Monday, March 2, 2015

CLOUDS.

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One cloud black and brooding, maybe hiding thunder and lightening along my road, as I drove to the dump. We rarely see a building cumulus, those rare beauties of the sky.
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Gotthold called  them chariots of the sky. I turned around to take the picture before they disappeared.
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By the time I reached the highway, they were bigger, bolder. Again I stopped and thought what beauty, and how much better they would look without the interference of signs and telephone poles and wires. So, I decided to look up a poem about clouds. I couldn't find any that weren't ominous. Though I own 34 books of poetry. I was stunned when I counted them. I didn't take the time to look in every book, but each time I pick up a tome, I'll be chasing clouds.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

TIME OUT

My computer is infected and I dread facing it. The building project on a  day to day basis still  takes up most of my time. I have to pick a microwave oven from a distance, so the cabinet guys can put the right size unit between it and the ceiling. Meshing systems…well I won’t go on and on about it.

I decided to blog something inane and silly that doesn’t require any thought, like these old laws that are still on the books:
In Michigan, it is illegal to chain an alligator to a fire hydrant.
Whaa? How many alligators are kept as pets in Michigan? They needed a law?

It is illegal in Louisiana to shoot a bank teller with a water pistol while committing a bank robbery.
Looks like some wiley dude was trying to evade the serious weapons charges associated with robbery.

It is against the law to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket in Lexington, Kentucky.
That one just boggles the mind. Someone entered a posh place, or store, or theater where no food was allowed and made a mess? A law was necessary? Anybody’s guess.

Eating ice cream in public with a fork is strictly forbidden in Rosemead, California.
Come on, how can that offend anyone to the point of taking the time to make it against the law? There should be a law against people who make absurd laws.

A woman can’t dance on a table in a saloon in Helena, Montana, unless she has on at least 3 pounds of clothing.
Doesn’t this tickle your funny bone? The guys still want her to dance, but not quite as skimpily clad as before. I suspect it causes too many fights.

Mark Twain made a comment about lack of clothing.
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”

He obviously didn’t watch near naked  women dancing on tables in Helena.
Ciao

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FAMILY TIME.

juggling like a pro
Last weekend was a nice time out with family. Virginia, Cedric and the boys came on Saturday. We were able to view pictures of their Australian adventure on computer and the extension trip they took to Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. They took a cooking class in Thailand and a biking tour in Viet Nam. Great memories and getting acquainted with different cultures? What an education. Here Theo practices his juggling. He is good at it.
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We took a walk around the neighborhood. It was chilly but nice to get outside. The boys are  13 and 15 now, but still willing to keep company with we adults.
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Daffodils are blooming everywhere in my yard.
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One neighbor has a tulip tree.
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I had never heard of them until I moved to California. Spectacular.
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I have a stunted one in my yard that didn't take well to being transplanted from my former yard. It might get two blossoms, sometimes none. This is what they are supposed to look like.
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After my mailbox project, I was charmed by this little postal box birdhouse. People can be so clever. Kind of reminds me, sadly, of the carrier pigeons. To think they were of such valuable service to us in WWI and no one thought to protect them.
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Our neighborhood has many redtailed hawks. Majestic and beautiful.
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Beautiful plumage and adept hunters. A very young hawk makes passes over my chickens as though sizing them up for a future meal. I don't cut their wings so they have some natural protection.
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Ken and Laurie joined us on Sunday and we all went to brunch. Not Bix and Coco, though. None of the pictures I took of the adults turned out. Its okay. I've got a lot of pictures of them anyway.
Yesterday was a grand marker day. I've gotten my heating and air conditioning heat pump contracted. The new mini-split heat pumps operate efficiently without ducting. Doug moved in a dumpster and did a major clean-up around the place getting ready for inside installations. Cabinets are chosen and drawn. The cabinet installer will measure the house on Friday. Today, I'll shop for flooring, to get an idea of types and costs. The electrician will come in and do his wiring after the heat pump tubing and wiring is finished. Everything should move along quickly, now for the house. Then Doug will start on a garage/storage building. There is still much to do which keeps me absent these pages. But, taking time out was a welcome refreshment.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A WEEK IN OREGON.

