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.