Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Fever-Induced Google Nightmare, Updates, and Thank You All!




Thank you so much for your comments, your concerns and well wishes. And welcome to several new followers. I will not be able to catch up with you for a while yet, but I will and I will follow your blogs as well. 
I still have the flu, but am feeling a bit better, so I thought I would provide an update here. As some of you know, I am not happy with Google as far as Blogger goes. I hear that Apple and others are also upset, so maybe some changes in general will take place, but I doubt it will help Blogger. My latest Google/Blogger gripe is this: I like to keep my mouse point on the screen as I proofread (it helps old ladies like me to stay on point) and now every time this blurb pops up called Composition Editor. And covers the stuff I am trying to proof read and edit! As with the two word word verification fiasco, no one asked me if I needed a Composition Editor, whatever that is. I am a technical writer, proof reader and editor, so no thank you and please get this irritating thingy off my posts. 
I had quite a bit of a fever last week as my flu took hold and you will not believe this, but it's true. I had just watched The Tudors on BBC America, so I know why I ended up in the dungeons of the Tower of London. While there, I dreamt I saw a man turning a sort of large tube with a handle. He was dressed in white with a large Google Chrome sign on his chest. I was shocked to see that what he was  rolling up on that tube was my blog! He somehow got into the computer and was confiscating my entire blog! I could see parts of it flashing by on sheets of paper as it was being wound around this tube. I recognized the pictures! A weird dream, wasn't it? What do you think it means, if anything? (And yes, Google/Blogger spell checker: dreamt is as correct as dreamed.)

When you have diabetes and you fight any kind of infection, your blood sugar go through the roof. I had horrible pains in my feet and legs in addition to all the flu pains and I was so grateful that I had just passed my annual retina and eye  exam. I was way too sick to deal with my diabetes properly until yesterday, when I decided to just focus on reducing my carb intake and eat a lot of protein. That was a huge help with the only side effect that I am very, very hungry. 


I have felt so bad for the dogs and it has also been interesting to observe their reactions to both of us being so ill. Soldier is the same. He has no clue, he whines in the mornings because he doesn't get to walk, then calms down, and then whines for his dinner and then goes to sleep. I told him I will rename him Whiny Winny if he doesn't cut it out. Angel is concerned, she sniffs our faces, she sits and looks at us, she worries about our coughing attacks; then she tip toes to the front door, like hint, hint, can we please go for a walk. Samson has been the best! Since he is less than three years old, I am very impressed. He has been quiet, cooperative, concerned, obedient and  not made a noise. I keep telling him what a good dog he is, I think he knows. 


On another subject, I am extremely concerned about my blogger friend Sylvia. I helped with a fund raiser for her and her partner Amy, who is fighting Stage 4 melanoma. No one has heard anything after the successful fund raising ended. I wrote another comment on her blog before I got sick and just checked and there was no response. So many other people wrote back and asked her to please let them know what is going on. I will keep you informed if I learn anything.


And then it snowed and it melted and it snowed again. And there was more pogonip in the mountains. Now someone doubted we had pogonip because it doesn't get cold enough. Well, that's true, we are at 4,141 feet here in the canyon, while it's in the teens at night, it warms up pretty fast. But peaks of both Double Mountain and Tehachapi mountain are at about 8,000 feet and it gets cold enough there. The pogonip I see looking east is in the Sierra Nevada and I have no idea how tall those peaks are. Of course, I had no idea what pogonip was, never hear of it either, but fortunately we have an excellent local newspaper that has a wonderful naturalist and photographer who writes a nature piece each and every week. I have learned so much from him about the local flora and fauna and that's where I learned about pogonip. So I just wanted to share. I zoomed in on the picture above, but it is still difficult to see the high peaks in the faraway distance. 
As soon as I feel better, I will get back to blogging. I miss you all and hope you take good care and have a nice rest of the week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Husband's Ancestor -- An American Inventor

My husband's father's family came from Germany in the late 1700s and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the late 1800s, one of them became mayor of New Orleans and later governor of the state of Louisiana, but that's another story. The story I want to tell today, in honor of Black History Month, is of an ancestor on his mother's side, named Norbert Rillieux, 1806 - 1894. 
To quote Wikipedia: 'Mr. Rillieux was an American inventor
and engineer who is most noted for his invention of the multiple-effect evaporator, en energy-efficient means of evaporating water. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux was a cousin of the painter Edgar Degas.'



