Grand Opening for a New Museum

I stepped out of the museum yesterday with Mr. Tom Sweeney, a Woodlaker whose family has been in Woodlake since the 1870s, who had come in so I could record his oral interview for any future books and for the museum archives. We struggled to get the chain strung across the new driveway.

A stranger drove by, rolled down his window, and asked, “Are you ever going to open the museum.”

“Tomorrow,” I told him, “is our grand opening from 12:00-4:00.”

“It’s a date!” he called back smiling as he waved then rolled his window back up.

I love Ben Reynoso's hat. He monitored everything at the VIP opening.
I love Ben Reynoso’s hat. He monitored everything at the VIP opening.

Few people have any idea how much time it takes to gather artifacts and pictures, sort them into some kind of an order so that together they tell a story, and then arrange them in the space provided.

Marcy Miller explains to the donors the work involved. They will soon understand why it took two years to open the museum.
Marcy Miller explains to the donors the work involved. They will soon understand why it took two years to open the museum.

Trust me it is a momentous task. Marcy Miller, almost single-handedly, set out to do this work to honor her parents and the other families that had come to Woodlake to make this a community. She had the help of one friend,Debbie Eckenfel. I went in to help once or twice, but I was clumsy, and was just in the way more than I helped. They were precise, and my eyes prevent me from doing anything exact – even with glasses.

Each case represents hours of thought and work.
Each case represents hours of thought and work.

They trimmed pictures, mounted them, put them in frames, arranged tables, brought in the big displays, went to Woodlake Hardware and picked up more antiques that had hung on the walls for probably fifty years.

Where did they ever skate in Woodlake?
Where did they ever skate in Woodlake?

Morris Bennett, owner of the store for over fifty years, retired from Woodlake Hardware at age 92 and donated them to the museum. Marcy and Debbie rearranged them on large display boards. They set a pair of skates on a pupil’s wooden desk from the same time period. They stacked and separated, stood back and examined, and rearranged. They recorded each item in a spreadsheet, first writing each entry by hand as they handled it.

Rudy Garcia could hardly contain his excitement. His enthusiasm is so contageous.
Rudy Garcia could hardly contain his excitement. His enthusiasm is so contagious.

It has taken two years after the museum building was completed before it was ready to open. People got impatient. They wanted to see inside. Marcy and Debbie kept working. Rudy Garcia, President of the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce, added some farm equipment he had received from folks in Red Banks. Agriculture is the major industry of our county, but in Woodlake, “We R Agriculture,” my own new name of us. We grow oranges and raise cattle. Our major claim to fame is the Woodlake Rodeo, which is famous nation-wide. Slowly people donated money to build the building and items to display inside.

Cool cars admired the beautiful new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum.
Cool cars admired the beautiful new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum.

Monrovia Nursery donated all the plants outside the building. There was no fence around the building and kids skate boarded over the plants destroying all of them. Cruz-ta-Welding donated a beautiful fence around the building so kids couldn’t do that anymore.

Andrew Glazier and his wife admire the inside of the museum too.
Andrew Glazier and his wife admire the inside of the museum too.

Andrew Glazier doesn’t have a lot of money, but he loves Woodlake. He is a local landscaper who believes in using native materials. He donated all the materials to redo the landscaping. He comes when no one is looking and puts in more bark, and evens out the land. He sweeps the new parking lot so not a single piece of bark remains, then he locks the chain so cars can’t drive and leave dirty marks on the new cement. He gets everything ready for the Grand Opening.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President’s Day. We all mourn his passing.

The museum was not alarmed. Some people, like me, were afraid to bring items of value to put in the building.  Now the building is safe and alarmed. Mr. Peden donated the jacket he wore to pilot Air Force #1. Took it off right after he spoke at the VIP donor opening event.

Carl Peden talks to John Wood, the builder of the Museum.
Carl Peden talks to John Wood, the builder of the Museum.

Marcy and Debbie want everything to look just right for the Grand Opening. They come and mop all the floors and dust all the displays.

Native basket weaving won't become a lost art. Jennifer will be teaching classes to preserve it.
Native basket weaving won’t become a lost art. Jennifer will be teaching classes to preserve it.

Jennifer Malone comes with her family to lovingly place baskets, valuable as collectables, into the glass cases so the public can see the amazing designs from the Yokuts Indians who lived in Woodlake for centuries before American and Mexican people ever saw it. I heard laughing across the hall coming from the basket room.  After most of the guests had gone,  I had to go investigate to see what had been so much fun.

Everyone crowds around the basket room door to play Marie Wilcox's dice game.
Everyone crowds around the basket room door to play Marie Wilcox’s dice game.

Jennifer’s mother, Marie Wilcox, brings her walnut dice with sparkly shells embedded in the center so we can play Wukchumni games. If you roll five with the center up, you get two sticks. If you roll seven, you luck has changed and you have to give up sticks. When all the sticks are gone, you take your opponents sticks, and they take yours. It’s a do or die game. I won!  I jumped up and down and cheered. Everyone looked happy for me. No one brushed all the sticks and walnuts off the table. We laughed and laughed and hugged and hugged.

It looks heavenly, doesn't it?
It looks heavenly, doesn’t it?

Our Grand Opening is today. I can’t wait to see who will come.

 

Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum Has First Event

# WoodlakeValleyCulturalMuseum

February thirteenth dawned as beautiful and gentle as a kitten sleeping on a satin pillow, promising a perfect VIP ribbon cutting ceremony for the new museum in Woodlake, CA.
Woodlake Museum 2

A major project, nearly three years in the making, Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, opened to VIP donors on February 13, 2016. Woodlake, a town of nearly 8,000, now has its first museum. Until now people have kept their memorabilia to themselves, some with lots of valuable documents, photos and artifacts from the last 150 years, and some with just a few. Now those treasures are out where the public can enjoy them and remember. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched the slideshow of the pictures imported from my camera. I love seeing the expressions on each face as they saw the exhibits for the first time. I thought Ramona’s was particularly endearing.

Lupercios

Rudy Garcia, the Chamber of Commerce President made sure that the event was well planned.  Chamber Board members took on various jobs to make sure that all the details ran smoothly.

2015-2017 Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Board
2015-2017 Volunteer Woodlake Chamber of Commerce Board  minus three members.

Marie and Debbie prepare for registration check in. Debbie did much of the design work in the museum. Do you know how much she charged us?  Probably about -$1,500 considering all the materials she threw in, which doesn’t account for her hours.

Maria & Debby

We are all astounded that Marcy, Debby and Jennifer could put together a beautiful museum with no museum experience, and not much help.

Museum 4

We sailed through the day as Rudy planned. For the first half hour while people arrived the Four Directions Native-American drumming quartet, the Four Directions played and sang.

Woodlake Chamber Board member, Jennifer Malone introduced another member of her tribe, Delbert Davis, to invoke a blessing on the museum. I wish I had video taped it for you, but I was in the wrong place, and it was a solemn occasion, and you’ve already experienced my skill as a videographer.

Delbert Davis Blessing

The 2015-2016 Miss Woodlake Court, Briana Marie Holt, Sonni Hacobian, and Erica Diaz Rodriguez kept busy escorting VIPs to their seats and taking pictures. Most of these pictures are Briana’s, standing above her name.

Woodlake Museum 3For me, one of the highlights was the presentation by Carl Peden. Carl graduated in 1947 from Woodlake High School. He went on to become a pilot. Little did his teachers dream that one day he would pilot several United States’ presidents and their families around the world in Air Force One.

