CA Trip – Day 3 – 9

Bloged in Family,Scuff Boys,TRAVEL by mark Friday May 27, 2011

Wow! THIS is late….. but that happens when SPRING hits, eh? Life’s pace changes to high gear immediately! But. I DID want to capture a highlight or two of the remainder of our CA trip before ……. you know. . . . . . .

Previous post mentioned we’d moved on to the 80’s Gay Resort town of Guerneville... . . .. … just north of SF. It’s a beautiful place along the Russian River and very near a Redwood State Park…… but….. THIS time, the place was quite changed, and most gay life is gone. This was a town the AIDS crisis pretty much ended as a “gay” destination…. We did find a place to stay, a nice little cottage at the Woods. Hosts were nice, but really nothing to do. We were one of probably 3-4 guest rooms occupied that night.

We set out just to explore, and stopped in at the Sports Bar that was rumored to be “gay friendly”. We were seated close to the soused straight owners who kept trying to talk with us. Well, it was a karaoke joint and a LOUD one at that. We quickly moved onto the one gay bar left in town, the Rainbow Cattle Company where we had a great time chatting with Lee, the “artist” bartender who’s true goal was to become a videographer. I’m not sure with his laid back ways, he’d end up at Warner Studios, but…..he was a great guy to chat with. We were home early and up fairly early, rested and ready to join the family.

NOT before we stopped in Petaluma (30 years ago famous as the Poultry Capitol…… to eat at HALLIE’s DINER !!! Yes! A simply little coffee shop with fabulous food. Her twist on Eggs Benedict: EGGS PETALUMA is NOT to be missed………. This is one place, just like the little joint in Trinidad, we will never have to reminded about. IF we’re in the area, we will go OUT of our way to eat here. That set us up to complete or southbound journey to Ripon and join Aunt Paula!

From there, we crossed the San Rafael Bridge, saw glimpses of the old home place bookmarks: the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate, downtown SF, Oakland, Berkley…(Spenglers! Ah!)….. We filled the little truck with $4.21 and the scrolling marquee on the pump said, among other things, “God Bless You”….. C’mon, Gas Company! that’s disgusting you play nice while reaching for every penny we have.

That gave us a day and a half to prepare for Chet’s memorial. So, besides visiting with Paula, wonderful, we did the required shopping for what we’d need Saturday. MUST mention the other “favorite” breakfast place, in Salida, CA that we always “must have” a Chicken Fried Steak at, and THIS day, we learned more about how it’s done. ONE employee spends 2 full days a week preparing the beef: cutting it up (yes, they get the whole beef)….tenderizing it with the chopper, seasoning it……and letting it sit)….. I don’t care WHAT your diet is, once in your life you SHOULD get to eat one of these orders. Rodger and I SPLIT ONE order (extra eggs, yes, but the Steak is….half order on each plate):

Saturday came quickly, we were on our way to Bethel Island. With Paula and Mick, we joined Dennis and Pam at the little park across from the Fire Station (yes, there IS reason to mention this place…….) and completed the setups they’d already started. Even the very cute fireman who happened to be jogging around the park perimeter helped us with a tent or two, a NICE guy.

Folks began to arrive in a while, and by 1:00, lots of Chet’s friends had found time here 5 months after he’d passed away to join up and visit with Rodger, have some food, and relax. Things went VERY well, some of these people I’d never met, this was a nice affair. By 3:30, things pretty much came to a close, we, including cousins, family, moved on over to one of the Sacramento River Delta Channels, and a little ceremony let to the spreading of chet’s ashes. Whew! Closure. It was nice, and we didn’t have an opportunity for pictures.

Oh yes…….the Fireman story! The shorter cute fireman from the morning told us to make sure to let him know if we “needed” anything. (The total firemen stationed here at the moment, due to cutbacks: 3). About the middle of the gathering, Chet’s girlfriend, JOYCE…..stumbled on something, and fell….she wasn’t “sure” if she was stable enough to get up, we held her steady, and someone ran to get the FIREMEN! They sure came in a hurry. -3-, I tell you, “THREE” very handsome cute firemen showed up, and I have NEVER been so impressed with how gentle, soothing, and kind they were to Joyce and the rest of us. I wonder what I’ve missed in life not ever having a fireman next to me helping me feel better ………..hah.

