Friday, June 27, 2008

Another smoky day

I woke up about 1:30 this morning to smoke in the bedroom. Gary's first thought was the kids had turned the swamp cooler on upstairs. I got up to check it wasn't on and the rest of the house didn't smell of smoke just our room. I guess the little AC we have in our window was pulling it in. I ended up on the couch wide awake Gary put the house AC on with recirculate to get the smell out.

We have a little cloud cover outside though you can't tell from all the smoke and it is holding the smoke down. It is worse today then it has been the last few days. As I took Tim to summer school I took a few pictures. Dropped him off drove over by Feather River for a few more. Gas tank was dead on empty so I headed over to Circle K and it is like driving in fog. As the car was filling up I shot a few more pictures.

I am so afraid this is going to get worse before it gets better. They expect Dry thunder storms and possible showers over the weekend probably starting today. We can sure use the showers but lord you can keep the lightening please.

Just going from the car to the house or office my nose and throat just burns. Chico they are issuing masks for anyone that needs to be outside at all. I past somebody on the road wearing one this morning and thought maybe we should get some for home to. Never thought I would see the day we would need to wear masks to do the day to day chores.

Looking through the paper I see that the fire total for Butte County is at 32 now. It is climbing rather then going down :( not good. They also say they only have 15% containment. If we get the dry thunderstorms that are predicted the fire number can rise and it has been said that Butte County will be under a state of emergency just from the smoke alone.

We have three C-130's sitting in Chico but can't get off the ground unless the pilots can see 3 miles otherwise it isn't safe.

Just received an air quality report from Butte County Air Quality Management District for this area."

Quoted from the PDF file I received.

Yesterday Butte County exceeded the federal health-based average 24-hour Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35 micro grams per cubic meter (ug/m3) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The 24-hour average in Chico yesterday was 134 ug/m3 which is equal to an Air Quality Index of 191.

Today the Air Quality Index in Chico is forecast to reach 213. At this level the air quality is rated VERY UNHEALTHY for all people.

An additional monitor has been located at the Paradise Airport. The 24-hour average in Paradise yesterday was 322 ug/m3 which is equal to an Air Quality Index of312.

Today the Air Quality Index in Paradise is forecast to reach 350. At this level the air quality is rated HAZARDOUS.

These conditions are expected to continue until the fires are extinguished.
All recommendations for minimizing smoke exposure continue to be in effect until further notice. A summary follows.

Recommendations for Minimize Smoke Exposure

  • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed; run air-conditioner on "recirculate" setting. Do not run swamp coolers. If it becomes too warm indoors, individuals may consider leaving the area to seek alternative shelter .
  • Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise, or children's sporting events during smoky conditions .
  • People in a "high risk" group or those who cannot find adequate shelter from the smoke outside may need to move to an emergency shelter located out of smoky areas .
  • People who must spend time outdoors should drink plenty of fluids .
  • Masks that filter out 95 percent of particles measuring 0.3 micrometers diameter or larger (known as "N95" or "R95" respirators/masks) can be effective if properly fitted to the wearer's face. These can be found at large hardware and home stores. HEPA filter masks are also recommended. Respirators are not intended to be worn for exercise use.

Information will be updated and posted to the District Web site as available at and recorded on the Residential Bum HOT LINE at 896-2537 or toll free at 866-240-0859. The District office number is 891-2882 or 888-891-2882. Following is the Air Quality Index table for Particle Pollution for reference.

Stay Safe Everyone!!

Here is a slide show of the pictures I have taken around Oroville.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CA Fires

My husband just sent me this photo.

The area highlighted in Yellow is Butte County area where we live. We have currently 27 fires burning over 3000 acres. So far no structures have burned but 300 are threatened at this time. This doesn’t include the 2 big ones that were just put out a few weeks back that burned over 20K acres and about 100 homes. You can see more information on the current fire at the CDF website. By looking at the photo above it is a wonder we can breathe outside. We have been limiting our outdoor activities as when you go outside all you see and smell is smoke. Before long your nose and throat start to burn not to mention your eyes. Everything in the house smells of smoke as well.

Sure is scary times.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Sister Carol just e-mailed me this article from her local newspaper. It is about one of the artist Donna Walsh she has in her Art Gallery "Treasured Memories". I met Donna when my son and I went to Oregon a couple weeks back. She is a really great artist and a true people person. You can really see her love for animals in her paintings. It is not uncommon to see her at Treasured Memories working on a piece with her two, four legged babies curled up in their bed next to her. to see more of Donna Art work click on the link above.

Front Page News
Last Update Monday, June 23, 2008

A passion for ponies and paint:
Pioneering jockey's painting to benefit Grants Pass Downs
KEVIN LAUNIUS/Daily Courier Former jockey Donna Walsh works on an oil painting of Grants Pass Downs racehorses at Treasured Memories gallery on Sixth Street. She will sell reproductions of the painting beginning in July to benefit the track
By Jeff Duewel of the Daily Courier

Donna Hillman won dozens of horse races at Belmont, Aqueduct, Gulfstream and other big-time East Coast tracks in the early 1970s. She went head to head with Angel Cordero, Ron Turcotte and other male jockeys.

She broke in just two years after Diane Crump became the first female to ride in a pari-mutuel race in the United States. Her pinup looks also landed her on television commercials for A&W Root Beer, Burger Chef and Lady Clairol.

And she's one of 11 pioneer women jockeys to be featured in a documentary "Jock" being shot this summer."They used to yell at me to go home and do the dishes," she recalled, and she thinks it's great that women have won numerous jockey titles at Grants Pass Downs over the years.

