Friday, August 31, 2012


The way I see it, the problem with digital cameras is that for the most part it makes you take way too many insignificant snaps, and when you do find one you like, trying to figure out what to do with it!  So I decided to get some of these pictures out of my camera and inflict them on you.

The top picture is, of course, a dragon fly.  We don't see those much any more.  I think I saw a lot of them as a kid but certainly not now.  And while I think of it, I don't ever believe I saw an orange one like this one.  But sure enough, it lit on my hummingbird feeder and stayed long enough for me to catch it in the act.  It's pretty nifty, don't you think?


The photo above is of the graffitied shed that sits up on a hillside near our house.  The road going up the hill is so workers can access the huge water tanks that  provide water for this part of the county.  I assume box-like thing is a storage facility of some kind.  It really is far far from us - and until I took this picture I couldn't even make out what the graffiti looked like.  After living here for 7 years, someone decided to "decorate" this shed about a month ago.  As we have a good graffiti abatement program in our new little city of Jurupa Valley, Jerry reported the vandalism and within a week the crew was out covering it up. 
Were we surprised to find it redecorated again this week?  Well, yes and no.  The second design was identical to the first; that was the "yes."  I would have thought that they could have been a little more creative.  That the graffiti happened again, that was the "no, we were not at all surprised."  Are we going to call the graffiti abatement people again?  Of course.  Perhaps this time we will get a Shephard Fairey design and then it will be art, not graffiti. 


These last two pictures are of a couple of things I've recently knitted.  I had wanted to make a scarf with a lace pattern in it.  It took me too many tries to find what I thought I wanted to do, so I temporarily gave it up.  I should just break down and go to a knit shop to have a smart person tell me how to accomplish the pattern.  I'm sure my blogger and knitter friend Olga would help me if she didn't live in New England.  But I took the easy way out and did one with a bunch of dropped stitches instead.  It turned out nicely.  The yarn was very nubby and needed a nice, loose pattern, so this one fit the bill.  I'm pleased with it.

And finally here's a cute little hat I knit for this next winter.  I provide scarves and hats for homeless men, women and children locally and give them to the Riverside City Mission to distribute when the cold weather comes (all 2 days of it, sometimes!)  As you know, we don't have much of a winter here in Southern California.   My daughter provided me with a huge birthday bag full of assorted yarn, and it's fun to look at each ball or skein and figure out what it wants to turn into. It's nice for me to have something productive to do with my hands in the evenings.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I am thinking the whole of the United States is going pretty silly over this election.  I suppose it was no different in years past, but somehow Ayn Rand and Frank Lloyd Wright have been dragged into this year's political ring, and newspapers are using beaucoup inches of typespace making these two dead people waltz in and out of convention spaces and party philosophy and so on. 

So I thought today I'd just drag my own body (no, not my physical body but my choice of a body) into the arena to get us all laughing:  Have a look below:


Sad news...

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week.  Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote "The Hokey Pokey” died peacefully at the age of 93.

 The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started......

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Over the years I’ve read quite a few books set during the Jewish Holocaust years; I was ten years old when the first awful pictures taken of those Jews in the camps starting being released.  I can still, after all this time, close my eyes and see all those hollowed eyes staring out at the rescuers.  It’s a horrible remembrance, but a very necessary one, I think. 
What I didn’t see, and mostly didn’t know much about, were the “other” Jews, the ones who weren’t sent off to the camps but somehow managed to live, if you want to call it that, and survive under the noses of the enemy.  The literature was probably there; I just didn’t hear about it. 
Just this week, quite by accident I pulled a book off the shelf at our little library titled “Wartime Lies” by Louis Begley.  This story dealt with those very Jews, the ones in wartime Poland who did not go into the camps and at the end of the war came out alive.  I didn’t need to get very far into the book to see that it put faces on what little I knew of a less-written-about group of Polish Jews.  To say I was stunned is an understatement.
The book is a novel.  The narrator is a male adult who tells the story of his young life (he was born in 1933) and how he learned to stay alive by lies, deceit, cheating and creating fantasy backgrounds.  The author, Louis Begley, says to the extent that he himself was a Polish Jew, lived through those times in Poland and survived, the book is biographical.  But he says the story is not.  It is fiction.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  He simply means he told of the era and of the way people had to live in made-up story form.
This fictitious family were “assimilated Jews” – the father a doctor trained in Vienna; the grandparents were landholders, well-off and well-to-do.  Professional, educated people.  People who couldn’t believe that they needed to flee their own county.  This is the story I didn’t know much about.
Not having heard anything previously about this book, I could have stumbled upon something that told the story but in such a fashion that it just read poorly or was gratuitously violent or should have been written by more capable hands.  I feel blessed, if that is an appropriate word, to have stumbled upon Begley’s book; his terse prose leads one to feel whole picture, from first to last page.  I am lucky to have picked it up after it had languished on the library's shelf for so many years.  I am glad that I have another bit of the ghastly truth of that time.
And I do hope that you are not among those who think they have read enough about the holocaust.  I suggest you track this one down.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


