Posts Tagged With: dogs

CATCH-UP BLOG.


Life has taken 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 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.

 

 

 

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JAIPUR-PINK CITY, AMBER FORT-PALACE

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We fly to Jaipur and eat lunch at a barbecue restaurant before checking into our hotel. The waiters bring skewer after skewer of chicken, fish, beef and lamb to cook at special tables. It seems disconcerting to eat meat without the rice and vegetables we would normally put on our plate at the same time. dsc09677-copy

We eventually get to many wonderful buffet items and enjoy a sumptuous feast. They had great clay pots of lamb, beef, or chicken dahl along with the usual Indian specialties.

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In the morning, Theo and I are scheduled for a Balloon ride, (optional event), but it is canceled because it is very hazy and visibility is poor. Instead,  our bus takes us through this 300 year old city, the first planned city in India. Our city guide, Vinot tells us Jaipur has wide boulevard Streets, with shopping squares. It is the 10th largest city in India and has a modern metro where certain cars are reserved for women only. Special seats in every car are reserved for women.

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The loads and the streets are just as busy, but the streets are well paved and cleaner it seems to me. The city was planned by a Hindu Maharajah and the color pink was chosen for all major buildings. Jai means victory.

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On the opposite side of the boulevard-elephants in the midst of traffic. They banned elephant traffic in Dehli, but here no one regards it as unusual except tourists.

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Jaipur is host to an elephant festival every year. Vitor tells us that today is an auspicious day for Hindo weddings and that about 10,000 weddings will take place this week in India because of the positive astrological forecasts.

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All are painted it seems. Pink toenails on this one.

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The glare from the window is fearsome but his elephant blanket was so colorful I couldn’t resist. He is preparing to go to his wedding.

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This drover looks as though he carries his bed with him.

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On the outskirts of town is a walled citadel, the Amber Fort-Palace.  We load into jeeps to drive us up a winding road as high as we can go.

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Paul is too tall to fit in the back with the rest of us so he gets a front seat.

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From the open back, I catch my first site of sacred cows since arriving in Jaipur. Ranvir has suggested that to keep people from starving, the cows were religion-ized to prevent the people from killing them all. They can use the milk, of great value as a high protein food, and the cows, in theory anyway, feed themselves.

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The parking lot is steep and Ranvir warned that we would be walking up, up, an up to view the aspects of the Maharaja’s walled fortress that kept his enemies away. It was never besieged and conquered. Theo is not feeling well and decides to stay and sleep in the jeep.

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The place is so vast, it can hold an army in the square to fend off enemies.

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And, those armies, must be fed. At one level looking out, the wall is visible going up over the mountain. It is said to be the second greatest wall next to the Great Wall of China. The well is a lake with floating platforms to grow food augmented by the surrounding forest and wild life.

 

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Some are stairs and some are walkways. As we move from level to level we come to the Ganesh Pol, built in 1640 to honor the God Ganesha.

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This is the gate to Ganesh Pol, with beautiful frescoes and carved marble and sandstone walls.

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A fresco of Lord Ganesha at the base of this arch. The colors are still vibrant because most were made from natural pigments.

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A ceiling fresco.

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Every spot has some sort of decoration.

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Where outdoor light didn’t penetrate, the walls were decorated with reflective pieces of mirrored glass to enhance the candle light.

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Doors are shaped to the architects’ design of the building.

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This is one half of the lock, demonstrated by Vinot,  that could repel any attack.

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Sandstone pillars, if repeatedly polished with a soft cloth, get a sheen and a hard surface that resembles marble. Only a Maharaja could afford that kind of labor.dsc09759-copy

Another set of beautiful arches.

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Formal gardens have replaced the playground of the Maharaja’s concubines. He had many wives and concubines plus he supported their servants. He most likely had no relations with most of them since they were accepted for political alliances. Other kings would be glad to send him their daughters for their care and protection. This large area was where the women visited and played games and entertained themselves under the watchful eyes of eunuchs.

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Kathy had her picture taken with these Muslim men, I think because she is blonde and they wanted the picture? And, I asked for my picture after she stepped away. Anyway, aren’t they a handsome bunch?

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The sparkling mirrored walls do not reveal their true beauty to a camera. dsc09780-copy

A flowered marble slab has two distinct black spots that are holes through which someone could peek, if I’m remembering correctly.

