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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Sand dunes, Guadalupe, California

Sand dunes, Guadalupe, California

One of the stops on our re-vamped road trip.  I had never been there; in fact, I had never heard of it.  It was a short fifteen minute drive from our motel.  Then a 1.8 mile hike on a wooden boardwalk through several environments then finally to the sand and the beach.  We both made it although this time, Anderson got very tired.  But it was still a lot of fun going out there.

And a funny: I got out at the very crowded gas station to pump gas.  That’s different to Anderson as we don’t pump our own gas in Oregon (it’s illegal).  He can’t see me pump the gas from where he sits in his car seat.  When I got back in the car, he was staring intently at another driver pumping his gas.  I asked what he was looking at and he answered  “I was looking at that man.  He’s downloading gas.”

Well, off for our last day before we hit the road back home.  We’ve been traveling north gradually.  Tonight we’ll be back at our original stop, San Jose.  In the morning we’ll head north and make it home on Sunday. So a few more adventures today.

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No, Not That One

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Anderson and I are off on our trip. We’ve been on the road since Friday. He’s such a good traveler and very easy to keep happy.

Today we are in Santa Rosa visiting my daughter, Susie.  We are off to breakfast soon. We have a nature hike planned and then we’ll run around and find Schultz character sculptures.  We already spotted a couple in the hotel lobby!  More on the sculptures and photos to follow in the next day or so.

We also stopped off at Stanford on Sunday. We walked around campus a little bit but it was crazy crowded so we might go back and take the elevator to the top of Hoover Tower. I’ll be sure to take pictures!

By the way, we are staying at the Flamingo. It’s an historic hotel fashioned after the Las Vegas Flamingo. In the 50s and 60s it was where celebrities stayed when shooting films up here.  It’s now a resort and conference center. When I lived in Santa Rosa I wanted to come stay here. It’s one of those things I just wanted to do but didn’t. Now, because we got a special rate through my daughter’s work, I get to stay here!

Weather had been good so far but today it’s supposed to be in the 90s. We’ll see how much of a hike we get to do!

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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 trying to think of something to blog about.  When I am out of ideas, I tend to try alliteration.  For example, I’ve done Memoir Monday and posted a piece of memoir.  So today Friday took me to Favorite.

A favorite author.  That’s what I’ll blog about today and should I need to, I will have many things to post on Fridays as I can go to favorite authors, books, songs, places, etc.  An endless supply of favorites.

John Steinbeck.  The first thing I read by Steinbeck was a novella called Tortilla Flat.  We had to read it in class in sophomore English.  I loved it.  I loved the characters.  I loved the writing.  I loved the plot.  But what I really loved was that it took place in the Salinas valley which was a place I had been to often, having been born and raised in San Jose, not far from Salinas.  I could identify with the places, with some of the characters, and with the Spanish in the novel.

That’s when John Steinbeck became my favorite author.  After Tortilla Flat, I read my sister’s copy of  The Pearl and when I got to my junior year of high school, I chose to read The Grapes of Wrath for a book report and then later I picked up Of Mice And Men, also for a book report.  I loved them all.  I still love Steinbeck.  I’ve added a number of his other novels to my “books I’ve read” list throughout my life.  Probably my favorite Steinbeck novel is East Of Eden.  That one has it all.  It’s full of fully developed characters, plot, sub-plots, location, and so much more.  It’s a book I can pick up again and again and never grow tired of it.  Each time I pick it up, I get more out of it.

One day, I will go to visit the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.  I think it will only add to my enjoyment and appreciation of one of the most wonderful American writers.  I’ve been to Monterey, another place that figured prominently in his works and I’ve been to Cannery Row.  However, I’ve not yet been able to visit the National Steinbeck Center.  Now that I live so far away, it will be more difficult but I’ll just have to make a point of reserving my ticket and actually visiting the only museum devoted to a single author, on one of my trips to the south.

