Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mixing it Up

I had the most incredible experience on Saturday. Really, nothing like this has ever happened to me, or at least I hope that's the case. Have I got your interest yet?

Here's the deal--I'm standing in line at the Garden Center at Wal Mart behind a group of three women and a girl, probably around 11 years old. In my cart there is a 20lb bag of sunflower seeds for the birds, which, in case you are missing the birds, so am I. More on that a little later. As well, there is a pack of 4 Hanes undershirts, a bottle of Round Up, some Fritos and a bag of tortilla chips. Oh yeah, two containers of deodorant. Why, you ask am I detailing my cart full? You'll know in a minute.

One of the women pays for some chicken with cash. She moves towards the door. The other three push their purchases forward. Two sippy cups, a gallon of milk, some tights, and dishwashing liquid. They complete their transaction and leave. My turn! After my transaction is complete, I ask the cashier why I haven't had to sign for my credit card. She explains if it is under $50, no signature is necessary. Except, I tell her, my purchase is $62.00. Hmmm.....

Pushing the cart outside I think to myself, this should not cost that much. I study the receipt. and lo and behold, I've just paid for the ladies in front of me! Heading back inside, I mention my receipt is wrong. and what I hear astonishes me. The cashier, a spry gray haired lady, explains that this happens with frequency. How? Well, apparently they make like they are paying using the key pad, hit cancel, grab their bag. and are out the door without paying! ($15) Check your receipts my friends! What sickened me the most was the young girl being exposed to thievery.

I have posted no bird pictures because, sadly, there have been very few to photograph. I thought it was the seed I purchased from Ace Hardware, thus, I went back to their favorite. Alas, still no birds.

Halloween is finally here and I'm glad that is the case. I must be some kind of hum bug, but I just don't get the ghouls, witches, the whole shebang. Here is one I saw along Gatlin Avenue:
Clever use of the moss though... I've never been a huge fan of Halloween; it was always a struggle to come up with four costumes every year. Mostly I don't remember too much about any of it except for one Halloween when the boys were very young. I was working at the time and rushed home in my surgical scrubs which was a no-no. The details are vague in my mind, but as I recall, I finished a surgery case, raced home to get everyone ready, and out we went. Where it happened, I can't tell you, but I remember we were filmed by a television crew for the evening news, and I was scared to death I would get in trouble for wearing the scrubs home! I didn't. Furthermore, I let my boys eat all the candy they wanted on the first night, hoping it would be gone quicker. I know some Mothers who would no more let their kids do this than walk out into the middle of a busy street, but not me. Eat away boys!

Because I don't have any human boys around the house, every now and again I take a photograph of the canine boy to send to Bruce. He was unusually cooperative:
Two good things happened yesterday: the Federal Bankruptcy Court purchased two additional large canvases for their building, AND, I got an email saying I was accepted into what I hope will be a really good show: Images in New Smryna Beach. Good grief, when just getting the link I discovered there is a Friday afternoon session as well! I must read these things more carefully! Anything can happen with the weather in late January so we shall see, however, from what I've heard it is usually quite nice.

When I got back from my bike ride late last week I found a green dragonfly attached to the closed garage door. You know what? He stayed there for nearly four hours even though I opened the door to put my bike away! How about that for being cooperative?
The wings are simply incredible aren't they? I sent a version of this to Bev, a former science teacher, and I mentioned that artists may have used the wings as a pattern for stained glass. What do you think?

The older you get the more one thing reminds you of another. When I saw a fence covered in these morning glories, I couldn't help but think of my darling Jonathan so loving the band Oasis and the song, "What's the Story Morning Glory?" I liked it too as did the love of his life, Alissa.
After traveling for a few days I discovered I'm not much for eating out. I don't know how Bruce does it! While home for a few days, he was happy to just go to the fridge (still clean by the way), and eat a few of my pickles.
What he would have really liked is some of that pineapple! That's the thing, everything out is so complicated when simple things will do. He, of course, does not complain, saying the travel and all related hassles are the easy part of his job.

Have I told you that when I do the laundry I put any loose change, found at the bottom of the washing machine, into a little piggy bank. It's rare that I find this though:
I remember a time when losing $7.00 would have been a very big deal. In fact, if I think about it, my first job taking x-rays payed $3.25 hr. You do the math....

Here is the pink house again; I don't know why it intrigues me so. This time there is a black cat which seems fitting for this Halloween post!
The last few mornings have been very chilly indeed. I've discovered that riding a bike in cold and windy weather is not quite as easy as hot and steamy! This morning, it's a bit warmer, so without further ado, I am calling it a post. Time to get on my bike!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Signs of the Times

From what I've read, polls are predicting a re-election of President Obama, however, if the signs I'm seeing everywhere I go are any indication, Mitt Romney will have given him a run for his money. That's not to say there are no yard signs for Obama, but they are few and far between no matter where I travel. In a few years from now, I'll look back on this post documenting what was happening in our neck of the woods two weeks before the election.
Apparently sticks in the ground didn't work for these folks. And then there's this one hanging high above the street from a gigantic oak tree:
Every now and again I'll see one for Obama:
Mostly, they are the lone ranger on a street full of signs for Romney:
The lounging cats could care less who wins the election:
I kept thinking about the car industry when I saw this one:
Rain from Hurricane Sandy left a reflective puddle behind:
You wouldn't know there had been any rain looking at the dry ground in this one:
It isn't only the wealthier folks who are backing Romney:
On one street I saw two folks in a row who were going with the "empty chair" theme:
I would have definitely shown more Obama signs if I'd seen them! On one ride I counted 83 Romney signs to 5 for Obama. Who knows what any of this really means, after all, it boils down to just who goes to the polls and votes for the candidate of their choice. May the best man win!

