Sunday, February 11, 2018
I took this photo a few days ago. This is part of Pajaro Valley, east of Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County. Do the mountains look far away? Because they really are. The Husband and I drive through this valley on our way to and from Freedom where we buy Molly the Cat's food.
It's about an hour round drive, but so worth the peace of mind we get as we drive the back roads of the valley and along the windy low mountain pass highway to San Benito County where we live. Once through the pass, we drive through San Juan Valley to our town of Hollister, which is in the tail end of the Santa Clara valley. As a kid, I heard people say we live in Hollister Valley or San Benito Valley. These days I read about our town nestled in a small valley, so I wonder if our valley has a formal name, now forgotten. That's something to look up one day.
I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Mmmmm. I'm sipping a mocha with a big splash of Kahlua as I tippy tap my thoughts on the keyboard. Mmmmmm.
Today's adventure was a solo trip in the rain to Freedom for food for Molly the Cat. She ate the last acceptable can of victuals yesterday morning and the final crumbs of the dried food that she deems edible. Hence it was necessary to take the 90-minute round trip drive over the hill and through the pass today. Although the Husband is feeling better, he still felt spaced out with the virus to ride shotgun.
I can't recall the last time I drove by myself a far distance. Definitely years. What can I say? A long time ago, a bicycle repair guy who tuned up our beach cruisers asked us, "Do you do everything together?" After which he told us that each of our rear wheels had a bent spoke in the same spot.
I was in a solitary frame of mind this morning so I didn't feel at all anxious, even when it began to rain and the windshield wipers did more smudging at first. I had planned to go further north to a market in Santa Cruz where I can buy organic spices, herbs, teas, and such from the bulk bins but I didn't want the stress of driving through the rain on the freeway. That can wait another two weeks or so when Molly's food cupboard needs replenishing.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
|Su-sieee! Mac, 1985.|
It's the letter I at ABC Wednesday. My contribution is an edited post that I originally published on April 10, 2013. To check out ABCW posts from bloggers around the world, please click here. Thanks ABCW Team!In 1985, I spent several days camping in Havasu Canyon with the First Husband-to-be. Havasu Canyon, known for its gorgeous waterfalls that run down to the Colorado River, lies just outside of the western border of the Grand Canyon National Park. We stayed at the Havasu campground on the Havasupai Indian Reservation run by the Havasupai Tribe. (I have no idea if that's how it is today.)
Havasupai means people of the green blue water. And, yes, the pools of water were a spectacular green blue color when we were there.
To get to the campground back then, you either flew in on a helicopter or hiked the winding 10-mile trail down to the canyon floor.
I was (and still am) a slow walker, so the First Husband-to-be got to the campground office before me. The reservation was under my name so he and the office manager patiently waited for me to get there. The two men were talking when I entered the office. I immediately recognized the manager's voice. I had spoken to him over the phone a month earlier.
"Can you tell me if it will rain in April there?" I had asked.
"It's hard to say," the office manager had answered.
"Does it usually rain in April?" I had rephrased my question, thinking he didn't understand that I wanted a general idea of what the weather was like that time of year.
"Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it doesn't rain."
I had hung up from our conversation rather flustered. Years later, I realized how silly it was to ask about weather that has yet to happen.
"Hello," I said to the office manager, noticing that he looked at me oddly. I thought maybe I had something on my face.
Not much of a small talker, I got to the point. Pulling out my wallet, I asked, "How much do we pay?"
"Nothing," he said.
"You don't have a camping fee anymore?"
"For you, it's free."
"Free? Okay. Thank you."
"What tribe are you from?"
"Tribe?" I hesitated. The First Husband-to-be said later that he hoped I'd say 'The Ilocano tribe'.
"Uhm, I don't belong to any tribe. My parents are from the Philippines. They're Ilocanos."
The office manager looked disappointed.
"I don't mind paying," I said.
"That's okay," he said, shrugging. "We're all the same."
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
London Bridge is falling down,In first grade, we sang this Mother Goose rhyme as we marched under an arch formed by the joined hands of two kids. The hands came down on "My Fair Lady" and the two kids would then rock the captured kid between their locked hands, as we sang a verse about taking the key and locking the kid up. When that verse was over, either the captured kid chose a side and stood behind that kid or took that kid's place, after which, we marched and sang the rhyme again.
falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down.
My Fair Lady.
I don't remember what the point of the game was. For that matter, what the rhyme was all about. After three or four rounds, I would look longingly at the playground, even willing to climb up the jungle gym. And, that I disliked to do.
