Monday, March 31, 2014


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I have some old books and the book seller came by yesterday. He left with about 10 books and gave me $10.  More contemporary stuff. My old stuff, well, none of it is first edition, or signed or in great shape, or by famous authors. There are millions of books out there I’ve learned.  With the internet you can get some I have for a penny each. I was feeling a bit disappointed yesterday after this nice, honest gentleman left, but my old stuff is precious to me and I can only give it away to someone who would really appreciate it. And, a buck here and a buck there  does not express appreciation to me.  This old poultry book has gold gilt on the cover and page edges. Inside are beautiful artist plates of beautiful chickens.  The book is in very worn shape. Valueless.
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This lovely book of poetry/philosophy fits into that same category.  I went out on the internet and looked for things to do with old books, thinking I’d find some fun, preservational way to use them.  I found ideas like tear out the pages and make a bird house, or make paper roses from the pages, sprayed to shine. Or cut out a portion of an illustration and make jewelry. Fun ideas, but they don’t preserve a book. I began to think that some of the covers I have would make great floor tiles or insulation glued to my storage shed walls. But, what about these old beauties?
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Well, this morning I went to on-line booksellers and looked at books. ABE.books has videos on books with gilt, embroidered covers, and other beauties that people covet. I decided that those I love should be treasured and displayed. It gave me heart. And, I found another site with ideas on using old books. I long ago learned to make wallpaper out of magazines. I’m not ready to part with these or some of the more contemporary books I have that can serve another use.  I guess the answer to my question is appreciate them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


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My friend Pam set me up with a book buyer because I have a lot of books. He comes from San Francisco and looks over your collections to possibly buy some that you have. I began to look at my books from a different point of view. This one about King Henry The VIII, by Neville Williams made me rethink King Henry because the  book is written with a more personal and kinder view of him. It is easy to get stuck with the historic view of what a terrible person he was to have wives and friends beheaded, and that he died of syphilis, which he didn’t. Not that beheading wives and creating the Church of England to wage a divorce were very honorable actions, but he was a very special king in many other ways. People of the times were motivated, especially royalty, by other factors than those we or his people faced. I guess what I’m trying to say is he wasn’t ALL bad. He was generous and intelligent and wanted to learn, in his younger days. The last 20 years of his life were pain filled from an injury that ulcerated his leg and eventually killed him. He was sour and mistrusting as he aged by the intrigues and manipulations of those around him who were set on protecting their own powers and favor.
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And, because he was a king, there were many beautiful paintings in the book that I relish and enjoyed viewing. This one is just a small part of a full-page of pageantry. The wonderful celebrations and attention made of the King gave people better entertainment than television.  His peasants, who stood by the road to get a glimpse of him and his court, were enthralled. And, this king could ride through his kingdom without secret service people or a bulletproof glass to protect him, in beautiful fresh, unpolluted air.  It was interesting to think about those times and will the mind back to a royal society and what beauty it created, while also temporarily putting aside the cruelty of the times and understand how he could convince himself that several wives were not legally his wives.

It was a beautiful rainy day and we spent most of it home. But Jim’s Bronco needs a new transmission. Not good news.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Our society is a throw-away society. Clothing clots the second-hand stores and everyone tends to wear an item once and toss it in the wash. The idea of wearing a pair of jeans for three or more days is foreign to young people. I not only wear my pants for a week, if they are clean, but T-shirts two or three days as well. If I’m out and about, I change, but to work around the house? It seems practical to me to do less washing and wear my clothing until it gets dirty. It lasts longer and doesn’t get washed to death. It saves water.
I’ve complained in this blog about truck loads of clothing and useable items being dumped into the landfill by a second-hand store manager. When I asked him why he doesn’t offer it to people for free, he said to me:  “You take care of your business and I’ll take care of mine.”
The economy has changed considerably since then. I was pleased to learn that Goodwill has put GO BINS in apartment complexes and other public places for people to unload their unwanted clothing and useable hard goods conveniently. And, in Calaveras County, where clothing was dumped in the landfill,  the county supervisors decided to approve the idea of deposit boxes in shopping centers with the same intent in mind. They used to have them, but they became messy as people rummaged through things and tossed stuff all over the parking lot. I don’t know how they intend to prevent that from happening. The Go Bins have a sensor telling when they are full.  Here,  I think they should do like Telluride, Colorado, and put up a shelving unit marked FREE. Like a bulletin board, people can bring or take things. What doesn’t get taken can be removed to a second-hand store or shipped overseas to countries that accept such goods. Waste is waste, and kids (and adults) might catch on to the benefits of not wasting stuff. Why not start a local factory producing rugs and quilts and insulation from unwanted fabric?  I’ve seen it done by volunteers all over the U.S. It can work here.

