Friday, December 31, 2010


123110: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 10 years ago today? We were just beginning to pack for our new lives in Topaz Lake RV Park. The year 2001 was our first year here. Now on the eve of 2011 we are entering our 11th season. As always, we are hoping for a good year at the Park.

I took this photo yesterday afternoon after the storm blew through.
One lone pelican showed up the other day. He is a bit early for opening day on fishing.

Remnants of the snow/rain storm. The South dock is pulled up near the rock wall yet the water is creeping up under it. The water level right now is 9 feet vertically higher than it was on the same date one year ago. I *think* the lake will fill up this year!

I'm slipping a photo of our cat Rascal for you. He's a keeper because he's black and white.

We drove to town today and saw this juvenile Bald Eagle resting on a roadside telephone pole. We are always glad to see more Bald Eagles in the area.

Coming back from town we stopped to look at the lake. You can see our Park is along the shoreline near the bare cottonwoods. It was a beautiful, cold (24 degrees!) day out. Tomorrow the lake will be dotted with fishing boats on opening day.
This photo of the snowed covered mountains in the lake reflection is the last of 2010.
Enjoy and Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true and it be a prosperous year for us all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Naughty and Nice

121910: I wanted to do a quick post before the holidays. We've been busier than we probably want to this time of year, but up until recently the weather has been real nice for us to get some projects done. The weather has now turned really very bad, i.e., naughty! And after the holidays are over, we start gearing up for the next season. So here are a few photos over past few days.

A gaggle of Ross' Geese joined us recently for the day. We've had one lone Ross' Goose for awhile. Now all his friends caught up to him and they all went South for Christmas. Nice!
The "winter" sunrises are always beautiful. And cold. Nice!

I was in our bedroom getting ready for the day and heard an Eagle outside screeching to another. I finished dressing and popped outside to catch just one perched in a nearby tree. Nice!

That same day I was forced to run some errands and keep some appointments. The weather was really yucky ALL DAY LONG. I snapped this photo driving home. The snow is really beautiful, but driving in snow is not! Naughty!

Two new visitors; bad photo! This is a male and female Common Goldeneye. I haven't seen a Goldeneye since 2007 (yes, I keep track of odd sightings) so this was a treat. They're gone now along with the Ross' Geese. They probably are meeting up for the holidays somewhere warmer. Nice!
Have a wonderful, warm, safe and healthy holiday season everyone!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Camera, My Eye

120510: So a couple of mornings ago I stepped out to capture the sunrise glowing in the Eastern sky. Pretty, huh? It only took me 7 shots and 2 cameras to get the photo I wanted. *Only* Actually I take a lot of photos so 7 shots isn't a big deal, but the 2 camera part really irritated me!

For 25 years or so I used a Canon AE-1. For those who have become so technologically spoiled, myself included, that would be a FILM CAMERA. I will keep that camera forever. When digital cameras started showing up for consumers, my hubby insisted that I have one and he bought me a Kodak point & shoot camera that was a 4 megapixel (MP). This was only about 10 years ago, but on average cameras cost about $100 per megapixel. That Kodak broke and I got another Kodak. It broke, too and I got another Kodak - apparently I hadn't learned my lesson about Kodak, yet. I actually liked that camera very much and it was the camera that took most of the photos that customers see in my office. Until, it broke, too. I can't blame Kodak for quality, though....Shamu broke it when he splashed water on it. True story!

Side story~! Starting with the first digital camera, I purchased the extra insurance and for every camera that broke, and I returned, I upgraded each time only paying the upgrade difference until I was able to purchase my first SLR camera body, a Nikon D40X. I think Best Buy changed their return policy because of me, because as the price of cameras came down, the quality rose and I was able to purchase more expensive cameras each time.

Now SLRs have all the bells & whistles, but sometimes they can't beat a good ol' point and shoot pocket camera. My pocket camera is a Panasonic Lumix. I've had this camera for 4 years and put it through the wringer and it performs beautifully, i.e., it takes great photos! Especially on mornings that the lighting on my SLR won't cooperate!

The Lumix camera shot (above) - 1 photo....

The SLR. The expensive camera. The camera that I almost drop kicked off my balcony because it wasn't cooperating, but I didn't because I knew Best Buy wasn't going to take my camera back! I took 6 photos and gave up.

