We looked forward to our vacation in Sedona for weeks, and we’ve already been home for two days. What happened?
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
It’s heyday came and went in a blur, but artifacts remain. It’s definitely worth a visit.
The red blur at the bottom explains how the place got its name. Kids and adults alike still enjoyed the slippery rocks.
Bees still enjoyed sniffing the black apple blossoms. I had never heard of black apples.
Can you imagine a finer setting for an apple orchard?
Spring gives me clutterphobia. In the spring, after a winter of projects, clutter creeps up on me like the consequences of a young female kitty with outdoor privileges. Oops, where did this come from? Unfortunately, having clutterphobia means I must make life and death decisions about MY valuable STUFF.
I remember my grandmother hanging dresses on top of dresses on her bedroom and closet doors and every other door that would open because her closet, chests of drawers, three car garage – that housed Grandpa’s business and Grandma’s clutter – and full basement weren’t large enough to hold her favorite things.
I don’t want to be like Grandma, but I admit that I don’t notice clutter when I’m slaving madly in some pet project. If I have enough drawers, boxes, shelves, table tops or containers I can shove it into or stack it neatly when company comes, I’m happy. But sometimes I have to stop, and make a fresh start. Like when Vincie says, “We’re starting a new project. You’ve got to move everything out of here!”
During intense periods of work, my house fills from the inside out. I go to a conference and bring home freebies and purchased books that I couldn’t resist, and I’m too busy to deal with it. If Vince or I can’t find gloves, make-up, pair of glasses, jewelry, bowls, hammers, flashlights, we buy cheap replacements. The longer I let it go, the less space I have to walk around in my house, and suddenly the clutter hits me like an infestation of cockroaches. I need a fresh start. But how?
My enormous collection of handmade or inexpensive jewelry.
Organize it and put it somewhere safe
Eventually I complete or tire of my messy project or collection, but I still can’t bear to part with the stuff.
I start a new job April 1. I’ll tell you about it after it’s publicly announced, but I’m cleaning and organizing my house to get ready for a fresh new project!
This past week I’ve also been organizing my computer into external drives and getting things off about ten different cloud drives that slowed my poor little Apple down to a crawl to give it a fresh start. (It still has an arthritic drive, and takes longer to get going than my grandpa used to take getting out of his recliner.)
I’ve spent two days freshening up my CCSS and SJVCSS files, and moving them to a Google Drive so a new volunteer will be able to find things they might need. Without files, there is no institutional memory. An organization for social studies – history, geography, economics and government teachers – better have some institutional memory. We don’t even have a historian in either group. Yikes. But I have ORGANIZED files.
The SJVCSS website needed a fresh start, too. I destroyed the home page accidentally. That’s one of the hazards of cleaning I forgot to mention – destruction. My mother was a clutterbug. When I was 10, she had to spend a week in the hospital. My dad decided that he would organize and clean everything. He even took the dresser pulls off the dresser and soaked them in solution that ate off the finish instead of the fingerprints. Now I’ve turned into my dad.
We’re hiring an expert to start afresh with a new website that it won’t wilt when a little Miss Sunshine decides to organize and freshen it up a bit. In my defense, it needed organizing. the Latest News and Twitter Posts showing on the homepage were dated May, 2012, and newer posts existed.
One positive note to cleaning the clutter before I must leave you. Over twenty years ago I wrote a book during summer break. I stored it on big floppy disks, (LOL if you remember those!) but I also had a printed copy of it that I couldn’t find anywhere. I found it last night. It’s like finding an old friend. I have it sitting next to my computer where I can look down and smile at it and put my coffee cup on it for a few days until I have to find a new place for it. It’s about 250 pages clipped neatly onto an old brown clipboard. I doubt that I will retype it any time soon. BUT IT’S NOT CLUTTER … is it?
Frankly there is no reward great enough to recompense a person for the amount of effort they put into a project. For example, why blog? Is it because someone rewards you? Of course not. Most of us blog to communicate with the world, to share what’s happening that’s important to us. My last blog told the story of Bob’s old barn, I fell in love with it just in time – it’s coming down. It was rewarding to take pictures and tell the story.
I took the picture below of this same path Saturday on my way home from Visalia. It has changed. History is all about change. Today it looks like this.
This crane cleared out olive trees, and the barn will come down soon to make way for a new field of fruit trees.