I didn't become curious about the London Bridge until 1975 when I learned that a rich American had bought the bridge and reconstructed it brick by brick on Lake Havasu in Arizona. A friend and I were driving cross country at the time and hoped to see it, but we ended in the wrong place. Bummer.
In 2007, I finally saw the London Bridge when the Husband and I did a road trip to the southwest. The bridge is gorgeous, no doubt about it. I was thrilled to see the once-upon-time bridge that spanned the Thames River. Seeing this European bridge in a desert setting though was quite surreal.
In the photo, I was posing so it looked like I was holding up the arch. Alas, I was too short. Giggle.
Click here to see what the L other bloggers are writing about for ABC Wednesday. Thank you, ABCW team!
Saturday, September 3, 2016
The cues for this week are: 1) Starts with J 2) Week's Favorite 3) Surprise
J is for jaunt, which is what the Husband and I took last Saturday. We went over hills and down dales, around curves and straightways, and along creeks and through forests. Our goal was to purchase tomatoes at the u-pick-your-own organic farm in Santa Cruz County.
It took longer to get there than to pick the nearly 50 pounds of tomatoes, of which most are now in the freezer waiting their turn to be part of some delicious recipe in the winter and spring. I simply wash the tomatoes, let them dry, pack them in bags, and freeze them. When it's time to use them, I put them straight in the pot to melt into the other ingredients. No fuss, no muss.
That said, you would think my favorite photo this week would be of the tomatoes, the tomato fields, or the Husband frolicking through the fields picking tomatoes. Nope. I was to busy plucking the juicy fruit myself to think of clicking away.
My favorite photo this week was of the surprise we met when we decided to take the long way to the little store that makes some of the best smoked sausages we've ever eaten. Somewhere after the farm, we turned a couple of corners and voila! Young redwood trees said hello to us. For several miles, the Husband and I drove through a forest of redwood trees. We had no idea.
I love jaunts like that one last Saturday. We're off again in an hour or so. What surprises shall we meet today?
Friday's Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills. To check out other participants, please click here. If you'd like to join, you can until Sunday evening.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
I had a few G thoughts to write about for ABC Wednesday this week. Alas, the day comes, and those ideas are lifeless. So, for today, I give you a photo of construction guys. They're working merely feet from the highway. Their job is one that requires a lot of guts.
To check out this week's ABCW participants, please click here.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
The other day, the Husband and I drove around Pajaro Valley in Santa Cruz County (next door to our county) just because we felt like it. The fertile Pajaro Valley has fields full of strawberries, cages full of raspberries and blackberries, and still a few orchards full of apples.
We stopped at Gizdich Ranch, which is well-known for its apple juice and homemade apple and berry pies. You can also pick your own apples and various types of berries, if you want.
The Bugatti guys (5 or 6 of them) caused a traffic jam at the ranch. Not because they couldn't find parking spots, from what I saw, but because the drivers and passengers stood in the path of us, drivers, trying to find parking. I almost didn't want to stop. If the Bugatti people were this arrogantly ignorant about they being in the way, what would they be like in the gift shop and restaurant. Fortunately, the drivers hung around their cars, while their passengers disappeared into the antique store.
I'm glad I sucked in my temper, otherwise I wouldn't have seen the display of Gizdich's biggest and tiniest apples. We'll stop by Gizdich again for hollyhock seeds and maybe one of their pies.
Time to link up with Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jeanette at Artworks from Jeshstg. Click here to check other participants and possibly link up as well.
Friday, July 22, 2016
This week's topics for Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills are:
1. Starts with D 2. Week's Favorite 3. Summer or Winter
My favorite photo captures the other two topics, too. It shows the dense fog coming over the ridge, which happens on many late summer afternoons. It's a good thing. Otherwise, we'd be burning up. I can't stand hot temperatures.
The photo also shows the denseness of commute traffic in my neck of the woods. Yes, yes. it's not really thick compared to what goes on in cities. Believe me, in my rural area, people go crazy when the line of traffic is this long at the signal light for which we're stopping.
Please click here to check out the other participants in Friday's Hunt. The meme is open until Sunday evening, if you'd like to join in.
Friday, October 23, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been|
Back in March, the Husband and I stumbled upon an amazing landmark in Salinas, California, of which I think many people in our area are unaware. Standing on top of a historic mill on the Harden Estate in North Salinas was a Victorian mechanical wonder known as the Challenge Double Header Wind Engine. It's considered the only surviving windmill of its kind.
The Challenge Double Header Wind Engine was built in 1892 by Salinas Valley pioneer grain farmer and dairyman Duncan McKinnon. Back then, many called the machine's design a "masterpiece in Victorian engineering". The wind engine has two 30-foot wind wheels that rotate in opposite directions. It also has two smaller wheels which rotate the wind engine so that it faces the wind.
