Answers to 4 Questions

woman thinking

Would you like to speak and listen more deeply?  This PhotoPin gal seems to be right on task.  Perhaps she is pondering these questions:

l) Where was I inspired today by someone or something?  That’s easy: by reading Christopher Fulton’s  new book, “The Inheritance,” his story about being caught up in the JFK Assassination conspiracy.  It is not easy reading.  Like many a mystery. it wasn’t who I thought was behind the plotting and killing of the Kennedy brothers.

2) Where today was I surprised?  A few years ago, Bender & Associates presented soil compaction seminars across the nation and into Canada.  Today, I came across a huge photo album I’d put together documenting the many training courses.  The memories came flooding back.  I was so delighted and surprised to discover that I had taken the time and made the effort.  A photo album is so worth the while!

3) Today, where do I find myself being challenged and stretched to grow?  As soon as I finish writing this essay, I’ll be attempting to use a new and different newsletter template.  This is difficult because as I write paragraphs disappear, pages, too.  Where do they hide?  One needs detective skills for those answers.

4) Where today was I troubled or deeply moved by something that came into my life?  No answer to this question; however, the day has just begun.  Perhaps the answer will appear during a gathering of ladies at a luncheon given by Leesa at her “Party House” at Deep Lake.

Life is a mystery.  I am glad every day I have one to live.

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Where Can You Park that RV?

california traffic

RV’s are multiplying in numbers just like these cars pictured above.  Camp grounds, even national ones like Death Valley, require advance registrations. Parking in your relative’s drive way or in front of their house may require a parking permit.

There remain a few places where drivers can safely stop to park en route to their destination: highway rest stops or Wal-Mart’s which post “no overnight camping” signs, or, on Bureau of Natural Resources lands such as Quartzsite.

Quartzsite BLM Land
Drive right into desert beauty. Not far from Los Angeles or the Salt and Sea in Arizona.

Your favorite camp site may now have rules.  In the Tonto area near the heavily trafficked Apache Junction, now you need to purchase ahead of time a Tonto Pass, then, make a call to the campground to register for an additional fee.  If you haven’t purchased an advance Tonto Pass, the vigilant park policeman will stop by to hand you a hefty fine.

In the Phoenix area, if an RV has a mechanical or appliance problem, we found that the typical rv dealerships are booked out several weeks.  A happy option is to head to the Apache Junction area near the Superstition Mountains.  That area has attracted over thirty roving rv mechanics who have fully-stocked vehicles and ready to come to your aid immediately.

In the Quartzsite, the latest addition for rv’s is the opening of an entire service center.  You can drive to it and add water ($2 for small rigs and $5 for large), use their dump stations and buy propane, both essentials for dry camping.

On our trip to and from Arizona through California, Oregon, and WA. State, finding propane was difficult.  It seems stations which used to sell both fuel and propane fuel rarely have it anymore and  it can only to be purchased at a gas headquarters such as Amer-Gas.

Winter storms this year did mean empty camp ground spaces, no fires burning during a windy, snowy season.  Near Heart’s Castle the normally filled grounds had plenty of scenic spots open.  One brave woman stood in the rain washing her hair over a large dish pan; the cold wind and rain no problem.

Although going to a favorite camp grounds miles away is becoming more difficult than it used to be, the good news is that dry camping areas remain plentiful, scenic, safe and free of charge.

Energy to De-Clutter

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I’m been a winter visitor.  I’ve come home just as spring  peeks around the corner.  Just like Rip Van Winkle awakening,  I can now see my home with new eyes.

What a jolt.  To go traveling, I’ve left behind stark reminders of things that need to be cleaned, pruned or removed: books, videos, clothes, canning jars, freezer food.

This journey, along with its new sights and experiences, has some how given me the pent-up energy to take action . . . to actually implement and do positive things to improve those sad conditions.

Time has been a different friend.  On this varied, long trip, like a gentle companion, it’s shown the good effects a slower pace of life can bring.  Others may choose to sit on a beach, hike in the wild, or take a long cruise to experience this same value of time.

The earth is slowing awakening.  It’ll soon be time to be outside raking and gardening.  Meanwhile, there’s no time to waste.  Today’s indoor task: tackle pruning books and videos, a sad, almost unbearable thing for a writer to do.