You made it through that without getting dizzy, I hope. My video skills aren’t improving much, but in my defense, you are seeing a raw unedited amateur recording.

Some asked me what Air Force One had to do with Woodlake, and had Carl Peden not been the pilot I could have answered, “nothing.” But this man showed me that Woodlake, small agricultural town in the rural outskirts of the San Joaquin Valley, reaches and influences far beyond Woodlake.

At the end of his speech, he took off his jacket and handed it to Rudy Garcia to put in the museum. His action inspired many others to come forward with ideas of things they could donate to the museum which will keep it fresh for many years to come. Carl stands in front of the list of the many community members who joined to make this project a possibility. I thank each one.

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos
Carl Peden

Rudy Garcia recruited these generous contributors to follow the dream of building a museum in Woodlake. One man, John Wood,  fell in head over heels in love with the vision, and gave it his all, building the edifice to house the dream.  He reminded me in many ways of my former boss, Jim Vidak. Very shy, not bringing attention to himself, he worked for reasons other than bringing honor to himself. Nonetheless Rudy wanted everyone to know how grateful the Chamber is for his hard work.

Wood's Award
Marcy Miller, Rudy Garcia, John Wood, and Bertha Hernandez watching on.

Finally, no building would be complete without a plaque. This one was ordered and had not arrived by Thursday before the big ceremony on Saturday. My nails would be bitten to the quick, but Rudy remained calm and collected. He made the phone call and Phil drove it up from Tulare on Friday. Soon it will hang on by the front door, next to my new office.

Plaque

I will be in the office for the next two Fridays recording oral interviews of Woodlakers who want to share their memories. Email me at tchistorygal@gmail.com if you’d like to make an appointment.

Maui-Donation Ticket-Proof

I’ll also be selling donation tickets to anyone who wants to win a trip for two to Hawaii February 10-17, 2017. The trip features a beachfront resort suite at Ka’anapali Beach in Maui, HI. This suite includes one bedroom, one bath, a full kitchen, living room, dining room, lanai, and laundry. Included in the trip is a stipend for round trip tickets for two from LA to Maui, and car rental. The package is valued at $4,000. Suggested donation is $10.00 per ticket. The drawing will be held at the Chamber of Commerce meeting on October 11, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Rather Than Out with the Old, Keep History Alive

For Cee’s Oddball Challenge, Out With the Old,  I wanted to tell you briefly about an important company in Woodlake, CA whose history spans the century.  You can read more about it in posts listed at the end of this post.

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Founded in 1904 Redbanks Orchard Company shipped trainloads of fruit around the country on the Electric Railroad in the early 1900s, “The Hotel,”near Woodlake, California, was one of the most beautiful Spanish style buildings in the area.  Resembling a Southern Pacific depot, the building, constructed in 1914, served as the headquarters of the company.
Old hotel4

This view faces the offices on the east end of the building.

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I met Ernie Garcia over 20 years ago when I taught at F.J. White Learning Center. He hasn’t aged a bit in those years, so we are almost the same age now. Ernie Garcia, whose family came to live and work at Redbanks in the 1940s, remembered Wylie, the one-eyed Chinese man who was an excellent cook who presided over the kitchen. Unfortunately, no one had a picture of Wylie, nor much information about him.

Redbanks001

The building faces Colvin Mountain to the north. In the center of the north side of this headquarters building, a hall and stairway gave access to the upper floor. At first there were only rooms for workers up there. Then in 1932, the upstairs has converted into a five-room apartment known as “the penthouse”.

Redbanks003

The east half of this building as seen above, contained rooms for bachelor workers. Hence it was referred to as “the hotel.” In the late 1920s, the east end was remodeled to create offices.

Redbanks002

“The Hotel”  held a large restaurant for the workers at its west end. Immediately behind the dining area was a large kitchen and food storage area with ice lockers in the center directly below the upstairs. West of the headquarters building, which can be seen in the distance nearest to Cottonwood Creek was the shower/lavatory building.

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I fell in love with the buildings, and took some odd angled pictures of them.

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I liked the geometry in this one.

Redbanks102

I love shakes, even when they are coming off. Where else but an oddball challenge could this hope to be a good picture, but I love it. I hope you do too.  It was a magically clear fall day with one of my favorite people learning about where he grew up living in apartments that no longer exist in a place that affected so many lives in this area, and shipped fruit to people all over the world.

For more of Cee’s Challenge Click Here.

Cee's OddBall

For more about Ernie’s and my day at Redbanks, Click here.

For more research about Redbanks Click here.

The Deliberate Blur: Retirement?

We looked forward to our vacation in Sedona for weeks, and we’ve already been home for two days.  What happened?

2015 Sedona601

Sights seemed clear enough when we were there. We stopped at a wonderful museum in Kingman even though this lady view us with some distrust.  Maybe her vision was blurred.

2015 Laughlin251

If you are at the Route 66 Museum, and you like old-fashioned milkshakes and malts you should go across the street to Mr. Dz. Yelp provided this picture, so I’m a bit blurry on the name details.

Mr DzWe spent the first and last night in Laughlin, so we met ourselves coming and going. It was beautiful on the way, but by the way back, the blurry air smeared the town’s beauty.  So enjoy the first glimpse.

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We visited a park called Slide Rock on the way home that may have been the most beautiful place in the world. In 1912 a man named Frank Pandry homesteaded it and grew apples.

2015 Sedona211

It’s heyday came and went in a blur, but artifacts remain. It’s definitely worth a visit.

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The red blur at the bottom explains how the place got its name. Kids and adults alike still enjoyed the slippery rocks.

2015 Sedona184Bees still enjoyed sniffing the black apple blossoms. I had never heard of black apples.

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Can you imagine a finer setting for an apple orchard?

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For more blurry pictures click here.

Images of America: Four Simple Steps to Edit a Pictorial History

Editing a picture book with 50 -70 word captions for each of 200+ pictures requires more effort than you would think, and grammar is not the hardest part to correct.

1.  Ask experts to read your manuscript.

McKay Point 2

I might have made the mistake of calling this a cement dam at one time.  But not after writing Images of America:  Woodlake.  Robert Edmiston corrected one entry explaining that cement is a part of concrete, but dams are made of concrete, an aggregate of cement and rocks.  No company in Woodlake makes cement.  In a million years I would not have corrected that mistake on my own.

This is the four room school built in 1912 or 1913, not 1923.
This is the four room school built in 1912 or 1913, and not in 1923.

2.  Ask experts to help you check pictures for historical accuracy.  This can be more difficult than you think.  Sources of pictures don’t always label their pictures.  Even libraries rely on the picture donors to date and label the pictures correctly.  Sometimes you can check facts using newspapers, but they are not always accurate either.  I used two or three references when possible to make sure I had names and dates correct.  Even then, my readers questioned me on several items.  Marcy Miller and I sleuthed through dates of the school buildings.  She had a picture of a building built in 1913, but several dates were attached to it.  I had thought it was the same building that is now the district office, but I had a date of 1923 on that building from an obscure reference in a book.  As we dug, we found that there were actually two different buildings.  We looked at the brickwork at the bottom of the building and compared it to another building picture we had from a newspaper.

Edmiston-29

3.  Ask experts to check names, double check them. If you are like me, you were not alive in 1860.  When a relative tells you that one family’s children were too young to attend school in 1860, you have to question the historian’s information, if possible.  In this case it was not possible because the historian passed away in 1971, and she did not have anything footnoted.  The mystery might have been solved because the woman from the family in question had children from a previous marriage that could have attended school in 1860.  Even though the children had a different last name than was listed in the book, the historian might not have realized that because the woman had remarried, and the children might have gone by the new husband’s name to make things more simple.  Some things never change!  But it is surprising how important it is even 150 years after the fact, to get the names correct.

