Saturday, November 22, 2008

Two Saturdays

These pictures are for the baseball fans among us.
Last Saturday I spend a little over three hours on a 10K Volkswalk through five cemeteries.  We went to Colma, CA, just south of San Francisco where the dead of SF have been burried since the late 1800s,  There are fabulous statues, mausoleums, stones of all sizes and shapes and monuments large and small.  I would guess every nationality and ethnic group is represented, some in their own cemeteries.  A lot to see.  For more history google, Colma, CA and got to the city site for the history.  I will have to go back because I didn't get to see the Wyatt Earp grave.  (Because it was the Sabbath) He is in the Jewish cemetery because his wife was Jewish.  

Today, 11/22/08, I drove through the early morning, rather heavy fog to Davis to walk the 5K Turkey Trot.  I walked with some of my friends.  I had to work hard to keep up with and pass my 83 year-old friend who claims not to be competitive.  Jan and I crossed the finish before she did because she was distracted by talking to someone.  Coffee, scones, muffins, coffee and conversation followed.  This year's t-shirt is ugly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Here's a Ruby Tuesday sunrise from my balcony.

Friday, November 7, 2008


The clear sky and slightly crisp air on Election day put everyone in a very good mood.  I walked to my poling place.  There was a line of about twenty-five people.  Everyone seemed ready to party.  I voted and on my way back home a woman stopped her car and asked if I needed a ride. I claimed my free tall coffee from Starbucks.  

The world watched us on Tuesday and I believe we can be proud of ourselves.  Thank you, LaDawn for your words from France.

I want to share this story about my friend who has lost her ability to communicate  due to rapidly progressive aphasia.  She lives in a memory facility.  She has worn an Obama for president button, daily, for the last two years.  Legally she cannot vote.  However it was her wish to vote.  Her daughter talked with the memory care director at the facility and it was arranged for Elinore to 'vote'.  She was given an absentee ballot and voted for her candidate.  According to her daughter she was on 'cloud nine' today because she had voted for Obama in this historic election.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Hill

On Sunday we took a family trip to Apple Hill.  The orchards and farms are open with pony rides, clowns, crafts, apple food and millions of apples.

Here is Sterling  taking her first pony ride; she doesn't seem very impressed.  She is not easily impressed.

SloMoe the clown chose Paulette as a volunteer after saying I need a woman in her 40s.  Shae and Skyler jumped around her pointing.  "Auntie P is 40. "  They shouted.  The clown missed her with all the darts that broke the balloons.  This clown was very entertaining.

Shae and Skyler were volunteers to hold the tightrope while SloMoe walked it juggling toilet plungers.  Shae is very serious and Skyler almost dropped the tightrope when one of the plungers hit SloMoe in the face.

Other adventures included a little hike at one place.  Sterling, almost two, trudged along even up the rather steep hill.

We had a picnic at the Jack Russell brewery with pints of beer for the adults.  
It was a perfect fall day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008



A little taste of Butchart Gardens  We were told not to miss it and I agree--in Victoria, don't miss Butchart Gardens.

Ship's log, Thursday, August 7, 2008--Victoria, B.C., Canada,  6:00pm First line ashore.
It is difficult to describe our tour of the gardens.  Here are a few of the flowers and scenes we saw.  
11:30pm  All lines gone.

Back on board the ship we spent time with people we met in the Crow's nest lounge.  Jessica and the HAL cats played Hernando's Hidaway.   Paulette and I danced a Tango.   we had a couple of drinks and went to our cabin to pack for disembarkation in the morning.

Ship's log:  Friday, August 8, 2008--Seattle, Washington,  6:15am First line ashore.
We are awake early and our room service  breakfast arrives--again, right on time.  We are scheduled to leave at 8:15am.  Our luggage has been picked up overnight and sent ashore.  By 8:30 we are looking for our bags in the terminal and by 8:45 we are in a cab to the ferry dock.  Chris picks us up at the Bremerton ferry terminal.  Back in Port Orchard we pack the car, take Chris to lunch and at about noon we are on our way back to Sacramento.   We arrive home in the wee hours of the morning.

All during the trip we had lovely weather.  The only rain was on shore  excursions was in Juneau.  It  changed to partly cloudy for our bike tour.  Tracy Arm was cold because of all the ice in the water, I guess.  The other  places were pleasant.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


This will be a long post and will finish my writing about the trip.  It is about time.  I can't seem to move on until I finish this.  Ever had that feeling?

  Ship's Log: Tuesday, August 5, 2008, Sitka, Alaska,  7:00am  Leg go starboard anchor.

Our room service breakfast arrived exactly on time and we watched the activity outside our window while we ate.

The Sitka port is too small for a cruise ship to dock.  Therefore we must get to shore by Tender. My first vision about a tender included muscular sailors with oars in a lifeboat.  That turned out to be wrong.   One of the tenders  had been riding above the deck just outside our cabin window.  We noticed three crew members climbing up and down the ladder and then they lowered the tender to the water.  Each motorized tender has bench seats for about 100 people. No problem getting on.  I didn't have to step or jump across a gap between ship and tender.

We did not schedule an excursion for Sitka so we get a self-guide tour map and start walking.  It's early and the stores are closed as we window shop along the main street.  We find stairs leading to the top of Castle hill.  Up we go; no need for Stairmaster today.  The view at the top is fantastic.  We can see The Amsterdam anchored in the middle of the harbor.

Castle hill was the home of Alexander Baranov, the Russian territorial governor at the end of the 18th century.  He built a house for his wife who is said to have brought civilization to Sitka, Alaska.  The house is gone now.

We walk down stairs on the other side of the hill and across a bridge to the University of Southwest Alaska, Sitka.  It is housed in one small, modern building.   I was looking for T-shirts for David's kids.  There was no bookstore and only adult t-shirts sold by the office staff.  Back on main street, fellow passengers are swooping in and out of the various shops.  We browse an art gallery of native art.  The paintings and sculptures are nice, even beautiful but expensive and large.  

We buy a bus ticket to the Alaska Raptor Center.  The volunteer staff  nurse rescued bald eagles, hawks and owls back to health and help some to return to the wild.  One enclosure is a large room called the aerobic room where the birds practice flying before they return to the wild.  There is an area where those unable to return to the wild are cared for.  We spend some time in a room with Sitka, a bald eagle who cannot be returned to the wild.  A volunteer holds her and answers questions as Sitka looks from side to side.   Bald  eagles are awesome creatures.
We take a walk along the creek although the sign cautions us there have been bears on the trail. We do not meet a bear but do see evidence there has been one visiting the area.

We have lunch of reindeer dogs and beer at an outdoor reindeer dog stand.  We sit in pleasant sunshine and watch a groups of tourists searching for treasures to take home.  As we leave, Paulette tells me I just ate Rudolph.  

We wander in and out of art galleries and shops, buy a few souvenirs on our way back to the dock.  The tender takes back to the ship.

Ship's Log:  4:42pm Commenced heaving starboard anchor.

Another wonderful dinner a little dancing and watching the captain's toast to the passengers after he introduced the executive officers of the ship.

Ship's Log:  Wednesday, August 6, 2008, Ketchikan, Alaska.  6:36am, first line ashore.

