Friday, February 28, 2014



Recent news about Volkswagen in Tennessee voting against organizing with the United Auto Workers Union surprised me. Union membership has fallen dramatically and Union Bashing is a favorite activity of the Republican Party, and corporate interests in general. I name the GOP because they traditionally support corporate America over labor, and especially unions. I don't know if there was intimidation involved or not, but it worries me that young people, who have difficulty finding meaningful work to support a family, seem to have no remembrance of what Unions have meant to working people.  My surprise was augmented by watching the Triangle Fire on PBS, about the horrible working conditions women, men, boys, and young girls faced to simply feed themselves and pay for slum shelter.

[At the paper office, Bank Alley, 4 P.M.]  Location_ Syracuse, New York (State)

Corporate America thought it was their right to pay whatever they wanted while they collected millions in profits. Millions in the 1800's was mucho big bucks.  No safety standards or any regulation of the thousands of factory workers who produced clothing, jewelry, pots, pans, you name it, existed. New York was the center of the garment industry.

The Triangle Fire, where 145 girls perished in a shirtwaist factory, kind of woke up the nation to the idea that working people should have some protections. The girls worked 7 days a week for 14 hours a day. They were not allowed to get up and get a drink of water, nor use the bathroom until lunch time, which they ate at their sewing machines. If they didn't sew fast enough the boss would chastise them.  If they made a mistake,  it came off their meager pay. When fire broke out,  the door to the street was kept locked so no one could sneak out for a moment, and they were trapped on the ninth floor. The bosses got out on the first packed, slow elevator. New York City FD ladders could only reached seven stories high. Those that got out on the fire escape, (some escaped,)  until the fire escape fell to the ground under theie weight.

The shirtwaist factories in NYC went on strike. The policemen who beat girls for striking, arrested them for striking, and falsely arrested them as prostitutes, were now faced with picking up the bodies of girls they had hassled before the strike was settled. The Triangle, did not go union like most of the other shirt waist factories, but Triangle did reduce hours and paid more money. No safety regulations applied to any of them.
I have a Free Riders Card which states:

I am opposed to all unions. Therefore, I am opposed to all the benefits unions have won through the years: paid vacations, sick leave, seniority rights, wage increases, pension and insurance plans, safety laws, workers compensation, Social Security, overtime, unemployment benefits and job security.  I authorize my employer to withhold the amount of the union-won benefits from my paycheck and donate it to charity.

Unions are still needed. In the early 1970's, when the protestors on the streets of Berkeley, were screaming at the cops and calling them PIGS, they were secretly smiling because Sheriff Houchins went to the Board of Supervisors to plead for overtime pay for Deputy Sheriffs,  a first for the Department. The department later unionized and won modern benefits unavailable to them previously.

In the 1960's, just before retirement, the company my father worked for, took many measures to get him to quit so he couldn't collect his pension, including midnight phone calls to my mother, tacks under his tires, etc.  My Dad walked into the administration office with both of his Sons-in-law, dressed in suits and ties carrying briefcases. He asked them to make a formal statement in front of them, never revealing they were not lawyers. The company quit their harassment and he got his pension.

Do we really learn from the past?

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I spent a frustrating morning trying to print out visas for Turkey, yesterday morning. After four hours, it turned out to be my credit card. Changed card and the embassy accepted it. YAY.
After the adoption certificate arrived I signed up for PAWS newsletter. I should have done it years ago. They have great videos of what they do. Check out the following link:

I visited the ARK in 2010. Here is a link to that album if you are interested:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


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In December, I donated to PAWS, a wonderful organization that rescues performing animals, wild animals, often used in circuses or zoos or from private commercial ventures. They are often mistreated or not treated well enough and they become ill  or unmanageable. PAWS has three wildlife sanctuaries like this one in Calaveras County. I've visited before and it is heartbreaking to see elephants with infected feet, or listen to the trumpet of a new arrival getting acquainted with an old friend. It is an amazing program, just as animals are amazingly intelligent and wonderful creatures.
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When I sent my check, I didn't know I was going to be adopting Iringa and African Elephant. I knew I was going to get two tickets to their next open house and since my daughter-in-law Laurie moved to the county and is an elephant collector, I thought it would be something we could do together.
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They even sent me a short biography of Iringa. I'm sure I'm not the only one to adopt Iringa, because it is very expensive to feed and house these animals, not to mention the vet care.  If you are of like mind, go to the web site,, find out when they have an open house, and come support this wonderful program

