Wednesday, January 27, 2010

President Obama - State of the Union address - January 27, 2010

The president will give his first State of the Union address tonight at 9:00 Eastern time, 6:00 Pacific time. I believe it's important enough to use this blog tonight for live access. Here's the access:

Message from David Axelrod
Senior Advisor to the President

Good afternoon,

At 9 p.m. EST tonight, President Obama will deliver his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Here’s what you can expect:

The President will clearly articulate the steps we need to take to continue to rebuild our economy and jumpstart private sector job creation. He’ll talk directly to you about restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining household income, eroding retirement security and escalating health and tuition costs. And he’ll detail his efforts not only to better protect you and the American people at large, but also to restore America’s alliances and standing in the world.

Right after the President’s address, we’ll be open for questions on So watch the President live at and stay tuned for a live chat immediately following with some of the President’s top policy officials.

Join the Discussion

As you know, when the President took office a year ago, he faced an array of historic challenges: an economy in freefall; job losses averaging almost 700,000 a month; a middle class under assault; two wars and badly frayed global alliances; and a staggering $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

Tonight, the President will address the progress we’ve made to rescue the economy, rebuild the middle class, and restore our standing and leadership around the world. In addition, he’ll outline what’s needed to create a new foundation for prosperity and deliver on the change you and all Americans expect and deserve.

Tune in to tonight at 9 p.m. EST to watch the President’s State of the Union address, then stick around to chat with some of his top policy officials.

Thank you,

David Axelrod
Senior Advisor to the President


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Music in the Marketplace

I just have to share this with you today. Thank you, Ms. Kitty, for the wonderful beginning to my morning. Couldn't help but smile!!!!

Ms. Kitty's Saloon and Road Show

Who Would Jesus Shoot? An Update

In my last blog entry, "Who Would Jesus Shoot?" I shared a blog found on the Sojourner's website about an American arms company, Trijicon, that adds Bible verse references to their guns. Although my blog received no comments, when I posted it to another forum I WAS a member of, you would have thought I'd called for the end of the world or something. Yes, the blog engendered some good conversation, but it also resulted in some quite nasty personal attacks. Rather than respond in kind, I chose to just leave that forum, deciding that it wasn't the place for honest opinions and even perhaps a little serious thought.

Anyway, that said, here is an update from the Washington Post. It includes the original commentary by columnist David Waters as well as the news that "Trijicon announced Thursday that it will stop putting biblical references on weapon scopes and other products made for the U.S. military and is sending the Pentagon kits to remove the references from weaponry already in the hands of American troops.

The Washington Post Update

I also found another article about the situation from The Christian Science Monitor

It's heartening to realize that sometimes honest opinions and questions really do make a difference. Perhaps it's the venue in which they're offered that needs to be changed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Who Would Jesus Shoot?

Tonight I was going to write a blog about all the wonderful educational sites available online, but that will wait until tomorrow. I've been in kind of a crummy mood today, mainly because of the weather and feeling lonely, and this short editorial from one of my favorite websites, Sojourners, really hit me hard. Who Would Jesus Shoot?

I'm not going to blunt my feelings or comments with small talk about war being sometimes necessary, because I don't believe it is. In fact, I once wrote a 25- page research paper about Just War Theory. I refuse to believe that killing is ever justified.

I studied and trained to be a Unitarian Universalist minister, but have more and more become part of the missional, emerging church movement, attempting to take church out of its buildings and out to the people, to the world, with a focus on the works of Jesus with his emphasis on love and compassion. War and killing had no part in his life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Canadian Music Groups and Singers

My new Canadian friend David and I spent three days at the Bluegrass Festival here in Blythe, enjoying all the wonderful American bands. So, to make things a little more even, he's now introduced me to some of his favorite Canadian music-makers, among them The Good Brothers and Valdy. So, I'd like to share a little with you on this very rainy day in the Southern California desert.

Here's a YouTube clip of one of my favorite songs performed by The Good Brothers, Don't Pet the Dog.

Another favorite is Alberta Bound.

As Valdy stated in this memorable song, Play Me a Rock and Roll Song, "This is a song of mass rejection."