We got back to Ripon in good time, and to bed fairly early to begin the NEXT day’s trip to Morro Bay for Cheryl’s little memorial. We, Paula, Mick, Karen, Lori & John made the 5 hour trip in 2 cars. **Mark once again astounded the massive expanse of California’s agriculture industry you watch driving south in I5!
The California aquaduct….looking more like a large river than a canal stealing No Cal’s water for LA and environs is truly impressive.

The drive over the coastal foothills into Morro Bay is simply spectacular in beautiful scenery. We arrived meeting up with Karen’s daughter Jen, just up from L.A., Norma & Sue Ann, old Cheryl friends, and we’re looking for Bruce & Kevin…but, thanks, to Jen, joined her at THE GALLEY……for lunch. (I had a fabulous Crab Louie)….

WHEW! We arrived in good shape along with Bruce & Kevin, Norma, so we all checked into our lodge: The INN AT MORRO BAY . We decided on this place simply searching the web, and after seeing the town, THIS couldn’t have been a better choice. On the south end of town, it was quiet, but most important: At the very south end of the motel, HUGE SEABIRD ROOKERIES were in the trees just overhead. (***Check the link, it’s picture page showing the redtails and egrets too) It was pretty FABULOUS to watch the cormorants nest-building and the three redtail hawks also setting up home patiently waiting near the bottom of the trees for any egg / chick to sadly fall. An egret Rookery bordered the Cormorants. There were California Vultures at the other end of the lodge WHO, the next morning, sat at the very tippy top of the tall trees with wings outstretched in the morning sun…..Beautiful!’
one view:

another view, but these pics ***(EMBIGGEN THIS TO GET A BETTER FEEL of how CLOSE the birds were to the camera)***
are SO limited….so MANY trees in the surrounding area were FULL of birds making the nests….. the “chortling” interesting sounds were fascinating.

WE all gathered togethered together, and escorting Cheryl’s ashes, drove to the Rock in the bay….and had the little ceremony. We didn’t get a group picture, but a few smiles were captured:

The weather / climate was fantastic….so MANY flowers were already in FULL seasonal bloom like Foxgloves that we won’t see until late June:

This was a perfect day. We ate, shopped, and by mid-day, enjoyed a perfect lunch. That was eaten at a wharf side joint where, not just the fresh catch of the day was mentioned, but which BOAT the fish were caught by. Nice. After lunch, we all needed to get back to our homes, and said our goodbyes. It was a perfect Cheryl goodbye.

Back at Ripon, we relaxed for a day, and finally rented the U-Haul trailer planned to bring back what things of Chet’s Rodger wanted to keep. So, finally, we loaded up said sad goodbye’s to Karen, Paula, and began our trip back home.

BY the time things were loaded, and we’d cleaned up everything, we were TIRED….but thought, we ought to GET ON the ROAD….and at LEAST get partway home. It was obvious there was going to be a LOT to do when we got there….. and, it would be raining.

We stayed that night in an old rail town near Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, CA ………….. (the link is pictures….nice) in an old motel, family run, but clean and perfect for us, AND….about halfway home. Our trip next day was quiet, and we were happy to be home in time to unload, relax, and prepare things we needed to get done. We were NOT happy to be back in the RAIN.

Pulling a trailer with the Toyota up over Shasta and the Siskiyous is a mountainous trip….we’re not always leading the traffic up the hill. BUT…..as if we could get a good luck omen, our U-Haul had TWO markers on it we thought good. The first: The license was from WISCONSIN (hey Thomas / Brenda!!)…so we felt no matter our driving pattern, we’d be forgiven:

Our next marker was even more providential. This trailer had a poster of a Chessie on it…..as if MAC would be riding shotgun for us:

Finally. Rodger’s found closure since the passing of his father and only sister.

And NOW? We begin the spring battles inherent in this climate. We arrived home to find these invaders beginning the war on the lawn:

This is only ONE of several spots that now look like this:

SO. Pellet Gun. Pitchfork? Gas pellets, Traps, whew! It’s man vs mole!

How they Came West.

Bloged in Family,General Home Life by mark Wednesday January 12, 2011

I’m a Huffaker obviously because the name Huffaker’s from the Dad side. Ray was the last name of the maternal parents. Expanded: Huffaker (grandpa – from near Knoxville, Tennessee, later moved to Georgia), Keel (grandma – from Georgia…died when my Dad was 14)…..they converted to Mormonism, and trekked west as did many Mormon converts then…..but….

