Monday, August 19, 2019

On Sandstone Cliffs

For as long as man has lived along the California coast, cliffs have risen high over the sandy beaches, age old cliffs. Now, out on the waves, surfers swim out and surfed in while beaches were busy with families, sand castles, and swimmers. It is the typical California heaven, of which the Beach Boys sang.

Meanwhile the cliffs became a place for the wealthy to perch their mansions. It was a primo place, highly desired.

Decades ago grains of sands that drifted from the cliffs to beach became hunks of sandstone. Bit by bit, the crumbling began. While the cliffs were disintegrating, the El Nino effect hit the beaches hard, worldwide. The cliffs crumbled at an accelerated rate, from the beach up, the cliffs down where they would meet.

read this source
At that time, Dept of California Beaches mandated that beach goers are required to be a distance away from the cliffs. These areas are marked and give warnings. Beach goers are careless and ignore signs. That is why 3 were killed and several injured just ten days ago.  Nature happens and extracts its toll.

One of several warning signs is posted next to the sand rock debris left from Friday's sea cliff collapse that killed three people near the Grandview Beach access stairway in the beach community of Leucadia, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Encinitas, Calif. A bouquet of flowers has been placed one of the chunks of sand stone. Officials have reopened much of the Southern California beach on Saturday. (Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
Warning sign
Large ocean storms have pounded the shores. High waves carved out the base of the sand cliffs, forming shallow deep caves. The caves collapse and rockslides happen. This is a tragedy that has happened seven or eight times a year.

Cliffs do not obey the money of the rich. 

Slowly, the cliffs fell until edges were eight feet from the patios, then six feet. The rich owners paid big bucks to prop the whole mess up with steel, concrete, and pilings. But time is time, and they know it.

Several of the buildings were condemned and evacuated in 2010 due to their dangerous proximity to the edge of the bluff. Above, footage from earlier this month as the cliffs crumble into the ocean 
Pacifica, CA August 14, 2019
Go to this source. This collapse is shown in slide show. 
Well, dang it! All those pre-emptive strikes of hoisting up the houses has failed, failed miserably. The rich homes came tumbling down as the caves collapsed. Many still remain but are on precarious footing.

Cliff collapse in Encinitas, California
Three killed, one injured. Visit this site.
Those who build their houses on shifting sand? It doesn't make sense, and people do not possess common sense. 

For the ground bound, who would ignore warning signs and settle onto the shade of the cliffs?  From those people who also lacked common sense, some lounged, looking up to the sky and out to the ocean, not thinking the cliffs behind them were crumbling, grain by grain.

Why this subject erupted is that we went on a bus tour of Malibu yesterday. Off, high up on the cliffs, we could peer at the underside of patios, held in place by timber and steel. Shifting sand.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Families Surround Each Other

Sweet babies bond with sweet dogs:

Dogs sense needs before they are even spoken.

Dogs protect their families. They surround the babies with their love.

And babies surround their dogs with love, too.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Beseeching Light

Theodoor Rombouts (1597-1637) - Prometheus - KMSK Brussel
National Geographic

Indecision, indecision,
Where's the rhythm
Of precision?
For those who lack the sight
To make the cut 
That ends the night.

We are Prometheus
on a wheel,
Revolving in a world
doomed to twist and turn 
and weave
in an endless sea of make believe.

Send to us a Man of Might,
Whose strength
will save us from our plight,
Whose courage
will lift us from our lair,

And will restore to us

The need to care.

The dark night has a thousand eyes
Glittering in the night.
The day has only one 
Burning, scorching our sight. 
The dark night has a thousand eyes

While a blind man has none.


Monday, August 12, 2019

The Shivaree

14th century Charivari
The wedding was all that Brenda hoped for and that her new husband Hal was relieved was over. All the planning that Brenda had spent doing was over in ten minutes. Walking down the wooden plank aisle to the pulpit, being surrounded by his and her families, was painless but embarrassing.

And then there was the reception at Aunt Betty's house where the church ladies brought the best potluck any country community could have produced.

