Friday, July 31, 2015


To see more black and white photos by other bloggers, check out  The Weekend in Black & White, hosted by Dragonstar.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ka Lae, Hawaii

My Alphabe Thursday theme—Places I've Been

"This is it," I said to myself, looking out at the Pacific Ocean. "The farthest place south in the United States."

Thirteen years later, the Husband said something similar as we gazed out at the horizon. We were standing at Ka Lae on the Big Island of Hawaii. It's also known as South Point or The Point.

I've had the good fortune to visit Ka Lae twice. The first time was on my solo trip in 1984 and again in 1997 with the Husband, which was his first trip to Hawaii. These photos are from our trip.

The water at the most southern point of the U.S. was very inviting. Even looking at the photo, I imagine myself jumping in.  Imagining is best. The currents are very strong at Ka Lae, so swimming is not recommended. The Husband and I are good swimmers, but we knew it was best to heed the warnings.

The windmills weren't there in 1984. So I was very surprised to see them. Ka Lae is a perfect place for a wind farm, with the steady, strong trade winds. From what I've read online, the ones we saw on our trip have long since been replaced by newer windmills, which are owned by the Pakini Nui Wind Farm. According to the wind farm's website, the windmills produce power for about 18,000 homes.

Many historians believe that the Polynesians first landed here when they first came to the islands. That was sometime between 400 and 800 A.D.  Ka Lae is considered a sacred place. I think it is.

Soon after we returned home, the Husband bought a computer (love at first sight), and several months later, he said See ya! to his 9-to-5 job. A great decision by the Husband. Also, to go to Ka Lae with him, as well as by myself.

It's Alphabe Thursday with the lovely Jenny Matlock. Today's letter is K. Click here to read posts by other participants.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 41 with Tilda-Hilda

"Why are you up so early?" asked the Husband.

"I want to ride the bike before it gets too hot," I said.

"Take the phone."

Tilda-Hilda and pedaled off to Tres Pinos, going about a mile pass the village. Our round trip today was about 13.5 miles in 78 minutes. Whooo-hooo!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ms. Molly

"I own all that I see," says Molly, sashaying down the paths of the Mama's garden.

I've caught her eating bean leaves and sitting happily in a box of green onions. When I scold and shoo her from the veggies, she retorts, "You have no business telling me what to do."

Glaring at me, Molly kindly moves away from where she's not supposed to be.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 40 with Tilda-Hilda

The TV weather casters say we're going to go through another heat wave. So far, so good today. Tilda-Hilda and I went out later than usual so I could drop off books and DVDs at the library. The Mama said, "Don't go far." The Husband said, "Do you have the phone? Be careful." Molly the Cat said, "Mewww." I think she wanted to either a snack or to go outside in the front yard. I asked her if she'd like to ride with us. She could ride in the basket. No answer.

Tilda-Hilda and I both agree. Earlier is better. Today, we pedaled 10.5 miles in 59 minutes. We made sure we didn't overdo or overheat ourselves.

Until next time.

Summer Domestic Diva Challenge -- One Down!

Ha! I completed  #4 on my list of seven things to do before the summer ends. 

A jar of lemon peels covered with vodka is now sitting in the cupboard with the glasses. In four to six weeks, it will become lemon extract. I hope, I hope. 

The first thing I plan to make with the stuff is lemon cookies. They were the first—and when I think of it, the only—cookies that the Mama baked when I was a small kid. They were perfectly round, golden, and yummily lemon flavored. I have yet to taste a lemon cookie that rivals my memory of the Mama's cookies. 

If you're curious, this was my recipe, which I adapted from Mommypotamus's.
  1. Zested 9 medium lemons. Don't get any of the white peel. 
  2. Place lemon strips in a jar and cover with about 1.5 cup of vodka. 
  3. Shake well, then put in a cupboard.
The rest of the instructions are from Mommypotamus:
  1. Shake the mixture every day for a week.  
  2. Shake every so often for 4 to 6 weeks, which I shall translate as once every 3 or 4 days. 
  3. Strain the lemon peels and pour lemon extract into clean jars. 
  4. Store in cabinet or refrigerator.

What will I do with those lemons I zested? (The zester is a very cool tool by the way.) Make lemonade!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day 39 with Tilda-Hilda & The Guys

Tilda-Hilda and I went out with the Husband and his Sun Flame this afternoon. Yaay!

