Monday, November 30, 2009


Weird news is always suspect because it is so hard to believe. But here goes:

San Antonio Police Chief, William McManus upgraded his training program to teach his officers how to obey the law while off-duty. He personally explains to his incoming cadets that police officers must not commit crimes. He's had to fire 10 officers so far this year for that reason.

Isn't Texas part of the U.S.?

The August issue of Gourmet magazine highlighted the high quality sushi sold at a BP gas station at the intersection of Ridgeway and Poplar St.s in Memphis, TN. A sushi chef works on site and sells around 300 orders a day.

In this economy? If you can't get a restaurant to hire you, strike out on your own.

The Brazilian environmental group SOS Mata Atlantica is encouraging people to urinate in the shower saving a flush per day, or 1,100 gallons of water a year.

Whaaa? Who cleans the bathrooms?

The Peterborough City Council (in Britain) ordered retirees who gather for coffee in the library to give up hot drinks in case one accidentally spills on a child.

Couldn't they use sippy cups?

This next isn't news, but a scary sign of the times:

A Captain at Santa Rita Prison was asked what the difference was between young new recruits and old time recruits, during his career. He answered thus: "They are older, 26 is average. Many still live at home with Mom and Dad. And, immature. Let me give you an example. A young, newly graduated deputy wanted a Saturday night off. I told him we couldn't spare him and he'd have to work. His mother came in and bawled me out for spoiling her son's weekend."

True story. I was the one who asked the question.

(Most of this information came from Chuck Shepherd of Funny Times.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Tomorrow, Jim leaves for Yuma in the Motor Home. I remain in Murphys until Dec. 16th, when I fly to Thailand with my grandson,, Mason. I'll be unable to blog from then until I return on Jan. 2nd, 2010. Egads! A new year and Christmas spent in Thailand. Should be interesting. I'll have lots of pictures and stories to share when I return.
Jim has been busily charting the first leg of our travels.
He'll spend Christmas in Yuma. From Yuma to Tuscon where I will fly to meet him on January 9th.
Tuscon to visit old friend Sandee Voges. Then on to Chiracaua National Monument Southeastern AZ.
Demming, New Mexico to visit Jim's Spanish Teacher.
Then Columbus, New Mexico- the only place that Pancho Villa invaded the U.S. and killed American's there.
To El Paso, Texas and down to Big Ben National Park. We travel East across Texas to New Orleans by February 5th for Mardi Gras and other attractions. We expect to spend a month in Louisiana because there is so much to see and do.
From there we'll post another itinerary.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I chuckle, now, about shopping madness in the 1980's. Remembering one particular Christmas with kid's high expectations; siblings too numerous to afford; trying to find the right gift with funds inadequate to make a dream come true. Tradition played its part as well. All of which placed me frazzled and desperate for last minute sales in Stockton at a Penny's Department Store on Christmas Eve. The lines were daunting and dispirited I stood, contemplating why I was in this horrific line, instead of sitting in front of the stove with a bowl of popcorn and a hot toddy enjoying my home and family.
Someone in front of me said, "Let's go to fabric. The line will be short. No one buys fabric this close to Christmas." I hesitated to give up my place in line, but, followed, went upstairs, and there, the line was like all of the others. Tired shoppers struggling with packages, waiting in line with purchases from other departments. The only glimmer of hope was this clerk had an assistant, a bagger, which could conceivably make the wait shorter.
We plodded slowly forward. About seven deep, I heard someone voice my own thoughts. "Why do you have an assistant when none of the other clerks do?"
"Oh, I don't work here," chimed in the bagger. "I'm a customer. I just thought I'd help out and now I can't quit."
It took a second or two for the information to percolate and suddenly my tiredness left. The clerk and bagger were happily and furiously removing tags and loading bags and bantering with the people closest in line.
I proposed a hip-hip-hooray, thrice, and the word spread down the line as everyone gave voice with lifted spirts.
I walked out into the cold night with my parcels, enjoyed the crisp wind on my face, and went home a new person. It ain't about the stuff.

