Tuesday, July 30, 2013

~ How Does Your Garden Grow?

As I posted last time, I am not a gardener. Trinity, however, inherited her great-grandmother's gardening genes - as did her mother. So when Dean decided Sunday was gardening day, Trinity was ready to help. 

First we cleared out pine needles and old dirt.

After a trip to the nursery, she helped Grandpa plant the new plants.

Japanese Sedum

Results down one side of the path onto the deck.

Trinity, the gardener. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Perfect Tool

I wrote in the last blog that if Dean didn't have something, he would figure it out. The other thing is if he doesn't have it, he buys it at a yard sale. 
The rock wall behind me was covered in pine needles. I asked Dean what he was going to do with them. He said that he was going to rake them and he had bought the perfect tool to do so at a yard sale for fifty cents. The rake in my hand is very small - and very flexible. Small enough to rake the garden terraces in the wall and flexible enough to get between the rocks and dig out the pine needles. 
And yes - I am related to my mother. Once in a while, I go to the garden and dig or, in this case, rake. This morning Dean is moving rock with the bobcat, Trinity is sweeping the deck, and I am raking the rock garden with the perfect tool. It's a lovely morning! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Necessity is the Mother ~

There is a note going around on Facebook: How many stage managers does it take to chan. . .Done!

Several people have posted and also said they thought of me when they saw it. Thank you! And one thing I learned early in my stage management career was you didn't always have to know how to do it yourself as long as you knew whom to ask to do it. (A little diversionary thanks here to Andy, Nelson, Michael, Pete, Sue and many, many others)

When camping, I also know where to go ~ Dean. If he doesn't have it, he can figure it out. 

I am losing weight - on purpose, deliberately, slowly and pleasantly. Not enough yet to show in pictures. Not enough to have to go shopping - yet. But definitely enough to need a belt to keep the jeans up. And for some reason, I forgot to throw a belt in the suitcase when we went camping. Doing around a camp site is really uncomfortable if you keep thinking your jeans are going to fall down to your knees. So I muttered about forgetting a belt. Dean to the rescue!

You take two small straps brought along to hold something together - at this point, I'm not sure what. You hook them together and ta-dah!! A belt!! And because of the way they fasten, I could pull them/it tight enough to be comfortable and decorous. 

It's always fun to be creative in a sort of run-home-to-mama way. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Place for Lunch on 395

Walker Burger is a little building on 395 in the town of Walker. There is not much to Walker ~ except some tribal shops or trading posts, a place to get really good Texas style bar-b-cue as an alternative to Walker Burger and the lovely Walker River. If you blink, you may miss it. But ~ if you are there at lunch time or later between Memorial Day and late October, you can have a Walker burger!!

And ~ you may sit in the most lovely little garden off to the left in the shade of old trees, with a little breeze no matter how heavy the heat in the parking lot, and enjoy a delicious, old fashioned burger.
Walker Burger was the place I discovered hot fudge milk shakes. And that's what I order no matter what else is for lunch. Be careful of the large, however - it is a full quart of ice cream!!

Our favorite garden table

This trip allowed us lunch at Walker Burger on the way to and from camping. Delightful!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Introducing the Belding Ground Squirrel

This cute little creature is a Belding Ground Squirrel. Note the tiny short flat tail that keeps them from looking like their lower altitude family. 
They live over 7000 feet in the eastern Sierras.

They live outside about 2 months of the year - July and August as best I can tell. 
The other 10 months of the year, they hibernate, living off their body fat, and at some point during that time reproducing more of the clan.

The cafe where we ate breakfast feeds them. 

It was fun to watch them and learn about them. A whole new camping experience. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camping at Virginia Lakes

From Sunday afternoon until Wednesday morning we camped at Virginia Lakes, about 3 hours from home at 9000 feet. 

Our wonderful "new" camper (our upgrade from tents) in which we stayed warm and dry (it rained a couple of times). Unfortunately at 9000 feet the pilot light doesn't stay lit so we had to heat our water on the stove and keep our food in coolers on ice (poor us!). We kept the coolers in the bear boxes at the camp site although we saw no bears.

We had a wonderful view from our site.

And when we went to the three lakes.

We rested - although Dean had brought all his fishing gear, the kayak, and hiking gear. Mostly we stayed in camp and just rested and enjoyed.

We shared our camp site with a large number of chipmunks who chased each other up and down and all around;

~ and with a lovely doe and her buck both of whom wandered by in the early evenings;

~ and one little Belding Ground Squirrel. More about this little fella later.

~ and with a lovely robin who hopped and flew around and found the iconic worm on evening.

We ate well!! We enjoy eating around the camp fire and Dean loves his new Baby-Q for grilling an entire meal with ease and efficiency. 

