Friday, May 29, 2009

Note to Rush Limbaugh

Cierre por favor su boca, Usted es un tonto!

Short Week For Sure

Sometimes the days just get away from you. Gosh, here it is Friday already and I don't have the next installment of Going Home Again prepared. I kind of thought it was going to be wild week so I slipped in that little tidbit on the Caltech Marine Lab. That led to an unexpected twist, again my friend and gentle prodder, Mollie, asked me if I tried to contact Professor Brokaw, who was a student at Caltech during one of my summers as a kid. I took her suggestion and send off an email to him at his Caltech address. I got a very nice and unexpected reply. Its nice to hear about people after so many, many years. He was a student the summer of 1952. Talk about this week flying by, where have all those years fled to???? Anyway apologies for not doing my usual Friday blog. Today was spent at a thank-you luncheon for Wings of Hope volunteers. It was very nice and I took my daughter Linda and granddaughter Anna along with me. They both enjoyed it as well. If I have said it once, well then gosh darn, I will say it again...These are the nicest bunch of people I have ever had an opportunity to work with. Got to go and play catch up for a bit, will blog more later.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Caltech Marine Lab – China Cove

My childhood buddy and best friend, Mollie, pointed out to me that when I posted my Corona del Mar prequel that I failed to make any comments about the Caltech Marine Lab (aka Kerckhoff Marine Lab) which is the one landmark structure still remaining in China Cove today. I don't know how I could have forgotten to share some of the really great times that involved the Marine Lab in one form or another.

It was on the rocks surrounding the site that we filled our days with activity, climbing on the rocks, that stood taller in those days, not only because of our relative size at the time, but also because it was before a variety of construction projects occurred and caused the sand to shift and fill-in the area. In those childhood summer days we could dive from the rocks at high tide in complete confidence that we would not break our little necks. Today the rocks that protrude above the sand are probably no higher than three feet.

Sometimes I would get a "job" when Professor George McGinnity would allow me to wash the test tubes. I remember the importance that each test tube needed to be rinsed thoroughly in distilled water before it was ready to set aside for the next experiments. The main level of the Marine Lab housed the lab areas, tanks full of all type of sea creatures, and a small kitchen where the students could cook their meals. Upstairs was the class room and sleeping quarters. Later when the class size increased, a canvass awning was placed on the roof to increase the available bunk space.

I was never in sync age-wise with the students that would come and go each summer, always treated like the little sister, and forever hanging around. Mom and Dad would invite the boys over each summer for barbeque and even an occasional bridge game. They were a smart group of guys that I found totally fascinating.

Mollie wondered what ever happened to those guys, making a comment that by now they are probably all dead. I wish I could remember their names it would be fun to know what career path they followed. I did come across one of the summer guys, Charles Brokaw, on the Cal Tech website. He received his B.S., Caltech 1955; Ph.D., University of Cambridge, 1958, Visiting Assistant Professor, Caltech, 1960; Assistant Professor, 1961-63; Associate Professor, 1962-68, Professor, 1968-2000, and is currenty Professor of Biology Emeritus.

Here is a little blurb that I found on the Caltech web-site that I thought was interesting:

The Kerckhoff Marine Lab is located at 101 Dahlia Avenue in Corona del Mar, CA (tel.949-675-2159). The lab is equipped with an excellent running sea water system, and a number of wet labs as well as laboratory spaces for molecular biology or other research operations requiring instrumentation. Caltech's research boat is moored there. This is a 24-foot Monterey Explorer 230 fiberglass vessel with excellent working space, that is suitable for research diving and specified collection. The Marine Lab has what may be the world's best egg-to-egg culture system for Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, the California purple sea urchin which is the major workhorse of the laboratory of embryonic gene expression. The laboratory was acquired by T.H.Morgan soon after the founding of the Division of Biology in 1928. Among the eminent Caltech scientists who have worked there, in addition to Morgan himself, have been G.E.McGinnity, Heinz Lowenstam, Charles Brokaw, and Roy Britten who is in residence there at present.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Remembrance of those who served and those who gave

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gone Fishing

I'm gonna enjoy the long weekend. Hope you do too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Transition

Well it's Monday and already the finishing up has begun. Last night Survivor had its season wrap-up with that sweet southern boy, J. T., from Alabama, taking home all the money. He won the million dollars with a unanimous vote from his fellow contestants, plus an extra $100,000 from the viewer's favorite vote. This season lacked a lot of the spark that previous seasons had. I think it was because for the most part everyone got along pretty well. But it did have Coach, what a nut case; I really thought he was certifiable. Well played Coach, hope your new acting career goes well. And I am hoping that J.T. will end up doing something really extraordinary with his million dollars and doesn't get taken advantage of along the way.

