Thursday, October 23, 2014


This morning, I bring Karen to the hospital for her surgery early in the morning. Then take Jim to his post-op appointment at Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. Karen's friend Tom will pick her up and bring her home. 
Jim and I return tomorrow. I've been diligently watering and packing stuff off to my storage unit. Fall is definitely here with nights getting down to 43 and 44 degrees. But, no rain in the forecast.
I have a new internet service called Uverse. It is supposed to be much faster than DSL. I don't think it is super fast, but the data you can transfer is huge and  it does play video's which my old system often could or would not.
It seems all we do is TALK about the weather and wish it were better. I got this Weather Trivia in an email from Ron Heinsma and I don't know its origin. Hope you find it amusing.
Weather Trivia.

10 cities with
Least weather variety

Based on temperature variation, precipitation, wind, severe weather
  1. San Francisco, California
  2. San Diego, California
  3. Los Angeles, California
  4. Santa Barbara, California
  5. Eureka, California
  6. Long Beach, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Santa Maria, California
  9. San Luis Obispo, California
  10. Kahului, Hawaii
Top 10 hail prone cities
Based on frequency and severity of hail
  1. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. Amarillo, Texas
  3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  4. Wichita, Kansas
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  6. Arlington, Texas
  7. Denver, Colorado
  8. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  9. Shreveport, Louisiana
  10. Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas
Top 10 Tropical storm / Hurricane prone cities
Average # of years with no storm. Totals based on data from 1871- 2007, hitting within 60 miles of the city
  1. Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  1. Delray Beach, Florida
  1. Hollywood, Florida
  1. Deerfield Beach, Florida
  1. Boca Raton, Florida
  1. Florida City, Florida
  1. Grand Isle, Louisiana
  1. Ft. Pierce, Florida
  1. Miami, Florida
  1. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Top 10 Tornado states
Avg number of tornadoes per 10,000 square
Miles, occurring from 1953-2004
  1. Florida
  1. Oklahoma
  1. Kansas
  1. Iowa
  1. Illinois
  1. Indiana
  1. Mississippi
  1. Maryland
  1. Louisiana
  1. Texas
Top 10 Thunderstorm

Avg annual number of thunderstorms
  1. Fort Myers, Florida
  1. Tampa, Florida
  1. Tallahassee, Florida
  1. Gainesville, Florida
  1. Orlando, Florida
  1. Mobile, Alabama
  1. W. Palm Beach, Florida
  1. Lake Charles, Louisiana
  1. Daytona Beach, Florida
  1. Vero Beach, Florida
Top 10 Tornado prone cities
Ranked by tornadoes per 1,000 miles
  1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  2. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  3. Dallas - Ft. Worth, Texas
  4. Wichita, Kansas
  5. Springfield, Missouri
  6. Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri
  7. Ft. Smith, Arkansas
  8. Little Rock, Arkansas
  9. Jackson, Mississippi
  10. Birmingham, Alabama
Top 10 Earthquake prone states
# of earthquakes in the last 30 years
Centered in the state
  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Hawaii
  4. Nevada
  5. Washington
  6. Idaho
  7. Wyoming
  8. Montana
  9. Utah
  10. Oregon
10 all-time hottest

Obtained from state temperature
Records, NCDC
  1. Death Valley, California
  1. Lake Havasu, Arizona
  1. Laughlin, Nevada
  1. Lakewood, New Mexico
  1. Alton, Kansas
  1. Steele, North Dakota
  1. Ozark, Arkansas
  1. Tipton, Oklahoma
  1. Seymour, Texas
  1. Usta, South Dakota
10 all-time coldest

