Saturday, February 27, 2016

Where I Live

I have lived in the town of Petaluma off and on for the past 33 years, the most recent stretch beginning in 1998.

It was founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1858. The Coast Miwok (pronounced me-wock) were the indigenous people who lived here for at least 4,000 years before the Columbian period. Apparently "Petaluma" means "backside of the mountain" referring to Sonoma Mountain nearby. And it's pronounced pet-uh-LOO-muh.

General Mariano Vallejo (pronounced vuh-LAY-ho or vuh-LAY-yo) acquired the area as part of a Mexican land grant in 1834. This land also included the town of Sonoma, on the other side of the hills from Petaluma, about a 20 minute drive away. I went to high school in Sonoma.

The current population is approximately 60,000. Highway 101 runs right down the middle of town. We are divided into Eastside and Westside. On the west you can find "downtown" and many older houses including some fabulous Victorian era homes. The Eastside used to be full of chicken ranches and has been built over with subdivisions over the last 40-50 years.

In the early 20th Century Petaluma was the "Eggbasket of the World" supplying eggs to the Bay Area and beyond. There are several brick buildings still standing that were once hatcheries. These have all been re-purposed for other businesses today.

Today Rocky the Free Range Chicken is raised and processed by Petaluma Poultry Processors.

Every year in April the Butter and Egg Parade is held through downtown. All of us, Thor, CPA Boy and I, have marched in the parade at various times: Thor with junior high and high school bands and CPA Boy and I as part of the Bank of Petaluma (where I worked as a controller in the 1990s) float entry.

Our other claim to fame from 1952 through 2003 was the World Wrist Wrestling Championships. Even Snoopy attended! (He was disqualified for not having thumbs.) The championships are now based in Europe, specifically Bulgaria and Romania!

Many movies have been filmed here. The biggies are "American Graffiti" and "Peggy Sue Got Married". I showed Thor the final drag racing scene from "American Graffiti" which was filmed on the road bordering our neighborhood (which was a field in 1973) and you can see the familiar hills and the PG&E substation which is still in the same location. It's funny to know that your home is like an 1/8 of a mile from there!

See the PG&E substation on the left? Our house will be 1/8 mile to the left someday!
What else is Petaluma known for? How about The World's Ugliest Dog Contest? Every year in June at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair a new victor is crowned. This event has gotten to be a big deal over the last few years. This is same fair where I won Best of Show for my crocheted afghan in the 1990s. It's also held right next to the library so I avoid it for the 5 days of the fair because there's never any parking!

One hidden treasure in Petaluma is Rancho Obi-Wan, the museum featuring the largest collection of Star Wars-related memorabilia. It is about a three hour tour (heh!) with the man whose collection it is, Steve Sansweet. My brother K2, who hasn't even lived in Petaluma for over 25 years, found out about it and when he visited last year he and I went on the tour. It isn't cheap, about $60 per person, but it is thorough. I can only imagine what the future holds as the newest movies come out.

Petaluma is also the location of Mrs. Grossman's, a large sticker manufacturer. I remember taking the factory tour about 20 years ago with my sister-in-law Jillybean. 

Lagunitas Brewing Company moved to Petaluma around 1994. It has apparently grown in recent years. They are currently building a huge new parking lot near their taproom because people have been parking across a very busy street and then jaywalking their way to Lagunitas. And by busy I mean BUSY: it's a four lane main artery on the Eastside of town. Nothing like beered-up people trying to dodge traffic after their dinner at the brewery! Scary for us drivers.

Come visit us! Snoopy did!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Scrapbooking Like a Bookkeeper

I truly enjoy the creative side of making scrapbooks even though I have moved to a much simpler style over the years. I especially love to write the stories to accompany the photos.

I enjoy the practicality of it too: getting photographs into albums along with the stories.

But unlike many scrapbookers I cannot begin anything without completely planning it out. I even have a SPREADSHEET. See? Bookkeeper Girl strikes again!

I have never seen anyone use this type of system but I cannot scrap without it. Each box is two pages and my scrapbooks are generally between 15 and 40 sheets, meaning 30 to 80 individual pages.

I list the events or topics and count up how many pictures each group has. Then I list the extras: tickets, brochures, and so forth. Then I take a pencil and start filling in the template:

The big "X" indicates the inside cover. An "X" at the end will indicate the last page too.

Here's a closer look:

I know where each group of photos will go and where each piece of memorabilia will go too, so nothing gets forgotten. When each page is complete I put a little check mark in the boxes.

I definitely make changes and edits as I go, which is why I use pencil. That's where CREATIVITY comes into play! But with this system I have a pretty good idea how the project is going to go and if I need to put a project aside for a while then I know exactly where to pick up.

One other thing that helps is using the computer to write, edit and print the journaling. I usually put the photos, title and other page decorations on the actual page and then measure the space available for the stories. Then I use MS Word to create a bunch of text blocks, fitting them so they fill the entire sheet of paper. Then I print out a batch, cut them out and stick them on the correct pages. I have a Post-It Note system for that part!