Dancing with the Stars wraps up this week with Shawn Johnson, Gilles Marni and Melissa Rycroft in the running. My vote will have to go to Gilles, he is just so yummy to watch. I think even if he had two broken legs I would still vote for him. Melissa was a last-minute substitution just as the show was beginning. She is very graceful and looks great dancing and having Tony as a partner give her a big plus. Then we have our little perky Shawn Johnson, it's hard not to like her she is so cute, but I think her negative is her gymnast's body, a bit too short and bulky to look graceful on the dance floor.

Sandwiched in-between DWTS we have the American Idol finals. I will vote for Adam Lambert but I really like Kris Allen as well, in fact I will be more likely to buy Kris Allen's album than Adam's, but I like the overall performance that Adam gives. Except for a drama queen or two along the way this was a season of some really great singers. I am happy that American Idol gives them this opportunity to be seen and launch their careers.

Maybe during this transition period I can get myself back to reading more. I'm very undisciplined though, as much as I love to read, if there is a TV show or a movie to watch I will put the book down and take the lazy way out and sit back with that 'entertain me' attitude.

There is a new writer (to me) Michael Harvey from Chicago that writes mystery novels. I have his 2007 book The Chicago Way waiting at the library for me to pick up. I thought I would give it a try and see if I like his writings. If I do he has a second book out in 2008, The Fifth Floor that I can try. Summers have always been the best time for me to read, I guess it's the perfect accompaniment to lying by the pool or on a beach. Nowadays I just lie on the couch and think I am at the beach. On a good day I think I can actually hear the surf.

Ciao for now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Going Home Again – Corona del Mar - Part I - The Prequel

The picture above is the China Cove home as it was originally built in 1939. It was my family's summer place where we would trek off to each spring and summer vacation and assorted weekends throughout the year. From our home in Rosemead it would take a little over an hour to get to, no freeways just surface streets. Sometimes the trip back home on Sundays would take a little longer as we would stop by Knott's Berry Farm for a nice chicken dinner. If the mood was right I could talk my folks into letting me pan for gold for a bit, but I tried to steer clear of Dead Eye Dick holed up in the jail on Main Street. That guy scared me to death. He would talk to me and he knew my name!!!!

Orange County in those early days was mostly acres and acres of farmland, long before the coming of Disneyland in the mid-fifties and later the expanded Knott's Berry Farm complete with assorted activities and thrill rides.

During the summer of 1953 the Boy Scout Jamboree came to town and 10,000 tents were pitched on the site that is now Newport Center with all its extravagant shops and bistros. What a treat it was for a teenage girl to have thousands of boys scouts scattered through the town and beaches. Talk about being a pig in clover!

I look back on this China Cove home as one of my favorite places to live and grow up. I learned to swim and sail here. Learned how to cope with the dangers of climbing rocks, stingray bites, fishing hooks stuck in a hand or foot, all little lessons of life and growing up in a world that wasn't totally protected.

I can remember the house being packed with people over Labor Day weekend, the annual get-together for my parent's bridge club. There was lots of drinking and barbecuing, I think bridge took a hiatus those few days. The house was uniquely decorated with those convertible couches and during times like this the rooms became wall to wall bedrooms. The adults all had a good time and we kids enjoyed that they had a diversion leaving us to pursue our own form devilment.

