Unfocused

Have you ever sat down to do one thing and end up somewhere else? Of course you have. Well that is what I am going through, therefore my ability to blog has been stymied.

It seems like just the other day that I planned to write about my last minute plans to just get in the car and get away from the Sacramento heat. And we did. I just booked a room at Half Moon Bay, and off we went. Coming from 100 degree heat to 65 degrees felt good. Thought I might be cold, and I brought along a sweatshirt, but never felt the need to wear it. The weather was overcast, the air still, and dry.

Lovely Public Art found along Redondo Beach in Half Moon Bay

Beach scenes along the San Mateo coastline.

Wildflowers along the cliff at Redondo Beach
Sam’s Chowder House – Good food, nice views, but no sunsets.

Downtown HMB has an artsy touristy vibe. One art studio is dedicated to the creation of art. Last time we were here it wasn’t open. This time I was able to explore.

Doris Williams, harpist, staging angel, and breath coach posed for this photo Go to her website for more info.
Crochet Graffiti Squid
Mural supported by local city and businesses abound.

Funny, but after a couple of days I was looking for some sunshine. So we headed south to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Lots of sun, carnival games, fast food, and street photo opportunities with my Fuji x100f!

On the way back to HMB we stopped and watched some kite surfing!
Pillar Point Marina

Anyway, back to my thinking being all over the place. Going to HMB I was thinking of exploring the possibility of getting a small vacation home/condo, but after our 5 day stay decided, not for us. Food was good, but I did not get the feeling that I would want to stay long-term. Felt good to return home. My husband met his siblings in Las Vegas for a couple of days. Don’t think Las Vegas will be calling our name soon. He did make it over the New York, New York and I think that an east coast trip is inevitable (if only for the deli delights). Went to AAA and got tour books to the east coast from Washington DC all the way to Maine, from Tennessee (grandson lives in Knoxville) to Indiana (David’s sister lives in Indianapolis). Some air travel, some car time. I haven’t been east in a while, and I haven’t visited the east coast in the fall.

May have to take a trip up the hill to Lake Tahoe, and see if a cabin/condo will be a place for a small vacation home. No ocean though. Close to home for a getaway, cheaper real estate than the coast, and things to do.

Forgetting real estate for now I turned to genealogy. My family tree is growing, but I am not sure what my focus should be. It is said that as a detective you should have “a question” you want answered. My second cousin has concluded his investigation of my father’s paternal side of the family. He has a trunk full of information that I need to transfer to my house. Hence another reason to get to the Long Island. I would at least like to put a photograph with as many family members as I can. All of Lawrence’s work was done without benefit of computer. Amazing. My father’s side both paternal (16 aunts & uncles) and maternal (8) were large families. They lived in Krakow, Poland for centuries. Of course the town of Krakow changed hands many times. I guess I will learn some more European history. One question I have is to what extent did the Holocaust affect the family? I am also looking at how the family member’s earned a living. I have much less information about my mother’s side of the family. I know that her mother had a large family, but I can only trace back to my great grandparents. I would like to fill out more of this side of the family lost. “Never Forget!”

Max, my daughter’s 9 year old Pomeranian stayed with us last weekend. He was an easy visitor. For a small teacup sized dog he has a wonderful temperament. Happy, not yappy, and uncomplicated. Max visited once the previous week for a short while, and remarkably felt right at home both inside and outside. He did watch the door for his family to return but did not seen unduly anxious.

Dogs welsomed in HMB

This time I realized that what I truly missed was having my dog. Libby was my first dog, and she was a wonderful Labrador retriever. But I can see that a small to medium size dog would be a better fit. I searched all the dog breeds, of which there are plenty and thought about what I need. I know I have enough energy to train a puppy. It has been a while so I started to review what that entails. I am sure that I want a trained companion. A dog that I can pick up is necessary. I am looking for a friendly, outgoing dog who likes to accompany me on outings. Looking at a smaller dog brings my list down to the following: Labradoodle (small – medium sized), Cocker Spaniel, French bulldog, Nova Scotia Duck Trolling Retriever. So many choices, so many breeders.

I spoke to my vet, and asked about a Lagotto Romanolo, and a labradoodle. She did not know about a Lagotto, but she has a labradoodle. Just check out breeder. Making a decision about a breeder is now harder with the Internet. All breeders have the same exact rules, information, and policies. No home visits (keep pups safe and healthy), place deposit before pups are born, pups are picked in order of deposit placed. Just get to see puppy place when the pups are 6 weeks, go home date is 8 weeks. Priced the same. So I asked to speak to previous buyers, and get information there.

After much thought I found a Australian Labradoodle breeder about 2 hours away. I spoke to and met some dogs from this breeder, and I feel comfortable connecting with her. To adopt a pup from her will require patience on my part. She doesn’t plan on breeding new pups until early 2020. Another alternative would be to adopt from a breeder nearby. I also spoke to previous buyers, and it looks like that may be a way to go. She will have pups this fall. This breeder is younger, and age may have been a factor when I first spoke to her. So the time may be sooner.

This is a long term commitment. I still have the energy to raise a puppy, and most probably will be my last puppy I will train if I am honest with myself. This is why I don’t plan to rescue a dog this time. I want to understand the temperment, and train the dog from the start. I guess my age is starting to factor in to my plans going forward. I’m practical. That in itself is enough to focus on in an unfocused mind.

But I did manage to blog today. Yeah!

And so the story goes.

Napa Road Trip minus the wine

My friend’s road would be slurried, she wanted a landscape of a vineyard, and I went along to capture some new images. No formal destination and no time constraints. Armed with ice coffee, plenty of water and music for the road.

Early morning departure means little sleep for me. My sleep cycle has really flipped this summer. Even if I try to get to bed early, I fall asleep around 3:30 am. This also seems to happen if I am going somewhere the next day. Need to start making a switch, and wake up early before the temperature rises.

Silverado Trail is our first stop. Vineyards on both sides of the road, but the fields planted along the mountainsides are not as mature and lush.

Grapes ripening on the vine
My imagination goes wild with the bark of the vine. Peeking animals.

I see a cute sign post with a donkey, and then I spot donkeys. I approach animals carefully, but one donkey was particularly friendly. Almost called her such a good puppy. A natural mistake given my situation.

I first spotted this cute garden art. Then OMG donkeys.
Ready to say hello
Just so sweet. Came right over for some love.
Pregnant donkey (called Jenny). Gestation takes a long time. 11-14 Months! I wonder how long this Jenny has to wait?
Good bye my donkey friend.

Facebook has been reminding me that nine years ago Liberty came into my life. Having her, missing her, and needing another dog is a tribute to my Libby.

We brought my Libby Love home 9 years ago.

David would want to have another English Lab, but I am open to looking at another breed. Looking for a medium sized dog. I would like to be able to lift the dog up, be easily trainable and have a good personality. Thought about a cocker spaniel, or Logatto Romagnolo.

I decided to go with an Australian Labradoodle. The DNA includes Labrador retriever, Poodle, and Cocker Spaniel. This is multigenerational hybrid that was essentially developed to provide canine assistance to those who are allergic to dog hair. Since poodles improve the chances for this characteristic, and the Labrador retriever has a proven track record for training the hope is for the best of both. The Labradoodle comes in three sizes, and so this satisfies my need for a more portable dog. Having less hair to sweep up is a bonus! Though I will need to become informed about the grooming. My Libby was a wash & wear dog.

My I have gotten off track. Back to my road trip. Remembering past trips our destination was the CIA – Culinary Institue of America. First stop was the CIA at Copia. I was pleasantly surprised to come across a photographic homage to Julia Child by her husband Paul. Such a wonderful collection of black & white photographs. Well worth taking time out to visit if you are interested in photography!

A Toast!

The space at the CIA was amazing. The light, design, and architecture captured my imagination.

I will certainly schedule another visit and spend time exploring the outside when the temperature is below 100 degrees.

Interesting staircase. Another place to explore next time.
Beautiful glass sculpture
Love the lighting here
Replica of sculpture that rests on top of building.
Serene setting.
These real spices fill the space with wonderful aromas. Makes you hungry!
Grand space

I didn’t spend too much time outside but the outside had much to see.

Outside seating under a pergola. Live music venue at Grove

Fork sculpture made out of forks. But where is the spoon it ran away with?

Went next door to the Oxbow Public Market. Another place I need to come back to for some great people watching with my Fuji x100f. Put myself in a street photography mind set. Ate an interesting gourmet oven baked Mushroom pizza with ricotta cheese sauce. No pictures, just good food!

Last place on our road trip was the Greystone Cellers. This is home to the CIA School. Interesting history. The building was impressive, but the view overlooking the vineyard was difficult to capture. Trees blocked the view. How rude! And then there is the parking lot to contend with. Not to mention the heat.

