Posts Tagged With: jewelry


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Things we can do without, for starters, is a broken septic system pipe at my rental. The pipe originally installed 35 years ago, was not the proper type of pipe or it most likely wouldn’t have leaked. The slope is narrow and difficult to work with heavy equipment. The shovel holds the back wheels off the ground so the bucket has balance on this upslope.

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What appeared to be a seven-foot area of pipe to remove turned out to be 60 feet of pipe instead, plus the loss of three trees.

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The guys take a break, my brother Clark’s father-in-law to be, left, my son Doug behind him and Clark. Without my family I wouldn’t be able to afford this rental. They give me the reduced “family price”.

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I spent most of the day in Angels Camp on errands. I’m still having neck pain and I have a therapeutic massage once a week. Each time I think is the last one.  Then to the eye doctor to pick up my glasses. I love his clever sign.

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To the jewelry store to have my rings cleaned. They sell ceramic fish for a charity and I always like to find a right facing fish. My friend Dave Wilson has a theory that all fish sculptures are done facing left.  He is almost correct. Right facing fish are rare.  It is silly, but I find it fun to give him a poke.

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I came home to a limping wild turkey next to my driveway. In fact the turkeys were feeding on the green vegetation at the leak. My renter noticed and contacted me or I wouldn’t have noticed it. I suspect this bird will be coyote or cougar lunch within a couple of days.

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I got home by 3:00 to meet my friend, Sharon. She brought a bottle of wine and told me she went to lunch with a friend and when they got out of the restaurant, her friend’s car was missing. They called the Sheriff and reported the brand new Jeep Cherokee, stolen. Later that evening, she let me know that Wendy’s husband came for the car, couldn’t find her, and drove the car home. We laughed, and the reason he did it was reasonable in the end, but it was not funny at the time. Today, the plumber comes to put a new valve in my gas heater.  Why does this stuff happen at Christmas time? Maybe we all get a little nuts around the holidays.



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Look what fudge built?  This is Mackinaw City which sits next to the Mackinac  Bridge leading to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The town is busy, touristy and obviously a favorite place for vacationers. We found a spot to park the Motor Home and wandered through the Michilimackinac State Park which sits under and on both sides of the bridge. DSC08323 (Copy)

The mainland Fort Michilimackinac  wasn’t military, it was more of a trading post and kept the peace between the English, French and Natives. At one point the Natives took control of the Fort on nearby Machinac  Island,  which was a Military Fort and saw two battles during the Revolutionary War. Mackinac Island was known as the “Great Turtle” by the local Ojibwa Indians who for many years were called Chippewa Indians. I was born in the Upper Peninsula and my genealogy has us related to the Huron or Ojibwa Native Americans, I’ve forgotten which.  Both were prominent in this area. To read more about  Fort Michilmackinac, click the following link:

The visitor center’s great choice of books on the area tribes. culture, the history of the Mackinac straits, the fur trade, Native Americans, its prominent people and industry is sure to spark your interest.

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Two beautiful paintings hang in the center, above and below:

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Crossing the bridge was a real thrill for me. People from the Upper Peninsula are referred to as Yoopers and those below the bridge are called Trolls, a sparring tease between the two sections of the state. My folks were quite political and fought for a bridge, but there was no bridge until after we moved to California. It opened in 1957.  The common complaint of Yoopers, no money was spent on their roads, or schools. In fact, not even a Jr. College was available to Yoopers when I left in 1954.  It was good to see how much things had changed. Our friend, Susie Lambart told us about her first crossing of the 5 mile  bridge, with the longest suspension between anchorages in the western hemisphere. She was on a motorcycle with Art trying to impress him with her courage though she was scared silly as clouds obscured their vision, the wind was making the bridge sway and the railing was looking too close. At one point they had to pull over and don rain gear. (The bridge has a sway factor of 35 feet.) Fifteen years later, the wind tossed a car over the rails and its occupants were killed. Now they close the bridge when the bridge swings in high wind. She shudders to this day when she remembers that windy trip.