We pedaled to downtown, stopping here and there for me to take photos for my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister. We pedaled and walked about 4 miles. Slow and easy. Half the time we pedaled against the wind so that made for a good workout. 


Seven Things to Do Before Summer Ends

It's time for me to make a list of all domestic diva things I want to accomplish this summer. Otherwise, I will just vaguely think about doing them, which in my world means "I'll do it tomorrow." As we all know, tomorrow really never comes.

I shall ring Tilda-Hilda's ding-a-ling bell and...and...and...proclaim my list of things I shall complete before the first day of Autumn.

1. Sew the Husband another tunic.

2. Sew myself a tunic.

3. Sew the Christmas vest for the Husband, which I said I would do....uhm, two Christmases ago.

4. Make lemon extract.

5. Make limoncello.

6. Make candied ginger.

7. Bake energy bars. So, Tilda-Hilda and I can pedal farther and further down roads.

I can do these seven things. I can!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 38 with Tilda-Hilda

Tilda-Hilda and I pedaled over 12.5 miles in 67 minutes today. Quite good, I say, after missing three days.

On Thursday, the Husband and I went on hike, climbing up and down a mountain path. It was fun. But, my left knee was crying out in pain as I walked the last mile. The poor Husband, having to listen to me. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hiking Under the Redwoods

Another Friday, another black & white photo. Which also means participating at The Weekend in Black and White, hosted by Dragonstar.  Click here to see works by other participants.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica

My Alphabe Thursday theme—Places I've Been

I've driven and walked by St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in San Jose, California countless of times over the last 40 years or so. But, it was only last October when the Husband and I were walking back to our car from the nearby San Jose Museum of Art that we popped into the cathedral on a whim.

It was not all what I expected. The interior was large, airy, and light.  The ceilings and dome were  adorned with amazing art murals.  And, the sanctuary was surrounded by spectacular stained glass windows.

The cathedral began as a small adobe church in 1803. It was the first parish in California. (San Jose was established as the first Spanish settlement about 26 years earlier.) Earthquakes and fires destroyed four churches. The fifth, and current, building was completed in the 1880s.

Major restoration was done on the church in the late 1980s. In 1990, it formally became St. Joseph Cathedral.  Seven years later, the Vatican granted it status as a Basilica.

Here are a few more photos of the church interior.

It's the letter J at Alphabe Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock.  Click here to read more about the letter J. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 37 with Tilda-Hilda

Tilda-Hilda and I did another long loop today—over 14 miles in 74 minutes. We went over three bridges. One was short, wooden, and very low to the ground, more like a cattle crossing. Ah, cattle crossing. What a misnomer. A cattle crossing is supposed to keep cows from passing through that point.

Onward and upward.

Enjoying the Day

While pedaling Tilda-Hilda (my pink cruiser of a bicycle) along a zig-zagging back road, I happened to glance up. I sure am glad I did.

Today, I'm taking part in the meme Trees & Bushes, hosted by NatureFootstep. Click here to see works by participants from around the world.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 36 with Tilda-Hilda

Tilda-Hilda's and my mantra today was: Traverse, traverse, traverse. Zig-zag up the hill.

Because we have a late morning appointment, we did a short ride today. It was invigorating. I averaged an 11.1 mph pace on our 7.77 mile route (I love the redundancy in digits) in 42 minutes.

I discovered something today. A bicycle ride can clear up a morning headache. Yaay!

Until the next time.

Five Things On My Desk

I have more like 200+ things on my desk if I were to count individual papers and photographs. My desk was originally a kitchen table, which means chaos rules.  Though I think it's relatively neat at the moment.

Okay, five things that are on my desk.
  1. Two seeds—an apricot pit and a lemon seed from fruit in our backyard. Well, there aren't any more apricots. The Mama, the Husband, and I happily ate them all. Molly the Cat turned her nose to them.
  2. A brown rubber lizard. I got it and several of its siblings more than 30 years ago. I gave the siblings away as trick gifts. Yes, I've scared people with the lizard. It doesn't have a name. I wonder if it would like to be called Buddy.
  3.  My address book that fits neatly in my purse, if I remember to bring it.
  4.  A paperweight that has a dandelion inside it. The Father-in-law gifted it to me long ago.
  5. Recipes for soft gingerbread cookies, lemon-poppy seed quick bread, and a friend's mom's recipe for Spanish rice.
What's on your desk? 

