Friday, November 19, 2010

My Helms Bakery truck , AKA,My Hippy Van

My Doberman Buddy, is probably wondering what the heck is that thing?
I fell in love with the Helms bread truck when a gyro pilot friend showed me a picture of it many years ago. "How much will you take for it ?" , I asked. We came to an agreement and the bread truck was mine. I call it my Hippy Van because it is about the size and shape of a Volkswagen bus which was popular with the hippies in the 60's .
I rationalized needing it because we could use it when we traveled to fly-ins and air shows. It was an attention getter and it had room inside to carry all the items we took to display and it could also tow a gyro. Really, I just wanted the vehicle , plain and simple. My rationalizing didn't fool Docko...he knew I wanted the odd looking vehicle .
I intended to clean it up, paint it , etc. As happens sometimes, life got in the way and my hippy van ended up being stored outside for years in Northern California where it seems to rain all the time.
Finally it is home with me here in the desert . To say it looks sad is an understatement but I am up to the challenge of making it all pretty again. I don't plan to make it roadworthy because it's job from here on is to be a fancy gazebo sitting in the loop of our driveway. It's days on the road are done.
It is pretty rusty and some places the rust has eaten through the metal . I think with some rust inhibitor, bondo, or fierglass mat ( the mat chopped into fibers and mixed with resin to make a paste ) and a little paint I can get it looking OK again. I don't plan to replace any rusted out metal but fiberglass ,bondo and paint, I can handle.
It has a bellows for a horn...the horn is not working now but maybe eventually it will be. The engine instruments are very few. The ignition key is a toggle switch. It has a gas pedal, and a clutch/brake pedal. Push on the clutch/brake pedal a little and it acts as a clutch. Push a little more and it becomes a brake. The seat is shaped like an old fashioned bicycle seat and is mounted on a pedestal type arrangement. The seat can be pushed forward getting it out of the way allowing the driver to stand and drive.
It's roomy inside . Plenty of space to make a nice seating area and lots of big windows to view the scenery through. I think it will make a good get-a-way place to get away from cats, dogs, and birds for a little time out to myself when needed.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My broken toe

It was just a couple of days before the gyro fly-in, and I was looking forward to flying with other gyro pilots during the annual event . I was out with my two Dobermans and they were running about like the young dogs they are. I, of course was wearing what I call my desert sandals, also known as very worn out tennis shoes which are so comfortable . Comfortable they may be with holes all over them but they are absolutely no protection at all for little toes, as I learned the hard way. My Dobbie, Connie ,ran past me in an all out run and she clipped the little toe on my right foot as she sailed past me.

Oh, the pain, the pain ! I looked down and four of the toes on my right foot were still pointed in the right direction but the little toe was pointed 90 degrees to the other four. What a strange sight ! My first thought was, " OH NO! I won't be able to fly". I suspected the toe was broken and thought that the doctor would put a cast on my foot or at least put a splint on the damaged toe thereby making it impossible for me to operate the rudder pedals on the gyro. Linda said, " I will take you to the doctor", but visions of a cast on the foot was going through my mind so I refused to go see the doc.

I pulled the little toe back into place and used tape to hold it in place against my foot . Thus bandaged, I attended the fly-in limping badly but getting about and I did fly.

So, Monday after the fly-in we decided that it was time to see the doctor about the little toe. Yes, he said , X-Rays show it is broken. He didn't put a cast or even a splint on it. The toe is taped to it's neighbor and I'm wearing a shoe for broken toes.

When Linda was giving me the old , 'you need to see the doctor routine ', like I do to her at times when she has a hurt I reminded her that Chuck Yeager was flying with broken ribs when he broke the sound barrier. He hid the fact that his ribs were broken lest he be grounded. I felt like I was in good company when I flew with the little toe broken.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ed Nielesky, a gyro pioneer

