Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wet, Really Wet

053109: I don't know what the heck is up with the weather lately!
Years ago it was not uncommon to have a summer thunderstorm nearly every afternoon. The last few days have been reminiscent of those days. And it's been muggy! I'm accustomed to being dried out and cracked most of the time. The change to moist air feels like someone threw a wet blanket on me and I can't get rid of it!
Today, the black clouds rolled in early promising to provide us more rain. They did, but not before it hailed! Yes, today it hailed ~ big, huge pea-sized hail. Okay, it wasn't huge hail, but it hailed a lot and it hurt!
I always manage to be outside during downpours and today was no exception. David was in town getting building supplies while I was running around dropping awnings that were pooling water on top. I was out at one point checking the docks (by then the hail and rain downpour had stopped.) It was raining only lightly and about 20 pelicans were swimming in unison around the docks. The scene was so breathtaking I wish I had my camera. Though I did take this one photo later (after I dried off!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lake View

053009: This photo is for my cousin Dave. Today he called to ask about the water level ~ Up? Down?

I'm standing in his site (#7), and this view is not wide angle, not telephoto, but just as you would see it if you stepped out of the door of your RV.

My vote is for "UP!"

Don't know how long "UP!" will last, but "UP!" is better than "Down!"

Friday, May 29, 2009


052909: I wanted to post this photo on Tuesday, but I forgot. I'm forgetful!

The fishermen patiently waited for all of the boaters & campers to go home. On Tuesday, promptly at dawn, they were waiting for the sun to rise to head out for a leisurely morning of fishing and calm waters.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"I Said RIGHT!"

052809: So, today was like any other day. Phones, paperwork, departures, pathetically and clumsily attempting to catch a Western Grebe tangled in fishing line from our kayak, cleaning the restrooms and arrivals.

What? Don't you think that sounds like a normal Topaz day?

Yes, you read that right - we cleaned the restrooms because our favorite restroom user arrived today. We wanted to make sure they were sparkly clean for him.

What's that? You want to know about that Grebe? The one that we attempted to catch to free him of his entanglement? He refused to be caught despite our best efforts. And after 3 hours in a kayak - okay maybe 20 minutes - and getting soaking wet (I will choose the front of the kayak in the future) and repeatedly reminding my hubby that conversation carries far across calm waters - especially conversation including swear words - we decided to quit our rescue efforts.

It was a good decision as I didn't want to have to say in the future: "We got divorced because of a stupid Western Grebe."
At the end of the day, I had no new photos. I took this one Memorial Day Weekend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wild Waters

052709: Hardly a fisherman was on the lake due to all the weekend boaters. I say "boaters" in general because it covers the wakeboards, surfers, seadoos, occasional skiier, etc. Waterskiing is not as big as it used to be "back in the day." Owning a boat now is for wakeboards, boogie boards, and surfing (behind the boat~?!!), and those big blow up thingys that multiple people can ride on at once. Everything is higher, bigger and faster.

Hand me the red flag ~ I'll be the observer, thank you very much. Oh, I'll be the photographer, too, because now the wipe-outs are higher, bigger and faster, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zero to 60

052609: Holy Cow. Though we know that Memorial Day Weekend is busy, it never fails to shock our senses. Our leisurely pace turns suddenly into a full sprint to keep up with the huge arrival of customers, new & old.

It was a good weekend. We have great customers that made it a good weekend.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to our friends, Frank & Ann Tolson and their little Yorky, Rusty. I took this photo of Rusty cruising around on the cat walk hubby built in his shop above his desk. The cats didn't quite know what to make of him and he didn't quite know what to make of the cat walk...

Monday, May 25, 2009

There Are Birds Everywhere!

052509: A month ago on April 22nd I posted a photo of a House Finch's nest with five eggs nestled inside. Sadly, all of the eggs disappeared soon after, more than likely due to other birds in the area.
Fortunately, Mama House Finch (& Papa, too) didn't give into the raiding of their nest and she laid 5 more eggs and sat firmly on her nest starting about two weeks ago. I did my hatching calculations and guessed the nest would start hatching this weekend. Obviously the above photo is the result of the beginning the hatch. Since then I have taken a photo of all five baby birds hatched and the parents deligently caring for their brood.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Steeling Some Shuteye

052409: While I was out and about in the Park today, someone was sleeping on the job!

Our little Aussie, Steel, likes to hop into my office chair and watch for my return. I often catch him sleeping like this and it's easy to do because (1) he likes to sleep & (2) he was born 100% deaf. We rescued him from a shelter and we couldn't be happier - and based on the way he wiggles his back end when he sees us, I think he feels the same way....