 

Notice the search box at the top, and the name is highlighted.  The page number is also listed in the sidebar not pictured.
Notice the search box at the top, and the name is highlighted. The page number is also listed in the sidebar not pictured.

4.  Document your sources so that you can find where you got your information.  One fact in question came up about the name of one of the participant in the 1926 Pageant named in the picture. One elderly resident had seen the picture and told Marcy Miller that it was one person,  when in fact it was his brother.  The evidence was in the newspaper, and when I showed her the article, she said, “Well his memory isn’t always perfect.”  Expect people to question your facts, and do your best to keep track of them.  When publishing with  Arcadia books, the template doesn’t allow for footnotes or an extensive bibliography, but you almost need to include one in your own copy.  I spent a lot of time looking for the information source to prove my writing.  Sometimes I had it listed in the caption, but when I approached 70 words in the caption, I couldn’t include the information credit for publication.  As I neared the end of my research, I purchased a product, Wondershare PDF Editor Pro to make my PDFs searchable.  This helped me to find information faster.

Can you guess the year of this picture?  Clue:  Experts are alive today who can name most of those pictured.
Can you guess the year of this picture? Clue: Experts are alive today who can name most of those pictured.

In their author’s guidelines the publisher suggested that writers allow 2 weeks for editing using an expert reader.  They moved my deadline up a month, so I didn’t have that luxury, but they have been wonderful about accepting changes, and once I get the proof back, I will have another opportunity to proof read it once again.

I hope this has been a helpful process for you in your own writing.  :)

Find me on Facebook under TC History Gal Productions.

 

Images of America: Woodlake; Gathering and Organizing Images

 My 600th post! 

Woodlake parade  350
A Woodlake Rodeo Parade picture from an unspecified time period.  (A Bud Kilburn picture courtesy of Lisa Kilburn)

Arcadia Publishing has specific requirements for the photos in your Images book.  You receive a written guideline and an editor that answers questions promptly.  Your success is practically guaranteed – once your get the photos!

Edmiston-1R
The Edmistons (Courtesy of Robert Edmiston.)

Images of America books are not family history books, so even if you grew up in a community, you must gather pictures.  Multiple family’s pictures in the book are essential to telling the story.

Beginning Woodlake buildings labeled by Marion Legakes.  (Courtesy of Marcy Miller.)
Beginning Woodlake buildings labeled by Marion Legakes. (Courtesy of Marcy Miller.)

In the case of a small community, probably the library will not have enough images to fill your book.   You might have a small museum or historical society that stores pictures.  Even though our museum is not open, one woman has pictures in her home.  Here are the ways I started from 0 and gathered the 200+ pictures I needed for publication in 6 months.

Woodlake parade  351
A Woodlake Rodeo Parade picture from an unspecified time period. (A Bud Kilburn picture courtesy of Lisa Kilburn)

 

  1. Our local Kiwanis magazine put in a free ad for me. – 1 direct call and one referral from her
  2. I walked the streets of Woodlake and talked to business owners, City Hall and Woodlake Police. – 2 donors
  3. Talking to friends in the grocery store  – 1 prospect
  4. Following referrals from friends – 30 donors
  5. Cold calls to businesses – 1 potential donor who googled me to make sure I didn’t have a criminal record or wasn’t a sex offender before he called me too late for publication.
  6. Following referrals from referrals – 3 donors
Laura 112b
The community northwest of Woodlake called Elderwood in the 1940s. (Courtesy of Laura Spalding.)

Organizing was important, and took quite a bit of time as I processed the photos.  These are my steps.

  1. As I started scanning photos, I put the PDFs into files in my document folder labeled by donor’s names.
  2. Next I created a “Woodlake PDF” and put in all of the donor folders.
  3. Each photograph sent to Arcadia was a TIFF file, so I processed all most files, and put them into a separate file with the donor’s name inside a large folder that said, “Woodlake TIFF.”
  4. I didn’t write about every picture.  In order to write, I used an unpublished blog account, because importing each picture to a Word file made Word crash.  It is hard to write about a picture when you can’t look at it as you write, so the blog was perfect.
  5. However, that created another step.  TIFF files are huge, so I resized each photo I used (or thought I might use) in the book and saved it as a JPEG, and created another Donor file and put it inside – you guessed it – the “Woodlake JPEG” file. Then I could upload those files easily to my blog, and the ones I didn’t use in the book I could post to FB or in my  blog.
  6. Then I made files for the chapter titles and copied only the TIFFS into those files, numbering them for the book.
  7. Finally I copied the entire folder, “Arcadia,” onto an external hard drive.  I started to copy all of it to the cloud, but it was very time consuming.
  8. After I submitted the manuscript and pictures, I began copying the JPEG files only to Picasa.  I’m still not finished, and I hope it is worth the effort!  I have them organized by subject rather than chapter, and I have one folder for all the images used in the book along with the caption, so that if I do another book, I will use different pictures, or be sure to credit the book as well as the donor.
Inside the Bank of America circa 1936.  Courtesy of Woodlake City Hall
Inside the Bank of America circa 1936. (Courtesy of Woodlake City Hall)

That’s it.  That’s how I gathered and organized hundreds of pictures in six months.

The Oldest Original Church Structure in the United States Still Used for Worship

Old Swede church 1

Spring arrived in Delaware coaxing daffodils and crocuses to bloom in the ancient cemetery outside Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.  Sun warmed my bare arms, and a light breeze rearranged my hair as we ambled among the crumbling tombstones towards the large stone church.

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Colonial settlers may have built earlier churches, but those buildings fell down or out of use. Hal and I missed the 300th Anniversary Celebration at Old Swedes Church. This original stone structure, cemented together with crushed oyster shells mixed into the mortar, sprang to life in 1698.  The pattern of small stones, hand-carried by women parishioners, added strength and sparkle to the walls.  The pattern reminded me of ships or rafts in a fast-moving river.

 

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Graffiti artists began working on the edifice in 1711 making it their own.

Some things never change.
Some things never change.

Calligraphers etched their marks in the door as well as the stone walls for over one hundred years.

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I couldn’t substantiate this 1697 piece of church gossip, on the internet, so it must be true.  In a church bustling with young life, when the new twenty-nine year old single pastor, Erik Bjork, arrived from Sweden, he began a building program.  Of course, he needed his own parking space.  We entered the church through what had been his reserved “barn door.”  He drove his carriage inside the barn door entrance to the church.

Old Swede church 9

According to our guide, his ride attracted the most eligible bachelorette in the congregation.  Other carriages drove under the front overhang, dropped off the riders, and drove on through.  Bjork stayed with his Christina congregation for seventeen years before returning to Sweden.

old swedes church 7

Inside the church, nearly one hundred years passed before artisans added stained glass windows.  This one attracts interest because young Jesus appears to carry a cross.  We approached the window so we could see the measuring marks along the t-square Jesus must have used as a carpenter’s apprentice.

Old swedes church 8

As we moved through the church, the guide fed us more facts that I could digest.  He and Hal discussed the abundance of eagles adorning Episcopal pulpits.

Old Swedes church10

“An ornamental eagle sales agent must have passed through all the New England churches in the early 1800s,” Hal suggested.

