Monday, June 30, 2008

Once again - you can't trust Dad to babysit Allison! He was so proud of himself, too! The kids and I went up to Susanville for Mom's birthday, and, once again, Mom was showing me her garden (and putting up her new trellis that she got for her birthday) and I had AJ run in and check on Alli once or twice. She was doing fine -watching TV. I went in to check on her, and when I went into the house, I noticed Dad was sitting on the couch, reading the paper. Great, I thought, Dad's been watching her, so everything is fine! Then, I noticed that she had something in her lap. As I watched, she dipped her fingers into the open butter container. Oh no! "Dad - weren't you watching Alli?" I asked. Without even looking up from his paper, he replied" Yes, I'm watching her - she's fine!" Dad had averted one issue with Alli, and so thought he was safe. This time, I had Alex take a quick picture of Alli for me while I was cleaning her up. Yes, that is butter on her nose, as well as around her mouth. She hadn't had the container very long, so she hadn't made a big mess - yet!

I think it was a good thing we canceled the hike. I was wondering, when I went over to Susanville, if it had really been necessary. The air was pretty clear up that high. I took a picture of Lassen from the lookout above Hat Creek. It was smoky, but not anything like down in the valley.
Then, on the way home from Ssuanville, I stopped for another picture. Same location, same trees to give you a feel for the picture. I had to use the same frame so I knew where Lassen was supposed to be.
It got really bad in the afternoon! I could smell the smoke while I was driving, with the air conditioner on. (I think I will be smelling smoke for weeks after the fires are put out!)
There were some pretty flowers at the lookout - red, white and blue!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Mt. Lassen hike is definitely postponed. Ronna had serious doubts about even getting across Hwy 20, and the air quality is so bad no one should be climbing! I am going over to Susanville today for Mom's birthday, so will see if the air is any clearer up high. I don't think it will be - there are fires all around. I haven't heard of any local fires burning any structures yet. They have a few road closures up past Shasta Lake City by the dam, but that may be more to keep sightseers out of the area. I had heard you could see the fire up there very well from the Dam, so probably everyone wanted to go take a look! I have been taking the warning seriously about not exercising! I haven't take the dogs on a walk all week! I have thrown Allin in the pool, but that is about all we have done outside. I use the local radio station's website to keep up on the fires. I you want to take a look, it is They have a "Latest fire information" link on the right side. It has all the local fire info, including acreage burned.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The fires are still going strong, but the wind came up enough to blow some of the smoke out. There are still some mandatory evacuations out by Keswick, and 299 is closed at Weaverville. AJ took some pictures of the sunset for me after I picked him up after the Scout Leadership meeting tonight.
As far as I know, the Mt. Lassen hike has been postponed. Shingletown still has fires burning around it, and the air quality is pretty bad. Ronna may not even be able to get through - Highway 20 was pretty nasty too, with a fire by the lakes.
AJ even managed to catch a flock of birds on camera - not too bad for driving down the highway!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Talk about smoke! We are socked in! You can see the smoke between us and the next house, and we really are not near any fires. These pictures were taken Monday on my way home from work (yes - in the car, while I was driving!) It has only gotten worse, too. The closest fire to us is probably the Bear Creek Fire. It is just off of Dersch Road, going toward Susanville from here. For those of you that know the area, Bear Creak is the sweeping corner, and a ranch with carved bears at the entrances. Not too far away. The fire is north of the ranch. The other 150+ fires in the County are in the surrounding mountains. All told, I understand there were over 800 fires started by the thunderstorm that came through, with 400 or so in the Shasta/Trinity area (Trinity County is the next county to the west of us) and another one is schedule to come through again this weekend. Lovely!
The only good thing about the fires is it gives me a good excuse not to exercise! Air Quality specialists are advising everyone to not exercise outdoors right now (I know, don't remind me - we have a treadmill inside!) I finally have Koori excited to go for a walk. She isn't as enthusiastic and Jasper - but then again, it would be hard to be more excited than that. If I even reach to pick up my tennis shoes, Jasper is too excited to stand still. Koori waits until I actually sit down to put them on before she starts getting in my face (literally!) I have both dogs trying to lick my face when I am putting my socks on. They are both pretty good to walk. I walk both together, and they very rarely get tangled up in their leads.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I didn't get any more weeds cut down in the garden yesterday, but I did get my carpets cleaned! They never look as good as when the professionals do it, but they look a lot better. I ran out of stain remover, or they would have looked even better. Not too bad for my weekend - lots of stuff accomplished! Now, off to face another week of work!

