Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cows Outstanding in Pumpkins

I didn't know cows ate pumpkins. I wonder if they might like pumpkin pie.


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Monday, September 28, 2015

Finding Order in Chaos

Yesterday afternoon, procrastinating me started thinking about my flower arrangement entries for the fair, which are due on Wednesday afternoon.

I opened one of the kitchen cupboards and staring boldly at me, obviously begging to be in the fair, was an Eiffel Tower martini glass.  "I'm for the A Touch of Glass dry floral arrangement," it proclaimed. 

"Okay," I said. "Let's go." We went to the office where I set the Eiffel Tower martini glass on the drawing board, into which the poor Husband keeps bumping as he goes in and out of the office.

Before I knew it, the dried green moss called out from its basket on the floor, "Hey! Hey!"

Bammm! A handful of moss planted itself in the glass, draping itself whatever way it wanted.

The tiny blue straw flowers I bought the other day made a noise, "Me! Me! Me!"

Bammmm! The tiny flowers stood proudly in the moss.

"Yoooo-hoooo!" The fake pearls waved from its box. "Eiffel tower. Martini. You need us."

Not-a-bam. The fake pearls got lost in the moss.  "More, more," they cried. They may be right. The arrangement needs something to keep everything in place. But, I still need to make my wrap-around bracelet that features the fake pearls.

So, when the moss, tiny blue straw flowers, and the fake pearls quieted down, I had myself a work in progress. At first, I called it Dystopia. Negativity did not sit well with me nor with the Eiffel Tower martini glass, dried green moss, tiny blue straw flowers, and fake pearls. After some time of not thinking about it, the arrangement announced its name, "I am Coming Back from Dystopia."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day 73 with Tilda-Hilda

Hurrah, I went beyond the neighborhood today. Tilda-Hilda and I pedaled 3.33 miles in about 18 minutes. Going up slight inclines was a challenge, but, oh so good for me. 

We stopped at Sunnyslope School for a picture. That's where I went to 4th and 5th grade. The door on the right was my 4th grade classroom, where I suddenly went from being one of the tallest kids to one of the shortest ones.

The door on the corner opened to my 5th grade classroom. I loved going into that door. So much imagination went on in there for me. I was introduced to writing make-believe stories and buying my own books through the monthly Scholastic book club. Mrs. Patterson, our teacher, calmed us down from lunch break by reading to us. Freckles, The Girl from the Limberlost, Anne of Green Gables, and The Secret Garden were the ones I recall. My world opened up in 5th grade.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Days 61 to 72 with Tilda-Hilda

I have no photo of Tilda-Hilda and me, but I give you one of me pretending to race on a bike rack in Half Moon Bay. The Husband took it on our day out celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary, which I wrote about yesterday.

Tilda-Hilda and I are still pedaling about, mostly around the neighborhood. Sometimes once a day, sometimes twice. We go as fast as we can, always stopping at the Godmother Pat's house. Remember, she had a horrible work accident in which the tips of her thumb and middle finger blew off. After nearly three months, she's doing as well as can be. She and the Mama come from one amazing generation of stalwart women.

I'm ready to go further distances with Tilda-Hilda. The Husband and I drive down country roads and I see Tilda-Hilda and my spirits pedaling on the shoulders. Maybe once the high temperatures give way to regular autumnal weather, we'll be out there again.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Special Wandering

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

September 23 was the first day of Autumn. It was also the Husband's and my 19th wedding anniversary. And, yes, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago we turned right at the xerox machine to get married. (For that story, head over here, if you like.)

Our day began with breakfast at our favorite coffee shop in San Juan Bautista—Vertigo Coffee. That's one of the few places I'll allow myself to drink coffee. The Husband had himself a mocha latte, which is an occasion in itself. Until yesterday, he hadn't drunk coffee in over two years.

We also ate BLT with soft scrambled egg panini sandwiches. Yummm! Using coffee stirrers as chopsticks to pick up the eggs that kept falling out of our sandwiches made the meal even more fun and special.

We drove over to the coast and headed north on Highway One. Roadwork was going on, but that didn't bother us. We were after all in no big hurry to get anywhere. We saw a lot of pampas grass growing alongside the road and hills. Did you know that pampas grass is originally from South America? I always thought it was from the east coast.