Glad to be home and back to the land of cell phones and internet access. More pictures later. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

You Really Can't Make this Up

Hold it right thar, pardner ~ make a move and I’ll shoot you with my tampon! That’s right. I’m a tampon carryin’ woman. 

Oh Pleeeeeeeze ~ according to a personal note from Diane Russell, State Representative from Portland, Maine: “Right now, women are flooding the Texas Statehouse to stand with Sen. Wendy Davis as she and her Democratic colleagues fight to protect a woman's right to choose for this afternoon's vote.

Before they get to the gallery, though, security is confiscating tampons and maxipads. You can bring in your gun - just not your tampons. (Filed under: You can't make this up!)” 

As a lifelong Texan, no matter where else I have lived, I am supposed to be used to Texas craziness in and around the state legislature. This tops them all. In all I have read, I cannot yet find a reason, even a dumb or crazy one, for the action. What? Are they afraid we are going to stand at the gates armed with tampons and maxipads???? Come on, folks. Let’s have some sense here. Or is that asking too much for the Texas state government? Probably. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Respect ~ Alive and Well

Having written about respect, I have once again become aware of good customer service. Customer service should always be good - no need for the adjective. Yet somehow over the years, society’s lack of respect has moved into the customer service realm and so now we are thrilled when we encounter really good, respectful service reps. 

I had an occasion this last week - on the 4th actually which made it even more remarkable - to chat on line with a person from Amazon about my kindle. This is only the second time I have had to be in touch with Amazon and both times I have received delightful, helpful, wise service. The first time, it took us both quite a while to make it all work. This time, it was no problem and so easy to tell me what to do and me to do it. 

I often speak to Apple Care ~ being one of those people who needs to be walked through Anything that has to do with my computer. Apple reps are always brilliant it seems to me and very patient with those of us who aren’t. Last time the young woman told me she wasn’t too familiar with my problem and I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “Then why are you answering the phone at Apple?” I didn’t though and I am so glad, because she did know where to send me to take care of the issue. And she did it with a smile in her voice and what sounded like a pleasant attitude. 

We buy a lot from Home Depot because Dean is always coming up with home projects. They work at getting us a good price. They deliver to Tahoe City even though it is in another state. They take back - and in a recent case, even pick up and take back - if the product doesn’t work. Again, all done with a smile and a willing to work with us attitude. 

Recently my experience has been that respect is alive and well in the customer service part of the work place. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013

To Thomas, Ben and John, the founders of our feast. 

Today’s activities just may include fireworks, bar-b-cue, picnics, baseball games, visits to cemeteries, salutes to the flag and impassioned singing of the national anthem. Whatever your day and the following week-end holds for you, it is all because these three men and their colleagues sat in a hot room in Philadelphia and decided to do something that had never been done before in the history of humankind. They decided to break with the mother country and declare themselves a free and independent country. Wow!!

Are we the country they envisioned? Probably not. I don’t think so. And we have them to look back on and forward to ~ always striving to become who they believed we could be. “When in the course of human events . . . “

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Happened to Respect?

Saw a blog the other day titled “If you are not kind on the internet, you are not kind.” Read another about respect in the work place: respect for those you are interviewing, respect for your employees and employers, respect for those interviewing you. A pastor friend who writes a little devotional message every morning on Facebook wrote about respecting each other. And finally a long family dinner table conversation about respect in the family ~ children and parents and friends. The essence of every one of these conversations was the loss of respect for other people. 

People yell at each other, curse each other and instead of talking about or tackling an issue, we attack a person’s values, morals, personality or belief system. Please and Thank you seem to have gone out of our vocabulary. Kids rarely use those words after age 5 or 6 and I have seen parents knock a child on the side of the head and yell to make the child behave politely. Oh really? 

I realize the anonymity of the internet has contributed to our slip from civilized conversation. If I can call you all sorts of names (and being the age I am, I can’t even write a suggestion here), and you never know exactly who I am. When there is no risk of our meeting face to face, then it is easier to give vent to my opinion about you rather than about the issues you espouse. 

I like a good meaty argument. I don’t mind agreeing to disagree or even walking away and not engaging with another person because our views are just too different to keep up any kind of a relationship. And the fact is, that person is a child of the Divine even as I am and you are. Somehow we need to recognize that. 

There is Hindu tradition that I love: greeting or leaving another with the word “Namaste”. Here is a quote that explains it very well:

“The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgement of the soul one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means ‘bow me you’ or ‘I bow to you.’ “ (Aadil Palkhivala)

Every religious faith contains within the belief that we are come from a Divine Source and carry that Spirit within us. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to respect that Divinity in everyone we meet? Namaste.