Wednesday, August 27, 2014

that yountville girl has an Earthquake in Napa

My introduction to living in the beautiful Napa Valley was Yountville. I came to live there as a 2 year old and only left the Valley under mysterious and misleading circumstances. Although parts of me lived in the Pacific Northwest, my blood has always remained in California and the Napa Valley.
The planet has shifted her skin around and we woke up terrified at 3:20 am on Sunday August 24th, 2014.

We were jolted for a good 6 seconds (probably longer) and it was the single most terrifying few moments of my life. I've been in many car wrecks, jumped off a few roofs having fun, broke up with nasty boyfriends, went speeding around the road to Berryessa, and have been left behind while hiking in the mountains near Lake Tahoe.

The earthquake is in all the news, so I won't go over the details here. Many lovely buildings I grew up with are now in shambles, yet, surprisingly, many buildings, homes and streets appear to be completely untouched.

 The inside and outside of our RV immediately after the Quake.

The Post Office in downtown Napa is wrecked, and seeing that... was the only thing that made me cry.
I have a long history with it.

It is a small castle made of yellow brown brick, with 4 huge tureen pots, (big lanterns), a scaled down Art Nouveau-ish-Art Deco-ish  building that exists because of WPA. Inside the air is ancient, it is cold from the marble and slate, and the iron bars and rails are solemn.

I received love letters there, birthday presents from my long dead brother, stood in line for the latest stamps (writing snail mail required a properly matched stamp to one's stationary), stood in line to buy my Food Stamps in the 70s, and in the late 60s and early 70s, I marched in front with other peaceniks because it is a Federal Building, and therefore we did our patriotic duty to Stop the VietNam War, and by golly, we stopped it.

The newer 60s branch on Trancas was destroyed too.

I think some people feel about their church building the way I feel about the old Post Office buildings of the USA. They meant serious business..... getting the mail to us properly, on time, with efficiency and with a sense of patriotic purpose was very inspiring to me growing up.
I had faith in America. I will always despise former California Governor, and then the worst president of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, that made a mockery and a shambles of faith in the US. As if America didn't have enough problems to solve, knocking the spirit of soulful camaraderie away from us in the 80s, is an unforgivable sin to humanity.
We needed to pull together as one unit, to solve racism, environmental destruction and to further the well-being of all of us on the planet. America is a sad divided country that hasn't been proactive about the national problems since the early 70s when we created the EPA, and stopped the war and the draft.

We are all raw right now. I do keep reliving the few moments in my bed, grasping my husband and yelling out of sheer fright and fear. He has never felt an earthquake, other than a small one, in the daytime. I've felt several, but they never really get "normal"!
He screamed What is happening? and I calmly replied We're in an earthquake.
As soon as the shaking stopped, or rather the jolts, we jumped out of bed in the dark and bolted out the door. He ran to check on our neighbor C. and I ran the other way to check on neighbor P.

In a few seconds all of our neighbors spilled out their doors and we began to ask each other if we were all OK. We all seemed to be. Our trailer park had escaped most damage except, we were to find out later, a few water mains broke leaving us without water for a few days off and on. Our power did the same.... off and on and off and on.

The gas lines are being checked today by PG &E, and let's hope they do a better job than what they did in San Bruno California, where their negligence incinerated a neighborhood.

We live in a fully contained vintage RV, a 1973 Winnebago. Some people laughed at us when we said we were gonna live in it full time. Other people gave us the high 5! Yes we are on the cutting edge here folks..... we're right in the beginning of a "Tiny House Movement", and 160 square feet of inside living space qualifies us.  Most RV full timers are older retired people, and most people in my park are either middle age and on disability, or are struggling young families with low wage jobs.
4 homes here sustained damage. They are struggling to get their homes fixed up again with a tiny amount of money. Oh, the rich rich rich people of Napa Valley can just toss a few thousand out of their pockets, and all the problems caused by the earthquake, in my park will be solved.

So, us, being "of a certain age", and working full time, and a very nice job .... well, we are rather the odd duck of the park, of the demographic that lives full time in an RV, but not unusual if you consider us as living in a mobile home, but not the traditional mobile home...aka, a single or double wide, in a park, or out on rural land growing peaches and tending goats.

