24 February …


Well … I’m the Presiding Officer for the radio club for another year.


Weather is still doing a guess-what-comes-next thing.  After I posted the blog last week, it began to rain (over 2″ by the time it was done) and it had begun to snow by the time we left the radio clubhouse to come home … then thursday morning the snow began in earnest. Snowfall 2

By friday morning it was winter again.19 Feb 2016

By friday afternoon the hydro intake was clogging so George took off on the “mule” to clear it.On his way

By sunday, when we went grocery shopping, the mountain was looking nice.Mountain  21 February 2016

By monday the thaw had left only about 40% of the ground covered by snow.

By tuesday morning, as we left for Medford, at home most of the snow was gone but the Mountain looked fine …Mountain   23 February 2016

and the reservoir is obviously filling.Filling Reservoir

Then this morning we were treated to really cold sun.Cold Sun


My scheduled session at the Family History Center was cancelled again.  They weren’t even open.  Who would go out to do genealogy in a snow storm?  Next scheduled session … 3 March.


Yesterday we saw the retinologist … again.  Not much improvement, but that’s a plus because at least his eyesight isn’t deteriorating.  Next appointment the end of March.


Our range’s oven is failing.  So while we were in Medford yesterday, we went by West Coast Appliances to check out a new range.  What an eye opener.  We had paid about $350 – 400 for the one I have.

I would like to have two ovens … a small one for small stuff like a pie or muffins or a single loaf of bread and a large one for turkeys or when I’m baking several things at once.  Forget it.  Lowest price we saw was $1,200+.

So no extra oven.  Maybe a small separate one like the toaster evens we used to have but large enough for a 14′ pie?  Starting price $ 599.  And this is at a discount dealer.

We shall see …


Remember a couple of weeks ago when I went on a rant about our local NPR station?  At the time all I was doing was letting off steam.  I had no idea anything could be done about it.  I just assumed we would continue listening and ranting at the begging and commercials.

However, our younger son had a solution. 

We now have Sirius radio … woohoo.  But that has presented a new problem.  When you’re standing at the buffet table, how do you decide what to put on your plate?  Met Opera? 40s-50s music?  BBC news?  NPR news?  Smooth Jazz?  Blues?  Symphonic?  TED presentations? and on … and on … and on …

We are blessed in our children.


I recently finished reading the first of the Shadowhunter books.  Fantasy in full bloom.  An easy, fun read. 

Still dabbling into the history of the Tudors.  What a fascinating time.

And I’m also reading in “Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets”.  So far it is a mixed bag, but then so far I’ve read only four of the stories. 


The “light” year is going forward.  As I get out of bed a bit after 0500 I can now see the difference between the black trees and the light blue-charcoal sky.  By the time we finish breakfast, it is light enough to see everything outdoors.  The sun is not yet up before 0630, but the change in “day” length is noticeable.


Last week I got a note from a cousin about some pictures I’d used.  He sent one of a railroad crossing with a “Yield” triangle sign right below the railroad crossed bars.  It had been taken as the car was moving and I wasn’t able to clear it up enough to post. 




I did, however, find this crossing signs on another web site (no photographer listed so can’t give credit).



As a close …

Hill to Homehere’s a shot of one of my favorite sections of the road to our house.  It’s the last climb before you get to the driveway.  It pleasures me every time I drive it.  May be the trees.  May be because we’re home.  What ever …


And so … an interesting thought in closing …


Men with courage do not slay dragons, they ride them.


‘Til next week …





 17 January …


Last wednesday we made a trip out to Yreka.  It was a shopping trip.  George suggested we have dinner at Casa Ramos. 

What’s to say “No” …

We go there most every time we do shopping in Yreka … unless we’re in a hurry.  Then we go to Subway in the south-of-town shopping center.  I prefer Casa Ramos.

We always have the daily special.  Last week it was a Mucho Grande (Pollo) Burrito.  Yea … Mucho Grande.

You know those big, oval, heavy pottery plates Mexican restaurants use?  Well, those burritos filled the plates.  The chopped greens, salsa, tomatoes, and sour cream had to go on top of the burrito rather than on the side.

I always leave there with a full belly, a big smile, and three or four of their chocolate mints.

