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.


Planning next adventure!!

Last year MIA in May was declared, it was almost 3 weeks of driving back from New Mexico through Northern Arizona, hitting the places I’d never been to.  My route from Las Cruces was Santa Fe, Farmington (don’t recommend), Four Corners, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Mammoth, then home.  We had an engagement party where we had to shuffle (adult) kids and dogs around.  I drove my truck to Las Cruces, then flew back to watch the other dog.  When I went back to Las Cruces to pick up my truck I planned to be gone the whole month.

This year is MIA in March to be timed around the birth of my friends first baby.  I’m on-call as self declared adoptive grandma.  My friend is going it alone, she’s an only child and both of her parents have passed.  She’s been talking about it for years, she’s now in her late 30’s.  Having had 2 C-sections, I know I couldn’t change a diaper for over a week.  I left all of March open for her, including the timing of my trip.

It’s a pretty quick flight to Seattle, that shouldn’t be a problem.  Another friend lives on Lopez Island and sent a pic of herself on the ferry with her car going over.  I thought, “I’m driving!”  That way I can take my time going up and see Eugene and Portland, places I’ve never been.  If I time it right, I’d actually be close by when the baby is born and won’t have to book a quick flight or an ungodly drive during the day.

My May trip I paced myself about 6 hour driving days staying around 2 nights at each place (except Farmington, that was just a stop to see Four Corners).  The only thing with that pace is that the first night would be recovering from the drive, one full day to see everything, then pack up for the next drive.  3 nights would have been better at a few places just to get myself together a little.  2 of those nights in Monument Valley were in the back of my truck, with a few naps in the truck bed too.  My next destination should have been the 3 nighter, just to get the red dirt out of my teeth.

I’m spending at least a week helping with the baby in Seattle before I head out to Lopez Island to see my other friend.  There’s a train in Vancouver, Rocky Mountain, that are week long trips.  What I might do is go for that too?  Despite my way to frigg’in long train trip a few weeks ago, I still love trains.  The problem is, I can’t plan it or make reservations – everything’s going to have to be on the fly.

I’ll admit, I can be cheap with hotels getting the best offer not thinking about safety or the sleep I’m not going to get thinking about my safety.  My poor choice of Farmington led me to call my husband to arrange my stay at Lake Powell.  As I scroll through Priceline, that’s something I’m going to have to remember.

Just so any of you decide to do my May route, the choice should have been Durango.  I linked all my blogs to the locations from that trip.

This will be quite a trip, not even sure how long I’ll be gone?  I have my new camera ready, I’ll bring the drone too.  There won’t be any truck sleeping (except naps), it’ll be too cold.  Getting my body ready for the trip, fighting an ear infection and still the bruised tailbone.  Gives me something to look forward to and a reason to get better ASAP!!  It’s been raining here, caught one great pic on my iPhone from a parking garage of the snow on Mt. Diablo yesterday.  Lots of pics if you press the links from my May trip. For not getting a lot of hits on my blog, I’ve sure been writing away when I start adding the links.





Not sure if I ever mentioned on this blog that my youngest son is deaf with a cochlear implant?  He decided to get one his junior year of high school, starting out his first week of his senior year recovering from it.  He always qualified, it was a decision I didn’t want to make for him and waited until it was something he wanted.  He actually did all the research on it himself, when he went in he fully intended to have both sides done.  After the one, that was good enough for all of us.

It helped him a lot the first year, although it’s a different sound than actual hearing.  It’s an electronic sound he had to learn how to decipher the sounds.  He wore it for years when he first went off to Northridge for their deaf program in college.  He had somewhat been in the deaf community his first few years of school, he was in a total communication classroom from K-3 grade and mainstreamed in 4th grade.  The program was in Mt. Diablo School District (highly recommend BTW).   We brought him back to Walnut Creek for middle school and high school, much to the financial dismay of the school districts.  That’s for another blog, I will say this, by middle school most parents are forced to go private or continue the uphill battle with the school districts.  We were lucky, he had been in the system since he was 18 months old.  That, and he’s really smart and a good student.

He stuck out Cal State Northridge for a year and a half, it’s my alma mater.  He lived in the deaf dorms which were sign language only, he then started getting some slack from his peers about his implant.  There was a time we were told we were the worst parents ever for letting him get the implant, that the whole family didn’t learn how to sign for him, he was ready to write us all off – almost cultish.  I took him back to his grade school one day on a break and they confirmed that HE was the one who didn’t want to sign.  I should mention with hearing aides he can speak, his hearing loss is at 90 decibels so with the aides plus lip reading he was able to communicate around 6 years old.  I did take some sign language classes for a few years.

I loved Northridge for him, it was convenient for us along with being close to my mom in case of emergency.  He moved into an apartment with some roommates he didn’t like and called it quits.  We brought him home to go to the local junior college for a semester, he realized everyone was gone off to college.  Someone he met at the local JC mentioned New Mexico State’s PGM (Pro golf management) program.  He looked into it, then transferred the next semester.

