April 5, 2008

A day in the life of my oak trees

Posted in blogging, photography, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 8:38 pm by czygyny

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Quercus lobata. One of the largest species of deciduous trees in California. Known as Valley Oak, California White Oak, or even Swamp Oak, this tree can get 70′ tall. 

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One of ours is very old, rumored to be in an oak registry somewhere. We call her ‘Grandmother Tree’, the other three are somewhat younger, with a smaller diameter trunks, although one is even taller than the ‘Grandmother’. You can tell that she’s lost some whopping big branches over the years.

 

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I love looking up into the trees, their thick, sinuous branches are heavily furrowed and textured, and adorned with moss on the prerequisite north side.

 

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Here, above, is ‘Grandmother Tree’ with Bear Mountain and some of my sheep in a pastoral evening setting.

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This tree, above, is a tall, skinny oak that had to compete with 300 eucalyptus trees around it, so it put all its effort into standing tall. It makes a good frame for a lovely sunset.

These trees are very special to enjoy. There are so many bird species that live and nest here; House finch, American goldfinch, Acorn woodpecker, Hairy woodpecker, Downy woodpecker, Lewis’ woodpecker, White-breasted nuthatch, Orioles, Western kingbird, Red-shouldered hawk, Yellow-billed magpie, Brewer’s blackbird, Black and Say’s phoebe, White-crowned, Golden-crowned and Song sparrow, various warblers, and those nasty Starlings. Great-horned and Screech owls visit, too.

The downside to living underneath these silent giants is their pesky habit of shedding very large limbs, on occasion. They are just as likely to drop them in the summer as in winter, and we have had some close calls with the barn and house. As well, is the constant leaf and twig litter, and in a good year, acorns are dropped so thick that walking on them is much like walking on ball bearings.

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This tree, above,  was the least healthy of the four. Years ago, someone built up a driveway to get to the barn and covered the trunk of this tree about 3 to 4 feet deep. This is a death sentence for such majestic trees. It had already begun to die back when we moved in, so we excavated the soil around the base and built up a dry well with discarded concrete pieces.

The experiment was a success, and even provided a bit of flood control, as you can see. The rain soaked in quickly and left the flare of the trunk open to the air and slowly the tree has regained its health.

I am so pleased to be a steward to such fine trees. Such richness of local wildlife, picturesque modeling and darned good shade in the summer!

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April 1, 2008

Callous on my shutter button finger

Posted in blogging, photography, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 7:55 pm by czygyny

Oh, boy, howdy, have I been having fun!

Below is my Phaleonopsis ‘Baldan’s Kaleidoscope x Golden Treasure’. Isn’t it gorgeous? It stays in bloom for months!

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Here are some of my fancy goldfish, the red and white, is ‘Pudge’  I raised it from an egg, the calico colored one to the right is ‘Archie’ my beautiful Ranchu, the white one to the lower left is ‘Deadeye’. A garter snake caught him and put out his eye. Garter snakes are not welcome here, anymore.

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Here is my Trichocereus Pachanoi ‘monstrose’. Cool cactus, eh?

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 And, lastly, part of my rock garden, the ‘Lichen’ garden, with golden sedum and a wild boar skull, found on a hike. Not everybody can grow healthy lichen.

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If you want to see more you can visit my webshots albums at http://community.webshots.com/user/razzit2

I’ve put in a lot of new images in some of the older albums and started a new one called ‘My Terrariums and House Plants’

I am still trying to wade through the instruction booklet for this camera. Whew, it is tiring. There is a whole lot I don’t know about taking photographs!

See ya!

March 31, 2008

A gift to myself.

Posted in blogging, garden, photography, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:22 pm by czygyny

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I bought myself a gift today.

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It is a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with an awesome 18-200mm lens.

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I have taken about a hundred images in just a few hours.

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And there was an AWESOME 22° halo that was a perfect picture frame for my oak. For a time it had an upper tangent arc and parahelia with tails, and a brief circumzenithal arc.

