Posts Tagged With: gifts



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It was a surprise party held at the Office of Emergency Services hall at Santa Rita Prison.  People crowded around the door waiting for former Sheriff Plummer to enter the building. Charlie holds “office” hours every Wednesday so it was easy to surprise  him. He was stunned and temporarily at a loss for words.

DSC08306 (Copy) Once he arrived, everyone began finding old friends they hadn’t seen in years. I saw so many faces I recognized, but often the names wouldn’t come to mind, so I decided to print none.  I’m going to let you guess who is who. You can always call Cynthia Crawford at the department for the answers.

DSC08308 (Copy)The place was mobbed and it was so much fun catching up on old friends, even if I didn’t always know who I was talking to-at first. The way it worked,  we had about an hour to mingle and chat.

DSC08313 (Copy)There were many hugs and a constant buzz of happy voices.  Some were group hugs.

DSC08404 (Copy)Several officers took time off work to attend.

DSC08389 (Copy)I think everyone made it in time for the food.

DSC08329 (Copy)It was like a family reunion with stories and memories flowing.

DSC08319 (Copy)After all the camaraderie, we sat down to enjoy the food. I attempted to get a picture of each guest while they were still.

DSC08393 (Copy)These women put out the word, collected the money and greeted everyone who came. Events like this don’t just happen as we all know.

DSC08369 (Copy)I’ve worked enough affairs like these to know that it takes many volunteer hands in the kitchen to feed 100 or more people, too.

DSC08396 (Copy)As one of many attendees, I don’t know who planned and organized it. But our current Sheriff, Greg Ahern, presented Charlie with gifts from the group and I expect he was the ring leader.

DSC08397 (Copy)When Charlie got up to speak, that strong, commanding voice was still there, with a few cantankerous fighting words to keep us all laughing. An unforgettable character, his peers all over the state and the people who worked for him, hold him in high esteem. His accomplishments during his triple careers in law enforcement are innumerable. I came unprepared to re-hash his career. Let me just understate-that the man of the hour was a major force in Alameda County during challenging times. He left an indelible mark.

To see  the rest of the pictures I took click on the link below:



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A Great Alternative For Christmas Gift Giving…

Mary is no longer available for RV traveling, but we remain good friends.
I’ve invited her to continue posting entries on this blog.


The motorhome is parked at Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort in Palm Desert, California. I’m scheduled to depart here December 16th.

For several years now, I no longer give gifts to my family for Christmas. Instead, I make a generous donation to our veterans, given in our family name.




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Help America’s Struggling Veterans with a Year-End Gift

Now begins the VFW’s most important fundraising campaign of the year. Your generous support is a great way to help America’s veterans of every generation.


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Important Dates:

Dec. 7, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dec. 15, Bill of Rights Day

Dec. 25, Christmas Day

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It will make you feel good!!!!



Yesterday was a partly sunny day at 73 degrees.  Forecast for today is partly sunny and 72 degrees.

The red dot on the below map shows my approximate location in the State of California. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…



united-states-mapPalm Desert


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures with low humidity most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein





My current travel rig is a 2006 Fleetwood 26′ Class A Motorhome and a towed 1986 Ford Bronco II, Eddie Bauer Model. This photo was taken in the desert at Slab City near Niland, California…


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you would like to see my YouTube videos, click this link…

There are more than 500 photo albums in my Picasa Web Albums File. To gain access, you simply have to click this link…

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

For more information about my books, click this link:

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2015

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Two nights ago, I awoke to a star filled sky, the milky way clearly in view with a small moon and the fresh night air. I walked out on my deck and drank it in. Then I saw a shooting star and thought about a star dying and remembered that a friend gave me a packet of star dust. And, I treasure that gift that he worked so hard to extract from a fallen star. I began to think of gifts I treasure.

Friendships and family are always high on my list, and friends are a gift to be sure.

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Imagine having your family members sitting on your table, each and every one a  gourd. It gives me joy every time I look at them.  They were painted by my daughter-in-law Laurie.