P.S. It's just past midnight and still 72 degrees.  I'm listening to a chorus of crickets. It's rather delightful.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 35 with Tilda-Hilda

The other night I dreamt that Tilda-Hilda had two flat tires. I asked the Husband what that could mean.

"I don't know," he said. "Maybe it has to do with the car tires we're going to buy."

I hope so. Knock on wood that Tilda-Hilda doesn't ever get two flat tires at the same time.

Just before I went out the door this morning, the Mama called out to me from her bedroom. I peeked in and told her I was going for a ride.

She sat up in bed. "Don't go far," she said.

"I won't."

The dream. The Mama's warning. A sky that looked like it could rain. Maybe I shouldn't go out, I thought. But, it had been two days since the last ride. And, my appetite has been up lately. So, out the door I went.

Tilda-Hilda and I pedaled for 78 minutes, roaming around 14.5 miles, today. No flats. Okay, I didn't pay attention to the Mama. But, I did turn around on one road when I saw a Confederate flag.

Random Scenes: First Meeting

First Meeting
by Su-sieee! Mac

Lianne and Brian tumbled to the sand, their legs tangling together. Two barking Saint Bernard puppies rushed up and climbed all over them.

“Off, Pooch! Get off!” Lianne and Brian said at the same time in the same stern voice. Neither of the puppies obeyed.

 “I give up!” Lianne laughed and tried to cover her face from an exuberant dog’s tongue.

“You can’t give up!” Brian said between laughs. “Stop that Pooch!”

“Look after your own dog,” said Lianne, managing to get a hold of her dog.

“That’s what I am,” Brian said, holding his puppy to his chest.

 “Your dog's name is Pooch?’”


“Copy cat.”

“Pooch?” He nodded to Lianne’s pup.

 “You bet.”

 Brian grinned. “I’m in the midst of a genius.”

“Or mediocrity,” said Lianne, grinning back.

"What have we here?"

Lianne gazed up at a tall woman who looked like she stepped out of a fashion magazine.

"Honey," said Brian, his legs still entwined with Lianne's. "This woman's puppy is Pooch. Isn't that funny?"

"If you say so," the woman said. "I need to get to work, Brian."

She turned and headed towards the parking lot. Brian turned to Lianne, "I'm sorry. I don't know what happened."

"Me neither," Lianne said. "Up, Pooch!"

Both dogs stood up.

Lianne and Brian laughed. Brian stood up and held out a hand to Lianne.

"Thanks," said Lianne, "But, I think I'll sit here for awhile."

"Okay. Well,  uh, here's where you tell me your name."


"Lianne," he said, scooping up his dog. "I'm Brian. And, you know Pooch. Well, okay. I hope to run into you again."

"Same here," she said, holding onto her Pooch.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From Bela Lugosi to Tina Fey

By Screenshot from "Internet Archive" of the movie Dracula (1931)
( [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Blogger friend Birgit of BB Creations is a movie maven. (I don't know anyone else who has seen Start the Revolution Without Me.) Several days ago, she did a post around the concept of six degrees of separation. Within five moves, she connected Strangers on a Train to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in five moves.  Check out the post yourself.

After reading Birgit's post, I wondered if you could connect any two actors within six moves.  Bela Lugosi and Tina Fey, for instance.  Birgit made the connection, but she's giving me a chance to make my connection before unveiling hers. If she hadn't, I probably wouldn't.  Researching the question was fun and didn't take as long as I thought it would. 

So, here you go: How Bela Lugosi and Tina Fey are connected.

1. Bela Lugosi and Greta Garbo co-starred in Ninotchka.

2.  Greta Garbo was in Grand Hotel with Joan Crawford.

3. Joan Crawford starred in "Eyes", an episode on Night Gallery, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.

4. Steven Spielberg directed Lincoln, in which Joseph Gordon Leavitt portrayed Robert Todd Lincoln.

5. Joseph Gordon Leavitt played an uncredited cameo bit in The Brothers Bloom starring Mark Ruffalo.

6. Mark Ruffalo had a role in Date Night starring Tina Fey


Friday, July 17, 2015

Look. Up in the Sky!