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Also takes great indoor images like my terrarium, without flash! (hey,  that is a real running waterfall in there)

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And showcases my large cactus collection quite well. I am having a blast!

Stay tuned for more…

March 28, 2008

Fulcrum

Posted in blogging, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:41 pm by czygyny

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5:30 am.  I wake early, realizing that this is THE day. It’s easy to get up this dark, cold morning. I get warmly dressed, grab my big Mag-light and take the dogs out the dark path down the road to get the paper. How poignant, the last day I will ever contribute to the making of this paper, not that I had any real impact on in for quite some time.

The walk in the dark always helps me wake up for a new day, I look for my familar stars, hope for a moon, it’s a waning half moon this morning, low in the southern sky. It illuminates my way enough so that the flashlight remains off. I relish this early dark. Time for my eyes to clear, time for the morning grumps to pass, the cold invigorates me.

I feed the sheep and sit out on the picnic table for my morning prayer. I am thankful for what I have been given, grateful that the biggest storms have, hopefully, passed through my life by this point. Hardship can often be used constructively to build on the future, if you allow it.

Time to get ready. Time to ‘sally forth’ into my day of days.

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6:00pm. I’m home. Home for good. No more driving that same beat up old back road, no more pulling in to my favorite parking space. I’ll miss my ‘cathedral trees’, those blue oaks that would glow in back-light, in spring that lovely translucent green, in fall, the burnished golds and oranges, when the sun was just right. I never again will have to walk up those stairs with a sigh, and enter in to what has become a nightmare.

My friends and coworkers came to my going away lunch party at a pizza parlor that is close by. I was pleased to see them all, and I was surprised with my very own Philbert card!! How many years have Phil and I made cards for people leaving, and now, I have one of my very own. Thanks Phil! Don’t forget to send me those pictures!

The day was bitter sweet, filled with hugs and fare-wells, time to double check my cabinets and drawers, make sure I have retrieved all my files from my computer, my fan, my pens and pencils (I bought), all the little things that make a day at work easier. My spot looked so empty and without personality. ‘Me’ was taken out of it, just the dust, dead leaves and stray paperclips remain.

It was a cold, gloomy, wet day, fitting for such an end. I held up well all day, but when it came time to tell my best of friends, Syndi, goodbye, then the sadness began to slip in. 26 years of shared experiences, of upheavals, changes, celebrations, growth. It started out with just us two, but was not to end with us leaving together. She is still going to have to face the unnecessary and pointless daily urgencies and stress-filled days. It’s time to get out, friend, nothing good is here for you. I will miss all of you.

The Company was generous to me, and sent me off with a fitting gift for my years of tenure, it will be a great help for me to move on to my next chapter of my life. It has made this departure easier and my future more sure.

My face is turned to a new direction, and my life takes the fork in the road to a different path.

I am ready.

March 24, 2008

The last week winds down

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:31 pm by czygyny

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Old chapter

close to end.

New chapter

round the bend.

Coming quick,

it seems so strange.

Tension thick,

can’t stop the change.

Switch those gears

sails tack.

Place those fears,

behind your back.

We’ll see it thru

me and you.

And all those involved

find problems solved.

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March 23, 2008

What’s blooming now!?

Posted in blogging, garden, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 7:08 am by czygyny

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Time to put work aside, no DISPARAGEMENT* here! My gardens are starting to wake up, and it can’t happen soon enough!
Above is a springtime treat, Euphorbia myrsintes sandwiched between two Phlox sublata. This euphorb stays low to the ground, has lovely evergreen blue-green foliage, and shocking, long lasting chartreuse flowers. It adapts well to dry situations, and lives through our unusually cold (for our area) winters, where we often get down to 25-28°. The only downsides to this hardy plant is its irritating sap, common to euphorbs, and its prodigious seed crop. It is best to remove all seed pods soon after setting–and don’t forget to wear gloves!