Lake Level

052309: I wanted to post this photo on Friday, the day of downpour, but the downpour photos won out.
On Friday we were out and about cleaning up this and that around the Park, getting ready for our incoming customers for the holiday weekend.
Already the thunderclouds had started to develop. I took my camera with me to take photos from a different view in the Park. I liked how this scene is framed and it shows how far the water was come up. As the lake rises, the water kills off the weeds, a.k.a. the "hayfield" on the shoreline. You can easily tell the high water mark from the previous year as the hayfield only grows above it. In this photo, the water level this year has passed the water from last year has it is well into the hayfield. Did you get that?
All it really means is that the water higher this year than last year, and there is still more to come.

Friday, May 22, 2009


052209: The day started out warm, bright, hardly a cloud in the sky. It was warm and breezy all day long.
In the late afternoon the hot weather had created thunderstorms and we had a heavy (heavy!) but short lived rain shower (downpour - big, fat, and cold drops!)

Early evening, as the clouds dissipated, we ended our day wet, yet enjoying the sunset glow.

Memorial Day weekend falls on the cusp of bad to good weather, i.e., the unpredictable to predictable weather patterns. So we are never terribly surprised if it rains, or even snows. And we always hope for, and usually get, some kind of sun over the weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Legend of Walter

052109: The fishermen at Topaz Lake have specific names for different areas on the lake. Such as "Sheep's Pen," "Alcatraz," "Painted Rock," or "Corn Patch," to name a few. It is not uncommon to hear them talk of their approach to fishing: Example: "We trolled back and forth between Painted Rock and Corn Patch, using 3 colors at about 20 feet."
Well, of course you did.
And there are some fishermen who talk of "Walter," the elusive big fish that always manages to get away. Walter is a fishing legend amongst the fishermen who, real or not, represents the big fish that every fisherman wants to hook up. It is touching to hear an old fishermen (who for some reason or another knows he will not be back to fish at Topaz Lake) ask his fishing buddies to catch Walter for him, and when they do to think of him.
Today, Frank caught a Walter, Jr! The flood of 1997 really hurt the fishing at Topaz Lake for a number of years. Just before the flood in the early 90's it was not uncommon to see 4, 5, 6, 7 or larger pound fish. This Walter, Jr. was a mere 3# 12oz. But despite it's puny size, Frank didn't seem to mind at all and proudly showed off his catch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tied for Beauty

052009: The sunsets are playing an entirely different game than the sunrises.

The sunrises show off with all of their colors and brightness in the glory of the morning.

The sunsets compete with their shadows, darkening the water, & cool the early evening air.

They are both winners. No losers at Topaz.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


051909: I was away all day today from the crack of morning to late afternoon.

While I was away, there were not one, but two sailboats enjoying the calm day on the lake. I caught a photo of both, but liked this single boat photo better.

I love the freedom of sailing and am fortunate to have been numerous times. Years ago, down in Cancun, I "learned" how to sail a small boat alone, and after a week of lessons during a vacation my teacher entered me in a rigada. I didn't think I was ready. He did. I lost. I was right. In fact I think came in last place. But that did not stop me from coming back the next day for my final lesson. I got stung by a small stingray during that lesson. Funny enough, that did stop me from sailing again. That little bugger hurt!

I would much rather swim in the waters of Topaz Lake these days or watch and photograph the sailboats that pass by our back door.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Et Al

051809: Topaz Lake is not a large lake - only about 2 x 3 miles. To me it looks small, but once you get out on the waters, you can head South and lose sight of the Park.

Today I was down on the docks today visiting with the fishermen. I saw the birds resting in the water and on the shoreline, the snow capped mountains, the cottonwoods in bloom, and if you enlarge the photo you can even see the cattle dotting the shoreline below the trees.

Very peaceful scene.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


051709: The hottest day of the far. Our temperature gauge registered 96.4 degrees. At one point today I looked out on the lake and saw so many ski boats, seadoos, skiiers, etc., I could hardly believe it despite the warm weather.

Next weekend is Memorial Day and is commonly considered the beginning of the summer season. The locals unwinterize their RV's & boats and set out for some relaxing days at our nearby lake.

