Visalia Taste of the Arts: How to Create a Veggie Masterpiece

Day 24 Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost #oddballphotochallenge

Cee's OddBall

Visalia Taste of the Arts has grown to ten times the number of vendors it had three years ago from 10 to 100 under my friend’s daughter, Carolyn Koontz’s administration. She now moves to a new job at Tulare County Office of Education. Congratulations, Carolyn!

Here are some of the more interesting Taste of the Arts.

Veggie Critter
Cuke, the Veggie Critter

Anyone could participate. Kids dug out holes for eye placement, attached all types of hair, legs, and other body parts. Interesting that most shapes ended up being some kind of “animal.”

visalia-taste-of-the-arts110

Green teeth – no problem. They’re bound to fall out anyway.

visalia-taste-of-the-arts108

This gives all new meaning to “We’re having octopus for dinner!”

or

“Who’s coming for dinner?”

visalia-taste-of-the-arts111

Steps to a Masterpiece

  1. Grab a big veggie.
  2. Grab a carving or poking tool.
  3. Stick veggies on sticks.
  4. Poke sticks into veggies.
  5. Carve holes.
  6. Attach little veggies to bigger ones with a toothpick or by stuffing into holes.
  7. Display your artwork at the front table when finished.
  8. Take pictures.

For more oddball pictures, click here.

Pragmatically Optimistic About Life

“Things are going to get better. Be optimistic.”

Bob Dole
     Sixteen year old Golda could have bemoaned her life of trying to live down the stigma of her father’s constant trouble making.  Drunken stupors, fights, and now much worse. As good as her mother was, and as hard as she tried to make a good home, Golda could never bring friends to her house, and even hated to admit who she was.
Fred, Martha, & Golda
     Nearing the end of her junior year of high school, Fred Birchfield was going to jail again, this time in Indianapolis, fifty miles away, for killing a man. Maybe it was self-defense. Maybe the guy he killed was no good, and the police were secretly glad to get rid of the man, but her dad would do hard time. Of course, her mother would move to be near him. Golda envisioned another, more optimistic, life for herself.
Golda 8c
     Golda Harriette perched on the branch steadied by her best friend Lavona. The damp summer air that encased her body in secure warmth, plastered her limp bangs to her head. She loved smell of Crawfordsville, Indiana, the cloying smell of roses climbing the sides of tiny white frame houses, and the subtle clean smell of gladioli. She could watch the showy flowers swaying in the gentle breeze, gleaming along the back fence the morning sun like women in their colorful finery bunched together for an early morning church photo.The mix of the summer’s blooms in the Lavona’s back yard overpowered Golda’s senses, making her dizzy with the joy of life. Taking a deep breath, Golda leaned back her head and grinned at God. Filled to the brim with the happiness she leaned forward and touched Lavona’s shoulder with her cheek sharing her euphoria with her friend.
     She could go to Indianapolis with her mother, and maybe she should. but Golda did not see an optimistic future in that. She had taken pains while attending school in her small conservative town to keep her reputation spotless.  When Lavona’s mother said she could stay with them until she graduated, Golda hopes took root.
     Focusing her thoughts on happy times, Golda considered the many family conversations about Lavona’s handsome older brother, his U.S. Army service picture proudly placed in the center of the mantle.  She wasn’t proud of any man in her family. She didn’t remember her grandfather very well, and she didn’t have a brother, younger or older.
      Golda had not met Jesse, but Lavona told her how shy he was with girls. Over the months of secret-telling and giggles in Lavona’s bedroom, Golda felt intrigued. Jesse sent presents to his mom from Hawaii, a beautiful hope chest, a manly trunk, and dishes. Golda made plans. When he came back from Hawaii, she would talk to him, be his friend, and draw him out of his shell. He could be her big brother, too, or maybe something more. How could she hope to meet him if she moved to Indianapolis? Golda also dreamed about Frank Gifford in her high school class. She wondered if he would be the one to win her heart completely. She wanted to meet Jesse first.
     Martha Birchfield had a confectious belly laugh that made the walls of their tiny home shake. Golda believed her mother’s optimism could belie even national catastrophes, but she also believed that being pragmatic improved optimism. Before she married she planned to go to Normal School and become a teacher. She would be able to provide handsomely for herself until she married.
Martha and Golda
     Although she loved her mother dearly, and knew Martha Birchfield would do almost anything for her, Golda did not want to be like her mother, who got married instead of attending high school, and had her when she was fifteen. Martha’s three older sisters from her grandmother’s first marriage had married, so at age fourteen,  Martha  Nina Earl optimistically thought she could do the same, and she did. Golda rationalized that her mother’s optimism, though infectious, was often misplaced and impractical. That was not the life she wanted, nor was a man as unstable as Fred Birchfield in her sites. She optimistically thought she could do better.
     Golda’s young life did not reflect either the elegance or ennui in the upper class society of the great Gatsby’s acquaintance.  Nor did she look or feel destitute. Instinctively and by observing her mother, she knew how to elude poverty by working and saving.
     Optimism had crept into the nation’s political and economic fabric.  With Sears  opening its first store in Chicago in 1925, and its first free-standing store in Evansville, Indiana, the free market system started to blossom. If politics changed and threatened this new exciting lifestyle, Golda could vote, a freedom her mother did not have. This Crawfordsville damsel believed optimistically that  growth and wealth would continue into the future.

Golda 2 crop     Jesse Clark came home from World War I where he was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to find a cheerful teenager named Golda living with his family. As shy as he was, he could not escape the charming mental images she painted for the future. The flamboyant roaring twenties promised nothing but good times forever.Golda 3c     My grandparents married during these optimistic times. Surrounded by friends and family, they married when the 1920s roared their loudest, July 3, 1925, the year Charles Scribner & Sons published F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby. They could have attend the first performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1925, driving the luxurious  the Chrysler Six, Walter Chrysler’s first design.Grandma, Grandpa & Grandma B.     As first child born in the family since Golda’s only daughter, I spent most of my preschool years being chauffeured between my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s homes. They spoiled me silly. They infected affected me by encouraging me to think I could do anything I wanted to do, in spite of having a double harelip.

     At the time, I guess that being born with a harelip was considered quite a handicap. I didn’t learn until I was an adult that the Nazis threw out babies with harelips as though they were trash, and I was born just six years after they lost control of the world. The dreams and optimism that drove my life forward stemmed from a lineage of both heredity and training from three optimistic women.

4 generations of optimism
L to R Marsha, Martha, Golda, and Peggy

Optimism is child’s play coupled with determined hard work.

     Speaking of hard work, I have started a blog specifically for writing and blogging tips. If you love this blog, or know people who want to be part of the writing experience, please follow my new blog for writers called Just Write or follow my professional writer’s Facebook page, TC History Gal Productions .  Thanks so much!

     Hope you enjoyed a trip back in the history of my mother’s family. For additional optimistic entries, click here or on the WP camera.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Greetings

Christmas love can happen all year. This family gathering took place in Delaware in November when I visited my mom’s cousin, Hal. Marvin Awbrey sent me a series of children’s quotes about love.  I put the two expressions of love together to send to you. Lots of love to my WordPress friends. Thanks for following. 🙂
Nov. Dinner at Hal's copy2

Discussions About Answers to Hard Questions Like Race and Politics

     It’s 2:27 a.m. here in Delaware. I’ve been visiting my mom’s 90-year-old cousin, Hal. We talk a lot, so I’m going to publish a post unlike what I usually publish – philosophy and opinions.  Fair warning.
     Hal is an ordinary brilliant chemical engineer who is trying to build relationships with people since his wife died. He has made some amazing friends among international students, mostly Chinese, who are here going to the University of Delaware for post-graduate degrees. I joined him tonight in an hour of one-on-one conversation with one student, a Chinese math professor aged 45. Being with these students makes both of us feel hopeful and positive. They are fun, engaging and excited to learn and talk about many topics with us as they practice their English skills.
12249816_10205174721234668_669262568460925624_n(2)
     I needed a good shot of enthusiastic hope for the future, not hatred and lying that I see in politics and between people in general. Hal and I  had lunch with one of my pretend daughters today in MD. We discussed the dangerous situation in black communities near her. She said that a town close to her, comprised mostly  of African-Americans, was burned by militants. An off-duty firemen friend visiting another friend in that city was shot because he was a firemen. Fear prevails. Accomplishment for the solving the racism problem – 0! I feel like I should have had some words of wisdom at my age for her.
12227628_10205177566625801_3448167650906870076_n
     Hal and I discussed how we thought an abused race of people might fight destructive racism. We both agree that both now and historically the black race has been severely mistreated, particularly by the whites.  But what can they do to make it stop?  For the race as a whole, neither trying to be good, even better than good, nor violence seems to have helped them get very far in the war against racism.  Violence against themselves, their own businesses, makes no sense to me at all as a fight against racial discrimination. Does it to you? And if so, why?
     Neither of us can imagine doing other than what we now do as white people, trust in God, and try to maximize our personal opportunities by working hard and doing the best jobs we can do to provide for ourselves and help others.  We both hoped that our lives would make a dent in the problem. But will that work? Has it worked to solve discrimination?
     In politics especially, it seems that people are getting less and less willing to compromise and work together. Teresa suggested that it might be nice to just wipe the slate clean and start over with all new politicians. It’s a great thought, but wow, that sounds immense. Hal suggested that a benevolent dictator might solve the problem. Ouch!  Who in this world is going to please and do the best for everyone?
     When I look around me at all the problems in the world, and how people are trying to solve them, the fewer answers I have. I feel discouraged and things feel overwhelming to me. I don’t like that feeling of losing optimism. It is not me.
     So there’s my rant for the night. so I probably should sign off and go to bed.  Hope you feel more enlightened about what actions we should take than I do!!!!  🙂 Tell me what you think.

Klutz of the Year Award: The Art of Falling Without Breaking Anything

I have awarded myself the Klutz of the Year Award. Any of you may claim this award for yourself, if you like. But tell us why you deserve it!

KLUTZ AWARD

 

My mother said my small feet caused me to fall all the time. I’m glad I fell a lot as a child because now, as an older woman, I can’t blame it on my age or lessening agility. It hasn’t been more than two months since I fell out of my Prius. Actually I fell when I was trying to get into it while it was rolling backwards, and landed on my back with it coming at me, door first. My friend Robert somehow got into the driver’s seat and stopped the car before it hit me or anything else, then jumped out of the car and brushed me off. I couldn’t stop laughing. I laughed all night long.

falling 4

This time I tripped over a jut up in the sidewalk no larger than a half an inch or so. I managed to gash my forehead, scrape the entire top and side of my nose, and under my nose. I have a flexible nose! I only scratched up old scars on my face, ruined a pair of pants, and barely scraped the shape of California into my knee under a bright red nasty owie that alternates between hurting and nothing.

A man ran over from the restaurant that watched me fall, and tried to help, but frankly I wanted to sit/lie there for a minute. He left when I was so unaccepting of his help.  I was just hoping that my too-tight pants had not slid down. I felt drafty, and I knew I would have to bend over, and get on all fours to get up. Finally, with my friend Mary’s help I made it to my car, but every question she asked me, I heard this childish little voice coming out of me.

“Does it hurt?”

“Yes.”

“Where, what hurts the most?”

“I don’t know.”

I went to the driver’s side and could hardly open the door. To credit me a little, I was driving Vince’s car and the remote key didn’t work, so I had to press this little spot on the key about 1/16″ or less in size with my shaky finger, to release the manual key, then turn the key correctly to fit in the lock, and finally to figure out which way to turn it.

I did all the steps wrong the first time, which led Mary to ask,”Can you drive OK?”

“I don’t know. I feel sick.”

“I’ll drive. You’ll just have to remind me how to drive your car.”

She got into the driver’s side, and I sat for a minute. She was late to work, but I thought, I’m not sure I can tell her how to drive.

The more she talked to me, the more nervous she got, I think. I cleaned the blood off my forehead to keep from looking so much like a zombie. It took a while to unzip my first aid pouch, but I managed to get a band-aid opened and on face without covering my eye. After a few minutes of rest, my stomach stopped churning. My head still hurt, but not so much that I could  think a little straighter. I got out, traded places with Mary, and drove her to work. I still had to drive nearly an hour to get home.

Vince just shook his head when he saw my face. I can’t say he smiled, but I can’t say he wasn’t trying really hard not to.

I didn’t want to go anywhere today, but I had promised to take pictures of two businesses and write articles for our Kiwanis magazine, “What’s Happening in the Foothills.” We always save these things until the last-minute, so I couldn’t back out. The deadline was Feb. 1st.

When I got to the Runway Cafe ten minutes late, Sally said, “Well you don’t look as bad as I thought you would. Do you have a headache?”

I had only been up about 40 minutes or so, and the Tylenol hadn’t taken effect yet. I told her I still had a little headache. So she told me about a woman, younger than I am, who had a headache from falling and died two days later. That cured my headache, but not my hypochondria. I’m feeling downright frisky right now in the middle of the night when I don’t dare fall asleep because I might not wake up. So that’s my story.

When I shared on Facebook about my most recent face first run-in with a cement sidewalk, I received condolences and some wonderful stories.

slippingice1

My friend “Tani” shared the funniest one.

The story of the amazing falling woman, aka me. It had rained earlier that day so was glad it stopped so we could go to the RV show at the fairgrounds. Hundreds of RV’s and people in the parking lot looking at row after row of RV’s, they had the prices in the windows and that is my reason for not seeing the pot hole, I was walking and looking up!! Leave it to me to step on the edge, twist my ankle and sprawl out face first. It took me a minute to realize nothing was broken only a small knee gash and palms scrapped up with asphalt. 3 people picked me up, I hobbled to the restroom and cleaned up. I’m outa there….at the end of the day we decided to have a nice dinner at one of the popular restaurants in Eugene, was happy we didn’t have too long of a wait for a Saturday night. Had a great dinner and as we were leaving by the restaurant’s main front area I noticed a really nice wine cellar and was curious to take a look inside. I was excited as I had never been in anything like that. So as I entered the cellar I did not see the step down at the doorway…yep…down again. I tumble into the wine cellar landing on my back. So there I am lying there in my big bulky coat, staring in disbelief, at the ceiling. All of a sudden I burst out laughing over that fact that I have actually fallen twice in one day in public. The hostess follows my hubby into the room only to find an old lady laughing hysterically on the floor of the wine cellar. They help me up and I continue to laugh as Paul escorts me quickly to the car. The next day….I’m really sore. The end

falling2

So would you like to claim the award for yourself? Have you been klutzy this year yet, or were you klutzy some other year? I’d love to pass this award on. If you tell a long story that you don’t want to waste in my comment section, and want to post it on your blog, feel free to post a link.

KLUTZ AWARD