IRE:  Legitimate rape

 I need to put my 2 cents in.

Far be it from me to say I understand what someone is thinking but here’s my take on Todd Akin’s blunder.
First of all, in saying “legitimate rape” he used a wrong word.  I believe he is of the old school of people who believe that real rape is the act done by force against the wishes of an innocent female.  In his moral and ethical world view, he may believe to some degree the woman brought it on herself…..”she came on to the fellow,” “she was dressed seductively,” “she shouldn’t have been drinking,” “It wouldn’t have been a date rape if she hadn’t….”, “she shouldn’t frequent those kinds of places..,” ad infinitum.  He wouldn't be the first person to believe this.

I think the brouhaha about “Legitimate Rape” is, in this nasty political climate, merely a way of getting political mileage out of a glaring mistake. The man used the wrong word, but in doing so he exposed his own world-view of women.  His thinking goes at least as far back as the cave-men mentality.  We’re not there any more.
The people of Missouri should decide if they want to re-elect a man who is that out-of-touch with the 21st century and who still is living with a value system that says rape is understandable in some cases because the woman probably brought it on herself.

Second, I would like to see someone ask Mr. Akin just which doctors he has been talking to and why he feels it necessary to bolster his case by citing them.  I don’t think those doctors exist.  And if they do, I hope they were seriously misunderstood by Mr. Akin and are brave enough to tell the public just what it is that our female bodies are really supposed to do after a rape.   
I am appalled at Mr. Akin’s thought process and his set of values.  I hope he doesn’t try to claim that they are old-time Christian and/or American values, because they are not. 

I am appalled at the political folk who try to build a case out of his misuse of an incorrect word; they are missing the point.  The point is not “legitimate or illegitimate.”  It is that there is no justification for rape of any type and Akin just hasn’t learned that yet.  This silly argument, appalling as it is, is making our election system go cuckoo.  This election is NOT about Todd Akin’s value system. 
Attention:  Please take national politics out of this issue and let this awful slip be dealt with in Missouri, where one would hope there are enough enlightened Missourians to tell this man by ballot that he can no longer represent them.  And let our two Presidential contenders get back to discussions of how we’re going to fix things that affect all of us.

And Mr. Akin, please come into the 21st century and rethink your position on the value of women.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Many years ago Jerry nominated himself as the fish cooker of the family.  It was a good idea, because it was the only way he was going to get good stuff.  I admit to being a terrible fish cooker -- just don't have it in my genes, I guess.  Anyway, he combed the newspapers and magazines for recipes, and when he hit this one, he had a keeper!  I have no idea where the recipe came from, but whoever devised it should get a medal.

Unfortunately in the intervening years the cost of swordfish has put this delicious dish way out of our budget.  But we can dream.......


 4 center-cut swordfish steaks - 1-inch thick
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat charcoal grill or broiler.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Place oil in a flat dish, add soy sauce, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, coriander, cumin, lemon rind and pepper flakes.  Blend well.  Place fish steaks in marinade, coat well on both side.  Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 15 minutes.

Place fish on grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on side or until done.

