Monday, July 31, 2006

Friendships...




This a picture that I took last year of my daughters and "my" two other kids. The dark-haired girl on top of the "dog pile" is my oldest daughter's best friend. They met back in kindergarten and Kaitlyn lived just three doors down from us. She is as much my daughter as the other girls are! *grin* Even though we have moved and the girls go to different schools they are still close. The blonde is Jordan, my now almost 15 year old. The other brunette is her "little" sister, Sierra. And the boy trying to look cool is my other "son", Brandon. He and Sierra are the same age--13 now. He is over here so much that he may as well be mine! He and my son, Vincent (18) are good friends and they go skate boarding together or just hang out and play video games. He's a good kid 95% of the time--it's that 5% when he's NOT that worries me!! *grin* (Did I tell you about how he jumped off my roof into the pool? Yeah, you get the picture!!)

I look at this picture and wonder where my kids are going to be five years from now. Ten years. Twenty. Are they still going to be friends? Will they have children of their own? What does life have in store for them?

When I was in school, I couldn't imagine not staying in touch with my classmates. We were a small class of about 50 students. Most of us had been together since 1st grade. Our parents had gone to school together also--ours was a tight-knit community of farmers and dairymen, with a strong Christian ethic and morals that were handed down from generation to generation. We scoffed at anyone who told us it wouldn't always be like this--what did they know anyway?! We were the Wild and Crazy Class of '80--we would always be together!!

But graduation day came, and with it the inevitable changes that we all go through. Many of our friends moved away to Iowa, Michigan, New York, and Illinois to attend college. Some of us married people not from our community and moved on to other places. A girl who was my best friend all through elementary school and beyond moved to Michigan and I haven't seen her in 25 years... I realized the other day that the only people I see with any frequency are three of the girls that attend the same church that I do. I never see any of the guys other than Henry, who was my best guy friend in high school. (He has since married a nice girl and has four great kids that my daughters are lucky enough to babysit once in awhile!) One of the guys has since died from AIDS, and another is now blind because of a serious illness. But the truth is, we have all grown up and drifted apart, just like everyone said we would. Who knew?

There is no crystal ball that we can gaze into to see our futures. I'm not sure that I would want to even if I could. I kind of like the not knowing, the joy of unexpected outcomes to every-day decisions. It keeps life interesting!

So I look at my kids, and I pray that life will be kind to them. I hope that all of their dreams come true. I wish that they can keep their friends from childhood all the way through the turmoils of the teen years up into the roller coaster ride that is the "joy" of adulthood. (Being an adult is highly over-rated, by the way! I'd rather be a kid!) But if it's not to be, I just hope I will be there to help them get through it all. That's all any parent can do, really.

Digital vs. film....




Here is another great picture from our trip last year. These are my daughters, Jordan and Sierra, posing in front of the Pacific Ocean out on the Oregon coast. It's a good thing that I have a digital camera now since, at last count, I still have about 12-15 rolls of film from the past 4 or 5 years of trips that I haven't developed yet!! *blush* Seriously, I do! I was trying to figure out what happened to some pictures I remember taking but couldn't find, and then I realized i took them with my Nikon and regular film... I still have photos from when I was in New Orleans last year after Katrina that I haven't developed!

The truth is, My Nikon FG with the telephoto lens is an awesome camera. It takes great pictures and I get really spectacular results with it. The only problem is that it costs money every time I use it! I can shoot off a roll of film or two, no problem, but on top of the $$ spent on purchasing the film, now I have to spend MORE $$ to take it in and get it developed. On top of that, if I want to be able to put them on my computer I have to spend extra $$ to have the photos put on a CD--it' just pricey after awhile, especially with the amount of pictures that I take! So I end up with developed rolls of film lanquishing in a drawer instead of pictures gracing a photo album... I am almost afraid to have some of them developed now--I'm not sure how far back they go!! *grin*

So now I shoot my vacations with my digi. I have an extra flash card in case one gets filled up, and I can then download them and edit them to my heart's content when I get home. But I still love my Nikon....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mt. Lassen National Park

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This is a picture of King's Valley in Mt. Lassen National Park. Located in Northern California, Mt. Lassen is one of several dormant volcanoes that line the West Coast all the way up into Alaska. One of the great features of this park is the fact that you can drive almost all the way up to the summit of Mt. Lassen--over 8000 feet! Brr! There are also many geologic discoveries to be made--mud pots, geysers, sulfur springs--and a short hike can take you to some spectacular places! The views are amazing also, and the flora, fauna, and rock formations are truly inspiring. Located north and east of Redding it is a lovely drive and well worth the $20 admission. There is even camping in this park, and it is very peaceful. I highly recommend Mt. Lassen as a vacation destination.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Heat Wave...