Sometimes more expensive doesn't mean better. You, too, can take, beautiful photos with practice on a point and shoot camera. I believe that the beauty of photograph is not in the colors or subject but how they are set up within the frame of the photo. A good eye is what makes a good photograph. Train your eye, learn your camera, and you can take good photos, too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Bloomin' Cold Outside!!!

112910: So I'm sitting here and all I can think about is the cold weather. Holy smokes, it's cold outside! Actually it's below freezing outside. And it's been this way for a week plus. Nighttime temperatures have been dipping down into single digits or the teens and yesterday was the first day it 'warmed up' to 32 degrees. Such temperatures are not uncommon in the high desert, just usually not in November.

The cottonwood in #7 looked so bitterly pretty after a recent snowfall. Along with all the other cottonwoods in the Park, it has been trimmed. Now it no longer droops into my photos.

The daily feeding of the bird menagerie. As you can see, David isn't bothered by the cold. He is still wearing a T-shirt and shorts! Amongst the daily water fowl visitors are the two Mallards (Mike & Squirt), Canada Geese, American Coots, Double-crested Cormorants (they stay on the far outer fringe of birds), Northern Shovelers, Common Loons, a pair of Gadwalls, and one lone Ross' Goose (a small white goose.) The other day we had a LARGE flock of Mallard drop in for a pit stop before they were on their way. We hoped a single hen or two would stay behind for Mike and Squirt, but alas they are still bachelors. AND we were treated to another visit by the Tundra Swans the same day. They arrived within two weeks of the anniversary of their visit last year (which you can read about HERE), but then again the cold weather arrived earlier this year, too.

Doesn't this just want to make you bundle up with a hot cup o' cocoa next to a fire?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall in Topaz...

110810: When you live in an area where there is four seasons, you learn to always be aware of forthcoming weather. Especially during season 3 and season 4 - that would be Autumn & Winter! Several days ago the forecast called for wind and rain this week and if I was going to have any chance of capturing any photos of the fall colors and leaves on the ground I had better get out before the wind blew it all away.
The cottonwoods on the beach by #50.
Holy moly, look at the leaves! And the colors! And the happy doggies!
The 'front row' Red Oaks and Honey Locusts.

Colt playing 'King of the Picnic Tables.'

Red Oaks! If you look closely you can see some acorn caps still attached.

Acorns! The Red Oaks don't produce acorns every year, but it has been explained to me that when they do it is a sign of a good winter ahead. Apparently trees bare their 'fruit' in abundance when there is a good chance of reproducing or producing. do they know?

Honey Locusts. Why honey? They certainly don't produce honey, so is it the color? Looks more like mustard or squash in color to me. Squash Locusts.

See the storm coming in? Our beautiful Cottonwoods and Squash Locusts.

Storm a-brewin'! See all those leaves?

The wind and rain has come and gone. We watched the leaves dance in the wind during the storm. Now they are all conveniently packed up against the rock walls where they will stay until we clean them up. David has been trying to convince me for years that we need a goat to get rid of all the leaves and weeds. I'm an animal lover but I do have my limits. However, after years of back breaking clean up I have relented. I have broke down and David now has a goat.
Photos and more on our new goat later.....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bird Brain

102310: We really do enjoy our wildlife here at the Park during the off season. It is part of our conscious thought and topic of frequent conversations. We have learned when to expect our returning visitors just as if they have a date circled on their calendar and on that date it says: "Topaz." The Canada Geese are part of returning regulars. They join us in the late summer, usually about mid-August and sometimes don't leave until late spring. Everyday they fly into our shoreline awaiting leftovers from the ducks' food that we provide. Actually, how it happens is we go to the shoreline to feed the two ducks, the geese see us & fly in, honking all the way. Usually there are two small, consistent groups that arrive and then a semi-battle/chase scene occurs to establish pecking order on the remaining food. And the groups are always even numbered, too. I'll try to get a video of them one morning arriving and honking and battling.
I was just about 20 feet from the shoreline. The male geese are pretty aggressive and watch us closely.
I thought I would provide a slightly better photo of Henry (you know, Henry the Heron.) He is just fascinated with our docks. (Maybe he thinks the poles on the docks are Henriettas?)

