Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Take the Time

033109: Wow! On the emotional level, I am overwhelmed by your responses to the website and blogs! And I am touched!
On a mental level I am overwhelmed and am getting a bit "touched." If you know what I mean. The recent huge mailing that we did, has stirred huge interest and response, putting me into overdrive! Don't stop though!
You all see me running around here in the summer time, working hard (damn that ethic!), and you might think that summer is our busiest time. But it is not. Preparing right now for your arrival later this season is our busiest time. Right now we are running! Spring has definitely sprung, and everyone is coming out of the woodworks.
And something happened today on a personal level that made me realize I've got a little too much going on right now. So I've made a decision to scale back some things, so that I can pay better attention to other necessary things right now. Then maybe I'll have time to go to do things like skip rocks into the sunset. Or at least take more photos of rock-skippers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Through the Morning's Light

033009: What I won't do for a photo! The sun's reflection off the lake this morning was blinding! I saw these fishermen coming from the North towards the reflection. I grabbed my camera and sprinted outside in hopes that I could catch a photo of them in the reflection. Into the light they went but I couldn't see them!
As they passed to the South I pointed my camera in their general direction to take the photo because by then I was completely blinded by the light and I couldn't see anything.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Bug Station

032909: The California Inspection Station has resided across the highway from us for longer than the Park has been here. There used to be housing behind the station (by the small building in the background) for the Rangers who worked at the station. The housing shut down in the early 80's and was eventually torn down.

When the Rangers' housing was built, the California Dept. of Transportation diverted the California Creek towards the housing where it went through settling tanks so it could be used by the housing. After the housing was shut down the California Creek has remained flowing down the same creek bed built nearly 60 years before. And over the last 50 years we have maintained integrity of the creek from the diversion through our Park, making sure it reaches the lake. We make regular reports to the appropriate authority as to status of the creek. The creek is considered a contributory water to Topaz Lake and we take our responsibility for it's care very seriously.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

No Sammy Hagar

032809: I had to go to town today. A real quick trip. "Town" is Gardnerville/Minden, NV. It is the closest place to do shopping, banking, etc. Going to town is only a 20 mile drive or 20 minutes. I love rural time!
The drive is relaxing. I often set my cruise control at 55, turn on the music and enjoy the drive. I'm definitely one of those rural drivers who slow down other cars as I poke along on the highway.
I love the drive back home especially. About 5 miles from the lake the Sweetwater Mountain Range comes into sight, growing in the distance. These are the mountains in the distance past the South end of Topaz Lake.
In case you are wondering, I set my camera up on the dashboard and took this photo (and others) with my techy little remote. Both hands were on the wheel, I promise. Afterall if I'm going to drive 55 why start living dangerously now?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Down the Road

032709: I went on an adventure today. The dogs and I went to the Post Office! Five miles or five minutes down the road we arrive at our local one employee post office, a dinky little building at the corner of Hwy 395 and Topaz Lane. Original name for a lane, don't you think?!

After stopping at the Post Office and having a nice chat with our Post Master I will head off down the lane with the dogs and let my border collies bark at the cows. They love going to the Post Office.

I love that we live in a community with a population of 100! Though as long as I can remember the population has remained at 100 through every census.

Yes, they actually play golf in a cow pasture. But only once a year. If you hurry, you can join in on the fun.

The cow pasture "golf course" is also on Topaz Lane.

High Point. I don't think I have ever stopped at High Point before today. Named such as it is a 75' (?) drop off that ledge to the lake. (It's high!) Oh and from the highway it is known as "High Point." On the lake it is called "Painted Rock" as half way down the cliff someone painted an ad (I believe) many, many years ago. I think the painted rock is faded now.

The sign says "Topaz Lake" Elev 5050.

P.S. I don't know why I'm into black/white photos lately - just am.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Boat Wranglers

032609: The day started pleasant enough. We are at DefCon 5.

An "East chop" starts mid morning, churning the waters a little and you can see the boats mildly rocking on the dock. Only one fisherman gambled against the morning wind to venture out onto the choppy waters. We are at DefCon 4.

The East winds begin to pick up. The boats are moving to the rhythm of the waves breaking on our shoreline. We check the weather forecast. High wind warnings until late morning. It's time to check the boats on the dock for broken or stretched lines. We are at DefCon 3.

