Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wag More, Bark Less.

120111:  Ahhh, September.  My absolute favorite month!  Well, so is October, November, December, January and February because we are closed and get to rest.  But then again... so is March, April, May, June, July, and August because we are earning money.  BUT, on the peaceful, nice-weather-o-meter, September is still the top month.  Oh, and did I mention September is one of the few virtually "no kid" + "nice weather" months?  Yes, I do like September very much....   
Labor Day Weekend.  One of the last hoorays for families to get out and vacation.  
Just after LDW we take the fingers off the North Dock.  One person can do it, two is better, but three gets the job done in about an hour!  Since our LakeCam is giving us fits and uploading about 3 photos a day instead of the normal 5760, it actually captured a photo of me on the dock helping.  And since it is 25 degrees this morning I cannot help but miss the days of short-wearing weather when I look at this photo.
The tip of the South Dock is just showing now that the water has dropped enough.  That dock was still fairly loaded with boats throughout September.  The first of October brought the close of fishing season for three months. This is the time that we get to stare at our beautiful lake practically devoid of any boats as what need is there for any boat to be out on the water because they can't fish and it's too cold to for watersports.   It's actually kind of funny when we do hear a boat zooming by, breaking our peaceful serenity.  We silently curse the nerve that a boater has to disturb our scenery! (And their intelligence level.)  How dare they!
I'll have more photos to share soon.  Right now we are getting settled back into a somewhat normal winter routine after being unexpectedly gone on yet more personal business.  Priorities sometimes boils down to "feeding the hungriest mouth first."  In the meanwhile until I get back on this blog, enjoy the holidays.  Relax, enjoy your family and friends.  And in the words of a sticker I recently acquired - which I think will become my 2012 motto - "Wag more, bark less."  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Starting Over

111111:  Two mornings ago I was out in our backyard very early.  I took notice that the sun had risen to a cloudless sky and was warming the morning air.  Suddenly a series of screeches cut through the silence.  I didn't need to seek the source, for I know that if I hear her she is always there perched on that dead pinion of the Eastern slope looking out over her territory at the lake.  I turned to see her, knowing I would spy her in the distance. I was not disappointed.  I left momentarily to retrieve my camera and binoculars and as I reentered the backyard she screeched again through the silence.  So silent I swear I heard her call echo through the hills.  In the focus of my binoculars I could see the sharpness in her eyes, the yellow of her beak, the sun glinting off the sheen of her feathers.  Good morning, lovely.  She was looking towards the rising sun.   Probably for her next meal.  I never tire of seeing the majestic beauty of our Bald Eagles. Never.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


110611:  Yes, I know.  I've been missing in action.  But for good reason.  Sometimes blogs have to take a back seat to more important things like family, running a business and sleep.  Mostly family.  Our season is closed now for the winter and a little voice - a little nagging voice - has been bugging me to update my neglected blog.  Truthfully, there are stories I want to share with you, but it is going to take me some more time to put my thoughts and feelings into words.  However, I don't want to wait for that unknown time that the words will finally gel into a story.  So, in the meanwhile, there is still this little blog in the background that needed a new photo beside another spectacular orange sunrise that I posted last on July 29th.  Even I was getting sick of that photo! 
The problem with all this is that I have barely picked up my camera in the last three months.  I have pathetically too few photos to share and those aren't even really worthy of posting.  But a thought came to me this morning in this extra hour we have (is anyone else glad that Daylight Savings Time is over???) that I have screen shots from our LakeCam.  I have filtered through those and starting with August I have posted a few below!  I have to say that the LakeCam takes pretty good photos.  It's not your average over-the-counter camera and I'm glad we spent the extra money to provide a fairly accurate window into our world we call "Topaz Lake."
On a side note, yes, I'm fully aware that the LakeCam is not working properly right now.  I tried for about two weeks in late summer to narrow down where the problem lies.  Not surprisingly, and somewhat humorously, I seem to be caught in a bad cycle of "the problem is not on our end" as the camera manufacturer, the internet provider, the server, the FTP loader, etc. all apparently are working perfectly.  (Insert sarcasm on that last sentence.)  So, I hope that we can find a resolution to this sooner than later now that we have gone into hibernation. 
The water level stayed unprecedentedly high through the peak season and well into August.  It barely started to drop in mid August making us nervous about where it would end when we needed to take our docks out.  As you scroll through the photos below, you can see the water level dropping slowly. 

