Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where is the Sun??

Hello Sweet Things,

All this Grey weather can be depressing, but for a few hours this morning there was sunshine, so taking advantage of it and letting Joe sleep, I took a much desired walk on the nearby beach.

It was so refreshing to see the waves or more like wavelets, kissing the shoreline, watching the various sea birds swoop and ride the sight air currents, the joggers, the serious walkers, the dogie walkers, the parents with babies in strollers taking it a bit of sun and air and enjoying a free sight and thing to do.

Then looking off into the distance counting the number of carrier cargo ships at anchor in the bay, there use to be the sound of fog horns years ago, even with just a slight cloudiness but either the wind wasn't right or they don't use the horns anymore, I miss that.

The weather man says we will have sunshine for the next 4 or 5 days, frankly it can't come soon enough, I need the natural vitamin D that Sunshine provides to help lift my mood. Yoshi suggested that I look into those light bulbs that provide full spectrum light similar to sunlight, she uses it with her Grandmother and it seems to help. I'll look into it, but for now it was nice just to be out in it even for a brief moment.

I took advantage of my walk to end it at the local Starbucks for coffee and a pastry, and as I was contemplating walking home an acquaintance of mine Hank and his wife walked in so we shared a table and they offered me a lift back to my place since it was on their way out of town. To IKEA they said for bookshelves for their college age daughter's room, when they said she was in college I hadn't realize how much time had pass since I first knew them and their children were just little babies.

Now I'm at my computer, and enjoying seeing the sun play "peek-a-boo" behind the clouds, I have few minor chores to do, thanks to Esperanza my housekeeper, my house work is greatly reduced, but it's nice to be hands on a few things.

I'll need to make plans when the weather stabilizes to go to my country place and check on things, Lillian wants to go to the movies this evening to see "Rango"---Johnny Depp as a lizard, that should be interesting.

Ahhhh the sun is out again, I can't resist it, I must go and enjoy it's benefits, until later Sweet Things.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rain--Cars---and Dogs (well one dog)

Hello Sweet Things,

I am feeling decidedly “House Bound”, Joe agreed with me that I do need some sort of vehicle if I suddenly need to just get out, so to reputable rental agency we went and I’m now set up with “a car”, it’s tiny, it cost the least to rent, it gets good gas mileage, it’s clean and it runs. Is it my style??? Nooooooo, but one needs to do what one must.

I’ve been in touch with my caregivers at my country house, they are doing fine, Buddy the dog is doing fine, the house and land is doing fine, no flooding, no land slides, it is hard to get around, the roads are icy, but carefully passable. Once things dry out they can assess what might need to be worked on that might have been damaged by all the snowy weather.

My services for Jury Duty was not needed, I’m free for another year, although the idea of serving on a jury would have been an interesting distraction after all the sad news about Japan, the destruction by our own storms, the loss of the Beautiful Elizabeth Taylor and the interesting Geraldine Ferrao and my “headaches” in finding a car I really like. Poohh!!

Hunting for a new car with Joe is proving to be informative as well as frustrating, and after comparisons with Popular Mechanics, Consumer Reports April issue, talking to the various sales personnel with a “laser-like” questionnaire, I currently am looking at the Elantra, although I was tempted to purchase a brand new 2010 VW Jetta that has sat at this dealer ship like a “Garage Queen” as Joe refers to it.

According to the sales person it was a special order exterior and interior in a Cream color, but when it was delivered the purchaser never picked it up, even though they had put a sizable down on it. A mystery. But Joe suspects it might have been for someone in an illegal business. Of course he is entitled to be suspicious. Although he is pushing me to look at the Dodge Challenger---why a muscle car? It’s a “guy thing” I think.

However Joe, rightly, insisted testing other makes, but there was something about this car, well I did test a few more, but when I went back this last Sunday to test the Jetta again it had been sold. Oh well it wasn’t meant to be.

