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


 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!