The Living and the Dead–El Carmelo Cemetery Tour 2013

First Annual El Carmelo Cemetery and Little Chapel Tour 2013

Pacific Grove historian, and my neighbor, Don Beals, with Lavinia Waterhouse self-portrait

Don Beals, Pacific Grove historian and my neighbor, with Lavinia Waterhouse self-portrait and cemetery tour participant.

Although I invited them, no ghostly spirits–friendly or otherwise–showed up to participate that day. We still had a good time among the pines, with the deer and the birds. The Little Chapel (available to rent for special events) provided a sumptuous buffet, coffee and other beverages. About thirty people meandered among the tombstones and markers on a perfectly sunny day. Don Beals prepared a walking map handout of notable PG inhabitants, put orange cone markers at their gravesites, and gave a personally guided tour to many. I assisted him and answered questions about my Gale family members buried in the pioneer section in 1892. Near her grave, Don set up an easel with the self-portrait by Lavinia Waterhouse, which is normally on display at Ketchum’s Barn, and gave a little talk. Plans are underway to develop a Living History persona of Lavinia—and other interesting pioneers—to appear at the 2014 tour; which may entice a few spirits to liven things up for everyone!

Álamos Book Fair 2-20-2013

Welcome to the

1st ALAMOS BOOK FAIR

A BENEFIT FOR LOS AMIGOS DE EDUCACIÓN

4—6 PM at the Hotel Colonial, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

Thank you all for coming today!

JANET AND KELLEY, of the Hotel Colonial, Hosts for Alamos Book Fair 2013.

JANET AND KELLEY, of the Hotel Colonial, Hosts for Alamos Book Fair 2013.

 

PATRICIA HAMILTON, emcee today and publisher of “Our Stories of Alamos, A Pueblo Magico.”

 

PART ONE 4 PM

The Making of

“Our Stories of Alamos, a Pueblo Magíco”

OUR STORIES OF ALAMOS, A PUEBLO MAGICO

In Appreciation for an Alamos Woman with a dream that grew into a book!

In Appreciation for an Alamos Woman with a dream that grew into a book!

JOAN GOULD WINDERMAN

Joan Winderman had a dream to make known the stories of the fascinating women of Alamos – which led to the publication of “Our Stories of Alamos, a Pueblo Magico.” With pleasure we also acknowledge her dogged dedication to collecting these stories. I’m sure many of you can recall your own story of that! We know you love and collect books, Joan, so please accept this 500 Peso Gift Certificate to Kathy’s Korner Book Salon as a token of our appreciation.

I also acknowledge the contributions of Donna Love – who got the book rolling with a writing class for 25 local women and interfaced with other writers throughout — and Bernadette McAllister for photographs, and for the support of Betsy Maier.

Lorna Acosta, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy's Korner Book Salon.

LORNA ACOSTA, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy’s Korner Book Salon.

Lorna Acosta created Kathy’s Korner Book Salon to honor her sister’s memory, and it was become a repository of an amazing number of books, donated and for sale, with the ambiance of the independent bookstore which has all but disappeared in America. It is also the headquarters for Los Amigos de Educación, which provides scholarships for further education to Alamos youth. With pleasure we acknowledge Lorna’s contribution to literacy and education, and gift her the net proceeds of $500 U.S., from the sale of the first printing of “Our Stories of Alamos.” PLUS Los Amigos’ ownership of all native book files for future printings and updates and the proceeds thereof. I offer my services to transfer all Amazon.com files.

Linda Adams, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy's Korner Book Salon.

LINDA ADAMS, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy’s Korner Book Salon.

Linda Adams has been a tremendous help to Lorna and Kathy’s Korner and is available next door with name tags for the women writers so we can further identify each other and have our books autographed by everyone present. I’m looking forward to meeting the women writers and thanking them in person for their contribution—and have them autograph my book! There is also a sign-up sheet for any woman who may want to contribute her story for a possible second edition. Joan Winderman will also be helping with the autograph party next door. Thanks also to Louise McPherson, another Los Amigos board member, and her partner, Rob, for balloons and set-up.

43 Alamenses attended.

43 Alamenses attended the 2013 Alamos Book Fair at the Hotel Colonial. Chairs provided by Casa de Los Tesoros Hotel.

Los Amigos de Educación dignitaries, Lorna Acosta and Michelee Cabot, sat at the front.

