Monday, November 29, 2010


While we were at the cemetery in Madera on Friday, I decided to take a walk around and look at the graves. I know it sounds like a sad or morbid thing to do but really, there are some wonderful stories to be drawn from the lives of some of the people who are buried. And most of them have to be written by the living, it seems, as what I found written on the headstones was not very enlightening.

Mary Searles and Emily Primmer are buried right next to each other. They both came from New York originally but are at rest here in Madera, California. Perhaps they were sisters who moved here together and lived to be 72 and 74. Emily lived until the year of the 1906 earthquake but there is nothing on these headstones to tell us which months they were born or died. We are left to our own imaginations to tell us about their lives.

Charlie Garner's headstone tells us a bit more. We are privy to when he was born and died and know that he lived only 55 short years. It looks as if he was a cellar master because that is written on his headstone but was he married? Did he have any children? Which winery was he a cellar master at? These are questions that arise for me as I wander the aisles of the cemetery.

I loved this person's name: Pinky. Not "short for" or anything. Just Pinky. But, again, no mention of her family, where she lived, what she did all her life, etc. She lived 73 years and there is no mention of how that 73 years was spent. Did she love to garden? Was she a wonderful cook? Maybe she liked to write short stories or poetry. With a name like Pinky I suspect whatever she did was quite "colorful" and done with a sense of humor.

Look at this headstone! This man fought in the Mexican war with the mounted infantry. He was 59 years old when he died. The Mexican war lasted from 1846-1848 in the wake of the U.S. annexation of Texas. So, John Pemberton was probably in his 20's when he served in this war. Notice there are no flowers at his grave. This is often the case at cemeteries. The people get buried there and then forgotten. I noticed lots of plastic flowers at graves which doesn't seem much better to me than nothing. There was one grave that someone had left a gorgeous orchid plant that I picked up and put back in the urn.

It looks as if the U.S. Government had relocated this husband and wife in 1971 but there was no mention of how old they were. It is nice that they were relocated and remembered but perhaps they were at Hidden Lake Site and it was an historical Indian burial site and sacred to them. I wonder.

This grave was marked as "unknown". Perhaps too degraded to determine sex, this person was moved and buried here with an unknown as a title. It seems so sad to me to live a life and then become known as "unknown". That is not really "knowing" someone is it! (Sorry about making your turn your head sideways. Google did not want to cooperate with me in this regard.)

Mr. and Mrs. Woo are buried next to each other. And, for those who can read their native language I'm sure there is much to be said about the two of them. All we know is the years of their births and deaths. No months; nothing in between those "dashes". We are at least given a photo to know what they looked like. I think that is a nice touch.

The De Leon's will be buried next to each other. Hipolito will be buried next to his wife Bernarda when he passes on. Until then, it looks as if her grave is visited by someone who cares enough to leave some flowers in remembrance. (Again, I apologize for the view.)

This grave site I found very interesting. It was a long, cement structure with small protrusions at the top. Below, you will see how these people were marked and remembered.

Not much information, right? No months, no days, no years, no names; only initials. We don't know if these were moved here, if this is their original burial sites, if they are mother, father, and children or husbands and wives. Perhaps it is two families because the last initials are both "S" and "B". And, absolutely no "dashes". To me, the life that we lead between the dashes is what is important. I read that someplace a few months ago. It struck me as quite a statement and one that so many of us don't take the time to think about. What will people say about us years later when they read our headstones? Will they remember the good things we did, the things that we loved while we were alive, the animals we shared our homes with, the jobs we did until we retired, the good food we cooked, the laughs we shared with others, the sadness we braved, and the life that we lead?

Writing is a way to leave something of "us" behind when we leave. We put down on paper (or computer discs or jump drives) our deepest thoughts, our loves, our proudest memories of our family and friends, and sometimes things that we are not so proud of. Sometimes we write things that we need to retract at a later date. Writing is a way of sharing part of us with others who do not know us. When people read our words they know what was important to us: it shows in our words.

