Monday, September 30, 2013


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Saturday morning, I drove to my brother's house in Valley Springs. Wild turkeys seem to have taken over his yard.
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when I first moved to Calaveras County, nary a turkey could be found. Now, they are everywhere. Their predators have been pushed to higher elevations because of encroaching building and population in the foothills. Still, you'd think a wily fox or coyote might find a convenient meal. He claims they hang out under this tree and he can't figure out what they are eating?
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We loaded into his van and drove to the Terraces Assisted Living Center where my sister, Dawn, moved two months ago. She has a nice, bright apartment and loves assisted living. However, she is being treated with radiation for brain cancer and being very brave about it. We worked for hours on the genealogy.  My folks moved around a lot before and after we were burned out in Michigan. As a result, Dawn attended 13 different schools in her lifetime. Less for Bill and I. We three are the oldest of our family of seven siblings and it was difficult to figure out where we lived when, sometimes.DSC01521 (Copy)
At the Terraces, Dawn can reserve a room to have a family gathering. In this case, we had Sunday brunch.DSC01523 (Copy)
Dawn's daughter, Debby, her husband Bob, and their daughter-in-law, Margaret and grandson, CJ are enjoying their buffet choices. Mimosas are served with Sunday Brunch.
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Dawn's grandson, Jeffry, and newest great grandchild, Abbie, who was a bit camera shy and about to cry. She isn't quite walking yet. She is the youngest of Dawn's 6 great grandchildren.DSC01524 (Copy)
Sometimes it is really tough to think of my niece as a grandmother. Grandparents don't seem to be as old as our grandparents looked to us. DSC01527 (Copy)
After awhile, Abbie got a bit friendlier.

About noon, we left the Terraces but not before Brother Bill had to call Triple AAA to get us on the road again. He has a second owner "new" Dodge Van, and the battery was dead. The Triple A tech didn't have a new battery that would work in the van, but he warned that it needed to be replaced very soon.

We drove Dawn to Roseville and got her settled into her hotel near the cancer treatment center while Bill kept the van running. We decided to take Dawn to dinner. Bill conveniently parked by an auto service center in case the battery wouldn't go the distance.  The van died so we had our dinner in the service center waiting room while waiting the two hours to get to the Van.
I'm very admiring of my sister's attitude about her situation. She jokingly said, "My treatments only take five minutes. Somehow it doesn't seem right. I don't feel a thing. Shouldn't there be some dramatic price to pay? Like pain or something?"

We are grateful she has no pain, and so is she, of course.
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I returned home to my pounds of mail. The next week will be very busy for me. Just try to go paperless. It is tough!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


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I spent a night in my own bed in Murphys last night. Ahh!  Felt good to be “home” even though I immediately miss the convenience of the motor home.  The night I spent with my daughters family near the airport was very enjoyable. I noticed my grandkids can sit down and have an adult conversation with me. Owen and I discussed whether you can clone people successfully and Theo, when I got up in the morning, offered to cook me breakfast. (Both boys get themselves up, feed the cat and chickens, make their breakfast, pack their school lunches, and get themselves off to school. Kind of put me in mind of the 26 year old who can’t fend for himself. But, Theo surprised me even more. He offered to fix me breakfast. They have four chickens that supply the family adequately with eggs.
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The eggs are organic, as is this borrowed carton. The last time I photographed the hens, one hen was laying bullet shaped eggs. She is now down to marble sized eggs and they expect her laying days are just about over. No matter, she will always be allowed to stay and peck bugs, and eat with the others.
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Theo put toast in the toaster oven, heated the pan and started. I was impressed. DSC01511 (Copy)I know I’m a biased grandma, but I was expecting cereal or toast.
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“I like to turn mine over but still keep the yolks runny. Do you like them this way Grandma?” Yup!  “You put a little butter on the edge of the spatula and it helps get under them without breaking the egg.”  He told me.
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And, then, he also told me how he likes to eat his eggs. He slides the whole egg on the toast before breaking open the yolk. Then, yum!  He very casually told me, “Oh, I fix myself eggs about twice a week.”
I have a feeling these boys will not be lazing around home with no ambition to do anything with their lives.

Friday, September 27, 2013


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This panel is one of many installed in the Sacramento Airport during its recent expansion. I’m hopeful to someday photograph all the new installations since I always fly to Sacramento to reach my home turf.
“My son-in-law picked me up at the airport and I always get great benefits from having my daughter’s family live in an Airport City. I used to tell my kids when they were growing up, one of you needs to work for an airlines so I can fly free. (Joking, of course). Traveling the back roads of America, like Jim and I have done, completing about 2000 miles on Highway 2, you realize that people in small town America do not have the easy access to plane transportation we more urban people do.  Luckily they have AMTRAK, or they would be many difficult  miles from modern connections, except by automobile.
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But, what I most appreciate is getting to spend and afternoon and evening with my grandsons.  Theo is 11 and he and the cat helped me pick out a few ripe pomegranates to bring home.  Last year, the tree had one giant pomegranate. This year it is loaded and bending over with fruit.DSC01501 (Copy)
Then I get fresh organic eggs for breakfast from the four backyard chickens they keep. Kind of a bit of the country in the city.DSC01504 (Copy)
Owen, age 13, told me this school book, its math, costs $100. The teacher must also have the “guide” for another $70.  I almost fainted. That is a horrific cost the schools must pay for each students books. I had no idea. Multiply that by however many students and then other books for other classes…wow!  Owen is a serious student and loves school and even more, his karate program. He is working for a black belt.
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The family and I love Mikuni, a Japanese restaurant. Another thing I miss on the road is a choice of ethnic foods no matter where we are.
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Wakami salad is my favorite. We had barbequed albacore as an appetizer. I forgot to photograph our entrees but I managed to get through my whole meal with chop sticks, which doesn’t always happen.
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Theo enjoyed Japanese ice cream called mochi.  It is four gelatinous rice balls filled with ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, mango, and strawberry flavored, cut in quarters and beautifully served. And, delicious. Owen had chocolate lava cake. Both very different presentations of cake and ice cream.
I love having this special time with my family I would not have had except for a nearby airport.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


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Thunderbird Thousand Trails has a new washroom. I was glad the old agitator machines are gone for the more efficient front loaders that I like because I had three big loads of laundry to do.  I chuckled a bit when I thought of the "old agitators". At least I didn't have to heat water on a wood stove and fill that old wash tub.
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It pays to put things in perspective. It is hard for me to imagine how much work my mother went through to wash clothes when we lived in Hardwood. I do know we had less clothes and therefore washed less often. We've come a long way, Baby. 

How things have changed, in more ways than equipment. At the laundry I chatted with a friendly woman. She and her husband work full-time and  live in their RV full-time. They move between three Washington Parks and commute from them to their jobs.  They sold their house and made this dramatic change because they couldn't get their two sons, age 20 and 21 to move out and get a job. The boys have menial paying jobs, no aspirations to go to college, and it was just too easy to stay home with, as she put it, "the silver spoon."  Her beautiful top of the line front loading washer is in storage. She and I both laughed about the solution. Hey, at least she did something about it. I know parents with a 26-year-old do-nothing spoiled kid still living at home and all they do is complain about him.
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It rained much of yesterday and the weather was cold and damp.  It cleared a bit, just as the sun was about to set. More of it to come, too, but I'll be leaving the motor home before it gets to Murphys.  I'm flying back to California today because my sister is being treated for brain cancer and I want to spend some time with her. I have lots of pictures (and memories)  to share from our tromp through Michigan.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


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We left the Leavenworth area Thousand Trails headed for Stevens Pass. We got our first glimpse of a snow-covered peak.
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A second, sharper peak hove into view. But, a pass, is a pass. We will avoid those lofty, snow-covered heights.DSC01478 (Copy)
As we climbed fog rolled around the hill sides.
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Moving wisps and billows made everything beautiful.
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It teased and played with us and seemed to drop lower. In fact, it was we who were getting higher into the fog belt.
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We crossed the summit at 4,111 feet and descended into a solid bank of fog.
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Luckily, not as dense as it appeared. We drove out of it in minutes and arrived safely and happily in Western Washington.
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We are camped at Thunderbird Thousand Trails near Monroe Washington, which sits on the Snohomish River. We walked down to the river and watched the salmon spawn and jump.
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As hard as we tried we never could get a picture of one breaking the water in one of those beautiful, twisting jumps.
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About 3:00 p.m. Jim's good friend Al Penta stopped by. An avid bicker, since we last saw him, he's ridden bike events in Vermont, Quebec, Florida and many closer to home. His bike is his main means of transportation. His next biking event will be in Cuba.  It was raining lightly.
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Al's girlfriend, Kim, works weekdays and lives in Seattle, so I will miss her this trip. I fly back to Murphys tomorrow.  Jim has known Al for 62 years and he told me Al knows the words to all the songs we grew up with. He got him to sing for me. Thanks Al, I never understood half the words Fats Domino said in that song Saturday Morning, until you sang it for me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


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At Leavenworth, as part of their Salmon Festival, the River Front Museum and Gallery asked for recycled art submissions, that included a children's category. This masterfully done crow was installed in the yard.
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Also in the yard, hanging from a birch tree, saw blades of various sizes made a nice sculpture.DSC01421 (Copy)
On the porch this giant dragonfly.
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Inside, made from wire and paper, was this delightful chihuahua, my favorite piece. There was no indication of what criteria the judges used to decide a winner, if they chose a winner.DSC01431 (Copy)
Several old windows were converted to art windows with crushed glass.
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I'd like one of those.DSC01433 (Copy)
They were all made by the same artist.
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This multimedia piece used up some unusual items, bullets and shell casings, used corks, sea shells and buttons.
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The artist chose interesting items for jewelry. The necklace on the left has cut up credit card pieces. The trouble with pieces like this, is you can't wear them.
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The kids entries were pretty neat.
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This boy used an old door, painted it and rigged a plaster three-dimensional, tiled sculpture of a salmon in the bear's mouth. Lot of work and effort here.
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Sturdy feed sacks turned into shopping bags. Nice.DSC01448 (Copy)
This wall hanging was made from old sweaters, but, I could visualize it as a bath mat, washable, nice and soft on your feet coming out of the shower. Nice.
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This nice piece was made from a radiator cover, mounted on wood. I got a little art fix at Leavenworth, we moved on to a Thousand Trails Park about 25 miles up the road.  Yesterday, between raindrops, Jim and I walked the Park.
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The lodge had this magnificent fireplace and a big bin of wood. Nobody was about. It is definitely fall chasing winter here.
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I thought of my son-in-law when I saw a double football field sized expanse of grass. The sport here is frisbee golf. This is a "hole" or goal. We saw five of these, some over treed areas.
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Mushrooms the size of portabellas, looked delicious, but  I know better than to pick them. Washington would be a good state to grow mushrooms. I wonder? Wild Portabellas? Must they be imported from Italy?