Today I met with a friend, Laile Di Silvestro, today who is helping me heal a sick and injured website for San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies. My reward for the three and a half hours that we labored is a website that works a little better, a closer relationship with a talented and generous person, and – totally unrelated, but I’m counting it as a reward – beautiful weather giving me scenery to photograph.
Seriously, you’d think it was mid-summer in Montana to look at that sky. It’s a bit chilly, but not enough to deter anyone. We’ve all been praying for rain. That would be a reward.
A few of these clouds rewarded us with a light drizzle, but not much rain. Most of our water comes from wells pumped from underground aquifers or nearby irrigations ditches.
These pumps may not look beautiful, but water is a huge reward.
And we are rewarded by food, not only for us but for the cows that provide one of my favorite foods – cheese. Tulare County is one of the largest dairy producing counties in the world. We probably have more cows here than we have people. Most of them live near Visalia and Hanford in large dairies of up to 5,000 cows. Talk about a lot of work. If you don’t like cheese, it might not seem like such a great reward, but I love it.
This is the dairy I used to pass everyday on my way to and from work.
Those cows probably aren’t praying for rain, but I’m guessing that the people who live in this house on that dairy farm are. I hope they get their reward. :)
Rule of thirds challenges me unless I have a 9 grid overlaying the photo or viewfinder. Since I’ve never seen a viewfinder like that, I confess that these shots became rule of thirds after the camera lens had long since left the scene.
These shots look a little cloudy because dense fog covered the Woodlake Valley floor the day I took them. I should have had my portrait done out-of-doors that day. This woodpecker may have had trouble finding his worm. I prefer that he pecks at the ground instead of burying his acorns in my roof or pecking my siding.
Out to help me keep my yard bird-free, Cross-Eyed Kitty looks like a fierce hunter. In reality, this beautiful old feral cat heard me, and came running so I could take him over to my house to eat from Mama and Scardy’s bowl.
We know he’s at least fourteen years old, but he may be a lot older. He looks great, but pick him up, and he’s all hair and bones. He has the most beautiful blue eyes.
Cross-Eyed Kitty never acted feral. As soon as he comes near, he rolls over for a rub. I did not edit this photo as CEK took up exactly two-thirds of the picture if you don’t count his tail, which blends into the ground anyway.
Back home again after rescuing CEK from a hard hunting trip, I walked around the yard admiring the new blooms on the peach trees. Woodlake Valley boasts hundreds, no thousands, of peach trees which grow in large orchards with military-perfect straight lines. Pink and white blossoms make this valley fit for a spring festival. My husband’s sinuses do not agree.
For more Rule of Thirds pictures click the WP icon.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the most organized and 1 being piled to the ceiling with recipes and newspaper clippings, I would give my writing area a 4. It took over 500 words to list all the things on the desk.
On a scale of 1 to 10 of how interesting this information is with 10 being information you want to go share with 947 of your closest Facebook friends, and 1 being you would kill yourself before you ever mentioned this to anyone, I would give this subject matter a 2. Trust me, nothing is worth killing yourself, not that I’ve ever tried it. If I was going to try to commit suicide, a messy desk would not rate even a 0 on a 1 to 10 scale and a post about it would rate even lower than that.
Nonetheless, I rate my desk/table very high on the likeability scale for several reasons. First and last, as you can see, I like to spread out when I write or study. A normal to large desk does not allow for me to pile up enough stuff that I can’t read all at the same time. I get a lot of comfort distraction from having papers all over the place when I write. Generally, when I’m writing, there is something I don’t know. So if I have my research right beside me, I can thumb through it and find the facts I need fairly quickly. If I have a tiny desk, notes and copies of articles end up on the floor. Soon I crawl around on the floor reading one article after another on my hands and knees.
On a scale of 1 to 10 grading for reading comfort level, the hands and knees position is a 0 and my desk is an 8. The only reason my desk is an 8 and not a 10 is because it is too high, and I can’t figure out how the lever works on my chair to raise it.
Raising the chair should be easy, but on a scale of 1 to 10 my chair is a 1. It is much easier to go into the bedroom and get a pillow and put it on the seat. My dog likes that better because if she had a choice of places to lie down, she always chooses the place with a pillow.
You are welcome to rate my desk yourself on whatever scale you dream up. Better yet, rate your own desk. Or write about scale in a different way. In the Central Valley of California scale is a dirty word because a critter that lives on oranges is called scale.
