Cat Lady

April is pretty packed, Arizona this weekend then back to Manhattan Beach the next.  But first, I write…

There’s a house in Bend, Oregon that is within reach and is absolutely beautiful.  Whenever I go through a town I like, I obsessively Zillow it to death to see if it’s feasible.  Bend seemed great, until I looked at ways to get there.  The only way is to drive, flights are $800 round trip with 2 stops making it an 8 hour trip.  That really puts a damper on getting anywhere quickly or anyone ever coming to see me.  It was a nice thought while it lasted.

My husband keeps saying I should go back to Manhattan Beach, especially because of my mom needing me soon.  Being a full time caregiver doesn’t thrill me, the time is coming pretty soon though.  This weekend is her 1st cousin’s 84th birthday, he’s been touch & go for the last year at least.  He gave me a big hug last time I saw him and said, “I will see you again.”  Yes he will, for his birthday after a year of being in & out of hospitals.  Death doesn’t come at a specific time, it could be 5 min. or 5 years, you just don’t know?  That’s the case with my mom, am I signing up for 5 years or 15?  Some of my friends parents are well into their 90’s.  Our former neighbors have both sets of parents living, all in their mid-late 90’s.  My mom does great still, the vultures are circling though and she needs help.

I put up a picture on Instagram of a embroidery design I made then had digitized, an old friend of mine commented then said he just moved to MB!  Lengthy story, we met in our late teens through my college BF.  My college BF went to my HS, his dad was a teacher there, he was actually from West LA and would commute with his dad.  We’re not in touch, I always stayed in touch with his best friend who was from 90210.  Not in touch more than decade check ins, still it was always good to catch up.  I was so excited when he said that he lived there now!  PM’d my cell, told him we’d be down in a few weeks…crickets.  Txt’d my BIL we’d be down for my H bday, the same.  Hard to make dinner reservations when no one gets back to you??

Being a woman can be such a curse.  I go right back to being 19 yrs old when I get that kind of news and almost 40 years of life has moved on since then.  Do I want to move back to a town where I have childhood/teenage memories and am coming back as a 56 year old to take care of my mom (maybe get a few cats??).  Ugh.  Last time I went to the beach I got about 10 points of volleyball in before I had to call for a sub, everyone else else still looks smok’in hot in a bikini at my age.  I recognize it’s LA and there’s probably some surgery (& eating disorders) involved, there’s just not a chance in hell I’m playing v-ball in a bikini ever again.

On that thought, I’m going for a baby shower of a pro volleyball player and that part makes me smile.  When I could play without a sub, her mom & I would play at the pier and put our kids in cribs on the beach.  Our boys played for Golden West and were roommates there.  We raised the kids as cousins practically, so this is really exciting!!

There’s some relief in being older that I’m not expected to partake in the bikini contest anymore.  I’ve already missed a lot, I like the idea of being there and helping my friend become grandma then watching the baby on the beach while they play vball, like I did with the soon to be mommy.  Maybe it’s all good and I can go back as an adult and not a teenager?  One thing’s for sure, no more HS alumni events.  Our last one we were the only ones not announced at the football game, then cropped out of the group selfie.  Whatever 🙂

1st Leg to Mt Shasta

Loaded up with ski’s and Nespresso machine, yes I finally decided to go for it and drive to Seattle.  This has been done many times by college kids and parents headed to Eugene, it’s the first time I’ve done it.  I’ve flown into Redding a few times, not knowing about the meth problems in these towns until I walk around a bit.  The farthest I’ve gone driving has been to a small town where I had a drone job with a start up I worked for a few years ago.  I drove back and forth for 2 days, didn’t stay the night there.

Hard to see, but that “Not in our Town” means no meth.

Once I passed Redding it was gorgeous!!  The countless times I’ve driven I-5 to LA is about the most boring trip anyone can imagine, straight through the valley for hours with nothing but a few cattle ranches to wake you up from the smell.