If there is a Casa Ramos in your area … try it … I’d bet you’ll like it.  They are owned by a single family who insist on authenticity and quality.  And no, I was not paid for this commercial … but we do get a veteran’s discount at the local places (one in Mt Shasta, one in Yreka).


Ever need an eye candy lift during your day?  I get one from my older son’s page when I feel that need … http://occularity.tumblr.com/


The situation up in Oregon in re public lands has this area mesmerized.  There was a gathering in Yreka last week … men in cowboy hats, with sidearms, on horseback.  That was interesting.

I was unaware there was any federal land in this area being used by ranchers for grazing.  Guess I should have known. 

A bit ago there was talk of creating a National Monument for land protection in the northeast part of the county and signs saying “NO Monument” showed up.  There are still a few of them around, but no longer any big fuss.

I wonder what happened.


Two days before Valentine’s Day there was an article on NPR about how folks buy Valentine gifts.  It said that when you’ve been together a long time, you tend to buy gifts which benefit both of you … George said  “Happy Valentine’s Day.  I bought you an electric chain saw.”

Let’s see … what did I get for him ???   Garden seeds.


I had an interesting interlude yesterday morning.

When I am sitting at the computer, I can look out the south windows past the trees, across the meadow, toward the Eddys. Early tuesday (as the morning light began), I was concentrating on finding an agent for the work I’ve been fiddling with for a few years and I glanced out the windows just to get a boost from the view.  It was as I expected … soft, clear, green, and gold.

I went back to work and when I glanced out again, about 10 minutes later (the sun still wasn’t up), I could no longer see the mountains.  They had hidden in mist/fog.  I could, however, still see the meadow.  Two minutes later the meadow had joined the mountains in the fog.  Another couple of minutes and the trees near the meadow were gone.  Another minute or two and trees near the house were getting gauzy.

Then all of a sudden the view was back to soft, clear, green, gold.  The air was so clear I was able to see the remaining patches of snow at the top of the meadow and on the mountains.

What a ride …


The death of Scalia … quite a surprise.  I was anticipating the loss of Ginsberg first.


It appears we will finally be able to elect the amateur radio club officers for the coming year.  The roads are clear so the meeting this evening is a go.  I think I know what the results will be … but stay tuned.


Latest misplaced modifier … “He never knew his father who died when he was two-years-old.”

Neat trick …


Winter snow does us a favor sometimes not noticed.  It clears most of the moss build-up off the roof. Roof Moss

Rain this morning …17 January 2016 due to last through tomorrow with the possibility of snow above 3,500′. 

We’re at 4,200′.


And finally, today is “Random Acts of Kindness” Day.  With that in mind, here is some advice for the coming week …


“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions be louder than your words.”


So … ’til next week …



10 February …


Last week was a bit out of kilter.  Sorry the blog was late.  I am hoping that time is past as I begin to plan for Spring.


I think I neglected to share a photo of this year’s under-tree train.

Holiday Train 2016

The engine is different.  The joy is the same.


The wheel of the year is certainly turning.  It seems just a few days ago that it was completely dark outdoors by 1530.  Now it is still light at 1800.  Soon twilight will last until 2300.  Time is going by soooooo fast.


3 January 2016We had snow again beginning on Groundhog Day and continuing, but not steadily, until the weekend. 

I missed my session at the Family History Center … again.  Our road wasn’t in deep snow, but what snow we had was on top of ice. I had to go out for mail and it took me thirty minutes to go the three miles to sanded pavement. 

The FHC used to expect this and just not schedule me from the middle of December until the end of February.  I am hoping we are getting back to “normal” in re snow pack, so that schedule may become the norm again as well.

I am getting antsy about starting the family history which involves non-US research.  Maybe I’ll have to find a way to upgrade my Ancestry membership to International for half a year.   Oh well …


Friday last, we received this notice from the local landowners’ group … 

“Today’s power outage lasted for one hour and sixteen minutes with ten thousand five hundred customers effected.”

Reminded me how lucky we are with our power set-up.  We didn’t know anything about the outage until we got the email.  Our lights and house equipment (such as the washer and fridge and telly) were working as usual.