And right now there maybe delays in getting whatever car I choose because of the situation in Japan, it only emphasizes the idea that too much outside of the U.S. the manufacturing of necessary parts can cripple our nations economy, it would be in the U.S.’s best interest to set up factories here to back up those in Japan or not be dependent on what Japan or any other foreign country manufactures that is necessary to the product. Globalization has its limitations when one sees how a crisis of such proportions can damage our financial structure. By bringing it back to the U.S. we’ll be adding jobs to the job market. I wonder if “they” will see that.

Several of my blog followers have asked how I’m doing after my accident, I still occasionally have slight headaches, the ringing in the ears is gone, my back sometimes doesn’t want to do what I would like it to do, had more X-rays, but my Doctor thinks it’s more muscle stress than anything and has recommended a massage therapist. I tried one that was recommended to me, oh it was heavenly! I am definitely going back for another, and maybe another.

I’ve been going to the gym, being careful on the type of workouts I do to make sure I don’t strain something, swimming has been very good for my cardio, being in the water is just so relaxing, an “out of body” experience for me.

The Headaches will eventually fade away, but they seem to appear when I’m under stress, I hope they do not become a permanent thing.

And Stress appears to be on the menu for now, work mostly. Too many things in upheaval. The Middle East, the horrible devastation in Japan, it is affecting us in oil and gas as well as the economy. We are watching the Japan Market right now; it is a very serious roller coaster. The very serious trouble with their nuclear energy plants, we’ve been following the updates on the reactors and it’s frightening. Those 50 brave souls staying on, risking their lives for everyone else.

Yoshi is raising funds to help out with the survivors, Joe and I have contributed as well as quiet a number of staff. I can’t imagine the sorrow, fear and deprivation that they are going through, my heart goes out to them as it does to the Haitian survivors. Each day that I listen to the news, it’s horrible and I read in the New York Times the horror stories and tremendous personal family loss of the survivors, it’s heartbreaking, my prayers go out to all the people of Japan.

To those of you who wish to help you can make donations through these organizations: this goes to medicine and medical supplies donations go to help the youngest victims this goes towards relief and emergency services
And you can contact your local Red Cross to see how they are accepting donations for their international branch.

I am so relived my assistant is back, she’d been very ill with that horrible flu that flattens you for weeks; she is proving to be invaluable, running interference for me when she sees I’m developing another headache, gets me coffee, tea or aspirin with barely a whisper from me, she even used her lunch hour to put together a first aid kit, with alka seltzer, band aids, antibiotic cream, Tums, and other necessary nostrums and aids for the ill. Definitely a Team Player, there are some classes and seminars that are coming up that I’d like her to go to, they will increase her value, to the point that I might lose her but she seems to want to stay and learn as much as she can and move up on her own merits. She will go far.

I have a rant that I’m going to post later but right now I’m going to hold off on it, “ranting” requires getting my blood up and doing that right now will bring on a headache.

On the Home Front, Heather, Lillian’s great-grand daughter has a little guest, a 4 legged guest, and after last night I know a permanent 4 legged guest. Heather was walking to catch her bus from the campus a couple of weeks ago, when she saw these 4 boys tormenting a small Chihuahua type dog, running up to them and scooping up the dog she demanded to know which one was the owner. None of them owned up to it. She went up and down the houses and few apartments in the area, no one knew the dog, it’s collar was missing, she told the boys that she was going to take the dog to a vet and get it checked out to see if it had a chip and if she saw them tormenting another animal she was going to call the police.

The next day she took it the a vet to see if it was chipped, no chip, then she took a picture of it and posted the flyers in the area where the dog had been found and even a little further out. She’d been calling the animal shelters and mailing flyers to them as well, out of all of this she got one call from a lady who asked if she could come by and see the dog last night.

Both Heather and Lillian had grown fond of the little beastie, even I have been charmed by it, but if this was the owner, they had no choice, they were going to have to surrender the dog; I was there last night when the lady came by with her husband or boyfriend in tow. The woman looked scared and the man looked vile, not a “nice” person. The little thing seemed to know the lady as she picked it up and it gave happy little licks to her cheek, suddenly she put the dog into Heather’s arms and asked her what she was going to do with the dog, Heather said that she and her grandma had become fond of it and if no owner was found they would keep it.

