October 7, 2012

I always say, if you are going to a grape stomp, go in style. Yes indeed.  Don’t I wish it was my ride.

The Murphys Grape Stomp is also a street faire, but I’ll get to that tomorrow. My friend and I wandered  around town and met with any number of costumed participants, waiting their turn to stomp. The Wild Ones hadn’t stomped yet.

Welches Wenches had just placed sixth in their heat. They qualify for the finals if they place in the top ten.

“The Foot” didn’t register to stomp.  He enjoys the fun of being in costume. And, drinking beer. This may be a wine event, but, hey, beer was pretty popular, too.

If you are  going to stomp, you may as well get fortified with a glass of liquid grapes, first!

The volunteer crews load the buckets with wine grapes.

The stage is set with 10 barrels and 10 buckets of grapes. Ten teams compete at once. A bucket of grapes is placed beside each barrel while the audience waits to cheer for their favorites.

The contestants line up, some stomp barefooted, some ruin their shoes.

They dump their grapes in the barrel on cue. Then wait for introductions of each team which leaves them time to discuss and work out any last-minute strategy. The team member on the ground helps scrape the juice through the spout into the waiting vessel to be measured.

A team from Chico has won the event 8 times and has set the record for the amount of juice collected during one stomp.  They’ve quit stomping this year and this young team is Chico’s new hope. They’ve received plenty of advice from the retiring team.

They’re off and stomping. People I’ve talked to say, it is harder than it looks.

The scraper is considered as important as the stomper. The scraper’s tatoo reads:  Don’t be afraid to go after what you want to do and what you want to be. Don’t be afraid and be willing to pay the price.” A philosopher.

Some of the stompers have several teams. They form a club to attend the stomp every year. I saw three couples, all women dressed like men. They call themselves the Batchelorette Party Crew.

These two women have dressed up and designated themselves the Grape Fairies. One is the Night Fairy and the other is the Day Fairy of the Grape Stomp.

This guy with the hot dog hat was with a team of about six or seven members with t-shirts proclaiming “Stomp Your Wienie.”  Maybe they are trying for a different kind of stomp, but I’m guessing everyone is simply having a good time at the grape stomp. I did too.




August 30, 2012

I had occasion to visit my Public TV Access Group’s bookkeeper and she is a collector of pigs. I’m not sure what the fascination for pigs is, but, here they are:

Maybe it’s a reminder of the political pigs feeding at the public trough. Oh, that was ugly. It’s just a pig teapot.

Eileen’s pigs are mostly decorative knickknacks. Just cute little critters.

The site is having a problem and providing me with this miniscule font. So, pictures seem better than words. Besides, I was awfully wordy yesterday about the contention, I mean the convention.

This pig is straight forward and sweet. When we arrange our collections, do we make sure they are all turned the same way?  Facing right? Or left? Hmm!

Most of Eileen’s pigs were facing right.

When placed against on a  table with other things, left facing was necessary to see the character.

The room, table  and walls configured  for the one above  to be arranged facing left.

And this bold Harley Rider is multi-dimensional and faces forward.  Not that any of this matters, but if you decorate your office with your collection, they have to look appealing.

They are cute and  most knickknack collections have cute appeal. And, I always appreciate other people’s collections being a collectiholic myself.

My daughter-in-law collects non-political elephants and the form and function elephants can take goes way beyond knickknacks and is fascinating. Always the object turned art.

But, this one was my favorite. It has a message with  just the right touch of truth and humor.  Oh, boy!

Normally, I blog every day.  However, I flew home for a family reunion that I host every year.  After a great deal of preparation to entertain, feed and coordinate a three-day event that peaked at 58 people on Saturday July 7th, I can truthfully say I meant to blog . Instead,  I  enjoyed the whole chaotic experience; the  bedlam, cooking, eating, visiting, drinking, snacking, games. The skinned knees, overtired kids, frisbees knocking over your beer, getting squirted by the errant squirt gun. We laughed at  the child who fell asleep while eating and the treasures placed on the totem.   There were swim suits and towels drying on every railing and chair; errant socks and shirts in every room and on the ground.  Whose shoes are these?  Tiptoeing around rooms full of sleeping people on the floor, in the closet  and on makeshift beds;   Listening to the  clanging of horseshoes;  the late night laughter during card games;  watching the  breakneck dancing by lantern  light; thinking I might get some sleep tonight. Blogging was out of the question. In fact, I couldn’t even  concentrate on taking pictures, I handed the camera off and asked others to do it for me.  Here are a few photos they took:

Prep time comes first.