Surgery went ok, I guess. Bigger incision--makes me wonder if this hand was worse than the other or was it an "oops"--as in "oops, the scalpel slipped a little"! Made them take the half cast off after a week. It's just too freakin' HOT to have something like that on my arm!

California, for those of you who live in caves and never read the paper or listen to the news, is in the middle of one of the most severe heat waves it has had in the past 50 years! In my stretch of the Golden State it has been over 100+ for the past 13 or 14 days--after the first week the days just run together... It is so hot livestock, poultry, and people are dropping like flies. I know that I got called out to the ranch to take care of my horse, who was apparently over-heating just standing out in his pasture!

Of course, this was a REAL problem because the day I had to go out I had JUST gotten my stitches out the day before! So I took my daughter out with me to help, figuring she is big enough and strong enough to make Nakai (the horse) mind in case he decides to get stupid. He's a BIG boy--1200 pounds, about 15.3 hands. Let me tell you, that's a whole lotta stupid! But poor boy, he was huffing and puffing like he had just run the Kentucky Derby and was in no mood to argue with me when I walked him into the wash rack and started hosing him with cold water. Took about an hour before he was breathing normal again. Yesterday we went out to see him again and he was puffing and begging me to take him out. He walked like a gentleman all the way and went into the washrack--again--without any problem. You have to know, this horse HATES water and fights me every time I try to wash him! So I have been pleasantly surprised by his attitude, but I don't believe him. As soon as the heat is over he will be back to being an a**!

The girls and I are supposed to be leaving on Tuesday for vacation. Now I am worried about the horse and am almost afraid to leave him but I am hearing that the weather is supposed to cool off by this weekend. I hope so, because I have been looking forward to this trip for 6 months! We are headed up to Idaho, and since I don't have to be back to work until September I am going to take my time and tiddle on up there. Planning on camping at least one night somewhere along the way. Taking the girls' bikes along this year so they can pedal around the campgrounds and at my friend's house while we are there. She bought her son (who is right between my girls in age) a new bike for his birthday this month so I figure it is something they can do together. The best thing about it is that we are going to get out of this dang HEAT!!! But that also means that I am leaving the husband and boys behind to care for my menagerie... Hope everyone survives! *grin*

I may post from Idaho--my friend has dial-up, not sure how that will work. Otherwise, y'all take care and I will chat with you when we get back!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm off to see the wizard....

Well, maybe not the wizard, per se, but the doctor is going to do her magic on my other hand tomorrow and I will have a matching set of scars to be proud of. I can't believe I am actually looking forward to this... It's sad when one anticipates surgery just to get out of the office!! LOL! I can't say I will be missing it AT ALL! I am pretty sure Modesto has cornered the market on stupid people! I have discovered that the ones that keep calling back really don't think I recognize their voice. I have taken to telling them, when they call back for the third time to whine that their bus still hasn't arrived, "I told you when you called the first TWO times that the bus will be there at X time--it isn't even supposed to be there yet!" "Oh". And they hang up. Someone today was prank calling--calling then waiting until I said hi and then they would hang up. After five or six times I told them, before they could hang up, "We have caller ID, you need to quit calling"!! Didn't hear back from them the rest of the day--and no, we DON'T have Caller ID!! LOL! Idiots...

I have been busy getting all the lefts and rights done for the new routes--the computer ate the first set I did so I had to re-do it all--that sucked! The last two days I was doing really important work--putting tabs with the route #'s on them on the desk copy of the ride guide and taking the old magnetic name tags for the bus board apart and putting new names on them. I did the same thing with the bus #'s---everyone say "oooooo" now!!! Think I am a little over-qualified for the job!

Finally got all my DMV crap straightened out--talk about a nightmare! If you want to read about that, you will have to go to my blog at http://360.yahoo.com/menageriemom62. Talk at you all later after the hand is mended...