Phlox is a long-time early spring favorite, blankets of color, star shaped flowers of magenta, pink, white, lavender or striped pink, spilling over walkways and rockery with abandon. It adapts to rock gardens, full sun or partial shade, and average water. It takes light foot traffic, as well. During the remainder of the year, it is a tidy, evergreen mat of sharp needle foliage, prune around the perimeter to keep in within bounds. It likes to overrun my James Kelway pyrethrum.

.                                     trillium-chloropetalum.jpgThis beauty is Trillium chloropetalum, a native to our higher foothills and mountain meadows. This one was gathered at Shasta Marina in a washout area of a creek, unearthed by the recent flooding. I’ve had it for about five years and it never fails to bloom for me. I have it on the east side of the house, under the protection of the eaves, with rocks around it to protect it from inadvertent digging, since it goes dormant as the summer heat climbs.

primula-x-polyantha02.jpg Here is another little gem of mine, a yellow Primula x polyantha. I find that these are short-lived in our hot climate, but planted in a moist north facing bed you can get most of the common primula to hang in there a couple of seasons. This one was a knockout from the start. It is taller than most of what is offered in Redding, and this pot of primulas is five years old! It gets wheeled to a very protected spot during the summer and winter, then gets showcased with volunteer purple violas and the chartreuse leaves of Veronica repens ‘Sunshine’.

.                             drum-planter.jpg Anyone who has visited my gardens knows I love succulents, and I love ‘found’ items, the rustier, the better. This ‘pot’ is a brake drum from an old car, found at the scrap metal yard. They are heavy containers, but are very sturdy and perfect for smaller sempervivums. I find that sedums don’t do as well as semps in these containers. Look how the cobweb semps drape over the side!

hemingray-42.jpg Not all that blooms has color in my yard. I love old glass insulators, and these Hemingray 42s are my favorite! There is just something about that wonderful aqua blue color. I created a mini ‘power pole’ to showcase my collection, and when the evening summer streams through them, it is beautiful. To those ‘in the know’ my Micky Mouse Hemingray enjoys the safety of my window sill.

.                                the-garden.jpg       Here is my yard, still sleeping for the most part, but the rosemary in the herb box is abuzz with bees, the euphorbia characias (I have lots of euphorbs)  to the left is showing off its acid green blooms, a phlox and Iberis sempervirens blooming low in the perennial strip. (This is where my peonies are) and my river of grass is dark and lush. It is still too early to plant the annual boxes, last year I tried to start too early and I was out placing row covers out on them every night. I’m waiting until next month to plant them. It is still getting down in the high 20s in our micro-climate, down in the ‘holler’.

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My gardens are my pride and joy, stay tuned for more…

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My oldest ‘child’ Jason came home with a digital camera, so, as you can see, I’ve been out snapping images right and left. I am in the market for a Canon Rebel, as I already have lenses. Soon I will be looking for the right deal. This camera is sufficient for many instances, but I need that macro!

*I am under a non-disparaging clause for my remainder of time at work. I would like to remind any members of ‘The Company’ (you know who you are) that anything written in this blog, with any hint of a disparaging remark was placed here well before my termination inception. I have been very careful to not name names and sensitive information. My remarks have been a general industry-wide concern. Many people face what I face, in today’s world.  Act with ethics, care, empathy, concern and patience with us all, whom you oversee, as is fitting for someone in your position.

~czygyny

March 5, 2008

Would you ask your plumber for medical advice?

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:39 pm by czygyny

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Would you? Would you ask someone who is obviously an expert in his field, a man who knows the ins and outs of the watery world of pipes and knows the difference between PVC and HDPE, for advice on what to do about your back pain?

Ludicrous? Ill-advised? Just plain dumb?

Why is it, then, that supervisors who know little about how a product is created, even though it is in flux and transition, would ask someone who is well-versed in their own, separate, unrelated field, how to run something they know nothing about?