But Hal? Forget the wedding cake made by his mother. Forget the beef pot roast Aunt Betty made. Get me outta here. 

When nightfall neared, Hal experienced an eagerness for this night with his new bride. For two months, Hal had dreamed of this night, when clothes came off, when he leaped into the bed with voluptuous Brenda. Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy.

Lights flickered off and darkness fell. Step one, step two, and then--oh boy--step three.

Step three was about to start until outside every window, the worst racket exploded.

Entire farming community was there, beating pots and pans with utensils. Every child raced around the house yelling and screaming as only children can do. It was a hell of a racket that could not ignore.

Barely pulling on clothes before the invasion, Brenda was bright red and Hal was as furious as any new groom could be when step three was about to commence. Then all his farmer friends and wives burst through the kitchen door, carrying leftovers from the reception. 

When the newly wedded couple emerged from their rumpled bed, cheers went up. Men clapped Hal on the back saying vulgar obscenities. The women embraced Brenda and giggled, whispering unknown words.

When the laughing farming community left after a few hours, newlyweds dropped into their wedding bed. Looking fondly at each other, both agreed that tomorrow morning would be better for step three.


When I was an innocent ten year old, I was part of the screaming children group while my parents carried pots and pans. 

Here is a telling from a man earlier in the 1900s telling how the old shivarees were done:

Artist Larin Thompson depicts a shivaree. From Tennessee Ernie Ford's 'This is My Story, This is My Song.'
Time for a shivaree

From early 1900s, one Kansan recalls when he married, he was "shivareed good":
"Those shivaree clowns and their wives busted right into our house and dragged us out by force. I fought, but it was no use.
They set my young bride in a wheelbarrow that hadn't been greased for years. And they made me push her in the wheelbarrow down our main street to a beer palace. It seemed like miles.
They forced me, and I mean forced, to treat all that crowd to beer and salami and rye bread and to cigars and candy and so on, in fact to about everything eatable and drinkable in the joint.
Then they put my bride back in the wheelbarrow and made me push her home again..." 

Oh, those good old days. 

Ever been part of a shivaree?  Give details.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Wish for Wings that Work

Wishes are integral in all our lives, from a child to the elderly. These are wishes of all manner, from minimal to grand, from overt to hidden. We all make or have wishes of our keeping, silent or spoken.

Twinkle, twinkle...I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

An old child's song, it may be the first wish song all remember.

But this one? A Wish for Wings that Work by Berkeley Breathed, the creator of Bloom County. a comic strip that ran from 1980 - 1989. It is unlike any comic strip of its day, as it featured political issues and personal interactions that were not normal for its time.

Opus is a penguin (the main character in Bloom County) who gazes to the sky and longs to join the ducks that catch the wind, flying high and wide.  All the while, he flaps his penguin wings hopelessly. 

His only flight he can make is in the water where he glides easily. He continually asks and wishes for "wings that work".  The only way to attain these wings is to ask Santa Claus to help him. But Santa develops a problem, one that can be solved by Opus, and Opus alone.

Wishes are still part of our lives. Although we are older, we still make them casually without thinking that they are still true to us, earthbound people who dream to fly in some way.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Members of the Family

Image result for animal pets images
adopt a pet

Over the decades, we have had one dog, some cats, a hamster, and two tarantulas. The tarantulas were named Sergio Bustamante and Martha Rose. The hamster was Max. The cats were Midnight and Scuba. The dog was Buddy. Time passes and so do pets.

Bloggers tend to share their passions, which is just about anything. My passion is that of a story teller, but I promised Sandra I show some photos.

This is a video of a Mexican Red Knee tarantula, like Sergio Bustamante. My
son is an entomologist and he had this and then a Mexican Red Rump, like Martha Rose.
Sergio grew to be huge, bigger than the one you see here. We
had him for 5 years, during that time he grew quite large and his
legs became creepy--long and black, like something out of
a Sci-Fi movie.
We donated him to a pet store where employees clustered around him.


This is Martha Rose. She was with us for about a year. Martha Rose
was one quick spider. We did not form a bond with her. What can I say? 
Eh, it is what it is.