Ketchikan seems to be built on a shelf between the mountain and water.   It snakes for several miles along the southwestern shore of Revillagigedo Island, facing Tongass Narrows.  We begin our self-guided tour of Ketchikan by walking up many stairs through a residential area.  Homes are built on the hillside so sidewalks are stairs.  There are new homes next to old dilapidated ones and rehabilitates buildings.  A short hike takes us to the Totem Heritage Cultural Center and Totem Bight State Park.  We tour the museum where they have preserved some very old totem poles in glass cases.  There are modern and traditional examples throughout the building and outside.

We take the Married Man's Trail back to the row of shops and museums that originally served as the bordellos of Ketchikan.  These buildings are build along and on stilts over the rushing water of a creek.  A bronze statue of a salmon "swims" above the water in honor of the upstream journey of spawning salmon.  We have seen salmon swimming upstream.    Walking back to the ship we buy Kettle Korn from a vender in a shop under a statue of a whale.  We have our picture taken with the only full-size bear we encounter on the trip.

Last chance to buy stuff in Alaska so we get our souvenirs on the way back to the ship.  Captain Henri Lefering greets us at the foot of the gangplank as we return to the ship.

Ship's log:  12:34pm: All lines gone.

I spend the afternoon walking all the decks to see what's around.  There is a teen lounge at one end of deck nine.  There are some Red Hat ladies playing ping-pong next to the teen lounge.  I see the shuffleboards--no one is playing.    I walk through the Lido cafeteria and have coffee and a brownie with ice cream, take a picture of an orchid on my table,read my book and watch out the window.  I walk through the Casino, the duty free shop, the photo gallery where the pictures taken by the photographers on board are displayed and for sale.  Ours are not worth buying.  There is a spa with expensive massages, facials and make-up for sale.  While I do this Paulette is in the bar taking a mixology class.  She learned to make martinis and margaritas.

Then it is dinner time and after dinner we go to the lounge and listen to Bamboleo, the trio from Mexico.  We dance and talk to  some members of the Chinese family celebrating their mother/grandmother's 80th  birthday.  She is the best dancer of the family.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cruising Alaska

Ships Log:  Monday, August 4, 2008,  Tracy Arm Alaska.  7:10am Entered Tracy Arm

Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are narrow and deep and over 30 miles long, bounded by Canada on the east, this Wilderness area is highlighted by two sheer-walled fjords.  

I knew this day would not include a shore excursion and wondered how I would pass the time.  When I woke up, I peeked out between the drapes.  I saw mountains, and lots of whit things in the water.  I put on my glasses and recognized the white things as various -sized pieces of ice floating on the gray-blue water.  It all looks cold under the overcast sky.

I took a long , brisk walk around the deck.  The mountains on both sides were amazing.  Some of the ice, we are told is ice bergs and we are only seeing the tip.  Near the end of my walk crew members set up coffee carts on each side of the deck.  In addition to coffee they have hot chocolate and some add-ons, Kailua, Baileys and brandy.  I choose free regular coffee in an insulated cup  that cost $18.  It is blue with Holland America printed in white.  Of course I needed it.  I pass on the add-ons.  

A full day to explore the entire ship.  I carry my book and journal with me.  The coffee cafe serves a terrible latte--saves me  money since lattes cost extra and brewed coffee is great and free.

After breakfast I find a place to sit and write.  Then move to a chair near a window to read and watch  the scenery go by.  Paulette has gone to an art auction.

Dinner at 7:00pm and then the Filipino Crew Show.  

At noon the weather: Light airs, partly cloudy skies and temperature: 58R/ 13C

6:20pm left Tracy Arm.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cruising Alasksa

Seattle, Washington
Friday, August 1, 2008  4:00PM  Let go all lines.
Seattle to Juneau--894  1 nautical mile=1.15 statute miles.

Excitement in the little Port Orchard house is high.  Paulette and I prepare for our cruise. Chris and Mike (our hosts) get ready for their  dance competition in Tacoma.  Packing, repacking, deciding what to take and what to leave.  We are loading Mike's Rav 4 twenty minutes ahead of our self-imposed deadline.  It's 10:00am.  Paulette and I are dropped at the Bremerton Ferry. We wait about fifteen  minutes and board for the 45 minute trip to Seattle.  The weather is gorgeous after yesterday's day of rain.  We hire an independent taxi driver who delivers us to terminal 5 for $10 in his Lincoln Town Car.  We enter gate 5 and there is the Amsterdam, our home for the next seven days.

Cars, buses, taxis and people with multiple bags are everywhere.  The boarding process looks daunting and time consuming.  I'm worried about Paulette's passport that expires August 23, 2008.  The recommendation is a passport six months to expiration.  We attach tags to our bags after we are given our cabin number.  They disappear into a scanner and we are directed to the next counter.  Passports checked (the desk person didn't blink an eye) photos taken, key cards issued and we are passing through the metal detector to the gangplank.  It is less than half an hour since Paulette paid our taxi driver.

Smiling crew members welcome us, in several languages, as our key card is scanned and we step aboard.  We are directed to the Lido deck for lunch and before we reach the elevator the announcement says the cabins are ready.  We find our cabin and Inan, our steward.  He asks if we want the queen bed turned into twin beds.  We say yes and thank him.   We leave our carry-on bags and find the Lido deck.  Here we are eating less than thirty minutes after boarding.  Yes! there is a lot of food.  Yes! it is good.  Well, it is lunch time.  We find a place at the rail of deck 9 for sail away.  We snap pictures, listen to the ships horns, (the Princess cruise ship blasts it's horn) in response ours.  The other cruise ship and the Seattle skyline disappear.  From the deck below Jessica and the HAL Cats play rock and roll music.

After half an hour or so we descend to deck 8 and drink beer as we chat with a couple from West Virginia and watch land disappear.  When we return to our cabin our checked baggage is in the middle of the floor.

We dress up and go to our first on-board dinner about 7:00pm.  Four courses: appetizer, salad or soup, entree and of course dessert.  After dinner we go to the Ocean Bar.  The trio from Mexico played cha chas and rumbas.  We have a drink and dance for a while.   Paulette leads and we are the only ones on the dance floor; almost the only ones in the bar.  

Saturday, August 2, 2008--AT SEA:  12:00nn  GPS position: 51 degrees 09'5N/ 130 degrees 07'9W  Gentle breeze, overcast.  Temperature: 54 F.

What to do on a ship at sea?   We go to the gym and walk on treadmills while watching the ship glide through the water.  Breakfast first:  anything you want and things you don't are available. A seminar on shopping in Juneau.  A presentation about a two minute make-over.  Selling something of course.  I find various places to sit and read, buy a not-very-good latte and walk through the gift shops.  Not much there to tempt me.  This is a good thing.  We decide to sign up for a tour in Juneau--Bike and Brew.  Of course I can do it.  I skip lunch but have some ice cream and coffee in the afternoon.  Another great dinner, no, I can't remember everything I ate; mostly fish and seafood.  My favorite dessert was a berry cobbler with ice cream.  We are seated with a couple from England.  He a retired school principal and she a school principal.