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Of course, you can get across the Straits of Mackinac, or to Macknac island in a “rooster tail.” The harbor is full of high speed boats, and slower ferries that take tourists to Mackinac Island, which is why people flock here and to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula side.

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St. Ignace is the opposite of Mackinaw City. Quiet, laid back, with plenty of boats, lake fish and hotels, just friendlier and prettier, in my opinion. These pictures deserve a double click to make them larger. We chose not to take the trip to the Island. No cars are allowed. An exciting  horse and buggy cab will take you to town. Or rent a bike or walk the mile into town from the landing. It is worth a trip ($23 per person on the ferry) to see  the fantastic and well preserved Victorian Grand Hotel. I visited in 1974. The view from Fort Mackinac is stupendous. My oldest brother worked at the Grand Hotel  one summer doing dishes at age 15 where he found out his favorite food is roast duckling a la orange.  (He lied his age to get the job.)  For more on Mackinac Island click the following link:

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St. Ignace’s visitor center has a brown bear skin, smaller than one I hung on my wall for many years; it was killed by my youngest brother, Clark, at age 18. (In California.)

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In fact, my father had a hunting lodge on our property for two or three years when we lived in Hardwood, MI. I don’t know why I never took a decent picture of my brother’s trophy, so I made sure and got a good one of this pelt.

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Left of the tee pee, St.Ignace Mission, is on the State Registry of Historic Buildings. The Mission was  run by Father Marquette. He had a high opinion of the local natives and they apparently cared deeply for him. He died away from St. Ignace and two years later they brought his body to be buried at the St. Ignace Mission Cemetery.  He was only 38 years old.

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Father Marquette’s grave marker in the beautiful grounds and garden at the mission.

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A fountain and a statue of Father Marquette is in the park. They have a parking area for visitors here though we parked at the Chamber of Commerce right next door.

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A Huron Long House, a ceremonial building, is falling apart.The Ojibwa Museum is inside of the Mission building and for the price of a donation, you can see it.

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The Chippewa are now called Ojibwa. A video showed Ojibwa making a birch bark canoe. I was stunned at the roll of birch bark in this photo. You would never find a birch tree with that girth today. One single  long piece of birch bark was used to make this canoe. What a marvelous craft with rudimentary tools and materials. A fascinating video shows the intricate steps in making a birch bark canoe by modern tribesmen who have better tools.

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The Ojibwa had fine features, almost Eurasian. They were not tall people.

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I admired the shells on this model’s clothing and the beautiful bleached white, soft deer hide.

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The Ojibwa were very clever artisans with feathers of all types when birds were plentiful.

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The museum is small and cramped, but the gift shop carries only native made items, jewelry, paintings, and leather goods, knick-knacks, etc. Nice that NOTHING is made in China. At our VFW stay in Indian River, the vets complained that the American flags they put on veterans graves come from China. They can’t buy them American made. DSC08393 (Copy)

We went to Bessie’s Pasty Place and enjoyed an iconic Yooper Cornish meat pie. Delish, but not as good as mom made. (It could have used a bit more meat.) Steve, at the VFW told us there’s are home-made and better tasting, except they were temporarily out.   In our family, pasty was made in a huge casserole and left on the counter to cool. We ate it after midnight mass during Christmas. The pasty would be at perfect temperature.

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We’re camped at the VFW, next to Bessies and also next to a cedar, spruce, pine and wild rose, forest, perfuming the air. Ahhh. Heavenly remembered smells.

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The Navajo Museum at Red Rock Park is an absolute must to visit if you are in the area. There is no charge for this excellent museum. I took pictures of over 30 murals; they have great western art, wonderful pottery, old photographs. and a well done history of the Navajo.

