Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zephyr ~ The West Wind, 1969 ~ Present

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

Flora and Zephyr (1875) William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I will end this A to Z Challenge with Zephyr, the Greek god of the west wind, the greatest wind of all, the gentle wind of spring and early summer, and the wind of the desert mountains where I live. 

Those of you who enjoy reading and studying Greek mythology will remember the Anemoi, the Greek gods of the  winds, each representing a different wind direction. These wind brothers enjoyed their sisters in more ways than one, Flora (the Roman name for the Greek goddess Chloris, sister of Zephyr) is pictured with him above. He was also the husband of another sister, Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. And, strangely, he was believed to have fathered two horses, later belonging to Achilles. And he wasn't through, but it would take up too much space here to tell it all.  No wonder I was so intrigued when, as a teenager, I was seriously reading about the gods of Greek mythology. 

I fell in love with this soft desert wind as soon as it wrapped itself around me in Santa Fe's central plaza so many years ago. 

Here in the canyon, the west wind is the prevailing wind and for most of the year it is gentle and sweet, cooling me down in the summer heat and helping to dry laundry on the line. 

Sometimes it can get fierce, but usually the strong winds come from other directions to pry loose even the largest tumble weeds, which then clog up our fences and stop our cars in their tracks. The winds are always scary in the summer when it is dry and hot, and you worry about fires. And it's no fun to drive through the desert in the Wrangler when the winds are blowing hard and you can't talk to each other because you can't hear. Expensive too, as it makes the jeep use much more gas than it normally does.

Man is now taming the winds, setting up more and more wind turbines, all over the pass here and down in the Mojave desert. While I love the idea of alternative energy sources, the sheer number of turbines are beginning to scare me. Also, I read that all 15,000 wind turbines in California combined provide energy to 350,000 or 1% of households, which raises the question: How much of the desert and other land areas  will be needed to bring this up to say 10%? And then what?


Thoughts on the A to Z Challenge

Looking back on my 50 years in this country has been revealing, sometimes difficult, always challenging. I appreciate your comments so much as they helped to shed light on some issues and most certainly gave me new insights into who I was then.

Thank you Arlee Bird for inventing this Challenge that helps so many of us to find new and interesting blogs and make new friends. Thanks to the hosts for taking the time to ensure its success. Also, many thanks to Julie Flanders: I have no idea what your minion duties entailed, but I do know that I have rediscovered you as a blogger friend and I want to keep in touch.

Now, if we did this in Swedish, we would still have three more letters to do! Just a thought, as the month of April comes to an end.

Source: Wikipedia & Google


Since some of you have expressed an interest in reading all the posts, I decided to put all three years of my A to Z experience in Pages, right under the blog header, one page for each year. It will be much easier to find the posts that way. I should be done by the end of the week. Thank you for your interest.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yellowstone National Park, 1969 ~ 1970

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

Considered the oldest National Park in the world, Yellowstone was established by the  U. S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses H. Grant, on March 1, 1872.

Of all the places I saw on my travels across this beautiful country, nothing compares to Yellowstone National Park. The beauty of the place alone would put it high on my list, but the park's geological features, its waterfalls, geysers, and its animals makes it such an interesting, unusual, and special place. I am also glad I saw both the park and Jackson Hole in the late fall and winter, free of tourists and crowds. 

Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest high altitude lakes in the country,  sits over the Yellowstone Caldera, an active volcano and the largest super-volcano on the continent. 


Half the world's geothermal features are located in Yellowstone, and are fueled by this ongoing volcanic activity. 


Hundreds of animal species, several that are endangered, live in the park, including grizzly bears, wolves,  elk and the oldest and largest public bison herd in the country. 

I drove over to Yellowstone that first weekend I spent in Jackson Hole. I don't think I saw any critters much larger than chipmunks, but I did see Old Faithful, the famous geyser that erupts about every 91 minutes. I also saw bubbling cauldrons of hot springs in a rainbow of colors, I saw waterfalls, the large lake, forests and fields. The photo of Old Faithful and the photo below are the only two I could find and I don't remember any more. It would be a different story today.

While in the park, I met Linda and her boyfriend, whose name I can't remember. They were hitchhiking, so after spending some time with them in the park, I gave them a ride back to town. Later, Linda and I became very good friends, as she and her boyfriend decided to spend the winter in Jackson and I decided to stay as well.

I had an experience I've never forgotten the last time I drove out to Yellowstone. It was winter then, snow covered the road and the fields below the Teton mountains as I drove toward the park. I knew it would be closed, but I think something was on my mind and I wanted solitude, I wanted to be alone in nature. So, as I often did, I borrowed someone's car and drove there by myself. I stopped by Jackson Lake, close to the park entrance. I walked along the lake. That winter after my divorce, I had much to think about. The lake was frozen over and covered by snow; I was all alone. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure I was not all alone; many animals must have observed my lonely walk in the snow along the lake shore. 

