Sunday, April 27, 2008

Iris Gardens

My sisters and I went to Catheys Valley yesterday to tour the Superstition Iris Gardens. We had planned this a couple of weeks ago and then the very day we were going, the Merced Sun-Star had a nice big article about them. One co-owner is a Master Judge for the AIS and has introduced many Irises of his own. The article included lots of good information about growing Irises, such as don't plant them too deep or they won't bloom. They like full sun, but can handle as little as one-half day of sunshine. They hate to have their feet wet, treat them more like cactus than a house plant, planting in well-drained soil, on a slope or in raised beds.
I had a short list with me of named Irises I used to have, but with 60,000 named varities world-wide, it's no wonder I didn't find those particular ones. We walked up one row and down another, trying to decide which ones to order. So many to choose from. . . it got confusing, so I decided to come home and look at their 1,250 Iris photos online to make up my mind.
To see their online photos, go to:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Merced Postcards

I have a collection of old Merced postcards. One of my favorites is this old scene on Canal Street.

Most of my postcards were purchased through eBay. Some of the auctions were quite exciting, since usually good Merced cards were few and far between and the bidding competition was cut-throat at times. Several times I got so upset because in the final seconds, someone would out-bid me.
A few years ago, while watching my bidding, we were having a new TV delivered. The man setting it up was talking with my husband and I was getting excited about the old postcard of the Merced Jail. I was winning and was counting down the seconds, hoping my competition wouldn't come in at the last minute and outbid me. Well, I was shocked to learn that my competition was in my living room installing our TV. I right away told him I wasn't going to let him on the Internet!!
Well, I wasn't too mean, later I made a CD for him of the Merced postcards that I had.
To see more of my postcards on flickr, click here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reflexology vs Romberg's Syndrome