Sorry this photo didn't work out.  Dang, technology.

This is my gr-daughters' dog, Lucy. She now weighs 65 lbs, strong pitbull and chihuahua mix, with dabs of black lab. She has the big eyes when begging. When we are at the table, Lucy noses through the crook of my husband's arm and gets within inches of the food, yet she does not take any. She just gives us those big eyes.
Lucy, lying in an old bed. She still loves it. She looks small here,
but she is strong, 65 lbs. 

This is Buddy, a black/chocolate lab, we had in Ireland. When he came
bounding toward me, I always braced and turned to the side. On cold rainy nights, Buddy lay 
on my feet, basically the only way they would not be ice cold.
He seemed to go a-wandering, getting off his chain, but we thought he was being used for

stud at a farm nearby. 

When we
moved back to California, he had gone a-wandering again. 
No one had seen him
 running around the property.

This is Midnight and his companion (who was there one day, gone the next). Midnight was a big tomcat who headed out for a day or so, and then return.  One time he was gone for several days, and when he returned, it was clear he had been caught in a rat trap. His back skin was almost torn off. The vet said he was a strong cat to be able to survive such an injury. Dr. stitched the injury and we put him into a cage for 6 weeks. Each day I took him out of the cage, cleaned it as Midnight walked around as best he could. Once he was back in the cage, I cleansed the wound and fed him.

Then I sat by the cage and caressed the fur that came through the cage. I told him that soon he would run through the grass, catch mice, and enjoy a cat life. He purred.

When Midnight was freed, he remembered me. He brought me field mice and voles,
laying them at my door.

Lucy is licking off green icing off my nose. She was only 50 lbs. here.
Dang it, again. Damn technology. Photo doesn't show.
Our pets were not outsiders that we possessed: they were part of our family.

P.S. I have no photos of Max-the-hamster. Max was the inspiration for Squeaky's big send-off.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Small Shrines

Farmers walked along this land.

European countries with such centuries of history have, by sheer time, amassed incredible buildings, structures, monuments, and fountains that shout to the visitor:  “I have been here longer than you can imagine!" 

Shrines to the past stand tall, but most visitors do not know what they memorialize. Tourists are there to see, but not to learn. They suffer from camera overload:  so many photo opportunities stand that it is overwhelming to pick and choose. They may try, but there are too many places and things.

We have traveled to Switzerland every summer since 2013. When our daughter gave us a grandson, we hungered to hold him and see him grow. Each time, he taller and soon he was taking us on big adventures of his own making. Now we have his little brother to enjoy.

On the way back to our rented apartment, on the right, each day we passed by a cemetery where tombstones were also made.  On the left, we traveled by clearly ignored shrines of their own, clustered together.

Unlike the grand shrines of historical figures, these shrines require abstract thinking.

I labeled this post "Small Shrines".  

These are stone watering troughs from old farmlands, gathered together  to share the history of the farmers.

An old English telephone booth without its glass, has no phones where a plant had grown. It was there on purpose, I hope.

Each day we walked along the river.

A tree leans along the Aure River, hanging on with its roots until the next snow-melt flood

Sometimes the Small Shrines speak the loudest.
Sometimes one has walk along a river.
Sometimes one has to search for them and sometimes one has
to look to the left.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

2019 Cow Chipping and Sweet Corn Festival Conclusion

Image may contain: plant, grass, sky, flower, tree, outdoor and nature
Where it all started
circle of life
This is a long video/slideshow, about 15 minutes. If you could just skim through it, you'll see an amazing community putting together this big event. It brought  people from around the state and you will see  them enjoying  their time in Chatham.  

And, yes, you will see some cow patties being collected. Little Miss Corn Festival is displaying a winning cow pattie.

Precious children
About 15 minutes slide show

Little Miss and Mr. Sweet Corn Festival and their royal court
Next year. Next year we will be there!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

On the Line

Young woman hanging clothes on a clothesline Stretched Canvas -  (24 x 36)
Buy at Walmart
Wet clothing pinned and clipped on lines

Towels and pants on one high end,
Sheets and shirts other end of twines,
Hanging down low as centers bend.