Next weekend will see a goal of mine completed - climbing Mt. Lassen. My Mom decided she wanted to climb it for her birthday, so most of us (I'm not sure who all is actually coming) are going to climb with her. I know Ronna is coming over, and AJ and I are going up. I don't know if Dave and Jeff will meet up with as well, but it would be nice if they did. I've always wanted to climb it, but I just never made the time to do it. This seems like a good time to me!

We are all smoked in this morning. None of the fires are really close - the closest ones are in Shingletown and in the Igo-Ono area, but we probably are catching smoke from all the fires. There were something like 400+ fires in the Shasta Trinity District started with our lovely thunderstorm we had Saturday. Since we sit right in the middle of Shasta - and Trinity is just up the hills from us - we get all the smoke. (Living at the tip of the valley doesn't help a lot either - the mountains trap the smoke in the valley.)

Ralph and AJ went into the Sundial Bridge on Saturday. Ralph had purchased tickets to win a new Toyota, and they went in to watch the drawing. While they were there, lightning stuck the bridge, and they could hear the current running down the cables in the bridge. This was about 3 seconds after they got off the bridge. No one was actually touching the cables at that moment, but it would have been easy enough to do - scary! (Ralph didn't win his hybrid SUV. There were only 7,500 tickets sold - raising money for Turtle Bay, so he had a decent chance, since he bought 3 tickets.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's been a productive weekend - sort of anyway! I took Friday off of work and spent most of it cleaning out the garage. Since Ralph is parking the motorcycle in the garage, it was getting pretty crowded in there. AJ helped me load 6-8 boxes and 6-8 large plastic bags of clothes and shoes and take them to Salvation Army. Unfortunately for me, I found out after I drove into town that the drop off that I knew about was closed for the week. (They received a ton of stuff the week before and were trying to process it.) Luckily, the "other" drop off was open, and it it less than a mile from the house. (Of course, if I had remembered that they moved out here, I would have saved myself a trip into town!) After we finished that, and a couple of other projects, AJ and I went back into town for lunch! Our usual lunch together involves Taco Bell, so it was nice to take him to a real restaurant and have a nice lunch. Ralph couldn't join us, so it was just us. Later that evening, he had a birthday party to go to. Some crazy mom allowed at least 15, maybe more (I saw at least that many), 15-16 year old kids at her house for a birthday pool party. She didn't even look too stressed out when I went to pick up AJ - definitely insane!

Since I had to pick AJ up at 10:00 Friday night, and Alli got up at her "normal" time of 5:15, Saturday wasn't very productive. I did work on the garden while Alli napped, but she didn't nap very long, so I didn't get much done there, either. It needs a lot of work. It should have had more work done before I started planting. I need to do some serious cleanup this year after I tear out the garden. I may just have to learn how to run the rototiller too! I have grass coming up everywhere - probably because at one time, it was lawn, as well as nut grass coming up. I think I am going to invest in some clear plastic to put over the garden next spring to kill all the seeds that are there. I don't know if it will work, but I think I will give it a try. If not, Round-up should work on everything too. I just need to start earlier next year to get everything killed before I plant.
I finished up a little project from one of my Yahoo! groups - a thread cloche. I made it smaller than the pattern called for, because no one around here would wear it - so I will send it to Rachelle! Even if she doesn't wear it, it can be for dress-up or for her dolls. It turned out cute - it just isn't something I would wear! Alli wasn't too impressed either - probably because it was a bit small and I tugged it on her and took pictures.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I got my first harvest from the garden! I picked one row of beans yesterday, and we had enough for dinner. The beans are higher and fuller than they were last year, too. I should get quite a few beans out of them. I even got three little tomatoes - and they were so good! I have missed sun ripened tomatoes - actually all tomatoes lately. At least I know the only thing on these might be a little bug and bird poop.
I also got pictures from the Prom AJ and Marie went to. Too bad you can't see who that is under all that hair!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Allison just loves to go to Grandma's house! Grandma always has such good things for her - like an entire jar of jelly beans! The kids and I went up to Susanville for Father's Day. When we got there and got settled in, I asked AJ to watch Alli for me while Mom showed me around her garden area. I seriously over-estimated his patience with watching his sister, and "assumed" he was still watching her, when in reality, he was in playing on the computer. Mom, Dad and I were sitting out in the patio, and my brother David came to the door and said "Deni - I need your help in here." That usually only means one thing - Alli is into something. This time, it was Mom's jar of jelly beans - a very large glass jar of jelly beans that were now scattered all over the living room carpet, in Dad's chair, and all over (and in!) Allison. I have no idea how many she ate. There were a lot on the floor and chair, and very few left in the jar. Evidently, since she had so many, if she found one she didn't like, she just spit it out. There were quite a few she didn't like! They were stuck all over her shirt and shorts, and on Dad's chair. She was a very happy mess! Needless to say, she didn't eat a lot of lunch either! I was really wishing I got pictures, but I decided I really needed to clean up the mess, rather than document it! Maybe next time (and I am sure there will be a next time!)