Norbert Rillieux's father was a wealthy white plantation owner, engineer, and inventor; his mother an African-American woman, who is sometimes is referred to as a slave, but in most accounts as a free person of color. His aunt, Marie Celeste Rillieux, was the grandmother of the painter Edgar Degas. Norbert was also related to Bernard Soulie, one of the wealthiest free black men in Louisiana at the time.

As a Creole, Norbert Rillieux was able to get a good education in Louisiana, where he was educated at private Catholic schools. He later traveled to France and studied physcis, mechanics, and engineering at the École Centrale. Fluent in French, he became an expert in steam engines and was also a skilled blacksmith and machinist. 
The process of refining sugar was slow and expensive in the 1800s. While still in France, Norbert Rillieux began looking into ways of improving this process. He continued his work upon his return to New Orleans and patented his evaporator machine in 1843. I'm not going to describe this machine or what is has meant to the sugar industry, but if you are interested, please check Wikipedia here.  Suffice it to say that the new machine was so efficient that sugar makers soon covered the cost of the evaporators with the huge profits from the sugar produced by them. 

From the Internet
Norbert Rillieux also attempted to apply his engineering skills to dealing with an outbreak of Yellow Fever in New Orleans, presenting the city with a plan that would to a great extent eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. His plan was turned down by a state legislator, who had become his enemy. However, several years later the ongoing Yellow Fever problem was successfully addressed by white engineers, using a method very close to what Rillieux had proposed. 



Norbert Rillieux spent his later years in Paris where began a study of Egyptology and hieroglyphics. He also created new inventions and spent time defending his patents. 
Norbert Rillieux died in Paris in 1894 and is buried there. He left behind a legacy that revolutionized the sugar industry and thereby the way the world eats. 
And I can testify to the fact that my mother-in-law was extremely fond of sugar, as is my husband to this day. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This time, the flu shot didn't protect me and I came down with this flu my husband has been fighting for several days. I haven't had a flu in over 20 years and I'm a huge fan of flu shots. But nothing is perfect and I feel really awful, so I wanted to let you know that I will not post anything here until I get better. Have a nice rest of the week everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fabulous Fishducky (A Few Things Her Friends May Want to Know)


The road trip I posted here last week took us to Fran (AKA fishducky) and her husband Bud's house in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. 


 Fran and Bud's house.

When I saw Fran about a year ago, I told her about my blog. She began to read it and leave comments every day. Then she branched out and started to read  several other blogs and leave comments on them. Soon something marvelous happened: Fran's comments were so special, so right on target, so frequently humorous, that she began to get a following just from leaving comments. People were begging her to start a blog of her own, but Fran didn't want that kind of blogger interaction, she was happy leaving comments. So a compromise was made and Fran is now writing stories of her life that are published on her friend Elisa's blog every Friday. Fran has lived an incredible life, she has both wisdom and a fabulous sense of humor, and so many crazy fun stories to tell, so if you have a minute on a Friday, stop by Elisa's blog and visit with fishducky. 
So with her fans in mind, and perhaps adding to them, I decided to show a some of Fran's stuff. She didn't want her photo added here, but it doesn't matter. There are other ways to tell a person's story. 


Fran's got a thing for speed, so this is Fran's car. Did I mention how old she is? Those of you who read her Ode to Being 73 know she's at least that old.


Did you know that Fran is an artist who has worked in many different media throughout her life? Stained glass, oil, pen and ink, and some whimsical motifs, like the mirror we have in our home. And, of course, her signature ducky.


My husband built an elevator shaft for Fran and Bud and Fran had the brilliant idea to move her gorgeous stained glass window from another house to the hallway here. 


Imagine being greeted by this window as you step out of your elevator into your hallway.


A closeup of the window that Fran made. If you look closely, you will see a little worm or snail climbing up a flower stem. Fran is not one who takes herself too seriously.


But she is a serious artist and this painting is one of my favorites. It speaks for itself.


Last time I was at her home, I admired her pen and ink drawings of Victorian houses. So what does she do? Of course she sends me a set of professionally made prints of them. She gave me so many because that's another thing about Fran, she is a very generous, kind, and thoughtful human being. I will share more of these, but for right now I'm sharing my three favorites.


Look at the details in these drawings!


This is the simplest, least adorned, of all the houses and my favorite. Oh, to live in a house like this!




Fran sent me many photos of her paintings, but in a pdf format that I can't upload to my blog. I tried copying too, without success. So I will work with Fran on getting them in an acceptable upload format and display them in a later post. 
I blogged about Fran's home, her art, and how the elevator came to be a much needed reality for Bud and Fran here last March. 