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The walls are decorated lavishly and permanently. The rooms are sparse without furniture except for a bed and maybe a luxurious set of curtains or a bath.

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Gigantic kettles were used by the eunuchs to cook meals.

 

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At the highest point we look down, then turn to retrace our many steps.

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In the parking area, we find the monkeys playing cars.

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From the lot, we can look over the edge at part of the walled city below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HIKING-ANGELS CREEK TRAIL.

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From Highway 49, Glory Hole Recreation District at New Mellones, a free hike was advertised for New Years Day, rain or shine. You can see people warmly dressed as we strangers met at the entrance station and introduced ourselves.

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Dogs are allowed on the trails. We met two bikers and we saw evidence of horses using the trails. Walkers are asked to give way to horses, but we didn’t meet any.

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Ranger Josh, guided the group and pointed out the growth patterns of this type of forest and explained in some detail the various flora and fauna.img_0455-copy

At the beginning of the Angels Creek Trail, the forest has a mixture of digger pines, black oak, live oak and thick underbrush.  Ranger Josh admitted the underbrush is a fire hazard with chemise and buck brush.

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I was impressed by the girth of this giant manzanita specimen and the lichens and bright, green moss growing on it. Ranger Josh noted that the east side of the hills get most of the water. He told us that manzanita burns very hot and can burn up your stove, actually melt it if you use enough of it.

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Angels Creek is low, in tune with the current drought situation. The trail is a 2.5 mile hike.

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I looked at just about every mushroom, hoping to find a “buckskin”. (Not it’s scientific name.) The old Italians knew their mushrooms and would pick up large delicious mushrooms under manzanita habitat. I didn’t find a one. Deer feed on these, as do various insects.

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I didn’t get many pictures of the hikers. Strung out in a line, it is hard to capture everyone. The trail is narrow in most places. Looking back and forth I believe we had about 30 people on the hike. The Calaveras side of the Recreation Area has seven trails of different lengths and are rated easy, moderate, challenging and so on. This trail is moderate.

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When guided, Ranger Josh makes many stops and he even played a couple games with us. He formed us into a walking caterpillar, eyes closed, to just walk and tune your ears, nose and senses to the trail. If you are a lone hiker, you get the sense of quiet that being in a natural forest gives you.

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The sun didn’t come out during our 3 hour hike. This tree, etched against the overcast made a nice contrast, with the west side of the hill in the distance showing meadows; more barren than the brushy east hillside.

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At the end of the trail was a pretty view of the lake with an island showing that isn’t visible when the water level is normal. Drought conditions persist here in California though the recent rains are encouraging. The Calaveras side has seven trails and the  Tuolumne County, Tuttletown Recreation area also has seven trails.  Senior Citizens, with their pass can enter the hiking trails free at anytime of year. For most, there is a day use charge.

This was my first excursion with a new social singles group  and I got to meet the seven people at the end of the hike. Cindy is the key organizer and can be reached at this phone number if you are interested in joining. I didn’t ask permission to print her phone number, (no addresses are given), but her number was published in the newspaper ad for this hike, so here goes. 209-559-8517. The only qualification, you must be 50 or older. We picked up two new members at this event.

 

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REMOTE LIVING.

DSC08271 (Copy)A long time friend, Pam Munn came to stay with me for a couple weeks. We’ve been visiting old haunts in Calaveras County where she spent most of her life. We stopped in for a visit with her brother-in-law, Ken Munn and her nephew, John. Ken’s dog is so protective that she couldn’t get close enough to hug him.DSC08275 (Copy)Ken is a character, and at 84 years old, hasn’t lost his sense of humor and likes to “pull your leg.”

DSC08277 (Copy)He likes to get out and water the plants in the morning. We enjoyed a day of balmy, beautiful weather. His place is remote and blessed with starry nights and peace and quiet. I discovered his place can grow olives, lemons, & cherries with no fear of deep frosts. The Elevation is equal with Mokelumne Hill.

DSC08278 (Copy)This is Roady, so named by ranchers who use the road. He hogs the road in the shade to soak up the warmth from the asphalt yet remain out of the sun. He moves slowly from obvious arthritis when you get him to move. Just another character revered by the neighbors.

DSC08279 (Copy)Colorful entrances beckon and guard. Beauty in an area so remote that few people get to see them.