We stayed over twice as long as the 30 minutes needed to tour the church recommended by the Triple A Tour Book for Delaware and New Jersey.  We enjoyed many personalized stories we couldn’t read online.  We finished by meandering through the graveyard photographing crumbling tombstones of individuals who made history in early Delaware.  We wondered what made some famous, earning them shiny big headstones, and others remained obscure.  More questions drove us home to research in silence.

M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.
M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.

“Thanks to you, I learned a lot.” Hal told me at 9:30 in the evening.  Then he punched me in the ego.  “See what I found out about the new National Park in New Castle,”  he said as he handed me a new printout.

 

Flash: Old Ironsides is White Oak

I must be my father’s daughter since I can’t ever pass up the opportunity to get on board a ship, whether it goes somewhere or it doesn’t.

USS Constitution 1

The USS Constitution is still a commissioned ship manned by humorous navy docents.  I wonder if having a sense of humor comes as part of the package when one joins the navy.  Most navy vets I know tend to have a “dry” sense of humor.

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The first one told us about the upper deck and the construction of the ship, which is 10% original.  The second deck docent instructed us on the daily lives of 500 sailors living on hard tack and grog.

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Some of the visitors had difficulty with the height of the ceilings in the “day of sail.”  These guys all adjusted in their own ways.

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Hope you are having a great weekend.  What are you doing this weekend?  My friend’s son, Matt, is picking me up soon, and driving me to see more sites outside of Boston.  :)

Boston Here I Come

I have the fortune to be going to the historic city of Boston on social studies business.  I’m extending my stay since I have never been there, and live in CA, so I’ll be there from April 1-8 then on to Philadelphia and Delaware from April 8-15.  Thanks to Google Images for all the pictures.

Boston at night2

I’ll be arriving at 11:00 p.m., so I’m sure the city will look beautiful. For me it will just be 8:00.  I’ll be raring to go!  However, I’m alone, so I’ll  get settled in my hotel, and maybe write a post or two with Manny.  The good news is that I’m going to get to visit blogger friend, Eunice at NutsForTreasure while I’m there.

I investigated a couple of blogs.  Free choices of interesting sights to see abound.  Many friends told me to walk the Freedom Trail which starts at the Visitor Information Center in the Common.

Boston Common

I must see the Mapparium, a walk-in, three-story-high, stained glass globe.

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I’ll enjoy visiting the Museum of Fine Arts free on Wednesday after 4:00 p.m.  If I tour the Samuel Adams Brewery from 10:00-3:00 beforehand, will I have more fun, or fall asleep on the floor? zzz

Museum of Fine Arts

Maybe I should explore the Massachusetts State House the war ship, USS Constitution, and the Old North Church instead.  Most of them open at 10:00 also. I’ll have plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast while I get used to the three hour time difference.

Old-Massachusetts-State-House

If you have been to Boston, or lived here, what would you suggest for me to see, or are you a blogger friend who lives there?

Mom better not forget me this time!
Mom better not forget me this time!

 

 

 

What Happens at a Social Studies Conference?

Large or small, I like social studies conferences.   Teachers starve for social studies professional development because it differs from other subject area conferences.

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The social studies include four core subject areas:  geography, economics, history and civics.

  • Geography:  Now I ask you who isn’t interested in traveling? One of our CCSS exhibitors offers teachers expenses paid trip for two weeks to Germany.  Do they have offers like that in math conferences?

The activity we did at the N. CA conference this weekend had us identifying where and when pictures had been taken.  Each group of 4 had two different pictures. This particular activity showed change over time in Germany.

  • Economics:  Do you run out of month or paycheck first?What would happen if we quit shipping the 40% of California’s agricultural products overseas, could we save water in drought-ridden California?  Studying economics helps students grapple with historic and current issues, trace the consequences and predict future results from actions we take today.  Conferences bring you face to face with people in the know like Dr. Jim Charkins of the California Council for Economics Education.
  • History:  Scholars from near and far engaged us in conversations about WWI, the trenches, the music, the need to enlist before the selective service started, and the propaganda to get people to enlist.
Lora Vogt from the WWI Museum in Kansas City, MO
Lora Vogt from the WWI Museum in Kansas City, MO

Now I understand a little piece of my grandfather’s life a little better.

scholar Jennifer Keene
Dr. Jennifer Keene from Chapman University compared Ernest Hemingway’s life to the average WWI soldier. Sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute

At the other conference we Skyped author/scholar, Allyson Hobbs from Stanford, also sponsored by Glider Lehrman Institute who studied the effects of African-Americans who passed for white, and what they missed from their black culture by giving up their identities.  Can you imagine giving up/turning your back on who you are?  She made it personal.

Dr. Allyson Hobbs, sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute
Dr. Allyson Hobbs, sponsored by Gilder Lehrman Institute
  • Civics:  We met three speakers involved in landmark Supreme Court cases.  Sylvia Mendez’s younger sister never knew the court case happened until  she studied the effect on the Civil Rights movement in high school.  Karen Korematsu spoke about her father, Fred Korematsu’s opposition to the federal government, prison, Supreme Court Case.  We met Mary Beth Tinker, Tinker V Des Moines, who wore a black armband to school, to express her views.  She didn’t think it was any big deal at the time.  Now she talks to children around the country.  She told us stories of amazing children, and what they can do that adults couldn’t.
Michelle_MaryBethTinker
NCSS President-Elect, Michelle Herczog and Mary Beth Tinker of Tinker v Des Moines

We heard Major General Patrick Brady tell us that people may not have equal opportunities, but we all have access to as much courage as they want.  The more we use, the more we have.

Major General Patrick Brady, Vietnam War hero, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Major General Patrick Brady, Vietnam War hero, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

We met political cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz who has one of his paintings hanging from the wall of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor

Lalo Alcarez at the CCSS Conference in Los Angeles
Lalo Alcarez at the CCSS Conference in Los Angeles

Where else but a social studies conference can you rub elbows with people who played a part in exciting events you read about in the news?

Power of Democracy2Intensity sparked like electricity during a Power of Democracy Task Force meeting. Where can you get direct contact with legislators, Department of Justice, and Department of Education at the same time?

Power of Democracy/Civic Education
Student speaker at Power of Democracy/Civic Education meeting

We honored our best and finest social studies teachers at the awards program – AKA Emmys. Twitterers tweeted during the conference.

DBQ session

Brent won a bicycle at the membership booth. Exhibitors gave free stuff to everyone.  Best of all teachers connected with other teachers and shared ideas.

Next March we go to Oakland.  The National Conference will be in Boston in November.  California Council Needs YOU!  If you teach history-social studies in CA, please join us.

A Bevy of Bambino Book Reviews

A Kissing Hand was the most touching of the books I found this week, but there were several others that I liked as well.

mommy's monster

Mommy’s Little Monster by Dawn McNiff, illustrated by Kate Willis-Crowley will capture your heart, too.  No one can hate these monsters.  Tiny Troll’s mom is going to a party without him.  You should see his look, and even more, his toys!  Mommy gets ready, and if you’ve ever wondered what a troll does to doll herself up, wonder no longer.  She even slimed her scales!  Wait till you see her purse!  Off she went, and in comes Mrs. Hagi, the babysiter. Tiny Troll’s poor toy slug slammed against the wall.  Such a temper!  Mrs. Hagi knows just what will make him better, but doesn’t force it on him.  He smells warm mudmilk from the swamproom.  Soon he and Mrs. Hagi were enjoying more mudmilk than his mother EVER allowed him to have, and Tiny Troll, the happy toddler, fell fast asleep.  When his mommy came in to kiss him good night, “her bristles smelled of mold again.”  Best of all she brought him a bag of rotten worms from the party.  Life is TOO good!