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Decisions were needed on my building project in Oregon. Doug was working on the first coat of primer when I arrived on Friday the 13th, after a five hour drive. Cement doesn't soak up paint as easily as wood. Weather is cool and damp, but luckily no rain.
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Doug declined my invitation to take him out for dinner but promised me he'd be dragging my butt out at 6:30 a.m. to pick out paint colors at Home Depot. Headed for the hotel, I stopped at the VFW where they were celebrating Valentines Day with a special dinner of Cornish game hens and a luscious, chocolate cherry dessert. They invited me to stay since a couple of reservations had canceled.
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Making new friends, and a toast to Valentines. The Rogue River Post is very active and supportive of their vets. Two young men from Rogue are serving on foreign soil and they've adopted their whole unit, sending cookies and letters from home.
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Saturday was Valentines day and we left Home Depot with the wrong color paint. I picked  sunshine yellow, she wrote right under the paint swatch, the formula, but she had mixed the color beneath it, something called Terra Sol. We were asleep at the switch and didn't realize the mistake until we went to open the can. We decided to live with it since she might get fired over 20 gallons of oops paint. At lunch I picked up some yoghurt, chips and fruit at Ray's Market. A woman and child were handing out Valentines to every one. What a smile starter. Later, I found a heart shaped pebble on the ground near my building. Sweet.
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Catching up with neighbors, Jenny & Phil. Phil is always surrounded by his fur children.
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Jenny was preparing to go horseback riding. New horses since my last visit.
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She has a paint looking pony. A new breed called gypsy.  While there, Jenny recommended the local Tarassco's fish tacos.
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Every restaurant in town was loaded on Valentines day. A forty-five minute wait for a pizza. I went home with my favorite dish from Tarassco's,  a take out bowl of Albondigo soup.  I had the fish tacos on Sunday. Everyone knows I'm a foodie.
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The terra sol wasn't too bad. I made headway with bids on heating and air from three companies. Got a dumpster ordered. Picked out and ordered my cabinets and vanities at Lowes. Bought a new washer dryer that Lowes will hold until needed.
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I painted as far up as I could reach on the trim. Doug was using the ladder.
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I moved rocks and placed them in a circle around this lovely old tree in my front yard.
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Doug had to open up the Tyvek for bidders to get inside the house. I swept and cleaned a bit inside knowing it will be even dustier when the sheet rockers get finished.  Doug loves to clown around. We had a good time, made a lot of progress.  I'll have to return when we ask for the electrician who is next in line after the heating an air guys do their preliminary, in the wall, install.
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It was nice to see snow on Mt. Shasta. I couldn't resist yet another picture of this beautiful mountain.

Friday, February 20, 2015

BURSTING WITH PRIDE.

