Friday, October 30

TV Dinner Delight

Boy, those were the days in Paso Robles! We were so poor, we thought TV dinners were like going to a restaurant. Rare and delicious! Guess our normal fare of hamburger, potatoes and string beans was a lot cheaper. Or maybe the freezer didn't work too well. Can't remember.

Grandma Skinner in San Luis was a great cook, but liked to treat herself (and us kids) with these Swanson delights. I don't remember where we ate them, though. Could have been in the kitchen nook. Maybe on the dining room table. I doubt if she would have trusted us in the living room watching TV. Even with TV trays, we would have made a mess of things and never heard the end of it.

So enamored with this new invention and being very creative in the practical things of life, she would wash the dinner tins (aluminum to you perfectionists) and re-use them. Her chest freezer would be amply supplied with these customized, foil-covered meals, each labeled with its scrumptuous ingredients in a nice cursive. Selecting your dinner was like treasure hunting at the North Pole!

Saturday, October 24

Color and Cousins

The Salinas River is transformed from green to yellow gold during the fall. We had just driven by King City on the way home when I looked back and saw these trees. The car came to a quick stop as big rigs and cars flew by. I trekked to the fence line and climbed up to get a few shots of color. Nothing striking, but a lasting record of something that takes place each year along this long strand of willow and cottonwood trees.

Visiting cousins is always fun since we grew up so close together. Larry lives in Paso Robles and hopes to move back to Kansas soon. There's another cousin in Kansas that I've never met personally, but she writes regularly, versing me about her very busy life on their farm, two recently married daughters and church life. Wonderfully refreshing, considering our city-bound existence here in Stockton. Don't know that we'll ever meet in this life. Kansas is so . . . so . . . far away, Toto.

Thursday, October 22

San Miguel Mission Statement

I was never a fan of heading north of Paso Robles to the little dusty town of San Miguel, where the world famous California mission has attracted tourists for decades. Growing up just 7 miles away, going to church at 17th and Oak Street, only visiting a relatives that lived there a few times, and hearing nothing but jokes about it --- a mission visit wasn't on the agenda. When the photography bug bit in about 1969, it still wasn't. Too dusty, dirty and Catholic.

The 2003 6.5 earthquake so distressed the sanctuary, visitors were prohibited entry. But after a long retrofit, it has been reopened. The grounds are still dusty, but the main building recreates a visual history worth seeing.

Thanks to sister, Ginnie, for suggesting my second visit in two years.

Be sure to take a camera and a good dose of creativity if you ever stop and have a look.

Monday, October 19

Taking the Little Creek to Cambria

Wow! There's nothing like visiting the same old places over and over! That's pretty much what we do when we vacation in the Paso Robles area. It's fun to scout new horizons, but the old haunts are still filled with a 'first visit' flavor. Guess you can appreciate them more as the years roll by.

I don't like downtown Cambria. Sorry, folks. Why do I want to look at things I can't afford to buy and don't have the talent to make? Thankfully, I'm not prone to covetousness in these artsy/craftsy nooks. The Bible labels covetousness equal to idolatry. Heavy. Being a cheapskate helps.

But I do relish the flora, fauna and geology of the area - au naturel.

Thursday, October 15

Pioneer Day Marathon

This year's crop of Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade pictures is in the middle of the harvest. You'll soon see all the color and smiles forthwith. Hang in there, friends. (Pictures are now online)

Monday, October 5

Getting Paid What You're Worth

Our city has a few gems in its special places to visit. The Haggin Museum in Victory Park is one of them. It is Stockton's record of local history, but equally emphasizes quintessential artwork. The currently featured exhibit is a large collection of National Park plein-air paintings, not a few crafted by locals like Gil Dellinger and Ray Roberts.

Over a dozen Plein-Air Painters of America were invited to paint and sell their work this last Saturday. They set up their tripods, tables and easels in and around the museum to capture their versions of the grounds and exhibits. Each participant seemed to enjoy talking to inquisitive purveyors while plying their trade. All the works would be sold around noon.

It was amazing to see real artists at work, transforming a blank canvas or piece of paper into a treasured art piece while you watched. Their years of practice made it look too easy, like anyone could do it. Yeah, right.

Doing something well means doing something often. After 40 years of running machines, I probably make it look pretty easy, too. All of us are artists in our own right when it comes to doing stuff. Do you do a great job mowing the lawn? You're an artist. Is your kitchen immaculate after you clean it up? You're an artist!

Unfortunately, we just don't get paid the per hour wages these oil and pastel people get. Some were asking over $2000 for a little 8x10 with a $2 frame that only took two hours to finish! Yes, that's $1000 per hour --- a little more than you're making cleaning that bathroom!

But money isn't everything. It's the knowledge that you're doing a job well that pays the most. If someone doesn't want to pay what you're worth, that's their problem!

Check out the morning's pictures here