Two years later, our family gave up shopping and agreed to donate to charities instead. We found such enjoyment in each other, I can't believe it took us so long. I know this is anathema when the economy is depending on spending. But none of us would change it.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Lucky be we that Thanksgiving is a four day event for our family. Everyone arrived on Wednesday. We took advantage of the balmy weather; the kids used the trampoline and adults and kids hiked to Michaelson School and played kickball.
There was time to rummage through the recipe box and decide what old favorites to make.
Time for relaxation for man and beast as business gives in to the holiday.

Game marathons ensued with Chess, Mille Bornes, Yahtze, Yu-gi-oh, Cribbage, Shut The Box, Lego Bionicles, Apples To Apples, Dominoes, Crazy Eight and a lot of banter. Sometimes different games captivated opposite ends of the table.
We've been accused of being a gaming family.
Music plays its part as well.

The bartender was prepared for those who imbibe.

The turkey was smoked.

The potato peeler, (twenty pounds of them) and the baker took a break in the kitchen.

The menu: Smoked turkey, spuds and gravy, Irish potatoes, corn casserole, stuffing, amazing salad, three types of cranberries, sweet potatoes with bananas, pineapple and rum, sweet potatoes with chicken broth and bay leaves, smoked chicken breast, and curried chicken. Desserts: Marzipan pear tart, blackberry and apple pies, sticky buns and snickerdoodles.

Thanksgiving has long been our favorite holiday. We thank you Sarah Hale.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order,
confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow."

I don't know who to thank for the message above. But I do know that even in tough times, we all have something to be grateful for. I'm ever grateful for a life of plenty and that I have the opportunity to help others on my way. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Modern turkey farms aren't as bad as they used to be. Our family camped near La Grange when our kids were young and you could smell the turkey farms miles before you came to them. Should have been enough to turn the appetite away from turkey. It didn't, though.

In the 1980's I did an article about a turkey ranch on Highway 4 near Farmington. I was impressed at how clean it was. Ranchers feed people economically and turkey raising doesn't use up the resources that beef and pork do. Except for their feed. Corn raising produces a blight on the earth from the massive amount of fertilizer used to grow corn.

Now I choose to shop my turkey at a free range turkey farm. No smell. The birds are lively, clean and happy, given their short future. I'm sure they are corn fed.
I'm supposedly getting wiser. I know the day is coming, in my lifetime, when population demands and resources, already feeling the strain, are going to produce a new way of living with less meat, or no meat in our diets. My vegan friends are adamant the time to change is NOW.

I'm reminded of two things, when Native Americans hunted, they always thanked the animal for its contribution to their health and blessed its spirit. And, I'm reminded of a man who was way ahead of his time. He said:

The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.
Leonardo da Vinci
I thank my turkey for being the guest of honor at my table tomorrow but I'm also wrestling with my conscience about eating meat and see myself moving closer and closer to vegetarianism.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


About 18 years ago, my childless yuppie daughter came to Thanksgiving with a "fur child", a Shih Tzu named Mezmer-as in mesmerize. Because Kris owned her own business, my brother, Dan, asked her who cares for your puppy while you work?
Her answer was Puppy Day Care.
Everyone split a gut laughing over Puppy Day Care, yet none of us even think its strange, now. Obedience school for pets is almost mandatory. There are recipes for home made dog biscuits in magazines; columns by experts on dog and cat care; huge pet emporiums so you can buy your pet toys and costumes and jewelry, and all manner of cosmetics, comfy beds, grooming tools, toenail polish, wigs, swings, and medications. There is a book out discussing how to talk to your dog or cat or horse or bird. Animal psychologists decipher pet neurosis while the pet teaches his or her master new tricks. You know about pet parades, picture contests, modeling contracts, pet talent shows, pet heroism awards. I'm probably missing some thing here.
I recently got an email with master and pet as look alike' s. I now know how to pick a designer pet and to avoid high maintenance dogs like bulldogs who get stinky tails and rashes in the folds of their skin. Or drooling Basset hounds that stain the couch. And highly sensitive miniature dogs that piss all over everything, or bark incessantly when they get excited. I know which breeds are trainable and those that are difficult. Turtles that snap, lizards that puke, birds that regurgitate, ferrets that claw, snakes that love plumbing... There is no end to pet stories to keep your friends entertained.
Today, I saw a first, though. Classes for pet first aid. And, I'm thinking its a great idea. You can learn to diagnose animal symptoms. That way you can confidently decide whether to take your pet to the vet or if the dry heaves or quivering is just the wrong brand of food.

