reddish-orange orange?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Do Jewish Girls Camp? Not This One! - reddish-orange

It was the longest night of our lives when my family tried to survive our first sleepover camping trip inside a tent and in the middle of the woods. Even my eyeballs were cold, if that's possible, and we all were tired, dirty, grumpy, and miserable as we lay on top of a deflated air mattress that covered the rocky dirt like a cheap tablecloth. I guess it was about 5 a.m. because the birds started to chirp, and the sun was still half-asleep when I realized that my family was not cut out for camping after all.
My realization was confirmed when my daughter Sari told me that she felt sick and started to cough. Instinctively, I grabbed the nearest plastic grocery bag and held it in front of her. Only then did I realize how many s'mores she actually devoured the night before.
Sari's sickness was my breaking point. I sermonized to anyone who would listen that the Jews had suffered long enough in history, and so had my family on this nightmare campout. No Boy Scout badge was worth this torture, and I was determined to escape from our nylon jail in the jungle as soon as possible.
We frantically unzipped our tent and raced to our parked van that awaited us at the top of the hill like a five-star hotel. The morning dew made the ground slippery, and I tripped over a hard-as-a-rock potato that refused to cook at last night's dinner. I watched the leftover potato roll away like a forgotten casualty in a war zone.
When we finally reached the parking lot, my kids lunged into the van and clung to their comfortable upholstered spots. Immediately, my husband, Scott, cranked on the heater full blast. I was so embarrassed that someone would hear the motor run, but I didn't care.
I stretched my stockinged feet on the dashboard and grabbed my journal. I wanted to document the details of our disastrous camping trip right away because I knew I had enough material to publish a story. I jotted notes about the gorgeous reddish-orange ball that I watched from the dirty windshield rise above the pine trees. I fantasized about the nearest Starbucks, while Scott clenched his teeth and gripped the steering wheel. Sari sat frozen in the backseat and stared straight ahead. Jack found his Game Boy in the glove compartment and was in another world.
If Scott had his way, we would have hit the road by now. Somehow I persuaded him to stick it out, at least until after the pancake and sausage breakfast. Our eyes were glued to the mounds of nylon cocoons scattered throughout the campground like a weird alien invasion. We waited for signs of life. Nothing. I was afraid that everyone was frozen dead.
Finally, a burly Eagle Scout with a serious five-o'clock shadow crawled out of his tent and stretched his arms into the overcast sky. We turned off the engine and scrunched in our seats as we watched the den leader rub his arms and try to shake off the cold.
I felt like a voyeur as we hid in our vehicle and observed in amazement how the brave man gathered logs and twigs to build a fire. He poked the wood around and somehow made smoke signals. We waited until the fire was nice and hot before we stepped out of the van with our heads hung low. I felt kind of guilty as we eventually warmed our bodies around his roaring fire without having done any of the work ourselves. Then again, my pride was long gone since I desperately borrowed Sari's portable potty chair in the middle of the night.
Another campfire began to crackle, only this time someone brewed a bit of heaven in a blue-speckled coffeepot. I debated how morally permissible it was to hop from one campsite to the next.
Finally, the morning sun began to thaw our bones. We peeled off our hooded sweatshirts and relaxed a bit, while the kids played hide-and-seek in the forest. I actually began to enjoy myself for the first time, but Scott couldn't wait to go home. He was the last parent to put up his tent and the first one to take it down. I thought about what I learned from my first camping experience — besides never put aerosol cheese in a cooler. I guess if I learned one thing, it would be to never pass up an opportunity to bond with my family in the great outdoors, as long as I have a comfortable bed to come home to.


Year of the Dogs - Reddish-orange

Memorial Day weekend brought a new tradition to Lodi — the christening of nine murals throughout the downtown area.A group of about 100 people — called Walldogs — who like to paint and travel started painting on assorted walls in downtown Lodi on Friday. Most of them were finished by the end of Monday.