Considering the current weather, I don't think there is a chance it will snow like Memorial Day weekend in 2008. But considering the recent weather, I couldn't help but think of cooler days. Hence the "cool" photo.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

View from the Lake

051609: I can't help with the warming of recent weather (95+ degrees!) to think about summer time.
In the archives of photos I have chosen today's photo of a summer moment - one of the few - when I was out on the lake "playing" with my cousins.
I like this photo for so many reasons - the high water level, the reflection, the Park tucked under the green trees and for the hills seemingly rising out of the water. It's hard to believe that there is a major highway in all of that, too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Warm Breezes

051509: I've seen this sailboat out on the lake many times over the last month. Now that the weather is turning warmer, we will see more and more watercraft - besides fishing boats.
When school lets out is when we see the activity level on the lake kick into a higher gear. Though we are always pleased to hear people say how calm the lake is - not the craziness of so many lakes in the So. California area.
We attribute our relative calmness to the rural location of Topaz Lake and the presence of our Mono County Boating Sheriff. Both facts keep our lake safe for all types of boaters, watercraft, etc.
Usually in the spring and fall we also see two different planes use Topaz Lake as a landing place. One is relatively small and the other looks like the Spruce Goose compared to the size of the lake!
But today it was just fishing boats and this sailboat traversing the lake in the calm breezes of the afternoon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking Eastward

051409: Today did not go as I expected. Simply put, my expectations are all built upon habits formed by the history of repetition. (And a wee bit of intelligence.)
Today veered off that map of expectation. Nobody knew this but hubby & I, but today really veered very hard behind the scenes. And at the end of this day, I look back & I see the good, the bad and the ugly of the day. Literally, something so good happened, it will be something that I remember forever. Yet, in the same day something so bad happened it turned our average day to a very ugly day.
(Yes, sometimes the ugly does happen even at Topaz Lake.)
I am emtionally drained, but I shall go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow with renewed fight because I know that I have with me always the things that make me strong: My hubby, my family, my friends, & God.
And just now, as I write this, my hubby came to me & assured me that everything was going to be okay, reminding me that together we can not only get through this today, but all the future tomorrows.
(It is a challenge to run our business, yet still have a personal life. But we are up to the challenge.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nature's Frame

051309: I'm in the middle of several projects right now that are keeping me busy, busy (busy!) but we are looking forward to the rest of the season. And my darned camera is still giving me fits, despite having it "fixed." Oh, such is life.

I took this photo several years ago in the spring. The clouds that morning hung really low over the lake, yet high enough for the light of the rising sun to bounce & reflect to the water. The narrow frame of the clouds was like looking through a viewfinder of a camera.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Ooooo Factor


Monday, May 11, 2009

"T" is for Topaz

051109: After waking up this morning I threw some coffee down the hatch and hit the floor running as I knew it would be a busy day. The day after Mother's Day always is busy. Customers are always so busy doing their own thing - family, food, etc. - on the holiday that the following day they get back into their routine at double time.

I snapped a quick photo or two at sunrise. The sunrise wasn't necessarily spectacular except the small, fat cloud formation gave me a chuckle. It beckoned me to take it's portrait.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


051009: Hubby & I spent the most relaxing day together. Something we needed to do, wanted to do. We left our little paradise in capable hands and ventured off to Nevada (!) for a day of shopping, eating & more shopping. It was a good day.

During our day out I thought of a lady I knew years ago named Katherine. She was a character & a half! She passed away at the age of 89 and I went to her memorial. I had noticed long before then that her family called her "Masma." I never knew why they called her "Masma" (guess I never thought to ask), but I found out at the memorial. One of her many daughters explained that Katherine was the "Ma" to many "Mas" (her daughters), hence all the grandchildren called her "Ma's Ma" - say it fast and she became "Masma" to all her family. I have always thought it was one of the most endearing terms.

So to all the Mas and Masmas (& more!) - Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Reality Ducks

050909: Sometimes you just have to stand still and see the cast of your shadow.

Or sometimes you just have to feed the pesky ducks or they will bug you relentlessly!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Resting on the Edge

050809: I have to admit that if you spoke with me in the past three days, I probably owe you an apology. My neck has been frozen and causing me much pain. Literally "a pain the neck." Today I woke up feeling just okay, but as the day progressed it got worse. So I decided rather than suffer through the weekend I would put my husband out of misery and go to the chiropractor. (Despite living in a rural area, we are lucky to have the conveniences of shopping, banking, medical services, etc., within a 1/2 hr. drive.)

So off to town we went to visit our favorite chiropractor, Dr. Pardee. Okay, he is our only chiropractor, but that still doesn't mean he isn't our favorite! He examined me and I was quite certain he would diagnose me with an Atlas Subluxation. He did, and adjusted my C1 vertebrae. Immediately all my symptoms were relieved! I'm sore, but not in pain. At least not in my neck. I still think I'm a pain in my husband's neck, though.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

There Was a Fire One Day...