We had a gyro fly-in last weekend on the El Mirage dry lake bed. It's an annual affair and is always on the last weekend of September . Gyro pilots and enthusiasts come from near and far to fly, do a little hangar flying ( that means talking about flying ) and to visit with friends old and new.
One of my old friends, Ed Nielesky, in the photo above ,was there. Ed isn't flying anymore but over the years he has done his share of flying . His son Joe, says of his dad that when Joe was a kid one morning he and his dad left the airport before daylight in an airplane and flew all day. They arrived back at the home field after dark and Joe said his dad said," lets fly some more ". That sounds like Ed all right.
Ed started flying gyrocopters in the early days of the Bensen gyro, back when we had to teach ourselves to fly because there were no two place powered gyro trainers or flight instructors. Ed flew a Bensen gyrocopter with a McCulloch engine for many years.
Th Tee-shirt in the photo has a picture of two gyros flying. The pilot of the gyro in the foreground is Ed back when he was young. The gyro in the background is flown by the late Ken Brock , another gyro pioneer, . The photo was taken by Dr. Igor Bensen, designer of the Bensen Gyrocopter . The Tee-shirts were sold in department stores in the late sixties and early seventies.
The shirt shown here is one of mine that I wore when I was young and slender back in the early 70's. I displayed it at the fly-in as a tribute to my old gyro friend , Ed Nielesky.
I thought you might like to see a bit of history in the gyro world.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hong, a most unusual person

Hong is Vietnamese. When I met him a few years back , he introduced himself to me then he said, " I am the enemy". The last sentence refered to his nationality. " You are not my enemy", I told him. "You haven't done anything to me and you are not my enemy ".

Hong has a helicopter that he is adapting to be flown by hand controls because he has no legs . Helicopters have rudder pedals which are operated by the pilots feet, but in Hongs case he is making the rudders controlable by hand. He is doing the work on the helicopter by himself which is just amazing considering that he is wheelchair bound.
The helicopter stands fairly tall. I saw some screws in a cowling up high on the side of the helicopter that were only half way in and waiting to be secured . "How in the world will you reach those screws ?", I asked him. He pointed to the sturdy table alongside the helicopter and said that he would get up on the table so he could reach the screws.

I understand that a person who requires hand controls to fly a helicopter not only has to modify the machine but he has to teach himself to fly it.
I had stopped by to visit with him and to ask him how the work was progressing and he said the progress was good for he had lifted the helicopter off the ground several times the previous morning.
Hong has taken on a tremendous job and is succeeding very well with his project. My hat is off to him .

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another old friend heard from

Recently I wrote about old friends with whom you have lost touch coming back into your life and how special it is...well, it happened again a few days ago. His name is Hill , first name, that is.
Hill and I did a lot of gyro flying together in the good old days. He was already flying gyros when I was just learning to fly them so he was considered the gyro guru in our group of early gyro pilots.
Somewhere I have a picture of him and my daughter Linda, playing their guitars together. When I locate that picture I will post it and write about the gyro adventures Hill and I and a bunch of other like minded people had back in the 60's and 70's.
I must have put that photo in a really good safe place for I haven't found it yet, but I will, so don't go far away.

Till I find the picture.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a Gal !

I read a lot, mostly court room dramas, who dunnits, etc. but other day I bought a book that was truly hard to put down once I started reading it. It was about a woman by the name of Stella Walthall Patterson who, at 80 years of age decided to get away from it all and go live in her primitive cabin on her gold mining claim in the Siskiyou mountians of Northern California.
She wanted to see if she could stick it out for one year. Her cabin was bare bones, set on the side of a mountain above the Kalamath river. She cooked on a wood burning stove like my grandmother did. Her water supply was the water running from a creek and funneled into a pipe that ended close to her cabin. Her bathroom was outback. She made kitchen curtains from flour sacks and dyed them with boiled onion skins which gave them a pale gold color. With no electricty, there was no refrigerator so meat was cooked immediately lest it spoil. Every meal was made from scratch, as there were no restaurants within miles of her cabin. This may sound like a hardship to many people but the eighty year old lady loved every minute of it.
She was called Dear Mad'm by the local people that she got to know. Her unusual name came about because she couldn't remember the name of a man she had hired to work her claim so when she spoke to him she called him, DearSir. He laughed, and responded by calling her DearMad'm. The names stuck and so to everyone she was , " DearMad'm and the man was "DearSir".
The one and only time she fired a rifle, a 30.ought 6, for goodness sake, which she could barely lift, she killed a cougar with one shot. It was a head shot, no less. When DearSir and UpandUp, a name she gave to a tall fellow, came to check on her she told them she had killed a cougar. They laughed. DearSir said something to the effect that her little pea shooter, a small Iver Johnson hand gun couldn't kill a cougar. She lost patience and told them to go find the dead cougar...they left and were back in less than 10 minutes dragging the carcass of the cougar between them.
She enjoyed her life in the midst of nature and when one year was up she decided to remain in her rustic cabin instead of returning to her comfortable home in San Francisco.
While living in the wilds, she wrote a book about her life in the rustic cabin and the people she met in the area. The manuscript was picked up by a publisher and it was eventually published under the title of , Dear Mad'm". The sad thing to me is, she passed away before the book hit the stands and so she never got to read it. She was one spunky lady.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There's a snake in the house!