Los Amigos de Educación board members, LORNA ACOSTA and MICHELEE CABOT sat at the front of the Hotel Colonial courtyard.

Michelee and Hal Cabot, serving refreshments.

HAL AND MICHELEE CABOT volunteer to serve refreshments, which were provided by Devorah, Donna, Cherisse, Joan, and Teresita’s Panadería.

A view from the back of the room.

We’ll take a short break. Please help yourself to the food and enjoy some water or wine. Next, I’ll describe the self-publishing sequence of “Our Stories” by way of illustrating to you the steps required should you be interested in self-publishing a book through Amazon.com and CreateSpace print-on-demand or e-book service. Following, I will introduce today’s authors who will speak about the writing experience. Books for sale benefit Los Amigos de Educación.

PART TWO 4:30 PM

THE SELF PUBLISHING PROCESS OF “OUR STORIES OF ALAMOS”

www.ParkPlacePublications.com

There are only two main questions an author must answer to produce a successful book:

Who is your audience? How will you reach them?

With this book we identified the audience as the people of Alamos and we would reach them by mouth and through Alamos Notes. And if it got wider distribution, so much the better. We would not be investing a large amount of money, and believed we could recoup our investment.

CREATE BOOK CONTENT:

IDEA: Author – Joan Winderman: An idea whose time had come: lunch at Teresita’s March 30, 2011 Joan mentioned her idea of making known how special the women of Alamos are, and five of us thought it was a great idea too. We invested our time and money to make it happen today.

TEXT: Writers – the women of Alamos wrote their stories (the most amazing feat of all, I think) Editors – our content editor and interface with the writers was Donna Love; a professional editor was hired for the final line edit.

GRAHICS: Photographers: myself, Joan, and Bernadette submitted a variety of photos of Alamos to choose from.

As stories and photos came in, I put up this blog to show our progress and keep us inspired.

1. BOOK FORMAT AND DESIGN

This is my main work–making text and graphics look good and make sense: form and function.

I examined the stories, their length, etc. and decided the best format would be to put them in alphabetical order and use a maximum of two pages per story.

If they didn’t fill two pages and there was a big white space left, I combed the photos to find one that illustrated their story, and ultimately to provide a variety of photos that would showcase the essence of Alamos, its people, plants, animals, architecture, ambiance, festivals, etc.

Sample pages and covers were prepared for the committee, reviewed, and refined to what you see today.

I assigned an ISBN and purchased a barcode for the back cover.

2. PRINT AND INTERNET PRESENCE

PDF files were prepared to spec and uploaded in November to my account on CreateSpace.com, the print-on-demand arm of Amazon.com and were immediately for sale worldwide.

We ordered 225 books printed and sent to Joan in Tucson and delivered by Joan, Lorna, and Louise McPherson to Alamos in time for Christmas—to give a free book to each of the women writers, and for sales to others. We were able to completely recover our initial investment of $1700 by January 15.

3. MARKETING

Our only marketing so far has been by word of mouth and exposure at Kathy’s Korner. Donna Love, an entertaining writer, and one of the authors who will speak today and has books for sale, is also a good book publicist. Jim Swickard of Hacienda de los Santos gave Donna contact information for national tourist related associations. Those letters and requests will go out soon. If you have any influence or know who Lorna might contact for bulk sales (the ideal way to sell a book, along with having a niche market), please let her know.

PART THREE 5 PM

AUTHORS SPEAKING ABOUT WRITING AND PUBLISHING

Please welcome five of our local authors:

Robin Ellis, will speak about writing her book while pregnant and with breast cancer, “She’s Alright.”

ROBIN ELLIS

ROBIN ELLIS

Emily Preece, author of personal Alamos stories, “Over These Cobblestones.”

EMILY PREECE

EMILY PREECE

Donna Love, who brings four books to the table: “Tell Me a Story,” “To Make the House Complete,” “Walking for Our Lives,” and “Driving for Walking for Our Lives.”

DONNA LOVE

DONNA LOVE

Robert Cabot, author of several books, one of which is nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

ROBERT CABOT

ROBERT CABOT

Leila Gillette, who wrote and illustrated “Stately Homes of Alamos.”

LEILA GILLETTE

LEILA GILLETTE

These local authors will be available afterwards for your questions and to sell books. A portion of today’s sales goes to Los Amigos de Educación, so I urge you to purchase at least one book from each author if you can! They will be happy to autograph books for you. Books are also available for purchase at Kathy’s Korner Book Salon – proceeds to Los Amigos de Educación.

