outside, the golf carts were all lined up and deer were trimming the grass.

I don't know if anyone had golfed that day. It had finally been sunny, after all the futzing around with the snow, but a brisk wind was blowing off those mountains.

Here's a tiny sample of the decorations.

The tables were set and the cups for the quarter bids at the ready.

The crowd was huge, the auction lively. I took a few people pictures but didn't warn anyone they might appear in a blog, so none of those is included here.

When I got home, I cranked up the DVR and the awards rattled in the background while I worked at the computer on my itinerary project, updating pages, somewhat annoyed at the awards, whose "young and hip" mostly felt forced. I did see and hear about some movies I'd like to check on.  Eventually.

Hours later, when the awards were long over, I had been sucked into the Picasa 3 photo program people-matching feature which is addictive. I didn't go to bed until 3 a.m.

My post-auction job was to help roll and count quarters on Monday morning, but got an early call from the quarter chairperson. She said she'd recorded the Academy Awards so was up rolling quarters until late into the night and would soon be finished without assistance.

Recorded!  She recorded the Academy Awards. That's the term that flows easily off the tongue, to replace taped. This has been an education.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, February 27, 2011


Do you ever look at the old family photos and compare the boy with the man, the girl with the woman, yourself with your parents? Or take a picture of people in public places and make up a story about their lives?

I once started gathering photos I called Before & After pictures, which I occasionally toss onto my Facebook page. Some new combinations just occurred to me, which I'm thinking of as "transitions."

For example, here's a picture of Papa as a boy.

Here's Papa with my grandson, his great-grandson.

Here's my grandson, with his sister, my granddaughter.

I had a set of Before & After, taken at Monet's Garden, Giverny, France.

Here are children, French school children, awaiting their turn to tour Monet's residence, in their incredibly patient manner.

Resting on a similar bench in the garden are these two ladies, closer to the other end of their life span, whom I imagine to be sisters. I ate a sack lunch opposite them, taking perhaps half an hour, during which time they sat as silently as you see them.

Then I remembered this photo that Jeanne's granddaughter took of Jeanne and me, at rest behind Notre Dame, warming ourselves in dappled sunshine on a chilly morning. Put a few more white hairs on our heads and one day might someone snap a photo of us in Giverny and make up a story?

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weather No More

I'm tired of weather as the sole topic of conversation. We were in our own little Banana Belt. It only went down to 23° and we were dusted with icy bits of snow, of which I took lots of artsy photos as it glistened in the sun.

But I'll only regale you with one. When I looked out at the stepping stones, the ice crystals stuck to some and not others in this interesting patchwork pattern.

Patchwork pathway
Today, I'm working on the little pocket itinerary book for Jeanne's May trip. I started on the cover, which basically involves locating and arranging photos related to the trip destinations.(Sample covers here.) I like to use my own photos -- no problems with permissions - but I was last in southwest France in 1959 and those slides are hard to get at! I may be using these two of mine to represent our trip extension in Paris.

Afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens

Eiffel Tower of an evening
When I went to shut down my computer last night, this picture was up in my photo program. Not sure why it was there, but I like it so much I'm including it, too.

It's a picture of my aunt (mother's sister), Mom, uncle and Pop. It was scanned so it has no original dates, but I'm guessing it was taken in the mid-90s, which would put my parents in their 80s. Sometime in the past, I thought I recognized this as taken in Port Angeles, WA. Now I only remember the remembering and not so much Port Angeles. And there they were, off on a trip together, two states away from home. Wherever it was, I bet this foursome really did the town.

Only my aunt is still living.

See you tomorrow.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Will it? Or won't it?

For several days all of Northern California has been warned that big snows are coming, as low as 1000 ft elevation, possibly even in San Francisco. Snow could be 6" deep at that 1000 ft level, a foot at 2 - 3,000 ft, multi-feet of snow higher up. Our little market was as busy yesterday as during as summer tourist season with people stocking up on food, batteries, and other stores. The tree guy graciously sliced some kindling for me and I set up a fire in the woodstove against the possibility of more power failures.

It's the big story on everyone's lips, on the news, on Facebook, on the phone. Terri and her husband came over for him to tromp through my "woods" in the rain to see whether he wants some of the downed wood for their stove. He doesn't like being cooped up and I think he would have begun sawing out there today if access had been better.