And then I saw it, a red fox slowly walking across the snow- covered ice. It was so special and so lovely. ~ Sometimes when I sit here, watching the sun rise over the mountains, I think about that day and the fox in the snow.

Source: Wikipedia & Google

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xerox & Trees, 1962 -

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

After such a fun week, driving through Texas and Arizona on Route 66, remembering the three universities where I worked, and sharing visits by my parents, it had to come to this: The dreaded letter X. In my previous A to Z Challenges, I used the railroad crossing X sign and the X-rated reputation of young Swedish women in the 1960s. So why, you ask, am I going with a boring old Xerox machine? And what's up with the trees?

Copy machine 

Simply because no other tool, until the computer, was as helpful to me in my working life. You see, I couldn't type. Before I worked myself up into a professional career at UCLA, I worked with numbers, accounting, budgets, and so on. I was a whiz with an adding machine; no one was faster than I with one hand. But I was lost with two. Coordinating my two hands and their 10 fingers to gain enough speed for a satisfactory, error free, result in the shortest time possible..... I was terrible. 

Back in the day, the Mad Men days, it was expected that women would know how to type. On a typewriter, at least they were electric by then, using as many of these:

Carbon paper

as needed to crank out the number of error free copies the boss required. When I worked for the economics professor at Princeton, they even had mimeograph machines. Never mind, carbon copies were bad enough for me. 

Someone came up with a few aids to help us lousy typists; there was this:

Correction tape, which I remember as smaller than this piece, but anyway, we had that. It worked OK as long as no copies were needed.

If all else failed, there was whiteout, a liquid that you wiped out your error with and hoped it wouldn't show. Lots of luck with that!  I don't remember when they came out, but they are still selling them online, I just found out. 

According to Wikipedia, office photocopying was introduced by Xerox in 1959, and it gradually (I'd say, very slowly, because they were very expensive at first) replaced copies made by Photostat, carbon paper, mimeograph machines, and other duplicating machines. 

I don't believe we had copy machines at UCLA in 1973 when I started there. They would arrive soon after, I believe. I remember being asked to type something with several copies for a manager and being unable to finish the task. Such a painful incident that it has stuck in my mind. No one there seemed to mind though since I was so good at budget stuff, which is why they hired me in the first place, but still......

Then Wikipedia adds, referring to the copy machine: The prevalence of its use is one of the factors that prevented the development of the paperless office heralded early in the digital revolution. 

My dear Xerox machine, and all you other copiers, while I do believe your days are numbered, I must tell you how very grateful I am that you appeared on the scene when you did. And remember, when the paperless office finally arrives, there will be so many happy trees! 

Yeah, said the trees!

Arbor Day was yesterday, but it's never too late to celebrate!

Source: Wikipedia & Google.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for The World

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

"I  remembered that the real world was wide,
and that a varied field of hopes and fears,
of sensations and excitements, awaited those who
had courage to go forth into its expanse...."


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Visits (by my parents), 1964 & 1978

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

My dad came to visit me in Princeton in April 1964 when my Swedish friend, Christina, and I lived in this house, the duplex to the right. Christina and I are still friends and I stay with her or her sister, Inga, when I go back to Stockholm.

As I mentioned in my last post, I worked at the Princeton Inn and this was the view from the patio with the golf course in the background. Not a bad place to work, right?

We went to Washington, D. C. with my dad and saw all the sights. I have lots of pictures and only room for a few here.

It was cherry blossom time in Washington, so we saw the city at its best.

I just don't get it, how dressed up we were. Now, I wear jeans everywhere. And if I were to travel and go sightseeing, jeans is what I would wear. At least I'm wearing sensible shoes here. When I saw them in these photos, I remembered them, after all these years, my brown suede shoes.

At the top of the Empire State Building

My dad was an enthusiastic bridge player and there was a world championship going on in New York City, so he went alone to Manhattan and combined his visits to the tournament with sightseeing that he did on his own. He also went to visit his uncle in Brooklyn, the one with the Manhattan cocktails I wrote about in my B post. On his way back, dad got lost in the New York City subway system, but managed to eventually find his way back to Princeton. Christina and I were worried. A world without cell phones was definitely more worrisome. 

Here he is, checking out props from the film Cleopatra.  This had something to do with the 1964 World's Fair, but it wasn't the fair, at least I don't think so. My memory fails me here, but whatever it was, we had fun. 

Walking around.

Some friends of Christina's offered to fly my dad to Kennedy Airport when it was time for him to return to Stockholm. 