I apologise that this post has nothing to do with showing scale in a photograph, or at least I didn’t pick that out. Maybe you will find something scaly about this post, and if so, please feel free to comment. If you read this to be inspired about what to post, then you might want to keep looking.
Yellow seems to creep into every picture even when I don’t focus on it. I looked for a folder that might show a lot of yellow where one might not expect it. I first opened “Market Research.” In this photo trip, I explored what sold books. Compare the picture with more yellow. What do you think?
I actually could not find a bookcase with NO yellow. Yellow makes the other colors pop. Which book in the next bookcase draws your attention? Which ones would you choose to read looking at the cover? What about if you just looked at the spine?
Yellow needs another color to offset it, but a bit of yellow goes a long way, wouldn’t you say? The book I remember reading from this entire post – 9 months later is The Dark.
The six million dollar photo that sold recently captured the perfect twinkle of light and processed it beautifully. These are my $1.00 twinkles taken with my iPhone last year at the NCSS Conference in St. Louis and their different processes.
First I cropped it to help it adhere to the thirds rule.
Then I added filters. I thought this one was pretty cool because it took it from real and somewhat blurry to on-purpose blurry with some sharp edges.
I solarized Twinkle 3, and I like the rainbow of colors.
Twinkle 4 reminds me of driving through St. Louis with my dad when
rain pelted the windshield unfettered by wipers. I’m not sure why we lived through that ride.
I actually thought they turned out well considering the beginning photo. Mr. Snowman, however, reflects my best camera’s capabilities (before I dropped it) – and mine too, for that matter.
Mr. Snowman posed beautifully on our tree last year. Here he poses pretending he is outside in the snow instead of our cozy cottage. He came back shivering, though.
He tried on the Glowing Edges next, and liked the look when he preened in the mirror, and asked for one more make-over.
I threw him into the texturizer, and he came out immortalized as a stained glass window.
With a twinkle in his eye he asked me to find out from you which of his pictures you like best. :) I’ll be sure to tell him. He’s got his eye on me from the tree in the living room. :) He thinks he’d make a good Christmas card. What do you think? :)
For more great Twinkle pictures click the icon below
I examined 12 posts before I wrote this. I don’t usually do that, but I needed inspiration. I smiled at this favorite . You have to look past the obvious angle to see the real angle, and wonder where the photographer stood to shoot this single picture post.
Angles are easy to find in the city, but what about in the country? I checked out some of my most recent Woodlake pictures for you from my folder of Buttes and Bridges, and found more angles than I expected. I love this one because it looks like Jack’s steel beanstalk disappearing into the sky climbing to an unknown giant’s castle.
Actually, the power company decided that detouring the installation of these monstrosities into the country served the better good that marching them up the straight path along a freeway. Not everyone agreed with that angle of thought, but there were fewer voters to object in the sparsely populated areas.
What’s your angle? Here is the key to others that I liked.
I achieved something today. I overcame an annoyance that, for many months, demolished my joy in blogging. To you bucket list – high achievers, I hope this post won’t destroy what little respect you might have for me when you see how little it takes to make me feel successful. To Alex Gustafson thank you for showing me the way to success.
So the problem was, my font got too big for its britches on my dashboard. It took a scroll just to see my stats!
When it came time to post, I felt dyslectic trying to read the names of my former posts. Even Ed—————- …it was on two lines! Alex said everything looked normal to him. Hmmmm… Right…
Don’t you wish that the buttons they tell you to select had a big sign on them like this??? At any rate, I felt very intelligent that I was able to find all the buttons in the article. And it worked. My browser was the culprit all along, and now I know how to fix it if poltergeists every come in and switch it again!
So what underwhelming achievement have you accomplished recently? Make me feel better, and I won’t tell you the struggle I had putting a border (simple, simple) on this last bit of media. Poltergeists, I tell you! :)
For more stunning achievements click on the WP icon.
You probably heard your grandparents say, “Every day just waking up is an adventure.” It’s true. Each day is what we make it, and adventure arrives in ordinary packages. So think about the adventures that await you as you get out of bed.
Transportation allows us to seek adventure. It might by boat, plane, or rail. We may expect our adventure to start happening once we get where we are going.