North of Santa Cruz, Highway One is a two-lane highway. It's a gorgeous drive, with the ocean on one side and hill and mountains on the other. Lots of farm land.  This time of the year, you can see quite a few fields full of bright orange pumpkins. I didn't get any photos of that, but I did get a photo of some trees in modern dance pose.

We stopped at Half Moon Bay, a cute little coastal town, to stretch our legs. We walked up and down the main street, window shopping and even wandered into a couple of them.  I posted photos of the various signs we saw on Main Street yesterday.

While I was taking a photo of the Husband pretending to ride a bike rack shaped in a bicycle, a woman stopped and laughed. "You've made my day," she said. "Let me take a photo of the two of you."

Our destination was Devil's Slide, about 17 minutes north of Half Moon Bay. Devil's Slide is a portion of Highway One that often got closed after heavy rains because of mudslides. After tunnels were drilled through the mountain to bypass this treacherous section, the road was turned into a trail. It opened in 2013.

I think the last time I drove Devil's Slide was 20 years ago. As we walked the trail from one end to the other and back, I was astounded that people used to drive this stretch. I don't recall the driving lanes being narrow at all.

The trail isn't long, 1.3 mile one way. There are a couple of steep inclines. Going up them was fine. Going down, ouch. My left knee was a whining diva. She didn't cry though, so that was good.

Remember that the Husband drank a mocha latte several hours earlier for breakfast. As we rested on a bench after walking down the steepest incline, the Husband mentioned how quiet he had been. "You've been talking the whole time we've been walking," I said.

"I have," he said.


The Husband is so darn cute.

We kept coming across people who exclaimed, "There's a whale!" A whale just went under!" or "Did you see the whale?" They pointed to somewhere in the ocean, describing where to look. "See the white water. The whale is near there." The Husband and I didn't see a thing.

After driving through the tunnel twice, we headed back to Half Moon Bay for dinner. We also checked out Ocean Books, the used bookstore on Main Street that unfortunately is going out of business after 19 years. There's nothing like wandering around a small, charming independent bookstore with an eclectic selection. It was one of the things that both the Husband and I hoped we would get to do on our special day of wandering.

Dinner was at Café Capistrano, which specializes in Mayan food. A local told us about this hole-in-wall restaurant, two blocks west of Main Street. The Husband and I shared an appetizer and a dinner plate, a perfect amount as both were generous portions. The appetizer was a bean stuffed tortilla topped with Mayan coleslaw, pickled onions, and shredded roasted chicken. Yummm! Our entree was pork adobo (two pieces of thin, tender pork grilled in achiote and lime) with black beans, red rice, guacamole, Mayan coleslaw, and corn tortillas. Double yummmm! Mayan adobo is very different from Filipino adobo.

It would've been nice to have stayed overnight in Half Moon Bay. But, the Mama and I had doctor appointments the following day, so back home the Husband and I went, jiggity jig, with the sun setting into the ocean.

It's the letter S at Alphabe Thursday. (Yes, I know it's Friday.) This weekly meme is hosted by the amazing Jenny Matlock.  To check out other S posts, please click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Signs of Half Moon Bay

Okay, I have 3 minutes to post something for today. Two minutes now. One minute.

Okay. I cheated. I published this post, and have now come back to write more. Simply had to make sure I didn't miss my daily post.

Oh, these are signs that I saw in Half Moon Bay, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, which I'll write a bit more about in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Random Scenes: The Train to Florence

Minutes before three o'clock in the morning, I ran along the train platform towards an open door. My host ran beside me. "Have fun," he said. "Come back with no money."

I hoisted myself up the train steps.  "Boungiorno," I said to the waiting conductor, then turned and thanked my host. "I'll see you tonight."

"I'll be here." he said. "Don't worry about a thing."

The train to Firenze started. I began my unsteady walk through the darkly lit train in search of a place to sit. For the first time in many years, I was alone traveling in an unfamiliar place.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Experimenting with My Diet

You know how sometimes you wake up one morning and you decide to be good about what you eat. That was this morning for me. I haven't analyzed the why-fors. Maybe I won't. I just went with the mood. Not that we have a lot of junk food in our refrigerator and pantry. The "worse" is a half bag of potato chips and a bunch of blueberry cheese pastry bits. The latter is the Mama's, which the Husband and I help consume, otherwise they go stale.