I saw the lady give a little sad smile and said that it wasn’t her dog and said to Heather “Take good care of Baby” she and the man left Lillian’s house, I stood at the door and before I closed it I saw him give the woman a shove snarling at her “You’re smart, now no dog! Don’t think about asking for it back! Stay here, don’t move! I’ll get the car!” He wasn’t aware that I had heard him or saw what he’d done, his tone made me mad and as soon as he was out of sight I went to her and gave her my business card telling her “Call or e-mail me if you’re in trouble or need help” she gave me a look and I said “My boy friend is a police officer if you need help we can help you get to a safe place, now hide that card.” She nodded and looked relieved.

Just in time she tucked the card away before he drove up, he growled at me and demanded to know why I was there and I said “I just wanted to keep her company while you got your car; some times it’s not safe no matter where you are.” He gave an angry nod at me as she got into the car then drove off breaking rubber. At that moment I wanted my Beretta, I felt he was one scum bag the world would be better off without.

I returned to Heather and Lillian, who was stretched out on the couch with the little beast on her lap. Heather asked me what that was all about, I said “That, I think, was the owner, she gave up the dog once she knew it was safe, I think she even told you it’s name, Baby” with that the little thing stood up and wagged it little tail.

So with Mocha Almond ice cream we celebrated a new member to the family and a happy ending to the little one’s tale (or is it ‘tail’) of woe. Would that there were more happy endings like that.

Until later Sweet Things, I will keep you informed of my car hunt, although I’m getting quite use to the routine I’ve developed, but the freedom that an automobile can bring cannot be denied.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Elephant Sales and Headaches~~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

I know "shock"! I'm posting again, well I'll continue to do so, but it may be sporadic, but when I can 'steal' a few minutes I will.

Work continues to be very hectic, with all the upheaval in the middle East we have to be on our toes here, oil prices are shaky, and for now will go up, until the situation stabilizes. California's requirements for it's "special blend" is not helping---"special blend" is such a joke.

Many of my co-workers are taking public transportation to and from work instead of using their cars, or are car-pooling if it works. Myself, I use bus and Bart, unless I need to get here very early. One of my neighbors takes the ferry into work and drives to the terminal and we try to co-ordinate going together when possible. It works, I don't worry about coming home the same time she does, but I do enjoy the ferry when I can.

And right now I have to rely on my feet or the kindness of neighbors or Joe when his schedule permits.

Reason?? My car was totalled!! I'm fine, just a sprained wrist, a concussion and a few scratches but my car will not be drivable again. Thank God for air bags. Had to spend a couple of days in the hospital and I have to go in for check ups, the headaches were the worse but they have gotten much better, I'm not going to elaborate but, I was at a stop light, it went green I had the right of way and someone didn't pay attention that it was my turn. The good thing is that I was hit from the passenger side, if it was the driver's side it could have been much worse for me.

Poor Joe, he was sick with worry, Mother came up by plane (brave lady), Joe picked her up and she stayed with me for a week, but I was back to work part-time, after a few days bed rest, my assistant took care of shifting some appointments and my co-workers took care of those that couldn't be shifted and followed my notes.

Joe felt frustrated that he couldn't be with me because of his job, I told him to not worry and just call in when he had free time. Which was often. Love that man. He and Lillian shopped for me, Mother cooked and made friends with Lillian, those two were having the nicest chats I was told, while I napped.

My lap top was totaled as well, then dealing with insurance, getting a new lap top, recovering the information on my old one, getting a new cell phone (mine had disappeared) and discontinuing service to the old one, now I am going on a car hunt. Of course I need one that gets good mileage, is dependable, comfortable for me to drive(especially on long trips), and not difficult to repair---Toyota need not apply.

One very pleasant thing, my neighbor (he of the crashing tree into my home) his wife travels into the City for her work, she usually leaves the same time I do but she likes the ferry, so frequently I've been going with her to the ferry terminal, but she comes home earlier than I and there are times when I have to work late, so depending upon my situation I'll take the ferry at a later time or come back by Bart and Bus.