Books are passed around. Here, Steven Foster examines "Walking for Our Lives."

Books are passed around during each author’s talk. Here, STEVEN FOSTER examines “Walking for Our Lives.”

Eat! Drink! Be Merry! Buy Books and Support the Youth of Alamos!

We published this book and created this event around it, to bring the people of Alamos together in community and with an appreciation of our strengths and diversity. I say, “Well done, Alamos!” Today’s event raised money for two scholarships for the youth of Alamos!

After the party's over...

After the party’s over… Welcome to Hotel Colonial.

Photographs by Joan Gould Winderman and Patricia Hamilton.

Regresó a Álamos!

After two years away, I stepped back into life in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico as if I had left last week. I am renting again from Diane Carpenter, at Numero Nueve, Loma de Guadalupe. She and her staff, Rigo and Sylvia, are kind, generous, and cheerful. Each day is filled with a variety of activities: Benefits for local children y animales; photography, impromptu parties and cultural fiestas, breakfasts, lunches and dinners with old and new friends; gringo get-togethers, walks around town and into the countryside; Mexican food from street vendors and restaurants such as Terracotta, on the terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas. The days are flying by.

Looking out my front door.

Looking out my front door.

Casita

My casita, a separate ‘little house,’ built on top of the kitchen of the main house, a 17th century Spanish mansion, below.

CasitaRoofView

Roof garden outside my door, with raised bed planted with chard. I sit in this chair for morning coffee, overlooking Alamos.

Casita roof gardens

More raised beds of vegetables from which I pick an assortment daily for a green drink.

CasitaPool2

Swimming pool just down the steps from my casita. Entrance to property is on the far right corner.

CasitaViewBelow

Stairway down to plaza at entrance to main house.

CasitaTerracePoolView

Glimpse of my front porch in foreground; and another view of pool and front entrance.

Casita-roof1

More rooftop raised vegetable beds. The Alamos Garden Club is coming for a tour on Tuesday. Diane has a special soil mixture of dirt, cow/horse manure, and sand.

Cascarones Carnaval. Egg shells with confetti in them are smashed on people's heads. Here Donna and a couple of local girls are doing just that.

Cascarones at the Carnaval de Alamos. Children and teens smash eggshells with confetti in them on prospective ‘novios’ and people they like. Here Donna and two local girls smash eggs on each other. The girls carry bags of the decorated filled shells. Hundreds of people are in the plaza for this; there’s a band playing, girls dancing, and food vendors surrounding all. Each evening throughout the year the plaza is filled with families and people socializing.

Roosters are everywhere and crow anytime.

Roosters are everywhere and crow anytime, night or day. This handsome fellow lives in the lane to my place. He has quite a harem.

Child and pug at Las Tianguas, the Sunday market where hundreds of people from the countryside are bussed in to shop for food and goods.

Chica and pug at Las Tianguas, the Sunday market where hundreds of people from the countryside bus in to shop for food and goods.

World famous Music Festival wind instrument concert inside the church.

World famous Music Festival wind instrument concert inside the ancient church.

An announcer on the plaza for the Music Festival events.

An announcer on the Plaza for the Music Festival events.

Jaime, parading Mario the goat, around town. I think Mario 'se vende' (is for sale).

Jaime, leading Mario the goat, around town. Mario may be ‘se vende’ (for sale).

BLOG–GOAT 3

Shrimp tostada at a street vendor's for about $2. Muy delicioso!

Shrimp tostada at a street vendor’s for about $2. Muy delicioso!

My host, Diane Carpenter, and a neighbor, Bengta Wolsing, dressed up for Los Comadres Fashion Show.

My host, Diane Carpenter, and a neighbor, Bengta Wolsing, dressed up for Los Comadres Fashion Show and Auction, a gringo benefit.

Cows roaming the bush, on a walk we took to just outside the town.

Cows roaming the bush, spotted on a walk we took just outside the town.

Beautiful sunset.

Beautiful sunset.

View from a new rooftop cafe at Hotel Colonial, where we'll be staging the first Alamos Book Fair on February 20.

View from a new rooftop cafe at Hotel Colonial, where we’ll be staging the first Alamos Book Fair, a benefit for Los Amigos de Educacion Scholarship fund, on February 20.