I did get another doily finished. This one took me a while! It is about 24 inches across, and could have been larger, but that is as large as the blocking tile is, so I couldn't stretch it out further. It is called "Weathervane" and I really like the pattern in it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I got a call from the bus driver for Alli's summer school yesterday. She will be here at 6:00 a.m. to pick Alli up! Good thing Alli is a morning person. It still isn't going to be a lot of fun to get her up, dressed and fed by 6:00. I have been letting her sleep in just a bit lately, since she didn't have to get on the bus this week. We just had to leave in time to get AJ to school, her dropped off, and me to work by 7:45. I made it - most of the time! Now, though, she is going to have to get up at 5:30 - which means I have to get up before that! If I am really good, I will get up and get her lunch packed, and then get her up and out the door, and take the dogs for a walk, and then get ready for work. We shall see if I am disciplined enough to do that. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I think summer is here. The heat has begun! According to the thermometer in the RAV, it was 96 yesterday in town. The thermometer on the back patio had about 93. When I got in from work (mo more soccer practises after work!) I threw Alli in the pool for about a half hour to get a little exercise. She definitely enjoyed it!

I also got a call from her summer school teacher last night. She was trying to contact all the parents to try to have a head start on the knowing the kids. She has 16 kids in the classroom for 4 weeks, with 4 or 5 other adults with her. She knows none of the kids, and only two of the adults. It is going to be an interesting 4 weeks for her. As she said,m the hardest part is it takes the first two weeks for the kids to settle down in a new place, with a new teacher and new routines, so she won't be meeting many "goals" the kids have in their IEP's. When she asked what goals I had for Alli for summer school, I told her all I was looking for was keeping her in a routine, and keeping up the expectations that she do things when she is asked to do them. I think Alli is allowed to rule the roost at daycare, so she needs someone making her do things during the summer, so real school isn't a big shock! The teacher sounds nice. I will have to make a point of going up there to meet her.

Ralph isn't riding the bike to work yet. He just ordered a new helmet for himself, so will wait for that to come in. He has been "bonding" with it after dinner, and as much as he could this weekend. He has spent much of that time cleaning it up and working on little things that need to be fixed. He has even bid on a new BMW oil filter on eBay, so we will see if he wins it. He has a lot of other accessories that he is watching on eBay, but I don't think he has bid on any yet.

AJ seems to be pretty interested in the bike, too. I think he would like to be driving that when he gets his license, instead of a car. I checked into one of the local driving schools, and the complete "package" for getting driver's training is about $615.00! Another local school is about $300.00. AJ is turning into an expensive kid! I doubt that we do the "package" deal, but I really had no idea it was that expensive! He will be 15 1/2 next month, so we could start his driver's training now, but....maybe we'll wait!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Check out the new addition to the family! On the pretext of saving gas - Ralph got a motorcycle. It is an older BMW - an '87 BMW K75S. As Ralph said - it could use some work, but he is very happy!