There were probably few summers that I didn't get there for a visit for at least a day or two. Even when we were living up north in Albany we would still managed to load up the kids and spend a little vacation there. I'm sure the kids all have memories of visiting there when they were tots, building sandcastles and getting sunburned backs and blistered noses.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Going Topless

A rare day indeed here in Missouri. It's 68 degrees, sunny and the humidity is at 40%. Perfect conditions to put the top down on my VW Beetle Convertible. I feel like jumping in the car and driving until I run out of gas. This is not the ideal location for a convertible. Usually it is too cold or too hot, but there are those rare "perfect" days like today that usually come in the spring or fall, and then it is so much fun. You can smell the freshly mowed grass and hear the birds twittering overhead. You really feel a part of nature, probably the only thing that surpasses it is riding on a motorcycle. Has anyone read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance authored by Robert M. Pirsig? It was required reading for an Ethics class I took at Pepperdine. I may just re-read it this summer. Let's just see where I end up on this tank of gas. Later...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Time to re-set your postage meter

First class U.S. Postage will increase to 44 cents on Monday, May 11th. Sources say this two-cent increase will only cost the average person $3.00 a year. I guess that's about 150 letters a year or 12 ½ per month. I'm pretty sure I fall way below the national average on this. Most of the time my mailings consist of birthday cards, and heck I don't even know that many people. But while I was poking around on this subject I found this website for junior philatelists that I found really interesting. I am going back and take the time to read the entire site. I wonder if kids still get interested in collecting stamps anymore. Here are a few facts from the web site:

A few Facts

  • United States adhesive postage stamps were first issued under an act of March 3, 1847 and placed on sale at New York, N.Y., July 1, 1847.
  • Books of stamps were first issued April 16, 1900
  • Coils of stamps were first issued February 18, 1908.
  • Postal cards were first issued May 1, 1873, under an act of June 8, 1872.
  • Airmail postal cards were first issued January 10, 1949.
  • Stamped envelopes were first issued in June 1853 under an act of August 31, 1852
  • Printed stamped envelopes were first issued in the spring of 1865.
  • Newspaper wrappers were first issued in October 1861 under an act of February 27, 1861.
  • Giori presses were first used in printing American Flag stamp issued July 4, 1957.
  • Pre-canceled postal cards were first issued November 19, 1962.
  • Luminescent-tagged stamps were first issued August 1, 1963.
  • The new nine color Huck press was first used to print the Christmas issue on November 1, 1968. (From the web site: http://www.junior-philatelists.com/index.shtml)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Passing the message on... Serve.gov

On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a bold expansion of opportunities for all Americans to serve their communities and our country. During a time of almost unprecedented challenges it is critical that we all work together, the government alone cannot fix everything. Working together in a sustained, collaborative effort, we can harness our greatest resource, our people, and change the course of history. This website is a new portal for you and all Americans to find your own ways to serve in your own communities. Just choose your keyword - "education," "environment," or whatever interests you - and type in your zip code to see what opportunities our partner organizations have in your area. Americans are putting their own country back on the right track, be a part of it.

About Serve.gov

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Do me a favor; it will only take a minute: Go to www.serve.gov and check it out. Even you only have an hour a week that you can give to a volunteer effort; I bet you can find something out there that you can do that will help others.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Going Home Again – Manhattan Beach 1964 - 1968

I think short moves have to be the absolute worst. You think nothing could possibly get broken in a few short blocks, so you end up piling everything in the back seat of the car instead of packing anything at all. That being said the move did go well and despite being very pregnant I still could help move the refrigerator out and down the stairs of the old place and up the steps of the new place.

Susan and soon-to-be new baby Linda got a newly painted girly-pink room and Mark of course had a deep boy-blue d├ęcor. We were excited with our little three bedroom one bath home. Later we would remodel the bathroom and kitchen and we were in pig heaven. The two-car garage was unattached and at the back of the property on the alley. Within the first year Dick would take on his first (and probably last) building project. He turned the backyard into this massive deck, complete with built-in planters. That deck was so sturdy I bet it is still standing today.

The location was perfect, the kids had a short and safe walk to their elementary school and we were only five blocks from the beach. There was a community park also within walking distance for the kids, and the park was also the home for Little League baseball games and Cub Scout flag football. The Boy Scout House was also located there as well and shared by both the Boy and Girl Scouts.

