Monday, January 8, 2018

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS OUR FUTURE

Great Britain and Denmark have made great strides in renewable energies. Both hope to get 50% of their energy from wind and solar by 2020. Denmark is close at 46.7%.  All over the world, the use of oil and coal is retreating and the hole in the ozone layer is getting smaller. Proof that we can affect climate with cooperation.



Climate change deniers in Florida, anyway, have to consider that iguanas are falling out of trees because they’ve become so cold in Florida’s unusual 40 degree weather.


In Canada, imposing a 5 cent tariff on lattes and offering people the option of reusing their cup is helping reduce the problem.

The White House and many of our fearless leaders deny climate change, so we are on the road to offshore drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic. What is really so annoying about that type of drilling is there are thousands of land leases that go unused, but, shucks, why not drill in the Arctic instead.

I would have to posit, why not ban drilling until wind and solar have been fully developed and given a chance to live up to a better, greener, healthy world here. That is the American way.

Banning single use plastic is one of the single most effective ways of changing our world for the better. It will have to happen at some point and it looks like California is poised to do just that. We can hope.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

DAVID AND GOLIATH

used of being a natural sh** stirrer. But I really think Democracy is still supposed to be "...for the people, by the people..."
Maybe that is quaint. But, geez, all I hear about is fake news vs real news.  Them against Us.  Why can't we make government work for everyone?
Jim used to say, "I listen to no news. It's all bad and I can't do anything about it anyway."
Segue to North Dakota, a state of ordinary people. A lot of down home farmers, raising their kids. Providing us with healthy food.
The issue was a 1932 law passed by the people banning non-family, corporate farm ownership. They wanted healthy, rural communities with sustainable agriculture practices.  Some clever Big Ag lobbyists and state legislators with the help of a corporate funded Governor decided to overturn that ban.
But the North Dakota Farmers Union recruited some progressive forces, and grass roots volunteers and got a referendum on the ballot last June giving the voters the final say.
The vote was loud and clear. 76% of North Dakotans rejected the corporate powers and restored the outright ban on corporate controlled farming.
Yahoo! David wins again!
Thank you Jim Hightower for bring that to my attention.

Monday, January 1, 2018

END OF A STRANGE YEAR.


Hello friends. And, Happy New Year, 2018.

My resolution is to make 2018  a healthy and productive year. I’ve been missing from these pages and I miss blogging. In the past, it has been my habit to photograph Christmas cards and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. It is a bit late, and this Santa looks a mite sad about it, but the sparkle is still in the night air until the sun hits the street tomorrow and we begin our everyday life anew.
So, I’ll post a few cards and at the end, I hope I can remember how to make an album for you to view some beautiful  Christmas Cards. More people are sending letters or e-cards and I do too. But the days of the real thing are not over yet.

.

.



.


.


.
This one reminds me of the German Christmas Street Fair I went to a long time ago. I’ve forgotten what town.


.
.
This bear was not ready to wake up just because it was Christmas. The imaginative artists who draw Christmas Cards have my un-dieing admiration.
Then I made the cards into a Christmas tree.
.

Then I get to toss them and do another next year. I misplaced the key to my Christmas Storage shed and had no tree, nor lights to make Christmas bright this year.
.

I could have cut the lock but I was extremely busy and didn’t. The first time ever I have not decorated a tree or put lights up. But, my friend Karen gave me a table decoration and it, along with some Christmas music, made the season cheerful. Plus, Christmas at my son Ken’s, in Reno was a blast. I took pictures of that affair on my new android phone, but I haven’t learned how to get the photos into a blog-YET.
Now for the album:



I couldn’t remember how to do the album of 42 cards. I’ll call Jim tomorrow and have him “relearn” me for the next time.
Ciao

Sunday, November 26, 2017

DRAGGED INTO THE 21st CENTURY.



If it seems like we are giving thanks on this august day set aside for reflection, we are. Only the pictures are belated. Jim took the pictures so one chair is empty. We are: Doug, with his back to the camera; Cedric;  grandsons, Theo and Owen; daughter, Virginia; and myself. The rest of the family celebrated in their own homes


Virginia is very organized and reported that last year she had to toss half a moldy pumpkin pie among other assorted containers of food that somehow get hidden in the back of the frig. This year, she ordered, everyone takes home anything they brought that is left. That works for me because I love living for a week out of the frig.


Theo peeled thirteen potatoes before Virginia said, "Halt."  All of us took mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy home.


Doug mashed that mountain of potatoes. It takes muscle to wade through them and get the butter and half & half thoroughly mixed.