Monday, February 24, 2014


This graph comes from Mother Jones Magazine. California is in deep trouble as is Southern Oregon. I opened my accumulated mail and my water usage, while I was gone, with only one person living in my house was over the base amount by a small amount. Our base amount was recently reduced by 20%. No sprinkling system was used during that time. Karen hand watered plants that appeared to be dry. We are both water misers and what bothers me about percentage cuts is that water misers are unfairly penalized. The next cut will be 30% we are warned. We know it has to be done and our water usage must be altered.
I stopped for fresh produce yesterday and paid $38 for a small bag of all organic produce and counted my blessings that I can afford to buy locally grown food that doesn’t have to be hauled across the state in a big gas guzzling truck, and sit for a week in a box in cold storage at the grocers.
It was also interesting to see what fruits and vegetables use the most water. I was surprised that California citrus and avocados and cherries were not on the list. I always consider them major parts of the California economy. It seems useful to me to know what foods are water lovers and which are not. I haven’t planted a garden since my neighbor shares his with me. I have an unused well and I’m looking into activating it but it only gives 9 gallons per minute.  Now I hear, the county has decided to tax people’s wells. I have to wonder whether I will be taxed at the same rate as another neighbor who gets 64 gallons a minute?  I have no ready answers. Karen and I are going to work on a crude water catchment system before our predicted rain on Wednesday. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


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My sister Dawn’s celebration of life was held yesterday in Sunol, CA. population about 300.
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Dawnie’s youngest daughter, Debbie served as caretaker through those tough months before her death. She knew that Dawnie’s joy in life came mainly from her  family, particularly, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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Her only son, Tom, pointed out the main events in her life, how she met their father, the birth of four children, facing death and divorce, working, working, working. while I mentally toted up her most obvious character traits. She was a hard worker, uncomplaining, and could be quite stoic. Never self-aggrandizing, nor prone to taking credit for her accomplishments. She was like a mother to her younger siblings.  She helped me through teenaged angst, convincing me of my worth, and beauty when I knew I was an ugly duckling. When her children were growing up, she proceeded to  mother and shelter all who came with-in need. Her children have those same traits.
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At a recent funeral I attended, I looked about and saw so much life in the room, and the same was true here. But, since she was my sister, I couldn’t dispel feelings of sadness for those missing faces and the heartache of loss, as well.  Her daughter’s Kim, and Penny, pre-deceased her, the most heartbreaking thing a parent can face. Kim’s son Ryan, his wife Cody and their children. Ryan claimed as a grandson Dawnie always told him he was perfect.
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The girls in Dawnie’s family from right to left. Kelly, Penny’s daughter. Kaitlyn, Kim’s daughter. Julie, Debbie’s daughter. Casey, Kim’s foster daughter.
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Dawnie’s niece, Christine Juliot and her son Seth, with his wife and kids.
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Dawnie’s other niece, Vickie Julliot.
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The Juliots are from the Dawn’s husband’s side of the family.
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Debbie made sure there would be things for kids of all ages to do. The message here is clearly Grandchildren are our most important assets.
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CJ and grandpa.
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Margaret and Abby.
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Dawnie was an inveterate card player, scrabble and boggle champ and in her later years, a collector of eclectic jewelry. Plenty of all decorated the room. Everyone was invited to take a pin and earrings to wear for the event, which we did.
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I am wearing one a Hershey’s kiss on my sweater and some gaudy gold balls on my ears from her collection.
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I tried to make sure I got a picture of everyone but I sprained three fingers in a fall yesterday and the fingers didn’t swell up until i drove home. So it has been slow going this morning and I’m just going to post pictures. and a link to the complete album at the end.
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Friday, February 21, 2014


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I love being on the road. And, I had to come home, but my first duty home was to stop by my local grocery and grab a six-pack of Black Butte Porter. I was only out for a short stay but a girl's gotta have access to a decent dark, chewy, hoppy beer once in awhile.  (Jim calls it motor oil.) Even the stores where we shopped didn't have a decent craft beer I could buy.
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Another thing they didn't have was an olive bar. Those little French picholines, dark green, spiced Scicilians, Greek, kalamatas,  Spanish sevillanos, luccas, manzanillos,  yummmy.