RAY side: Ray (Grandpa – from somewhere north of Jackson MS that they then called: Millville. The whole Ray clan joined the Mormon church, built a little chapel. Neighbors grew suspicious of this new “religion” the Rays had joined, and the missionaries that were hanging out with ‘em…… so they burned down that new chapel……and let ‘em know, they wanted ‘em outta there. Somehow, during these years, Oscar Ray senior, my Grandpa met young Nancy Ault:

….. met the 18th and youngest child, Nancy Ault…….from Arkansas. HER Dad fathered 18 kids…yes.

**above Grandma in later years….and her Mother to her left. First wife died about a year after having the first child (the child died too), 2nd died after having 3 sons…all dying during the civil war, and finally, Ms. Westbrook arrives as the 3rd and has 12 kids. Grandma Ray was the last. Yes, she was very spoiled. ((((and thanks to Nancy M for correcting my wife/child order on this family branch, I guess I don’t remember like I thought I did.))))

…… BUT, Nancy met Oscar, joined the Mormons, and moved west with the RAY clan after their church burning……. ALL couldn’t wait to get to Utah, ZION, and the glory they’d heard of. But……….

*Utah was getting so full of new converts, Brigham Young was sending out his troops to intercept them at several points and ask them to stop where they were and “build up the Kingdom of God there”……….. The Huffaker group (who brought their own parents along) were intercepted at what is now Manassa, Colorado, deep in SE Colorado, elevation 6500 feet, high, dry, wind, cold in winter, tough ranch country………… There are STILL a few Huffaker cousins living there: Ranching, raising feed crops, kids, going to Church, and, in one family, fighting about WHO got the best of Dad’s land when he died. They can be a tough bunch, a rowdy group, but NO question, they’re the side of the family with the SERIOUS ability to laugh about life.

**The GREAT-Uncles the rowdy young bunch…while still in Tennessee….
I SO WELL remember times as a kid our driving to Manassa to a Huffaker reunion and the cowboy tales they told when all gathered together in the evenings. (note to self: write some of those down, they’ll be lost if you don’t).

Not to forget the Rays and their kids also getting stopped in Manassa….. here are most of my Aunts and Uncles on the Ray side with THEIR Oscar’s Mom:

*ah, yes, My Mom, her sisters, Pauline, Ethel, brothers Melvin and Oscar. Young Aunt Merle yet to be born.

Eventually, my Dad meets one of the prettiest Ray daughters, my Mom. They marry after stern lectures from Oscar Ray Sr to my Dad, and (skipping one or stops along the way) eventually hear of land going for $1 an acre in SE Oregon, where, after the depression, the gov’t built several dams in the desert opening up some desert land to farming. This would a tough place to come, breaking wild desert land into farmland…. some arrivals with a little cash were able to buy the land on the riverbottom valleys…they scored. The ones up on the bluffs, not so lucky, and are still struggling. They didn’t go alone…… Along came the Rays too….and even a Huffaker brother or two (for a little while only…..they saw the folly of this desert place and soon left).

Hence, I grew up in tiny Vale, Oregon, a SE Oregon settlement that HAD been suitable only for raising Sheep (Hence, all the fine Basque families STILL there, and a few Cattlemen). Union Pacific even built a depot there, the train stopped once daily! These livestock ranchers were NOT happy to see farmers come into town, especially a bunch of Mormons, but nothing bad happened. (Several Mormon families had also arrived from Utah when this land opened up.)

My closest pals and cousins all the while I grew up are/were the Judds, kids of beloved Aunt Ethel, and sour stern Uncle Willard…. We spent a LOT of time together as families:

*and THAT one is taken before I and Nancy were even born.. . . . . . . .the oldest daughter here is my sister FRAN…..

FRAN had the Huffaker personality, she learned to ride horses, fell in love with a Catholic Boy, Johnny Shaffield…….and was forbidden to see him. She masterfully snuck out her bedroom window a few times to bat eyes at Johnny, but eventually caved into the pressure, went to BYU, where ALL good young Mormon Girls go, became a teacher and moved to Los Angeles to create her own dream….she met Ken there, had 3 beautiful little girls, and unfortunately, at age 33 succumbed to cancer. Her 3 girls have grown up having no idea what a fabulous Mom they missed…. (NOTE: I DO FEEL very lucky at this point in my own life, to be in touch with 2 of those kids….we’re having a bit of fun getting to know each other).