Oh well …


Recently heard this report on NPR, and am still digesting the idea that we are funding both sides of the conflicts in the Middle East and the Ukraine.

The Pentagon is spending money to counter Russian aggression. And yet to launch top-secret military satellites, the Pentagon still relies almost entirely on rocket engines made in Russia.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, at a January hearing Sen. McCain held on the Russian rocket engines, told his armed services panel the U.S. would need to buy at least another 18 of them at $30 million apiece before an American-made replacement is ready.

Guess it is a good way to hedge your bet … i.e. whatever happens, you win … but is it ethical  (we’re killing “collateral damage” on both sides)?  Shouldn’t voting taxpayers have a say?

I remember when we MADE most of what we needed (our own space equipment, clothing, building supplies, food).  In those days most people had jobs at livable wages, children went to school at no cost for tuition or supplies (lunch did cost … a quarter), doctors were family docs and made house calls, and so on and so on …

Nowadays the unemployment rate is high and many of those who do have work don’t receive a livable wage, tuition is VERY high and students and teachers have to provide pencils and paper and all other supplies, doctors are specialists a lot of whom are millionaires, we ship our raw materials overseas and pay high prices for the returned finished products, people at the bottom of the fiscal profile are deemed worthless and those at the top are dis-proportionally rewarded merely for being at the top, and so on and so on …

This country, which was once a shining light in the world, is now an author of darkness and is becoming the prime example of ignorant wrong thinking.

I don’t have a solution to this problem, but I have no doubt it is a problem.

And that makes choosing for whom to vote a real conundrum.  Some candidates seem to think the process is a joke.  Other candidates appear to acknowledge the problems, but the government machinery is such that they may have little or no chance of making a difference.  Maybe electing a clown who will immediately destroy the country is the best choice.  Once destroyed, the way to rebuild is open.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again … this time without all the mistakes?

People don’t fail — they give up.

Pay attention to what is happening.  Make your choice.  Vote. Good luck.


This morning the melt has cleared the land …10 January 2016

the sun is shining …10 January 2016 Dawn

 and a new day has begun.


‘Til next week …



3 February …


Sorry I’m late …


Last wednesday evening we got an automated phone call from the Yreka police telling us of a missing boy … providing a physical description, clothing, place last seen, and asking for help locating him. That was the first time we’d ever received such a phone call.  I had heard the county was planning an Orange Alert program but hadn’t experienced it.  That call was followed within an hour by an all clear … the child had been found.  I guess the system works.

The event reminded me of times when we first moved out here.  We were the only ones this far out.  The nearest neighbor was about two miles away. 

During those days, among the lost souls arriving on our doorstep, in the middle of a blizzard, was a man looking like a Yeti … trying to take food to his dogs.  He was about a mile in the wrong direction.  At the time we were still using space in the barn as a living room.  He said he had seen the smoke from our wood stove and knew he could get warm there.

Another time it was a couple who had been hiking in the meadows northwest of us.  They had waited too long to start their return and got lost.  They were trying to get to Old Stage Road (which was not paved in those days) and got turned around.  They had been walking away from the road toward the mountains.  They spent the night in the trees and showed up at the barn when George went out to milk in the morning.

Another time the wife of the local California Highway Patrol Captain (I think that was his rank … anyway, he was the top dog) had come into our area to pick up her daughter and one of her daughter’s friends from a Brownie meeting.  It was late autumn and after dark.  She had her younger son with her and turned left at an intersection when she should have turned right.  They ended getting stuck in a mud hole on the road which runs along the far side of our property and spending the night huddled together on the back seat of the car.  The next morning they saw the barn and walked across the swampy meadow to ask if they could use our phone.  We didn’t have a phone in those days, so George put them in the Jeep and took them out to the road where they met a phalanx of CHiPs and Sheriffs looking for them.  Interesting follow-up is that about three years ago, when doing one of the radio club public service events, we met the wife of the now adult little boy involved in that adventure.  She called him to come meet us and take pictures.

There were at least three or four similar lost people events over those early years, but that’s enough to tell now.  You get the idea. 

And now, post-Silicon Valley money influx, there are lots of (too many) neighbors so no more lost souls.