 

 

Travel Food Discoveries – Yum Yum

jeffrey Schrock Bread Box Chewelah 2018

When I travel, one of my biggest joys is experiencing local foods and beverages. I didn’t have to go to far to spot this chef and his incredible pastry at the Colville Farmer’s Market.

However, in San Luis Obispo there’s a different kind of Farmer’s Market.  The whole town turns out main street on a Thursday evening to eat foods offered by local cafes and other businesses.  Produce, too.  Strawberries, big as a Man’s big toe, so vibrant red in color, and, sweeter than those from my garden.

A crew from a crepe cafe make me a whole plate of stuffed strawberry crepes.  Twin twelve-year-old grand daughters stood by my side watching a staff member drizzle caramel, chocolate and whipped cream over the top.  “Let me carry it to the curb for you,”  they gleefully shouted, as they took the plate and rushed over to sit on a curb and begin digging in.  It was a sight to behold – two lovely girls enjoying my crepe during a crisp, dark night among a throng of passersby.

They tagged along.  They’d already chosen their dinners.  They wanted to keep the caramel apples I’d already given them to eat at home.  The Granny Smith apple selections of several choices of tempting toppings were so many that I came back another day to head back to the main store to enjoy the eye-candy feast all over again.

In Apache Junction, AZ., the produce market on the main street of town, fortunately was still in business.  I remembered their produce from years ago when we spent winters in the area working on our mining claim in the Superstition Mountains.  It was better than ever this winter.  I still can see the pint of raspberries I brought for 99 cents, the ears of corn for l0 cents each, the bright green huge bunch of brocolli for 99 cents, the bags of about 15 navel oranges for $2.50, l0 lbs russet potatoes, 99 cents.

In the Apache Junction area there were several cowboy bars with small bands playing classic country music and serving up barbeque steaks and ribs.  At Filley’s, where many patrons would arrive by horseback, they served plates of either six or twelve  chicken wings so big in size one wondered what kind of chickens could produce wings that huge.

Our first experience at a Black Bear Restaurant was in Glendale, AZ. when several  Iowa friends who met there because Barry and Marileen Farmer, who live in the area, were so fond of it .We learned quickly that you should place one order for two and still take home some.  We choice chicken fried steak, three eggs, pancakes and hash browns. Returning home from the south back to Washington State we enjoyed two more Black Bears.  Their menu is news print format with two columns of towns to show where they’re located.

The sight of a huge lobster tail on sale during the Christmas season at Fry’s Grocery in Apache Junction in a seafood display made my mouth water.  This store if so large in scale that there are six aisles of water, plus a staff member who will escort you to the meat or liquor area so you won’t get lost.  The lobster was eight inches long and two inches wide, and 3/4 inch thick, selling for $9.99.

In a world of restaurants now selling miniature tails for at least $20, I regret now  I didn’t buy one.

Back in Washington State, in the Tacoma area, Suzi ordered take out from Thai Chili for the new parents of her first grandson, Jonaton.  Each of us chose one of these main dishes, so perfect in their tall white containers: cashew chicken, chicken with peanut sauce, spring rolls, etc.

At the Rainer Winery, the owner sat down to talk about one of his unique wines, not the strawberry or raspberry, but his Tiquila wine.  “People like to make bloody Marry or Mimosas with it,” he said.  “I’m holding out for a big beer company to buy the recipe so I can retire.”

On Wednesdays, in Apache Junction, we often went to the Village Inn.  There we would order the breakfast special of 3 eggs, 3 sausage patties, pancakes, hash browns for $4.99, split the order.  Because it was a Wednesday, a free piece of one of their delicious pies was included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I View A Booming Economy

california trafficMy recent travels through Arizona, California and Oregon show an economy that’s sizzling.  There appear to be more jobs than people to fill them.  Hiring signs are seen everywhere  in fields, on trucks, as well as on buildings.

Highways and bridges are under construction.  More cars and vehicles than ever are on congested California and Denver streets and highways.  In San Jose, the new practice is for a business to buy a big bus to transport employees to a work place.  Said one local, “It takes at least 50 cars off a freeway.”