Sorry this is so big, I can’t seem to shrink it?  Ode to my brother’s rockabilly band days & how I spend my road trip time:

Getting up here took me right through the forest, first the burnt out part before it got to the real beauty right by Lake Shasta.  Alas, it’s raining here melting all the snow.  Good for getting through here today, bad for any outdoor activities like hiking or breaking out my camera.  I put myself on a semi-tight schedule, the way up is to check things out so I can take my time on the way back.

Things I would do if it weren’t for the rain?  Lots of hiking trails, there’s a ski area close by for downhill & XC skiing…and that lake!!  I’d be all over that if it were remotely possible.  With the rain, it’s limiting me to sip my coffee and writing about the things I might do next time I come through here.

I’m staying at the Mt. Shasta resort, which are actually pretty nice little “cabins” supposedly close to some trails.  There’s a cute picnic area right out front, which is useless right now.  A few gripes, the non-smoking room smells like smoke and my neighbors rolled in around 11p with however many people banging car doors, yelling, headlights, slamming.  Things you would expect out of a group of people pitching in $20 a night for a room (they’re big rooms, easy to fit 6 or more people).  That’s the 2nd time I must have been on the same pace as a tour group?

They left early too, which is fine by me because I was already awake.  Now I can just leisurely watch the rain while I gear up for the next leg.

I have not heard from my friend about the baby, she was induced yesterday.  Not that I expected to hear, she’s a little busy!!  She knows I’m on my way, how I’m working this is that if she needs me – I’m there.  I learned a long time ago that when people are in need, it’s one thing to say, “Let me know if you need anything” and another to actually do something.  When my 2nd was born, one of the women at my son’s pre-school came over for a few hours so I could just ride my bike downtown.  It was so nice to get out on my own, even for a few hours.

Playing everything by ear according to her needs, ready (armed with caffeine) for whatever comes at me.


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Risk taking

Got a day of motoring about to Jack London Square in, no winds.  It’s been months since I’ve been able to take out the boat due to rain or just plain old too cold, otherwise we’re back to rain here in NorCal.

I’m going to go for it and just drive up to Seattle, I’ll have enough time for anything that might happen along the way (like a flooded I-5).

Paying bills & laundry, told my family their crisis’ will have to wait.  It’s rare I get a few weeks totally off.

Something the rain cancelled was my 6 mos check ride for flying, I won’t get that in until I get back.  This opportunity for a plane partnership came up that I was really excited about, I’ve been in the plane before & am very familiar with that particular plane.  I met with everyone, it all seemed cool until I looked further into one of the conditions…that I fly right seat as PIC (pilot in command) for the non-pilot partners.

Turns out that is good with FAA, I thought you had to be a CFI to fly right.  On further digging, it’s an insurance issue so worst case scenario happens and no insurance – on top of a potential lawsuit cuz hey, I’m PIC.  My husband let me know that I’d be dead, my family would take the brunt financially.  I don’t have a problem learning how to fly from right, I probably should anyway.  I’m also not opposed to letting another non-pilot take the plane while we fly straight or something, that’s NBD.

It’s OK, the flying club planes are fine so it’s not like I’m in a big rush.  I guess I visualized a partnership being independent of the other pilots, unless they wanted to ride along or vice-versa.  If flying wasn’t so risky by nature, it would be a lot different.  My Godfather was a pilot for Pan Am, died in a plane crash when I was little.  So did my friend Renato, the safest pilot EVER, a few years ago.  He helped me get my license, got me on the board & had to txt me every single month about what time the meeting was (because I could never remember).  Usually crashes have some sort of pilot error, this seemed to be an autopilot lock?  It was a new Garmin panel, his wife is suing.

When I first started flying our estate attorney & good friend freaked.  He said he loses a client a year to small plane crashes.  I’m aware of the risks and respect anyone who doesn’t want to go up in a plane with me, including my family.

It took me awhile to get back in a plane after Renato died, when I did I was fine.  We certainly all know the risk going up, and the thrill of it when you’re thinking “I get to do this!”  As much of a semi-risk taker as I am, leaving behind a bunch of potential lawsuits for my family is not something I can risk.  Really, anything can happen @ any time.  The most common thing is someone re-marrying and the new spouse swiping the estate from the kids.  Happens all the time…

Waffling on my route…

It looks like rain in the forecast the entire drive up to Seattle, with a need for at least carrying chains throughout a few sections.  These storms have been relentless!  One thing’s for sure, the coast route is a no-go, I’ll never make it.  My truck will make it through the worst of it all, at the expense of being exhausted (or useless) by the time I get up there.

I have a voucher for Amtrak that I was considering until that train got stuck near Eugene for 3 days, so that’s out.  Looks like I might just have to book a flight?  Which eliminates a good portion of my adventure I’ve been looking forward to.

Another thing just came up too, another one of my mom’s friends passed away and the funeral is here in Marin.  Her son just got ahold of me, we were good friends and I just adored his mom.  Our mom’s were late 50’s Stewardesses together and roommates, my mom was the only person in her wedding party as maid of honor.  Leave it to my mom to wear a red dress, yes, that’s how she rolls.  The son and I used to joke that we suffered from the fact our parents will always be hotter than us.

That funeral is 2 days before I need to be in Seattle for my adopted grandma shift, I’m considering having my mom come up here first so I can take her.  She doesn’t travel well anymore, and I can’t emphasis enough the stress right before I go when I was looking forward to this trip!  To be replaced with yet another funeral, ugh.  Still, I hate to miss it or have my mom miss it.

What worries me most is when I called my mom to tell her, she had no idea who I was talking about?  She seemed almost happy, so a few minutes into the conversation I said, “Do you know what I just said?” She said yes, that someone she didn’t know had just died.   I said, “Mom, it’s L, remember you were roommates and you were in her wedding?”  She said, “Oh yes, but that’s not her name.”  I said, “It’s L & D, remember?”  She said again she remembered but the names were wrong.  I hung up and called my brother, some of her memory came back when he was talking to her.

When I talked to her again she said I must have woken her up from a nap while she was still half asleep.  I’m aware that the time is near for her, maybe not death but the end of her mind.  I’m trying to get in as much as I can before I’m the caregiver, a role I never was meant for but I seem to be regardless by sheer fact I’m a woman.  The last time she spoke to her friend L, L had no memory of my mom either.  That was years ago 😦

I can’t think of any of my peers who have both parents alive still?  Both of my parents are still alive, they’ve been divorced forever.  One of these days I’ll write about my dad, for now I’ll just say that I can empathize with Megan Markle & I can’t say it gets better.  My parents sure were a good looking couple, they looked like movie stars when I was little.  I had to forge my own road and go the tomboy route to survive…kidding.  I certainly missed basic training in the women department!

I know, I was hoping for a blog full of pretty pictures of my I-5 journey too.  Sorry about that, life & the weather are not cooperating with me.  As hard as it was, I was there non-stop for my mom’s friend F when she was dying and learned so much about that – I wouldn’t have missed it.  I’m so looking forward to a birth!  The older I get, the more I see it’s not that different.  My mom keeps saying, “It’s called life.”


Been in need of Vitamin D, this has been a crazy Winter!  Granted, not the crazy mid-West winters, it’s all relative.  I’m healed up, just can’t hear from all the gunk from the ear infection.

Finishing up some obligations before I head out on my next adventure.  The last few days I’ve been playing with a new camera lens for my Sony a7ii, it’s a 70-300mm lens.  I’ve also discovered the apps once I finally registered the camera and downloaded a “smooth reflections” app.  At first it seemed as if the app was just a settings override for the camera, it’s actually a series of photos to smooth out the water.