Green Crayon

The Day the Crayons Quit, another favorite of mine by Drew Daywalt illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, had me in stitches.  And I finished my quilt!

Duncan liked to color. The crayons had some complaints.  They each wrote him a letter.  Tired Red needed a rest after Valentine’s Day and Christmas.  Purple expressed his irritation with Duncan’s out of the line coloring.  Beige clarified his identity.  Gray discussed the elephant in the room.  White felt invisible while black tired of always being an outline, and wanted to be a beach ball instead. Proud Green turned out to be a tattle tale.  Orange and yellow fought about which one of them more accurately represented the sun.  Broken Blue couldn’t see out of the box.  Diva Pink complained that he never came close to her.  She was such a mouth, that one couldn’t blame poor Duncan.  Peach, peeled bare, wanted clothes.

Could Duncan solve their problems in the last picture in his book?

Duncan's solution

You will just have to do what I did. Can’t you just picture an older woman’s shoulders shaking as she tries to laugh quietly in the children’s book section of Barnes and Noble?

 

No David's nose

No David! by David Shannon appealed to me, but my husband thought it was too stupid for publication.  Sorry David.  He probably didn’t want to fess up to being just like David as a kid.  The text is stupid, I have to admit, but the drawings, complete with David’s finger in his nose made me laugh.

So what books are your favorite children’s books that you and your children have enjoyed over the years? Please share this review with someone looking for children’s books.

If you have a link to a review, share it in my comment box. I’ll come visit your blog and dribble some ooey, gooey comments in your comment box.

How to Recognize a Great Museum

When I was a kid, it seemed like museums stored old stuff that only grandparents recognized.  Now museums come in all shapes and sizes in every community.  Representing agricultural Tulare County a gigantic steel barn in Mooney Park houses everything from large equipment to a farm worker’s cabin from Linnell Camp.  Of all the museums I’ve dragged Vince to see, Bishop Museum was his favorite – ever.

It doesn't look like much from the street, but I'm from Indianapolis.  I was sold.
It doesn’t look like much from the street, but I’m from Indianapolis. I was sold.

What made Vince choose Bishop Museum as the best of the world?

Bishop Museum 118

The layout of the grounds and the architectural structures took our breath away.  It didn’t hurt that they were in Oahu.

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Lots of exhibits alone don’t make the museum enjoyable, but a museum needs many exhibits, and some changes so that local folks don’t get bored.

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The exhibits grabbed you and pulled you in.  The more you looked, and read, the harder it got to move on.

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Variety of exhibits gives each person in the family something to remember.  I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos, but I still wanted to share them.   Believe it or not my astigmatism has been mostly corrected.  :)

Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.
Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.

You knew you couldn’t see it all in one visit, and maybe ever.

Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.
Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.

At the end of the visit, you needed a nap to rest your eyes and brain.

Bishop Museum 199

The Bishop Museum had so many more excellent qualities, you would need a break after reading this if I listed them.  What is your favorite museum ever, and why?

Travel Highlights of 2013

This was my first full year of retirement.  All my life I dreamed of traveling when I retired, and certainly God granted my every wish.   When I didn’t get travel, Manny did, so I have many wonderful pictures and memories for 2013.

Manny in Wuerzburg

On January 5th Manny and I headed south in my little green Prius that has 192,000 miles on it to San Diego where we met the History Girls.  We met Russel Ray, the San Salvador, and the bronze lady.  We faced peril in the Railroad Museum, and had to keep Manny under control in the Botanical Gardens.

Manny on San Salvador
Manny is climbing on the San Salvador as it is being built.

Later in January I attended a committee meeting in Berkeley and had time to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures.

Manny walking the streets of Berkeley

I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Elane in February and so some shopping and serious eating.  I probably visited my dentist, Dr. Moy, as well.

Brian's classroom

In March California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) held its annual conference, Social Studies on the March in Burlingame in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Marches in Birmingham.  SFW 2013 Folklorico Dancers 036

The next week the History Girls and I celebrated our friendship in Costa Mesa attending the play “Wicked,” which I had wanted to see forever.

getting made up
We all had to wear green make-up.

April is the month for the Executive Conference for CCSS.  As the President, I got to pick the place, and Vince prepared our house to host it here.  However, that didn’t work out for too many people, so we it moved to Los Angeles to the location where our conference will be held in 2014 at the Sheraton.

LA Sheraton

By May our neighbors wondered if I still lived here.  I visited my friend Elane again in Los Angeles.

Brian's classroom

My friend Jean and I went to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday for a couple of days and did walking tours.

Hotel Beresford

Towards the end of the month Vince and I took Cindy and Manny to Kauai, HI for her birthday.  The dogs watched our homes, and Kay and Mike East watched them.

SFW Luau Grounds071

We arrive home from Hawaii on June 3, and believe it or not, we stayed home until September 11, and rested up for the remainder of the year which made us dizzy.

Manny and Danny 3

Since we stayed home, we sent Manny to visit Ralph in July.

Manny going to airport

In August he left Ralph’s home in Spain, and traveled to London with Ute.

Manny at Buck palace

From September through November he went with Carol and Glenn to Cologne, Bruges, Brussels, Frankfurt, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Waterloo, and Wuerzburg.  I’ll be doing lots of posts about these trips during the year.  I just need to learn a little bit more about them, and Manny is being rather tight-lipped about the events of the trip!  Carol tells me they have some secrets they’re not telling me.  :)

Manny in Toowoomba

Then he flew home with their daughter Melissa, who was going to Florida.  She sent him home from there.  His bags arrived in December from Australia.  He had fun showing us all his stuff.

Manny and stuff
Kalev thought Roo was for her. We caught her playing with him when we weren’t looking. She never plays with stuffed animals, but she loves Roo. We had to move him.🙂

By September Vince and I contracted the travel bug, and went to Oregon to pick up the best Ebay bargain trailer on the market in Southern Oregon.  We turned it into our accidental vacation when our truck broke down in Klamath, CA.

Klamath Canon288

Manny was still on the road, so he missed my next trip.  A week after Vince and I got back from our first trailer trip, I took a train from Sacramento to Portland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Council for the Social Studies annual conference, and to meet my brother.

2013 OCSS Conference321

After the conference my brother took the train ride of our lives going first to Chicago, then to South Bend and Indianapolis, IN for a week.

Randy and Marsha's elementary school.
Randy and Marsha’s elementary school.

After a short jaunt to Louisville, KY, I headed home on a plane to CA, and my brother took the long way home by train back to Portland.

Louisville Sluggers

Almost immediately I had to go to a dental appointment, and stayed in Santa Monica, an took the opportunity to visit our President-Elect, Amanda.

SFW Santa Monica155r

No sooner than I got home than my house-bound husband wanted to take a trailer trip to the coast for two weeks.  We stayed a week, then he went home for some appointments. I stayed in Avila by myself to write my contribution to 2013 NaNoWriMo, Girls on Fire.  A few days later he drove back and picked the trailer and me up and carried us back home.

SFW SLO Beach 2013104

Less than two weeks after that, I flew St. Louis, MO to the 2013 National Council for the Social Studies Conference.

The Mississippi in Missouri
The Mississippi in Missouri

Manny and I arrived home about the same day, him from Australia via Florida and me from MO.  It was my husband’s birthday, and one week later the three of us got back on a plane heading for Honolulu, HI, where we spent a week in Waikiki.

