Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Katsumi and I went to Applebee's for dinner and then afterwards, shopping at Ross, where we looked for some new pants for him. He ended up with socks and I got new shoes. He is always so good at helping to pick things out. He also chose some new drinking glasses for me. They are crystal with a gold rim. Beautiful.

We went for ice cream and then on to the movies. We saw Beverly Hills Chihuahua. It was pretty funny! I hope you will go see it, too.

Hope Esperanza

Laurie has designed many finely crafted pendants. Hope Esperanza was named after a dear family friend, and has a unique and dramatic style. It's natural beauty demonstrates the kind of hope that we all can have. It can be worn for daytime casual as well as night time elegance.


As Distinctive as you are.

..your source for jewelry that's as unique and distinctive as you are.

The Laurie's Handcrafted Jewelry can only be purchased from home. She has the most creative and extensive selection of handmade jewelry anywhere online. Shop for appealing, affordable, uniquely valuable designs for yourself or as a gift. If you would like a showing of her jewelry, Laurie can accommodate you from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Hope Esperanza

Laurie has designed many finely crafted pendants. 

This piece, Hope Esperanza, was named after a dear family friend, and has a unique and dramatic style. 

It's natural beauty demonstrates the kind of hope that we all can have. 

It can be worn for daytime casual as well as night time elegance.





Fiddle Sticks 1957

Whenever Mr. Banks, the art teacher, entered the classroom, my whole world became illuminated. He was the only teacher who made me feel valued. One time a pretty young lady named Miss Strauss came with him to class. She set up a record player to play music while Mr. Banks handed out our drawing materials. We were to draw whatever the music inspired in us. Some kids scribbled, some sat, unmoved, not knowing what to do. I drew a big bee hive with bees flying all around and lots of flowers. Because of this, I was chosen to participate in a new music program being offered to only a few. I couldn’t understand how drawing a picture of the bees qualified me for that special distinction and questioned Mr. Banks about it. His eyes twinkled as he reminded me of some aptitude tests previously given in which I had shown a gift for music.

“The drawing experience was just the icing on the cake.” He said. I wanted, so much, to tell him that he was my icing on the cake. But, I never did.

Shortly after that, I was given a violin and allowed to skip class two hours every Monday to attend the special lessons. I loved music, but I hated the squeaking sounds I produced on my instrument. So, I began to come to school on Monday mornings without it. I told Mrs. Rae, my sixth grade teacher, I had forgotten to bring it. She firmly said that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for exposure to the special classes and sent me downstairs to, at least, be in the room where the music was being taught. As it turned out, Miss Strauss, was the Music Teacher and she definitely did not feel there was any benefit for me to be present. She was disgusted with me for my lack of commitment to her program, and imperiously pointed me out of the room with instructions to report to the Principal’s office as punishment. Dutifully, I obeyed. It just so happened that Miss Johnson, the principal, was never there on Monday mornings. Her secretary, who was the mother of my friend, Cheryl, let me sit in Miss Johnson’s office until it was time to return to class. This went on week after week. I enjoyed getting out of regular class and was glad I didn’t have to stay in the room with Miss Strauss and the other “lucky virtuoso” students sitting through the squawking violin torture. Instead, I got to chat with Cheryl’s Mom and laugh at her funny stories.

When she had work to do, I listened to the classical music playing on Miss Johnson’s radio while I drew pictures. Sometimes, I poked around in her bookshelves investigating the latest on Childhood Education. As weeks went by, I grew a bit concerned, somewhat guilty, and very curious about how much longer the situation would continue. It was obvious to me that neither teacher was communicating with the other. And Cheryl’s mother apparently was keeping mum, or perhaps she was in the dark about the miscommunications. So, afraid of getting in trouble, I began to bring my violin to school again, even though I hadn’t practiced it. Mrs. Rae was very happy with me as she sent me off for my lessons. Miss Strauss, on the other hand, was not happy. I was so far behind the other children’s expertise in violin caterwauling, that she lost all patience with me. Every time I entered the music room with my violin in hand, Miss Strauss stopped me at the door.