During one of his BORED periods this winter, when he couldn’t get outdoors, George found a free television channel which shows old series from the 60s and 70s.  As a result he got into the habit of watching “Adam 12” weekday mornings.  What a trip …

It was filmed in Los Angeles and there is vista after vista of empty fields and nearly empty streets, a freeway under construction, housewives in aprons, lovely Chevrolet automobiles, and a police force the likes of which our younger son joined lo those many years ago only to have it morph out from under him into the kind of military force we see today.

Oh well …


Sunshine Eggs

For those who took HomeEc in middle school … did you learn to make Sunshine Eggs?

Breakfast this morning …



Weather has been in the if-you-don’t-like-it-wait mode.  Each day a new adventure.

29  January 2016

the 29th …

30 January 2016

the 30th …

31 Hanuary 2016

the 31st …

Before Dawn 2  February 2016


Groundhog Day dawned with a fresh layer of snow, but by 0900 the sun was out and shining.  Shadows were seen … six more weeks of winter.  Oh well …

~~~Out the Front Windows 2 February 2016

And this afternoon it is snowing and building again.  Here’s the current view out the windows.

So …


Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.


        …’til next week …





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 …




30 December …


Well … it was a loverly Christmas.  First time in years and years that it was truly white.14 Dec 2015We’d been having snow on and off for several days,30 Dec 2015 Broken Birch Branch



and one of the birch branches got broken.



John and his partner Michael arrived near dusk Christmas Eve.  The house was warm, there were holiday lights on, and the fresh stuff they brought completed the pantry. 

John Decorating 2015

The Winter Tree was late this year and the train suffered a major disaster.  But Christmas Day, John helped decorate. 

Weather cooperated with lovely snow vistas and John and Michael were able to experience some of the magick I am unable to capture with a camera such as the meadow full of sun diamonds.25 Dec 2015 Icicles



However, the wonder of the icicles were one of the things they did see.


We watched some of the collected holiday movies … on Christmas Eve  Patrick Stewart’s “Christmas Carol” (a copy of which we received several years ago from younger son Mark), on Christmas Day  “Mister MaGoo’s Christmas Carol” (a family tradition from years and years ago when the boys were young), and on Christmas Night  “A Christmas Story” (full of nostalgia from when George and I were young).

Christmas Moon 2015

The Christmas Night Moon was lovely and bright.

John and Michael left saturday morning.  As always when family has been here and then left, the house seemed empty for a while. 

Oh well …


30 Dec 2015We had been scheduled to see the retinologist in Medford the 22nd but cancelled due to snow.  Instead we went yesterday.

29 Dec 2015 DawnIt was just barely showing signs of sunrise when we left.  The road was crunchy with overnight ice.  The sky was clear and crystal with reflections where there didn’t seem to be anything off of which to reflect.  Wonderous.

And COLD … but the passes were clear.

On the section of I-5 where you look down into the Colestin Valley it was hidden under a thick fog blanket. There was high fog on the Oregon side of the summit.  We tucked in under it and drove with no problem.

Results of the appointment were that the fluid in the retina is diminishing as is the fluid under the retina.  The delay in treatment due to the snow didn’t seem to have caused any problem.

At this stage of life, no change is a good thing.

Following the appointment (next one the 26th January) we did our regular circuit … Harbor Freight, WalMart (no tax in Oregon), Sizzler and Franz Outlet (where we get third day breadstuffs for the animals and second day loaves and bagels for us … we got one cart of animal feed and the clerk tried to get us to take two but due to a Harbor Freight purchase there was no room in the bed of the truck), CostCo (gas is always about 40¢ a gallon cheaper), and then home.

There had been “weather” predicted, but we had no trouble on the roads.

I always drive after the eye treatments and was dreading the turn from High Meadow into the driveway when we got home.  I had the truck in 4-wheel drive low and 1st gear and made it into the drive with only one scrape along the left side (the turn is sharp to the left and the depth of snow at the cut through was deep).

It was dark by the time we got supplies into the house and the woodstove lit.

George then got all the breadstuff out of the truck and down into the lower barn using a flashlight.  We couldn’t leave it in the back of the truck because our bears don’t seem to be hibernating this year.  They aren’t active up here but are quite active the other side of Old Stage Road and there is no reason to take chances.

