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, October 17, 2014

Shoe Sign Boys

Oops - don't read this again. I posted it by mistake.

This week's theme is street sellers. Pictured is a Chinese man who will make a pair of shoes while you wait:

When your shoes are finished and you've walked in them a bit, you'll need to have them shined. No problem - anywhere you go in the world, you'll find a shoeshine boy on the street just waiting to accommodate you. This photo is from a trip I took to Rio in 1970.

But where are all the shoeshine boys? All those chairs at the ready and only one boy has shown up. I have a feeling the boy having his shoes shined is a shill trying to entice some real customers.

Here's a video I found that goes along with the theme quite nicely:

Remember to keep your shoes shined. Give these boys a break.

Walk along the street and find other tales of street-side marketers at Sepia Saturday.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Music, But No Monkeys

The photo prompt this week of the organ grinder is the perfect theme for me to show off photos from my recent trip to France. But first you have to listen to this music as a way of introduction:

It's music from the film Amelie (one of my favorite films) and has a wonderful French flavor, perfect as an accompaniment to my little tour. (This video goes on and on, so just listen to as much as you want. Wish I could figure out how to edit YouTube videos. Do any of you know?).

I visited my daughter, Megan and her boyfriend, Jean Patrick last month and had a wonderful 10 day stay in the North West of France. Everywhere we went there was music of some kind.

This is a street musician in Dinan (in the Brittany area). I'm not sure what instrument he is playing but it looks a little like a dulcimer. It's probably a medieval instrument because this town is definitely medieval.

And in the same town, we have a one-girl band. She played everything. There's not an appendage that isn't in use. What a talent.

More from Dinan (that town was just full of street musicians). This was a man playing what looks like an organ grinder type thing but he didn't have a monkey on his shoulder. Instead he had a woman who sang along with him and the curious instrument.

Even at the local farmer's market, there was music. This guy was really good. I wish I had had a video camera to catch his tunes. You'll just have to trust me. He was good.

My daughter's boyfriend (now fiance!!) Jean Patrick is a musician in France. He plays the piano, keyboards and is a talented composer. He played a little concert for me during the visit.  He was preparing for a music festival he was scheduled to appear in Algeria.

And last not but not least, here's my daughter who was goofing around. We were visiting a chateau in Cande (actually the place where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were married). They were having an exhibition of unusual musical instruments and Megan was trying her best to get some music out of this little child's piano turned into a experimental instrument.

Hope you've enjoyed the musical tour of France. To check out other organ grinders, monkeys and musical stories, click here:  Sepia Saturday


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whatever Happened to J.H. Hudson?

It's amazing what you might find in your box of photos and letters that just might fit a Sepia Saturday prompt. When I saw the one of the prison inmate, I remembered a wonderful photo that I once found in an antique store. The identification card above is from Joliet Prison from 1912. Nothing could be found on the internet about this poor man. I wonder what ever happened to him.

Mr. Hudson sure looks a lot older than 25. And look at that nice suit he's got on with the stiff crisp collar. He doesn't look like a criminal to me.

Look at the 4th column from the left where it says "Color of Left Eye". Don't they want to know the color of the right eye?

According to this ID card, he escaped from prison in 1913 and there was a $50.00 reward for his capture. Was he ever found? I picture him running through the swamps with the bloodhounds after him. Let's hope he escaped and lived a long crime-free life.

There's nothing on the card about his crime. Maybe he was in for arson - since it states that he had burns on his face and forearm. mmmm. Could this be?

I might have been able to find out more about Mr. Hudson if that lazy prison guard had asked him for his birth date or even measured his cheek width. I just didn't have enough info to work with. So I guess we'll never know what happened to him. Maybe he escaped like this enterprising prisoner:

Escaped Inmate Caught Hiding In Portable Toilet
Authorities swarm escaped inmate Cesar Sanchez in Rockdale Friday evening several hours after he jumped from a moving prison vehicle. (CBS/Todd Sherman)
Authorities swarm escaped inmate Cesar Sanchez in Rockdale Friday evening several hours after he jumped from a moving prison vehicle. (CBS/Todd Sherman)

ROCKDALE, Ill. (CBS) – A state prison inmate was captured Friday evening, hiding deep within a portable toilet, several hours after he escaped from a van while being transported to Stateville Correctional Center.

As I dug deeper into my box of goodies, I was looking for a performance review that my mother received when she was working at a prison - another item I could relate to the prompt. But alas I couldn't find it. In the late 1950s she worked as secretary to the superintendent of the California Institute for Men in Chino, California.

The weird thing is that besides her secretarial duties, she also led group therapy sessions for drug addicted prisoners. How this happened I'll forever wonder. She had no experience or training as a counselor. That prison must have been pretty loose. I doubt if this could happen today. But I'll bet she was good at her job. Maybe better than a highly educated counselor.

I found another photo from another member of my family who was briefly incarcerated in a photo booth. It's my daughter, Megan when she was about 6 or 7. I love her variety of expressions. She really seemed to know what it would feel like to be a prisoner. 

Walk the corridors and look into other cells by clicking here Sepia Saturday.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sepia Saturday #236 Hair Dryers of the 60s

This is our photo prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday. Wow, doesn't this hooded hair dryer bring you back.

But the hair dryers I remember most are the bonnet style ones used outside of the beauty parlor. This type you could use in your own home. They looked like this in case you're a man and never used one or you're too young to remember the 60s:

It was such a revelation. You could pin up your hair on those giant plastic rollers that you attached to your head using a big metal hook trying not to stick the end through your scalp. 

I used to wash, then pin up my hair at night and then intend to take the rollers out before I fell asleep. But there were nights when I was just too tired to do that. I'd turn off the hair dryer and then fall fast asleep with the giant rollers sticking into my head. How on earth did I sleep? Then if I left that plastic bonnet on all night - Horrors - I would wake up the next morning just before getting ready for work and my hair would be completely sopping wet. The plastic bonnet acted like a steam chamber and I was cooked!  

I would have to call my work place and say that I wasn't feeling too well because I couldn't go to work looking like this:

But the nights when I did remember to remove the rollers and bonnet I would look like this the next day:
I think the wet dog look was cuter. And look at that coat. OMG, where did I get that? Don't worry the collar was faux fur (I think). And what's that bouquet of feather dusters?

But you must admit I did get great height on that hairdo. But I didn't get the optimum hairdo height. That honor goes to my mother-in-law's friend (I've posted this photo before) but doesn't it work nicely here as a finishing touch to this hair raising story?

For other dryer stories, click here sepia saturday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sepia Saturday #234 Unusual Swimwear

The theme for this week's Sepia Saturday is all about people wading in the water. So I went through my collection of photos and came up with a few bathing beauties with unique swimwear. The first photo I've posted previously but it's so perfect for this week's theme that I decided to post it again.

This is a little treasure I picked up at a garage sale years ago. Here are three lovely bathing beauties enjoying some water sports accompanied by a herd of buffalo.  It's such a fun collage. I wish I knew who did it - he or she had a great sense of humor.

Doesn't it resemble the theme photo - random people having fun in the water?

Then we have Mabel (doesn't she look like a Mabel?). She's got on her new swimwear and just might touch her foot in the water. She won't go in all the way because she'd totally ruin that lovely hat:

To continue with the fashion show, we next have Gloria (I call her goofy Gloria because she's just such a card). She's designed her own swimwear which looks kind of like a Project Runway challenge (for those of you who might not get this TV show - it involves fashion designers who have to create designs using things such as kelp from the beach or...I think you get the idea).

And last but not least is Mary. She can't wait to get to the beach. I wonder if she'll slip her shoes off when she hits the surf. But she's going to have to drag Harold kicking and screaming. He's just not the beach type. He looks like he would like to be anywhere else but here.

Mabel had a nice swim cap, but wait until you get a load of these (This video just keeps going and going and I couldn't figure out how to edit out just one of the videos - so watch as much as you have time for):

Wade over to Sepia Saturday for more swimmingly fun stories.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sepia Saturday #233 The mystery of the tiny nylon stocking

Two years ago my daughter was visiting from New York and we did our favorite thing, went junk shopping (or should I say antique shopping?). We went to a shabby chic kind of place in Solana Beach, Ca and I found this wonderful treasure that I really wanted. But my daughter in her infinite wisdom said, "don't buy that. What are you going to do with it? You already have enough stuff and I thought you were trying to get rid of stuff."

So against my better judgement I declined the treasure that day.

My daughter left the next day and called me that night to let me know she arrived safely. Her first question was "Did you go back and buy that thing that you wanted?" and I had to reply, "What do you think? I had to, it was just too cute." I heard a big sigh on the other end of the line. She knew me too well.

So see if you agree. Didn't I have to have this?:

This is the tiniest little nylon stocking which is attached with a safety pin to a love letter (which I'll translate later).

Also here is the engagement announcement from The Standard, New Bedford, Mass.

 And to top it off, a wedding photo:

I wish the groom was included in the photo. He was in the Navy, so I'll bet he wore his white navy dress uniform. Maybe one of the flower girls was small enough to wear the tiny nylon stocking! 

Here's the size of the stocking just for your info:

And here's the letter which is quite touching. Did he write it to her, or her to him? I think it was from her because of the handwriting.

"This is to be saved till next Christmas. Maybe Santa will fill it full of toys? This is also a reminder that after sand and heat you'll be able to look at nylon, smell perfume and hear lovely music. It won't be long darling."

Yes, I definitely think it was written by Helen.  But where did that tiny little stocking come from and what was it? Maybe she worked in the hosiery section of some fancy department store and this was a sample to let you know the shade of the stocking. Or maybe it was a salesman's sample. It's too big to be a stocking for a doll. Maybe it would fit a one legged munchkin. I don't know. Any ideas? 

And isn't it interesting that he was being sent to the Persian Gulf? There were no dates on any of these documents, but from the looks of the photo I think it was the 40s. Can you imagine we were off meddling in the Persian Gulf then? Will things never change?

A little more info about the couple (I couldn't find much). Thomas Kurtz Kline was born in Baltimore on Nov. 10, 1924 and died on June 18, 2006 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and buried in Santa Fe. His parents were John Louis Kline and Alice N. Gonder. Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was discharged in 1965. I found nothing about Helen except that she was born in 1924 in New Bedford, Mass.

Let's hope they had a long and happy marriage and that she filled many of his Christmas stockings with many wonderful toys.

For more wedding stories, click here Sepia Saturday.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Sepia Saturday 232 - I survived the Lima to Huancayo train trip

This week the theme for Sepia Saturday is railroads, trains, tracks, perspective, etc. I've decided to write about my most harrowing train ride - the one from Lima to Huancayo in Peru.

Here I am on the trip to Peru. This was in 1971 (I was a lot younger and way more adventuresome).

I was with a group of 11 people (2 anthropology professors and 9 students from Cal State LA University.) We were on an archeological survey on the north coast of Peru. During our 3 months there we took several side trips and one was from Lima to Huancayo on the highest train in the Americas (it used to be in the world, but now there's a higher one in Tibet).  This particular train soars to 15,839 feet up into the Andes.

It's a historic route.  The more than 500 kilometers of tracks were planned out by Ernesto Malinowski and Henry Meiggs in 1870 and laid down by thousands of laborers, including Chinese who were brought to the country for this task that ended in 1893.

The train passes through 69 tunnels, goes over 58 bridges including the Carrión and Infiernillo and 6 zigzag paths.

Because of the high elevation, there was a nurse at the ready to make sure that no one was overcome with altitude sickness. She had a portable oxygen tank and could dispense oxygen to those who appeared sick. Our group had come prepared with lots of chocolate bars - someone had told us this was the best antidote for altitude sickness. No one in our party got sick so maybe chocolate really did the trick.

When we finally got to Huancayo, it happened to be market day. The high altitude did not keep us from a day of shopping.

This is a map of the route just to give you an idea:

If you're ever in Peru and you're a train buff, you might want to try this trip Lima to huancayo.