We really didn't sustain damage. An RV is made to move and shake and shudder! We have built-in everything, our cabinets lock shut and we have 12 volt systems, and if we run our generator, we have 110 power also. We lost a toaster oven that fell off the refrigerator, but, only because we didn't build the cabinet to hold it yet, so that's on the agenda. We should have had more water stored up, so we'll attend to that. We do have plastic dishes, and all the basic food and other necessities to last a week or 2 easy, although we should have more, we do live in a city so services and food won't be decimated for more than a few days.

Since our dog died in July, we didn't have a hurt pet to worry about, and it was very sad to have to hunt for our friends and neighbors beloved pets, that all did return in about a day of hiding in crevices and under foundations, totally scared out of their wits.

Our office was only a tiny bit messy, with a few objects that tumbled, gently it seemed, and a rack of clothes that rolled out and tipped. In friends homes we saw a lot of refrigerators that "walked" out towards the center of the kitchen, a lot of tipped dressers and open drawers and everybody's jewelry box dumped over! Glass, yes, if you had glass, it broke, some glass-fronted pictures and art, fell and broke, but I was amazed to see What Didn't Happen.
No one in my family here was hurt, but they are very nervous and somewhat afraid. The world doesn't seem so sweet right now, but we do know, that lots of love will help smooth the bumps of life.

I won't ever live anywhere else. This Coast of this continent on the Planet is my home. I am made of this soil, this air, this sun, these oak trees and these stones. My people are buried here, returning to the soil, from which they came.
Ashes and Dust.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mexi Cali Rose

California is its own country, producing everything a culture needs. it's amazing. Swimming pools, movie stars. Oil and gas, solar and wind power. Blow-hard politicians and California girls.

Surfing, skating, skateboarding and flexing muscles at Venice Beach.
The tallest and oldest trees, the most amazing landscapes.
Big egos.
Big problems.
Big solutions.

Summer girls... and California is just Northern Mexico.
California was divided in to ranchos, large land grants, to settlers, by the Mexican government in the 1800s.
so Mexico and Mexican culture is part of the California dream, the California experience.
the towns, the cities, the streets, the rivers and lakes, take their names from Mexicans and the Spanish as often as from the Indians, the natives that lived here before the Spanish/Mexicans and then the whitey.

 art by Lee Bogle.

70s California girl and the California dog on the beach,

40s girls at the pool on the Hearst estate.

art by Jesus Helguera.

Phyllis Diller and a California girl.

And what could a California girl wear on the beach?
How about a vintage Cole of California 70s bathing suit. Boy leg 2 piece, in a op art check in blues and purples.

California is famous for its cowboys and is the West! and of course, Mexican cowboys and cowgirls too.... 

 Embroidered Cowgirl blouse in yummy coral, at


lots of vintage Mexican blouses and vintage dresses, and lacy tops with cotton krinkle gauze. Hand embroidery and lush jungle prints....
So Cali boho, So Mexicali Rose.....

wild jungle skirt...
vintage print mini skirt, with tropical flowers and big big leaves and big round moons.

Vintage boho tunic in black and white.

flamingo? heron? well, that's kinda jungle! gorgeous vintage 70s rayon blouse with a tropic print with long legged birds.

classic white cotton gauze and crochet lace vintage Mexican tunic top in krinkle cotton and satin ribbon.

lace and cotton dresses, jungle love wild print bias cut dress... all part of the West Coast boho life...

crochet yoke and cotton make a white cotton simple summer dress.

hot bright jungle blooms on this vintage 80s strapless mini dress.

hippie boho Cali style, a long 60s maxi with a hood....perfect for festival-going, and desert moon gazing.

Long vintage Mexican cotton caftan, with sheer and solids heavy rustic weave. 

Sweet vintage Mexican mini dress lavished with lace and pastel embroidery.

bias cut rayon jungle dress, and a red cotton crochet and krinkle gauze dress....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Everything I love about vintage Levis denim

I shoulda had Lynn Downey's job. I've been a fangirl of Levis since I was a wee girl. I knew right off that Levis were better than other jeans when I was kid. I spent my childhood climbing oak trees to chase swallowtail butterflies, walking along Hopper Creek all the way thru the culvert under Hwy 29, and hanging out at Yountville School to swing on the big metal rings.