So obviously I've got birds on my brain this morning and there is a good reason why, too. Yesterday, we were very excited (really, really very excited) to see flying right above our house, two ADULT Bald Eagles, and one juvenile Bald Eagle. Momma, Poppa and baby! Earlier this year I wrote about how an adult Bald Eagle was found dead beneath it's nest. (Click here to read that story.) What I didn't mention in the story is our fear that we believed we had only one adult Bald Eagle and one juvenile remaining. And would this lead to an eventual demise of our Bald Eagle family? Well, whatever happened since then to produce what we saw yesterday has made us very happy. The three Eagles soared in circles above our house, screeching out to each other, gradually rising higher and higher on thermals until they were specks in the sky and disappeared...

We love our Eagles.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Necessary Fall

102210: The fall weather is arriving. In between rainy days and cloudy days we see the sun bursting through. I wondered out the other day to take some photos of the trees. I wasn't trying to capture the fall colors starting to turn, but I was taking 'before' photos of our trees throughout the Park. We are having some extensive tree work done throughout the Park and I wanted to capture the 'before' so I could remember what they looked like when I capture the 'after.' Yes, I will post the 'before and after' photos at a later date. But, while I was out taking wide angle photos of the trees I couldn't help but notice the change in colors. I switched my purpose for a little while and took some photos of the fall colors. Unfortunately, the sun wasn't bursting through at that time, but you get the picture, right?

The Cottonwoods start turning colors in October, eventually dropping their leaves. This process doesn't stop until January. Yes, for three months straight our lives are all about leaves, but we have a new plan this year to tackle the kajillion leaves we must clean up. More on that in another post....

The Red Oaks are by far the prettiest during the fall.

The Cottonwoods on the South end of the Park are the first to turn, and the North end are the last.

Tree work. I was very emotional the first day they were here as they felled (cut down) several trees that day. The trees we are having removed are either diseased, crowding others or are impeding upon roads or parking. Practically speaking I know what has to be done, but emotionally I'm sad as some of these trees are very old and have been here since the Park was opened. And if you know me at all by now the history of the Park is very important to me, and some of these tree are part of that history. Fortunately, our tree service has been excellent in discussing each tree and every tree with us prior to pruning or felling. This has made the emotional factor a little easier to bear for me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moments Ago

101610: Wow, I just wasted 15 minutes of my coffee buzz on trying to format this post because the Blog God decided it would be entertaining to underline everything I typed. And then it suddenly stopped... Does anyone else hate computers as much as I do?

Okey, dokey, let's get back to the blog now...

20 years ago today I started a new job as a manager that I stayed at for 10 1/2 years. I worked in an office with no windows, wore suits & heels, and everyday did my hair and makeup, and sometimes worked from before sunrise to after sunset never seeing the light of day. My how times have changed. I still have an office, but at least it has windows. We just finished our 10th season at the Park and I haven't worn a suit or heels since, and rarely do I wear makeup and my hairstyle is a ponytail. And I found out very quickly 10 years ago that my "office" was not only indoors, but outdoors, too. And more importantly, I wanted it that way. And after 10 years of being at this Park, I still want it that way more than ever. I work hard, but I enjoy what I do very much.

I'm sure you have said at some point in your life something like this: "Wow, time flies. That seems like yesterday." I remember the day I started my new job 20 years ago just like it was yesterday. And if 20 years ago was like yesterday what is 20 years from now? Tomorrow? Hmmm.....

Make the most of your life. Find something that fulfills you. Enjoy the present as it is a gift. (Yeah, I know that was kind of corny...)

Took this photo just moments ago. It gave me the idea for the blog title which lead into the blog topic. (Don't try to keep up with my brain. It's impossible! I can barely manage it at times!)

There are still some pelicans scattered around the lake. I am mesmerized by these big birds. They always make me think of pterodactyls.

If you look carefully you'll see that it is a double rainbow. I love rainbows over Topaz Lake.

When I told this customer who was heading out towards the Burning Man event that I was going to take a photo of his RV he said: "Far Out." Most of the customers before Burning Man are pretty tame and mellow. After? The RV's are really dusty, everyone needs a shower, and some are a little glassy eyed. If you have never heard of Burning Man, google it. And enjoy!

Henry. He comes back every fall. He's a Great Blue Heron. I named him Henry so that I could remember that he was Heron. Henry, the Heron. Because I was constantly being corrected by my spouse when I called him a Crane!

Wow. The rain came at the beginning of this month and stayed for 4 days. It poured! Thankfully it stopped before we started building an ark. And I was getting pretty tired of toweling off wet dogs.

We have closed our season for this year and have a lot of plans for this off season. We have five seemingly long months to accomplish a lot, but after ten seasons we know that in March we will look back and say: "Where'd the time go?"
Have a nice day, y'all. I really mean that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Where the Heart Is

082010: The sun setting on another day at Topaz Lake. Seemingly an average day, but not really.
Customers all day long preparing to go home. Packing, cleaning, squeezing in the last of fun, and saying goodbyes. The summer is winding down and as our friends check out, making new reservations for next year, they are already looking forward next year's vacation.
They are going home to where their heart is, but many are leaving a bit of their heart here.
It will wait for them until next time, until next year. And when they come back it will feel like coming home.
Until next year, folks......

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Start to Finish

072510: Today. It was a good day. Not only did I start out the day by wanting to and then finding the time to pick up my camera for a quick moment, but it was my birthday. I celebrated today.
The day started with the oncoming storm clouds that stayed all day long. Today I went and played bingo at the Lodge with the girls. (I lost!) Today I had a panick attack as I watched a midday storm unleash its' wind and rain upon our little Park, whilst I played bingo. Today I relaxed with family and friends. Laughed and drank (water, of course....) and ate dinner in the cool evening air. Visited more, drank more (okay, wine after dinner) and laughed more. Today we watched the day's storms turn into a glorious pink sunset accented by a beautiful bright rainbow.
Today I worked little, played a lot and enjoyed my time with family and friends. Today I took the day off (mostly) and it was a good day.
I enjoyed today, and now I'm more tired than when I work a full day. (I don't know how you vacationers here at the Park manage all this fun...) So now that today is nearly over I thank you all for a great birthday ~ including all the wishes, the hugs, the food, the wine and the laughs. From start to finish it was a perfect day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's All About the Families

071210: Throughout each season here, there are many family reunions. My own family not excluded....
This week is our Stevens/Johnson/Gross/Purmalis family reunion. There are Grandmas, Grandpas, Moms & Dads, Brothers & Sisters, Uncles & Aunts, Cousins, 1st cousins, 2nd cousins & 3rd cousins, and more kids than I can think of...
I believe we have 59 people, 5 boats, & 14 sites all told.
Photo is evidence of the daily gathering on the boats at the dock.
If you tune into the LakeCam everyday this week between 2pm - 6pm you can watch the live version of "Stevens Nation."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

God's Eye

070610: I took this photo about a week ago. Maybe longer. Not sure as I've been so busy lately. None-the-less, I remember how pretty the darkened blue morning clouds were with the rising sun behind. The clouds were lined in slivers of gold as the rays of light reached towards the rippling waters below.
I wanted to share this with you. And just as I chose this photo to post, I noticed something new in the photo.
Can you see it? Upper left hand corner. A tiny little rainbow.
Sometimes we get caught up in the obvious splendor and overlook the minute beauty around us.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

234 Years Ago

070410: It is not uncommon to see the American flag flying somewhere in the Park. Numerous customers through the season will fly their flag, attaching the poles to their RV's in some manner.

I try to take the time to thank them and usually find that regardless if it is a holiday or not they fly the American flag when they set up their RV.

Today, there are flags flying throughout the Park. Independence Day is a special day for Americans. It's not an opportunity for a long summer weekend. It is a day set aside to remember why we free in this beautiful country of ours. It is the day that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence written on July 4th, 1776 declaring independence from Great Britain. But we all should remember that everyday is independence day.

Whether you are vacationing, picnicking, or watching fireworks, enjoy today everyone. Have a safe holiday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Somebody Call Webster, I've Got a New Word for Them!

062410: Fishermen. Fisherwomen. Or if you want to be "PC": Fisherpeople.

Whatever. They like to fish. And I write this post as a dedication to all the who have been beyond thrilled this last week with the fishing. The weather finally turned and the fishing turned with it.

You know what? The fishing as been so good that they have been complainin' because the fish have been practically jumping in their boats & they are back by 8:00 am. So they come back to camp, smoke/eat their fish and stare at each other for the rest of the day.

It's feast or famine in the fishing world. Hence, there is no pleasin' those fishermenwoples!

