Posts Tagged With: children



My last two blogs about Anacortes had photos of Bill Mitchell’s murals. That’s him in a photo I dragged off a website. His vision has certainly affected the town positively in multiple ways.  You can read all about Mitchell at the link below.

And the next link is of a couple who took pictures of some of Bills Murals and they met Bill and got some history about each one. Terrific job.

I took about 40 photos but some I like better than others. It is hard to choose a favorite.

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Dennis is in front of the Post Office. Cute as can be.  I suspect he may have been a post master here or worked for the P.O. long ago. Mitchell likes history and does quite a bit of it in his work. He has over 150 murals in town.

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Chuck Peterson was a Ferry Skipper then suffered a head injury. He retired to just be Chuck.  I’d like to meet him. Doesn’t he look like a fun guy?

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And, equally fun, this gal. I’d like to meet her, too. She reminds me of my sister. I have a picture of her sitting on my dining room table telling fortunes at a family wedding after party.

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This dude loves his car. Me too!

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Obviously a fisherman.

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This is Steve Rydeburg, a “dirty” hippie, cleaned up. Used to have the best parties. I like his politics, the peace symbol he wears around his neck.

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Jim  is a unique character. I told him to pose for a Bill Mitchell picture. This is what he looks like.

I wanted to load my album, but we are over our byte alotment, so it will have to wait until I can get a free signal somewhere. Maybe the library tomorrow.






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Meet Rock Panera, a security professional, who teaches simple moves that women and children can execute in their own defense. I took this class just before we moved from Birch Bay, yesterday. We are now in La Conner, Washington, sitting though a heavy rain this morning with a very weak signal.

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Here he demonstrates what to do when an assailant comes from behind you and pins your arms. You are not helpless. You have many options. You can go half limp and your body weight means the assailant has to hold you up, giving you a chance to break free and run. Or you can stomp on his foot and make it hurt. Keep moving, keep elbowing and punching.

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But, the best way, is to wrench yourself to the side which makes one of his arms extend and puts him off-balance and giving you, or even a young child, the chance to put an elbow to his crotch, break the hold and run, run, run.

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If an assailant tries to grab your clothes and pull you toward him, or pin you to a wall, you grab his clothes and keep your arms extended if you can and he will have less control. If you are holding his clothes whatever he does to you, he is doing to himself. But the end game is to break that hold, the minute he takes a hand off of you, bash him, with your head, knee to the groin, stomp a foot and run. Always run, as fast as you can.

Assailants look for women with long hair, because it is the easiest way to control a woman. If you are grabbed by the hair, you lace your fingers together and put your hands on top of his and press down and flail your elbows until he has to change his position. Then bolt. Always, attempt to break his hold and run.

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This little guy wrenched away from his mother and elbowed her where it hurt.

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He put the kids through the moves and it was amazing how they responded. I thought this class was a worthwhile reminder of how to be pro-active should you ever, by whatever circumstance, be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He put me in a choke hold from the front. Instead of trying to pry his hands away, he instructed me to reach out and clap his ears hard with both hands. I couldn’t reach his ears. His second was to dig fingers into nose and eyes, or to use the heel of your hand and strike his nose, hard. It can actually be a death-dealing blow and doesn’t take a great deal of strength.

In today’s violent world, unless you are trained or a karate expert, you won’t be likely to execute or even remember some fancy move, nor have a chance in a fight. It is best to defend yourself by getting away from your assailant and run and scream.

I agree. Both of my daughters were accosted as young women, and I was put at risk several times as a child and talked my way out of a rape by two men when I was 17.  Luckily we got away unharmed. You are never too old to be a victim. I was glad I went to the class, because sometimes we need a reminder.

Rock emphasized that none of these break control and run plans may work if a knife or a gun is involved. But, each individual must make that instant decision based on the perceived danger of their situation.


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We are up early, April 22nd, in a darkened hotel lobby for a put together small breakfast. We fly to Izmir, the second largest port city in Turkey, next to Istanbul. Our bus driver is waiting for us and carries  us  overland through various cities and small villages. We stop in Karacaagac to meet a family that is expecting us for lunch.

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Our bus lets us off and we get to walk through town to see what a small town is like here. DSC04834 (Copy)

The mosque minaret towers over the village.meeting the mayor of Bragi

Our first stop is the mayor’s office. He has been mayor here for 15 years, elected by his fellow citizens, he gets paid a small stipend, but his main occupation is his farm. Like just about everyone in the village he is first a farmer. He has been asked to move to a larger village that needs a full-time Mayor, but he prefers to stay here where he feels needed and where he knows everyone and they know him.

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We crowd into his office and are encouraged to ask him any question. We learn that Turkey has universal health care. Doctors do their internships in small villages, they are required to serve so that all villages have medical care. The population here is only about 800 families. He and his assistant, on a part-time basis take care of any problems. They have sewer, street lighting, garbage service, municipal water that comes under the Mayor’s responsibilities and is paid from taxes given back to them by the government.  Farmers have their own wells for their crops. They have one person who acts as a policeman, but they have no crime. People here work and go to school and go to mosque. Young people are leaving the villages for big city life after they go to college. It is a problem.

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Pictures on the Mayor’s wall depict the town’s accomplishments. He has one assistant. She acts as secretary, handles the office when he is gone and she served us apple tea.

refrigerated morgue truck

We resume our walk. This refrigerated wagon is plugged in and serves as their morgue. Moslems bury their dead very quickly and are not embalmed. They are buried facing Mecca and carry no worldly goods to the grave. Their simple wood coffins are returned for recycling for the next to die.

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Most of the buildings are blocks, basalt, or clay bricks. In the bus we saw many lhouses and apartment buildings with solar water on the roof. Here in this tiny village, a house with a solar water heater. Amazing.

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Tractors rumble through town.

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We see a family sitting outside having lunch and Usla asks them can we see what they are eating? (This is Usla’s photo.)

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They are eating tomatos and peppers in olive oil, olives, egg, with home-made bread, cheese and the bottles hold pickled nettles. The little glasses are what everywhere in turkey people use to serve the apple tea. Or sage tea in some places.

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The young farmer invites us to taste, to help ourselves from his table.

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His sister does not cover her hair and she stares very curiously at our motley crew.

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His mother eats with him and they watch as we literally mob the table, tasting everything with our fingers.

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The food was fresh and delicious. All homegrown. This is Usla’s photo of us surrounding the table. Can you imagine anyone from the United States, pulling up to your house and being invited to partake of a lunch on the porch or anywhere? It amazes me. Later curious neighbor’s stopped by to see what we were doing.

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We resumed our walk and peeked into this small cafe where school boys were having a sweet drink and talking to the girls.DSC04863 (Copy)

The girls were a bit shy. No scarves.

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They were cooking what looked like a fried cheese and egg sandwich.

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Joan has this talent for instant repoire with anyone and asked the ladies to have her picture taken with them. She was watching them work with drying rosemary.

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In a flash, the whole gang poses for a picture. Everywhere we have traveled thus far, the Turkish people are super friendly, hospitable, helpful and curious about us. It’s a great feeling.

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Usla stops some kids on their way home for lunch. They are in costume, this is not how they normally dress for school.

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This man is shaving in front of a small mirror outside his house. I ask him if I can take a picture and he smiles and nods, yes. He probably thinks I’m a bit crazy. You can double click these pictures to enlarge them if you want to. Then back arrow to the blog.DSC04894 (Copy)

We finally reach our destination for our home hosted lunch. Above, everyone is having desert.DSC04881 (Copy)

Our meal served from the their finest china, flour soup, a tomato, chicken, lemon broth. Quite tasty.