There are some boats that need additional lines and need to be retied. The East wind is now what we call a "low wind" - the worst kind of wind. They are unforgiving and unpredictable. They can last for a 1/2 hr or several. Who knows? We are now wet and at DefCon 2.

The biggest and heaviest boat on the dock is taking an "E-ticket" ride on this low East wind and we decide to be most cautious and start taking boats out of the water. We are at DefCon 1.

Let me tell you that DefCon 1 in a low East wind is where the fun starts! It takes team work, knowing what each of our jobs are, and working quickly and efficiently to take these boats out without injury to boat or person. David & I are at our best during such situations, and when we are really "ON" top of our game, it's really fun! Though we tend to get wet from the waves, and generally that's okay, but the water is especially cold this time of year! Fortunately we have never fallen in the drink (knock on wood).

Living and boating on any lake can turn nasty anytime. Rest easy though, we watch out for the safety of you, your boats and our docks at all times. It's no wonder by the end of the season when we take the docks out of the water that we breath a little easier. DefCon 1 is exciting, but I prefer DefCon 5 on a day-to-day basis!

I caught this photo afterwards, while trying to warm up. The lake had considerably calmed by then.

Good times~!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3 Moods of Geese




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The One That Got Away

032409: There's an old joke out there that makes light of a busy day, but at the end of the day you don't know know exactly what you accomplished....that was my day. To be more exact, I had set goals- not many, but necessary - to work on, however early on my day took another path and NONE of what I had set out to do today got done.

Though early this morning and late this afternoon, I had taken a few photos and when I downloaded them I laughed at my consistency... When all else fails - Take a photo of the dock! I do like how the boats have all motored off to their "jobs", and at the end of the day have returned after a long day's work.

The fishermen continue to catch fish (except our friend, Ray, who admittedly seems to have offended the fish population in some manner this year.) And I enjoy watching Phil take off in his mini blow up pontoon raft thingy (in top photo.) I'll have to tell you a story one day about Phil's encounter with a Mink. A particularly humorous tale....

Monday, March 23, 2009


032309: I was commenting to a friend that I'm living in a cave right now, a.k.a my office. I'm taking a completely different approach to how I make reservations this year. In addition, I have been working hard to accommodate all requests as early as possible. It's really like a game of Canasta or Rummy Tile. In order to win the game you must have all the right set and runs. Silly analogy, but it works for me. I can't win the reservation game until I can make all the dates and sites work.

So what does this have to do with a photo of a fishing boat? I haven't been able to get out of the cave lately! Tomorrow I plan to get out and about beyond my four walls to get some more photos. "Plan" being the operative word....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

At The Moment

032209: I'm getting to the point where I need to keep track of my days. During the off season I completely lose track of the days of the week because, frankly, I really don't need to! I have been known to think it was Wednesday, only to find out it is Saturday. I seriously would not do well stranded on a desert island....in the winter.

People are starting to venture out of their homes and consider their vacations this spring and summer. On the weekends especially we will get numerous drop-ins looking for information or reservation. Hence, my need to keep track of the days of the week because I don't want to be away when we have "unexpected" visitors.

I'm thinking of this as today I was in the office all day long working on reservations, etc., and we didn't get one visitor. Not a surprise really as the weather last night and today was all over the map: Sun, Wind, Rain, Snow or Snow, Wind, Rain, Sun or any combination thereof. The photos were taken throughout the day as proof: AM: "Snow" Geese, 3 pm: Feeding Time, 3:30 pm: Pill Snow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Party Like Your NINE

032109: Admittedly I am getting a bit of spring fever. I am ready to open my doors and let the mountain breezes run through my house. The last two days were a big tease as the weather was warm, beyond pleasant. Today - a different story. Wind, clouds, spitting rain and the threat of much more tonight. There is a fast moving storm brewing in the hills that will provide more water - always good - but I am so ready for t-shirts and shorts!

So I thought I would post a picture of summertime fun. Looking at the pure joy of a kid skiing with her family in the warm summer months at Topaz Lake lessens my grumpiness a bit.

Besides - she's my niece, she's cute, and she's NINE today.

Happy NINTH Birthday, Little Mis.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Home Spring

032009: In 2009 today marks the first day of Spring. The weather forecast calls for snow this weekend. Me thinks there are some people out there that need to have a meeting about their dates and predictions.
Either way, I must say this last week has been an absolutely spectacular week for a sunrise enthusiast. Does someone out there in the sky have an overstock of orange, yellow and even morning blue? This sunrise was interesting in that the lower clouds were silky smooth, but had a few little vertical whoop-dee-doo clouds high in the sky.
And I really do get a kick out of the late arrival overnighter that checks in the following morning. Inevidentably I'll hear them exclaim: "It was dark when we arrived and little did we know that the Lake was right THERE, and the sunrise this morning was unbelievable!!!"
Yes, you're right. It was and always is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Cabin

031909: Over 50 years ago the land that Topaz Lake RV Park sits on was purchased and soon after the Park was developed in stages over a 10 - 15 year period.

The Cabin was the first and original structure on the property, used exclusively by the owners until the "new" house was built in the late '60's. I have vivid memories of the Cabin when I was a child visiting Topaz. Several years ago when I refurnished the Cabin I bought furniture that was too big for the space. In my mind's eye the Cabin was bigger. Obviously my mind's eye was from my childhood!

The Cabin remains today, now part of a compound of buildings and barely noticeable in their shadow. However, it still holds the memories of the many owners and inhabitants that have passed through it. And it continues to be an important part of our Park and lives.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feeling Blue Now

031809: Today was a day, in many ways, about extremes. And after this day, I am bone tired. But wanting to complete the Daily Topaz for today I sat down and chose this photo of our resident Coot. Feeling the extremes of my day, I played with the contrast of the photo which made these odd little birds more interesting.
The coot, aka Mud Hens, are funny little birds with their green little feet and noisy clucks. They stay close to our shore throughout the winter, scavanging the water's edge for food. Soon they will fly to their summer home, raise more coot and return next winter again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Much

031709: Top of the mornin' to you all all! Or rather: Top of the Evenin' to you all! And Happy St. Patrick's Day. David & I are both of Irish decent and always enjoy Corn Beef, cabbage and potatoes on this Irish holiday.

Onward! Today was all about the errands! I was up early and preparing for my massive route of stores I needed to invade. Fortunately I was on top of my game early and as I am running around the house doing my thing I was stopped dead in my tracks by the glowing reflection of the sunrise off of the lake. I grabbed my camera and took a quick photo of what I see from inside our house look out towards the lake. I want you to see what inspires me to stop to take photos of our sunrises here at Topaz Lake!

Yet, another sunrise! But how could I not take this photo and share it with you? Topaz sunrises are truly mesmerizing. I will never take them for granted. When our lives get truly hectic I know that every morning I have my sunrise. Today's sunrise reminded me of a watercolor, which in turn reminded me of a wonderful lady named Margie. She comes to our Park, is an accomplished watercolor artist, quite a humorist, and doesn't let a little thing like age get her down! Margie has painted many views of Topaz Lake from our Park and I'm sure she would enjoy these late winter sunrises.

Monday, March 16, 2009


031609: I really needed to go to the store today, but my day got in the way of my needs. Maybe from the start of my day (at an unbelievable hour of 4:30 am) I was in the mood to talk. Customers in the Park, phone calls, emails, friends dropping by to say "HI", friendly looky-loos, and even inviting my dad to dinner, I was a chatty lady today. At the end of the day I wonder what work I got done and I can easily say - "not much paperwork but a lot of customer work." Oh - and I managed to get my house vacuumed & dusted, too.
Without at doubt, though, my entire day started with a moment peacefully alone watching the sunrise - the most amazing sunrise I had seen in sometime now. I watched the colors change and glow off the lake, the clouds, the trees, and even the windshields of the RV's in the Park. The awakening finches and geese provided the background music to the start of my day. A ridiculously great day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Julie Sees Her Visitors

031509: So, the website and blog have been up and running for a little while now. The word is spreading and I am happy to have received many new requests for reservations as a direct result of the website and blogs. I am pleased that so many of you are watching the LakeCam and reading "The Daily Topaz." I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments and response.