Obtained from state temperature
Records, NCDC
  1. Prospect Creek, Alaska
  1. Rogers Pass, Montana
  1. Peters Sink, Utah
  1. Riverside, Wyoming
  1. Maybell, Colorado
  1. Tower, Minnesota
  1. Parshall, North Dakota
  1. Island Park Dam, Idaho
  1. McIntosh, South Dakota
  1. Couderay, Wisconsin
10 hottest cities
Average annual temperature, F
  1. Key West, Florida
  1. Miami, Florida
  1. W Palm Beach, Florida
  1. Ft. Myers, Florida
  1. Yuma, Florida
  1. Brownsville, Texas
  1. Orlando, Florida
  1. Vero Beach, Florida
  1. Corpus Christi, Texas
  1. Tampa, Florida
10 coldest cities
Average annual temperature, F
  1. International Falls, Minnesota
  1. Duluth, Minnesota
  1. Caribou, Maine
  1. Marquette, Michigan
  1. Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
  1. Fargo, North Dakota
  1. Williston, North Dakota
  1. Alamosa, Colorado
  1. Bismarck, North Dakota
  1. St. Cloud, Minnesota
10 driest cities
Avg annual precipitation in inches
  1. Yuma, Arizona
  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  1. Bishop, California
  1. Bakersfield, California
  1. Phoenix, Arizona
  1. Alamosa, Colorado
  1. Reno, California
  1. Winslow, Arizona
  1. El Paso, Texas
  1. Winnemucca, Nevada
10 wettest cities
Avg annual precipitation in inches
  1. Hilo, Hawaii
  1. Quillayute, Washington
  1. Astoria, Oregon
  1. Blue Canyon, California
  1. Mobile, Alabama
  1. Tallahassee, Florida
  1. Pensacola, Florida
  1. New Orleans, Louisiana
  1. W Palm Beach, Florida
  1. Miami, Florida
10 snowiest cities
Avg annual precipitation in inches
  1. Blue Canyon, California
  1. Marquette, Michigan
  1. Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
  1. Syracuse, New York
  1. Caribou, Maine
  1. Mount Shasta, California
  1. Lander, Wyoming
  1. Flagstaff, Arizona
  1. Sexton Summit, Oregon
  1. Muskegon, Michigan
10 windiest cities
Avg annual wind speed in mph
  1. Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts
  1. Dodge City, Kansas
  1. Amarillo, Texas
  1. Rochester, Minnesota
  1. Casper, Wyoming
  1. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  1. Great Falls, Montana
  1. Goodland, Kansas
  1. Boston, Massachusetts
  1. Lubbock, Texas
10 sunniest cities
Annual percent of possible sunshine
  1. Yuma, Arizona
  1. Las Vegas, Nevada
  1. Phoenix, Arizona
  1. Tucson, Arizona
  1. El Paso, Texas
  1. Flagstaff, Arizona
  1. Fresno, California
  1. Reno, Nevada
  1. Sacramento, California
by Earl Tupper.NEW JERSEY .................. Has the most shopping malls in one area
in the world.NEW MEXICO ............... Smokey the Bear was rescued from a 1950
forest fire here.
NEW YORK .................... Is home to the nation's oldest cattle
ranch, started in 1747 in Montauk.
NORTH CAROLINA ........ Home of the first Krispy Kreme doughnut.
NORTH DAKOTA ............ Rigby , North Dakota , is the exact
geographic center of North America ..
OHIO ............................. The hot dog was invented here in
OKLAHOMA ................... The grounds of the state capital are
covered by operating oil wells.
OREGON ......................... Has the most ghost towns in the
PENNSYLVANIA ............. The smiley : ) was first used in 1980
by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University ..
RHODE ISLAND ............. The nation's oldest bar, the White Horse
Tavern, opened here in 1673.
SOUTH CAROLINA ......... Sumter County is home to the world's
largest gingko farm.
SOUTH DAKOTA ............. Is the only state that's never had an
TENNESSEE ....................... Nashville 's Grand Ole Opry is the
longest running live radio show in the world.
TEXAS ............................... Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco
in 1885. The hamburger was invented in Arlington in 1906.
UTAH ................................. The first Kentucky Fried
Chicken restaurant opened here in 1952.
VERMONT ........................ Montpelier is the only state capital
without a McDonald's.
VIRGINIA ........................... Home of the world's largest
office building, The Pentagon.
WASHINGTON .................. Seattle has twice as many college
graduates as any other state.
WASHINGTON D.C. ......... Is the first planned capital in the world.
WEST VIRGINIA .................. Had the world's first brick paved
street, Summers Street, laid in Charleston in 1870.
WISCONSIN ...................... The ice cream sundae was invented here
in 1881 to get around Blue Laws prohibiting ice cream from
being sold on Sundays.
WYOMING ........................ Was the first state to allow women to
I hope you enjoyed this. I found it interesting!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


With a signal so weak, I couldn’t finish a blog on Monday.  I turned my Prius in for repair, FINALLY. It was another full day devoted to getting my car fixed after the accident of June 12th. I fought to have my Prius fixed instead of totaled, and after a long process, fraught with hang-ups, (as in the body shopped scheduled to fix it went out of business,) it was delivered to the capable hands of C&C Body Shop in Sonora. While there, we had to wait to pick up a rental car, a silver KIA that fits in my garage.