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Dolmas.  Usla says the word means dumpling or stuffed. Stuffed grape leaves, salad, bread with seasoned olive oil to dip it in, yoghurt, salad, olives, condiments…

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…and the main course, potatoes, these great big peas, and a savory chicken and rice dish. I can truthfully say, for all of the sumptuous meals we ate in Turkey, this was the freshest, best food we tasted. We always buy small, sweet peas?  Unhah!  These were better. I don’t know what they do other than grow everything themselves with traditional seeds handed down from generation to generation.

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Gina went in the house to use the bathroom and came out with baggy pants on. She stands next to our hostess and her helper is the blonde woman seated with her daughter in front. DSC04886 (Copy)

The mother peeks out of the door, shyly. I coax her into joining us.

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And her mother is coaxed out to join us. Later the man of the house stopped to visit from the fields. Farmers choose what they grow besides their “house” garden. They sell their produce together from a co-op.

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They watch American television and named their favorite shows and asked us what our favorite shows might be?  One host likes Survivor. I don’t remember the others since I don’t watch television except for PBS. And our hosts daughter was having her picture taken, imitating sexy models from television. Oh, my.

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Our next stop was the school.  The children were rehearsing for a program they’ll perform for their National Holiday, which was the next day. These three kids had speaking parts.

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There was music and dancing and marching. The kids were very excited and curious to have an audience. DSC04910 (Copy)

The older girls and boys were very curious about Owen the minute the rehersal was over. OAT always stops at a school, but most students visit Turkey during the summer. It is unusual to have a student on the tour.

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Usla interpreted for them. It was fun and one of the things I most like about traveling with OAT.

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We left the wonderful village of Karacaagac with warm feelings and bused overland to our hotel in Kusadasi, the Kismet, which sits above the harbor where we enjoyed dinner overlooking the Aegean Sea.





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When Main St. Murphys sports a shamrock and the yellow line turns green, (magically, doncha know), it is nearing St. Patrick’s Day.

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Leprechauns dancing in the street with fairies, mind you. You’ve never seen anything like it.

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In a heavy Irish brogue this tall fellow told me my picture wouldn’t turn out because you cannot photograph leprechauns. I think that was the old photo development style. He doesn’t know about digital. Aha! The joke is on him.

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They come in all shapes and sizes and it is the only time of year you can catch a glimpse of the wiley creatures.

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The street was jammed with thousands of people. Judging from the cars parked and the loaded shuttle buses that ferried people from Kautz Winery, where there is ample parking.  I’d guesstimate 15,000 people came to visit.

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The bagpiper band marched and played their special kind of music.

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I know of The Daughters of The American Revolution. I didn’t know there was a Sons Of the American Revolution. In each case, they are people who are direct descendants of men and women who served in the American Revolutionary War. They have to be able to give proof to join.

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Kids love a parade.

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And what would a parade be without them.

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I’m not sure how dogs feel about a parade. But there were plenty of them and they don’t seem to mind. Many people bring their dogs with them when they travel. Years ago, dogs would snap and tangle and challenge. Now, they are so socialized, I didn’t hear a-one bark or snap or seem uncomfortable. The Humane Society has done a marvelous job of training people how to handle animals, and temporizing their more aggressive behaviors.

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A group of skaters surprised me by executing dance steps and interesting moves in a community where sidewalks are not all that common.

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Here you are more likely to see horses and they are nice to see close up for people who don’t often get the chance. The kids love them. This young lady won Rodeo queen, a position she holds for a year.

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Of course, you don’t have to be queen of anything to enter yourself and your horse in the parade.

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Miss Calaveras and her princesses hung out the windows of a fire truck, which was unique.

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The food choices on the street grab you with their smells. Kettlecorn, and sausages get the juices rumbling but we ended up having corned beef sandwiches at the Native Sons of the Golden West, another great organization in town. It was so crowded I couldn’t get near the Irish Soda Bread from St. Patricks Catholic Church Ladies Guild. It is wonderful.