Roll on down the track and check out more train stories on sepia saturday.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sepia Saturday #213 Trunken Treasure

Here's our theme photo (illustration) for Sepia Saturday this week:

When I start thinking of a Sepia Saturday post, I usually take the theme very literally. Let's see, do I have a trunk similar to this? Do I? Sure I do.

Here it is.

It's an old Shirley Temple steamer trunk that I spotted in an antique store in Denver, Co. several years ago. When I opened it up I found the real treasure - several Shirley Temple doll clothes. Some of the items have the Shirley Temple logo, others seem to have been handmade by a long-ago mom or grandma.

I couldn't find a photo of Shirley wearing the yellow slicker. But here she is with an umbrella:

The trunk was full of cute little outfits, some on hangers and some in the pull-out drawers and cabinet - some in very nice condition.

But not this one. This little sailor suit has seen better days. It was hidden away in the trunk far too long:

Shirley's suit is a lot cleaner and spiffier:

I wanted to add the video of Shirley dancing in her little sailor suit, but then I ran across another video that was much more interesting. This video is so wrong on so many levels. It's so politically incorrect that I didn't want to include it. But it's so bizarre that I had to: 

According to Shirley's autobiography, the director of this shocking short film, Charles Lamont gathered the children together prior to the filming and said "Kids, this is business. This isn't playtime, it's work." He didn't allow the parents on the set. There were two 6' x 6' sound boxes on the set. One was for sound the other for punishment. If one of the tiny actors (most were only 4 years old) acted up, he or she was put in the box and had to sit on a large block of ice.

Shirley wound up inside Lamont's black box several times. She said:
"Take one small, obstreperous child, heat it under bright Kleig lights until perspiration starts. Remove child directly to the chill of the box. Close access door tightly and leave child in box until sufficiently cooled and chastened. Remove child, reheat under the Kleig lights and carry on with the work. The box proved the ultimate enforcer. Increased obedience followed as night follows day."

Can you believe that? I don't think a director could get away with that these days. There are child labor laws that protect young actors and actresses.

It's funny what opening a trunk will lead to - a Pandora's Box to be sure.

To see what's inside other trunks and suitcases, click here Sepia Saturday.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sepia Saturday #210 What's Inside a Book?

Here's our theme for this week's Sepia Saturday - photographs that you find in old books.

I've checked my entire library and didn't find one photo in any of my books. But while looking I found some other interesting things.

Like the lovely inscriptions that people write in gift books. Dan and Sherry gave Kathy this book but they had no idea when her birthday was.

Translation:  Dear Kathy,
The fresh hell is that we thought it was your birthday. It's obvious that you have fewer than most people. Hope you enjoy reading about Dorothy. Happy Birthday, whenever it is - Dan & Sherry Eaton.

I really like Elmer's message. It's short, to the point and relates to the book.

From a friend who hopes your odyssey will be as exciting as the original. Elmer

This book seems to be a gift from a teacher to a student.

 Presented to Lola Phipps for highest merit in spelling and _____ matters (?).

Can you make this one out? I'm having problems. 

The next three books are all related to film in some way. What Makes Sammy Run was all about the film industry (in case you've never read it). (Sorry about the fuzzy copy).

Dear Hazel
I meant you to have something to read on your way back but you fooled me. This won't make your hours any happier but it will make you squirm a little - love and kisses. How are you liking it by now?

And this one has a curious label stuck in it. Do you think they were trying to sell this book to some producer? I don't remember ever seeing a film about Louisa May Alcott -  I guess it didn't interest anyone - not enough sex and violence.

Maybe Miss Alcott didn't make it on the silver screen, but Smoky sure did!

I love this inscription. After I read this book, I was dying to go to London and visit Marks and Co. I never made it, but Floyd and Maytsie (?) actually visited the shop and found a copy of this book in the basement. Amazing. Margaret must have been thrilled.

I think this is my favorite inscription. I have no idea what it means, must be some kind of an in-joke.

Flip through the pages on Sepia Saturday to find other hidden treasures.