Their two daughters are so nice and helpful, Lillian and I have watched them when their parents go out, and they are "Scrabble" demons, keeps me on my toes. They are not babies but now are 10 and 12 I think, for safety reasons they can't be left home alone but the girls seem to enjoy being with Lillian and Me or sometimes it's just me and on occasion also Joe. He cannot keep up with them on Scrabble.

About a new car, Joe suggested a Mini-Cooper or a VW Jetta---I couldn't see myself in a Mini-Cooper--too mini for my taste. The Jetta has a good track record, but so does the Honda, we'll see.

Mother has gone back home now that I've fully recovered, but I will continue to see my doctor, and this weekend is the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale.

And what an event that is!

There are no words to describe possibly the biggest, most fantastic annual Garage Sale held here in the Bay Area, it is one event you Must plan on every year.

Saturday Morning, I get a wake up call from Lillian at "Oh My God it's Early"---- "Rise and Shine Sunshine" she says, which means I have only 30 minutes to shower, dress and pack a thermos of coffee and dash to her place (wearing my most comfortable running shoes).

Lillian and her Great-Granddaughter Heather (Heather is staying with Lillian while she goes to U.C. Berkley and keeps an eye on Lillian along with Esperanza her housekeeper) are revving up the Dodge Caravan and I jump in. We get to the handicapped parking in time to snag one of the coveted handicapped spots. Heather just bristles (she's driving) if anyone parks too close to the car that Lillian can't get out. But with a side sliding door that is not too much of a problem.

Then we wait, already there are food vendors, serving everything from Hot Coffee and Chocolate with pastries to some of the best Burritos in the World. Although an old Factory area it is slowly becoming gentrified, but neighbors that live in some of the former workers Victorian homes, take advantage selling soft drinks, popcorn, chips, and having their own yard sales, some of the business around there will open their parking lots for $10 a parking spot and they get their money. Even one person opened his back yard and had space for 5 parking spots and made money.

On the side where the handicapped parking is we have porta johns, and it's not so crowded to get into the building but on the other side, the line snaked for 5 blocks!! Then its 10 a.m. time to start the sale, the roller doors go up, volunteer staffers stand in front until the announcement, then across the expanse of the huge warehouse, you can hear a cheer and it's "GAME ON!!" Lillian has her handicapped walker with wheels ready to go, and we rush in.

We use our cell phones to keep in touch, Heather stays with Lillian and Lillian tells me go ahead and grab anything she might like. I head to accessories, and find some wonderful vintage purses, and other things, Lillian joins me and sees the perfect belt that she wants.

We made out like "Bandits", Heather found some Barbie dolls that she can use in her art projects and other things that she could use. I know that baby sis and Mother will love what I was able to get, I wandered to another area and spotted something that I had to get, a regulation holster for a 4 inch barrel with low positioned belt, it also had the holders for cuffs and mags, it dawned on me that it was for a left handed person or a motorcycle cop. I bought it.

I went over to where they have stationary and office supplies and met Lillian there who was picking up her supply of Christmas cards. I found some things I could use at home, such as a card file for various occasion cards.

When we had too many bags, Heather and I would put them into the car and head on back, while Lillian would go and tackle another area.

The Jewelry counter was jammed packed, 4 deep, once you wiggled your way into a spot you worked it for all it's worth, and I found 3 beautiful pins. I also manged to buy a beautiful cocktail ring, 18 K with a large Amethyst. Talk about Luck, it was buried under some other items and had been over looked.

Finally the three of us sat down, rested and reviewed our situation. Lillian was done and wanted to go back to the car, Heather wanted to still check out some art work and I wanted to looked at a couple of areas again. With Lillian made comfortable we went back and with a more leisurely eye I spotted a lamp with a intact shade that would be perfect for my living room, Heather found two paintings that she coveted, back in accessories I found a beautiful hand mirror, brush and comb set, the set had jars for various things like powder and such in a beautiful blue and rose enamel, it had been buried under some handkerchiefs in the case, I knew it would be perfect for Mother go I got it.

One thing I did was write out checks to the W.E.S. this way it was easier for me to use as tax deductions.