We went out to lunch in Sonora and when I got home I didn’t feel like cooking. We decided to veg in front of the television with some food and turned on a program called Swamp People. It was an old program series that played from 6:00 to 9:00 and most of it was about Cajun alligator hunters. Having visited that part of the country, having met a couple of alligator hunters, the memories flowed. Those were really exciting times.  We ate a lot of alligator meat in Southern Louisiana, mostly sausage, but we were never part of a hunt. After watching the Swamp People, I felt like I went alligator hunting.
I got so excited, I had to replay my alligator pictures. A different camera, no editing done, so I selected a few pics from the album.
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We took an alligator sighting tour boat into the swamps. The boats in the program and this one are flat bottomed affairs, built by Cajuns for alligator hunting.
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We spotted this big one.
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It was unafraid and the boat didn’t get too close.
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Then we saw this big bull, the guide called him. The broad head is a giveaway.
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I got a second shot of this big bull.  I took two shots of  small gators buried deep in the shallow swamp grasses, but  I had to look three times at my own photos to pick them out. They were well camouflaged, so I didn’t download the pictures. Alligators are fearless and fast. Basically the king predator of the swamps. Their only enemy is man.
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This is a better picture of the type of flat boats the hunters use, though the sides are a bit steeper. This group is fishing for something, but not alligators.
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A picture of a picture of “Mary,"  feeding an alligator to demonstrate to the tour what they look like. She owned the company at one time.  It is too dangerous to “chum” alligators and the company quit the practice. The picture didn’t say if this event was at an alligator farm or in the wild. Alligator skin is more valuable than the meat.
Dirty Miller cookin'

Near Little Chenier, we met a real alligator hunter who goes by the name of Dirty Miller. We were looking for the town of Little Chenier, or remnants of it. It was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. Up against a choice, where the pavement ended,  a gravel road in front of us, without knowing where it came out, we stopped. We turned around in Miller’s driveway and he hollered at us to “com’on, dinner will be ready in a half an hour.”  Miller is the epitome of Southern hospitality and a real character.
Wiped out by Katrina, Miller built a large shed on the spot where his house once stood. It was flooded by Rita and he showed us the water line on the walls of his shed.  In that pot was a big stew and we joined him and his friends for a Sunday afternoon dinner and listened raptly to alligator hunting stories and many other tales.  He had pictures of Donald Trump and some other notables, (I no longer remember the names,)  people he took alligator hunting. We ended up spending the night.  Dirty Miller and his girl friend cooked us a giant omelet for breakfast the next morning with shrimp, crawfish, crab and alligator sausage. One of our favorite, memorable stops in Louisiana.

This is a picture of a picture of Dirty Miller’s grandson sitting on a gator he killed. I’m savoring the memories again through my pictures. My only regret is that I didn’t take more pictures of this fascinating guy and his friends.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


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It was a good decision to take a day off and attend the Angels Camp Gold Rush Fair. It was the first time for me. Town was full and people were having a good time.
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In the Chamber Of Commerce/Visitors Center parking area was a food court, a band and a few set-ups of what living in the gold rush era was like, with barrels and sacks and a reference to Henry Angel for whom the camp was,  and now the town is named.
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You didn't have to go camping, because life was lived in a "camp". During Angels Camp's 75th anniversary of the incorporation of the town, Mayor Betsy Alford managed to find descendents of Henry Angel and invited them to participate, and several of them came to celebrate.
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Operating in the lot, a modern gold washer demonstrating how gold rich gravels are sucked up onto  riffles that allow heavy gold to sink to the bottom of the washer and the rest of the rock and dirt flows back into the stream. This one has a powerful motor. The old-timers didn't have that advantage. Their "sluice boxes" were propped in the river and bottom gravel was hand shoveled onto the riffles. It was cold, wet,  hard work.
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I didn't ask, but I think these folks were selling covered wagon rides. A beautiful team, in any event.
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The townspeople are encouraged to dress in rustic clothing and many did.
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These buck skinned dudes and their ladies are part of a staged gunfight they have on the street, which we missed and left before their next one.
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I admired this dude's fox skin cap. What a beautiful cap but I did feel sorry the fox had to give its life for it.
Maria Behn as Patsy Kline