Then a bit of kickback time.


That first night, the guys played horseshoes until they couldn’t see them anymore.

The kids danced by lantern light and raced around playing hide-and-go-seek until the first tumble in the dark brought the game to an end. (No serious injuries.)

The next day, some serious work on the totem commenced.

The small fry squared off for the squirt gun wars.

There is never a winner or loser. Everyone just stays wet and cool in the heat.

An impromptu opera in the kitchen.

A card game before heading for the flume.

The flume water was the lowest I’ve seen it in 35 years.  So low some of the kids needed help getting in instead of out of the flume.

But, everyone got to ride and get cool even if they did scrape the bottom in places.

First timers need a little coaxing.

Someone was expecting to get “tossed” but the water was too low.

Tandem helps keep your butt off the bottom in low spots.

There is nothing quite like tubing the flume for all ages.

All that fluming takes energy and a few snacks afterward are standard.

After the flume, everyone got seriously into decorating the totem.

The ladder reaches to the very top.

Some people  like to decorate and let someone else attach their treasures.

And some like to be up on the ladder as much as possible.

A budding artist turned a piece of wire wrapped in yarn into a rattlesnake.

By the end of the day, there was little room on the totem.

No one took a picture of the cooks nor the over laden table. Everyone brought a dish to share and we shared a sumptuous feast. But, part of the clean-up crew enjoyed a bit of laughter as they washed up a mountain of dishes.

The rest of the day was the same. Kids just all out running, jumping and having a good time. The rest of us wishing we had half their energy, enjoying the food, and watching the action.

And, after the s’mores, a few sparklers lit up the night.


I think I had a bed that night and slept until the coffee crowd came in for their cuppa wake me up in the morning.




May 13, 2012

Since I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, Jim went to pick up some items he wanted while I stayed in the Motor Home. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, the sun was shining , and then…it started to pour. He raced through the parking lot to the Bronco with water swirling around him. He inadvertently left his  fanny pack unzipped, and when he got back to the Bronco, his money was gone. He retraced his steps and found it floating in a puddle.

I never thought I’d see the day he would launder money, but here is the proof!  Drenched to the skin, it took  24 hours  to dry his shoes.

We drove to Casa Blanca, where we will visit a pueblo on top of a plateau today, Mother’s Day. Settled into the Dancing Eagle Casino, owned by the Laguna Indians,  is a comfortable place to stay.

Their food is very fresh and delicious. A vast menu, reasonable prices. Nice.

I admired this clever map of the United States done in license plate pieces. It seemed impossible to me, but the artist managed to  get tiny  Delaware and Rhode Island pieces on this map. If you enlarge it, you can see the full name of almost every state.

We  meet a lot of full-time RVers on the road, but not many that live on their bicycles. This guy was doing the best he could in a bad economy.  Well rigged out; he had a sign, a money box for donations, a flag, a tent, blankets, a neon vest so he can be easily seen,  and a duct taped sign. Hey, you gotta do whatcha gotta do.

To all the mother’s in my life, and those I don’t know, may you have a Happy Mother’s Day!  Remember, The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.  Well, William Ross Wallace  could be wrong about that,  hmmm!

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.
He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants.
His meals are provided at no cost to him.
He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.
For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him.
He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep.
If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.
He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.
He receives these accommodations absolutely free.
He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.
All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head…….   My dog is a member of Congress!
(Don’t know who wrote this. It came in my email.)


April 24, 2012

I just happen to have an extra telephone pole hanging around at my rental which is near my house.  I had a new pole installed to operate the well, but the contractor didn’t remove the old pole. I  caught this freesia in bloom hiding among the grasses, but, I got so excited I completely forgot to take  pictures  as the new contractor cut it down and brought it to my house.

They trimmed it to twenty feet.

Dug a five foot deep hole.

And put it in the ground. It stands fifteen feet high and is ready to be transformed into a totem.  Today, I’ll start some preliminary decorating, just to see how it works out. The purpose is for a fun project at our family and friends reunion in July.

