Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The year that they lived in Long Beach before returning to Bakersfield was the year I began moving out of childhood. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I had not been interested in “boys” prior to that time. I had never been around them, as my family was very girl-heavy. Of course I develop an immediate crush of Glenn. I thought he was gorgeous – dark black hair and long eyelashes, with a gentle southern sensibility towards females (his folks were from North Carolina originally) and an understanding and tolerance of silly girls from having two younger sisters. Although most of my time was spent with Ruth, I did a lot of rubbing elbows with Glenn, mostly just leaning over the fender of his old car watching him work on it. Ruth, bless her heart, just let me be! I have no recollection of what she did or where she was all the time I was hanging around Glenn.
In July of 1952 Bakersfield experienced a 7.3 earthquake, which was felt in parts of Long Beach. The Maynards invited me to come up to see the famous clock in the center of town, which had been severely damaged. I can hardly believe it now, but my mother and father allowed me to get on a Greyhound bus and ride up to Bakersfield alone – in that day over the old Ridge Route – and stay with them a week. That was the week that Bakersfield arrived on my map.
And yes, for those of you who wondered, Glenn was the first boy I ever kissed. A single kiss on the front porch of my house, after a movie now long forgotten.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In thinking about what to share with you this morning, my idea was to "go light"... and while today's choice isn't exactly a joke, it is funny and cleverly done. But you also will see that before long it will be passe', as more things about the computer become obsolete. You who have been around them for a while will know what all this is referring to. And I trust you will enjoy it as much as I do before it is no longer relevant!
and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.
and your data is corrupted ‘cause the index doesn’t hash,
then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna crash.
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted by the side effect of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang
‘cause as sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna hang!
then you have to flash your memory and you’ll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Now it's called dumpster diving, but when my sister and I were little kids, my mom called it trash digging. She hated for us to trash dig and warned us of all the diseases we might pick up and injuries we might receive on our hands and arms as we reached down into the big trash cans. But we had a long alley behind our house in the 1000 block of Stanley Avenue in Long Beach and it called to us all the time......"Barbara! Ginnie Lou! It's time to come back here and see all the new stuff in the trash barrels!" And like the lure of the sirens to the ancient seamen, the trash called to us and we had to answer.
I'll make a guess that I was probably 8 years old and my sister 6 at the height of our trash-digging escapades. In those days - the early 1940s - it was safe for kids to play in the alleys. In the summer, kids were home, mothers mostly didn't work, and dads had taken the only car to work, so there was mostly just a bunch of neighborhood kids running up and down the alley to get to each others' houses. And to trash dig. Oh, what fun that was!
This was a time before trash had to be separated in ecologically correct bins. Furthermore, there were no foodstuffs in the trash cans because it all went into the garbage pails, which were emptied into the garbage truck two or three times a week. If we ever found anything disgusting in a trash can, we didn't remember it when we grew up. What we DID remember was finding old beat-up pots, pans, dishes, mirrors and other household objects which we appropriated for our stash in the garage. My sister, who was really keen on animals, amassed a rag-tag collection of broken knick-knacks -- I remember especially a ceramic horse head that had broken off at the bottom of the mane. The body was unsalvageable. Ginnie Lou used some clay to fashion a base so the horse head would sit upright. She thought it was beautiful, and it had a place of honor by her little bed for years.
One by one wealso increased our collection of jacks and marbles with those we found at the bottom of trash cans. Once in a while there were a few coins and we carefully horded those until we had enough to buy a candy bar from the market around the corner. Candy bars were a nickel each in those days.
Mother never gave up on telling us not to trash dig, but she also didn't inspect us every time we came in from playing outdoors. We kept our treasures somewhat hidden in the garage, but mother wasn't dumb. I'm sure she knew we were trash digging sometimes; for us, it wasn't a preoccupation but just one of those things we did when the alley called to us. When the "singing" stopped, we went about our business playing hopscotch, jacks, kick the can, Old Maid, and dolls, just like kids do.
Ithought about that today when I glanced over at the dumpster enclosure across the street from our apartment and saw a man inside one dumpster, tossing things from that one to the one next to it. In these apartments we don't separate our trash into separate bins, so he has a chance of finding some really revolting stuff that has been sitting out in the hot sun since Friday's pickup. I'd guess the smell is the price he will pay for the extra bottles and cans he's hoping to locate and turn in for cash. In principle, I don't really like adults digging in our dumpsters, but what the heck..... I'm not in to tattling either. As long as he doesn't make a mess, I'll let him be.
