Posts Tagged With: cell phones


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.



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I’m home struggling through pounds of mail, but still mentally looking back at my week in Las Vegas. My son and his family love Metro Pizza, which is famous for its quality pizza. I’ve been there several times but learned something new from our waitress.

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She is the cutie with the bright red plastic hair. But, my intention is to point out the mural at the back of the parlor.

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Ken told her the family wouldn’t be back because they were moving to California. She exclaimed, “Oh, see the mural?  Those are the best pizza restaurants in the United States by vote of the customers. They’ve joined hands. This mural or something like it, is in every one of those restaurants. If you have your picture taken in front of it at any one of them and  bring it to back here, we’ll give you a $25 gift certificate toward your purchases .”  They all do it. Isn’t that a hoot? As you can see, California to Washington state, part of Nevada and Utah. (Any of these pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

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The state lines are not well delineated on the map, but you can tell approximately where they are by the tourist attractions like Mt. Rushmore.

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You can see the arches in Missouri, and a peak at the Great lakes at the top. Paul Revere’s ride, bottom  and the Appalachians on the right.

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Here you can see a bit of Niagara Falls on the left,  New York to Maine and back down to  Philadelphia.

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Down the East Coast to Florida.

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Texas and Louisiana.


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And one in New Mexico. So, there you have it. You can tell where pizza lovers live.

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There are 11 Metro Pizza places in the Las Vegas area, not just this one in Henderson. And Ken says they are always full. Great place, great eats.

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On June 12th, we left Vegas at 5:00 a.m. and hit the road with two vans and two cars. The U-Haul trailer flashed a check oil light and needed more oil. No one could get the oil fill cover off. Laurie climbed up and tried her hand at it to no avail.

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Laurie and Mason in Mason’s car with the dogs and piles of clothing, and me in Laurie’s car with the plants and some fragile items, drove ahead and would find stopping places where the guys could park two vans with a turn around and any services needed. However did we manage before  cell phones?

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It was a long hard pull. Everyone was tired. The vans don’t have the best air conditioning. Stewart, will be a college junior this fall and had never driven a truck before. He did a commendable job and get’s a bonus for his driving.  We  pulled into the driveway at the new house in Valley Springs, California at about 6 p.m. Everyone was happy to arrive without major mishaps. Now, the guys have to unpack. I’m so pleased that most of my family is in California again.  Kris may make her way back someday, too.  (I can always hope.)



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It’s a long ride across Szechwan Province and we talk among ourselves about how political our guide, Vicki, is. She was very open about Tiananmen Square, the skimming of tips on the ship and the workers hot, miserable quarters where they have to live and about her own family and so on.   We had a paid family visit and we speculate what it would be like to visit a family that is not paid. I get elected to ask. And, much to our surprise, she instructs the driver to pull over on a side street in the next village we come to. The picture above is the one I took on our walk back to the bus, but the building was the first one we came to.

The building was divided into three units, a small store, a barbershop and a meeting room. A guy was getting his haircut.

And a bunch of older men were playing majong in the meeting room in the middle of the afternoon.

As we walked past the building, I saw a  stack of reeds and hay in front of a pond. We learned later that the pond supplies lotus roots and leaves and edible fish for the table.The roots feed the pigs along with another pond weed, the leaves are used to wrap things. Food can be eaten from them wrapped picnic style and carried to the field in a cloth sack.

On the right was a group of houses with people out in front raking cotton. Each house had a garden in which I saw chard, lettuce, cukes, beans and squash, spinach, radishes.  The houses are modest and close together.

It appeared that all members of the family worked the cotton at every place.

And Vicki confirmed that this province is known for its agriculture having at one time provided the entire food supply for China. Now, only 7% of the land here is used for farming and this area is predominantly cotton.Some areas have wheat and orchards and other ground crops.

We are unsure whether we will  be able to get inside one of the houses so I asked if we could approach. Vicki asked me to pick out a house, and I did.  She knocked on the door and asked the lady of the house if we could come in and see her house. She felt honored to meet big nosed people for the first time.

We walked past her garden and there was a pig sty in front of her house. Super clean, no unpleasant odor.

She agreed to allow us to have our picture taken with her. With Vicki as our interpreter, we learned that she has two grown sons, one is working at the dam as a silt catcher, the other is an architect in Beijing.She farms with her husband who was out in the field.