A lot of scrappers hate their handwriting and don't write much in their scrapbooks because of it. I like my writing just fine and my block printing is even better. The trouble is trying to make manual writing fit into the required space, otherwise it ends up too long or too short. You are basically regulating the font size as you write and that ain't easy! Or the dreaded problem of reaching the end of a line and the word you need to write is too long and will slop off the journaling square and you need to start over. Who knew scrapbooking could be so angst-y?!

(Spellcheck is telling me that "scrapbooking", "scrapbooker" and "journaling" are not words but they are used all the time in the scrapbook world. Stop it, Spellcheck!)

I found that if I put the project away for a while I forget where everything goes! So each square has the measurements of the text box and where it goes. I also made notes so I could keep track of each little rat. We could certainly tell them apart in real life but it's less easy in a photograph sometimes!



I am currently working on a digital scrapbook using an app on my iPad called Project Life. It's very easy to use and ideal for this particular project because then I can print multiple copies if necessary (at least one for us and one for my in-laws). This project features the Disneyland trip we took with CPA Boy's whole family in 2009. (As you can see, I'm right on top of things!)

It turns out that most of us were TERRIBLE photographers --- but most of us did not yet have smart phones which helped cut down on the number of photos --- so I went through and weeded out the blurry shots, the pictures of Disneyland scenery that include strangers, and so forth.

That means over 800 pictures went down to 350. Still way too many but I have made an index print with tiny photos that I can now use to fill in my grid and in the process cut down the number of photos even more. In some cases you had several cameras taking pictures of the same things! I need to pick the best one or two shots.

So that's a peek into my scrapbooking process. Just how a bookkeeper would do it!

This has been another installment of GETTING THINGS DONE™!

GETTING THINGS DONE™ includes finishing up all the scrapbook projects in 2016!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Back by Popular Demand!

Okay, maybe not "demand" but I have been requested by my brother Everest and by hubby CPA Boy to "stop posting about books and get back to posting on your regular blog". (Not a direct quote but close enough.) So here I am!

Last week I was sick for several days and then I suddenly got better. I suspect I had the flu but since I get the flu shot every year now I think it kicked in and cured me almost instantaneously. And now I have tons of energy which is odd because I am one of the world's laziest creatures. I am taking advantage of this energy, which also seems to making me wake up earlier in the morning. (Maybe I'm still sick? Doesn't TB make you peppy before you die?)

Right now I am doing laundry. I already changed the sheets. I put away the pieces to the new vacuum cleaner system. I read a chapter of my book. And now I'm blogging. Wheeee! And it's only 11 a.m. as I'm writing this! Energy is fun! (It won't last. Laziness is my natural state.)

I'm still on my never-ending quest to GET THINGS DONE™. I have been cleaning out my office, going through boxes. I have cleared out several, hooray!

For example, I have bound copies of my high school newspapers for 10th, 11th and 12th grades. I also have a box with loose, multiple copies for 11th grade when I was a writer on the newspaper staff. My plan is to go through and cut out my articles and scan them. Then I can toss the papers.

I'm still ambivalent about the bound copies because they are yellowing and will ultimately deteriorate. Like many things, you keep them because, well, I don't know. I guess they are tangible proof that I attended high school? I graduated high school on 1980 and have not read a single thing from any of these newspapers and yet throwing them out seems so wrong. And yet, do they add anything to my life? Not really. I think I am talking myself into dumping them!

But this is why it takes some time and effort to deal with this stuff. Do I keep? Do I toss? 

Other things to GET DONE™:
  • Put the foreign coin collection into sleeves and pocket pages. They were organized YEARS ago and then I put them in a closet and ignored them. Time to get them into the binder for display.
  • Put the doubloon collection into sleeves and pocket pages. I grew up in New Orleans and its suburbs, attending many Mardi Gras parades in my youth. It would be great to have these in their display binder too.
  • Get the family history typed up so we can edit it and create a book.
  • Finish a handful of scrapbooks. 
    • One example: CPA Boy and I are getting nearer to our 25th wedding anniversary (this September) and the wedding scrapbook is not done.
    • If I don't finish with the scrapbooks this year I need to face facts: they will NEVER get done. I am on a mission this year! Complete the scrapbooks and MOVE ON.
    • I finished a scrapbook in January and it felt so good!
  • Make a list of and box up the stuff headed for Goodwill. CPA Boy needs an itemized list for tax purposes. It used to be so easy years ago: box it up and drive it away. Now you have to handle every item one more time. This leads to thoughts like "maybe I should keep this after all" and that way leads to hell.
  • Learn to use the new vacuum system tools properly. The house has a central vac which means you have a unit about the size of R2-D2 in the garage and then you plug the hose and tools into the vacuum outlets around the house rather than hefting a heavy vacuum cleaner around. 
    • We just got the old one replaced. I refused to use this thing because all the tools were FILTHY. "Do you have a dog?" asked the installer. No. "It (the old unit) smells like dog." FILTHY I tell you.
  • I was organizing my box of computer CDs and some were tossed (my old digital camera has a CD: I have the CD but not the camera) and some were mysteriously and unhelpfully labelled: "2006". Yessiree, that tells me all I need to know. You can't toss things if you don't know if they are mysterious.
  • Various house projects like: buy new toilets and have toilets installed.
  • Oh-so-many more things. 
There are many reasons blogging gets short shrift!