McKinnon decided to build the wind engine after seeing an advertisement. The man had vision. He used the wind engine to power his mill, a water pump, blacksmith shop, and carpentry shop. One source says that the wind engine was used until 1906 when electricity became available in the area. Another source says that the mill operation stopped around World War I.
Nobody operated the windmill until 2006 when it was restored by the Harden Foundation, which is based on the Harden Estate (originally McKinnon's property). The windmill is closed to the public, but people wishing to see it can make arrangements to tour it by contacting the Harden Foundation. The Husband and I happened to be in luck that Spring afternoon. Joe Grainger, Executive Director of the Harden Foundation, generously gave us a tour of the inside of the mill.
The story of the restoration is amazing as well. In 2004, the wind engine was removed from the top of the mill and traveled across country to Bridgewater, Virginia where the restoration took place. To read about the restoration project, click here.
I was astounded when I first looked up at the wind engine. I didn't think it was a windmill. Nope. Not at all. It reminded me of a Ferris Wheel, a clipper ship, and what I imagine Jule Verne's time machine ought to look like. I wonder what John Steinbeck thought of it. What would you think it is if you didn't know it was a windmill?
A day late is better than not at all. To check out other posts of, or to participate in, Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock, click here.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been|
Vegas as in Las Vegas. The fertile lowlands of a city that's in southern Nevada. Yes, fertile lowlands is the English translation of the Spanish plural las vegas. Hmmm, could that be why you can find quite a lot of golf courses is Vegas?
Some might say that the fertile lowlands refer to something other than terrain. But, I'm not going there.
I've been to Vegas four times. The first time was in 1975 when I went cross-country with a college friend. The Strip wasn't a big deal yet and Downtown Vegas was so-so, but then I was still 20 so what was the use of being there. The second time was another quick stop as the first, late dear Husband and I were driving back from our first big camping trip together. Again, yawwwwn. We had after all spent a week down in a canyon by the Colorado River.
In the late 1990s, the Husband and I spent a few days in Vegas and by then the Strip was a very big surreal deal. The photos are from that trip. We gambled our nickels away at the various casinos and shook our heads at the unbelievable sights, such as the Venice gondolas, the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramid, and the Brooklyn Bridge. The best stuff was off the Strip—the older part of Vegas, the Boulder Dam, and Mt. Charleston. My favorite souvenir was the library card from the Las Vegas Library.
About 8 years ago, the Husband and I stopped overnight on our way to New Mexico. Nothing much to talk about other than we stayed at a hotel that catered to locals. I liked it because it was low-key and not so flashy. The hotel casino gobbled up my nickels just as well as the ones on the Strip had.
Next time, if there's a next time, I'll have to choose whether to play the slot machines or try out the fancy restaurants with my saved up nickles. All in all, I think it's fun to, as Elvis Presley sings, Viva, Viva, Las Vegas.
It's the letter V on Alphabe Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. To participate or to read other V posts, click here.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been|
The Husband and I drove over to the coast this afternoon to buy food for Molly the Cat. It was something neither of us wanted to do, but Molly ate her last can of food this morning. Yes, we have a very particular cat. She would rather go hungry then eat something that doesn't taste or smell good to her. But, Molly the Cat is not the story today.
The clouds are the story. They were swimming, running, tumbling, dancing, and singing across the perfect blue sky. You see, it rained last night. Hallelujah! It rained throughout the night. Whooo-hooo! And it rained some this morning. Yippee!
All that wonderful rain left us with clear blue skies and whipped-cream like clouds. And, because the Husband was driving, I took photos. I was good at first, sitting primly (I heard that snort of a laugh) in my seat shooting photos through the passenger window and the windshield.
Before I knew it, I was leaning out the window. The door was locked. Every now and then I held the camera over the top of the car and clicked it. I have a point-and-click camera, by the way. I discovered that there were some pretty cool photos to be had out the back windows. What ever took me so long to find that out.
I took over 260 photos on our little trip to and from the pet stores. Not to sweat. Here are just three more. Can you see the face with the big lips in the next one? Maybe a dragon's or turtle head in the second photo? And, in the last photo, do you see a Yeti running forward?
Today is the letter T at Alphabe Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. Click here to check out what bloggers from around the world are posting about the letter T.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been|
Toot! Toot! Allllll Abooooarrrrrrrrd!
