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uebtoo06 Donna Jean Godchaux grateful to sing again - Subscribe
She barely escaped with her life - her husband didn't - but theonly woman to ever belong to the Grateful Dead doesn't want tothink about the dark times before she left the band after sevenyears in 1979. "I don't like to talk about it because the memories I have of beingin that band are the best of my life," says Donna JeanGodchaux-Mackay, 60, on a rare visit to Marin County since movingback to her native Alabama 27 years ago. Her trademark long hair is gray, but her face is remarkablyunlined. She smiles easily and her eyes dance with the light. "I'venever been happier," she says. She looks it. Now back in music, Godchaux-Mackay linked up with a former GratefulDead tribute band called the Zen Tricksters and is touring andrecording her original songs with the band. Her husband and bothher grown sons are also musicians and they all live together on 4acres in rural Alabama with a recording studio and a grandchild onthe way. She sat in the sunshine looking over the Mill Valley village squareoutside the Depot Bookstore one recent morning back on her old hometurf in Marin. She was staying in Petaluma with her brother, whoworks as plant manager at Skywalker Ranch. She was most anxious todiscuss her new musical collaboration with the Tricksters, who callher Deeje, short for D.J., Donna Jean. "I love this CD," she says about her new record, "Donna Jean andthe Tricksters." "I love this band." Godchaux-Mackay dropped out of music entirely after she left theDead and only made her first, tentative steps back into the fieldafter her children were grown. "I was very inspired," she says. "Istarted writing again. It was time." She first met the Tricksters at a New York concert on the 10thanniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia. "I was really impressedwith their musicality," she says, "and also what great people theywere." She was also pleased to note the band had moved beyond being merelya Grateful Dead cover act and the band's songwriters developed somestrong original material of their own. "By the end of that event,"she says, "we were talking about hooking up and playing a fewgigs." Donna Jean Thatcher was raised in the Tennessee River valley atMuscle Shoals, Ala., a small, remote town that grew into a centerfor recording Southern soul. In her teens, she was singingbackground vocals on albums recorded at local studios byout-of-towners looking for that authentic soul sound such as BozScaggs or Cher. She was also the high school's head cheerleader andher boyfriend was the halfback. She sometimes had both cheerleaderpractice and recording sessions scheduled on Saturdays and wouldhave to show up at the studio in her cheerleader outfit. "Where I went to high school, girls graduated and got married inJune," she says. By the time she finished high school, Muscle Shoals had developedinto quite the scene. The Rolling Stones cut "Brown Sugar" thereand Paul Simon came down to record. But the young singer had hereyes on California. "I was done," she says. "I wanted a newadventure in my life." Working in a clerical job with Union Oil, she found herselfsurrounded by Deadheads. "They made me go to a Grateful Deadconcert," she says. "That blew my little pea brain." In the meantime, in a matter of weeks, she met, fell in love withand married a shy young man from Concord named Keith Godchaux. Theyhad already fallen in love before each discovered the other was amusician. Godchaux was a gifted pianist, classically trained, whoplayed in a jazz trio. They got the idea that he should play in theGrateful Dead. They sought out Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia at one of his solodates at a North Beach nightclub and she told him they hadsomething important to speak with him about. When a timid KeithGodchaux couldn't bring himself to go backstage despite Garcia'sinvitation, Garcia came out and sat at their table. "Keith is your next piano player and I need your home phonenumber," his wife told Garcia. What the Godchauxes didn't know is that the Dead was about to startlooking for a new keyboard player, as the health of Ron "Pigpen"McKernan continued to deteriorate. Garcia brought Godchaux over tothe band's Front Street studio in San Rafael for a jam session and,within a couple of days, he was in the band. His wife joined thelineup a few months later, at a New Year's Eve show at the Academyof Music in New York, the first time she ever sang in public. "Hunter and Garcia were so prolific with their songs," she says. "Iremember them coming into the rehearsal hall with 'ScarletBegonias.' So many of the Grateful Dead standards come from thattime." Over the course of the ensuing years, the Godchauxes would weavethemselves into the fabric of the Dead's music. The crew built aspecial road case for her baby's rocking chair. "They treated me like a queen," says Godchaux-Mackay, who playedwith the band for 81/2 months of her pregnancy with her first son,Zion, singing in front of the gigantic "Wall of Sound" soundsystem. "He had all that music going through him all during gestation," shesays. "No wonder he's a musician - it's in his bones." The part she would rather not talk about - the part where she andher husband descended into a spiral of drugs and fighting, the partwhere she was considered to be the queen of hotel room destruction- that was what led to her and her husband leaving the band. At the height of their involvement in the Dead scene, theGodchauxes played with the Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band and led aKeith and Donna band. "Add the extracurricular, recreational drugsthat were going around," she says. When the band showed up for ameeting at their house, they already realized the end had come. "Keith and I knew that we needed to get out of it," she says. "Howdo you get out of the Grateful Dead? I had a 4-year-old son. Wewere both really exhausted. It wasn't like we quit or were fired.It was both." The couple started the Heart of Gold Band, but within a year, KeithGodchaux was dead after the car he was riding in rear-ended a truckin a remote area of Marin County. He was 32. Donna Jean, remarriedto David Mackay, bassist in Heart of Gold, and pregnant with hisbaby, retreated to Alabama and raised her sons. "I decided I wasgoing to be a mother and hang out," she says. Her husband continued to work as a musician and, about 15 yearsago, she began singing again. "I started feeling like I could getback into music," she says. She started the short-lived Donna Jean Band with her husband, heroldest son and some friends about 10 years ago. Four years ago, shebriefly reformed the Heart of Gold Band with both her sons andhusband. She arrived at the 2005 Gathering of the Vibes, where shefirst met the Tricksters, booked to sing with a number of the bandsat the event. A few months later, appearing in New York at abenefit for the Dead's philanthropic arm, the Rex Foundation, shegalvanized her collaboration with guitarist Jeff Mattson and therest of the Tricksters. "I'm more at liberty in my songwriting and my singing now than I'veever been," she says. "I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm verycomfortable in my own skin."
