Sunday, March 1, 2015

Boardwalk Buddies............by Joyce Oroz



Last week it was burn pile--this week I upgraded to Boardwalk--the stars are the limit!
My nephew, Kelly, arrived for a visit, and like ants to a picnic, we headed to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. We had fun remembering when we were young, when our kids were young and when my grand kids were young. Every summer we made a couple trips to the boardwalk. 


The bumper cars are still there, but with more style and color, and the laughs and screams are the same. 
The Big Dipper is in fine shape for its age--built by very clever dinosaurs. Even though it was a sprinkely day in winter, friendly crowds were everywhere. 

I probably gained ten pounds just smelling the saltwater taffy, pretzels and ice cream. But it's the sweet smells that bring back happy childhood memories. 


Another way, way-back memory was stirred when I heard music from the merry-go-round. Not only are the horses beautiful, but there are three antique organs supplying the music. The Boardwalk’s original Ruth & Sohn band organ has played alongside the carousel since 1911. The fully-restored antique received a beautiful new facade in 2009. In addition to the original Ruth organ, a rare Wurlitzer 165 band organ from the former Playland-at-the Beach amusement park in San Francisco now shares playing time with the Ruth. A smaller Wurlitzer 146 was added to the collection in 2011.


Moving along, I couldn't wait to see if the penny arcade was still there. Yep! But a penny won't help. Actually, we really got our money's worth of giggles from air hokey and ski ball. We even came home with made-in-China plastic prizes. Of course I immediately tucked them away, keeping them nice for future Christmas and birthday presents.What I want to know is, who stepped on my new green plastic pencil bank?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Working the Burn Pile...........Joyce Oroz



I went on a bender today and no liquids were involved except water from the hose. I bent to the ground over a million times—picking up stuff for the annual burn pile. Once or twice a year my husband and I gather logs, brush, weeds, sticks, dead snails and letters from the IRS and create a pile of stuff in the back yard a wee bit taller than our house. Add gasoline to the recipe and poof, we have lift-off. Not really, but my face looks well-done and my hair is still smoking. 


So I’m guarding the fire all day, adding stuff to it, moving it around and blinking smoke out of my eyes while Art is driving his tractor-mower in circles all over the property like a kid learning to drive--learning to drive over the top of my daffodils, through the fence, into a lamp post, back up to the garden and through the tulips. 

All that while I bend like a wooden puppet, picking up branches and weeds until all fluids have drained into the top of my brain cavity and standing up straight makes me dizzy. Could be worse—could live on the east coast and dig snow all day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lovely--Historical.........by Joyce Oroz



Trolling around Watsonville in her red Mazda pickup, Josephine recently discovered one of the city's finest gems. Mind you, there are many gems in Watsonville--old Victorians in beautiful condition, perfectly landscaped. The one she discovered is an actual museum featuring one of the largest collections of antique dresses, wraps, hats and shoes--all the stuff Josephine usually doesn't care about. But she was dazzled by the beautiful displays of PVHA's extensive textile collection. 


Ever curious, Josephine wound her way around the property examining all the old buildings and finally entered a neighboring historic site, the Borina Archive/Alzora Snyder and Jane Borg Research Center. 

Docent, Richard Hernandez introduced himself and expertly showed her around, explaining what cabinet held what type of information, and if all the cabinets and files failed, one could always get the scoop from one of the computers in the building. The bulky old furniture alone was worth the tour. Of course Josephine saw it as a perfect way to collect information on "persons of interest."


In 1964, Helen Volck Tucker donated her house at 261 East Beach Street to the Pajaro Valley Historical Association in memory of her first husband, William Volck.  The Volck Museum served as the organization's headquarters from 1964 to 1997 until the PVHA moved to its current location at 332 East Beach Street.  


The PVHA has two major activities; the management of the historic Bockius-Orr House and the operation of the Alzora Snyder Archive and the Volck Museum.  The association's office is on the first floor of the Bockius-Orr House, which is open to visitors at no charge on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, or by appointment.  Special group tours of the house, museum and gardens may be arranged, and the facilities are rented out for receptions,
weddings and small dinner parties.

All contributions are tax-deductible within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  
                                                    Tax ID#: 94-1663161
Historical items and photos from the PVHA are on display at the following locations:
Bockius-Orr House,
McDonald’s on Main St.,
Ella’s CafĂ©,
Erics Deli and
 California Grill Restaurant

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Club Revelations ............Joyce Oroz



In the past I have bragged about the wonderful # one book club I belong to, the very best food, friends and even books! Well, unbeknownst to me, others have great book clubs too. I was invited to attend one session of Gertie’s book club at her lovely home in Santa Cruz. I arrived early for a visit with my friend, and then six other ladies arrived, Lana, Elaine, Kathy, Cat, Carol and Joanne.



After a beautiful spread of finger foods, an accidental wine-spill and lots of chit-chat and giggles, we settled down for some book-talk. No real books, just ebooks and they were all mine! Each person had read a different one of my books in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series.

The ladies wanted to know if Josephine and I are alike.

Answer: Josephine is younger, quicker, stronger and drives like a crazy woman when she’s chasing the bad guys.

I, on the other hand, am shorter, older, lazier and drive like a crazy woman when I’m running late.


How did your grandson accomplish the flip flops photo for the cover of Shaking In Her Flip Flips?