“Did you practice this week? Do you know the piece we are working on?” I hadn’t. I didn’t. She wouldn’t even look at me. Just pointed. Obedient, yet perhaps a little bit smug, I headed for Miss Johnson’s office to enjoy my punishment! At the end of the allotted time, I went back upstairs with the other “music geniuses” and we all headed to our separate homeroom classes.

One warm lazy Monday, spring morning, I dawdled to school admiring all the daffodils along the way with the ever-heavy violin case whacking against my sore calf. I was surprised to see Mrs. Rae standing outside the door of school, arms folded across her ample bosom, high-heeled foot a-tapping. She scowled at me.

“Where have you been?” She didn’t really want an answer. “Get over here right now.” She grabbed my hand and pulled hard as she led me toward a big yellow bus full of kids I had never seen before. I balked, trying to hang back. I did not understand what was happening.

“Don’t give me a hard time, now, girl.” my teacher snapped. “You have held everyone back with your tardiness. Now, get on that bus and behave yourself. Make 79th Street School proud of you. Remember we will all be watching you.”

That made me feel really uncomfortable! I was so confused, I had no idea what she was talking about. Reluctantly, I entered the bus, climbed up the steps, awkwardly carried my lunch box, book bag, and violin with me.

“Give me THAT!” Mrs. Rae Barked as she held out her hand. Red faced with embarrassment, I began to hand her my violin.

“No, silly, I mean your book bag.” she said with a tight little smile, “You are not going to need that!” Then she scared me to death with the friendliest look I had ever seen on her face, as she said “ Don’t be so nervous. You will do fine.”

Suddenly I was overcome with a plethora of emotion, fear and trepidation beyond anything I had ever felt before., My body crawled with the cold fingers of shame. My mind locked down and froze with confusion. I was unable to move. The bus driver shut the door and revved up the engine.

“Go sit down!” He commanded. “I don’t have time to be waiting any longer for you.” The other children on the bus laughed. I hung my head and jolted my way to an empty seat as the bus swerved out onto the street. I could hear the bus driver mumbling under his breath as he raced through the traffic to take us to our destination while my stomach churned sickeningly whenever the bus lurched around another corner I could feel the other kids staring at me and was acutely aware that they were all dressed up in their Sunday best. And I was not. I just knew that all the talking, giggles and guffaws were about me. I kept my eyes downcast until the stinging in them began. I knew that if I started to cry, it would be the worse thing ever. So I moved over as close to the window as possible and glued my face to it looking out as far into the sky as I could see and imagined myself floating silently on a distant cloud, until the bus came to a stop in a big circular drive outside a large auditorium.

I didn’t recognize the building but I had a vague feeling that I had previously been in this part of the city, perhaps some years before, when my mother had taken me to visit my old playmate, Denise Fairchild. I hoped she would be around somewhere. Maybe I could ask her to take me to her house so I could call my Mom to come and get me. Obviously, there was some kind of terrible mistake!

The kids began to pile out of the bus. I waited until they were all gone and sat there quietly hoping the bus driver would realize the mistake and take me back to my school.

“Well, your highness,” He said, “Your pumpkin has arrived. You may disembark at your leisure!” I knew he was kidding and perhaps trying to make up to me for his curtness earlier, so I smiled politely, got up and headed down the aisle with my head up trying to play the part he suggested.

“Don’t forget your stuff!” He chided. I turned back and grabbed my violin, and my lunch box. A woman was standing in the open doorway of the bus. I was astounded! She looked exactly like Barbara Billingsly, the woman who played the mother on “Leave It to Beaver” on TV! I felt so disoriented, I began to think I was lost in the Twilight Zone.

“HURRY UP!” she commanded. I ran down the aisle and jumped out of the bus as she herded me and the other kids through a huge doorway, down a long hallway, up a winding staircase, until we came upon a stage filled with folding chairs,. It seemed the other kids knew exactly what they were doing and where they were supposed to sit. I hung back, dazed, confused, watching, and trying to figure out if I knew any of these kids.