It is foreign to my nature to give myself a big pat on the back. Sheriff Greg Ahern had requested to see me at the Alameda County Sheriffs Archive Association meeting, but none of the board members would tell me why?
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Sheriff Ahern presented me a Letter Of Commendation for meritorious service as Founder of the Archive which is was accompanied by an official  brass plaque given to people who have been contributors to the betterment of the Department. He informed me that he does not hand out these plaques frivolously, they have to be earned and mine was the first given to a civilian.  I was overwhelmed and stunned. And grateful.
DSC06356 (Copy)I asked then Sheriff Plummer in 1989 if he would allow me to take over any archival materials the Office of the Sheriff had saved over the years if I could get five volunteers to work with me. He agreed and gave us a small room above the Santa Rita Fire Department. We started with George Matzek, James Moore, Larry Santos, James Rashe, and Frank Bernard. The sheriff sent us several boxes of materials that all fit on an eight foot table. We decided from day one, there was no rank at the archive. We were all equal players.
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Within a few months we attracted a few more volunteers and we attracted artifacts that retired officers felt were historical to the department. They felt there was no place to put them. We established an official board and a mission statement and incorporated into a Non-Profit in 1992 or 93.
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Now we have three big display rooms of 1500 square feet, plus three storage rooms, and a guard shack filled with artifacts and records. We recently received a collection of female deputy uniforms from Maureen O'Connell.
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The guard tower has an operating siren on top of the guard shack.
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The archive has only had two Presidents. Myself and Bill Rhodes who took over from me. Yesterday Bill, (left) and Vice President Bud Harlan got an old jail tracking device mounted and working. If an inmate was out of his or her prescribed area, the lights would show the person moving and a small siren would alert the staff. Bill has done an incredible amount of work at the archive and has made much of our collections visible.
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We have analyzed our archive and decided we need to reorganize to promote the archive, to also recognize that we are part museum, get a better flow of materials that tell a story in a progressive way, with moveable displays since we are now chuck full from floor to ceiling. At some point, a manned archive could be safely opened to the public and more useful to people doing research.
I'm proud of what I started, but in any organization, the credit must go to the many volunteers, and literally hundreds of people, who contributed in big and small ways to this worthy project over the years. I could have never gotten this thing moving without them. Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

MYSTERY SOLVED AND WATER NEWS.

February 9, 2015

The rains have been welcoming if disconcerting with multiple lightning strikes, gloom, and water cascading down my driveway. The news is, despite this pleasant drink of water, the drought will continue. oroville
The reservoirs are no longer holding enough water. I have a well and expect to get it up and running to bastion my property against the drought. It hasn’t been operated in over ten years. The aquifer may be empty and not suitable.  Time will tell.
New tires will be rolling me to Oregon at the end of this week for some needed input into the house building job. The tires will be installed this morning.
FLASH- The Mystery Santa was neighbor Peggy Morris. I called once with no answer but finally spoke to her last night. What a delightful thing to receive this lovely Christmas letter in my EMAIL box. Too fun!
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Peggy denied being the mystery Santa of the second letter. Hmm!  I’m narrowing down the suspects.
Ciao


Sunday, February 8, 2015

SMART MACHINES.

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Rain came down with a vengeance, off and on all day yesterday. And, mighty welcome, too. I have a yen to sew when it rains and my Elna, ten years old but hardly used, is, like a cell phone, smarter than me. Read: frustrating. When I used to sew all the time, I had trouble with it. Now, I have to re-read and re-read the directions that are of questionable help, as in- to do this, you do this, and refer to page 21?  GAK!  I hate that. Thread kept breaking. I couldn't get the tension right, nor the stitch size right given you have to change it for zigzag. From the pictures, I couldn't tell what dial they were talking about. I brought the machine to my dining room table where the light is excellent and gave up after 3 or 4 tries. It sat there for a month. Yesterday, I got the tension and stitch right. A small ephiphany.
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But, I'm not abandoning my reliable straight stitcher Singer that I hauled out of storage to use while the fancy machine took up space in the dining room. I'm going to keep it on my sewing table, JUST IN CASE.  It yanks your arm out of its socket when you lift it, but it isn't smarter than me. Read: simple.  (That probably describes me, too.)
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I had new gutter guards professionally installed so I don't have to climb on the roof and clean gutters anymore. The company has returned five times because there is a leak in front of my door. I called the owner and he came to fix it. Well, the rain is gone for now, the whole deck is dry this morning except for that spot in front of my front door. I'm about ready to diss this company. There wasn't a leak before they cleaned my gutters and installed their system. If Jim were here, he'd be down to their office in a heartbeat. I might do the same come Monday since I have to go to Sonora for new tires.

I'm working on my book a bit each morning as I try and limit my on-line time to two hours a day.
I hope we get the rest of the rain we've been promised.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

MYSTERY SANTA STRIKES AGAIN.

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I tried to find out who the mystery Santa is who left a Christmas Card in my physical Email box. No one will fess up. Yesterday, I found a second one, only the mystery Santa made sure I'd get it. It was in my regular mail box. This Santa likes valentines day. Hmmm!