The first attempt was sunset zoomed to the Golden Gate from about 5 miles away (Featured photo).  It was a good 40 knot wind, that shutter just kept going, and going, and going.  I had to turn it off, seems like I picked too windy a day for that particular app.  This was the view when I turned around, applied a PSExpress filter to the left pic.

Then I took my normal walk around the reservoir to set up at a dock.  That worked a little better, it was still pretty windy.  I let it click through, the first shot was 66 pictures, second around 45 pictures.  It seems the app works best if the water doesn’t have white caps, like every body of water has right now with the winds.

Always good to practice, see what the camera is capable of.  I tried the “fun” button, with the glare on the screen and it was hard to really see how it was going to turn out.  Besides, all that is in the Photoshop Xpress on my iPhone.  Instead of clicking through settings in a glare, I can casually do it indoors with my latte.  They mentioned “in camera” at the Sony seminar, sometimes I enjoy messing with Photoshop to see what pops up.

The other thing that I discovered was my iPhone has a “for you” in photos I never noticed.  I clicked on it, it made movies out of events or a time period.  Cheesy music, but since I take so many pics it was fun to see in just a few minutes.  One was showing my friend how to use his drone, then we went sailing.  Not sure which pictures are his or mine?  My drone lessons usually include a photo contest at the end and we sent each other the pics.  Turned out really nice though in a movie.

The other one is my trip in May, including the condom machine in a women’s bathroom somewhere along the way.  Guys, you wish we were coming out of a gross bathroom thinking, “I better grab one of these, just in case.”  Especially in Farmington, not going to happen.


Have almost everything set up for my trip to Seattle.  Really excited, I can’t believe how much this weather and these mild injuries have me down?  It looks like there’s at least a few days of great weather, still kinda cold.  Nothing a good walk won’t cure.


No Sleep

I blame the Diet Coke I drank at dinner last night, haven’t been drinking them lately.  Got my mind spinning all over the place.

While I physically and mentally prepare for my trip to Seattle I’m busy looking up routes and Zillow houses.  That’s been my favorite pastime, Zillow.  It’s a good indicator of what’s going on in that town too, the prices of houses reflect the community.  One time I looked up Redding to see how inexpensive the houses were.  I flew up for a fishing trip and found out why…it looks like everyone’s on meth.  I’ve never seen so many people in their 20’s looking really unhealthy.  My stroll to the Sundial was like the Walking Dead.

Those are just my observations, maybe I was in a bad part of town?  Whenever I go somewhere myself I consider everyone an axe murderer, so I’m pleasantly surprised most of the time.

The coastal route towns look amazing!!  I’ve gone as far as Humboldt (by small plane).  Last year I took a nice trip with the plane to Mendocino for a few days, then on to Humboldt.  Sorry to say, I ran into a meth party in Humboldt I had to get an Uber rescue out of.  Mendocino was a beautiful 2 mile hike to the town on Hwy 1 with no shoulder.  There was no Uber or hardly any cell, I did notice a few cars slow down for me and I was scared.  I thought I could catch the bus back to the small store across from Little River Inn, it was it’s own party shelter.  A woman in a store gave me a ride back when she got off work, she knew.

Those small towns just have no jobs, I get that.  Years ago I drove up the coast to Bodega Bay, thinking that would be a great get-away place.  When I went to the local coffee shop the chat was all spiritual, the Saab convertible didn’t go over well either.  I looked like the bourgeoisie yuppie (before start ups).

I’ll have to plan my route accordingly, maybe I-5 to Eugene & cut over for the day?  It looks like there’s a nice coastal town West of Eugene, Oregon.  Never been to Oregon, only flew over to Seattle last September.

I’ll probably take a week just getting up there, be rested for my friend’s baby instead of a travel day I need to recoup from.

I can’t decide whether I want a small place of my own somewhere or a small plane for my freeloading dream (where I barge in on family to say, “Not sure when I’m leaving?”).  Obviously I’m kidding, I do think about it though.  The places I was looking at in Pacific Grove sold 😦  The one I’d already envisioned myself in my mind and moved in making the studio downstairs into a…studio.