But, in the middle, too shy to publicly fly,

Hangs the underwear, bleached and white.
Playing hide and seek from those near-by,
Wanting oh-so-badly to take flight.

Oh, for a strong wind to play,

Coming across and sweeping away
The blues, the whites, and the gray,
Onto tractor windows, passing this day.

Bras, panties with hearts, boxers brave

Landing square on a farmer's face,
No dignity there is left to save,
Underwear at last has found a place.

Art of the Clothesline

I have had much experience with laundry on the line, years and years of it.  

I wrote this poem with a head full of memories and my mother's commands to hang the underwear in the middle of the second line, out of sight.  "We don't want neighbors to see what we wear." 

 Neighbors?  The nearest lived a half  a mile away.  The lines were behind the house.  But I was obedient. 

If anyone wants to sing the praises of laundry drying on clothesline, go ahead. I will not be agreeing with you. Too many images carrying laundry basket after each other has left me with a desire to never hang clothes out blowing in the wind. Sorry.

This is a repost from 2015 in A-Z Blogfest, U is for Underwear. Dang it, it was entertaining to my brain to toss around.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Creating a Title that Catches

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot
The Heroes
When "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" appeared in the early 1990s, I was stunned. Who thought this up? Were they crazy or were they just plain brilliant?

In this comic series, these turtles live in the sewer and have been mutated by some green oozy toxic stuff, turned into the mutant turtles. They are named Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo. They fight an evil mutated rat, which makes up the ongoing plot.

I laughingly said that these were two drunk 20+ unemployed guys, sitting around who came up with up with this. And it would probably be drawn on a napkin. Well, by golly,  IT WAS! So that is how this multi-million dollar movies and comics production came to be.

So, then how about some more incredibly unreasonable book titles?  

Nettles and Me: how I learned to accept them.

Mystery of the Deep Veruca 

How to Train Your Sea Cucumber

Slugs: The New White Meat

The Little Snail who Could

True Story of Jack Sprat

The Crystal Slipper Origins: Godmother Tells All

Trials of a Canine Dentist

Truth about Being A Flying Squirrel by Rocky J. Squirrel

Living a Low-Carb Diet by American Badger

My Large Termite Family Reunion by Ted Isoptera

Okay, Do you have some totally ridiculous titles? Oh, come on. You're creative people. Give us all a giggle.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

No Place like Home

hero image
standard large California suburb

In our California communities, houses are built in sub-divisions with the same usual three house designs. Our own house had the same design as one just two houses down the street.  

Residents were permitted to choose new house colors from a list of three. Each were desert colors of tan, desert rose (another tan), and brick tan. Color choices had to be approved by the Homeowners Association. Every exterior change had to be approved.

Anyone with an imagination might struggle with blandness. People may even find themselves numb by repetitive sameness. 

It has always impressed me how newer houses change with the times and technology. Our old house was built in 1976, one of the famous ranch houses of the time, with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, 1400 sq. feet.  After 27 years, we moved to our current house, built in 2002 within a retirement community and has great conveniences.  

Even so, here there are the same restrictions on color and exterior structure changes must also be approved. Such is life.

This urged me to go awandering and looking at unique houses, ones that inspire.

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

Famous unusual homes
underground house
 cleanString alt
Classic design
Frank Lloyd Wright

Question: Could I live in either of these? You betcha. Could you live in either?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Treasure Chest Treasures

 Second Grade Blogs
Classroom Management
The Treasure Chest was finally full, bursting from its cardboard seams.  Parents had pulled through, had donated to the treasure hoard, according to a list of requests from Ms. Wallace, First Grade teacher in Room 31. Some parents donated even more. 

When the new first graders streamed through the classroom door, pencils had been sharpened and books stacked. The classroom rules and rewards were posted on the wall, along with bright alphabet letters and numbers lined up in a row. First day was thrilling for all.

