Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ten years ago today,

ten days in New York City, ten thousand dollars out the window :)

The site of the Twin Towers 3 months after 9-11.

Click on the title to see our Christmas 2001/ New Year 2002 vacation page on our website.

Happy New Year!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Card

This is a beautiful story rather than a card. The music was written by Martin Spitznagel, ragtime pianist friend. No. It's not a ragtime card :(
Click the title to view and
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ragtime Birthday 25/48

We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the West Coast Ragtime Festival and Mark's 48th birthday in Sacramento.

We could not keep up with the musicians. They played from 9:00 am till at least midnight.

At our age......we need some sleep. We also wanted to spend some time with Buck & Spitz. Not that they suffered without us.

Our last day at the Red Lion Hotel. Could you look happy, please?

OK. How is this?

Vintaged out in the storm. Behind me, Adam Swanson form Shenandoah, IA. He is a very talented, young ragtimer.

Buck & Spitz had their own little vacation at the Wag Hotel.They attended the all day play program for 3 days. The first day, their report card said, they were well behaved and played a lot with the other dogs. (Hmmm....Are they talking about the right puppies?) They made a lot of friends and had a great day.

The second day, Buck had a swimming session and Spitz had a buddy time. Buck was playing fetching and swimming, his favorit game. Spitz had a 15 minute individual playtime with the daycare teacher. Their report card said, they need to work on listening. That's sounds more like my doggies. Buck probably did not want to leave the pool, and Spitz wanted the teachers undivided attention all day.

Rachel, the doggie daycare teacher said: "Buck is so cute when he sticks his whole face in the water to get a drink"

The doggies were well worn out every evening when we picked them up. They were looking forward to dinner and they crashed out for 12 hrs every night.

We are at the wrap party dinner with two ladies from Kansas, and the men are from Canada and Minnesota.

I can't say I was ragtimed out on the end. Never enough for me. The festival was fantastic. We had performers from all over the country as well as an international crew, including Canadian, Austrian, Swiss, Norwegian, Englandians, and Texans...oh....that's local.

The Red Lion had 6 different venues each day, two of the arenas had a dance floor, which we did not use much.

Can we say it was a weekend well spent?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Absolute Genius

Tom Brier is an extraordinary pianist and composer. He is recomposing a Russian folk song at the Ice Cream Emporium in Sutter Creek, CA. Click on title to view.

He will be performing at the West Coast Ragtime Society's 25th Annual Festival in Sacramento, CA in November 18-20 this year.

We are fortunate to be in town those days to see him. That is Mark's birthday present.....needs it or not.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Tatum is 2" a book in 3 pages

click title for the first page and please find the second and third pages on our website.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival 2011

click title for our website page

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Fun

Mark & Mom in the garden.

Bea & Mom in the garden

The Fountainhead. What? The new fountain as the bucket dumping.

Buck is hiding from the heat.

Spitz after taking a bath.

Puppie safety. They are not too happy about having a fenced yard on the ranch.

No more running away for Spitzers! Keeping away from rattle-snakes and staying out of trouble is a difficult life for a doggie.

I LOVE my ranch!

Work, work, work, work......that's what makes life exciting!

The flowers are taking over my trails and everything else that we are trying to keep plant free.

When not working on the ranch or at home....I'm in my heated office, waiting for my tools. Mechanical flowers and our mountain in the background.

Too much fun!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Work Vacation Weekend on the Beach

We started the mini vacation on Friday morning with a long day drive ahead of us to meet the "bosses" for dinner on Shell Beach.
The first stop of interest was the Tehachapi Loop, a 0.73 miles long spiral on the Union Pacific Railroad throught Tehachapi. The railroad line connects Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Antelope Valley. The loop takes its name from the circuitous route it takes, in which the track passes over itself, a design which lessens the angle of degree of the grade. The loop gains a total of 77 feet in elevation as the track ascends at a sustained 2% grade. Today, the railway line, with almost 40 daily trains on average, is one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world. In the few minutes we spent there, we saw two trains.

The Loop

Tehachapi Loop monument

A Tractor Supply shopping spree in Bakersfield was next. Doggie friendly store, so Buck & Spitz can browse with us and stay cool.

The golden hills through the central valley and the oil fields (which I did not get a good picture of) were beautiful all the way to the coast.

We made it right on time for the wonderful dinner with the bosses.

Saturday morning, the bosses were on their annual shareholder meeting, while I took the babies on a beachwalk. In the afternoon, we did a family stroll through downtown San Luis Obispo in search of good pastry. It was not easy to find. Mama's Meatballs is the one and only shop that knows about the art of baking.