Several years ago, Fran had a great idea: She would make mirrors for her friends and family, using miniatures to represent what was important in each family's life. She asked my husband to make the frames, which he did, and, lucky us, we got a mirror too.  As you can see, ours shows that we like friends, cooking, baseball, sailing, dogs, and so on. The mirror is such a special work of art that we love and treasure.
My husband and I had a great time visiting with Fran and Bud. They took us out for lunch to Junior's Deli, one of those wonderful, old-fashioned, delis you have to live in a city to find. While Beverly Hills has Nate 'n Al Delicatessen, the famous deli where you can find an assortment of comics, movie stars and tourists; West Los Angeles, for as long as I can remember, always had Junior's. And that's a good thing. 
Thank you Bud and Fran for a lovely lunch and a nice visit.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Husband's Ancestor -- An American Inventor


My husband's father's family came from Germany in the late 1700s and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the late 1800s, one of them became mayor of New Orleans and later governor of the state of Louisiana, but that's another story. The story I want to tell today, in honor of Black History Month, is of an ancestor on his mother's side, named Norbert Rillieux, 1806 - 1894. 
To quote Wikipedia: 'Mr. Rillieux was an American inventor
and engineer who is most noted for his invention of the multiple-effect evaporator, en energy-efficient means of evaporating water. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry. Rillieux was a cousin of the painter Edgar Degas.'



Norbert Rillieux's father was a wealthy white plantation owner, engineer, and inventor; his mother an African-American woman, who is sometimes is referred to as a slave, but in most accounts as a free person of color. His aunt, Marie Celeste Rillieux, was the grandmother of the painter Edgar Degas. Norbert was also related to Bernard Soulie, one of the wealthiest free black men in Louisiana at the time.

As a Creole, Norbert Rillieux was able to get a good education in Louisiana, where he was educated at private Catholic schools. He later traveled to France and studied physcis, mechanics, and engineering at the École Centrale. Fluent in French, he became an expert in steam engines and was also a skilled blacksmith and machinist. 
The process of refining sugar was slow and expensive in the 1800s. While still in France, Norbert Rillieux began looking into ways of improving this process. He continued his work upon his return to New Orleans and patented his evaporator machine in 1843. I'm not going to describe this machine or what is has meant to the sugar industry, but if you are interested, please check Wikipedia here.  Suffice it to say that the new machine was so efficient that sugar makers soon covered the cost of the evaporators with the huge profits from the sugar produced by them. 

From the Internet
Norbert Rillieux also attempted to apply his engineering skills to dealing with an outbreak of Yellow Fever in New Orleans, presenting the city with a plan that would to a great extent eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. His plan was turned down by a state legislator, who had become his enemy. However, several years later the ongoing Yellow Fever problem was successfully addressed by white engineers, using a method very close to what Rillieux had proposed. 



Norbert Rillieux spent his later years in Paris where began a study of Egyptology and hieroglyphics. He also created new inventions and spent time defending his patents. 
Norbert Rillieux died in Paris in 1894 and is buried there. He left behind a legacy that revolutionized the sugar industry and thereby the way the world eats. 
And I can testify to the fact that my mother-in-law was extremely fond of sugar, as is my husband to this day. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This time, the flu shot didn't protect me and I came down with this flu my husband has been fighting for several days. I haven't had a flu in over 20 years and I'm a huge fan of flu shots. But nothing is perfect and I feel really awful, so I wanted to let you know that I will not post anything here until I get better. Have a nice rest of the week everyone.

Visiting With Rachael



Rachael came up a week ago, Sunday. Being Rachael, of course she couldn't help herself but had to bring a bunch of gifts along. The oranges above are just a few she brought from her friend Claudette's garden together with a large bag of lemons. The flowers are from Rachael. She also brought some snack food, magazines, and her hair cutting scissors. But first we went to town to have brunch, I suggested Kelcy's Diner, and old fashioned country diner with excellent food.

After brunch, we are full and happy.

Here I am, outside the diner.

It was a cold, dark, day. This is the railroad depot, rebuilt after a fire destroyed the old one in 2008.

The building to the right houses a German bakery with the most delicious eclairs, I've ever had.

Driving through canyon wilderness to the

Mountain Spirit Center. The Peace Bell structure was just as beautiful in the dark canyon, where clouds hung low on the mountain, as in the sunshine of our previous visits.

Neither of us was dressed for the cold and windy weather. It seemed just as cold inside, but we sat for a while anyway.

Then we hurried back to the car and home where Rachael cut my hair.


Then Rachael visited with the dogs. Soldier, who loves all 

women is head over tail in love with Rachael. See how he smiles?

