Friday, September 25, 2009

Sports. For anyone who knows me, they know I'm not an expert or even much of a fan. To blog about a sport is a first for me. But I've just hit my limit of tolerance when it comes to the unbecoming behavior of the adults who are associated with the youth football teams in Patterson.


If a team's home field is the Patterson Community Stadium, then that team is a Patterson team. If the team has played on that field one season or for the last twenty, it's a Patterson team.

Parents: Please understand that one sports reporter can only do so much. Please understand that your children are watching you, and learning from you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good stress vs Bad stress

Our little community paper has recently experienced an unusual amount of change. Change can be good, right? It can mean "new and improved", or fresh and exciting, like an adventure. Usually I find that change means all of that in a variety of combinations, coming at me like waves. I either paddle like crazy through the breakers or I get pulled down in the undertoe.

Well the ride was wild, but for now, things have calmed down, and the staff is finding some breathing room.

It was sad to say good-bye to John Saiz. His unique view of the world was appreciated by those of us who knew him on a personal level.

Soon, there will be someone new, with their view of the world and our town. Another reporter who will call Patterson "home". This person will arrive in time (hopefully) to cover the county fair, the new school year and our city's Centennial celebration. Through those assignments, our new reporter will see the best we have to offer. Our spirit of community.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Over-zealous Hunters

Another Fiesta Treasure Hunt is over. It's always bitter sweet. Bitter for those of us who love the hunt. Knowing we have to wait an entire year, for our chance to find the elusive treasure. Sweet for the lucky and skillful folks who perserved, did the research and lost sleep in pursuit of the prize.

For the staff at the Irrigator, it may be sweet to not have to answer multiple phone calls everyday from people wondering, "has the treasure been found?"

Every year we warn hunters against defacing or disturbing property. And every year we hear stories of some infractions, generally small and well tolerated by the property owners.

This year may be the exception. This year, I'm very sorry to hear, some of our hunters went overboard in their quest for the treasure.

It has come to my attention that there has been some damage to mail boxes, sign posts and maybe some areas we haven't been told about.

Please, people. We want to continue this family fun tradition. But we won't be able to if the property owners in town feel violated for four weeks out of the year.

We're going to give it some thought. We hope you do too.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Treasure Hunt equals treasured memories

The annual Fiesta Treasure Hunt! Ahhhh, yes. What great memories......good times.

For years a dear friend, my children and I were avid treasure hunters. From the time the first clue was published in the Irrigator, until the treasure was found, we would go out nearly every night and scour the town.

We even went as far as to wait in front of the Irrigator office, late at night, hoping to be the first to get our hands on the newspaper. It was so freshly printed, the ink would rub off onto our fingers.

We would sit in the car, read the clue and then the lively discussions would ensue. Each of us had theories about what the clue meant. We would dissect the clue, trying to decipher if it was literal or if the clue held double meanings.......

What fun. A great time for family. An opportunity to have the kids learn investigative skills and critical thinking. The chance to learn more about the history of Patterson. They never thought about it that way, and actually, neither did I. We were just having fun.

While out searching, we would meet other folks doing the same. Sometimes, we would discuss our theories. Sometimes, we would guard our notions of what the clues meant. After all, we wouldn't want to give our brilliance away!

Little did I know at that time, that one day I would be working at the Patterson Irrigator, and ultimately responsible for the clues. That dear friend who hunted with me and my kids, for those many years, is now the author of the clues. We are co-conspirators again. Having almost as much fun as when we were hunting........but getting a lot more sleep!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It was so nice of you, whoever you are.......

Kind words of appreciation can change my mood from apathetic to enthusiastic. Every once in a while, I find myself getting weary of the almost daily flow of opinions, complaints and suggestions that I receive from our readers. Isn't it human nature to express a grievance? Yet, when we're pleased with something, how many of us take the time to express our pleasure?

This morning's mail had a letter in it from an anonymous reader, who signed themselves, simply as "The Family from..........." and then added their address.

