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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

November 2021

November brought glorious fall weather and fall color. It is bird migration season for our area so we had a couple of trips to nearby birding locations. The mute swans (not native to North America) were hanging out at Bass Lake in Rescue, California. Also present was a black swan, native to Australia, who probably escaped from someone's bird pond collection. He's been coming to Bass Lake a couple of years. Unfortunately, he was too far into the lake to get a decent photo.

We visited the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. We saw a couple of red-tailed hawks and a group of Long-billed Curlews (rarely seen inland) manically hunting for food in the marsh area. I relish the peacefulness of birdwatching and trying to identify them.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk (dark morph)
Long-billed Curlew
Thanksgiving Day on our way to my brother's house in Antioch, we stopped in at Cosumnes River Preserve for more birdwatching. In the far distance we could see Sandhill Cranes in the fields and also at the preserve. Up close in the marsh areas, there were cinnamon teal, beautiful male pintails with their blue beaks, black-necked stilts, and greater yellow-legs.

Northern Pintails and a couple Northern Shovelers
Thanksgiving at my brother's home was wonderfully calm. The main chefs, Leonard and Kristin, made turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, retro jello salads and the rest of us filled in with side dishes and desserts. Everything was so very good, and there were leftovers to take home.

Leonard carving the 24 lb turkey
Kristin working on gravy preparation
Crimson Queen Maple peaked early this November
One of our fall-blooming camellias (camellia sasanqua) outdid itself this year maybe because of the October rain. It is about 30 years old and about 20-feet tall. We've never had so many flowers on it.

There was lots of walking of/or sitting with cats.

Pandora thinking twice about swatting a Bumblebee
The huge pile of brush is gone for this year. The tree trimmers came on a rainy November day to remove the dead tree next to the house and transformed the huge brush pile into a relatively small mound of wood chips.

A few evenings ago, I decided to walk our two cats by myself while Dan was elsewhere. Syd is easy, but Pandora is definitely an Explorer drifting from place to place. She decided to explore the roof of the porch. 

I had a few more fun freelance assignments for our local paper. The last one was the Christmas Tree lighting in Downtown Placerville. Main Street was closed to traffic and the area around the Christmas tree was packed with people. I had to hold my camera arm's length above my head to get photos. Here are some of my favorites:

Main Street with the Bell Tower in the background
Yes, snow. The city turned on a snow-making machine as the tree was lit
The Official Placerville Christmas Tree with fewer people around it
Christmas Tree Lane along Highway 50 at Placerville
The Christmas Tree Lane tradition on Highway 50 as it travels through Placerville began in 1971. Each year the Christmas Tree Growers Association donates cut trees to be decorated. Trees are assigned to El Dorado County residents through a lottery system. Interested persons must submit their application in October and the lottery is November 1. 

Covid continues at a high rate in our county. The cumulative total of positive cases and deaths at the end of November is 16,609 and 169. The cumulative total of fully vaccinated persons is 56.3%. Some residents are protesting mask/vaccine mandates for school children, and now there is the Omicron variant and waiting for more bad news.

And, indeed we have had bad news. Three friends died in the last 8 weeks. First, Stephen Proffitt, a 67-year old minister in Springfield, MO, died October 6. He and his wife Berna were at one time my mother's pastors in Sacramento and my mother loved them like they were her children. When my mother died in 2017 it seemed like the church she was attending was falling apart and although all her life my mother had visited the sick and often acted as a hospice person for the dying, not one church person visited her when she was hospitalized. I contacted Steve and Berna who graciously came to support us and conduct a burial service on the rainiest day in 2017. In those few days together, I came to love them as well and am eternally grateful for their comforting presence. Steve will be missed by so many people whose hearts he touched. He was a wonderful listener and advisor.

This month brought the deaths of two more friends. The first was my friend and photographic mentor Jim Ginney. Jim was my second photography teacher so long ago when we had film processing and darkroom printing to discuss. That friendship and mentorship continued through digital, and in fact, I took a digital processing class from him at the local community college. He had a wonderful photographic eye, and I often relied on his eye to improve my photographs. He was generous always. In my early student years when I really didn't know what I was doing, he bought some of my not very good photographs. It was a kind, supportive act of a generous man. Jim, 79, died November 21, 2021, just five months after receiving a stage-four cancer diagnosis. I will remember Jim's thoughtfulness and advice forever. And, every time I have an espresso, I’ll think of you Jim.

The last death was a lawyer friend of Dan. Clyde Blackmon was a long-time defense attorney whom Dan respected greatly for his fairness and competency. Clyde was in hospice care at his home and for several weeks Dan had been stopping in to visit him. On his last visit, the day before Thanksgiving, I came along. Clyde was no longer able to speak but while Dan visited, I chatted some with his wife. She was planning a friends and family Thanksgiving because Clyde had said Thanksgiving was his favorite day. He wanted to once again smell the foods and hear the talk on that day. He did have that chance. He died the day after Thanksgiving.

So that was our November 2021 almost 2 years into the pandemic. Regardless, Dan and I are headed to Costa Rica for 11 days in December to celebrate his December birthday. We are traveling and enjoying life while we can.