Friday, March 28, 2014


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It rained most of yesterday, pleasantly. Jim and I took a walk between raindrops, but mostly I worked on my picture file. After having tossed all of my pictures and getting most of them back, I’m disaster shy and decided maybe I’d like to publish some of my blogs in a book like they advertise on Lulu or Blurb or half-a-dozen other outfits. The save-to-disk feature was difficult and having one of those outfits print your blog for you is a somewhat complicated organizing task. I ended up buying, online, a new laser printer instead. It  will print my stuff out very professionally for less than the publisher could do it.  All of this explanation to get to a bunch of barn pictures that had been lost, now found. The ivy covered silo above caught my eye on a rainy day, somewhere in the east in 2010.
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Eastern barns, because of winter weather, are much more substantially made. These were taken with my old camera, and I notice it very much when I prowl around old files.
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In fact, most of them were taken through the window while moving down the road.
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I continue to think of barns as endangered species, so I expect I’ll keep getting as many pictures of them as I can in my travels. There is a website I used to visit often of a woman who chose barns, gas stations, bridges, signs, I can’t even remember all of the subjects she chose. She would say, “…oh, don’t get me started on another subject!”  She would travel around the U.S. with one subject in mind to preserve it in photos. Her photos will probably be famous some day. That is not my aim, but I think it is a fun idea.  She actually pinpointed where each barn or beach or sign was located and gave the exact date she was there.
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If I went back and read my blog for March 2nd or 3rd  in 2010, I’d probably know where I was. Does that make sense?
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This barn resembles a California barn and may be a picture I stuck in the same file. I think I’ll  go back to my project and call it a day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


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This is my Western Drive, 500 Gigabytes, that stores my pictures and anything else I value. I’ve been carrying it in the motor home since I bought it in 2009. I back up everything. When Jim arrived at the house in the Motor Home, it was missing its cords. We searched everywhere and were unable to find them. Friends have tried to fit cords to it. I thought, maybe WD might have an old set lying around to sell to me. Now, I’ve been known to diss a company or corporation that is greedy, impolite, has no ethics or any idea what customer service is all about. I contacted them by phone and asked if they might have cords for this model I could buy. The tech said, no, they would give them to me free, they believe in customer fulfillment.  At the customer fulfillment center, when they discovered that my drive was waaaaay out of warranty, I was told, you might have to pay postage. But, nope, they are sending the cords to me free of charge, postage free.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014


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Jim and I spent an hour with Ethan, my mechanic yesterday. While there, I saw a nifty, new car, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
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I’ve seen this beauty around town now and then, but not close enough to talk to the owner.
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It is a 1947 DeSoto on a Corvett Chassis. The original DeSoto was a four door, now reduced to a two door. Pretty classy. How do you like those bumper gears?
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I probably should have asked him his name, but he was quite willing to show it off. He told me the color, Candy Apple Red, was patented by a friend of his. They both lived in Hayward at the time. The color was all the rage then, and he still  loves it.  His steering wheel is a gear, his tachometer on the dash is a piece from an old Model T. Everything is chromed, leathered and beautiful inside and out.
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I suspect we’d all do it if it wasn’t so darned expensive. But, I’m glad someone does these things and makes it fun for all of us.

What hasn’t been fun, is to have a power strip mal-functioning and it took most of the morning to figure out why my battery went dead and then was only intermittently recharging. I told Jim a person needs an electronics mechanic at home to keep things running.