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Mood: demented

uebtoo06 Volunteers Install Shade Sail Poles at Murphys Community Park Jun 15th, 2008 12:28:15 am - Subscribe
Volunteers Install Shade Sail Poles at Murphys Community Park ThisMorning Murphys, CA.....A dozen volunteers gathered in Murphys CommunityPark this morning, Monday June 2nd, to erect five telephone polesthat will support a series of Sail Sun Shade sails being installed toprovide cover from the hot summer sun for youngsters playing on theparkFor Beach to enter the navigation compartment in flight, he had toleave the flight deck where the pilot and co-pilot were seated,climb down under the deck and crawl through a tunnel next to thehuge nose wheel, and crawl under the navigation table.The B-24 made it safely overseas and eventually landed in Stone,England, where all newly arrived crews went to await assignment."I got a message from the field commander. This was out of theordinary, so I (reported) concerned about what I had or had notdone."
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Mood: splendid

uebtoo06 A garage door is the largest moving object in a home Jun 15th, 2008 12:29:02 am - Subscribe
A garage door is the largest moving object in a home, and istypically used every day, giving homeowners good reason to keep itin proper working order. The International Door Association (IDA)and the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA)have designated June as Garage Door Safety Month. Dallas-based Overhead Door Corporation, the nation ’ s leading manufacturer of Remote Garage Door and openers underwell-known brands like Overhead Door and Genie ? , is offering 10 consumer safety and security tips. 10 Garage Door Safety & Security Tips 1. Make sure garage door opener control button is out of the reachof small children. 2. Do not let children play with garage door remote controls. 3. Consult the owner ’ s manual and learn how to use the garage door ’ s emergency release feature. 4. Visually inspect the garage door each month. Look at springs,cables, rollers and pulleys for signs of wear. Do not attempt toremove, adjust or repair these parts or anything attached to them.A trained door repairman must make adjustments to these parts,which are under high tension. 5. Test the garage door opener ’ s reversing mechanism monthly by placing a 2 x 4 board or a roll ofpaper towels in the door ’ s path. If the door does not reverse after contacting the object,call a qualified garage door professional for repair. If the openerhas not been replaced since 1993, seriously consider a new one withauto-reverse as a standard feature. 6. Never place fingers between door sections and explain thedangers to children. If you have small children, consider a doorwith panels that can ’ t pinch. 7. Do not leave the garage door partially open. When activatedagain, it may travel downward and come in contact with an object inits path. This also impacts your home ’ s security as well. 8. While on vacation, unplug the garage door opener unit or use awall vacation lock console security switch, which renders remotesunusable and is an optional accessory to most openers. 9. If the opener does not have rolling-code technology, whichchanges the access codes each time the opener is used to preventcode grabbing, be sure to change the manufacturer ’ s standard access codes on the opener and remote control, orconsider investing in a newer model with more safety and securityfeatures that are now standard. 10. A new trend in home invasion is gaining access to the home bystealing the opener or car. Never leave the remote control in thecar or with a parking attendant. Consider using a key chain remoteand always lock the entry to the inside of your home – especially if your opener is programmed to your vehicle. It is asmall inconvenience for safety and security. Overhead Door Corporation, based in Dallas, Texas, is the nation ’ s leading manufacturer of overhead doors and openers forresidential, commercial and industrial construction applications.There are three divisions of the company, including the AccessSystems Division (ASD), the largest, which features the OverheadDoor and Genie ? brands; Horton Automatics, which includes automatic pedestrianentrance systems; and TODCO, the largest producer of overhead doorsfor the transportation industry worldwide. Overhead Door createdthe original overhead garage door in 1921 and the first garage dooropener in 1926. Overhead Door Corporation is a subsidiary of SanwaHoldings Corporation of Tokyo,
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Mood: megalomaniacal

uebtoo06 Habitat is building 4 houses on city Jun 15th, 2008 12:29:32 am - Subscribe