One fascinating aspect of their culture is the sand paintings.  The one above was made to help heal someone “agitated” by a rattlesnake. The sand painting is made on the ground and the afflicted person lies on the sand while he is prayed over. When he stands up, grains of sand stick to him and the remaining sand is removed to a sacred place.

Making a sand painting is a tedious business, and the “paintings” are beautiful and precise.  Many framed and glued examples of sand paintings are here for you to see.  Fascinating.

I loved this photograph of the gnarled old grandmother’s hand with her sweet grandbaby’s innocent face. I took photos of photos from this museum and the Gallup Cultural Museum in downtown and I’m unsure what pictures came from which museum.

This ceremonial dance, the bent over form, the walking sticks can also be seen depicted in the murals.  This dance can be seen by the public when  Native Americans have a ceremonial day. Many of these dances are private and are not available to the public.

Excellent needle work.

Beautiful pottery with distinctive designs. With the crudest of tools, they made designs of great intricacy.  Young Navajo study the old designs to try and keep the patterns alive.

I took 34 photos of outdoor and indoor murals at this museum if you’d like to see them click the link:
Our next stop was the Code Talkers museum situated in a Christian School. This was more an honorarium for the 30 Code Talkers that had attended this school from Gallup.

And, the story is a fascinating one.  Speaking Navajo for communicating during battles turned out to be successful and essential. The Japanese could not break the code and it helped  turn the tide of many battles because communications were quick and decisive. A communication that would have taken more than an hour to get through without detection, could be radioed openly in Navajo in a few minutes.

Just how essential they were is stated by Major Howard Connor.

This tiny museum brushed briefly on their training. They needed to use vocabulary that was not in the Navajo language. It was rigorous training and memorization to coordinate a code talker on the battlefield. The code talker had to speak fluent English to apply.

While the little museum supplied pictures for us, the Gallup Cultural Center had an amazing  film on the Code Talkers. On the battlefield they were so important, they were surrounded by guards so they would be protected from friendly and enemy fire. Some soldiers could not tell a Navajo from a Japanese. During transportation, they were given births on the train, they got special quarters and the best food. They were given respect. Something some of them experienced for the first time. It changed the path of the Navajo Nation. Code talkers returned to their land with a newly awakened purpose. They knew they had to become political, businessmen, teachers and assimilate into the culture to make headway in America and still be able to keep their native practices.

I thought this cartoon was worth seeing.

The beautiful old Rex Hotel in downtown Gallup is listed on the historic register. The building is in great shape and holds the Historical Society Museum. Local people donate their precious belongings for their own museum, school yearbooks, grandma’s washing machine, old tools and so on.  We like to go even though we see a lot of the same things over and again. We like to look for that jewel you may never find anywhere else.

What’s so charming about local museums is that everyone in town knows who Martha Zollinger’s mom is. They are, as this one was, overstuffed, personal and quaint; run by volunteers.

And, I found this jewel of an old stamp machine with envious prices for stamps.

And clip-on-your-shoes, sidewalk skates. I got my first pair when we moved to a city with sidewalks. They kept falling off and caused me  many skinned knees.

Gallup’s Cultural Center is in a beautiful old train station. A sweet cafe  reminiscent  of the cafe in pictures of   the station in its heyday.  It has a bit of everything. A masters and dreamers gallery. Historic pictures of all walks of life in the Gallup Community from Route 66, to coal mining, to Native American life.  But, the code talkers film is a do-not-miss.



Three paintings from the Gallery of Dreams, budding young artists.

A painting from the children’s gallery.

And work from the Masters Gallery.

I got my art fix. Then we went on to visit the famous El Rancho Hotel. Famous because of the many movies made here.  The stars put up at the best hotel in town. The El Rancho.

The building is still in use as a hotel. It is beautiful from the outside.

I’ve seen rustic wood buildings before. This one is fancier wood plank rustic.  Interesting doors.

The lobby was heated by a fireplace, no longer used.  People’s fascination of the place is more about the movie star pictures lining the upstairs balcony that over looks the lobby.