As they say, all’s well that ends well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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Driving through Livermore yesterday, down First St., I spotted what I thought was an evergreen in bloom. It took a second to realize this evergreen is festooned with yellow ribbons. The significance, I’m guessing, is a welcoming home of returning veterans. Amazing, isn’t it?  That a simple song about welcoming home a wayward lover has spread across America and brings a warm, fuzzy feeling every time you see this in communities all over the U.S.- to know that someone is welcoming someone home.
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A huge veterans medical facility is located on Arroyo Rd. A beautiful drive past Concannon, Wente and other vineyards.  This lovely old Mission Adobe style building serves a lot of people. It was a hospital at one time, but now nothing but minor emergency surgeries are done here.
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The facade tells me the building was built in 1947. It is still in great shape unlike our abandoned mental facilities that were closed during Reagan’s presidency in the belief that drugs would control mental problems. It hurts to see crumbling old buildings serve no purpose, so this one was a joyful chorus.
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Jim was given a very comprehensive eye examination by Doctor Pineda.
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She checked and measured and photographed, then rechecked every aspect of his eye health. Pressure in his eye is caused by a cataract and not from glaucoma.  A second cataract is building on his left eye. He will need surgery.
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Conclusive evidence by a very competent and efficient doctor who will now pass that information along to a surgeon who works out of their Palo Alto facility.  We now know it will take about 6 months before they can fit him in the schedule at Palo Alto. We expect his surgery will be done sometime in October.
We ate East Indian food at the Clay Pot on First St. in Livermore.  It has been so many years since I’ve driven through town I barely recognized the place for the beautiful upgrades, nice restaurants and upscale small businesses.

I wanted to show Jim the oldest light bulb in the United States, perhaps the world, but I could no longer spot where the old City Hall was? I saw it when I was 17 years old, and I know the light bulb was still burning after 100 years and I wondered if it was still so? I went on-line, and found the whole story.
 Check it out:

Monday, March 24, 2014


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It is spring, seemingly everlasting at this point. My own yard has a forsythia, not nearly as beautiful as this one I snapped in Sonora.  In fact, the blossoms I have are puny this year, from lilacs to fruit trees. It doesn’t bode well for the fruit. But, I found a delightful old poem about spring that I really enjoyed. Hope you do too. It was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Jim and I leave early this morning for his eye appointment in Livermore.  Ciao
Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south! 
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth. 

In the dreamy vale of beeches
Fair and faint is woven mist, 
And the river’s orient reaches
Are the palest amethyst. 

Every limpid brook is singing
Of the lure of April days; 
Every piney glen is ringing
With the maddest roundelays. 

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils, 
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills. 

Ours shall be the moonrise stealing
Through the birches ivory-white; 
Ours shall be the mystic healing
Of the velvet-footed night. 

Ours shall be the gypsy winding
Of the path with violets blue, 
Ours at last the wizard finding
Of the land where dreams come true.

This poem is in the public domain.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


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Growing up in a big family, we didn't celebrate birthdays, other than to have a home-made cake and possibly your favorite meal for that day. In our family we have two March birthdays, my son Doug and my grandson Mason. Mason's uncle Mike, I discovered, drinks craft beers and offered me my very fav, Black Butte Porter. Now, that makes it a celebration in itself, selfish person that I am.
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Doug turned 50 and he has recently joined the 21st century and now has an email address. He and younger sister, Virginia, appeared to be in deep, serious, conversation with that computer.
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I had an opportunity to talk to my 14-year-old grandson, Owen, about our upcoming trip to Turkey, explaining how the trip works, what to pack, etc.
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Mason, the other birthday boy, age 19, told Owen, (and Theo, looking on, since he is the next 14-year-old to get a trip with grandma), that the way they stop the buses on these tours is to let it run down a hill and hit a bunch of cars to stop it. Of course, we had a good laugh about that, because that is what happened when we were in Thailand. Mason was one of three people still left on the bus when it went careening down a hill and the driver had to run into a bunch of parked cars to stop it. It tipped over on it's side and no one was seriously hurt.
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Ken faces his barbeque so he can get smoke in his eyes. He barbequed a bunch of ribs and chicken. The rest of us brought food to go along with the meat, and hey, any reason to have a party and good food. Why not?
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My daughter-in-law Laurie is so grateful that she and Ken were able to move out of Vegas and back to California. Her brother Mike and sister-in-law Ramona Henniger, live in Lodi where Laurie was born and grew up.
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One of her best high school friends, Diane, came to help celebrate. It is nice to get back to your roots and she is a happy camper.
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Cedric likes to plink on his guitar. Both Mason and his brother Stewart play.
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And Cedric discovered that Mike is a pretty good guitarist and played in a small band when he was young.
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Jim found that he has a lot in common with Diane's significant other, Randy, who rides motorcycles, does a lot of camping and now likes going on trips in his 5th wheel. He kind of envies Jim's lifestyle of being a full-time RVer.
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And, brother Bill, has gotten much of his sight back and no longer wears a patch. He was left with a bad astigmatism in his right eye and will soon have glasses to correct the problem. But, it is a great relief to no longer have to face double vision or wear a patch over that eye.  I kind of liked the looks of the patch. Thought he made a great looking pirate, but he couldn't toss it soon enough. That's fair. Hey, good food, good company, whose birthday is next?

