Tag Archives: California

A Quick Visit to The Land of Beaches and Traffic

I’ve been beachside for my future DIL’s bridal shower.

Lovely air for my sinuses and skin.  

The hills were alive with the color of wildflowers everywhere that housing developments haven’t taken over!

We had a great family time. Now it’s good to be home with our cats and away from the hubbub.

Pear Blossom wondering why Tiger Queenie keeps coming so close. After all, Pear is the undisputed actual Queen of the house at age 17.

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Filed under California, Cats and Other Animals, Lifestyle, Sightseeing & Travel, Writing

Lazybones Blog Post

After a difficult week, I offer some of the more positive views I experienced (outside of my post-election distress, complicated migraine, screwed-up-and-painful leg, and ridiculously hectic travel). Today my father has been gone exactly 18 months.

My peace pole (built and erected by my father) as seen through the palms as a sort of liminal space. Here it is in Korean and English. The other sides are Spanish and Hebrew. Dad chose the languages.

We were in California again this past week. The Virginia Dare winery crusher building in Rancho Cucamonga. The Virginia Dare wine company is close to 200 years old and is now owned by the Coppola family.

The gate of the medical office complex that is part of the Virginia Dare center now. The metal grape leaves are a nice touch. Sorry it is so crooked. I thought I had that problem solved, but apparently not.

A mug with my life’s motto (the mug itself belongs to someone else, but the wine is mine): I just want to drink wine & pet my cat. Or cats. Which I can’t do when I am in California.

The view of Phoenix when I drove back in from California.

And when I got to the house I discovered that Pear and Tiger had decided to share the window seat.

Memoir Writing: Structure

I am doing some writing–just enough to feel as if I am writing. Rewriting my memoir into chronological order is really not difficult. The material is almost completely written–and it seems to more effortlessly fall into place this way. I remember now when I first started putting the  story in a different order. I was in a workshop where the students insisted that because the main secret that is revealed in my book is not HUGE, as in not huge for the public and only huge for me and for my family, that I had to reveal just enough of it up front so that nobody would get the wrong idea. I think this started me on the wrong path that has gone on now for years. I hope my new revelation that they were wrong is correct, otherwise I don’t know how to tell the story. So I am following some hopefully wise advice from Lewis Carroll:

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

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Filed under #AmWriting, Arizona, California, Cats and Other Animals, Food & Drink, Liminality, Nonfiction, Photographs, Writing, Writing Talk

Another No Writing Day

On Monday, hubby and I drove to California for business. We took Freeway 10 from Phoenix to Cali, and just before we got to Indio (which is still the middle of nowhere in the desert, with absolutely zero side roads) we got stopped by a complete road blockage. An accident had occurred 6 hours before. We sat there for THREE HOURS (sorry for shouting; I can’t help myself) without moving.

See the lady standing by her car? She had a child with her. How trying for both mother and daughter.

This guy wore a Seahawks shirt and tossed a football in the median.  Like too many people he must have been going home from the Super Bowl.

There were lots of RVs and campers on the road back from the big Party. Some of the trucks and RVs were pulling cars. In the next photo, note that big fancy black RV way up there on the right.

We discovered that the accident had occurred in the early morning. A semi collided with a chicken truck. “There were no fatalities,” the news report said. You might think it sounds kind of funny until you think about all the chickens that might have been killed in the accident.  I hope that a lot of chickens escaped into the desert where they live out their natural lives, subsisting on bugs and tender plant shoots.

Here is a scene of the accident cleanup when they finally allowed us past. Can you please tell me why it takes 8 hours to clean up from an accident when people have no way to detour and are stuck in the desert with no water, food, bathrooms, or medicine?

Next day my back was out from sitting in the car for ten hours total. What a waste of a day. Needless to say, no writing occurred the day of the roadblock or the day after either! I wrote yesterday, but my back was still bad. And today, still not good. But there is Motrin and sake–a moderately effective combo.

 

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Filed under California, Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Nonfiction, Photographs, Writing

Back from Southern California

Last week I went to Long Beach, California, for work. I didn’t have a camera with me, but I had my iPhone. Unfortunately, every great potential shot I saw I couldn’t photograph. I found it so frustrating. Either I was in the car and couldn’t get a clear view or I couldn’t get to the camera of the phone fast enough. On top of that, my husband kept complaining, saying I was spending too much time photographing and that it was distracting him from driving and thinking. (I thought to myself, if you’re that easily distractible, you have worse problems than a wife with an iPhone). But I didn’t want to overly annoy him since he was the one driving.

We drove all over Long Beach and Signal Hill. The beauty of Signal Hill is that they have the best city views. But could I get a photo? No.