Every year, as a tease to Cedric, we set up cranberry man. Doug decorated him with torn napkin snow this year.


Both of Virginia's salads have pomegranate berries in them.

While the rest of us played Quidler, Cedric spent the entire time at the stove. Watching the turkey. Stirring up gravy with roasted vegetables. Heating up Mary's gumbo and Doug's Lasagna.  Virginia put a skillet of  Johnny Cake in the oven, and made pear tart ahead of time. Doug always makes huge batches of cookies from his own original recipes.


Everyone had a hand in the works.
We skyped with Daughter Kristanne, with son Austin and his brother Alec who drove up for the day. And, I HAD a picture of them. Ken called and talked to everyone.


In fact, Jim took 128 pictures on my new camera, plus this video of Theo on stilts made by his brother Owen. (It made me a bit nervous because they are a bit heavier and don't fit as well as commercial stilts.) He juggled while walking as well. It takes courage to be tied onto legs six feet tall.
Now, I would have liked to add more pictures. There were better ones but my choices were slim. The reason is my brand new camera does not sync well, sometimes, not at all, with my system 7 computer.
 Hmm! It took two phone calls to Consumer Cellular on the 24th. And, six hours between Jim and Me trying to figure it out from the book we downloaded. I went to bed exhausted. More of the same yesterday. And finally, this morning, an hour phone call with a cellular genius, who got me partially into the 21st century of phones. But, it was frustrating to be dragged into it and not be able to post nor edit anything. Nor even choose from a fat 128 picture album.
The help-line genius said, "Well we say it works with system 7, and it does, sort of. But don't try it again. You might as well get a new computer that has system 10 on it."
He was terrific and now, just before Christmas sales, I have an excuse to buy a new computer.
It would have been wonderful to have my first experience with pictures on my new phone be a pleasant one. The learning curve is challenging.


Everyone is smiling. But, they are already using those new-fangled devices with smarter phones than mine.  But, my trusty Sony Camera will accompany me where ever I go for just a bit longer. The 21st Century is still young.

Friday, September 29, 2017

CATCH-UP BLOG



Life has given me some dizzying, and significant changes in my life. I tend to juggle too many projects and responsibilities which keeps me busier than I like. (Self imposed, doncha know.) I've been diagnosed with a serious disease and now have to attend more and more doctor's appointment.
I'm still collecting quotes for those future blogs and I enjoy them. They are stacking up, along with unmade quilts and art projects.
I'm a noted Treehugger and this morning, I couldn't resist re-posting this message that I wish to share with anyone who will pay attention:

It has been one month since Kenya enacted the world's strictest ban on plastic bags. It took ten years and three attempts to pass the legislation, but as of August 28, people could be punished for carrying, manufacturing and importing plastic bags. Fines range from $19,000 to $38,000, with possible four-year jail terms. All travelers are required to leave their plastic bags at the airport and residents are encouraged to drop off old bags at local grocery stores for collection.
The ban is highly ambitious for a country that used to hand out 100 million plastic bags a year. But as pollution piled up, officials realized something more drastic needed to be done. Plastic bags litter every Kenyan roadway, clog sewers and streams, and damage soil and water sources. Even animals eat them.
"In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs. 'This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis,' said county vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui as he watched men in bloodied white uniforms scoop sodden plastic bags from the stomachs of cow carcasses."

There are many reasons to ban plastic bags even though some people hate it. The inability of plastic bags to decompose, affecting soil quality. In some areas, plastic bags block sewers and prevent proper water drainage. They bugger sewage plants.
They damage ecosystems. Many animals and especially sea turtles and other underwater creatures eat them thinking they are jelly fish and die from it.
Plastic bags endanger human health when used for packaging food in particular hot food, baby pouches and cooking pouches.
They release poisonous gas when burned affecting the open air if burned in large numbers as some cities do to get rid of the shear volume of the plastic packaging and disposable bags. Well, I'm done with my rant. Please help enact a stricter ban on plastics. In California, every city and store can choose whether to do it or not. It is voluntary.  Our local SaveMart has given up plastic,  but I still see people buying groceries with shopping carts heaped full with a few items in each bag coming out of Walmart, Kohls,Big Lots, Big 5, Ace Hardware, and just about every other store in the county. Have a heart. Do your part.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MATZEK FAMILY REUNION-2017

 

Four years now, we've gone to Lake Tahoe for our family reunion. The cabin we rented sleeps 16 people. It had a pretty picture on-line but the square footage proved a tight squeeze. The lighting was poor and the place had “garage sale” amenities. On one end of the table, a Rummicube game, and on the near end, cribbage. Our entire group could not fit around the table.