Today, I'm participating in The Weekend in Black and White hosted by Dragonstar. To see more black and white photos by bloggers around the world, please click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 34 with Tilda-Hilda

I didn't think I would have a chance to go out riding with Tilda-Hilda this morning. The fog was thick when I woke up. Fortunately, it started breaking up within an hour. So, off we went. It would've been a good day for a long ride, but I told the Husband we were going through the neighborhoods. I had the phone, but I didn't feel like calling.

As a compromise with myself, Tilda-Hilda and I pedaled down a road parallel with the last neighborhood. We also took a very short side trip on a road that ended at a winery. That's what's beyond Tilda-Hilda in the photo.

Our trip today was nearly 10 miles, which we did in 54 minutes.

Happy trails to you.


My Alphabe Thursday theme—Places I've Been

We've all traveled somewhere via our imagination. Maybe after we read or listened to a grand story, saw a wonderful movie or TV show, or heard an amazing song or sound. Until I was grounded with a serious job (translate: heavy responsibilities) in my 20s, I had a rich, vivid imagination. With each, and even more, serious job or work project, my imagination seemed to get duller and duller.

When I feel low on imagination, I visit a particular memory. And, slowly I feel my imagination edging back. 

Many years ago while visiting the Only and Older Brother and his family,  Youngest Niece asked me to make stuff out of play dough with her.

"Sorry," I said, flopped out on the couch. "My imagination isn't working today. There's nothing inside my head."

"You can borrow some of mine," the five-year-old sweetie said. She pressed her fingertips on her forehead, then pressed them on mine.

How could I not play with Youngest Niece after she loaned me her imagination?  I pinched off a piece of clay and pretended enthusiasm. After awhile I got into rolling, molding, and forming the different colors of clay into figures and buildings. Together,  Youngest Niece and I made up stories about our creations. The heaviness and tiredness I felt melted away. 

When I was getting ready to go home,  Youngest Niece ran up to me. "Wait, Auntie Susie. I need my imagination back." I bent down. She pressed her fingertips to my forehead, then pressed them on hers.

It's Alphabe Thursday with the lovely Jenny Matlock. Today's letter is I. Click here to read other participants' posts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Top 10 Movie Characters, Part 2

Last Tuesday, I wrote about the first five of my 10 favorite movie characters. Today, I give you the second half of my list. I presented my top characters in ABC order by their first names. If you missed the first half of the list, here's the link. Thanks, again, to Birgit of BB Creations for the suggestion. That woman loves her movies.

Lucy Kelson in Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is an activist and public-interest attorney who has agreed to work for corporate I-only-care-about-a-good-time George (Hugh Grant) in exchange for the company not demolishing the community center in her parents' neighborhood in New York. Nearly right away, Lucy is at George's beck and call to help him decide on such personal things as the color of his tie. Why doesn't the hardworking, competent Lucy draw the line between George's legal and personal needs? Simple. She cares too much for George, but she doesn't want to admit it.

This is one of my favorite girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy movies. It has one of the best Cinderella scenes in my book: The usual disheveled Lucy is gussied up in a designer dress and hair combed up and back in an ooh-la-la look. George sees her and something sparks in his brain and crotch. He realizes he loooooooooves her. They shyly meet in the center of floor and dance.

But, unlike Cinderella, the spoiling boom isn't midnight, it's the kiss-ass, gold digger replacement for Lucy, who lets it slip that George's company is going to demolish the community center.  After two more great Lucy "Damn you, Replacement!" scenes, Lucy turns a very cold shoulder to George. Was he be able to unfreeze it?

Phil in Groundhog Day (1993)
Phil (Bill Murray) is arrogant. When I first saw the movie, I was ready to bail out after the first scene, because Phil is full of himself. But, Phil is played by Bill Murray so I hung in there. I liked how Phil changed for the better. He goes from having very low esteem and being disliked by people, which is why he's so full of himself, to being confident, friendly, and helpful and very well-liked and loved. Best of all, Phil is able to give his heart unconditionally to the woman (Andie McDowell) he loves.

For those who haven't seen Groundhog Day, the premise is this: Phil's day, which is Groundhog Day, keeps repeating itself until he gets everything right in the minds of the Infinite Wisdom. It had to have taken a very long time because Phil takes up piano lessons and is playing classical and jazz songs by the end of the movie.

Steve Meyers in The Man Who Sued God (2001)
Steve Meyers (Billy Connelly) is my kind of guy.  Others see him as a slacker, a ne'er do well, a loser. Not me. He's intelligent, witty, and sincere. (And, he's portrayed by Billy Connelly.)

Steve's a lawyer who no longer practices. I forget why. Instead, he simply enjoys his life, turning the other cheek. Until his insurance company won't pay for the destruction of his boat from lightening because that was an act of God. Angry, Steve sues God by suing the churches. Ha! He got the church leaders sweating. After all, what if Steve should win.

Spoiler alert: Steve eventually drops the case. His reason: I'm not telling you. Simply know that I found Steve's reason very uplifting.

Susan Cooper in Spy (2015)
Susan (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA special agent whose job is to be the eyes and ears for her handsome partner  (Jude Law) in the field. By monitoring the surveillance cameras, Susan tells handsome partner through his earpiece where the danger is in the room.

One day, handsome partner gets killed and she becomes his replacement to find the bad guy to the chagrin of the other agents. Susan is miffed that she must disguise herself as fuddy duddy ladies. Doesn't matter. Susan is anything but fuddy duddy.

I love Susan's transformation into a fierce warrior woman who cannot be stopped. Best part was that she had all that good stuff inside her all the time. Worse part, she didn't do anything about it because she fell in love with the handsome partner. That's okay, without the worse part, we wouldn't have a story. I think Wonder Woman would be happy to have Susan as an ally. Wowza! I can already see it. What a duo.

When the movie ended, I actually said, "I'm satisfied." I don't recall ever feeling that way about a movie.

Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
I like to think that every girl/lady/woman who marches to a different drum beat has at least one favorite teenage movie in which the awkward girl gets the guy in the end. Some Kind of Wonderful is mine and Watts is that girl for me.  She's described as a tomboy, because she likes to play drums, and wears jeans, boy's shirts, and Converse shoes. That does not make a tomboy. Watts acts tough, but she really isn't. That's her bluff to maintain sanity. Her best friend is a guy (Eric Stoltz) who thinks he's in love with a cheerleader. Watts being the loyal friend helps him go after the girl. 

The writer was true to Watts. She didn't have to dress up in girly-girl ooh-la-la fashion to get the guy to think, "Wowza! She's beautiful. I love her." Not at all. The guy realizes he loves Watts when he finally sees Watts for who she is, which she may not—sweet, confused, tender, hard, funny, and supportive. And, when was that? After Watts taught him how to kiss a cheerleader.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 33 with Tilda-Hilda

Tilda-Hilda and I had an excellent ride this morning, 10 miles in 55 minutes. It resulted in me sweating afterwards for quite awhile. Zap! Zap! Zap! Take that, Fat Cells! Mwaaahhaaa.

We're not scared of hills, I'll tell you what, as Hank Hill (of King of the Hill) might say. We pedaled up a hill, coasted down another, and pedaled right up another one. I don't know about Tilda-Hilda, but I feel like I could face anything. Even the black rat that may be in the backyard (See the previous post). I saw a cute black kitten scurry quickly around A&W, which made me wonder if the black rat is actually a black kitten. I can only hope.

We stopped downtown for a photo in front of the biker's mural that celebrates Hollister as being the "Birthplace of the American Biker". Yes, that's Marlon Brando gazing wistfully at Tilda-Hilda. Did you ever see that movie The Wild One, in which Brando played a supposed rebel of a biker? It was loosely based on a 1947 out-of-control biker moment that took place in Hollister. Hence, the reason for Marlon Brando being on the mural. If you'd like to know more about this bit of Hollister history, check here.

Until later.

I'm Not Scared of Rats.

10.  I feel like numbering. No reason.

9.  Molly the Cat chased a rat in the backyard yesterday evening. I opened the sliding door. Flash! Out went Molly. She hid behind two planters, her tail wagging. Zoom! There went a black rat. Jeez.

8.  I tell myself that there's no reason to be scared of rats.

7.  Shudder.

6.  Molly wouldn't follow me into the garage as I took out the garbage.

5.  No reason to be scared of rats.

4.  I wish I hadn't seen the rat.

3.  I cannot pretend that I saw the rat.

2.  If Molly catches the rat, she's going to rush it into the house.

1.  Shudder.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 32 with Tilda-Hilda

Tilda-Hilda wanted to pose in front of something different this morning, especially since we were going further out. Not orchards. Not barns. Not signs.


Our ride today was relatively flat, which meant we pedaled a bit more in about the usual time. Over 12 miles in 64 minutes. Whooo-hooo!

Until the next time.