Tag Archives: California

Home Sick

Home Sick

You can say that I’m home sick.  Or is that, home, sick?  Let’s just say were’ home, and I’m feeling sick.  I don’t know if it was the stuffiness of the plane from Sacramento to JFK, having to sit that long, or the fact it was sleep time and it’s hard to sleep on a plane.

I started feeling sick when we transferred planes at JFK.  From that point on, I was out for the count.  We got home, I showered and went to bed.

Family Nice – California, Not So

It was nice seeing family, but I could do without California.  California is a beautiful state, but the over crowding in the cities really got to me.  When people live in crowded cities they become uncivilized.

I will take our harsh winters (which really aren’t that harsh compared to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and other western mountain states) over California’s hot summers and overcrowding.

Sacramento which was once a nice, quiet place, is now a sprawling city with a small agricultural gap between it and the mega city they call “The Bay Area”.

Nice to Be Home

It’s nice to be home.  Even the smell of my own bed is nice.

Anxious to Get Home

Anxious to Get Home

I’m anxious to get home.  It is nice seeing friends and family, but I really dislike California.  I didn’t realize how much I disliked it until this visit.

There are just enough crazy people on the freeway that it becomes scary.  I saw two cars playing cat-n-mouse and endangering everyone in their path.  I saw a LOT of very aggressive drivers, and others who are simply rude.

Just the traffic situation makes me glad I live where I live.

Spending the Day

We returned the rental car this morning.  Enterprise gave A-1 service.

After returning the car, we borrowed the van (I figured it wouldn’t overheat going to and from the NutTree).  We picked up our See’s Candy to take home, and had lunch at Rubio’s (a Mexican taco place you won’t find in NY.)

We planned to take Elizabethe’s mom to dinner, but just before we were ready to leave, Jeff and Brenda came and invited to take us to dinner.  We ate a nice dinner (ice cream) at Fenton’s.  This is my last chance to have Fenton’s Swiss Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Fenton’s Caramel Sauce.

To the Airport

After dinner, Marilyn took us to the Sacramento Airport.  We’re on our way home.



Getting up at four takes its toll.  In order to get Marilyn to the airport for her flight we had to get up at 4pm.   It really wasn’t hard, but I woke at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep.  It took its toll around 4 p.m. this afternoon.

We got her to the airport on time, and on the way home looked for a place to grab breakfast.  What is it with Rochester that nothing is open before 6 a.m.?  In California that would never fly.  Here… even fast food places a Californian would find open 24 hours a day are closed here — even Dunkin Donuts was closed!!!

We finally found a McDonald’s open, but by that time it was 6 a.m.  I’m guessing they just opened.


I’m speaking at the Tri County Networkers on Thursday.  I’ve decided to speak about digital painting and how that fits in to my business model.

copyright 2016 db walton - four

Painting of Marilyn Steers

I have a bit more work to do on it, but I was in a rush because we have our temple shift tonight.  (Elizabethe and I do volunteer work at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New York Palmyra Temple.)  I might do some more work on it tomorrow, but for now, this is where it stands.


I’m thinking the Hill Cumorah Pageant letters haven’t gone out yet.  Normally by this time of year our phone is ringing off the wall.

If you are NOT participating in Pageant (i.e. you are not waiting for a letter), get your reservations in quickly.  Once those letters go out rooms will disappear.  (There are very few places to stay in Palmyra.  Rooms go quickly.)

And, for Pete’s sake, stay here a few days.  There’s plenty to do in the area, and we’d love having you stay in Palmyra.





When it rains, it pours.  Business is pouring today.  The sun is out outside, but inside, I have a lot of business to catch up with.

When I started my own business, I was in the hopes that things would be a steady drone.  Of course they aren’t.  Some days the phone never rings, other days you get calls upon calls.

It was good we have the temple tonight because that forces me to stop when I’m doing and take a break.  Otherwise I might be working until 10pm tonight.

Temple Shift

During our temple shift I had a pleasant surprise.  The Sudweeks from Brentwood, California, came to a sealing session.  The last time I saw Larry Sudweeks was at the Oakland Temple at the clothing counter.  That was about eight years ago.  It turns out they just completed a 20 month mission in Nauvoo!