Enclosed in the letter was a money order for $50.00. Here's an excerpt of the letter:

"Dear Patterson Irrigator:
For many years we have received PI for free. We are sending you ....... to pay for a subscription. .................We understand the hard times that newspapers are facing. We enjoy your publication and have for many years and appreciate your service to our local youth, education and small businesses.
...............electronic media can never replace the actual newspaper.
Keep up the great work!"

WOW. That's like a B-12 shot right in the arm!

For those who do appreciate what we do, everyday, in good times and in bad, we thank you. We also promise to continue to bring you the news that affects you the most, your local news.

Thanks for reading, whether you hold it in your hand or view us online. You're the reason we do what we do.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It really does flow downhill!!

It's one of those sayings I've heard for years......but until today, I had never seen it demonstrated.

The PI potty rooms came to a rather messy standstill on Thursday afternoon. Thanks to our good neighbors around the block, we all were able to continue our routine with occasional visits to our neighboring restrooms.

But we can't depend on them for ever, so I spent the better part of Saturday here, watching and learning about the city's sewer system and the underground world that harbors all the secrets that go down our drains. My kids will tell you, this stuff fascinates me. Here's what I learned:

The PI's drainage seems to be lower than the city's pipes. I'm no engineer, but even I can understand that water and whatever that water carries, needs gravity to flow out and away.

Without volume and velocity, the liquid tends to flow too slowly to fully flush (pardon the pun) the sewage into the main line where it will be carried to it's final destination, the water treatment plant.

So that's when I realized "OH, so that's what they mean when they say '&@it flows downhill'". It's not just about hierarchy, it's a fact of nature.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Fiesta needs You!

What a busy week or two! This town starts buzzing every year about this time, as we all gear up for Fiesta.
Patterson puts on one of the best parties in the state every year. The volunteers who work to be sure everything is ready put in thousands (no exageration) of hours to bring three days and two nights of fun for families, singles, and seniors.
The Fiesta needs our help this year. Last night's city council meeting was a real eye opener for me. This economy has taken a toll on all of us. But non-profits are getting hit the hardest, as people start pulling back their donations.
The Fiesta board is faced with some tough decisions as they plan this year's 39th annual event.
When I heard Rich Greer talk about what choices have to be made as far as cutting back on their expenses..................well it just made me sad.
Can you imagine no fireworks? Or how about no hot air balloons? It just wouldn't be Fiesta without those things, for me at least.

So please, if you love the Fiesta and enjoy any part of it, please consider a donation. If everyone who attends could give $1, or $5, that would amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Are you kiddin' me!

"There's nothing to do in this town!"

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say that..............well, I'd have enough money to buy a new laptop.

All you have to do is read the paper (hint, hint) and you'll find all kinds of stuff to keep your evenings and weekends plenty full. In fact, you may find yourself wishing for a break!

From recreation department sports for all ages, to service clubs offering breakfasts, dinners, dances, casino nights, fish fries and beer fests. You can fill your dance card nearly every weekend.

Gary and I are already scheduled heavily from now until Fiesta! The historical hay ride, the PRT Art & Wine, private get-togethers with friends, and chores that come with any home and family keep us as busy as we want to be.

So please, don't say you can't find entertainment here in Patterson. It's here, lots of it. Just read the posters around town, the banners that hang on the Plaza circle, and ahem, the Patterson Irrigator to be amazed at all this town has to offer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Desperately seeking.......Fiesta photos

This year's special edition of the PI for the Apricot Fiesta will include a pictorial trip down memory lane. In the theme of honoring Patterson's 100 year celebration, we want to look back at the 38 years of past Fiesta fun.

Here's where you come in. If you have any photos from early Fiestas......1970's, please bring them into the PI office. We'll scan them and return them to you and give your photo credit in the Fiesta tab.

The first Fiesta was in 1971. It was the summer before my senior year at PHS . The awesome class of '72 needed to raise some money for our class gift to the school, homecoming parade supplies, etc. So we had a lemonade stand at the Fiesta. It was a scorching, mid-summer day and the lemonade was very popular. We made $300! But no pictures......

Monday, March 23, 2009


Calm down.................I'm not starting any. I'm referring to the Neil Simon play, Rumors. Gary and I inhaled some left-overs Friday night and ran out the door just in time for the curtain. Leaving dirty dishes in the sink is not my MO, but we had no choice if we wanted to walk in before the play began.