The doggies and I took Mark on our beachwalk.
Along the doggie walkway of The Cliffs Resort

Saturday afternoon family walk on the beach

Buck thinks: let me go for a swim please!

Spitz thinks: get me out of this wet environment please!

On the trail along Shell Beach

Buck & Spitz had so many miles on for the day, they were ready to call it quit and retire for the evening on the cool tile floor in the hotel room.

We found a little mom and pop Italian restaurant for dinner followed by a drive along the beach communities to see how everyone tolerates the crowded and costly living with lots of birds around. There are some uncrowded, gated estates along the cliff, that I think are pretty tolerable if you have the money.

It was a short, but very enjoyable mini vacation.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"You're the Cream in My Coffee"

Ray Henderson (December 1, 1896 - December 31, 1970) was an American songwriter. Born Raymond Brost in Buffalo, New York.

If the depression comes back, will ragtime come back also? Because then bring 'em on!!!

Thank goodness some people still find the sheetmusic for the REAL music.

(click on the title to see this song played by Etnah Uslan)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The 80th Birthday Bash

Grandma Joyce celebrated her 80th birthday with us on
Saturday, April 23rd.

Stephanie Price came to California to join in all the festivities. Mark was in charge of selecting the dinner location and the chef for the birthday dinner.

The Cake

After dinner, we dressed in fancy and drove to see the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra's performance of Gustav Mahler: Syphony No.1 "Titan".

The playlist on this page contains the third movement of this symphony. Between the minutes 2:20 and 3:25 is the most beautiful melody ever written. Mahler was a genious!

The best symphony for the best Grandma! We all really enjoyed the concert and we had a wonderful visit.

Happy Birthday Grandma Joyce!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Buck & Spitz!!!

April is doggie birthday month. The babies are getting old like the rest of us.

His majesty the baby, Buck, is 9. You cannot tell by the way he is acting.

Spitz, the pampered prince is 7. He acts the part half of the time, the other half he is a puppy out of control just like big brother.

We love our babies!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Queen of Ragtime

Mimi Blais is playing her own composition, "Lili".

She dedicated this song to Lillian Hardin,

the second wife of Louis Armstrong.

(Click title for video)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Bartok Bela!

One of the most important composers of the 20th century and the greatest composer of Hungary was born on March 25 1881 in Nagyszentmiklos.
Let's celebrate his 130th birthday with his "Rumanian Folkdance" conducted by no less than the greatest Hungarian conductor, George Solti.
(Click the title for the video)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Super Dog Rescue Crew

A week ago today, we lost our little Spitzers.

Mommy took Buck and Spitz to the ranch on Thursday. They are usually pretty good staying close or coming back from wandering around. When we take a walk, I always have Spitz on a leash and Buck free. Buck is better at staying with me on walks. After we did our running around, the doggies were tired and they were just laying down by the shed in the shade. We never tie them up on the ranch.
Spitz got bored as I was working and he started wandering down the trail and did not come back when I called him. Buck and I went down the hill to find him, but he was not around. We took another route to search and kept calling. No Spitz. I went down to a neighbor's house (about 60 acres down the road) to see if Spitz came by. He didn't. I called Mark to come and help me with the search.
3 hrs later we still cannot find him, meanwhile it was getting dark.
I was in tears and hysterical of course. We started to live with the idea that he might have become coyote food.
Mark had a message on his phone that Spitzers was found. We were overjoyed!

This is a picture taken by the rescue team.
The little baby found his way out to the hwy somehow. Those of you who have been on the ranch know that the hwy is pretty far and behind the hills. I'm not sure how the heck he got out there. Nevertheless, he went hitchiking. He was hit by a truck and almost got flattened out. I am not familiar with the details of the accident, but even thinking about it makes me cry. The only injury he had is some scratches on his lips.
3 young men saw the whole thing and they leashed up the baby to get him off the road. They called Mark and took Spitz to the Pine Cove Fire Station to wait for his parents.

The Super Dog Rescue Team: Dan, Tim and Corey with Spitz on the Pine Cove Fire Station.
Thank God for awesome people like these guys! We appreciate your caring and we are very thankful for bringing the baby back home.
The two pictures above were stolen from Coreys' facebook. Sorry Corey.

Back with the family on the ranch

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Birthday with the Vienna Phil

It is hard to keep track of the years at my age, but as long as I can keep track of this group, I will be allright.

