We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sepia Saturday #154 Down to the sea in boats

Our prompt photo for Sepia Saturday this week shows two men in a rowboat. I immediately thought of some photos I had in my stash that related to boats.

First we have a family on a cruise. It looks like they might be going from Berlin to Bremen according to the life saver (or else that's the name of the ship). I like how they documented their trip, even got the captain in on the shot. Poor captains. I wonder if they ever get tired of having to to be in everyone's photo.   

Here's a real fun loving group. They look like a prosperous bunch, maybe on a yacht. I'm thinking the handsome man in the foreground is not too happy. He was hoping to pair up with the cute girl in the center and instead got stuck with a not too attractive lady with very sad eyes. He wants off that boat fast.

This group isn't as prosperous as the ones above. They just have a rowboat. I wonder if it even left the shore or if they got in just for the photo. Too bad Handsome Man in the previous photo couldn't have gotten off his yacht and jumped into the boat between those two cute eligible females. He would have had much more fun. I also wonder about that ghostly shadow on the right of the photo. It's kind of eerie, isn't it?

Now here's what I call a Prince of a sailor. Do you think he has any idea at all about his craft?  He looks so young. Way before he met Wallace Simpson. If only he had stayed on the boat, history might have been quite different!

Just like the Prince, my ex-husband felt the sea calling. For some reason (not having any prior experience with boating) he got his captain's license and then proceeded to build a 64' catamaran, The Discovery (that's him on the right in the white shirt, waving). He sailed it down the coast from San Diego to Acapulco and used it to ferry tourists around to various sites. His undoing came when he decided to set out for Cancun. On the way there, he and his crew met with a terrible storm off the coast of Salvador. The Discovery was battered, bruised and almost sunk. The crew was rescued by the Salvadorian Navy. That was the end of the Discovery. I can't help but compare this story to Helen's post about her Grandfather Hector building a coffin and later turning it into a boat. My ex pretty much did the same thing, only he did it in reverse - he built a boat that almost became his coffin.

Farewell Discovery.

For other stories about boats, bridges or dogs, click here: SEApia Saturday.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sepia Saturday #153 Look A-likes

Here's our prompt photo for this week. When I saw it, I figured, hey this will be easy. The challenge gave me the opportunity to visit my stash of photos and that's always fun. I found so many photos of sisters and friends. But I found three photos of women who look so much alike. These are the ones that I'll feature.

Look Alikes No. 1 - The Secretarial Sisters

I'm not really sure if these two are sisters. They might even be mother and daughter or just friends. They're more dressed alike than look alike. With their puffy sleeve blouses and their crisp black bowties, you'd almost think they were dressed for a halloween party.  Maybe the lady at left with the top knot is holding the invitation to the party. They both look very excited, don't they? "Hey, sis, let's go to the party dressed as secretaries. What do you say?"

Look Alikes No. 2 - Help ! Our hair is caught on the fan - sisters

They do look like they are stuck to that fan. Is the fan part of the background or is it attached to them? It's kind of hard to tell. "Ouch, keep smiling but this really hurts."  But these two definitely look like sisters. They're going to star in the opera - Cossi Fan Tutte. They look like opera singers with their very fancy dresses. Or maybe they're on their way up that grand staircase to a debutante's ball. Good luck going up that staircase! Especially when you've both got a fan stuck to your heads.

Look Alikes No. 3 - Now this is what I call Look Alike sisters

Could they be any more alike? These are the Staley sisters (according to a note on the back of the photo). Not enough information to figure out who they are or where they came from. I love their outfits with the matching lace jabots (for you men, that's the ruffly thing at the opening of their respective dresses), the buttoned up feature on the front of the skirts and then those ties, Oh my, those ties. Could they be in some sort of organization - The elkettes, the moosettes? Whatever they are, they're very striking. You really would see those two coming and going. And I'm sure people really did a double take (so to speak) when they walked by.