And while you are watching Topaz Lake we have a chance to "watch" you. Beware! No, just kidding. But our site meter tells us all sorts of interesting factoids about our visitors. The one graph I like to check on is the location of our visitors. I'm pleasantly amused (the kind of amusement that tickles my funnybone...) that we have visitors across the United States regularly and a few from Canada. And recently one from Moscow, Russia! That particular visitor watched our LakeCam for quite sometime. It's fun to know that we are sharing our lovely piece of the world with the other side of the world.

Oh - in case you are wondering - our site meter can't see others' computers. It just gathers demographic info such as how visitors on the web find us, their locale, when they visit, etc., and it tallies all the demographics into fairly useless information (other than to tickle my funnybone.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fickle Will

031409: Have you ever had to "bite your tongue" so hard it becomes all you can think about? So you keep having to bite your tongue over and over.... Today, this morning, was one of those days for me. I'm trying to let go of this all consuming urge to not bite my tongue by writing about this urge.

We all have a friend in our lives called Will. Will makes you do things you want to do and the lack of Will makes you do things you shouldn't. Either way Will is a powerful force in our lives. Will is there every moment of our lives influencing us in every way possible. I believe that Will is a good friend trying to lead me make good decisions for myself, my family and my business by teaching me the errors of by ways. But, my friend Will can be so annoying in the times that I just want to let the words fly without care. Will just won't let me do it.
I am wondering though, where Will is hiding when I can't keep my hand out of the the cookie jar? But right now, against my Will I need to get back to the office....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Writing's on the Wall

031309: Are you superstitious? I never have been and even today someone pointed out to me that today is "Friday the 13th." I personally get more concerned about the 13th falling on a Monday. I asked a few customers their favorite example of a superstitious phrase. A lady in our Park gave me this one: "If you get your belly wet when doing your laundry, you will marry a drunk." That is definitely a new one on me!

Superstitious or not....the fishermen and fisherwomen were fishing today. All were happy to report that they were catching fish now that full moon was past. Hmmm...."fish don't bite during a full moon"....is that a superstition or an ol' wives' tale? Or an excuse?

If you believe in the curse of Friday the 13th, beware as there are three this year. More than the average one or two per year!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ever Changing Same

031209: We were gone all day on a "shop & comparison" adventure to find those few items that we think will make our lives easier and less complicated. I think we were fairly successful, though sometimes I seriously wonder if all this techy stuff we are surrounded by has made our lives somehow a little bit more complicated???

I think back to the days that pcs, cell phones, remotes, DVRs, etc, didn't exist. Back in the 1970's my dad built our first color TV from a kit and it had a dial knob to turn the channel. Nothing special about the dial back then but it was a big TV (27"?) and color! My brother & I were in charge of turning the dial at the end of the show. Those were the days that we could ride our bike halfway across town to play with a friend, yet our parents always knew where we were when we were young. "Life" was different back then. Maybe you could refer to it as "the good ol' days" but I don't necessarily think so. I just get nostalgic sometimes for times that seemed less complicated than our lives now.

At the end of the day, when I have spent hours on the phone(s)!, behind my computer screen making reservations or paying bills, working online, answering emails, running errands, etc., I try to put it all away, maybe pour a glass of wine, and watch that moon rise over Topaz Lake like I have ever since I was a little kid. That scene hasn't changed one pixel! Except the wine part.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For the Love of...

031109: I knew I was going have a moderately busy day today. So I totally took our sunrise for granted. And since I was going "torture" you with yet another Topaz sunrise, I thought I would add an accompanying video. I planned ahead as I stepped out into the cold dawn air. (18 degrees it was! I'm a suffering artist for you.) Thinking of the video and the changing colors, I stood and snapped a photo avery 20 seconds or so. 15 photos later it was too cold to stay outside and I actually took the last few from inside my house!

God's Been Good to Me by Keith Urban

031109: The accompanying video to the photo. Enjoy the sunrise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

His Other Lady





Monday, March 9, 2009

Our Broadway

030909: The morning is by far my favorite time at Topaz. It's quiet. It's peaceful. And our home and Park are lucky to face directly East with a perfect view of the sunrise each morning.