Sometimes I feel like our daily view of the sunrise gives me a chance to breath and be thankful for a new day. 
 A summer day at Topaz Lake.  And a very typical day of water activity.
I don't believe I have ever caught a moonrise on the LakeCam.  The nights are just as pretty as the days.  the white specs you see on the photo are the camera exposure maxed out.  I have had many people question if it is snowing when they view the camera at night! 
 6:15am.  In the quiet hour.
You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but of all these photos that I'm posting today this one is my favorite.  And it all has to do with the story behind the lady in the photo, playing with her dog one last time before they leave to go home. 
 I sometimes think that these scenes look like a painting.
The end of August is always a quiet time.  The kids have gone back to school, and vacations have ended.  Families usually take one last trip over Labor Day weekend to end their summer so we fill up again for a brief time before we welcome back our September fishermen. 
I'll be going through the September LakeCam photos soon.  In the meanwhile, I'm wishing you a beautiful day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Goodbye July....

072911: Well, July just zipped by like no body's business.  Snuck in and out like a stealth burglar.  *Blink* *Poof*....gone.  Looking forward to August already....

The lake level remains ridiculously high.  To the rock wall high.  No beach kind of high.  Yeah, lots of water.....  will somebody tell those farmers in Smith Valley to start watering already?  The lake level is so high that we find it hard to believe that in 7 weeks or so we will be pulling one of our docks out of the water.  Which means that there has to be beach to do that!  We always think about it every year when the water is this high, but Mother Nature's heat usually takes care of us and the lake level drops. 

Keep an eye on the LakeCam to watch the lake level drop.  (Don't fail us now, Mother Nature!)

This morning's sunrise....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holy Moly, It's July Already!

 070111:  Okay, who took the first half of 2011 and what did you do with it??  I want it back! 

The format to blog posts have been changed by blogspot so now I can choose larger sizes of photos than before.  So, I have and will continue to feature a favorite photo of mine in each post. 
This photo was taken just after Memorial Weekend.  Besides the obvious beauty (well, I think so) of the blue sunrise, look how far the water is down compared to the next photo.

Really the only way you can tell the difference in the water level is by looking at the hills in the background.  In this photo they are smaller because I didn't zoom in with the camera as much as the last photo.  The photo was taken on June 27th.  Oh, and you will you look at that water!  Glass!

The Topaz Polar Swim at dusk.  I really didn't think that many would participate, but I was surprised again.  The campers were very cautious and there were four different lifeguards standing by on seadoos, etc., to help anyone if necessary.

James, finished the race in style.  One of the many winners!

This is not a pretty photo, but I've been getting many questions about "how high is the lake?"  So I purposely took a photo to include the shoreline in relation to the rock wall (high water mark) to the deck off the back of our home.  I think this photo answers that question!  The photo was taken on June 27th and the water is even higher now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Federal Watermaster is My Buddy....

062411:  Ummm, yeah, there is a lot of water out there.  This winter was very good to us.  Again.  And beginning in March of this year the Federal Watermaster started making room for the Spring run off.  We have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride since we opened and put our docks in the water.  Everyday seems like a guessing game....Will the water go up?  Will the water go down?   Now it is absolutely clear that the Spring run off has started and the water will continue to go up until the lake fills up - which should be in about 3-4 days from now.  (It is a mere two feet vertical, or about 5,000 acre feet, from filling up.)  How do I know all of this?  Pure knowledge and experience.....on how to pick up the phone and ask the Federal Watermaster:  "So, are we done with the roller coaster lake level and, by the way, when is the lake going fill up?"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Capturing Spring

053111:  I've been telling people that we are crazy busy because we are just that:  crazy busy.  Emphasis on the crazy part.  But I will take crazy busy any day over not being the opposite:  mundane slow.  ???  What is the opposite of crazy busy?  So, with that said, while we have been crazy busy in the background running our game we call a "RV Park,"  there has been many signs of fun happening and, despite recent weather, spring is actually springing.