My sister and I had appointments in Turlock yesterday with Miguel Gallegos, a Certified Reflexologist. We go about once every five weeks.
This picture of Miguel working on my foot was taken by Marci Stenberg and appeared in the Merced Sun-Star on January 4, 2005, along with an article written by Krista Bjorn.
I started going to Miguel for treatments in November of 2004; first because my knee was so swollen with arthritis that I could barely walk. I even quit going to the Mall. Someone told my husband about Gallegos and thought I should really give it a try.
With the very first treatment, the swelling went down almost an inch in each knee and I was again able to shop at the Mall.
On my second visit, I asked Miguel if he could do something about the loss of fatty tissue in my face. I was just kidding him, as I really expected him to say no.
It was in the early 1980s that I began having double vision. My local ophthalmologist noticed that my right eye had sunk in. I was prescribed glasses with a plus 3 prism in each lens to make my eyes focus together.
I went to the Stanford Eye Clinic to find out what caused my eye to sink in. I was really quite concerned about it and wondered what was going on in my head. I was invited to participate in the "Grand Rounds" where 14 doctors at Stanford examined my eye and head; one doctor said I had a funny shaped head, another said I looked like someone hit me over my right eye with a machete. Then the doctors had a meeting to discuss my case. They determined that I had Perry Romberg's Syndrome and that a nerve on the right side of my head had died that was supplying blood and nutrients to the affected area. So, that was why the decrease of fatty tissue above and behind my right eye, causing it to sink in.
I was told there was no cure for it, but it was not life-threatening. The doctors said they could reposition my eye (it was up too high and slightly turned) and inject silicon to make my face symmetrical again. I seriously considered having that done, but it was a bit scary. So, I continued getting stronger and stronger prisms until in 1997 I needed a plus 5 prism in each lens, which made it a plus ten. My (negative) progress was monitored at Stanford for several years, taking pictures of my face at different angles to document the changes. I was shocked at how bad I looked at these different angles and hoped I would be able to retire from work before I looked too grotesque.
Soon I started having problems with my right jaw locking. My dentist thought I had TMJ and sent me to UCSF. After an MRI of my head, the doctors said it was not TMJ, but that the right side of my face had shrunk, my muscles were shortened and that's why my jaw locked. Many times my jaw would close so hard and quickly that I would bite my tongue or the inside of my mouth. It was so painful and frustrating. Sometimes it would cause bleeding. A few times I could barely open my mouth wide enough to take a bite of a thin sandwich. My right temple protruded and was always sore. I was told to relax and was given blue dots to stick everywhere at home and work to remind me to do that.
By my fifth visit in February of 2005 to Mr. Gallagos, the Certified Reflexologist, I began seeing double with my glasses on. My ophthalmologist was surprised that my glasses were now twice as strong as I needed. He cut the prisms in half, to 2 1/2 in each lens. Six months later, after 6 more treatments, my prisms were cut in half again. A year later, I was able to wear glasses without prisms for the first time in more than 25 years.
Not all, but most of the fatty tissue has been restored, my eye lashes and right eyebrow have grown back, my jaw doesn't lock and my right temple is no longer sore. My eye is still sunk in, but not as bad as before. On the right is a recent picture, showing how my eyes look today, not nearly as bad as they used to, but I still don't like having my picture taken.
I don't know if it can go back to being completely normal. Maybe this is as good as it gets. Remember I've had this condition for more than 20 years. But I really believe it is still improving, just not as quickly or dramatic as it did at first. Each time I have a treatment, I can feel the twinges in my head while Miguel is working on my feet. My face gets warm while the blood circulation is improving. I always feel good after a treatment.
To me, all this is nothing short of a miracle. After years of fighting with the prisms, bobbing my head around while reading, so as not to see double! If my eyes were tired, it was even more difficult to focus. I was afraid to drive to Fresno (60 miles away) because my eyes would get tired and then hard to focus on the traffic and the traffic signs. Also the job I retired from required a lot of reading,and that made the job much more difficult. It is such a relief to be without the prisms. I have driven to Pasadena and back in one day. A 4 1/2 hour drive one way. I would never have considered it before.
I believe this big improvement was because Mr. Gallegos was able to restore the blood circulation throughout my body. He works on the feet, he never touched my knee. He has on occasion worked on my elbow (for my knee), the tips of my fingers and a few times on my ears. Like my sister says, she likes going to Miguel because she only has to take her shoes off!
While waiting for my treatment in Miguel's office, I hear many stories from other patients of how he has helped others; a woman whose finger would not straighten out and her MD wanted to operate, had it corrected by reflexology. Another one was cured of her Migraine headaches, a two year old who couldn't walk, had been to the Children's Hospital near Fresno where doctors told her mother she would eventually be in a wheelchair, was walking after one session with Miguel. She had a total of three treatments.
There are many other stories, too many to relate here. Miguel will be the first one to tell you to see your medical doctor. He does not promise to cure people, but is there to help those who need it.
When I told him about my eye, his first question was, have you been to your doctor? The answer of course was yes and when I said I'd had this for over 20 years, he just shook his head and went to work on my feet.
To learn more about reflexology click on this link.
Click here for interactive charts.
I have several books on reflexology, but am not trained to give myself treatments, I rely on the professionals, i.e. Miguel Gallegos.
(I didn't tell him I was going to post this.)

I just found where Kevin Kunz mentioned this post on his blog. He has written about 10 books on Reflexology along with his wife, Barbara Kunz. The interactive charts are from their website. I love those. I have a couple of his books. Here is his blog address: To read what he says about my post, click here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Horse Shows Etc.

Laura took her horse Justin to his first Horse Show in Durham in Northern Calif. last Sunday. According to my son-in-law, both were nervous, but both did very well.
Laura's been going to the Horse Shows for several years, riding her instructor's horses and she has always done very well, with many ribbons and other prizes to prove it. Her horse, Justin, is young, so that's why it was his very first show.
My daughter says Justin loves Laura and wants to please her.
I've been waiting for Mandy to link this story on her blog: It's a very neat article about her cheese making expertise in a Sacramento magazine. Finally decided to post it myself. btw, here is Mandy's blog. I love reading it.
My grandson, Tom is busy with his Ag projects from school and helping on the dairy. All great kids!!
From a Proud Grandma