I was inspired by this totem put up by a local club in the neighborhood called The Barnies”.  They charge themselves an initiation fee to join. The money goes to keep the barn maintained in good shape, and pay the power and to use it as a meeting place  for a once a month pot luck. They invite a musician into play, barbeque, play bocce. In other words, just have fun.

the totem was one of their fun projects. Anything goes.

I’m posting this so everyone will bring their junk and we will find a way to get it on the totem. Jan will do a rain dance, no doubt. It will get well christened. We still like to flume, and play horseshoes and bocce, but for some of us, a new piece of art is just the right touch.

I hope you agree and get inspired by The Barnies  creation as I was.

You’ll have to admit it is a fun way to recycle.





March 25, 2012

It amazes me how much paperwork an ordinary person must sift through. Whenever I return to Murphys, I go through junk mail, mail stuff back to advertisers and ask to be removed from their mailing list. I  like to think I can handle everything from the road, but, it isn’t possible. I receive  e-bills that I can pay from the road, but I never return home without finding a billing error of some type, it seems. Karen talked me into abandoning my “job” and going to lunch at Alchemy with her and Julie. They serve an exquisite bloody mary tomato soup, with a touch of horseradish. Great salads, good beer and wine. Sweet potato fries with a chipolte sauce. Hmmmm. It was all good and much better than doing paperwork.

Karen and Julie wanted to go shopping. I took one look in at a newsprint jacket and decided I’d rather get back to a light, fun read I’d started for my Saturday afternoon,  Natalya, God’s Messenger by Magda Bogin.  And, I invited everybody for a girls night out.

I made tortilla soup to go along with the movie by the same name. Only my tortilla soup I’m sure didn’t taste anything like the soup in the movie. I forgot to take pictures, we were having so much fun. Neighbor Jan brought this Girls Night Out jar and we decided to make it a tradition. Whenever we get together, we shall bring the jar to the next person’s house. Inside the  jar is a deck of poker cards and pennies for betting.  Jan loves poker. I love girls night out.


January 25, 2012

I received a message from Jerry at 

about the song I’ve Been Everywhere.

He sent me to a web page where there are parodies and take-offs on that song by  different artists.  I listened to a slew of them.  They were pretty cool.  Click on the links to hear some I got a kick out of.

The first is I’ve Been Everywhere , Texas.

This link is:  I’ve Been Everywhere, Austrailia

Now we have a Johnny Cash parody:

The next one is:  I’ve Been Everywhere, Minnesota. I think. It has some clever, corny stuff like I ate corn dogs at the fair, man, …in my underwear, man.

After I  identified five to put into this blog , swish, the sneaky electronic Genie has tossed one of them into cyberspace, so I’m hoping that the four I have left  are identified correctly.

When I mentioned the song two days ago,  I was talking about my partner, Jim. And,  just to give you an idea of why it fits,  he has crossed the United States 6 times in his Motor Home. He has been in every state of the union. Plus, he took his rig 17,000 miles across Mexico, through every country in Central America and to the Panama Canal and beyond, (until the road stopped.)  Then, of course, he returned those same, many miles back to the States. He’s traveled all over Canada as well.  (South America is still on the agenda.)

Yesterday was a pick up and move, empty tanks, fill up with water, get gas and propane, find the recycle place,  shop for groceries…that  kind of day. We bought two sets of sheets and replaced the butter-soft thin ones we had. I spotted a Burlington Coat Outlet and got a white jacket to replace my warn one.  We’ve been everywhere, man- in Yuma!

The frig is full and we are parked in a weedy little town at a VFW with a huge membership. The bartender told us they serve around 400 hamburgers on Mondays. Tuesday was women’s dart competition and men’s pool tournament. They are open and busy seven days a week. We had a drink and left early because they allow members to smoke in the bar. Nobody was smoking at the time, but we both came out with our hair and clothing stinking  like old cigarette smoke.

The move put us closer to our destination, the Petroglyphs.


January 8, 2012

You may NOT wear any revealing or “skimpy” clothes. If deemed too revealing, we will ask that you put your pants back on. This includes thongs, jock straps, a**-less chaps, whitey-tighties that can be seen through etc. Please use common sense. You are responsible for obeying the law.

Those are the stated rules. This is Seattle’s big, bizarre fun day-IT IS  JANUARY 8th. PANTS LESS SUNDAY.