(Psst! I'm gonna pass along a secret. Pets are part human.) Missy's picture comes from Pets On Line.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


An anonymous comment came in my message box about the supposed illegality of the Amador County Forest Service officials removing a door and chimney of the Monte Wolfe cabin in the deep river canyons of the Mokelumne. I blogged about Monte Wolfe three times in March of this year which relates the escapades of a venerable Mountain Man and his disappearance. He lived by himself in the rugged canyons of the Sierra Nevadas. He built cabins in three counties and roamed Amador, Alpine,Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties at will. He built single log bridges to cross the rivers for his own convenience and set out caches so he could range where ever he wanted to go. He built and maintained a fish trap to mine those rivers, planted potatoes, hired out as a mountain guide and socialized with hikers, hunters, forest service officials and locals living near by. He became a legend after his disappearance.

The photo above is of one of his small cabins. His main cabin was in Calaveras County.
After Monte Wolfe's disappearance, his main cabin was kept in repair by a group of interested citizens from Calaveras County calling themselves The Friends of Monte Wolfe Society. I'm told, members of that group still maintain his cabin. The trail is difficult to find, but Monte hasn't been forgotten. People still remember him, his haunts and wonder what could have happened to him because no trace of Monte was ever found.
In Amador County, a group also formed to maintain his cabin on the Moke. Members met with the Forest Service in 1962 and signed an agreement. However, in 1964, the Congressional Wilderness Act was signed into law to maintain or manage wilderness as pristine. That means no trails, no structures, no mechanical devices, etc. The cabin was over fifty years old and considered historical. It was documented and went through the preservation office and evaluated. The finding was that the Wolfe cabin was eligible for the National Historic Register. I spoke with Marilyn Meyer, from the U.S. Forest Service at length about this.
There is a "next step" after eligibility to preserve a structure. That next step was never taken. The 9th Circuit Court then ruled on dams and wilderness and defines wilderness as (paraphrased) ... magnificent works of nature to be kept as pristine without the interference of man...
In a nutshell, the forest service, by law, must allow the dams, and structures, such as the cabin to deteriorate and become one with nature again.
I queried her about this, knowing that the 9th Circuit Court was taking aim at the dams, not Monte's cabin. But the law paints with a broad brush.
I find it sad that we can't (the way the current law is now written) still preserve Monte's cabin. Then I asked her why the U.S. Forest Service was hastening the deterioration by removing a door and chimney to the cabin?
It seems the very people who want to maintain the cabin have decided they should have it for their own personal use. They've cut forest service locks on the cabin door and brought in their own locks. Brought in plastic pipe to pipe water, set fires in the stove, brought in pesticide sprays, carved their initials in the cabin post and walls. While the archetecture of the cabin is unique and admirable, the people who have made alterations do not appreciate that historic buildings are not altered. They are maintained as they were.

