Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Simple Pleasures

First thing in the morning
when you get out of bed
then crawl right back in
where it's still warm and snug.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I was about 11 years old and my parents took us to Hawaii for a vacation. In those days, that was a huge deal and I was in awe of everything.

One afternoon, right at dusk, we took a drive up to Punchbowl cemetery. As you probably know, it's located in an extinct volcano crater sitting above the city of Honolulu.

We drove in, and as we were just starting to walk around, the bells began tolling Taps. It was one of those moments that send goosebumps up and down your arms.

Here I was, a young child in this exotic place, the sun was setting and the sky showed a range of colors I will never forget. Then there was the music. I turned and saw a view of the Pacific with Diamond Head in the distance and this monument in front of me.

When I climbed the steps,
this is what I read

"The solemn pride
that must be yours
to have laid
so costly sacrifice
upon the alter
of freedom"

It was the first time in my young life that I understood, in my heart, the entire tragedy of war, and the incredible pain that we all suffer from these losses.

It imprinted on my brain, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

If you've served,
know that we appreciate your sacrifice.

If you've lost loved ones,
my heart goes out to you.

Know that the loss isn't just yours,
but all of ours.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Snow White (and the Refrigerator)

I think I mentioned our DVD player died. In looking at a new one, we decided to get a BluRay player, even though we don't have an HDTV. I have a couple of BluRay discs and today I took my first look at this technology. I have to admit, it looks pretty darned good.

But it wasn't the technology that got me, it was the film.

Wow, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I know that most people look at it and scoff, but it gets me every time. I always think back to the time it was created and what a tremendous achievement it was.

Remember, this was the first time anyone attempted to engage an audience using characters who weren't portrayed by live actors.

And engage them it did.

I remember talking with animators who worked on the film about the first showings. According to them, when those seven little men were standing around that glass coffin, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. It's a pretty powerful piece of film making.

I look at the character of Snow White and I am enamored of how lovely she is. Over the years, as a Disney collector, I've gotten used to seeing still pictures of these characters, and this is how I seem to think of them. It slips my mind that they are meant to be seen in motion, that's why they call it animation. Duh.

While I know that many people make fun of the voice of Snow White, I always remember that it is exactly the way that Walt Disney wanted his very first heroine to sound. And when you look at pictures of a young Adriana Caselotti (only 19 at the time), it's obvious that they based the look of Snow White on her fair beauty.

I had the pleasure of knowing Adriana later in her life, and she carried the delight of this character with her to the very end. If you haven't seen this classic film in a while, I urge you to give it another look. And if you have any little ones in your life, make time to introduce them to this classic.

* * * * * *
Now on to a completely different subject. This is for all you RVers out there.

Today I cleaned out my refrigerator. While our refrigerator is a good size, it's no where near the size of a household appliance, so it needs to be cleaned pretty regularly. While I've done this for all the time we've had Cholula Red, today I found something I've overlooked for the last five years.

When you clean an RV refrigerator, you want to clean the set of metal fins that sit at the upper back. Below these fins is a short removable shelf, which has a tube/vent that leads to the outside. This is where the condensation runs out of the fridge. What I've missed all this time is that right where the tube attaches to the back of the fridge, there's a small catch cup. Today, when I looked in this catch cup, it was full of slimy yucky goop. How had I missed this all these years? I don't know, but I won't ever miss it again!

I also went outside and checked where the fridge actually drains below the fridge. This opening has a small perforated cap and this was also clogged with goop. After cleaning both of these openings, I blasted a bit of canned air till the tube ran clear.

If you have an RV fridge, you might want to check these the next time you clean your refrigerator. Or maybe everybody else already knew about this?

* * * * * *

That's it for today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big Basin

We've been really busy in the house lately, hence, no blog postings.

While going through one of the endless boxes of "stuff", we found two stacks of postcards, about five inches total, showing old scenes from Big Basin back in the 1940s. This morning, while we were having coffee, Terry said, "Let's take the day off and go to Big Basin".

Since I'm always ready to take a day off, we packed up the cameras and off we went. We gave the postcards to the Rangers and they were nice enough to give us a free day in the park!

Pretty cool, huh?

Big Basin State Park is the oldest state park in California. Home to towering redwoods, it's the perfect place to commune with nature.

If you've been brought up anywhere
but in the redwoods,
they're pretty jaw dropping.

The park is riddled with trails,
so we took off for a hike.

I don't know if any other species of tree
creates burls like the redwoods.
Here's a shot of Terry
standing by one of the giant burls.

This is the interior
of one of the giant redwoods.
These remind me of the rock formations
we saw in the southwest.

As we hiked over a a footbridge,
I looked down and saw this pattern.
The water was so clear, it appeared invisible.

The deep colors of the redwoods
combined with the various shades of the moss
reminds me of the rich hues of an opal.

Here's the same shot flipped on its' side.
If you enlarge it (just click),
doesn't it looks like an alien landscape?

In case you wondered
why they're called redwoods . . .
Great color, don't you agree?

As always,
the play of light under the trees
is what gets my attention.

We found these flowers
in one tiny grove,
and nowhere else in the park.

Does anyone know what they're called?
I thought they might be wild iris,
Terry thinks they're some kind of lily.

Whatever they are,
they were my favorite
find of the day.

All in all, it was a perfect day off.
Tomorrow, another carload to the auction!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I'm so happy that artichokes are in season. We're very close to Castroville, which is known as the Artichoke Capitol of the World. They say it provides 80% of the artichokes consumed in the US.

As a bit of history, did you know that in 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the very first Artichoke Queen in Castroville?

Terry doesn't care for artichokes, so I'll usually buy four of them, cook them in the pressure cooker, then after eating one, put the others in baggies and keep them in the fridge.

They never last long. I like to dip them in mayo, or sometimes garlic butter.

In looking around for info on artichokes for this entry, I see that the annual Artichoke Festival is this next weekend. Maybe we'll go. It could be interesting to see how many ways they can come up with to serve me some artichokes. My favorite is deep fried artichoke hearts. Not incredibly healthy, but I don't eat them often.

If we go, I promise pictures.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mad Men

I love the television show Mad Men. I love the look of it and I particularly enjoy the way they deal with the time period.

I talk with young women these days and I think they really don't understand how it used to be for us in the workplace.

In truth, I had forgotten a lot of this, till I started watching Mad Men. Seeing the way they portray how women were treated and regarded in the workplace brought it all back in a flash.

I started work at the Post Office when I was just 20 years old. There had been a hiring freeze for several years and when they finally started hiring again, myself and two other women were the first to be placed. After that, there was at least one new person coming in every day and sometimes three or four a day for the next couple of months. It meant that there was a large influx of young people who were in their first real jobs, myself included. And a large number of us were women.

My job was sorting mail, working on "the floor" and it was dirty, heavy work. Even under those circumstances, the women who had been working there before the freeze would come to work in dresses, hose, street shoes and full makeup. This was 1968.

Due to the times, those of us that were new were a different breed. We came to work in Levis and tee shirts, and this wasn't appreciated by many of the old timers (both men and women). I remember several men commenting that I had no business taking a job away from a man who might have to support a family. I also remember a lot of employees who felt that many of us young folks had "loose morals" and those of us who might be "living in sin" had no business holding good jobs (and at that time, it was a good job).

It's been a long time since those days, but I have to believe that things are better now, at least for those young folks who manage to find a good job.

I hope we've made some progress in that department, and I really believe that television shows like Mad Men are a great way to remind us oldsters of how it used to be. And maybe, it will serve as a reminder to young people of how far we've come.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This and That

Just a few thoughts today

After my recent cataract surgery, I needed new glasses. While my vision is vastly improved, I find I need them for that extra sharp vision we all wish for. I also need them to read subtitles on TV. I don't have to wear them for everything, but I want to have them for when I feel they're necessary.

As I've written before, I get my glasses from Zenni Optical, so that's where I went, and again, I'm quite pleased.

I got a pair of clear glasses ($65) and a pair of polarized sunglasses ($75). I've never had polarized prescription glasses before and wow, are they ever sharp.

It got me to wondering, do you think they make polarized contact lenses? Or could the lenses they implanted after my cataract surgery have been polarized? I sure do like the look.