The two Dobermans were excited and looking at the base of the display case in the living room. The case stands about 8 inches from the wall so I thought one of the cats was back there teasing the dogs as they sometimes do. But no, the dogs acted more serious than they do when they are playing with the cats, in fact, they were scared. They would approach the display case then jump back.

I keep a card table tucked out of sight behind the case so we took the table out of the space so we could get a good look at what was upsetting my two big brave puppies. Would you believe it was a snake ? First thought, Mojave Green rattler ? Please don't let it be a rattlesnake in the house. Please, Please.

Looking closer I could see it was not a dreaded rattle snake. A rattler has a head shaped like an arrowhead. The head tapers in at the neck whereas other kinds of snakes have a narrow head that just tapers on back without the indentation that gives the head the shape of an arrowhead.

And of course the rattle snake has rattles on the tail although if it is a baby snake it may not have had time to grow rattles so then you must depend on the head shape and the coloring to know if it is dangerous or not. Thankfully the snake behind the display case was a harmless garter snake and we see them frequently in the yard...this was a first , finding one in the house. Not a happy first, I must say!

So, now the big question is, how do we get him out of the house? I am not brave or foolish enough to pick one of those critters up. Our solution was to make the dogs stay out of the way and then Linda opened the screen door and the front door. Meanwhile I had a long probe that I used to bang around on the wall behind the case and that moved the snake toward the door. The snake saw the open door and freedom out he went, probably relieved to get away from two gals and two excited dogs. He exited onto the front porch and with us behind him urging him onward, he went off the edge of the porch and probably on to his hole-in-the ground home and probably as happy to be there as we were to have him gone.

This is desert, home of snakes, a wide variety of birds and coyotes , a few red foxes , desert turtles and who knows what else. We live and let live unless of course, it is a dangerous snake in close quarters and is a threat to one of us then we do what is necessary to be safe. But that said, it is a little disconcerting to find even a harmless snake in the house. How did he get in??? I wish I knew!

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, July 2, 2010

Positive Thinking

I believe in positive thinking. Here is a good example. When my son was in high school he was on the cross country running team. There was a boy in the group who just couldn't beat my son in running no matter how hard he tried. The boy was saving his money for a pair of red running shoes.
He talked of those red running shoes often and he would tell Dave, " when I get my red shoes I will beat you".
Finally the day came when the boy had his red running shoes and the race was on. For the first time the kid with the red shoes beat Dave. My son said, " he passed me up like I was standing still and as he went by he said, 'red shoes', red shoes, red shoes'.
The red shoes may have helped but I think the power of positive thinking is really what won the race for him.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

P.S. I welcome your comments but please, do make them in English .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Old Friends

I'm a senior citizen, in what's called ' my golden years'. One thing sad about being in the golden years is that so many of my old friends have gone on to that big gyro fly-in in the sky. When I mention that another of my old flying friends has passed on my daughter tells me that I should have younger friends.
Hanging out with younger people might work for some older persons but as for me I like to be on the same page with my friends. We can talk of things long gone by, things we did back then, of trends, of world news and all sorts of things that the younger generation know nothing about. We talk the same language, in other words.
And when an old friend with whom you have lost contact over the years re-emerges it's wonderful.
That happened to me recently. I heard from an old friend that I had lost contact with. It was good catching up and talking of how our lives have changed from back then and what's going on in our lives at present .
I have a special memory of this friend from many years ago . It was a cold day in early spring . I had flown in to a gyro fly-in where he was in attendance . As I landed and shut the gyro down I was greeted by many people but this friend , when he came up to greet me was carrying a cup of hot coffee for this half frozen gyro gal. That thoughtful offering touched me deeply for as much as I was glad to see everyone, the hot coffee really was what I needed and appreciated right then, and simple as it was, it stands out in my memory.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is , enjoy and treasure your friends for you never know when life might take them away.
Old friends are part of the memories we cherish in our 'golden years'.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Friday, June 4, 2010

How fast time flies

That darling little puppy that is trying so hard to climb onto the couch is Buddy, my male Doberman. He was two months old at the time. It was quite a challenge but he finally made it onto the couch as you can see in the lower picture. That was only three years ago and the "little" guy and his sister Connie, turned three years old on May 3rd. Buddy now weighs a whopping 80 pounds.

His little sister, Connie is smaller in size and weighs about 60 pounds.

It was a first for me, raising two puppies at the same time but when I bought Buddy his little sister was left all alone and it broke my heart to leave her behind so I went back and bought her too.

If you ever need a challenge in your life, try raising two puppies at the same time. My two pups chewed up several bedspreads , every magazine or newspaper they could get hold of and they were absolutely bottomless pits when it came to food. They never thought they had enough dinner.

Then there was the hassle of ear clipping and the weeks long healing process with both pups wearing huge protective collars . All this excitement took place in the high desert in the middle of triple digit summer heat. But, as things do, the bad times passed and the puppies grew into , well, maybe not really obedient pups, but fairly well mannered dogs and they are great companions.

I used to think that big dogs needed lots of room . I thought that a big dog living in an apartment for
instance would be terrible for the dog...I have had to rethink that idea for I have 10 fenced acres and my dogs prefer to be with me, under foot , in my easy chair, ( it used to be my easy chair), or just generally right where I am doing whatever. But, that said, they will leave me for the next pretty face to come along. When my son Dave, comes home they leave me like the devil is after them and go to spend time with him. Then let Linda start up the golf cart and they leave Dave to ride in the golf cart. Buddy will sit for an hour in the cart waiting for someone to give him a ride.

They howl sometimes and I enjoy hearing them. I don't know what sets them to howling and it usually doesn't last long except for the time last month when I went away for three days to Britta's gyro fly-in in Arizona. I'm told that my two pups howled almost constantly until I came home. And what a welcome I got from them when I returned home! After jumping on me and nearly knocking me down, Buddy just sat and stared and stared at me . The look he gave me was pure unconditional love. Connie was right there with the same, I love you, look in her eyes.

In spite of the ups and downs and sometimes extreme frustration with the two pups, the past three years flew by. My two dogs give me unconditional love and all they ask for is to be with me, well OK, they do like to take little side trips to see Dave and Linda.

I will always have a dog or two in my life.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

What is it about Doctors that I hate to visit one?

I have been down with bronchitis for the whole solid month of May. Yesterday was the first time in a month that I felt that I could get back to doing the things I normally do.

My daughter Linda, from the first day of my illness said, " Let me make a doctors appoint for you". As usual and as she expected, I said no. Further , I told her that if I didn't feel any better tomorrow
then I would see the doctor. Next day . of course, I told her that I felt a little better so no, don't make a doctors appointment for me. That went on for the whole month.

All that was not new to my daughter for we go through that scenario every time I come down with an illness, which fornatualy isn't often. After what seems like ages, I recover from whatever the illness was and then I begin to question why didn't I go to the doctor?...I could have been over the bug and back to living again in no time at all if I hadn't been so stubborn...I like my doctor, have no problem with him... don't like waiting in the waiting room for ages though, still...So, every time it's the same old thing. I do recover but not nearly as quickly as I would have if I had gone to see my doctor.

I think a lot of my reluctance to seeing the doctor is that sometimes, he will do the examination, take X-Rays if needed then send me to another doctor or to the ER for them to read his findings and then to make their own recommendation as to the best way to make me well again. My doctor will send the X-Rays with me for the new people to refer to and they throw them in the corner without even looking at them and take their own X-Rays even tho the ones I brought from my doctor are less than one hour old.