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I always meet people I know at the Hall and I like to support them. The sandwiches were delicious, along with potato salad, a pickle and real horseradish to clear the sinuses.

I took a lot of pictures if you are interested, double click on the picture and you can view a slideshow. (And please ignore that I misspelled Irish and Murphys when I uploaded my file.)

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Having children discovering the magical myths of Christmas makes it special. These cards show the joy that children bring to the season.


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What I was most struck with as I rummaged through my card collection, is the absence of people of color. Jesus was a Jew in an Arabic nation. Probably brown-skinned. Yet he is always portrayed with white skin and blue eyes.

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The second thing that struck me is almost all cards depict snow. It is tough to find a Christmas card outdoor scene without snow.

And, this unusual 1945 card shows the other side of Christmas, those less fortunate, cold and forlorn during this munificent celebration.

Generous people, be reminded of your food bank donations, or service club jacket, blanket or toy collections. Most of us with computers have all we need. Did I read that seven homeless people died in San Francisco because of this cold snap?

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It gets dark so early, the sky was already delivering a peachy sunset as I drove to town to attend a fundraising dinner for Ugandan Children with Aids.

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I arrived early and the drum circle was practicing rhythms on some beautiful African Drums.

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Three area churches joined in this humanitarian effort to raise money for aids afflicted children, most of them in orphanages, having lost their parents to aids. People lined up for a buffet dinner.

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The authentic East African dinner was bunyaro beef and onion stew, braised chicken with curry and coconut milk, chorako sauce made with mung beans and peppers, and stewed spicey greens with tomatoes and onions.  The food was delicious and they had extra spice for those of us who like it that way. Dessert of coconut cookies and peach pudding with pomegranate berries. It was served on bamboo plates with a wooden fork and spoon. (Plastic is so unrecyclable.) Wine went with the dinner, donated by local wineries. Lovely.

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I knew Tami Chestnut and her sister Teddi and husband, Joe Jackson, and the girls’ mother, Melva Anderson, would be there.  They were so busy I didn’t get a picture, but I was surprised at how many old friends I met. Joanne and Bob Reagan, above, I know through Community Club, and CCTV, just two organizations they  volunteer for.

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Dianne and Fred Kett, old friends from American Field Service. Our kids went to High School together. Dianne and Fred had a student from Columbia at the same time as my student from Indonesia.DSC01937 (Copy)

Carol and Nancy Burton, also AFSers.

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I don’t know the woman on the left, but she was with two good friends, Christyne Mollet and Pastor Jo Siders. Jo and I promised to meet for coffee, soon.

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After the dinner, Pastor Hollenbach  (we’ve never met and I don’t know that I have the name right) had the drummers pass out drums through the crowd so we could participate in an interactive drum circle. Hollenbach, I heard, did missionary work  in Africa.

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Here, my friend, Nancy Stehura, who I met in an Investors Club I once belonged to, gets a chance to play one of the beautiful drums.

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The drums are interesting because they come in many different sizes and shapes. They’re made from an exotic wood we don’t normally see. Each size and shape produces a unique sound.

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Not only drums, but sticks, marimba and maracas were passed around.  Here, Amanda, who I met for the first time, has a go at the sticks. She was my dinner partner.DSC01950 (Copy)

The pastor taught some African phrases in a song. Everyone seemed to enjoy it as did my friends Dave and Pastor Meg Self. I didn’t get to talk to them, just a wave from across the room. Dave in the red jacket, Meg in the blue dress. Meg was my Vice President when we both served on the board of the East Calaveras Democrats Club. Dave served on the board at one time as well. Murphys is a very friendly community and volunteerism in our county is huge. A big part of why I love Murphys.

There was also a silent auction, with items donated. One necklace exactly matched a bracelet I was wearing. It seemed a shame to have them separated, so I donated my bracelet to the cause. It was a fun night and I very much enjoyed running into old friends, most of whom I hadn’t seen in several years.


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