» posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – When is the best time to put a jigsaw puzzle together? A rainy day seemed right, when Brother was visiting during Thanksgiving week. I pulled out the State Flags and Capitols box I’d been saving for just such a day and dumped all one thousand pieces onto the card table. Brother raised an eyebrow and shook his head. I let tiny puzzle pieces filter through my fingers, trying to think of a working plan. “What strategy should I use?” I asked. “Colors,” was his reply. Now, generally speaking, that is good jigsaw strategy. But when the picture is 50 state flags, well that’s when you discover that most state flags are blue. In fact, only four state flags don’t have at least a touch of blue in them – Alabama, California, Maryland, and New Mexico.
The puzzle pieces sat in a pile for several days, as I half-heartedly tried to sort blue from blue from blue. After brother left, I raked everything back into the box and headed for my sewing basket. Being heavily dependent on Excel spreadsheets to help me organize almost everything in life, I grabbed a spool of thread and the scissors and with a little Scotch tape turned the card table into Columns and Rows. Then I put Post-Its into each section marking which state fit where. Aha! I dug into those thousand pieces again looking for words. “Mon” went into the Montana section, “sas” into the Arkansas slot; I was on a roll! How many flags have outspread eagle wings? Just two – Iowa and North Dakota. Plop plop. The palm tree went to Hawaii; the horses to Pennsylvania, the bison belonged to Wyoming. The challenge began to be fun, and (with magnifying glass in hand) I began to notice the details within the flags. I didn’t expect to have a learning experience, but that is exactly what happened. In my two-year Journey to 50 states, I didn’t pay much attention to the state flags. But suddenly I realized that flags are the story-telling devices of the state. And I love a good story! » read more
» posted on Sunday, April 15th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton traveling from Sacramento, California to Carson City, Nevada – Today was the day to tackle “The Sierra.” I’ve been hearing about it for two weeks; it’s all the Sacramento news – the weather of it, the condition of the road to Tahoe, events to entertain. I couldn’t see it, and didn’t really understand (why isn’t it Sierras, plural?). I’d delayed a day to let the snow clouds dissipate; no chains in my repertoire. Now I had a sunny day and loaded up with ease, one thing at a time from room to car.
» posted on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California – No matter how adventurous you are, some things have to happen when they have to happen. Like filing your tax return by the time IRS tells you to, and getting prescriptions refilled when they run out, and taking the cats to the vet for their regular check-up time. Like getting the windshield ding repaired before it cracked (from that April 1st California dust storm).
H&R Block took care of the taxes for me, wonderful service, wonderful folks, nice office there on Watt Avenue; Rite-Aid close by for the prescriptions; Banfield for the cats. SafeLite came out and repaired the ding – it’s guaranteed no matter where I go from here. In this day and age, we’re “portable”; our records follow us around. That’s nice, I think, now everything is taken care of; I’m up to date.
But then I heard a noise, a scraping sound from underneath the car. A limb, perhaps? The temp light came on next. Time for Scion experts now; I dare not drive the Sierra with unknowns. I headed for Maita Toyota, near by. » read more
» posted on Friday, April 13th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California – Tucked away in a corner of the California State Railroad Museum in a temperature-controlled case is the golden “Lost Spike.” Hanging on the wall near the spike are a portrait and a photograph – two depictions of the famous “moment in time” when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met in Promontory, Utah, thus connecting by rail the eastern and western states. The date was May 10, 1869. Why was the golden spike lost? And why do the portrait and the photograph present such a different atmosphere of the occasion? The visitor is invited to study, and ponder.
» posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California — More trees per capita than any city in the world? Even Paris? This is a comparison frequently made in Sacramento, in justifying its name as The City of Trees. I’ve never been to Paris but I can vouch for the fact that Sacramento really has a lot of trees.
The first thing that caught my eye as I drove into the city was the trees. Gorgeous trees. Majestic trees. Tall trees, short trees, fruit trees, fir trees, palm trees, pine trees, cedar trees, oak trees; well, you get the idea. All these trees make up what is called an “urban forest,” and technologically that’s a good thing because it makes the air better. Emotionally, trees just make us happier. Who can resist them?
» posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California — “You can tell by the scars on my knuckles that I grew up on a rice farm,” said Bill. “My father started farming rice in the 50’s and continued more than forty years. I know rice.” Indeed he does, and he likes to talk about rice, too. William Huffman is now Vice-president of Communications for the Farmer’s Rice Cooperative in Sacramento, and can tell you what you want to know. “Arkansas plants more acres that California does,” he continued, “but we have a higher yield, because we have the perfect Mediterranean climate here.”
» posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California – Sutter’s Fort is a white-walled adobe compound that sits midtown, surrounded by lovely homes and sidewalked streets, looking rather unassuming now. How is it connected to the story of the Gold Rush Days? I see a little girl go running past, a long gray dress, a ruffled cap. “It’s field trip day,” the guide explained. “in fact, the children are staying overnight. They’re even cooking their own meals. See, they’re dressed like children back in 1845.” Sutter’s Fort is part of the California State Parks system now, offering educational programs for school children, and other daytime and evening events. I began to look around.
» posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California — How many stories in a cemetery? How many tears, how many broken dreams, how many celebrations of life? Novels rowed in stone, in fragrant flowers, in epitaphs carved into marble slabs. Walk the paths of Old City Cemetery, you’ll find the Sacramento story there; laid out Victorian style, in tales that everybody knows; and new discoveries that send us to the research books. We know about the cholera. That time in 1850 when almost a thousand died, killed by something no one understood. It took its toll by cramping up the gut; the watery diarrhea could kill in hours, leaving those who lived to live in fear, for who’d be stricken next?
The story. October 8, 1850, the New World docked in Sacramento; a passenger collapsed on the wharf, began an epidemic that killed over 800 people in less than three weeks. Thousands fled in panic, leaving the stricken behind; 17 of the 40 treating physicians died. Victims were buried in mass graves; a monument erected in 1852. The monument does not mark the actual locations of the victim’s graves, however, but reminds the viewer of their fate.
We didn’t know the process for making concrete markers in the 1940’s though; research was needed to explain a strange finding recently.
The story. November 8, 1933, Caroline Wemmer died of hypertension; was buried in Old City Cemetery. Last fall, a crew worker discovered a newspaper cartoon in pristine condition adhered to the back of her concrete marker, which had become loose. The cartoon was Mickey Finn by Lank Leonard. Another loose stone – that of an infant who only lived two days in 1940 – also had newsprint on the back; thereby pinpointing a time. Research showed that during that period wet newsprint was placed on the bottom when concrete was poured into a form – it helped with curing. Mystery resolved.
Some stories changed the course of history, others just intrigue the mind; you’ll find more than 25,000 of them in Old City Cemetery, the final resting place of the famous and the infamous; pioneers and immigrants; their families and descendants; the plain and the plain extraordinary. This outdoor museum shows California culture from gold rush days until the present time.
Wander through numerous group plots honoring members of the Pioneer Association, Masons, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Volunteer Firemen, Improved Order of Red Men, state government, Donner Party survivors, veterans of the Civil War and other wars. See one of the most beautiful records of history in the Historic Rose Garden. Composed of old or antique roses collected from cemeteries, old homesites, and roadsides in California, many of these roses came to California in the holds of ships or tucked in wagon trains; brought by pioneers to beautify new homes; eventually a slip was planted on their grave.
Tour are self or docent-guided. http://www.oldcitycemetery.com/
» posted on Sunday, April 8th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California — I grew up on Easter ham. Mother baked it long and slow, brown sugar on the top, fragrant cloves rowed up in diamond-pattern style. Potato salad made with egg, and mustard, pickle relish too. When I became the Mom, I changed the pickles out for celery; it was the 70’s, and freshness was in vogue. In recent years of living on my own, I’ve favored eating out; sit back and be catered to, I say.
Where in Sacramento would I find some Easter ham? I browsed the internet, made a list of brunches at the big hotels and fancy restaurants. Do I really want the $50 elegance? The stand-in-line, the crowd? I’d need a nap, lose an afternoon for sure. So, something else. The internet revealed a matinee, Woody Guthrie’s American Song. It just so happens I’ve been humming one of Woody’s tunes as I’ve been traveling west. » read more
» posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2012 by Linda Burton
Linda Burton posting from Sacramento, California – “It was on my Bucket List,” Jo-Ellen answered to my question. “That’s why I’m here today. There were things to do at home but then I told myself ‘This stuff will still be here tomorrow. The Promenade is now.’ So here I am.” I nodded, completely understanding what she meant.