Makes 4 servings.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Just this week I came across an article written by a Christian woman about “Food Porn.”  There were a goodly number of comments below the article, all fairly seriously presented and not all in agreement but all done appropriately.  I had never heard of "food porn" before, therefore I couldn’t help laughing at what I was reading.  To me, even with my fairly intense past background in Christian circles, I could hardly believe how seriously “food porn” was being treated.

Now I admit there have been times when I have seen some item of food, or some presentation of a particular food, that would certainly lend itself to a snicker or two.  I think right off of the poor little mushroom who can hardly camouflage his image.

Anyway, I laughed all the way through the article, especially because of the seriousness these good people took about it.  The photo that inspired, if that is the correct word, the author to write about food porn was a Newsweek cover featuring a lady and asparagus. (I’ll leave it to you to hunt it down online.)

I re-read the article this morning, laughed some more -- and then I decided in fairness I should Google "food porn" and just see how long this subject has been around and under discussion without my knowing about it. Obviously I don't read much from the internet because I found lots of articles going back as early as 2008.  What you also need to understand right off the bat is that I am pretty old and my mind somewhere along the road decided the gutter was not the optimum place to be. 

Anyway, I think whether one’s optical view is sacred or secular, this was an interesting read, what little I read about it.  And if the pictures I saw are representative, there’s a whole other world out there that I’m just not going to bother with, except maybe a tiny giggle if I stumble upon something unlooked for.

However, I did find one very interesting observation in one of the articles (not the Christian one) that I read.  It went as follows:

"Many of us have come to realize that there is an element of pornography in the food itself, but the pornographic sense may be enhanced by the presentation, or “plating,” of the food. With food porn, the construction of the food object stands in for exotic positions. We encounter tuna tartare balancing delicately in a towering timbale. Succulent shrimp leans suggestively on a lounge of velvety grits."

That last sentence was not underlined in the article, but I underlined it and sent it on to my cousin Shirlee in North Carolina.  When she first moved there after her retirement, I took a trip back to see the Outer Banks, which she lives very close to.  One day for lunch she took me to a little seafood restaurant whose specialty was “shrimp and grits.”  I’d never heard of such a thing, but it was far and away the most delicious dish I’d ever eaten – and totally unknown here in Southern California.  Shirlee and I made no attempt to be “cool” while we ate it; we wanted to really, really enjoy every last succulent bite.

Who'd'a thought that my cousin and I would have partaken in the pleasure of food porn without knowing about it. No wonder all those other customers had giggled and pointed at us while we were "ooohing" and "aaahing" over the wonderful Shrimp and Grits. They must have thought we were two Meg Ryans!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


When one's children are starting to talk, sometimes a word or two of their efforts creep into the parents' vocabulary, just because they are either so cute, funny, descriptive, perceptive, clever, appropos, or just for the ducks of it. You, of course, as the first and most verbal child, added "mo-mo" for lawnmower, "Onine or O" for Erin, and "boap" for boat; I think there were a few more but they escape me now. Erin's words will forever be "lickstick and spiffroom." (Lipstick and perfume.)

But going back even before that, to this day I refer to windshield wipers as "windsheebers," which Uncle Steve coined when he was a tiny tyke, as well as giving me the name "Bobby" as his try for "Barbara."
Anyway, every family has their little secret words and probably not everybody is an enamored of them as I am. To me they are always reminders of having a wonderful time raising such great babies. And I still occasionally use these words; they are silly, I know, but they are fun and feel natural coming out of my mouth!
So to bring the story up to date, for some reason none of the lawns in this complex have been mowed for going on three weeks now. The grass is so tall that when we walk across it to the carport, our ankles are totally hidden. (They reseeded sometime back and perhaps they were simply waiting for the new grass to get totally established before they scalped it back down to its normal length.) Yesterday they mowed across the street, which meant that if they followed their normal pattern, we would get mowed first thing this morning.
First thing means 7:30 a.m. Because it has been so awfully hot down here, we've kept all our doors shut, blinds drawn and the A/C on. But today, in anticipation of hearing the big riding mowers come to our pasture-like lawn, we opened the door and the blinds in the living room early, while Jer and I sat with our coffee and our morning newspaper.  7:30 came and went, 7:45 came and went, 8:00 did the same, 8:30 .... still no magic sound. In my old age I am going deaf, so it didn't surprise me that I didn't hear anything, but about 8:45 Jerry jumped up, ran to the door and in a big voice shouted, "THE MO-MOS ARE COMING!"

