Snapshots of life in the Golden State : Carrying On a Far-Flung Family Honeymoon Habit

We're not just talking family values here; we're talking corps values.

Thirty years after his newlywed parents practically honeymooned in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps, John Garamendi Jr. is doing likewise with his bride, heading south to Paraguay for a spree with the Corps.

In a perky holiday newsletter, the son of former insurance commissioner and 1994 Democratic gubernatorial aspirant John Garamendi shares the news that he and Colleen Denny are leaving behind Mike the dog to work in Paraguay for two years--she on maternal and child health programs, and he on rural water supplies and sanitation.

John and Patti Garamendi volunteered for Peace Corps duty right out of Berkeley, instead of the National Football League spot Garamendi might have had.

Not that there would have been the least glitch in the younger couple's enlistment, but just in case, mother/mother-in-law Patti Garamendi is now the Peace Corps' recruitment director.

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Eggnoggin' Time

Whether you like it regular or low-fat, California dairy processors supply us with millions of gallons of thick, sweet eggnog every holiday season which--for eggnog--runs from Halloween to New Year's Day. Below are the millions of gallons produced here over the previous seven years:

Year: Millions of Gallons

1994: 1.56

1993: 1.21

1992: 1.10

1991: 1.46

1990: 1.15

1989: 1.74

1988: 1.91

Source: California Department of Food and Agriculture, Dairy Marketing Branch

Researched by TRACY THOMAS / Los Angeles Times

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And before Willie Brown is even sworn in . . .: The headline on an Associated Press wire story: "San Francisco Bay Area Giving Up . . . "

Before you sell your Tenderloin time-share, the story was about charitable donations in the Bay Area, and the second part of the headline read, "But Need Greater This Year." You couldn't believe that the city that survived the 1906 quake would surrender to a mere change of administration, could you?

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Ladies aid: In an interesting assessment of charitable priorities, both a 36-year-old plastic doll with a lavish wardrobe and 13 elderly women have been spared possible evictions.

The women, many of them ailing, are tenants in subsidized apartments in Pacific Grove, where some have lived for years. A $50 rent hike meant the prospect of having to move, but Legal Services for Seniors has had offers of help, from a man who wanted to deduct $50 a week from his paycheck, from a doctor who said he'd pay the difference. Lawyers are negotiating . . .

And when 36-year-old Barbie was threatened with being bumped from her Palo Alto museum-home along with 20,000 articles of clothing and personal effects after 11 years in residence, the world's generosity flowed like a new line of Mattel accessories. An eviction suit against the Barbie Doll Hall of Fame was dropped, and the risk that Barbie's newest career incarnation would be as bag lady brought cash flowing in from England, Canada, South Africa and all over the United States.

Says collection owner Evelyn Burkhalter: "I think this has brought into focus for the world what we have here." Whatever it is.

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Calendar boy: Was it really only a year ago that Jim Brulte--you remember, Republican of Rancho Cucamonga, the Assembly's imposing GOP leader--declared with such incontrovertibility, "I'm going to be speaker of the Assembly. It's just a matter of time"?

Since then, three people have been speaker--none of them Brulte--and January may bring a fourth. And Mr. Brulte is running for a seat in the red chamber, the state Senate.

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See here, private enterprise: Dan Schnur, longtime press secretary to candidate and Gov. Pete Wilson, press guy for the state Republican Party, the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Quayle '88 campaign, has left life under the Capitol dome for the chance of lunching at Le Dome, as a senior VP for a California public affairs consulting firm.

"After so many years in politics," he declared in his job announcement, "I never saw myself as the private sector type." His longtime boss, Wilson, has been on the public sector payroll for 29 years and has at least another three to go. Could Schnur's new job be the test volley in Wilson's second-term push for a massive privatization of state government and its workers?

EXIT LINE

"If I ever get desperate, I could always go shoot people and just take what they got. . . . It's what this country was built on, taking from others."

--Accused killer Robert James Acremant, 27, who confessed in a San Francisco Examiner interview to fatally shooting a friend and two Oregon women.

California Dateline appears every other Friday.

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