Can you really ever plan something?

About two weeks ago I prepared myself to be a long-distance grandma. I began to investigate photo frames to get pictures all the time. It would be some time before David and I could travel to be together. Thoughts went through my mind, and I felt sad but hoped that by moving to another state her family would find peace and happiness.

Packed up and ready for their big adventure!

My daughter and family sold their house and packed up to move to Knoxville, Tennessee. This was a sudden decision pushed forward quickly by the CoVid 19 pandemic. School was starting soon and her thought was attending school was better than distant zoom learning. Well, after driving for 4 days in the van with her family of 4 boys and a small dog they arrived in Tennessee. Driving up a road named 13 curves proved to be Knoxville’s undoing. Got a call, and in less than 2 weeks, the family arrived back in Sacramento on September 8th. Costly lesson learned. Don’t buy a house sight unseen in a place you have never visited. Luckily, her husband was able to resume his job.

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Charlie enjoyed having visits with the boys. Eli is particularly good with him. and his pitching arm has landed a couple of balls in my neighbor’s yard. Lucas, the four-year-old, helped with the training by playing a game called, “Mother May I”. The baby has clean toes compliments of Charlie’s licking them. Wyatt, the two-year-old just thinks Charlie is funny.

So Eli started third grade on Zoom, the family made use of our water (showers and laundry), and my stressed-out daughter took care of reestablishing herself. Moving is always a stressful situation. Looking for a home with a contingency is not much fun. It is a seller’s market. Good for the house she is selling in Tennessee, not so good for finding a home she plans to live in.

All her stuff finally made it to Waldon, Tn. in a Pod. It took almost a week of negotiating a “Gypsy Moth” form to get her possessions to return to California. It was filled and refiled almost a dozen times. The date of arrival is in early October. The question remains, where will this family of 6 live???

Tension abounds here, and everywhere.

The strangest year – 2020 – note the cobwebs!

Inhaling the smoke from the fires that surround the area can be the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes according to the governor. Add to this a presidential election year. Sorry no pictures. I only went outside to take Charlie out for many, many days.

This is a very, very, very important presidential race. This county desperately needs some sanity in a leader.

Becoming “Ruth less” with the passing of the Notorious RBG. I think this was designed before her passing, and I hope that next year she will reign supreme!

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Add to this the large response to protest continued police killings of our black citizens and the tension is felt by all. Some of the businesses are boarded up to prevent loss of property. While many peacefully protest there are others who take advantage of the situation and break, trash, and steal.

Boarded up windows provide a place to share words of hope!
I found this painted on a parking lot space

And then there is CoVid 19.

Face Covers Required

As of this writing, more than 200,000 people have died here in the United States. It has been 7 months since the Corona Virus has taken a firm grasp in our state. I heard rumors of a virus in mid-February, but it was March before changes started to happen. Now in downtown Sacramento, there is evidence of this pandemic.

Reminders everywhere. Masks help reduce the spread of CoVid

To mask, or not to mask.

Sorry sight. I’m sure there was a trash can close by.

To go along as if there is nothing to be concerned about, or to ask the question, “Is it worth the risk?” For the most part, my husband and I have chosen to be cautious. David is a diabetic who smokes. I have a post nasal drip that will probably clear out anyplace I venture out to. Most of our shopping has been online. Many of my activities have been delegated to Zoom Meetings. Even Charlie is being trained on Zoom. When I do go out I am masked. Actually, since the arrival of my puppy, there has always been someone here with him. We go to no restaurants, travel no further than a couple of miles, and if I am out it is an outdoor photoshoot with few people around me. So all the family comings and goings started to play on our minds. This did not sit well with all. No one likes this intrusion into our way of life. But I want all to be safe rather than sorry.

This past weekend I ventured downtown to meet up with my CTD friends. Since 2017, Sacramento has invited artists to participate in “Wide Open Walls”. Murals are painted on the walls around the city. The event usually runs about 10 days, but with the smoke, heatwave, and CoVid 19, and political tensions have extended the event. This time I did not capture any artists hard at work.

There is much evidence that this country wants to unite for the good of all its citizens!
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For many years I taught 4th grade with the social studies curriculum being California. This mural reminded me of the first chapter where I taught the four regions – Coast, Desert, Valley and Mountain regions.

California diversity. Four distinct regions of the state.
PEACE – Amazing artwork.
Making the alleys soar!
Painting on such a large canvas. So peaceful looking.

Sometimes parts of murals interest me.

This mural fascinated me the most.

Along with the murals I enjoyed walking the streets of downtown Sacramento. This year I missed the “Chalk It Up” event. To create a safe environment this event was spread out . I came across this one, and wanted to show myself enjoying the artwork. Plenty of electric scooters just left on the sidewalk. Bumper sticker that says it all! Vintage retail sign l liked.