The lady leaned toward me, “You’re from 79th Street School, aren’t you. Your group came way ahead of you. They’re sitting up near the front.” she said. “Come, let me show you.”

I had finally caught on! There must be some sort of performance! I tried to get her to listen to me. “But, I haven’t practiced!” I protested. “I don’t know the music. I don’t even know how to play the violin.”

“Nonsense! You’re going to do just fine,” she responded, as she guided me to my seat. She thought she was reassuring me. I was breaking out in a cold sweat! The other kids from my school turned and glared at me, just like Miss Strauss would have, then one by one, they lifted their noses and looked away. I wished Miss Strauss was there to point me to leave for my punishment. As soon as “Mrs. Cleaver” left, I got up and started toward the direction from which we came. She quickly interceded and put me back in my seat.

“Get your instrument out,” Beaver’s Mother admonished. “We’re about to begin!” The curtain opened as she slipped out of sight. The audience applauded as I, mortified, reached down to open my case. I picked up the violin, tucked it under my chin like the other kids and pretended to play along, as the whole group did a simple introductory piece. Again applause, and we all sat down. Then, small groups began to get up, go to the front of the stage, and play. I could see it was taking a normal progression, that my group would be coming up soon, and I could no longer contain what little shreds of dignity I had. The stinging in my eyes etched their way down my crimson cheeks. Tears careened off the tip of my chin. My body shook. Keeping my head low, I hunched down behind the student in front of me. I could only hope that no one in the audience would see me or, worse yet, be able to hear the strangled snuffling sound escaping from my tightly pursed lips.

Finally! During the next round of applause, Beav’s Mom scurried over, grabbed me, and quickly whisked me off stage, leaving my violin and lunchbox behind. I was so grateful I could have kissed her. But, by that time all I could do was great wracking, heaving, sobs. All the adults, packed like sardines backstage, opened a pathway for us. “Stage Fright” I heard someone whisper. I wanted to scream! They all looked upon me with great pity as she hurried me into the further recesses of the building.

She took me into a little room where she poked around until she came up with a box of tissues, gently wiping my eyes, encouraging me to blow and helping me to calm down. As far as I was concerned she was an Angel from heaven. I was very relieved when she had to leave me in the room by myself for a while. I was away from all the lights, noise, and attention. She discovered where Mrs. Rae was seated with the rest of my classmates and brought me to them. Mrs. Rae smiled and motioned for me to sit beside her. We sat through the rest of the performance, got on a bus and went back to 79th street school without my lunch box or my violin. Shortly after that, I took up listening to Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Bill Haley and the Comets. But, I still love Classical Music, especially if Itzhak Perlman is playing his violin.


Midnight Gold

This dazzling necklace was designed with with you in mind. It features midnight colored beads dripping from golden thread. A carefully crafted treasure, it will grace your neck with beauty.


Native Dancer

This piece has already been sold. A gentleman from another country saw Laurie's jewelry and bought this piece to take back home. His wife was fascinated with the design, and wondered at how it was crafted. Laurie's art is mysterious isn't it?


Merry Mary Crochet Necklace

This lovely necklace Laurie made and presented to me last year. Each piece she creates has a name. This one is called Merry Mary. It is named for the Joy of life and the sadness of life as both names indicate in their folklore. Therefore this necklace is a representation of the balance that those two attributes bring us. 

Laurie crafted it with genuine SwarovskiⓇ Austrian Crystals. The lovely mauve fiber is so soft and gentle to the touch. You hardly know it is there upon your neck. The faux pearls accent this lovely piece of jewelry to perfection.


LOL Cupboard Cat

I made this one tonight.

It already had a good caption:
details r unimportant plz just get me out

But, I couldn't stop looking at how the cat appears to be intently reading the label on that box.

What do you think?

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


My LOL Cat

Today, I experimented with .
You know...
I can has Cheezburger?

There was another caption that came with this picture...
It said: "I tured fan off for u"

But I like my idea better.

