27 January …



Weather …

Thursday  –  warmer with wind, out after mail

Friday  –  rain all day with wind after dark

Saturday –  rain and snow with melt

24 January 2016

Sunday  –  light snow with no accumulation


Monday  –  cold sun with melt

Light Fog

Tuesday  –  fog at home … clear and sunny, but chilly, from paved road to  Medford and back … fog at home

27 January 2016

Wednesday  –  clear and cold  with light fog

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?    — John Steinbeck


The trip to Medford was interesting. 

The fog that we had at home stayed with us, but high, with a layer of wood smoke close to the ground.  The surrounding mountains were hidden.  We could have been in Kansas except for the rising elevation of the highway.

Low areas all along I-5 were muddy and brown with the cattle huddling on the high ground, and in a field north of Yreka someone was shower irrigating.

The railroad between Weed, California and Roseburg, Oregon is running again.  We were run over by a freight (railroad bridge) north of Hornbrook.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they could add a passenger car a couple times a week?

These are the things that keep travel over that route from getting monotonous.


Once again I missed my session at the Family History Center.  Our driveway and the section of road down the hill were not in the best of condition last thursday.  Guess I won’t be working on the genealogy for the neighbor until at least February.


We were able to watch the Met production of “Il Trovatore” on PBS friday evening.  It was interesting for a couple three reasons. 

I am not a Netrebko fan. Part of that may be because she pushed Fleming out of her place at the Met.  I also think her middle range is not as clear as Fleming’s.  In “Trovatore”, there were at least two places where she was obviously straining.  Her range seems to be getting lower, almost mezzo.  That made me wonder (another orchestra question here) if the key is ever shifted to accommodate a “star”.  In addition, age and pregnancies are not being kind to her.  She is looking more and more like Montserrat, still pretty but on the chunky side.

Second thought was that evidently I had never listened that closely to the nuances of the story.  George thinks Tosca is silly.  I think Leonora is simple … at best.  And I kept seeing Kitty Carlisle as Leonora.

But the capper was to learn that Dimitri (you remember Dimitri) had been diagnosed with a brain tumor early last summer.  It affects his balance but not cognition or speech.  As a result, he is limiting his performances while he has treatments in London. 


We had been looking forward to the Met opera saturday morning, as we do nearly every week.  Last week the incompetence of those currently running our Southern Oregon University NPR station made it impossible for us to hear and enjoy “Tannhauser”. 

Ever since we were first able to hear what was then KSOR back in the 80s, we have been members of that NPR service and its subsequent repeater stations which became JPR (Jefferson Public Radio).  For years, these stations were headed by a man named Ron Kramer.  Under his leadership the expansion to cover a broad area of southwestern Oregon and far northern California with quality programming occurred.  The original KSOR became three services … Rhythm and News, Classics and News, and News and Information (an AM provider of more local news).  Currently, all three supposedly serve this area.

With Ron at the helm, several attempts to cutback on this service, such as religious station incursions and a rival NPR outlet based to the south in Chico (without the variety of programming) which wanted exclusive access to Redding and northern California, were thwarted. 

Also under Ron’s leadership, a long abandoned Art Noveau movie theatre in Redding was renovated and turned into a profitable venue for a broad spectrum of art, and renovation on a similar theatre in Medford was begun (and has since been relegated to the back burner).

Then something happened … something BAD.

A couple of years ago, a new President took over at SOU.  I don’t know all the details, but what I have heard indicates she brought some new Board members with her …

and Ron was fired.

The reason given was that he held conflicting jobs as head of the radio system and as leader of the fund raising group for the system.

He was replaced by another who was given the exact same jobs … and both programming (the laughing car boys on Classics?) and service (reception has deteriorated big time) went out the door.

In the past, required fund-raising occurred twice a year with the rest of the time being clear of those incursions.  Now requests for funding is an every day, all day occurrence. 

NPR is supposed to be free of commercials.  We are now subjected to supporter commercials at the rate of at least four or more every hour (except during the opera).

In addition, outages when one or more, and sometimes all, of the services are off the air have increased exponentially.  We lived with occasional weather interruptions for years, but this is different. The interruptions are more frequent and last longer.  The latest one lasted 2 and a half days.