After a complete examination and questions etc. that my own doctor had already done, the new people will send me home with a prescription for whatever...all the things my own doctor could have done with less time and bother to me . I think the HMO business was conjured up to make business for more doctors and hospitals. I miss the good old days when a visit to the doctor was just that, a visit to the doctor's office, and exam, meds or not as required and outta there in less than a half a day. Guess that's why I tell Linda, " no don't make an appointment for me for I'm better today".

My best doctor's visits were to the doctor I used to go to for my annual flight physical . I just loved him...his office attire was Levi's, a western style shirt and cowboy boots. I told him he reminded him of the song by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, " Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Make them be doctors and lawyers such". He was a hang loose type of doctor that got the job done and his word was final, no sending me to here and there and all over the place for someone else to double check his findings.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The new Great Grandbaby

I wish I had a picture to show you of my new great granddaughter. She is a darling little baby with long black hair. I think her hair is long enough to braid and she is less than a month old ! But she is a little Indian baby and Indian babies have nice round heads, a beautiful complexion and long black hair. That is the way it was with my babies.

I had said in a post before the new grand baby's birth that I would probably be polishing my gyro when the baby decided to be born but no, I came down with bronchitis and I was sick as an old dawg at the time. I have wasted nearly a whole month trying to get over the truck that ran over me , well , figuratively speaking, it felt like a truck had run over me anyway. I am back to 100% good health now and hoping to see my new great grand baby soon. She and her mama and daddy live about 500 miles away and they promise to bring the little one to me for me to hold and cuddle for awhile.

Meanwhile, my other granddaughter, Lynette and her husband Amer, are foster parents to two little boys, brothers, whom they hope to adopt. So, for years no grand babies and suddenly three of them...well, technically, one and maybe two others. In September I will get to see my two future grandsons when they come down to visit. It's been a long time since I held a baby or a little child and I'm looking forward to it. There is just something priceless about cuddling a baby or a small child. It's one of the joys of life.
Till next time.
Marion Springer

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy 81st. birthday to me!

Today I turn 81 years of age. I never dreamed I would live so long . I have enjoyed almost every minute of the journey. There were a few rough patches along the way but I'd do it all over again and the same way, I'm sure. I'd marry the same man, have the same kids, you know, live it again if I could.
Last year I flew an 80th. birthday celebration flight in my gyro and in a few days, when the weather cooperates, I will fly an 81st. plus a few days, BD celebration flight. The photo is of me suited up and just back from a flight in my Bensen gyro on the dry lake of El Mirage, Ca. The photo was taken a few months ago at the annual gyro fly-in in September , 2009.
Gyro flying must be good for people! Commander Ken Wallis of the UK is well into his 90's and he is still flying gyros. Johny Miller, an old time gyro pilot of the 1930's who flew Pitcairn and Kellet autogiros continued to fly his Bonanza airplane until he passed away at the age of 102. It must be something in the air up there.
On the day he died, Johnny told his grandson, " It looks like my flying days are over". Like most gyro pilots, flying was ever on his mind. It is with mine for sure. Just ask my children. Sometime back when I asked my daughter Linda if I could bring my new Rotordyne blades into her living room to take them out of the crates, she answered,
" why not? I've lived with gyros my whole life". She is an understanding daughter! She gave me a fuel transfer pump for my gyro for Christmas awhile back . Other gifts from her have included motorcycle hand grips and a set of screw drivers. A recent gift from Linda and Donna was a gift certificate from my favorite store, Home Depot . As I said, a most understanding daughter who knows her mom pretty well.
I find it very peaceful and relaxing to do housekeeping chores on my gyro. I plan to polish that machine till it outshines the sun and I will enjoy every minute of working on it. And just think, my granddaughter Crystal will be making a Great Grand Mother out of me any day now! I will probably be off polishing my gyro instead of doing grandmotherly things like making baby clothes for the soon to be greatgrandbaby. Is that any way for a woman of my age to act? YOU BET IT IS !!
Till next time.
Marion Springer
CFI-Gyro, Ret.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Styles- fashions- trends- fads- whatever!