Sometimes just getting to the location is the adventure. While I was driving in my car on the way to Oakland this weekend for an adventurous CCSS meeting, I was not 5 minutes from my house when adventure popped up out of no where. I was driving down a two lane state highway going 60 miles an hour (I know! I know!) when the car in front of me slowed, and moved to the right shoulder. Staring me in the face, a car going the other direction raced towards me driving at least as fast as I was. My heart beat faster than normal as I quickly pulled over as far as I could. My tires skidded in the dirt. Fortunately the car heading toward us must have finished sending his text, and realized the error of his way. My adventure ended safely when the wanderer jerked back into his own lane !
This driver and his horse brave the hazards on the road with little protection but this little red sign on the back of the wagon as they drive the windy back roads and narrow town streets of Pennsylvania.
Sometimes the adventure lies in chance meetings. Hal and I walked up a rustic street in New Castle, DE admiring the old houses, when out walked this gentleman. I asked him if he owned the house. As it turned out he owned half the town, and had lots to tell us. It was a mini history lesson and a great adventure.
Adventure is everywhere around you, but mostly it is in your attitude about life, and your ability to relay a sense of excitement. Get up. Find your adventure, and tell us about it . Read about more adventures by clicking the icon below.
Talkative Marsha struggling with dialogue? In this case what I think the creator of this challenge wanted us to catch is a bit of fashion designing with our pictures rather than strict dialogue – odd things that sort of go together because of color or texture similarities or differences. They just work. I like fashion and decorating, so I wanted to pursue that angle.
First, I started with dialogue in a more literal sense. Puppy Girl dialogued very clearly with Vince. He worked on the computer, when clearly he could have chosen to pet her tummy. So she grabs his hand and pulls.
It’s endearing, but altogether annoying to him when he has an offer to submit. Generally she wins.
Next I considered animals dialoguing with each other, and establishing their pecking order. The queen here stands alone not deigning to even look at her lowly subject. No worries, the subject, like the jester, simply enjoys the ride, laughs at the queen behind her back, and moves on, untroubled by the queen’s weighty problems.
When I took this next picture, I looked at the sculpture, then Mike walked up. Back and forth I looked at one then the other until dizziness made me shout, “Stop Mike! Is that statue YOU? Let me photograph the two of you together.” Mike obliged. I think it was the cheeks that spoke, but maybe it was the mustache. What do you think?
Then I thought about art work I had seen in which many pictures placed together made a collage that spoke as one picture. When I see them, I think, that would be easy. How can you call that art? But since I can’t draw very well, my pictures kept their mouths closed, uncommunicatively. Then I remembered the grapes leaves I photographed last fall. As I moused through them, they started speaking. All at the same time, “Pick me, pick me. I want to go in the picture.” So I created a collage.
Finally I remembered the Woodlake Botanical Gardens. I missed the show this year, but last year I happened to walk around Bravo Lake on the day that all the roses decided to bloom their brightest blooms. One of them said, “I am the beautiful one, take my picture.” So I did. Another group of roses playing and giggling together attracted me. The last rose said nothing. She turned her face to the sun and spoke to God asking nothing more than to be a blessing to others. I thought she was the prettiest of all.
If you enjoyed these take a gander at how other bloggers interpreted the challenge of dialogue.
I’m not a fray kind of person. Sometimes you need skill to join the fray. These Mock Trial students had the skills and got heated, there’s no dispute about that.
Sometimes you just happen onto a fray. I remember walking in downtown Portland leaving Portland State University during a war protest. Wouldn’t you know it the press wanted to talk to me about it? I wanted to catch the bus home.
In this next picture the fray was a Civil War reenactment. The Friday before the big weekend at Kearney Park in Fresno, Fresno County Historical Society hosted students from all over Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Madera Counties to an event called Civil War Time Travelers. At this event they met the actors who taught them about everything from Civil War medicine to shooting cannons. Similar to the first battle of the Civil War, the students ate their picnic lunches on the grounds and watched the battle as though it was a show. Fortunately, no one died during the fray.
Although a fray is usually a conflict or dispute, I sometimes visualize it as activities. I ambled toward this crowd in Boston as I walked the Freedom Trail remembering a different fray of long ago. Although it caught my attention, I kept my feet firmly planted on the sidewalk, and my eyes down, so as not to get chosen to dance. I’ve been know to fall over just standing outside a museum waiting to go in.
Some people joined right in. It was a lively show.