Answer: I drove Avery to the Santa Cruz Wharf. He was eleven years old and equipped with a fabulous camera he inherited from his other grandma, and a fishing pole. I supplied the flip flops. He tied the shoes to the end of the line and I cast them into the ocean over and over as he snapped shot after shot until we finally had some very good pictures. He also took the cover pictures for Secure the Ranch and Read My Lipstick.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Grapes of Wrath.........Joyce Oroz

http://www.stutz-taylor.com/



 Print by Katerine Stutz-Taylor

You all know me, just a regular gal sitting in her yellow and black checkered pajamas in the basement, tapping out stories on the computer to entertain my melancholy friends. To be honest, they're not all melancholy-blue, some are red-hot-silly, but that’s another story. I like to think that people get some good smiles out of my books. Well, a week ago I started reading Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I remember trying to read the book years ago and getting all stopped up with the lingo, like….”Seems like you folks done ever’thing for us awready. Don’t see why I cain’t give your boy a han.” I stopped reading the book at chapter two, before the foreign way of speaking fully infested my brain. But this time I read to the very end and have been thinking in those words and that accent all week. I hear Ma and Pa Kettle-Joad rattling around in my grey matter. Ma and Pa woke me up this morning and persuaded me to finish Grapes of Wrath. I had less than a hundred pages to go, so I made a cup of tea and joined the Joad family in their unbelievable effort to stay alive. After all kinds of hardships, it started to rain. I was right there with the family. Feeling cold and wet, I carried a little boy on my shoulders up to the highway. I was exhausted! By the time I finished the book I felt like someone had taken all the stuffin’ out’a me and yet hope prevailed? Through all that emotional turmoil, I learned a bit of history which helps me to appreciate the here and now. Hopefully I learned a bit about writing a book people really can’t put down.



Until today I had never experienced a time when I “couldn’t put a book down.” I have read some wonderful books, but wave a little food at me and I close the book and I’m up the stairs, into the kitchen in a flash. This morning I woke up early (very unusual experience). I left my warm bed for a book (very unusual). Next thing I know it’s time for lunch and I’m starving because all Pa brought home from the store was five cents worth of flour and a glop of lard for fried bread. This story will stick to your ribs!

 Katherine Stutz-Taylor, a wonderful artist and friend of mine, was kind enough to let me use her print in today's blog. The print has a powerful, intense feeling to it--like the Grapes of Wrath. Katherine is a Printmaker and Multimedia Artist with two strong directions in her art, realism and symbolism. Her current etchings are edition varieis that include hand coloring and chine collle. Her wood cut and linoleum relief prints are images she has drawn and photographed. Printmaking has been a vibrant thread in her life since she began over 30 years ago.http://www.stutz-taylor.com/

Sunday, February 1, 2015

May Your Team Win..........by Joyce Oroz



Today is Super Bowl Sunday, a day packed with goodies for everyone. Obviously many people find excitement and enjoyment attending the game or watching it on a screen somewhere, usually at a chips and beer party. Just the build-up and chatter about the coming game interests a great number of people, especially when there is a scandal involved. This year we have a first rate scandal/mystery to keep our interest going right up to game-time. Who let the air out of eleven footballs? 


Who cares? The 49rs aren’t playing this year, so why worry? As it happens, this is a perfect day for shopping, walking, gardening, riding a giant turtle, surfing and sailing. But “talk is cheep,” I say, as I sit here in my pajamas tapping out a blog. 


Please excuse me, it’s almost game time. Time to climb the stairs, turn on the TV, bring out the beer and serve up my favorite chips and dips dish.
I hope your favorite team wins!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Barbara Jean and the Cuckoo........Barbara Jean Coast


  • Product Details
    Dear blog friends, today I plan to stay in my basement, working on my seventh book in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series while author Barbara Jean Coast tells you what she thinks of book number five, Cuckoo Clock Caper. Here is the lovely lady herself--take it away Barbara Jean:Amazon.combarbarajeancoast

    Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. While Andrea and Heather reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada, she is a resident of Santa Lucia, California, which is eerily similar to Santa Barbara. 


Hey there Guys and Dolls,
                                                                                                     
Let me introduce to you two laid back California gals of the current era: first is the main character of this fabulous tale Josephine Stuart who is a talented mural artist and amateur sleuth. Second, her creator, also a talented artist and author, Joyce Oroz. The Cuckoo Clock Caper is a suspenseful story that is explosive from the very first page!

The morning after the explosion of a house down the street, Jo has a surprise guest sleeping on her couch -- a ninety year old man whose sister died as a result of the night’s events. Something suspicious is going on and Josephine means to get to the bottom of the whole darn mess. There’s plenty of work to be getting on with as she has a mural to paint at a gallery, the old man Emmett who needs consoling and protection, a murderer on the loose, Solow the dog and other people in Jo’s life that need her attention. This gal has a romantic partner that’s a keeper as far as yours truly is concerned and he wants to keep her out of danger, but the fact is folks, Jo likes to help people and has a very inquisitive nature, making it a challenge for David. With every twist and turn in the plot you will be on the edge of your seat wondering if Josephine is putting herself, Emmett and the people they love in more danger or getting closer to solving the mystery of the explosion and catching a killer.

So make yourself a nice cool beverage and curl up with this fantastic tale of crime, capers, and cuckoo clocks! Aromas and other beautiful destinations described in Josephine’s investigative adventures await your arrival.