Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Complet Upheaval, major changes and a whole new world~~~

Well Sweet Things,

I think you thought I'd vanish, in a way I have.

There has been such changes in the last few months I'm still in a whirl.

Joe and I realized where is the perfect house.  And its the one right across the street from my parents that was being rented out.

I'll try and clear the confusion, this house is one my Dad purchased ages ago, fixed it up and rented it out, and he did this with other properties as well.

Last year Dad decided to deed over the properties to be divided fairly between myself and Sis with us receiving the monies from the rents---which went to repairs and taxes etc.  Dad did keep several for himself as income since they were paid off, and when he passes on they will be used as income for Mom.

Well the house that would be perfect for Joe and I is one of the rental one's and the people who lived in it, decided to move back east to be near the wife's family, so when their lease was up it simply went on a Month to Month and then they'd let Dad know when they were going to completely vacate it.

2 months ago Joe and I went over to the house, when we were visiting my folks, simply to find out what the family's status was, they were glad to see us because although most of their stuff was boxed and stored at a storage unit, they still had large items to go into a U-Haul truck later in the month but they wanted to show what they thought were concerns on the house.

Any house has wear and tear, and they wanted to be totally upfront with everything, and really in the grand scheme of things since they'd been living there for 12 years, naturally there'd be wear, so we went over everything carefully and said that Dad would go with them through the final walk thru.

Later that evening Joe said to me "Do you know that house is really what we're looking for."  And he was right.

We talked it over with Dad and Mom and they are thrilled at the idea of our moving in.

Ahh you ask, but what about everything else?  Joe's friend offered to buy out Joe's half of the property that they were doing the cars in.  We will get car transports for Joe's cars, and that will take a little time,  my house I'm going to be renting out to my friend Yoshi, she and her husband have been renting an apartment in Concord but it was so far away from work and Yoshi's Mom, so that my house would be a perfect answer, close but not too close, with several modes of transportation to the City.

I am keeping the Country property I love it too much to give up.  And we will continue to travel to it from time to time.

Joe has decided to completely retire, he has enough funds, and so do I, I'll be quitting my job as well.

Joe and Ted will be working on a car restoration work mini-business, I'll be helping Mom and Sis with their business, Dad will be busy doing the book keeping and paper work---Yes Dad is retiring  and Joe and I will be there when Dad has his cataract surgery to help out while he recovers.

I'll still be helping Heather with her education, I'm not so worried about her as she seems to be recovering from the lost of her grandmother and has a young man in her life, she has been selling her works and getting free-lance work while she is going towards her degree and pursuing a career in the field she wants to be in.

And in a way I'll still be traveling and Joe will be with me, Yes we have an Airstream trailer, and we're going to use it to look for items for Sis and Mom's business, patterns and things. 

We'll be looking into possibly a re-sale license to sell at various shows, or offer things to dealers for their shops. 

But will I give up the City?  No, it and the Black Bird, Sam Spade, the fog, the whole Noir of it will always be with me.  We will travel back and forth between my parents home and here, but now we will be in control of our lives, living our lives as we want to live, and enjoying it. 

At bit Retro, a bit Noir, maybe a bit Mad Men, but still our own  Fabulous lives.

I do not know when I'll post again, but I could not leave all you Sweet Things hanging, and dear Fram, I hope you are as happy as I am.

Kisses Sweet Things

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy 2014!!!

Hello Sweet Things,

Yes, I am still here and there and all over the place.

Why?  Well now being an independent contractor for my type of work, I've been traveling, and working long hours as well, but that's one of the down sides of being independent.

Joe is not exactly happy about it but is being understanding.  He worries about me and I can understand that.

Seeing how 2013 ended and how 2014 has started in my part of the US my feeling is that it is going to be a very crazy year,  the lack of water here doesn't help, it's going to put a serious crimp on food prices.

And Hell HAS FROZEN OVER!!!   Did you hear about that Sweet Things?  

Well Hell, Michigan that is.    I had fun with that.   So if  Pig's start to fly we will be in trouble.