I was going to have a contest on which are the most alike looking, but the Staleys would win hands down. So I'll just leave you to enjoy the photos, no need to vote. Unless, of course, you want to.

Check the other sisters and friends stories by clicking here Sepia Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sepia Saturday #152 The End of Public Libraries?

Our prompt photo for Sepia Saturday this week pictures school boys studiously perusing the books in their library. I previously posted about the library I remember as a youth, the Pomona library.

Since that post the news has come out that the Pomona Library is in jeopardy of closing due to serious budget cuts. They've managed to get enough funds together to stay open for another year, but the city has just voted down a measure that would have funded the library far into the future.  What's wrong with these people? Don't they treasure their library?

It seems that Pomona's is not the only library in the country that has been forced to tighten their belts. Even the Library of Congress is having funding problems and this seems to be part of a national trend. There appears to be unconcern about cutting library services until there is an emergency such as in Brooklyn when there was a threat to close 40 branches. Then the people staged a protest. Their slogan was "We will not be shushed".

The Huffington Post has even created a special section titled "Libraries in Crisis".

Photo from The Huffington Post Libraries in Crisis

Perhaps in the future we will only have Little Free Libraries such as the ones in Helen McHargue's post this week.

Speaking of reading, books and libraries, I did a post not too long ago about my favorite childhood books (all of which I read as library books). Anyway, they were a series called Betsy - Tacy by Maude Hart Lovelace. At the time I wrote that post I only had a few original copies of the books and I made myself a goal of collecting the whole series. Well, I've finally done it. Thanks to Ebay and Amazon I was able to find every single book! 

 This is the very first of the series:

And this, the final one:

Some of them aren't in the greatest shape, but I love them anyway - every single one.

For other biblio tales click here: Sepia Saturday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sepia Saturday #151 ERMA and I

I love this photo of the early telephone operators. I actually worked in an advertising agency where I sometimes had to work one of these complicated machines. It took me a while to master it with all those cords and a board that sometimes lit up like a Christmas tree. "Hello, Honig Cooper and Harrington, how may I direct your call" I would have to say. Quite a mouth full. But I'm not going to write about switchboards, instead I'm posting about another machine that I mastered on my very first  job in 1961.

I operated what we affectionately called the batch machine at a bank in Los Angeles. Here's what it looked like (that's not me, no one ever snapped a photo of Nancy, the batch operator).

I got to be really fast on the batch machine. Here's how it worked - I would get this big stack of checks and deposits. The checks were entered, then the deposits. If they balanced, the checks went into certain slots. I had to memorize which slot was which. The deposits went into another slot. After everything was entered, the checks and deposits went to some clearinghouse somewhere. Then they came back to the bank and each check was manually filed and checked against the customer's signature. Sounds kind of archaic, doesn't it? But it was 1961, afterall.

I loved working at the bank on Larchmont Blvd. Isn't it a cute street?

Larchmont Blvd. bordered a really rich neighborhood in Los Angeles called Hancock Park. Lots of our customers were really, really wealthy. People like Nat King Cole banked there.

Nat King Cole's house in Hancock Park

 and Dimitri Tiomkin (composer of the theme song from High Noon).

But I digress. Let's get back to the batch machine. It was developed by Bank of America some time between 1950 and 55 to speed up banking.

The early model was called ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting). "The project that resulted in this engineering achievement made the automation of checking accounts practical and reliable, revolutionizing the world of banking system and ushering in the age of data processing machines for businesses."

ERMA's principal users were data clerks (that's me!) who were focused more on the information they processed than the machine processing it (that's for sure!).

In 2001 ERMA received an award recognizing its outstanding contribution toward the standard of living, peace and prosperity (Hey, I was only doing my job!).

If you'd like to read all the nitty gritty about ERMA's development, click here:  ERMA.

If you'd like to read about switchboards and other early machines, click here: Sepia Saturday.