Family Time

My daughter was the surprise for Dan’s retirement/Father’s Day family get-together. She flew in from Texas with one grandbaby just in time for the Central Valley’s big heat wave. We escaped the heat for awhile yesterday by driving  to El Dorado National Forest to hang out with Matt and Kaleena until they got off work at 6 p.m.


Matt and Kaleena both work for the Forest Service and are based at different parts of the same facility. Matt is in charge of the helicopter.


We walked out to the helipad for a tour.


Note the effect of the King Fire from a few years ago.



Kasen seems to be a fan.


Chris was studying the instrument panel to decide if he should move some of the switches around.


I think he restrained himself.


Kasen seemed ready to try.


My three kids and one grandkid. (Kirby stayed home with Dad in Texas.)




Kaleena works on the other side of the compound.IMG_0290

Matt goes to fires in the helicopter and Kaleena drives this truck.




Here is her view from up high.


The official fire danger may have been low but they have been on nearby fires already the day after we were there Kaleena and her crew left for the Angeles National Forest.


Wedding Day Morning

On-site preparations began the day before but there was still plenty to do on the morning of the wedding.


No shoe polish? No problem.


The tables were decorated.IMG_1358

The kids’ table included bubbles,and crayons.


Pictures were hung.


Games were arranged.

While all the preparations were being made outside…IMG_1326

…upstairs in the Bride’s Room there was a bustle of activity. Two professional hairdressers were kept busy…


…while others did their own hair and make-up.


Flower-girl, Tatiana, waited patiently for the time to get dressed.


Meanwhile, downstairs, …


…the guys didn’t seem too concerned about getting ready.


Eventually it was time and they all cleaned up very nicely. There seemed to be some confusion about what to do with the pocket squares, but they mastered the folding technique by watching a YouTube video.IMG_1374

Inspection time for the pocket squares.


Back upstairs, Flower Girl #1 got help with her bow.


Flower Girl #2 skipped the morning activities, staying with Daddy and the other grandma and getting through naptime uneventfully. She showed up in time to get dressed, but took some convincing to participate.


We gave up on the pretty white shoes with the bows in favor of the purple crocs. It was a big step for her to hold the bouquet, however temporarily.


While the women were making their final preparations Kirby found the room set up for photo shoots. She made herself right at home there.


Ready to go!

Getting Ready

Getting ready for a wedding. The kids worked for  for months on this…and that included having to change venues, due to no fault of their own, six weeks prior to the wedding. Then it was the day before.

IMG_1288Chris built one 8-foot and two 10-foot tables for the use of the wedding party. He also made assorted game pieces and a very cool guest sign-in board.DSC_9630Chris getting advice from his sister.DSC_9604More advice. Stout tables.DSC_9578Some of the bridal party who helped the day before. They were all there–what a great group of friends Chris and Meryl share.DSC_9610Table inspection by the resident cat…DSC_9634…who, having done his (her?) job, needed a nap.IMG_1311Wedding rehearsal. I didn’t get all the guys in the photo because I was seated in my mother-of-the-groom chair.DSC_9599The girls minus the bride.

Kirby was there also. She was a bit worried when Uncle Matt put her purple Crocs on his feet, but she recovered quickly once she got them back. Do you know how many more cute photos there are of Kirby? But I’ll restrain myself.IMG_1314Meryl’s parents hosted a dinner the night before the wedding and here are my three beautiful daughters!



A White Christmas

We spent a lovely Christmas Day with my son and other family members. We got there in the morning before everyone else so that we could spend some time in the forest that is their backyard. I am not a snow person, but I can brave it occasionally, especially when the sun is out, and I’ll admit that it was a nice touch to have a beautiful snowy view from inside Matt & Kaleena’s warm house with a fabulous woodstove to back up against. The morning began, however, with us  sliding backwards down Matt’s driveway in our Explorer. (I am planning to sell this before the next smog deadline, so no new tires for us.) That little glitch solved (by rocking the Explorer out of the snowbank and then parking at the bottom of the hill), we geared up with showshoes and foot warmers in our my boots and walked down to Jenkinson Lake. DSC_4315


DSC_4301What time I have spent in the snow has been well after the storms have come through. There is something very different and beautiful about being there immediately after the snowfall…DSC_4310…while the branches are still heavy with snow.DSC_4264