What do you think? If you like it, click on the picture and make a comment at LOL cats, please

funny picturesPublish Postbr />moar funny pictures


Warrior Couples

This one is for Breanna, who introduced me to the most awesome Warrior series of books, originally authored by Erin Hunter. I couldn't put these books down, read them voraciously until they were all finished, and I had to wait until the next one was published, and the next, and so on!

Here is where you can read more about the inspiration behind this video created by a 12 year old 7th grader, who to this date has created 42 other videos. This is where you can see those other videos and the incredible artwork that goes with them!


Victoria Gardens

The Rancho Cucamonga Grape Harvest Festival was, unfortunately, a bust. Apparently the organizers did not advertise sufficiently.

It was held in a local mall, a lovely concept called Victoria Gardens. Yet, there were no signs posted letting customers know where the vendors were located. How sad!

Several visitors to Laurie's table mentioned that, and a few just happened upon them, saying they had not even been aware of the festival.

I suppose some people don't realize what one has to do to be an independent artist attempting to present your creations, and get them out to the public. Laurie actually had better sales selling off the curb the previous weekend at a local boutique sale.

There is not a mercenary bone in her body. But, at least one would like to have enough income from sales of craft items to cover the expense of creating them and have enough left over to make it worthwhile.

When you consider that the requirements for the privilege of being allowed to be a seller in the Grape Harvest Festival, are stringent and expensive, one would hope that the organizers would have made appropriate arrangements for making it worth the efforts.

It took a lot of paperwork and another exhorbitant and unexpected amount of cash up front. Then, the seller is required to be on the premises about 10 plus hours a day, that is asking too much, without equal return, if you ask me. I would be exhausted.

Still, Laurie, with the help of her youngest son, and his supportive girlfriend managed to help hold down the table throughout that long weekend, keeping Laurie company and giving her a chance to take rest breaks.

Festival attendees who were able to find them, were at least interested in her crocheted jewelry items, and some also bought the decorative seasonal glass block lighting Laurie had created.

Also, Laurie was able to make networking connections with other sellers. The stack of Laurie's Forever Sierra Rose business cards were all taken as well. She has already received a couple inquiries regarding special requests for custom jewelry, and one for a hand crochet shawl like the one pictured.

So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, I always say. I can't wait to see that motif in one of her jewelry items. Lemons, that is.


Award Winning Hand Crochet Jewelry

I'm proud to mention that Laurie won third place in the Crochet Guild of America's 2008 Design Contest. You can see the complete winner's list at the CGOA site.

Laurie is a member in good standing of the Crochet Guild of America.

Heather's Necklace is made of goldstone and light topaz swarvoski crystals, and chocolate and gold glass beds. Has a pretty brass or antique gold flower clasp.

This one's for Coco


Do it yourself carbon footprints

Tonight, after I washed my hands, I reached for some moisturizing cream as my skin has been dry. It was then I noticed one of the first ingredients was mineral oil. Hmm, I thought, I never noticed that. Another ingredient: Petrolatum, another: Lanolin. I looked at another moisture cream, same thing, then another.... same thing. Well, what would I expect? I buy the cheap stuff. So maybe I could save a lot more money by making my own cheap stuff. Buy a bottle of mineral oil, a container of petroleum jelly. Where would I get lanolin. Isn't that the fat of lambs?

I never heard of ecology as a kid. It wasn't taught in school. Though, by about tenth grade a science teacher suggested something toward it when he explained that the earth was eroding away. The wind, the water were going to erode the soil away and we would be left with nothing. Science Fiction as good as the books my father read, I thought. I didn't get it.

By the time I was in college there were rumblings on the street about leading a greener life. We didn't call it that. We were just terribly aware of pollution and felt quite self-righteous that others didn't seem to want to do anything about it. So, a group of students protested on the Quad, and we spoke to the powers that be, and suddenly we had a "recycling program". Trash bins were placed all over campus and we were to make sure to pick up any garbage and put it there. Cans, bottles, plastic, though there wasn't much plastic beverage containers then as there are now, and all our papers and banana peels and so on. Getting the students to take over the jobs of the custodians must have been worth the cost of the extra receptacles!

