Sunday, April 29, 2012

Unexpected Interlude

Friday afternoon my cleaning lady and I were discussing when I'd have to abandon my computer chair so she could vacuum up the big rolls of cat fur that my rubber-soled shoes scuff up on the wool carpet under me when the phone rang.

Daughter calling, unusual during the work day. "What are you doing this weekend, Mama?"

I clicked on my calendar. "Nothing specific Saturday or Sunday."

She had a property to investigate halfway between my little town and Fresno, which she recently moved to, and wondered if she could continue on up after work to spend a couple of nights. Perfect. The house would be clean and straightened. There was nothing I specifically had to get done on the weekend. Come ahead. Her first trip up here since she moved close by, in fact, first since Christmas, 2010.

We gave Brother-in-Law, who was batching it until Sunday, a call and we all went out for a bite to eat.

Daughter and I proposed plans for the weekend. She was eager for some exercise on Saturday to shake out muscles stiff from sedentary work and I told her I'd heard there was good wildflower viewing out on a nature reserve, but didn't know whether the rain a couple of days earlier had flattened them. We decided we'd also load my pickup with the bags of recyclables that were stacked high in my garage, and take them to the refuse haulers recycle collection area.

That's when the spookiest thing happened. In this post last Monday, I included a shot of me, wearing my new cap that I'd bought in Yosemite to replace the cap that went missing on the trip to my son's house over Christmas. That had been a Yosemite cap as well, with little YNPs (Yosemite National Park) embroidered all over it. I know I was using it en route. It was my car hat at the time and I was driving into the sun during the afternoon and wore it to shield my eyes. I could not find it as I headed for home. L   I've sent a note or two to my son asking him to look around. My theory was that the grandson and his friend, who'd unloaded my car full of Christmas stuff and more, might have knocked it inadvertently out into the grass. No response.

So yesterday, when I went to put my backpack into the back seat of the truck, that's TRUCK, not car, there was the YNP cap on the back seat. Shriek!

The battery charger for my camera is still missing. I wonder where it will turn up, once the replacement charger arrives?

It was my first time to go there, and we discovered that my mixed recyclables in bags had to be separated into categories to be tossed into different bins, no plastic bags allowed. Don't be disappointed that I have no photos from this activity. The recycle venue lacked the bonus scenic treats that my fine trip to the dump/landfill had included.

On the way home from the recycle site to leave off the truck and pick up a car, we stopped to see progress on BIL's Grand Garage. Actually, except for the paving on the driveways, the Grand Garage is finished. There is a "minor" sub-project underway, making a deck extension that will restore access across a "moat" created by the new parking pad. It will be strong enough to support their hot tub, which they'll move to the mountains from their city abode. (See photo by Sister at the end of the "walk" photos of decking progress.)

It was well after lunch time. Daughter was starving. The warmest part of the day was upon us. We scrapped the search for wildflowers and went for Plan B: We would head for a Spring Festival being held in Sonora, CA that daughter had read about in the paper. We'd walk around looking at crafty stuff instead of flowers. We got lunch at the Mexican restaurant in my little town. Daughter had been leery. She'd lived for years in Tucson with its large Hispanic population, and now in Fresno, around the corner from a place specializing in seafood, Mexican-style. She vacations often in Mexico as well, all of these forming her idea of "authentic." What kind of Mexican food would my little mountain town ever come up with?

Darned good! She could tell from the first dip of the homemade salsa.

We had a good tour of downtown Sonora on a balmy afternoon.

Overview - Looking down Washington Street.
I contemplated standing in the middle of the street
to take the photo, but thought better of it.

Spring blossoms

 Yosemite House


This house was first used by Fred Freund, cabinet maker, upholsterer,
undertaker in 1858. Prior to the 90's, it was known as the Yosemite Hotel -
later changed to the Yo-Semite House. It has been a hotel,
hardware store, general store and restored in 1973.
Dedicated by Matuca Chapter
E Clampus Vitus
July 17, 1976

Steep hills in this town!

Oh, hullo! This guy was standing behind me while I was taking a picture in 
the other direction. I took his picture, flashed a smile and a thumbs up and
went on my way. Hey, dude, if you see yourself here, leave a comment!

Rother's Corner. Fire Museum & Senior Lounge
There's what looks like a horse-pulled fire truck inside
the window, hard to see with the sun's reflection.

Here's a more recent fire truck.