The original advisories put the heavy snowfalls from this evening through early Saturday morning. Then they started talking about its starting Thursday night. When I woke up this morning there was a dusting of snow on the ground, but not the big one. However, over an inch of rain had fallen. Poor little Girl Kitty was huddled, meowing, under the tarp over the wood rack this morning, and ate hungrily when I put food out for her. Thankfully, her coat is thick and long, as it's going to be really cold.

On and off during the day hail and sleet fell intermittently. And rain. There has been snow in the little city down the hill, over 1000 ft lower in elevation than we are, a long drive there, but not far as the crow flies.

Is this a big bust of a storm? There have been lots of power failures reported north of here. Did all the really nasty weather stop at the river?

As I look out on the deck now, some icy snow has accumulated. No sign of Girl Kitty. I hope she has a hideout somewhere. I feel so bad for her but I really can't become the Cat Hoarder Lady.

We'll see in the morning whether yes or whether no for snow.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

First Flower of Spring

A little ironic, to be talking about the first flower of Spring in the face of more Winter weather. I first saw this little bud in my yard on February 9, along with a few spears of green that were poking their ways through the oak leaf carpet. It seemed a little premature at the time. But I took an interest in this struggle in nature.

Click on the photos to get a larger picture of the little bud.

Feb 9

I kept a careful eye on it, so I wouldn't miss it when it burst into bloom. Making progress on February 13.

Feb 13
 It was battered by 1½ inches of rain, a little bowed on February 16.

Feb 16

The snow storm that took down trees on February 18.

Feb 18

Early in the morning of February 19 after another onslaught of snow.

Feb 19 morning

By afternoon, it was still hanging in there.

Feb 19 late afternoon

No progress was made and I began to despair that it would simply shrivel away. At noon on February 22, there's the first sign of hope.

Feb 22 noonish

Then mid morning February 23: Hello, Little Sunny Face. You made it. (Tears in eyes)

Feb 23 mid morning

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Boys Are Back

Sometime after the most destructive part of last weekend's storm had passed, Sister-in-Law Tory joined a conversation with my Next-Door-Neighbor and another shopper at our little market. N-N-D asked Tory whether I'd seen the big tree down in the Neighbor-on-My-Other-Side's back yard.

I hadn't seen it.

The lady, Angie, arrived first on Tuesday morning, to clean. I was ensconced in turn at both computers, while receiving an unaccustomed number of phone calls. I got into deleting software from the old computer, in preparation for finding it a new home, and mistakenly deleted my printer driver, which took the printer down for the network. Ah, well.

The tree guys showed up early in the afternoon with The Terminator, to follow up on the initial tidy-up on Friday.

Eats up to 16"

Steve reported more damage out there than his earlier assessment, and he took me on a walk-around. At first glimpse, the big tree down that Tory had told me about looked like it was indeed in NOMOS's yard, but when we lined up the survey posts we could locate in the debris, it was ... oh, oh: My tree, neighbor's yard.

It had been hanging by a thread.
 Looks like the second trunk down at right angles might be on my property.

I decided by the end of the day that the 3rd and 4th trunks of this multi-trunk tree must also be taken down, before the next predicted storm, as they could domino other trees onto my house.

The Terminator chewed up all the original fallen branches, and one of three other precarious trees was dropped. The two remaining trunks of the four-way tree were shorn of leaves and major branches so they would be less likely to topple.

Taking out some high stuff
 The guys had to go to another job late that afternoon, but left the Terminator behind.

. . .

Bright and early today the guys came back. Two more trees were felled and bigger trunks went into the Terminator. And then this phase was wrapped up so they can get some other critical jobs done. There is one final day remaining to finish up, to take completely down the last two of the foursome, and clean up the trimmings. They need to bring in a Bobcat to haul that heavy stuff out out.

To finish off the day, my old printer, whose driver I had restored, sipped an ink tank dry and said "no more printing." Since I'm not buying it any more ink, I had to do an ad hoc, non wireless installation of the new printer.

See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Returning Merchandise to Macy's

I couldn't blog about my Sunday on Sunday. Sister-in-law Tory and I finally got our day away. All day. So when I got home, a sleeping Henley cat pinned me to the recliner, out of reach of the computer, for at least two hours.

