Saturday, December 30, 2006

Token and Goldie

It has been a while since I've featured the puppies. Poor babies will probably be referred to as the puppies even in their old age. They will be 2 on Feb. 27 but at less than 10 lbs each, they are puppies.

As I mentioned before, Baby Girl spent her birthday night here. Since it was also Christmas Eve eve and Token could not go with us to Jen's for Christmas (silly no pet rule at the complex), she brought Token's main gift with her. She also took these photos.

This is Token wearing his new quilted vest that proclaims he is in fact a rock star, deserving of adoration and fawning fans.

Goldie decided she was not going to cooperate with the camera and turned her head away in every photo. I think she was miffed she did not get a new outfit*. She was wearing her favorite red sweater which sets off her blond fur perfectly for photos but she was doing the uppity unhappy New York City model not getting her way pout.

Baby Girl also did stockings for Token and Bailey. Token's was red plaid and bone shaped while Bailey's was matching red plaid and fish shaped. Each stocking has a place to put their picture which is piped in green on a red velvety background. Very cute and they were stuffed with treats and goodies and toys.

Bailey showed no interest in her goodies until she discovered there was gourmet (wet) cat food. Now she begrudgingly eats the dry but only after vocalizing her severe disappointment.

*Goldie did get a new holiday outfit from Baby Girl but not until Christmas. It was in Token's stocking.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Power Restored

I was one of those without power since Tuesday night. PGE got power restored to my little neck of the redwoods tonight. PGE is saying there may be areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains where power is not restored until Saturday. Yikes.

I made do well. I got two books for Christmas and have finished one and a wee bit more than halfway done with the second. Would read by day and knit at night by the light of my trusty oil lamp. Old fashioned coffee, made with boiling water from the gas stove. Blazing fire going in the wood stove. Baby Girl gave me a battery powered color changing candle that provided the light show for the fine music I was listening to.

Fired up the boom box (which takes 8 D batteries and 4 AA ones by the way but sounds great) and listened to KPIG. KPIG (The Pig as it is known around here) does a fine job of keeping us mountain folks informed about road and power problems, while providing us fine music to listen to as we wait for the power to return. Real DJ's, local folks who actually select the music they want to play! You can listen online - just click on the link and then click on any of the listen links.

Wednesday morning there was no way out of Boulder Creek. The crews are amazingly fast. The roads are open now.

So, what have I missed? My power went out just after it was announced late Tuesday night that former President Ford had passed away.

Tuesday's storm delivered 1 and 3/4 inch rain, bringing my year to date total to 11 3/4".

I took these photos yesterday - one from my deck looking upstream towards the wood bridge; one looking downstream from the wood bridge.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both my girls. Baby Girl spent Friday night here (woohoo) after we celebrated her 18th birthday at her celebration dinner. Christmas Eve, we hopped in the car and drove to Jen's condo, which she shares with her man, Mike. First time in 3 years we girls have all been together for Christmas and I was blessed with an overload of love, laughter, joy, good food, and the ab-so-lute joy of being together as a family.

Wow, what a great holiday this has been (other than the being totally broke bit). Baby Girl said tonight that they wanted to give me the type of holiday I always gave them - just typing that makes me all teary. They gave me the best gift of all - their love and time with them. I am blessed.

May your Christmas be blessed and may all your Christmas dreams have come true.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Although Its Been Said

Woohoo! It rained yesterday which means it warmed up!!! Picked up an inch of rain, bringing my year to date total to 10". Double digits finally. Still have a ways to go before we reach our average of 60" to 70". January and February are historically very wet months up here at the little cottage by the creek in the redwoods.

I took this picture yesterday near the end of a steady downpour that had lasted most of the afternoon. It is from my soggy deck and you can see my soggy rosemary and geranium in the lower right. The low-tech rain gauge is affixed to the deck rail on the left.

I've finished making the girls' Christmas gifts, along with a little something for my neighbors. N is still stuck in Denver - talked with her today and she said she doesn't think she will make it home until after Christmas. Bman and his band are currently rehearsing next door for their gig tomorrow night at Henflings.

Baby Girl flew in yesterday on a non-weather delayed flight (yeah) and Jen met her at Oakland Airport. Baby Girl and Jen have been hanging out, shopping, took in a movie, and are plotting Baby Girl's 18th birthday dinner tomorrow night. The girls sound like they are having a blast without mom hovering over them. Can't wait to see them tomorrow night, spending the evening eating, laughing, catching up, and feeling the love.