Life in First Grade

At the end of the day, three lucky students who had shown exemplary behavior reached sweaty and dirty hands into the treasure box, pulling out their own special prize. School bell rang, students from Room 31 poured out onto the playground to see what those treasures were.

From Australia
Day two, then day three, day four, and finally day five came about and three  little girls reached claw-like hands into the chest, pulling out matching Barbie-pink pencil cases. Squealing, all three dashed out with other Ms. Wallace students.  What is it?  Open it! Open it!

Out on the playground, each pulled out white tubes wrapped in white paper. Ooooh, look at that! What is that?  Excitement became confusion.

Each girl revealed a strange cylinder of compacted cotton with odd strings hanging out one end.  One girl pretended to put on makeup. Others experimented, which allowed students to take turns swinging one around.  But, novelty wore off, most first graders ran to waiting parents. Only the three girls remained, batting each other and giggling.

They raced around, swirling Tampons over their heads and then batting the tether ball pole.

Ms. Wallace thought she had seen it all in her years of teaching, but now she had watched the three girls chasing each other, swatting each other with Tampons. You missed me! No, I didn't! Here, take that!!  A sword fight using Tampons broke out. One Tampon was dropped into a puddle and magic happened as it absorbed the liquid.

You can carry this in your purse or backpack!
Ms. Wallace stepped backwards into a dark corner as the parents found them.

Hurrying inside, Ms. Wallace culled through the Treasure Chest, opening each Barbie-pink pencil case with a Tampon discreetly wrapped inside. Other donations were up to the list's standards and Tampons definitely were not on it. 

As she drove home, Ms. Wallace sighed. There'll be hell to pay tomorrow.

Part of this true: the Barbie pink containers did contain two Tampons, and only one girl chose it as her prize. She then did all of those activities (except the water bit) in the car with her younger sister. They had a good time.  It was a heck of a thing according to my daughter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Where had it all gone wrong?

Goldman Sachs

Richard huddled in his jail cell, pulling his Armani suit closely around him.  Now he was watching his world disintegrate.

Where had it all gone wrong? We had a duster clean the computer files.  We dated everything retroactively . He wondered.  Surely everyone in the investment business embezzled from his clients now and then.  It was part of the investment game after all.

With the untimely arrival of the arrest warrant, he was for a moment left spellbound.  Richard’s travel carry-on sat by the door, stuffed with one-million dollars and a change of underwear.

Five more minutes!

Five more minutes and he would have been out the door, heading to the nearest non-extradition country.


This is a re-post from 2015, using Wednesday Words provided by Delores. This is an opportunity for bloggers to play with words. Words can be found also at Elephant's ChildDrifting through Life, as well as other talented bloggers.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Intrepid Young Explorer

Warm laundry...mmmm

Being intrepid did not always work in Little Man's best interests.

When Mummy turned her back, he crawled toward a vase, leading to a crash and broken glass.  Then Little Man discovered a spoon and Daddy’s iPad.  Just a few bashes resulted in a clang, a flash¸ and some loud buzzing.

Yes, being intrepid could possibly drive Mummy over an emotional cliff.

I crawled here, and stood up.  NOW what do I do?

This is a repost from 2013. Italicize underlined word are from Wednesday Words, prompts for bloggers to play with. Little Man is now 7 yrs old with a little brother who dearly loves his big brother.  Grandparents love them so much.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Being Groomed

I do not want to write this. I don't know if I can. This will be a long post. This tells a story, one that has been part of a dusty history, a page in a yearbook, a memory that cannot be erased. 

Yet, at the oddest moments, there it is.

Sitting and consuming obscene amounts of ice cream, there it was: the memory I had never ever told anyone, one that scares me still. 

My husband John had just asked me about something we did with our kids, and my computer brain pulled that file up. My computer mind is one that never forgets almost anything.  It amazes people when I remember a family bbq nearly 40 years ago, when flames leapt high enough to ignite a false banana plant. It amazes them when I can tell them who was in the pool that day. It amazes...

As we watched ice cream melt and drip down chins, this other memory burst through the barriers I had constructed and flowed from my lips, my voice changed. 