Saturday, March 22, 2014


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The Paul Moeller Studio was built by a group of volunteers and is still part of my responsibility as the President of the Board.  We just bought new equipment and one piece was excessively noisy. I went to check it out.DSC03960 (Copy)

We settled on a fix for the noisy playback equipment, pretty boring stuff. I don’t program anymore. The one change I admired that I hadn’t seen before, was Ed Lark, our manager, put up pictures of people who have made over 100 programs. I thought that was a nice touch. Jim programmed and made 95 productions for Olympia, WA. public access studio. I worked on about 80 productions when I was active. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but it was one of the things we had in common when the dating service paired us up on Senior People Finder.
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When I visit San Andreas, I like to stop by the local Arts Council Gallery which is currently hosting their annual Student Art Show. They had some pretty nice pieces.
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Student art is very affordable, and what a wonderful thing to happen to a budding artist is for someone to pay money for their work.
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If you’ve never visited the gallery, it is an ever changing scene of local talent. I try to get there at least four times a year. Give it a go.
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I had other errands, a leak in my power steering, a bit of shopping. It took up half the day. I received the last paper I was waiting for to finish my taxes.  It was nice to get out and do something different for a change, especially with the beautiful weather we are having.

Friday, March 21, 2014


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California's most devastating fire, the Yosemite Rim Fire left millions of board feet of trees lying on the ground. Our local district representative,  McClintock,  pushed to fast track getting that lumber to market before it disintegrated. He pointed out that it would provide jobs and money to locals, open up the mills again and put loggers to work.  Good idea.
In past fires, smaller ones in our county, locals brought out volumes of wood for profit. Volunteers cut up gobs of it for firewood for seniors or people in need. Some of it got to local mills. Some disintegrated on the ground which isn't all bad, since fire blackened areas recuperate faster when the dead timber is left in place, or at least part of it.
Guess what?   SPI went in and machine removed that timber very quickly. It is now sitting on a dock in Stockton to be barged to Oakland to be exported to China and Japan.  So much for opening local mills. There were people who yelled it wouldn't happen when McClintock was making his "heroic pitch." They were right, of course. It is all about big corporate profits, not about local communities.
I love trees and wonder if man has a cog in the brain that dictates let no living thing go untrammeled by we superior beings. The little cog shaped like a dollar sign. It started early, with the giant redwoods. Falling the biggest and most magnificent tree to prove they could do it. The wood unusable because they had no saws or equipment big enough to  handle trees of such size.
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Now that we know forests are carbon sinks and necessary to help halt global warming, it doesn't seem to discourage decimating private forest and allowing lumbering on a major scale in National Forests, too. The U.S. Forest Service has sold out to lumber interests all over the country, contrary to what they say.
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Politicians see money and workers see job preservation.
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There is a 501c3 organization trying to hold up Forest Service Ethics, made up of some Forest Service Employees. Obviously employees serving see a need for this organization or it wouldn't exist.
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Homes to critters.
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Used as fence posts, here the barbed wire has grown into the tree. Some cottonwood trees in plains states are cut, put into the ground immediately, take root and grow into a living fence.
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Enjoy them while you can and remember to protect these wonders of nature if you have an opportunity. I burn wood, but I hate cutting trees and only burn what gets damaged by storms and fits in my stove. I rarely have a fire to clear brush or dead wood, only twice in over 30 years.   I leave most of it on the ground to naturally decay. Many others do the same, or hire a chipper.