This mural prompted me to look up Betty Inada

Taking my new Fuji xt4 out!

The story of my new purchase. It started about a year ago when my friend asked if I was interested in parting with my Nikon D7100. A perfectly good, solid camera I have been using for many years. Well along came my mirrorless Fuji x100f. Fun camera and great for grab n go, street photography. This led me to reconsider my Olympus mirrorless that I did not find any happiness with. So KEH (company buys used cameras) came along and purchased all my used Olympus stuff. I replaced it with my Fuji xt2 and some lenses. I found my system. Oh, so back to the Nikon. Well, I still used it, but not as much. I hate to have a camera sit unused. So I sold the camera to a friend of a friend. Now I had a lot of additional lenses I have collected over the years, and along came KEH again. This time buying all the rest of my Nikon gear. I now had credit at my favorite camera store, Action Camera in Roseville. And I let it sit since I did not really need anything. CoVid strikes, and I have too much credit at a small retail establishment. Fuji just put out the xt4 so I decided to use my credit and order this new camera.

Meanwhile, my friend Anne purchased a Fuji xt3, and she wanted to try out her new x100-400mm telephoto lens. To be a real birder you need a long lens, big muscles, money, and lots of patience. I lack big muscles so I shy away from a lens I am not willing to or have the ability to hold. But I can’t say my interest wasn’t piqued just a bit. Especially. if my friends were going to be out shooting birds, peacefully. My longest lens x55-200 wasn’t going to be long enough for birds,, but since we would primarily be in a car I also took my wide-angle lens and my macro lens. My Subi Blue needed a wash so I offered to drive.

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is located along the causeway on Interstate 80 between Sacramento and Davis. Nice and close to home. In natural settings, you never know what you will find. But anytime I get away with my camera in hand is a good day. There are some impressive upgrades to this camera, but I just set up the basics this time out.

President Clinton designated this floodplain in 1997 as a wetlands to be restored. It serves as a flyway and home for many birds.

3,700 of the 16.000 acres have been transformed into a wetlands.
The summertime dirt road is easy to navigate.
Restored wetlands demonstrates “leading lines”

I was interested in capturing landscapes, Anne had her long lens and her focus was birds.

Caught this Great Egret busy preening!

Quietly got out of the car and hunted flowers and insects.

Pay close attention to all signs!
These reeds caught my eye.
25 square miles just off Interstate 80. Peaceful!

My Fuji xt4 performed well in the field. The feel of this shutter is amazing. Hard to describe but it is different is a wonderful way! I was happy to capture these images to remind me that nature is not too far away!

P.S. My friend decided that she would return her long xf 100-400mm lens, and get the xf 80mm f2.8 Macro that I just love. So I will also save myself some money.

Virtual Living

“Stay at home” order is in effect. This is a good time to appreciate the good times. One way to do this is to look over my organized 40,000+ photographs I have on my computer.

Today, I will take you on a tour of the Capay Valley. Located in Yolo County, this rural valley is northwest of Sacramento. This was the last CTD event I participated in. Early February the almond trees come into blossom, and the Capay Valley hosts the Almond Festival. My photo group decided to avoid the rush and headed to the valley the week before.

My CTD (Camera Totin’ Days) friends head down the lane. Photo demonstrates “Leading Lines”

The almond trees blooming, and some farmers have fenced their trees in so they would not escape.

We found an unfenced orchard

No, so that the many photographers would not trample their fields and leave an unsightly mess. This has become a problem lately. Aware of this we parked along the fence and with the sun shining grabbed some shots.

Perfect day to pull out my new macro lens. Used the 80mm f2.8with my Fuji xt2.

We headed to Rumford and came across Hayes Longhorns Farm. Don Hayes, an owner/operator of heavy equipment invited our group to roam around the farm and encouraged us to photograph anything.

This barn has seen better days.

I found the No Parking sign ironic, the flatbed wagon a forerunner for a Ram Truck, some rusty parts that looked like cats, a face tilt, and a surry without the fringe on the top!

Plenty of photo opportunities, and listening to Don I learned that everyone in the area was getting ready for the Almond Festival.

Before leaving Rumford I checked out the post office. The postmaster pointed out many of the original fixtures inside.

Before leaving I grabbed a bag of freshly picked oranges and left $5.00 in the can.

We always end our day with lunch. This time we returned to a favorite spot of ours, Road Trip Bar & Grill. Great food, great service. And the name fits our day as we travel around our area.

Listening to the advice of medical professional I plan to be socially responsible and remain at home until advised otherwise. So stay safe, and enjoy my virtual journey.

So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.