Sunday, May 1, 2016


We've had much rain and the green is refreshing and beautiful to behold. Wildflowers waiting to pop into bloom when I took this picture. They are now everywhere. I'm impaired and hampered but I can't resist carrying a camera and grabbing beauty when I see it.
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The size and perfection of some blooms in my own yard are stellar.
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Iris have such variable colors.
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It is unusual to have stems three feet long and yard grass as high as my hips.
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I can't remember when I've seen a more perfect rose. A prize winner if shown.
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All that beauty comes with a price.
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Rain and hail sluicing in torrents. Puddles for days.
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A fallen giant, unable to hold on in heavily saturated ground.
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We can't control the weather, so there is nothing to do but enjoy the beauty, though with a niggling worry of what is to come. Climate change specialists are telling us we'll pay for it this summer with brutal heat and little relief. My well is dry. The annoying mucus eating gnats I normally don't encounter until the 3000 foot elevation are pestering me as I walk. We've had 81 degree days then cold 28 degree weather back to back in the same week. But, again, we choose to enjoy what we can when we can.
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Bridal wreath spirea.
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About two weeks ago, the grass was still low enough to see the chickens. Now they can hide completely in it and seem to love it. Unfortunately, one chicken died two weeks ago and we are down to one brown, Della and one white, Blanche.
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And yesterday, a cache of turkey eggs hidden so deeply in the overgrowth, my gardener didn't see the setting mother until she exploded out of the nest and into his face. Sadly, she didn't return, but it is nice to know the wildlife will survive and adapt. My gardener took the eggs home to put in his incubator.
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I rode by this plant, and now I'm walking the road with Jim each day as I heal, and this plant and others in my yard are done blooming. Not a blossom anywhere. What brings tomorrow?

Saturday, April 30, 2016


I received a letter from Alan Grayson, a missive that made such good sense, I thought I'd reprint it here. I'm a fan of his even though he is from Florida. They don't often make sense there, it seems to me, but Alan always does.

Dear Mary,
I think that LeBron James should pay the same percentage of his income in Social Security taxes as everyone else does.
He doesn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, not by a 90-footer.
Most Americans pay 6.20% of their incomes to Social Security taxes. LeBron James pays 0.03% of his income toward Social Security taxes. In fact, he is finished paying his Social Security taxes in the second quarter of his first game of his season. Then he’s done for the rest of the game, and the rest of the season – including the playoffs. Even the offseason.
“Wow,” you say. Yes, “wow” indeed.
I want to make this clear – this is nothing personal. I love to watch LeBron James play basketball. I forgive him for taking his talents to South Beach, but then taking them right back to Cleveland. I look forward to his becoming the all-time NBA scoring champion, during the 2021-22 season.
But I think that he should have to pay the same percentage in Social Security taxes as others do.
The Social Security tax applies only to the first $118,500 of income (the “cap”). As soon as LeBron and anyone else reaches that limit, they’re done for the year.
Which is precisely why some people fret about the system going broke. The solution is obvious. No cap, no problem. In addition to making our tax system more fair, scrapping the cap would make Social Security solvent forever and ever. And ever. So I have introduced a bill to do that, and the Social Security Administration has confirmed that it solves the problem once and for all. Sure, some Republicans would be sad -- they’d have no excuse to push sadistic cuts in Social Security benefits. But the rest of us would be thrilled.

Q. When does a teacher stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.
Q. When does a nurse stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.
Q. Why do only the rich get this huge tax break, threatening the solvency of the program? A. I wish I knew.
Grayson is pushing a bill through congress called Scrap the Cap. I hope it passes.

Friday, April 22, 2016


We have a party person in our neighborhood. I believe GHC is the active ingredient in marijuana, a hot subject in Calaveras County.  Thus the party about GHC on the 20th, the day the government made some kind of announcement?  Unsure.
Can't drive, can barely type, incapacitated by my surgery-told I have massive tears and if I don't follow the rules to the letter, I may never be well. So, I'm resting. Can't drive, must depend on others for just about everything. House looking like a junk yard. Jim took pictures. We didn't stay long though Jan provided a great fun event.

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I ate finger foods and wished there was MJ in the brownies. Maybe better than the oxcycotin they prescribed. I read where it is miracle drug for animals. Woof! Woof!