We talked about their mission, what their children are doing, etc.  Larry told me about his mission and working with the Facilities Management Group in Nauvoo and some of the projects he worked on.  It was a fun visit.

I came home and sent a message to their daughter that I had ran in to her parents at the Palmyra Temple.  It’s sure a small world.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Back in 1974 a good friend and I were working in the restaurant industry.  Taco Bell was a huge success in California, and I thought it would be great if we could bring Taco Bell to eastern United States.  I mentioned this to my friend who was from Wilkes Barre, PA, and he said, “They wouldn’t even know how to eat a taco.”  (Implying it was a bad idea.)

The closest Taco Bell to our house was about 10 miles away near the intersection of Auburn and Madison in North Sacramento.  My dad who had come to California before we moved there from Idaho, raved about this place where you could get anything on the menu for 19 cents and drinks for 25 cents.  The menu was simple:

  • Taco
  • Burrito (with hot (red) or mild (green) sauce)
  • Tostada
  • Frejolies
  • Bell Burger (a bun with taco meat on it)

That was it.  $1 would get you change and 3 tacos and a drink.  You could feed a family of four for under $5.  That was 1968.

So, by the time 1974 rolled around, this 18 year old was thinking about what to do with his future and I thought it would be great to save up some money with my buddy and buy a franchise or two in Pennsylvania, New York or somewhere in the northeastern USA.  But, my friend didn’t think it would take off.

Now I live in that area and Taco Bells are few and far apart.  The nearest ones to us are 12 miles away.  There are probably 6 McDonald’s for every Taco Bell in the area.  While I’ve been to a packed McDonald’s, there is seldom a line at Taco Bell.

This afternoon Elizabethe had an appointment down in Canandaigua and I went with her.  After her appointment, since we were close to a Taco Bell, we stopped there for dinner.

There were as many employees as there were people eating there.  I ordered a crunchy taco and some nachos.  The crunchy tacos haven’t changed much since the time when they cost 19 cents.  Now they are a $1 more.  The menu has expanded greatly.  You can get a crunchy taco, a crunchy taco supreme, a crunchy taco with steak or chicken, a soft taco, and so on.  It is ADHD overload just looking at the menu.

I’m not sure how well Taco Bell franchises are doing in this area, but I will say the food at Taco Bell is better than most so-called Mexican Restaurants I’ve tried here.  (There is a good one up in Sodus that serves authentic Mexican food, but many of the others… not so good.)

I’m actually glad I didn’t go in to the restaurant business, but it is fun to reminisce about the days when I wanted to bring Taco Bell to the Northeastern United States.

Big America

In the meantime, I’m lobbying

to bring the Big America Burger to USA McDonalds.  200 grams of ground top sirloin on a sesame seed bun.  It’s a two-fisted burger that makes the Burger King Whopper look small.  Yeah… so it cost $13-17 (US) for a Big America, fries and a drink.  It beats any fast-food burger we serve here.

copyright 2015 db walton

Eating a Big America Burger at McD’s in Tiberias, Israel


Year’s End

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the year’s end. 2016 will be interesting given the political climate in this country.  I’m ready to close the door on 2015.  Life goes on.

Working Wife

Working Wife

I have a working wife for the next few weeks.  Elizabethe is back at her old job while the person who took her job 3 years ago is out on maternity leave.  It’s funny, because most of the training materials they gave her to bring her up to speed were written by her.

I bet’s she’s glad she documented things well.

That leaves me to fend for myself.  While I enjoy cooking, my busy schedule took me to fast-food places a couple of times today.

So, I walk in to McDonald’s and a toddler greets me with a big smile.  I said, “Hi,” and she proceeded to get shy.  On the way out, her mom asked if she was going to tell me, “Goodbye”.  Again, she got shy real quickly.

I stood there and we had a great conversation about family and the area.  I explained that what we were doing wouldn’t have happened in California, but it happens all of the time here in New York.  People, in general, are more friendly here.