(Don't be jealous, Chris. There's always next year.... We miss you, too.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome Home, Summer

062210: Well, summer is here finally. Probably. I think. I hope. The weather this year has been temperamental at best. In May the wind prevailed and the temperature never reached 80 degrees the entire month. That apparently was a record. It's June 22nd, folks, and today it going be the hottest day yet of 2010. That's just wacky!
With the Summer Solstice now past I hope we continue to see days like the last two days: A sunny day, with no wind, and ridiculously calm waters. This kind of weather translates to water fun, good fishing (GOOD FISHING!) and lots of laughter.
This is a view from the LakeCam taken only moments ago. The lake is practically full, but you can probably see that by the lack of beach! Many of the fishermen have already left for a day of "work." Later today you will see the kids playing in the water along with their moms floating nearby....
Where's your fishing pole? Where's your floaty? Where are you are? Don't you wish you were here now?

Friday, June 18, 2010

AnOtHeR SuNrIsE.......& yeah, it was windy

061810: Our summer season starts tomorrow for us. And our routine will change from our spring preparation to the weekly turnover we will experience until nearly the end of August.

During this busy summer I'll try to remember that we have a lake right out our back door. (Literally out our back door right now!) Believe it or not there are days that I don't appreciate that fact. And I'll keep my camera handy. It's been awhile since I posted a sunrise. I'll work on capturing more during the summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Right Under Your Feet

061710: I enjoy taking photos of the docks when they are being prepped to be moved. The dock level is sunk to it's lowest point so that it can be pulled further out of the water and then re leveled. Between the symmetry of the pipes, the reflection of the water and the sign laying on the dock adding the touch of interest for your eye, I find it all very pleasing.
For me, personally, I hold further regard for the docks as they hold a history of all the owners of the Park. Parts of the dock date back to the Thompson era. The docks as you see them were built by my dad during the Stevens era. He engineered the original concept and they have withstood the test of time. In our last ten years, we have rebuilt nearly everything but generally maintained the original concept.
Additionally, they are big, expensive, and require more maintenance year 'round then most people realize. We are diligent about the use of the docks in all aspects, but for good reason. We want to make sure they last for the next generation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Girl, A Grandma and Their Golf Car

061410: If you are a girl and you drive around your golf car more than your car, shouldn't it be adorned with flowers? I think so.

About 8 years ago, my grandma downsized her home and moved to a retirement community. I was the lucky recipient of her golf car. Of course I paid for it, gladly. And I desparately wanted her golf car as I had fond memories of riding with her around her mobilehome park community. She would always say, "Come on... Let's go for a ride, Julie."

Not long after I acquired her little red "cart" she corrected me: "It's not a cart. A cart has three wheels. A car has four wheels. So it's a golf CAR." I don't even care if she is right or not. If grandma says it's a golf car, then it's a golf car.

This little beauty is a G-16, 36-volt Yamaha and I love it. Our other golf cars are faster, but they are not P.O.B.M.G. (Previously Owned by my.... well, you get the picture...)

Now a few years back, my beloved grandma passed away, but nearly everytime I jump on my golf car I think of her. And if you hear me say aloud, "Come on Grandma, let's go for a ride...." well, now you know why.

Monday, June 14, 2010

If the Shoe Fits, Describe It!

061410: So, yeah, the Walker River, the West Walker River to be specific. It's a running. High. Wide. Fast. Heavy. I personally have never seen it running so swiftly. (Oops, there's another adjective!) We went on a little tour the other day to check it out.

Down we went to Topaz Lane and passed over the bridge. The river was at it's capacity, which was at floodstages. It was brown, mirky, & cold. (Adjective, adjective, adjective!) For some reason there were MANY cliff swallows flying around. Funny, since there weren't any nearby cliffs....

We ended up at the Day Use rest area about half way down the Walker River Canyon. Ummm, yeah, lots of water. I was kickin' myself because I forgot my video camera. I was amazed at the water flow and couldn't help but think of all the other times I had seen the river look like nothing more than a large babblin' brook. Check out this photo for a comparison: Click here!

On the way back to the Park we stop near high point as I wanted to capture the river inlet to the lake. Yes, I agree. Wow! And muddy, too. Yuck.

Oh, and did I mention that we stopped to coo at the little bebe goatlets on Topaz Lane? Well, David cooed, I took photos. Okay, I cooed a little, too. Will you look at those little bitty horns? So adorable. Yes, I know they are just baby goats, but "bebe goatlets" fits their adorableness. Yeah, I know, that's not a word either.
I know. Too many adjectives. But how can I describe the beauty around us without adjectives?