Friday, April 8, 2016


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Paul Moeller, a long time friend is temporarily in a convalescent home called Oak Terrace in Soulsbyville. He has had a series of physical set-backs, falls, broken bones. He has a lot of grit and he is working on his walking and physical therapy and determined to make it back to his home. For an 89-year-old, that is an optimistic goal.  I believe he is going to make it.
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On nice days, his personal caregiver, Nellie, assists him outside to spend time in the sun. In fact the sun was so bright yesterday, that he had to shut one eye to be able to look toward the camera.
It is a place that gives you pause as we all have end of life issues to think about and consider as we age. And, it is easy to see how a person can be very depressed and just give up. That isn't Paul's way and I have to admire his strength at this juncture to keep up the good fight for strength and a future of his own definition, which is home.

In the meantime, it behooves all of us to stop and smell the flowers. Intelligence for your life guru, John Tesh, reminds us that just touching a flower or seeing it can restore healing brain chemicals. Viewing nature from his terrace has a similar reaction.
A few flowers are in order.
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Lilacs fill my yard with fragrance.
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And, beauty.
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Monday, April 4, 2016


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A concert featuring cowboys, Gary Allegretto and Ian Espinosa both songwriters and musicians who love the blues and western music put on an outstanding show at the Arts Center in Angels Camp yesterday.  But the standout performer, Allegretto, is not a guitarist, but a harmonica virtuoso.  Never in my life could I have imagined the sounds and range of "vocals" that come out of a simple  carry-in-your-pocket, harmonica.  After the show, the duo sold and autographed CDs.
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A "people" person, Gary posed with a local admirer, Chris Doty. Some of the music he has written qualifies him as a comedian. His range of music from the foot stomping, "This Ain't My Last Rodeo," (number one on the charts for three years running) and a sing-a-long number, "But You Can't Stay Here", reflect his days as a bouncer in a Santa Fe bar. He reminds us that Santa Fe, when he worked there,  wasn't all "pinky boutique" but a pretty rough shod place full of hard drinkin', fists ready cowhands. His music is difficult to describe, a blusey-western mix; throw in an African American spiritual, and something akin to dance with Ian's singing and playing on a guitar older than anyone in the audience, and you have a rave collaboration.
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Allegretto is internationally known for his humanitarian work with children. He brings to kids- be it Indonesia, Africa or Wales-the universal language of music. He can talk through that harmonica and leaves each boy and girl with a harmonica of their own with which they can play four songs. Now that is peace making on a very basic level.
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Calaveras Arts Council Director, Mary Jane Genochio brought them to Angels Camp and then on stage, gave a tearful farewell. Her house was destroyed in the Butte Fire and she said, "I am building a house and I must turn this job over to another."  We will definitely miss her.
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Equally loved, former Director, Penny West, who held the reins for at least 20 years brought us Mary Jane. We in Calaveras County owe so much to the wonderful leadership provided by these two amazing women. Our Arts are strong, and we are so lucky and grateful.
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Another arts venue is involved in the simple act of story telling, poetry, writing and critiquing new writers. A powerful group also in Angels Camp under the Arts Council umbrella. Here Joy Roberts recruits wanna be writer, Lizz Emerson. The Arts Council begins its free music in the parks concerts in early June, just a mention here while I'm at it. But, back to Allegretto. You can listen to a sample of his music on this website: But more than that, this is one of the finest accolades I've ever seen:
"I cannot express enough gratitude for what you have done for the harmonica and for Hohner. 
Without you, we would be less of a brand."

~ Clay Edwards, CEO, Hohner Harmonicas Inc.

You gotta see this guy!

Sunday, April 3, 2016


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Imagine my surprise when I found out my best friend Jim is related to Donald Trump. The resemblance is pretty startling. And he has gone gung ho, preaching the merits of a Trump presidency.
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Personally, I think Trump decided to run as a lark and now he can't insult enough people to get himself out of the election. He's sort of stuck. This trumper doesn't agree.
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Jim is quite an actor himself. He's convinced the Trump hairstyle will become the rage as his popularity grows, so he did a pretty good imitation of the hair, the scowl, the whole persona. I get all these emails asking to sign petitions against Trump. I refuse to sign because I think Trump and Sanders have shaken up our corrupt establishment and I'm just cheering on the sidelines.  I hope he wins the Republican nomination since Kaisch doesn't have a chance. Then the party of obstruction can hold their noses to vote Republican.
Meanwhile, I'll vote for a sensible, sincere, non billionaire, Sanders, who has the heart of the people and started this whole revolution. Go Sanders. I hate the vilification of Hillary that is going on. She is no worse than most of the beltway wheelers and dealers, but they vilified her when she was a First Lady and they continue to do so now. It is ugly. We need someone clean, like Sanders.