I would encourage all of you to write what is in the deepest recesses of your minds and hearts for all to read; for all to read years after you are gone. Someone cannot know who you are unless you release those words that are trapped deep inside of you. If you don't write them all down (all the smallest details, the subtleties) they will be forever blank, as these graves and headstones are, left to those of us who travel to another town and just happen to visit the cemetery that you are buried at. I hope that I would be able to make a nice story for those of you who do not choose to leave the words and details behind. I would hope that someone would be able to "read" me and my life well too. After all: it is the way we live our life that we are remembered for. It is the life we lead between those dashes that is important.

As we were heading back on to the freeway, heading home, we were stopped at the last stop light before merging on to the freeway and this license plate is what caught my eye. How apropos for the afternoon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010


Our Thanksgiving Day was wonderful. Here are some photos of the table before we started to eat.

And here is a photo the the pumpkin cheesecake that I made. It was so wonderful that I'm going to share the recipe for you. I didn't even make a traditional pumpkin pie and no one felt that they were lacking.

Almost-Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake------------recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine


  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 sour cream
  • 1 15-oz can pure pumpkin
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • 1/3 cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brush a 10-in. springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, 15- 20 minutes. Cool on a rack, then wrap the outside of the springform pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, beat the cram cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2 1/3 cups sugar and beat until just light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices and beat until just combined. Pour into the cooled crust.

Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out) and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, then carefully remove from the roasting pan and cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edges, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring the cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Unlock and remove the springform ring. To finish, place a dollop of the whipped cream on each slice and sprinkle with the toasted pecans.

Enjoy...we sure did!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


What an incredible gift.
Floating inside, safe and sound,
rocking gently to and fro',
the rhythm of a heart gives it hope,
warmth, love, protection.
Even a wizard with his magic wand
could not conjure this up;
could not abracadabra-with-his-wand and make this appear.

This can only be described as
as miracle.
As pure, radiant love.

Visit Jingle Poetry for more magical poems this week using the prompts: Magic and Miracles, Wonder and Wizardry. Enjoy!


I was hoping to be able to have this area as an over-flow area on Thanksgiving Day but it looks as if the weather will not be cooperating with me on this plan. We have had snow, high winds, LOTS of rain, broken tree limbs and tops, and overall, just some unseasonal cold weather the last couple of days. When snow falls on trees that have not even lost all their leaves yet, it makes it hard for them to lose the snow. And then, SNAP!!

Tomorrow is filled with shopping, baking, and last minute preparations. I am ahead of the game already so that makes me feel relaxed and less stressed. I am hoping that all of you are feeling the same and that you all have time to reflect on what you are thankful for.

I never like to write lists. I don't know why really. I just have never really needed them. But, today I am writing a list of things I am thankful for. Here goes:


  • my health and the health of those that I love and are close to me.
  • the ability to forgive.
  • new friends in my life.
  • the love that I feel for mankind.
  • my home and land, an abundant fresh water supply, and fresh air to breathe.
  • retirement and retirement income.
  • health insurance.
  • the blessings of a spiritual community.
  • and much, much more.
I send blessings out to all of you who follow my blog. I know that many of you do not introduce yourself to me but I hope you are enjoying your visit here. I write this blog with the intention of sharing my humble life but also with the hopes that by showing you that I am human, you will acknowledge the humanity within yourselves. I write to learn to be more tolerant of others and to see the differences in each of us that make us unique. I also write as a sort of diary and a way of learning. This world is a wonderful place, filled with so many opportunities and opinions. If just half of what I learn from all of you rubs off on me, I am a truly blessed. My eyes are continually being opened. To that I am forever thankful. I love you all (yes, you too!).

Sunday, November 21, 2010


How important is time, really?!
Does it matter that I sit patiently?
Does it matter that I have tried to move
those hands backwards?
The hands of time are broken now;
unable to move forward and advance.
They are stuck,
remain static,
pointing at eleven
(not twelve or one). that is something
to think about.
Which one...someone...
All choices that we can make,
that we can blame (or not)
or remain in limbo with the
world spinning around us and
us standing still.
Still standing.
One and one= eleven.
One and one= us.

"A Good Day" With Brother David Steindl-Rast

Just in case things get too hectic this week (or too snowy with no internet) here is a short video that speaks to something that is important to me.

We had snow the last couple of days and our internet was sketchy. We even had to (or should I say B had to) go out last night in the snow and push off the snow from the satellite dish so that we could finish watching the movie we had started. Satellite is not always reliable in bad weather.

I am hoping that all my internet friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy the simple gifts that we are given and remember to enjoy each day. Each day is such a gift. It is not the outward things that we accumulate but inward things that have great meaning. We can each share our passions with each other and share the gifts with each other. I repeat what the video says: be thankful for the eyes you have been given to see. There are certainly others less fortunate around us and it is at this time of the year that we are reminded how we can share our gifts with others.

Friday, November 19, 2010


On Wednesday morning we woke up to a wonderfully sunny day. Having finished the major part of our tiling project and it having to sit, untouched for 24 hours, we decided to take a drive to the Bay Area. We drove through the Napa-Sonoma area and then headed south on Highway 101 to Mill Valley. I used to go to a wonderful craft show in Mill Valley years ago and remember the town being really quaint and woodsy. Nothing seems to have changed there. It is still just as wonderful. If I had the money, I wouldn't mind living in that area because it is close to the ocean yet woodsy and it has a really mild climate. You can grow almost anything there and probably year 'round too! We didn't make it as far as Stinson beach but we did get to Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Beach. Lots of wonderful cliff homes in that area. And roads that have been bolstered because of slides. We even saw a coyote in an open field, just standing there for the longest time. Funny to think of such animals so close to such a big city as San Francisco.

Here's a shot of a bunker close to Muir beach. B's Dad used to man one of these. They are located up and down the coast and had telescopes mounted in them for viewing potential "enemies" coming ashore. Some had telescopes but some had guns mounted in them. World War II was a scary time for lots of people. But people who lived close to a coast felt particularly vulnerable. I remember my Mom talking of black-outs when she was growing up. Can you imagine San Francisco going completely dark?

This is a shot from the top of the mountain looking down at Mill Valley. Does any of this seem familiar to you Katherine? You lived here for many years and are probably very familiar with what I am talking about.

And this is from the same location but looking a little more toward San Francisco. (San Francisco would be on the far right of this photo). In the far back of this photo you can see Mt. Diablo in the haze. It was a wonderful day. We stopped at a really nice deli in Larkspur and bought lunch. It was one of those great markets with wooden floors, lots of cozy colors and a jam-packed parking lot because it was obviously very popular.

Today, as I am writing this, we have almost finished the project. There are so many things to do here before the holidays. I don't know why we decided to do this project before everyone arrives next week but it will be nice to have it somewhat finished before everyone sees it. Some people coming have never seen the house; others are just somewhat familiar with it. Whatever the case, it is now Friday night and it is pouring rain. I am hoping that before next Thursday, the weather decides to lighten up a bit. Thankfully, no one is spending the night here even though quite a few are coming from long distances. It would be nice to be able to shuffle some people outside during the day. I suppose it if does continue to rain, we will have one cozy house. Sixteen people will probably be the most I have ever had for dinner. People don't seem to mind being crowded. Just give them some good food and something to drink and they are happy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Remembering my friend Lela Mae with a recipe I found that states it is: THE BEST BANANA CREAM PIE EVER! I'm not sure this is true because THE BEST BANANA CREAM PIE EVER was made by my friend Lela Mae. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe so this will have to suffice. It does remind me of my friend Lela Mae though, who loved me to the end. Miss you Lela!


Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling and cooling
Bake about 30 minutes
Makes 10 servings

1 (9-inch) homemade pie shell


2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
3 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 medium bananas


1-1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bake pie shell as directed. Cool
Meanwhile, prepare custard in a 3-quart saucepan. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. With a wire whisk beat in milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Cool 10 minutes.

Slice bananas. Arrange half of the bananas in the bottom of pie shell. Spread with half of the custard. Repeat with remaining bananas and custard. Press plastic wrap on to the surface of the custard. Refrigerate pie until custard is set, at least 4 hours or over night.

To serve, prepare homemade whipped cream in medium bowl. With mixer at medium speed, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Spread cream over filling. Enjoy.

Here's a crust that says it is flaky. No guarantees, since I have not made this one myself but I thought that I would include it since it states that "a bit of vinegar ensures a tender crust."

Makes 2-10 inch pies--each serves 8

4-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup ice water
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix 1 minute. Add the butter and mix just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir the water and vinegar together, then gradually add to the flour mixture. Mix at medium speed just until a dough forms. Do not over mix. Divide the dough in 2 and shape into round, flat disks on sheets of wax paper. Wrap separately and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Lightly flour your rolling pin. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place your pie plate upside down on top and trim with a sharp knife, leaving about 2 inches extra dough all the way around. Roll the dough circle up onto your rolling pin, the unroll it into the pie place. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Weigh crust down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 25-30 minutes, or just until dry and set, then remove the foil and beans. Bake another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Recently, I was reading a blog written by Eco Girl. She posted a video by Jimmy Kimmel in which he was asking for our help.

This November 17th, Kimmel is asking Facebook members to participate in the first National Unfriend Day (NUD). Participating could not be easier. Simply trim the "friend fat" by reducing the amount of friends or contacts in your Facebook account.

The article that I found on says: "take a good hard look at your friends list. Are those people really your friends or are you just trying to get as many "friends" as humanly possible? Kimmel is asking people to think about what friendship really means. Would those 250 Facebook "friends" lend you money in a pinch? Would they house-sit your three cats and two dogs for a couple of weeks? Would they help you move in the dead of winter or during a rainstorm?"

Good question! I don't have a Facebook account so I can't "unfriend" anyone but my daughters do and they have already been "unfriended". I'm sure if I had a Facebook account my name would have been wiped out a long time ago. But, fortunately, I don't have to worry about that. I know who my friends are. I don't need a Facebook account to let me know that. And the funny thing about those Facebook accounts is (from what I have noticed) that the owners put up restrictions on who can look at their personal information anyway. So, what's the meaning of that anyway? It sounds so conditional, as in: I'll let you view my information if and when you request to be added to my account and if I decide that I want to add you as a friend and share my information with you.

I know that this is just a prank that Kimmel is doing but there does seem to be some thread of truth to what he is saying. I think that I will retain my view of what it takes to be a good friend. It has worked for me most of my life. And I won't be joining Facebook any time soon. I would rather pick up the phone, write an email when I don't have the time for a phone call or a hand-written letter, or if I do have the time, write a short note or letter. There is nothing like a hand-written note or letter in a person's own handwriting. It is becoming a lost art I'm afraid. Witness the loss of revenue experienced by the Post Office this last year from a lack of postage being procured.

I wonder how many "friends" Kimmel has on Facebook? And how would he go about deciding who to "unfriend"?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I can't just turn my feelings on and off
like some sort of light switch.
It is harder to let go
than I thought.
What kinds of things make me moody?
Rain and grey skies,
wanting to walk to a coffee shop
but none exist,
seeing long-ago signs of what I used to be; what
YOU used to be.
Emotions are hard to sort through.
I used to think I had a better handle on them
they seem to be boiling up inside of me
the older I get, the more hormones I have
(or don't have).
The realization that love disappears
Some time
is all that I need right now.
Some bright and sunny skies
wouldn't hurt either.
And a single-shot decaf, non-fat, two-pump mocha!
Yes, I said DECAF!

Jingle Poetry can be found by clicking on the link in my sidebar. This week's topic is Moods, feelings, and emotions.


My daughter sent me this reflection on her cabinet the other day. The reflection was not so important as what my granddaughter said about the reflection. She said that this looked just like the inside of a frog's hand! And doesn't it? What was amazing to me was that she knew what a frog's "hand" looked like and that she also knew what the "inside" of a frog's "hand" looked like! To say that means that she understands the theory of X-ray techniques, doesn't it? She recognizes that we can see inside our bodies (or frogs, as the case may be). Such a precocious child. What will she see when she is six? Or seven? I just hope that she doesn't lose the ability to "see".

Monday, November 15, 2010


"Considered in the broadest sense, prosperity is "spiritual well-being". This involves the whole experience of healing life, satisfying love, abiding peace and harmony as well as a sufficiency of what Aristotle called the "furniture of fortune." Too often the tendency is for teacher and student to become so preoccupied with the demonstration of jobs and bank accounts as to forget that the person is a whole creature in a whole Universe."

From: Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Last night I sat in front of my computer and watched a live feed from the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. It was recommended by Melanie and I thought it sounded quite interesting. So, I had the evening to myself as B was at a meeting in Auburn most of the evening. I found it very interesting, to say the least. It was all about listening basically. Forms of non-verbal communication and finding meaning in what we used to intrinsically know without having to speak or write things down.

This lecture was given by Robert Svoboda, B.A.M.S. and it was his "swan song" as he put it because he is taking a sabbatical soon. One thing I found very interesting was that he said that we should try not to think. Thinking just gets in the way of what we are supposed to learn. Just let it come; let it happen. Disconnect from the idea that you are doing things. We can choose to participate to move in one direction of another. This is fairly close to what I had written in my poem about Hanuman. And, I think this is exactly what he was talking about: how one thing happens, maybe a week or two before, but then right before your eyes a week or two later is the connection to that one thing. All things are linked. All people are linked. And, how I do believe this.

If you think about it, there was a time when there was no alphabet; no written language. That all had to be invented. What did people do before they were able to speak a language? According to Robert Svoboda we were able to communicate non-verbally. He gave an example of how a person who needed to communicate to someone in a great distance could actually save time by just sending his thoughts to him rather than traveling the distance up the hill and down the road, which would take him more time. Interesting. I have had numerous instances where my thoughts have reached across the United States. One instance I remember quite clearly was when I was sending an email to Melanie regarding an article I had read titled "Dew on the Grass". She immediately sent me an email stating that she had just sat down on the sofa to write her blog when she got this vivid image of some moisture, some dew, on her lawn out in front. I was blown away, to say the least. I know this happens to me quite often in other ways also, such as just thinking of someone and then the phone rings and they are calling me.

So, do you believe in non-verbal communication? Have things like this happened to you also? In our ever-present ability to try and humanize the world, have we lost the very connection to the small things that might really matter? We are still driven by things under the surface; by Karma. It's important for us to remember that because it will have to be dealt with either sooner or later. Melanie reminds us today in her post about random acts of kindness. It is a good lesson to keep in the forefront. How we treat others, how well we communicate with others either verbally or non-verbally, ultimately does matter. As Robert Svoboda said last night: be open to things coming TO you. There is ALWAYS a connection.

From the lecture: The person who leaves the known road for the unknown road knows what he leaves behind. Namaste'

Friday, November 12, 2010



I received this photo my my new grandchild in my email this evening and I am thrilled beyond words. The reality of seeing this young child, only approximately 3 months old, is so incredible. I love how these images make the baby glow, as if touched by some celestial light. How pure and innocent, how full of trust and love this child is. There is something so magical about seeing it so young...seeing it before it is born. It makes it almost impossible to want to wait to hold him/her (I think her...I had a dream...but we'll see.)

I feel as if I already know this child. When I magnify the image I see a face that I recognize; that is familiar to me. Perhaps it is someone that I used to know that has come here once again. If so, I will feel the connection immediately. Maybe that is what I already am sensing: the familiarity of someone that was once close to me.

When Natalie was born I felt an immediate connection to her and we still have it to this day. She is 5 years old now but when we look into each other's eyes we both sense the oneness that we share. I felt this same feeling when my twins were born. The first time I looked at their faces I saw myself. I remember saying "Oh, they look just like me" as they wheeled me away to the ICU. I had a rough birthing but I came out of it just fine. I am a survivor.

So, on this November day when I am thinking of friends from the past and friends that have transitioned to another place, I am happy to get a glimpse of someone that I love even before we meet face-to-face. I don't think that there could be anything in this world that could make a person any happier than this kind of news; this kind of photograph. It is pure love, pure joy, pure happiness.


Hanuman, incarnation of the divine, exiled in the forest,
protects people from accidents,
has physical strength, perseverance, devotion.