Here he sings Ordinary Man:


Well, my finger was just a little too quick just now and my unfinished blog was published. If you've already received it, please delete it. A better one is on the way.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

23rd Annual Blythe Bluegrass Festival

Sure do wish I could play the mandolin or the stand-up bass or the banjo because I absolutely love bluegrass music! I've had this love affair ever since seeing the movie "Deliverance" so long ago and hearing Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel play "Dueling Banjos."

Last year two friends and I went to the Blythe Bluegrass Festival for one day, Saturday, and had a wonderful time. The weather was hot, and so was the music. We listened all day long, interspersing that with food and browsing the many booths. But, one day just wasn't enough.

So this year, I paid for a three-day pass and so far we've attended Friday and Saturday. Great stuff. Weather is not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect for listening and having fun.

Lots of bands: Audie Blaylock and Redline, winners of the 2007 Instrumental Group of the Year Award from the 18th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show; the excellent Headline Bluegrass Band, newcomers based out of Phoenix, Arizona; High Plains Tradition, who'll play tomorrow; Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; The Larry Stephenson Band from Nashville, TN; Lonesome Otis, a newly-formed band based in Southern California; Midnight Flight from the Ozarks; Spring Creek, an award-winning band from Colorado; Whistle Stop, a family band consisting of Mom, Dad, two daughters, and a banjo-player; and Williams and Clark Expedition, led by 3-time SPBGMA "Entertainer of the Year Blake Williams.

Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice

Spring Creek

I can't remember the name of this band, but they were excellent.

But, you can't survive a Bluegrass Festival with music alone. So, they add good food as well. Here are a few of the many food booths.

Yesterday I bought an Onion Flower but was disappointed. It looked pretty, but I've had better. This one was barely cooked.

So, today I made up for it with a delicious cheeseburger, a bag of Kettle Corn, and a butter-pecan swirled ice cream. We started the day with a $7 all-you-can-eat breakfast by the CWA, California Women for Agriculture. Scrambled eggs, link sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, orange juice, coffee, and tea. So good!

While in that building for breakfast, I wandered through the quilt show. Not as many quilts on display as last year, but I saw some beautiful ones, including one with many, many tiny squares, all hand quilted.

Some music:

Audie Blaylock and Redline. The banjo player and fiddle player are both only 21 years old. Wonderful entertainers.

Headline Bluegrass Band

Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice

Larry Stephenson Band

Spring Creek

All in all, a fun two days, with one more day to come tomorrow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Comments on Aid to Haiti

Yesterday I posted a blog by minister James Ford with a list of aid resources for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This morning I received a number of comments basically stating we should concentrate our aid efforts here in the United states instead. Although I understand the thoughts behind those comments, I DO NOT AGREE.

I posted this short note to Facebook just now:

Here are some organizations listed by Bread for the World.

Although I understand and wholeheartedly agree that we have to focus on devastating problems in our own country, I also feel it is very short-sighted and nationally arrogant to use that argument against doing whatever we can possibly do for PEOPLE in other countries, especially those countries as poor as Haiti. Quoting from the above article,

"As the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti has the highest rates of mortality for mothers, infants, and children under 5. Sixty percent of the population lacks access to basic health-care services. Most Haitians survive on less than $2 a day and depend on remittances from relatives in other countries to meet their basic needs -- remittances that have plummeted with the global recession. Even in the capital of Port-au-Prince, impoverished communities have few resources to cope with the acute impacts of this disaster."

The United States is the wealthiest nation in the world. IMHO, there is absolutely no reason, other than political and economic short-sightedness and greed, that there is such a wide gap between the rich and the poor here. But, we rest in our comfort, assured that SOMEONE ELSE will take care of things. I could go on and on, but the soapbox is too small for what I would say.

In the meantime, more than 100,000 people have died in Haiti and over 3 million people, more than a third of the population, has been affected in some way.

Annual Neologism Contest

This goes to show that sometimes it's important to get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water. I'm only glad I drank the water BEFORE reading these. Otherwise I'd probably be rolling on the floor drowning in my own laughter! Thank you, Birdman. (I think...)

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3 . Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): Substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out..

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Did You Know?

Thank you to Kit Ketcham, author of Ms. Kitty's Saloon and Road Show for this fascinating and almost unbelievable video of technological advances.

My Little Brother

I’m getting reacquainted with my little brother and it feels wonderful after so many years. There are three of us kids in the family: I’m the oldest, Daren is two years younger, and Hal is the baby of the family at two years younger than Daren. One year our grandmother knit us Christmas stockings with our names on them. Hal’s says “Baby Hal.”

He was the cute one who seemed to get away with everything. So, Daren and I spent a lot of time making his life miserable, or so we thought. For example, when the whole family drove somewhere, we kids always had to sit in the back seat. So, we made sure Hal had to sit in the middle, between us. Heaven forbid we let little brother get near a window.

Fast forward to high school. I was busy trying to be a perfect student, working hard on those straight A’s which never quite happened. Daren discovered girls. Hal became a cheerleader. I missed most of his high school years because by that time I was married and no longer living at home. I do remember that he danced in quite a few musicals.

He and Linda got married when they were high school seniors. The interesting thing is, of the three of us, he is the only one who has been married only once. They recently celebrated their 40th anniversary.

After graduating from Brigham Young University with an accounting degree, Hal went to work for Sears for many years, spending much of that time as a traveling auditor. When he and their growing family moved to Chicago, then Ohio, I was busy raising my own family in Oregon, and we lost contact for many years. I’d get occasional pictures of their four kids, but they were too far away to make any kind of regular trips. Their kids grew up and began marrying and having children of their own, making my mother a great-grandmother several times over.

When Hal and Linda’s youngest daughter got married four years ago, my husband, son, and I flew to Ohio for the wedding and caught up a little with the family. But, after a few days there, we had to fly back to Oregon.

Several months ago, I drove my RV from Oklahoma to Ohio to get reacquainted. It was so much fun! Their oldest daughter and her husband and three kids flew from California, so I got to spend some time together with them as well as with the youngest daughter, her husband-to-be, and her almost-two-year-old son.

Hal and Linda now raise and show dachshunds; they have five beautiful females and one male. They also have a huge male Labrador as well as two horses that share a very comfortable life with them on five acres in northwestern Ohio.

I parked my RV in front of their large barn for almost a week, plugged into an electrical outlet in the barn, and became a part of the family again for a short time. I wrote on August 19 about my experience with the dogs in “Dachshund Adventures, or What Did I Get Myself Into,” so I won't repeat it. But, be sure to read it for a little hilarious vicarious fun. They invited me to live with them any time I'd like, parking the RV in the same spot. I might just take them up on that sometime, but not during the winter. For some reason, lots of snow and temperatures in one-digit figures doesn't sound like too much fun, at least in an almost-insulated motorhome.

Their daughter is getting remarried in May and asked if I could perform the ceremony. Although I'd love to, unfortunately I will be working in Utah during that time. But I'll be with them all in spirit all the same.

When I got back into the United States two days ago from a month in Baja California, I called Hal to wish them a Happy New Year and to make sure Linda checked her email for her online Jacquie Lawson birthday card. We talked for a long time and he let me know that he's now a "real" farmer. Linda bought him a pair of Carhartt lined overalls to go with his jacket, and he made good use of them several nights ago.

After dark, with temperatures hovering near zero, the water in the horse trough kept freezing. Although there was a water heater in the trough, he had to install a new one. So, bundled up in his Carhartt outfit, he spent a very cold couple of hours out in the barn, chipping away the ice in the trough and installing the new heater. He told me he got pretty cold, but his clothing kept him warm enough to finish the procedure and race back into the warm house. As an aside, we were all born and raised in nice warm San Diego, and even though I've spent lots of time in Oregon and Oklahoma, I find it hard to imagine weather that cold.

So, I'll lift a glass of Merlot to my little brother and his family and let them know I'll come back to visit again as soon as possible. In the meantime, I'll need to practice my card games in order to at least make a noble effort at winning once in a while.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Seeing Blythe, CA With New Eyes

In the past few years, I've spent quite a bit of time camped at Mayflower County Park in Blythe, CA. The city is located on the California-Arizona border in Riverside County, where Interstate 10 crosses the Colorado River. Blythe's population more than triples during the winter months with the arrival of visitors seeking relief from their cold climate home states during that season. I think its main claim to fame is its reputation as possibly one of the hottest places in the United States during the summertime. To me, the city has always seemed a little gritty and nondescript with lots of dust, small businesses barely hanging on, a small K-Mart, an expensive Albertson's supermarket, the normal McDonald's-type fast food places, some motels, a few restaurants, and not much else. However, today I had my eyes opened.

My friend David and I arrived here yesterday after a month in San Felipe, Baja California, where we camped on very sandy sites almost on the beach in a run-down RV resort with no electricity and only occasional hot water in the bathrooms. We were the only ones there. Although the beach was wonderful, the town itself shows the results of the world-wide economic downturn. There are many fancy resorts started but not finished and left empty due to lack of money. Although rich in friendliness, the town, which relies almost entirely on tourism dollars, is quite poor. We got used to driving into town to buy sodas and use the free Wi-Fi in either Rosita's Restaurant or a bar. We communicated in a version of pigeon-Spanish, hand gestures, or a little English, and used only pesos for purchases. I got used to having to leave my clothing to be washed, dried, and folded at one of the lavandarias in town and paying about $8 for the privilege.

David had never been to Blythe and wanted to come here mainly because of the Bluegrass Festival next weekend. So we made the 265-mile drive yesterday from San Felipe. As soon as we got here, he fell in love with the County Park. I've got to admit, the $250/month rate for a site with electrical and water hookups as well as a honey wagon three times a week was probably the biggest draw for him as well as the park being right on the Colorado River. It always has been for me, which is why I keep returning. So, I didn't think much about his comment yesterday that he loved this place.

It was only when we drove into town today to do laundry and some shopping that I got an entirely different view of Blythe. Before today, I think I thought of Blythe by the things it lacks: no Wal-Mart, no shopping centers, not a lot of activities other than water sports along the river, only one small bookstore, and no real cultural activities. I've always considered it just a stop along the way to someplace else. However, when we took our clothes to one of the two laundromats here, I received my first surprise. David really appreciated being able to wash and dry his clothes in machines instead of just rinsing them out and air-drying them as he did in San Felipe. He commented on how wonderful that was. I've really never considered laundromats wonderful. Nope, to me having to take clothes somewhere to wash them instead of having my own washer and dryer has always seemed like just another chore to be gotten over with as soon as possible.

While the clothes were washing, we headed across the street to one of the two Starbucks in town for coffee and a pastry. We sat outside at a small table under an umbrella and again he let me know how much he appreciated being able to do that without being pestered every two minutes by street peddlers trying to sell us painted sand dollars or bracelets. Looking around, he commented that the city has everything needed: fast food restaurants, shopping, great weather, good wide, paved streets instead of narrow, pot-hole infested bumpy roads.

Until I saw Blythe through his eyes instead of my own, I'd never noticed those things, seeing only what I expected to see and was used to seeing that way. Until spending a month out of the country in a very poor place, I'd never noticed how rich in resources a fairly poor area like Blythe could seem. Seen through new, different eyes, it is a beautiful place in its own right. I need to stop comparing this city to larger places like San Diego or Portland. Yes, those cities are wonderful and have everything anyone might ever need or wish for. But they are also fairly impersonal places with their own drawbacks.

I'm going to stay here for a month. During that time, I'd like to open my eyes a little more to the possibilities and resources here instead of continuing to label Blythe, and cities like it, as not quite worthy of respect.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Leaving San Felipe - on to Blythe, CA and a Bluegrass Festival

We decided to leave San Felipe today instead of tomorrow to be sure of getting a spot here in Bythe, CA. And after 265 miles today, including an interesting experience crossing the border, we're now set up at Mayflower County Park. The Bluegrass Festival is this coming weekend, as are all the things going on in Quartzsite, across the border in Arizona. As it was, there were only 40 spots left here. But, we've got great sites, in the back again, looking west (all those gorgeous sunsets)! Many of the same people from a month ago are still here and asked me all about my trip to Mexico. Told them I loved San Felipe so much I decided to stick around there for a month. And I decided to stick around here for a month since the price is definitely better that way.

The border crossing incident? Well, I couldn't figure out the directions to the border in Mexicali and turned down a wrong street. Couldn't turn around and get back on the main drag as the street was too crowded, and ended up on a one-way street going the same direction as the lines to the border. However, I had turned into the wrong lane and couldn't get out. Didn't know it was the "Special" lane until we got to the border. Apparently it was for people with special passes. We had to get a "secondary inspection," which included opening everything outside, including the hood, and having Border Patrol snoop around everywhere, inside and outside. Now, we'd already gone through all that on an inspection halfway from San Felipe by the federales. Anyway, both David and I began feeling like crooks just for accidentally getting into the wrong lane. Finally were able to leave, and hightailed it up to Wal-Mart in Brawley to get a refund of the core charges on my new batteries and eat lunch at Subway, decompressing a little. After that, the trip of 80 miles into Blythe was a piece of cake.

After a month of only water hookups, having electricity again is heaven. But now I know I could probably boondock for quite a while, especially with the new batteries.

Time to Leave the Beach – January 8, 2009

The past month has been a wonderfully quiet, peaceful, much needed break with many long walks on the beach at both low and high tides and lots of time to think. I’ve found an amazing quantity and variety of shells I’ve never found before. I’ve watched two different kinds of pelicans as well as herons and gulls. I’ve become reasonably able to get along using Spanish, and haven’t used American money once during this time, becoming quite comfortable with pesos. I’ve met many wonderful people and have become aware of how much I have; I’m wealthy in so many ways, including financially, at least in comparison with things I’ve seen here. I’ve made a good friend in David, but now realize that relationship will need to stay at friends only. This has been an excellent time to get a good start in finally learning that I have a choice in how far a relationship goes. Right now any kind of relationship would be on the rebound and not a good idea for anyone.

It’s time to leave the beach and the alone-ness for a while, to be around people again, to have access to internet without having to drive into town each time to use it. Perhaps I’m hooked on it. However, it’s been a constant source of information and communication for so many years that withdrawal is impossible. I’ve made too many friends through email and Facebook and feel it’s important to keep in touch with them.

I now know that staying here in San Felipe for a month instead of continuing on with Beth and Jean was the right thing to do, for me, at this time. I’ll always appreciate their invitation, and traveling all the way down to the tip of Baja and back would have been fun. However, I needed the time alone more. So, perhaps another time.

This time at the beach has helped me get over the worst of my disappointment with the ending of a relationship, although it still hurts whenever I think too much about it. This has been a time of realizing I still love and miss him very much, no matter what, and probably always will. I know the current recommendation is to make a clean break when a relationship ends. However, I am unable to do that, at least not right now.

We’re leaving here Monday morning to drive across the border and up to Blythe for the Bluegrass Festival next weekend. David would like to stay at the campground in Blythe for a month and then return here. I’ll most likely be there two weeks before heading up to the Desert Tower to stay until leaving for Kanab the end of March. My very good friends Fran and Rich will also be returning to Parry Lodge this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again so much.

I’m learning that things usually work out the way they’re supposed to, as much as I might disagree with how that goes. That’s not to say that some things aren’t hard to deal with, though.

San Felipe has been a wonderful experience, one I'll definitely repeat.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Valle de los Gigantes (Valley of the Giants)

Imagine! We got bored here yesterday so decided to drive down the road, south toward Puertocitos, about 6 kilometers, to check out the Valle de los Gigantes (Valley of the Giants). Nope, that’s not the Valley of the Giants in the Redwoods. It’s an area of huge, extremely ancient cacti.

We paid 50 pesos (about $3.00) to park the car and walk down the sandy road about a kilometer instead of paying more and driving. It was a beautiful day for a walk.

These cacti are immense! Some of them are over 1500 years old and weigh almost ten tons! How about some pictures?


Road into area

Dry bones

Statue on mountain



Ten – Car Wash, kayak, misc. – January 6. 2009

Wednesday was an in-town day to check email, send blogs, grocery shop, get laundry done, and so forth. We started with breakfast at Rosita’s, then stayed to use their free Wi-Fi. The TVs there were set to Arnold S. (governor of California) giving his State of the State address. I tried to ignore it as much as possible by paying more attention to a large table of American tourists dickering with a street vendor for several serapes with the insignia and colors of U.S football teams.

Instead of trying to reply to each email on the spot (a problem with using a web-based email program like gmail), this time I copied the blogs and emails I wanted to read/reply to in more depth so I could do it back at the campground. We’ll see how it works.

We had to hang around town until 2:00 for my laundry to be done. Wish I could do it myself but the lavanderias (laundromats) here aren’t set-up for self-service. So, we had a little time to kill. Several days before, David had made arrangements with someone to wash his car. So, after doing a little grocery shopping, we spent a fun hour with the man, his wife, and four-year-old daughter Carla, or Carlita as her mother calls her. Her father made a special effort to introduce her to us, saying she was his helper.

It was the most water-saving car wash I’d ever seen. David parked the car on a side street next to the mercado He’d splash a little water on part of the car, then wash that part using the soapy water, then rinse using the cup again, continuing all around the car (an old VW bus). WOW! The car was actually yellow! (market). I sat down on the curb to watch, along with the wife and daughter, while the dad filled a bucket with water at the hotel across the street. He added soap, then filled another smaller bucket with more water which he used to rinse, doing that with a small plastic cup.

In the meantime, I, with my limited espanol (Spanish) got acquainted with his wife and daughter, neither of whom spoke very much ingles (English). It’s amazing how much you can communicate if you try hard enough. We watched about eight federales (military) down the street and I asked her what she thought they were doing. Her reply: Coke - a cocaine bust nearby. We watched Carlita play with a tiny green bead, and she was having so much fun I decided to join her. So, we tossed the bead back and forth and she giggled each time it landed somewhere I couldn’t see it right away. She was so cute!

Much too soon the car was done and we had to say goodbye. But, I’m sure we’ll see them again.

I picked up my laundry, all neatly folded and bagged, and we drove back to the campground. It was such a beautiful afternoon, much too nice to stay inside as I’ve been doing with all the wind lately. I read for a while, and then noticed David was pumping up his kayak. Aha! After finally figuring out how to put the oar together, we took the kayak down to the beach where the tide was just beginning to come in, and he tried it out for the first time. The water felt wonderful, so when I went back for my camera, I decided to try out my little “surfboard,” also for the first time. No chance of drowning or anything since I would have had to walk out about a mile or so (at least it seemed like it) before the water would have been even up to my waist.

It was another very nice, relaxing day on the beach. Last night we talked about driving both vehicles up to Blythe, California for their bluegrass festival next week and staying at Mayflower County Park for the month. Then David will drive back here and I’ll go on to the Desert View Tower until I leave for Kanab, Utah the end of March. The bluegrass last year was fantastic – so many talented musicians.

P.S. No big love affair – just good friends.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Saturday January 2, 2010 – Mexicali Border crossing

Instead of driving all the way to Yuma today for batteries, we decided to cross the border at Mexicali and go to El Centro Wal-Mart – much closer.

Trip up from San Felipe was uneventful – lots of desert. Beautiful weather. However, we got in line at the border crossing around 11:30 and are still in line, with the crossing almost in sight. It’s now 1:20 PM. Only thing I can think of is people are going back across the border after a long New Year’s weekend. That, and there are only three lines.

Anyway, I’ve got my computer plugged in, playing a variety of CDs, such as James Galway, Bob Marley, and Don Quixote. So, it’s bearable. However, David is going above and beyond the bounds of duty and friendship in making this trip. I’m going to buy him lunch and gas, at the very least.

Ruben doesn’t need a battery after all. It seems one of the park guests had two batteries and sold one to him. So, now he’s set. But, he’s still going to put mine in. Very nice guy.

Later on:

We finally crossed the border at 3:00! Talked to several people also in line who said this is the longest they’ve ever had to wait. I felt sorry for some of the people with very young children in their cars.

We hightailed it out of Calexico as soon as we could and drove to Wal-Mart. I bought two very good deep cycle batteries and some other necessities. Found a replacement fluorescent bulb for my Coleman lantern which I’ve been looking for. Since it was getting late and we faced driving the 150 miles or so back to San Felipe in the dark, we decided to get Subway sandwiches in Wal-Mart and eat in the car. They sure tasted good after such a long morning/afternoon.

Driving back across the border into Baja took about two minutes and, after stops for pop and water, we made it back to the campground around 7:45 PM.

Although we agreed that, at least in the long run, it had been a fun day, we both agreed it had been quite a long one as well and decided that was a trip not to be made on a holiday weekend.

