You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Monday, July 30, 2012

My blog for 7/230/2012 The Random Access Mind

Thoughts from the random-access mind.

On my walk this morning at 6:30, I pass by the horses who live across the street.  Their corral has about 200 feet of road/driveway frontage.  It’s filled with a workout arena, a barn, decomposed granite dirt, some scrubby sage and cactus chaparral and white board fences. Two sorrels and a bay appear to ignore me way off on the other side of their roaming acreage.  I’m silent in my tennis shoes, but a gelding whose tail is to me, suddenly pops his head up from his ground search for goodies and turns to look at me.  I know that horses’ eyes are placed on the sides of their heads, and know they can see almost to their tails while facing front, but I didn’t know their vision was so adept as to see me across an acre of land.  If I don’t learn anything else today, I finally learned that.  It only took me all my lifetime so far.  The apple tree in back is still making fruit, bless its heart.  Mostly apples fall on the ground and make the rabbits happy.  We’ve eaten them until we’re loaded for the year.  I might pick some apples to take to the horses tomorrow, even though their owner is paranoid about anybody even talking to her horses.  I guess she's worried people will cause them to wander to the dark side.  I wonder if I could go to jail for feeding a horse an apple.  She’s the kind of person I really don’t care if I offend.

I notice the other side of the driveway/road, which has about 500 feet of frontage and is an award winning winery orchard.  Rows of grapevines are almost full in season.  All at once half the orchard has white netting draped over the rows.  I don’t know if this is to keep the birds off the fruit, or to keep the sun from damaging the crop.  And why only half the crop?  Maybe different grapes.  I’ll ask somebody if I get a chance.

I’m currently sending what we call Query Letters to publishers to seat Chattahoochee Dead, my new book.  This is a tedious process as each publisher requires different information in addition to the manuscript.  I’ve sent it to three publishers, have heard back from none of them, which is routine.  Each will take a minimum of eight weeks to respond IF they like the book.  If they don’t like it, I simply will never hear from them again.  So I intend to send it to several more publishers, but I get depressed and have to split up the organizational time as I find it disheartening.  Ergo, I paint.

Since painting for me is such a goofy process, I think I’m going to put this new one in my blog as I paint it.  I hope nobody thinks less of me for it, because I don’t sit down and whip out a painting one time through.  It remains a process of becoming until one day I pronounce it finished and simply quit working on it.  Until then it gets pretty ugly sometimes (usually) before it starts resembling a snapshot of life.  In actuality, I think it goes from abstract to impressionistic.  I usually stop there.  Sometimes try for really fine art and usually disappoint myself when I do that.  But my point is, the beginnings of my pictures nowhere near resemble the finished products.  At one time this was very upsetting for me, not knowing this is how my brain has to do it.  I’d get part way into a painting and couldn’t find the picture in there anywhere.  Very frustrating.  But I learned to persevere and the picture would show up eventually.   So now I just keep painting, no matter what it looks like and eventually, there it comes.  I'll post this tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Blog for 7/25/2012 Skit Night -- Chapter Four

Or you could show how you REALLY felt by acting it out.  Five acting troupes made haste toward the costume tent,

 wrote their scripts and presented each to the cousin gallery one night.  The campfire wranglers lay out their bedrolls and snoozed around their fire until invaded by a tiny commodity scooching in beside her brother.  I don't recall the titles of all of the skits, but three-year old Kaitlin showed up for acts one, two, three, and four.  She rolled right in next to her brother in the campfire skit, waved her arms with the big girls in skit three, her appointed role—even had a speaking line.  She blazed through skit two, gawking at the wild boys, and simply stared at the old people's "Jack McCall's at the Sisters' Saloon" or some such name.
Cousin Kaitlin was very popular that night, and insinuated herself into all of the skits, with great aplomb.  After all, she was dressed the role of prairie child, so why not flaunt it?  Get some use of all that prairie costume and makeup.

When she wasn't being the Prima Donna, she took time to hug a llama.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My blog for 7/24/2012 HOTSPOTS AROUND CAMP TOWN

We had to watch out in case this guy came into town.

Free booze (orange juice dispensed freely)  No wonder town hasn't been tamed yet.

Cook Shack for this town of 47 pioneers.