I wonder what he'd do if he found a marble in the bottom?
Friday, September 21, 2012
We all knew the symbol, and to some extent still use it in handwriting, although I thing the effort to write the tiny word "at" is far easier than making an "@" symbol and having it land in the right place on the line!
The September issue of Smithsonian magazine has a most delightful and entertaining article on this little symbol; however, I probably would have passed it by if it hadn't been for the amazing lettering piece" that Erik Marinovich designed for it. http://friendsoftype.com/2012/09/the-accidental-history-of-the-symbol/
I am SO appreciative of those who have artistic talents. I can visualize Erik's design worked up in a fantastic stitchery piece, but unfortunately I must simply be content in being an appreciator, not an executor, of any kind of art work.
From Erik's page you can find a link to the Smithsonian article - short and sweet and eminently readable at a glance. It is entitled "Overnight Sensation" and tracks, to what extent it can, the beginnings - and of course the dramatic present - of this little symbol that really doesn't have much of a name, unless you want to call it an "AT."
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Gleaming and proud in the morning sky
Or lying awake in bed at night
I hear them pass on their outward flight
I feel the mass of metal and guns
Delicate instruments, deadweight tons
Awkward, slow, bomb racks full
Straining away from downward pull
Straining away from home and base
And try to see the pilot's face
I imagine a boy who's just left school
On whose quick-learned skill and courage cool
Depend the lives of the men in his crew
And success of the job they have to do.
And something happens to me inside
That is deeper than grief, greater than pride
And though there is nothing I can say
I always look up as they go their way
And care and pray for every one,
And steel my heart to say,
"Thy will be done."
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
In 2003 we were living in an area where there was fire raging in the foothills to the north, and a lesser but nevertheless wildfire in the hills behind us. Jerry was then volunteering with the San Bernardino Sheriff's "Citizens on Patrol (COP)" program and was going door to door with them near the big fire announcing mandatory evacuations. To be honest with you, neither fire was threatening us, but the one behind me was making me nervous.
Although we had always had a major 'Earthquake' supply storage container in our back yard in Orange, and a suitcase full of supplies and clothing in the trunks of our cars to hold us over if an earthquake hit while we were at work, when we retired we had no place to store such supplies. This 2003 fire made me think about what I would grab if I had to immediately evacuate the apartment while Jerry was gone.
The picture above is what I came up with. (If you click on it you can read the notations better.) I would grab a few items of clothing and throw them over around my neck. I would chuff all the small stuff like cell phone, wallet, jewelry, etc. in my purse and that could hang over an arm. I would chuck the CPU under my left arm, grab the photo albums, baby books, bible, etc. in the other arm. Tigger and Cipsi, our two cats, would go into their crates and since I had no more hands, I would have to push them along in front of me while I got the heck out of there!
Yes, this made me laugh, but it wasn't so far from the truth. At least at that time it made me identify what for sure I counted important.
Things have changed since then. Since my computer is backed up to my son's server, a thumb drive, and the cloud, I wouldn't have to lug the big CPU. Throw the program CDs in my purse and that's that! Add in my new iPod. Most of the albums have now gone out to the kids. And my supply of books I can't live without is being routinely thinned. And the only cat left is a new cat, Squeaky.
Now why is it that I am bringing this all up?
The senior complex where we live is very large. There are 140 acres of property, on which some 90 residential buildings sit. They are scattered willy-nilly over the area. Each building looks like a military bunker -- a rectangular one-story building. Each building contains 14 apartments - 6 on each side and one tiny studio apartment on each end. Our county is working on a Disaster Management Plan and has chosen our development as the guinea pig. Their thinking is that if they can make their plan work here they then can broaden and refine it for the rest of the county residents.
A couple of weeks ago all the residents were invited to a meeting put on by the county Disaster Management group to introduce this plan to us. Believe it or not, it was about the most interesting thing I've listened to in a long, long time...so interesting, in fact, that in a series of blogs, I'll share with you some of the ideas presented that each of us, living in today's scary world, should know.
