Posts Tagged With: Chico


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Saturday morning, I drove to my brother’s house in Valley Springs. Wild turkeys seem to have taken over his yard.

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when I first moved to Calaveras County, nary a turkey could be found. Now, they are everywhere. Their predators have been pushed to higher elevations because of encroaching building and population in the foothills. Still, you’d think a wily fox or coyote might find a convenient meal. He claims they hang out under this tree and he can’t figure out what they are eating?

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We loaded into his van and drove to the Terraces Assisted Living Center where my sister, Dawn, moved two months ago. She has a nice, bright apartment and loves assisted living. However, she is being treated with radiation for brain cancer and being very brave about it. We worked for hours on the genealogy.  My folks moved around a lot before and after we were burned out in Michigan. As a result, Dawn attended 13 different schools in her lifetime. Less for Bill and I. We three are the oldest of our family of seven siblings and it was difficult to figure out where we lived when, sometimes.DSC01521 (Copy)

At the Terraces, Dawn can reserve a room to have a family gathering. In this case, we had Sunday brunch.DSC01523 (Copy)

Dawn’s daughter, Debby, her husband Bob, and their daughter-in-law, Margaret and grandson, CJ are enjoying their buffet choices. Mimosas are served with Sunday Brunch.

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Dawn’s grandson, Jeffry, and newest great grandchild, Abbie, who was a bit camera shy and about to cry. She isn’t quite walking yet. She is the youngest of Dawn’s 6 great grandchildren.DSC01524 (Copy)

Sometimes it is really tough to think of my niece as a grandmother. Grandparents don’t seem to be as old as our grandparents looked to us. DSC01527 (Copy)

After awhile, Abbie got a bit friendlier.

About noon, we left the Terraces but not before Brother Bill had to call Triple AAA to get us on the road again. He has a second owner “new” Dodge Van, and the battery was dead. The Triple A tech didn’t have a new battery that would work in the van, but he warned that it needed to be replaced very soon.

We drove Dawn to Roseville and got her settled into her hotel near the cancer treatment center while Bill kept the van running. We decided to take Dawn to dinner. Bill conveniently parked by an auto service center in case the battery wouldn’t go the distance.  The van died so we had our dinner in the service center waiting room while waiting the two hours to get to the Van. I’m very admiring of my sister’s attitude about her situation. She jokingly said, “My treatments only take five minutes. Somehow it doesn’t seem right. I don’t feel a thing. Shouldn’t there be some dramatic price to pay? Like pain or something?”

We are grateful she has no pain, and so is she, of course.

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I returned home to my pounds of mail. The next week will be very busy for me. Just try to go paperless. It is tough!

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My daughter-in-law and I trekked to Chico, about  three hours north of us, to visit friends and family. Laurie has a 91-year-old aunt in nearby Hamilton, and my 80-year-old sister is staying with her daughter in nearby Durham.  We gassed up in Valley Springs before leaving and I took a picture of this “only in America” truck. How high can you go?  The kid driving it told me he drives out in the hills with it and likes high clearance.

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Our first stop was Durham, 25 minutes from Chico, where my sister, who is recuperating from lung cancer surgery,  was doing very well. She was fixing her own breakfast and pain-free. It’s just a matter of gaining strength, she says.

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Her daughter, Debbie, convinced her to move into one of those assisted living places in Chico.

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It’s called The Terraces and we spent about two hours inspecting the place, walking around, getting oriented to her room and the many activity centers. We met newcomers like she will soon be, checked out the pool and a small lake. It’s like a fancy hotel. She’ll have a sunny corner unit with two bedrooms and she wont have to cook if she doesn’t want to.

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Debbie, her husband Bob, Dawn and I enjoyed dinner at Michael Christians,  a popular Chico Restaurant. My daughter-in-law went to a concert with friends she stayed with.

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The next morning, I took a walk before breakfast, with my camera, of course. These cute cottontails are everywhere.