Tired, and hungry (again) after 3 hours of shopping in the wildest of sales, we carefully made our way out of the area, Oakland P.D. was there to direct traffic, we discovered that even 3 hours after the show had opened there was still a line 3 blocks long of people waiting to get in!

Heather looked at me as we waited for an opening to move the car out and said "Are they crazy??" I started to laugh, with that even she knew how absurd her remark was.

We debated where we wanted to go and grab lunch, Heather said she wanted a Hamburger from "In and Out Burgers" but I suggested "Nations" since we could right now get strawberry tarts there. Nations it was. I never new a Hamburger could taste so good. Yes, back to the Gym again.

We returned home, and even though I was tired I prevailed upon Lillian's good graces for me to borrow her car so I could do some grocery shopping, Lillian gave me her grocery list as well and we tucked her down for a nap, Heather and I braved the insane parking at the Safeway--Trader Joe's area.

Using our insulated bags we could keep our refrigerated foods cold, as we braved the sales at the Border's Book Store that was closing with things now 20 to 50% discounted. In terms of books I didn't find anything that had me anxious to buy, but Heather found an art book that she was interested in at a good 40 % discount.

We returned to our respective houses, putting away our foods, when Heather came by again saying she was feeling restless, frankly I felt the same way, with going to Office Max, an Antique co-op, Office Depot, picking up some collectible soda pop bottles at Nob Hill (with the soft drink for consumption), I filled up the Car at the Nob Hill gas station, Heather still was restless, I asked her if she was on something, but no she said she just was tired of going from home to school to home to school and this felt like freedom.

Understanding her feelings we drove down Doolittle drive which fronts along part of the inlet behind our island city, she had brought her art pencils and started sketching the bird sanctuary, zeroing in on a cormorant that perched on an old piling. Her art work is beautiful. Using her camera she took photos of the bird and the area for reference, and told me that she'll see if she can work it in watercolors and oils.

I suggested that we go to Rasputin's and see what CDs we could find, and called Lillian, Esperanza was there putting in a few hours and said that Lillian was awake and had some tea, so I told Lillian where we were going and she asked me to check on some DVD's for her.

Going out to Rasputin's Heather told me that although she loved art and had talent she wasn't sure if she could make money at it. I told her about Owen Smith a local artist who has done magazine covers, murals, book coveres and illustrations and has sold his independent work.
She had seen his works but she wasn't sure if she could get the breaks. I suggested that she look at a business degree because she would need it to understand what it would take to sell her art work and with such a degree as a major with art as a minor, she could still work and pursue art, that there were various outlets that she could examine until she could finally get a "toe-hold" in the art world, it wouldn't happen over night, but it would happen.

This gave her a lot of options she reasoned, and felt much brighter about what to do. At Rasputin's, we leisurely took our time looking over the music and movies and found a couple of the DVD's that Lillian wanted. Driving home taking what I call "the scenic route", we called Lillian and were informed that Esperanza had made a huge pot of stew for dinner with rice.

Relaxing after a delicious dinner we looked over our finds ooooing and awwwing over them. Later this week I'll need to box those things I got for Mother and baby sis, I'm still deciding to either mail them or take them down with me when I visit for Easter, depending upon whether I have a car or not. If I take the train I can put them in my suitcases, which is an option to consider.

This morning I slepted in, Joe had pulled another double shift although we kept in touch via cell phone, and he is still sleeping as I type this. I left the police issue holster out for him to see and found a note attached to it---"PERFECT!!" it said. That made me smile.
In an hour he is going to wake up and we are going car shopping. I don't think I'll find what I want right away, but at least with my consumer's reports I'll at least know what I'm looking for.

And yes, Sweet Things this was a long post, but so much has happened and will happen, so I think my posts will be long. At this time I do not forsee my going on many trips, the demands at work and my Doctor's insistance about my staying close to home until she can give me a full bill of health it going to cramp my style.

And so is a Jury summons---yes---a summons for Jury Duty was in my mail box when I came home---Pooh!! So I'll have to see how cramped my style is going to be. Well if I do get on a Jury I hope it will be an interesting case.

So for now Sweet Things, stay dry and warm. Kisses

And yes Sweet Fram, I still am "Windy" ;-)