But the last pic……..taken after MANY of the oldest RAY kids had already gone away to college….. But we were the big kids now, I was a senior, Ray next to me was a senior, the two nancy’s on each end of the couch were juniors…. (AND THESE DAYS? THESE are the TWO Nancy’s we make “the Nancy’s Do Pickles” EVERY August!!!!!). . . . .

What’s truly amazing, is that in THAT house, my Grandmother Ray had only had RUNNING WATER in the place for about 8 years, and had only given up her coal cook stove 3-4 years prior to this……………. Her Garden was about half an acre in size, and we spent many summers with Grandma working in that garden………………fabulous memories. The youth WE enjoyed was a gift………..

Oh well………..back to reality.. I’ve daydreamed too long.

2011 started. Feels empty BUT a Memory found

Bloged in Family,General Home Life by mark Friday January 7, 2011

It’s odd starting a new year that ended so severely. A week spent cleaning out a family member’s home isn’t really pleasant. Rodger’s still moving all over the place, and I think he’ll be slowing soon…the details he’s had to be working on to get some closure on Chet’s loss are getting sewn up. I HOPE he can get a day to simply REST………soon.

I FINALLY got the old external drive cleared off, and it’s just been set up to do backups for the new IMAC! IN THAT effort, I ran across a couple pics today that brought a smile to me…..they’re of no value to someone else, but these two tiny tales were life lessons to me.

Pic 1:

My folks with lifelong best friends Nephi & Addie Grigg ……….
(This IS the guy who created, built, founded Ore-Ida Foods, and yes, with his team, invented Tater Tots. He retired in older years by selling Ore-Ida to HEINZ……. although they had plenty of money later on, they remained down to earth as anyone I ever met. I suppose the early years spent as a poor farmer breaking land from sagebrush in Vale, Or with neighbors in the same boat made for strong bonds of friendship).

The little story? Nephi and Addie spent 20+ years wintering with my folks and 2 other couples in Southern California golfing for 3 months….Nephi & Addie also spent two years serving as Mormon Mission President in Scotland….they were always very active in the Church. The day this picture was taken, the foursome had just arrived at my house in Sunnyvale, CA, near SF, heading homeward after their winter golf outing in So Ca. Nephi & Addie had NEVER seen my parrot Jocko (see him in the picture background?)…… I will never forget Dad stepping over to the cage, trying to make “someone” think he was best friends with the bird, teasing him a little, handing him a sunflower seed….. MY MIND was hoping the bird wouldn’t do anything like BITE him or embarrass him OR ME in front of such treasured religious family friends………….. But then, I thought, “Hell, that bird doesn’t KNOW any cuss words, so I’m probably OK” . . . . .about that time, Dad stepped back from the cage and as CLEAR as a Human voice could utter, MY parrot said loudly, and slowly, “OH SHIT!” . . .. . . . YIKES. What was I gonna say or do…….I immediately KNEW that anyone would know this bird couldn’t say ANYTHING it hadn’t heard 1000 times while at the same moment, my mind was saying, “WHERE THE HELL DID HE HEAR THAT?”…… to my relief, while I was worrying, Nephi and Addie let out a rich long long laugh (which broke the worry look on my own Mom’s face)…….. and I remembered why I liked the Griggs THAT much. I NEVER to this day thought I said, “Oh Shit” enough anywhere that Jocko could have learned it……………..it’s a life mystery.

Pic 2…..