Before I left the house on Sunday, I caught sight through the window of this beautiful buck with his large entourage -- too many to catch in one photo.

We headed for Macy's. I go there so seldom I need Tory's directions to find it. I had an exchange to make (my step-daughter is so sweet to think I was ever that small) and Tory had a return.

We had the nicest sales lady. A one-time Personal Shopper, back when stores still had those, she plied those skills and we didn't leave the fitting room for two hours. I live mostly in jeans and one of my acquisitions is a pair of comfortable jeans, without that tattered pre-worn look. I'll do that part myself, thank you. There are several other items hanging from a door jamb until I take -- what is it? -- two old items out of the closet for every new one I'm putting in it.

Macy's made out very well on my exchange.

This little spree was followed by a full-on Costco raid for giant bottles of vitamins and supplements, toothpaste and peanuts, granola bars and crackers, toilet paper and garden hose, hopefully enough to carry me through the next three or so months. Tory showed great restraint in both places, something like three items each, but had fun pushing my cart.

Because of the snow, our short road up the hill was closed, so I had to drive up the long grade that so terrifies me after dark. Tory kept my panic at a simmer which got me home to be cuddled by a cat for the rest of the evening.

Monday was virtually all computer. Today -- Tuesday -- was busy, but tomorrow promises to continue on with today's busyness, so ...

    ... See you tomorrow for the exciting -- or otherwise -- conclusion.


Monday, February 21, 2011

In Between

It's been an odd limbo in between the time the power went out last Thursday midnight and, well, now ... late Monday evening. I don't know whether it was hectic or blah.

I wasn't ready to go to sleep at midnight when the lights (and furnace) went out. They'd been flickering throughout the evening, and I'd been expecting the failure. The UPS (uninterruptable power supply) my computer is plugged into began to beep its warning. (So glad I got the UPS!) I probably had 20 Windows open, which I closed systematically, with enough monitor light left to find a flashlight. Called PG&E, which sounded like this was news to them. Flashlight led to battery lantern and battery lantern (eventually) led to headlamp so I could put the kittens to bed in their room, then read a book under cozy blankets.

There was a strange noise, like something hitting my bedroom window, which startled Chloe-cat and me. Looked out the window, but couldn't see anything in the slender beam of the headlamp.

Kitty and I eventually went to sleep. At around 4:30 a.m., my bedside light popped on, the furnace swooshed to life and I had to go to the living room to turn off TV and lights for the rest of the night. I left the heat on to do a little catching up.

Then morning came and I looked out the window to see heavy wet snow and broken tree trunks and branches everywhere. I put my call in early to my tree guys, who cleared the blocked portion of my driveway and will return later to finish clean up.

First view out the window

Blocked driveway
You've seen this view without branches down.

My Alaska river at home

Now, by Friday with my day freed up, power back, TV working on antenna, and a trip with Tory to Modesto postponed until Saturday, instead of feeling like I had a "found" day, like I had on Thursday, I fell into a major slump. I couldn't even stay awake in my chair while watching TV.

Saturday morning we woke up with even more snow, so again postponed the trip to Modesto until Sunday. This was a beautiful snow, and I can't resist posting several of the many photos I took that morning.

A fresh covering of snow

Reminds me of the photo
in Loafing Tonight - Feb 7

Snow in another dish ...
Satellite Internet would have been out, too.

After that I dozed off all day again, until I finally pulled myself together for a late afternoon walk. Before I went out the door, I took a quick look at my cable modem, intending to put in an end-of-the-day call to the cable company for a progress report. Surprise, a steady column of green lights greeted me. Internet was back.

The sky had clouded over, making more snow look like a possibility. This gnarly old oak, silhouetted against the gray sky, had lost a huge branch in the storm over Thursday night.

Chez moi

Snow plow berm

Friday night's storm had been deeper but lighter, without doing apparent damage. I did spend a nervous Saturday a.m., however, watching snow shake off branches hanging low over the propane tank. Then Saturday evening, I finally got back on line.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Crazy Lady Who Wanted the A/B Switches (Friday's Post)

Once upon a time, a court ruled that cable companies must reduce their rates as a result of some unfair pricing scheme. The cable company in our little town raised its rates and my husband told them to take a hike.

Flaunting HOA suggestions that antennas are unsightly, he put one up and here, on the far far fringe, we lucked out and got TV reception. One cannot deprive a man, or his wife, of the God-given right to free TV.

This lasted many years, until summer temperature inversions in the Valley interfered with the new DTV reception in the mountains, as did Valley fog in the winter. A recent cable Internet subscriber, I succumbed to cable TV.

Under new ownership, the cable company has been installing extensive upgrades, to bring a 13-channel infrastructure into the 21st Century.

The upgrade is still underway, most channels are still provided in DTV, not HDTV, and this is the mountains, where things go wrong. I wanted an A/B switch, with cable input and antenna input installed where it came into the house, so I'd have the choice.

There was a technical huddle and consultations. My own ancient piecemeal infrastructure was full of so much "noise" that it wouldn't give me satisfactory service, so, now I have three TVs, needing three A/B switches, amplifier(s), all new wiring.

Very decorative, that A/B switch. Two or three days ago I was wondering at the wisdom of my choice to install the extra equipment. Then, the power went out at midnight last night and what took out the power (snow, falling trees), took out even more cable company lines.

My power was restored around 4:30 a.m. this (Friday) morning, but the cable main lines, feeding both Internet and TV in my neighborhood, are still down, 24 hours later.

But my TVs are running on antenna with their B-switch settings!


See you tomorrow.


Thursdays Out x x x Cancelled!

 There was the occasional drifting snowflake when I called sister-in-law Tory to offer a ride to Thursday NeedleCrafts. I have four-wheel drive. She doesn't. Not long after I hung up, I got a call from The Little House.

     "Due to the weather, we're not serving lunch today."
     "Does that mean you're not opening at all?"
     "That's right. Closed."

I told her I'd notify Tory and that Terri and her zigzag afghan are out of town. My assumption is that Maggy the caller will notify everyone else who signed up for lunch.

A found day! What'll I do? I had an afternoon nail appointment scheduled and fully intended to walk again. But a found day!

I read email, a large backlog. I unsubscribed from email newsletters. I caught up on blogs. (Almost. The night's not over.) I took pictures of deer through the windows.

I went for nails and watched rain and snow swirl outside the salon windows. Those single-pane windows sucked the heat out of the room, and when I went outside the icy rain plastered my jeans to my legs.

Stopped at the grocery story, thinking of the phrase used by one of my husbands, maybe both, colder than a witch's tit. Probably the first one, a Vermonter.

The walk was off. No endorphin-boosting fun out there today.

It's night now, getting later. I heard the snow plow whiz by a little bit ago and the news is showing the perennial news guy, Dave Marquis, who gets to stand by the freeway over Donner Pass in the blizzard, hatless, gloveless, during shots of accidents, ambulances, snow plows charging down the highway with a following of cars, interviews with people stuck without chains.

Snow starting up again

Cold & icy, not at all pretty
   We wanted winter back, and here it is!


See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Effect of Rain and Snow

I had to roll out of bed early this morning to put trash out before the truck came, and was surprised to find a wet deck outside. Almost an inch and a half of rain overnight and I never heard it.

I wasn't ready to wake up but got dressed anyway and put on puddle-stomping shoes. After wheeling my heavy little bags down to the curb and putting them in the big bag, I went to check again on whether my first flower of spring, whose bud I first noted on February 9, had bloomed yet. Its sorry little head was bowed down by the rain, but it still hadn't opened. The empty bird bath had filled.

The nandina was akimbo.

Here I was, up bright and early, with a whole day to work on my computer projects and go for a real walk. You remember -- my "have to get in shape" walk.

I kept an eye out the window for a good break between spitting snow and blowing rain. About 3 o'clock, I decided I shouldn't wait much longer, so put on a jacket, scarf, rain parka and camera, and took off. The drizzle I walked into turned into snow the moment I stepped into the street. I pulled the camera out of my jacket, taking a shot in each direction, without benefit of aiming, to see whether I could capture snow.

It worked, kind of.

I went on with the walk. My theory that I'd warm up from the exertion was wrong. Snow accumulated on my shoulders and, of all places, on the thumb that gripped my walking stick, soaking my glove and freezing the thumb.

You can see white-out behind me. My snowy walk was a blast.


Look how much snow accumulated on my deck during a 20 minute walk.

My pedometer only registered 200 steps for the journey. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

See you tomorrow.