Although its been said
many times and many ways

Merry Christmas to you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nothing New

Nothing new. Cold. Been in the 40's during the day but as soon as the sun goes behind the mountain, wham, we are in the 30's. Have been down in the high 20's the past couple of nights. But rain is coming and it should warm up. That is one of the things I love up here - it warms up when it rains. I've had days where it has poured cats and dogs and the high was 55 and the low 50.

Baby girl flies in tomorrow. Good thing Jen is picking her up at the airport because my car's battery is dead, again. Just won't hold a charge anymore. Jumped it yesterday, drove it around most of the afternoon, making several stops, went out to start it today and zip. Zilch. Gonna have to get a new one - and quick - because Baby girl flies in tomorrow. Dayam dayam, double dayam and drat! As Gilda would say, it's always something.

My neighbor is stuck in the snowstorm in Denver. Her mom passed away last week and she was back there for the funeral. Was supposed to fly home today. Now it looks like she won't get home until maybe Friday. Luckily, baby girl's flight is not affected (so far - fingers and toes crossed).

Really just a blah couple of days here at the little cottage by the creek in the redwoods.

The picture is of Bear Creek, looking north from the wood bridge. The fallen tree is still there, along with all the leaves and such trapped by the tree. Still waiting for a good sized storm to bring a big push of water to get things moving.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wrong, Again.

What a waste of time and energy. The friggin weather dude was, of course, wrong again. Picked up a whole 1/4" of rain and the low was 36. Jeez, whatta marrouse that guy is. Does he really think that I believe him today after yesterday's hype? Even during last night's weather report, he was calling for Boulder Creek to be below freezing - he predicted our low to be 30 degrees.

Egad, the reports yesterday sounded like we were going to really be hit like those in Oregon and Washington. The jerk even said this was the southern edge of the same storm system that hit those states so disastrously earlier this week. I admit it, I fell for the media hype and I know better.

The way I figure it, since this guy is calling for it to go down to 28 tonight, I should dig out my bikini instead of bringing in the frost tender plants.

Year to date rain totals: The 1/4" from yesterday brings me to 9" for the year.

Baby girl called from Utah last night, shortly before 11pm, to tell me it was snowing there. She flys in later this week, just in time to celebrate her 18th birthday and, of course, Christmas.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hunkerin Down

Hunker down time here at the little cottage by the creek in the redwoods. A storm is coming in that is expected to bring rain, wind, and snow to the peaks. The weather dude said the snow is forecast for elevations above 2500 feet. I am at 627 feet so I doubt I'll get snow but that is the same weather dude that said the rain earlier this week would stay to the north. Not sure whether or not to trust him - word around town is that snow might be possible down as far as Bonnydoon. It is 47 degrees outside (our high for the day) but the temps are starting to fall as that storm gets closer.

Brought in a bunch of wood last night. Some of it was still damp and I wanted it to dry out some. If I have enough wood inside, then I won't have to go outside during the storm to get more. Still have a good stockpile of D batteries for the portable radio, flashlights and lantern. The wood stove is already burning away and has brought my inside temp up to 53.

Today's picture was taken from the wood bridge, looking downstream. If you look to the left, you can barely see my deck and the slider from my bedroom. Tis a good thing, laying in bed, listening to the creek, watching it storm outside while all hunkered down, warm and dry.

Sloppy Joes on the menu tonight, with a little bit of Italian sausage mixed in. I'm thinking of baking peanut butter cookies - will have to check the pantry because I think I am out of vanilla extract.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Picked up another inch and a quarter, bringing the year to date total to 8-3/4". Picked up most of the rain early yesterday morning when, contrary to what the local weather dude said, the rain did not stay to the north of the San Francisco Bay. As you can see by this picture taken this afternoon from my deck, the mosses are thriving. Even though it is currently not raining, the trees are still dripping with a plop, plop, plop that seems to fall on the back of my neck without fail.

Had a wood delivery Monday and they did not get here until after 8pm. The wood deliverers' do not stack the wood, just off load it from the truck to a location within tossing distance from the truck. So I have a pile of oak and madrone out front of the house near the big oak and it was cold and dark and the weather dude said the rain would stay well north of me. Can you see where this is going?

Let's just say the picture me of outside in my jammies in the rain, finding and grabbing a tarp from the side of the house, dragging it over to the wood, and discovering the wood pile was more spread out than the distance my tarp covered - well, it was not a pretty picture to me but was probably pretty funny to anyone watching. Since I had jumped out of bed when I woke up and heard the rain, my brain was still trying to fully wake up. That is why I was out in the rain in flannel jammies, furry slippers and a watch cap. Did not even think to look around to see if any one else was out there laughing at me.

Contrary to what my ex would say, I do not melt when wet.

I planted pink ladies under the front bedroom window a couple of years ago. They came up last year but no blooms and I thought the gophers or moles or other root eaters had gotten to them because they disappeared. I was wrong because they are coming back up again. Fingers and toes crossed they bloom before I move. Whenever I see pink ladies, I always think of my mother and the house on Charlton Drive where I spent my pre-teen and teen years. I remember my mom planting pink ladies there among the carnations and her saying the long wait for the blooms was a worthwhile one. I don't know the official name for pink ladies - they are similar to an amaryllis but their tuber more begonia-like than bulb. They have a long single stalk with one large pink lily shaped flower at the top and no leaves - which is why another name for them is a naked lady. If and when they bloom, I'll be sure to take a picture.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Two More Inches

Got another two inches between yesterday afternoon and this afternoon. My year to date total is now 7 and 1/2". An inch and a half had fallen by 9pm with the rest coming in bands during the night. The creek is now a tannish-brown but there was not enough rain to wash the debris out. Oh well, more storms to come and one will most certainly clean out the tangle of tree limbs and leaves that are just downstream of the fallen tree.

Twas a kick back day here at the little cottage on the creek in the redwoods. Slept late. Ate comfort foods. Listened to Netcom dispatch medics and fire personnel to their respective calls here in Santa Cruz County. Not as many as yesterday, and haven't heard a wires down or tree down call in several hours now. Checked out the Pacific Satellite Loop at SFGate and it looks like more rain is on the way. This is a pattern that is good - rain and then a break and then more rain. The break in between storms is important as it allows the creeks and rivers to do their jobs. The most it has rained since I've been up here has been close to 7" in one day and the creek handled it just fine.

I have the fire going in the wood stove, both Token and Goldie are vying for the best spot in front of the stove now that we are back from a short walk so they could do their business. Bailey is enjoying the quiet of my room, napping at the foot of my bed where she has a birds eye view in case either or both of the d-o-g-s come in. Goldie has on her red sweater but Token is being a manly dog and making do with his original fur coat.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Got an inch and a half of rain last night, bringing my year to date total to 5 1/2 inches. Still have a long way to go to reach the 60 to 70 inches each year brings. I truly enjoy the rain, especially now that I am retired. Working patrol is one of the jobs where one wishes for rain on your days off. No matter how new the banana suit was (yellow rain jacket with leggings), my wool uniform would get still get wet under it. Wet wool pants have a particular aroma and the sensation of wet wool on my skin was just plain icky. I now have the luxury of enjoying the rain, no matter what day of the week it is, and I thoroughly enjoy it.

The above picture was taken standing under the redwoods that separate my little cottage by the creek in the redwoods from the pink house to the south. In the lower right of the picture, you can barely see the end of the pool that parallels my deck. The gravel beach shown here will be completely covered when we get a big rainstorm as the creek overflows the narrows before joining the river (at center in the picture). This is very similar to the view from my bedroom window (with less looking down). It was just starting to sprinkle when I took this yesterday. The small amount of rain last night was not enough to increase the water flow of Bear Creek enough to push out the leaves, branches, and other forest fallings that are in the creek.

The big tree that fell at the end of last winter is still laying at the bend north of me, cut into large segments that allow water to flow past it.

The segments are still somewhat in line with the original tree form. They were much too heavy to move manually. We are all waiting for it to start to move downstream, and will keep a sharp eye on its progress as it goes past the wood bridge's steel supports. The tree was estimated to be 80 to 100' tall (before falling) and the root ball is huge (2o feet tall or more). This picture was taken after a good sized storm in April and before it was sliced into segments in early summer.

Since the tree fell in the creek (a riparian zone), we must let Mother Nature take care of it. The only assist permitted was the sawing to allow water and debris to freely flow and not pool up behind it. I would say this was only partially successful regarding the debris.

The wind is starting to pick up and the NWS Radar shows more rain is on its way. Woohoo!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Days of the Week

I did it again. Talking with my oldest girl, thinking it was Tuesday and it turns out to be Wednesday. It is not that I am losing my faculties - it is more like the first question and answer from a recent email - it's hard work keeping track of all those Saturdays:


Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after falling asleep on the couch.

Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

Quest ion: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.

Question: Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.

Question: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?
Answer: NUTS!

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal.

Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.

Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work, but misses the people he used to work with?
Answer : He is too polite to tell the whole truth.

Question: What do you do all week?
Answer: Mon to Fri. Nothing, Sat & Sun I rest!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ambassador Joe Wilson On Iraq

Former Ambassador to Iraq Joe Wilson was at FireDogLake this morning answering questions about Iraq. I was able to submit a question to Ambassador Wilson and have cut and pasted his response here (which includes my question at comment 15):

Joe Wilson @

Suzanne @ 15
Ambassador Wilson, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to meet with us. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Iraq.

Do you see any way out?

It is tough but I think that we should reshape the debate domestically from the terms currently in use (stay the course, cut and run; strategic redeployment, timetables, and withdrawal) to one in which we consider what it is we are asking our troops to do at this stage of the occupation and whether what they are doing is in our strategic of operational interest. If not they shouldn't be doing it. The military talks of deployments in terms of troop to task ratios and force protection requirements. We should too.
In short, we should ask the generals to justify the national security requirement of every task US troops are undertaking and if the case cannot be made they shouldn't be doing it. For example, a couple of soldiers were killed a few months ago, their bodies were mutilated and booby trapped. Jon Kyl argued that we should stay in Iraq to honor their sacrifice. I asked what were they doing that brought them into harm's way. they were guarding a bridge. Isn't it legitimate to ask whether it is appropriate for American troops to be guarding bridges this late in the occupation.
So, we should not put Americans unneccessarily in harm's way, we should not use American firepower to unneccessarily kill Iraqis, we should call on the President to actually take the advice his military commanders have been giving him that he needs to find a political solution and we should reinvigorate the middle east peace process from which we have been awol for six years. But make no mistake about it, it is a tough situation and will require a lot of what the president calls hard work.

Go over to the lake and read the post and comments. He answered questions for two and a half hours!

Ambassador Wilson is married to Valerie Plame, the CIA agent who was outted by the Bush Administration in retaliation for Ambassador Wilson writing a New York Times editorial questioning the President's inclusion of yellowcake in his State of the Union speech. Below follows a brief bio on Ambassador Wilson (from Christy's post introducing Ambassador Wilson):

From Amb. Wilson's Book The Politics of Truth, we find his long record of service to this nation as a diplomat:

1976-1978: General Services Officer, Niamey, Niger
1978-1979: Administrative Office, Lomé, Togo
1979-1981: Administrative Officer, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
1981-1982: Administrative Officer, Pretoria, South Africa
1982-1985: Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Bujumbura, Burundi
1985-1986: Congressional Fellow, offices of Senator Al Gore and Representative Tom Foley
1986-1988: DCM, Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo 1988-1991: DCM, Baghdad, Iraq
1992-1995: Ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe
1995-1997: Political Adviser to Commander in Chief U.S. Armed Forces, Europe EUCOM, Stuttgart, Germany
1997-1998: Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council, Washington, D.C. (p. 451)

While Amb. Wilson was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq, he was put to the test by none other than Saddam himself:

As acting ambassador to Iraq in the run-up to the first Gulf War, he was the last US diplomat to meet with Saddam Hussein, in 1991.

He very publicly defied the Iraqi strongman by giving refuge to more than 100 US citizens at the embassy and in the homes of US diplomats - at a time when Saddam Hussein was threatening to execute anyone who harboured foreigners.

He then addressed journalists wearing a hangman's noose instead of a necktie.

He later told the Washington Post newspaper that the message to Saddam Hussein was: "If you want to execute me, I'll bring my own [expletive] rope."

Friday, December 01, 2006


I am thankful to not be living in the mid-west and east, having the terrible weather they are suffering from. However, I am going to bitch about my California weather. Yikes, egad, and gazooks, it is cold.

The weather dude said it would warm up today. Ha! I certainly don't consider the temperature going from 31 to 32 warming up! I will admit to being momentarily pleased when we reached 53 today but it was only for about 2 minutes and the temp immediately began to plunge. Yesterday the high was 49 so am up 4 degrees from yesterday. Sure doesn't feel warmer to these old bones.

I stand by my earlier statement that if it is cold enough to snow I see no reason why I should not have snow. Not snow that stays longer than a day. Just some fat fluffy snowflake eye candy drifting past my window. Enough snow to transform the redwoods into a winter wonderland that I can take pictures. Enough snow to crunch under my boots as I get more wood for the wood stove.

Maybe then Bailey will get under the covers and share some of her body heat.

Took this picture today after Bman strung these on his deck. Christmas has arrived in the redwoods.