About ten years ago in conversations with various people there was a lot of ridicule towards people like me who still believed in fairy tales, those science fiction myths of global warming and pollution. After all, Lost Angeles had cleaned up it's act and now Indiana was dirtier than it had ever been. But, with only two Air Quality Control Officers for that state, it was hard to prove. My asthma proved it and I moved back to California.

Well, I am way off the subject of beauty products now, aren't I. Let me get a little closer. In trying to reduce my own personal carbon footprint, I have had at least a commitment for the last 35 years in this direction. I did little things along the way. Using less harsh chemicals in my life, buying cars with less gas mileage and so on. Having soil recycle bins for my garden. But, not a big concerted 100% effort. Since Gore made things more clear and the dissenters in my life began to quietly think about his message, and more importantly their children brought the message home to Mom's and Dad's, there are changes afoot.

I long ago stopped buying chemical laden cosmetics, then stopped buying them altogether. Except once in a while if there was some thing I had to go to where people would stare if I didn't have a face on. Or, more realistically, I would feel stared at and reviled if I didn't. Old insecurities die hard, sometimes! But keeping emollients in my house is not necessarily about beauty. I've lost what I had to time. It is now about comfort, and skin health. And I am just as lackadaisical in my commitment to using it. I just go with the flow, let my body tell me when I need to rub me down with something gooey.

So there I was with the big moment of understanding about moisture cream ingredients and reached up for that one very special expensive container, thinking that perhaps that was the best deal on the shelf. It must have the good stuff in it. Wrong again. It had the same as the cheap stuff, only in different order, then a whole bunch of chemical names, and some Red dye and yellow dye whatever their numbers. I paid $18 dollars to put that stuff on my face? Yikes. No wonder my cheeks burn!

So now I sit with the dilemma. What's the best way to get rid of this product? I don't know. In some cities they collect cooking grease from restaurants to be rendered down, and then what, make topsoil conditioner? I don't quite know. But, would doing the same with this stuff, even if my city had such a program, be in good conscience? I don't know.

Well, I can admit to having made some good changes, I think. I have stopped buying cleaning supplies. You know the one for the floor, the one for the wall, the one for the bathroom, the kitchen, the oven, the patio, etc. etc. etc. Plain soap, like that green product, which I am still very suspicious of, the one laundry detergent I can afford that is "almost" green enough. Still hunting for easy access and affordability in this category. But no more fabric softener products. What is in that stuff anyways? More Mineral Oil? For rinsing the soap product out of my clothes, I use Vinegar. I use it in the kitchen for cleaning too. Kills germs, and it's proven. It's what our great grandmothers used.

So lately I have been looking at my hair. No more hair dryer. 1500 watts of electricity to fry my bleach blonde look into a haystack that needs more product washed, rinsed, and rubbed into it before it will lay down and almost look like those models on TV. But, no shiney curtain to swish against the lights. Just a limp rag of hair, that at least isn't standing out, but still dried out. So, after having stopped the hair dryer use, letting my hair air dry. Really it is not that inconvenient. By the time I arrive where I am going it's dry. Gently use a towel for the at home dry job. Okay, so that brings me to the vinegar again. Squeaky clean rinse job. Now got to find a shampoo that doesn't have all that POO in it.

So tonight I find a website article called Top Five DIY Eco Hair Conditioners. DIY, for those of us who are as clueless as I am means Do It Yourself. Somewhere among my dark roots I am still a ditzy blond.

The article was authored by Jeannine Ouellette of Minneapolis, MN, USA. She says that hair conditioner is "whatever you put in your hair to make it smoother, shinier, or just easier to comb through," Makes sense to me, and I'm willing to bet that Mother Earth finds most of the products we are coerced into buying is not nice to M.E.
Ouellette says, "Some of it, like palm oil, does its damage through the way it's harvested and produced. Other ingredients, like many of the fragrances in hair conditioners (especially musk ketones) remain stubbornly in our water even after treatment at sewage facilities.
I can attest to that. My ex husband used to work for the wastewater treatment plant and came home smelling musky... I mean mucky... okay that's my joke for the day.