We are now in and snug with no reason to go out again until the first thursday in January.

22 Dec 2015 Snow Depth

Good thing because it was snowing again when we got up this morning.

30 Dec 2015 Back Steps with Cat Tracks



About four inches new, and the cats have already been to the back door.




Remember I told you about the sandwich miracle last week?  Well here’s what those sandwiches look like …Sandwiches


Nearly twenty years ago I had a long discussion with a niece about whether it is easier to lose someone slowly or to have them gone in an instant.  She had just lost her husband to a long lingering series of illnesses as a result of the Nam war.  My middle son had recently died in a flaming vehicle accident.

As I recall, we agreed loss is loss however it comes.  You are never ready.

Now, all these years later, I find myself in a similar relationship except that this time I am the one on the LOOOOOOONG road due to age. 

What has the lesson been?    Loss is loss BUT love is love. 

One occurs … the other endures.


Got a note from a cousin in Florida …
I was rereading last weeks blog and you mentioned porcupine meatballs in the menu. Now you know I am a City Boy, and you got my interest. I was thinking that you went out and got some porcupines and made meat balls of them. I do know that they are eatable. I googled them and found out they are beef.  I thought you and your friends would get a laugh out this…
Cuz Don

2016 is imminent.  Day after tomorrow we will be in a new year … watching Sherlock in the evening …

Young neighbors will be here for dinner but probably get home before dark …

“Die Fledermaus” twice (the old one from Covent Garden on New Years’ Eve and the new one currently at the Met on saturday) …

Downton Abbey next sunday.  

Great start to a year.   I am sure it will be filled with much joy, some sadness, and adventures beyond imagining.

Here are my wishes courtesy of Abby Willowroot …New Year's Prayer   

May we all be Blessed!


So, ’til next week …






23 December …


15 Dec 2015  Dawn                                Last wednesday began cold and clear. 

As I go out to care for the ladies, I have the opportunity to admire my surroundings and give thanks.Ladies' ViewEach chore trip turns into a Blessing.  I am so fortunate.


The radio club’s holiday potluck went well.

I know I promised pictures and I did remember to take my camera … but the batteries were dead.  So no pictures. 

Too bad because the club house was decorated beyond extravagant.  The lighting was exceptional.  The food was chef level.  The drinks flowed like the proverbial wine.  The music and singing sounded professional.  The dreidle games and their payoffs were on a par with Vegas.   Fabulous !

And you have no way to prove I may be exaggerating ’cause there are no pictures.  Oh well …

But honestly folks, we did have a good time.  George and another ham put tinsel and lights around the front door.  The food tables held trail mix as a starter; porcupine meatballs, spinach linguini, A-1 homemade mac and cheese,  slow-cooker yams and apples, and grilled tri-tip as main dishes; two green mixed salads and a jello salad; wine; and a berry pie plus pumpkin cream cheese moussè to end the meal.  And that (as Edith Ann would say) is the trooth.

One member showed up in a Santa hat and proceeded to lead the singing.

Before dinner stories about radio mis-adventures were shared.  After dinner there were three dreidle games going.  All three prizes (sets of crocheted pot holders in holiday colours) were won by men.

It was cold, but a member had gone by early and turned on the heaters.  And, of course, when folks started arriving their body warmth kept it all cozy.

As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all.


However … my volunteer session at the Family History Center scheduled for thursday didn’t go so well.  It was cancelled. 

The Sister with whom I had been scheduled to work needed the day for holiday preparations and she was concerned about me having to drive home late in the snowy dark. 

Neither of us really believed any genealogists were going to show up that close to the holidays requesting aid in research.  So we didn’t open. 

Next scheduled session … 7 January.


I went into Weed early saturday to finish off the holiday shopping and to mail the two packages … and  that trip was a story. 

The post office opens at 0930, so I left home about 0900.  It was snowing lightly.  Getting out of the drive was a bit iffy since we hadn’t been out since the snows began in earnest.  By the time I got down the road to the KBar hill, the snow had picked up.  I thought “I used to drive this all the time. I can do it … but it’s been years since this was habitual.  Can I still do it?”

My decision was that the worst of going out was past so I might as well go on into town.  Of course, once I was on pavement I was on roads which had been plowed and sanded.

