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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sepia Saturday #162 Ai Weiwei and bicycles

Our theme for Sepia Saturday this week is bicycles. I've once again dipped into my box of Chinese photos and come up with these two photos that fit nicely.

This is a bicycle parking lot in Shanghai, China taken on our trip there in 1985.

It seemed as though everyone rode a bike then. (Maybe one of the bikers in this photo is a messenger.)  You didn't see many cars on the roads - mostly buses and taxis, but no personal cars. What Chinese could afford a car in those days?

Fast forward to 2012 and what do we see in China?

A massive U.S. style traffic jam.  The bicycles have certainly been replaced by smog producing cars. That's real progress!!

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist/sculptor has added his two cents to the problem of too much progress. Here are two of his installations:

If you're not familiar with Weiwei, you might be interested in this trailer. The documentary about him is currently showing in theaters worldwide (but probably not in China!). He's currently under house arrest there because he's thought of being a dissident! 

Bike on down the road for more Sepia Saturday stories. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sepia Saturday #160 They're Good for Your Sex Life

This is our prompt photo for this week's Sepia Saturday. I've decided to focus on the oysters which are sold in the above pictured establishment.

I'm not sure what this glutton is eating - maybe a drumstick in one hand and an oyster on his fork. Maybe it's just a leaf of lettuce. But this is the type of gluttony you think of when thinking of oysters, so that's what I'm going to think it is.

I've never been one to love oysters. I think I've only had raw oysters twice in my life. I loved the lemon and the sauce, but the oysters - not so much. As Jonathan Swift said "He was a bold man that first eat an oyster."

There are a few interesting factoids about oysters. Did you know that our government in 1865 displaced the native Americans of Yaquina Bay, Oregon so that the non-native settlers could have better access to the oyster beds? There we go again!

This and other oyster facts are documented in The Oysterman a film produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting. Check it out if you want to know everything there is to know about the west coast oyster.

People started eating canned oysters during WWII because of meat rationing.

Thousands of gallons of frozen oysters were purchased by the U.S. military in WWII. I'm surprised there are any oysters left!

Now about the myth that oysters are an aphrodisiac. No good scientific study has ever proved this. But oysters are full of zinc and zinc supposedly controls progesterone levels. High progesterone levels equal a positive effect on the libido.  So...who knows for sure.

It seems every culture has some kind of food that is thought to be an aphrodisiac. On our trip to China, we were often told, "Eat your sea cucumbers, they're good for your sex life". Or "eat those ducks feet, they're good for your sex life." It seemed that just about everything we were served was good for your sex life. I snapped this photo of a shop window in China. It's true, just about anything in China is good for your sex life!

But the only good thing about oysters:

Take a shopping expedition for other retail stories by clicking Sepia Saturday

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sepia Saturday #160 Oven Man

The photo Alan selected for this week's Sepia Saturday was a difficult one for me. I couldn't find any photos of men standing near a truck. But curiously enough, I found a photo of a man standing next to an oven. Who doesn't have one of these in their box of pics?

So I'm trying to figure out what this is all about. Is he a salesman and he's thinking if he puts his wares out on the street he'll have a better chance of a sale? I don't think I've ever purchased an oven on the street!  Or maybe he just bought this oven and he's so proud of it, he wants his picture taken with it so someone like me will end up with a silly picture of a man and oven some day.

I'm also wondering what they sell at Surprise Dairy. "Surprise. Your milk is sour."  or "Surprise, your cream is curdled."

To go along with this post, I've included the following Elton John offering which is apropos:

See what others have posted about men and trucks or...by clicking here Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sepia Saturday #159 Was My Mom Nuts???

When I saw the prompt for this week of a woman sitting on the beach, I thought of some photos in our old album which led me to believe that my mother was kind of nuts. Or else she was just very trusting. Or she just knew my dad too well. Anyway, what leads me to these questions, is why on earth would my mother hire the girl below to be our babysitter?

This is Ann. She was probably about 17 or 18 at the time and lived down the street from us in Chicago. She was the babysitter for my sister, brother and I. At the time I didn't think anything about having a gorgeous babysitter like this. Did my mother? Wasn't she afraid that my dad might be only too happy to give her a ride home when her duties were finished, even though she only lived about a block away?  And maybe never return?

Did my mother ever see this picture of Ann?

This girl was flexible? She had a gorgeous body and was beautiful. I remember at the time thinking she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She looked a lot like Ava Gardner. And not only was she pretty, she was a great babysitter. She was fun, patient, kind, never tiring. We loved Ann.

But was my mother afraid that my father might love Ann, too. Probably not. My dad was an engineer after all. He was kind of oblivious to things around him. And he really loved and admired my mom. 
Here they are looking happy. He would never stray.

And my mom was attractive. So, of course, he would never look at another woman.
Or would he?

I found this other photo of my mom and dad (the two on the left at back) at a party. He's suspiciously eyeing that blond sitting in front. mmmmm.  Well, maybe he was just your normal kind of guy. He could look, couldn't he? Especially when she's wearing that dress with her shoulder all exposed.

As far as I know, he only looked. My mother was never jealous (not that I know of anyway).

We lost our babysitter, Ann. She got married to Lou and moved away. We were all sad to see her go. It was a lovely wedding.

And I was honored and fortunate to be one of the two flower girls.

That's me on the right. I'll forever be kidded about my performance at the wedding. It was a very long catholic high mass wedding. At one point in the ceremony I went up to Ann (she was my babysitter, afterall) and tugged on her dress and told her I had to go to the bathroom. She very quietly and patiently guided me back to my place and said "not now, a little later".

I went to Ann and Lou's 50th wedding anniversary. They had moved from Chicago to California (just like our family had). The story of my wedding "faux pas" was told again and again to my embarrasment.

I get a Christmas card from Ann every year. She and Lou are still married and she still has that wonderful personality that we loved her for when she was our babysitter. My mom is gone now. I wish she were here so I could ask how on earth she could have hired such a gorgeous girl to be our babysitter. Was she ever worried about our dad being tempted?

There are lots of other beach related stories you might enjoy. Click here Sepia Saturday.