Can you really ever plan something?

About two weeks ago I prepared myself to be a long-distance grandma. I began to investigate photo frames to get pictures all the time. It would be some time before David and I could travel to be together. Thoughts went through my mind, and I felt sad but hoped that by moving to another state her family would find peace and happiness.

Packed up and ready for their big adventure!

My daughter and family sold their house and packed up to move to Knoxville, Tennessee. This was a sudden decision pushed forward quickly by the CoVid 19 pandemic. School was starting soon and her thought was attending school was better than distant zoom learning. Well, after driving for 4 days in the van with her family of 4 boys and a small dog they arrived in Tennessee. Driving up a road named 13 curves proved to be Knoxville’s undoing. Got a call, and in less than 2 weeks, the family arrived back in Sacramento on September 8th. Costly lesson learned. Don’t buy a house sight unseen in a place you have never visited. Luckily, her husband was able to resume his job.

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Charlie enjoyed having visits with the boys. Eli is particularly good with him. and his pitching arm has landed a couple of balls in my neighbor’s yard. Lucas, the four-year-old, helped with the training by playing a game called, “Mother May I”. The baby has clean toes compliments of Charlie’s licking them. Wyatt, the two-year-old just thinks Charlie is funny.

So Eli started third grade on Zoom, the family made use of our water (showers and laundry), and my stressed-out daughter took care of reestablishing herself. Moving is always a stressful situation. Looking for a home with a contingency is not much fun. It is a seller’s market. Good for the house she is selling in Tennessee, not so good for finding a home she plans to live in.

All her stuff finally made it to Waldon, Tn. in a Pod. It took almost a week of negotiating a “Gypsy Moth” form to get her possessions to return to California. It was filled and refiled almost a dozen times. The date of arrival is in early October. The question remains, where will this family of 6 live???

Tension abounds here, and everywhere.

The strangest year – 2020 – note the cobwebs!

Inhaling the smoke from the fires that surround the area can be the equivalent of smoking 20 packs of cigarettes according to the governor. Add to this a presidential election year. Sorry no pictures. I only went outside to take Charlie out for many, many days.

This is a very, very, very important presidential race. This county desperately needs some sanity in a leader.

Becoming “Ruth less” with the passing of the Notorious RBG. I think this was designed before her passing, and I hope that next year she will reign supreme!

RIP Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Add to this the large response to protest continued police killings of our black citizens and the tension is felt by all. Some of the businesses are boarded up to prevent loss of property. While many peacefully protest there are others who take advantage of the situation and break, trash, and steal.

Boarded up windows provide a place to share words of hope!
I found this painted on a parking lot space

And then there is CoVid 19.

Face Covers Required

As of this writing, more than 200,000 people have died here in the United States. It has been 7 months since the Corona Virus has taken a firm grasp in our state. I heard rumors of a virus in mid-February, but it was March before changes started to happen. Now in downtown Sacramento, there is evidence of this pandemic.

Reminders everywhere. Masks help reduce the spread of CoVid

To mask, or not to mask.

Sorry sight. I’m sure there was a trash can close by.

To go along as if there is nothing to be concerned about, or to ask the question, “Is it worth the risk?” For the most part, my husband and I have chosen to be cautious. David is a diabetic who smokes. I have a post nasal drip that will probably clear out anyplace I venture out to. Most of our shopping has been online. Many of my activities have been delegated to Zoom Meetings. Even Charlie is being trained on Zoom. When I do go out I am masked. Actually, since the arrival of my puppy, there has always been someone here with him. We go to no restaurants, travel no further than a couple of miles, and if I am out it is an outdoor photoshoot with few people around me. So all the family comings and goings started to play on our minds. This did not sit well with all. No one likes this intrusion into our way of life. But I want all to be safe rather than sorry.

This past weekend I ventured downtown to meet up with my CTD friends. Since 2017, Sacramento has invited artists to participate in “Wide Open Walls”. Murals are painted on the walls around the city. The event usually runs about 10 days, but with the smoke, heatwave, and CoVid 19, and political tensions have extended the event. This time I did not capture any artists hard at work.

There is much evidence that this country wants to unite for the good of all its citizens!
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you.

For many years I taught 4th grade with the social studies curriculum being California. This mural reminded me of the first chapter where I taught the four regions – Coast, Desert, Valley and Mountain regions.

California diversity. Four distinct regions of the state.
PEACE – Amazing artwork.
Making the alleys soar!
Painting on such a large canvas. So peaceful looking.

Sometimes parts of murals interest me.

This mural fascinated me the most.

Along with the murals I enjoyed walking the streets of downtown Sacramento. This year I missed the “Chalk It Up” event. To create a safe environment this event was spread out . I came across this one, and wanted to show myself enjoying the artwork. Plenty of electric scooters just left on the sidewalk. Bumper sticker that says it all! Vintage retail sign l liked.

This mural prompted me to look up Betty Inada

So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.

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!