The Vienna Philharmonics spent the first 4 days of March touring in California. Santa Barbara, Costa Mesa, Palm Desert and San Diego. The only tickets I was able to find was for San Diego. Long drive...but worth it.

It was my early birthday present to go to the concert. Schumann 2nd and Brahms 2nd made a remarkable birthday. I could not have a better present than an evening with the Vienna Phil.

Annamarie and Lou Padula joined us. They took us out to dinner before the concert. We all had a wonderful and long evening. Thank you Padulas and thank you my love!

The Civic Theater lobby in San Diego.

Before the concert. All 3000 seats sold out and padded for Mark.

Annamarie and Lou

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Solar fielding, snow shoveling, solar fielding, snow shoveling

That's how we spent most of February.
First stop Gila Bend, AZ for a couple days of testing.

Buck is showing Spitz how they can be the most helpful in the operation.

When the parents are tractor addicts, most likely the kids will be tractor addicts also.
They love the way the buckets feel; nice and cool on the tummy.

Mark in his Gila Bend office.

Back home from AZ, we had a few days to recover and to get ready for the next solar fielding.

We woke up on Sunday morning to this beautiful scene. The snow is 2 days late, so we have no time to enjoy it as we have to leave for work as soon as we get shoveled out.

Buck is over joyed because he doesn't know how to use the shovel.

Mark is staring on the driveway and I shovel all the walkways first and then helping him to rescue the truck.

Oh no! I can't get around in this. I think I'll go back to sleep until you get rid of the snow.

Are you done with my walkway?

That's better!

Come along Spitz, I make a trail for you.

Forget it bro. I stay up here and watch.

Buck wants Spitz to come and play on the backyard, but Spitz does not have enough clearance.

About 4 hrs of shoveling got us out and on the road. The job is a 7 long days driving and testing
piles in the Antelope Valley. We are working on Larson Ranch, where Mark helped out when he was a teenager. The ranch had not been cultivated for a couple of decades and now they want to turn it into a solar field.
LA county is making sure that we do not cause any damage before the big dozers come in to grub the top 2 feet. Thus we are followed by a group of 4 biologists to protect the one burrowing owl that they found a hole for, an archiologist to make sure we don't pocket any arrow heads that we might find on the formerly farmed and tilled land,
and a cultural monitor to ensure that we are not disturbing any ancient indian burrial site. We
also have the normal safety man that the client sends out to make sure we practice all the safety procedures and are loaded with all the safety gear we must wear. None of these we find a distruction. Once we are on a mission, nothing will stop us!
We had some interesting weather. While the entire southern CA was getting rained on and snowed in, snow level clear down to the beach, we managed to stay dry. The ranch we worked on is surrounded by mountains. The snow stayed up there and all we got is the black sky and the wind. We can get along with that. The rain will shut us down but everything else is OK. The ranch got its rain during the night. Well planned!

Buck is a working dog and he loves to be under out feet. He digs at each location we let him out of the truck. That will give the environmentalists something to do. They need to figure out what kind of holes they are and they need to invent a story to take money from the client. I'm sure they can do it.

Spitz is grounded in the truck most of the time, on account of an incident when he ran out into the sage brush to flirt with a coyote. He was invited for dinner and he ran happily through the brush land not knowing that he was on the menu. I tossed half of my gear down and started running as fast as the steel toe permitted to find the little punk. The coyote ended up running away up and behind a hill and Spitzers came back to the truck. One lucky dog!

On my way back from the sprint, I found the remnant of a small sheep (the body missing but the fir complete) and brought it back to show it to Spitz. I'm not sure he got the point.

Our last day on the site, Sunday, the storm cleared up, but it got really cold and the wind blew even harder than it did during the black cloud days. We were bundled up and ready for it. By 11:00 am when we were wrapping up the project, it started to warm up so we could shed a few layers.

We are surrounded by mountains and they always had a cloud cover over them, which means we had a lot of wind to make sure we feel the cold.

Done with this field, get a good night sleep and head back to our snowy home.
First stop is the ranch to pick-up and deliver some firewood for a client.

Good thing we stopped, because we didn't want to miss our first snow. It was a bit of a challange to drive in, but we made it without sliding off the road.

6 inches is just the right amount for Spitz. He is so happy running through the ranch and playing.

Oh boy! Fresh snow! My favorit!

The new snow cover all around is so beautiful.

When we got home, we had the same amount of snow to shovel as we had before we left. 4 hours later, we were back in the house. Shovel out shovel in...that's the way things are.
Who put this wall in here?

Spitz has no view from the backyard. Lucky puppy.

We have a few days on the rest before we are needed back in Gila Bend.