When my Levis got too short, I'd cut them off to knee length.
The beautiful blue color, the particular fading and copper! I love copper. Other silly girls love gold. Not me. Copper.
and the orange or yellow stitches. Opposites on the color wheel for excellent artistic contrast, but not too much, just enough. 

this pair of vintage 501 Levis Big E jeans, has a lot of fading, damage and holes...... just how I love them!

 Lots of wear and fading, lots of worn-in holes, and a lot of patching going on.
it's what we did. no need to give up on a perfectly good pair of Levis.

Available now, on ebay.

 oops, the buttonhole got a little patch too!

and of course, a bit of embroidery....

hems are taken out, and Look! the beautiful blue color........

a true blue love affair....

well Levis are a San Francisco company, and our blue jeans were invented in San Francisco, and Jefferson Airplane, yup. San Francisco.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Potted Garden of Eatin'

My garden this year was planted in pots, big big pots and a few smaller ones. I scored all of them at yard sales, and I shoulda bought more than I did. Well, next time I will. I bought organic vegetable starts because I got such a late start this year with traveling and moving in March and April, but I did plant some seeds.

In the big pots I stuffed my favorite heirloom tomato of all that I've grown in the last 45 years... the Cherokee Purple, and one Early Girl, and a mini tomato, Sweet Million. Damn, those little ones are so sweet and tasty.

I also planted 2 kinds of eating and grilling peppers, a tomatillo, a small zuke, and a Japanese eggplant.  Since mid-June we've been eating tomatoes and peppers, and now the tomatillo and eggplant are producing.
I planted some climbing purple tiger beans and red flowering beans. No I didn't plant everything I wanted but I did get a lot......
Also, marigolds, sunflowers, nasturtiums, alyssum, geranium, fennel, zinnas, morning glories, chartreuse potato vine, rosemary, lavender, lots of succulents, and  a few corns for fun.

Here's what we started with in the yard.......

We got rocks, cement and asphalt. We got a back fence. And empty space. So...we put up a cheapo pop-up, and a shed. So far so good! Then I planted all the pots with 1/2 good organic potting soil, and for substance, 1/2 of organic garden soil.

this was the garden in early July and then I decide to move all the pots around for less hot sun exposure. This ain't Washington! It gets HOT in California. Too much sun dries out the plants in the pots, even with careful morning watering and a mid-afternoon watering for the smaller pots if need be, when the temp hits 90. Which is almost everyday.

Here's a little tour of the yard. This is right before everything Took Off!!!

The patio under the pop-up, the shed, the backyard, a view from the street, the pallet steps and front yard pots of flowers, a vintage wood dresser for cooking outside (the Winnie gets hot....) and lots of flowers, and lots of good food from just a few pots this spring and summer.
In August, the fall crops will go in the new pots I intend to score at the yard sales around town.

pallet steps (love them!), lots of pots of succulents and sedums. A wood spool (so hippie) and a big pot of trailing nasturtium.

Looking under the awning towards the back yard, the patio with pots of flowers and climbing beans across the front.
To the right is the  shed where we make stuff. I hung a lace curtain in the doorway to help block the sun, but it doesn't keep the neighbor cats from coming in and taking a nap.

Inside the patio........ oh yes the Avocado made the transition just fine and is loving the shady warm patio. Hung up fabric and shades on the sides for sun protection and look.....a cat!

Looking to the backyard between the shed and patio and sunflowers!!

this here in the bottom of the pic is my Meyer Lemon. I am so excited because it's gonna bloom any second now, and then this winter Lemons! yummmmy.

The first Japanese eggplants in early July, and below a zuke with marigolds. I like to plant a lot of annuals that are very attractive to bees and boy are they!
I had 3 pretty bright green squash bugs come a visitin' and a eatin' so I had to squash them. They are hard to kill with chemicals, which I don't use anyway, so squash squash squash.

We're getting something from the garden everyday.... a few tomatoes, a few peppers. Next year I'll start everything I can from seed, and put in pumpkins and squash, and lots more corn too. But for the little effort and the few big pots, we're pretty darn happy.