The post office wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be.  I did meet a couple of people I know and so spent time chatting.  Small town post offices and grocery stores are like that.  I then dropped off the library book (a Kellerman mystery) and went on to the grocery store. 

Four bags and forty minutes later I was in the truck on my way home.  The sun was shining in Weed but I saw the on ramps to the freeway were blocked.  I still don’t know what that was all about.

By the time I got to Old Stage Road it had begun to snow and home looked to be under a dark cloud.  Just before I got off the paved road, I stopped and put the truck into 4-wheel high.  I took it slow and had no problem, not even going up the KBar hill. 

Thinking about the upcoming turns and the slope of our hill, I put it down to 4-wheel low and started up in 1st gear.  No problem … until …

The turn off High Meadow into our driveway is a fraction more than a 90° angle.

I made it.  It took a couple of tries and left the drive entrance in a sorry state, but I was home.

Oh well …

By sunday noon, every trace of my trip was gone under a new layer of snow.

Monday we had the first blizzard we’ve seen in years.DSCF3199Nice.


Monday night, Solstice Eve, was interesting.

Everything was going well … until I put the rice bag in the microwave to heat.  Evidently the fridge and the water pump came on at the same time and the reserve power in the battery bank was challenged.  Instant blackout.

The system has a reset feature, so we decided to just wait rather than suit up and go out to the pump house to do a manual reset.  Besides, it was bedtime.

Next thing I knew it was after 0100 and the power was still off. That raised thoughts of a snow plug in the hydro system or some other catastrophe and I began to worry about the pressures on George.

However, knowing there was nothing to be done until it got light, I was able to go back to sleep. When I awoke again it was 0500 and the power was on … lights, radio, everything. 

George had gotten up at his usual 0400, started the day’s fire, and went out to see what was going on.  The failure was the automatic reset, not the hydro system. 

All is well … batteries up to normal charge, hydro output normal, NPR coming in as clear as usual.

Conclusion … no more reliance on the automatic system until warmer weather facilitates repair.  We’re still in better shape than neighbors on the grid.  They’ve had a series of outages over the last couple of weeks lasting as much as eight hours at a time.  We slept through ours.


One nice thing about this time of year is the memories. Remember Christmases on the radio (radio? what’s that?) …


Climate change has been making weird with things around here.  So far we haven’t seen any invasion, but bears have taken out chickens to the east (Dogwood Drive), north (Ponderosa Drive), and northwest (Rocky Road) of us and three cougars were seen to the northwest (also Rocky Road). Bears have also been tracked onto porches (Dogwood Drive and Maple Drive).  No housing break-ins however.

Bears should be hibernating and cougars should be higher on the mountainside mating.

Our hens are very old for layers so if something takes them it will be no big loss.  I’m toying with the idea of getting one of those metal storage units and turning it into a winter hen house … add doors, light sources, and insulation.


Here’s a Christmas story to warm all hearts …

A pair of young friends are going through a REALLY tough time right now.  Friends and family are rallying around so things are mostly under control.

One of their friends knew of a new sandwich shop in their area which was run by a young couple who were naming their sandwiches after known folks.  The friend approached them and asked them to create a sandwich named after my ill young friend  and donate half the cost of the sandwich to his medical fund (I apologize if this is a bit confusing but I don’t have permission to use names). The sandwich folks agreed and the friend put out the word.

Then the miracle occurred.

Folks started ordering the sandwich at such a rate the sandwich shop began running out of supplies.  They are a very small walk-in (made of two portable storage units) and they had folks lined up down the block.  In a few days they had to post a request that orders of 10 or more sandwiches be made 24 hours in advance. 

Real financial help for my friend and advertising they couldn’t buy for the sandwich shop.

An “admiration” of heroes creating ripples.


Only one more sunday until season 6 of Downton Abbey.


’twas the night before …


 In spite of the commercialism, if you celebrate Christmas … May this be one of the best you will ever have.


.. and here’s a memory from years ago.  Michael did the sketch and Mark wrote the poem.1981 Card


 ‘Til next week …