So we did arrive on time. But the auditorium had a line of people at the box office desk! Good. We love to see the arts supported. We waited our turn in line and greeted others who came in after us. Chatted briefly with a few folks and then went into the theater and took our seats.

From Tori's opening remarks about cell phones, texting and general etiquette during the performance until the curtain call, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

To all the cast and crew: Great job, well done. The costumes were wonderful, the acting was fresh and the timing was almost flawless.

What a fantastic way to spend a Friday evening. All for only $5.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The French Connection

There is a delightful young man visiting us this week. His name is Mathias and he is from France. He and about a dozen other students are staying with area families for ten days, as part of an educational experience.

This is not our first time as hosts for this type of thing. We have enjoyed two previous French students over the past few years. In fact, we still have contact with one and hope to visit him and his family some day.

On a visit to the grocery store, Mathias wondered if he could purchase a particular type of cookie that is very popular in France. He wondered if I had ever heard of "Chocolate Chunk" cookies. I assured him there were many types of cookies that he could choose from.

When we got to the cookie aisle, his eyes grew wide with the selection. He told me he would like to come back, before he heads for home, to load up his suitcase with packages of Pepperridge Farm Chocolate Chunk cookies. He went on to explain how he and his sister love to put them into the microwave for 20 seconds, and then eat them warm with a glass of milk.

I was stunned. Aren't French pastries famous? You'd think a kid who grew up in Paris would turn his nose up at a pre-packaged cookie? Guess not. As it turns out, Mathias told me that French cookies are hard and crisp. Not gooey, soft and melty.

What's next? Maybe he'll tell me he's heard that California wines are better too.............. oh wait, that's a already been established.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remember Roseann Roseanna Dana?

Gilda Radner created an unforgettable character in the early days of SNL: Roseann Roseanna Dana. This middle-aged single woman, with out-of-control hair, would rant on and on about anything.

Roseann would begin her diatribe with a particular subject in mind, but then as she delivered her very unique perspective, her mind would wander and somehow the audience would hear about a little drop of sweat precariously dangling from someone's nose as they prepared her pizza!

No matter how ridiculous her story was, she always ended it with the following words:

"It just goes to's always something."

That sentiment is simple and very true.

If it's not GPAC, it's planning commission. If it's not Walgreen's, it's Wal-Mart. If it's not the State budget, it's the State drought. There's plenty to keep a body spinning.

The trick is to find humor in the little annoyances. Realize that what may seem HUGE today, will morph into routine tomorrow. And when it seems like there's just one challenge after another to rely on the words of wisdom from an unlikely hero:

"It just goes to's always something."

RIP - Gilda

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Survey says.............

Our little poll indicates there's a lot more people who want a Wal-Mart than those who do not. So ok- I'm listening (er, reading) Let me hear from you if you support the Wal-Mart Super Store coming into Patterson, and why.

Faithful Wal-Mart shoppers that I've spoken to say the one on McHenry in Modesto, is clean and attractive. I want to go and check it out.

If our council can negotiate the deal to benefit the downtown, that would help.

Can the employees expect to ALL BE PATTERSON RESIDENTS? That would help.

So let's get a real conversation going on this, and let the council know what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Say it isn't so.........

My husband and I disagree on very little. But on the subject of Wal-Mart, we don't see eye-to-eye.
Being open minded is something I work at almost daily. So when Gary told me that he thinks Wal-Mart isn't the huge threat I consider it to be..........I listened. It's hard to disagree with some of his points:
Earning minimum wage with no benefits may be the only job some people are qualified for. For those folks, working at Wal-Mart would be a blessing. Or maybe a family needs a second income, that too would be helpful.
But what if those same people could get a job at - oh I don't know, let's say - Trader Joe's. They pay very well, plus benefits including retirement. How about Starbucks? They offer their employees more than minimum AND benefits.
Here's some other concerns.
Traffic problems in and around the area.
Trash - ever noticed how the parking lots are maintained (or not)
Will the residents have the opportunity to "weigh in" on this matter?