I went out on the North dock to catch a glimpse of the snow covered Sweetwater Mountain range. 
The impending signs of inclement weather in May. 

  I'm rather fond of stormy days.  I like the contrast of dark and light. 
I've been busy in the mornings lately and haven't seen or captured many sunrises.  Though I did catch this sunrise of the North dock before the fingers were installed this year.
 So there were these three pelicans, in full breeding bloom swimming along....  Only another pelican could find that plumage attractive, though I do like their hairy little heads.
Here's your photo Mike!  This is a photo of just one the many beauties I have seen this year - the fish, not Mike...  Well, to clarify, Mike is handsome and the fish is a beauty! 
Some of our lake front sites awaiting Memorial Day customers.  I like the contrast of the aligned trees to the askew picnic tables.  No, actually that drives me a little nuts....
 Four preening pelicans on a sunny day.
 Evidence of one the two hand fulls of nice days in May at Topaz.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Behind the Beautiful Scenery

051011:  Our equipment doesn't have hearts or brains, otherwise they would know better than to breakdown a mere month before our summer season starts!  Our little workhorse tractor, whom we dearly love, broke the other day.  "Little Blue" was torn down to her petticoats to find the problem....

It takes three men to drain the fuel tank.  One to hold the hose.  One to hold the funnel.  And one to tell them how to do it right.
David invited (read: begged) my dad, Ross, to join him in this dirty venture.  David said it was necessary for Dad to be here because "he is a tractor encyclopedia."
 You can tell my Dad has years of experience over David.  He's wearing coveralls. 
Seeeee?  Dirty!  I had to wash those clothes!
A tractor actually has four parts:  The front, front, the front, the back, and the back, back.
Four hours later, the tractor in four pieces and probably 400 bolts laying around... this is the source of the problem.  Do you know what this is?  I have learned this broken piece is called a release lever.  It resides on the clutch cover to the pressure plate.  This little broken piece caused all this trouble!  Trust me, a tractor will not "go" without a functional release lever. 
As I took these photos, I couldn't help but notice my dad's hand.  The years of grease and grime from all the hard work were once a way of life.  Now retired, his hands have softened and weakened, but they are still large, still gentle, still needed more than he knows.  Today the grease of an old tractor folded into the lines of my dad's hands and it was welcomed.  Thanks, Dad.  Thanks for everything.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


040511:  Fishing boats waiting for fishermen.  Seagulls waiting for fish remains from fishermen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Lifetime of Learning

040411:  You may start out reading this post and think, "What does this have to do with Topaz?"  Bear with me, because it has everything to do with Topaz...  And if you haven't read this post first, this one won't make much sense.

I'm a private person.  You may not have surmised that fact since I write a blog where post photos and tell silly stories, and I run a very public business.  But there are very few people that really know me on a personal level.  Why is that you might wonder?  Well, it really doesn't matter because I am who I am and, more importantly, I am okay with me.  However, we found out something recently that has gotten me so twisted and turned inside out that I hardly know me lately.  In continuation from my previous post, we found out that Tony Ennis has cancer. (Insert sound of bomb dropping here...)   It's been really sudden and really devastating for Tony, his family, well.... everyone. 

Wait, you know what?  I'm not going to be nicey, nicey about this, because cancer is not nice to anyone so why should I be nice about it?  CANCER SUCKS!  That's a rather juvenile approach, I know, but I don't care because it's the truth and I can't put it any more succinctly.  There is nothing good about this insipid, horrible disease.  It nearly ripped my own family to shreds twice when my own mother was fighting against it.  And were it not for the glue we call "Dad" and the incredible well-of-patience that is he, I don't know what would have happened to our family.  Don't get me wrong, we all pulled together during her treatment, but the after affects since her treatment have been just as difficult to live through, too.  And time after time my dad has shown that he wears a big ol' teddy bear suit but underneath he has tiger blood running through his veins!  (Charlie Whats-His-Name is nothing compared to my dad.) 