The destiny of the cabin is deterioration. Sad as that is, it won't affect the legend that is Monte Wolfe. Don de Young has a book coming out about Monte with much new information about his life. I'll be sure and let you know when it is available. And who knows, maybe the preservation group will investigate legal options to see if the cabin can legally be preserved and become a National Monument.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I volunteer for the Alameda County Sheriff's Archive, and when I arrived at Santa Rita on Thursday, I found the book The West Coast Goes To War by Don De Nevi. It was donated by Jay Friberg.
Deputy Marc Lakner , retired, was present, and he donated a piece from the Berlin Wall that was given to him by a relative who was once stationed at Checkpoint Charlie.
The Sheriff's Office has been described as a "semi military organization." Veterans are given five preferential points on exams to enter and promote through the ranks. Many veterans serve in the department, only now they are Viet Nam or Iraqi vets. Since we haven't had a war on American soil since the Civil War, I was surprised at the title of this book until I opened the pages and realized it was an apt title. Not the killing, bombing and bullets we see visited upon civilian populations that all war brings in the occupation, but a war even so, in stark contrast to today's conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Civilians volunteered to man watch towers to spot airplanes all over the Bay Area. Signage like those above were made, paid for and erected by civilians.
My husband lamented the taking of the Japanese as he watched half his friends from his high school basketball team be deported to concentration camps. It was personal ugliness. The evacuations were handled by the Sheriff's Department in Alameda County. I interviewed one Deputy, now deceased, who was part of that. The record is in our archive.
The Japanese family above were required to report to the Sheriff's Department and every car carrying a Japanese person was stopped and searched when traveling over the Bay Area Bridges.
People bought bonds to support the war; canteens were organized for soldiers returning or leaving. Dances were held for them. Women went to city hall and wrapped bandages for the war effort. They had victory gardens and rationing of sugar, gas, and other needed war materials. There were blackouts and curfews and radio silence to be obeyed and enforced by Sheriff's deputies. They covered the patrol cars headlamps with a black cloth that barely allowed them to see the road they were driving on. Production jobs, making bullets, ship building and so on were taken over by women. Many were married women who did it for the cause, and then returned to family duties after the war. (An interesting black note here, only white women were provided with child care while working the war industry. Women of color had to arrange their own child care.)
An escape route was built across the mountain tops of California in the event of bombings and there were various skirmishes in American territory, (subs, air breeches, one firing on a West Coast fort, and an altercation in Alaska)
For all of its support, let us never forget, war is about killing people.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


While I often complain about being technologically challenged, I also consider myself and others like me Computer Pioneers.
I went from a Commodore 64 in 1982 to an Amiga, then a Macintosh, (one of several), to my current PC.
The Commodore, (Wisdom of the day- who would ever need more than 64 megabytes?) worked like a typewriter, except you didn't have a carriage return and the words parsed all over the place. You couldn't always see the beginning of your sentence, or the end of your sentence when it jumped as you were typing. Disconcerting. This beauty cost me about $1,000 plus classes to learn how to use it.

To print on my C Itoh printer, I had to program the page like this:

SP1:pp66:pg55:lm15:re70:vpt< (manually <> (return) eleven times.

For a different program you had to reset the printer turning on and off various dip switches. Instructions: Bend over the machine to read from left to right, with cord to the right, hold a flashlight and use a fingernail or small screwdriver to set the switches.

The formula read like this:

SW1 8,7,2-closed. 1,3,4,5,6 open.
SW2 2,4,7-closed. 1,3,5,6,8 open.
(Change #8 for programs that double space to #6 on switch 2.

You had to know braille to figure out what was off and on. The flashlight, if you could hold it, didn't help much.

To boot up my word processing program I had to type in a load formula, no auto boot.
I guess it isn't such a big deal when I think about today's long singular lines, no caps, passwords, some numbers and signs, but, at the time, it was daunting and complicated and didn't make intuitive sense. Nothing popped up automatically in your address line. You didn't even have an address line. If you pressed the wrong button you could easily lose your work. Now, at least, you get a window that asks if you want to destroy, or delete work. Yes, they were quite primitive, those first computers.

We spent the money, helped iron out the bugs, kept buying the next generation up until they could be mass produced inexpensively, so everyone could own a computer. We fought with those machines and cried over tossing them for the next best thing. We were the pioneers.

What the heck, learning truly is the best entertainment. I'm guess I'm surprised I got from there to here.
I'm grateful for my computer. I don't do anything fancy on it except manipulate pictures, which I love. Its way better than the old typewriter. Thank you Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and half that generation for teaching an old dolly new tricks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Working on a complicated project, converting old video tapes to DVD, for me, is frustrating. It is even worse when the DVD burner on your two year old computer decides not to work. Of course, its no longer under warranty.

Once the problem was identified, Jim researched the net and found we could purchase a new DVD drive for $107. Then, its a matter of getting it installed.

Now, I'm here to tell you that is not what happened at all. Jim got the HP technical staff on-line. He downloaded the extensive HP Manual. Then, they chatted him through the repair. It took several hours from start to finish, but we didn't have to wait for a the part to arrive nor spend the money. Now, that's what I call a success story.

