Archive for the ‘The US’ Category

To Albuquerque and Back Again

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

adobewall1I’m back from my trip to Albuquerque,  New Mexico.

It was so good to see my family and to be part of what’s going on with my sister and her upcoming surgery to remove the desmoplastic ameloblastoma in her upper jaw.

There was a lot to do while I was there,  and I ended up creating a flyer for the all-day benefit concert for Carrie that will take place on May 30.

A huge garage sale, scheduled for next weekend,  is also being planned – again, the proceeds to help defray the huge medical costs involved with her procedures.  There are also constant reminders about how difficult the aftermath of this surgery will be:  visits to the one and only doctor in New Mexico who makes prosthetic palates (called “obturators”), appointments to speech therapists (surprising how much a palate and a jaw contribute to clear speech and how unclear it becomes without ’em!), etc.  Thanks to the help of her many dear friends, and one in particular who is spearheading the concert and providing immense support, spirits are high and Carrie is ready.

But there were fun moments too.  We all went to a local rest home where the Highland Harmonizers sang to the residents with great gusto and fun.  My mother is singing here (she wears the largest flowery Easter hat).


Speaking of my mother, she celebrated her 80th birthday – a week later,  for my benefit,  since I couldn’t be there for her real birthdate.

My sister cooked a fantastic meal and we had a great time with about a dozen friends who came to be part of the fun.

I had fun photographing this birthday balloon just as the sun set and the last rays hit the room.  That light in the balloon is the sun just as it went down.  You can see the reflected light on the balloon below the orange one, sort of like a sliver moon.


It was also fun to see a member of the newest generation arrive on the scene.

One of  Carrie’s friends  was babysitting her very first grandchild, and she brought the baby over to show us.

Carrie’s little Maltese, named Maizy, found the baby irresistible too.  This was the first time Maizy had ever encountered an infant, and she was very curious – and extremely gentle, sniffing and babylicking the baby’s face in greeting.

And after all this activity, it’s nice to know that there is time to relax and recover (here she is under my covers, sticking her head out and very sleepy).  That is what Maizy does best, and she’s an inspiration to take time out and nurture one’s self, don’t you think?


Chinese New Year, In Style

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Every year our town celebrates the Chinese New Year in order to commemorate (in the words of our Chamber of Commerce) “the contribution that thousands of Chinese workers made” in the Gold Rush era. That contribution, of course, was all the horrifically hard, back-breaking work the Chinese did to build railroads and do manual labor, and to endure prejudice and discrimination. Sigh…

But we were certainly all joined together in anticipation of loads of fun this morning. A Parade! I know, the Chinese new year was in January, but better late than never to celebrate.

We had about 45 minutes of different groups and entertainment walking past us onlookers. There was some live singing – some in English, some in Chinese. It was lovely.

Of course, everybody who was not Chinese also had to get into the act, human or otherwise.

Cassandra was decked out in red and so she fit into the bright and colorful theme of the day. Here she is waiting her cue for the line-up.

And what, I ask, would be more fitting than bagpipes in a Chinese parade? Three cheers, Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band!

Saturday Morning Rehearsal at the Britt

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The Britt Music Festival is over now, but I did finish my painting inspired by a couple of visits to the orchestra’s rehearsals during the season.

I spent many happy hours listening, as I sat on the lawn of the Britt grounds, soaking in the beautiful, rich sounds of the instruments, admiring the wonderful focus and cohesion of the musicians.

Rogue River.2

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

After the Rogue River meanders down from the Cascades to lower elevations, it slows considerably, especially in the summer months. This is a photograph taken near the small town of Gold Hill, Oregon. There is a wonderful island in the middle of this stretch of the river, attainable by a metal foot bridge.

In August last year, I had a blackberry feast, eagerly sampling the offerings from each bush. There were still some unripe ones in the shadier parts of the river’s edge. There were also these pretty (but invasive and non-native) Common Teasel plants in bloom.

During the summer months there are also raft rides up and down the Rogue. Rafters can encounter anything from pretty exciting white water to a very lazy flow.

This fellow below was becoming acquainted with the fish of the Rogue River. Looks like he had a good time, but I’m not sure how the fish felt about the encounter…

Rogue River.1

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

One of the most notable and enjoyable rivers in Southern Oregon is the Rogue. It begins as snowfall in the Cascade Mountains near Crater Lake and travels nearly 300 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

Not too far from Crater Lake on its downward and westward trek, the Rogue River travels through a narrow gorge called “The Chasm.” The signage nearby tells visitors that enough water passes through this gorge in one minute to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The water’s course is thunderous and powerful. The only way to be heard by someone else is to shout loudly – but you better not be more than a couple feet away.
These two photos show part of the chasm. In the horizontal photo, you may be able to see the faint outlines of a rainbow caused by sun passing through the fine mist that is constantly rising from the turbulent waters. It’s really a great experience to stand so near this part of the river and feel its tremendous power!

Crater Lake – Again

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

I forgot to provide a link to the National Park page for Crater Lake. So this provides me another opportunity to show you a few more photos from the Lake that I took last August. On one flank of the rim there is a museum with fascinating interpretive displays showing the geological history of the area and the crater; histories of the indigenous Indians living near the former mountain; lists of flora and fauna; interesting facts about the lake water; and scientific research done nearby and in the lake itself. There are still thermal vents in the depths of the lake. This photo is taken of the beach directly below the museum. The blue is even more intense than this photo suggests.

The Pacific Northwest manages to stage some spectacular volcanic action. Do you remember (or recall reading about) the devastation caused by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980? Mount Mazama from which Crater Lake came to be was 42 times as powerful as the eruption on Mount St. Helens. Apparently lava flowed in a 25-mile sweep around the area, and ash drifted perhaps as far south as upper Nevada and as north as Canada.

On the right is one of the many ravens that fly and drift over the lake – a very rakish and fearless fellow he was.

Winters here are very long. According to statistics kept by the park, the Crater Lake area averages 533 inches of snow annually – some of the heaviest snowfall in the US. And that explains the feet-high drifts of snow in June!

Despite its dramatic past (and hopefully quiet future), Crater Lake is a magnificent quiet place that has a way of seeping into my bones. I always feel like I’ve been away for ages after returning from this magical place.

Crater Lake – Magic…

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

It’s been raining heavily for 24 hours here and the deer are totally soaked. Here they are looking in, wistfully, wishing for more apples (Old Mamma is on the top right; notice her right leg with the knob where it broke 3 years ago).

Meanwhile, it’s probably snowing heavily in Crater Lake, here in southern Oregon. If you’ve never been there, I would say that it’s worth your while to see it at least once in your lifetime. I first visited when I was 13 and never forgot the experience.

As you approach the top of the crater rim to get the first glimpse of the lake, the intense blue of the water takes the breath away.

Crater Lake is magical, like a large brilliant blue gem in the middle of a forested nowhere. The lake, formed from rain and snow over the past 7,700 years, is contained in the remnants of the volcano that is known as Mount Mazama. The lake is 6 miles wide and 1,943 feet deep. It is the deepest lake in the US, one of the deepest in the world. The sides of the crater are nearly vertical in most places.

The photos showing snow were taken mid-June; even that late in the early summer there were 10-foot snow drifts in places.

There are many forms of wildlife that migrate through the area, and those that are permanent residents. This beetle was very friendly, and very large! Anybody know what kind it is?