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The neighbor has a handsome bull that Bob says is just a pet. They don’t raise cattle, or butcher their meat.

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Debbie and Bob have two Paint horses and at one time raised and bred Angus Cattle as a side-line. Their kids are now bringing home the grand-kids to ride, so they keep the horses. Bob is hoping to retire from teaching in a couple of years. Debbie has taught special needs students, and worked in counseling and school administration over the years. With the recent cut-backs in education funding, she is back in the class room teaching mentally disturbed children.

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An avid quilter, she made a wall hanging for her mother to hang in her new digs at the Terraces. I was impressed with the place and am happy to see that my sister is looking forward to downsizing and embracing a new role. When she was diagnosed with lung cancer she asked the surgeon if she should make out her will. “He said, yeah, but not because you have lung cancer.”  She is doing remarkably well, and she already had a will.  Her surgery was July 2nd.

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Some things never change——Like the weather.  It seems that way, with more of the same, cold and rain and more rain.

We took the Bronco to town, stopped at the visitors center for  a map and picked up information about real estate, restaurants, things to do. Western Washington University campus sits on a hill and overlooks Bellingham Bay. A brochure about their outdoor sculpture collection intrigued me so off we went. It’s a pretty campus with its view of the Bay.  We inquired about the sculptures at the University information center and learned that one would have to park and hike to see them. Parking is difficult, and limited. The place is steep; it was cold and wet. We  decided to pass. But, the sculptures are visible on-line with tours of North and South campus at this address:

The college paper was a hoot. They just held their Second Annual Sexual Awareness Condom Fashion Show.  It’s a fun way to remind students about safe sex and condom use. You can see the contestants and their original costumes on line at this address:

The college paper reviewed  a homey little cart with homemade German food. Schnitzel, prepared several different ways,  multiple types of sausages with roasted onions and sauerkraut and homemade mustards, German potato salad, strudel, black forest pudding.  Couldn’t resist.  It takes six minutes for Ilse to prepare the schnitzel. Everything else is  faster. Ilse’s Schnitzel Haus prices range from $3.50 to $9.95, the most expensive thing on the menu.  A delightful gal to talk too.  But, no beer.

It’s located in the parking area of the Public Market at 1530 Cornwall Ave.  During cold weather, you take your food inside the market to eat.

Small tables, some of them artfully painted. A book nook, to read or buy. Wifi and a delicatessen serving a wide variety of ethnic foods. Somewhat like a Whole Foods Store. Reminded me a bit of kitschy places around UC Berkeley, or some of the little restaurants around Chico State. Fun place.

This ad on the bulletin gave me a chuckle. For $325 a month, I think I’d move right in and try it for a season.

Being a tea drinker, I liked the colorful pot with its green steam. Painted figures carrying coffee and tea-pot backpacks and hand bags decorated or table. I love this stuff. Jim thinks I’m nutty.

We both enjoyed this bumper sticker laden vehicle in the parking lot, probably for different reasons.  Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. This person is wide open and brave.

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“I Was Born In A Small Town…” I don’t know the rest of the words to the song, but in my case, the words are true. I’m sure there is a deep seated reason that our family migrated away from old familiar places to settle in a small town. We are considered rural by the U.S. Census.
Then, every once in awhile, some incident reminds me of why I love to live in a place like Murphys.
When Richard Olson goes to the local bank, his dog Chico comes with him. Richard does his banking, but Chico steps up to the counter at El Dorado Savings and is handed a dog biscuit and then he patiently sits while his master finishes his paperwork.
You can see he and Chico riding around town in a bright red Jeep.
Yep! That’s just one of the reasons I love living in Murphys. You’ll also note the lack of long lines in the bank on a Friday.
If you discover you’ve forgotten your checkbook at the grocery store? They’ll put a note in the cash register that you’ll be back to pay later. If you’ve been sick, your doctor is likely to call you after a couple days and ask how you are doing.
In small towns you get personal service and most of the business people know you by name.
I’m still humming…”I was born in a small town..” Its a great place to be.
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