Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How Murals Are Born......by Joyce oroz

 This is the fourth year of the “summer mural season” in Aromas. The fourth mural (twin murals, actually) is going through labor pains and is due to arrive in time for Aromas Day—August 25th. Six wood panels are being prepared and painted in a secret bat cave somewhere in Aromas. Since I know the secret code, I will enter the cave and keep you informed about the progress.

How do six pieces of wood equal two murals?—do the math—three pieces per mural. Six 4’x6’ pieces will be installed in the two niches on the Old Firehouse building.

Linda, Joann, Frank, Diedra, Alia, Sadie and Louise have devoted their Saturday mornings to the cause. What cause—just because—because we want to beautify Aromas and we have fun doing it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Flower Gene.....by Joyce Oroz

Today I was thinking about the day we bought our house almost nine years ago—you know, when houses were sold to the highest bidder, better known as the bubble.
My husband, being highly intelligent and practical, looked for a house with lots of concrete such as sidewalks and driveway. A postage-stamp lawn would be permissible.
I held out for a garden. I wanted trees, lawn, flowers and room for a vegetable garden.

The worst part of this story is that I got my way. We bought a little house on a BIG piece of dry sandy soil covered with gopher holes. Unfortunately I come from a long line of garden lovers and my DNA kicked in immediately. I shoveled and hoed, planted and watered until my body felt like one of the many snails I crushed. With lots of mulch and fertilizer, my plants and trees grew. 
Now I spend my time watering, feeding and trimming everything, not to mention fending off the deer, rabbits, gophers and snails.

Even though my body aches from the hard work, my heart sings every time I step outside. I see rose bushes from Lorraine, Tomi, Marlene, Wendy and Cindy. I have a giant fuchsia from Janice, a pelargonium from Barb, tulips from Laura, daffodils from Kay, a lovely flowering plant from Mindy and ground cover from Linda. My garden is where my family and friends are represented and remembered--in the colorful display of blooms that live in my heart.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Alice's Avengers In Underland.......by Joyce oroz

"Alice's Avengers In Underland" is an original rock musical you don't want to miss. Janinne Chadwick writes a new play each year--fun, spoofy plays that make you want to laugh, sing and clap as you tap your feet to the music. Seventy-two children are in this year's production. Every year the acting, singing, dancing, music,and lighting are all first class. How do they do it? Well, come see for yourself!

Find your favorite superhero or super villain this summer as Little People's Repertory Theatre (LPRT)  Presents;  'Alice's Avenger's In Underland'. 

                                 Pictures by Lisa Nicolosi
  Alice and a host of singing and dancing superhero’s, dive into Underland to fight Gotham City's most vile villains in their Underland hideout in Little People’s Repertory Theater’s (LPRT) “Alice’s Avengers In Underland”. 
This original rock musical by Janinne Chadwick opens July 25th at Park Hall in downtown Ben Lomond. LPRT’s summer production promises to entertain audiences of all ages. Alice’s Avengers In Underland parodies pop music, classic rock and iconic pop-culture icons, from Tom Jones to Taylor Swift. 72 local youths, ages 8-14 will perform under the Direction of Daria Troxell, with Arindam Krishna Dass as musical director and sister choreographers, Whitney and Marinda James-Heskett. This summer’s production will have many impressive special effects, worthy of a cast of super heroes’ and super villains!'

 For almost 40 years, Little People’s Repertory Theatre has provided a unique, low-cost, high quality summer musical theatre program for children 8-14. LPRT is the most affordable children’s theater program in Santa Cruz County. Since 1998, LPRT (a non-profit)  has offered children the unique opportunity to do “non-traditional” theater. We present an original rock musical tailored for a cast of 70 children. We take a traditional fairy tale or folktale and rewrite it with a contemporary twist. Every child sings, dances and has a spoken part.
  Performances begin July 25th.  Evening performances July 25, 26, 27, 31, August 1, 2, and 3, show time 7:30 PM. .  Two Sunday matinees July 28 and Sunday August 4th, show time 2:00 PM.  Fabulous food snacks and drink available before each show. 
Youth tickets are only $8.50.  A limited number of tickets are available at the box office for purchase thirty minutes before Show Time. Don’t wait, purchase your tickets early..
To purchase tickets and obtain additional information visit lprt.org

Janinne Chadwick has been called “The Weird Al of children’s theater.” She has been drawn to parody, from earliest musical memories listening to her parent’s Alan Sherman albums - to getting in trouble in the fourth grade for writing parodies of Beatles songs on her desk. Janinne watched so much TV as a child that using 1960’s sit-coms as a background for her plays, like a kind of spiritual purging. She is also a published poet, singer and songwriter, performing in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and the San Francisco Bay Area during the 80's and 90's. Eventually her time was taken up raising her three children along with working with her husband, recording engineer and producer, Daren Chadwick.