Driving through Macedon I saw today is their dissolution election day.  While I think people are going to be in for a huge surprise a few years down the road, I’m glad I don’t live there, and I hope we don’t have that sort of in-fighting take place here in Palmyra.  My prediction:  Taxes for most homes in Macedon will go up in about 3-5 years and the people outside the former village will have regrets for having made this move.  The people inside the village will enjoy their lower taxes.

This evening I address a group of people who call themselves the RPEG – Rochester Photo Editing Group.  It was a delightful group – largely older, retired folks, who love learning about Photoshop and other digital photo manipulation techniques.  (I really dislike calling retouching or manipulation “editing”… but you knew that if you’ve been reading my blogs.)  Aside from the name, it was fun.


A Windy Day

In Pittsburg, California, the wind used to hit our 2-story house and it sounded like a car running in to the side of the house.  “BOOM”, when it would hit, and then you’d hear the sound as it would rush by.

Today I experienced that here for the first time.  I was in my studio, and suddenly, “BOOM”, and then the door, which wasn’t shut all the way, creaked open.

When I went out to run some errands, I noticed one yard being cleared of its leaves by the wind.  I thought that would be cool if all the leaves from my yard made their way to some abandoned field.


Time to editorialize…

I noticed the liberals jumping all over the fame of Malala Yousafzai, the young lady from Pakistan who is pushing for the education of women.  Right off the bat, let me state I think this young lady is amazing, brave and intelligent.

The problem is, the politicians in this country who are parading Malala Yousafzai’s accomplishments are the same ones that try to regulate such behavior through law.

It is one thing to pass a law declaring discrimination is illegal, but it is another thing to require quotas – something the Democrats are quite good at.

Any time we try to regulate or force people to behave a certain way, it is going to backfire.  Look at prohibition.  Yeah, avoiding alcohol is always a good idea, but forcing people to that standard, isn’t.

In any event, I find it scary when Nancy Peolosi starts parading Malala Yousafzai around as a poster child for women’s education.

Oh, speaking of discrimination, I recently saw an ad, “Wanted, photographer’s assistant.  Must be a good-looking young woman.”

Really?  With the Equal Opportunity Employment Laws, someone would actually post that in an ad?

Wow, I think even on Craig’s list, they have you check a box that you agree to follow the law and not post any jobs that discriminate.

Of course, I’ve been to these events, fairs and tradeshows where the booze companies have their booth.  They always have a big crowd.  No, they aren’t giving away free booze.  In fact, I’m not sure if they give away anything because I avoid them.  But, they always seem to have scantily clad women and all the guys are trying to get close enough to talk to them.

You never see a size 2x woman in their booth, and you might see one guy standing in the background like a bouncer.  Nobody is attempting to talk to him.

So, I wonder if a 5’8″ man, bald, weighing 250 pounds were to apply for the job of working in their booth if he’d have a snowball’s chance in hell in getting it?

A long time ago, I worked for a company where one of the supervising managers was visibly upset.  After work, I asked him, “Something bothering you?”

He explained he was told he had to lay off one of his designers.  He told human resources the decision was easy.  He gave them the name of the guy and stated, “He’s my lowest producer.”

The H.R. guy came back and told him, he can lay off anyone except that guy.  When he asked why he couldn’t lay him off since it really didn’t do a very good job, he was told he couldn’t because the guy was a minority and that would put his department below quota.

You see, sometimes we turn a blind-eye to discrimination because of what the public wants.  (Case-in-point:  The booze tradeshow booth.)  Other times, we’re told to conform because of laws that are meant to do good, but hurt productivity in the end.  (Case-in-point:  Co-working have to let go a good performer because the bad performer was a minority.)

You can’t legislate good behavior.  Malala Yousafzai’s behavior wasn’t regulated by Pakistani law by any means.  In fact, many see her as a rebel in Pakistan.  And, if you try to legislate that sort of behavior, it only backfires.

I saw this all the time in the corporate world.  A manager would make a rule trying to drive good behavior.  Instead, the workers would find ways around them.  If you tell someone production has to increase by 20% in the next month, they will find a way to fudge the numbers to meet the goal.  If you tell someone the average phone call needs to be under 3 minutes, they will hang up on customers in 2 minutes and 50 seconds.  One of the most common problems with people on time clocks is they get other people to punch them in or out.  The list goes on.