Friday, August 10, 2012


COLUMN ONE, a regular feature in the LA Times, is very often the first item I read each day.  Always good, sometimes it is touching, bringing tears to my eyes.  Other times it moves me to anger, and then, like today’s, it just downright makes me laugh.
Today’s column by writer Kurt Streeter wasn’t intended to be funny.  It is about how he learns to float in water, a feat he believes to be totally necessary so his young son won’t grow up with the fear of water that he himself had.  The column shows us the emotions he experiences as he participates in a class of five women and one man (him) taught for 5 nights by a fellow referred to by his students as “the Swim Whisperer.”   

What made me laugh is that I was reminded of my mother’s efforts to float, and how, throughout our whole life, if my sister and I wanted to illustrate the dramatic end of a success story, we’d say a cryptic “She floated!” and then we’d burst out in laughter.

Here’s our story

Mother was a Kansas girl, being raised in the little wide spot on the road called Caldwell, a mile north of the Oklahoma border and almost due south of Wichita.   I know when she was 7 years old, about 1918, her family came out to Newport Beach, CA for a week-long vacation to see if California weather would help her father’s health, but apparently it did not, and until she moved to Long Beach in 1930, whatever water she played in (and I don’t ever remember her talking about it) was either a lake, a river, or a public pool.

I was born in Long Beach, California in 1935 and my earliest recollections of being in the water were from the time I was about 5 years old.  I don’t know if my father could swim either; I think not, because we always were taken to some kind of a lagoon when we went to the beach, an area where there were no waves, just still, shallowish water where we could splash around to our hearts content, watched carefully by mother and daddy. 

At that time Long Beach had a very sheltered lagoon that bordered the Municipal Auditorium.  (See above postcard.)  That is where we always went if we took an outing to the beach.  However, for most of our swimming lessons mother took us to the Long Beach Plunge down near the Pike.  She especially loved the Plunge, because she didn’t have to worry about sand and sunburn.  She never was crazy about the beach or about getting a tan.

I can see my mother so clearly in my mind’s eye.  While those  old bathing suits of the 20s that covered everything up from the knees to the neck were out, 1940s suits were modest one-piece Jantzen or Cole form-fitting suits.  On mother, who was quite thin, they really weren’t very form-fitting.  I looked around on the internet and found a suit that was something that my mother would have been wearing about that time; she also never got in the water without a bathing cap with a strap under her chin to hold it in place.  Here’s what she would have been wearing:

Of course neither my sister nor I could remember the specifics of our swimming lessons.  But always it  started with mother demonstrating to us how to float.  The problem was that she herself wasn’t very good at floating and, in fact, couldn’t swim.  While trying to float, she would always  raise her head up to make sure we were watching, which caused her “center of gravity” (her rear end) to point down toward the sandy bottom -- and under she’d go!  Not wanting to scare us, she’d always turn her back to us and wipe off her face so when we saw her we’d see the smile, not the fear of drowning, in her eyes.

She would do this several times, and then she’d say it was time for us to try.  Of course we were little and really didn’t know what it was we were to learn, but she’d stand next to us, keep her hands under our little fannies, tell us to “keep our head back” (which of course was exactly what she couldn’t remember to do) and after a few tries, she would tell us to practice by ourselves.  She’d go get daddy to come watch us while she put herself through her self-taught routine.  At some point she actually became able to float, but it was long after we mastered it. 

Until we were old enough to go to the beach, or the YWCA swimming pool (the Plunge was shut down before we ever became old enough to go by ourselves), she always accompanied us and always gave us a demonstration of how she could float.  Ginnie Lou and I weren’t particularly interested in floating, since we picked up dog-paddling very quickly and later added a few more efficient strokes to our repertoire.

But mother was as proud of her float as she could be.  She never learned to swim – I think probably it just wasn’t all that important to her, not having grown up around water.  She certainly didn’t see that the rest of her life was going to be focused on the beach, the way my sis and I saw our lives heading.