Then Rachael had to go back to Burbank to one of the many jobs that keeps her going between her animal education programs. A short visit, but so nice, particularly since it was short and the drive is long. Thank you, Rachael, for everything.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Morning Reflections




My reflections this morning are of a whimsical nature. When we drove through the Mojave desert and Antelope Valley the other day, I thought about my blogger friend Graham, who blogs from Namibia. He travels frequently and on his travels  he runs into all kinds of wonderful and creative expressions by the people of Namibia, be it road signs, farm signs, old abandoned trucks that have been redone into flower pots, and so much more. Of course he also runs into antelopes and a variety of wild animals and birds, as well as donkeys, horses, kids, and dogs of every shape, size and color. As we drove, I thought wouldn't it be fun if something or someone were to show up by the side of the freeway! Antelopes are long gone from here, but maybe a fun sign or something. And then I remembered this truck, which looks  identical to the African ones you may see on Graham's blog. I found it a few years ago on the side of California Highway 58, the road that leads from the desert to our town. So I'm posting it again, just for fun!
You can find Graham's blog here:
http://onestonedcrow.blogspot.com He is in the north right now and doesn't have internet access, but when he comes back, I know you will enjoy checking out his blog. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pictures From The Road



Yesterday, we went to Los Angeles to take care of some business and to have lunch with our friends Fran and Bud. I woke up this morning feeling tired beyond belief, so I will rest today and just post some pictures from our road trip.
Then next week, I'll tell you about my socializing ways and visiting with both Rachael on Sunday and Fran, AKA fishducky, and her husband, Bud, all in the same week. That's quite something for an old hermit like me. I'm just surprised by how tired I get these days. 
Also thanks for your comments. I have read them all, but not been able to get back to you. I just want to let you know that I look forward to reading your comments every day and I love to hear from you. I will have some time to visit you later today or tomorrow. Do you feel guilty too when you can't keep up with your blogger friends?


 Snow in the Tehachapis.

Many new wind turbines have been erected in the desert outside the small town of Mojave. You can probably see them if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

 
Driving the long straight road through the desert from Mojave to the towns of Lancaster and Palmdale. This part of the desert was named Antelope Valley for the antelopes that roamed here when the first settlers arrived.

 Since I moved to the desert mountains almost six years ago now, I have become fascinated by rocks. I see so much beauty in them and history too, millions of years of it.  It was difficult to get a good picture as we zoomed by these marvelous rock formations.

 This is actually a park, called Vasquez State Park, formed by movements in the San Andreas fault. It's named for a notorious bandit that sought refuge here. This  spectacular scenery, so close to Los Angeles, has been featured in many films I learned from Wikipedia. You can read more about the park here.

My husband and I heard about this score of 100 for a perfect spouse. I determined that my score was about 80 and we've joked about this ever since. Here we are, in the CARPOOL lane, on the 405/Sand Diego freeway. My husband often travels here alone, stuck in traffic. He had completely forgotten that there's now a CARPOOL lane, that he thanks to me, could drive in, and thus speed past all the cars with just one driver. I joked that my wifely score now increased by at least 5 to 85.

 The buildings on top of the hill are part of the Getty Center a lovely complex of art, great architecture, and gardens with fabulous views of Los Angeles.

 We have arrived in Westwood, where I worked at UCLA for over 30 years. I lived 7 miles away. When I first began commuting to work in 1973, it took about 15 minutes. When I left the university in 2005, it took 45 minutes.  

On our way to fishducky's house, this is her neighborhood. 

 Gas prices in Los Angeles, $4.25, out here $3.85.  A sign of times to come?

 On our way out of town, we just beat the worst traffic. Here we travel downhill towards the many communities located in the San Fernando Valley. These are the suburbs of Los Angeles. They are varied in their population, from movie stars to gang bangers, but mostly just ordinary folks living ordinary suburban lives. It's a very large area.


Back on the 14 freeway, heading home in yet another carpool lane, I find these hills and buttes really interesting.

 So I thought I would share just a few views.

Finally, I always wanted to take a picture of the mansion that is perched on top of this knoll. It would have been a better picture if taken on our way to Los Angeles because then you would have seen the road/driveway that meanders up this steep hill to the house. It's a huge house, with a view of the freeway.  I wonder how much freeway noise reaches up there. Of course the rest of the views must be magnificent, but still, there's nowhere to walk in nature, unless you like to hike up and down a very steep and barren hill. Since the first time I saw this place, I have wondered who lives there.  One thing you would know for sure: The brakes on their cars must be kept in the best condition.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails