September 3, 2008

Tying up loose ends

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , , , at 9:21 am by czygyny

A few months ago, my ex invited me to come and spend some time on a houseboat he had reserved for Labor Day weekend. I remained vague and noncommittal about it since our parting has been less than cordial, with a few obstacles remaining that blocks the finalization of our divorce.

When he called me and told me his father was diagnosed with cancer, indeed the same very rare cancer that his mother had died from a few years back, I decided to go and spend a day on the Shasta Lake and visit him, for perhaps the last time.

It was a bit akward to climb into the boat waiting at the dock. This particular brother and I had our differences over time, but it was nice to be at a point where we could put those memories aside for the day. I sat in silence and watched the wake behind the boat, and watched the ringed shore as we sailed past. I had spent many an hour on that boat in years past.



I was exceedingly glad to have a photo opportunity with the Hawaii (Martin) Mars, moored at Bridge Bay! All summer long I wanted to get a good picture of this awesome plane in action. There was no action, but plenty of opportunity to get right up underneath it and marvel at its immense size.


The houseboat he reserved was a big one, room to hold the extended family. With five original siblings, and the subsequent spouses and children, when this clan gets together lots of room is needed. Thankfully, there were only eight on board the day I was there.

It has been perhaps five years since I have seen these folks. Another brother had his three children there, and I was glad to see them doing well. I particulary liked the youngest, whom was only an infant when I saw him last. He became Mr. Know-it-all around me and seemed to be enjoying the attentions of a newly-found aunt.

 This was one of those moments where he was showing off. Cute kid.

Of course the water level is extremely low right now. We talked about how low it has been (I’ve seen it lower), how fast it can fill back up, and boy, a person with a small boat and some time would find a fortune in lost fishing lures, sunglasses and jewelry in a low time like this.

I found the banks to be fascinating photo opportunities, and managed to find some rocks to bring home. The denuded soil has been eroded away to show the intricate and varied backbone rock structure of the hills.

I found oppourtunity to give one of my eye-glazing geology lessons on the various mountain ranges that converge in our area, of course.

The play of shadow on the concentric rings and the contrast between tree, stone and water kept me snapping images all day.

I spent time with my sister-in-law, catching up on all the happenings, watched the kids play in their canoes and fishing poles. We filled in the gaps of information and soaked up the beautiful weather.

I finally spent some time with my father-in-law. He looked so much more haggard, with that look of knowing in his eye that he stood on the threshold of eternity. Leaving our differences from times past, we just spent silent time looking at waves and hills and sky.

I let memories pass by me like the waves, of all those camping outings where there would be perhaps 10 to 20 family members come together. We’d all have fun until the alcohol would show its troublesome face, and once again the old wounds of family drama would open. I played my part, too. I was not innocent to causing part of the drama. We were all volatile and defensive.

I remember helping to create lavish birthday parties, Christmas banquets and then stand watch with the family when the matriarch left the world after her brief bout of cancer. Then, the frightening agony of the disintegration of my marriage brought the dividing knife between them and me, and I saw them no more.

I was glad that all could come together and put the angst behind us for this time. The day played out, the sun began to sink low, it was time for dinner and then a quick trip back to the dock before darkness fell.

I stood on the bank and watched the boat leave, listened to the traffic whisper across Turntable Bridge,  glad that home was just a few minutes drive away. After watching the gathering dusk, the waves on the shore, the ducks swimming past and feeling the breeze play over my face, I turned to my car in the now vacant, rutted dirt parking area and left the day behind.

This time had stirred up a lot of emotion for me, and it was good to be back up on the lake I love so much. I was pleased to see the next generation growing up like well watered trees, and glad to see the now fading generation before their time comes to pass on.

Although the tree, my part in this family, has been cut down, the tangled roots remain, memories of the past.

May 31, 2008

The parting of paths

Posted in blogging tagged , , , , , at 3:32 pm by czygyny

  Friday marked a day of dissolution, the last round of layoffs for our Creative Services department.
Those of us who cared, came together during the noon hour at the local pizza parlor, a final sendoff for the last two artists to be culled from the department.
  As I looked about at all of those people with whom I have had the pleasure to work beside for so many years, all of them looking a lot more haggard, a bit more weary, the incompetent dismantling process showing its abrasive nature, wearing away hope and comfort, I am suddenly reminded of our camaraderie and experiences together. All that went before will now pass into memory, hopefully fond memory, but knowing it will never to be repeated again. It feels like a fist has come down and smashed us asunder.
  Those who have been released have been blessed in many ways, and I hope that those that remain will find greener pastures, soon. You who are left do not deserve the treatment you receive, you deserve a trustworthy and caring employer, and a fair workload. Don’t look to corporations to be your helper or benefactor, they smile to your face but carry a dagger behind their back, perhaps for just a bit of bloodletting. I have a deep seated feeling that there are huge changes for us all, challenging times.