Massive doorway leads into Greystone Cellers
Impressive main entrance.

Cakes decorated by the students attending the CIA at Greystone. Reminds me of when my daughter decorated cakes in high school in ROP Bakery Academy. Being the good mom I sampled each creation. Made with lard and not buttercream the taste did not match up with the beautiful design.

Among the many collections I was drawn to this clown bottle opener.
Ironic that this truck advertising Vodka was parked next to the vineyard.
Not sure what kind of flower this is. Pretty in Pink.

So ends a day in Napa Valley. No wine was consumed. Any blurriness in the photographs are due to photographer error and not the vino!

Art & Ag in Yolo County

Subi Blue, my 2017 Subaru Outback, headed to Woodland on Thursday to a working farm for a morning of photography with friends. Headed out early to hopefully get better light and beat the summer heat.

Camera gear stowed, directions printed, and Jeanne and Laura safely fastened we headed to Fong Farm. Upon arrival Nancy greeted us with a map of this farm. I was told that the Farm gave us unlimited access, but be sure to park on the side of the road. The barn and metal shop provided many photo opportunities.

Time stops for no one!
Shapes and textures abound.
Parts from days gone by
Bolts of some kind
All eyes are on you!

Driving down dusty roads past a tomato field my Subi Blue gathered a fine coating of silty dust.

Barn surrounded by field of tomatoes 🍅.

At some Art & Ag events some information is shared about the workings of the farm. Here our map was our only guide. I wondered how these tomato field was harvested.

Three dogs greeted my car as we rounded the bend. I will give the a treat, and a “Good dogs” for doing the job of watch dog. Came right up I front of the car and tried very hard from discouraging me from driving down the dusty road. Sorry no phot opportunity here. No dogs were hurt, and eventually they trotted home.

Next we passed a field of yellow and orange thistles. Being a city girl I couldn’t imagine why a farmer would plant so many thistles. They are interesting flowers to photograph, but a bouquet of thistles?

Then we checked the map, and discovered we were looking at a field of safflowers. Ok, armed with no knowledge, I am guessing safflower oil?

Safflower field as far as the eye can see

Plein Air artists also enjoy the Yolo County Art & Ag events.

Painting a willow tree along the canal
My artist perspective. Safflower field in the background. Sutter Buttes in the distance.

That ended the tour of the Fong Farm. We went in search for a field of Sunflowers. I had already visited a field earlier in the month, but now I had my new Fujifilm xf 80 macro lens with me.

My best bee capture
One resilient sunflower standing up to time
Shadows captured in the backlit flower
Not ready for prime time
My best side please
Take time to see another point of view
Think about the BEES! Where would we be?
Bowing down. Countdown till the sunflower season ends.

Denny’s for lunch and then home.

One last stop for my Subi Brown. Bob’s Car Wash. Needed to get a full wash including undercarriage. After such a day I am glad that I put off going to the farm with a clean car. Wow!

Time out for Puppies

My friend’s Golden retriever is a CCI breeder dog. At six weeks Okeara’s pups need socializing. This morning I met her 7 puppies. I am very puppy deprived, and I enjoyed my time with these pups. Playing and taking photographs brought me to my happy place.

Lab/Golden boy fell fast asleep
Reddest pup looks worried. I wonder what is on his mind. Probably just his next meal!
Played hard, tuckered out.

I brought over my Fuji xt2 and started with my 18-55mm kit lens. After a little while I pulled out my newest lens to see what it could do when it wasn’t getting closer in macro mode. This may end up being a favorite portrait lens also.

Kendra takes care of Okeara for about two weeks before the pups are due. Then she takes on the job of caring for the pups until they are released to their puppy raiser at 8 weeks of age. “Canine Companions puppies are raised by volunteers who take them to puppy classes to teach them basic obedience and house manners. When the puppies are old enough to enter our professional training program, Canine Companions dogs come to one of our six regional training centers, located in Northern California, Southern California, Texas, Ohio, New York and Florida.” Information provided by CCI website.

Puppy Love

Wanda raised Okeara, and will now be raising Okeara’s puppy Ragu.

Ragu being cradled by Wanda
An upside down cradle to calm Ragu down
Such a big bundle of joy for a 6 week old
Lots of love coming her way!

Canine Companions for Independence is a worthwhile organization that does such good for everyone it touches! Over the years I have met some puppy raisers, photographed their pups and learned training tips from this organization. Thanks CCI for letting me in!