That picture taken in McCall, Idaho where my Dad had built a summer cabin partnered with his boss Henry Zobell….it’s at Payette Lakes…..an area that has exploded with resorts. When my family built it, the cost? $2000 (they did most of the work themselves)….they sold it for $8000. The last time it sold on the market, it went for $250,000……and still has NO indoor bathroom. . . .
***I digress…those were wonderful summers, and my first experience about working for a living: read: Caddy. Until THAT time in my life, my jobs included: A Paper-route I inherited from older brothers…….that paid pennies it seems, and barely enough to buy the bicycle you delivered the papers with. I graduated from that to farm work: A kid my age then (about 9-10??) and his siblings would be place in one corner of a sugar beet field of seemingly mammoth 10-20 acres to: (first round) THIN the beet starts, then later….. (second) hoe the weeds out from around the beets, all paying about .75 to $1 dollar an acre. It would take a couple days for 3 boys to do it. Let’s see here: 20 acres x $1 = $20. for TWO days work divided by 3 = $3.30 for me. I could see then WHY Mexican families needed 8-10 kids helping the work in those fields…. That meant I could make about $1.65 a day in the fields.
**THAT’s where being a Golf Caddy came up. McCall sponsored a Golf Tournament every August. That first year, Dad taught me HOW to be a caddy of course by being HIS caddy for NO pay. . . that’s him I’m giving the club to. But, as I was taught, on the day the tournament started, I stood out there as the players were coming from the club house begging, “Can I be your Caddy, today, Sir?” . . . . .. . and one nice guy said yes….. I really enjoyed walking around the 18 holes with that guy, he was kind, and we were surrounded by forest, what wasn’t there to like? Gene handed me $10. ($5 for each 9 holes) that day, and asked if I could caddy the next day. WOW. I had just learned how fortunes were made! I caddied for him 3 days that year and two the next.
The LESSON? I did NOT go back to working beet fields. I DID manage to score a baby sitting job or two from the local Doctor (paid $10 ) and got a job at the local funeral home…… HEY! $5. for 10 minutes playing the organ at a funeral for about 30 minutes work, and I Got OUTTA school to do it)…….
So THAT was the summer I learned about the value of different kinds of work.

The last picture? This DEAR little native Douglas Squirrel has been So cute out at the feeders the past week.

The aggressive Blue Jays are NOT allowed to land anywhere NEAR the food tray when HE’s on duty. He’ll chase them all over that cedar tree, up and down, and immediately run back and sit right by the food. He’s a joy to watch! After all, the jays should be off eating from all those food storage places they were working on last fall.

This T-Shirt is available on-line. My friends with Cats are opposed to the political implications of Cat Family behavior, so I guess I won’t order one:

OKAY. Perhaps, I’m beginning to wake back up from some sad family events……..It’s a NEW year………….we’re healing.

Oh Will he ever return? . . . . Christmas Eve is ONE week away.

Bloged in Family,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Friday December 17, 2010

Chester Metheny seems to be a lucky 81 yr old. He has been recovering rapidly from something almost all had assumed would finish him off. Rodger was coming home Saturday, when……… Surgeons at Chet’s hospital told him they’d be removing the drain tubes from Chet’s lungs today, Friday, and sending him home Saturday. What? That was planned a week later.

That means today: Rodger sets up with Home Health Care some way for home nurses to visit Chet, and preps the home for his arrival. He must get food ready. Tomorrow he brings Chet home, gets him adjusted, and….hopefully, comes home tue … wed ??? This is a GOOD thing….it means NO second trip just a week from

This is pretty cool…………….Hopefully Chet continnow AT Christmas to help him leave the hospital. Whew.

So. We just MAY enjoy this Christmas more than ever, assuming Rodger will be here. We’ll have 20+ family/friends here the eve of the 23rd to eat, drink, sing, toast, and truly enjoy seeing one another. That’s the beauty of the “family” you make in your life……. No Aunt Pauline squinting at you with one eye closed, downing the bourgon, signing the cross to protect herself, from the evil that you are. Hah. NO, this part of my family is beloved as are the friends that will be here.

That being said, the food list will be made today.. . .. … the tree’s up, and house getting cleaned. We DID get the outdoor lights up, and as always, it seems in this green forest area, they always look nice at night:

***Yes, it’s a pic from 2008….’cause I’m “still” wishing for snow……..

This is pretty cool. Chet continues to heal. I AM thinking of many friends I miss simply because they live somewhere else, they’ve passed on, or we’ve lost touch. IT would be perfect if ALL were here with us next week . . . . . . . This little pass through life is SO short………. THIS is the ONE time a year, we can once again feel what it means to be young-at-heart…………………

There could be disadvantages to that:

Lastly, don’t forget it is the season for helping out our little native birds that are brave enough to stay with us all winter, like the little juncos:

just stuff….as OCT ends.

Bloged in Family,General Home Life by mark Friday October 29, 2010

What? Christmas stuff UP at the BIG BOX stores. Talk about cheapening and ruining the REAL sentiment of what this holiday used to be. It’s not just Costco either.

Drives a guy to drink. Is that why I purchased the holiday Liquor supply yesterday at the Oregon STATE controlled store? (I sure wish it was taken out of state control) After filling a box, I asked the clerk about the berry vodkas I’ve heard about. He advised getting the Stoli Blackberry…. then go to the Dollar Store and get PROPEL bottled water, Berry flavor. I did just that.