My market neighbor Jim is always saying how bad a recession can this really be if people can afford to dress their dogs? I don't know how to answer that question, but indeed, folks do spend money on things that, to me, seem so frivolous. They, of course, could say the same for me! That said, when exactly did Halloween last for weeks and weeks? On my rides I've seen some pretty over-the-top decorated yards, but none more so than this one which is so large it requires two photos, or at least it does with my 20mm lens!
There's that view, and one more to show the ghouls hanging in the trees:
Driving to the airport on Friday night to drop off Bruce's rental car I saw it lit up! Whoa!

Yesterday the market was full of dogs in costume, some very clever. This little Min-Pin had everyone taking his photograph.
I'm thinking this is what happens when there are no children in the family to dress up? Adults got into it as well, including the vendors who were vying for free-rent prizes. I still never understood who this couple was supposed to be, but during the crowd voting they danced which brought smiles all around:
The folks who run the beer garden got into the act:
The priest and devil on the right sell what they call "Heavenly Flan." Maybe next year I'll get into the act?
Jonathan and Amy set up a big pumpkin patch with games and apple cider. If you've been a reader for any length of time, you'll probably share my admiration for what Dana has done with our market. To think I started when the customers were as few as the vendors. From only about 15 vendors to more than 75 is a pretty darn impressive gain. Yesterday I was the beneficiary of more customers, having a super day. New customers, as well as some repeat business--both good for me. It did not hurt that the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than it has since at least March. I only wish I'd worn long pants and maybe a long sleeved shirt. Between the customer surge and the chilliness, this blogger fell asleep just after 8:30 last night. Fortunately her dear husband was just as tired--in fact he took two naps yesterday and still went to bed when I did. Traveling for three weeks will do that to anyone! When packing last night, he included more clothing--ready this time in case the trip lasts longer than he'd like. Signs of the times indeed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Timing is Everything

Two full days in the Los Angeles area is about a tenth of the time necessary to see what there is to see. No, I did not get to the Getty, or any museum for that matter, nor really much of any of the big sights, but I did see a few iconic places, and others, only a local can show you. So, let's begin, shall we?
How's this for a house? Carol drove us up into the hills for a stunning view of downtown LA, and if you look really hard, you can even see the Pacific.
We were in what is called the "bird streets" because all of the streets are named for birds. Duh Gail! Here's a little something from the Hollywood Reporter about this tony neighborhood. Larry Flint, of Hustler fame (yuk), lives here:
There are sculptures everywhere, and I do mean, everywhere. I believe I counted about fifty what with all of them on the ground and the roof!!

Along the way we saw this flower shop. Need I say more?
Carol was awesome about stopping whenever I saw something I wanted to photograph. Those $8.98 roses--not so pretty.
Despite looking like an office building, this is a home. There was a gentleman on one of the side balconies, which has the downtown view I showed you, and I waved. (My children are cringing after reading that no doubt!) After saying hello, he told us the house was three years in the making. Untold dollars for sure! More movie advertisements on Sunset Blvd.
No visit is complete without seeing Hollywood, and the Grauman's Chinese Theater, at least from a car window. As you can see the sidewalks were packed with tourists and people dressed in character. This is a funny picture isn't it? I'm not sure what the face-off was all about.
The Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards:
Carol was kind enough to stop so I could photograph something or other, and somehow that led us up into a neighborhood high above LA. Eventually we made it quite close to the infamous Hollywood sign you've seen a thousand times. A girl with her visiting mother found the same way up; after I took their photograph together, she took ours:
Here's where the tour bus takes visitors to photograph the sign, quite a ways from where we were.
Actually, in her 25 years living in Southern California Carol had never been as close as we were. Very fun! Yikes, I almost forgot--a stop at In-N-Out Burger, one of the things I most wanted to do!
Every bit as good as I was hoping!!