DSC08280 (Copy)A colorful old barn with a stone foundation still in use. Makes me want to get out the paint brush and easel.

DSC08287 (Copy)Two flanking cupids guard the entrance to this ranch.

DSC08290 (Copy)Also repeated in an out building.

DSC08289 (Copy)I love the gnarled old tree giving shade. They belong together like old friends.

DSC08292 (Copy)No need for a locked mailbox in this country.

Ken’s friend Betty stopped to visit and suggested we go to the Peach Festival in Copperopolis. We didn’t see a sign and couldn’t find it, so we drove around Lake Tulloch and made our way back to Murphys. It has been years since I’ve been in “Copper”. I’m stuck at home with six more weeks of therapy, but guests get you out of your rut to places and things you’ve never seen. What a fun day.

 

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THE JUNK DRAWER.

Everyone admits to having a junk drawer. A place to store something of a temporary nature, or something you don’t want to toss, but what good is it to keep? It ends up in the junk drawer. I have too many junk drawers.

DSC07722 (Copy)My daughter-in-law came for the weekend since “the guys” meaning my sons, and old high school friends have this big mega bash every year over super bowl weekend. They play poker, drink a lot of beer, golf on Sunday morning…well you get the picture. So Laurie and I poked around my junk drawers for stuff for a project she is working on. The picture was taken after we reduced the quantity of junk in the drawers by half.

DSC07723 (Copy)It was really nice because I cleaned out a large bag of crochet yarn that I’ll never use.  I took out most of my button collection;  It filled three large cigar boxes. Ribbons and badges from Community Club events will hopefully find a home in the local museum. Much of it represented past volunteer activities and some travel items like the museum patches above. Whoever heard of such obscure museums as the National Skating Museum?  The Cartoon Art Museum. I’ve been to an Eye Glass museum, a Bait Museum, a Knife Museum, a Funeral Museum, Bead Museums…   On the road with Jim, I (we)  visited every museum that came to our attention, no matter the subject or size. I wonder sometimes,  how many I’ve visited?

DSC07724 (Copy)Among the buttons were whirley-gigs  I made when two young nieces and a nephew came to visit for a week one summer. I also taught them to play Hide The Button.

DSC07726 (Copy)My mother visited Pope John Paul II when he visited San Francisco so many years ago. I have her holy cards, relics and a purported piece of the crucifixion cross; a metal from every California Mission she visited and more. My intention was to make a collage with her things. I’m  inspired anew.

I couldn’t hold in two hands the number of metal pins I saved with messages such as:  Our Owner’s Gay, from Chatom Vineyards. Elect Jeffrey’s for Sheriff; Warning: I go from 0 to Bitch in 3.5 seonds; USA Olympics, 2002; Chocolate Makes the World Go Round. TV4UBYU and so on. Useless.  Junk. For the Junk drawer.

DSC07719 (Copy)Laurie and I enjoyed the process. I got my fix of “fur” for a couple of days. Koko sat on my lap for a bit while we watched three episodes of Home Fires on DVD. We cooked and ate well, too. Idiotically, I didn’t take a picture of Laurie, just Koko and Bix.

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MURPHYS MUSIC IN THE PARK.

I guess you can say Murphys is a tourist destination. It is an attractive place to visit. The first thing I loved about Murphys when I moved here in 1978 was the creek running through town.

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I used to swim in the creek with the other “kids”. Now the park is filled to the brim  all summer long with activities, including this venue of Music In The Park. Local caterers prepare dinner you can buy or bring your own along with your ice chest. Or buy wine, beer, tea, coffee and sodas.  My neighbor asked me to come with her, but I had much to do and arrived very late.

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I met some old friends in the park, but didn’t feel up to dancing so I relaxed and listened to the music. The other side of the creek has room for people along the bank. Not everyone likes the full, crowded areas of the park. Nice to have a choice.

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Dogs have to be on a leash and often get invited by their owner’s to swim. This one took a long, cool drink before heading back to its master.

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My friend, Jan’s,  great-granddaughter was hoping to catch the ball in a game the kids were playing.

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She caught it and took careful aim at the next person. Ava had been in and out of the water for half the day. We didn’t take her home until she turned blue.

I remember those days on the shores of Lake Michigan when I was a kid. Coming in with lips of blue, chilled to the bone, but happy as a clam.

Murphys really is a special place. A lovely way to cool off on a hot day.

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