Sunday, April 11, 2021

Thinking About San Francisco

I'm working on this puzzle and it's bringing back so many memories of my childhood in San Francisco--waking up to the sound of foghorns and seagulls, riding my bike around the block in the fog, going by streetcar to the children's room in the big library on 19th Ave., getting lost in Golden Gate Park, going to Fisherman's Wharf with my parents for fresh crabs (and later sneaking the stinky shells into the trash cans down by Ocean Beach).

We lived in San Francisco from 1945 to 1956. I arrived as an infant in a little Ford with my parents who had driven cross country from Maine. At first we lived in housing for naval workers at Hunter's Point. At some point my parents were able to purchase a house on 48th Ave., just one block from the beach. When I was five, my little sister was born. (Note: My parents sold that house in 1956 for $11,000. Houses in that neighborhood are priced in the $750K's now!).

It was such a different time for a child. I rode my bike anywhere on the block as long as I didn't cross any streets. There were three taverns on that block and I would hold my breath as I passed to avoid the smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke. There was also a lady who lured children into her house to teach us Bible stories with a felt board. I went for the felt board, which fascinated me. I don't think I ever mentioned this adventure at home--not because I was being naughty, but just because kids' activities weren't generally a part of our dinner table conversations. 

A neighborhood friend and I took her doddering old grandpa on a walk to nearby Golden Gate Park where we all got turned around for a bit before finding our way home again. I wonder if my parents even knew we had gone. We were probably around seven at the time.

Francis Scott Key Elementary School, opened in 1908. In the late 1930s a more modern FSK school opened, but this old building, known as "The Annex" when I attended K-3, was still in use in the late 1940s 

When I was ready to go to kindergarten, my bachelor uncle (unfamiliar with children, I imagine) walked me there on the first day--down 48th Ave. to Judah Street, then up Judah to 43rd Ave. The second day he sent me to walk there on my own. To my credit, when they eventually found me, I was standing in front a big house painted in the same brown and yellow colors, but many blocks away.

I walked a couple of blocks down 48th Ave. when I was probably in 4th grade, to a skating rink to take ice skating lessons. Once again, by myself. No one hovered in those days, and the term "helicopter parent" had yet to be invented. 

Eventually I was allowed to go on the streetcar by myself to the library--what an adventure! I would take out as many books as the librarians would let me pile up and would start reading on the way home. 

Going back to work on my puzzle now.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Audrey Gets Dressed Up For the New Year

Here is Audrey on November 1

She is a Turken or Naked Neck chicken, but when she is molting she is naked all over in patches. 

What a mess!


By November 18, you can see that Audrey has begun the (painful-looking) process of growing out new feathers. 

Here is a graphic illustration of what is happening. The whole technical explanation that goes with it can be found on the Cornell University Bird Academy's page "Everything You Need to Know About Feathers." It's really worth your time to look at this beautifully illustrated article.

And here is Audrey today, January 14, in all her iridescent splendor. 

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Books Read in 2021

This list will be added to during the year.

Backman: Anxious People Audio

Bharara: Doing Justice; A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

Evanovich: Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum #11) Audio

Evanovich: Fortune and Glory (Stephanie Plum #27) Audio

Evanovich: Hard Core Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24) Audio

Evanovich: Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #26) Audio

Evanovich: Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) Audio

Evanovich: Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) Audio

Evanovich: Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26) Audio

Grisham: Camino Island (Camino Island #1)

Grisham: Camino Winds (Camino Island #2)

Grisham: The Firm

Grisham: The Guardians

Grisham: The Racketeer

Grisham: The Reckoning

Grisham: Rogue Lawyer

Grisham: The Rooster Bar

Grisham: Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2)

Grisham: A Time for Mercy (Jake Brigance #3)

Grisham: A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance #1)

Grisham: The Whistler (The Whistler #1)

Grisham: Witness to a Trial (The Whistler #0.5)

Millet: The Children's Bible

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Mending a Memory

 My mother must have made this quilt for me some time in the 1940s, as I remember it being on my bed when I was quite small. Over the years it had gotten worn and was mended by some clumsy hand stitching (probably mine when I was a teenager). When the quilt was too far gone for further use, it was put away in a cedar chest, where it lay folded for decades. 

This is what much of it looked like:

After much thought (years and years of thought!) I finally decided I was brave enough to try to save what was salvageable. I cut off the two sides that were in the worst shape, added binding to the cut edges, and then took out the awkward old hand stitched mending. This made all the tears and worn spots visible and ready to be dealt with. 

Next, I used fusible interfacing, cut into tiny pieces and inserted into large rips and into small places where the fabric was worn. It was painstaking work, just perfect for this terrible pandemic year. When a piece of interfacing was set in place--sometimes with tweezers-- between the two layers of ancient fabric, I used a damp pressing cloth and a steam iron to fuse the three layers together. Tiny scissors trimmed away stray threads. 

And here it is: Faded, worn, and somewhat smaller than it used to be--but it is hanging where I can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, just the way I remember seeing it when I was a child. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Morning Walk

This was my walk this morning--past horses, onion fields, an irrigation ditch, and a pecan orchard.

Horses at the neighbors' place

Field of onions being harvested.
Planted last fall, each onion is now the size of a large grapefruit

This field was quiet and empty two days ago. Now it is filled with kneeling workers,
carefully picking onions and placing them into the big crates. A forklift works day and night, 
loading the containers onto trucks.

Irrigation water flowing down from the Elephant Butte Dam, about 80 miles to the north

Pecan trees. The dust in the distance is from the onion harvesting.

The soil under the pecan trees looks like this between flooding by irrigation

Back home again to the big scary cactus, started with just two pads 11 years
ago and now about 9 feet tall.

Friday, March 20, 2020


These are worrisome and anxious times, what with the whole world experiencing the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to put some links here so that we would know what to do if one of us falls ill.

As of today there are 43 cases in New Mexico, and one case in Dona Ana County. The first tests were made available today and ran out in 2 hours. More tests will be available on Monday.

General Information and a Counter (more up to date than the CDC site below)

Johns Hopkins Coronovirus Resource Center

Keeping Track of the Spread of the Coronavirus, Staying Up to Date on Advisories and Closures

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--Number of cases in the U.S., number of deaths, source of exposure (updated at noon each day):

New Mexico Dept. of Health--Number of cases in New Mexico, number of tests given, cases by county, and links to testing sites

City of Las Cruces, COVID-19 Alerts--updated daily, local closures, where to get tested, community resources:
Note: Be sure to click on "view all updates" (in red and on the right in the center column) to see all of the prior updates. There is a lot of information here.

More Information From the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)--How to protect yourself, symptoms, who is at risk, and general resources.

What to Do If You Are Sick--if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you have symptoms, these are the steps to take.

Disinfecting Your Home if Someone is Sick--How to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home, how to launder items, etc.

I probably will add to this list as I think of more questions.