Music festival boy on stilts.

Donna and I with a young boy on stilts who was walking around town (on cobblestones too!) as part of the entertainment during the Music Festival.

Paul Molyneaux, author. I met with Paul about publishing his latest book about fisheries.

Paul Molyneaux, an American author with homes in Maine and Mexico. He comes here to write too, and I’m sure he’s getting more done than I am.

Too much fun!

Busy day today: this morning, chocolate chip cookies and coffee at BK and Donna’s house, a meeting about publishing their Alamos Tourist Guidebook; Tuesday a lunch at Louise’s rancho (a several hundred year old tequila factory – now in ruins) with six other women, and a massage at 5 p.m. ($26 US/300 pesos for one hour); lunch with Diane, Bengta and Donna on Wednesday; Thursday I’m assisting Diane at a local elementary school, where we’re putting on a cooking demo for children in the English class – showing them how to make a sandwich, soup, and peanut butter cookies; Friday, Donna and I take a guided tour to an Indian village for an ancient ceremony and out again on Saturday to another village for a native Indian street fair, returning in time for another scholarship benefit.

The weather has been a perfect combination of balmy, sunny, hot, cool, cloudy, and never too much of anything.

Asi es la vida! Hasta luego!

Getting a Taste of Epicure Santa Barbara

EPICURE.SB

Annual Culture, Food and Wine Extravaganza on The American Riviera

Epicure.SB is an exciting time to succumb to Santa Barbara’s charms: the warm sea air, the swaying palm trees, the pervasive sense of history, the lavish surroundings, and the lively street scenes and night-life. There are hundreds of events throughout the county during the month of October: docent-led tours of historic buildings, pumpkin patch horse-drawn wagon rides, Reagan Ranch exhibits, early bird flea market (we PG people resonate with re-use, re-cycle, re-purpose), Savor Solvang, teen programs: music, poetry storytelling—plus a myriad of other cultural, food, and wine special menus and venues. My friend, Lois, and I got excited at our prospects and answered the siren’s call.

It’s a beautiful drive down Hwy 101, through the Salinas Valley, stopping for a picnic lunch at the park in downtown Paso Robles. But a little road-weary after four hours driving, I’m thinking I might take Amtrak next time—the historic station, with its famous Moreton Fig, is smack downtown. I usually make a rest stop at one of the State Parks just before (Gaviota SP, Refugio SB, or El Capitán SB), to stretch and to stop vibrating from the road, before entering town. (Purchase an Annual Day Use permit from parks.ca.gov—supports the parks and is economical if you visit more than four parks a year.)

The Eagle Inn, Santa Barbara, CA

Lois and I felt at home in The Eagle Inn, 232 Natoma Ave., billed as Santa Barbara’s best kept secret. Large, luxurious, and spacious, it also has the charm of an intimate B&B. Quiet, near downtown and the wharf, and just a three minute walk to catch the State Street Trolley. www.theeagleinn.com

Naturally, enjoying good meals from local ingredients was the larger part of our weekend. Sicilian-owned Olio y Limone Restaurante, 11 W. Victoria St., and, like our own Joe Rombi’s La Piccola Casa and Favaloro’s Café Ariana, the Olio Pizzeria is adjacent. www.olioelimone.com

Olio y Limone Restaurant, Santa Barbara, CA

Silvie, our Sardinian Olio server, and Lois.

Impeccable service by Silvie of the EpicureSB Prix Fixe Menu of local SB seafood: Five courses: $85, includes wine with each course; $65 without wine.)

Torta di Pistacchio con Mascarpone, House-made mascarpone-pistachio terrine. As Lois says, What’s not to love?

EPICURE.SB – Walking Tour of Downtown Historic Arts District

Bryn Stemberg, SB Adventure Company guide.

Meet Bryn Stemberg, our “eye-candy” SB homeboy, and guide for SB Adventure Company. We met up with Bryn at the historic Granada Theatre on State Street and spent three hours taking the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Walking Tour in the Downtown Historic Arts District. Bryn also leads kayaking and biking tours. sbadventureco.com

Lois and I are disciples of Dr. Joel Fuhrman (eattolive.com), and just beginning the process of becoming vegan. We’re interested in sleuthing out the high nutrient foods he says will cure all our ills—and keep us young! Makes total sense to me. We found what we were looking for—and more of course.

Arts & Letters Café Chef Avery Hardin and General Manager Lisa Neustadt.

The Arts & Letters Café, 7 East Anapamu St. Chef Avery Hardin transforms local organic and sustainably-produced foods into his own incredibly delicious creations. The Café is part of a complex that includes a bookstore plus The Sullivan-Goss Gallery, featuring local artwork. artsandletterscafe.com sullivangoss.com

Seared pork loin with apricot gel, local scallops, and an organic greens salad with apple. (Okay, I only said we were in the process of becoming vegan!)

Cest Cheese, 825 Santa Barbara St. Owner-operater, Kathryn Graham. All Organic Cheese Sampler: Mt Tam Triple Crème Brie, Cowgirl Creamery, Pt Reyes Station; walnuts and toasted crostini; Wagon Wheel Swiss, Cowgirl; dried pears; Seascape Gouda Style, Central Coast Creamery, Paso Robles; and soft dried apricots. (Not vegan, but delicious—cheese is a hard one to give up. I haven’t found a satisfactory substitute. Anyone?) cestcheese.com

After three hours enjoying the manicured streets with historic sights and an eclectic collection of people, I happily sampled organic and award-winning SB wines:

2010 XXX Anniversary “Nuits–Blanches” Estate Chardonnay

Au Bon Climat, 813 Anacapa Street. Not a Chardonnay fan, but enjoyed the one pictured. aubonclimat.com

Oreana Winery, 205 Anacapa Street. oreanawinery.com

Both are located in “The Funk Zone,” a mixed use area east of State Street, which is similar to our own Sand City arts habitat. funkzone.net

SANTA BARBARA FAVORITE VEGETARIAN/VEGAN CHOICES!

 Sojourner Café, 134 East Canon Perdido St., still open (I gave them 5 stars in my 2007 California Healthy guide book), and still busy serving wholesome foods, including vegetarian and vegan. sojournercafe.com

Restaurant Julienne, 138 East Canon Perdido St., opened next door in 2008 with similar organic and sustainable fare, and is equally popular. restaurantjulienne.com

Entrance to Adama Vegan.

Vegan “KFC”

Adama Vegan Restaurant and Bakery (gluten-free), 428 Chapala St. A sampling of the dinner menu: Shepherd’s Pie, Pizza, Nachos, Vegan “KFC” $16: southern fried gardein, mashed potatoes, gravy, cole slaw, sauteed greens. (Pretty good for faux chicken.) adamavegan.com

The SB Walk’s Grande Finale!

Maya, Chocolatier Extraordinaire.

Santa Barbara Independent’s 2012“Winner Santa Barbara’s Best Chocolatier”

Now here is something we really could use in Pacific Grove—a franchise of Chocolate Maya! Owned by Maya Schoop-Rutten (yes, that’s her name), who is from Switzerland and used to bring chocolates from there to her friends in Santa Barbara. “Imports changed to exports,” she said, “when young American people got interested in making handmade, good chocolates, from sustainable, local, and eco-orchards and farmers in different countries around the globe.”

Dark Chocolate Maya with Papaya.

Viola! Her gift to us is a store absolutely packed full of different and all divine, forms and tastes of chocolates from around the world. I asked her what she did with unsold handmade chocolates (they only keep for two weeks after making). “We eat them!” she said. Maya enjoys her role of combining making people happy with educating them on the roles of bean-to-bar production. Go there if you travel to no other wonder of the world in your lifetime. chocolatemaya.com

Art instructor at The Painted Cabernet.

Can we please do this on the PG ArtWalk? It’s an evening art party/lesson at The Painted Cabernet, 1229 State Street. This combination boutique and art studio gives painting lessons and provides everything you need: 16” x 20” canvas, paint, brushes, easels and aprons. The $40 fee includes a complimentary beverage, including a glass of house wine. Many bottles of wine were purchased throughout the merry-painting-making. Our lesson was to paint an impression of an impressionist, in this case, Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It was party time! paintedcabernet.com

What would Van Gogh say?

I really enjoyed the wine–painting–young people party, but carrying my canvas back to The Eagle Inn, I felt it was longing for a different fate than I intended. It’s now proudly decorating the top of a bank of newspaper vending machines somewhere on State Street (unless Waste Management carted it away by mistake!).