They've made such a difference in my vision that I decided to investigate a circular polarizing filter for my camera. I've never used one before, so we took it out to the seashore today.

I know that most photographers already know about polarizing filters, but it surely was a revelation to me. It completely removed the haze and glare of the seashore and made the colors completely pop.

This cliff was so beautiful,
I had to include two pictures.

We also noted that almost every house
along the oceanfront
is ridiculously huge.
Why do you think that is?
Still, I really liked this gate.


Recently we found a set of George Carlin DVDs at the library, so we checked them out. Wow, what a trip back in time.

My favorite rant of his has to do with stuff.

He starts out talking about how your house is just a place to keep your stuff. A big pile of stuff with a cover on it. Then he goes on to tackle storage facilities, where, as he says, we pay someone else to watch our stuff.

Gee, do you think this hit close to home or what?


Just a couple more pictures.

I watched this bird for the longest time.
He never let go of whatever it is
that he had in his mouth.
Cheap entertainment is the best!


It was a lovely day, but quite windy at the beach. Did I mention that I cut all my hair off? It's been so much trouble working on the house with my hair in my eyes. Finally, I decided that in honor of summer, it had to go. While I was in the chair, I noticed Terry had slipped into another one, so now we are both cropheads!

It sure was nice at the windy beach
to not have to deal with all that hair!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Too Many Pictures (Again)

The other day we found a flyer for the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Having lived here for over 40 years, you'd think we'd have heard of it. I guess there's always new things to see and do.

Situated on a gorgeous campus, it's located right on the ocean at the northern edge of Sana Cruz proper.

Outside the main facility
is the complete skeleton
of a blue whale.

It beached itself just north of here
some 30 years ago.
Now that it has a new home,
other species have moved in.

Here's a whale of a tale.
Or a tale of a whale.

Inside the center,
there are lots of exhibits,
but my favorite place was the tanks.

In the tanks,
my favorite was this little octopus.

Today I learned
that I don't know how to take pictures
through glass . . .

I know that there are settings I could have used,
but not knowing what they are,
I ended up having to fix these in the computer.

Both Terry and I
spent close to an hour watching this guy,
he was really active.

They also have a huge tank of jellyfish.

And some of the most beautiful anemones
I've ever seen.

I could look at these forever.

They're like ballet dancers,

or hula dancers,
swaying in the breeze.

As always,
you can click on any image
for a larger version.

As we were leaving,
we made a quick trip
through the gift shop.
Lovely glass . . .

These glow in the dark!
If I wasn't getting rid of everything,
one of these would have come home with me.

We finished the day
with a walk along the cliffs,

then my allergies kicked in,
and we had to come home.

This is what I felt like,
with my eyes all swollen shut.

In spite of my allergies, we had a great day. The admission to the center is only $4 for seniors, a great way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blah Blah Blah Blah

We haven't been doing much lately, except for the usual clearing of the house. I ask myself, "Will this never end?" That said, I do see a few open spaces. Not many, but a few, so I think we're beginning to make a bit of progress.

This morning, I woke up with my eyes dark red and swollen almost completely shut. Normally, I take pills, eyedrops and nosedrops, all prescription, intended to keep my allergies in check. Since they haven't been bothering me lately, I've been a bit lax, but that's going to change starting now. I've been reading Laurie and Odel's blog and she's also going through a bad bout of allergies, so lets hope we can both get some relief.

The other day, we took a few hours off for a walk on the beach. I took some pictures, nothing special, mostly shapes and colors, which seem to fascinate me lately.

I love these tiles,
they're all over the boardwalk in Capitola.

These viney things grow out of the cliffs,
they're nice and curly.

Please don't ask me why I chose this picture.
something about it just appealed to me.

The wharf.

Are these barnacles?

While I miss the cranes of New Mexico,
I admit a certain fondness for seagulls.
Doesn't he look like he's
balancing on a tightrope?

Maybe this is a courting dance?

Again, I'm not sure what the attraction is,
but I liked this photo.
They look so free.

A final shot,
these colors were so vibrant
and such a wonderful combination/contrast.

That's it for now . . .