Lucy  and Desi.

Errol Flynn


Kirk Douglas

Paulette Goddard.

The pictures are a really fun cruise. I didn’t grow up with movies and I’m not gaga about movie stars, but they evoked old familiar movies I liked and faces we don’t see anymore.  In fact, the doors to the rooms in the hotel have a movie stars name above them.

We visited several jewelry stores because I wanted to find something from the Zuni tribe.   Their craft is declining as the old Zuni jewelry makers die and the younger people aren’t as interested in their art.  And, believe it or not, I took this photo of a photo in a jewelry store.  The little girl’s jewelry is Navajo.

It was a great museum, jewelry, history, art crawl and a full day. Later, I’ll blog some of the Navajo rugs and other pictures from this very full day.

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Huge rock faces surround you in this beautiful campground at Red Rock Park. Located on Navajo land, it was once a state park and is now run by the city of Gallup.

The park’s most famous feature is Church Rock, clearly visible from the park and the road as you drive to Gallup on Route 66/interstate 40.

We drove around the park to admire its grandeur. This edifice demarcates the Rodeo grounds.

The world championship roping  competition is held here in June with rodeo events every weekend in June and and on into July.

Smaller rock faces, and the huge bluffs, all red, are beautiful. On our drive in, we noticed the unusual topography nearby. Once unhooked,  we jumped in the Bronco and  back tracked about a mile or two to take pictures of the roadside cliffs and bluffs.

What formations and colors. It put me in mind of ice cream.

Layers of creamy white.

Rocky spires.

The formations  make up a relatively small area, but well worth the drive to see them.

We drove on into old town Gallup to look around. Gallup is credited with having the most number of old Route 66 buildings and signs still intact within 10 miles on either side of the city and in town as well.

In the old days, crossing Indian lands through  New Mexico brought you to a string of Trading Posts. There are over 100 of them left in New Mexico, one called the Outlaws dating from 1883 right here in the park. And several in town and nearby Gallup. This turquoise covered cattle skull was in Richardsons, one of the posts well know for turquoise jewelry.

The Navajo are famous for their jewelry. This piece was about the size of half a dinner plate. We don’t know what it would be used for.

The one piece I thought I’d buy was this beautiful squash blossom necklace. I thought it was the most beautiful piece in the store. The clerk took it out of the case and said you have good taste. I tried it on and fell in love. The price?  $150,000.  It is Navajo made and old. The piece under it, with the smaller pieces is Zuni. The Navajo are famous for their large pieces, the Zuni for their fine, small work.  We didn’t stay long. Richardsons Trading Post was overpriced. We found nice stuff, cheaper on the back streets, but nothing like that wonderful antique squash blossom (drool) necklace.

I took a picture of this boot for my daughter, Stanne since she collects shoes.

To see the rest of my pictures, click the link.


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Every year at Christmas time, the Calaveras County Arts Council encourages artists to provide affordable works of art. The Arts Council Gallery is located on Main St. in San Andreas and I’ve peeked inside to give you an idea of what is available.

Here find a variety of ceramics, vases, teapots, mugs, planters, a painted wall hanging and whimsical decorations.

Affordably priced, something original and exciting, makes for a great gift.

You will find all manner of paintings, large and small. Much to choose from and this is just one wall.


Original cards and jewelry.

The gallery is open all year long.  Throughout the year, the staff hangs special exhibits featuring various talents. Their gallery/office hours are 9-4 Mon. through Fri. Sat. 11-3.
The arts are alive and well in Calaveras with musical events, shows, dinners and seasonal programming. For instance, right now tickets are available for a Christmas special, The Nutcracker. Tickets can be ordered by phone. 209-754-1774.  Visit their website at:  /
for more information. A strong arts community is a healthy community.

Two large paintings by Giles, normally sell in the $1,700 range. They are affordably priced at $700 each during the Christmas Boutique. Not exactly affordable for most people, but certainly a bargain for this artist.

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