This morning, I chose to forgo my usual breakfast selections -- peanut butter and jam sandwich or peanut butter, apple, and raisins rice bowl. Peanut butter, processed grains, and food loaded with sugar could be contributing culprits for my eczema flare ups. Hence, none of those foods for awhile.

What did I eat for breakfast then? I made a salad out of organic baby spring lettuces, leftover roasted sweet potato rounds, and a handful of almonds that I topped with balsamic vinegar. Someone told me that the sweet potato satisfies the sweet tooth, and it releases sugar slowly into my body. Something like that. I did (and do) feel surprisingly full.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Molly the "Cheshire" Cat

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”

The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?” 

~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pretty in Pink

The Mama loved to sew dresses for me in pink when I was in elementary school. I didn't care too much for the color, but because I wasn't interested in looking at fabric back then, she bought what she liked. Long story short, once I got to a point where I began choosing materials or ready-made clothes, I avoided pink.

Then somewhere in my late 40s, I thought the color pink is fresh. It's bold. It's got pizazz. It's joyful. It's happy. Again, long story short, I think I'll put some pink in the tunic I am going to sew soon.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Putting Things in Perspective

Lately, I find myself whispering, "I'm an old person."

I snicker. I chuckle. I laugh out loud.

I shake my head. Am I not dreaming?

I shake my head. I am in awe that I'm actually old.

I shrug it off. I put it in perspective. The Mama is over 30 years older than me.

And, you know where she is right now. Playing in her garden.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rancho del Oso

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been
A couple months ago I had a hankering to be by the ocean and the Husband wanted to be in a forest, so we drove to Rancho del Oso, the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County.  The entry point is across from Waddell Beach on State Highway 1, where you can see surfers and kiteboarders having fun.

It was our first time to visit Rancho del Oso, which translates to Bear Ranch. Once upon a time, the Grizzly Bear roamed the area. Thankfully, we did not meet any bears, but we did come across jack rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, lizards, and an occasional human.

We hiked over a couple of miles, the first half going up and along a mountain side and the trip back on a nice flat fire road. Unfortunately, my left knee flamed up on the way back, so it took us longer to get back to the car. On a positive note: We got to enjoy being under the redwoods longer.

It's the letter R at Alphabe Thursday, the weekly ABC meme hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. To read other R posts, please click here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Waiting to the Last Moment

"I seem to be doing everything at the last moment," I said to the Husband, while we stood in line at the post office. I was sending a gift for a baby shower happening on Saturday.

"Why is that?" he asked.

I shrugged. "I don't know. I'll probably die at the last moment."

"They'll ask you 'What happened?'" said the Husband. "'You should've been here last week.'"

What can I say? That's life.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Haute Hippie Couture

I walked into a woman's boutique shop in Santa Cruz to check out a very cute East-Indian style top that I saw in its window. It was similar to ones I wore when I was a very young thing. I thought if the cost was right it was going home with me. I was even willing to pay $45 for it, although I thought it was worth $20 bucks.

I have no sense of how much clothing are worth these days. Twenty bucks was how much I paid for eccentric stuff, which the the parents called hippie clothes, at import shops when I was a very young thing.

The East-Indian tops of yore were made of a thin cotton. This modern version was made of a smooth, rich-feeling fabric that turned out to be rayon. Not being silk, I figured the top would be very affordable.

Then I finally found the price tag.

One hundred ninety-eight dollars!

Shall I say that again: $198.00!!


When I got home, I looked up the designer online. Maybe I'd find the top for cheaper.



I saw several other tops on the designer's website that were my type of clothing. Free-flowing, patchwork tunics that started at $168.00. Wowza!

It's time to sew me some crazy tops.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Peppers & Persimmons

Sounds like a nice title for something -- Peppers & Persimmons. Or, perhaps, Persimmons & Peppers. Maybe without the ampersand, and italicized: Peppers and Persimmons; or, Persimmons and Peppers.

The pepper plants have been kind to us this year. Three of four fruits every couple of weeks.

The persimmons are slowly ripening on the tree. We're going to have an extra good crop this year. 