My friend tells me that I have lived too long when I complain about the lack of courtesy and good manners and some of trends of young people of today. I think he really means that times are different today than when I was young and that is very true.

Back in my day if a kid misbehaved in school the teacher or school Principal could and did paddle the kid and when the kids dad found out about it he added his discipline to the kid. Nowadays, parents stand a good chance of doing jail time for child abuse if they discipline the child. And kids know it... " yeah dad, you spank me and I'll call the cops, so there "!

Some of the fads of the young people just mystify in the world can anyone eat with a ball bearing fastened to the tongue? How can anyone blow his nose if he has a ring through it?

And the hair! for some young people of today fashion dictates that their hair stand straight up in peaks that look sharp as nails. Others go in for wild colors, with rainbow streaks of color throughout .

But the pants the guys wear with the crotch at about knee level just is unbelievable . I was walking through a parking lot recently and there was a young man with his family just ahead of me. At first I thought he was limping but no, he was having trouble walking because his pants were barely hanging on and the crotch was at knee level or maybe just a tad lower. Thank goodness he was wearing a long T-shirt so I was saved from getting mooned !

His manner of walking was wierd take a step, he would first throw a knee out to the side , then step forward with that foot, then throw the opposite knee out to the side and follow up with a step from that foot. I realized that throwing the knee to the side was to allow a little more room in the pants so he could take a step. If he had had to move suddenly he would have been like a deer in the headlights or more likely, would have fallen flat on his face.

And the girls with the push-up bras ! I'm an old gal and not much surprises me anymore but one day I turned a corner at a fall festival and just stopped in my tracks when I saw two young girls with push-up bras and what was being pushed up was nearly out ! I see practically the same thing on women on television and even on the female news anchors . Besides the low cleaveage , the news anchors are all very cutesy when giving the news. Walter Cronkite, I miss you!

Tatoos seem to be in fashion . I saw a woman with tatoos on every inch of skin that wasn't covered with clothing and that was a lot of skin. I thought to myself, when she is old and her skin is all shriveled and wrinkled, her skin color will be all blue. Then I thought of things we used to say to someone when we were annoyed with them , back in the good old days. Drop dead was one, Cool it, was another, then there was , don't have a cow, and also, ' turn blue'. The tatooed lady will do just that when she gets old, she will literally ' turn blue'.

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We said good bye to Lucky

She came to us as a stray pup about seven years ago. My son Dave,had recently lost his 13 year old Princess to cancer. He wasn't ready for another dog. I had two dogs so I didn't need another dog.

It was decided that Dave would take the pup to the animal shelter but on the way there he decided he couldn't do it. The little dog was obviously part pit bull. Dave was certain that she would be put down if she was handed over to the animal shelter so he brought her back home. He named the little dog Lucky and she became a part of our family.

She hated snakes with a passion. There are rattle snakes where we live and when she saw a snake she sounded the alarm. That was about the only time Lucky barked for she was a very quiet little dog. The only time she attacked a snake was when the snake happened to be very close to me. she picked it up and swung it around, dropped it and picked it up again. I made her leave it alone for it was a harmless snake, not a rattler.

Lucky was a gentle loving little dog. She was a little bit picky about eating and she played me like a fiddle. She would sometimes balk at eating her regular dinner and of course I would dress it up with little tid-bits that she loved and before long her bowl was empty and she had gotten the treats she wanted. I didn't mind pampering her that way for she gave so much love in return.

Lucky's immune system went awry and last week she got very sick. The Doctor couldn't do anything to help her and with heavy hearts, we said good bye to our little friend. She was placed to rest beside Princess. My two Doberman pups are just lost and there is an emptiness in our home without her. She brought us much love and joy in her short time with us and she is missed greatly.
The words from an old song, Old Shep, come to mind..."if dogs have a Heaven there's one thing I know, Old Shep ( Lucky ) has a wonderful home".

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Other Passion

I wanted to fly from the time I was about 5 years old but I also have another passion that dates from a very young age. From early on I wanted to create dolls.

And so, I made dolls. My husband , Docko would tease me, I think he was teasing, he would say , " You have come full circle. You are playing with dolls". My answer was always, " I am not playing. I am creating".