He got a good deal on it, I think, and he hasn't had a motorcycle in years - not counting the Honda 90 that is in the garage already and doesn't run. AJ was very interest in the bike - I think that he may be interested in driving it when he gets a license. The Honda is a dirt bike, so isn't something he could use to go to school, but the BMW - that's a different story!
I'd say it was a busy weekend so far, but I don't have a lot to show for it. I got some laundry done yesterday (bedding and towels) and cleaned up some "problem areas" in the house (went through Alli's clothes and sorted out the ones that don't fit any more, etc.) but that seems to be about it! I have a list of things to do, and got most of them crossed off, but it still doesn't look like I did much. I still need to scrub down the pool today, take AJ and his friend Conner (who spent the night last night) in to Conner's house, go to church, go back in and get AJ and come home and finish laundry, weed the garden, and all the other things I want to get done this weekend!
Alli actually got on the treadmill yesterday by herself - she walked up to it and stepped on while it wasn't running and stamped her feet. I very quickly got her shoes on her and turned it on, and she walked for 10 minutes at just under 2 MPH. Pretty good! I then threw her in the pool for an hour yesterday afternoon. She fell asleep after dinner in her chair, and went to bed at 7:30! I may try that again today - wear her out! She is out of school for the next week, and then starts summer school for 4 weeks.
AJ has three days of school left - all finals. He has supposedly been studying for the last week, but...we shall see. This was not a stellar year for him - he is getting mostly B's in his core subjects, with A's in the "fun" ones (Jazz Band, PE, etc.) I try not to hound him too much - the core classes are actually Advance or Honor classes, and he is ahead of schedule for his math classes (he is taking Algebra II as a freshman, which I took as a Junior) Even the "easy classes" like computer aps is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Part of their final in Computers Aps is to design a computer program for a robot that uses logic to get out of an unknown (to them) maze. I thought the class was just typing and learning to use Word and Excel, etc.! He has discovered that he doesn't like writing code, but he understands programing just a little bit. (I took a college course in computer program to learn the same thing - he is years ahead of me learning what he wants to do when he grows up!)
Poor AJ - he crashed and burned on his rip-stick yesterday. He has been taking Jasper out for a run with him on the rip-stick, and then catching up with Koori and I when we take a walk after dinner. There is one house in the neighborhood that he goes by that quite often has the dogs loose in the yard - one is a standard poodle, and the other is a smaller dog. The first lap he did yesterday, the dogs weren't out. The second lap, they were, and he started turning to avoid them, and Jasper started turning too, and then turned back to go to the dogs. Poor AJ! He said he dislocated his shoulder, but I think he just pulled it - he was using it pretty well last night, so I don't think he really did. He did scrape up his knee and arm, and his wrist (!!!) was sore from landing on it. It wasn't swollen, so I am assuming it was just a bruise, but will check it out this morning, just to make sue. We were teasing him last night that if he broke it, it was going to be tough to take his finals with his left hand!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Remember how proud I was that Ralph and the boys got my garden set up on drip????? Cancel that! Koori jumped the fence during the day today and ripped it all out. There were parts and pieces of tubing everywhere! We are back to watering over head, and Ralph increased the height of the gate. I don't know that she went in just over the gate, but it seems likely - it was lower than the rest of the fence, and had more support if she jumped up on it. All this in just one day!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A lot got accomplished today! AJ was supposed to be working for scout money today, but when we showed up at 8:00 this morning, no one was home. Either AJ got the time and date wrong, or there was a change in plans that didn't get forwarded to him. Since he didn't work at Dave's, we put him to work (just a little bit) at home. He and Dallas helped Ralph put the drip line in for my garden. I planted about 6 weeks ago, and we were still watering from over head, so all the weeds were getting watered too. Maybe now I can get control of the weeds! The garden is looking good - I even have a couple of tomatoes on my plants!

While the guys were putting in the drip line, I trimmed the grass around the pool. That has been needing it for quite a while, as Ralph doesn't like to use the weed eater on it (it gets too much grass in the pool) and with his hands, he can't use hands tools very well (and not regret it!). He had enough problems today. He hurt his ribs last weekend working on the pool, and Saturday at the game, Alli jerked him just hard enough to make them start hurting again. He was not a happy camper. I also took time out to play with the dogs - you almost have to in order to have any time to do any work in the yard. If you don't, they (mainly Jasper) continue to bring you toys and drop them in your lap - just in case!

Poor AJ - the last soccer game - and he gets clobbered! It was a good game - they won 3-0, and AJ played most of the game. In the last 5 minutes of the game, he collided with another guy, and limped off the field. This was at least the third injury of the game that had the player leaving the game. The other two were ankle injuries, so I wandered over to the team with some cold water after AJ's injury, just to check him out. He had hit his shin with another kid's shin, so no ankle injuries - just deep bruising!
After the game, one of the parents had all the kids over for a BBQ and pool party. I think the kids had a blast! They had a pool, and a spa, and the kids played in both, along with all the other things they were doing (eating!) I picked AJ up at 6:00 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours after the game ended, and after two hours of water sports, and he still had the imprint of a soccer ball on his leg - and this wasn't even the injury that sidelined him! He seemed fine after the party, so no lasting damage from his shin (so far)
AJ has another hard day in front of him. One of the Scout Leaders has offered to have the boys going on the canoe trip up to his house to work for him, earning money for the trip. I think he is landscaping his yard, but I'm not sure. I'm all for it, as it is estimated to cost about $1,000 for the trip, and so far, we have only paid in $500.00 - another $500.00 to pay before the end of July. The troop has not been very active in fundraisers lately, so AJ's scout account is pretty drained. He will be working the parking lot for the fair in a couple of weeks, but that will only be about $50.00 to his account, not the other $500.00.