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Archive for the ‘California’ Category

I was born and raised in California.  I lived there all my life until 2008, when I was 52 years old.  At that point, it got way too expensive for me to live there so I moved to Oregon.  However, California is home.  It will always be home.  Here are 5 things I miss about California and 5 things I don’t miss about California.

Things I Miss

1.  My daughter.  She lives in Santa Rosa and I don’t get to see her enough or often.  She’s my baby, my youngest.

2.  Family.  My mom and my three sisters live in California.  So do some cousins, nieces, nephews, etc.  I miss them all.

3.  Having history with places in California that will always identify me as a “California girl”.

4.  Incredibly good weather most of the year.

5.  Fruit.  Fresh fruit can be found in abundance in California and because it is so plentiful, it is a lot cheaper in California than up here in Oregon.  The fruits I miss most:  apricots, peaches, plums, oranges

Things I Don’t Miss

1.  Traffic.  Traffic can be unbelieveably stressful in many metropolitan areas, and even less populated areas.

2.  Sales tax.  We don’t have sales tax in Oregon and you don’t realize what a chunk of your dollar it takes until you go back to California for a visit and have to deal with 9% or more tax.

3.  Film crews.  When I lived in southern California, it was not rare to go to the park or the zoo or even the grocery store and have areas blocked off because “they are filming there”.  There was one house on my street that was used often for different movies so at least for a few days every three or so months, my street was blocked off and I would have to back up and get home through another street.  Not fun.

4.  Pretentious people.  Yeah, especially in southern California.  They’re all over.  ‘Nuff said.

5.  Incredibly good weather most of the year.  (Yeah, I know I said I missed that but sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much!)

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I’ve been looking at photos of hot air balloons posted by Robin and Ron on their respective blogs and it has kind of made me homesick for the Sonoma Valley.  I dug up one of my photographs of one of the most exciting parts of a hot air balloon festival– the Dawn Patrol.  The Dawn Patrol goes up before dawn to test the conditions such as winds and temperature.  It is a stunning sight to see them light up in what is called a simultaneous burn, as shown in the photo below, when all three of the Dawn Patrol balloons light up,  just before they take flight.

The Dawn Patrol prepares to take flight at the Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor, California.

The Dawn Patrol prepares to take flight at the Windsor Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor, California.

The second picture is one of my favorites that I have taken of hot air balloons.  I love the entire process of unpacking them, unfolding them and then inspecting them for rips, tears, and weaknesses.  Then they are filled, the gondola is attached, then they are uprighted, passengers loaded, and away they go!

Balloon being filled.  This one is almost ready to attach the gondola and upright to go way up high!

Balloon being filled. This one is almost ready to attach the gondola and upright to go way up high!

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I’m exhausted. I’m trying to work on my Nanowrimo novel. I continue to face comments and questions about how progressive California is and how it’s just not possible that Californians would vote for a ban on gay marriage.

Below is a map taken from the website of the California Secretary of State. It shows how each county voted on the proposition. I have added the writing in red.

Let the map speak for itself.

How California Voted on H8

How California Voted on H8

I have been watching with such sadness and great hope as thousands of Californians march, rally, demonstrate, and hold candlelight vigils to show their outrage at the continued prejudice against them and on losing a very basic civil and human right.

May hope, prayer, and justice prevail.

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California Freeways

Freeways are a way of life in a lot of places.  I lived in southern California from 1978 until 2004.  In southern California, we were used to driving everywhere by freeway.  The tangle of freeways can take you north or south; east or west; and in a lot of cases diagonally.  As an example, when I used to go to Target, I would leave my house and get on the 2 Freeway and take it to the  134 and that to the 210 and then reverse it on the way home.  To go to Los Angeles International Airport to pick someone up, I would get on the 2 and take it to the 134 and the 134 to the 5 and then the 5 to the11 and the 11 to the 105 and the 105 to the 405.

Up here in northern California I find it interesting that people think it is too far to drive from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol, a distance of  less than ten miles.  In Los Angeles the closest it was not unusual to drive 20 miles to Target or 30 miles to meet a friend for lunch or coffee.  A lot of families had their kids enrolled in music or dance lessons that required them to drive 40 miles from home several times a week.  It was no big deal.  That is just the way of life there.    Here, if it isn’t next door or down the street, people don’t go or they think more than twice before they do it.

One thing I have noticed between northern and southern California is the “respect” given to the freeway system.  In the northern California area, people refer to the freeway by number or name with nothing before it.  In southern California people refer to freeways by the number or name, but they also include “the” before it.   A drive to Orange County would take you on THE 5.  In northern California a drive to Sacramento would take on you on 5 (no “the” in front of it).  Same freeway.  Same state.  Just a different attitude.  To me, it seems that in southern California  freeways take on the aspect of a person, a character, an entity.  In northern California, it’s just a freeway.

What a difference!

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