Last year, the Husband and I took a ride on the Niles Canyon Railway, a living museum that runs through the gorgeous Niles Canyon in the San Francisco Bay Area. We rode in historic train cars pulled by a vintage diesel engine. It was about a 90-minute round trip between two small historic towns, Niles (which is now part of Fremont) and Sunol (which is off of Highway 680).
The Niles Canyon Railway is operated by volunteer conductors and engineers. They're part of the Pacific Locomotive Association, a non-profit organization. The volunteers in this group rebuilt the line that was once part of the transcontinental railroad. The volunteers continue to obtain and rebuild train cars. Near the Sunol depot is the train yard where the cars are stored and worked. One of the association's objectives is to provide the public with a sense of what riding trains was like in small communities throughout the United States once upon a time.
You can sit either indoors or outdoors on the train. On good weather days, the outdoor seats are very popular. We took indoor seats and once the train was on its way, we walked towards the front to outside cars where you can stand and gaze at the passing scenery.
Niles Canyon Railway schedules several trips on Saturdays and Sundays. You can get on at either the Niles or Sunol station. If you time it right, you can get off at one station, explore the town or eat at a restaurant, and then get back on another train.
I like starting our round trip at Niles because afterwards we can wander through antique shops. Not that I buy anything. If you're a silent film fan, you'd especially like hanging out in Niles. Between 1912 and 1916, many silent films were made in and around the town, including ones by Charlie Chaplin and Bronco Billy. Check out the Niles Film Museum for details.
Here are a few more photos from our train ride.
Today is the letter N at Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the lovely Mrs. Jenny Matlock. Click here to join in or to read other N posts.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been|
Moss Landing, California is a fishing village with over 200 residents. From the photo, it doesn't look like a quaint fishing village, but believe me it is. It has a few great antique shops and restaurants. This photo is of the harbor and the more commercial part of Moss Landing.
Moss Landing is located on Highway 1, about 15 miles to the north of Monterey. It stands at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough, which is a fun place for hiking, birding, and kayaking.
I have three wonderful memories of Moss Landing.
- Eight years ago, the Husband and I did a kayaking tour with friends on Elkhorn Slough. That was the first time we went kayaking. At one point, we paddled by a wall of pelicans. They were not fazed at all. They did not seem to move a muscle. "Yup, there go more humans."
- In the early 1990s, the First, Late Husband and I floated down the slough on a wildlife viewing tour. That was my introduction to Elkhorn Slough and the beauty of wetlands. It was also the beginning of the final adventures with the First, Late Husband.
- Long, long ago, the Only and Older Brother and I were sitting in the car, while the parents said their long goodbyes to friends. "Do you know what they do in that building?" the Brother asked, pointing at the monstrous plant with its amazingly tall towers. "That's where they make M&M candy."
Today is Alphabe Thursday hosted by sweet Mrs. Jenny Matlock. To join the weekly meme or to read other M posts, please click here.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
|My Alphabe Thursday theme—Places I've Been|
Lovers Point in Pacific Grove is about 1.25 miles to the west from Cannery Row in Monterey via the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. It's a fun, lovely trail to take however way you choose to travel it—walking, jogging, or pedaling a two-wheeler or a four-wheel surrey bike.
Lovers Point is a popular city park and beach to both locals and tourists. It's a great place to picnic, stroll, swim, or simply sit and enjoy the amazing Monterey Bay views. When you're there, don't be surprised if you happen upon a wedding ceremony.
The Husband and I walked the trail between Lovers Point and Cannery Row with friends on New Year's Day 2014. We started from Lovers Point, where we had a picnic and remembered our friend Charlie who had passed away the previous year.
The walk back from Cannery Row was tough. My knee protested every step back. Thank goodness for the camera, which distracted me as I clicked away.
|Looking east towards Cannery Row.|
|One year, the Husband and I rented one of these surrey bikes and pedaled from Fisherman's Wharf to Lovers Point. The Husband did most of the work since I had a hard time reaching the pedals.|
|This is part of a long mural that depicts the history of Pacific Grove. In the late 1870s, Pacific Grove was established as a Methodist seaside retreat. By 1910, it was incorporated as a city. Pacific Grove is also known for being one of the places on the California Central Coast where Monarch butterflies return every Fall.|
|Odd-shaped rocks on the beach, you say. They're resting sea lions.|
|Look at that rock's profile. Does it remind you of a cat?|
|Cannery Row. Yup, the same place that John Steinbeck wrote about when it was full of sardine canneries. Today, it's home to many, many shops and restaurants as well as the Monterey Bay Aquarium.|
|Heading back to Lovers Point, which is just beyond that point on the horizon.|
It's Alphabe Thursday with the lovely Jenny Matlock. Today's letter is L. Click here to read posts by other participants.