   Janinne has an M.A. in Human Development and teaches at Cabrillo College and CSUMB. She has managed to find a creative outlet for her combined interests in children, creativity, pop culture and performance through her work every summer with LPRT where she has served as Executive Director and playwright for the past 14 years. Janinne is so creative with her re-writes of rock and pop songs and then inter-mixing them into fairytales. The twists and turns, the parodies and pop culture references that span many generations in one of her shows are truly fantastic. She has opened up to children, ages 8-14, the opportunity for non-traditional musical theatre, the only one in Santa Cruz County. If you have never seen one of these shows it is well worth making the drive to Ben Lomond. Adults will enjoy the show with or without children. Some say it is actually written more for adults. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adorable and Adoptable.......by Joyce Oroz

A121103 Female, Gold, Terrier mix, 5 years. Very sweet, alert and leash trained.

This little gal is up for adoption--who could resist her? 
Solow would take her home, but Josephine is already over her head dealing with a new family member. My next book features her new four-legged friend.

Shelter Art Foundation photos from 7/13/2013 of some of the adoptable animals at Monterey County Animal Services.
Interested in an animal? Please contact MCAS directly at 769.8850. Need more info about the animal? Go to MCAS animal search page http://mtyhd.org/manager/animalSearch/
Give life – adopt!
Animal ID Number - A121103 This is the ID number for that particular animal. Use the ID number to speak to shelter staff about the specific animals that interest you.
These great photos and others like them may be viewed, commented on, liked and shared at the www.facebook.com/shelterartfoundation page.
Interested in helping? We would love to have you! Photographers, editors, animal wranglers, public relations and marketing.
Thank you to our WONDERFUL 

This is Solow with love in his eyes for the terrier mix.....or maybe he's feeling sad....or he has indigestion. Actually, he always looks like this so it's hard to tell. It could be exhaustion from his latest adventure solving a murder mystery with Josephine.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cuckoo Clock Characters........by Joyce Oroz

Here comes another teaser. If Josephine doesn't get you, maybe Hooley will. I recently started writing another book, but it's hard to shake off the Cuckoo Clock Caper characters. I lived with them in my head for over a year. They rode with me in my red pickup and inspired me with their antics late at night when I couldn't sleep.