Okay, enough of that... When we heard about Tony a ton of emotions came flooding forward for me....  the past.  The Past.  THE PAST.  Now Tony?  Not Tony!!!  Why Tony?!?  And why am I feeling this way now?  I've known too many people to count that have had cancer.  So why is Tony's diagnosis affecting me so deeply?  I walked around like a zombie for days and days trying to process my emotions so I could get a grip on what was happening and then one night I had a dream about literally fighting cancer.  Literally.. like in a boxing ring.  It was Team Cancer vs. Tony and his team.  And I woke up saying the words,  "Team Tony."  And then I started to understand.  I was beginning to answer some of my questions.  And from there an idea grew.  And then I really started to think.... be continued...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's a Sign...

040211:  In late 1962 my dad, who had joined the Los Angeles Fire Department earlier that year, cut his big toe off.  Well, if truth be told, my mom did it.  But not maliciously!  It was an accident!  She accidently ran over him with their boat in a lake after he fell waterskiing.  (Does anyone remember what waterskiing is?  I will have to write about that one day...)  Shoot, I'm not really making my mom sound too good here, but the point of this story is about life changing events.  You see, having just joined the fire department my dad was considered a "rookie" and all rookies are on "probation" for their first year.  Now, my dad's toe is okay, but back then it was touch and go.  He knew that if he lost his toe he would lose his job on the LAFD. 

AND (this is where is gets interesting...) if he had lost his toe and, thereby, his job in 1962, he never ever would have met Tony Ennis who was also on the LAFD.  And if he never met Tony Ennis, whose in-laws were building a little trailer park on a lake named Topaz, we never would have started coming to that little trailer park in 1967.  And I wouldn't be where I am and who I am today.

In the past, we have laughed about how, if Dad had actually lost his toe, it would have changed our lives.  However, I've known all along that my life and what it is today is not because of an almost-lost-toe but because of my dad meeting a man named Tony.  That is the actual, seemingly ordinary, event that changed my life.

Now, of course, I realize that events in our lives are all intertwined and who is to say who, where and how caused what!  But, I'm telling you confidently that if my dad had not met Tony our families would have never become friends.  We would have never come to Topaz.  My parents would have never bought the little trailer park years later when Tony's father-in-law passed away.  I would have never moved up here to finish school and start my career.  I would have never met my hubby through my career.  And we wouldn't have bought the this little trailer park from my parents 11 years ago.  It's as simple as that.

You see, I've had the opportunity over the last eleven years to tell this story often because I've been asked many times in some form or another, "How did you end up owning an RV Park?"  Well, now you know.

Can you trace the pivotal points in your life?  Sometimes "things" that seem so ordinary and normal can impact your family and future in ways that you would have never imagined.  Think about it and you just might be surprised. be continued....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Megan

032211: The Park is beginning to show signs of life in between snow storms. Winter has gone and Spring is apparently here. Well, according the calendar at least. My niece was born on the 21st of March and every year I think of her a lot as we transition from Winter to Spring. Because like Spring, she is beautiful and bright and all the colors of the rainbow. She is a photo in my heart.

Winter Sunrise
Winter Sunset. Yes, we really do have sunsets.

I like how the tree looks as if it is growing the clouds in the morning sky.
It's hard to believe our Topaz Lake can be so silvery white.
You are missing out on some spectacular sunrises.

Going fishing. The rocks in the lower right corner are below the point in #7. This gives you perspective on how high the water is right now.

As I was attaching the other photos in this post we had some visitors this evening. I stopped, stepped quietly outside, and took some photos of our mule deer for you.

Love this place.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


031511: We've been busy puttering around in between fast moving storms. Our lives are dictated by weather these days and what projects we can get done on good weather days. Over the last two weeks since I posted last I have taken over 200 photos. Here are a few...

The lake was especially calm on this morning. The morning was hauntingly beautiful.
Three of my favorite photo subjects: Hubby, his cat and the dock.

The coots dot the lake as the day begins to glow in the East. Our sunrises are traveling further and further North as they heads towards the Vernal Equinox (3/20) and then onto the Summer Solstice (6/21.)

This beauty stopped by the other day and perched in tree about 30 feet from our house. I cautiously started out taking photos hoping to catch some close-ups. I wasn't disappointed as this Bald Eagle stayed put for about 30 minutes and it didn't care if I walked around, walked under, spoke outloud, coughed or laughed. I'm not 100% convinced that it is the same bird that I posted about (below.) But, none-the-less, it is juvenile Bald Eagle.

Not a bad way to start any day, eh?