Food settler
The Watering Hole

Monday, July 23, 2012

My blog for 7/23/2012 MoneyBug Night Chapter Three

MoneyBug Night

And it came to pass that the only cousin who got the DNA gene to find the moneybug in the middle of the night is cousin Christopher.  So, armed with his trusty broom for bashing the bug and his flashlight for gathering money after the bug was bashed, Chris led the hoard of wranglers down the trail into the wilderness on their dark search.  Every hand clutched a bag or two for the spoils.

It happened after nine o'clock one night when Chris knew the bug was in the area, by pure instinct.  All the lights were vanquished, there was no moon.  Fearless and peerless, the explorers trudged through the night, all around the grounds of Cuzin Camp.  Out past the sleeping tents, beyond the furthest cabin they strode with nary a light.  Past the costume tent, around the cookhouse, through the shadowed path of the pool they crept in silence, all ears perked in anticipation of a notification from Chris the bug had been discovered.

Then, all at once it happened and Chris went crazy whacking into the night, yelling he'd caught it.  With every smack of that broom, money flew everywhere.  Kids hollered, ran amuck, diving for the money from the moneybug.  Finally flashlights came up, reflecting silver and copper and paper that had been stored inside the greedy bug.  After all the money possible to find there in the dirt of the prairie, the search began anew.  Chris had a hunch that bug wasn't entirely empty yet.

Out into the prairie again, out beyond the meadow, under the pin oaks and olive trees they snuck, nobody saying a thing.  It was a long way, and dispositions were stretched taut.  When they lit on a grassy knoll beside the trampoline, Mr. Moneybug was found one more time and Chris wailed on him like there would be no tomorrow.  Again the broom flew in the air, smacking the resistance on the ground to give up the loot. Again silver twinkled in the air on its way to oblivion/or a child's hands, whichever came first.  Flashlights beamed, copper gleamed, quarters flew, and all was gathered into the sacks of treasure.  Screams of glee and excitement could be heard from as far away as three counties in the darkness.

They carried their gold back to the saloon, where everybody counted the loot.

Then it was time for poker.

Last I heard, cousin Stacy had slickered her cousins out of their life savings.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My blog for 7/22/2012 Fright Night Chapter Two

This is the traditional cousin camp night where everybody gathers at the end of one day to walk about a half-mile in the dark with flashlights over the neighboring hillside to the old cemetery for Descanso.  It seems that the older boys don't like to do this because they've 'already been there.'  Right.
About thirty of us started off about eight o'clock in at night, on an old roadbed over a gravelly hillside of meadows and olive trees, eucalyptus trees and sagebrush.  First we had to go through a barbed-wire fence, which was kind of daunting for us older people who kept getting stuck on the barbs, but the kids held the wires apart so we wouldn't have to live there forever.

We proceeded very slowly so nobody would trip in the darkness, until we got to the cemetery proper, which holds about 100 people.  Now Cousin Jill, prepared beforehand, said a person's name who was buried there, and everybody scurried about with their flashlights to find that particular person's headstone.  When the headstone was found, the finder received a one-dollar prize, then Jill told everybody about the person in the grave—like the dates they arrived in Descanso, why they came and where they came from, whatever other information she was able to find out about these pioneers.  Then she said another name and everybody scrambled around to find that headstone as well.  She did this about eight times which cost her eight dollars.  The last two people had been killed, one by the other, so the ghost stories started and anybody who wanted to tell a frightening story could do so on the way back in the dark and through the fences.

As we looked up into the creepy trees we found a body hanging, swinging back and forth on his rope.  It was a dummy that the big boys managed to hang in the tree to entertain us on our way back.  That's when a small hand slipped into mine.  Three-year-old cousin Joshua told me quietly..."I'm scared."  Then the "body" dropped out of the tree on to the ground and his head rolled off, so I could show Joshua the body wasn't real and had been put there just to scare us.   Then we found rocks with blood on them that Joshua was concerned about.  But cousin Suzanna tasted the "blood" and announced it was fake so the little kids wouldn't have to worry.

We got back to camp about nine thirty, just in time for the campfire cousin Christopher had started so the big kids could sit around it and the ghost stories could get serious.  The little kids all went to the big cousins and sat on them until they got carried off to their tents as they fell asleep.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My blog for 7/21/2012 Camp Experience Chapter One

My challenge is how to get Cousin Camp into a logical format.  Camp has been occurring for 25 years, so every (McCall) family kid under forty years old has been to this camp.  Kids are welcome, adults are welcome, babies are welcome.  They all know the evolved routine and locations.  The youngest kids learn the procedure from the older ones, who graciously show little ones how it's done.  In fact they often carry the little ones around and help them participate.  This year other than two babies under one year old, the youngest child was 3, the eldest "child" was 18.  Adults from 20 through 75 attended.  The mix was about 15 adults from what we refer to as 2nd, and 3rd generation, and 30 from the 4th & 5th generation.