That seemed ideal, he’s been a golfer since he was 5 or 6 years old.  I worked at a golf course their whole childhood, they grew up with that course as their playground.  He played on the golf teams since middle school, they both had jobs at golf courses when they were in high school.

He’s not in school at this time, he wanted to play competitively with a break from school. This is a tough one for me, how do you support your kid’s dreams yet make sure you’re getting them started into a life where they can one day be self supportive?  Especially for when you’re not on this earth anymore?  Having a kid with a disability adds a new twist to it too, we had a guy working for the golf course from a PGM program who basically had the same job as me – my son can’t answer a phone.

Back to the implant though, he’s home to get it adjusted to use it again.  That’s a start, a few months ago he wanted another surgery to get it removed and I just cried the whole time he was saying that.  That surgery was hectic, the LAST thing I wanted him to do was to got through that again!!  I begged him to just keep it so that some day he would want to wear it again (did I say he’s stubborn?).  He came around, it was his choice to get it adjusted.

One of the side affects of the surgery is tinnitus, when he’s wearing the implant the tinnitus seems to subdue.  Another thing that helps him is tincture drops from medicinal MJ.  I discovered the tincture when I’d go with my mom’s best friend to pick it up when she was dying of cancer.  She would put it in her tea, it would help her appetite and help her sleep.  Before we got her a card she had eaten cookies and had no feeling in her legs!!  The drops are a lot milder than the edibles (I guess, I haven’t had either).

They seem to help his tinnitus without the stoney affect.  Being the good mom, after I picked him up from the airport we stopped by Berkeley to get him some drops.  One thing I’m not is an enabler, I wouldn’t be stopping by a liquor store for him if he needed a drink.  It’s a tough call, what’s the difference between something mild or say a Tylenol PM??  Now that I’ve had, it gives me vivid dreams as well as leaving me medicine like tired the next day.

Not that I’m recommending any of this, parenting is always a balance of stumbling through what the best thing could possibly be for your child hoping something will give them a lifetime of health & happiness – oh, and a well paying job!

The goal is to get him to qualify for the world deaf championships at this point.  He’s picking a new major to get back to school after he gives this a go.  Go Aggies!!

Snow Day!

Not really, I did mean to get up early to catch the sunrise on the top of Mt. Diablo, that just didn’t happen.  The alarm went off at 6:30a, I had to tell Alexa twice to turn it off before I woke up at 7:30a.  Another reason I’ll never be a great photographer, I can’t wake up to greet the day anymore.  For ten years I’d wake up at 4:30a for work then rowing, I never want to see a “4” and an “a” together ever again.

I’ll wait for the sunset, or maybe head out today some time and get some shots?  I’m sure my neighbors appreciate I slept in and didn’t wake them up with my drone at sunrise.

Otherwise, I’m just doing my own thing again today, still nursing my tailbone bruise/fracture.  This really took me down again, it’s been over a week now and not feeling any better.  I hate complaining about health stuff, it makes me feel 100 years old, it’s just that I was really hoping to get back on track with getting in shape.  That week was looking good with the swimming & skiing, then this.  I’ll walk a few miles to crawl to the fridge for icy/hot & heating pads.

Forget about bike riding, yoga, swimming…perhaps I should actually go to the Dr.??  IDK??  Last time I went was when my heart actually hurt after the smoke and they didn’t whip out the stethoscope, which seems to me to be Dr. 101??  Plus there’s nothing they can do about it besides tell me to do what I’m already doing.

On the “where to live” front, still up in the air.  I found the cutest place in Pacific Grove, a place I love to go.  One thing’s for sure after all this snow, glad I didn’t go for Tahoe!  I don’t know if I could handle being injured and not being able to dig myself out of a condo or dig my car out all week.  There’s hunkering down, then there’s hunkering down with no cable or internet for days…that would be the worst part!!  One storm a few years knocked it all out, my son was with me, we looked at each other and said, “We’re out of here!”  We drove back to Walnut Creek before the roads closed.

We looked at this awesome place in Pt. Richmond that had a dock in front of it.  For that we’d have to sell our house, which I’m just not ready to do yet.  Tick tock on my life choices and not doing anything about it.  Again, I’m the only one up for a change of scenery after living here for 27 years.  My son and his wife love it here, the only way they can afford to stay is if we keep the house.

As cool as the Pt. Richmond house was, it’s not a “destination” like Pacific Grove.  I would never say, “Hey, let’s go to Pt. Richmond for the weekend!”  That Pacific Grove house had a separate unit for guests or a little artist studio for myself (I know, I still consider myself somewhat of an artist).  I still have all these dreams, when in reality I’ll probably have to move back to Manhattan Beach and take care of my mom so she can stay home (there might be cats involved).