I saw an oil refinery; it was big. And the largest USPS distribution center I had ever seen. Then a huge warehouse for Office Depot.

So I’m apologizing that I don’t have any of the good pix, but here are a few of what I did take. Southern Cali, last week:

Some of the buildings could be vacant–or not.

And there are oil derricks everywhere, as if it’s Oklahoma. Now the truth is that I don’t know if this equipment is the derrick or the pump, but isn’t the derrick what houses the pump?

A lot of oil was discovered at Signal Hill. But don’t take my word for it. Here is a photograph from 1923. Look at those oil derricks. I happen to know those tall scaffolding-looking towers are derricks. Click on the photo and slide to the side to see the whole view.

Signal_Hill_California_1923 (1)

We did make it to the antique store where I like to look at vintage photos of anonymous people.

I was surprised to see this antique photograph of a cast of a woman’s face. Someone wrote her name, the names of her children, and the name of the artist on the back.

What is her name? Can you read it? I suspect that she died and left no photographs, so the family had a cast made of her face and this photograph was taken to memorialize the woman. What is your theory?

My husband collects soda pop signs and memorabilia. This is a dispenser for the syrup of a drink called Lemon Crush.

In southern California, we also saw limes.

Lots of limes.  I even picked some.

Now I have to keep reminding hubby to make limeade. He’s the limeade maker in our house.

On the way home, Border Patrol had a large, makeshift border stop set up with dozens of agents.  A dog sniffed every single car. We weren’t sure if it was for drugs, bombs, or a kidnapping. I looked online and at their website, but I couldn’t find anything about the stop. My vote is for bomb materials. Since I value my freedom, I didn’t even pull out the iPhone at the border stop.

 

 

 

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Filed under Blogging, California, Nonfiction, Photographs, Research and prep for writing, Vintage American culture, Writing

We Stayed All Day

As I explained on Monday, 0n Memorial Day, I went with my family to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  We spent the day there because there was so much to see.

This museum owns 207 acres.  Of those, 120 are landscaped and divided into their various botanical gardens.

In Monday’s post I showcased the cacti and succulents and some non-desert flowers.  Today I want to share more of the gardens with you.

Their Japanese garden is gorgeous and complete with a traditional Japanese house, Zen garden, and a collection of bonsai trees.

These bonsai trees are larger than the sort you usually see at a store.  These were a couple of feet tall.

After the Japanese gardens, we visited the greenhouse and saw the carnivorous plants.

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After the greenhouse, we visited the herb garden with its calming colors and fragrances.

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At the end we took pictures on the statue-bordered lawn.  Maybe you recognize it from the movie The Wedding Planner You remember what happens to one of the statues, right?

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After we left we found a Persian restaurant for dinner. Next time we go to the Huntington, I want to take tea in their tea room.  I hope the library will be open by then because, after all, it is a library ;).

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Photographs, Sightseeing & Travel

Why Didn’t We Go a Long Time Ago?

Over the weekend, hubby and I visited our twenty-something kids in California.  On Memorial Day, we went to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  Although we lived for twenty years in southern Cali, this was the first time we had gone.  I wanted to see the library, which I have heard so much about.  A few of my friends worked on their dissertations there.  So many times people have urged me to visit, and I kept putting it off. Don’t procrastinate as I did.  Seize the first opportunity to visit the Huntington! A lovely time was had by all :).

The Blue Boy

The Blue Boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, they are working on the library this summer, and visitors were not allowed access (that will change in September).  However, they did have the Huntington collection of volumes of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species on display.  It’s hard to believe there are any others left in the world!  One row of the books wrapped around the walls of a large gallery. When we entered one of the art galleries, I spotted Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy ahead, on the far wall, and ran up to hubby, the kids, and their friends excitedly pointing out the painting.  I hadn’t realized it was at the Huntington.  We also saw Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence. Most of our day was spent in the remarkable gardens.

Sorry about the light puddles–no time for fancy stuff when strolling with the family

We saw a few peacocks at one point.  But the only other animal we saw in any quantity was the occasional small lizard.

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I hope you enjoyed the slideshow of cacti and succulents. They also had flowers which reminded me of “back east”–Michigan, Cape Cod, all my other memories from years ago.

There’s still much to share, but I’m out of time for today.  Check back later this week for more of our fun time at the Huntington.  And, yup, it definitely took me away from my writing, but it also fed my soul–and that sure helps with the writing!  Here is the link to the next post.

Every secret of a writer’s soul,

every experience of his life,

every quality of his mind

is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Photographs, Sightseeing & Travel