DSC_4283I loved seeing the snow clear to the tops of the trees. As the sun started warming the trees, snow cascaded from the highest branches.DSC_4295I spent the night at M & K’s (Dan came home for chores and dog duty) and the next day Dan came back and brought Chris and Meryl with him. Then we celebrated our private family Christmas.IMG_8003The younger generation helping the older one with digital issues.DSC_4321Chris plays a mini-flute sporting his new Storm Trooper oven mitt.IMG_8019Here are my sheep/barn related Christmas gifts. My wheelbarrows constantly need their tires pumped up so Dan got the fittings to go on an extra air compressor in the barn. There are tubes and tires for my handtruck. Dog treats from Hawaii. Sheep and dog magnets. All the attachments for my new GoPro (birthday present). Footrot Flats is a comic strip series that I think only a sheep farmer would enjoy. Hand and foot warmers packets that I’ll share with Farm Club in the barn. IMG_8013We took another hike that afternoon. This was a great two-day Christmas celebration with family. And it’s not quite over. The kids are taking us to see StarWars in a couple of days. The only thing missing was my granddaughter and her family but at least we spent a week with them not long ago.


Visiting Texas

This is what I did for the last 5 days. These are just my i-phone photos and it was hard to narrow it down. I still have the other photos to go through.IMG_1431 IMG_1433 First taste of yogurt. Not a big fan.IMG_1442 IMG_1464 IMG_1472 Helping in the kitchen while I made cookies.IMG_1480 IMG_1487 Sleeping on Mama’s lap. IMG_1493 IMG_1507 Carrots are better than yogurt.IMG_1513 IMG_1523 IMG_1548 Ready for the Superbowl.IMG_1567 Asleep with me.IMG_1570 IMG_1602Trying to catch a ride home with me.

All Smiles

At the end of the last post, out of character of most of my blog writings, I told you that this one would be all smiles.

Katie and Kirby (now 8 weeks old) are in California for a few more days. Kirby has had a whirlwind visit of meeting grandparents and other relatives on both sides of her family.Dan and KirbyGrandpa DanChris and KirbyUncle Chris Meryl and KirbyAunt MerylIMG_0954BFF, CamillaIMG_0149


bath time for KirbyBath time.Kirby-8 weeks Katie and Kirby   Katie & Kirby. My two beautiful girls.IMG_0120With Grandma (me). You can read Rusty’s ideas about this here 

Moving on

Major disappointment for our family last weekend. And ours was only one family’s story about the impact of the King Fire in northern California. Recent rain has helped the 7000+ people who were assigned to this fire to finally gain the upper hand. Over 7000 firefighters and other personnel, almost 100,000 acres. When there were “only” 4000 people assigned to the fire the news reported the cost of $5 million/day. Fortunately there were relatively few homes lost compared to other recent fires (but if you were one of those few its obviously a major impact), but the destruction to the forest, the wildlife, and the impact on thousands of peoples’ lives is impossible to quantify.

I realize that natural disasters happen all over the world and the impacts are far worse than what happened here, but nevertheless this is the one that is right in our faces with a direct affect. And this one was not NATURAL. There was an ARSONIST. I can’t even express my anger and frustration over that.

My son and DIL both live just south of this fire and fortunately the initial work by the fire crews prevented the fire from burning south where potentially hundreds of homes, including theirs, could have been burned. They both worked this fire (son on the fire line and DIL in dispatch) and while they were doing that my other son and the rest of the family headed to Lake Tahoe for the Tahoe Ironman.

I took lots of photos but as the outcome of the weekend was not as hoped I’ll show only three.DSC_8057 Saturday the air was clear at Lake Tahoe and we dropped off bikes and bags at the transition areas.  Our Ironmen are Chris, on the right, and Rob, his uncle, second from the left. This was only part of the support crew as the other family members came later than day. DSC_8099 We left at 4:30 a.m. so we could park and get our competitors to the where they needed to be on Sunday morning. Here we are about 15 minutes before the start. The event was cancelled (or at least the public was told about it) at the absolute last minute as the first wave of contenders were entering the water. photoThe bike/run portion of the race was to take place in the Squaw Valley/Truckee area. This is a view of Squaw Valley as we picked bags up later in the day. Although there had been some rain, that is not mist hiding the mountains. It is smoke.

Major disappointment for everyone at the event. Frustration. Tears. Anger.  There is no arguing about the fact that conditions were not safe for an elite (or any) athletic event, but that doesn’t help with the frustration of everyone involved….This is only one event. I can only imagine all the ripple effects of this incident caused by ONE PERSON. It seems tame to call him selfish, but what else? Right now we don’t know anything about the reason behind the arson. But there is no good reason. DSC_8128 Daylight drive back home.

So now I will MOVE ON. Next post will be all smiles!