Monthly Archives: September 2013

Feeling sad

I was headed to Santa Cruz from Carmel at 5:15 p.m. after work, but had to turn back in Castroville. I knew I couldn’t make it to Santa Cruz in time to take a video of The Little Big Band who plays from 5:30 to 7 once a month in the Bocci Cellar. My son is the drummer.

I disappointed my son,  and this makes me so sad. I work until 5, and I can remember when it only took one hour to get to Santa Cruz, but now everyone and his/her grandpa/grandma/kid/cousin/coworker/boss/neighbor/dog catcher/meter reader/executive/fisherman  etc…..has to have two/three and more family cars to get an hour away that now takes two hours or more.

On  the last Friday of this month, I will get there to take a video or else.


We could have cooked the condo

Yesterday I bought some dinners that are usually put into a micro wave, but since we haven’t acquired one of those yet, I figured I’d need to purchase a cookie sheet for the conventional oven. By the way, when did that become called conventional?

Anyway, I came back to the condo, opened up the drawer on the bottom of the new stove to store my new cookie sheet,  and what I saw made me shutter. There were the stove instructions and who knows what all, burned to a crisp.

Both Regina and I have used the oven, and I’m amazed we didn’t at least smell the paper burning.

Then we noticed there were more instructions hanging on the back of the stove with tape. And Regina got that taken off by practically standing on her head.

We just imagined that the delivery guys just shoved the stove against the wall and walked out the door. They should have taken the instructions off the back  at least, and put the other paper work on top  of the stove.

Just grateful that I found the problem before we cooked the condo.



Sold two painted photos

Selling something you put your heart and soul into, certainly validates your work.

I know. I sold two of the photos that I painted in pastels. One was the street scene in Cork, Ireland and the other was an old boat on the Papa Westray Island north of Scotland.

Now I need to figure out how to get more photos enlarged so I can paint more with pastels. The photos are enlarged on water color paper.

I may have a source that could do that.  It’s an amazing process if you consider the starting point is the photo, then it continues on through the final stage. And then, the pay for your work doesn’t come near the time and material you put into it.

Now I understand why artists complain that you cannot make money as an artist.

But it was a creative endeavor and that’s what I love about the process.

I met a friend yesterday who took me to dinner. It’s fun being with her. She is a creative quilter. She prints her photos on cloth and then quilts them. Her work is astounding and worth every penny as wall hangings.

Busy between two places

Today I worked at First Night Monterey, where I’m on loan from the Monterey Arts Council. Here, I’m getting volunteers to serve for the Greenfield Harvest Festival.

The executive director of the Arts Council and her crew and those who work at First Night got together for lunch. It was to introduce me to the crew, but so much time has gone by, that I had already met them. Anyway it’s fun to get together with coworkers once in awhile away from the job.

On Monday and Friday, I’m at the Arts Council in Carmel, and on Tues. and Thurs. I’m in Monterey for First Night. To explain this further, First Night is an organization that produces the day of new years eve in Monterey, with lots of activities, music, etc on the street in Monterey. It is this organization that also produces the Greenfield Harvest Festival. Complicated? No longer for me.

First Night operates partially from grants supplied by the Arts Council.

On Wednesday morning, I’m in meetings for AmeriCorps training. As a group, we’ll be traveling up north of San Francisco for three nights and four days, for more training with other state-wide groups.

I’m certain to be the oldest member of everyone once I get there. I’m getting used to being the ‘older’ lady in the group. But, aside from walking funny, I tend to keep up with them.



On Sunday I took a photo class from a woman named Nevada Weiss, a photographer who travels the world taking photos for National Geographic. It was held at the San Francisco Art Institute in the most beautiful building.

The class was educational with lots of humor from the instructor. How she kept the attention of the audience of close to 200 people was amazing. Her photos were as amazing as her lecture.

I wanted to be her.

But the building that houses the art institute was a joy to see in itself.  Son Brad and daughter-in-law, Debby,  dropped me off there, and then picked me up. The institute is close to the famous Lombard street – the crookedest street in the world (?) or U.S.(?). Anyway, it’s crooked and steep…very steep. Tourists were lined up watching cars navigate the road.

On top of the institute we had a view of Alcatraz and below that..the America’s cup with Oracle ship right out in front.

What a great day it was, and to think I could share it with my son and daughter-in-law…truly blessed, I am.

Then I told them how in the 70s, I had the fortune to be invited to a penthouse on Russian hill. So Brad drove us up there and I remembered how it was that I got invited to a well-known society lady’s round table luncheons,  a coveted invitation, for sure. IMG_0767 IMG_0752

Using the light

Last night was a gallery show at the Sunset Center’s, Arts Monterey Council. Lots of people came to see some impressive photos.

Speaking of photography, for the past few years, while on the job as a photo journalist and later on my yearlong journey, I’ve been enjoying taking photos.

I feel that I have an eye for what would look good in print, but I haven’t learned the technical aspect of the camera. In technology, I always manage to learn just what I need to know and no more. So the photos I take are pretty good, but could be much better if I just knew more.

So tomorrow, I’m going to the San Francisco Art Institute and take a half day class offered through National Geographic. The subject is how to use light in photography.

I’m taking the camera to see if I can get some expertise on the settings.

I’ll leave tonight and stay in Half Moon Bay at my sons’ apartment. If I waited to leave in the morning from Marina, I’d be getting up at 4 a.m. Don’t want to do that.




Incredible day

It was a most incredible day listening to Professor John Powell at the seminar, “Transforming Systems: Achieving Social Equity”. He is an internationally known expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy.

The committee composed of members of the Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County went above and beyond to book this gentleman months in advance.  He  is in demand for the unique way he has of explaining societies social inequities and strategies to work through them.

It was held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a fantastic lunch in between, and a breakfast beforehand.  We sat at tables, but on breaks we were asked to sit with other folks to get to know other people and their opinions.

Professor Powell is not only a Professor of Law and African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, he holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion.

He has authored many papers and books, the most recent, Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

There were amazing eye openers from statistics about demographic projections up to the year 2060.




Give me that old time radio

It was by accident, or maybe it was meant to be. I found a radio station on the internet that plays old stories such as The Whisler, Suspense, etc.  I almost didn’t get to sleep last night listening.

I imagined I was in front of my families radio, lying down on the rug listening to the stories and getting scared. Oh those old sounds: squeaky doors, laughing crazy people, old voices, or young and innocent. Men’s feet walking on hardwood floors, women’s high heels, people coughing in the distance, sounds of tinkling glasses and lots of huffs and puffs, pshaw, whews, and flirting over smoking cigarettes.

Cant’s wait to find Dragnet…”just the facts, ma’am.”

Shopping at the Goodwill

The bedroom is coming along. I purchased a white, five drawer dresser yesterday, in good condition from the Goodwill in Monterey.

I remember as a kid, getting boxes of stuff together to take to the Goodwill where poor people shopped.

Now, if you go to the Goodwill, you’ll find it working just like an ‘uptown store’. Of course, much depends on management. But there are some stores, such as the one in Pacifica, that is sparkling clean, clothing organized in size and color and furniture polished and clean, books organized on shelves. My daughter-in-law didn’t like the idea at first, but once had some time on her hands and dropped in to the Pacifica Goodwill, and lo and behold found a blouse that fits her perfectly, both in size and in style. She’s hooked.

The Santa Cruz Goodwill is amazing. They have a room set apart for antiques and name brand items. The prices are a bit higher but still relatively affordable for what you get…cut glass, silver, pictures, linens, etc. They had a day set aside for the ‘good stuff’ on sale, and you had to get there early.

Nearly every Goodwill store  has sale days where certain items are blue tagged, which means they are half off. I have purchased cashmere sweaters, wine and water glasses, books, CD’s and other useful items…and why not? The Goodwill helps people get back on their feet by giving jobs to those who are in need of an income.

In every Goodwill I’ve been in, the people who work there are kind and helpful.


When I left on my yearlong journey, my son, Ron, delivered bags and bags of items to the Goodwill, of things I wouldn’t need and didn’t want to store. They were in good shape, and guess I don’t miss them because I hardly remember what I gave away.

Our living room still looks like a carpeted bowling alley, and when each of us gets a payday, we’ll begin to make it into a living room. I have a guest coming to visit in October and one in November so we need to get that going.

Right now, we have a card table with two fold up chairs.




Touring through Salinas’ history

Instructors, professors and AmeriCorps volunteers were educated with a first hand look at the history of the diversity of Salinas and how it developed  the city. We also learned how the changes in the valley from the growing of crops changed the terrain and the water situation.

We learned that the Chinese first went to Salinas to build the railroad from Salinas to Castroville, but the Chinese knew how to change swamp and bogs into growable land and through those efforts, Salinas Valley became the largest  area for growing produce in the United States.  The Chinese had their own community which still exists today on Soledad Street.

We saw what was left of China Town and a few of the buildings that still exist, and one of them, a Chop Suey restaurant of olden days, will soon be a museum showing the history of the Chinese in the city. The area is next to the homeless street and a garden that has become an essential part of China Town. Homeless folks work in the garden and across the street is Dorothy’s place where two meals are served everyday to anyone who is hungry.

CSUMB works hard at the restoration of China Town, and at the same time, offer solutions to homelessness.

After the Chinese came to Salinas, Spreckels sweetened the deal for the Japanese when he began growing  beets to process for sugar.  After the Japanese, Filipinos came to work in the fields, as well.

There is much history on what the government did to cut off the Asian population from the downtown of Salinas – which we know as Steinbeck’s life as a kid. We learned that it was the Filipinos who organized labor unions to make working conditions better.

The tour took us to a park that at one time was a dump but because of  CSUMB students, schools, families and children, the park is full of trees, green grass and lots of places to rest.

We also heard from three policemen who told us how they are trying to get children tempted by gang life into activities that are available to them.

There was a brand new library on the tour, which houses a huge community room. We met a teenager there, who the day before, won  $1,000 for his poem. When he read it, I got a lump in my throat. It was raw and real.

There was just so much on this tour that showed the diversity of the city and surrounding area, and the extreme efforts many are making to find solutions to  the city that seems to be crying out for peace.