050709: I heard a tid-bit of news this morning. Today's date is a consecutive odd numbered date 5-7-9, one of only 6 to occur every century. I figured it out and there are three left this century....

On another note....

I'm not fond of fire. I don't have a firepit, fireplace or a desire to have either. I can live without it. And I am a fireman's daughter, too! But my feelings about fire solidified firmly as "not a fan of" after the brush fire we experienced on 7/14/2002 at Topaz Lake. Before then I could take it or leave it.

2002 was a summer season of intense, massive fires throughout California & the nation. The Gate Complex fire erupted and raged through our sleepy oasis and ravaged our hills & valley in a matter of two days. And that fire came on the heals of the Cannon fire in Walker, Ca (14 miles down the road) only 3 weeks earlier that had claimed the lives of three air tanker pilots. It was a devastating fire season. We survived relatively unscathed from the Gate Complex fire, thanks to all the area firefighters and the firefighters vacationing in our Park. And, more importantly, nobody was hurt. On that day I was asked by a newsman covering the fire how was it that so many firefighters from So. Cal. were staying in our Park? My mind was spinning with the complexity of the answer, but all I could say was "History, the Park has alot of history of firefighters."

So I'm thinking about fire right now because today we, and the extended Topaz Lake RV Park family and community, learned that one of our own was seriously injured in the Jesusita fire now burning in Santa Barbara, Ca. He is going to be alright, thank the Lord. But thoughts of him have been with me all day long. So to our friend, Ron, and his family, our prayers are with you and thoughts of quick healing are being sent your way. When you are ready, we look forward to having you back with your fishing rod in hand. (P.S. - the fishing is really, really good right now.)

Photo taken by the John Gibbs family 7/14/02.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Summer Balloon

050609: I haven't found the 1983 photos of the first balloon rides at Topaz Lake RV Park, but I found some recent photos I thought you would enjoy.

If you can enlarge the photos, you might be able to see the tether from the balloon that goes down to the boats belows.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Clouds in the Water

050509: This photo was taken March 13th, 2007. It is a simply simple sunrise.... One that I love because the mirrored reflection on the lake.

I've said it before: The mornings at Topaz Lake are so incredibly peaceful. It is not uncommon during our open season that as I take in the morning scene that I see other people in our Park doing the same. All of us posed with our coffee in hand, facing the Eastern morning, in awe the one-of-kind-sunrise-show on the Lake.

Monday, May 4, 2009

April Show

050409: I'm going to be sharing some of my favorite photos with you for a few days...
This pink/blue sunrise was so unique as the reflection on the lake was orange.
Photo taken April 5th, 2007.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Jolly Green & His Peapickers"

050309: Every year when our family would travel to Topaz Lake for our annual vacation my brother & I would ride in the cab over of our trusty camper. There was a big long window in the front and we would lay there facing the road as we all rolled down the highway. I'm sure we looked like a few goofball kids as we waved and made faces at other motorists - unbeknown to our parents.

We knew we were getting very close to Topaz Lake when we came into the Walker Canyon and saw the Walker River. The road was much more windy before the flood of 1997. Nearly 10 miles of the highway was destroyed (gone!) because of that flood, but it was rebuilt in a matter of 6 months. The canyon has also seen it's fair share of forest fires, too.

But inspite of mother nature it remains a beautiful, scenic river flowing through that canyon. These are the waters that eventually end up in Topaz Lake.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day & Night

050209: Several years ago, David & I were strolling around the Park during the off season. We were running the pooches and enjoying the cool afternoon as a storm rolled towards the East.
At some point I had to run back and get my camera. The scenes were breathtakingly beautiful with the darkened skies, blackened waters, yet the afternoon light brightened the earth and trees.
A day later the land of Topaz was colored an entirely different color as had snowed overnight.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 121

050109: May Day. I didn't know until I looked it up but "May Day" is in reference to the Labour Movement. That described our day perfectly! It was all about labor. We had many customers arrive in the past few days and many more today. David's time was taken away by needed dock repairs, so that left moi to work in the Park. At first I was a grumpy lady as I worked my way through the raking & parking incoming customer. But by mid-afternoon I had finished my work and feeling the need for more labor I strapped on the ol' power blower to do some damage to the leaves collected behind our house. It felt good and a few hours later I was filthy and splotchy as it had rained while I was working, enough to get me wet, but not enough to clean off the dirt! The photo is of the end of the day, with rain clouds above us and a good, laborious day behind us.