Officially called No Pants Light Rail Ride, it is just a fun, kind of bizarre way to start the new year when the weather chills. A bit like a polar bear swim.

The “No Pants” event  stunt started on New York’s subways about a decade ago, and it has gained popularity in other places. Pictured are people from Seattle’s event.  Word of mouth usually spreads through e-mail lists and Facebook — kind of like the Occupy Wall Street movement.

A week ago, Seattle Post Intelligencer learned that about  90 locals had RSVPed to the ride, with about 60 on-the-fence “maybes.”

“I am shaving and shivering for this event,” one fan wrote. “I am so shopping too for some lovely panties.”

The SPI pictures are from Joshua Trujillo’s blog which shows  guys in pink-flowered shorts and others wearing tights. Crazy socks. Women with net stockings. Fun. The photos are from the 2011 event.

The No Pants Light Rail Ride in Seattle on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (Joshua Trujillo,

Once on board, the pants come off, one leg at a time.


January 1, 2012

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross, to see a fine lady upon a white horse. Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.

I woke up this morning, late, with that  nursery rhyme playing through my head, instead of Brown Eyed Girl, or Big Wheels Keep On Turnin’, the loud, jumpin’  music from last night at Cactus Jacks. There is no accounting for the twists and turns of the brain.

It was my intention to stay home New Years Eve, but a neighbor, Jan,  insisted I go with her to the Murphys Hotel. We arrived at 9 p.m. Planned to stay a couple of hours. Myself, Jan and Cynthia got our picture taken by Cynthia’s boyfriend, Dave.

The Murphys Hotel is about 150 years old and has a reputation for being a cowboy bar. But, the cowboys have changed considerably, I noticed.

Jan, the storyteller, regaled Dave with old stories from the hotel’s checkered history.

There was no band, the dance floor is practically non-existent. We danced twice to canned music. The people made it fun, but we all decided to leave the hotel and walk down to Cactus Jacks. The dance floor there is bigger, the band was better and it was jammin’.

Cactus Jack sells shirts called Plan B.

Translation:  After you leave Cactus Jacks and go to the Murphys Hotel,  you’ll come crawling back to Jacks where all the fun is. It was  fun. They don’t have a liquor license, only wine and beer. The grizzly was good, dark and chewy.

People watching is half the game. It was a dance free for all, everybody dancing with everybody.  Nobody obnoxiously drunk.

Some friends, Lianne Smith and her new boy toy popped in. She and others went from party to party. Over the course of the evening, I met old friends, kids, who are no longer kids, who  went to high school with my no longer kids. Then, I met a guy who graduated from the same High School I did, only twenty years later than me.

Cactus Jack provided paper cups of champagne at midnight. And, I got kissed by a stranger.

Anything can happen. It’s a new year. 2012 is here.




December 26, 2011

Christmas morning, Theo got up, opened his stocking and found a book. He plopped immediately to the floor engrossed. We had to shovel him out of the doorway. When everyone was up and had had breakfast, the kids were allowed to open their presents. Having stayed with them a couple of weeks ago, I heard all of the stories about how they guess what their presents are. “You always buy us Lego, Gramma, one shake and we know what it is,” I was told with a smile.  Then Owen confessed to the real tricks. Dousing the ribbons with catnip so the cats would tear open the wrappings. Slitting the taped ends with a knife and peeking at the ends to read the box, then resealing;  pressing the paper tightly and try to read through it; measuring the boxes and comparing those measurements with their favorite toys in the store. Oh, they are clever.

This year, I told them they could shake, rattle and roll and they would not be able to guess. Owen opened his big box, failing at many guesses, to find:

…another box. After five boxes total, he discovered an Ipod. It measures about two inches square.

Theo guessed his gift as a puzzle.  I told him  it does sound like a puzzle but that is not what your gift is.  When he opened it, attached to the puzzle was a note telling him where his gift  was really located, under a quilt, in my office. A Lego game.

I fooled them this year. I’ll have to get smarter by next year.

For Christmas dinner we had five pheasant and two ducks that Ken hunted with his boss.  With a paella salad, and a green salad, we feasted.

When it got dark,  the guys lit the Christmas Tree. The kids played with their new toys and we talked and snacked until 11 p.m. Ken brews his own beer, some of the best he has ever made.

I thank you all for visiting my blog and hope that you’ve had a good year and an especially Merry Christmas.





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