Walldogs come from all over the United States and Canada. They travel to communities like Lodi that want their towns decorated with murals that fit the community's culture.The idea to sprout up murals in downtown Lodi came from Tony Segale, owner of a fine art and gold leaf sign company in Lodi. Segale became a Walldog in 2000, when he painted in Iowa. He had planned the Lodi project for three years.Earlier this year, Segale sent the Walldogs information about Lodi's history, landmarks and what makes the community unique. From that information, project coordinators for each of the nine murals had to develop a conceptual drawing for the Lodi project."Lodi has been wonderful in its support for the arts," said Antioch resident Eleanor O'Donnell. "It is unusual to see so much for the arts in a community of this size."O'Donnell said that Antioch and nearby cities like Walnut Creek and Concord don't devote nearly as much to the arts as Lodi does.One of the most elaborate murals combines Hutchins Street Square with the Murals of Pompei. The mural, at the southwest corner of Pine and Church streets, is dominated by reddish-orange paint that represents the 1974 arson fire that destroyed the former Lodi High School campus on the site now known as Hutchins Street Square.The mural includes references to the theater and recreation opportunities at Hutchins Street Square, with the Murals of Pompei thrown in.Other murals range from a 32-foot-long mural at Vine and Branches Christian Bookstore on Oak Street to a 100-footer spanning two walls of the parking garage at Sacramento and Pine streets."Everyone here is so gifted to do what they're doing," said Lodi resident Betty Del Castillo, who became a Walldog over the weekend, when the Walldogs came to Lodi and plastered nine murals from Church to Sacramento streets, from Elm Street to Lodi Avenue.
A familiar face in the gods and goddess' of the Hutchins Street Square mural is Tony Segale who was instrumental in getting the Wall Dogs to be a part of Lodi's centennial celebrations. (Jennifer M. Howell/News-Sentinel)
"The best kind of people are artists, painters," Del Castillo said. "They do it with passion."While Del Castillo and Lodi's Viki Leonard are trying their hands at being a Walldog for the first time, others have been doing it for years. Robin Wallenfang, project leader for the Hutchins Street Square mural at Church and Pine streets, has been a Walldog since 1997 in Belvidere, Ill. She has since worked on Walldog projects in Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Idaho and eastern Canada before coming to Lodi.Wallenfang and Janis Masters said that being a Walldog is not only fun, but it creates lasting friendships as they see each other throughout the nation."We get to meet people we never would have met," said Masters, who came with her husband, Bill, to Lodi for the weekend from Scranton, Pa.The Masters helped paint a circa-1950s Wheaties box, commemorating Lodi's General Mills plant. At the bottom of the Wheaties box is a painting of a Walldog reading the News-Sentinel during a break. That mural is on Elm Street between School and Sacramento streets.Janis Masters became interested in painting through her father, who was a billboard painter for 45 years. Her husband, Bill, has painted billboards for 30 years, but he now owns a sign shop."We shut down the business for two weeks" for the Lodi trip, Bill Masters said.Lodi Mayor Susan Hitchcock, making the rounds Monday, told Wallenfang how much she appreciated her group's work on the Hutchins Street Square mural.Hitchcock, along with other City Council and city employees, helped out on some of the paintings, said she especially enjoyed the murals because she took four years of art in high school and majored in art for her first two years in college."Our community needed this," Hitchcock said. "With our budget issues, we needed to this to celebrate our 100th birthday.Hitchcock noted her work on the expansive Zinfandel Queen mural at Lodi Avenue and School Street."If you look at the guy on the right, that's mine," she said, her face beaming with delight.Hitchcock and her husband, Jerry Glenn, housed Walldog artist Gary Anderson from Indiana during the weekend. Other City Council members and employees had Walldogs stay overnight at their homes.Hitchcock said she is delighted about how the murals continue the revitalization of downtown Lodi."I just want to know when they are coming back," she said.Donna Rich and Marie Rodriguez were among the many Lodi-area residents who walked all over downtown, admired each mural and chatted it up with the Walldogs. By Monday, all the Walldogs seemed to know them.Rodriguez was amused that the Walnut Street sign in front of the post office was repainted "Walldog Street."Leonard, a Lodi resident who made her first Walldog effort over the weekend, used just two words to describe her enjoyment of the project."I'm hooked," she said.Leonard said she plans to travel once or twice to other Walldog projects.One of the murals that received the most raves on Monday was the parking garage across the street from Lodi Station at Pine and Sacramento streets.The elaborate painting depicts the old Central California Traction streetcar line that linked Lodi with Stockton and Sacramento in the early days of the 20th century. Around the corner, facing the tracks, three women are depicted.Project manager Mark Oatis of Denver said the women signify the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Western Pacific railroads, which purchased the Central California Traction line in 1927.In addition to watching the murals being painted, the community enjoyed Saturday night's "Wine and Art Stroll" on School Street, which included wine tasting from 31 local wineries and an auction of the original Walldog paintings that were used to paint the murals.