The presenter asked us to think about the difference between an Emergency and a Disaster. She said the answer was simple and clear: in an Emergency you dial 911 and get a response from either the police, the fire department, the utility company or other organization. In a Disaster, there probably will be no phone service, either cellular or otherwise, to begin with, and even if you should be able to phone, there will be no one available to respond to your need for help because of the magnitude of the event. You will have to be the help for yourself and for others.. The disaster might be an earthquake, a fire, an airplane crash (we are in the takeoff path of airplanes flying out of Ontario), or even, say, a dirty bomb.
This lady made us realize that disaster preparedness is not simply a matter of grabbing a few things and evacuating. So what to do?
Friday, September 14, 2012
For those of you are are not familiar with the southern California area, Glendale is in the foothills above Los Angeles. Quite often wild animals will make forays into those foothill towns, mostly at night and mostly on nights before the trash pickups are scheduled.
The bear acquired his name this way: he became adept at digging edible goodies out of residential trash bins on his first two forays into town; his most amazing fete was to get into a garage, open a freezer and consume a bag of Costco meatballs.
The wildlife authorities kept capturing him and returning him to the wilds above Glendale, but the town's leftovers still called to him and he responded. However, the third and last bunch of "leftovers" had been planted by the authorities. He was humanely captured and taken to Alpine, a small town near San Diego, where the "Lions, Tigers and Bears" sanctuary gave him a temporary home.
As you can see from the picture above, not only does he have good food (sanctuary director Bobbi Brink says he loves avocados and grapes most of all) but he also has his own galvanized cooling barrel, where he can take a dip whenever he wants. He obviously is taking all this in stride.
It is uncertain at this time whether he will remain at this place (the santuary must expand if he does) or whether he will be placed in a larger facility in Colorado. Regardless, donations are already coming in from people who are charmed by this little fellow.
It's nice on a day when it seems the world is falling apart to be able to talk about Meatball and about the kindness of people whose motto is "Live and Let Live."
Friday, September 7, 2012
Jer and I were at a meeting of our local “Friends of the Library” volunteer group yesterday and it was announced that shortly it would be required that any person who volunteers to serve the county in any capacity (specifically for us that meant belonging to the Friends group and selling used books once a month as a fund-raiser to help fill the void left by all the county cut-backs) would have to be fingerprinted by a particular outfit contracted by the county to do it AND pay a $42 fee for that privilege. There are to be no exceptions. Even if in your volunteering you do not interact with children or the public, you still must be fingerprinted. Apparently there is more to it than just fingerprinting; certain information must be given, but that wasn’t specified. I was aghast and appalled. Jerry and I spend 1-1/2 hours monthly in a meeting of the Friends of the Library, and 2 hours a month working the book sale, the extent of our volunteering. I don’t consider myself an “against-er” but I sure as heck am against this. What I am specifically against is making me pay to volunteer. No way, Jose! I have a “thing” about jumping to conclusions too fast, so just to be sure I heard correctly, I have an e-mail in to our district’s supervisor for confirmation --- and clarification and explanation!. You know, inquiring minds want to know!
Monday, September 3, 2012
Not being very inclined to do a bit of work on Labor Day, and having been asked to provide a simple dish last night for a Labor Day weekend al fresco dinner at my daughter's house, I will simply share with you today this easy-to-prepare and easy-to-eat dish in honor of the occasion.
There's hardly even a recipe involved. I allowed 1 carrot per person and added one for Samuel Gompers, the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL); it is to him, as much as to anyone else, that the American labor movement owes its structure and characteristic strategies.
While the carrots were cooking, I mixed 2 Tablespoons of yellow mustard, 2 Tablespoons of HoneyBee Honey and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. I also cut up 2 Tablespoons of green onions and 2 Tablespoons of parsley.
When the carrots were finished cooking, I drained them and stirred in the honey-mustard sauce. Just before serving, (in the interim we had schlepped the carrots from our little Jurupa Valley into Los Angeles) I nuked the carrots lightly to make sure the sauce was liquidy. And just before the dish went on the serving table, I introduced the greenery into the mix. Voila! Easy Easy HONEY-MUSTARD CARROTS!
This is truly a no-effort dish. And if you can entice non-carrot eaters to give it a try, they'll probably ask for their share, 'cause it's awfully good.