Then I picked up Hemingway and he became a favorite but I’ll leave him for another Friday!

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Let There Be Light

I don’t have any inspiration for a blog post today but I committed to participating in NaBloPoMo so I have to make a post every day in the month of November. I thought I might find a picture to post and call it a day but I had a problem with my portable external drive on which I have almost every picture I have taken in the past ten years. So I had to scramble to find this one…

croppedsunshine

It’s the sun breaking through the clouds at the end of a rain storm. I felt it appropriate because we’ve seen quite a bit of rain in the Portland area over the past week but today the sun came out to remind us all that it’s still there!

I hope you like it. I’d take some pictures of our Oregon rain but I don’t go out much in it!

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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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Voting

I haven’t missed voting in an election since I registered in 1974 at age 18. The first election I voted in was my state’s (California) Gubernatorial election when we (myself included) elected Gerry Brown, Jr. in June of 1974. To me, voting is a crucial right; one that I hate to waste, so I dutifully vote in every election.

One year, when I was doing volunteer work for MALDEF* and I had to drive an hour to my assignment on election day. I asked that I be allowed to vote first then make the drive. I was the first one in the door at my precinct that day. I had to drive from northern Los Angeles County to Orange County for my poll watching duties. I got to Orange County in time to go off to the first on a long list of precincts where problems had been reported. My job was to watch the precinct, mostly from the outside, and make sure there were no irregularities. In a few instances, we were asked to watch from inside (in precincts where problems had been reported during previous elections). What were we watching for? Voting irregularities. In some precincts voters had reported that they had been denied a ballot, even though they were eligible to vote. In other precincts, Spanish speaking registered voters were not given a Spanish language ballot which basically meant they couldn’t vote as they didn’t understand the English ballot. It was our job to just be present, observe, and if we were asked (by Voters) to assist in getting the proper ballot, we were to just approach the precinct workers and quote the law to them without getting involved otherwise. We also had phone numbers we could call if there was a problem that needed to be addressed and/or documented. In some instances, none that I observed, MALDEF staff attorneys could be notified and had the authority to accompany voters to the polls to get the correct ballot.

It was very interesting. The year I worked for them (in the 90’s) was the first time in recent history that an anti-immigrant law was placed on the ballot in California so it was doubly important and there was high tension in the atmosphere. Some people called in to get help leaving work to vote as some employers were refusing to allow their workers to leave work to vote. Our attorneys made a lot of phone calls to employers that day.

I like to think that my poll watching work made a difference that year even though the proposition that we supporting failed. (It was put back on the ballot, with slight variation in language, a couple of years later and passed!). I like to thing that my volunteering to register voters made a difference. Maybe it didn’t. However, to me, it was a very important thing to do. It was just as important as voting myself.

Even though I’ve thought seriously about not voting in this election, I will vote. I am not sure if I will vote for either Presidential ticket but I will vote for state and local issues. I just can’t see not voting. It goes against everything I’ve ever believed in.

*Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

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Breathtaking, too

California sunsets are awesome whether over the ocean or over the hills. Breathtaking showed off the fog and the oak trees I ran into on the way home the other day. Today’s post shows you the sunset photos. Even with the fog in most of the photos, I think they are awesome! Enjoy.

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Breathtaking

I have driven the 280 freeway north and south between San Jose and San Francisco a gazillion times and every time I drive it, I think about stopping to take pictures. It is very scenic. However, I am usually not alone or it is too late or raining or something. Yesterday was different. I was alone and it was about an hour before sunset when I left San Jose. I thought maybe, if I was lucky, I could stop for some pictures at the Golden Gate Bridge. Then as I drove, I was overcome by the beauty of the rolling hills and the greeness of the mountains. And the fog. It was just beginning to creep over the mountains and it was breathtaking. I stopped. Not once but six times.

Below are the results, minus the sunset pictures which will come in a post, soon. I think you’ll see what I mean about being overcome by the beauty.

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