Our family is big on games. The only other activity was a hot tub. We took turns at the games.



Doug, besides being the master chef, served as D.J. and kept us supplied with tunes by request.



Saturday, before lunch, we drove to King’s Beach which is close to our Pina Grande rental.  The water was refreshing, the beach crowded, but we had a spot in the shade. Laurie, Theo and Austin played frisbee in the water and did a fair amount of swimming. The beach was quite narrow with the recent rains filling the lake to near capacity.

 Ken took a cooling dip and came back to shore for snacks.



It is possible to walk out a couple hundred feet and still be in shallow water.



People of all ages paddle board safely, considering the lake is 6,000 feet deep at the center. It was volcano at one time.



This young girl was very adept, taking her dog for a ride.



Off she went. She didn’t seem to have any adult supervision.



She and her brother had their own shade and their own boards. She told us she was local and they spend every minute they can at the beach.



It was time for snacks…



…and a cool drink. Ahh. Refreshing.



Theo proceeded to dig a hole. His mother said, “Tell me my son’s not going to be an engineer.”



Owen barely got his toes wet, enough to cool off. He wished he’d brought his swimwear.



The “sisters” decided to have a photo together.



Not to be outdone, Virginia decided to remove her shirt and show her “girls.” Grandma decided to do likewise. Omigod! I can’t believe I did that!



On the way back to the parking lot, Austin found these cards stuck up in the sand. We wondered if they were directions for someone?

While we were at the beach, Cedric made his signature pies, except, he had a flour shortage and the crust wasn’t his usual standard. Austin and Theo were given the privilege to carve the crust decorations.



Doug and I fixed Friday nights dinner. Saturday, was Virginia’s night to cook. She made taco fixin’s to die for. This family eats well.



Normally television is off-limits on our reunions. I had asked the boys what their favorite movies were? They tossed me names and the bond film, Casino Royale with the latest Bond character was everyone’s favorite. Ken happened to have the movie and we all got to see the last scene. I guess, now I’ll have to find it on Yahoo.



Sunday morning breakfast, Laurie put out gobs of fruit and bacon to go with Virginia’s pancakes. I prefer pie for breakfast along with the fruit. There was no lack of choices.



Sunday, grandson, Stewart drove up for the day. His girlfriend Allie is in nursing school and stayed in the library to study. It was nice to have a good visit with Stewart. And it was nice to move the games outside where we could more or less all be together and the light was great.



Cedric played Mr. Fixit and repaired two torn screens on the front deck.


He likes to make himself useful.



We left for the beach later in the day on Sunday and struggled to find a spot with a bit of shade. It was even busier than Saturday.



Theo brought a couple of shovels and deepened his hole and came home with a blister.



With skin so fair, the redhead claimed he was fine. His spray doesn’t wash off for several hours. He and Theo played frisbee with me for a while, but they wore me out very quickly.



I caught a nice shot of Owen who tends to be deliberately camera-shy.



A friendly game of elevator, and our last dinner. This time prepared by Laurie and Ken. Special Italian pasta and gluten free pasta with BBQ’d chicken. More fruits and much more. Stewart left with a huge “doggie bag”.

 Doug and I were first to arrive and last to leave. It took us 2.5 hours to drive up on Friday but 5.5 hours to return to Murphys on Monday morning.  We had slowdowns, but saw no accidents. Ken and Laurie, Cedric and Virginia, made it home within about the same time frame as they arrived. Ken, Laurie, Kris and Austin made a game of counting returnees from Burning Man.  Between them they spotted 500 plus Burners. Doug and I spotted one bus and two cars. Every year is different, but we always fun.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

RELIVING BALLOON FUN, AND OTHER TRIVIA


Jim IZ repeating blogs from our 892 day circumnavigation of the U.S.  Don't know if that number is correct or just close. But we were visiting New Mexico in May of 2012 and like many of our adventures, we happened upon a balloon launch and ended up, as Fergie would say, "getting high". 800 feet high. Of course, he also says, "I'm drinkin and drinkin' and thinkin' of drinkin." He invited us into their small circle and made us members. I finally got to see the two balloon blogs today and remember the fun of that time. So, go look if you are inclined.
With Google taking over Wordpress, they've tweaked our blog and I can blog but I can't see what Jim is blogging even though we share the same page. They've quit supporting our editing program. I dislike google's intrusive business model and I avoid anything Google if I can. But, they bought Wordpress and they own my other Blog, Blogspot.