Sunday, August 3, 2008--Juneau, Alaska  11:12am-First line ashore
I set foot in Alaska.  We rush to take pictures of this accomplishment.  I have now been in all fifty of the United States.  It's misting rain.  We find the statue of Patsy Ann and Paulette takes my picture.  I take one of her while she tries to send a text with my picture in Alaska.  It did not work.  
Patsy Ann, a Bull Terrier was born in Portland, Oregon in 1929 and came to Juneau as a pup.   Her sculpture sits a short distance from where her coffin was lowered into Gastineau Channel as a small crowd  watched  in 1942.  Her sculpture sits watching and waiting with eternal patience, whether shrouded in fog, bathed in sunshine or covered with snow.  Patsy Ann was stone deaf from birth but she somehow 'heard' the whistles of approaching ships long before they came into sight and trotted to the wharf to meet every ship.
We join the throngs of people rushing to the shops, Red Dog Saloon, and other attractions of Juneau.  We purchase post-cards and trinkets and I find a somewhat water resistant jacket to replace the two sweatshirts that will soon be soaked.  I think, maybe the bike tour will be cancelled.  NO, The leaders right on time and we climb out of the mist into the vans for a drive to our starting point.  By the time we are issued bikes and helmets the mist has stopped and we are ready to ride.  The first up-hill is more than I can peddle I walk the last 100 yards and after that--no problem.  The tour is nine miles.  We ride through the University of Southeast Alaska, Juneau.  We stop at the Chapel by the Lake.  A beautiful log building with a view (behind the pulpit) of the lake.  We ride for a time and stop on a small beach where we have a snack and can see the Mendenhall Glacier across the lake.   We ride around the lake on bike rails and through a forest. One log house, not a cabin by any means, flies a big Nebraska N from it's balcony.  Our guide tells us the rule when riding through the forest is:  Don't let a bear eat the guide."  We get a closer at the glacier and a waterfall.  Then it is back in the van to the Alaskan Brewing company.
The brewing company, a real treat, (not just the beer).  We are handed a small glass of beer and led to where we can see the brewing tanks.  Our guide tells us how to make beer.  He is a great story teller and entertains us with the history of the company.  Everything that comes to Juneau must be brought in by barge or plane.  (There are three large brewing tanks.)  There is no road access to this capital city.  When our glasses are empty we are invited back to the bar for refills and then he continues the story.  He strokes his gray beard as he tells us the rest of the story.  We are invite to have another glass of beer and buy souvenirs.  The bike guide returns us to the dock.  We choose not to ride the Mount Roberts tram due to fog covering the view.  We try to go into the post office but it is locked--then we remember it is Sunday.  The Twisted Fish sounds like an interesting  place to eat but a little pricey so we opt to return to the Amsterdam dining room.  We never did get into the Red Dog Saloon.

10:43pm  All lines gone.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Trip to Seattle

We joined the line of cars waiting to load the 10:15am ferry to Seattle.  A security dog sniffs each car in the four lines.  We drive on to the ferry, park the car and climb two flights to the passenger deck.  I get coffee and settle in for the forty-five minute ride.  I watch passengers and the passing scene.  I eavesdrop on the group in the next seating booth.  I hear a local telling their southern visitors about the area.  They share "home" stories.  A cell phone rings. "Hello.  I can't hear you."  Someone else takes the phone.  "Here I'll see if I can hear."  pause- Speaker phone,  Now everyone can hear.   Someone begins to talk of the Tacoma Narrows bridge and how to cross only the free direction and go back another way to avoid paying a bridge toll.  They decide it is too much trouble to save a couple of dollars.  We d rive off the ferry, turn right and find  terminal five where our cruise will start.  We tour Seattle due to my less-than-perfect navigation skills. eventually we get to the bookstore.

We took a trip to Seattle to visit my friend Jennifer.  We drove on to the ferry, parked the car and took pictures of the trip.  In Seattle we visited the University of Washington bookstore. Met Jennifer and she took us to a tiny Mexican restaurant.  After lunch we caravan to a small but tranquil Japanese garden.  Walking among the perfectly pruned and shaped trees is relaxing.  In the water are many well-fed carp.  We see about out eight dinner-plate size turtles and one duck.  

Time to go.  Jennifer gives directions back to the ferry dock.  All is well.  We are following the signs to the bremerton ferry and suddenly find ourselves in the hell of Seattle freeway traffic.  I have never eard Paulette swear as she did in the five or ten minutes it took us to find an exit.  Fortunately  it was the street we needed.   Although the turn looks wrong when we get to the corner that threw us into hell we take the opposite way and find the ferry dock.  On board we buy Haggen Das ice cream bars for $4 each (worth it) and soon we are back in Bremerton.  Paulette has a private lesson with Chris.  The group Rumba class followed.  Great day.

I will post more photos of Seattle later.  My learning curve on photobucket is high.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm back

OK so I've been back for five days and haven't gotten anything posted.  Sorry.   My nice little internet provider was bought by COMCAST.  It took me four hours of waiting one day and then another two the next to get back on line.  I find it interesting how much I use email, my blog and the internet in my life.

Now I'm working on the slide show.  I don't think I want to use all 300 pictures.  Some of them aren't that good.  And I'm very proud of some of them.

Have a look at my first video.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Last day.

This evening we will be in Victoria, Vancouver, British Columbia.  We are going to the Burchart gardens.  Something everyone we talked to said not to miss.  Right now we are sailing along through fog.  Mostly it is cold outside but comfortable inside.  We are 120 nautical miles to Victoria.  The captain just said so.

We walked the deck for breast cancer.  It is the Holland American chosen charity and they have raised $1,000,000 in the last year.  It was a little cold but fun to walk the 3.2 miles.   Last night at our formal dinner they brought out baked Alaska for dessert.  The dining room staff walked around the dining room with the Alaska with sparklers while marching music played.  The chef and his crew came out for bow.  We were eating with a couple from Liberty, Indiana.  She had just retired from 28 years of teaching and he changed from teaching to investment business in the 70's.  It was the fourth night we sat with people we didn't know and there was at least one teacher in each group.

Yesterday we walked all over, well almost all over the port at Ketchikan, Alaska.  It sits at the base of a mountain and houses built on the mountain side are reached by long stairways.  It is a most interesting way of getting around.  We have taken a lot of pictures but I choose not to use our time to post them since we get charged for internet connection.  I wasn't going to pay but I wanted to write something while on the ship.  We have both taken a lot of pictures.  

Here's to BUCKSNORT coffee.

Sue:  I'd go again.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alaska at last

Today we have been sailing through the Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm on our way from Juneau to Sitka.  The scenery has been gorgeous, fantastic, beautiful, awe-inspiring and any other adjective you can think of to describe scenery.  We viewed the Sawyer Glacier and sailed among ice floes and icebergs from early morning until noon.  Right now outside our window I see mountains that rival Colorado and Yosemite.

Cruising is fun.  The food IS wonderful and always available.  

More details of other days later.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There are four of these fountains at the Bremerton Ferry terminal.


I told you there was MOOSESNORT COFFEE    

Far left is Chris and Paulette doing Cha Cha.

More pre-cruise fun

Paulette and I explore Port Orchard.  The main street has a few businesses, and antique mall, a couple of antique stores and The Candy Shoppe (Yes, we bought candy.  Salt Water taffy and peanut brittle.)

Lunch at the Corner Deli.  Great sandwiches and MOOSESNORT COFFEE.  Please don't leave out the R.  On our way to meet Chris we stop at the ferry port to see the dancing water fountain.  The wind adds some very splashy moves to the dance.  Flowers and fountains shaped like ship smoke stacks that spout like Old Faithful but not on schedule.  

Paulette has a Cha Cha lesson with Chris and we are off to Gig Harbor.  Chris goes to Costco.  At the YMCA (very posh and big)  I walk a mile and a quarter on a treadmill while Paulette takes a Zumba class.  Then we take a night club two step and a cha cha classes with Chris.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The Columbia Hotel  we had the first room to the left of the sign.  That's me standing under the little blue awning.  I took the bottom picture out of the window of our room.

Monday morning in Ashland we woke up in the hotel.  I got a free cup of coffee and prepared for the day.  No line at the shared shower so i shower.  Paulette is awake when I get back.  She showers and soon we are ready to check out. It is only 8:30am.  Outside we take a couple of pictures.  The Key of "C" coffee and bagels cafe provided our road breakfast.

ARCO for gas (higher than Sacramento) and on to I5 North to Seattle.  We listen to Les Miserables from start to finish and leave I5 at Eugene, Oregon.  To the University where we find the Duck Store and add significantly to the economy of Oregon.  

Paulette drives and I ride, read, look out the window as the ever-changing landscape.  Sometimes I read the road signs out loud.

Hours later we park in Chris and Mike's driveway.  No body home.  Paulette gets on the phone and learns; Mike is in Santa Barbara and Chris is teaching a dance class.  He directs us to where Chris is teaching.  We find her, Paulette joins the lesson.  I read my book.  Chris has two more classes to teach so we return to her house by way of Safeway where we buy two Chinese entrees for a late dinner.  

I went to bed at 11;30PM.  I don't know how long Paulette and Chris stayed up.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Here  we are at the Columbia Hotel in Ashland,  Oregon.  Yesterday we drove here from Sacramento.   Last night we saw a wonderful, very funny production of The Comedy of Errors.  We took some pictures I will post them later.

Today we go to Seattle.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The video is coming.                             THE PROJECT

Face painting from the Rivercats 
baseball game.

Shae and monkey with Monkey's new scarf knitted by Cynthia.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15

Shae's back at her home in Reno.  Yesterday Paulette and I watched Skyler and David's last T-ball game (David is a coach).  Then we went to Shae's ballet recital.  Both events were great fun.  And I have the video to prove it.  After the recital Paulette and I took off for Sacramento so we could watch the Monarchs beat the Sparks.  Well, that was the plan  and it worked up to the end of the game when LA Sparks had eight more points than the Sacramento Monarchs.  Ticha's parents sit behind us and I'm not sure what names her mother called the officials (she's from Portugal) but I'm sure they weren't flattering.

Here's how it went on this solo morning.  I slept late and took a walk without bicycle, helmet, elevator buttons to push or questions.  I decided the questions had kept my mind working.  This morning "I'm A Believer" from the Shrek sound track played in my head. I did not have to stop and look at the ants, bugs, or rest in the shade.  There is an empty place beside my bicycle where Shae's was parked for two weeks.  I bought my newspaper, left the (not digital) camera at Longs and returned home to have coffee and read the newspaper.  I must keep up with the news so I can answer all the questions the next time Shae is around.  I found myself asking Why? about many of the headlines.

I can't decide what to do now without all of the suggestions from Shae.  Is it time to go swimming?  Can we paint your crocs?  When are we going to see Auntie P.?  Can I call my mom? or Is my mom at work?

Now it's time to make a list of what needs to be done and what I want to do this week.  


Friday, June 13, 2008


Shae and I went to Davis this morning.  First we went to the Laundry Lounge to use a big washer to wash David's new T-shirt quilt and my new sleeping bag. (I got the bag at the REI garage sale last week)  Shae was helpful and patient.  She wrote and drew pictures and then looked at a cars for sale publication trying to find my car in the pictures.  Finally, we were finished with this errand and we were off to Cynthia's for our adventure of the day.  

The plan had been to ride a double decker bus, have lunch and then play in the Central Park fountain.  None of that happened.  It's final's week and no double decker buses were running.  Must remember that for the future.   At the AMTRAK station we consulted with the agent and decided to go to Suisun on the train.  We had one hour to eat and get more money from the ATM. Next to the station, the Village Bakery serves pizza by the slice.  So pizza for lunch.  The train ride to Suisun from Davis is twenty minutes.  We had an hour in Suisun.   We walked along the marina to an antique store.   It was hot, hot in Suisun.  On the trek back to the train station Shae's feet were tired.  She walked anyhow (not like there was a choice.)  We boarded the train and waited in air-conditioned comfort for the buses from Martinez to bring Bay Area passengers.  Work on the tracks between Martinez and Suisun made the bus transfer necessary.  We were glad we had not decided to go to Martinez.

Shae spotted lots of jack rabbits on the journey back.  She seemed disappointed when Cynthia missed seeing these wonders.   There were cows and horses to get excited about and we soon arrived in Davis.  

Ready for frozen yogurt we made our way to The Swirl yogurt shop and joined the line of high school and jr. high school students (fresh out of school for summer vacation) to order yogurt.  Two blueberry yogurts, one with chocolate sprinkles and one green tea (I'm the one who likes green tea).  As we enjoyed our yogurt, the line remained all the way to the door no matter how fast the two people dispensing the treat worked.

Back at Cynthia's house we talked with Terry.   Shae and Cynthia went looking for Big, the cat.  To Shae's delight they found Big under a bush in the yard.  Shae changed into her swim suit and we drove to Central Park.  Woe to us.   A graduation event caused the fountain to be turned off.  The thing I had forgotten was it is UCDavis graduation weekend and the population of Davis more than doubles--that includes the traffic getting out of town.  By the time we got to the freeway, Shae was  asleep for a thirty minute nap.  At home it is dinner time and we agree to watch Shrek for the third time in two weeks.  I think I've gotten most of the jokes now.

Now it's three hours until the Shae train leaves for Reno and at 8:00am she is still sleeping.  I'd better get my shower and pack my stuff.   Auntie Pea will be here between 11 and 11:30.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Monday about ten, Paulette called to see what time kids can swim at the pool.  1-3pm is the answer.  I'll be there about 1:30, she said.  And sure enough she arrived and we put on our suits and joined, Josie and Mazie from Ohio who were swimming with their grandparents and great-grandmother.  The kids were seven and nine.  As kids will they became instant friends and made up games.  The adults floated around and helped with the jumping in games.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  After Paulette left Shae and I went to Michael's  because they had ten things for ten dollars.   I got my ten things and was looking at some unfinished wood picture frames when Shae picked up  a flat piece of wood and said, "I need this for my project."  "What Project?" I asked.  "My _____ project." she replied.  Hands out in front of her making circular motions and measuring motions.  (I never did understand what the name of the project was.)  It was only one dollar and I was curious so I bought it.  Back home I asked if she needed anything else for her project.  I watched her think and think.  She wasn't coming up with anything so I suggested she use some little foam pieces in a kit she had.  "Yes, of course that's what I want."  With a little glue her project was done.

Late afternoon I needed to run some errands and we were off to the Linen and things sale--nothing there.  And then to the bank to deposit a check.  I intended to stop and the store for dinner items but on the way home decided we would eat out.  The first place we stopped at was closed.  So we went to one of my favorite restaurants,  Bella Bru.  Shae had chosen lasagna when I realized there was a kids menu.  I read the choices or options (her choice of language).
No she wanted the options.  Hint for grandparents: Always check the coloring page they give the kids for the kid's menu.   I knew that but forgot.  Well the lasagna was great.  No we didn't share.  She ate half and we took home the rest for lunch later.  I had a salmon burger.  Then of course it is time for dessert.  Across the parking lot is a Big Spoon Frozen Yogurt store.  You serve yourself from the machines and then add all the toppings you think you can afford.  Shae had Mango Tango  with caramel, whipped cream and cherries.  I had vanilla with caramel, whipped cream and cherries.  IT was very good.  Back home it was bedtime.  

Tuesday, Paulette came about noon and Shae went with her to clean up her classroom.  I met them at the dance studio and Shae and I went to Davis for dinner with my "dinner group".   We had two "guests" Shae and the daughter of Elinore, Kara.  Kara just completed had Phd and has a job in New Mexico.  Elinore has RPA  Rapid Progressing Aphasia.  (one more thing we can worry about that takes our mind.) More about that later.   We had a great dinner and I don't know who was most entertaining, Shae age 4 or Kara age 39.    Kara is so excited about her job, her move.  It was a fun evening.

We were busy today.  Shae decided on one more bike ride.  She first said no.  I reminded her it would be her last chance because we have plans tomorrow.  Five minutes later she had changed her mind.  We rode to the nearby playground and she had a good time playing alone and with me.  I'm not much for climbing on play structures but I cheered every move she made.  I pushed the swing and watched her "tricks" on the swing.  It was very windy this morning and into the afternoon when we went to the swimming pool.  It was fine as long as I stayed in the water.  Today a grandma had her grandson Bodie.  Again the kids played like best friends.

Less than five minutes after I read her story she is asleep.

And that's life on the Shae Train.  

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saturday and Sunday

The Monarchs lost on Friday--They were leading the first three quarters and then the Shock took over.  We will get them next time.  
Shae has a new jersey with number 4 on it because she is four and Hayne went to Atlanta and the jersey was cheap.  She also got a big foam finger (like Skyler's).  Auntie P bought dinner and at half time we had ice cream.  We all had a good time.

On Saturday morning Paulette arrived at 9am to go to Home Depot.  The project was building a catamaran.  Shae knew exactly what to do and with Paulette's help the project was finished.  for our next errand we were off to REI to get sunglasses for Paulette--really good ones that will protect her eyes since her lasix surgery.  I bought myself some because I had broken my last pair from last summer.  Shae really like one pair so I bought it for her.  REI was having a "garage sale" so we joined the crowd in the parking lot.  Paulette found a second pair of sunglasses--cheap and hiking sneakers.  I found a down sleeping bag for $60.  Shae said "I;m ready to go now." twice.  She was very patient.  Now it was lunch time and we went to the Elephant Bar.  The kids meal (mac and cheese) included a strawberry sundae.  Paulette and I were patient while she talked and ate her way through the sundae.

Paulette and Shae had a short swim and she didn't run this time so today there will be another swim time.   Paulette went to see Sex in the City.  I didn't think it was appropriate for Shae s0 we stayed home to rest.  Shae took a really long nap and when I woke her up she said, "Auntie P didn't come back last night."  She was happy when I told her it was still Saturday and Auntie P would be back to take her to her house at six o'clock. 

When they left I went dancing.  Paulette danced on Friday night.

Sunday morning I got ready to go to the Women's fitness run/walk in a very quiet apartment.  They met me at the end of the race and we visited all of the booths and got some almonds, some magnets and Jamba Juice coupons.  Paulette and Shae walked with me back to my car and set off walking to Old Sacramento and then a Rivercats game.  I bought my Sunday papers, came home, made pesto with goat cheese and tossed it with roasted potatoes and green beans.  It is really good.  I had lunch and read my newspapers.  I went to a West Coast Swing lesson and Paulette brought Shae to come home with me.  I thought she would go to sleep easily after a shower and snack.  Although very quiet she did not sleep until about 9:30.

It's 9:30 Monday now and we have been for a bike ride for her and walk for me to the pond where we saw a daddy duck and a baby duck and three jack rabbits.  Shae is playing dominos and when I finish here I get to play with her.

Friday, June 6, 2008


We are waiting for Paulette to come get us for the Monarchs game tonight.  I have resorted to a timer and cartoons to avoid answering the "When is Auntie P coming?" question a thousand more times.

Yesterday on the way home I heard a mother of a young child describe her life as:  "Molly gets up and gets on the Molly train and I get on the Molly train and away we go all day long."  I can say I  get on the talking Shae train every morning.  

Thursday we had our final party at my school.   Shae went with the kids to watch Cinderella until it was time to eat. Yes we had watched it two days ago.  The party, a huge success, included the giving of certificates to students for their hours in class.  AND of course a lot of homemade Mexican food.  Shae tried nopales (cactus) salad.  She liked it but didn't ask for seconds.  One of my students pointed out there were some real hot peppers in it.  She didn't get any of them in her mouth.

 We came home and she played with the art supplies Maria Paz had given her.   I finished David's T-shirt quilt.  It is not fancy but it holds his sports, concert and other memories together in one place.  And there are not five boxes of T-shirts in their garage.  Shae helped me take out all of the safety pins I had used while tying and binding the quilt.  An exciting game for about fifteen minutes.  

We went to  the swimming pool for a about thirty minutes.  She broke the no running rule so no swimming today.   When she was talking to her mother this afternoon she said "I didn't go swimming today."  There was a pause and I said tell her why.  Shae covered the mouthpiece of the phone and said, "She didn't ask."  Daddy had already asked why  so it was no secret.

We had a snack and it was time for a little bicycle ride to the duck pond.  We had a nice walk and ride to the pond and she got to take a couple of pictures with her (not digital) camera.  I am amazed at how much she can talk, how many questions she can ask and every answer requires a WHY.  I am saying there is no why.  I get a puzzled look and she says "OK" and goes on to the next question.

We had garlic, chicken and pasta for dinner along with some potato salad I had made.  She likes my potato salad and said she had never had potato salad before.

Bedtime took a while because of phone calls to say goodnight.  Here's how it went:  She called David, not available,  then Robin was unavailable.  As we hung up Denise called from Florida.  Of course she had to talk to her for a few minutes.  While we were talking Robin called back.  Then we called back to Robin.  Then everyone had to say goodnight and she wanted to start over again.  We read two  short books and she went to sleep.