HP was so helpful. And, I'm glad to know there is an alternative when things go wrong. Its not always necessary to shell out for that new part when you really can "do it yourself!"

Men seem to be more savvy about fixing things than women. At least in my generation. I never would have thought to do what he did. So, ladies, its time we learn.
Thanks, Jim.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


On Sunday, after the Tutankhamen Exhibit, we spent time in the De Young's permanent exhibits. Of course, permanent can change with the years. Viewing paintings and objects remembered from a long ago visit was like greeting old friends.
I could not help but ponder her clothing and how primitive the cloth and fit were compared to today's fabrics and design. How is she holding that strapless garment up, entered my mind, as well as the sad face of her dog. Very compelling and lifelike.
Even digital photography does not render them well, but I can never resist trying. I stared at the lady in the blue veil.
A cougar? Made into a bench? Just my style. Into the bench file with this photo.
This pottery crow eating a frog was perfection.
New since my last visit was this Dale Chihuly piece I'd never seen before. He looks like such a rascal and produces fragile glass pieces.
The ordinary object transformed always fascinates me.
But my favorite piece for the day was this happy clay figure which reminded me of grandson Theo who expresses pure joy with such sweetness.
The De Young is a treasure and I'm reminded I don't visit often enough.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The King Tut Exhibit has returned to San Francisco's De Young Museum. The photo above is the seal on the tomb door that Carter had the wherewithal to photograph before he broke the clay and opened the tomb. A photo of a photograph. I wanted to bring home pictures of some of the tombs riches but a no photo policy prevailed.
Grandson Owen identified with the Boy King who inherited the throne at age 9 and died at age 19. (Owen is a nine year old.) Its tough to wrap your mind around. That the Boy King was beloved was obvious by his respectful burial. He returned his country to traditional religion that had been changed by the previous King. His advisers obviously led him in the right direction, for his adoring subjects were grateful. At least, that is what we think from the parts and pieces cobbled together about his life.
I had forgotten how deeply he was buried with three coffins, one inside the other. Each coffin revealed beautiful gold masks before his final resting place was opened with the now famous golden death mask covering his mummified remains. A necklace of extraordinary beauty lay across his thighs. The opening of the coffins was uniquely depicted by the museum curators in an amazing life sized video image.
Seeing Tut's childhood chair with a foot rest, several different crowns that he wore, and the exquisitely carved busts of his father, aunts, sisters, grandmother and so on, made The Boy King more human and real than any pictures I'd seen or anything I'd read about him before.

The delicate artwork included in the exhibit was magical. Fine features rendered on small statues, authentic hair and clothing, lifelike and beautiful in clay and gold. Mirror backs, a knife sheath about a foot in length with multiple hunting scenes; everywhere complex stories rendered in gold or clay or wood. One had to admire the incredibly talented artisans.
And the writing. The hieroglyphs are such beautiful art that we forget, everywhere, on tables, chairs, clothing, walls, was the written story. We don't think of them as words, we think of them as design.
Go if you can.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My grandson Owen hides among the figures on a downtown Davis mural.
Theo learns basketball with wonderful coaches at a city program for kids.

This is Davis. Except for the University identification, who would know Davis exists? Its just off Highway 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco, but its whole identity is the university. Well, it was so at one time. A medium small agricultural community between here and there. It doubled its growth during the last 15 years and the community has grown into one of those extremely desirable places to live.
My young grandsons have mega opportunities for recreation, education, sports activities. The schools are great. People are friendly. Bike paths and walking trails under roads and tracks make this community accessible for humans as well as vehicles.
A cozy downtown where walk and shop are thriving. One would never guess we are in a depression. Public art and good restaurants makes the experience even better.
The boys are great savers and when they accumulate a few dollars, they go to Bizarro World to shop.

And, comparing childhoods, they live in a bizarre world. Theo, age 7 is better at math than I am. His older brother has a better vocabulary. The games they play are Yu-Gi-Oh. It requires a whole different language that I can't begin to understand.
They delineate the complexities of why the computer electronics are not following the rules with a patience I can hardly understand.
I look at this new world through their eyes and can't help but think, Oh, what a wonderful world we live in.
I told them, if you become an inventor, please invent, for me, a self cleaning garage. I just want to press a button and have the whole thing clean, the nails in the right cans, the spider webs swished off the windows and all the paint cans properly labeled.
Hey, you think?

Friday, November 13, 2009


When traveling, men are likely to carry some sort of bag or case. Businessmen have gone from briefcases, to computer cases or both. Businesswomen from purses to brief cases and computer cases. An evolution of sorts. Casually dressed men unabashedly carry fanny packs and computer cases. But what about purses? Its just a sturdy bag; is there really any difference? A purse has had a feminine connotation, but now, with so much gender equality has that changed?

I notice the marketing of mens gadget holders, over the shoulder contraptions that secure an i phone, travel documents, key holder, wallet and whatever. Its the faze-in to a man's purse, no matter what you call it. Gadget holder works for me.

Since I tend to carry a large bag, my partner tends to load it up with things that don't fit in his pocket or small fanny pack, so I end up lugging his "stuff" as well as mine.

It's okay, but I think he should dump the fanny pack and carry a purse, er, ah... gadget holder.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My husband, (deceased) was an Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy. He learned from inmates a lot about controlled substances. For instance, inmates could buy cigarettes, if they could afford them. There were fights, including stabbings over cigarettes. When they issued inmates freeline tobacco, (a cheap, loose tobacco for roll your own cigs) fights over cigarettes ceased. (Now, for health reasons, inmates are no longer allowed to smoke in jail.)
Sugar was given to inmates in guarded amounts to control ants and the making of hooch. Thus, sugar became contraband. Inmates would smuggle it and sell it to other inmates. Fights would ensue and as a consequence, the ant problem and hooch making spread. Once they put sugar on the tables freely, the fights over sugar disappeared and the hooch makers were easier to control.

California legalized marijuana for medical use, the Federal Government, under Obama, chooses not to prosecute marijuana use in legal clinics and now the 250,000 physician strong American Medical Association has suspended its ban on marijuana research. They've asked the Federal Government to remove its classification as a Schedule 1 dangerous, restrictive drug. This opens the way for decent research on the benefits of cannabis. Their major objection stemmed from delivering it by the unhealty practice of smoking it.

Thirteen states have legal medical marijuana use laws and others are considering it. The Federal Government at one time classified Marijuana as causing a homocidal mania. The culture is changing and it is no longer considered the evil weed.

Dispensaries all over California are going through growing pains; unhappy neighbors, distrustful officials concerned about inadequate oversight. Clinic robberies, questions about permits and advertising. Can you put flyers on neighborhood cars advertising your business? How many clinics can you have in one neighborhood and are clinics allowing marijuana abuse? How close to schools can they be? Oh, the shakeout is coming and it needs to happen. But, the good news is, marijuana is coming out of the closet for treating cancer, glaucoma, HIV and pain. So, if we tax and regulate it like we do cigarettes and alcohol, some people will get rich, and the state, cities and counties would have a new source of revenue. And, it will lose its cache as contraband. I never thought I'd be a proponent of marijuana, but I'm part of that changing culture.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Metta Schafft of Sonora owns a Civil War Diary from her ancestor, Peter Lane in which he notes that marching across the beautiful hills and through timber and crossing streams, he met farmers, their herds of cows and hogs, blacksmiths and carpenters. Families stirring in their dwellings waving at them marching by, only to remark:
"...this scene of happiness was destined to be ruined by war. Gen. Sherman the robber and incendiary said War Is Hell, he, at least, carried it on that principle-burning, killing and destroying."

Now the killing is more efficient.
I salute our nations veterans while I hate war.
Some people consider themselves patriots and those of us against war as unpatriotic.
Let us consider the wise words of some respected historical figures:

"As never before, the essence of war is fire, famine and pestilence. They contribute to its outbreak; they are among its weapons; they become its consequences."
"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing." Dwight D. Eisenhower

"It is a shallow victory which leaves a prostrate people." Charles A. Lindbergh

"The human tragedy reaches its climax in the fact that after all the exertions and sacrifices of hundreds of millions of people and of the victories of the Righteous Cause, we have still not found Peace or Security..." Winston Churchill

"War is the business of barbarians." Napoleon

"There never was a good war or a bad peace." Franklin

"You are never going to get peace with millions of armed men. The chariot of peace cannot advance over a road littered with cannon." Lloyd George

"No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." Madison

"War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses." Jefferson

"Let us pity and forgive those who urge increased armaments, for "they know not what they do."" Andrew Carnegie

"To be prepared for war is one of the most ineffectual ways of preserving peace." Washington

"When wars do come, they fall upon the many, the producing class, who are the sufferers. U.S.Grant

I salute our nations veterans but war should be relegated to the trash heap as a way of solving problems. Civilization is at stake.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I've never owned a car I liked as much as my Prius. The novelty of owning an electric hybrid was exciting at first. Now, I want to give it a tender pat every time I check my mileage and realize how much I save on fuel when I fill it up with that expensive juice. I've had snide remarks from others about the batteries, their polluting affect and short life. Well, there is good news about batteries.

Read Susan Kraemer's article at partly quoted below:

ARPA-E funding is for breakthrough inventions that have the potential to radically change the way we get energy. Fluidic Energy holds this promise because a metal-air battery that uses an ionic liquid as its electrolyte (instead of water) would dramatically outperform the best lithium-ion batteries currently on the market.

An electric car with a relatively small battery could potentially travel well over 500 miles on a charge if his ionic liquid research pans out. This advance would leapfrog the electric car industry to well beyond the shorter-than-a-gas-tank range that has restricted the market appeal of electric cars.

Also on Gas2.0 is Andrew Williams piece on a car that parks itself shown on a YouTube video with links to other robotic car videos. These are full size vehicles. Wow! Innovations abound, a carbon free motorcycle race in California, new hybrid vans, and more. I can't wait for the electric Motor Home to ramble in.

But then comes the bad news. After Chrysler-Fiat took billions in bailout loans from the Federal Government, promising a half-million electric cars on the road by 2013, Chrysler has renegged on pretty much all of its electric car promises after axing the ENVI program.
This just makes me sick.

Monday, November 9, 2009


This is the last of a pear crop on my neighbor's tree. My neighbor doesn't use them and they drop on the ground and go to waste. Quite small, mottled, tough skinned, misshapen pears, some with bird pecks and bruises.
Waste is not in my vocabulary, thanks to depression era parents. Whenever you read a recipe you are exhorted to use the "best" fruit, choose items without blemishes, bruises and so on. By that definition, these were substandard.
I cut out the bad spots, cored them and diced them up with out paring. Put them in a pan with a glob of butter and less than a half inch of water and cooked them for about 15 minutes. They were somewhat hard to begin with, some Bartletts, some comice.
They kept their shape and were tender, rich and buttery when done. We ate some spooned generously over sage and rosemary seasoned chicken breast that had been pan cooked with spinach and festooned with feta cheese. Delicious!
The next morning, sprinkled with cinnamon, we ate them on oatmeal with a dab of brown sugar and milk. Excellent!
The following night, we enjoyed them in a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette followed by desert of a heaping tablespoon of the pears, with juice, covered with vanilla yogurt.
I was surprised at several friends who confessed to being clueless when it comes to using pears. I had never tried just dicing them and cooking them, before, either. I surprised myself with a good way to use pears.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We take care of our health, we make sure our roof is tight, we save some money, and live right. We do for others; improve our community and make sure talent and worth are nurtured.
Michal Houston serves on the Hospital Board and is a past President of the Murphys Community Club. Not her only volunteer work. Madalaine Krska works full time and volunteers for the Arts Council, just one of a number of projects she has taken on. I still maintain two volunteer positions, one with Calaveras Community TV and The Sheriff's Archive, even from the road, now that I'm rambling. Women are phenomenal contributors.

But, at the end of the day, we know to nurture our friendships. Camps restaurant, in Angels Camp, offers good service, food, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The Three M's Night Out.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Here is how the story goes. A metal detector got misplaced in a load of loose hay that was also hauling sheep. When the detector was located, it had a metal part missing. The owner wondered if one of the sheep had eaten it. She passed the detector over one sheep and it beeped as the receptor was passed over it's spine. Quite surprised, she ran it over all four of her sheep. It beeped for all four. Now, her question was, will it beep when passed over a human spine?