Maria Behn is an excellent Patsy Cline impersonator and we enjoyed listening to her sing. Her husband is a vet and they live in the county near San Andreas.
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A young juggler kept the crowd mesmerized with his various feats. Looking at everyone's faces while he tossed those knives around was as much fun as his patter. He quipped: "Look at me, I graduated from Bret Harte High School and I'm doing fine."
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He could cut apples. Not only cut them, but bite them while juggling three knives. He finished the apple/knife bit with a flourish, stabbing one. He was fun.
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Jim quipped to this girl, "Aah, a real genuine red-head," knowing that she wasn't, to which she answered, "and I was a real genuine blonde yesterday."
We had a great bowl of chili for lunch. The fair is an annual event they've put on for about 4 or 5 years. I like meeting old friends I haven't seen in a long time, and I did see some locals I knew, but Gary and Denise Lindsay, who are old friends from the Sheriff's Department days, surprised me. They've retired to Sonora area, in Tuolumne County, and love the Mother Lode and came over to enjoy the festivities.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


The passenger pigeon of yesterday reminded me of some of the beautiful birds I've seen and had the opportunity to photograph. Here is an album from the Texas gulf coast.
2013-Gulf Coast Birds
These pictures are copyrighted, 2013, Mary Matzek

Friday, October 17, 2014


Business and society thrive by investing in nature. I have Pax World Mutual Funds and their newsletter editor declared that human caused climate change is real. They busted the myths about climate change quite soundly.  Whether our representatives and senators want to believe it or deny it and fail to deal with climate change, corporations are preparing for the changes ahead. And Pax is adjusting their portfolios to include major corporations who are preparing for climate change NOW. I was so pleased to hear that.
September 1st, 2014 is designated as the 100 year mark when the last passenger pigeon died-a species that once numbered in the billions. It is the first acknowledged human caused extinction. To draw attention to how serious extinctions are, Andy Stern, a neurologist and activist has begun a project called fold the flock. They have a pattern for an origami passenger pigeon that you can fold. There are a number of different ways they will display them around the country. I'm going to do it, one for each of my grandsons.

We need to take climate change and extinctions seriously consider that there are only seven living white Rhinoceros in the Ol Pejeta  conservancy in Kenya.

In 2013 fifty-nine regular rhinos were killed for their horns and 302 elephants for their tusks. Their herds are now down to hundreds and extinction is likely in our lifetimes unless something dramatic changes.
With better co-operation between government and native populations, by making it profitable for natives to protect elephants and rhinos, this year, only 3 rhinos were killed and they are heavily guarded to the point were guards are corralling and sleeping with them.

We are all diminished by these extinctions. Please be an activist and do what you can to save our endangered species where and when you can. Subscribe to one of the magazines or environmental groups, like The Nature Conservancy, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Scientific American, African Wildlife Conservation, Natural Resources Defense council, (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund, Living Oceans...  There are hundreds of hardworking non-profit groups fighting the battle. Let's help so our children and grandchildren can savor what we have left.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Changing phone service after 34 years is an iffy proposition. I don’t recommend it. There are disadvantages to rural living and phone, internet, television and cell service is inadequate at times. Even our M.Home signal is so slow right now I cannot get in my email.

Hope we have better options tomorrow at the library. My new phone service allows me to test it for 30 days. If not satisfied, I have a few other options.

So, call me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


My car will go in for it's three week repair session on Monday. YAY! I did more running around on errands, I needed oyster shell, some nesting hay, dump, some other errands  before I'm without it.
Then  slept in this morning, so, I'm sending myself and anyone who needs it a bouquet of flowers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


It is that time of year when politicians are out in force begging for money to keep themselves elected. That money keeps the television and radio stations richer than rich, our elected officials remain greedy, powerful and corrupt, and nothing much changes in government. What a sham. Read columnist Charlie Reese's take on the situation from a few years back. As true today as then.

