From Drought to Pandemic to wild fires… pray for California… Firemen from all over are being asked to come and fight these fires set by lightening and heat. Pray for the health of the firemen and the fires to be put out as soon as possible.

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Finding things to do in these unpredictable times…

Just trying to keep things in perspective to where we are now, from where we were in March 2020, at that time I looked over the rim of the dark chasm of the dread of the pandemic chaos of Covid-19. I realize that five months into the virus domain, it is no different from March, when we first perceived how deadly it was plowing through our lands. Those who did not practice social distancing, or wear masks, many of folks were caught up in the stream of the virus, because no one knew how deadly it was and easily transmittable. The ones with underlying and sometimes unknown medical conditions were stopped in their tracks as it plowed through many Americans causing sickness, mayhem and death. It’s mid August and we still have a raging rampant virus that knows where it wants to go and it pervades every single nook and cranny, moving from person to person in cities and in rural communities too, wherever it can get a toe hold. It hangs on for dear life. We hang on for dear life, as two unique entities. It needs us as its host to survive and conquer. We are told over and over, keep excellent hygiene, get sleep, eat well-balanced meals. We continue to wash our hands, while we keep six or more feet distant from our friends and relatives and older relatives. We peer through glass window barriers to get a glimpse of our family members and friends. It is unseen and it is real, because it is devastating to see our friends and relatives become suddenly sick. Sadness that has prevailed and remains with us as we pray we hope we keep safe and remain mentally sound and well, hoping we can keep it all together and shed the disease or have it bypass us, as the plague rages on and on.

Money, it is plastic now. It is needed as much as the paper and coins we used to carry. We need it for essential living, and with no-where to spend money, it has become a memory of the past of when we could go out shopping for a new pair of shoes or a dress and hand bag, to spend time in galleries and museums, go to the movies and to dine out. These are long ago portals as now we look back in sadness of the sunny and rainy days we used to be able to do these things, without giving a second thought to survival. We would travel at the flip of a hat to places we wanted to go, travel inside the US or travel out of the USA. It was always a welcome change to have the opportunity to leave our familiar territory, visit somewhere else. Now we go inside our homes and we travel down a tube connected to the wall to visit places through the comfort of our armchair to see the world through someone else’s camera lens. Sometimes I relish and think of the past, of all the things I used to do and sometimes I think to myself this too will pass, we will one day be able to visit our friends again, once we get past the evil darkness that has followed in the wake of the Covid-19.

As we have stayed inside our homes we traveled down our own rabbit holes that each of us has. We find ways to keep busy inside our own home domains. I found myself reading books that I had set aside for another day, re-filing my files, cleaning up my garage, going through boxes, re-boxing things that I need to keep, recycle the things that can leave my clutches, restocked the garage of the inventory of the books that I created and sell online. I set up an “Esite” to sell these books, since the local bookstores where my books resided are now closed. I write a manuscript-novel that I started some years ago. This was the time for me to write, to dig out an old story and to flesh it out more, and write in the adventures. I began the story from the beginning of time in Quebec. My ancestors in this story were Irish, who settled in Quebec in the early 1800s and so the story went from there. I add to my Ebay site, listen to pod-casts, edit my papers, and I follow my heart-throb of his pictures posted on the internet. I think of more story lines for more children’s stories to add to my book series. I brought down my daughter’s dollhouse from the attic and decided it needed refurbishing. Then I began the hunt of finding the dollhouse pieces and putting it all together. It has been a fun adventure in the miniature world, and hoping to put things into perspective for finding another avenue to sell my wares. I used to be in an antique collective where we bought and sold to like-minded peoples, but then about four years ago, no one was buying antiques. They wanted mid-century-modern, which I deduced we were a dying breed of antique lovers. I began to FaceTime with my daughter and we decided to simultaneously work on creating miniatures together in pursuit of the world of the miniature and dollhouses. It has been a fun adventure in being part of her world. Now her significant other is involved with our love of the miniature world and he has fallen into the same teensy world.