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My friend Kendra came Sunday and brought a quilt of her’s that I admired. I quilted with her for the year it took her to make it and asked her for the pattern, called jewel box. She couldn’t find the pattern so we plotted the pattern from her quilt, measuring and gageing the somewhat complicated construction to produce strings of “jeweled” squares on point. I treasure time spent with her and it pleases me that little scraps of rescued material can turn into make something bigger and beautiful, and useful, too.

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Another gift I treasure is this crystal bottle with a silver lid filled with the sand, given to me by my neighbor Jan Stewart,  upon my husband’s death. An ode to time and assurance that I would find myself and be grounded again some day without him.

There are other gifts, polished glass my grandsons brought to me from glass beach.  A batik stamp my daughter brought me from another part of the world. I treasure her letters and writings from Egypt. Greeting cards from both my son’s and things they made for me over the years. A kaleidoscope necklace from my oldest daughter but more than that, her unique ability in rescuing others, people and animals.

I spent two days weeding in the yard to the sound of chirping birds, the smell’s emanating from the soil and the sun beating down on my head. Heaven.

It kind of amazes me when I think about the things I treasure. Most of them have no great value. See what a few moments in starlight  can trigger? The poets call it magic. But, I can hear “corny” emanating from my machine.


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After a gorgeous sunrise in Superior…one of the loveliest things about living on the road, we see the sun go down each night and the sun rise each morning. We left Superior, WI about nine, crossed this unique curving bridge into the State of Minnesota right at Duluth, and parked practically in an alley in Grand Rapids, MN.  In fact, we are parked between signs, one reads, No Overnight Parking and another Overnight Parking Violators will be towed at owners expense.  We actually got permission from a bank manager to park here in our constant hunt for free parking.  Thank you Wells Fargo.

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We are parked in “Old Town” Grand Rapids. Old fashioned light posts, beautifully festooned with flower baskets so full I could reach then with my nose,though petunias are not particularly fragrant. To the left of this photo is an open lot with a farmers market just closing up as I started my walk about town. I bought delicious cherry tomatoes of every color. My goal was to visit Central School on the corner of 169 South and 2 West. We are beelining for Washington State and sticking tight to Highway 2.

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Central School is on the National Register of Historical Places. The wooden central stairway and hardwood floors, are a thing of beauty. Four classrooms upstairs, four downstairs and a basement that once held offices and a cafeteria. The building now rents to shopkeepers, with a bakery, a quilt shop, antiques, quality wood work and jewelry and unique gifts. A lovely stop.

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No matter how many times I see this sign, it brings me a chuckle. The other one I like is: “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” I guess you can tell I’m a quilter.

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I’d never seen this pattern before. It is called stepping stones. ABC’s of Quilting carries some neat quilt kits along with the usual fabrics and quilting supplies.

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The owner of Whispering Woods Gallery displays the work of many artists. These lovely items above are placed on a basswood plinth. He makes furniture, beds, desks, benches and uses various woods including basswood, which is unfamiliar to me.

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He demonstrated the cambium layer of bark of the basswood tree because it is known for its strength. He uses it for bucket handles, it can provide rope for a bunk bed, or braided   hanging ornaments or lamps. The wood is soft like pine but very strong.

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I loved that you can stop here for a game of checkers, another little area is set aside with floor pillows and a children’s reading library. Too fun.  You can sit and enjoy a treat from the bakery. Gifts, antiques, old and new items. A lot to offer.

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I left the school and directly across the side street was a line-up of nice shops, Hopperton’s Moccasins and gifts. Nice stuff.

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MacRostie Art Center where Ashley Kolka was in the process of setting up a new exhibit.

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Fine arts, sculpture, jewelry, fine paintings, multiple medas.  this chair is exquisite with a price tag to match at $6,000.

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Next door, a clothing store with wearable art, bags, shoes, scarves.

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At Stained Glass With Class, I asked, “Are you the glass man?”  George Berkholz answered: look at my hands, I’m always full of cuts.  You really can’t tell, they are more like scratches. He and his wife Lisa work the shop and also host classes. I watched him work for awhile. He cuts glass so fast you can’t get the action with the camera.

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He makes some unusual items.

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Nice Shop, friendly people.

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The Yarn Gallery was my favorite stop, well, a toss up with the wood gallery. The yarns are varied and pretty amazing, but I loved, loved, loved the yarn chair.

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I’m goofy about art chairs. I don’t know quite how or why I’ve come across a bunch of objects turned art with yarn. My photos include a yarn bus, a cab, a bench I think an elephant or a giraffe. Too fun! For a quick stop, this was a nice area of Grand Rapids to be in.

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My friend Marll is selling her house in Forest Meadows and came to check on progress. She spent the night in her “former” home and really missed being in the foothills. She waxed poetic about musical events at Bryce Station Winery, the food the fun, the mountain air she misses.

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Twice this trip home I’ve stopped to chat with sisters Pam and Delores, and the winery barrel garden was in full bloom.

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One trip home to Murphys I did make one of the events, and the caterer they use is the best I’ve tasted at any of the wine events. Well, some are more fancy than this couple who barbeque and hand you an ample plate of delicious food. I’ll take the casual anytime, but I don’t know their names. You just have to go.

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Of course, barrel gardens take a lot of water, everyday, sometimes twice a day in this weather.

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Luscious. The winery is owned by Delores and Stewart Mast, terrific people. And, just across the driveway is Quyle Kiln

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Delores and Pam’s parents  have made high quality dinnerware here since about 1926.  Pam is the potter and she features 28 others displaying wares and giving classes in her pottery. The winery and pottery make a great mix. Don’t miss it if you travel between Murphys and Arnold on Highway 4. It is located just below Forest Meadows. Great wine, flowers, events with music, wine and good food, and a gift of beautiful pottery if you are so inclined.


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This is jokingly called a coonass microwave. Inside is a hog being roasted for a wedding shower at the VFW Post 9822  where we stayed at Duson for a week. They rent out their hall for receptions, weddings and other special events. I spotted it  mid-morning before going out for the Jam on Saturday.

Commander and the bride's grandfather.

Folks at the post invited us to attend a wedding shower, but we  returned to the motor home figuring a wedding shower is a personal event and I was about to fix dinner when Richard, on the right,  came knocking at our door and insisted we should join the festivities. It was late and most of the afternoon guests had left by then, so we walked over and joined them.groom and bridebeing silly

Here then is the groom and bride to be.  The young people were having fun.

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I asked one of the bridesmaids-to-be if this was a tradition.  “Well, yeah”, she said as she smiled and crossed her eyes.

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Happiness was evident everywhere.

clowning around just for fun.

A frame is set up and a table with costumes is available for everyone to play with.

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Mother of the groom was up and tapping her feet,  and half dancing while visiting with family members.

A great feed for all.

After we ate a marvelous meal with asparagus, dirty rice, green salad with pecans, scalloped potatoes, the roasted pork and more, the pans were just about empty.

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Beautiful cakes for dessert with fresh flowers. It resembled a wedding, rather than a shower. A long table spread with gifts and all the elements of a wedding except for the preacher. Wow!

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I didn’t get any names, well, I got them all but don’t remember. The guy on the right is from California and he enjoyed talking to someone who knew California. His dad was in the Contra Costa Co. Sheriff’s department so we had a lot in common. He loves Louisiana, but misses his old stomping grounds. Camping at Big Trees, skiing at Kirkwood, and Bear Valley, fishing at New Mellones.

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Richard is the grandfather of the bride-to-be.

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It was a lot of fun and just another feature of the friendliness of people in Louisiana. (Me, dancing with the commander.) All about us was the message “HAPPILY EVER AFTER.”  To every bride and groom I impart the same wish:  “May you have as much happiness in your marriage as I did in mine.”

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As I leave the Motor Home of Fun, I can only say, “I wonder what’s around the bend?”

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