Sita gave him a necklace of pearls.
He broke the necklace,
inspected each pearl minutely,
looked for Sita and Rama.
He found them in his heart.

Does man have control over anything?
Our minds are restless
and never still.

We call it monkey-mind.

We have control over this

We cannot control the world
around us
but we can control and tame our mind.

We cannot control our life
but we can choose the way
we respond to it.

Symbolic of the perfect mind,
embodiment of the highest potential,
Hanuman is the perfect karma yogi.
He performs his action with detachment.

No selfish motives here.
Just an instrument of destiny.

Visit Magpie Tales to see other great entries of poetry, prose and short stories.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Nobody is a Victim Here" by Here II Here

Last night I had the opportunity to go and watch Here II Here in Sacramento. What an amazing concert it was. They have a spiritual message, a great sense of humor, an incredible beat, and filled the room with love, joy, and an upbeat message.

The back of their CD lists all the songs that appear but are written in a way that there is a message too.
The CD is titled: Waking Journey so it starts like this: The Waking Journey is here. WALK WITH ME and discover that IT'S ALL LIGHT in this moment that always says YES to itself. This moment, which is the birthplace and resolution of YOUR DREAMS. Dreams of EARTHLINGS AND PLANKTON, despair and liberation! In this moment all is seen for the FIRST TIME, last time, no time...and includes all time, all change. All TIME IV CHANGE, this moment is closer than each breath. LEJOS DE LA NADA y mas cerca que el amor, so obvious, it get overlooked and appears to be an ALIEN lost IN THOUGHT, lost in space, longing for its fears to be erased with the sacred resonance of OM, NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA! This moment is HOLY. This moment is Here.

"Here II Here provides not simply music, but a total experience that expands the mind, opens the heart and then touches the soul. I feel gifted by having heard them." Neale Donald Walsch author of Conversations with God.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today, I was invited to participate in Jingle Poetry. You can go here to find others who have done the same. So, here first submission regarding buildings landmarks and monuments.

Life is sometimes like a house.
It starts out with a good foundation
(or not)
and builds daily, weekly, monthly
until completed
(or so it seems).
But life, like a house,
is never complete.
There is always rearranging,
Do we stop when we think it is done?
No, we keep on digging in the yard,
we keep on painting the siding,
we keep on vacuuming the inside.
Is the inside more important?
Sometimes curb appeal is just
a front; something to fool the eye,
something to draw them in.
But, the core, the hearth,
is what is really important.
You've got to


Since November is upon us, it makes me think of all the mandarin groves and orchards that are in our area. This year I had the opportunity to work for Placer County Agriculture Department where I placed Asian Citrus Psyllid traps in many of the commercial mandarin orchards. I was fortunate to get to know quite a few of the growers too. What a pleasure it was for me to talk to each of them and get to know a bit about them and their orchards.

This is Abel's Orchard on Gold Hill in Auburn. What a wonderful place Bonnie has here. She works every day gardening, planting, digging in the dirt and generally, making a welcoming place for friends and family.

Here she has put lots of French drains in and built ponds to divert all the water that comes off of the hillside. The water runs all year long. This was the most pleasant place to visit in the heat of the summer.

This garden house sits right next to the pond and was always open when I would visit her orchard. It is decorated so well it could have been in gardening magazine.

Here is a photo of the inside of the garden house. See what I mean? Gorgeous vases filled with beautiful bouquets. Everywhere you looked there were little vignettes that Bonnie had created. I am so happy to have met her and we will definitely keep in touch now. The Mountain Mandarin Growers are a tight group and starting in November you will find mandarins at all the farms, orchards, festivals, and farmer's markets. The season for mandarins has just begun. In fact, some of the growers tell me that if you buy mandarins BEFORE Thanksgiving they might not be ripe or sweet. Let the buyer beware!

Monday, November 8, 2010


A permanent state of transition is man's most noble condition.

Juan Ramon Jimenez

Sunday, November 7, 2010



quote from China

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Is that fear I see in that eye?
I'm fond of red
Just not MY red
I hold court with my
The chorus begins
They call me
Gregory Peck.
Because I do.
The Chorus Girls
while I wait patiently

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