Bishop Museum 122r

We have been home eighteen days, and today we took a day trip to the coast to celebrate our friend, Margaret’s birthday, but I think we are going to stay home for a while now.

birthday cake with S & M

At least until morning.  :)

I’d love to hear about your highlights from the year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Accidental Vacation: Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight  The Gem of the Klamath River 

Salmon fishing is "slammig."
Salmon fishing is “slamming.”

“A new transmission is not so bad,” Vince said, still nervous about Marsha’s reaction to the news.  “It could have been so much worse.  Just think if we’d broken down going up that grade to Eureka that we drove yesterday.”

“Yeah, there’s not much between here and McKinleyville, Arcata and then Eureka.   And running into elk at night in the rain, with no transmission.  Yikes!”  Marsha knew how lucky they had been, and she couldn’t even be upset at the news.  It was an old truck anyway, and it had never given them any trouble.  She felt like anyone else, a truck needed to go to the doctor and get things fixed once in a while.

“The good news is that we get internet today!”  Vince had spotted the sign at the Riverside RV Park next to them.  They had stopped in after their trip to Eureka, and asked about using the internet for Marsha’s online meeting the next day.  Even though they were on vacation, work could go almost anywhere, and Marsha needed to find a source.  The park next to them was almost empty.  Salmon season was almost over, and folks were heading home.  Marsha hoped they would be willing to help them move over.

As they talked to the park managers, Marsha had suggested that they would love to move to their park, but they had no truck to tow the trailer.  The manager and her husband thought that they could tow the Terry trailer an eighth of a mile down the road to their park with their Ford pickup.

SFW Klamath trips Sept 18 to 19204

“And we have TV service as well,” the manager told the couple proudly.  “Did you notice that we also have free laundry service?”

The move was completed by 9:00 a.m., and Marsha opened her computer, and tested the internet.  “Wow, this is faster than at home, “ she told Vince.

“Do you want to run into Crescent City to check on the truck?” he asked, knowing full well he had the rest of the morning to himself.

In reality, he had the rest of the day to himself.  Marsha looked up at about 1:00 and took the dog for a walk and enjoyed the wonderful sunshine, and another walk a couple of hours later, each time snapping back to the computer like she was connected to it by a rubber band.  At five thirty she finally noticed Vince lying on the couch quietly watching TV, and forced herself to pay attention to him.

“Let’s go for a walk.  It’s so beautiful outside,” she smiled at her patient husband.

As they walked around the park, they stopped to talk to a forest ranger.  His job was to check each fisherman and women as they brought in their catches.  The rangers had a route they checked, and collected random data about the salmon in  Klamath River.  They examined the fish for diseases, weighed them, and recorded many other important data.  The ranger told them about the 2002 salmon disaster.

Klamath Canon316
The Klamath River on the right enters the Pacific Ocean on the left. People fish on the bank in between. 

The Klamath River is a dam-controlled river that transports some of its water to California’s great Central Valley for agricultural purposes.  In 2002, they had been letting the cold spring waters flow to the ocean, just a half mile from where Vince and Marsha stood.  The cold river water beckoned the salmon to enter into the river to lay their eggs.  After they started their run upstream to spawn, the water was shut off in preparation to send it to the Valley.  The shallower waters in the river heated up, and the salmon were trapped.  They were caught too far from the ocean to get back, and became diseased in the glutted warmer waters, and died.   By the end of the catastrophe over 33,000 dead salmon floated along the banks of the Klamath for miles.  The congressperson for that area took many of them to Washington D.C. and laid them out on the steps of the Capitol to illustrate the disaster.

Marsha and Vince knew the consequences of water cutbacks all too well.  Restrictions of water imported by the Central Valley meant gluts of dead trees, uprooted on their sides along every roadway.  The couple had not smelled the thousands of salmon that lost their lives for lack of water, but they watched trees wither when the water didn’t come.  The debates over water resources would never end.  Water, a priceless commodity, is too scarce, and absolutely vital to both communities.

The RV Park handed out the Klamath Chamber of Commerce Newsletter with all the other check-in information.  On the very first page of the September, 2013 Volume 13, Issue 9 was a full-page article titled, “Klamath River Conditions & Salmon.”   A quick scan pulled up the word, “Fresno,” and Marsha, read on.  “On Wednesday, August 21st, a federal court judge relied heavily on Yurok tribal science in a weighty decision to increase Klamath River flows, and not send the water to California’s Central Valley.”  The conditions this year are “nearly 1.7 times the number of fish that returned in 2002.  …  The Klamath River is one of three rivers that produce the majority of sport and commercial Chinook salmon harvest on the West Coast.”

Klamath Canon319

What a dilemma.  Marsha felt overwhelmed by the struggle for life between salmon and trees.  Living in Oregon among fishermen in her family further divided her loyalties.  The decisions to send the life-giving water one place or another affect millions of people’s lives, not to mention the salmon and the trees.  The Central Valley produces a large proportion of food that is exported to the rest of the nation as well as other parts of the world.

Marsha looks upstream from the mouth of the Klamath.
Marsha looks upstream from the mouth of the Klamath.

For the moment, the couple enjoyed the “slamming” salmon catches on the Klamath River.  The couple they had met at the former park gave them some freshly home canned salmon.

If you were making the decisions about where to send the water, where would you send it?

Other articles about the Klamath River

 

Accidental Vacation: Chapter Five

Chapter Five Has The Transmission Come Yet?

unretouched sky, bright blue
bright blue sky not retouched by Photoshop,  new red rental car

Vince remained in his Twilight Zone of Optimism for several more days after the truck’s transmission lost everything but first gear and reverse.  The sun shone into their little palace on wheels early on Sunday morning.  Vince was ready with activities before Marsha awoke.  He scoped out Crescent City the night before when he went there to get the rental car.  Only sixteen miles north of Klamath, it bustled with history, restaurants, and best of all, internet and cellular service.  He knew Marsha would appreciate that.

The smell of fresh coffee and rays of sunlight drove Marsha from her warm bed.  “Let’s go to Crescent City today,” Vince announced still in his cheery mode.  There are lots of things to do, and I want to take you to breakfast.”

“That sounds good.  Do you want to go check on your truck?”

Vince was the kind of guy that checked and double-checked everything.  He checked the bank account balance several times a day to make sure it hadn’t been hacked.  He asked Marsha about every check.  Then he checked the credit card account, and asked Marsha about each charge.  Every day he checked the pool, swept it, skimmed it, put chemicals in it.  Before every swim, or just when he happened to go out and see a flower bud floating across the surface, he cleaned it again.  Marsha knew he would want to go up to Crescent City to see if his truck was still sitting safely in the lot at the GMC dealer.  He did.

20130915_0613166R “There’s a famous lighthouse here,” he told her after they finished a delicious breakfast.  “How is it that she doesn’t weigh 600 pounds?” Vince thought to himself as he watched her clean her plate making sure to wipe away every trace of cream cheese frosting drizzled on the blueberry pancakes.  “Good thing.  A woman can never be too skinny or too rich.  She’s pretty well maintained for 61,” he continued musing.

“You look so pretty,” he voiced his thoughts a little more flatteringly.  “My beautiful wife.  I love you sweetie.”

“I love you too,” she answered as she always did.  They had their rituals.  Just like when Vince’s son called and they were ready to hang up, Vince never hung up without saying, “Here’s a hug,” and making a little hug sound over the phone.