But today is my day off, and Joe and I are going to a Gun Show,  one never knows what one will find, no preconceived notions or expectations, just going for fun.   And I know there will be long lines at the Ammo counters.

Last time I went it was near the food concession and I asked "Is this the line for the Food?"  and they said no it was for Ammo,  the food line only had 3 people  (chuckle).  

I have been visiting my family and I am happy that they are in good health,  Sis and her boy friend are doing well  he has his own little business and Sis has been helping Mom with her financial side of her business in vintage and vintage style clothing, Mom has branched out a little doing period suits for men or tailoring them to the gentlemen to fit just right. 

Dad is doing well and is in good spirits, he'd like me to come down in a month or two to help him go over some papers,  he has discovered he is having a bit of vision difficulty, and his eye doctor said that Dad is developing cateracts,  so he may go in for surgery to remove them, he's a good canidate for it, his health is good, so we'll know eventually when the date will be set.

Joe and I are still looking for a house that's a bit larger than my place, but I think I'll rent my place out for a while before I consider selling it.  The house that I would have liked was taken off the market by the owners who decided not to sell. 

I still see my friends and we all try to get together,  we're planning to get together for Chinese New Year like always, and Joe and I plan on going to the Film Noir Festival in S.F.

We've been to my country house and it's holding up well, but I think this year it's going to need to be painted, I'll ask my care takers who would be good for the job.  Renting it out for weddings and small events as well as having the college use it for education is working out very well.   The local Historical Society still meets there when it's small meetings,  there has been talk of having fund raising tea parties there to help preserve other historical places,  so I'll need to go up for those meetings.  But I don't see any problem about it.

My traveling has slowed down quiet a bit, its either for work, to my folks, or my country place, Joe says I need to travel for fun.  So I need to think on that, some place we can go together, and enjoy.

Now Joe is teasing me, time to grab some coffee and a nosh then to the Gun Show.

Kisses Sweet Things 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

JFK, windstorms and Thanksgiving~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Again I'm being neglectful to my blog, now that I'm a contract player so to speak I'm more busy.

Right now I'm posting from my parents home, yes Sweet Things I'm back home for Thanksgiving and this time Joe is with me.

We're "bunking" in Mom's sewing room for privacy ;)  Dad purchased one of those inflatable mattresses so we do have comfort, but most of the time we are around the house, or taking Mom to a special shop she want to see, and also getting last minute things for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Dad has invited a few friends from his work who have no place to go for Thanksgiving and they are going to watch the games while Mom, Baby Sister and I are cooking the dinner.

The house feels very warm and welcoming now, each time I come back I am amazed at its transformation.

Dad told me that he's planning to retired in 2015,  I was surprised to hear him say that but he said that the numbers are right, he'll have a good medical plan in place, by that time my Sister will be married, and he and Ted have been doing a bit of Antiquing business on the side and he helps with the book keeping for Mom's business as well.  It seems that things Retro are pretty popular right now. 

Again I was concerned about his health but he said he's fine, he's just lining up "his ducks" and wants to relax a bit,  he did say that he will be doing some work with the firm on a part time basis.  But the major decisions will be left to others, he's already training a couple of staffers to take over, but he admitted it would take at least two years for them to know all the little "glitches" that could come up, that is why he'll still be working part time for a while.

Mom is happy about the idea, I asked aren't you worried about Dad being underfoot, and she said not a bit, he's helped out with figuring costs for her little business so she'd be able to charge a fair price.

I'm happy for them.

The other evening we talked about JFK, I wasn't born yet when he died, but Mom and Dad remembered it vividly.  I asked Dad to some day write down his feelings about that Day, and Mom too,  Dad said to me that when JFK died, the world changed, had lost its innocence, the concept of conspiracy theories began, but what he said was the worst feeling was that if someone could kill the President, then no one in the world was safe, he told me that it made his own father a harder person, a more controling person, and now he was thankful that the "church" that he was a member of at the time, did not go in for suicide like the Jim Jones cult.

Maybe, he said that is why programs and events and organizations are so into exploring the past, preserving it, maybe that's why a number of people long for a simplier, easier to understand time.  I said that it's like that title of a show  "Stop the World I want to get off!"   We reach a point in our lives where we've had enough and re-act by going backwards.  It made sense.