OCEANSIDE – Shoshana Dixon's second son will be born inSeptember. She and her family expect to move into the first houseof their own by the end of the year. The house is one of four being built in five days this week byHabitat for Humanity. It's part of Habitat's nationwide Home Builders Blitz 2008. Thenonprofit organization has temporarily stepped away from jobs inCarlsbad, Vista and National City to focus on the Oceansideproject. Over the next 18 months to two years, 20 houses are planned oncity-owned property adjacent to the Libby Lake Community Center, atNorth River Road and Calle Montecito in north Oceanside, projectmanager Mike Gehl said during a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. Although the first four homes are expected to be completed by a 3p.m. “house blessing” ceremony Friday, residents can'tmove in for a few months, Gehl said, because a road into theproperty has to be finished and utilities connected. Gehl said these won't be traditional Houses In Wood . The grouptypically builds simple, rectangular, one-story structures withouta garage. The Oceanside project will have colorful, two-story,modernistic houses with garages. The first four are being built by professionals from VikingCommercial Construction and Turner Commercial Construction, but therest will be almost 100 percent built by volunteers, Gehl said. Kay Parker, chairman of the city Housing Commission, said theHabitat houses will allow families to pursue “the Americandream of home ownership.” That's becoming rare in SouthernCalifornia, Mayor Jim Wood said. Dixon, 37, the first buyer of one of the Oceanside houses, is alongtime North County resident who has never been able to afford ahouse. The Oceanside houses are selling for around $200,000, with zeropercent interest to families who have good credit and earn lessthan about $55,000 a year, or 80 percent of the median income ofthe average household in the county. Dixon, her husband, Chris, 38, an accountant, and their 8-year-oldson, Jacob, live in a two-bedroom apartment in Oceanside that isabout 700 square feet. Her new house will be almost twice as large,with a yard.
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Mood: ignorant

uebtoo06 The colored diamonds are becoming a trend Jun 15th, 2008 12:30:09 am - Subscribe
Keelenari Buying a diamond tiffany jewelry wedding ring is one of the biggest purchases one can make. Notonly can they cost a small fortune, but the ring has significantmeaning to the person receiving it. It's a promise of marriage,love and life-long friendship. Because of its significance, thispurchase is not something to be taken lightly and it is definitelynot something that should be done without doing any research. Oneplace to start is to research the four C's of diamonds, meaningtheir cut, color, clarity and carat size. The cut of a diamond does not necessarily mean the shape of thediamond. It refers to the proportions of the diamond and the anglesto which they are cut. The way a diamond Tiffany Ring is cut can really affect the overall value and look of thediamond. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep can be lookedat as having a dull look because the light that enters through thetop escapes through the bottom and sides of the diamond. However,if a diamond is Cut And Polished, the light will reflectoff the diamond, presenting a shiny and beautiful diamond. Today colored diamonds are becoming more and more of a trend, withthe most popular being the yellow diamond. While diamonds can comein every color, traditional diamonds still tend to be the mostpopular. Traditional diamonds are rated on a scale from D to Z, Dbeing colorless and Z being light yellow. The less color a diamondhas the better quality diamond it is. This is because the color ina diamond does not allow the light to reflect off of the diamond aswell as if it were completely colorless. Another factor that affects the quality of a diamond is itsclarity. Because diamonds are natural minerals that come out of theground, there tends to be some flaws. However, there are totallyflawless diamonds as well as diamonds that are flawless to thenaked eye. The clarity of a diamond refers to how many flaws thediamond has, as well as the location of these flaws. Clarityaffects the quality of the diamond because these flaws caninterfere with the light reflecting off of the diamond. Lastly, there is the size of the diamond, which is referred to asthe diamond's carat weight. Diamonds vary greatly in size and canaffect the value of each diamond. Often times people view biggerdiamonds as higher in value, however, two diamonds can have thesame carat weight but have a different value depending on the cut,color and clarity. So just because a diamond is bigger in size doesnot mean it is of better quality and of higher value. Another factor to consider in looking for a diamond is its shape.Typically diamonds come in eight different shapes: emerald, heart,marquis, round, pear, oval, princess and radiant. The shape of adiamond is really a personal decision based on the taste and styleof the individual who is wearing it, therefore it does not havemuch of an affect on the overall value of the ring. It is important that someone looking to purchase a diamond weddingring really take into consideration all the factors of cut, color,clarity and carat. Most would argue that it is better to have adiamond that is smaller in carat weight, but has a higher qualityin cut, color and clarity. However, it really comes down topersonal preference and budget.
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Mood: explosive