 Well, you know I don't scare easily ~ but I am afraid of heights. I learned my lesson here: A person scared of heights and extremely uncomfortable up high, should never, ever, ever, ever fly in a small single engine plane. Particularly not in NYC airspace and landing at Kennedy. And once I safely landed, and said goodbye to dad, I had to jump in again and fly all the way back! Phew! In the picture above, I think I'm trying to look like this doesn't bother me at all. I don't think I fooled anyone. 


My dad passed away in 1971 and in 1978 my mother came to visit me in Los Angeles, much thanks to Arne and Doris, her friends I wrote about in my Q for Quakes post. Here are some pictures from her visit:

My mother fell in love with Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. The city was founded not too far from this place in 1781. While there, mom and I ate Mexican food, shopped for trinkets, and had a great time. She made me take her back there a couple of times during her visit. My mother loved Paris, and was a bit more French than Swedish at times. I know she would have loved to go to Mexico. 

Instead, I took her in my little Datsun to the Santa Ynez valley where we spent a few days. 

It was Palm Sunday when we visited Mission Santa Inez and palm fronds were everywhere.

Everyone loved my mom, these ducks included. We went to this lake, Lake Cachuma, several times during our stay in the valley and it seemed like the ducks knew her, they would come running so fast. I remember she fell for that white one. Such sweet memories for me.

We also went to one of my favorite places, Mission La Purisima, where my mom got acquainted with a donkey.

One reason I like this place so much is the nature around the mission. This is where I saw my first road runner, fell in love with donkeys, and so on. I visited here often when I was younger. Mom and I also saw Mission Santa Barbara and spent a few days in that beautiful city.

Here is my mom on the street where I lived, outside the house that my husband would get the following year, the house where we would live for many years of our married life. 

Writing this part about my mom's visit has made me sad for the first time looking back over the past 50 years. While on the one hand I'm so grateful to have had a good mother, a mother who was a wonderful person and my best friend, on the other, this made me miss her so much. She is with me in my heart though.......... 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Universities, 1963 ~ 2005

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America

I have been associated with three Universities while living in the United States. 

Princeton University

I worked at Princeton University before and after I was married the first time. My first husband was born in Hungary, a physicist on the faculty at Princeton, and much older than I. We lived on a beautiful, fairy tale, of a place in the woods about 15 miles from town. I stayed home then and was a faculty wife, which was a job of a different kind. Universities are very political places as I found out over the years. So I entertained, was entertained, went to teas and dinner parties, and so on. I didn't mind at the time. I was young and had energy to spare. I also had the pleasure of meeting some of the great scientists of that time, as well as other very accomplished and brilliant people from all over the world. I lived a very interesting life during my first marriage, to say the least. 

Princeton Inn ~ Now residence halls

Before my marriage, I briefly worked for an economics professor, then I worked in the accounting office at the Princeton Inn. As you can see above, it was a lovely place to work, located off campus next to a golf course. I got a free lunch in their dining room and overall, while a career was not to be had there, looking back, it was an easy job and a really nice place to work.

When my dad was visiting, we had drinks with my friends Christina and Margie on the patio of the inn. The guy in the photo was a manager there. I think his name was Steve, but in those days, you called managers Mr. and their last name.

University of California San Diego was next. This is where my  UC career began in February 1972. The San Diego campus was in the process of being built back then. I got a job as a budget coordinator for the Public Employment Program, a federally funded program to integrate minorities, the disabled, and Vietnam Era veterans into the campus work force. It may seem strange today, but at the time, there were very few members of these groups employed at UCSD. 

The library in the picture above was completed when I worked there and about the only thing I recognized when I looked up the campus online for this post. 

Here I am with my very cool Buick Skylark ~ San Diego, 1972

It would take up too much room to delve into all the reasons why San Diego didn't work for me. After a year and a half, and many airplane trips to Los Angeles, I took a demotion in order to get a transfer to the UCLA campus, where I began to work, again with budgets, in their HR department in the fall of 1973.

In my UCLA office, doing budget work ~ so funny, check out that old calculator, rolodex, and pencil sharpener, for heaven's sake. Ack, not to speak of those 80's eyeglasses! 

At the University of California Los Angeles, or UCLA, as it is known, I finally found the best place for me to work. Not being very career minded, I still managed to have a career there, work that I enjoyed and was happy with, which was most important to me. Over my more than 30 years at UCLA, I worked in three different departments in very different jobs, which gave me a lot of opportunity to grow professionally. I made many friends and overall really enjoyed my time on the UCLA campus.

Looking back now, I was very fortunate to have come to UCLA, to have found the beautiful neighborhood where I lived, to have met the wonderful people who became my friends. This is why I will always love LA, traffic and all.

Royce Hall, UCLA 

Powell Library and a fountain designed by guys from our Capital Programs department, the last department I worked in ~ I would say, the last and the best by far. 

Source: Google images


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