From out of the pandemic, new ways are growing of how to create new lives, create new business, and to carve out a niche for ourselves. We are resilient in finding ways to achieve our successes, even if we had to turn ourselves inside out, over to bend and to stretch into looking down into our own souls to find out what is important to us, while investigating new ways of living to making money, carving out an existence of helping hands from one person to another, even if at a distance, we will reinvent ourselves, and we will find ways to conquer this Covid-19 disease and adapt. This virus is adapting to us and to our behaviors and lifestyles. The only thing different from this disease is that we can adapt and change also. By keeping fit, eating foods that keep us strong, taking vitamins to shore up our reserves, perhaps we can stave off the invaders. By pursuing our dreams, creating new intentions, living our dreams, we can fulfill our desires to better ourselves in ways that we never had time for in the beginning of this pandemic. We have probably learned a great deal about ourselves in these times of stress and isolation. We are a society who relied on ourselves and our community. In these times, more than ever before, even though we are apart, we still rely on essential workers, front line workers, truckers, nurses, doctors, postal workers, firemen, paramedics police, and other things in the intra-unseen-world of many hands that make our world work. Rising out of the pandemic we are still turning to each other, to not take any body for granted. We are still very much a great circle of friends, workers, who help one another, because that is how our society has existed for eons. We can overcome this disease by following the science that the doctors and scientific community discuss in ways to overcome the Covid beast that has decimated our society. We will find our way through this uncertain time…

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Land Acquisitions Back in 1846… and now.

I am reading a book about Military Governments in California in 1846-1849 by Theodore Grivas, Associate Professor of History Sonoma State College, published by The Arthur H. Clark Co. Glendale, CA. 1963. This book and a few others are giving me the understanding of what the governing forces were like during the days when California was under Mexican rule. I am working/writing a novel that takes place during this time. Interestingly enough under the Mexican rule of California, thirty-six years after Mexico gained independence from Spain in September 16, 1810, the ruling government was known as an occupation government. Mexico was very spread out after the Conquistadors had overrun the country and the Spanish throne took over, and later the Missionaries governed according to the rules of the Spanish crown. In the 1840s as the settlers were moving to California, there was favoritism given to some of the Mexican citizens in regards to land grants. Interestingly enough under Mexican rule, the land grants could be possessed and owned by women singly or if their husbands died, they assumed the title of the land. Also under Mexican laws, land grants could be passed down in the families to children and grandchildren. These were all positive reasons to own land in California during those years and, subsequently, following the Mexican rule, these allowances were the underlying basis for the American land ownership once California became a state, in 1850.

To back track a little, during the mid-1840s much lawlessness occurred under some of the Mexican Generals, Micheltorena was one who had brought up jailed Mexicans from central Mexico to use as troops, but some of them became unruly and this instilled fear and retaliatory clashes with the new settlers and the Californios. It became more and more of an uneasy society with livestock constantly being commandeered and taken by the Mexican authorities, which only fueled the new settlers to take action among themselves to secure their lands, and create their own civilian militias. Also the Native Americans were in the middle of this crisis also, having their migratory summer and winter lands occupied first by the Spanish and subsequently by the Mexican land owners. Alta California was then seized as the Mexican War waned with the Americans winning and annexing the land. Alta California continued to be a military government where American military personnel generals and colonels were ushered in to rule over common citizens, who were known as the Californios, the new settlers and the Indigenous peoples. These military governors were: Commodore Sloat, Commodore Stockton, Colonel Fremont, Colonel Mason, General Stephen Kearny and General Bennet Riley. Incidentally, all of these individuals have a street named after them in San Francisco, CA.

Even though people believe that California was initially ruled by civil authorities, quite the contrary, the government was officiated by military rule under Mexican occupation and later by the American naval and army personnel. While California was undergoing civil unrest war skirmishes occurred in 1846, starting with the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, against the Mexican government controlled by General Vallejo in Sonoma, Captain John Sutter, Sutter’s Fort (Sacramento), General Castro in Monterey, California, and General Pio Pico in Los Angeles. There was thought that the United States was beginning to start procedures for a takeover to unite the two California territories of Alta and Baja California and bring it into Statehood, as one territory state. The Americans succeeded in taking Alta California and creating a boundary line where it is today with Baja and along the seventeen miles of the Colorado River where it borders Arizona and Mexico.

What is fascinating to me is that “military control” was how early California was governed. Within the Constitution of the United States there is a provision that the President of the United States and the Governors could enact martial law. “It is considered temporary in times of enemy invasion or disaster where local authority is rendered useless. When martial law is put into play it overrides all forms of government, and civil laws are suspended until control is given back to the local authorities. Authorization for martial law and or military intervention is from the Constitution of the United States which provides for the operation and dispatch of a militia and allows it to execute laws of the Union. Last, but not least, it grants the President wide powers as commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States as proclaimed by the President by virtue of his powers as commander in chief.” In 1846, Commodore Sloat had to hold back his fleet until he was sure that Mexico and California were at war with each other. What this boils down to is that he had to wait two extra months at sea with his fleet before he could land his naval troops to march on Monterey and he did succeed to take it over on July 7, 1846. They hoisted flags in San Francisco under Captain John D. Montgomery, in Sonoma, at Sutter’s Fort and in San Jose. Although to the occupants of Alta California, which my ancestors were part of the settlement of early California, this takeover was considered by Commodore Sloat, as friendly to bring peace to its inhabitants with rights and privileges as citizens of the United States. It was further stated that those who wish to leave California would have time to dispose and sell their properties. At this time also Commodore Sloat offered the judges, alcaldes and civil magistrates to retain their offices until such time the transfer of power can be done civilly. He also proclaimed all persons holding title to land and real estate shall have their titles and rights guaranteed to them. This was not exactly how it went down, because my ancestors had to prove their Mexican land grants and it took years to prove the ownership patents under the terms and conditions of the new laws of the United States. However, what stuck was the fact that lands owned under Mexican rule could be transferred to children and grandchildren.

While land grants were offered in early California and Spanish California, each grant of land had to follow certain rules of the land to be planted, the condition of a water source, cattle maintained, cultivation of the land, and some parts of the property was left to be natural, as well as to have a system for water collection as the rains came. It was a plan of self sustainability. Each land grant had certain characteristics that were recognized as boundaries and it was fenced in, haciendas were built and occupied in order to comply with the Mexican rule, as well as all citizens had to become Mexican citizens and convert to Catholicism. As the lands were passed down to family members over time or sold, some of these divisions of land are still recognized to this day, and some of the characteristics of the land boundaries are still maintained. The landscape looks much different than from that earlier period in California’s history as much of the land has been built upon for towns, cities and industrial farmlands. California has had a diverse history, and most of the time it has been self-perpetuating and sustainable as the Central Valley has been the food basket of the country and much of the produce is flown to other parts of the world as well. There is a water canal system that diverts water from the northern section of California to feed into the canals to Southern California. We have enjoyed heavy rains and huge winter snowpacks for over a hundred years, but as we have discovered besides the periods of El Nino, warmer climatic changes are occurring. We know this is a fact, because the usual winter fog which bathes the valley fruits has been non-existent for some time, and the cherries have suffered for this lack of moisture. The winter snowmelt changes from year to year, and sometimes it barely exists, so in turn the rivers don’t carry as much fresh mountain water down through the valley and the salt from the Bay Area finds its way up the delta and creates a briny salty backwater along the levies which has caused the cherries in various parts of the San Joaquin Valley to not develop as robustly as previous years. The water table in the San Joaquin has dropped perilously low in the last one hundred years. Rains haven’t been coming as regularly and it is a concern of mine and others that we must make sure we bring about the right conservation of the land and water, as well as make changes for further self-sustainability, such as my idea of building desalination plants for water maintenance. Perhaps other farming techniques should be explored and used. It seems that the Ag-businesses could begin a new venture in vertical farm technology. It is thought that this technology uses less water and less soil to grow vegetables. These are important sustainability ideas that need to become the mainstay and echo of the original thoughts of our forefathers under the Spanish and Mexican regimes.

I think it was timely to read about the occupation of California, the laws of being a land owner and creating sustainability within each land grant, while settling in our early history here. We are a diverse community in both Northern and Southern California, united in our own unique ways, with the fabric that holds us all together as one people, because we all once were immigrants! We all have sweat equity that we have put into creating our lives here in building businesses, and in supporting businesses. We are one great State, and right now we are trying to overcome a bad virus, which we will and we will come back stronger than ever.

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The Steal of a Deal…

They talk of catfishes and even some talk of flounders… Flounders are bottom feeders. In the marine world, a flounder, is a person who has a flounder mouth, meaning one that talks. So in order to gain someone’s confidence and trust in the world of the marine salvage, one has to learn how to be quiet, to not utter one word, which could blow a deal, because that world is very sensitive and quite competitive. Anyway, one learns much more by being silent and listening to what is being said around them, by catching the local drift of conversations that always turn up on the shores of the marine world. It is almost like having a poker face to know how to ask a question to learn the nature of the job without tipping anyone else off. It is the art of the deal and then to reel in the information to cast one’s luck at trying to tie down the salvage contract. On the other hand, another type of deal landing is a Catfish. These are folks who exist and they have a different twist and intent altogether. They wish to stay undercover and never show themselves, unless they have a fool proof approach to fool their target into turning over money to support children or whatever they wish someone to support, meanwhile pretending its part of getting to know them. In romance, one must be generous as part of the relationship growing it any further along, or so they lead the unsuspecting generous person along. In the world of online dating, whether one is trying to make a new friend or hope for romance, one must request video calls, lengthier than eleven seconds, at least a minute or two, or more, such is real time, in order to know if you are talking to the real dude. It seems to be the only fair thing in town. And then right away the two people should meet in real time in the same place, same space, to really start the friendship. There are always those who wish to fool you, catfish & flounders act the same way for whatever their motives are, which comes down to the art of the deal.

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One touch away!

For almost two years off and on, someone wrote to me over the internet and also he called me through an app on the phone. In These Times of getting to know someone a world away seems outer-worldly. Just one tap of the finger onto the screen and a telephone call is connected. One can also chose a video call as well. Its as simple as 1,2,3…The cat I was talking to chose not to video call, so I never really knew who he was. I just couldn’t trust it, because I felt so insecure. Then another cat started a chat with me, and it was purely a writing friendship, although I could ask questions, which I finally did, to which he would answer me. Then another cat came along a week ago and he video called me right away, maybe for his own sake to see who he was actually talking to. The world of online long distance friendship has changed the world over. We might be worlds apart across the globe, across the ocean yet, we are one tap away. Clearly it doesn’t take much to be speaking right into someone’s eyes and hearing his voice… for the first time! It is intriguing and fun. I still want to meet, and it will happen when it is safe to travel again. In the meantime, zoom calls, video call – just one tap away!

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Being Present

I haven’t had much to say in a week… Am sitting at my desk, thinking of the links of time where I sat to pound out a thought in my blog, sometimes the flow is there… other times it is swallowed up by time intervals of nothingness as I pounder the words of a new friend… So wanting to shift the words to seeing one’s mouth move, hearing the words, seeing his presence, and if just a dream… his presence would be such a gift !

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On finding things

Sometimes things disappear on one’s desk without the slightest idea of where it went.

It doesn’t seem that unusual to lose something that was there just a bit ago

Just getting up and moving around might bring back that little bit of one’s ego

Other times things seem like they reappear and yet, it has been there all the time.

If I were to manage my desk, without the clutter, perhaps it would all be just fine!

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Shifting sands…

I have been wandering around in the desert for forty moons looking for moon dust. Finally, I found an oasis and have settled myself here for a bit of time, reflecting on why things in my life have been the way they became. I think now is a good time to check in and listen to one’s heart every so often. I have been soul-searching for quite a bit of time, and I am sure that I can improve bits and pieces of my life. I have heard it is said, answers are sometimes found in the cards or looking within a crystal ball. I don’t have a crystal ball to consult, I just have feelings and nuances that sometimes nudge me from way down inside and they bubble up and make themselves known to me. I have been thinking of all that I want and all that I can give, and I am hoping it is in balance with my true nature. I am just waiting for my camel to get enough rest and relaxation and as soon as she can store enough water in her hump, we will start again on our next journey across the shifting desert sands…This time we are headed east.

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The Garchien of Ballyhoo!

In old England time, I wandered through hill and dale in one of those thinking mucks

I came across an old oak tree covered in ivy, so I climbed up easily enough

To sit in its large big boughs I laid down with my foot in an ivy hook

I had just begun to relax in its swaying bough my foot caught in its nook

One foot was free and the other foot rested in the old bough crook.

I tapped the tree with one foot and wondered what was spongey in the clasp of ivy?

There stuck in the old oak tree was a large leather tome bound in leather all tidy.

It was none other that I had ever seen with lazy large script and pictures of pretty hue.

The book plate in front said it was The Book of Time, in a place called Ballyhoo.

There in my hand was wondrous pages exquisitely penned in gold, silver and blue.

There were ruby red letters, moss green letters and it was beautifully illustrated too.

It was a book musings, and it was about the Garchiens, the inhabitants of Ballyhoo!

All I could think of was what to do with this big book, I hardly slept the night through.

All day I read from one page to the next into the night dew under the moonlight too.

I couldn’t stop reading it as the words danced off the pages and into my head

As I began to see the little winged things and all the colors and hues that were said.

It never occurred to me that so much time had gone by, a year, a month and a day.

The days had turned into night and the bright starry sky lit up the pages of the book

So I could read from one page to the next as I learned how to take care of the Garchien.

I still couldn’t figure out who was the Garchien? I read and read, still I couldn’t tell.

Another year went by. I was still up in the tree reasoning it had only been a moment in this dell.

I reached the end of the book, turning over the last page, there stood the winged thing.

“Hello Madam, what is your wish, this dragon is at your service,” the Garchien said!

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Ivy

Ivy has many different varieties … variegated, Irish, English, Common, Persian and so forth. What is fascinating about ivy is that it just grows without much care and it climbs usually using its foot to latch on to trees, fences, lattice-work and it is usually quite beautiful to look at. However, over in the USA, ivy acts differently, it seems to grow quite out of control, if left to its own devices and it is very difficult to eradicate. I have always liked the Variegated Ivy as it possesses green and white or beige color and variety to its leaves. My mother used to have it and she kept it in pots, with a small hoop for it to grasp onto, but soon enough it would climb its way out of the pot and on to other parts of the garden. Luckily it was caught in time and it didn’t have a chance to dig in to its new sought out surface.

Ivy is like a personality, it grows and changes and climbs into the best place it can inhabit. It twines around and around with its gripper toes and within no time at all it focuses itself on its goal. Ivy is a beautiful plant and it is durable. Many people start it on a trellis and they train it into making a design as it climbs the fence or a topiary design. I was always so fascinated with topiary, especially when I visited London gardens and saw all the different kinds of plants cut and managed into topiary animal designs. It was interesting to see, and it was also interesting to see what the gardener had to do to control the intertwining ivy growth.

Ivy seems to have its own time in growing, maybe much of the growth is at night, when we are not looking. It just twines around and around and it makes for a deep connection, just like love does in our hearts. Ivy has been the plant for love in cards, in garden-scapes and in potted gifts. It seems that it works its way into hearts just as the mere color and its leaf, also resembles a heart. As I think of my heart, I realize it is tangled up with a voice I heard for over a year and a half. The energy took hold of me and I couldn’t let it go, even though I had not met him in person, I felt as though I knew him, just like ivy, he grew inside my heart, taking root and climbing deeper and deeper into my thoughts. I think ivy is like that, it grows, and fastens itself to something and twines around until the roots are established. My heart of hearts still lies awake listening for the voice, and in dreams it plays back the promises and the plans to meet. Like ivy I cling to the possibility that there is still time for it all to happen, according to God’s plan, that was made in the book of time.

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