Using the old noodle

Well, the folks at Golden Grain have upped the ante on sliced bread with their pot-sized spaghetti. Best idea I’ve come across in ages but why did we have to wait so long, always breaking spaghetti in half over the pot of boiling water and having little bits of it end up everywhere while risking a nasty steam burn?
What WILL they think of next?

Who are these people?

female subject ca male subject ca 1850-60

So genealogy has never been my metier, but lately I have become somewhat interested in it.  Pictures like this are apt to do that.  Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by these photos which floated around in a collection of old family mementos primarily because no one seemed to know who these folks were.  They could be Bidwells (no near relation to the famous General John who had no issue, my Bidwells are descended from John Horace Bidwell, a very distant cousin to the famous Chico scion) from Shasta County California, they could be Clines from Canada, they could be Corbetts from Ireland, they could be Morgans from Wales; when you get back that many generations, the possible permutations begin to boggle the mind and you start to have an appreciation for the concept that the human race is really one big family.  In any case, do your descendants a favor and write on the back of every photo in your house, the date, the location and the names people in it.  I have another collection of old family photos for which this was done and I thank the organized person who attended to this detail.  I think it was my great-grandmother Harriet Teel Cline, otherwise known in the family as “Hat Creek Hattie.”  I’m planning a trip to Hat Creek one day to meet some of my long-lost cousins and see the sights that are depicted and named in these photos: the Pit River, Burney Falls, the towns of Cassel, Hat Creek, and the Millville cemetary where everyone seems to be buried.

It’s good to be back to the blog after a lengthy hiatus.  More postings should come along in short order.

Post and Toss

Or, this why I don’t do sculpture.  Or, why moving is good, bad and ugly.

Sawdust cow


This little cow was my first attempt at sculpture in at the tender age of 6.  I remember this being an assignment in first grade and that the sculpting medium was starch and sawdust.  Can that be right?  I also remember my poor little hands cracked and bled from working with the stuff.  How we suffer for our art.

Why my mother saved it and gave it back to me 30 years later is a mystery.  Why I kept it for 20 more years is an even greater mystery.  I assure you it is now where it belongs, in the trash.  Why the cow has a dark shadow on it’s back is not a mystery.  I believed at the time that was what the teacher wanted us to do.  It had something to do with shadows from the sun.  I think I got it backwards and we were supposed to shade the under side of the cows darker because the sun came from above.  Perhaps I was fascinated with the hairs growing out of the teacher’s chin and missed the point of the dark shadows lecture.  Who can say?  I do think it serves well as a reminder that 3-d art is not my strong suit and that letting go of things is healthy.  Letting go of things is healthy.  Letting go of things is healthy.

Oh, did I mention that I moved???  And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past several months?  It’s good to be back.

Tom-ay-to, to-mah-to!

Tomato Harvest 2013


This is how you know it’s really summer.  And that once again you have planted far too many tomato plants.  And that you better lay in a supply of bacon.  For all the BLT’s of course!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk


Now this is something interesting to find doing what looks like figure skating school figures in your garage.  The circular movement pattern was obviously the result of this poor wasp having lost a leg somehow.  I’d never seen any insect that looked quite like this before so I ran to my California Insects book and discovered it is a Tarantula Hawk.  What a lifestyle this wasp leads!  I hope you followed the link and read the whole gruesome story and that you make a note in the picture of the intact stinger.  Yikes! Give these ladies a wide berth!  (The males can’t really sting but apparently they pretend they can.  Look for the curled antennae…those are the stinging girls!)

My only remaining question is why this lady wasp was frequenting our neck of the woods.  The tarantulas are all at higher (foothill) elevations in this area, AREN’T THEY???  Please say yes.

Gone to the dogs


Let us begin this post by establishing that I like dogs and welcome well-trained animal companions in all appropriate situations.  Now, has anyone else noticed the proliferation of ill-trained and badly behaved faux service dogs in grocery stores and other places where pets have no business being?

3 out of my last 4 trips to Costco have been marred by badly behaved pets masquerading as service dogs, either by wearing vests or by having their owners declare their “doctor has signed a letter” saying they need to take their mutt everywhere. All this tells me is that they have their doctors trained better than their yapping, jumping dogs. Today one snuck up behind me and began yapping at my heels while I was waiting in line and when I started from surprise and turned in dismay to find a dachshund lunging at me from the confines of her personal stroller, the woman at the other end of the leash declared, “Oh, she just wants you to pick her up, that’s all.” Right-O. I’ll pass on that until she gets the dog as well trained as the aforementioned doctor who signed a letter.  Next she picked the puppy up out of her little doggie cart and clutched the wildly agitated dog to her chest.  Who’s serving who here?

The dogs in the photo above were 2 chihuahuas riding in the actual grocery cart, the same one the next unsuspecting person on a trip to Costco was going to use for food. When queried as to the service these dogs provided for her, the woman who had been giving the dogs a ride around Costco claimed to have a brain tumor and said they were trained to bark if “anything happened.” Hmmm. It takes 2? And they can do this service from a remove of 6-8 feet as they go through the checkout line in the cart and the object of their service is on the other side of the Costco-size conveyor belt?  Sadly, I’m skeptical.  I know you can buy bogus service dog vests and credentials off the internet very cheaply and that professionally trained service dogs are so costly as to make it unlikely anyone would have two at once so that makes me doubly skeptical.

It’s way past time that service dogs are tested and certified and that certification credentials be carried on the dog or owner’s person in just the same way that handicapped placards must be displayed to use special parking spaces, or that a license is required to prove you have demonstrated the ability to operate a car.

A true service dog in action is a wonder to behold.  I once shared an elevator ride with one who completely ignored the fact that I was carrying a roast chicken in a bag not 6 inches from his/her quivering nose.

Bark if you agree that the laws stating that pets are not allowed in grocery stores and restaurants should have teeth and be enforced and that real service dogs are beyond amazing and should be welcome everywhere!