My trip home was smooth. My cameras was deep in my carry on and I didn't take pictures from the plane, but the rice fields and canals and flooded fields from the air, gave the impression there is no water shortage in California. All the lakes and reservoirs had yellow soil lines showing how low the levels are. We had never heard of a 500 year drought record until this year. Now we know what it is like. Summer in winter. Not good. So little snow.
 Time to deepen my well.  Get ready to pay higher food prices as the drought continues.
A group of Churches and faith healers are up on a nearby  peak as I write to send up prayers for rain today. I'm not a believer in such things, but I don't oppose the effort. Jim's son is quite willing to send some snow our way, but, as we know that doesn't work either. Time to move to Alaska, but they don't have olive bars or BBP there. Whatsa girl to do?

Thursday, February 20, 2014


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I gotta fly out of Ontario, CA. airport this morning, back to my permanent abode and take up my other life. I’ve been looking for a new ride of some sort. This one didn’t look like it was going much of anywhere.
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I kinda liked this one, it has personality, a definite nose and a couple of eyes. And, red is a good color. But if someone asked me what kind of car is that?  I wouldn’t know what to tell them. Anybody know?
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Ah,  this one looked perfect to drag home and use as my artsy car. But, Jim said , “That ain’t gonna happen.”  What a drag.
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Then I found the perfect set of wheels, a nice roomy van and a perfect color. I love it. Whoo, whoo!. I’d wear my little pink hat and flashy black sweater with sparkles. This is it!  But it wasn’t for sale. Dang!
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We are parked in Fontana at an American Legion, and this beauty was in a junk yard next to us. Jim kind of drooled over this one. Neat running board. He owned one just like this in 1951. And, it has wheels that look like they move. An Aha! moment. We found it.
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But, the junkyard dog wouldn’t let us near the fence. We couldn’t even find out if it was for sale.  You might think I’m kidding about this little guy. He scratched and strutted and scooched up dirt and barked a lot. He was definitely protecting his territory. And, I wasn’t about to challenge a junk yard dog. Hope the Bronco makes it to the airport on time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


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It's moving day. We will park for one night close to Ontario in reach of the airport. Jim's reaction is expressed in the sign above.  He complains because we haven't had much time together this year and it is getting shorter.
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I'm going home to become a  famous artist like this lady, well, hey...all I did yesterday is take pictures of more palm trees to paint. Well,  we know that isn't going to happen, but I can dream a little and choose to play. The truth is, I did the laundry, a zumba workout and read. About 3:00, Jan and Larry came by to share some snacks and a drink and say goodbye.
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When I fly home, I pick up my car which is parked near the airport at my daughters. I've always wanted to paint a car in some artsy way. Maybe I'll do that someday?
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But, this one was probably a bit hard to sell. Maybe I better leave well enough alone.
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This sign reminded me of my friend Guerry. He has a weird cat. More people I know have weird cats. Dogs seem more stable. I no longer have a cat but I had one that drank the leftover spiked eggnog after a new year party and stayed drunk under my couch for two weeks. He was terrified of my vacuum cleaner, but while he was drunk, he let me vacuum him of all of his loose hair. I can hear the pet lovers out there castigating me as I write. But, this was in the early sixties, the very first cat I ever had, and who knew that I probably almost killed him? He came out of it without a single symptom of any harm, still hated the vacuum cleaner, and lived a long life.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014


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Look at that grumpy guy. I interrupted his reading. We were supposed to meet Jim’s friend, Bill Dob, but that fell through so we again enjoyed the weather and the park. I walked the two miles in 30 minutes at the recreation center with the Leslie Sansone video. I like it. It also gives some upper body movements that are beneficial and definitely gets your heart pumping.
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This park is really beautiful with so many palm trees. Painting them will be a challenge but I took 40 pictures of palm trees yesterday with that idea in mind.
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And this morning, I’m blogging on my new system 7 computer. I spent several hours learning the difference between the old one and the new one. This computer has programs that came free with the computer, some interesting stuff that I explored as well.
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The palms have such individual character when you really look at them.
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My friend Pam says you have to think of them as living beings, which they are.
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Today is laundry day, and packing to return to Murphys. We move to within range of the airport at Ontario tomorrow. Hope we have a signal.