  Dean, I’m sorry I never ventured out of my hermit’s hut to come see one of your theatrical productions. I do enjoy local theater, so I have no excuse. I hope you will be able to stay in the area and in touch.
  Eve, my little mouse! Your heartache wears on your shoulders like a heavy burden. The path to Righteousness and the removal of all heavy burdens has been shown to you. Take the courage to walk it.
  Sue, thanks for taking over the care and oversight of the plants I have left for my remembrance. I hope it is a green prick in the conscience to the unworthy powers that be.
  Gary, siblings together in the Son, I can only pray that the Father blesses you in a comparable way as He has blessed me. It renews and strengthens faith. Share some of your photos with me sometime.
  Bill, you’re free to do whatever your heart desires. May your time be filled with beautiful music.
  Syndi, what can be said? Nearly 27 years of friendship, through thick and thin, good and bad. How unfair that the hands of others can so casually destroy the life’s work of another. We’re only a hop, skip and jump up the road from each other. Let’s just bulldoze that hill top that blocks our direct view of each other, then we can send smoke signals during our burn-pile extravaganzas.


 My prayers are for all of us as we each take our own separate paths; that we may be encouraged, to be prospered, to be given insight and direction, and a huge dollop of Providence, so that our ‘bread’ is always sufficient for the day.


I do not normally post individual images of folks in a public area without permission, but since this ham is used to the bright lights and stardom, I couldn’t resist showing this humorous image of our own Dean-O, doing what comes natural. You such a funny guy!

For all of you that were at the lunch, if you want a complete collection of the photos, I will burn a CD for you. There are too many to email. Let me know.

Look what a spoiled fruit that place has become, a browning, cankered shell of rotteness, full of worms of greed, oozing the lifeblood of faithful people, fit only for the compost pile.


If you have missed my other entries about enduring the slow tortuous death of a good newspaper and the termination of my 26 year job,  here is a shameless plug for some of my previous rantings:


May 15, 2008

Will the weather please make up its mind!?

Posted in blogging, garden, photography tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:59 pm by czygyny

Wow, it has been a while since I last posted an entry in my blog! My time has been filled with fire-suppression spring cleaning, garden planting, weed pulling, and taking photos. This first photo is an Echinopsis hybrid ‘peanut cactus’ in my most favorite of ‘found’ pots, an old rusty hibachi barbecue! It’s cultivar name is ‘Fire Chief’ and it does seem on fire. I thought the container appropriate for the flaming flowers.

The weather has gone from record cold, to record heat, where I go from scrambling to cover everything tender at night, to providing afternoon shade and adequate water to newly planted vegetable plants.



These California poppies look really ‘hot’, too. These wild flowers bloom on the gravelly banks of East Stillwater Creek.

The care of the property has been left largely up to me, this last couple of weeks. My helper’s life seems to be in a state of flux. While he is struggling to come to terms with adulthood and the pull of friends and fun, I am left to mow, spray, dig and clean alone.  It is a sad time for me, because we have been the best of friends, and we’ve gone through a lot together. At 16 his mom died, and in the next few years many more members of his family died, so he came into our lives at 20, with an unfinished place in his heart which I hope I have helped to furnish with good thoughts, memories, laughter, admonitions and direction, things that a mom and friend would be there to create. I knew that there would come a time for him to test out his wings and fly. I knew it from the start that it would be a very bittersweet time.

Our friendship will always be a treasure to me.

His wanderlust leaves me with a whole lot of chores to complete in a short amount of time, because one cannot let the clearing of the property go too far into summer-time, it has a fairly narrow time-frame to be completed. But, after a lot of long 10-12 hour days, line-trimmers, rakes, shovels, and lots of nasty stickers in my socks, I am nearly done! I am on the home-stretch!

My vegetable garden is in, its irrigation system is installed. Most of the seeds are sprouting. We’ve managed to clear and plant the whole 40′ x’70’ section, a first! Augh! Moles everywhere! Tiny grasshoppers, earwigs and aphids already at work. Good thing we have so many different types of birds about. I’ll even forgo a stolen strawberry if they will just eat the bugs.


The last few days have been wonderful for sunsets! These three images were taken Wednesday.

The colors were so sublime and delightful, a grand show!

 Even Bear Mountain was dressed up in finery. 



I’ve had some lovely visitors to my garden in the last couple of weeks. This tiger swallowtail butterfly loves my Firewitch dianthus. I sometimes get pale swallowtails, Lorquin’s admirals, pipevine swallowtails and monarchs for a visit, as well. I’ve had old-world swallowtails come by briefly, but they are always tattered and careworn.


Here is my front yard as of Monday. The annual boxes are finished being planted, spent big bucks on the flowers this year. When am I going to start them all from seeds and save a bundle? The valerian is blooming white in the foreground, to the right is chrome yellow coreopsis and behind it are my Leptospermum bushes blooming pink and magenta. My trees are just now coming out of the big freeze a couple of weeks ago.

I have been invited to write a gardening column for our Shasta County’s answer to ‘Martha Stewart’, Doni Greenberg’s website! I have done two articles so far and have introduced my cartoon character ‘Stikrz’ with her very own gardening tips.

What fun!

Ah. The sweetest of springs continues…