My handy helpers worked all day yesterday and tore apart my guest outbuilding because it had gotten some black mold that came through when the siding got damp and soil accumulated against the wood. Then I got the news, that not only mold, but termites had invaded. They had to cut into the sheet rock and use Terminex which is stinky stuff. Hopefully the smell will be gone soon when they return to finish the job on Saturday.

One good thing, I was forced to face some of my infamous collections. Being a collectiholic is incurable, but space is now more crowded than ever and I am tossing things I've saved for years. I ran across my rejection slips from when I was freelancing in the 1980s. I figured I'd have to wallpaper the bathroom with them, but luckily that didn't happen.

I ran across a Lefthander magazine, that I put in the rack because my daughter Kristanne is a south-paw.
I found, in Virginia's neat handwriting, a luscious recipe for gingerbread using fresh ginger. I have tons of stuff to find a home for, but it is fun to look. I'm hoping to find space to take my artwork seriously because, I never made it to the outbuilding to create. I just stored stuff for "some day."
Here are pictures of the treated building.

The Terminex kills the termites. The bleach solution kills the mold, which had to be scraped in some places off the cement floor.

Drawers under the bed in the guest room had to have the bottom removed. Termites like to eat the easy stuff. Sunlight and lack of moisture should put an end to them.


The breeze-way between the buildings is full of shelving. It is NOT going back in because it is time to downsize collections. I took magazines to the library today, old magazines and they were glad to get them. People love them I was told, just like I did.

I guess I'm looking at my past and future entwined. That is a direct quote. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

FLUME PARTY


Past family reunions always included a run on the flume over the Independence Day Holiday. Virginia is floating peacefully along. I chose this picture to show what the flume looks like with dappled sun, shadows, and growth on the banks of the gunite flume. It was built during the gold rush to bring water to the miners.

A staying hand, a paddle or two, and the tube obeys in the swirling waters.

Flume Master, Doug, is the hoss, picking the best drop-in to start and the best, and the safest, pull-out near an eddy. He wanted to introduce his friends, Dirk Christianson and family to a unique waterway.

Everyone carries  their own tube. You can jump in anytime but a low spot we've nicknamed the beach is Doug's choice to launch. The gunite can be rough on knees and elbows so an anchor helps people up the bank.  The flume is practically in our backyard, so it's been our air conditioning for years. Jump in, get your clothes wet and stay cool in half damp clothes for the rest of the day.

Mother, Kelly skipped the first run. She is strong and supple and has the appearance of a yoga maven.

And that is the way she sat her tube. Doug told me later that she is a yoga aficionado. I love my yoga and thai chi, so we have a lot in common.

Daughter Kendal...

...and her friend, Jenna were enjoying the ride. The water is high this year, but that is a relative term. Some places are thigh deep, others calf deep. In a low year, your butt can't always clear the rocks.

Dirk is watchful, and takes the tubes out for the girls

Young and nimble, they need no help to get up the bank.

They tell the Flume Master all about their experience. It looks like Kendal has twigs caught in her hair, but I think it is branches from an overhead tree.

Time out for snacks between runs.

By the second...
...and third runs, the girls are relaxed and playing games. Kendal admitted they were careful on the first run, watching for poison oak,  spiders, the swift curves and maybe other things Doug teased them about.

Dirk liked the flume. He also pulled out some plastic garbage tangled in some bushes.  The girls snagged a flattened tube someone ditched on the bank. Our rules are you take everything out that you bring in. Kudos.

Dirk found himself a cool spot, hanging onto a tree root, to sit and enjoy the cooling water in the shade.

Virginia and Theo got into a race, passed the girls and...
...the winner was Theo,  first under the bridge.

Mom was a close second.

When Theo made it up top, he was surprised to find out that his dodge past a patch of blackberries left him souvenirs.  The flume is not a straight shot. It winds around and around to slow the water and passes several spots for water to be taken out in case of fire.

Cedric opted to snack and stay on the bridge with Owen who appeared to be feeling poorly, though he denied it.

Hmm! I don't know. There has to be something amiss with a 17 year old who doesn't pay attention to two beautiful girls. Time to do some digging and turn that sad face into a smile.

Back at the house, the Flume Master also reigns as Master Meat Chef. Doug makes some amazing tri-tip, ribs, sausage and chicken come off the grill.

Neighbors Cindy and Gary Gonzalez joined us for eats, along with my brother, Bill. Pushing eighty he looks terrific for his age. I'd like to steal some of his natural curly hair. He told me to meet him at the barbershop and take home what I wanted. That wasn't exactly what I had in mind, doncha know.

Happy Independence Day tomorrow.