Through the years I made cloth dolls for my daughters. But what I really wanted to do was to create realistic dolls, not dolls to play with but to be displayed as one would collect and display art and items to be cherished.

I leaned toward making Indian dolls, because of my heritage and because I liked the Indian way of life.

I tried making dolls from various mediums and finally discovered polymer clay. Polymer clay is a plastic based clay. It is used to sculpt all or parts of dolls which are then cured in a regular kitchen oven or toaster oven. Curing sets the clay in a hard permenant position.

Occassionally I will make a doll all of clay from head to foot but generally I only sculpt the head, hands, feet and legs of polymer clay then attach the various parts to a wire armature . Next a fabric body covering is put on over the wire armature and filled with polyester fiber fill.

Synthetic fiber is used for hair. The part I enjoy most is making the clothing and accessories. The material used for clothing is deer skin ( buckskin) and is all hand stitched . Moccasin's and other accessories are decorated with hand beading.

The picture above is an 18 inch cradleboard with baby. Used leather coats are generally used as covering for the cradleboard. Used fur from old fur coats is often used to line the cradleboards.

The baby in the picture is about 15 inches long . The baby's head is polymer clay on a fabric body. Other cradleboards I make are from 8 inches in length to full size 36 inches. My next cradleboard baby is going to be a life size infant in a 36 inch cradleboard. I plan to fully bead the sides of the cradleboard. Beading is slow tediuos work and it could take me many moons to finish the beading but it will be a treasure when finally finished. I plan to keep the life size baby and cradleboard for myself, or try to keep it anyway. My family has a way of talking me out of most of the dolls I make.

Most of the Indian dolls ( I say ' dolls' for lack of a better word ) I make represent adults engaged in the daily tasks of life as it was back then. The dolls range from 18 inches to about 22 inches in height.

If you care to see some of the work which has resulted from my other passion, click on my website .

Till next time.
Marion Springer

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In The Super Market

I've had some bad and some weird and some very rude experiences while shopping in the super market . I was standing in line at the check out counter and there was a woman ahead of me . Her items were on the counter being rung up by the cashier. A man hurried up and crowed in between the woman customer and me. He set a six pack of beer on the counter . Naive me, I thought he was with the woman customer and had gone back to pick up an item they had forgotten.

Not so , she paid for her purchases and left the store and the man was still there at the counter . I stood there with my mouth open in surprise as the guy who had rushed up and crowded in line paid for his beer and left the store. I mentioned the incident to the checker and she replied, " Oh, yeah, he does that all the time". What a shame that the checker didn't protect the rights of other customers by making the man wait his turn in line as he properly should .

Checkers and bag girls talking and not getting on with the business of checking out the merchandise really gets to me. I am not smart enough to let it go even if it takes an extra 15 minutes or more to get waited on while they carry on their conversation. I usually have to say something to the effect of , " please stop your visiting with each other and finish ringing up and bagging my groceries. That almost always gets me cracked eggs in the carton or an item or two that I've paid for left on the counter . That's the baggers retaliation for my speaking up .

The very worst thing that happened was the time I was the only person in the whole isle and I got touched by a jerk. I stood contemplating the items on the shelf and I heard fast foot steps approaching but I didn't look around. As he passed behind me I felt a hand drag across my posterior. I quickly turned around to see who had touched me and the guilty man was about 10 feet past me taking very long steps.

When I reached the check out stand the man was at the counter with several customers between him and me. He turned and looked at me just smirked. Oh, how I wanted to knock that smirk off his face ! But what could I do ? If I had made a complaint there were no witnesses to back me up . It would have been he said, she said. So I said nothing but I sure had some dark thoughts.