"That dog looks like PG."
“That dog looks like PG.”

Battery Park was huge, but not nearly as interesting as the jetty, pier and the lighthouse.  Both camera bugs took pictures of the lighthouse on top of the hill.  To reach it people crossed over the rocks, a stepping bridge across the mouth of a stream flowing into the ocean.

I won't let you fall, Puppy.  Hold on tight to my arm.
“I won’t let you fall, Puppy. Hold on tight to my arm,”  the wind blew her words out to sea past PG’s outstretched, listening ear.

“Do you want to go across?”  she asked, not feeling overly adventurous.

“No, you need high boots unless you are prepared to get wet.  Do you want to get wet?”

"Looks like high tide," Marsha thought to herself.
“Looks like high tide,” Marsha thought to herself.

Marsha knew he had her there.  It wasn’t that she minded getting wet.  In fact, she loved it.  But what other activities did Vince have planned? This was a rare occasion, and she didn’t want to ruin it by getting wet and wanting to go change.

Remembering one time she had gone kayaking in Monterey Bay with friends from work, Marsha hesitated.  Even though they wore wetsuits, she experienced soaking wet shoes.  Not realizing that the boat would let in water, she wore her only pair of shoes into the boat.  Bare feet, being more comfortable than sloshy shoes, Marsha removed her shoes after she gracefully landed the boat and literally rolled over in the surf a few times getting out of it.  The group wanted to go eat after their strenuous excursion.  She had put her wet shoes in the car, but the eatery clearly stated, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”  Her boss shielded her as she scooted through the door shoeless.  That memory cautioned her.

“No, thanks,” she answered after giving the idea some thought.  Although the hill and house called her, she resisted.  Let’s walk out on the jetty.”

20130915_0600153R
“DANGER: Deadly waves at any time. Jetty unsafe for walking.”

“It says it’s dangerous at all times.  Do you want PG to be swept away by an ocean wave?”

20130915_0615168
“Don’t let go, Mom. That looks like water down there.” PG’s thoughts were a clear as if she actually uttered them.

Visions of whether she would let go of the leash and lose PG or be swept out to sea with her aquaphobic doggie kept her moving away from the jetty towards the safer boardwalk.  A young couple with their two dogs joined them on the boardwalk.  One dog was a huge pit bull, the other a terrier, smaller than PG’s slight 9 pounds, pranced side-by-side looking like Mutt and Jeff.

20130915_0622175R

Fisher people with their empty poles dotted the boardwalk.  A couple from Medford, Oregon escaped the 100 degree heat to catch crabs in the bay.  Several huge crustaceans lounged unsuspectingly in their blue plastic bucket.

20130915_0620173R Soon it was time to leave.  There was lots to do, and they still wanted to see the Trees of Mystery.  They wound their way through the Redwood Highway back towards Klamath towards the mysterious trees where yet another adventure awaited them.

20130915_0457133R

Work would start on the truck tomorrow.  Or would it?  Stay tuned.

Does your dog or pet have any phobias?  How about you?

A Drive to Sequoia National Park

I thoroughly prepared myself for a day of work. I was going to  work on my quilt.  but Mary called, and off we went to the Sequoia National Park.

These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year's convention in LA.
These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year’s convention in LA.

We started at Bravo Lake in Woodlake, admiring the Botanical Gardens.  You have to climb to get to the lake as you walk through the gardens to the walking path around the lake.  Bravo Lake, fed by the Kaweah River, Indian word, eah, meaning river, filled with the raucous caw, cawing of many crows.

Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!
Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!

Bravo Lake, originally boasting a Spanish was renamed after an old-fashioned pioneer fist fight.  As today, all fights have plenty of onlookers and well-wishers.  This one was no different.  When one of the fighting Irish, Tom Fowler, won, the spectators cheered him with “Bravo, bravo, Tom.  Bravo.”  The Indians living in the area promptly renamed the lake, Bravo Lake.

Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake
Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake

After hiking a few feet up to the brim of the lake, we took a quick look then got back in the car, and went east towards the mountains.  The beauty of the snow on the mountains almost took my breath away, and  I wanted to stop in the middle of the road, but Mary wouldn’t let me!

Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.
Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.

Mary snapped a few pictures along the way, but I was driving, but you have seen this trip before.  When we got to the first stop for Kaweah Lake, we found the Natural History museum open.

Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake  Kaw, kaw, snap.
Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake Kaw, kaw, snap.

It was closed when Vince, Kalev, and I visited the last time.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the museum purchasing books, and chatting with the volunteer about the dam built on the river in the 1950s to alleviate the flooding problems that had plagued the valley since 1852, when it was first settled by white settlers.  I took pictures of the notebook of old photos.  You can see the lake in the background of some of them.  I’m only including one picture in this overview post.

Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?
Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?

Back on the road to Three Rivers we stopped at another POI, point of interest, that Mary found on an iPhone app, a giant cow.  I thought this bull/cow was rather vulgar looking given the pipes coming and going from him/her.  I found the exhaust pipe especially humorous since cows are especially huge methane producers here in the valley, causing more air pollution than automobiles.  Apparently this bovine used to be a hamburger stand, which explains some of his/her extraneous appendages.

This place will whet your appetite!
This place will whet your appetite!

Mary, you wanted a what?

He's a catch, Mary!  :)
He’s a catch, Mary!🙂

Then we traveled on to the next museum where they were setting up for a Veteran’s appreciation program at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Isn't' this a cool sign.  Unfortunately the sky wasn't as pretty as Paul's just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun.  Lucky for me Photoshop came to the rescue.  I'l show you the before and after in a different post.
Isn’t’ this a cool sign?  Unfortunately the sky wasn’t as pretty as Paul’s just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun. Lucky for me, Photoshop came to the rescue. I’l show you the before and after in a different post.

The outside attraction here was a giant statue of Paul Bunyan.

Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log!  He weighs tons.  I guess I'm skinny in comparison.
This sky is natural.  Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log! He weighs tons. I guess I’m skinny in comparison.

Displayed on the east side of the building were both summer and winter Native American huts.  So in which one would you rather spend the winter?  You can read more about Yokuts housing on TC History Gal Productions.

Tule reeds and bark huts.
Tule reeds and bark huts.

We finally made it to my favorite stop, the Gateway Restaurant at the mouth of the Kaweah River.  Mary tried to dutifully check us in and post our food on Facebook, but wifi there didn’t work with iPhone.

The noise here is the sound of rushing water.
The noise here is the sound of rushing water.

You can see that when the water levels are up to normal – the white line on the rocks, that this would be an exciting ride in a raft.  OK, I couldn’t actually SEE the line, but the waitress assured us that it was there.  The stack of rocks piled on the boulders are for wishing.  So make a wish, but don’t tell anyone what it is.  Let me know if it comes true, though!

Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?
Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?

While we ate our fish lunch at 3:00 p.m., we read about the famous Utopian Socialist Colony founded in Three Rivers called the Kaweah Commonwealth in 1896.  They wanted to earn money for themselves cutting down the huge trees, and thus they motivated John Muir, and eventually Teddy Roosevelt to protect the gentle giants from eternal destruction by declaring the colony’s purchased property a National Park.  (The U.S. Government could do that.)  Six years after they started their colony, it ended with only a minor internal bickering.  Utopia didn’t make it here around Three Rivers.  I personally thought they were much too capitalistic. – cutting down our fine trees for profit.  Apparently not everyone wanted to labor at all, another cause of internal irritation.