I was a Cub Scout Mom and enjoyed welcoming about six little Cubs weekly to my home. We made candles molded in old milk cartons and really neat Indian masks that were made out of recycled Baskin-Robbins ice cream cartons. A couple of years later I would be Girl Scout leader for Susan's twenty-three member troop. While I put my foot down at camping out I was fortunate to have another mom who took on that role for me, so everything worked out great.

Manhattan Beach has this great badminton club that we were lucky enough to be able to join. The main focus was of course playing badminton in this large indoor facility and we saw some really top level play during our time there. There was a social side to the club that worked as a vehicle to raise additional money for the club. It was mandatory for each member to serve on the committee for one formal party and one casual party. That entailed decorating the club, preparing and serving the food and doing the after party clean-up. Serving on the committee was almost as much fun as the party itself. At one event Dick made gazpacho for 400 people.

We packed a lot into those four years in Manhattan Beach. There was George, the hamster, with his very own penthouse attached to Mark's bedroom window. Susan had Kitty Jo, who became the mother of four cute kittens. We kept one of the kittens, Elmer, who if he were still with us, could write his own book. I became involved in the Goldwater campaign, working closely with a woman who ran the local Goldwater office. She took me under her wing and I became active with the South Bay Republican Women's Club after the election and even later was appointed to the Republican State Central Committee by our assemblyman. Dick was encouraged to run for the Manhattan Beach school board, he lost a very close election, by something like one vote per precinct. Had he won the next step would have been for city councilman. Dick left Mattel Toys and went to work for TRW Systems, which opened the door to his eventual renowned computer career.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whoosh......

All of a sudden this retired world that I live in has gotten very busy. That's good, very good, but there is a list of undone items:
  • Two Netflix movies waiting to be viewed - Titanic and Unforgiven (I know, I know.)
  • Eight episodes of Charlie Rose on the DVR + one episode of Law & Order SVU
  • John Grisham's The Appeal (already renewed once)
  • Spring cleaning
  • Continued research on my book
  • Daily walks (though weather sometimes is a factor and valid excuse)
  • Planting my vegetable garden (wait, I live in a condo -- scratch that one.)
  • Sky Diving lessons (just checking to see if you were still with me.)

All of the above being trumped by the Stanley Cup Play-Off's, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and Survivor. Have you noticed that everything except spring cleaning, gardening and walking involves a great deal of sitting?

Later then.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Comments?????

People read but they don't comment. Makes you feel like you are the only person on earth. I can hear the echo of the keyboard as I type. Quiet, so very quiet out there.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It’s Good to be GREEN

Spring is here and I've been in the mood to get to some of that good old, deep down spring cleaning. I have been in my present location for four years now. When I moved in my style was modified-minimalist. That was good for at least the first two years, now these last two years have gained in strength and numbers. I feel I am suffocating in files and saved pages of crap. Last Thursday my granddaughter, Anna, came over to help me shed documents. In about three hours she had filled two of those large trash bags and we only have scratched the surface.

One thing that I became very aware of is that I must cut this paper umbilical cord that I am attached to – I thought receiving my bills electronically would satisfy my part to help to be GREEN. Now I find that I just duplicate everything on paper once it hits my computer. STOP THE INSANITY ANNIE!!! When I sit and look at what two or three years of paper trash looks like it makes me realize that a change is in order. So beginning TODAY I promise to have faith that my computer, that with all its wonderful and varied back-up options it will take good care of my monthly utility and credit card bills.

The condo project where I live has a total of 96 units, four buildings of twenty-four units each. We are a population of probably 150 people, more or less. We do not recycle here and I find that disturbing. When I asked an association board member when we were going to start a recycling project I was told we didn't have room for one. Well, you know what, I am not sure I find that credible. I am going to check with our waste company and find out exactly what is required in the way of space to put in recycling bins. If I can prepare a report with all of the requirements needed and draw up a little plan on getting word out to the residents' maybe the condo board would consider starting a recycle program.

Our small population here, I am sure, produces at least the per capita national average output of cans, bottles, cereal cartons, plastic containers, etc. that all can be recycled and not just carted off to the local dump. It is baby steps to progress, but that is where it starts. Deriba Merga and Salina Kosgei wouldn't have won the Boston Marathon without first taking baby steps.

For more information: http://green.yahoo.com/earthday/