Sunday, August 30, 2009

California Fires

It breaks my heart to see these horrific images.

Many of you have seen it only as the far off background of the Rose Parade on the morning of a New Year, the area known as LaCanada-Flintridge, Altadena and the surounding areas. White capped San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest stand sentinel against a pure blue Winter sky, with the green foothills of oak, sycamore and cedar lying at their feet.It is especially lovely that time of year, causing emigres to question why they ever moved.

The Northern San Gabriel Valley is home to Descanso Gardens, The Jet Propulsion Lab/ Cal.Tech, Mt.Wilson Observatory and many lovely upscale neighborhoods. It is, in my opinion, some of Southern California at its best.

I regret that I haven't visited in so long. I have so many memories...
The mountain view would greet me every morning, as I drove up San Gabriel Blvd. in my little Dodge dart on my way to P.C.C. and my first year of Junior College. In my high school years, Chantry Flats was the destination many a late night when, at a SPOOKS slumber party, we would decide to go looking for adolescent thrills. Switzer Falls was a fun hike to take with the kids from my church.
So far, only three homes have burned and countless acres. I hope there are no more.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Looking for new music?

You know my eclectic tastes, especially in music.
When my old friend, Bridgette Life in Red Shoes was my brand-new friend, she did not appreciate my fondness for rap. So I am careful to listen to something else when we are in the car.
My husband does not appreciate my opera, so again, it is not played while we are in the car. It is only played when I can turn it way up and lip-synch and get teary eyed.
So in the spirit of diversity, I offer you some of my new favorites.
I am only going to give you links, as so many do not imbed.
Enjoy...or not as your taste dictates.
*La,La,La by LMFAO. Oh I love these boyz, haha, this one has such a funny 80's vibe!
*2 Weeks by Grizzly Bear AMAZING video! 2weeks
*Julia, Julie Soundtrack Alexandre Desplat has other amazing soundtracks such as Benjamin Button

Fifty = "Towanda!!"

Suzanne, at The Farmer's Wife, recently wrote of women my age having "Towanda" moments! What is a Towanda moment?
It is a moment when you are not you always used to be.
It is a moment when you're not you always used to be.
It is a moment when you realize you won't spend time with people and activities unless they really mean something to you and make you happy.
It is a moment in which you buy something as a gift and then realize you reaalllly want it and YOU KEEP IT FOR YOURSELF!!!
"Towanda!!" Unheard of 10 years ago when I was still trying to please, always trying to please, everyone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Final Rock Creek Chronicle

The first trip to the outhouse is dreaded.
The cantaloupe sized hole at the base of the antique structure is the thing I always notice first, it's the entrance to some small animal's home. Dear Lord, what poor, dumb creature would choose to build their home next to the outhouse pit?
The outhouses at Rock Creek are not the sleek, sky-lighted outhouses seen at many newer campgrounds, the ones with an exhaust system designed by some engineering student at Stanford, with stainless steel toilets and no discernible odor. No, the outhouses at Rock Creek are made of brown stained wood. To offer some aeration and light, the perimeter of the ceiling is covered, between 2x4 studs, with 10" of ancient screening, adorned with occasional holes that look as if a fly attempted to gain entry with a tiny hack-saw. But most of them just enter by way of the squeaky door. One of my fears is, having settled my bare butt on the time worn toilet seat, a fly will actually land on my nether regions!
If the other campers would simply close the lid when they have finished their business, it would help with the smell and fly situation, but in order to do so, you must reach across the gaping maw of hideousness to reach the lid resting against the back wall and, much like a person attempting to scale a tall mountain, you must assiduously avoid looking down. "Whatever you do, don't look down!"
I try to "go" as quickly as possible because I can only hold my breath for so long. I guess I should practice my breath holding skills for a couple of weeks before our trip. I know that there are people in the world, much less fortunate than I, who would be grateful to have a reasonably clean, although smelly outhouse in which to do their business and I try to think of my lucky state, but it doesn't help much.
The locks on the doors, broken, have been replaced by hook and eye closures, also broken. So, to facilitate privacy, a big rock is provided to push up against the door. The rock, interestingly enough, resembles a giant, petrified, cow pie. Fitting, I think.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Humphrey Bogart Sandal Wearing Snafu

I feel my intent with the Humphrey Bogart sandal post has been misunderstood.

First, a little background on Humphrey Bogart. You might know him from Casablanca where he famously was supposed to have said, "Play it again, Sam" or the Jungle Queen with Katherine Hepburn.

He was not a homosexual, a word I used because the photo was set in the 40's or 50's, long before "gay". In fact, he had a long affair with Lauren Bacall when she was still a teen and he was a married 45 year old man! They finally married and had two children.

I just found the photo an hilarious caricature of some of the he-man icons of the day!
The sandals were just so incongruous! I would have thought they'd have him in some boots, or fly fishing waders, or wing tips...but not those sandals!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, Mr. Bogart! hehe

"I am NOT a homosexual! Would a homosexual sit amongst wanton displays of the manly pursuit of hunting wild animals?! Look at these wild boars! And homosexuals do not have extremely large manly-type dogs such as Great Danes, they have tiny, fluffy dogs! Please notice all the trophies displaying my athletic prowess! Do homosexuals play sports? I think not!
And these sandals! Would a homosexual wear..... Well... I'm not a homosexual!"
Signed, Humphrey Bogart

Thanks to Nerdboyfriend! You know I jest!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rock Creek Chronicles 5

Having used a flush toilet, been mulled in the warm waters of Bass Lake, and picked up supplies to get us through another 2 days in the wilderness, we drove along the road, at a pretty good clip, back up to the campsite.
"This road is a lot straighter than the one on the south side of the lake" Don says to no one in particular.
I answer, "Well, back when they built the other road, they didn't have the technology for straight road building." The boys "get it" and I earn my deserved laugh.
A small, spotted fawn appears, skittishly making it's way down the steep bank on my side of the road. We must be traveling about 55 miles per hour and we are not slowing down. My brain can not fathom that we are not slowing down. With three small bounds, the fawn is across our lane, its little brown and white upright tail barely clearing the left bumper of the s.u.v. The entire time this drama was unfolding, lasting only about three seconds, all I could do was sputter an unintelligible squeal.
Short of breath, my right hand to my chest, I exclaim, "Oh my gosh! I thought we were going to hit it!"
"The fawn! Didn't you see it?! I couldn't figure out why you weren't slowing down!"
"Where! What? A fawn?"
Don had been looking in the rear view mirror, the boys were looking out the left windows and playing electronic Solitaire.
Barry recalls "Oh geez, I did see a flash of some brown thing when I just looked out the front window but thought it was a bird!"
Ty said he just thought I was choking on something. Yeah, that's mom, always making some sort of weird noises.
It happened so fast! A near miss and no one saw it but me.
I am SO grateful we didn't hit it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Will you still love me...

Will you still love me ?
Most of us do it. Crop our profile photos just so, a little Photoshop here or there. Suck our chins up, lift our eyebrows, make sure we are photographed from our "good side".
Some of us don't even want to be in the picture, afraid to show others how we look, who we are. As if how we look, is who we are. Will you still love me?
I cried when I read nienie.
I cried for her loss, I cried for her bravery, I cried for her spirit, I cried for her pain.

I cried for her honesty.

A picture tells a thousand words. A tragedy, a triumph, a love story.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great Idea or What!

My daughter Shan(designergal) gave me this cute, little, Milk-glass compote for Mother's Day! It's perfect to hold earrings! Keeps them organized and "right there". Every night, I put my watch and bracelets inside the bowl and they are right there to put on the next morning.
That's Shan in the picture, beautiful bride!
A special shout-out to all my friends who are teachers! As we go back to "the trenches", think about your wishes for the coming school year and how you can make those happen and if the going gets rough, call upon your lovely Summer memories to lighten your heart!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rock Creek Chronicles 4

Day 4-
We went to Bass Lake today and had a hard time finding a good beach that wasn't private or already inhabited by boaters. We finally found a rocky shore that was populated by the local Native Americans, the Mono Indians. I looked for some sign that said "Native Americans Only, Paleface Go Home" and having found none, we decided to integrate the beach.
We had packed a gourmet lunch, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with Goober Grape. For those of you who aren't familiar with Goober Grape, with its swirls of carmel and purple colored goodness, it is premixed peanut butter and jelly. Goober Grape is a vacation tradition in our family. As with any gourmet food, it is a little more costly than plain ol' peanut butter and cheap grape jelly. In fact, Don kind of balked at the price, but even he admitted the concept is genius. None of our precious vacation energy spent on tediously applying peanut butter to one slice of bread and then, oh the effort, spreading jelly on another!
The guys played in the water for a while, Don floating in the elaborate floating recliner given him by Bob, his brother, Barry in a small, leaking 2 man boat and Ty, on a cheap air mattress, the kind we used to put our sleeping bags on when I was a kid. The kind that invariably deflated or stealthily bucked you off during the night.
We stopped in town for propane and checked our lottery numbers. We had all pitched in one dollar in Bakersfield, deciding that if we won big we would split it 4 ways. I silently thought that I would probably split mine among Shannon and Stephen even though they weren't along on the trip. I guess that's how moms are. When Wednesday, the day you can check you numbers finally arrived, we sent Barry in with the ticket and he came out waving cash! We won! Our investment paid off! We won two dollars!! Fifty cents each. Not a bad return on four dollars, eh! As good as my 401K. Guess I'll give Shan and Steve each a dime.
We also went into Von's for further supplies. I think we spent the majority of our time in the car going for supplies, you know, flour, fat-back, coffee, some horehound candy for the younguns... Anyway, Ty needed to use the bathroom and asked Don if they had a nice bathroom.
"Depends on what you mean by nice" said Don.
Ty replies "You know, better than the stinking outhouse at Rock Creek."
"Well, it had a lot of gay graffiti and someone smeared poop on the wall."
Barry pipes in, "So what your saying is, it's nicer than Rock Creek."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Demolition Derby, yeee-haw!! whoo-oop!

When I told friends and family that I went to, and LOVED, the demolition Derby at the Salt Lake County Fair last night, they gave me a puzzled, polite laugh.
It was soo fun! We would pick our favorite, like the flaming exhaust x-96, and root and whoot and clap and, mainly, crack-up!
As the sun went down, the purple Wasatch mountains were a perfect backdrop
for the lights of the carnival. There was a little, subtle nip of Fall in the air. It was great!
The only thing missing was some kick-a Rockabilly music.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rock Creek Chronicles 3

Day 3- I cooked chorizo and eggs for breakfast burritos. The smell of chorizo cooking invokes so many memories for me, mostly of weekend breakfasts as a girl in my childhood home, good memories. No, I'm not Mexican, we just have eclectic tastes. Don cooked himself a couple of fried eggs, not being a fan of chorizo, but the boys and I enjoyed our messy, greasy burritos with green salsa and red, chorizo grease dripping onto our paper plates. The green salsa from the little can was so tasty, I wanted to save it to eat at lunch with tortilla chips. I put it, still in it's little can with the lid bent down, in the empty cooler which sat on top of the full cooler. I planned to transfer it over after I finished cleaning up. The meat-bees circled closely, wondering when they were going to get their burrito, as I quickly washed the dishes with hot soapy water. I finished up, taking satisfaction in my tidy little camp kitchen and leaving the voracious meat-bees behind.
After breakfast, we headed up to Jackass Creek following the mountain curves of 225 until cutting off and onto the bumpy, dirt road to Wagner's, a tiny, log cabin store with one gas pump. Fishing licenses, ice and just about anything you forgot to pack is stocked on it's neat shelves. Hamburgers and breakfast are served over the small dining counter and a glass display case holds t-shirts with Wagners printed across the chest. The trophy heads of bobcats, deer, and other unlucky mountain animals hang, along with neon beer signs, from the walls. These were a source of terror for Tyler when he was a little guy. We bought a bag of ice, one Rainbow pop, two Drumsticks and an ice cream sandwich. The total was 15 dollars. Unbeknownst to me, Don had brought along the "empty" cooler in which to put the ice. He was not happy to find it splattered with the green salsa. I had forgotten to move it to the "full" cooler, having been distracted by meat-bees. He carried it over to a hose and had to wash it out and we were back on the road to Jackass. "You know that cooler's going to stink like green salsa now, What were you thinking, etc, etc."
We parked off the road, near the bridge that passes over the creek and made our way down to the pond that is surrounded by granite boulders the size of Volkswagon beetles and slippery, sloping granite slides. Little trout swam along the bottom of decomposed granite. It's my favorite swimming hole, about 6 feet at the deepest point. I changed into my swimsuit in a cozy little cabana, a copse of granite and greenery. You can hear a crashing waterfall up stream. As I look at the bridge, I think to myself, "I'm actually swimming in of those places you see from the road, and think, that looks like it would be a neat place to swim"!
That night, we baked some potatoes in coals for dinner and they were delicious, having been oiled and salted heavily before being wrapped in their foil blankets.
Mmm, smores for dessert topped off the evening.
Picture of Jackass Pond taken by my son,Barry

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Maybe next Sunday's dinner?

First, stab a hot dog repeatedly with uncooked spaghetti. It should look like an Oscar Meyer sea urchin. Then boil til spaghetti is done. Now you have a "hairy dog". These are supposed to be a big deal in Russia.

Rock Creek Chronicles Episode2

Arrival. Sunday night
We pulled into the camp ground, noticing the host would be gone for a couple days, Don eagerly drove to the further most reaches of the camp to where "our" campsite sits. We were all disappointed to see a family setting up their camp in "our" campsite. Don had sent a letter ahead to the campground host, to try to reserve the site. But she never received it, and placed another family in "our" site while our name was on a foreign campsite, a place were no Cann had ever stayed before!.
"I'll just tell them they'll have to move, that I had this site reserved" Don said with no irony intended. We were all duly horrified, explaining that there was no way he could tell those people to move just because we wanted it! "Well, I'll just go talk to them". Our reply to his request for someone to go with him was a resounding "No thanks, we'll just wait here!" Then Barry; good, brave, reasonable Barry, volunteered for combat duty. "I'll go with you, dad."
After explaining how this had been "our" campsite for 25 years, and how we had tried to reserve it, and how it was Don's birthday, and how we had driven 900 miles all the way from Utah, and then adding one hundred dollars and help in moving their entire camp including a pile of firewood 6 feet high, the site was indeed,"ours" for the week.
They were an Evangelical Christian family(whom I will call The Christians) and I must say I was impressed by their charity, notwithstanding the one hundred dollars of blood money. I still felt guilty whenever I encountered them. The side of the camp they moved to was shadier, having the effect of more mosquitos and less stars to be seen at night. The family next to them was a noisy family, screaming kids, loud adults playing their loud music and the way to the water was circuitous. We were right next to the water. It wasn't an even trade, even with the hundred dollars thrown in.
On Thursday ,day 4, the Christians left for home.When we returned to camp, lying on a chair by the fire-pit was what appeared to be a note , written on notebook paper. Actually, the paper was folded around a c.d. case. The Christians had left us a departing gift. It was a kind "happy vacation, nice to have met you" note. The c.d. cover was a photo of a beautiful mountain scene with Thank You spelled out in a blue font, the t in Thank you, forming a cross on a hill, ala Calvary. The titles included, Thank You and You Gave Up All. Indeed.
thanks to my son for the camp photo!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best of Times

Although My daughter, Shan {}, just used this photo on her blog, I just had to borrow and post it! It makes me so happy!
We were out for our annual "Mom (makes everyone go) takes everyone out for a Christmas Concert" occasion. The concert was John Schmidt, the pianist. While I am sure there are many John Shmidt fans out there, we called the concert, therafter, "A Very Schmidty Christmas." Make of that what you will. ;- )
We had just eaten the greatest pizza in the world at the U. of U. Pie Pizzaria where they were playing an incredible mix tape! We walked over to President's Circle to take some pictures before the concert. It had snowed heavily that morning and big globs of snow were falling randomly from the branches onto our heads, mostly mine, having the effect of a frozen buzzard pooping on you. It was just a perfect day.
Shan was at the tri-pod and Steve and Ashlyn were not yet married, so it does not show our complete family as it is presently. We'll get a new shot this year! At a new concert!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rock Creek Chronicles Episode1

I'm back! I have returned relatively unscathed from our wilderness adventure in the California Sierra's, but would still argue that families were never meant to be in close quarters together for more than 72 hours at a time, let alone 24/9. Having taken my laptop, I spent every morning writing a little while I waited for my sleepy headed boys to wake up. So, for the next few blogs, I will share with you some of my observations from the trip.
Today begins Episode 1 of The Rock Creek Chronicles

On the road from Vegas:
Barry is working on one of the many puzzle books we brought.
"What's a 7 letter word for playhouse?"
Ty answers, "brothel?"
On the road from Fresno:
There is an old white van in front of us. It has a Christian "fish" on on the back window. It is traveling too slow for Don's liking.
"For heaven's sake, WHAT is WRONG with this guy? He doesn't have a clue! Don't you know how to DRIVE? Why don't you get over, you idiot?"
"Don, don't call him an idiot. He's a fish Christian" I piously admonish him, in my most angelic voice.
Barry demonstrates the correct reproval when he spontaniously says, "Yea, thee rotter, get thee over!"
On the road from Bakersfield:
We hear the classic, shit-kicker, cowboy song Behind Closed Doors.
"And when we get be-hiind closed doors
she becomes a fiiil-thy whore", Barry sings.

I must say, we kept each other laughing!