As the days of the year pass we watch the sunrise travel from the far right (South) to the far left (North) and back again. Watch in the future, and you'll see the sun rise further and further to the North until the late June. Then it packs up its rays and heads South again. But no matter how constant it's path is, the sunrise provides a unique and colorful show each morning for all of us to see at Topaz Lake RV Park.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Piece of the Pie

030809: On February 24th I took a photo of the "before" of the fishing cleaning station and stream. This is obviously the "after." Getting to the "after" takes alot of work, but it is satisfying.
I honestly don't know what we would do without all of our powered equipment to help. If only there were such a thing as a "powered-back." I'll tell ya - by the end of the day our backs are sore!
Another day I'll tell you the story about the California Stream that runs through our Park.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

For Auld Lang Syne

030709: The water is running. The lights are on. The stream is streaming. The driveways are open. The sign says "Vacancy." The phone is ringing. And the people, like the spring flowers, have reappeared.
Topaz Lake RV Park is awake from a long winter's rest and ready for the new year. We look forward to seeing you all this year. And I know many of you feel the same way. Because even in tough times, like we all are experiencing, our Park remains the same and it is something you can count on and something you can look forward to every year. It is like an old friend to many of us, isn't it?

Friday, March 6, 2009

G'nite Winter

030609: This is Max. And I'm not sure the color of eyes, because he sleeps ALL THE TIME.
Lucky cat.
I caught a photo of Max sleeping this morning despite the bright sunrise in his face. He managed to sleep right through it.
I'm jealous.
Today was our last official day of "off season". We open tomorrow and there will be no sleeping in for us for another 7 months. But that's okay.....
I'm ready.
Bring on the customers! Did you hear that Max? Max?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Business of Soul

030509: After we close in October we hibernate in the winter. Recuperate in the winter. It's necesarry for us to go from "60 to 0" and become solitary people for awhile.

Come late winter, we begin to emerge from our cave and interact with the world at large. I set about working on reservations and we become busy little bees, readying ourselves for your arrival. It is not unusual at all for me to call many people this time of year and hear the same phrase repeatedly: "I can't believe you called, I've been needing to call you!"

During these phone calls, I get caught up on all the latest news, personal or otherwise, and it is always good to talk to you all again. Though sometimes a phone call can be so much more than that. Sometimes I hear such heartbreaking news and it truly touches me. All of our customers are friends, lifetime or even if we just met: You are not defined by the title "customer" alone.

To my friend, Sheila, and to my friend, Daryl: You and your families are in my prayers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


030409: We expected snow last night and we were not disappointed. In the valley, we were blessed with a few inches of slushy snow. Evidence in photo of slushy river running through Park! In the hills, we were abundantly blessed with many feet of snow. So much snow that our drought level (a seemingly perpetual state in the high desert) was lowered from a "4" to a "3" and is on the cusp of of a "2" (max is "5".)

No worries, though. I have lived in the Eastern Sierras for 22 years and cannot recall a time we weren't in some form of a drought. Water levels will be more than sufficient this year, I'm sure. (I think. Probably. Okay, yeah, it will be good....I think.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Personal Assis-tat

030309: Today I worked in my office all day long from 8am to 6pm, and everytime I got up from my desk this cat was stealing my chair! On the flipside, though, he makes for a good chair warmer.... if you like warm chairs.

And because he's such a good lookin' putty-tat, and one of my favorite models:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Music to My Eyes

030209: Have you ever gotten soaked "to the bone" in the rain? Not even one part of your clothing remained dry? I have and it happened in November, 2007 when we went to Berkeley to watch my nephew play in his last home football game at Cal Berkeley. We were soaked, cold and we had a fantastic time with our family! (Oh and my nephew is now with the Tennessee Titans :-)

When I see the rain, it reminds of that wet football game and makes me smile. The rain is also about renewal of our land and lake, so of course, that makes me smile, too.

Early this morning the rain came a knockin' and stayed all day. I enjoyed the tone-on-tone colors of the gray day. The sound of the rain, the tone of the colors was like.....well, you get it, right?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pesky Birds

030109: Good grief, if we don't stick to some kind of schedule around here somebody is going to tell us. This morning it was our winter resident geese: Honky and his wife, Honey.

We have many Canada Geese during our off season. But, Honky and his Honey show up first and leave last. They know when breakfast and dinner are and if we don't show up on the shoreline at the usual time, they show up on our carport! And they honk to let us know we are late! I took this photo of our apparent tardiness this morning. I was inside the house looking through the patio rails down onto the carport.