Today we went to Dixon to clear out some stuff and junk.   That done we went to Davis for lunch and bought some post cards for her to send her family.  We shopped at the coop and picked up the box of vegetables.  A trip to midtown Sacramento for my race number for Sunday and we were home.  It was rest time.  Yes, for both of us.  We had a snack, she wrote her postcards and we mailed them when I picked up my mail.  She got a letter from home and was very excited.  We played Animal Rummy for as long as I could.  Now this darn waiting.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I forgot to tell you all about our two encounters with "wildlife":  Monday morning a ladybug rode all the way to Dixon on the windshield.  It crawled behind the windshield wiper for the freeway drive.  I guess it didn't want a second ride--It was gone when we went home.  Then when I was cutting some fresh apricots, there was a worm inside who seemed to be eating the pit.  Shae corrected me when I said it was eating the seed.  When she looked she  said, "You mean the pit."  My bad.


We left home very early (6AM) to have coffee with my friend Adrienne. Shae, a real trooper, dressed, brushed teeth and hair and buckled into her car seat without protest. Perhaps she was just dazed at the early hour.

At Marketplace she pointed out "the three little pigs" dancing in front of Noah's bagels and Peet's coffee. I asked what kind of bagel she liked. "What are my options?" she asked. She chose sesame seed--not toasted, no cream cheese. From the juice options she chose Mango Tango over Monster C and orange.

Adrienne arrived, we ate, drank Mango Tango and lattes and talked. Shae asked to see Adrienne's bicycle after she found out she had ridden it. She told Adrienne I had bought her a camera and added "It's not digital." (It's single use)

In the computer lab she continued to click away on the English Rosetta Stone program. After our break and snack she stayed with Maria Paz (babysitter) and the Spanish speaking kids. It helped there was a girl in class who spoke English.

We visited the district office to pick up the student certificates. She explored Telly's desk while Telly answered questions about everything. She had half-and-hour nap on the drive home.

After lunch she rode her bicycle (She rides, I walk, jog and run) to the polling place so I could vote. The poll workers, all grandparent age, talked to Shae. One man asked if her bicycle was registered and did she have a license. She said, "No" with a very worried look on her face. I told him she was from Nevada. He said. "That explains it. You're OK" She gave him half a smile. Biking back to the apartment, we change to swim suits and have time for a half-hour swim.

We dry off, dress and have a snack. Then watch Cinderella (I admit I dozed from the losing of the glass slipper to the end of the wedding.)

Auntie P showed up just after Shae started asking "When will Auntie P be here?" Continuing our busy day, we stopped at Michael's to buy soap for Paulette's class to make father's day gifts. Then Paulette went into Home Depot to find out about the first Saturday craft hours. We ate Swedish meatballs, mac and cheese and frozen yogurt at IKEA for dinner. Shae went home with Paulette. I watched two episodes of Ballykissangel (I get this BBC comedy from Netflix.)

Wednesday she will come home with me after my Argentine Tango lesson.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Our first full day together

Tonight Shae is too tired to type her own entry.  Since we read Animals live in Trees she has not asked for anything, no water, no I forgot to tell you something.  I peeked in and she is sound asleep.  WOW.

We went to work this morning.  She followed me around as I opened the classrooms and got ready for class.  I took her to the babysitter, Maria Paz.  (Maria takes care of our students' children.)  After about 45 minutes Maria came to get me.  Shae was afraid and didn't want to stay because all of the kids were speaking Spanish.  So she joined me with my students in the computer lab.  I gave her the English Rosetta Stone disc and showed her how to listen and click and for the next 45 minutes she clicked away.  "I really like that disc." she said as we made our way to break time.  In the classroom she was a hit with the five ladies who were in class.  (You can tell it is the end of school--attendance is very low.  Until the party.)  The ladies practiced their English by asking her questions.  

After class we went to COSTCO.  "Are we in Reno?"  She asked as we walked toward the doors.  "No this is Woodland."  It struck me that children are growing up without being able to tell they have crossed a state line.  And they are seldom more than twenty from a favorite, or at least familiar, fast food store.  We had COSTCO Pizza for lunch.

After a twenty minute rest for both of us we hit the swimming pool for an hour.  Washed the pool water out of our hair and set off for Longs Drugs.  I walked and Shae rode her bicycle.  For me. alone, it is a ten minute walk each way; including our ten minutes inside we were gone about  an hour.

After dinner we started watching ANNIE--too many things to explain so we watched Shrek one.  She is not old enough for ANNIE.  I found I didn't like it very much anyhow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shae's visit

Here's Shae with Daddy and Skyler at 5pm on Sunday when Daddy and Skyler left to go back to Reno.

After church in Reno, Daddy and Skyler and Shae drove for three hours to Sacramento.  

We all went swimming and Auntie P came to Grandma's and swam with us.  We had a lot of fun in the water.  Shae's life jacket works very well and she is learning too move herself around in the water.  Skyler brought his water rockets to throw in the pool and dive to get them.

Grandma cooked chicken and rice and made a salad and we had dinner.  We had vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Shae will type her own message:
to mom dad  skyler sterling    I   love   you and   miss you. shae

kykh0jkjkikk8ku9uui,mihnmnmn   vv ,,,kjllfkykn,kty;[]o7oypy-6-6-=--pokpllopk[[;[']'g]'\\
Shae tried her touch typing here and we don't know what it say.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Here's what's been taking up my time since the great weekend at Bodega Bay.

I take lessons and dance at Spotlight Dance Studio.  Twice a year the studio puts on a showcase and the students and teachers dance choreographed pieces.  One is in December and low key-- some people say it is a practice for the one in May.  Last fall, Paulette asked me if I wanted to dance with The Girlfriends; a group of eight women from thirties to sixties.  I said OK.  One of the teachers choreographed a routine and we set out to learn it and get the moves in our muscle memory.  We danced in two shows in December.

After the December shows, I thought but, didn't say aloud, "I'm not going to do that again."  I felt clumsy.  Then in March someone said, "We have to start practicing for the May Showcase."  I didn't say anything, I showed up for practice.  Our music was "Get on Your Feet" by Gloria Estafan and it was a FAST cha cha.  Paulette agreed to some extra coaching and practice time with me.  Inspired by the lyrics,  "Get on your feet...Get up and make it happen, and ...deep in your heart is the answer that will pull you through"  I did get up and make it happen.

  The entire week May 4-9 was taken up with tech and dress rehearsals and the performances.  It was a great week.  We performed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and a Saturday matinee. A group of my friends came to see the shows.  I am so glad I did it.

NOW the WNBA season has started.  We, the Sacramento Monarchs, won both the pre-season and opening games.  And last night the Seattle Storm blew us away.  We will get them next time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bodega Bay Weekend

We walked on the beach and some got into the cold, cold water up to their waists.  Not me!

There was kite flying and it is hard to get the kite and the flier in a little digital camera.  Then we went to the tide pools in search of sea anemones and starfish.  Few sea anemones but starfish seem to be out of season. 

We had a great time and the weather was great.  Our new rental was fantastic.  There is a lot more room than the little cottage we had rented the previous two years.  This one had a dishwasher, a working coffee pot, with a complimentary bag of beans form the management company.  We didn't bring too much food and had great meals thanks to Robin's cooking.

That's us on the spiral staircase.

WARNING do not read the next lines if your weather is still bad.
When we returned to the valley it was 92 degrees.  
I'm not going to say it was cold Monday and this morning if it is still winter in Nebraska.  It is just perfect this afternoon and I can hear the birds singing outside my window.

Friday, April 4, 2008

This and that.

To Shirley:  Yes, we do want to be healthy and able to get around on our own.  Probably a good thing I didn't come to visit.  Doesn't sound like you guys would have been much fun.   Also, the airlines are not very dependable these days.  Shoddy maintenance, cancelled flights, bankruptcy and so on.  Not a good time for me to travel.  Thanks for the cranes with moon picture on you blog.  

Shae came and stayed with me for three days.  We had fun.  She is full of questions.  And knows a lot of answers.  She states them with a lot of authority.

I just had a health scare.  They called me back for an additional mammogram.  The good news is they had to take about 8 pictures with a different machine to even find what had shown up on the original.   And then didn't find anything.  The doctor wants to check again in six months.  The bad news is I had to be squeezed eight times.  And it hurt.  Finally I relaxed enough not to hurt so much.

BIG NEWS.  Paulette and I are booked on an Alaskan Cruise starting in Seattle August 1.  It is seven days with stops in Ketchikan, Juno, Sitka and Victoria Island, Canada and back to Seattle.
I'm excited.

Paulette  can see without glasses or contacts and even looks different.  She is still very excited about her surgery and it is, apparently, a total success.  

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sutter Buttes

The Sutter Buttes, sometimes referred to as the smallest mountain range in the country rise out of the flat Sacramento valley about sixty miles north of Sacramento.  These mountains are privately owned.  They are visible from Sacramento on clear days and from I5 as you travel along with caravans of big trucks to Oregon.  The third time I planned a hike to the buttes it did not storm.  Twice before last weekend I had arranged to hike the buttes with friends.  Those weekends produced some of the strongest storms of the year on those dates.  This time the weather turned out perfect.  We hiked for six hours up to the top of one peak.  Had lunch and hiked back down.  It is a steep hike and when we returned to the cars I was sure I would not be able to walk on Sunday.  However I took Aleve and my legs were fine the next day.  

The snow-covered mountain in the photo on the right is Mt. Lassen,  another mountain I want to hike to the top.  The first time I went to hike it the wind blew so hard the rain was almost horizontal.  Well not quite but it rained a lot.  The next time it was June and the temperature 
was about 85f.


We have been doing spring for a while and I was waiting until the midwest temp moved above zero to post these photos.
Trees all over look like cotton candy, pink or white.  There were no pink ones on my walk.  I have several different routes to walk now that I'm a little more acquainted with my neighborhood.  I can walk around two drainage ponds that serve as stops along the migration routes for ducks and geese.  At the small one there are a number of very brown jack rabbits.  I was afraid they had been displaced by the high water but if they were they are back.  Several kinds of ducks are swimming around each time I pass.

Not everyone likes these trees due to allergies.  I like them even though they dry out my contacts.  I've had my windows open all day for the last two weekends and after the next rain I'm going to put my outdoor table and chairs on the balcony.   The tree and fountain are in front of a Bel Air supermarket in Yuba City, CA.   

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

flowers and sunrise


Sunrise yesterday morning from my balcony.

My African Violet showing off.

Last week, in my Davis class the student from France left to return home.

She brought me this Freesia plant.  I don't know how long it will last under my care but it was beautiful with the morning sun shining on it while I drank my coffee.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

See a little corner of my place.

Now you can see where the pieces are displayed.

This is my dining area.  I'm standing behind the table.  The kitchen is to the left.  See the sunrise?  About one minute after I took this picture  that sunrise was covered by clouds.

In the lower right is an Ikea door for a little cabinet I bought.  Paulette and I couldn't get it on.  Photo when it is finished.  Then I can show you my front door.

Monday, February 18, 2008

See what I made.

I had to do something with a quilt Grandma Anderson made for me when I got married.  I had used it a lot and it was worn.  SO...I cut some of the blocks out and framed them.  The top shoe, Mother once told me it was mine.  I suppose the other one was Aunt Julia's and maybe Mother's.

These two projects are part of my attempt to have everything in my home have a place instead of stuck in a box for sorting.  Paraphrasing Shirley: All this stuff takes up time and energy as well as space.

I'm glad I don't have enough to rent a space at the Brass armadillo.

Here's a piece of Grandma Anderson's wedding china.  I used a piece of a quilt she had made me and put it in a barnboard shadowbox frame.  Paulette and a couple of friends said it looks good.  I'll take a photo of the place where it is hanging later.   Both pieces are in the kitchen and the counter is messy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pretend Spring

Pretend Spring is what I call the week in mid February.  Around President's day,  fog decorates the fields in puffy patches. It also hovers above the water of the river.  Sixty degree days bring out the shorts.  Flowering trees are tricked into blooming.  They pop up between the naked ones.   During this week I enjoy as much outdoor activity as possible because I've been here long enough to know winter is hiding in the near future.   

For everyone east of Nevada I apologize.  I just HAD to write about this winter break.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


 I-80 was closed overnight from Colfax to the state line.  Chain controls are usual but closing is not.  It was a wet and windy storm that passed through here last night.  Today it is bright blue and sunny.  With just a hint of clouds around the edges.  I walked outside for over 40 minutes and I can't remember the last time I walked outdoors from home for that long.

The trip to the beach is not on my birthday but the last weekend of April.  

I resumed the "company's coming" cleaning that I halted when Sue and Cindy had to cancel their visit.  This time I hope to get it finished without a pending visit.  Here's something new; the papers on the kitchen table are all from today and yesterday--no pending, what shall I do with this  papers.  And they papers aren't all on my desk either.  I feel like I'm making  progress in the paper area.  

Wishing you all warmer weather with sunshine.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

UPcoming event

Before I left for the ST. George hotel last Friday, I made a reservation for a beach house at Bodega Bay.  This is our/my alternative to a Christmas mess.  It is MY birthday celebration.  It took a couple of years of suggesting, but now it is a tradition.  This is the third annual.  We have outgrown the cute little two bedroom place across the street from my good friends Terry and Cynthia.  This year we will be down the street a bit in a place with two bedrooms and a loft, all with queen sized beds.  There is an iron spiral staircase and from the web photos the view is great.

We arrive for dinner on Friday evening and take a walk on the beach before dark.  In the morning there is breakfast and the opening of presents.  Last year I used up the last of the Christmas wrap.  I get to be creative about wrapping this year.  Now I get to go shopping.  Last year I had lots of ideas; this year I think I may have to ask for ideas.

Last year Skyler and Paulette took an early morning walk on the beach.  After breakfast we all go to the beach.  We wear shorts, swim suits and rolled up pants to walk along the edge of the water.  There hasn't been much interest in digging in the sand.  At low tide we go looking for sea anemones and starfish on the rocks.  One year there were a lot; last year not so many. 

Monday, January 28, 2008


Is it Monday again, already?  I see I didn't do what I thought I would last week--add something during the week.  You, in the midwest, are cold.  Here in California we are getting webbed feet.  And the little boxes on the seven day forecast all have rain in them.  And there are chain controls over all the mountain passes.  I'm grateful it is still well above zero during all of this.

Here goes a story about the weekend.  On Friday, before the next storm rolled in I filled my car with gas and drove to Volcano, California.  Volcano has half a main street and on that street is the St. George Hotel.  First built during the Gold Rush, it burned down twice and is now made of brick.  I have, over the years I've lived in California, driven past the St. George and wanted to stay there.  Now I have.  There are rumors that ghosts inhabit the place.  I didn't see one.  There had been a ghost hunter group in the hotel the week-end before and I think they scared them away.

A group of women I gather with several times a year went on a week-end trip.  There were six of us in the hotel and on Saturday we met the other two at the home of one who lives nearby for food and talking.  We do have a wonderful time.

Back to the hotel.  I stayed in the Rough and Ready room.  It is about the size of a walk-in closet, very cozy.  We had (Friday) dinner reservations and had all arrived so we went into the saloon.  I walked in ahead of my friend Maggie and a man (who had probably been there all afternoon) turned on his barstool, looked at me and said, "Are you alone?"  I replied, No, I'm with her." pointing to Maggie.  He muttered as he turned back to his beer, "Don't say that around here."  This misconception did not stop him from trying to pick up all six of us when the rest of our group arrived.  WE forty, fifty and sixty somethings had a good laugh at his expense and I doubt he even knew it.

Dinner was very good and somewhat expensive since we had wine and dessert and worth every dollar.

On Saturday the sun came out in the foothills and it didn't rain until the middle of the night. Sunday morning started with clouds and by the time I finished the brunch the rain had started again.  Sigh.  I had planned to take photos of the wet barns along the road.  I did get some coffee and the best oatmeal raisin cookie I've had in a while in Amador City on the way home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

catching up

On a holiday to honor the man with the dream.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Paso Doble classes were a lot of fun.  Correction:  The leader is the matador and the follower is the cape.  I think the music must be the bull.  I won't be performing the dance in public but sure do love the music and knowing how to do three or four moves.

Last week was my first week of teaching two classes instead of one so my work day started at 8:00AM and ended at 2:15PM with an hour break and 20 minutes travel time between jobs. The new class has twenty-five people and we represent seventeen countries.  These students are so excited about learning to speak English although they have studied in books in their countries.  Some have also had teachers who spoke British English (as we call it here).  That adds to the difficulty of learning and adds to the fun.  

Survey:  What do you call an object given  to you to remember someone or some event?

It was also a week of extra things to do.  A friend was visiting from Seattle--so we had dinner.  Another friend had her 90th birthday so there was a little tea party with her.   And I attended a school board meeting, fortunately I did not have to stay for the entire meeting.  Then Friday there were errands to do before the dance class and after that we drove to Reno.

Saturday, Paulette and I went to Reno and watched the kids while their parents went to a wedding.  It was great fun.  Paulette is so good at keeping order.  Sterling walks all over now, Shae tries to boss everyone around and is ALWAYS right,  Skyler is the school boy (Kindergarten) and big brother.  He takes care of his sisters and fights with the oldest one.

Today is a holiday and I have been to the Apple store to learn to turn my video tapes into movies.  I went to COSTCO and spent money.  Now I'm home until school starts again tomorrow.  I have to decide what to teach.

I finished The Virgin Blue, by Tracy Chevalier and I'm now reading The Master Butchers  Singing Club by Louise Erdrich.

Something to think about:   "Our minds are like crows.  They pick up everything that glitters, no matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them."  --Thomas Merton

Thursday, January 10, 2008

follow up to comments, etc.

Changing Shirley's resolution,  Here's mine:
Keep the vices simple and acceptable, like chocolate.
Keep peace with world wide neighbors.
And may each new year find you a better person.
Be positive.  It's all good.

Dance:  Paso Doble is so much fun--did I  already say that?  This Friday we are going to do the matador and bull steps.

Thanks LaDawn.  And aren't you a little curious about the gifts?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 9

It is good to be back to work.  My new class--the one I'm subbing for ten weeks--is great.   It is Adult ESL and there are twenty-two students are from 8 or 9 different countries.

I have a group of people who will talk (not always true in a new class) and answer any question I propose.  So far they have been game for my daily questions:  What did you see on the way to school?   Trees, wet streets, people running and kids in the park.   What time do you wake up?  What time do you go to sleep?  Everyone gets up between 5am and 9am.  They go to sleep between 9pm and 2am.  It is fun to be back to work four days a week for two hours a day.  I think this is what I will do next fall.  

On Monday I will add my five day a week, three hours a day class.  I do have a computer lab to assist me with this class.  And I know most of the students and do not have to learn names. 

Must plan the fun for tomorrow and practice my Paso Doble.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

January 5

Next to last day of vacation and I am picking things up and finishing them.  I'm at the computer because I had a printer cord to attach and decided to check email and see what everyone is blogging.   Looks like LaDawn is on her computer.

Weather update:  It rained for about two hours and the possible thunderstorm was one very wimpy thunder--I didn't see the lightening.  There was a warning about snow on the radio; it might get down to 2500 feet because cold weather is moving in.  That's low enough for the hills around Vacaville and San Francisco.  

Last night I took a Paso Doble lesson.  There is one song for the dance and it is not usually a social dance.  It was so much fun.  My first new adventure of 2008.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jury duty etc.

Here's how it went.  On Dec. 31 I decided to call the information number and find out what was happening at the courthouse.  My number was not mentioned.  Like a blinding flash it hit me that Dec. 31 was my first day--the day I had to report. YIKES!!  I brushed my teeth, finished dressing and was on my way by 8:30am  I arrived at the courthouse about 9:00am  At the security check-in I said I thought I was late.  Don't worry, they'll wait.  said the uniformed guard.  

Upstairs in the jury room I stopped at the window and said I'm sorry I'm late.  The woman handed me eight typed pages.  You missed orientation.  Read this and come back.  I obeyed.  Back at the window after reading the pages the woman said,  Your group was cancelled.  Do you want to stay anyhow?.  Sure, why not, I nodded.  She scanned my card and said Have a seat.  So I did.

I read for a while, looked around for coffee and found the machine.  I heard other latecomers try to tell their long stories and be accepted.  

I drank coffee and kept reading.  At 11:30am they announced there would be no cases tried today and everyone was dismissed.  We were instructed to make lines to get our proof of jury duty and we could go home.  We were thanked for fulfilling our obligation for a year.  Maybe next time I'll get into a courtroom.

TODAY,  Jan. 3  I had lunch with a friend I hadn't talked to in about two years.  We are all caught up and promised each other to not wait so long.  I got home before the first of three winter storms arrived.  There was a lot of rain and some wind.  The second storm sounds worse.  There are blizzard warnings in the mountains, not just snow warnings.  The winds might get to tropical storm or hurricane winds in the valley.  Sacramento is in the valley.  I can't remember what the third storm is suppose to do and there is rain on the next seven squares of the weather forecast.

About the  photo on my previous post.  Who made this sculpture?  That's a better question.
California artist.  Taught at UC Davis.  Lived in Davis.  Did  some controversial art.  His work is one of two or three California artists that I can recognize.  Enough info Shirley?