Some of the alternative options that are suggested in the article start with good old vinegar, which by the way is good for dandruff! Then, would you believe? Tea. Yeah, I like that one, especially if I want my hair to turn green. But, seriously, some dark tea might take care of that old bleached look that's been needing a touch up for so long. Then, I love this idea... Olive oil. (That sounds so much better than mineral oil. What have I got against Mineral Oil? I don't know. Minerals are supposed to be good for us aren't they. But, I guess I just want to know from where the minerals are derived.) I use extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen. this would be no big change for me. The last two suggestions are Rosemary Oil. I have that stuff growing in my garden. Would love to try making my own. Love the fragrance. And last but not least, the most ancient hair dressing product in the world (that I am aware of), Henna.

Go take a look at the article and find out more interesting details, how to create and use your own future DIY hair conditioner, while you and I are shrinking our carbon footprints. Or would that be feet prints?


My TV Weather Photo

We had so much smoke in the air from the fires! Polluted air makes for stunning sunsets! Most of the time, sunsets are fog.

This is exchange of emails with the local weather man:

July 13
Hi Norm,
Just love the way you present the weather. I always learn something! I've wanted to send you a picture for a long time, but none of them turned out good enough to send. But, I think I got a good one tonight. I live in Watsonville just a couple blocks from Pajaro River and 129. I took this picture from my front yard. My last name is pronounced "moon rose". I hope you will show my sunset.
Best to you,
Elizabeth Munroz

His response, July 29

I plan to use your sunset picture tomorrow (Wednesday) on KCBA FOX 35 news first at ten and on KION 46 news at eleven at the end of the weather segment. I know it has been a few weeks, but thanks for being patient.

I hope you can watch.



“Don’t worry about what the world needs.

Ask what makes you come alive and do that.

Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”


Cats Vs. Coyotes

Today there was a news article telling about how coyotes have encroached upon a colony of feral cats that live on the property of California State University Long Beach. The coyotes attack and feed upon these untamed cats. Seven cat carcasses have been found in the area

Since they have child care programs and summer camps, they worry children could be vulnerable to coyote attacks, the officials at the University say "the 100 or so felines must go within 40 days because they have triggered an increase in coyote sightings and incidents". They have decided to capture and turn the cats over to shelters. If they are too wild, based upon the standards of the shelters, the cats will be euthanized.

Over years, volunteers have been caring for the cats by feeding them, having them spayed, neutered and vaccinated.

Some people don't like this pland and say that the University should trap the coyotes and not the cats.

In my opinion it is a dilemma, and I wonder if the coyotes have invaded this area because of the fires that have destroyed their own territories in the recent past.

I wonder what the possibility would be to humanely trap the coyotes and move them to a more wilderness area where they could adapt.

And then, go ahead and trap the cats, letting those who are the most tame be adopted by families who would take care of them, thereby decreasing the population of the feral colony of cats on the University premises.

Here's some links about Feral Cats:



What do you think about this?


Kats' father was the script writer for the Japanese TV series called Kaiketsu Harimao, which roughly translates as "Wonderman Harimao". This would be similar to saying Harry the Superman if we made a TV show like this in English. The clip reminds me of Zorro.

Kats' father was also a movie producer and director of other movies in Japan from the 1950's and 60's as well as comedy shows on TV.


Mountain Lion Seen In Monterey

In the news yesterday, a woman walking her dog in Via Paraiso Park saw and reported a mountain lion while she was out walking her dog. She said it followed her, and she hid in a shed until it went away. Other people living in the same area also saw it. Police and animal control officers went door-to-door notifying residents to be on the lookout for the animal.

This is exactly what I have been concerned about, because of the fires. Where can the large animals go to survive, to get food and water?