The thing I’m really scared of is my sleep paralysis, I had another episode the night before last making me afraid to go to sleep last night too.  It’s a horrible feeling, you can’t move or talk & I found myself screaming in my dream – thinking I was awake – then nothing but a moan comes out of me until I wake up.  A few months ago I couldn’t breathe, Freddy Krueger stuff.  There’s rarely a time I have a “normal” dream, they’re usually nightmares.  One thing that’s helped is watching Seinfeld before I sleep instead of Law & Order re-runs.

Makes me tired all day, then there’s the incessant rain giving me cabin fever.  Sleeping pills give me vivid dreams then make me medicine tired the next day.  I probably have to worry about my sleeping patterns more than anyone hiding in the woodshed on my trip.



Rain forevermore

Good thing my house is set up for indoor days right now and still kind of recovering.  By the end of this storm I should be good to go again.  I’m not missing anything, even skiing, by staying home this week.  I just hope my friend’s baby isn’t born in this, Seattle has had more snow than ever and I don’t know if I can get up there in it?  I was planning on driving, Portland looks flooded.

I’ve been making this “Like Water for Chocolate” quilt for the baby.  All my womanly knowledge, including a ton of patience while I seam rip mistakes.  Making these is the only old lady thing I really do, to me they’re like a big puzzle or math problem to figure out.  It helps me concentrate, the second I make a mistake I stop.  Not great for my back, I can only sit in a chair an hour a day at most.

One thing I need to do is get my body ready for a baby schedule.  When I was pregnant, my body naturally adjusted to my boys eating & sleeping schedule.  Right now my body schedule is leisurely waking up to rain.  It’s kind of in hibernation mode 🙂  I don’t want to go up to Seattle to be a guest, I want to be Mary Poppins!!  Haha.

In other artistry endeavors, I donated a panorama photo I did with my drone to Berkeley Yacht Club (BYC).  It turned out really well on canvas, I figured it should go there because I got the whole marina.  It was kind of an accident, I was showing someone else how to use their new drone and did a few things with mine.  I stitched it together in Lightroom, down to the ripples.


There was someone at BYC saying I should sell them, at first I was flattered.  I did the unfortunate mistake of saying how much the print cost me – it was a Xmas special for $30.  The woman looked really excited for me and said I could sell them for $40!!  I know she meant well, it’s just that if I sold 5 of them my profit would be around $10…maybe.  Is that worth the price of poker??  Sadly, no.

I’m beginning to see more & more that there’s a reason it’s called a “starving artist.”  You have to have a lot of time to get the shots, or sew, then there’s the matter of actually selling it.  When my boys went off to college I was looking up seamstress salaries, starting & ending was $20k.  I might make more with a tin can at the freeway exit?  Tax free.

I did just post something about my drone company (GrandView Services) on LinkedIn and got some hits from someone who works at Facebook, 3DR, Ford.  One of my big clients was Ford GoBike, it’s all swallowed into Cal Engineering & Geology now and really starting to catch on.  For years I was doing it by myself, but to take it to the next level we hired someone.  There’s some saying about innovators burning out, then the next person takes it & runs with it.  That would be me, I started it from absolute scratch and now that it’s a press of a button and catching on, I’m out.

Maybe I’ll go back to it?  I was just showing someone some stuff I did years ago, turns out he does commercials in this area and had outdated info on drones.  The landslide job sites are hard for me…one, no bathrooms.  Another is no cell coverage and since they’re my drones I’m not quick to fly it 10′ off the ground and have it crash or lose it.  There’s a difference between flying your own drone and using the company drone.  I read this saying about chartering that was pretty funny, “Fly it like you stole it.”

Not sure if I connected the dots on this blog post?  That’s OK, that’s the way my fuzzy brain works.