"You know, I remember something when I was 17 and so naive, so ignorant. I didn't even know sex was.

"There was a professor, a handsome and mature man, he paid attention to me, no other boys I had dated did that. He smiled at me, his eyes were brown and warm. Each day, he treated me like I was special, that I was beautiful...

I became infatuated."

I bowed my head, staring at my clenched hands.

"He'd walk me to the cafeteria, laughing at my nervous girl jokes, each day he walked me.  And then, he said he and his roommate were going to paint a room, and wondered if I knew anyone who could help. Of course! A girl friend and I showed up and helped. Professor stood close to me, guided my hand."

I scribbled in the melted ice cream on the table.

"I was 17!  I didn't know. Once I turned 18, he changed. The roommate was somewhere in the house but we were alone.  I asked about that and he said he'd show me the house.  He showed me his bedroom, and I froze. He stood on the other side of the bed, and I commented on the quilt, hurried up the stairs."

"Another time when his roommate was there, he sat down close to me on the sofa. He picked up a coffee table book about human emotions. Professor flipped to a page, finding it easily. He pointed to a woman's face, distorted with a strong emotion. Having sex. Turned the page, the same woman after giving birth."

That was when he told me how old he was. 31 years old.  31.

"When I had turned 18, he changed even more and more.  He took me to a concert, knowing I had never seen one. He...he had his mother fly to meet me.  Meet me!  What do I do? What can I do. So I met her. Then he wanted to meet my parents.

"Help me..." But I couldn't say the words. I waited for Dad to say something, to protect me. He didn't. Even though Professor criticized Mom's cooking "despite its common proventiality", then he criticized a painting I had done of myself, then he criticized...everything. 

Help me, help me.

"We went to a movie with his roommate and his girlfriend. He looped his arm over my shoulder. There was a part of the movie where the Henry VIII disposed of Anne Boleyn. He whispered into my ear, I hope you won't get rid of this cow."
He tapped his chest."

Help me...Help me...

"He drove me to my dorm, I sat far away from him, clutching the door handle. Then he turned to face me, telling me that he was going to teach in Arizona.  My breath caught in my throat. I was 18."

"I can't, I won't. I can't go to Arizona with you. I worked so hard for this scholarship, to go to college. I won't give that up."

He reminded me that his mother had come to meet me. That he had met my parents. He didn't say anything more, but he grasped my face and smeared a kiss on my mouth. 

I leapt from the car and ran into the dorm, up 5 flights of stairs.

After that, Professor was cold and angry, treated me horribly. Then suddenly he was gone before the end of school and another professor took his place. Later I found out that he had done this before, found a stupid girl like me before. This time he was dismissed and just disappeared."

My husband John had been so quiet, his head bowed down. He asked if this was before I met him, and I said yes. Like John always does when he has an anxiety issue, he stood up and went somewhere, like the men's room.

My hands relaxed and I turned my face up to see my daughter and teenage granddaughters. Their eyes were wide, their faces white. She whispered He was your professor. He was a pedophile. He is gone now.

Ice cream now covered the table in random swirls. We drove away in a silent car until Bohemian Rhapsody played from the speakers. We talked and laughed as we ate dinner she had fixed. A good time with my family.

But, his face still appears randomly and those events are still vivid in my computer brain.  No, he is not gone. 

My brain still wraps around him like a cancerous cocoon, a tumor. Even though it has been 50 years, my brain has him strapped in with other memories.

I pray that he is dead, that he died a horrible death. I pray that there was not another young 17 year old girl. If there was, I pray she saw what I saw and got away.

Until I told my husband and daughter, I had never told anyone. Hoping that this will release some of the pain I feel, I have told you.

What that professor was doing at that time was courtship and seduction that would lead to an intimate relationship. He had wanted a virgin wife, one who would be submissive. He was grooming me. Grooming and seduction

Not everyone understands how it is to have an eidetic memory. It is both a curse and a blessing. Fortunately, I do not recall everything, only those to which I have some sort of connection, with all the senses. Visual is the instigator. This has been part of my life since I was a small child.

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