Vince and I discovered tons of textures in this gem of a “Farm Stay” called Old Edna, the location of an artistic townsite in beautiful Edna Valley, CA. They offer their guests fresh ranch eggs compliments of “chicken liver coop.” The cottage we saw has a beautiful, functional kitchen.
The texture-laden tree house offered hospitality to some, but not to everyone.
I wonder if the sign applied to girl spiders.
The Bluebelly Barn welcomed one and all. In 1887 this was Tognazzini Dairy Barn.
We arrived at closing time. As we walked by this little building, out popped a flap. The owner, Pattea Torrence, said, “I’m Old Edna. Would you like a little tour of one of the houses? I’m getting them ready for guests, but you look like you are having such fun taking pictures. I hope you don’t mind that the bed isn’t made yet.”
We couldn’t resist such a friendly offer.
First, we visited the 1897 DeSolina House, the perfect bridal suite. Here Pattea displayed amazing uses for garage sale finds. My favorite was the copper table top headboard and overhead light. She mixed textures in this display in ways I would never have dreamed if I’d had ten million years to think it over.
My favorite little place was a Gypsy wagon her dad built for her mother, Pi Pi (pie pie). Pattea’s father taught her that “the bond of romance can come in the form of structure.” I fell in love with the structure and its story of the many textures of love which it bore.
Waning sunlight adds a romantic texture to the cottage, but when Pattea opened the door, we stepped into another world of competing textures.
The auto-focus setting of my camera couldn’t bring all the varied textures into focus at the same time, but concentrated on the fabric lining the post. I don’t know that I could have chosen either.
This was such wonderful experience, I know we will go back to Old Edna.
California mountain road contain numerous “hogbacks” as my friend, Darlene, calls the switchbacks on the way to Sequoia National Park. It turns out that those same kinds of roads exist on the Coastal Redwood Highway as well. This park called Mystery Trees was about where our truck’s worn out transmission tired of lugging our new trailer. We rented a car and enjoyed the “break.” Not only did the roads and the paths twist and turn, so did the trees, providing beauty and shade. When we did get going again, the fog wanted us to slow down more than the zigzags. These zigzags are closer to home – to anyone’s home. I never tire of the zigzag shapes of tree branches. These trees are in an educational property called Circle J Ranch owned by Tulare County Office of Education where I worked. It is close to a tiny town called Springville, east of Porterville, CA.
I apologize for the quality of this picture. I heard that someone zig zagged on their responsibilities to posterity, and put the archives in the trash instead of the scanning machine, so this is the best picture I have. In this newspaper picture it was the Kaweah (Kuh wee’ uh) River that zagged.
The headwaters for the Kaweah River begin their zig zag course out of the Great Western Divide where mountain summits rise to over 12, 000 feet. The North Fork, which is just east of us begins at 9,000 feet. If the river could go down the mountain in a straight line, the Kaweah River would drop in excess of 2 vertical miles in a distance of 30 linear miles. The Kaweah River loses the same altitude as the Colorado River, but is 97% shorter. It is the steepest river in the United States. Even with a dam to control flooding, in 1969 the water zig zagged its own way into the Woodlake Valley. (Tilchen, Mark. Floods of the Kaweah)
To see more entries for this Zig Zag challenge, click the icon above. :)
Some things never change. MOST people love being near water in the summer.
As some of you know, it is because of this blog that I have a contract from Arcadia Publishing company to write a pictorial history of Woodlake. These are some pictures taken around 1911 that Chris Crumly, one of the book’s contributors sent me.
I’m thinking that maybe the little guy wasn’t as crazy about the ocean as his father expected him to be. Maybe big brother could encourage him.
Can’t you just hear this conversation? Is dad wheedling or demanding? I think big brother echoes whatever Dad says, pleading in a higher, hopefully more convincing, voice.
Woodlake should be out in January. I can’t thank the wonderful people who are helping me enough.
A container holds something. A car holds people. Therefore a car is a container.
Actually, the museum building is also a container. It contained mock buildings, which contained relics.
Container is a noun. Contain is a verb. Vince and his son could hardly contain their excitement when we went to the California Auto Museum in Sacramento. Uncontained excitement, like uncontained anything spills out and gets all over.
Their excitement spilled all over me, and I loved the museum, too. My pick for today’s visit – a classic Woody. This container even contains a container in the back.
If you ever get to Sacramento, don’t miss this well-kept secret.