First of all, there were 47 of us out there for five days.  The Teenage boys showed up the first day for Setup.  They put together seven full size tents for people to sleep in, first come, first serve.  Trees line the creek area and surround the yard perimeter, so tents were under those to stave off the really hot sun.  Average temperatures each day were 91 degrees.  Two trailers showed up.  Mine was one of them.

This unusual set up by Cousin Jill came about because of the bed and breakfast she ran for years.  The parking lot includes semi-hookups for campers/RVs.  We all had limited power (not enough for air conditioning) and water (private well).  I think there are five cabins, (and the main house) also two storage buildings and several huge storage rooms attached to the cabins.

The rustic grounds are set up primarily for Cousin Camp, though it only happens one week each year.  All family parties for those relatively local are held at Jill's.  As are Easter, July 4, Memorial Day.  So things such as trampoline, foosball, pool, are permanent fixtures under canopies—all outdoor because it never rains in Descanso, just inches from the Mohave Desert.  Meanwhile, due to the ex b&b, there are six kitchens and eight bathrooms which each house either storage or laundry, extra refrigerators, etc.  Some rooms have permanent residents now, however, so can't be used.  There are still multiple refrigerators out under the trees. You never know what you will find inside them, and you are welcome to use whatever they hold—ice, juice, soda, water.

The point of Cousin Camp is to get a family of 169 blood relatives to know their cousins, to understand their pioneering history and develop relationships with each other.

Continued tomorrow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My blog for 7/13/2012 COUSIN CAMP

Tomorrow I am going to Cousin Camp, which is held out toward the desert at a cousin's house on a few acres in the wilderness area east of San Diego by about thirty miles.  This camp draws about fifty of my cousins, and as an adult, entails my participation in whatever job I'm given after I get there, which lasts for one week.  Second generation adults are given jobs, such as being in charge of "food,"
(try buying food for 50 people for a week), "Art" (this person holds continuous classes in art projects such as ceramics, painting, rock sculpture, claywork, etc. for the whole week), "Children" (this third generation adult and his wife take on the project of making sure children's problems are solved with their needs for bathing, teeth brushing, tent issues, bathroom facilities, etc.)  Food preparation is another heading, candy store, sporting games is another, maintenance is another.  Acting and face painting are involved, dancing is in there somewhere.  All in all, it's purely amazing.  I have never gone for a full week before.  The only reason I agreed to attend this year is because I'm taking my little camper trailer.

The main goal of the cousin who originally started this camp was to have children spend a week where there were no rules.  Except the treat each other respectfully, of course.  Kids can eat anything available, stay up all night if they want to.  Wander around in a creek and investigate frogs. Swim for seven days.  (An in-ground lap pool is open for use--complete with life-guard cousins).  Mostly it was to expose children to their cousins many of whom they see rarely--holidays and vacations.  There are no electronics including TV.

Having the trailer doesn't mean it will have electricity, i.e. air conditioning, microwave, coffee pot, etc.  It doesn't mean there will be a week's worth of water for showers or bathroom.  However, it DOES mean I get a BED.  And it does mean I can take Abby with me.  It means there's a chance the chatter of children all night won't affect my sleep.  It does mean I get one pot to heat water on the stove, and someplace to change clothes, clothes to change into as well.  When fifty people converge on one property, it's pretty much chaos, and these amenities are to be treasured.  I'm such a wimp.

No computer access for a week, so I hope nobody misses me.  I will have my Iphone if I have a place to charge it.  This is retro time for a week.  I wonder if I'll survive.

In case I don't come back, adios!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My blog for 7/11/2012 My Family Heros--Yayyy!

This guy with me (below) is my brother-in-law, Richard Scott.  Richard earned the Bronze Star with a "V" for Valor for throwing a handgrenade into a machine gun nest during his stint in VietNam. He was a sergent in the U. S. Army.

This guy (below) is my brother, Edward Wright who earned three commendations, one with Valor, during the Tet insurgency in VietNam in 1968.  Ed was a Lieutenant with the Engineers Division responsible for keeping the roads free of bombs.

