Saturday, October 30, 2010

Joy abounds in here in Minneapolis....

Very early yesterday morning I was awakend by a sweet little voice saying: "BOO!". (It is Halloween weekend after all!)

It was my wake up call from sweet Owen, my four year old grandson. : )  Personally, I can't think of a nicer way to start my day in Minneapolis.

Eventually "Princess" Audrey joined us and the fun began! (Where do children get all of their energy?!)

I gave Audrey her little ballerina music/jewelry box and before I knew it, she was up and twirling just like the little plastic girl in the box.  Grammie joined in, of course...until getting dizzy from all of the twirling around. (One of these days I will act my age...but, not anytime soon.)

Then Owen opened his Pirate Bingo game.  We got ready to play but everytime that the "pirate" button was pushed and a word was given to match a picture on our card....we couldn't quite tell what the word was.  So, Owen would repeat what he thought that he heard and we got hysterical laughing at his made up word. (Don't tell his parents, but some of the words sounded a bit like curse words.)

At this point, Mom and Dad headed to work and I was all alone. No need to panic, I thought.  After all, I was a mother to two boys a million years ago.  I can do this. I can take care of these two cutie patooties without doing too much harm. Right?

So, we decided to drive to the Mall of the America's. For those of you who might not know, this is a mall the size of a small country....but, there is a wonderful carnival section smack dab in the center...and I knew that the kids would have fun there.  I set my trusty (?) GPS and off we went.

We parked the car and headed in.  First stop was The Children's Place to buy Owen a new pair of gloves.  As soon as Audrey spotted the dresses she was pointing and saying: "Audrey's dress! Audrey's dress!".  The one that she was talking about was this little slinky, sparkly, black, leopard-patterned dress with several layers of black tulle at the bottom. I wasn't sure that this looked like a dress for a 2 year old...but, she absolutely wanted it.  Fortunately, there weren't any in her, we ended up settling on a leopard and tulle skirt....that she insisted on wearing out of the store....over her jeans.  So, she did. (I mean, what's a Grammie to do?  I'm such a softie.)

When we got to the ride area, our first stop was a toy store where I had promised the two of them that they could each pick out a toy.  Audrey immediately grabbed an "Arial" Barbie doll with flowing red hair and a crown, gown and slippers.  She was happy.  Owen took a bit longer, but finally settled on a truck from the movie, "Cars". 

Heading out of the store Audrey desperately wanted to get her doll out of the box...

Well, they pack toys in the boxes now so well that it takes scissors, knives, hacksaws, etc. just to get to the toy.  It was impossible to do...and, heaven knows I tried! I finally got the woman behind the counter to tear it apart for us so that my little princess could hold her new doll. (Luckily, Owen is old enough now to understand waiting until one gets home to open presents.)

First stop, the Merry Go Round.  I purchased several tickets and we were on our way!  When we got to the front of the line, Audrey decided that she really didn't want to get up on one of those horses after all.  Owen did want to go....but, he had to stand in front of a measuring line...and, he was too short to go alone. Sooooo, I ended up paying for both of them and carried Audrey on with me....we got Owen strapped in...and then we sat on the little bench.  She held me tightly the entire ride. (Again, I am realizing why we have our children at a young age!)

We came upon these cute little cars that went around an innocent looking track.  "Oh boy! This will be fun!" said a naive Grammie.  But, again, Audrey became hesitant right as we got to the front of the line...and we were faced with the "not tall enough issue" for Owen.  I whispered in his ear..."stand up really tall" hoping that he could reach the 36 inch line.  But, all to no avail....he could not go it alone and I couldn't leave Audrey alone.  Luckily, a daddy nearby asked if I wanted him to ride with Owen and I could ride in the car behind them with Audrey. We were all set.  The cars began to move on the track.  As we rounded the corners of the track that baby whipped around like nobody's business. ( I do think that I have whiplash and will call my lawyer as soon as I return to Bham. : )

It was the l-o-n-g-e-s-t ride that I have ever been one.  The daddy with Owen in front of us was having a ball, even putting both of his arms up in the air as he screamed with delight.  Audrey and I were horrified and every time we passed the lady with the on/off switch I gave her one of those looks that said, "STOP this   $&*#@!! thing NOW!  She wasn't paying any attention.