I've called every neighbor who passes by my box and knows me well besides Cindy and Gary who said it wasn't them. Sharon and Bert, Brian, Suzy and Ron, Sherry and Rob, Karen, Jan, Patty and Ott. I have two more households to reach today that were not home when I called. But then?

Neighbor Kristi Darby says, just accept it and "Get a life." To you Kristi, I have a life. Every morning I get on this machine and learn something. I learned this morning that sewage water that goes through a treatment plant is pure enough to drink. Actually I'd heard that before but this time, The Brewing Company from Hillsborough, Oregon is making Poop beer. They have permission from the powers that be to do it. And, they are posing an important question. Why use precious well water to grow thirsty almonds. How about recycled "poop" water? You have to be innovative if you are a Californian. And, Kristi, only part of my life is spent in the morning on this machine. So, when I get some poop beer, I'm going to invite you over for a sip! We already know you are full of shit.

In the meantime, I'm searching for the mystery Santa because I want to laugh WITH that Santa. I'm so glad I live in this neighborhood.

Monday, February 2, 2015

GATHERING 'ROUND THE MAILBOX

I have an old fruit ladder, useless, and I almost dumped it about four months back.  Son Doug encouraged me to do something artistic with it, instead. My mailbox post was rotted and wobbly, so I decided to turn the ladder into a mailbox holder. I always wanted to have a fun mailbox holder with a box reading “AIRMAIL” with a set of wings on it. One of those plans that kind of simmers in the back of the brain without exactly figuring out how to do it.
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When I went to the super bowl gig on Friday, I asked Doug to bring his tools and he measured and drilled a hole through the box. daughter-in-law Laurie had previously painted it. This has become a multi-person effort as you will see.
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Enter neighbor Gary Gonzalez, and our neighborhood critic, Kristi Darby. Kristi giving me a ration about my funky ladder mailbox holder and Gary, a pilot, gave me his wings. How cool is that?  He also helped me paint the ladder with anti-freeze as a preservative. This was several weeks ago, as the project takes shape and these pictures were taken yesterday as we gathered around the mailbox to install the unwieldy contraption to my fruit ladder. The ladder was erected by neighbor Cameron Stewart. This is a terrible picture, but I was so excited about the installation, I didn’t do a good job. Kristi is holding the leash for her dog, Keely who also witnessed the installation but failed to anoint the ladder. Tsk, tsk! I forgot to bring champagne, too.
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This is what it looks like, sitting on a support, awaiting installation which took the genius and skill of neighbor Mike Cameron. He is a builder and I asked if he’d like to try something challenging.
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He rolled up with his truck and tools. Measured and drilled a template.
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He drilled the hole, and fashioned a support system for it. The quick favor I asked of him took about two hours.
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And up it went. It is top-heavy and the needed bracing was a challenge in a tight space. He showed me how to strengthen the bracing on the the rest of the ladder. And, we ended up changing the position of the mailbox to have the painted side face the street. Again, I was so excited I forgot to take a final shot. But, the project isn’t complete yet. I’ve never had a neighborhood mailbox party, but when it is complete, why not?
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And, of course, Kristi, being Kristi, told me I’d better get my regular mailbox painted and she told Gary what trees he should trim. I love creative suggestions. Hmm.  Maybe it would look better bright orange?
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But then, something else happened. The Email box that sits half way down the ladder had, I thought, caught some stray Christmas ribbon blowing in the wind. I thought I had closed the box after my rude paint job, but having it opened, and the ribbon blowing in the wind made me think it would make a good birdhouse. Mike said to me, “there’s a letter in that box.” HUH?
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It had been through wind, and damp and a month of nights. I traced over the letters as I struggled to read them. I loved the “stamp”.
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And here is a letter from Santa Claus with this charming poem. I checked with the usual suspect, the neighborhood prankster, Jan Stewart. She claims it wasn’t her. I guess I’ll have to ask Cindy Gonzalez, who has been a regular at the gatherings. I didn’t get her picture either. Cindy?  Are you the culprit?