The DOLLAR store is half full of the cheapest Christmas merchandise I’ve ever seen. The dollar store has its place. I go there for one thing: $1.00 old man reading glasses. WHEN I was buying them for $30. a pair, I always managed to lose them. Once I bought ‘em for a buck, they seemed to NEVER get lost. But anyways, I got my PROPEL water, then did just a tiny bit of investigative work. I found that the DIAL Basics Bar Soap they sell there for $1.00 (2 bars) is NO better than Safeway’s price who sells -3- bars for $1.49. I bought a nice economy size of shampoo to see if it’s any different than the “luxury” $4.95 bottle elsewhere. (When I showered this morning, and I used it, it was barely thicker than water…..a BAD value). The Halloween candy didn’t seem like a bargain…..and I DID wonder if it’s still left overs from last year. Oh well. Stick to the reading glasses.

Quest Phone Service. We canceled the land line early in September when we’d made a decision to go cell for the house based on a “calculation” that we’d save about $30-35 a month on phone costs. By the 7th, all was working. Quest sent a final bill, but within two weeks made their “final” adjustment and sent a refund check that closed out the account. They SAID, “account closed September 14″ . You think we’re done with them? We got a bill yesterday for $11. for: “long distance services”….. I argued this as petty, ridiculous, and impossible to KNOW just what/when the charges are for, AND….WHY the hell would be send a refund check followed by a billing statement. Even the Oregon PUC contact said, “sorry, they’re legally correct”. I swore I’d refuse to pay, then wrote a check this morning not wanting $11. to mess with me during the next two months. Quest, bleah! Oh, I suppose that goes for MOST corporations.

I have been saving $$$ on car maintenance by going to a little mechanic much closer to home than the Subaru dealer was…. the car developed a tiny oil leak a year ago. That mechanic said the timing belt was probably going out …..so I paid him $700. to replace it. Oil leak STILL happening. This time he said probably valve gaskets, another $150….. “probably” and I chose to wait. Since the car was now running a bit off, I faced my $$$ demon and returned to the Subaru dealer. $700 MORE here, and the oil leak was fixed. THIS week, the check engine light came on and it seemed fuel was clogging a bit. I returned and $256 later, the car NOW runs like it’s new. ****Lesson? I believe I’ll continue service at the dealership . . . let ‘em put it on that computer, and I imagine I might be avoiding “some” costs in the future. Hrmhph.

The REAL story was waiting in the dealership customer waiting room where the TV was simply broadcasting FOX news with POLITICAL ads every few minutes. In OREGON, we’re already voting….by mail….. but I keep hearing two other customers (I WANT to describe them in detail, but it wouldn’t be kind)…..whining things like, “I just don’t KNOW what to vote for, the ads confuse me.” Or…. “I just don’t know WHAT is true, if it’s all true, this is horrible.” Or…..He’s cuter than the other guy. It only CONFIRMS what I already knew: THIS is HOW the wealthy have finally destroyed an open democracy….the citizenry watch NOTHING informative, do NOT investigate what they’re voting for………and “believe” what they’re told. Oh well.

GLEE Rocky Horror! There are “critics” ?? Seems “some” folk want to criticize this hollywood slick production, one of the best things ON TV no matter what. I find behind the over-produced musical numbers actual MORAL lessons available if you’ve watched any of these episodes. It’s TV, FOLKS! ENJOY the music, enjoy SUE……. lighten up.

WE’re getting specialized. I saw the four jars of “N/P” pickles in the garage. Yes, a “custom” order. Maybe we’re just not charging enough for our home goods. Hah.

On the dog walk…..we’re coming back up Firelane 10 in the forest. MAC loves to carry big sticks, the bigger the better now that Hooper’s around competing with him for retrieval talents. I gave him a branch about 10′ long…and he proceeded up around a tight curve. I hear a very gay “Uhh!”…..and see two obviously gay guys with their little dog coming our way. Mac never bothered anybody, and all was fine, but you shoulda’ been there. That little “Uhhh” was funny.

Okay…….I’ve finally accepted the fact it’s MID-FALL. It’s STILL foggy and dark at 0802 this morning, and will be dark soon enough by 6:30 tonight. I’m back into long sleeves and getting out flannel lined denims, the HEAVY sweatshirts, waterproof pants, shirts…. Nancy’s short finger felted fingergloves. I’m getting ready! I also think it’s PAST CAKE season……….it’s Pumpkin Pie time. No?