Today, the 59-year-old Applegate Valley resident, now Donna Walsh, would like to help her local horse track by selling 250 reproductions of an oil painting she's just about finished.

She modeled "Dash for Cash" after a photograph taken by Thomas Kirchen in 2007, showing three thoroughbreds barreling around down the clubhouse turn at Grants Pass Downs.

"The track was good to me, why not give something back to the town I love?" said Walsh, whose work is on display at Treasured Memories in downtown Grants Pass.

The painting should be unveiled on First Friday weekend, which is actually July 11 because of the July 4 holiday. The special reproductions, known as Giclees, will sell for $295, $495 and $695 and should be ready by late July, Walsh said. All of Walsh's proceeds will benefit Grants Pass Downs, and Treasured Memories owner Carol Rhodes will donate 25 percent of her take to the Josephine County Fairgrounds. They hope to raise more than $40,000.Walsh, who has lived here since 2002, got the idea after she was contacted two months ago by Inner View Entertainment to participate in the documentary. Later, local horse trainer Brenda Bacon, also a former jockey, dropped off a promotional poster for Grants Pass Downs with Kirchen's photo, which was the best Walsh had seen, inspiring the idea for the painting.

Walsh started early in her two passions, horses and painting.

When Walsh was 14 and living outside Los Angeles, she sold her first two paintings and bought a horse, Tawni, and trained it to do tricks and later galloped it at the track.

One day at Santa Anita or Hollywood Park, she can't remember, a friend of her father's suggested she get into horse racing, and eventually introduced her to trainer Willard Proctor.

She walked horses on the hot-walker, and bugged Proctor to let her gallop. Proctor promised to put her on horses if she helped handle horses on a cross-country flight to Saratoga in New York, but he reneged.

Hillman stayed on the East Coast, hooked up with another trainer and began turning heads with her skills galloping horses. But women had just cracked the gender barrier at the track, and she had trouble getting in a race.

She said she had to prove her strength by beating men in arm wrestling, stories verified by her former agent Tony Passaro, now 82 and living in New York.

A writer she out-wrestled wrote, "She's so strong she could hold an elephant away from a bale of hay." Walsh to this day has a crushing grip.

Passaro finally got her in a race, on Oct. 11, 1971, at Belmont Park, riding Till Hold. She lost by a nose."They all thought I was crazy," Passaro recalled.

"They said, 'Tony don't you feel the shame in bringing a girl around.' She proved herself.

"In 1972 she tore up the track at Atlantic City, with the highest win percentage."She took on riders that were tough riders, challenged and beat them," Passaro said.

Walsh grew tired of the business and quit in 1976 after a five-year run, saying it was difficult for women to get equal treatment in horse racing.

"She was as good as anybody," Passaro said, adding that "It should have been Donna," instead of Julie Krone to be the first woman to win a Triple Crown race.

Krone won the Belmont Stakes in 1993 aboard Colonial Affair.

Walsh moved to Grants Pass after living in California, Texas and New York because she loves the mountains of Oregon.

Walsh has many paintings at Treasured Memories, at 420 S.W. Sixth St., focusing on portraits, wildlife and western scenes.

Photos by Kirchen, who agreed to have his photograph reproduced to benefit the track, can also be found at

Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 474-3720 or

On the Web:


Driving to work this morning was like driving on a foggy day but this was no fog. The smoke in the air around Oroville is bad. But I hear it is so much worse in nearby areas. I have some pictures on my camera but I haven't been able to download them yet so I will have to post them later.

I have 4 days left at my job then I will be home with my family for the summer. While home I hope to get all my web sites updated with new items and information. But the biggest thing I hope to accomplish is just enjoying my family. With my oldest son being 19 and attending college who knows where he will be next year. I keep thinking in the back of my mind that this might be his last summer home and I want to do all I can to enjoy it.

My home is like an open door to all my kids friends, I never know who will be there when I get home. I don't really mind as I know where mine are who they are with and what they are doing. But we started a new rule in our home 6pm is family time so unless you have been invited to stay it is time to go home.

We then eat together as a family at the table. This has been awesome as we are reconnecting with our kids. After dinner is over usually about 7pm we all head to the kitchen where we clean together. Steven (the oldest unloads the dishwasher while the youngest Nick collects any dishes that have been left on the table or anywhere else in the house during the day. Gary (my hubby) puts the leftover food away while I load the dishwasher and wash any big things that don't fit. Tim Will dry and put away those items. Nick by then is wiping down the stove and cabinets while Steven takes out the trash. We are done in about 15 minutes. Whats nice nobody complains as we are all in there together and not one person is stuck with it all. If time permits we head out to the dining room and living room pick up sweep and mop by 8pm we are done the house looks nice and we can relax.

Now that the table is clean and it is still early we have been playing games together and by this time some friends have popped back in. They know that 8pm all is clear and it is safe to come back for a couple hours. It feels good to know they like being at our house and hanging out with hubby and I. We will play cards and just talk. It is amazing what you can get out of a teenager if you just spend time hanging out with them.

Well time to get off here and get some work done.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

yesterday's event

Well yesterday's event didn't go quite like I had hoped not many people came. I only sold a couple little items and baked in the hot sun. It was still fun though.

In the afternoon we had a freak summer storm. Heat lightening and then about a 30 second downpour with the largest rain drops LOL. Then just as quick as it showed up it was gone. But in it's wake it did leave destruction. The lightening spark many fires so unreachable by land. I haven't watched the news this morning so I am not sure of the latest.

I am hoping this afternoon to work on getting more items up on etsy and maybe post some pictures here as well. In the mean time I will try to stay cool and hang out with the family.