Monday, April 14, 2008

Winton Historical Society

The Winton Historical Society had a display in the Park at the Winton Spring Festival, Saturday, April 12. There was a parade downtown at 11:00 a.m.
Pony rides and a carnival was the big attraction in the Winton Park. Food was available at several booths.
Andrea and Helen were there early to set up the display; Carolyn and Lorraine had the next shift with Rosalie and Ida Mae the last shift and closing up.
Besides the "Before & After" pictures on poster board, we had the "Hometown Recipes" cookbook published by the Winton Historical Society and the "Memories of Winton 1911-1950" history book by Rosalie and Lorraine for sale. Our quarterly newsletter was given out to interested parties.
The Winton Historical Society meets the first Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Community Law Enforcement Office (CLEO)on Winton Way. Across the parking lot from Pizza + Fun.
Interested in the history of Winton, but can't attend the meetings? Annual dues are only $10.00 per year for an individual or $15.00 for a couple at the same address. Membership includes a quarterly newsletter with information and stories on Winton's past, Winton's Old Timers, family stories and local topics of interest. Mailing address for the Winton Historical Society is: PO Box 554, Winton, CA 95388.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Maggie came to live with me last July. I got her from the Merced County Animal Shelter. I was looking for a Tabby cat and she kind of chose me, because when I put my hand in her cage, she licked my hand. I decided I couldn't leave her behind because who knows what fate was in store for this lovable cat? When we got home, Maggie showed me how grateful she was by jumping in my lap and then leaping up to my face and giving me a hug. She kept doing this over and over. I thought she was going to break my nose a couple of times.
Maggie was kind of on the skinny side, but now is a whopping 11 lbs. I've had bigger cats (Taffy Girl was 14 lbs.) but Maggie is just the right size.
She is very possessive and doesn't want to share me. I tried to adopt another cat, but Maggie would not accept him. She doesn't like other cats, only people. Maggie loves to play, I bought her a lot of cat toys and we had lots of fun with them at first, but I guess she tired of them. Now her favorite toy is the small plastic ring that I twist off the milk container. She plays hockey with it and has invented many games. And it's Free!
To learn how to adopt a pet from the Merced County Animal Control center, see their website at:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Johnny's Story

My sisters and I went through our brother, John's stuff today. We found this typed story that John sent in to Reader's Digest. It wasn't published, so here it is. I wanted to share his story with you.

Editor, Life In These United States

The following is my true story entry;

Taking time off my trucking job last August, I joined my old camping buddys for a reunion in remote Sierra Nevada country. Having a lifelong obsession for guns, I acquired an expensive outfit from the best silversmith and leathercraftsman in Hollywood, California.
An equally impressive Colt .45 is carried in this holster. Needless to say, I think of myself as a fourth generation "HICKOK" wearing this outfit.
We finally reached camp, tired and sore.
Two days later, our moods begin to change. We forgot some bait down at base camp, and fishing was lousy.
Our packer slipped on a log and disappeared - gun and all, under icewater. While my shivering friend practically stood over the fire, I cleaned his gun. We all had a few drinks and wondered what was next.
Someone suggested we film ourselves drawing against each other with empty guns. A movie camera was used, and things went fine until we shot ammo at a mountainside. With film rolling, the pressure was on to be fastest. However, lack of practice proved to be my undoing.
With gun leveled, and smoke around my leg, I felt a sting turn into a burning ache. Tearing the holster's opened end, the bullet grazed my leg, imbedding itself in the bottom of my foot.
Two men took the rough six hour ride out while I lay in camp, cursing my luck.
At dawn, the noise and wind bolted a jackass as the rescue 'copter settled on the meadow near camp. With the whole scene being filmed, as I was carried to the 'copter, an imbibing camerman slyly remarked: "Look at it this way, you're riding out of here in style, your vacation is extended and you've got an extra reason for your C.B. handle!"
My trucking handle hereafter will remain - "LEADFOOT".
John Giesbrecht - Winton, California
(An article of this accident was in The Modesto Bee August 7, 1980.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Iris Plants

This is "Anything Goes" an Iris plant purchased last summer from Nicholson's Iris Gardens in Modesto. They have a webpage at I'm anxious to see the other "new" Iris flowers. Spring is always an exciting time for me, especially when I have new flowers to enjoy. I have added this photo to my "Iris Flowers" set at flickr. Other new ones to be posted at flickr as soon as the flowers open. One of my favorites from prior years is "Royal Crusader." "Twist of Fate" is another and "Centre Court." I have a lot of favorites! I really miss the "Enchanted April Iris Gardens" that used to be in Merced. He had beautiful Irises and so close to home. Now I think the closest is Modesto or Cathey's Valley. Well, I just looked it up, Superstition Iris Gardens in Cathey's Valley is closer, less than 24 miles from home. They are located at 2536 Old Hwy, 2.5 miles off of 140 Hwy. Here is their website.