More information on mountain lion encounters can be found here

This will show a map of their habitat.

Big Sur Fire

It's a pretty calm video, but this fire really concerns me. Not for myself, but the size of it is IMMENSE. They don't expect to have it contained until the end of the month. Maybe. This winter, with all the brush and trees burned away, we will have mudslides if it rains. As pointed out in the video and what concerns me too, is the wildlife. The little guys can't get away very easily, in my opinion, but what about the deer, the coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and yes, the bears. Seems to me they would have enough smarts and stamina to get away. But, to where? Where can they run to except right into civilization?

More on California fires

It just boggles my mind. There is a new meaning for "California, the Golden State"

Where I live is placed right in the middle between these three fires

The mention Santa Cruz Fire, really named the Trabing fire, is less than 5 miles from my home. I was in the process of taking my cat to the vet that day. It was 105 degrees. I saw the beginning smoke start to climb into the sky, and hesitated to take hiway 1. It's a good thing I did because it would have been a nightmare to get caught on the road with the cat in the car in that heat right next to the flames. That is exactly what happened to other drivers at the time. Hiway 1 was blocked and travelers were kept at a standstill. In that heat, I can't imagine many being able to keep their parked cars air conditioners running for the length of time they were stopped without a way to turn around and get away. My car would have over heated in those conditions.

The Gilroy fire as referred to in the video is 17 miles miles from my home.

The San Martin Fire, 21 miles

The other fire up near Mt. Madonna was called the Summit fire was about 7 miles. It's not that these fires started all at once. They overlapped in the times they were burning. But definitely caused a lot of dirty air.

Mt Madonna County Park Fire

Close to my home. This fire started in Corralitos, seven miles away from me

When looking at the map, notice when they mention and show Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. I live approximately a mile from there.

Understanding Extent of Summit Fire

When this fire started, I packed my cat into my car and drove up to San Francisco to stay with Xavier and Trish.


fascinate me
calm me
give me a sensation
beyond knowing
all that changes
remains unchanged

-Elizabeth Munroz


Taking Time


"If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

- John Wooden


Happy Birthday Fire

Had a shut-in birthday. The nearby fire this week has been serious, houses burned. Some animals, have not escaped. Though now, at least it is contained. It saddens me to think of so much devastation for those who are facing the losses. Some stay to the last minute hosing down their roofs! They think it was started by a motorist, perhaps the muffler scraping on the road too close to the shoulder.

Trabing Fire as seen from the other side of the county 25 miles away.
We had a thunderstorm with lightening Friday (no rain) so many strikes that started numerous fires throughout the state. We seldom have thunder storms and lightening. It's been so dry this year. So dangerous.

I couldn't believe my ears tonight when they said on the news that Governor Swartzenegger announced there are presently 520 wildfires in CA.

My asthma has been well controlled this last year but not now. There's no place I can go to get away from the smoke. The usual ways out are blocked from day to day.

Truly, I am NOT in danger personally. I live close to the edge of the city. But farmland filled with fresh growing vegetables and berries of all types separate me from the wild lands and forests. Though they are close.

The one near me, the"Trabing" Fire was so close that leaves were lifted off the eucalyptus trees and flung all around town, and of course it snowed ash. My car was covered with it. I bet it's good for the garden though.

"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
- Jim Rohn
"Never worry about numbers.
Help one person at a time,
and always start with
the person nearest you."
- Mother Teresa


"Success is not the key to happiness.

Happiness is the key to success.

If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

~ Albert Schweitzer ~


On the Way to the Vet

I put my cat in her travel case to take her to the vet. It was nearly 100 degrees out.

Even though my car has air conditioning, I worried she would be stressed by my putting her in the hot car and waiting until it cooled down.

So I took some picnic ice packs I had in the freezer and laid some beneath the cage and laid some on top of them.

As I started to drive away, I noticed there was a large plume of smoke in the direction of the freeway. I knew the sign. Wildfire! I decided to not take the freeway and turned the car around to take the long way.