And this guy (below with his wife, Noemia) is my cousin, Matthew Binney, who earned the Silver Star in Afghanistan two years ago.  Unfortunately, Matthew was blown up and has been in the hospital until just recently.  This picture was taken at Easter, 2012.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My blog for 7/9/2012 Enzi

This is Enzi, who is the new baby giraffe at the San Diego Zoo.  Enzi was born June 7, 2012 and is six feet tall.  He is so perfect he looks like somebody painted him.

This is Paul Donn, who reminds me of somebody I know.  He is absolutely gorgeous.  Below is Paul Donn sitting erect with perfect posture and muscles to die for.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My blog for 7/6/2012 The Big Bang

San Diego's fireworks are held actually inside the harbor, in the water for obvious reasons.  They're set up on floating barges and can be seen from both the shoreline and all the land rising from the sea right up to the mountain mesas where the towns like National City and Chula Vista, Old Town, etc are located, which are all covered with homes in order to see the harbor and bay view toward the southwest.  So all the fireworks this year, on the 4th of July were set up to go off in four series of explosions, each one after the previous set.  This display was scheduled to start at 9:00 Pacific Time and should have run over a period of 20-30 minutes with a grand finale at the end.

HOWEVER.  The computer literally running the show, somehow had a glitch.  My cousin, who was sitting on his rooftop for a better perspective, had just sat down with his bowl of popcorn to watch the show.  At TWO minutes BEFORE 9:00, he saw the whole horizon light up with one powerful BLAM, as all four barges sent a couple million dollars' worth of delightful explosives into the air over the San Diego Harbor.  It took a grand total of 20 seconds.

I didn't see this display, which was over before it began, but I suspect it look quite a bit like the sky over Pearl Harbor in 1941.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Blog for 7/4/2012 Two Little Stories For America

Good American Morning!

I had occasion to speak with a British lady yesterday, who is here visiting a friend.  We began by teasing each other about putting our flags out for July 4th, hers the Union Jack, mine of course the Stars and Stripes.  Since we don't actually live here in our rental, our permanent flag remains in Georgia.

Deep into our conversation about the differences between our countries, she explained about the command center in London.  This is a complex that reads all of the cameras in  England that are placed on every street, on every corner and has total coverage of the entire city.  It may well extend beyond the big city and into the entire country--we didn't get into that possibility.

My point here is, the Brit police force, commonly called Bobbies, carry no weapons.  This is because of the law in the UK that makes it illegal for anybody to have a gun or rifle for any reason.  The theory is that the cops can take care of the population that has no firing weapons.  But of course, the bad guys are infiltrating the system and do have weapons.

And, therefore, cameras take the place of weapons for enforcement.  In theory this sounds like a good idea to me.  No weapons, no shooting, no deaths, even of those who need to be erased because they prey on society.

I see two major things wrong with this idea.  One is that of course the bad guys DO have weapons anyway, and the second one is--Freedom has been removed from that country.  Big Brother is in charge of everything every individual does inside that country.

This, of course, removes the hypothesis that a free country instills enthusiasm for patriotism--that people will die to defend their freedom.

Thank God I am an American.


Now, my second story has to do with my French great grandfather.  Aimee Faure, who was born around 1836 in the Basque Country of France (best we can tell), was a twin from a family of a little wealth.  They we sheep herders who spent their time pasturing hundreds of sheep for which Aimee and his brother were responsible to make sure the sheep were safe.  An interesting part comes in here.  Because of the system of primogenture, the eldest son was the only child who inherited land at that time.  If you weren't born the eldest son, then you were simply out of luck in the way of inheriting anything from your family's wealth.

Aimee Faure was the second son, by only a few minutes while his twin was being born.  Aimee knew from the time he was a little child that he would have to make his own way in life.

So one day when Aimee was about 18 years old and was out herding the family sheep, he got the wild hair (which may still be in the DNA?) and herded his family's entire group of sheep into the town (a considerable distance away) where he sold every one of them.  With the money he got for the sheep he then bought a passage on a ship going to America and left France forever.

This story tells me it is worth even the treasure of having a family to have freedom.  Aimee's future was unavailable if he'd stayed in France.  Exactly what would he have become if he had not come to America?  He didn't have the freedom to become anything at all.  He was not cast in a system that would keep him poor for life.   As it was, he at least was able to marry and take care of a family after he got here.  And he was not beholden to anybody.

God Bless America.