And, just for the record, Jim is not really related to Donald Trump, but he is a supporter.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


I think we licked the plates clean.
Toni Moore is my cousin by marriage. Her husband of 26 years, Commander James Moore of the Sheriff's Department (deceased) is my first cousin. Our fathers were brothers.  But, our relationship goes deeper than that. I attended High School with Toni and introduced her to Jim. While visiting the archive, I discovered she was planning a family reunion and she asked me to join them. The afternoon of the Archive meeting, March 16th, I went with her to Costco to shop. Toni is handicapped and can't drive. On the 17th, it was St. Patrick's Day, she took me out to dinner for corned beef and cabbage. I think we licked the plates clean.
The humor in those eyes.
Her oldest son is Kurt Moore. He and my son Ken are close in age. We raised our kids together, often camping since no one had any money in those days. We all lived on tight budgets.
Todd Moore.
Her middle son, Todd, was closest to my son Doug's age, and the two of them were pals growing up. Toni's youngest son, Barry recently died and everyone is still trying to heal from loss. Todd lives nearby and is indispensable, taking Toni to her appointments, shopping and helping Todd keep up the place. He has one daughter, Briana, and I somehow failed to get a picture of her and her boyfriend.
Kurt's youngest-Teddy and Alex with Gramma Toni.
The relationships get complicated for me to keep straight. Kurt's youngest children Teddy and Alex, with Gramma Toni are the reason for the reunion. They live on the East coast with their mother and visit twice a year. They normally come for Easter vacation and this year came early. So, Toni planned an early Easter.
Always smiling, Leslie Nolan
Always smiling, Leslie Nolan, is Bob Moore's partner, who is a brother to Jim.  He doesn't like having his picture taken and ruins your picture, if he has a chance to.  You have to get one surreptitiously.
Ted Moore with Uncle Bob.
Here he is with his nephew, Teddy.
Greetings as people arrive for the day.
Kurt's oldest daughter, Sandy arrived with her husband Josh.  Kurt's son, John is serving in the Army and couldn't attend.
Great grandpa Kurt knows how to handle little boys.
Now, this is Grandpa Kurt, hauling Sandy's two newest members of the family over his shoulder into the back yard. He knows a little about how to handle young boys. They are Caleb and Jacob ages six and four, recently adopted.
DSC07919 (Copy)It rained off and on all day, but no one melted. The kids played bean bag toss. Emma, Sandy's daughter teamed with Teddy and Alexandria, Sandy's half-brother and sister, and her father Josh.
Emma gets a big jump closer because she is the shortest and youngest in the game. Brother Teddy doesn't mind.
Emma gets a big jump closer because she is the shortest and youngest in the game. Cousin works as well as any moniker, and "cousin" Teddy doesn't mind.
Caleb is trying to figure out how to get up in the tree holding an egg.
As the day went on, the kids turned to hunting for treasure. Caleb is trying to figure out how to get up in the tree holding an egg.
An egg hiding in plain site-up high.
An egg hiding in plain sight, up high, gives the older kids a shot at the eggs. Some contain money, some contain candy or little toys.
Heavy competition comes with a smile.
Heavy competition comes with a smile as Bob and Josh pair up with...
Todd partnered with Uncle Bob Moore, Kurt partnered with son-in-law Josh Shack
...Todd and Kurt.
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Looks like Josh nailed it. The rules are much like horseshoes.
Emma with a full bag.
The kids enjoyed their treasures. Emma, in Easter finery, with a full bag.
A green chick that is special.
Jacob enjoyed a green chick that is special because it has a squeaker inside.
Caleb with his new rubber Easter chick.
Caleb liked his rubber Easter chick, too.
Emma looking sweet 16 instead of 12 with frosting pink lipstick.
After dinner, everyone enjoyed dessert. Emma looking sweet 16 instead of 12 with frosting pink lipstick.
Alexandria kissable in blue-she is a freshman in High School
Alexandria, kissable in blue, is a freshman in High School.
Emma with her frosting lipstick plants one on cousin Alexandria
Emma with her frosting lipstick plants one on cousin Alexandria.
Kids get the treatment. Photo by Caleb.
Caleb wanted to try my camera. A quick learner, he took a bunch of pictures and did quite well.

Picture by Caleb.
This picture by Caleb is a tad blurry. But, not bad for a six year old's first time with a sizable camera.
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This one was my favorite, where he caught his little brother taking pictures with my phone.  Maybe photography in his future, but without a doubt, a good time was had by all. HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE.