Ripper Aussie Names

I met Miriam through the Eternal Traveller’s blog. She posts frequently about Australia, so I thought you might enjoy this play on names. “I’ve been everywhere, man … I’ve been to Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Molong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi … Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta; what’s it matter?”

So goes the classic Aussie song penned by Australian country singer Geoff Mack in 1959.

Whilst I definitely haven’t been everywhere I’ll be working on it this year. And I can vouch for Mr. Mack’s words. Within our vast land and our Aboriginal ancestry, we have some pretty bizarre place names.

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There’s a place in the Northern Territory where we’re traveling mid year called Bong Bong. Apparently, it translates in an Aboriginal dialect to “mosquitoes buzzing”.  Ah, not exactly inspiring.

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We’ve traveled to some strange sounding places. But twice?  Mitta Mitta, Wagga Wagga, Baw Baw, Lang Lang, Dum Dum, Booti Booti, Colac Colac, Mundi Mundi and Nar Nar Goon. And that’s just for starters.

What’s with the double-barrelled names?

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There’s even a place called Woop Woop in the outback of Western Australia. That’s our slang term for “in the middle of nowhere”.

And it’s not somewhere I want to get stranded anytime soon.

One of my favorite places is Yackandandah, known by the locals as Yack. A picturesque town in the valleys of the high country.

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There’s a suburb in Perth called Innaloo.  It was originally called Njookenbooroo but was changed as no one could spell or say it right. Can you imagine if someone asked where you lived? Innaloo.

The wacky names extend beyond the towns and cities to the islands. Continued on Miriam’s blog

Source: Ripper Aussie Names

See more Name photos Weekly Photo Challenge.

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Documenting Chaos Like an Expert

Delaware First Catholic Church #2 #NaBloPoMo Day 5 #chaos #dailyphotochallenge

Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Can Discoveries, Even Order Come From This Chaos?

When I think of the best documentaries of chaos, I think American Pickers and some of the hoarders they visit. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of hoarders. The closest I can come to chaos is the old church in Delaware that begs for restoration.

Save the Old Barn
Save the Old Barn

There is so much work here to create order from chaos. I wonder whether the organization raising money for restoration will ever reconstruct order from chaos. In order to document this building, I journeyed beyond the road, even ventured past the caution barricade and the quick snapshot. I used my Canon XTi Rebel and not my iPhone. The zoom lens creates higher quality photos than the iPhone.

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With every passing day the chaos increases due to weather eroding the mortar that holds the structure together. If nothing happens to make the repairs, soon there will be nothing left standing. The weather is not the only force that erodes. Humans have already done their part in the building’s demise. They might continue the demolition work they started.

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During the week I spent in Delaware in September, the weather treated the chaotic church kindly. The clouds threatened, but they did nothing but add charm to the old building. I captured these shots during the golden hour before sunset.

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This scene looks like broken Humpty Dumpty to me, only it is the wall not the good old egg. To make it more menacing and artistic I could have darkened it and added filters, but I chose to document only and not become artistic.

What are some of your chaotic moments? Please share!

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Delaware First Catholic Church #1

Brandywine, What Better Name for a Relaxing River?

Winding Through History on the Brandywine

#blogboost #Delaware trip

WordPress Photo Challenge H2O

Everything in Delaware winds. Driving from the airport in Philadelphia, I turned off the freeway onto a state road and headed towards Hockessin, DE. It felt like I had entered a land of make-believe.

Even state highways were paths through a deep, mysterious forest. And water showed up at almost every bend.

The day after I arrived, mom’s cousin Hal suggested a drive to the historic district of Wilmington. He knows I love historic buildings and babbling streams. This spot along the Brandywine was the perfect stop.

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You can never say corner in Delaware, it seems. Points are obliterated in curves, drown in the gurgling streams. How could this pastoral scene be part of the 9-11 Battle in 1777?

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Mr. Dylan Duck stands on his rocky lookout over the Brandywine surveying his family activities. Donovan and Dana Duck discovered something fishy in the Brandywine.

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The twenty-mile lower stem of Brandywine Creek winds lazily around the historic district of Wilmington, DE. Maybe Dylan’s ancestors watched for Redcoats.

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Possibly Dylan’s ancestral family watched Peter Minuit who founded New Sweden in 1638 along the Delaware River and inland to the Brandywine. He died in a hurricane on his return trip, but his colony remained. I can imagine the Swedes lounging with their feet dangling in the stream sipping a mug of home brew on a beautiful September day after harvesting crops all day.

Gossip Along the Brandywine in 1644

Overheard by Dylan Duck I

“This here is mighty fine wine, you’ve made, Peter.”

It’s not wine. It’s brandy, Beatus. Made from this gurgling stream right here. It’s the water that makes it tasty.”

Brandy? Wine? Whatever. It is delicious. ” Abram added.

“Sounds like a good name for this river to me, Brandywine,” Beatus said.

Don’t tell that old Swede, who built the grain mill, Andreas Brainwende. He thinks this stream is his, and we should call it the Brainwend River after him,” Peter said.

Brainwend, Brandywine, his hearing’s so bad, he won’t know the difference.

“You got the water in just the right place, didn’t you, Peter?” Abram said.

Yeah, a couple miles from here the creek pours into the Christina River,” Peter told them. “Ah the beautiful Christina, named after our queen. She’s a spoiler.”

“Yeah, she looks sweet, but looks are deceiving, so I hear.”

“Shhh, you two! Someone might be overhear you. You don’t want to mess with our governor!”

“I’m talking about that brakish water two miles yonder at the confluence of the two rivers. Christina’s waters would make a brandy that even you wouldn’t drink, Abram,” Beatus said

“You don’t think much of my tasting skills, Beatus?”

“Not so much.”

“OK, fellows, better finish it up here before you get us in trouble. The wives will wonder where we are.”

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Hey, Marsha,” Hal called interrupting my reverie. “Haven’t you seen ducks before? What are you doing?”

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What looks like placid waters now, once powered grist and gunpowder mills. Mills fueled the industrial era before the onset of steam-powered machinery. The DuPonts made their fortunes here. Ah, this was the place to learn history.

Ah, this was the place to learn history.

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I could see that it was no wonder why many nineteenth century builders used stone to construct Wilmington buildings along the Brandywine. Mmmm, I wanted to put my toes in the cool water and feed the ducks, sip some wine and…

“Marsha,” Hal called again. “What is so interesting down there? Come up here. I want to show you something about this old post office building.

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How do you ignore a 91-year-old retired engineer who was tired of Dylan and Donovan, the dark-feathered ducks, and wanted me to move on to something more mathematical? More than likely he wanted to go home and eat, my stomach reminded me that it was getting late.

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“Did you notice the way the sun is casting a shadow on this stairway of Breck’s Mill?”

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Hal scores again – something I would not have noticed without him.

The shadows had crept up on me as time swirled dreamily down the stream. But the sun was dipping in the sky. Strawberry-rhubarb pie in the fridge was beckoning us to come back to the 21st century and go home for dinner.

What wonderful, lazy afternoons do you remember sitting by a gentle stream, or lovely lake, waterfall, or even a water fountain?

Does water make your mind wander, too?

Catch more water pictures here.

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

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Leaves Make Me Nostalgic

WordPress photo challenge: nostalgia

#blogboost
Google defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.”
synonyms: reminiscence, remembrance, recollection
Crape Myrtle tree
Crape Myrtle trees

When I was about age 10, my dad began to enjoy my presence. He loved to take pictures, so on Saturdays, he loaded up his equipment and me, his best view finder, into the old Buick in search of a perfect scenic spot. I loved his pictures of fall leaves. The love of fall colors makes me nostalgic and brings me joy.

Fall Grape Leaves
Fall Grape Leaves

We do not get the magnificent colors in all trees that Indiana does, but we still have some gorgeous fall plants. Several years ago on my own impromptu photo shoot, I found a grape field so beautiful I had to pull over, jump out of my car, and take pictures.

Fall grape leaves in December, 2012
Fall grape leaves in December 2012

Hoosiers tout many varieties of maple trees but the foothill community of Woodlake, CA in Tulare County honors the humble white oak or valley oak.

California White Oak
California White or Valley Oak

Wikipedia has a list of various kinds of oaks along with where they are found which I found helpful in trying to figure out which kind of oak this is.  Google lists images of oaks by type.

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variety unknown to me

It takes hours to compare leaves to pictures to figure out what kinds of trees and plants we see along the roads. I never appreciated people who can spout off names like that until I started writing my blog. I don’t think this is an oak tree because the bark is too smooth. Kiwanis supports the blue signs we see along the highways in our areas that names the crop next to the highway. But most places do not have signs.

Elderwood, CA in December
Elderwood, CA in December

While I think this is pretty, it cannot compare to the eastern parts of the United States for color and brilliance. However, in the east, the mountains do not pop up over the tops of the trees. In Hockessin, Delaware even if the mountains were there, you wouldn’t be able to see them because forests line nearly every street and obscure everything but the nearest leaves.

Walnut tree
Walnut tree

When my first husband and I moved to California, we lived in the middle of a walnut grove. My understanding is that growers grafted English walnut trees to the hardy black walnut trees then painted the trunks to keep the bugs out.

walnut tree
walnut tree

Even though I did not like to eat walnuts, I loved gathering them after the shakers harvested the main crop. The ants and I got the rest of them. The ants did not like what I did next. But it served them right for biting me one day when I gathered walnuts by making a hammock of my t-shirt. I baked the walnuts in their shells at 250 degrees for an hour or so to cure them. My friends loved their presents. The ants – not so much!

back to the grapes
back to the grapes

I caught this vagrant red beauty leaving the nest and fluttering down to create the soft carpet below the vine for the winter.

For more nostalgic moments, click here.

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

WP Photo Challenge: Edge

#Delaware trip #Winterthur Gardens#1

Hi, I’m Marsha, sitting on the edge of my seat at the edge of the Enchanted Woods at Winterthur Gardens near Hockessin, DE.

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I asked Cousin Hal to snap a picture of me. He got 139 bursts of me. Too many hehehe! Not a bad picture for someone who is nearly blind. 

More than one of the du Pont boys who owned DuPont Chemical Company, where my mother’s cousin Hal worked, loved gardens. We were so glad he did as we meandered the broad path around the gardens for about three hours. Yes, we were lost at times. This map did not help. 🙂

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Winterthur’s 1,000 acres encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. Founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) developed an appreciation of nature as a boy that served as the basis for his life’s work in the garden.”

Off the edge of the pathway at a middle point in the 1,000 acres of Winterthur was an Enchanted Woods.

 

Do you dare to cross the troll bridge?
Do you dare to cross the troll bridge?

Come on chickens. We crossed the troll bridge into the Enchanted Woods. First, let me introduce you to Hal. As some of you already know he’s 91. In his day he engineered hard plastics like you would find in car engines. Although now he is at the losing edge of blindness, he walked three hours guiding me through the gardens at Winterthur. (The blind leading the blind at times)

As we entered the Woods Hal could not resist the first hands-on activity for us kids.

I felt like a kid here. At one edge was a fairy ring. Hal told me not to get too close. But, Hal is blind. What does he know, right?  Who can resist advice like that?

Along the edge of the path was Fairy Ring.
Nothing happened. Did I dare?

I was clearly standing on the edge. What would you do with a sign like that? You can’t read it either, can you? hahaha

Uh oh!
NEVER STEP INSIDE A FAIRY RING! Uh oh!

Soon I was covered in a mist that spread through the gardens. Everyone passing by knew I had disobeyed the sign. I hoped these were good fairies.

What happened here. Did the fairies cut down the trees? Maybe the trolls did it.
What happened here. Did the fairies cut down the trees? Maybe the trolls did it.

Here are a few more pictures of the fairy ring. These giant concrete mushrooms trapped several gleeful young children. We could hear laughter and see mist filtering through the trees as we walked around.

Like magic the mist started.
Like magic, the mist started.
Watch out!
Watch out!
Whew! I escaped unharmed.
Whew! I escaped unharmed, but those little spirits chased me for a while.

Lucky for me I run fast! 🙂 That’s it for now. More later.

Did you enjoy your short tour? Did I keep you on the edge of your seat?

For more edgy stories click below.

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

How I Framed Hal and Manny

#WP Photo Challenge Frame

I’m on my way on Thursday to visit Philadelphia and Delaware to see my mother’s only cousin, Hal. He’s 91 now, and he’s planning our trip to Harper’s Ferry. He’s also anxious that I bring Manny. Hmmmm?

Treed Hal2r

Last time I was there I framed him along with Manny. It wasn’t Manny’s fault he likes to climb trees and Hal had to hold him up to keep him from falling out. Hal acted like he did not object to being framed.

Do you think he wants revenge?

Old Swede Hal1r

Framed again! hahaha, Hal.

Oops, I’d better be careful. He may be older than I am, but he’s a lot bigger – and degrees smarter, but that’s another story.

Since I’m leaving my neck of the woods, I’d love to meet any East Coast friends – who are willing to come somewhere near DE or PA. Any bloggers in the neighborhood? I’d love to meet you.

A friend of mine also told me I need to look up Ben Franklin in Philly while I’m there. Last time I looked up an old relative, Robert Morris. I was too late, He was buried at Christ’s Church. The tour guides let me ring the sister to the liberty bell, though. Very cool.

If you know me, you know I love museums, so I’m sure there are a few of those around.

I’m flying into Philadelphia on September 1st.

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

 

Want to Visit a Drive Inn with Old Fashioned Hospitality?

#photochallenge #helping hands

Guy Fieri made diners and dives famous across the United States but does he know about the Woodlake Drive Inn? It’s thriving in the tiny town of Woodlake, CA.

Ali Mohamed poses outside the popular Drive-In
Ali Mohamed poses outside the popular Drive Inn

How is that possible? What’s the secret of their success?

Ali credits his success to extending a helping hand and giving back 200% to the community.

Her favorite food is chicken fingers. Mine, too.
Her favorite food is chicken fingers. Mine, too.

Owner, Ali Mohamed impressed me with his devotion to Woodlake.

“Whatever you do for the community, it comes back. If you’re stingy it doesn’t work.”

It was about a half hour before our scheduled interview when I drove down Valencia Boulevard in Woodlake, CA. Hungry from my morning workout, and not able to cook while our kitchen is being remodeled, I looked forward to this interview for more than one reason.

Chicken Strips & Fries!

Long lines did not mean a long wait.
Long lines did not mean a long wait.

It was about 12:15 when I arrived, and there was a long line in front of me. I knew from experience it would go fast. However, I was not counting on Ali coming out to greet me. He asked what I wanted and put my order in for me. While I waited for my food, I took pictures for my blog and talked to customers. Everyone in one family liked the same thing I did – chicken.

Menu
Menu

Out of over 100 items, that was not the consensus. Other top ranking meals were #8, the BIG MEAL, the hamburger special, the pastrami sandwich, grilled cheese, and, of course, sodas.

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Waiting on a constant stream of walk-up customers and answering the phone kept the window clerk busy. Several men bustled in the back filling the orders. Guests sat down under the cover of an awning visiting with each other across picnic tables while they waited for their food.

I forgot and took a bite of chicken before I took the picture. Sorry!
I forgot and took a bite of chicken before I took the picture. mmmmmmm Sorry!

Just like any fast food, it came in a styrofoam container, but it was hot! The fries may be the tastiest I’ve ever had, with just the right amount of seasoning and the perfect crispness. The woman in blue informed me before my meal arrived, that Woodlake DriveInn has the best fries. They visit frequently, and she was right.

Ali tells me his story.
Ali tells me his story.

When I finished eating, Ali came out to join me at the table.

Curiosity bubbled out of me. “How did you end up in Woodlake, CA of all places?”

Twenty years ago Ali and his brother moved from Yemen to Dearborn, MI and went to work in a factory in Angola, IN, 20 miles south of Dearborn. In their spare time, they worked in restaurants as they picked up English.

https://goo.gl/maps/7XVQuEyXuVM2

 

But Michigan is a long way from California.

Ali’s cousin, Sam, had moved from Fresno to Farmersville and told the brothers that CA was the land of opportunity. They bought the Drive Inn from an Arabian in 2001 and settled in with a plan to succeed.

“This country is amazing. You can be who you are in a free country. In the United States, if you believe you will succeed, you will.”

Woodlake Drive-In in 1961.
Woodlake Drive Inn in 1961.

“We just noticed what people liked and that’s what we served. People order lots of sodas and soft-serve ice cream. And we were friendly. We came out and shook hands with everyone that came.”

The Drive Inn was old in 1961 when it was Floyd’s Drive Inn. He did not know the history of the business, but Ali told me that he had an 80-year-old customer who had worked at the Drive Inn when she was in high school.

When we started, it was just my brother and I and one girl. We worked hard. Now we have six or seven employees.

My camera would not click fast enough to catch the 55 Chevy.
My camera would not click fast enough to catch the 55 Chevy.

“My brother wanted to enclose the font, and air-condition a seating area. I wanted to keep it old-fashioned. The community needs something original. We added the awning.”

The south side of the building.
The south side of the building.

One customer said, Ali is very friendly. He’s got a great personality.

Her husband added, “And the food is GOOD.”

Ali believes in being generous. A Chamber of Commerce member, he donated a large amount to the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, run by the Chamber. His generosity reaches to other organizations as well. He has a soft spot in his heart for lending a helping hand, especially for the schools. He doesn’t always know why the kids are collecting money, though.

“You can never go wrong giving. It always comes back to you.”

It pays off. A few years ago I did a civics exercise in a high school class. Kids had to list ten things they liked about Woodlake, and ten things they would change. Woodlake Drive Inn was always at the top of their list of things they like about their town.

South Side sign mmm
South Side sign mmm – American 1950s comfort food

Ali paid for my lunch and then offered me some soft-serve ice cream for desert. It was so tempting. Even the pictures looked good.

He had no idea that I used to eat soft-serve and french fries every day for lunch in high school. mmm Yes, I was skinny.
He had no idea that I used to eat soft-serve and french fries every day for lunch in high school. mmm Yes, I was skinny.

Are you proud of my self-control? I may go back tomorrow, but I’m not telling.

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I can’t resist tempting you.

Woodlake is friendly. Woodlake Drive Inn is the place to network.

Yesterday I made a new Facebook friend while I waited for my food.

Today Vince insisted on trying Woodlake Drive Inn after I told him about the food. A cool breeze blew through the shaded area. A couple sat down across from me at the picnic table while we waited for our lunch. They looked vaguely familiar. After talking to figure out why we knew each other, she gave me her card.

"He does pretty good!"
“He does pretty good!”

Ali left me with this quote before he got back to work.

“If I didn’t work here. I’d still live here. I walk down the street and people don’t turn away. They say hi. I love Woodlake.”

So next time you come to Woodlake head for the old-fashioned burger shack, Woodlake Drive Inn. Guy Fieri would be proud.

Y'all come back, now!
Y’all come back, now!

What is the favorite local restaurant in your town?

If you enjoyed this article, please share it on social media or email it to a friend who might enjoy visiting Woodlake Drive Inn.

 

 

 

 

How Many Ways Can You Find to Look-up?

Thank you for this challenge, WordPress. I see now why I am not a world famous photographer. Ninety-nine percent of my photos are taken straight on. Some of them point slightly up or down, but by and large, I stand and shoot. I’m a straight shooter.

“Could you look up a balance for me?” I asked a Bank manager in Palm Springs while I visited in that city.

Let me look that up for you.
This amazing bank manager in Palm Springs spent five hours looking up and researching where two credit card swipe machines could have disappeared after we mailed them back to San Francisco. She did not know us, but solved our problems with her look-up!

“OK, I cheated a little. Forgive me. Scardy Kitty, quit looking up at me like that!”

“Meeedoooooowwwwwwnnnnnnnn”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"
“You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!”

“Yes, you are down. I couldn’t resist, Scardy. When I was busy texting and not driving, I looked up nearly jumped out of the car trying to get a picture of this fellow.”

Going to Hoover Dam
Going to Hoover Dam. This fellow clearly had been looking up in the trees.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“You are not improving, Marsha. That’s still not up.” Scardy whined at me in the background as I typed.

How’s this? A ceiling. Is that better?

At Taliesin West in Sedona, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.
At Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ Frank Lloyd Wright used canvas for the roof. He did not have glass in the windows.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“That’s more like it. I could sit in that window and chase birds if they flew in.”

“You’re dreaming now, Scardy. How would you even get up to those windows? They are high!”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Look up, Marsha, I’d jump on that chair, and up I’d go!”

Dream Chair looking up
Dream Chair looking up

“You’re going to use up one of your nine lives trying to jump on that chair, Scardy. Three Rivers artist Martha Windmann designed that chair.”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Very funny. It’s just a picture anyway. Look up over there. What is that thing? I see you in it!”

“That’s another piece of artwork, Scardy, made of phones and tablets. I found that in the San Jose Museum of Art in September of 2015.”

2016 WPPC Lookup101
Exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art in September, 2015.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“My head is spinning. I can’t keep looking up much longer.”

“Take a break, go walk that railing up there. The exercise will do you good, and you can look down from up there.”

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“Wait until you see this building sized praying mantis, Scardy! You won’t be complaining about the bugs around our house any more, Scardy.”

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Looking up outside Container Park in Las Vegas you can’t miss this huge recycled metal praying mantis. In the evening, instead of stars, tourists dodge the blasting flames out of its antennae at random moments. Kirk Jellum designed  this animated bug which consumes about 50 gallons of propane each night.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Help, get me out of here. I want to get back to looking straight ahead.”

“You got me started with your snide remarks about my definitions of ‘looking up.'”

Tiger display at the office of Ed Micham
Looking up at a cheetah display.

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“I like cheetahs, could we get one?”

“You would have to look up to it, respect its authority. Are you sure you want another cat telling you what to do?”

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Let me think about that. Good try, BTW, Marsha. I caught that when you tried to sneak in another definition for look up. Not funny.

Wow, what’s this? I never thought you get a picture of a UFO, Marsha.”
2016 WPPC Lookup112

"You promised the people you would look up, and clearly you are looking down at me!"

“Marsha, where are you? Marsha?”

“Marsh………!”

 

2016 WPPC Lookup111

Thanks for looking up my blog. I hope you enjoyed my take on this week’s theme.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

More about Taliesin West.

Did I miss any definitions of “look up?

If you enjoyed this, please share it with your friends.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Landscape

“If one tries to think about history, it seems to me – it’s like looking at a range of mountains. And the first time you see them, they look one way. But then time changes, the pattern of light shifts. Maybe you’ve moved slightly, your perspective has changed. The mountains are the same, but they look very different.” Robert Harris

Spring at Running PRanch
Spring at Running P Ranch

Living in the Woodlake Valley could not be better in the spring. Colors of blossoms contrasted against snowy mountains that are crisp and clear, not obscured by dusty air make spring my favorite season here.

Spring at Running P Ranch
Moving around the tree searching for the perfect angle.

I drove home from Visalia on this day admiring the view of the mountains and the red buds along the road. I could not stop on the freeway and shoot a picture, but luckily my friend Sally had both the tree and the view right in her front yard. I stalked around her yard changing angles trying to get just the right spot to capture both the mountain and the tree before I even announced my presence. Both of these pictures pleased me, so I hope you enjoy them, too.

Sunset in Woodlake Valley
Sunset in Woodlake Valley

A couple of weeks later, from a mile north I stood at the edge of an orange grove overwhelmed by both the smell of orange blossoms and the beauty of the sunset bouncing off of snowy Saw Tooth Mountain. This time my cell phone couldn’t catch the contrast of the landscape as clearly. Even less fortunate, my cell phone could not transmit the fragrance.

Wish you were here. We’d go for a walk in our beautiful landscape. Click the link below to see other landscapes.

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

If I Could Save Time A Bottle Is As Good of Place as Any

#Hawaiitrip

Church in Wailea2cr

When you’re having a great time, what a wonderful concept, to be able to save time in a bottle and spend them with those we love.

For those of you like me who loved this song when we were young, we know it hasn’t worked. And maybe that’s good. What if we saved so much time that we never met the new friends that come along our paths later in life?

Church in Wailea 111cr

Sometimes we would like to poke the bad times into a bottle, and save them to turn them into good times.

Church in Wailea114

For someone this place represents a very bad time, but for us it was a chance to view the beauty of time and honor and respect those who passed here before us even though we never met them.  So who are we to even judge what the bad times are?

Church in Wailea100

We saw the beautiful church where they worshipped. We might say it has withstood the tests of time, but the building lives, too. The stones and mortar age slower than the hands that placed each rock carefully on the next one, but time has marked it.

Church in Wailea116

Some of the beautiful pictures from our time at the little church in Wailea, Maui age even faster than we do. Many would say they are the most beautiful of all.

Church in Wailea108

If I could save time in a bottle, this would have been one of the moments I would have saved to replay over and over.

Click here to see more entries about time.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Down From the Roof Cleaning Solar Panels

With electric bills soaring to over $700 a month in the hot San Joaquin Valley summer, we switched to solar several years ago. Dust deposits cut back on their efficiency by about 13% according to my husband who watches the bill carefully. So early in the morning about every six weeks he climbs up on the roof.Looking DownHe scrubs the solar panels down with a long brush, the hose and a long squeegee. Up on High001Our bill was about $20 the first YEAR and about $115 lastYEAR, and you know the rates did not go down.Up on High002I want to give a shout up to him for taking such good care of things at our home. Thanks VP. You earned some well deserved R & R.Up on High003What would you like to do? Up on High005I know.  Pick up another long stick, and play in the water.

For more views of this weekly photo challenge,  look down, click here.