Sunday morning Bruce dropped me off at, of all things, the Beverly Hills Art Show. I was anxious to see what kind of photography was popular on the West Coast. Quite a number of the photography booths were showing their work on plexi-glass. Very intriguing idea. While there I chatted with someone from ArtCapitol. Just this morning I sent her an email with my website, and if you can imagine, she said responded within the hour!! Time will tell as I always say. I bought a print from this artist:
I saw the high price of gasoline in Beverly Hills:
Yikes! Carol picked me up, and following a stop at her home, we headed towards downtown. We only had a few hours left so we didn't see too much, but she did stop long enough for me to photograph the Disney Concert Hall.
Actually she dropped me off on the corner and went around the block, so not much of shot, but when I go back to this blog years from now I'll remember I saw it. And so did you! Probably the best thing we saw in downtown was a place called The Last Bookstore. Remarkable not only for the sheer volume of books, but how artfully they were presented. It's hard to describe how they used books as art, along with some mannequins.
On the top floor they even had a large area where the books were shelved by the book jackets colors:
By now you are probably on photo overload, so I won't show you any others-- red and blue jackets seem to be the most popular.

Dinner at her house followed by our ride to the Marriott at the airport. Flight in the morning, and this time I found out what it is like to sit in a middle seat in coach. Not nearly as fun.

Finally, while we were there Carol told us that most all of her neighbors are suing one another for noise infractions. I'm pretty sure I told you Bruce was facing similar problems from a tenant in the building where his Santa Monica job is located. It must be quite the issue in LA because I photographed this sign on the side of the Roxy nightclub. 
Well, there you go. Timing is indeed everything, and I did not have any more in Southern California, and aren't you glad, because otherwise I'd post even more photos!!

Back to everyday life on my next post!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are We There Yet?

If you ever visit La Jolla, California, I strongly recommend you stay at the Hyatt Regency if at all possible. Bruce has limits as to what he can spend for a hotel while traveling, and strangely enough, this Michael Grave's four diamond hotel is not too expensive. Am I ever glad that is the case because it is a wonderful place to stay. Every detail seems to be thoroughly thought out, with little delights for your senses everywhere. Wonderful use of color as in this beautiful tile with the fountains running into the outdoor whirlpool.
This view from the pool area shows the cute little circus roof which leads to the underground parking.
The lobby is beautiful as well, which is the case with the rooms. Great bed, linens, bathroom--all fantastic! The price to have Bruce's shirts done--not so much. $10.
Unlike my younger sister Lisa, I'm not one to relish driving in a strange city. So much so, much as I wanted to, I did not make it to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Bruce took off work around 4 last Thursday, and after consulting a map to Balboa Park, (where the zoo is located) I asked him if he would drive me there and I'd see if I could do it the next day. Most of it was fine, but the closer we got to downtown, the trickier it became. Couldn't do it! As in a lot of big cities, there are loads of one way streets downtown, making it a bit of a challenge for a first visit. So glad Bruce was at the wheel! I wish we'd had time to stop and get this photo instead of taking it out his window while moving!
The sun was beginning to set as we gawked at our surroundings,
Along the way we passed, Yard House, another California chain Darden has recently purchased. It was getting dark, Bruce was getting hungry, so we pulled into a spot and ate at Anthony's on the bay. According to a sign posted inside they are celebrating 65 years as San Diego's favorite seafood spot.
Too bad it was too late to see the ship visible in front of Bruce. The food was good, but if you're looking for a romantic spot, look further.

Because I didn't have the nerve for the zoo, Bruce decided we'd head back up towards LA, stopping along the way to check off his punch list in Carson.  Somehow I managed to convince him to stop at the Cove so he could at least see something other than the road, or a job site! We had a delicious breakfast overlooking the water here:
We sat just behind the pictured couple. Back on the 5/405 for the two hour drive North. Along the way we saw a nuclear power plant with these lines running up into the hills.
Carson is just off the 405, and here is his new Olive Garden there:
Mostly I just read in the car while he did his thing but I did make one little jaunt away from this parking lot. Checking a map on my phone I was reminded that the Goodyear Blimp parking was just down the street.
You just know I kept hoping it would head skyward! On the road again with a stop this time at Culver City mall. This Olive Garden is set into the mall--quite nice I might add.
And here's the view facing the street:
Chatting with Matt yesterday afternoon he told me he's been to this very mall during a trip to LA. Small world isn't it? Remember a while back I posted a picture of a guy getting his teeth whitened in the middle of the mall? Well, I won't be surprised if I don't a "barber shop" popping up in the center of Florida Mall like the one behind the green wall pictured here. As they say, "As California Goes, So Goes the Nation."
We are almost there---driving down Sunset Blvd. towards Carol's house we saw a sign ahead for Peck Drive. "Honey, we must turn around to get a picture of that!!" Ever the gentleman, he did just that and if you can believe it, when we came to Peck Drive, check out the corner sign!!!!
I can't tell you the amount of times we've all been asked if we are related! In fact, years ago, Bill was visiting his Aunt Carol, accompanying her to the Academy Awards. While in the bathroom, our Bill ran into Mr. Gregory Peck who was most gracious when Bill mentioned the above. Once in a lifetime experience, right?

Finally we made it! From the front of the house you would never know how much there is to see from the back.
This is the street level, but let me just say there are stairs and steps everywhere, including this bunch leading down to the pool.
There's yet about 29 more that you can't see leading down from the driveway. The back of the house, built into the hill is about three stories tall. That my friends is why they call it Beverly Hills.

I've only got two more days of adventures to share. Are you getting bored yet? I hope not!

You Just Never Know