We cooked a late breakfast and just hung around the campground/beach today. Because the wind had died down a little and it was fairly warm, I even went into the water for a bit. However, it was a very high tide with pretty large waves. So, I just kind of splashed around. Ruben put in the batteries and it’s so nice to now have lights at night instead of a battery-operated lantern and a flashlight. No more going to bed at 7:00 PM, unless I’m sleepy. Have been reading Donald Westlake books from my mom, especially the Dortmunder ones again. I’d forgotten how hilarious they are.

Tomorrow? Most likely a trip into town for internet and groceries, maybe lunch. Might even see if my forwarded mail has arrived at the post office yet.

Even later, like Monday morning

The new batteries are wonderful!!! It's so nice to actually be able to use lights again instead of flashlight and lantern. And, we had very freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast at Rosita's this morning. Sun is out, no wind. What a life!

San Felipe – January 1, 2010 - Prospero Ano Nuevo!

It was a very quiet New Year’s Eve yesterday. We took a long walk around the area, particularly to find out if we could actually connect to the internet out here. There’s a potential wi-fi hookup that is password-protected and we decided to see if we could get the password since the set-up belongs to one of the resorts nearby. Well, that “resort” is one of many in the area that was begun when money was more plentiful. However, when financing dried up several years ago, many of those resorts were left unfinished. Like this one, they have potential but need money and investors. In the meantime, they’re just empty shells with perhaps a couple of finished houses. La Perla Resort is one of them. We met and talked with a family that is renting one of the houses there. They’ve also seen the wi-fi connection, but it belonged to the resort office – and that office is no longer in existence. So, we’ll continue driving into town every other day for internet.

Perhaps the best part of the day December 31 was the beautiful huge orange full moon. It took my breath away, especially since I didn’t expect it. That moon just jumped out at me when I walked down to the beach.

I took a short nap later on in the evening, but woke up around 11:30 P.M. and stayed awake to see in the New Year.

Today, January 1, 2010 was a beautiful day – but I sure wish the wind would die down a little. I’d love to use my little “surfboard,” but the wind makes it too cold. Well, what do I expect, anyway – it’s January!

I took my normal early morning beach walk at low tide and discovered a pelican with a broken wing down in the rocks. Unfortunately, at the same time the friendly neighborhood golden lab raced up behind me for some petting and, being the beach-savvy animal that he is, also saw the pelican. He began chasing it. The bird put up a pretty good fight and managed to make it to a bit of water, away from the dog. I was able to get the dog away and interested in something else.

The pelican swam out a bit but had taken the wrong way, heading toward the beach instead of farther out in the water. Pretty soon the tide would be too low and the bird would run out of water. In the meantime, the normal beach scavengers and buzzards lay in wait. Although I know life and death on the beach is normal, I was sad to see what was happening knowing that the bird didn’t stand a chance.

We drove into town for our every-other-day internet time at the Bar Miramar. The waiter now is a good friend and knows exactly who is buying the Sprite and Coke each day. Today was my turn. He also makes some pretty good jokes. The bar wasn’t as crowded today as it has been this past week, but from the extra pool tables and ping pong tables in the room, it looked like last night had been a good one.

Several good friends send some great email. I especially loved a PowerPoint video of animals and people loving each other. Very beautiful. Thank you so much, Birdman.

We bought red t-shirts from the bar and then ate lunch down the street at the outdoor restaurant. I tried their huevos rancheros – delicious! David ordered beef burritos. They were so different from what pass for burritos in the states. These were on regular size tortillas and not stuffed to the brim with refried beans. Looked really good. Alexa, the waitress, greeted us with great big hugs and talked about how busy they’d been last night. While we ate, a small mariachi group of three men played their music across the street. We listened for a while and tipped them on the way back to the car.

Next stop was the market because David had to get some bottled water. The other day he got what he thought was water---until making coffee with it this morning. Turned out it was 23% booze of some kind. Can you imagine how the coffee must have tasted early in the morning? The stuff looks exactly like bottled water; in fact, I almost bought some on Wednesday. Sure glad I didn’t.

Still very windy this afternoon, so I pretty much stayed inside and finished another China Bayles mystery and hemmed my t-shirt, cutting off about 4-inches from the bottom. Probably could have used it as a nightshirt.

Life goes on. And this time at the beach is very needed and welcome.

I wish all of you an excellent New Year.