It’s Not Fair!

Harry and Bess, the kittens, are growing up.  They are curious little kitties who love exploring.

The garden shed / chicken coop is their home, so they wander all around the garden and orchard.  They especially enjoy the fences which they think are their own climbing apparatus.


 Their climbing ability allows them to go places that are strictly off-limits to the dogs – and they seem to enjoy flaunting it.

The dogs and cats have learned to co-exist peacefully most of the time; but Molly watches them very closely through the garden fence.

Molly seems very puzzled that the cats are allowed to go places and do things that the dogs are not.  Some people – not to mention any names but it is NOT me – even allow, no actually encourage the cats to climb on them.

Grizzly watches all this and I can almost hear him thinking “It’s not fair!”

You Know You’re In California When . . .

I believe I have mentioned here before that I am a list person.  So, here is my list of things that tell me I’m back in California.

1.  You are driving down the freeway at 80 mph and if you leave more than ten feet of space from the vehicle in front of you the car in the next lane cuts in – and the driver is on their cell phone.

2.  You get three inches of rain in a week’s time and the whole state is flooded.

3.  There are potholes in the roads as big as your car.

4.  You don’t have to wear a coat all winter.

5.  Your light turns green and five more cars make left turns in front of you running their red light.

6.  You understand that “speed limit” is really more of a suggestion.

And you know you are back in Bakersfield when . . . 

1.  You say you want Basque food for dinner and have to decide which one of the ten Basque restaurant in town to go to.

2.  The cross-town freeway still dead-ends in a parking lot.

3.  Every evening excursion ends with a stop at Dewar’s.

4.  You run into the grocery store after being back in town less than 24 hours for the first time in over a year and see two people you know.

5.  Everyone in town knows who Buck Owens is and yes there is a street named after him.

6.  They prune evergreen trees like they were fruit trees – and think it is normal.

7.  Every school kid knows rain = fog delays.

8.  You realize that although Kern County is the largest oil-producing region in the country, you actually pay more for a gallon of gas here than anywhere else in California.

9.  You notice that the UPS guy wears shorts every day of the year, rain or shine.

10  An earthquake is no big deal, but if the air is clear enough to see the MOUNTAINS, now that is news.

Photographically Challenged

I don’t want to say that Rick usually takes bad pictures exactly.  It’s just that his finger is usually visible . . .

Or the subjects are very blurry . . .

Or, oops, the finger again. . .

So, given his history aren’t you impressed with this sunrise picture of the ranch we visited in Montana?

Of course, you would have known someone else took this picture when you saw it was the sun rising over the mountains.  Because I don’t do mornings, especially early mornings.  I don’t know what time the sun was streaking over the horizon because my eyes are not open at that hour.  So, isn’t it nice that Rick took these beautiful sunrise pictures for us?  And it is in focus and you can’t see his fingers?


I hate it when bad things happen to good people, I really, really do.  Our friend Cathaleen (yes that is how it is spelled), who just celebrated her 21st birthday, has been diagnosed with cancer; a rare form of lymphoma to be specific.  She is one of the girls – I mean young ladies – at our local church we have met and become good friends with.  An outgoing girl with a big smile and friendly personality, she is the one who organized last year’s church Christmas Play.

Cathaleen comes from a home schooling family and she was determined to attend college and further her education.  To be accepted in college she needed a high school diploma or the equivalent, so she worked very diligently in the GED program and graduated last year.

She is a hard worker who has a job at the local coffee shop and saved her money to buy her own car this past summer.  She was so excited about the new-to-her car that she and her friends all took turns sitting in it the first day she drove it to church.

After completing her GED, she enrolled at the local community college – an hour’s drive from here – and did very well her first semester.  And then she was diagnosed with cancer.  At a time in her life when she should be enjoying her college experience and making new friends and expanding her horizons, she is spending every third week in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and the other two weeks dealing with side effects.

Like most 21-year-old girls that I know, she enjoys trying different “looks” and hairstyles.  And now she has lost all her hair and is wearing hats.

Amazingly, she has a really good attitude about the whole cancer situation.  She is positive and upbeat and I have not heard her complain – well OK she did seem to think the hospital lunch she was served left a lot to be desired; however having seen that lunch, I believe she showed good judgement.   Her poise and maturity has impressed everyone she has come into contact with.   She continues to try to keep up as much of her “normal life” as possible.  She was released from the hospital on Saturday evening and back in church running the audio system on Sunday morning.  She is working on the classes she was taking when she was diagnosed, and she is going to try working a couple of  short shifts at the coffee shop.

Cathaleen is a strong Christian and I know God has a plan and will somehow work all this for good.  I must admit though, I still don’t like it one bit that she is having to deal with this disease and treatment; and while her prognosis is hopeful there are certainly no guarantees about the outcome.  So, if you are a praying person please remember Cathaleen.  She will be going back into the hospital in ten days for her fourth round of chemo.

The Lights of Christmas

A few nights ago Rick and I attended a Christmas Dinner Theater at a Christian Camp down on the sound.  The whole place was decorated with thousands and thousands of lights.

There were the traditional lights on the buildings which were beautiful.  This is the auditorium which houses the theater.

My favorite part was the local scenes which were “painted” in lights.

I love the snow-capped mountains in lights.

And the glaciers.

This little flower garden with a log cabin in the background was really unique.

These swans were floating on a pond.

There are huge trees on the grounds which were decorated too.

When you stood close to the base of the tree it looked like fireworks exploding and shooting down across the sky.

This scene with the loggers made us laugh.  The ones who have been working at our place don’t use those saws anymore, they have much bigger equipment.  But, this is how it was done in the old days.

We loved walking around the grounds sipping hot chocolate and looking at the lights.  The play at the dinner theater was very nice and the prime rib was good too.  All in all, a very nice evening.

Christmas Surprise!

It was 25 years ago today that we got an early Christmas Gift.  Though our first child was not due until January, he arrived ahead of schedule on Friday, December 13th.  To say that his birth changed our Christmas – and the rest of our lives –  is quite an understatement.

 This is my favorite picture of Alex.   He was five years old and running away from home.  I don’t really remember why he was leaving – though he was certainly upset about something – but before he went out the door I asked if I could take a picture to remember him by.

He acquiesced to my request for a photo, but you can see by the disgusted look on his face he wasn’t happy about it.  So, loaded down with his legos, snacks and teddy bear (named not very originally A-Bear) he went off down the driveway.  He stayed camped out by the mailbox for a while; it’s hard to cover a lot of territory when you’re not allowed to cross the street.  Eventually he came back to live with us again and we were very glad.

Happy Birthday Alex!  We love you and will see you soon!

Directionally Challenged

As we have been trudging through the woods marking things for the loggers we’ve seen some interesting things.  For those of you who assume – as I did – that trees grow straight up, let me tell you they don’t always.  I don’t know exactly what caused this unique growth pattern.

My guess is a combination of heavy snow and some other tree leaning on it.