It was Thursday morning, four days before my next mural job was due to start. I rolled over, yawned and suddenly remembered what seemed like a nightmare. But when I sorted it out in my mind, I realized the terrible fire had really happened. The Hooleys had lost their home. I heard a noise. Solow wasn’t in the room so I rolled out of bed, pulled on my robe and shuffled down the hall to the kitchen.
Solow stood by the backdoor wagging his tail, waiting to go outside.
“OK, big guy…out you go.” I watched him race after David’s furry white cat. Fluffy hopped through the deep grass like a short-eared bunny, and Solow galloped along behind. A few minutes later my basset was back, breathing hard, staring at the door with his tongue hanging loose. I let him in and laughed out loud.
I jumped when I heard an echo—a laugh behind my back, and spun around, fists raised in a defensive posture.
“Who are you?” I shrieked.
“Emmett,” the man said calmly as he took a step back. He was my height, about five-seven, but stringy, wrinkled and bent. He had a long narrow nose, dark eyes under fluffy white brows, a lower tooth missing and an Einstein scramble of white hair on top of his head. He wore an old leather vest over his wrinkled long sleeved shirt. His pants puddled over bare feet. Pa Kettle had nothing on this guy.
“How did you get in here? I didn’t hear anyone knock,” I snarled.
“The door wasn’t locked….”
“What are you doing in my house?” I put my hands on my hips and tried to look seriously mean, but the old coot wasn’t buying it.
“Your door wasn’t locked and I needed a place to sleep.”
“What are you talking about? You’re not making sense. Maybe I should call the police.”
“Please, Ma’am, no police.” Solow sidled over to the man for a backrub. “You have a nice home here and a good dog.”
“Looks like you and Solow know each other. What’s going on anyway?” I tried to ignore one of my favorite rules of life—if Solow likes you, you must be OK.
“Yes, we know each other. He’s been to my house before.”
“Where is your…is it up this road?” He nodded. “Don’t tell me it’s the one that….”
“…burned down last night.” He stroked the stubble on his chin.
An icy feeling swept through my body. I shivered.
“Mr. Hooley, sit down. I’m so sorry you lost your house. Where’s your sister?”
He looked at the floor.
“She didn’t come out of the house,” he groaned, dropping into a chair.
An even bigger chill hit me and lasted much longer.
“You spent the night…?”
“…on the couch. I like the fancy little pillow and the quilt was very nice.”
“Why did you come to my house? I don’t even know you.”
“You’re the only neighbor who doesn’t lock your door,” he smiled.
“I have a guard dog but maybe I’ll lock-up from now on. Are you hungry?”
“I can wait. I could boil coffee for you,” he said, with a slight accent. European, but I wasn’t sure which country.
“Boil? Ah, I’ll just put Mr. Coffee to work and you can pour yourself a cup in no time.” I left the coffee to perk and hurried to my room to get dressed. I decided to dress first and put the books away later. I jumped into cut-off Levis and a blouse, ran a comb through my unruly auburn hair and gave my teeth a quick brushing.
I didn’t feel completely comfortable leaving a strange man alone in my kitchen, but I felt sorry for him at the same time. Even though he’d entered my house and slept on my sofa, I couldn’t really blame him for trespassing. He’d lost his sister and his home. Maybe he was disoriented or had a bad case of dementia or amnesia or something.
I entered the kitchen. “I see that Solow brought you the newspaper.”
Emmett nodded as he drank coffee and read the saliva-soaked paper out loud to Solow.
I began preparing breakfast, glad to be helping Mr. Hooley in his time of sorrow.
Solow skipped his morning nap, preferring to listen to the old man read. There was no mention of a fire in the newspaper. After all, it had happened just five hours earlier. It would probably be Friday’s headline.
The phone rang. I smiled at the sound of David’s voice.
“Josie, honey, sorry I didn’t call last night. Things were pretty crazy around here. Harley had to make an insurance house call. One of his clients ran his truck off the road, over a sidewalk and into a bar.”
“Same bar he left?” I laughed. “So what did you and Monica do?”
“I played fairy princess with Monica until Harley came home. My back is killing me, right where my wings are supposed to be. So what’s happening with you?”
“David, you won’t believe it! There was an explosion last night. It shook my bed and then there was a big fire up the street. It was three in the morning, but you know me, I had to go see for myself so Solow and I….”
“That’s nice, sweetie. I’m afraid Monica, I mean the fairy princess, is calling me. Gotta run. I’ll call tonight.” We hung up and I turned my attention to making breakfast.
“Hilda always made the porridge,” Emmett said.
“I can make oatmeal if that’s what you want. I’ll share the waffles with Solow.”
“Oh no, no, I don’t like porridge. I never told Hilda that.”
“Why didn’t you tell her? Maybe she’d have cooked other things for you, like bacon and eggs or….”
“…biscuits and gravy. She only made food from the old country. Our mother taught her to make schnitzel, matzo balls and cheese blintzes. Hilda didn’t want to learn American ways, but I like the American hamburger.” He ran his boney thumb up and down the mug handle, eyes focused on the wall.
I never had a sister, but if I lost one I knew I’d have been devastated. Poor Mr. Hooley must have been out of his mind with grief.
“I need to buy groceries today. Would you like to come along? Might do you good to get out in the sunshine….”
“…and see people at the store.”
“Do you always finish other people’s….”
“…sentences? Just Hilda’s.” A quick smile flickered across his ancient lips.
“How old was your sister?”

“Eighty-seven. I’m two years older.” He dug into his waffle and bacon like a man who’d eaten mush for breakfast his whole life. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Party Time in Aromas .......by Joyce Oroz

You people know how I blabber on about the Dragonfly Gallery, and here I go again. Just think of those blabberings as rare samples of nonfiction. 

The truth is, the gallery is open Saturday, July 13th and our esteemed photographer, AHA member, David Coombes will be there to answer your photography questions. Let's give him a warm "Artist of the Month" welcome--I'll drink to that! Yes, there will be free refreshments.

