Friday, October 30, 2015

A Special Halloween Celebration

I heard on a local NPR program that there is going to be a huge Mexican community celebration of the Day of the Dead in Sacramento this weekend. I do not know the Spanish for the event so not sure if it translates perfectly. The woman describing it talked about booths and family gatherings. They will choose one particular person to remember, bring that person’s favorite food and eat with them and talk about them and to them and tell family stories. It sounds delightful. The interviewer asked her whom she had chosen to remember this year and I thought, what a good question. 

Who would I like to remember and talk about this year? My Uncle Bill.

Uncle Bill was a favorite. When we would visit my mom’s North Carolina family, I would wait eagerly for Uncle Bill to return from work so I could follow him down the hill to “help” him work in his garden. He grew corn, tomatoes, beans and I am sure other vegetables. I loved helping. When little I sometimes became tired of eating them over and over again. 

He had a corner  in the living that included his big comfortable chair, his radio on a shelf on one side of the chair and a lamp and books and papers on the other. I loved to sit on his lap and be told stories or listen to the radio even when it was a program I didn’t really understand - like the news when I was very young. 

When I was ready to hop down and move on, Uncle Bill would always say, “I’ll see you in the funny papers” and I would laugh and laugh. That was the funniest thing I had ever heard, even if I had just heard it a few hours before. 

When Uncle Bill had to move to a retirement home, I visited him whenever I could. He was blind and deaf and he never lost his zest for life or his sense of humor. We were walking down the hall to lunch one day and as a woman approached us, he introduced me. As we moved on, I asked him how he knew who it was. “She wears a very distinctive perfume,” he replied. 

Uncle Bill and my father died within hours of each other on the same day. Two very special men in my life whom it is fun to remember with love. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Where is a Cop . . .?

You know how you say, “Where is a cop when we need one?” Well, I am here to tell you, in Quincy, CA when you have thrown a wheel on the camper you are pulling. We had driven by an officer following a CalTrans truck picking up cones and road work signs. After we threw the wheel, the CalTrans truck drove by and I wondered if the officer might just be following him. I turned around and there he was, pulling in behind us. He checked things over, called the tow truck, suggested Les Schwab, made a few other  good suggestions to Dean and was joined by another officer. 

Their conversation was interesting. I didn’t hear it all but the first thing I overheard was, “Oh, I put her in jail last week.” Other snippets included hopes that “she” would get help, get clean and do better. The tow truck arrived. Jake was very competent and went about his work - after some masculine chit chat because they hadn’t seen each other in what? All of 20 minutes? I love small towns. 

First officer left. Officer Connelly (I did remember to get his name) stayed with us until the camper was loaded and we all knew what we were doing. When I told him we lived in Tahoe City, he said he lived in Truckee and “we are neighbors.” We all departed the road side at the same time with expressions of gratitude on our part.

The good news: Les Schwab could repair the camper. The bad news: not last night. That was ok with me. I was ready to get home. We will return to Quincy in a day or two, have lunch at our favorite little restaurant there, and bring a well-repaired camper home. Last night we slept in our own bed thanks to the help of two cops who were right there when we needed them! 

And as we left Quincy, both officers were working an accident and Jake was climbing out of his tow truck again ~ all three where they needed to be. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Name Your Discovery

Owlet and Puck spent the night in camp with us. After breakfast, they headed out to explore the empty lake bed - Emigrant Lake is way down given the northwest drought. While on their hiking around, they discovered all sorts of geological landmarks, visible now that the water level is down. They named them all. Later in the morning, they took Grandpa and Mama Susan with them to show us all the landmarks.

First was a long rock that they named the SS Lizard. 
They built a cairn to mark the spot.

Next was Earth's Well.

The Stump, marked with a stick Owlet had carried for a while.

The Thing: the yucky piece of the boat mentioned in the last blog was found
here. Upside down mountain is a reflection of course. 

X marks the spot.

Jack Rabbit Hill, so named because they saw their first ever jack rabbit
hopping up this hill. 

The Snake Bridge to Nowhere.

The Resting Rock, spring 2014.

The Resting Rock, fall 2015. Wow, the difference
18 months makes.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Camping in Ashland

After setting up camp at Emigrant Lake, we had dinner at Michelle's and then Puck and Owlet returned with us to spend the night at the camp site. On the way, Grandpa suggested yogurt.

Grandpa loves yogurt. We love Grandpa. 

Owlet helped to build the morning fire - her first.

Hot tea and cocoa around the morning fire is a good way to learn to camp. 

After pancakes and bacon, it was time to explore the lake which is Way down because of the drought. Part of the treasure was something from a boat sunk in yucky wet mud ~ to be thrown away followed by washing hands in really hot water. 
More exploring in another blog as the adventure continues.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quotation Edification

I read, I watch documentaries and fiction on Netflix, and I see lots of posts on FaceBook. There are times when all of these produce fascinating and interesting quotes ~ and sometimes all in one week. This week, I kept some that particularly appealed to me and want to share them with you. I am simply going to do just that. Share them. It is up to you to interpret, comment on, have conversation with other people about them. This is going to be an interactive blog even if you don’t say anything to me. Let these pithy statements stir your brain ~ or not. Enjoy.

“She knew conversations about Bach. Days could go past. 
Continents could drift. Fossils could form.” (Phyrne Fisher, in Queen of the Flowers by Kerry Greenwood)

“I am not the woman President of Harvard. I am the President of Harvard.” (Drew Gilpin Faust, the President of Harvard)

“We cannot reduce God to our conception of God.” (A Catholic theologian in the documentary Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation on Netflix) 

Monday, October 19, 2015

"I'm A Little Tea Pot . . "

I love tea pots. I have a number of them ~ some from foreign shores brought to me by traveling family. I also have one that I use most of the time so I don't shop for them any more. Except I had been browsing the thrift shops to find cups and saucers and tea pots for my daughter. I have been very successful so had slowed down that process. She only has so much shelf space.

Several weeks ago, I spotted this little gem and it said, very loudly, "I'm for Susan." So I brought it home. The little red tag is the strainer for the tea leaves. Cute and perfect.

Then while shopping for teas, I picked up loose leaf Lady Grey. Now I like Lady Grey but had never had it loose. So on a chilly afternoon, I put some Lady Grey in my little pot and brewed what turned out to be the perfect cup of tea. I add just a little sugar and a little evaporated milk (my compromise between milk and cream). Delicious! Perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up that is still soothing and tasty. Add a piece of shortbread or a toasted scone and you can understand why the British invented afternoon tea.

Even in our busy world when there is no time to stop for traditional tea, there is something very comforting about Lady Grey brewed in my cozy little pot even if it is sipped while writing or folding laundry. And if I take time to sit and sip, the day is enhanced by beauty. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Shhhh - Don't Jinx It

Shhhh - don’t jinx it. I may be cooking again. I bought an acorn squash at the Farmers’ Market last week. Now acorn squash has always been easy. Slice it, core it, bake it with some butter and brown sugar in the middle, add a little more when done and eat as a lovely sweet side to whatever entree’ you have prepared. 

However, this year, before I had a chance to do the usual, someone posted on FB a short video of a chef preparing a savory acorn squash stuffing. I went to the website for Food Network and looked up acorn squash. There was the nice southern butter and brown sugar version. There were also video after video of savory stuffings. I’m not sure how many I watched - six or seven I think. One I had to reject outright - full of cabbage and peppers which do not sit well on my sweetie’s stomach. Others noted, but I was missing several key ingredients and I was not in the mood to shop. 

Finally yesterday morning as I lay in bed contemplating my day, I put together the combination of ingredients that I had and that I thought would work for us. Sure enough: voila! Stuffed acorn squash. It was a little spicy and accompanied by homemade apple sauce which gave it just the sweet the spice needed. Delicious. I’m not sure I want this to become a habit and for the moment, I'm enjoying some time in the kitchen. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How We Got to Now

I only occasionally comment on what I watch on tv or Netflix. Today, however, I want to suggest a show which I am finding fascinating, unusual and educational. It is on Netflix and is called How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson.

Johnson takes one aspect of our lives, goes back to the beginnings of time and traces the development of that trait through to today. He is erudite, clever, and interesting without being too intellectual. And he traces the traits through developments that were made by garage or basements tinkerers, usually inventors we have never heard of and whose names we do not know.

He also shows how one invention or development can lead to others in a totally different field. One fascinating, logical example: Glass. Glass was around, there were even some little lenses being made. And then Gutenberg invented the printing press ~ and suddenly there was a great demand for spectacles so that ordinary people with aging eyesight could read the printed word.

We know about the printing press. We know about glasses for our eyes. Have we ever put together their historical, developmental juxtaposition? I hadn't. Over and over Johnson makes such connections that bring us from early history of glass to the fiberoptic network which runs, , our interconnected world today. And that is just the episode on glass.

Other episodes, equally as fascinating, deal with Clean, Time, Light, Cold and Sound. This is an interesting series, worth watching for all of us and clever enough to be enjoyed by the whole family. Here's to fun watching and good conversation afterwards!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's Nice to be Known

Wow, it is nice to be known! Went to Moe’s for lunch and to sit on the deck on a beautiful day. As we walked in I commented to Dean what a lovely day it is and the only thing that could make it better would be if they had hush puppies. Well, they didn’t but they did have brisket. 

I ordered a chopped brisket salad. Woman taking our order: it’s pulled. Me: no, pork is pulled, brisket is sliced and I would like mine chopped please. (then I turn to the young man preparing the food) I’m from Texas. I want my brisket chopped.

He grinned and said, “We can handle that.”

The owner whom we know came in and I told him my comment to Dean and said, “but it’s ok. You have brisket and it isn’t even Tuesday.” 

When our lunches came to us, there was the chopped brisket on my salad and an order of hush puppies. We both agreed, the best brisket we had had there . . . and the best hush puppies, hot, fresh, light and yummy. And we sat on the deck on a lovely fall day in Tahoe and were grateful for many, many blessings. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

4:45 am Adventure

In order to understand this blog, you need a picture of our bathroom to set the scene. It is a long narrow room leading from our bedroom to the back deck. Here it is. 

I was awakened at 4:45 by Oso barking furiously and racing toward the deck door. He growled a bit and still humphing, came back to his bed. I was awake. Might as well go to the bathroom so I can get back to sleep. The bathroom is cool. Is there a door open? I look toward the deck door. I wander toward it with arm outstretched (the only light being a night light) and sure enough it is wide open and the bath mat which lies in front of the shower is half way out the door. Oops. 

I close the door and turn on the light. Nothing ~ and Oso has gone back to sleep. I finish, turn off the light and go back to bed myself. But it is a little unnerving. I know it wasn’t a bear because Oso neither levitated nor raced out the door after it. A large raccoon maybe? Probably. Drank some water from Oso’s bowl by the door and then hooked one of those amazing paws into a crack between the door and the wall and started in. Yay, Oso!!! I guess we lock the bathroom door from now on.