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 12, 2015



The Husband and I found a market yesterday in Santa Cruz that sells beef liver and beef soup bones that I can trust. The Mama has been wanting soup-bone soup lately, too.

We bought three half-pound frozen containers of liver. Two containers went into the freezer, while the liver in third one was cooked with onions, garlic powder, salt, and soy sauce for the Mama's and my dinner last night. The Husband does not eat liver, no matter how much I tell him I cook so he'd think it was steak. He won't bite. So, he got leftover Chinese food to eat.

This morning, I asked the Mama if she liked the liver. "Yes," she said. "I feel stronger." 


Friday, September 11, 2015

Cat Food, Liver, and Beads

Molly the Cat is about to run out of food. That means we need to drive over to the coast today. Yay! It'll be a bit cooler. We've had two days of 100+ temperatures. Today is supposed to be the same. The weather guys say we may have a thunderstorm this weekend, possibly without the rain.

Since we're over there, we'll also go on a quest for grass-fed beef liver for the Mama. Her doctor has been monitoring her blood count for the last few months. Yesterday, he finally got worried and has referred her to a blood specialist, which got Mama wanting to eat liver. She's willing to eat beef liver from any market. Not anymore for me.

If we have time, I would like to stop at a Goodwill or another thrift shop to check out old, funky jewelry. I haven't found the beads I want for my county-fair bracelet entry. What kind of beads, the Husband asks? I shall know when I see them.

Off we go!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Quiet, Quaint, and Quirky Place

San Juan Bautista, with an estimated population of 1,800, looks like your ordinary, move-along-nothing-to-see very small city. At least, from the highway that runs along it. Wrong! Lots to see and lots to do if you're into California history, California missions, antiques, thrift-shopping, art galleries, walking, eating, coffee, Hitchock's Vertigo, bicycling, architecture, organic farms, wine tasting, and simply zenning out at any of the patios of the various eating and drinking establishments. Oh, and earthquakes, as in the San Andreas Fault.

I find it hard to believe more people haven't discovered this quiet, quaint, and quirky friendly town. We live about 10 miles to the east in Hollister. I've know San Juan Bautista my whole life, but it's only in the last decade that I have come to appreciate the mission city, which some people call it because of Mission San Juan Bautista, one of the 21 California missions that the Franciscan missionaries established long ago.

I like wandering around San Juan. So does the Husband. "I need to take photos in San Juan," I say to the Husband now and then, and off we go. If it's first thing in the morning, we start at Vertigo Coffee for breakfast. The owners roast their own coffee beans. I tell you it's worth a stop for their coffee. Also, for their sandwiches and pizzas.

The owners named their business after Hitchock's movie Vertigo, of which some scenes were filmed in San Juan Bautista. Remember the bell tower scene in the movie? That was supposedly the mission tower, except by the time Hitchcock came to San Juan to shoot the scene, the bell tower was no more. So, Hitchcock built a fake tower. It's just as well because his fake tower was much taller than the real one.

This is already going long.  I need to think about making dinner soon. So, I'm going to share some photos that I took over the last few years of San Juan Bautista. Most of the photos are from my other blog, Take 25 to Hollister. If you're ever in the area, drop by.

Mission San Juan Bautista

Plaza Hotel in the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park

Rain Dance Ceremony in the San Juan Bautista Plaza.

You'll find this site across from the mission.
There are picnic tables near that old settler's cabin.

Yup. Those are horseshoe prints.

Window display of the San Juan Bakery. 

Third Street, the main drag.

The trap door in the Santana Gallery leads to tunnels
that go beneath various businesses and the mission.

An old gas station transformed into the city's museum. 

One of the oldest adobes in San Juan.

Beautiful roses.

A very, very old cactus.

Paul Newman?
Bear's Hideaway has a delightful patio to sit
as you sip a glass of wine or handcrafted beer.

One of the amazing pepper trees in San Juan.

Dancers at the 2014 Mission Fiesta

Check out this website for a directory of shops, antique places, and restaurants.

Pshew! Tired? Have a seat. I may have overdone it with the photos.
Haven't even scratched the surface though. 

It's the letter Q at Alphabe-Thursday, a meme hosted by the lovely Mrs. Jenny Matlock. Click here to see what other participants are saying and showing about the letter Q.