Till next time
Marion Springer

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Analysis of A Gyro Accident

Recently Teddy Udala, an experienced gyro pilot of many years had an accident in his gyro. Teddy was badly bruised in the accident but had no broken bones. His gyro was destroyed.
There is a lesson to be learned in every accident and for that reason, Teddy asked me to write an account of his accident. he hopes his story will prevent someone else from making the same mistake.
The weather: Wind was from the west and variable from 10 to 20 mph.
The layout of the area where the accident occurred is this...the runway is an east-west dirt runway. Teddy's hangar is adjacent the runway and is about 400 feet from the east end of the runway. There is a power line that crosses the runway near the east end of the runway and a fence at the end of the runway. Beyond the fence to the east is the El Mirage dry lake.
The accident :
The PRA Chapter One meeting had just ended. There were several visitors who wanted to see a gyro fly. Teddy invited everyone to go to his hangar to see him fly. The group from the meeting went on to Teddy's hangar. I didn't go with the others instead, I pulled up a chair and sat in the shade of the meeting trailer.
After his take off Teddy flew past the place where I was sitting then he made a turn back toward the other end of the runway. I walked out a little ways to watch his descent and landing. When I saw him next, he had already made the turn toward final and was on the lake side of the fence and very low. He looked to me to be about 30 feet above the surface. The gyro was in a nose high attitude and was descending very fast. I could see that he was very near the fence and the power line and facing in that direction. Then there was a great pall of dust and I saw the flash of one rotor blade. I couldn't see the gyro contact the ground but from the rapid descent and the single blade flash, I knew he had crashed.
I quickly drove down to the area and to my great surprise saw Teddy helping pick up the scattered pieces of his crashed gyro. The photo at the top of page is Teddy and his crashed gyro just minutes after the accident. His gyro was destroyed. The redundant mast had broken in two. A shiny area of several inches of the mast showed that the metal had been stretched, indicating that one part of the mast had actually been pulled apart where the separation had occurred. One rotor blade had separated from the machine on contact with the ground and was found some distance from the main body of the wreckage.
Someone had videoed the flight and the crash. The video showed that shortly after take off, the gyro climbed to about 20 feet above the ground then suddenly it descended to what looked to be 3 feet above the ground. That indicated that the gyro didn't have enough airspeed to maintain level flight. He was behind the power curve, in other words. Then the gyro began climbing again. After climbing out he flew downwind and then he turned onto final .
The wind was slightly from the left of the runway, maybe about 15 degrees off. The video shows the gyro lined up into the wind and in a nose high attitude. The gyro dropped fast then Teddy made a slight turn to his left and then immediately he began a turn back toward the runway in an effort to line up with the wind, but he hit the ground at that point.
Teddy said he had turned slightly toward the lake looking for a clear area where he could land as he knew the power line and fence were immediately in front of him. Seeing no place to land, he then tried to turn back into the wind but it was all over by then. He came down approximately 100 feet from the fence and the power line. That he survived the crash is nothing short of a miracle.
My analysis of the accident:
I don't believe he ever reached adequate airspeed at any point during the brief flight. That was evident by the loss of altitude shortly after take off when the gyro descended from about 20 feet down to 3 feet from the ground.
Teddy says he was about 100 feet above the ground when he made the turn onto final , but no matter whether it was 100 or 30 feet, it was too low to make a turn so close to the fence and the power line.
Teddy says he wanted to hover, thus the nose-up attitude. Without enough airspeed to begin with, raising the nose of the gyro killed off what airspeed he had. At that point the gyro was in free fall as evidenced by the very rapid descent. The small turn out of the wind only hastened the descent to the ground.
Even if the fence and the power line had not been in close proximity , a hover so low to the ground with gusty wind is very dangerous because there is insufficient altitude between the the gyro and the ground to regain airspeed if the wind should let up as Teddy said it did in this case.
Several things indicate poor aviation decision making in the flight. First, I believe that spectators waiting in front of his hangar to see him fly put pressure on Teddy to the point he neglected to be mindful of airspeed, altitude, obstructions, etc. He says empathically that he only fly's for himself and no one else. But it is a fact that pressure from spectators can cause a pilot to become careless about all the things that go into a safe flight.
Turning onto final at such a low altitude and with low airspeed and with obstructions immediately ahead was poor judgment.
Teddy is generally a safe and cautious pilot and until this day had never had a gyro accident . It is my belief that he was distracted by the spectators wanting to see the gyro fly and he was lured into complacency as to safe piloting. The result was an accident due to failure to maintain airspeed, or pilot error, in other words.
Teddy is to be commended for wanting his story told in an effort to help other pilots.
Marion Springer , CFI Gyro, Ret.