The truth is seen through my eyes as a former journalist.  It’s the best way to discern the truth instead of today’s sloppy media reporting.  Said one savvy space employee,  “I get my U.S. news in Australia where it is reliable.”

During my travels, the chance to discuss the truth of our economy easily takes place.  It is one freedom that is not lost among citizens who don’t repeat controversial threads  the media continues to throw out.

Although my joy of seeing a prospering economy is apparent, I also see homeless carts tied to street lamps and remains of what was once a tent city.

Most evident is the rise of recreational vehicles in 55 plus gated parks and vying for a place in a national park.

(This is my photo of a California freeway during the least traveled time of day:. . 1 p.m.)

 

Favorite Western Movies

Spirit of West Museum.jpg
Inter-active display at the Spirit of the West Museum where a docent takes your photo with your camera.   Visitors usually get positioned better with the horse than we did.

I write westerns.  I adore watching them.  This fondness for movies set in the U.S. West led me on a grand adventure in downtown Scottsdale, AZ. in the arts and culture area.

John Charlie LeSueur, a Western film critic who is a professor of film, was touting a big event about the American West in film and television: John Ford and his Western Movies at the Spirit of the West Museum.

I missed that lecture, “In Search of a Perfect Top Ten Western Film List,”..  but, I was intrigued enough by an advertisement for it to travel miles off my path to see it.

Its exterior took my breath away.  The two-story building is a few years old, has won many awards, and has a rough but giant view.  Even the concrete sidewalk had swirls and patterns.   I couldn’t wait to see the exhibits.  When I did, I thought, “Whoever put these excellent displays of Western artifacts together should receive awards, too?”  Each featured the best of the best, from saddles to guns to clothing.

In the museum the day I visited, I was treated to a collection of Charlie Russell’s art of some of the women he’d painted.  A few years ago, I lived and worked in Great Falls and owned a quaint Victorian white house just up the street on N.  4th Ave. from his home and museum and am very fond of his work.

I was excited.  Being here was going to be as much fun as discovering which films the audience had chosen.

Would the list include The Wild Bunch, The Searchers, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid?  Had they seen film clips of Rancho Notorious, an unusual western with Marlene Dietrich?

Was James Mitchner’s Centennial TV series mentioned?  I, for one, will never forget the figure of this big German standing in an open prairie shouting to the world, “I know what I’ll do here – I’ll plant potatoes – I’ll be Potatoes Brumbra.”  The series was shot years ago \, the scenery and lighting are faded and are not up to today’s techniques, but the vast feeling of the West and the strength of its expansion from the trappers to the development of a city come through as a brave endeavor.

I am sorry I wasn’t at Charlie’s lecture to see if McCabe and Miss Miller, High Noon, or, one of today’s hits like Missing made the list the crowd chose.   I asked one of hospitable docents if LeSeure had given them such a list – but, he hadn’t. and, I couldn’t find one on his web site.

From beginning to end, the museum was exquisite.   I wish I could live just down the block from it, too, just like I once had the good fortune to live so close to Charlie Russell.

 

 

Men Have One Weakness

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Thousands of years ago, power was mainly won by physical violence and maintained with brute strength.

A king or emperor had to be merciless and most men followed the king’s example. What was a woman to do?  Under the way the world worked, she had no weapon that would make a man do what she wanted.

However, she learned that if she could lure a man away from war, politics or the other things he might be interested in doing, and that IF she could get him to spend time in her feminine world, she could entice him with pleasure.

King David, Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony all became slaves of clever women like Bathsheba, Helen of Troy, Cleopatra. They dazzled with their appearances and teased a man’s imagination.

A woman worked on his mind by keeping him wanting more of her elevated moods, her playful emotions.  She planned and created enchantment.  She got inside their world, saw it with their eyes, learned what made them think.

She knew that men are vulnerable to visual –  and women to words.  Women have the power to draw people to us with our character- and the ability to stir the emotions.

Chiefly, that men always had one weakness – sex.

So, with this premise, I wrote Casanova Cowboy not only to tell a story but to show what each woman needed from him and what he in turn wanted from her.  As the author, it was  fascinating way to study the power of seduction in action.

Happy Valentine Day.  Do you have the same confidence as Josephine or Cleopatra or the Casanova Cowboy?