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese
Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.
The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.
The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?
John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.
Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!
Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

If everyone of us printed this article out and sent it to every senator and representative in our districts, it might wake them up. But, don't bet the rent.

Monday, October 13, 2014


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I'm very comforted by the fact that public places like airports, hospitals and other great buildings share with us some of the great art of the world.  If you can't get your art fix in a gallery, you can freely walk around public buildings and enjoy. This glass sculpture hangs from the ceiling at the Defenders Lodge at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. It hangs down into the stair well from the 3rd story above. It is considered a mobile and reminds me of Dale Chihuly's work. No one knew if it was one of his installations or not.
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The pieces resemble butterflies, or stingrays.
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Such beauty. In this area, the glass pieces created colored shadows on the wall.
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Most of the "leaves" are a foot long or more. I always say, pictures don't do it justice, and it is true.
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The lighting makes them luminous. Photographing them from the stairwell is easy.
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The Defenders Lodge has a terrific library, with comfortable chairs and many books. It has closed doors and is a very quiet contemplative place. This bowl of glass balls sits on a desk.
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On a coffee table, some ceramic flat work.
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They encourage you to say, "Gee, I could do that!" Of course, I didn't, and someone else did. And, they look easy until you start to build one. I like them. I worked with clay a bit at one point in my "wanna be an artist" former life.

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In the radiology clinic, about 20 or more paintings were horse themed. All of them are behind glass and because of the glare, getting a decent picture was tough.
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I tried, after admiring these horses racing through the snow.
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And splashing through water.
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A wood print, also under glass.
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There are stunning pieces in this collection, but like this one, the glare is impossible. But, I thought seeing the people reflected in the background gave it some merit.
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Doll figures were in a different hall. When Jim has his eye done the next time, I'm going to use my waiting time by visiting each floor and each clinic and admire the art work that is sure to be there.
In closing, we met and talked with Bobby Brown and another vet, Ron (last name long Italian) Batt, for short. He was born and raised in San Francisco, went to the same High School as my husband, who was also born and raised in S.F.  They traveled some of the same by-ways and told similar stories about similar watering holes and restaurants.  Ron was great fun,  a good story-teller and it turned out that we had mutual friends in Tom and Mary Kingshill, who moved from S.F. to Murphys about 18 years ago. It was a fun reminisce.

Now I have to consider showers and toilets, wall plugs, lighting fixtures, refrigerator placement...that kind of stuff, but a worthy task.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


laurel_showerFrom Bathroom Designs

I had intended to go to Modesto with Jim to have a muffler installed on his Bronco, do a bit of shopping and go out to lunch.  But, my contractor wanted me to pick a handicapped shower on-line, so I stayed home.  Anything I liked, like the one in this picture, didn’t fit the space well.
5LDS6033B17T-sHandicapped model
The ones that fit the space, were smaller than this, with no color border, very antiseptic and plain. I spent a lot of time and visited 25 websites and learned about ADA approved showers and the cheapest I could find was over $2,000 and ugly. Not the least bit of character like the one in this picture. No fun, but I’m determined that the future with the multiple amputees from the recent wars, is going to demand more handicapped rentals. And, as we age, we may need some assistance, too.

Jim’s day was no fun, so I’m glad I didn’t go with him. He broke down on the road. A water hose got a hole in it and he was out of water. He thanked me for always keeping a big jug of water in the cars, (I always have a change of clothes and water in the Bronco, too.) “It saved my life”,  he told me. ” I made an emergency repair in the hose and used that water to get me to a place with a service station, and then a Napa Auto supply for a fix.”

He was late for Mitchell Muffler in Modesto.  Bobby Brown waited for him, the vet we met at the Defender Lodge. He left just before Jim arrived. He got the new muffler installed. It breathes easier, his mileage should improve and all the rattles and noise he was hearing is gone. The price was about $300 with taxes out the door, thank you Jeremiah.  And, Bobby Brown called him and asked him how he liked his service?  Terrific, in a word. Thanks Bobby.  What a crazy day for both of us.

I’m still working on the bathroom redesign. Managed to get out to do a little watering yesterday. And, I took pictures of some of the artwork on the walls at the Hospital and Defender Lodge when I was there. Got my art fix, and I’ll blog them tomorrow.