Hey, my new avocation is chasing rumors, attending festivities and visiting local attractions. I guess I can add a bit of "detecting." Three adults later, the answer is nope!
My advice: Buy a better metal detector. A new one with all of its parts. Read the instructions carefully. (I neglected to tell her sheep won't eat metal.)

Friday, November 6, 2009


I received an intriguing comment from Canada Guy about junk mail. His point being that junk mail should be banned and our leaders should take up the subject, no-DO IT- in Copenhagen at the Global Warming Summit.
I detest the stuff. Even so, I understand how banning it would interfere with the advertisers freedom of speech- enterprise- if you will. My opinion? It ain't gonna happen.

Consider the guy who loves junk mail. He gets on as many lists as he can. He loves catalogs especially. He has an airtight Fisher stove and he heats his house with junk mail. He has to use a little wood for a long sustained fire, but he has learned how to build the paper fire, get the stuff like magazines and catalogs to burn, and heat his house. He says, "...what more can you ask? Free fuel, delivered free to your door."

While the story is true, I consider his attitude irresponsible. I'm overwhelmed with wood and for most of the 33 years I've lived on this property, I haven't burned wood. If I allow it to decay slowly on my property, it releases carbon at a slow, natural rate. Burning it releases carbon and heavy particulate quickly and absolutely destroys the air quality. In fact, Calaveras County finally got smart and the planning department will no longer approve homes that use wood stoves or fireplaces as their only source of heat. The trouble is, a back-up stove, such as mine, can be used anyway you want after the planning department signs off.
Back to junk mail. A Do Not Mail List is the way to go. It gives me freedom of choice to close out unwanted advertising and many people would do it if they could.
Canada Guy has a number of interesting things on his website and blog. Some day, we will all have to come to terms with our destructive ways and the smart business owner will quit fighting it and make it happen. Check Canada Guy out at:

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Everything they say about girlfriends, is true. We really bond, talk and understand each other. (Jim calls himself a thorn among the roses. He took the picture.)
All I know is I would be bereft without my girlfriends. This impromptu gathering was so much fun, the toasts we made, the laughter and "girl talk."
Tomorrow I have girls night out with the three M's, that's myself, Michal and Madalaine. Because I'm now on the road so much with Jim, I find these get togethers all the more precious. When I'm gone, I miss some family gatherings, neighbors, deaths, weddings, local events, my local newspaper...gosh, whole buildings go up in the neighborhood when I'm gone.
Its about choices. I'm glad I've become a rambler; I'm glad I have Jim in my life. I'm happy to have these years of good health and happy to have new adventures to look forward to.

A good girlfriend, (now deceased) used to always toast with these words:
"Here's to us good friends and true. Stab her in the back before she stabs you." Which always brought rollicking laughter.
Another, that I tend to over use is: "Here's to you and here's to me. May we always agree. And if we should disagree, to hell with you and here's to me."
Of course toasts can be serious, but for some reason or another me Irish comes up when I have a drink in hand.

"Heres to my friend, the bride. May you always have diamonds on your fingers and knock-you-dead-destroy-the-paycheck dresses to wear. And to the groom, may you have an indestructible paycheck."

Truth to tell, my usual toast is may you know as much happiness as I have known. And that's for real.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I'm always fascinated by the common object as seen through the eyes of different designers. I guess that's what makes art. My collectiholic brain is drawn toward themes. Today, I need time "on the bench" since yesterday was so busy. The one above I found on an old train car at Seaside, Oregon.
These are just two mosaic benches that sit outside the Yuma, AZ Public Library

This smart cat garden bench is from La Connor, WA. along with the two that follow. La Conner could reasonably be called Bench City, since there were so many of them around town.

This heavy wooden wagon wheel bench can be found in Mercer Caverns Store. Its actually comfortable to sit on.

Metal benches can only be located in cool places like this public bench in San Francisco.

The two above are both from Blaine, WA. For a day like today, (summer in fall) The ivy bench beckons.