We have no other radio source for classical music (including the saturday operas).  We are old and live on a fixed income.  We can’t afford unlimited internet access or satellite radio.

We will not be renewing our membership until these situations, which seem to be based on someone’s need for personal power, have been corrected. 

End of rant.


Paul Michael turns four tomorrow.  We will call him and sing to him … poor kid.


Another fallout from the death of Bowie.


Sounds okay to me.

Be sorry for the things you were never brave enough to try rather than those you were.


If you ever want a lift, check out the Capeless Heroes Facebook site.



So … ’til next week …




20 January …

We had feared El Niño would be confined to the southern part of the state.  It is not turning out that way.  We are having an old time winter. 

Kaloo Kalay !!!

Last week George had gone out after mail on sunday and we went to Yreka on monday.  I told you about those trips in the last blog.  On wednesday last it snowed a bit, just enough (about 2″) to put a deceptive top on the icy remnants.  Thursday the snow set in big time.

Snow on the windowIt stuck to the window screens …

During the Storm  14 Jan 2016and filled the air.

Sun adter the Storm  15 January 2016Then the sun came out.

By friday morning all trace of the mess made when we came home from Yreka was gone. 

Out the DriveBoth the drive …

Down the roadand the road were pristine … smooth as if no one had been that way for weeks.

Saturday we had a rain-snow mix.  Rain on deep snow means plowing is a don’t-even-think-about-it and this session of rain has been good. 

17th RainWhen it rains, it sheets down the front windows.

18 Jan 2016The melt began to show on monday.

Rain Melt 20 Jan 2016This morning it is really showing. 

The snow level had risen to over 6,000′, so the Eddys and the Mountain are still getting pack.     That’s good.


Death has been in the news a lot lately.  Must be the season.

Within a week … Bowie and Rickman, he of that impressive voice, and at least six others. 

Ever since his shift last week, I’ve been thinking about David (Bowie) Jones.  How can anyone avoid it with the continuing news reports?  The circumstances remind me of the death of a friend a year or so ago.

My friend was diagnosed with ALS, slow muscle degeneration, although his version of the disease wasn’t so slow.  When it reached the point where he couldn’t swallow anything solid and his speech had become slurred, he made his plans to move on. 

He had been active in a local festival and (with the help of friends) was asked to be the Marshal of that year’s event.  That had been a great day with most of the town’s attention focused on him. 

The following day was a gathering of family and close friends at his home with food and music and stories and love and laughter (sort of like a wake but with the guest of honor present).

After all the guests had left, his wife and son helped him to bed and stayed with him.  Before morning he had made his shift to whatever comes next.  The death certificate said “Cardiac Arrest”.

Bowie had been a storyteller/entertainer all his professional life.  He spent months after his cancer diagnosis preparing his tale of leaving using the character of Lazarus to tell the tale as he had used other characters, such as Ziggy and the Duke, to tell their stories.  That offering was released on the 8th of January, his birthday, to much acclaim. 

I’d bet the 9th was a day much like that of my friend … full of family, friends, memories, love, and joy.  I’d bet his family saw him to bed that night and sat with him while he made his shift.  The death certificate said “Liver Cancer”.

My guess is the physical cause in both instances was really a choice for dignity over slow, inevitable decay and the pain which that decay would cause both the persons and their loved ones.

Assisted Death doesn’t cause more deaths …

                                                          it prevents more suffering.


New officers were due to be elected at the radio club meeting this evening.  Based on the weather, I decided to cancel this evening’s meeting.  I know it isn’t the first time the club has done without a January meeting.  We’ll just do the election first thing at the February meeting.

I’ve been nominated to continue as Presiding Office.  I would kind of like that.  It gets George and me out at least one night a month.

We shall see …


One really interesting sidelight from last saturday’s opera, “Pearl Fishers”, was an insight into the magnificent duet between the tenor and baritone.  It is often performed as a concert/recital piece, but the entire opera isn’t produced that often.

The tenor currently singing Nadir (the tenor lead) at the Met, who has sung the duet often but only now in situ, said he had never before paid any attention to the fact that in the opera Nadir is lying through his teeth. 

Puts an interesting slant on how it is sung.


“Mercy Street” premiered last sunday. 

Gritty, dirty, bloody, incisive, some offensive characters, some sympathetic characters, prejudices, mercy, changes …

A bit hard to watch, especially for a nurse trained in the mid- and late-20th century. 

When I was in nurses’ training, one of my classmates had a Civil War surgeon’s instrument kit (one of her ancestors had been a Union doctor).  The tools were shocking.  Doctors got the job done with the best tools available at the time, but it was shocking.

I’ll be watching on sundays.


Politics is not something I discuss (in public) very often.  Differences of opinion are normal and should not lead to anger, but they do lead there often enough that I try not to be there … let alone be an instigator.

But something is happening which has given me pause … the question of what constitutes natural born

It seemed a bit silly in re Obama’s birth in Hawai’i since the islands’ history as part of the US predates their state status by quite a long time (why get so upset over the bombing of Pearl Harbor if Hawai’i wasn’t part of the US?). 

But tying eligibility for political office to a parent rather than to place of birth offers a conundrum.  If that is the test, anyone born to a US citizen anywhere in the world and raised in their birthplace having never seen the US or been exposed to its culture or educated in its schools, i.e. knowing nothing about the US, would be eligible to run for the position of President. 

Since US citizens travel and relocate extensively, eventually there would be people on every continent, who know nothing about this country and who, nonetheless, would be eligible.

I know that is way out at the end of probability, even sounding sort of silly, but unless the law defining a natural born citizen is clarified it remains a possibility.

It would seem knowledge of and a relationship with the US should matter more than parentage, i.e. maybe being born in and raised as a US citizen should be the test, not the citizenship of your parents.

Just thinking out loud …


I received another punch last week.

A friend of over 40 years was told a bit before Thanksgiving that her breast cancer had returned, stage 4.  She is currently in the chemo-radiation mode.

The day before Thanksgiving, another friend was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer.  He is having radiation treatments.  

Then last week I learned that another friend was diagnosed (on her birthday) with stage 4 esophageal cancer.  She started the chemo-radiation this week.

All of these folks are younger than George or me.

At this stage of life, I expected that friends my age or older would be having these kinds of trouble, just not the younger ones.  I, selfishly, had been thinking they’d be around to worry about me.  So …

Pray hard for my friends in the best interest of all concerned, please.


Headline … “Dog tucks in baby with its nose”.  How did the baby get the dog’s nose?              


The holiday cactus in back of the Montserrat Madonna has finally chosen to bloom.Cactus


A word from Ray Bradbury …

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!”


So … ’til next week …




13 January …


My volunteer session at the Family History Center last thursday didn’t happen.  The road outside the driveway was closed by the snow as was the church parking area in town.  Besides, who could be expected to be out for genealogy research when there was that much snow … 10″ new in the city. 

Next scheduled day will be the 21st.  I’m working on a family history line that needs access to European sources so I’m stuck with a mixed wish … no snow so I can use the LDS free sites or snow because we need it.  Guess I’ll  go with SNOW.

We haven’t seen the Mountain in a few days, but someone in town got this shot …10 January 2016


During one of the snowfalls last week, I spent a morning making fresh tomato sauce for pasta from frozen summer bounty … freezer to table with green salad and cheese toast.

Frozen TomatoesStarting to StewIn ProcessOn the Table


In addition to the movies to which we look forward at winter holiday time every year, there are two goopy items which come to the surface for me.  One I’ve written about before (and quoted to folks at dinners and potlucks) …

“Offer thanks for dirty dishes.  They have a tale to tell.  While other folks go hungry, we’re eating very well.”

The other is a radio clip I wait to hear.  I first heard it on NPR 30 or 35 years ago.  It makes George and our son roll their eyes.  It is sloppy sentimental, but it reminds me how blessed I am.

If that makes you wonder, you can hear it at …



A new year hasn’t improved people’s grammar any, not even on NPR.  The other day, within half an hour, I heard it announced that a man was refused a job because he had “… committed a felony on a job application,” and that the father of a convict had “… died while he was in prison.”

What kind of felony can be committed on a job application?  And it was notable that both father and son were in prison (eye roll here).

In addition, misplaced modifiers keep turning up … and they’re getting better all the time.

In a blurb for a tv show … “A hard-charging prosecutor in a loveless marriage is accused of murdering a colleague with whom he had an affair after she turned up dead.”

Facebook isn’t much better.  There was a post about successful people who had initially been failures which noted about one man that “his fiancé died, failed in business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in eight elections.”  Tough luck for the fiancé.  I wonder what the man’s history was like.

I knew what was meant each time, but my kneejerk is to despair and wish schools still taught grammar.

There are occasional sparks of hope.  In an interview with an educator on PBS, a UCLA professor, he cited a school which INSISTS each and every teacher teach literacy regardless of their main subject, i.e. math teachers are required to teach grammar and art as well as math, etc. etc. etc.


On the subject of language …

For quite some time now, I have advocated that operas be translated into English.

For too long, opera has been owned by wealthy, show-off snobs or immigrants whose first languages were German, French, or Italian. As a result, Americans whose ONLY language is English did not learn or appreciate opera. 

If opera is ever to be appreciated in this country it needs to come to those people.  In my experience, I learned to appreciate opera through my introduction to a translated production … “Tales of Hoffman” … in 1951.  My grandchildren’s introduction was to a translation of “The Magic Flute” and then “Hansel and Gretel” both of which were holiday offerings at the Met.

There are great basic stories in opera but it is difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy them if you can’t understand what the characters are saying without pulling your attention away from the action in order to read printed translation.

I know I’ve been on this soap box before.  Watching our DVD of “Die Fledermaus” last New Year’s Eve highlighted the difference between Europe and America when it comes to language.  The Covent Garden production was in three languages (English, German, and French) with dialogue moving through them seamlessly.  Characters switch smoothly from one language to another within a single speech. We have watched it often, and we have snatches of both German and French, so we can enjoy the flow although there are still places I need to read the subtitles.  However, the European audience probably had little trouble since a lot, if not most, Europeans speak multiple languages.  That is most likely a result of European countries being small compared to the US, each with its own language.  Travel is easier which makes the need for more than one language a necessity.

I’m not sure what the purpose of this rant is.  I can think of many directions in which it might go … translate opera and stop looking down on bi-lingual people, or teach. really teach, English speakers some other language to the point of fluency rather than just enough to get a C,  or require immigrants be taught English.  I will undoubtedly return to this at some time in the future since it crops up fairly frequently … like every saturday when I listen to the Met.

Oh well …


It seems that in several cities there are businesses called something like “Party Bikes” which are bar-hopping tour parties on wheels defined by law as any purely pedal-powered and commercially owned “group cycle” with an independent driver and at least five passenger seats. The passengers can’t just sit there … at least some have to pedal.

Before new laws which went into effect 1 January, the passengers could drink only during the stops at pubs and bars.  Now, in some places, open container laws have been modified so that party bikes can allow, or even serve, beer and wine while en route between stops.

The news report made me think of the title Ray Bradbury gave the fourth chapter of his book, “Zen on the Art of Writing” … “Drunk and in charge of a Bicycle.”


Weather had a lot to do with the proposed trip out to the mail boxes (which George did on sunday) and to Yreka (which we did yesterday).

6 January 2016… the 6th

8 January 2016… the 8th

9 January 2016… the 9th


I posted the following on Facebook yesterday evening, but I’m repeating it here for those who don’t do Facebook …

Out and return for the mail had been no problem. The trip to Yreka on tuesday was not too much trouble going out, just a bit of slipping going down the curved hill. 

Coming in was no problem until the same spot in the curve just below the driveway entrance.  At one point, it took two tries to get back on the road out of the north side ditch.  However, the big adventure came when we tried to make the 90°plus turn into the driveway.  The temperature monday and tuesday had been above freezing so the drifts, what with melting,had gotten soft.  At the turn, the truck dug down to dirt but by then there was a berm of about 18″ of gloppy snow in front of each tire so traction didn’t help.

This is not the first time this has happened.  We talked, in the past, of putting a snow fence along the side of the drive where the wind blows the deep drifts into that intersection and a way down the hill.  Never got it done. 

It will be on the To Do list for next autumn!

George walked in to the house (about 500′) and brought the tractor back to pull the truck out.  It worked and we were home and unpacking by the time the news came on the telly at 1530.

And  … as an aside …

Yesterday, before we left home, I read that it was “Kiss a Ginger” day. In the produce section at the store I saw a young man with vivid red hair and beard. So I went up to him, told him to be careful because it was “Kiss a Ginger” day, and kissed him on the cheek. I walked away giggling. I heard him trying to explain to his buddy what had just happened.

We both had something to talk and laugh about the rest of the day. 

13 January 2016Here’s what it looks like this morning and it is snowing again.

Next scheduled trip out? … wednesday the 20th.


How can I finish without mentioning the death of David (Jones) Bowie?  A teacher to the end … Do not go gentle into that good night … “Look up here, I’m in heaven …”   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-JqH1M4Ya8


I am only a couple of weeks late offering a New Year’s wish for us all …


May we have enough happiness to make us sweet, enough trials to make us strong, enough sorrow to keep us human and enough hope to make us happy.


So … ’til next week …




 6 January …



Okay …

     Ready for another year ?

          Onward !!!


Blessings to all on Epiphany … the Twelfth Day of Christmas … the day the Wise Men finally found their way to the manger … the day “my” house overflowed with birds and trees and dancing Lords and milking maids and jewelry and who knows what else …

On Facebook, a friend in Hawai’i has been posting a variation of the song.  Each day he wrote “On the –th day of Christmas …” and leaves the rest for his followers/friends to complete.  The answers have been varied.  Some carried on with the original theme. Others posted wishes.  Others joked.

Guess what I did.


I have been thinking about the source of the “New Year” and the word “calendar” …

One story is that since, in the very first year of his life, Adam had no way of knowing the cyclical seasonal changes that occur in the lengths of the days (although Eden is supposedly in the Middle East where day lengths don’t vary that much).  Adam became very disturbed when the first winter began to approach and he saw that the days were getting shorter and the nights longer. He began to fear that the day was being consumed by a cosmic serpent, and that the pattern would persist indefinitely until daylight disappeared altogether.

This dread continued to trouble Adam until the arrival of the winter solstice when the pattern began to reverse itself and the days began to lengthen.  At this point, Adam exclaimed “Kalon dio, a Greek phrase which has been construed by assorted modern scholars as meaning, “Praise be to God,” or “Beautiful day.”

From that day onward, the winter holiday has been observed by Adam’s descendants, though the original reason may have been garbled in the transmission (and the assumption that Adam spoke Greek).

… and another though in re time …

Most “westerners” see time as having the past behind them and the future ahead.  Some natives peoples see it the other way … with the future behind and the past in front.

One group puts the past behind since they understand it as something unchangeable and site the future open before them.  The other puts the future where they can’t yet see their way into it and the past where they can study and learn from it.

On New Year’s Day I spent time thinking about this.  It would seem the basic difference is in the way people think about their place in the world.

Westerners tend to see themselves as actively moving through time while others see themselves as in the “now” with time moving around them.  One is concentrated on “control” in order to shape the future.  The other focuses on “acceptance” and “learning” in order to adapt the future.

… and still another thought …

The source of the name of the first month offers a bit of insight.  As a two-faced deity, Janus was believed to look simultaneously at the past and at the future.  Hence he was selected as the appropriate god for the new year.  The lesson in that choice of name would seem to be that each is important and worthy of attention. 

The lessons might be interpreted as …

Don’t ignore the past and spend all your energy trying to completely control the future.

Don’t spend all your time studying the past while facing the future passively.

Instead … Pay attention to the past, carry forward the knowledge of the results of decisions made, and use that knowledge to make better decisions and manifest a better future.


Every year we have a “DISASTER” at New Year’s.  It’s like clockwork.  We can count on it.  The well pump fails, the hydro gets plugged, the cow has trouble delivering in the middle of a blizzard, the roof develops a leak, etc. etc. etc.

This year it was the internet.  The modem provided by our ISP appeared to die sometime the evening of the 30th.  I had checked the mail and Facebook around 1700 and all was normal, but by the time I did a last check for the day, on my way to bed, the service was gone.  It was still gone the morning of the 31st.

When he checked with the server, George was told (after running some checks as directed by the service rep) the problem was indeed the modem and not something with the outdoor equipment (and if that tech talk is incorrect … oh well …).