Dad had asked me if the windstorm in my area had done any damage and I said yes, trees uprooted, property damaged, power lines down.  We were fortunate this time, I didn't have a tree invade my living room like the last time.  But we did see things flying all over the place,  I found someone's beach towel smack up again my front door, and Heather and her parents were laughing they found some ladies bras (several) among their plants,  but still 2 people died in my area and a huge Eucalupytus Tree had fallen over near Lake Merritt,  Joe and I had driven over to see it and take pictures, it was huge.  And then we went and had breakfast at our favorite retro dinner Lake Merritt Bakery, it had re-opened after a fire.

I told Joe that I'm seeing too many changes and it was beginning to frighten me, the old bridge gone, that tree at the Lake and other places, Joe took my hand and said to me "That is why finding speical places are important, being a part of something historical is important, being better behaved people as a proper example to others is important.  Guiding young people to learn skills that all the eletronics cannot teach is important."   and I felt safe.

And now Mom is saying that I have to take her to the fabric store, she is still working on a bride's veil and the bride will be coming over this evening she wants crystal drops here and there on the veil.  The image is of a Snow Queen.  And the wedding gown is a masterpiece of velvet and soft heavy satin with crystal drops.

So to the store we go.

Kisses Sweet Things

Friday, November 8, 2013

Things sort of Normal and yet changes in my life~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

I have been busy, and I've been neglecting my blog, but that is what happens when life interfers.

A friend of mine who use to work as a Librarian and is now retired, happily she says, told me that Library work is a series of interuptions, interupted by interuptions, multitasking required.

Well the Bart strike is long over, finally settled but the public is not happy with neither the Unions or Management, to the point where the Liut. Govenor Gavin Newsom was sitting at the table.  I have a suspection that he told them they better settle because the rumble is to pass a bill outlawing strikes by any public transit agencies, such a law is in a number of cities and states and it can happen here.  So they settled.  But I think such a bill will continue to be in the works, the damage is done.

The new bridge is now open, our old one is sitting to one side, a source of wonder to the people who use the new pedestrian walk to to walk up to it and take pictures, to see it from view they never saw unless they were on a tour boat,  I look at it when I take the transbay bus, I admire it, it is like an old steel worker, solid and as dependable as humanly possible, its hugeness and quiet power dwarfs the sleek lines of the new bridge, it is like a boxer that knows all the moves, can still do it but it has gone too many rounds and yet in its age still shows its power, it is not defeated, it can still take on the kid and still win.

But bit by bit it will be torn down, it will not be imploded, but dismantled piece by piece it will take years to remove it and yet during that time it will with its revits and steel beams still be a thing of wonder of the early 20th century.  Word is out that eventually you can buy pieces of it as a souviner.  I want a piece, to hold that power in my hands, that tiny fragment.

Joe and I had fun at the Vintage Fashion show, I found a few outfits that I like, as well as small accesories, Joe had fun purchasing two fedora's from one vendor who deals in men's fashions, and has taken Joe's measurements, he will call when he has several items in his size.  We drove up in one of the vintage cars we have, dressed in our vintage clothing,  there was a costume contest, music, food and drink, I love it.  I found some patterns for Mother that I think she'll enjoy.

Joe and his friend have finalized the purchase of the place they want to do car restoration and have made a deal with several people to rent space while they restore their cars, the extra money will come in handy, of course they had to go through all the safety things, insurance and such, and one of the cars that he's been working on has sold, the new owner will complete the body painting and finish up the interior, which is good.   So a hobby that will pay for itself as they say.   His friend will live in the upstairs apartment as a onsite caretaker and they are going to make sure no fire hazzards.

The house that Joe and I were looking at was taken off the market by the owners, they were planning to move out of state but whatever it was that they had planned on fell through and they are staying.  It's too bad because it would have been perfect.

Halloween has come and gone with quite a few trick or treaters, mostly little one's, there were several haunted houses being done by charities so the teens were going to that.  The little one's were so darling in their costumes, of course myself dressed as Maleficent and Joe dressed as Jafar was off putting for the tiniest, but we had fun.

And now we are on standard time, the nights come sooner, dawn comes at a time that seems normal.  Heather and her folks have invited us over for dinner several times and they are very nice people and doing much better than earlier in the year.  Heather is going for her Master's in art, but she is studying a form of art that I can only discribe as forensic reconstruction, by knowing the facial bone structure she can recreate a face, and from what her teacher has told her she is quite good at it.  She has discovered the joy and immediacy of oil pastels and is doing quick study sketches, she's been inspired by the California artist Jade Fong, espeically his portrait work but it is his landscapes he's best known for.  We shall see where this will lead her.

And I am still going to the Gunshows, the bill to remove the gun show from the Cal Palace was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, one of the few things he's done that's right.  Joe and I could not believe the number of families attending, with babies in strollers and little ones, all of them inquiring about security, and taking the gun tests, espeically a lot of women taking the tests with their husbands holding the babies, every one of them finding out what is the best way to protect themselves.   I've been noticing a change in the demographics of late, more families and less individuals and it is not just to prepare for the Zombie appocolypse, it was like a "war mentality"  they were very serious.

This morning it was foggy outside, Foggy!!! There was no fog in last night's forecast. Heather told me that this morning the little beast called "Baby" was puzzeled by it, thinking that the boogins hides in the fog, it might be right.

I stepped out onto the balcony and just enjoyed the fresh feeling of the air, that dampness that is not rain but surrounds you, in many ways I like it better than snow or rain.  I could just barely hear the sound of fog horns of the ships at anchor in the Bay, San Francisco was hidden by the foggy shroud.

Fog is mysterious, its effect creates mystery, its the stuff of old Film noirs and horror movies, it hides the imperfections of the city, of even my view of what I can see in a hazy, filmy dream like substance and creates a hidden distance, from which a mysterious figure could emerge, like Sam Spade, Philip Marlow, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, the hound of the Baskervilles or the blood thristy victorian serial killer,  Jack the Ripper.

It's the atmosphere of ships at dock, abandon wharfs, fog horns in the distance, gloomy castles, haunted houses that have a sad air, lonely cemeteries where strange beings rise up from hidden depths, and it's just perfect to curl up in front of a fireplace, with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book to read in the evening.

The down side of fog is the dangerous driving conditions, slippery sidewalks, catching cold. Oh well one can't have it all, come to think of it I do have a good murder mystery to read this evening.

And Joe has arrived, I'm glad I had the day off,  Joe asked if it were possible for me to make stew tonight and I have,  with french bread, a good red wine, a salad, and hot apple pie for dessert.  It's a good thing we both work out otherwise we'd be fat.

Kisses Sweet Things.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bart Strikes and "going back in time"~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Well it is a good thing I didn't have to go into work today, I had been planning on using BART but they are now on strike, so I'll have to make other arrangements and at least AC Transit is post-poning their strike for 7 days.

I did have a chance to talk to work and much of what I can do I can tele-communte, but I feel sorry for those who relied on BART as their only means of getting around.   This strike is going to hurt economically, and I really do not have any sympathy for this Union.  There is a point where one can become too greedy.

And I think they have, it is far more than their alleged "safety issues", I sincerly wish that someone at the State Capitol would come up with a law like they have in New York where public transportation cannot strike, but remain at the bargaining table, with a mediator making the final decision.

They have really shot themselves in the foot.

Joe and I are planning on going back to the Pirates of Emerson Haunted house event this weekend, but tonight there is a Vintage Fashion Fair, and Joe is going with me, it should be fun.

We may travel in vintage clothing in one of the vintage cars, at least we can arrive in style, I wonder if it will be foggy where we're going?  What 'ghosts' will show up, drifting like lost souls through lost locals, wandering in the night.

Of late I've taken up writing and I've been going to a creative writing class, but it seems that each assignment that the teacher gives I always seem to write it like it was a noir novel.  Joe teases me and says that I am "out of time, out of sync"  that I really belong in the fog filled nights of 30's-40's San Francisco.

He's right, I've noticed that most of my clothing has changed to reflect that period, I've even been wearing hats, nylons and such even to go shopping or to the movies or running errands, I've taken to driving one of the old cars more than my modern car.  Most of our DVD's are old Film Noirs, but Joe likes them as well.

He went to a police auction where old office equipment is being sold and he bidded on and won an old oak desk that has a file drawer on one side and on the other you bring out a flat top on a hinge and have mounted a manuel typewriter, it also had a drawer for pens, paperclips and such.   He's going to have it re-finished and we're going to this place that sells refurbished typewriters, he wants to buy a Royal.

Our housing situation just may work out,  we've found a house not far from my place, and it has a wonderful view of the City from the upstairs bedroom windows, plenty of space, I could convert one of the bedrooms to my home office and Joe would have his man cave as well, plenty of room for guests.  My current home is paid for now, I could rent it out for more than enough for taxes and up-keep. 

We've gone over the numbers, even had a financial analyst go over it as well just so we didn't have star-dust in our eyes to be sure, and it looks solid.   Another big step.

Now I must go, Heather is here and I promised her we'd go to the store to buy candy for Halloween and have coffee, she's got big decisions to make as well.

Kisses Sweet Things.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chilly weather and hot coffee~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

There is nothing like the scent of coffee perking on a chilly Sunday morning to revive a person,  I was sitting outside enjoying a cup and enjoying the view from my balcony before turning to my computer and catching up with e-mail.

The nip on the tip of my nose tells me we may have a very cold winter, but will rain come enough to ease our water problems?  That I do not know.  I do know I'm rotating the wardrobe and bringing out my heavy coats for the city and gloves.

On the wines we bought, there were a number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma that are very excellenct and I really cannot recommend one over the other, only that the trip was relaxing and buying the wine was an excuse for our trip,  we did stop to walk the Petrified Forest and see California's old Faithful gyeser, it was just an excuse to get away from the city and re-breath ourselves.  Some of the wines were limited editions and seasonal.  But it was mostly scenery for us.

Last night at the Pirates Haunted house was so much fun and exhausting as well,  giggles and laughter,  Joe wants to go back again next weekend, he swears and I agree that we missed somethings.   It was good to see Heather laughing again, she had been down for sometime after Lillian had passed away.

One e-mail remarked that I was off on what I posted yesterday, I looked and the person was correct.

The lady who passed away had two other sisters, one died in an accident with her husband and the other who lived with the lady never married and died in the house several years before her.  That was the confusion.

Now I must go, Joe is out of the shower and we have errands to run, I had not realized how bare was the cupboard.

Kisses Sweet Things

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Of Wine, photo albums and vintage things~~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Oh how we enjoyed our little three week get a way!

After seeing Mom and Sis off on the train we didn't waste a minute and started on our travels, we did encounter some problems with brush fires which smoked up things, so we headed sea side to avoid the smoke and hugged the coast traveling further North than planned, induging in the "Trees of Mystery" and the "Avenue of the Giants" and stopping at every single tourist trap along there, the drive thru tree, the living tree house, the living chimney tree, etc. etc. etc.  pictures I took pictures.  We behaved like well-mannered tourists.

We ran into several vintage car clubs and got information about them and their tours, even an airstream travel club---Joe got a gleam in his eye and I said "Whoa Big Fella!  One thing at a time!"

We stopped in Eureka for two nights to catch our breath and carefully un-packed the car and go though things, washing drying, pressing, re-packing somethings, while there we came across an estate sale, and said "Why not?"   I found out from the person handling the sale that the former owner had no living relatives so everything was to be sold and the money's to go to specified charities.

I thought "How sad, no one to appreciate what was there, now to be pawed through like something at a basement bargain sale, how sad no one to hear your stories, to know how you lived, to know your ups and downs in life, how sad to never know you, your hopes and dreams, your loves and heartbreaks, your failures and successes."   That is what I felt going through all the things there,  until I came across several old picture albums, I mean these were photos from the 1920's to the 1950's in black and white, and each photo with a careful lable under each one saying who was in it, where and when and what event, at the beach, camping, weddings, parties, holidays,  I grabbed the albums and asked the seller to hold them for me, going more into what was there I came across women's and men's clothing patterns from the 20's to the 50's.  I grabbed all I could find.

Joe came across some formal wedding photo's we were surprised the couple looked something like us, as if we had lived decades ago.   I asked the seller about the history of the person who lived here and was told it was an elderly woman who died just two days after her 100th birthday, the year before. It had taken almost a year to properly probate the estate, the art works had been auctioned off as well as the valuble antique furniture and silver, now it was just the residue.  The woman had married at 16, no wonder she looked so young, the other wedding photos were of her much older sister and her husband, but there were no decendants, both sisters were widowed and they both lived in the house until first one and then years later the other died.

The person who handled the estate sale was quiet knowlegeable about the deceased woman and her family, so we got quite a history lesson.  We bought the photo's, and patterns,  I thought my Mother would enjoy the patterns and seeing how the clothes were worn.   I noticed that the photo albums ended at 1959 I asked if there were any more and was told there were no others.

How strange I thought to suddenly stop taking photo's but the seller told me that in 1959 the husband of the late woman as well as her sister and brother-in-law died tragicly in an accident, only she survived.   That made sense, for her time ended, her life ended, but how limiting, to just exist, waiting for death.  Joe also bought some old murder mysteries in paperback by Earle Stanley Gardner and a few other books.  It wasn't until later that mixed in with the books was a diary, it was sporatic and covered for just before she married to the accident it wasn't written in everyday, sometimes there would be months before she wrote even a paragraph, but it gave us something to read and talk about in the evenings.

We did tour the wineries, and bought some various vintages of wine, but we were more looking at things, we did stay for 4 days at my country house and was happy to see that things were going so well.  Buddy the dog greeted me like an old long lost friend, and took very well to Joe,  we had arrived in time to enjoy a harvest festival craft  fair weekend and beer tasting, Joe had to buy and bring home some of the speicality beers.

The argiculture school has been working very hard in maintaining the barn and old fashion equipment, I was surprised to see two plow horses in the barn, and was told that soft farming that is easy on the land is becoming very popular and more people want to learn this method in view of all the GMO Food business, I knew I had given permission for heritage chickens and turkeys to be raised.  But was asked if it be all right to raise other heritage breeds of animals,  well there is more than enough land but I said that buildings for these animals had to look period correct and it could not interfer with the outdoor wedding events.

And that aspect is doing very well, even very small scale (no more than 25 people) indoor weddings those are held in the formal parlor with a small reception in the dinning room. That is mostly in the winter.  My caregivers had taken on two interns who are studying history and seeing how people lived at the turn of the 20th century.  And the ladies from the historical society volunteer helping with the wedding events.  Everything old is new again. 

Now Joe and I are home again, and I feel like I'm torn between three worlds, my country house, the modern business world and the world of the early to mid-20th century,  Joe and his buddy have bought the building to hold the vintage cars, and it seems something has happened on the side, some people want to rent one or two of the cars for special occasions, the funds raised for that will help with the monthly payment and since his buddy lives in the upstairs apartment in the building there is built in security as well.  So the crowded conditions at my house has been alieviated for now.

But in the evenings Joe and I still pour over those photos from the woman whose life stopped so long ago, and we've vowed that we will not have that happen to us.

Now the outside is getting decorated for Halloween, Heather and her folks are looking forward to it they are planning a Halloween party and Heather wants us to go with her and her folks this evening to the "Pirates of Emerson Haunted House"  that should be fun.  I was surprised to see that her grandmother has moved in with them, Lillian was really a great grandmother, but was told by Heather that finacially and medically its best, her grandmother is not bed-ridden but does have heart trouble and the cost of keeping up her house was straining her limited income so she sold her house and moved in with them.  Heather could not be happier, even the little Beast, "Baby" is happy to have someone extra to spoil her.

Now I have to get into my jeans and tennis shoes, I understand that is the best way to enjoy this haunted house extravaganza.

Kisses Sweet Things.