On the road again

We headed home after breakfast lattes and organic buckwheat waffles at D’Angelo’s Bakery, a locals’ hangout at 25 W. Gutierrez Street. To prolong our visit and make the beautiful morning last just a little longer, at El Capitan SP we took a stroll along the beach. OMIGOD! We were rewarded and totally delighted when Lois spotted diving, leaping, and feeding dolphins. A dozen dolphins so close to shore—and me without my camera.

The trip home always go by faster than the trip getting there—doesn’t it? It’s lovely to be back on the Peninsula. Back to enchanted, foggy PG days—and actively pursuing Dr. Fuhrman’s inspired goal of high nutrient eating!

You don’t have to wait until October 2013 to enjoy Santa Barbara. The next major festival is the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Jan/Feb 2013. “Given its knack for predicting Academy Award® winners, a proximal distance to Los Angeles and timing close to the big event, this year the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will once again establish itself as the preeminent Oscar® film festival.” www.sbiff.org Hmmmm…

FEB-MAR 2012  I’ll be taking a flight with Donna Love for two months in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico! So excited! I’ve only ever gone for 30 days at a time; will I come back? Donna, Joan, Betsy, Bernadette and I will launch our new book with 81 women’s stories, “Our Stories of Alamos, A Pueblo Magico!” on February 13, now available on Amazon.com South of the Border–you will love it–www.womenofalamosmexico.com

 

Takin’ it Easy to Winslow, Arizona

Salinas Train Depot, Salinas, California. Waiting for the Amtrak bus, I satisfied my early morning caffeine craving at nearby Olivia’s Cafe—here’s Olivia and  the morning crowd. I spoke Spanish with them, but the nice guy with the white shirt on the end wanted me to use his language, Italian, “Same thing” he said.

Take It Easy” is the title of a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and most famously recorded by the Eagles (with Frey singing lead vocals). It was the band’s first single, released on May 1, 1972. The lyric, “Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” made the town still famous today. Well, if not famous, vaguely familiar in the recesses of our younger rock-n-roller minds!

Thursday, October 4, Donna Rankin Love, author of “Walking for Our Lives,” her friend, Jackie Smith—who was with Donna on the three 1986-88 peace walks—and I, boarded the Amtrak bus at 9:30 a.m. for a bus/rail journey to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and on to our final destination, Winslow, AZ.

These photos encapsulate our journey—and the Eagles accompanied us all along the way.

Donna and Jackie at our stop at McDonald’s in King City. View from my front seat on the bus, driving down Hwy 101 through the Salinas Valley, “Salad Capital of the World.” And there’s Donna, getting friendly with Kevin, another Amtrak passenger. Sorry—there’s Kevin, getting friendly with Donna!

“Well I’m a runnin’ down the road try’n to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me
One says she’s a friend of mine

Santa Barbara Amtrak Station, and directly behind the station, the famous Moreton Ficus tree’s bubbling, fermenting fig fruit and gnarly roots (this gigantic tree sheltered hundreds of families during the Great Depression—my niece Kathy’s husband’s mother recalls seeking temporary living shelter under the tree after a 1929 disastrous earthquake). Here we board the Southwest Chief Superliner, overnight to Winslow. Our sleeping car was cozy, the showers spacious and with buckets of hot water. We made all our trip connections on time too.

Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy

Donna and Jackie catching a trolley ride from tracks to lobby once we pulled into the downtown Los Angeles Union Station. On our return trip stopover, and just outside the terminal, we visited the colorful and lively Mexican shops on Olvera Street, the oldest street in California, and one block up, bought two fat, flavorful and tender french dipped pork sandwiches, at landmark Philippe’s restaurant, for lunch later. (Note the wood shavings strewn on the floor and what appears to be the morning’s gathering of elders, engaged in animated conversation)

Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy

Twelve hours later, at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, we shook ourselves awake, showered, and tumbled out with our luggage onto the platform of the Winslow train station, right on the doorstep of La Posada Hotel and Gardens. Built in 1929, it was the last of the Fred Harvey Hotels. Our host, Allan Affeldt, above, also on the Great Peace March,  purchased the hotel in 1997 and is renovating it entirely. At right, two historic wooden doors Allan salvaged and restored for his entryway.

Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my Lord in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin’ down to take a look at me

That’s me at Take It Easy Corner. (Can you hear the Eagles playing on my iPhone in the background?)
Four of the dishes we enjoyed in the nationally-acclaimed Turquoise Room restaurant in La Posada. Left to right: The Signature Soup: Smooth black bean and cream of corn; The Corn Maiden’s Delight, poached eggs with spinach and served on a bed of polenta; Filet of Beef Tacos with beans and two salsas; and The Harvey Girls Famous Small and Thin Orange Pancakes “Crepes”. Waitresses wore Harvey Girl white pinafore uniforms.

Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in, so take it easy

THE REAL REASON we’re takin’ it easy in Winslow, AZ: My friend and client, author Donna Rankin Love, at her book signing in the hotel ballroom, inspiring others to be peaceful and do good works. Right, co-owner Tina Mion’s murals appear throughout La Posada.

Well, I’m a runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
Got a world of trouble on my mind
Lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my cover, she’s so hard to find

Walking tour of Winslow: Left to right: Halloween front yard bears, stray kitty on La Posada grounds, two bikers from a nearby town attending the 18th Annual Car Show; and the local high school bulldog mascot on another famous Winslow corner.

Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy

Saturday we rented our own wheels (Ford Taurus) with intentions to drive an hour and take a guided tour of Hopiland at The Four Corners. We went south instead of north! My fault entirely—I was driving, without a map and no iPhone GPS engaged; the sun was on my left and I reasoned we were heading north. Alas, it was morning. After too long, Jackie, whom I had strongly advised as we set out to not be a back seat driver, quietly and very sweetly suggested we just might be going the wrong way. I humbly and apologetically concurred.  We stopped at a café in Strawberry to plot our new trip; checked out a local crafts and tractor show in Pine; and while in Sedona (another famous Arizona town you may have heard of) strolled and shopped Tlaquepaque, where we enjoyed a so-so Mexican dinner (we weren’t able to get into the highly recommended Elote Café) before our drive through Flagstaff on our way back to Winslow. Takin’ it easy, we stopped midway for ice cream and were happy with how our road trip actually turned out.

Come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me”

Do you also feel these song lyrics contain a very sweet, philosophical approach to life?

I would love it if you would leave a comment—and sign up to receive upcoming travelogues.

October 17–19 I’ve been invited to cover the annual Santa Barbara Epicure. Watch for my report.

An Entity From More Savage Times?

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

I thought the cemetery renovation (see previous blog entry) was interrupting the writing, but today I learned that it’s part of my process of sifting through my past and putting it all to right. I’m putting up new granite markers in the cemetery, building a new fence (coping) around the twelve sites, and turning over the sod of the family plot, as I turn over – and sift through – the stories of my life, making everything right and making sense of it all.

I wanted to know more about my paternal grandfather, George Edward Hamilton, and why I’d been avoiding his life in all my research – even forgetting to ask Joyce Day Meuse to do an astrological chart for him while she was charting my other ancestors.

Marilet sat quietly with her eyes closed; I repeated his name three times; and she called Hamilton to her. He was contrite, claimed he had been misunderstood, that there were other, unknown factors. He didn’t understand why he had done such evil things and often had to flee from the family to release inner anguish. I had been told he was so mean that, when he died, everyone said, “Thank God he’s gone!”

She sensed a grayish shape hovering in his background, some ‘thing,’ attempting to shield itself from her. Pressing on with her inquiry she identified it as an ENTITY (don’t you just love that word!).

It seems that centuries ago—and in more savage times—a Hamilton woman cried out, “Is anyone listening out there? All my men have gone off to fight and I have a dreadful fear for their lives. If they don’t return, we are all certain to perish. Please help me!” She then, in essence, made a pact with the ‘Devil’—the entity nearby that was the first to respond to her plea—to trade safety for her men and, in return, to grant power to this entity over Hamilton descendents for generations. This wife sensed the entity was from the ‘dark side’ but also knew she had to secure the safety of the men. And if this woman had not made the pact, the line would have been wiped out, and I would never have been born.

We identified instances in my life where I felt utterly powerless and had wondered why. Other family members suffered much worse: suicides of an aunt, sister, and niece; the early death of a brother who also was named George Edward Hamilton; my father, who never felt he had a chance in life; and my misunderstood grandfather. All the result of a pact made by a frightened wife and mother long, long ago?

I enjoy incorporating information like this into the stories I tell about my life. I mean, we are making it all up, aren’t we? With the continual loving support and illumination of God/Goddess/Source Energy.

You can find out what happens to the mean old thing by reading my book… release date on Grandson Zack’s 16th birthday, August 24, 2015.

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