Stay Open to the Wonders

Yesterday we were wandering in the "country" getting acquainted with the local area and scouting for a potential homestead when we wandered across this lovely regional park:
Everybody in Kings County loads up the RV and heads to the coast for Memorial Day weekend. I'm not kidding. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day -- the best place to run into friends from Visalia, Tulare, Hanford, Fresno, and Bakersfield is at Pismo Beach. You don't even need to coordinate. They'll be there.

So, on this beautiful day we had the park to ourselves. Literally. The caretaker told us only two other cars had come through and the others were just making reservations for another day. We had a little picnic lunch under the majestic oaks where we listened to the silence, observed a swarm of bees looking for a honey tree, and then we took a stroll around the grounds. It's a lot like Cutler Park where the kids ran cross-country and track.

There are a couple of different playgrounds with slides and swings and riding toys: 
And we are near Lemoore Naval Air Station so watch out for low-flying aircraft.
We crossed the blue bridge over the irrigation canal that doubles for scenic creek...
...and startled a big fat cotton-tail rabbit that ran, lippity-lippity into the woodpile near a little fixer-upper:
Thanks to our extended Spring and cooler temperatures (75 is cool for Memorial Day in these parts), the park was green and gorgeous. The caretaker said he was watering some of the drier patches but it would all be dried out in a month. He said it was really rare that we had the park to ourselves. But we seem to be lucky that way.

Near the end of an enchanted visit to Zion National Park many years ago, Mr. Last commented that the only thing we needed to make it perfect was a rainbow. And I'll be darned if we didn't end up with a late afternoon thunderstorm and a rainbow...

Wandering brings much pleasure. You have to get out and look around, but you can't bend Nature to your pleasure. Stay open to the possibilities and the wonders present themselves.


Stuff I Found While Wandering

I wander all over the Internet. I can't help it.

I was born under a wandering star. (For all you young'uns this is an oblique reference to a tune from a not-so-great musical called "Paint Your Wagon". It was sung, not very tunefully, by an actor named Lee Marvin, who later aguably became as famous for his "palimony" dispute with a former live-in lover as he ever was for his acting. Check Wikipedia. Or imdb. Or whereever you go to check stuff.)

From there to here, from here to there, Funny things are everywhere. (Classic Dr. Seuss. If you don't recognize this reference, there is no hope left in the world.)

I wandered into some stuff you might enjoy.
This, for instance:

...and this:

...also, this:

The Windmill Farmer from Joaquin Baldwin on Vimeo.

I spent hours wandering around cyberspace to bring you these 10 minutes of enjoyment. I do it because I love you, gentle readers, and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.


Goodness Ascending

The next book up on my pile of acquisitions from recent book sales is a volume which is the second in a trilogy. Ordinarily, I'm not too picky about sequence but for some unknown reason this time I was compelled to locate and read the first volume first. You know. So I can read about the lives and adventures of fictional folk in the order in which they fictionally occurred. Turns out the first volume was ready and waiting for me to pick up at the public library.

In Tulare (about 25 miles away).

I have patronized the Tulare Public Library before. It is a warm and welcoming, if ancient and poorly-lit, place.

Yes. I could have requested an interlibrary loan and picked up the book here in a few days. But my need to read is immediate. It knows no delayed gratification. Never has. Bibliophilia is incurable and irrepressible. Look it up. 
So I obtained a 44-oz. Diet Pepsi (extra ice) and I hit the road.

And a half hour later when I pulled up to the Tulare Public Library

Oh, the building still existed. But it was a hollow shell. Dark. Closed tight. No books. No people. No signs. Nothing to indicate a forwarding address. I was flummoxed.

And a tiny part of me died when it occurred to me this was a sign of the apocalypse. Perhaps the world was ending Saturday. And it started by taking all the Temples of Knowledge up to heaven first. I knew I had a while yet to go if the apocalypse started by removing goodness from the earth before scorching what was left.

So I thought of a thrift store where I could replenish my supply of old postcards to send to the folks up north and I just shifted my errand and headed over to K Street.

My vintage postcard needs were satisfied quickly. I assessed the disappearing public library situation one more time and determined Tulare must have built a new library and forgot to tell me. I reasoned that libraries are big public spaces and hard to hide, so I drove over to the place where I last knew the courthouse to be and hoped I would see a shiny new library nearby.


So I sadly began contemplating the end of times and wending my way though empty buildings in downtown Tulare toward the commercial/retail strip when my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of a taller newish building a block away from the new transit center.

I found it! The NEW Tulare Public Library.
The silo-tower is a beautiful rotunda entrance. And the whole complex is light and spacious and thoughtfully designed. An improvement over the original Tulare Public Library that is so great as to defy description.

I wanted to weep when I entered. Perhaps from relief to find the world was not ending just then. Perhaps from relief to see brand new restrooms on the left. When I mentioned my emotionality to the librarian smiling at the front desk she said, "We've been here since July of last year. Maybe you'll come again soon."

I'm pretty sure I will.

My books are due in three weeks.


Thursday Night Market Place

Every Thursday night from May to October of every year (six entire months! 26 Thursday nights!) you can join several hundred of your closest friends, and a couple of strangers (because strangers are just friends you haven't met yet, right Will Rogers?), in charming downtown Hanford.

You can stroll the Farmers Market.
Pick up some heirloom tomatoes, fresh or dried, that are big and lumpy and funny-colored but taste of juicysweetgloryhallelujah summer-is-a-comin'.
Kids can ride the carousel.

The carousel is on the corner by the old historic Courthouse. The old Courthouse is now home to small business and offices and the grounds that surround it are lovely. If you need to conduct serious legal business you'd better head down the street a mile or two to a complex that is slightly more modern and significantly less beautiful.
Grown-ups can enjoy an adult beverage and live music in the cool shade outside of the old Fox Theater.
Be sure to grab dinner from the plentiful vendors cooking up BBQ hot links and chicken kabobs and grilled corn and sweet potatoes (and lots of other deliciousness). Don't forget the ice-cold Pepsi.
They celebrate Homecoming in May in these parts. I think they are on to something. It's a very appropriate time to celebrate the return of the sun and fun and kids coming home from college.


The party starts in May and continues for 26 weeks.
Every. Thursday. Night.





Often when I get up north to visit my folks Mom has a stack of magazines saved up to hand off to various family members. This one she handed to me and suggested that Mr. Last and I might like to explore some tidepools on the coast.

So...being the obedient child that I am, today I took Mr. Last to
W.R. Hearst Memorial Beach where we found:

1) the obligatory state beach seagull shot
2) Hearst Castle on the hill
3) Cambria-by-the-Sea



 Complete with starfish and sea anemones
Good thing we checked the tide charts so we knew
low tide was perfectly timed for 3:30 p.m.
Thanks, Mom, for the excellent suggestion. We are looking forward to visiting some of the other spots mentioned in the VIA article.


Books & Postcards are Love Letters

Some, but not all, of my children inherited my bibliophiliac tendencies. I am doing my part to spread the contagion on down the generations. For a while now GrandGril and the GrandBoys have been receiving random selections in the mail from Oma's Book Club:
I have loads of fun choosing titles and sending them off to the kids as part of my More Love Letters resolution.

(Remember? Same and only resolutions made for 2010 and 2011? Fewer Piles and More Love Letters. I may have finally come up with resolutions that I can truly accomplish. Especially if they are the same every year.)

Also, as part of my More Love Letters campaign, I have embarked upon A-Postcard-A-Day project that consists of me scribbling a random something on a vintage postcard daily and mailing it off to my parents. They don't do the Internet or email so they miss all of the goodness here on my blog and the Postcard-A-Day project sort of fills that void.

Happy Mail is good for us all.  


Incurable Bibliophilia

A long time ago about when Mark Zuckerberg was launching Facebook, I was exploring the murky waters of Internet Dating. Navigating the waters was tricky then, as I suppose it is now also. In order to sort the sheep from the goats (so to speak), my profile contained the phrase "confirmed bibliophile". I figured that would scare away some and intrigue others. It did.

My bibliophilia is treatment-resistant and apparently incurable. It seems that no matter how many times I cull my collection and vow to love what remains without increasing their number, I find the siren song of used book sales luring me to dash myself against the rocks of More Books again and again. O, the Treasures and Delights to be obtained in exchange for so little precious cash!

A dozen acquired Friday:

Another dozen acquired Saturday
from an entirely separate source:

Oh, and the Internet dating profile?
Worked like a charm.

Because it turns out, that for some of us:
bumper sticker available here

Happy May Day Mr. Last First Date!