It was necessary to send the needed part to the repair service in our area and it wouldn’t arrive until the 2nd.  The repair company doesn’t work on sundays, so the earliest we could get our service back was monday the 4th.  But service resumed without any interference and the tech call was cancelled. 

It is interesting how much use we make of a (for us) new technology.  It was also interesting to see how easy it was for us to get along without it although it did return intermittently for short periods of time. 

It was not so easy for family and friends who use the net to keep an eye on us.

The situation is resolved until next time.  All is back to normal.


The snow pack, both to the north, in the Sierras, and on the Mountain is above 100% … 130% to the east and 170% to the north.  The cloak on the Mountain is good.  Mt Shasta City got about a foot of new snow yesterday and it is snowing this morning.  We are grateful for what we have. 

Another blessing of this snow is that it is melting slowly from the bottom.  That means the water is going into the earth and hence to the water table rather than running off down the creeks to the Shasta River to the Klamath River and on to the sea.

6 January 2016

This morning it is snowing pretty heavy (even if you can’t see the flakes in the picture) and has been since before dawn.  Mt Shasta City is supposed to get a foot or so.  That means we may be in for two feet or more. The 7-11 is doing well and the wood supply is good.

There are at least two more months of winter.  We’ll see what they bring.


The young couple from up the road were to be here for dinner on the 1st.  They are much like us in that they don’t feel the need to go out EVERY day (as some of the other neighbors do whether or not they have to work).  Consequently, we see them at intervals rather than all the time.  That makes the times when we do get together enjoyable with a lot to share.

But they weren’t able to be here.  He had injured his knee a few months ago and it isn’t healing as expected so driving is difficult and snowshoeing is out of the question. 

George and I spent the day snugged in … alone together.

It was a good day.  Being without guests left it open for us to watch the new “Sherlock” without being rude.

Seeing the current Holmes and Watson in the 19th century after watching them in the 21st was great fun.  The actors must have spent time watching the Brett era films because they were on character. 

I was never a fan of Rathbone and Bruce but was captured by Brett and Hardwicke.

The current presentations are running nearly neck and neck with the Brett interpretation, so watching Cumberbatch and Freeman in the 19th century was a treat (even though the time switches had George a bit confused).

Now we can look forward to the next in the “Sherlock” series due in the US this spring.


And while I’m talking about television … we’re into the last season of Downton Abbey.  Will Lord Grantham slowly back out of running the estate now that he has acknowledged Mary’s capabilities?  Will Lady Mary give up her position as top dog at the Abbey by marrying again?  Will Lady Edith find happiness?  Will the Dowager Countess live into her 100s?  Will Tom bring Sibby back to Downton?  Will Carson and Hughes really marry and retire?  Will the Bates’ be able to settle down in peace and will there be children?  What is in store for Barrow and Daisy and Mosely and Mrs. Patmore and the servants at the Dower House? 

The montage published by Masterpiece to say “Happy New Year” raised some questions.  Notable by their absence were Lady Mary, Anna Bates, Marigold, Barrow, and Daisy. Interesting …

So many questions. 

I anticipate there won’t be a “wrap-up” but rather we will back out of the main hall leaving them around the 1925 Christmas tree, the main door will close and we will no longer have a way to peep into their lives.  It reminds me of the final episode of “Northern Exposure” when the day just ended and the door shut.

… Life went/goes on.


Our new daughter-in-law had a birthday last sunday.

Happy Day, Kamille.  We hope you enjoyed the serenade.  Maybe sometime we’ll be able to join the celebration.


We’ve had a few REALLY cold days.  Not as cold as over in Klamath County, but cold enough.  Nighttime temperatures got down as low as 10° and one morning the temp in the solarium was 33°, the lowest we can remember it being.

George and I have adjusted our outdoor chores.  Since he bundles up to go out to care for the cats in the morning, he now also does the chickens.  No sense both of us doing the “add layers” thing. 

I still collect eggs and bring in the waterer in the evening.  Gives me a chance to keep up the dialog with the ladies.



To begin the new year …



Friedrich Nietzsche put it well when he said …

“If you have a ‘why’ to live, you can bear with any ‘how’.”



Just remember to at least once a day give someone a full smile.


So, ’til next week …