She showed us her kitchen which only had room for two people, really, with a column rigged with a huge gas wok.  A shelf held a few implements. No table, nor chairs to sit and eat that I could see. I took the picture surreptitiously because Vicki couldn’t fit in the room with us and I didn’t know how to ask.

The same for the bedroom, a double bed that stretched from wall to wall. Very small areas in which you could barely turn around. When we stepped back outside, Vicki said the woman was apologizing for her housekeeping, though the place was very clean.

She looked at me oddly when I took a picture of her broom. They all use these straw brooms they make themselves. Bathrooms are communal outdoor pit toilets.

We asked Vicki if we could offer her money as a  thank you for her hospitality. Vicki said yes and we did and she wouldn’t take it and kept refusing until Vicki insisted she  take it. She was lovely, and positive and everyone enjoyed the visit through Michal and I. But, if the reverse happened, could you see an American family inviting a tour bus load of strangers off the street into your yard, and even two people into your  house?  The others stood around and watched and got to peek in through the door. All the neighbors were watching us.

On the way out, the fellow who had been in the barber chair was finished with his hair cut. I asked him if I could take his picture. Then I showed it to him. The fellow standing behind watching is the store proprietor and not to be outdone, he whipped out his cell phone and asked me if he could take MY picture, then showed the picture to me. I felt like and idiot, the ugly American. I didn’t even own a cell phone at the time.

We loaded back into the bus. We see motors like this everywhere.

People here seem happy and content. They have a great community life, everyone knows everyone else in the neighborhood. Life is simple and good on the farm.

These people are obviously taking their cotton to market, but we also saw hot peppers and loads of pigs going to market.

We continued our long bus ride. Vicki pointed out many farms with ponds and a shack where the farmer sleeps at night when his fish get big enough to eat. He protects his fish so no one will steal them. They raise mostly cod and eels. Raising fish for sale is quite  profitable as is the lotus roots they harvest from the same ponds in the winter. In summer they grow a seed used in tea. It is very bitter-tasting but the locals like it.

In New China, under Mau, the farmers suffered the highest taxes. They were made to take risky ventures. He asked them to make iron. They couldn’t market it and transport it to the cities and their efforts failed. They weren’t skilled and didn’t strengthen it properly and it was weak steel. When the people in the provinces claimed the Yangtze was dirty and making people sick. Mau demonstrated how wrong they were by having a newspaper reporter take his picture swimming in the river, instead of taking steps to clean it up. He raised his Red Guard from high schools and elementary schools because anyone who didn’t join was subtly punished. The people were offered rewards, things they desperately needed, to encourage their children to become part of the Red Guards, or join themselves. He instructed the people to capture “useless” song birds to eat when they were hungry. He sent out plans for cages and the people practically decimated the song bird populations for a tiny bit of protein, on his instructions. That is why Chinese people value song birds in cages, explained Vicki.  They are very rare in China now.

We arrive in Wuhan City, population, 8 million.  More tomorrow.


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Long Beach, Washington claims to be the longest beach in the world. Looking at Chile, one has to wonder, but who cares?

One thing about this beach, as far as you can see in either direction, the only “development”  is this dual set of condos, nice!

It was sweater and jacket weather, yet some brave souls got  right in and played in  the water.

The Chamber of Commerce hires a horse and wagon to haul people from sale to sale since most places hosting a sale lack ample  parking.

At this place cell phone chargers and cell phones?  There must have been 300 of them. Two brand new phones in boxes for $5 each. We looked but they aren’t old enough for us. We want to buy an older type phone that has an external port to plug in an amplifier, just to have a spare. Invaluable for our needs on the road.

This woman told me she caught a fish 5 feet 1 inch long. It happened 20 years ago, but she can still thrill to her one great catch.

Long Beach has a number of nicely painted murals around town. This sign gave me a chuckle.

A portion of the rest of the mural.

Cranberries, another local industry, working hard in this mural.

Town was full of people having fun. Renting tricycles and quadricycles  that hold the whole family of four plus a baby, and pedaling around town. There are amusement rides and pee wee golf; shopping, good eats, frisbee and kite flying on the beach. We curled in during the cold morning and  finished books we were reading.  Decent weather lured us back to town and we weren’t disappointed. Didn’t find that cast iron pan, but it was fun looking. Found a 50 cent video and took it home to watch after dinner.

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