Many years later Jer and I bought a house with a swimming pool.  Mother came out to see it, and I invited her to bring her suit so she could take a dip.  Well into her late 60s by that point, she no longer even had a swimming suit and not being a very brave or brazen woman, wisely declined to go skinny dipping.  I phoned my sister that evening after mom went home and told her that I’d invited her to go swimming.  My sister burst out laughing and said, “Can she still float (It makes me wonder what things I don’t know about that my kids are going to get a laugh over when I’m gone!).

So today when I read about Kurt Streeter and his efforts to float (yes, he was successful too!), I just had to remember that it just isn’t all that easy for some people, and Kurt was to be commended for tackling a thorny problem and then telling us about it.  “Congratulations, Kurt,” I say, “Way to go!.”
Here’s his story; it’s worth reading.,0,2389032.story

Thursday, August 9, 2012


After our 50th high school reunion - that is, the Long Beach Poly High School Class of 1953 - I decided my growing up years in Long  Beach were just too good to keep to myself.  From years of doing genealogy and knowing how excited I felt when I discovered something written by an ancestor about his or her life, I decided I'd set aside the next few months and produce a short-ish overview of my life between the time I was born there - 1935 - to the date of my leaving - 1959, which was when my husband Joe and I bought a house and moved to Westminster in neighboring Orange County.

I have always found that staying on track is easiest when the parameters of my efforts are clearly set.  And in the same vein, I tend to focus more clearly when I set a flexible time schedule in which to produce the work.  The third thing I need to decide who my audience will be.  In this case, I didn't want it to be a genealogically oriented paper, even though I knew I would be giving copies of it to my children, also native Long Beachers.  However, I wanted copies to go to the local historical society, the local library and Cal State Long Beach, and how I was related to people in the stories was not at all important.  With all this in mind, I set out to write my story of growing up in Long Beach, and all I needed to do was please myself.

My story encompassed the schools I attended - Willard and Whittier Elementaries, Hamilton and Washington Junior Highs, and Long Beach Polytechnic.  I told about life on Henderson Avenue where I lived until I was 7, on Stanley Avenue until I was 10 and Gardenia Avenue until I moved to Westminster.  I wrote about how our family experienced WWII.  I included our family's utilization of things uniquely Long Beach - Rainbow Lagoon, the Pike, the Plunge, the roller coaster, Shady Acres Miniature Golf course - and the hangouts of teenagers when I got to that age - Grisingers for Strawberry Pie, Ken's 15 Cent hamburger stand, the Hot Dog Show, the beaches and barbecue pits, Marine Stadium, canoeing around the Naples canals off the Colorado Lagoon and of course learning to shop in downtown Long Beach before there were such things as Malls. 

I've shared the paper with lots of my old friends from those Long Beach years, and we've gotten many a laugh over remembering this and remembering that.  I am convinced that getting one's growing up down on paper is a very special thing to leave as your legacy.  If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest that you see what you can come up with that is pleasing to you.  "Writing for Yourself" is the best way to get the stories inside of you to where they belong -- in the hands of family and friends and other old Long Beachers who also have a store of memories.  Why don't you give it a try?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


You know what I think?  I think that for the most part, good literature is wasted on teenagers.  Unless you happened to be one of the young readers whose mind can early on separate words from plot, or who sits under the teaching of a magical pedagog, what you are required to read during the ages of 15 and 16 is all but totally wasted.
Now perhaps I’m being too harsh on good literature and good teachers – and smart kids.  But I look back and see that the books I was required to read in 10th grade (the year we had our intro to literature class under the guise of “English” – Julius Caesar, Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, Silas Marner, My Antonia, and maybe Grapes of Wrath - to name but a few,) was time wasted except as exposure to classics.  Through the years I have often thought I should go back and re-read these books; surely there was more to them that the few scraps I remember, those scraps mostly being called forth by a crossword puzzle.  But I have never done so.  The idea of slogging through Moby Dick once again simply turns me off. 