A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62.  $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks.  I'm coming back when I'm older!  :)
A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62. $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks. I’m coming back when I’m older!🙂

We could have gone back, but chose to go the 1/4 mile east from the restaurant to the entrance of the National Park.  That was the most expensive short date I’ve had – ever!  Mary paid $80 for an annual pass to get in.  We went to the station, stayed 10 minutes until it closed, then turned around and headed for the chocolate candy store before it closed.  Had I been a mere 6 months older, I could have bought a LIFETIME pass to ALL the National Parks for $10.  The only bad part of that was that the man asked me if I wanted to purchase one.  He didn’t even ask Mary who is just about my age, 30 something.  Why would he think I look 62, anyway?  I’m going on a diet as soon as I finish my chocolate candy.

Agree/Disagree?
Agree/Disagree?

You can tell that all these great times have taken their toll on my tummy.  I’m almost as big as Paul Bunyan!  Diet, diet, diet.  (tomorrow).

OK, kids don't see the humor in this sign.  Go figure!
OK, kids don’t see the humor in this sign. Go figure!  Looking at chocolate makes me shake with excitement.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  Couldn’t be helped!  :)

“Unattended children will be given candy and a free puppy!”  Do I look 10?  What about a second childhood?  After a long wait in line to buy chocolates for Vince (hahaha), we headed back home.  What a fun surprise.  Did you enjoy the trip with me?  I hope so!  :)

Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee :)
Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee🙂 (not pictured here)

John Muir Visits the Tulare County Historical Society During the 2013 Annual Meeting

Yesterday at the Tulare County Historical Society Annual Meeting Frank Helling, a 30-year veteran as John Muir, with his hand carved cane in his Scottish accent told the crowd  “Everywhere we step is holy land.”  Of course he never hiked around the world,  he “san-tared” (sauntered) about because hiking is too much like work.

Frank Helling as John Muir
Frank Helling as John Muir

At one point Muir had to find employment.  Although he wasn’t a shepherd, he was hired to keep tabs on Shepherd Billy, a lazy bloke.   Billy rarely never bathed so  his clothes became a natural walking history museum, growing thicker by the day with new additions such as pine needles, tree sap, or whatever else he wiped on them.  Another employer wanted him to run a saw mill, but Muir had vowed never to cut a living tree again, but didn’t mind taking the already fallen trees to the saw mill.

Muir recounted the many famous people his path had crossed except for Louise Jackson’s mother who was 13 when she met him.  Sixty-eight year old Ralph Waldo Emerson came to see him in 1871 and remarked about the Sequoia Redwoods, “These trees have a talent for being tall.”  Muir quipped back,   “You’re a Sequoia yourself, get acquainted with the brethren.”

Muir, the Big Tree Advocate, upon returning to  Yosemite after one of his many travels,  found the trees being cut down, and cried out “Repent the Kingdom of Sequoia is at hand!”  He got lost in the “artificial canyons” (hallways) of a San Francisco hotel when he met with his editor, Johnson.  His friend changed his writing , and removed many repetitions of the word, glorious, telling Muir, “That’s called editing.”

Muir kept his audience humorously spell-bound for probably close to an hour.  I don’t know I lost track of time.

We will soon have a new TCHS website.  We meet with the designer, Louise Jackson’s daughter, Laile on Wednesday.  I’ve been honored to serve on that committee for the past year, so I can’t wait to see what she has to show us.  :)  Websites, websites, websites!!!  :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Delicate suggests many diverse meanings. Curiously, now and again what seems delicate may actually be quite strong, and conversely, when something appears heavy, mechanical, sturdy or awkward may have delicate functions, characteristics, or aspects.  Here are some of my choices for the many meanings of delicate.  How many of them might at the same time be surprisingly durable, hardy, vigorous or unyielding?

1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way,  and
2. Very subtle in difference or distinction.  With its delicate beauty this dainty, paper-thin blossom, tinged with a hint of pink, entices human admirers as it attracts and feeds tiny insects.
flower with delicate pink tinged petals.
flower with delicate pink tinged petals.
3. Exquisitely fine or dainty:  I am especially enamored with spider webs.  After a light rain, these delicate strings sparkle like diamonds.  All the while they seem delicate, spider webs capture insects, weather strong winds and rain, and even resist persistent humans who try to destroy them.
Delicate 4
4. Frail in constitution or health.  Like any elderly living thing, fallen leaves lose their suppleness as they age.  When they first fall, they are colorful, and easy to gather.  After a few months their delicate, frail forms crunch and break easily when touched.  Even in their broken condition, they function as fertilizer and conditioner to improve the soil and retain its valuable moisture.
Delicate2
5. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation.  Most people consider a flag of the United States a symbol of strength, not something fragile or delicate, but I would argue that the delicate experiment of our democratic government is always only one generation from total collapse.  If citizens are not vigil, the rights and privileges we enjoy in the United States can disappear.
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6. Easily broken or damaged.  I took many pictures as workmen replaced our 30-40 year old furnace with an efficient new model.  One of the men asked for my pictures.  He told me that working on a roof with a crane swinging a heavy HVAC unit towards them was extremely delicate work.  One false move with the powerful arm of the crane, and the installers could be knocked off the roof, or the unit or roof structure ruined.  Until I talked to him, I would not have thought of this as a delicate task, but he changed my thinking.
installing a heating/air conditioning unit
installing a heating/air conditioning unit
Another delicate operation is archaeology.  In Jamestown students worked alongside experienced archaeologists to uncover secrets buried in the settlement established in 1607.    Nothing here looked very delicate, but once they dug a large area down to a specific level, they started working with brushes and spoons rather than shovels, being very careful not to destroy fragile artifacts.  
delicate 9
7. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination:
a. Considerate of the feelings of others.
b. Concerned with propriety.
c. Squeamish or fastidious.
These students reenacted the giants in the women’s suffrage movement.  Although considered the delicate sex, the suffragists  showed amazing strength in the face of danger and harsh punishment.
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8. Fine or soft in touch or skill.  Although the dandelion seeds are delicate to the touch, the dichotomy is that these hardy seeds weather strong winds, travel great distances, and  reproduce many offspring.
Dandelions have delicate
Dandelions have delicate
9. precise, skilled, or sensitive in action or operation: Kalev got burrs stuck all around her mouth.  Taking them out was a delicate matter because they were so close to her sensitive mouth.  We didn’t have scissors, so we had to pull her tangled fur off each bur.  A park ranger came to our rescue with a pair of surgical scissors, but even that was a delicate operation.  Even if Kalev had been sedated for the delicate procedure, which she wasn’t, there was so little space between her skin and the bur that we could have easily cut her skin instead.  We had to cut the bur into pieces, then pull gently.  Success!!! 
Delicate- Kalev's bur removal operation
The dichotomy of delicacy intrigued me almost as much as the search for pictures to match the many definitions of delicate.
For more delicate pictures click here.
Featured Blog
Sydney Fong is a funny guy from Singapore.  I don’t mean he’s funny looking or acting or weird, but just plain funny.  If you’ve read my blog, you know that I dearly love humor at the expense of almost all other things – even history.  However, Sydney also has a soft spot in his heart as you will see with some of his posts.   He hates violence, and loves the environment.  What better combination can you get than that!  Go to his most popular posts first.  My favorite is, “Shall We Go for a Stroll?  Let me tell you, if you go for a stroll with this architectural artist, you’ll end up needing stitches – in your side from giggling. I also loved Paw Driving.
Kalev liked this picture from Sydney’s blog, so if you want to see more like this, go visit his site.