Please stop by the Gallery at 380 Blohm in down town Aromas. For more information, call 831-224-8888

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cuckoo Clock Caper, chapter one..........by Joyce oroz

Today I am going to talk about Moss Landing, a little harbor town on the California coast. Frequently you will find Josephine there, especially in her new adventure, Cuckoo Clock Caper, available as we speak on Kindle. Actual books will be out soon. I thought I would tempt you with the first four pages of Cuckoo Clock Caper.

                       CUCKOO CLOCK CAPER                                 CHAPTER  ONE
It was the best of times…and suddenly it was the worst of times, the night my neighbor’s house blew up. Before that, my life was on cruise control with very few bumps or sharp turns in the road. I painted murals by day and socialized with my friends by night. Solow, my faithful basset, brought me a newspaper dripping with saliva each morning. Alicia Quintana, my best friend, invited me over for dinner at least once a week. Her ten-year-old son, Trigger, called me Auntie Jo, and her husband, Ernie, called me, Josephine. But David Galaz knew me best and called me Josie.
The explosion shook my bed, rattled the windows and sent books crashing into a heap on the floor. I leaped out of bed, tripped over the books and stumbled down the dark hall. A smaller second explosion pushed me off balance. My shoulder hit the wall. I staggered through the kitchen on wobbly legs and gazed out the living room window facing west.
There were ten homes west of my old adobe, each on five acres of grassland sprinkled with oak trees, wild lilac and poison oak. I knew by the red sky that a neighbor was in trouble.
Sirens shrieked up the road named after Otis somebody. I stared out the window, slack-jawed, heart pounding, listening to Solow’s intense howls.
My only comfort was the fact that David lived in the other direction. He had a bigger house than mine, an apricot orchard and a cat named Fluffy who led my dog on many a futile chase. David had been divorced ever since his wife ran off with the preacher ten years ago. He had retired at age fifty-two with a nice pension from IBM. On the night of the explosion, he was visiting his son and granddaughter in Modesto, which meant Solow and I were on our own.
I opened the front door and stepped outside. The red glowing sky finally turned grey as smoke obscured the western stars. Even in daylight I would not have been able to see the actual fire because of the hilly topography between me and my neighbors. Most of the houses on Otis were positioned similar to mine at the end of long driveways. We were all close to having a view of the Pacific Ocean, but not quite.
I stood in the dark wondering which neighbor had lost their home. I knew them all fairly well, except for the people two doors down. No one knew them well but we all had heard the rumors. Mr. Hooley and his sister were older than the spring-loaded bed I inherited from my grandmother and probably older than the giant oak tree in my backyard. People said they never went to school, held a job or married. A picture of Ma and Pa Kettle popped into my mind. I had never really seen the Hooleys, just a couple of beat up hats riding low in the cab of a barely blue eighty-four Chevy pickup.
Solow took one sniff outside and high-tailed it back to his doggie bed across the room from my bed. I followed Solow’s example of self-control. At first my pillow felt comforting but that didn’t last long. I tossed and turned, wrestling with my innate curiosity. Whose house exploded and why?
I clicked the lamp on.
“Solow, wake up. You want to go for a ride?”
He looked at me as if I’d been eating wild mushrooms. He dropped his head and closed his eyes.
“Come on. I’m going for a ride.”
Solow finally raised his head as I pulled on a robe and shoved my feet into slippers. He followed me through the house and out the front door. The smell of smoke sat heavy in the air. Stars were visible in the eastern sky only.     
I gave Mr. Chubby a boost into the passenger seat of my middle-aged red Mazda pickup and turned the key. Solow drooled with anticipation as we made a tight circle, crunched down the gravel driveway and turned left onto Otis.
The one-lane road made three turns before we saw glowing embers rising above wild lilac bushes fronting the Hooley property. I cautiously made a left turn onto the Hooley’s asphalt driveway, drove a hundred yards and parked in the grass behind three fire engines. I recognized the frame of a burned out ‘84 Chevy pickup, still smoking near the glowing, collapsing framework of a two-story house.
A fireman aimed water at the big black pile. Water turned to white steam that billowed upward toward a mournful moon. Three firemen loaded the trucks with equipment, preparing to leave. There were no other signs of life.
Suddenly a face appeared in my window. As my head snapped to the left, Solow let out an ear-splitting howl.     
The fireman outside my window motioned for me to roll the window down. When I came to my senses and did what I was told, he politely told me to leave the property.
“I’m worried about my neighbors. Are they OK?”  
“I’m sorry, Ma’am, we haven’t seen anyone. We really can’t say much at this point.”
“I’ll move my truck right away…but can you tell me what caused the explosion?”   
“You heard an explosion?”
I nodded. “Two of them. The first one shook my bed.”
“Interesting,” he said over his shoulder as he took off up the hill toward the action.
I turned my truck around and two minutes later we were home. Under normal circumstances, I would have sat for a minute enjoying the balmy, starry night. But that night was different. I wanted to forget the charred mess I had seen. I hoped and prayed the Hooleys were OK, somehow, somewhere.
Solow followed me into my dark house. We felt our way to the bedroom and crashed in our beds. Solow was snoring in his bed before the sheet hit my chin.
I dreamt about two little hoot owls sitting on a branch in a eucalyptus tree. A crowd of people looked up and taunted the birds, daring them to fly; but the birds made it known that they were afraid to leave the tree. A raccoon shimmied up the tree trunk and began swinging from branch to branch. One of the birds panicked and fell head first onto a rock below.
I looked up and noticed that the second bird was missing. 


Thursday, July 4, 2013

She is a Wounded Warrior......by Joyce Oroz

Am I the only American who sniffs back tears when the Star Spangled Banner is being sung? Maybe it’s the people waving flags, the marching bands, the crowd or simply the fact that it’s the Fourth of July. And then along comes another float with the loud speaker disseminating a beautiful rendition of God Bless America. I’m choked up all over again. 

I love watching the dancing horses, kiddies, ponies, hot cars, a wounded warrior rolling along in her wheelchair—the works. But why was I the only one to stand up when a marching band played our National Anthem? No hats came off? Maybe my tears are for things lost, maybe for good things I hope will come.

My husband and I had a wonderful place to sit. Gina and Danny had set out chairs along the sidewalk in front of “Just G’s Boutique” in Morgan Hill.

The parade finished, we said goodbye to family and friends and began our mile hike back to the car. 

Along the way I recognized a parade participant, the lady in the wheelchair. She was talking to another lady in a wheelchair and I happened to hear the word, “Afghanistan.” We kept walking for another block, but something made me turn around and go back. I planned to say to the woman, “Thank you for your service.” 

As I stood by the ladies waiting for a break in their conversation, a marching band heading back to their bus suddenly began to play—full throttle. The woman immediately bent forward, head down, hands over ears. Instinctively I wrapped my body over her, hugging her tight as she shivered. As the music faded, she began telling herself out loud that it was OK, and that the parade was over. I stepped back, she saw my camera and gave a brave smile. I don’t know her name. I know that she is suffering, and I know how brave she is. 

I am reminded that people like this let people like us enjoy the Fourth of July. God bless our soldiers!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Artist of the Month.......by Joyce oroz

By popular demand, David Coombes is the Dragonfly Gallery
“Artist of the Month” for July. He is an active AHA member, a seriously wonderful photographer, and an all around nice guy. Need something hung at the gallery? Ask David. Everyone does.
Now I will turn you over to David, who will tell us how he became a photographer.

It all began a long, long time ago on a planet far, far away, when I discovered that my parents owned a Brownie 44 box camera. I was 5 years old and it was fun seeing everything upside down in the viewfinder. I used to play with it until they discovered that it actually had an undeveloped film in it. It was even more fun when they had it developed – nothing memorable but I was hooked. I got my first camera, a Kodak 35mm Instamatic, on my 10th birthday and I still have the black and white snaps from the first film in a scrapbook. Since that time, I usually have a camera close at hand – you never know when that perfect shot will present itself.

As far as equipment goes, technology has moved on a bit from the Box Brownie, so my next camera was a Praktica LTL3, followed by a Canon AE1, then on the a Canon Rebel and then on to a variety of Canon Digital SLRs. Just switched to a 5d mk III. All lenses are Canon EF.

Having spent a lot of time photographing people and many friends’ weddings, I have generally moved away from humans as subject matters and now focus (no pun intended) on wildlife, nature, sunsets and landscapes – as well as the occasional trains, planes and automobiles.

The photos that are in the galleries contain the copyright text which will not be on the ordered photos. All photos are for sale and can be custom ordered as matted prints in luster, gloss or as stretched canvas.

Thank you, David, for sharing your story.

To see David’s work, toddle on down to the Dragonfly Gallery at
380 Blohm Ave. in down town Aromas—open 1-4:00
Thursdays and Fridays or by appointment. 831-224-8888

If you would like to donate a few hours working at the gallery, we would welcome you aboard. Your community service might be the pleasant distraction you are looking for.