"The Red Church," St. James Episcopal Church

Tall skinny dogwood tree

More red in the neighborhood


Tranquil lunch spot

Superior Court of California
County of Tuolumne

With handy information right across the street

We stopped in a shoestore to try on some shoes. I saw CUTE sneakers, even cute in my size, except that my left foot is a half size larger than my right foot and they didn't seem to want to split up two pairs of shoes for me. He did order me a longer, narrower shoe to try on, in another style.

Daughter tried on a few shoes as well, but her size wasn't in her color or vice versa.

The tower of the original County building,
glimpsed from a couple of blocks away

Town crier

A "veil" of purple flowers overhanging a stream

Sunny stream side luncheon venue

The festival is over and we head for our car.

We took a "bucolic" ride home (so funny that Daughter described the country road thus, as I had described in a trip earlier this week), picked up a take-and-bake pizza on our way home, and settled in to watch The Descendants.

Daughter wanted to hit the road early today, going back to Fresno via Yosemite Valley. She got held up awhile. I gave her my bicycle (do I really think I'll put it in my car and go riding somewhere???) and helmet and she did something to her back while stuffing the bike into the car. She spent time waiting for ibuprofen to work and trying to stretch out and massage the problem area.

She called me when she arrived home, excited to discover how very near to Yosemite she herself lives. She stopped for a short hike in Yosemite Valley to help work the kinks out some more (what she wanted to do in the first place yesterday) and feels better.

It was nice, realizing we can get together so easily now, that it's not a day long air trip or a two day drive each way to Tucson. Welcome back to California, Sweety.

This is Sister's photo of the deck extension,
necessitated by the Grand Garage.

See you soon.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursdays Out . . . Lost

A good solid rainy day didn't slow down our NeedleCrafts ladies at all on our Thursday Out.  A good crew turned out in the next room for Chair Exercises as well. A couple of us got to visit that group when we went to reclaim our card tables. Several tables had somehow migrated to the exercise room from the table storage spot. Where, they asked, are our usual tables? We didn't know. We compromised and took one, leaving two behind. We had three, the bare minimum for the number of people who showed up with knitting and crocheting projects.

I took some nice pictures of completed projects and underway projects, and someone took my camera from me to take my picture with my quilt block project. I had on a particularly nice shirt. This last photo has to be the reason for the ensuing disaster.

The problem didn't manifest itself until late in the evening when I went to download the photos and write this blog. I'd taken additional photos of raindrops on iris petals when I got home that I intended to include along with the crafts project pictures. I normally download all the most recent photos each evening for use with whatever I have to say about daily living, or to save for another day, another project. My camera stores photos on the memory card in monthly folders, while retaining continuous sequential numbering of all the photos.

When I looked at the April folder last night to download Thursday's photos, I was greeted with a black screen with the message "Folder is empty." No Thursday, no April. Not only that, photo files in some of the other folders on the card had "Unable to read this file," in place of a picture.

Well, my reaction, of course, was that this is catastrophic. Blog titles and substitute photos streamed through my mind. Explosions. Planes crashing. Cars crumpled. "Thursdays Out Exploded." "Thursdays Out Ruined." "Thursdays Out Crashes." A destroyed day, nothing to write about! Woe is me!

Was my camera sick? Was it the card? Did a cat tiptoe across the keyboard and Select All and Delete? And and and.  I tried different graphics programs. I tried a different computer. I tried the card reader in my printer. The same errors showed up in the same places, so it must be the card.

I went online to see what is offered for recovering corrupted photo files. The top ad really appealed: something about recovering all corrupt files starting at $350. Let's see. I probably lost eight photos that hadn't been backed up. I think not.

I remembered reading in the mists of history that it's a good thing to format your SD card from time to time to freshen it up. This card has had over 5000 photos flow on and off of it since it first went into the camera. Maybe it's just time. Panic subsided. A journey that goes exactly according to plan yadda yadda . . .

I am a little nervous. Is it really fixed? Can I trust an important trip to it? I've recreated the iris photos as a test, although the rain drops are not as fresh, and I do have time for more testing before the next important trip. Starting over with IMG_0001 and a four-day April. Furthermore, when I ordered a replacement battery charger for the camera a couple of days ago, I also ordered another SD card to make my free shipping minimum. I'm pretty sure the arrival of a new charger will cause the old one to reveal itself.

This is just too funny to resist. It comes from
but I saw it posted on Facebook by Grammarly, where
grammarians tore apart debated the grammar in the panels.

The Oregon Grape, dusted with pine pollen
See you soon.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Weather-waiting . . .

They've been saying rain is coming. I've been watching the skies for rain and I realize how much I love looking at skies. You might have noticed it in how many skies I post pictures of.  Blue skies, cloudy skies of all stripes, snowy skies, misty skies, sunsets, sunrises, night skies with moons.

As I drove up the hill last night at twilight, coming home from French class after my fourth trip to the little city in five days, I happened to glimpse left at two bright lights together in the sky. It was a crescent moon and Venus and I instantly realized how the pilot who woke up from his nap (authorized, not a nod-off) had, in that instant, believed it was another airliner coming toward them, and put his aircraft into a dive. I raced to the top of the hill to catch a chance to photograph the pair before they sank behind the hill.

One day I'll have to read the book about my camera so I'll know how to use something besides automatic settings, and maybe use helpful things like a tripod. As it was, I took repeated shots leaning on the car windshield and this is the steadiest I held it and the crescent and star most resembled a crescent and star.

They're tiny, toward the upper left corner (click photo to enlarge), but I've left them in context, rather than cropping them closer, because it turns out I love this sky, too, and the cheery warmth of the restaurant windows, reflected strangely through my car windshield, and the unexpected illumination of the winding road warning sign on the road down the hill.

On my way into town earlier in the afternoon, I cloud-watched again, comparing them to those of the day before, which were thunderheads over the mountains and a collection of pufferbillies to the west. The technical name for the clouds yesterday afternoon is sheep-flock clouds. In all directions.

I'd left time to finalize my shopping spree before class, acquiring several boxes of my favorite granola bars -- the main dish ones in contrast to the dessert ones I'd gotten earlier -- and a box of Malt-O-Meal. It's a suitable soft meal for persons who are favoring their implant surgery. That left finding a suitable soft dinner before French class. I often treat myself to a Carl's Jr. hamburger with a chocolate malt. The hamburger was out, but the chocolate malt sounded healthy. Malt is healthy, isn't it? Chocolate is healthy. Milk is healthy. (The plus side of a chewing impairment is that I've lost 20 lbs. since the tooth extraction.)

They were out of malt powder. There went the main healthy element. But I ate it with a spoon. (Per "no straw" orders.)

How I spend my dinner hour

The sheep-flock clouds were gone by the time of my evening picture.

Today it was gray when I woke up, but it didn't begin to sprinkle until mid-morning and then it didn't last very long.

I went out to the post office and bank in the afternoon. The skies were more promising for the prospects of rain, but it wasn't happening yet.

It wasn't until later in the afternoon that sprinkles began again, just after the newspaper delivery guy tossed my paper in the driveway. It was not wearing its little newspaper raincoat. (Why does delivery guy do that with weather prospects like this?) It's still sitting in its drying-out position on the stove.

That rain didn't last long either, but it has resumed tonight and seems a little more serious, while the two young feral cats are outside looking in wistfully. It would freak them and all of inside cats out if they really came in.

See you soon.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Don’t go showing this to your friends.

“In fact, don’t even look at it yourself.”

He holds up a mirror. “I’ll show it to you now, so you won’t keep trying to look at it.”

I open my mouth and his assistant gently pulls my lip back so I can see.

“I don’t think my friends will be clamoring for a view,” I tell him after my lip is released.

He, the dentist, has screwed a titanium post into the bone graft that filled in the hole from my extracted tooth. There’s a little bead on the top which will show through and preserve a space in the skin for the crown that will top off my tooth implant when we’re all done. Meanwhile, “You mustn’t do anything that will pull loose the stitches that are holding the skin in place. No drinking with a straw, no brushing the adjacent teeth, eat soft stuff for a few days.”

“Okay.” So no looky-loo questions, people. It looked pretty ugly from what I saw anyway.

He's a cool guy. He sang along softly with rock tunes on the office sound system while he worked. I could have gone for a harder rock vibe, but we keep the guy happy who is drilling within fine tolerances toward a nerve. He laid out some difficulties we might encounter if . . . some very real possibilities. But it all went as planned and hoped.

I did a bunch of shopping “in the city” in advance of the appointment so I could rush home and take ibuprofen and pretend that this was too traumatic to be able to blog last night. Mainly, I’ve been disheartened by the internet problem. I get a long post prepared, and then it times out, so to speak, before I can post it. I start over with something else for next time and wonder whether anything can be salvaged from the work I did before. 

Holy cow (euphemism for WTF)!  NEWS BULLETIN. A dairy cow in Central California has been diagnosed with mad cow disease (aka BSE). That's almost my neighborhood. I’m sure CNN will have updated you by the time this post ever hits the internet.

This was my third trip to the little city down the hill in four days. It has been something of a shopping marathon, planning for acquisitions between the necessary errands I had to go for. Friday for the DMV, Sunday for the theatre (plug to follow in a separate blog), Monday for the dentist. My car is still full of several things I deemed too heavy to lift post-surgically. J I’ve also left a lot of things in custody of my credit card company (my debts for this stuff and extra gasoline purchases).

1.      44 lbs. of dry cat food, and my ferals are now among the missing, since I scared Boots in trying to capture her for a little trip to the vet to cut short her kitten-bearing years. There’s also some evidence that another scary episode took place on the deck near the cat-feeding area. Maybe from the dog next door, which charges across the deck every time she’s out (often), in hopes of catching a cat?
2.      117 lbs. of cat litter (piled that one on to take advantage of some time-limited coupons)
3.      A 24-can carton of wet cat food, to disguise Chloe’s medication
4.      2 X 36 Sweet & Salty Peanut Granola Bars
5.      Coffee, 2 lb. bag ground fine. Have you ever tried to get all the coffee back into a tall two-pound bag from the coffee grinding machine? Creamer. Grape Nuts. This is a mini-Costco type store, so items come in bulk.
6.      At least 25 containers of yogurt
7.      6 printer cartridges, for my current wireless printer and to restock an old printer I'd like to sell. (Not wireless.)
8.      A hard-to-find calcium combo
9.      A really hard-to-find container to carry my daily allotment of pills. I left or lost the smallest-possible-Tupperware container I’d used for years somewhere in the Ahwahnee Hotel. My guidelines are strict, i.e., big enough to hold the daily supply but not so big as to be bulky, and easy to remove pills at various times of day. For starters, no one seems to have any little pill-sorting containers or even little travel containers anymore. I finally spotted some small bottles of pills at Wal-Mart, different things, all 88¢. I got the sublingual B-12, 30-count, which I tossed into an existing bottle of B-12 and commandeered the little bottle for my dailies. I couldn’t have bought a purpose-made one any cheaper.
10.   Cottonelle wipes refill. No go. Lowered my expectations to any Cottonelle wipes. Still no go. Any wipes??? Again at Wal-Mart, I found knockoff refills.
11.   Looked at shoes. Looking for cute Nikes, or anything comfortable and cute. I saw cute, then I looked at them in my size. Not cute. My feet are narrow and my ankles are skinny, so shoes-to-fit look like they extend a mile in front of me. Goofy.
For what I spent on cats and cartridges I could have taken a trip or two on Southwest. And I’m not completely done shopping yet.

We’d had our week of warming weather, then started a gradual cool-down. Rain is within the realm of possibility. Yesterday there was a big buildup of thunderheads over the mountains. I couldn’t get a place to stop to take their picture until this traffic light.

When I left home the western skies were clear, but when I arrived at the dentist, they were showing these little pufferbillies.

Beautiful day that it was, I chose to go home via bucolic back roads. There were some great vistas of really towering thunderheads, but without sufficient distances from curves to stop for pictures. Most of these were taken on-the-fly.

I swoop into my town and take some pics of new paint jobs in downtown.

French’s mustard

Ketchup red

More mustard, and the mustard car
fortuitously drove up just as I shot the picture
Still big thunderheads to the east
I decide to go to the airport, where perhaps there aren’t as many obstructions and power polls and lines to mess with the clear view.

Well, there is this big light fixture sticking up
right in the middle of my view.

And the occasional aircraft and hangers are there, too.

Still watching for weather.

See you soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Falling Behind on Winding up the Week

My internet provider has been having a hell of a week. I tell them we’re out. They tell me they’re going out for repair. We’re almost on a pattern of nighttime outages, with service coming back at 8 or 8:30 a.m. This happened -- when? last year about this time? They were tearing their hair trying to figure out why. My theory was that wires were crossed somewhere. When someone went home at night and turned out the lights, it turned off the internet, too. Or a timer somewhere was going off, shorting us out.  It’s the pits. Things had been going so well -- internet-wise -- recently.

The venerable old oak, which looks almost dead in winter, has a
soft green haze of new growth flowing out the tips of its branches.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned: I’m a night owl. This nighttime internet problem is messing with my posting. I’ve had photos ready to go since Friday. I’ve been writing the text directly in the Blogger software online lately, and then uploading the photos. I realize a disadvantage to this. A few of the blogs exist only on line. Yikes! I need them in hand so I’ll know what I’ve said!

So, I’m composing in Word and this will come to you when it comes to you. ‘Tis nighttime, and my internet is down.

The seven day period from Friday to Friday went from the drive home in a snowstorm from Yosemite the earlier Friday to temperatures in the upper 80s this Friday. It was a run-of-the-mill J busy week, with a haircut, a Soroptimist meeting in a new venue, a computer club meeting, a manicure, NeedleCrafts, a walk in lieu of the Jane Fonda exercise DVD on one day, meanwhile trying to cram for the visit to the DMV.

Thursday was a good day for a walk.

Every spring this blooming bush looks so beautiful as I
trudge up the hill, but turns out rather scraggly in photos.

 I tried this close-up. These are very complicated little blooms.

Does anyone know what this bright red
flower is that the deer haven’t eaten?

There were watchers on this walk.

One blue eye and one gold eye

It’s also election season.

Thursday was also a good day for knitting at NeedleCrafts.

All these ladies knitting: I missed one at the far end of the table and also my own snail-like progress on my second block in the blue, white and yellow French fabric quilt.

Very intense!

Lots of little infant hats and other baby items being made as donations.

I’m not sure whether this is the Fair Isles sweater or not.

First timer with the Kitchener stitch. I had a wonderful description of this I was going to use but it’s online, where we can’t go right now! If you know what it is, you know what it is. If you don’t, you can Google it, which is what I did. Before.

I suddenly remembered that my driver’s license has a motorcycle endorsement and it was likely that I’d have to do a written test for that in addition to the automobile one. Luckily, I thought of it at a time when I was able to download the manual for that and this gives me a chance to demonstrate the wondrous Long Reach Stapler. It’s only reaching 5½ inches here, but has the capability for 12 inches. And then there is the Senior Guide for Safe Driving.

My brain was scrambled by the time I read all these. “Back in the day,” the handbook was shorter and consisted of the laws, the rules, the regulations. Something that had answers that were right or wrong. I got a speeding ticket when I was a teenager and was apparently the first female juvenile miscreant the judge had ever come up against and he didn’t want to send me to drivers’ school with all the roughneck boys. He pondered, then assigned me to read the California Vehicle Code (think an inch-and-a-half thick of fine print). My dad was assigned to test me on it.

The handbooks now have a smattering of laws, rules, regulations and lots of discussion of best practices.  A lot of the test questions are like shopping for products at Sears in the old days: you could choose from Good, Better and Best quality. In other words, a wrong is not necessarily wrong, just not the best. Knowledgeable people could disagree on some of these. 

My heart was in my throat as I watch the DMV clerk marking lots of red circles on one of the tests. More than three red circles, which I thought was the limit. Phew! The motorcycle test allowed four misses. It was the general driver’s exam that had a three limit. And wouldn’t you know, I missed a question of law for my one miss. I got the blood alcohol limit wrong. I think I gave them an old timey answer. I think I glossed over those discussions in the handbook because I don’t drink and am not in danger of exceeding the limit. (Memorize those more recent limits, people.)

You also need to see a few of my large weekly supply of kitty pictures. Here Jean-Luc is watching me with his usual casual intensity. 

Jean Luc
Henley sees me taking Jean-Luc’s picture and doesn’t want to be left out. “Here I am,” he says.  

“Just a darn minute here,” chastises Jean-Luc. “You’re stealing my spotlight.” 

Now I relax and at last get to Thursday’s puzzles. By Thursday, the Sudoku puzzle has reached a level of difficulty I don’t get very far with. This Thursday’s was a little excessive in its assistance however. I mean, I didn’t get to fill in one number. On the other hand, I did quite well on my own with the Jumble.

Here’s my new hat from Yosemite. My old one is missing somewhere. I’m convinced it’s at my son’s house, if I could only focus someone’s attention on looking for it. I have not mastered the art of the self-photo. I wanted more hat against a nice background of the wet-plaster bush. I call it that because that’s what it smells like. We moved into our house at the beginning of April and I kept wondering why the wet plaster smell lingered so long, especially since we have dry wall, not plaster. Each year, I’m reminded of our move here when the wet-plaster bush blooms again. I think it’s really called buck brush, although deer of all sexes munch on it without discrimination.

See you soon. (Or not.)