However, quite fortuitously I recently happened on a listing of novels with a religious theme (a genre I am particularly fond of) that suggested old Willa Cather had written a book I might be interested in: Death Comes for the Archbishop.  I hadn’t a clue as to what it was about – except I supposed it had to do with a Catholic Archbishop.  Not being Catholic myself, I figured I just might learn something, and besides, from my 1951 exposure to the author, she must have written a good story.  So I gave it a try.
I do not use many books in my blog; I read lots of books but only a rare few see the light of day in Hot Coffee and Cool Jazz.  Well, the Archbishop book has made it!  I was beginning to think that I would never find another book that was good enough to share, but here it is, at last.

Preparatory to writing this, I looked at what Cliff Notes had to say about the book.  After reading about the plot, I decided that I had read a different book!  Old Cliff is right in what he says, but what he doesn’t say is how one feels as one read through the pages of this book.  Cather makes sure you feel you are traveling with these servants of God, wherever they go and with whomever they interface.  I knew relatively nothing about that time and place in US history.  I knew relatively nothing about the religious practices, requirements and skirmishes of the Catholic church as it interfaced with Spain, Mexico and the American west.  Yet even though I can’t say I came out of the book full of such knowledge, I nevertheless experienced it all, thanks to her simple story-telling. 

And at a personal level, when she wrote that one of the priests thought San Xavier Del Bac mission outside of Tucson was the most beautiful church in the whole world, I knew what she meant, as I found it so also.  Our little family stumbled on that church back in the late 1960s we nosed around a hot summer vacation in Arizona.  The church, both outside and inside took my breath away then; I had never seen anything like it, especially inside with the juxtaposition of huge statues of saints with tiny bits of hair cut from the heads of Indian parishioners attached to a photograph and laid at the foot of a saint.  When Willa Cather so many years ago inserted a single sentence in her book about this church, and I read that sentence yesterday, I knew that it was my loss than I had not been more receptive of her writings that I was exposed to back in 10th grade.
It is good that I am nearly through Ellis Peters’ series of “Monk” books, because I know now that I will replace her with Willa Cather.  One needs to go slowly when reading a series, else things become very hard to keep straight in one’s memory.  So in a bit I’ll get another of Cather’s stories and embark on this very pleasureful journey of reading really good stuff – and finally liking it!

And as a P.S., I confess that some tears jumped out of my eyes when the Archbishop died.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


These are my 77th birthday orchids.  A couple of years ago my brother gave me some orchids for my birthday and they sat on a table beside my desk blooming their hearts out.  Unfortunately a few weeks ago I accidentally knocked the pot of orchids off the table and the whole plant died, much to my chagrin.  Jerry has such a wonderful green thumb I thought he would be able to restore them to life, but no, it wasn't to be. 

These are the replacement orchids - very different in style and color, but bright enough to give me a lift when I stagger into the computer room at 5 a.m. each morning (or earlier, like this morning at 3:30) to see if the world is still going around.  There are a multitude of reasons why we are up at all hours during the night; suffice it to say that the orchids bring a little cheer to that dreary hour, whenever it is.

Molly Fox's Birthday

Our county library system has just undergone a major overhaul that has just played havoc with everything that is good about our little library.  We were advised there would be some glitches and there were.  And still are.  BUT I was not prepared for this:

I checked two books out of the library, read them, and carted them back before the due date.  At the circulation desk there is a slot in which returned books can be placed so the circulation clerks don't have to be interrupted to check in each and every book.  I have worked with this system for 7 years and never had a problem.  On the day in question, I put two books, including "Molly Fox's Birthday,"  into the slot and then checked out three more books.  A week went by and I checked online to see if any more books on reserve had come in.  Nothing had, but I saw that poor old Molly still showed up on my current list as not being returned. 

Without going into details, everyone, myself included, has been watching for the appearance of that book but no one has any idea where it is.  I certainly don't have it.  But apparently I'm going to have to pay for it, since there is nothing but my word to believe that I did, in fact return it.  The worst part of it is that Molly had been brought over from another library, so it is that other library who is out a book.  Today is the moment of truth; at 10 I'm headed to the library to zero out my balance.  Molly was a rummy, used paperback book but now carries a replacement cost of $14.00.  Although I admit to being irked, I will just consider it a donation to the library.

However, on Thursday of this last week Jerry and I returned 4 books to the library when we were there for a Friends of the Library meeting.  Later that afternoon I looked to make sure all my books had been logged in, and by gosh, another one of my books, "Alice I Have Been," was still showing as outstanding!  And of course it was one that we had again dropped in the Circulation Box.  I immediately called the library, told them my sad tale, and they found the book already back on the shelf without being logged in like the other three. 

I know Molly is somewhere in one of the libraries of the system.  But it's not in our library filed under the M's for the author's surname, Madden.  Before I fork over my $14, I'm going to check under the "Mo" in case some library page filed it under "Molly" and under the F's, for Fox.  Someone has slipped up somewhere.


I was sitting on the couch yesterday watching for the oriole to show up at the bird feeder when this fellow appeared instead.  Luckily he stayed around long enough for me to get the camera, sneak out on the front porch and grab a shot.  I don't see dragonflies much anymore -- probably because I'm not around water, but mostly because I no longer am looking through a child's eyes. 

I do have new glasses on order, new and very different glasses, but I'm afraid they're not guaranteed to make me see dragonflies any better!


Jer and I have been cat-stitting for our son and daughter-in-law this week while they are vacationing.  Boo, a four or five year old black male cat, is having trouble accomodating himself to Penny, a darling year old new arrival that was brought into the house as a playmate for Boo.  With our granddaughters now out on their own, and Garry and Nancy both working full time, it seemed like a good idea.  But Boo does not yet see Penny as anything but an interloper, so for the most part she is still persona non grata.  Above is what we have seen each day when we've arrived for the food and playtime.  Boo does not think Penny is the sweetest, most loving cat that we've seen in a long time.  Not yet, anyway.  Surely, I tell myself, the time will come when they make their peace. 

Ah, what would we do without cats to humor us?!

Friday, August 3, 2012


In 1945 my dad bought a small “gift and electric” store on East Anaheim Street in Long Beach.  On the corner across the street was a tiny candy store that sold bulk “penny candy.”  (Yes, in those days a penny could buy something!)
Every so often my dad would drop into the candy store at the close of his day and buy a bag of assorted penny candy to bring to “his girls.”  Sis and I never knew when it would appear, but on those evenings when it did, our first clue was a sound - chk chk chk – the sound made by the candy pieces against the sides of the little paper sack.  As daddy opened the front door, he would start shaking the bag in a rhythmic way that made the pieces of candy rattle:  "chk, chk, chk”, “chk chk chk”,  No matter where in the house we were, Ginnie Lou and I could pick up that “chk chk chk” sound.

We would race into the living room.  With his long, lean arms, daddy would raise the paper bag into the air out of our reach, not missing a beat with his rhythmic sound.  Ginnie Lou and I would jump up and down, trying to reach the bag, but he was too tall.  Excitedly we’d yell, “Please, please, please” with the same rhythmic beat, and as soon as he relented and gave the candy over to “his girls,” we’d pepper him with kisses.  Then we’d tear into the sack, finding root beer barrels wrapped in crackly cellophane paper, surgery gum drops, salt water taffy in waxed paper with twisted ends, red licorice whips, Walnettos, Double-Bubble gum (which was still in short supply after the war) and best of all, little round buttons of colored sugar candy firmly attached to long strips of paper.  Daddy always made sure there were two of everything, so we wouldn’t have to argue over who would get what.
While we were still portioning out the candy, he would head to the kitchen where mother was more than likely standing over the stove cooking dinner.  He’d reach into his jacket pocket, pull out a 5-cent Hershey Bar, and say, “And here’s your surprise, Muddy,” his pet name for mother.  He knew she loved Hershey Bars and he aimed to please.  He’d give mother a peck on the cheek, and although we girls were forbidden to eat our candy before dinner, mother was under no such rule, so she’d have that candy bar gone in a flash!

Our bag of candy never cost dad more than 10 cents.   Money was still hard to come by and with a new business to budget for our family had to be very careful with expenditures.  Dad did this for us because he was a kind and generous man, and he loved making his family happy.  He probably didn’t have a clue that this simple act would come to symbolize for my Sis and me a wonderful childhood and provide a rich storehouse of memories for his girls, even some sixty years later.