There are a lot of people who don’t drive fast on public roads because they know it is dangerous.  There are a lot of people who don’t smoke because they know it will kill you.  There are a lot of people who treat everyone with respect because they know they too are children of God. They know this stuff because someone taught them correctly.

I like how Joseph Smith, Junior, stated it in an interview with Daniel Webster, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”

Let PARENTS teach their children correctly so they can govern themselves.   Let parents teach their children that education has no color or gender.  Let parents teach their children that ability out ranks privilege.  Let parents teach their children to stand up against coercion no matter what form it takes.  Government can’t teach people to behave correctly, it can only try to control behavior.

The Cheap Date

I wouldn’t call Cici’s Pizza a great restaurant, but it definitely is a cheap date spot. Elizabethe and I went there for lunch. Two all-you-can-eat lunches cost us under $6 (we had a 2-for-1 coupon, and this month it is only $5). At that price, I couldn’t make pizza from scratch at home.

What I do like about Cici’s is how they treat the customers. I’ve been to three different Cici’s: One in North Carolina, one in Dallas, Texas, and the one recently opened in Henrietta, New York. When you walk through the door, the employees yell, “Welcome to Cici’s!” When you are serving yourself from the pizza buffet, you are told, “If you don’t see what you want, let us know and we’ll make it for you.” And, you might have the manager come to your table and ask if everything is to your satisfaction.

I enjoy businesses that teach their employees to be mindful of the customer and show that they care. One of my favorite restaurants back in California is Zio Fredo’s. The owner often makes his way around the tables to check on his customers. That’s good business sense.


Today it is starting to feel like spring, but my lungs are still telling me to take it easy. It was one of those days that I wish I wasn’t so congested so I could grab my camera and go for a walk.

flowers at Beckwith Mansion

Flowers Coming Up at the Beckwith Mansion

We also received a few guests today. A family from Star Valley, Wyoming, is vacationing in Palmyra the right way. They are staying until next Wednesday. None of this rush-the-sites-in-one-day stuff for them. (And, if you ever come to Palmyra, spend some time here. There’s a LOT to do in this area.)

Before they got here, I went to turn the boiler on and it wouldn’t start. The sticker on the outside said, “Electronic Ignition”. So, I looked in the manual, and the electronic ignition picture looked different than what I have. I looked at the picture of the pilot light style ignition, and it looked identical to mine. Sure enough, my pilot light was out and I had to re-light it.

What a pain.

The pilot light couldn’t have been more inconveniently placed. Not only did I have to get down on the cold concrete floor to get to it, I had to remove some screws and a plate in order to light it. There is a tiny access hole where someone could, if you knew exactly where it was, shove a thin splint through the hole to light it, but you would not be able to see if you got it lit or not.

I managed to bleed the gas line and get the pilot light lit. It took three attempts, but it finally stayed on after the third.


I heard a great quote today, “It is better to be a guide on the side than a sage on the stage.” I’m going to have to remember that when teaching. Sometimes, it is easy to be the sage when your time is short, but after hearing this, I think it is more effective to always be a guide on the side. (There are exceptions when a teaching venue doesn’t allow for questions or group participation.)

Sister Gillespie and Sister Jones came to dinner tonight. We had white bean soup with ham, whole wheat muffins (which turned out perfectly), and chocolate/hazelnut mousse for dessert. Sister Jones had never seen the house, so Elizabethe gave her a tour.

My friend, John Kidd, called from California and we had a long talk about cameras, The Friend, and what’s out here in New York. I’m still trying to convince him to come visit.

Homecoming in Pittsburg Ward

We attended Pittsburg Ward today.  It was so nice to see so many old friends.  On young man who has lived there since I was Young Men’s President the first time in that ward was glad to inform me that he had gone to the temple and was now 2nd counselor in the Elder’s Quorum.  For the most part, very few people have moved away in the last 3 years.  The kids all looked bigger, but everyone else looked pretty much the same.

After church we headed to Jason and Tobreth’s place in San Jose.  The girls were happy to see us and, like most little kids, had more to show us than time allowed.