It’s almost time to pull out the little wooden bricks I collected as a child. I “invented” what was called a “marble tower” ….and it became the thing built EVERY Christmas holiday as the family’s nieces and nephews gathered……it has always been a favorite toy (marbles are placed in the top….they roll down a spiral constructed interior to the bottom)…………….

**The one in the old pic WAS a short one….the nephew that year was so young all he wanted to do was knock it down….which he always succeeded at doing in short time**
Ah.

Andy Visits & a Money Saving Idea for Mark!

Bloged in Family by mark Monday October 11, 2010

A certain young creature was unable to travel with her masters to Victoria last week. She was facing Kennel Life! We couldn’t allow that, KNOWING that Mac rather liked the young lady. . .Ian and Kate had her folks in town, and a nice vacation north during “indian summer” seemed irrestible! We asked if we could take “Andy” for a few days……

We’d had company the w/e Ian & Kate left, so couldn’t keep her the first two days. But we picked her up last Monday, and I think that’s all SHE needed to stay happy all week. She and Mac had a fabulous time, long walks into the forest on 4 mornings where Andy Loved finding squirrels to chase and other irresistible smells to breathe in. They played more hours together here in the house than any other pup visitor Mac’s had, and by the time Andy went home, both were tired:

I can’t understand WHY a DOG jumps so quickly into their master’s car to go home as if they were being rescued after seeming to have had their OWN wonderful vacation here. One would think she wouldn’t want to go. When I’M on vacation, I sure don’t want to go back home!

And on a different note altogether…….

Ahah! I had a brilliant idea for saving thousands of $$$ if I slip away unexpectedly in the near future. For a long time, I’ve planned to be cremated or even donate the remains to a Med School wherein they pay the disposal costs for the 2 lbs of bone left after they’re done. Hey! Help make doctors BETTER, eh? Maybe now, though, I’ve saved a major cost of burial…..by finding a rather cheap Casket. With a minimum investment of wrapping it in Aluminum Foil, it “could” resemble one of the expensive Metal Caskets heavily marketed to the bereaved….. How so?

We bought a cheapie “home gym” on the weekend which gave Rodger a secret indulgence he doesn’t get enough of. I DO think his career should have been at IKEA putting together display models of everything they bring to the store, he LOVES assembling things……… Rodg spent the w/e putting it together, and so we “plan” to begin a healthier winter period by spending some time in the spare room that now holds the treadmill AND gym eqpt.

The BOX the thing came in inspired me. Perhaps having “Made in China” is a bit of a detraction, but I thought I should save it up in the garage rafters for holding my earthly remains…….whaddya think?

Where does this thing about saving money come from? If you’d grew up with “depression” parents, you’d know. I well remember two of my brothers and I having to “walk” to go get our milk from Mr. Nelson down the block in winter…..No, I didn’t get GAP clothes to wear:

All Hand-Me-Downs I tell you…………….I was the youngest if that helps identify the poor waif wearing them. I think I also know why Mom sent all 3 young boys to get the milk instead of just one of them…..any Mother of 5 kids probably knows too!

Chet – Rodger has escaped!

Bloged in Family by mark Thursday July 29, 2010

Chet DID return from the hospital yesterday, with new awareness of the “tender” condition of his post-surgery body. Saying, “No, I understand my big drinking days are over!” …………….he settled into taking pills, eating a bit, and adjusting to post-surgery behavior…………. with THAT working well, so far, RODGER ESCAPED while he had the chance!

He spent the night in Ripon with Aunt Paula……….so I’m sure they had a fine time together………. “shopping” . . . . (oh, oh!!), eating, laughing . . . something Rodger needed!

This morning he departs via/ US 101 up the coast and will probably stay in Ashland, OR or environs this evening.

ME? I pick up our friend Bill H. at the airport this pm….and we’ll sit and torture Mac until Rodg gets in tomorrow mid-day or so. Perhaps Bill and I will have to make a batch of jam ………..or tour somewhere close by. He’ll have lots of tales to tell as a long-time resident of Manhattan WHO, just moved into the Greenwich Village……..

Looking forward to seeing Bill, AND………..getting Rodger back home!

Chet – (and Oregano!)

