Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jewelry by Jaynemarie: It's Raining, It's Pouring.....

Jewelry by Jaynemarie: It's Raining, It's Pouring.....

It's Raining, It's Pouring.....

Well, this past week has been an exciting week in my little spot of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This was the week of my daughter's Spring Break from UC Merced, and a Spring Break should have some sunshine in it, shouldn't it?
Well, not this week. It poured! And then it poured some more. I know, it's not snow, but this is our winter, and I have to say that if I don't see the sun, I get very depressed. So, this was a depressing week, right? No,
I have to look at the brighter things in my life, so I went around to find some.

First, my daughter came home for spring break! This is great! She says it's only because she didn't have the money to go away for her break; OK, I'll take that excuse and I won't raise your allowance either. :)

Second, the more it rains, the longer the stream on our property will run; and I love the sound the stream makes as it runs down the mountain. After this week's rain, I hope this means the stream will run into the summer. To have this stream run until next winter, it would have to rain a whole lot more. And, as much as I like this sound, I would rather have more sun. I'll buy a fountain to listen to in the summer.

To show you what happens when it rains, I have two pictures of this stream. One is from last week, before this deluge started. The second is from yesterday. The entire stream bed if full of water and most of the rocks are under water. I was a little worried about it at its peak, because one dog, Shadow (he's in the picture with my daughter above) is really sweet, but not a very smart Aussie. He was so fascinated by the fast water, he was leaning over farther and farther to look at it and I was really afraid he would fall in. That would not be one of his brighter moves!

Today the stream is down from its peak, but faster and with more water than before. A lot of the rocks have been rearranged and lost, so we may have to find others to line the stream bed with.

Even though Shadow was fascinated by the fast running stream, he doesn't like to go outside in the rain. He might get all of his pretty fur wet! And Australian Shepherds are herding dogs, too. Well, both Penny and he stayed in most of this week. Their favorite spot is, of course, our sofa. At least, they share!

The forecast is for this rain to end and we'll finally get some sun - and warmer weather. I'm all ready for that, and so are the dogs. They go crazy staying in the house all day, as do I.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life in the Santa Cruz Mountains

As I let everyone know via my Facebook page, on Wednesday, March 16, we lost power. Well, now everything is fixed, so I can tell you what really happened.

Tree and Pole on Road
I was busily writing my weekly feature on a fellow BESTeam member, and had just finished it when the power went out. My first thought was "great - not" in that I finished the feature and needed to post it. Well, here's were technology helped. My new iPhone came with a hotspot (internet connection via mobile phone) and so I quickly started this application up and was able to transfer my feature up to my blog and let everyone know I was finished. I wasn't really paying much attention to anything else, but getting this done.

Well, once finished, I realized that the lights were not really off, just very low and wavering in intensity. That's odd, that's not how an outage usually works. So, I went around the house and tried to figure out what was going on. I noticed a buzzing sound and found it came from outside, so as I tried to trace it, I realized I was smelling smoke! SMOKE! Oh, no! I'm surrounded by trees and my house has cedar siding; this is scary!

Scorch Marks on Road
OK, back into the house for my binoculars, to look for any signs of smoke. Nothing I could see around the house, so I went out to the road and since I heard arcing and hissing from down the road, I went down. As I went, I saw power lines on the road. I looked closer and I could see scorch marks - the line is still live - I better keep clear.

Broken Pole w/ Broken Insulators

As I round the curve in the road, I see wood on the road; it was a power pole and a big tree. I got closer and saw that it was a smashed power pole - you can see broken insulators.

Fire in Trees
Wow, the damage was worse than I thought. But, where was the smoke coming from? I looked up, and there in the trees, the power line had started a fire. I called 911 and the fire fighters were here in minutes! We were lucky, since there has been so much rain, everything was too wet to burn. The only place that was burning was just where the line touched the tree tops and it wasn't spreading.

Tree next to Workers
That was the good news, the bad news was that it would take PG&E 24 to 48 hours to fix this. Oh no. No lights, no heat, no computer. It turned out to be done quicker than expected. It was a huge tree, you can see its size in the picture on the right, in relation to the workers waiting for the big equipment.

Lights came back on in a few hours; the power company rerouted some lines to get power up quicker.

Penny & Shadow w/
Cut Tree
Today, I went out before the rains started again and took a look at what they did. They sawed up the tree and left most of it behind. Take a look at the pieces of the trunk - they're huge! I put my dogs in front to get a picture of this.

New Power Pole
And, with my final picture, you can see that the power pole had snapped in half (20' left standing) and they just put a new pole right next to what was left of the old pole. The line that is running low, is the phone company's line. I hope they'll repair their lines too, but I doubt it.

If you want to see more pictures, check out my Facebook Page.  I have an album of pictures there. Like me there and follow me on Twitter - JewlryJaynmarie to keep up with my life and my jewelry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Countdown to Spring

We're just adjusted our clocks and I know I am past ready for Spring to be here. This has been an unusual year of weather, even Northern California weather.
  • Rains started a little late
  • Then it poured
  • Followed by days of warmth and sunshine
  • Freak dusting of snow 
  • Now, it's raining again.....
Well, in between the showers, I went outside to check for signs of Spring. After all, Spring is officially here in 6 days! {on Sunday, March 20th}
Bee gathering nectar
from rosemary blooms

Want to play? Please....
I found out that I am not the only one anxious for good weather.

Bees humming from flower to flower, only to disappear when the rain starts again.

California Fuchsia 
One of my dogs, Penny, running to grab a tennis ball and then trying to get me to play with her.

And, finally, some more flowers! This time from my California Fuchsia in a pot outside on the deck.

Now that I know that I am not the only one anxious for Spring to be here. The bees have started looking for flowers. My dogs want to go outside and play. And, one of California's native species, telling me that, yes, it's almost Spring!

I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Life, Dogs and Thunder God Vine

Today, I'm going to write on a subject that important to me and to many others who suffer constant pain. My pain is from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. For those of you who don't know what Chronic Fatigue (CFS) is, its a constant lack of any energy at all. Fatigue is really a misnomer, because many people who see the word fatigue say, "oh yes, I know what it is; I've been really tired lately too." Well, not to get morbid, but CFS fatigue goes way beyond mere tiredness; you don't have the energy to move at all. And, there is the constant pain as well. If you want to read more about CFS, the famous writer Laura Hillenbrand, the best-selling author of “Seabiscuit: An American Legend" has CFS and here is an interview with her about her writing and living with CFS.

Now, I don't want you to think I sit around in pain all the time, I have pain medication that helps, and I know how much to push myself. So, some days, all I can do is lay down and read; other days I can make jewelry and work on my computer to support my blog, my shop and my teammates. And, I have to say, watching my dogs, always brings a smile to my face. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.  

So, I was surprised when Time Magazine devoted an issue to dealing with pain. I was a little afraid to read it because many doctors don't believe in CFS or constant pain, but I was pleasantly surprised. It actually said that doctors are starting to treat pain as a real disease in itself. And, they talked about what you could do for pain other than medication; things like massage, qi gong, yoga, acupuncture and taking something called thunder god vine.

Now, I know what the other items on this list are, but thunder god vine? What is it? How do you use it? And, most important at all, where and how do you get some?

Help! Any clues? Ideas? Hints?