Monthly Archives: October 2013


Halloween used to be my favorite holiday next to April Fools Day.

My friend Sonja reminded me about the bonfires we had on a vacant lot next door to my family’s house. Neighbors would bring bushels full of autumn leaves and pieces of wood, limbs and whatever to build a fire.

My mother alerted the fire department just in case someone saw smoke and thought a house was on fire.  One year we had a spook house inside our home. Each family member had a job to do. Someone would stand behind a door and ring a bell and I don’t remember the other ‘duties’ except that of my father’s job. He would turn on the vacuum sweeper on peoples legs as they walked through.

My dad was having too much fun blowing air on the ladies legs and even mentioned he had the best job.

One time my grandmother showed up wearing a white hanky on her head and just said ‘boo I’m a ghost’.

My friends and I would go ‘trick or treating’ , door-to-door before the bonfire. I made an instrument with an empty wooden spool and a pencil. I wound the string around the spool that I had carved notches in, and put the pencil inside the holes. When I put the spool on a hard surface, such as a door, and held on to the pencil while I pulled the string. The spool made a spooky noise.

One man came out of his dark house when he heard the noise and accused me of doing something bad to his house. He scared me and we ran away from that house, obviously without candy. What a scrooge.

What do you remember about your childhood Halloween holiday?

Pumpkin pie season

I’m in pumpkin heaven. I love pumpkin pie. It is home, It is cozy. It is Halloween and my youth. It is Thanksgiving and my family.  It’s fall and fall colors, orange and brown leaves falling from trees.

That yellow vegetable, turned into a pie, is the best. Who invented it anyway?


Who’s older, me or my car?

It was my good intension to get to work on time at the Arts Council, however, no one was there but a painter. The room was a jungle of boxes, notebooks, wires and such. The room is being remodeled and I can see it’s going to be nice.

When the supervisor showed up, and I could tell she was trying to figure out what to tell me to do,  she was relieved when I said it would be a good day for me to take a sick day. I’ve been having a knee problem since I fell a couple of months ago. It got better but when I was at a convention in Santa Rosa, and sitting most of the day, my knee reverted to the pain I thought I had resolved.

It’s been too busy to take a day off, so today I took advantaged and went to my regular doctor in Soledad, who was on vacation.

My knees have been giving me trouble for several years, but now the one leg is almost impossible to walk on. The doctor, taking my doctor’s place, asked me what I had done about it, and I said nothing. So he recommended that I try a week of pain killers and see how that works before doing anything more.  I have heard that pain killers can be devastating if you get  dependent on them, but I agreed to follow his direction. He also told me about a product called Sam-e, which is found in the vitamin aisle of the drug store. I got that, too.

Also, I must walk and get exercise whether or not it hurts. That is something I’ve heard about doing, as well. It hurts if I walk but it will hurt worse if I don’t. You must walk through the pain. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Dr. Doctor mentioned Pablo Casals who was nearly crippled with arthritis but continued to play music.

I also got the oil in my car changed, and the car doctor there said, “Your car is getting old.”

“As old as my knee?”

“Oh, no, that looks much worse.”


Boring looking condo is getting some of my creative problem solving technique

I’m putting my creative problem solving skills to good use in the empty condo living room.

I purchased a white leather reclining chair from Craigslist, sight unseen. Well, a photo of it anyway. It’s only $50 and I have to rent a Uhaul to get it in the condo.

I’ve been sitting in my bedroom far too long. I need another place to sit and read. I have a table that was once in a motel. Brad, my son, brought it to me. One side is rough and the other side is finished. So I put it next to the wall, with a  black and white muu muu (with elephants and fringe)  over it. So now we have a black sofa sleeper and soon a white leather chair and a small table with a black and white cover. OH, and a black bookcase with just a few books, mostly books that I purchased on my journey, and had sent to my son, Larry’s house. I also have a large bowl full of seashells I picked up in Costa Rica, Panama, Holland, The Island of Vis, The Island of Papa Westray and right here in California.

So that’s the room so far.

Time goes  fast, and I only have 8 more months in this condo, and AmeriCorps so I don’t want to spend lots of money, but need it to be a ‘home’ for a little while anyway.

My roommate will help me pick up the chair and bring it into the room.



Wallis and the King

Hi there old chaps!

If you happen to be of an older age than I, you may recall the profound scandal in the 30s when Wallis Simpson from America stole away Edward, the King of England.

The government just didn’t know what to do about this ridiculous King who fell in love with a twice married woman, from America. What would happen to the British government? It may bring about world problems to the door of the Royalty, said little old women of both sexes, as they looked down their noses.

I’m watching the series of Wallis Simpson and the King. What a bunch of fussy old hens…those politicians.



Plastic fish

There’s a lot going on at the office where I work two days of the week. Nina, the artist is busy making gigantic fish out of plastic bottles. It’s just amazing to me how an artist sees the potential of art in the most mundane objects.

Since plastic bottles seem to be taking over our oceans, it seems only logical that an artist would take those bottles and grow fish out of them.

Nina took wire and bent it to build a fish about as big as a bicycle, but reaching to the floor. Then after the form was constructed, she cut hundreds of plastic water bottles in half and spray painted them a cloudy greenish color and attached them to the form, to make a very large fish, and  it’s really looking like a fish with scales. Amazing.

The fun part of my job is working inside the building where creativity is oozing out of everywhere. There are gigantic puppets, murals, shelves of this and that, that will become this and that in another form.

I’d love to get in there and help create some of the items that will be on display during First Night Monterey, but, alas, my job is that of the volunteer coordinator. I will be lining up volunteers for one, if not THE  biggest night in Monterey County. So, guess there lies my creativity…getting people to work for free.

Memory jogged

Last night I attended the Greenfield City Council meeting. I was there in support of Ellen Martin, Executive Director of First Night Monterey and Executive Director Paulette Lynch of Arts Council of Monterey County. They presented a proposal to rent the old Police Station (and where city council sessions were held)  on El Camino Real. The building is not being used and the two women felt something in the arts would help families and teen agers find a creative outlet, and would put the old building into good use.

The council was in favor of the idea, and will proceed with the next steps, some of that, to raise funds.

My memory of sitting in council meetings was jogged last night, when it took two hours to get to the subject of the arts proposal. One hour was spent discussing  a car wash in town.  Much was said about the town; how it is going to be renewed and then the car wash wouldn’t be appropriate right in town.

I remember this same conversation about town renewal when I sat in the city council meetings back in 1999-2000. It was the same conversation! The only town renewal I saw in the business section were the painted buildings and those colors are twelve years old.

Some of that conversation back then must have helped a bit, because now the city has a new city hall and it is beautiful. Well, it’s new to me, anyway. It is five years old and last night was the first night I was inside.

The town also has an air museum almost up and ready for business. Back in 2000, the city council talked about it, and that was already in the 17th year of discussions. Finally, it’s getting real.

Change takes time. Everyone must have their say, and that takes patience. Speaking of patience, some students showed up to the meeting in support of the arts proposal, and one of my volunteers patiently sat and waited until Ellen and Paulette got to the podium to speak.

I would have never thought this job I have with AmeriCorps would mean attending a city council meeting. The mayor is the same guy who was voted in all those years ago, when I first reported he would run for that office and I reported on his campaign.



The Greenfield Harvest Festival was a success, if you can count all the smiles on the folks who enjoyed the free activities, car show, all day music, food, parade and more.

I was amazed at how many people showed up to get in on the action as volunteers. Why did they wait until the last minute to get in? Could it have been the free lunch? Or did they just learn that if they showed up they would get credit for their time for high school mandated community hours?

Well, for whatever reason, they all had jobs to do, and I think they all did a pretty good job. I spent most of my time in the reception area, but managed to get out to hear the music. I also conducted the drawing for the two free computers.

A woman by the name of Letty, worked tirelessly both Saturday and Sunday in the reception area preparing the lunch and then serving it. There seems to always be one person you can depend on, and one who will work hard and take pride in their work.

I’m learning a lot about volunteers, their motivation, and how I am to work with them.


Whole lotta work

Depending on volunteers means to always have more than you need, because surely someone won’t show up. Or, at the last minute, a whole flock of people want to get in on the action.

That’s what happened today. I had three women lined up for the breakfast fund raiser, and two showed up. That turned out fine, however, as one more person would have been more confusing. I learned today, that while everything is getting settled, folks are talking and looking for their seat, if a harpist plays, no one is flustered.

The next place today, was to help out during the harvest festival.

Where were all of the 10 or 12 people who showed up to volunteer today, a week or two ago, when I made up  the data base?

Well, it was okay, for there was plenty to do: I even helped some teen aged girls make huge paper flowers. My flowers looked a little old,while theres’ were color coordinated and beautiful.

Tomorrow is the big deal, and I can tell you; working events in a whole lotta work, and it hasn’t even happened, yet.


Hildegard, a mover and shaker in the years of 1100

I watched Hildegard von Bingen last night on Netflix. Last year I was in Bingen on the Rhine River in a fantastic hotel. While I was in that city, I learned about the nun, Hildegard and her contribution of medicine, music, drama and strong leadership abilities.

She was born in 1098 and while she headed up a cloister, she determined that she and the other nuns should move to another location to be separated from the men in the service of the Lord.  That was unheard of in those days. But she and the other nuns and a supportive community took off on horses to the new location.

The location was donated for the new cloister by a rich family who had a daughter in the cloister.

Hildegard was a mover and shaker in those days and a politician to be reckoned with.

You can learn all about Hildegard in a museum in Bingen.