Bloged in Family,garden by mark Monday July 26, 2010

Rodger’s Dad Chet had a partial hip replacement and although he had an odd time coming out of anasthesia, made it okay and was determined to git himself out of that damn hospital. Rodger had to go round up the required list of items Chet would have to have before his release. He and Paula ALSO had to CLEAN the double wide for 2 days in an exhausting effort. We’ll leave some of the details out about what that involved……SOME of that’s worth excellent gossip.

So, with little sleep, Rodger & Joyce brought Chet home Saturday afternoon . . . ….. HE fell coming into the place, but managed to do it w/o injury, and perhaps that’s okay… taught him he DOES have to slow down. So, it appeared that things were coming to a fine finish….. Joyce would stay and take care of him (along with a few appts with a home-health nurse).

Not so. He developed severe gastrointestinal issues somewhere between trying to take all the pills and getting some food down…..NONE of that stayed down. He was admitted very late last night back into the hospital. Tests await……. At least they’ll be able to rehydrate him with an IV, and get the meds adjusted.

This complicates when Rodger will be able to come home …………. as he’d like to do. I’m feeling somewhat sorry I’m not in CA helping Rodger out, I know he’s exhausted.

At least I’ve been busy……… I DID finish getting the first round of Oregano picked, dried, and finally into the kitchen to be cleaned (It had been hanging to dry for a week when all this happened):

There WERE a few stems left afterward:

All of that became this:

And why does that matter? At least half of that will go into making Tomatillo Salsa in late August …………. hopefully……………

Almond Blossom Trp 2010: Day 6- 9

Bloged in Family,General Home Life,TRAVEL by mark Thursday March 11, 2010

Finally, we’re on BART as far it goes….out to Antioch . . . Nice countryside. (As it may exist so close to SF). . . CHET & sweetheart Joyce picked us up, and we’re on the way to that renegade Bethel Island !! We enjoyed lunch together on the way, and later that evening enjoyed some time out at Chet’s favorite hangout, where, like “Cheers”….everyone called out he & Joyce’s name. We enjoyed some really fine food, and stayed up talking.

Aunt Paula & Karen picked us up the next day, and we were soon on our way to RIPON, a fairly small valley community just north of Modesto and south of Manteca just off Highway 99. That doesn’t stop it from claiming to be the “Almond Blossom Capital of the World!” and as such has hosted the Almond Blossom Festival every spring for years …..the last weekend of February.

OF ALL the Hi Spots they could have chosen to show ME, the anti-war, anti-hunter, anti-gun guy, I was astounded to be escorted into a one of a huge chain of real outdoors, camping, hunting, fishing, clothing, rifles, gun safes, EVERYTHING MADE in the world that can be coated in CAMOUFLAGE, stores called Bass Pro Shop in Manteca. They are ALL over the south, and beginning to grow out here. On two levels, it was huge. I remain speechless. When I consider how little wild game is even LEFT alive on the planet, how little natural habitat is left, and that a LARGE chunk of hunters/fishermen do it on “reserved” private ranches, I realized I was very out of touch. I’m not passing judgement here, just observing……….. It WAS an experience to see this.

On we went! We had a full evening, beginning with a cocktail and appetizers at the Ripon Road House….

Friday came and went like a blink. Paula was more busy than _____ (Fill in the blank)…….all getting ready for Saturday. We were fueled by one of the most gigantic breakfasts I’ve ever seen at the tiny town of Salida’s “Country Kitchen”: ONE Chicken Fried Steak breakfast is served on 3 plates…the steak itself is prepared on site, and is about 8″x12″ in size…it could feed 4. Oh well, it is an experience everyone should have ONCE in their life. Might Good!

Friday night meant fabulous pizza from Pizza Plus while Rodger, I, and cousin Mickey watched Olympics all tired out…… while Paula still toiled away preparing for Saturday’s gathering.

Saturday! NO time to waste, the parade began at 11:00, so it was a very hectic day. The parade route is about 200′ from Paula’s door, easy access. And it IS just what you think a small town parade would be except it gathers enough steam from the area to run about 2 hours. That means LOTS of horses, bands, churches, beauty queens, old cars, yes, but it’s really done very well.

Yep, queens of every kind…..and fashion:

Some of the horse groups were magnificent, some trained…this one a serious performance master:

After the parade, the family gathered for Paula’s fabulous feast, and in time, the annual photo:

Unfortunately, as the years have passed, there are fewer and fewer family members to join up……….. maybe that’s why it seems, every year, to a bit more “special”.

TOO soon, we were on an airplane enroute home……………

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