Very quickly the traffic on Freedom Blvd, increased and slowed. You can see in the picture on the left all the cars lined up one after the other. That's unusual.

Seemed like traffic might have been diverted and other drivers had the same plan as me. Then, I got another look at that plume of smoke. It had tripled in size!

By that time the leaves from the trees were being blown into town. No way was I going to take a chance and get caught in traffic near all that, even with the air conditioning on. What if the car overheated? What if I had to get out, carry my cat and walk.

I pulled over and stopped, took a couple pictures, then went home.


Dowager Queen Age Eighteen

Indians Fire Ventana Wilderness

I have recently been asked for an update on the new fires in my region. We have had a very dry spring. Little rain. That makes the bushes and grasses easily sparked by lightning.

As long as I stay inside and use my nebulizer, it doesn't bother my asthma much. I have a small air conditioner in the bedroom and I can hole up in there with my books, cats, computer, and TV if necessary.

They are calling it the Indians Fire. Not sure why they call it that. It's in the Ventana Wilderness area, which is at least 40 miles away. Even from that distance, the smoke spreads over the region including where I live. And this fire has been burning for a week. The picture above shows when the smoke was mostly over the ocean.

It's presently at about 10,000 acres.  It's more brush and grass than than trees, they say, and because it's in a more uninhabited area not easy to stop.

Locally, over a thousand have been evacuated. Though it is a smaller fire than the other one, it involves Redwood trees. I am saddened that there are fires at all, but also saddened that the trees are being burned.

So, to answer the question. I'm fine.

Still, to me, this is all nothing compared to the floods that seem to have taken over the middle of the country right now.

Graffiti Art?

I saw an interesting video today about "Reverse Graffiti". I couldn't figure out what that meant when I first saw the phrase.

I looked up definitions of graffiti. (see below) But, found little to match my idea of it. Today, graffiti has a whole different connotation. It's art, in a way. Even though it is illegal, there are those who wish to express themselves by spray painting (usually) either their personal symbol of their name or some other depiction. There are those who might create a whole, or partial mural.

Definitions of graffiti include:
"scratches, letters and other marks scratched on the surface of a coin in ancient times to identify its owner"

"a rude decoration inscribed on rocks or walls"

"The words or pictures scrawled or scratched in public places, particularly on walls - could be political messages, personal notes, advertising, curses amongst others."

"Graffiti can take the form of art, drawings, or words, and is illegal vandalism when done without the property owner's consent. Its origin can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Roman Empire and Ancient Greece."

All that being said, just take a look at the following video.


Summit Fire Containment

The Fire is completely contained. They are now spreading seed.

Jim Sienkiewicz, Photographer - From his website
Hopefully, it will grow enough brush that next winter when the big rains come, there will be minimal mud slides.


Summit Fire Containment

Capitola, California after the rain
The fire is 70 percent contained. It helped that we had some rain and lower temperatures.

So things are pretty much back to normal now.

It seems no matter what part of the country/world we live in there is some kind of natural phenomena occurring that we all need to deal with.

I don't like the fires and mudslides where I live, or the earthquakes, though I have never had to deal with a Big One.

But, I wouldn't trade for the sub zero winter weather I experienced when I lived in New York state, and the tornadoes of Indiana.


Summit Fire Update

I thought by going up to San Francisco, I would escape from the worst of the smoke. But, when I came home, I discovered it was still bad enough that I had trouble breathing.

How would you like to have this hanging over your head?
I had to call my lung doctor and have him order a nebulizer for me. First time I've ever had to use one. I've always managed with my hand held inhalers. But, things are improving.

At least it is not as hot as it was. The temperature has dropped and we are having a little bit of rain, so this makes it easier on the firefighters. Hopefully they can get the fire contained!

I hate to see the forest decimated like this. In the winter and spring when we get heavy rains there is nothing to prevent mudslides when the trees and brush are gone.

I'm home now with windows closed and air filters on. It's tolerable. Wind is blowing in other direction and has slowed down quite a bit.