Why is it that decisions are being made about the future of  decades of advertising archives, many of which are the only files of customers’ logos and ads, by removing the tools which are used to access and utilize them. Even if it is to only gather the necessary information for outsourcing the product, how foolish it is to cut off a very labor saving, and for some aspects-irreplaceable-part of the work flow? There are scores of CD, DVD and archive files, enough to fill many computer’s hard-drives, that can only be accessed by CorelDraw, not the industry standard Adobe products we are now in the process of learning and converting everything over to.

When you remove the graphics programs that have been utilized by the company for over 15 years, you hobble what has already become a faulty, inefficient system. Keeping the graphics programs cost you nothing, removing them will cost you plenty in time and lost revenue, and causing even more work for staff already stretched thin.

What is the point?

Leave the CorelDraw on the computers! Don’t limit our font resources to a ridiculously low number. Don’t make this whole fiasco any more difficult than it has to be.

Research your solutions with people who know what they are talking about. Listen to them, they are not trying to stymie you, they are trying to make the best of the worst situation. They’ve been here longer than some of you have been alive. Use the knowledge. Be wise. This sort of thing has happened in the past, where someone totally removed from the situation was the decision maker and the changes implemented caused many hours of lost time, bottlenecked workflow, and errors at printing time.

Come on, pony up show some real leadership skills, that is your job description and duty. Make wise decisions. And, not just for your career…for those around you who have put so much of themselves into a quality product, and oh yes, your CUSTOMERS.

January 31, 2008

I’d like to share a mountain with you

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 9:42 pm by czygyny

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This is our beautiful Mt. Shasta. I drew this some time ago to make a mural. I did it in CorelDraw.

And below, is the finished product! That’s all I have energy for tonight!

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January 30, 2008

Too Pooped to Pop

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 9:36 pm by czygyny

I feel bad about not staying and working overtime. I feel bad for those who still stay and put up with it. When my mother calls me and is in tears because she just can’t cope with trying to raise 12 year old twins, I know that I just need to be home. A choice has to be made what is most important to you, your family (and your health), or your job.

Family wins out. Somehow, someway…

This is a sketch of one of our first really nasty ad directors, my buddy, pat bridges. See that baseball he has in his clutches? He would stand there and bounce it off of the wall next to you while he was talking to you.

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Nice chap.

I hear he got sent up to Alaska.

Poor bears.

This next image is another ‘doodle’ on typing paper. I had been reading about UFOs and such, so I guess that’s why the saucer is there. It started with the cloth draped over the branch and just went from there. Jewel, my rottweiler is there, a raven, who is a symbol for Rook, a character in a story I am writing, modeled after Jason, an owl, since we have beautiful owls at our place, and an odd oak tree, I love my oak trees. All in all it really means nothing, just fun with texture and shape.

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January 28, 2008

Sawing off the limb you sit on

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:41 pm by czygyny

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This is a quick little cartoon I did today, which is one of a series having to do with the injustice and insult at outsourcing your life’s work.

This one is called: ‘Sawing Off the Limb You Sit On’, which is how I feel at sending out all of my well tuned art files and carefully designed ads. I am teaching others to do my work, and then I will be discarded. Or, worse, I will stay at a job that has stripped away everything I ever enjoyed.

OR, I will forge ahead and make a name for myself and let my imagination run wild.

I like that last choice best.

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This next image I call ‘Embrace’. It is a pencil doodle (yes, truly) that I did while bored one day. Wish I would use good paper when I start this stuff, this was drawn on typing paper!

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colorrazz02.jpgAnd, of course, anyone who knows me well, knows about my alter ego, my mascot the Razzit! She has been with me for a good 35 years. Doesn’t look a day over 7!

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So, that is it for me today. It was a very grueling day, but spending it in almost constant prayer certainly helped me weather it and refrain from crabbing at those around me..

I am home with my family, my dogs, my fish, my plants and my lambs, and happy to be so..

May doors open for me, may my direction be clear, may I prosper at what comes to my hand.

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