Enough of the rides...time for lunch.  After walking what seemed to be three or four miles, we finally came upon a McDonald's on another floor far from the rides!  I could have hugged Ronald McDonald right then and there if I didn't think that it would embarrass my grandkids.

Remembering that I was told that it was important to get the two of them in for their naps prior to 1:00, I decided that it was time to head back home.  There was only one problem....where had I parked the car?????  Twenty minutes later, I located the first store that we went to and that led us to the parking lot and the car.  The kids were now getting a bit cranky....and, so was Grammie.  I started to drive and Audrey fell sound asleep before I made the first turn. (and, with a sigh, Grammie was dreaming about the nap that she might take too.... as soon as they got home.)

My wonderfully joyous adventure with the grandkiddos was just beginning....and, I was laughing my way through every delightful minute of it!   : )

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm heading to this..... : O

Minneapolis Weather for Today

Rain / Snow / Wind


36 degrees
Feels like: 23 degrees

Wind from SW at 25 mph
gusting to 40 mph

I just got the latest weather update on Minneapolis.  Interesting, eh?

Luckily, things should calm down a bit when I fly in around 5 pm tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, we were hit with some severe weather here in Alabama.  The weathermen were on the air for a majority of the night as there were several tornado watches and warnings throughout the afternoon and evening.

Fortunately, I just had some heavy rain....and, some wind, here in my neighborhood.

It seems that Mother Nature is in a frenzy lately!!!!! Maybe "Father Nature" has gotten on her nerves?!
Bad weather or not, I am so looking forward to spending Halloween with Adam, Jenny, Owen and Audrey!!!!!!!!!!  I have packed my pirate costume as well as some warm clothing...and I am ready to go!

Tomorrow cannot come soon enough....

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone...and don't eat all of your trick or treat candy before the kids even come to your door! : )

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eye(ball) to Eye(ball)

I am leaving for Minneapolis Thursday afternoon....and, even though I had told the kids that I would take Owen and Audrey to a toy store while there....I couldn't resist getting them a couple of things from home...I am a Grammie after all!

So, as I picked out a couple of items for them, I  noticed this huge basket of eyeballs about the size of large marbles.

These were not ordinary fake eyeballs....these roll around inside of the plastic outer case....and, when they knock up against something, they begin to flash different, bright colors! Such craziness.....I had to buy a couple for Owen and Audrey.

Of course, while I was picking out two of them I accidentally knocked the entire basket over and eyeballs were rolling everywhere....and flashing!  I couldn't stop laughing as I picked them up and placed them back into the basket where they became a conglomeration of pulsating, light-flashing eyeballs.  It was quite a sight.

I am sure that they were glad when I finished up my shopping and left the store.


It is in the 80's in Birmingham today.  Storms are predicted for later on this afternoon....but, this seems tame compared to what is going on in the midwest for the next couple of days.  The weather report for Minneapolis on Thursday is windy, rainy, very cold...with a slight chance of some frozen precipitation mixed in with the rain.



I went to the bank today to get some cash for the trip and noticed a sign on the door.  It said: "Happy Halloween! Please remove your mask before entering."

At first I thought that it was a little holiday joke, but later found out the seriousness of the sign. 

Of course the bank doesn't want anyone coming in with their face covered! What was I thinking? Robbers trick or treating at the bank.



I got my flu shot this morning.  I figured that it was a good idea since I was going to be spending time around my grandkids.

When I got it last year my arm became so sore that I couldn't lift it up at all. I am hoping that the same thing doesn't occur this time. 

After all, I have some serious hugging to do when I get up to Minneapolis!  I can't wait...

: )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Never go to the store when you are hungry....

I ran into Target this afternoon to buy a few things for my Thursday trip to Minneapolis when my "afternoon hunger" kicked in. I should have known better...but, I headed to the grocery part of the store.

I found myself in the cookie aisle (what a surprise?!) perusing what was available for a quick snack.  I spotted a box of cookies that was made with whole wheat flour, all organic, and very low in fat and calories.
My interest was piqued as I read more of the side panel information.

I couldn't believe what I saw next.....a serviing of these cute chocolate chip, honey, and chocolate rabbit cookies was 30 delectable morsels!!  30!!  Wow.

I pictured myself slowly savoring a huge amount of these delicious cookies and totally satisfying my sweet tooth.

Then I opened the box.....




I saw......

They were the teensy, tiniest little cookies that I had ever seen!

No wonder that it took 30 to make one serving.

I felt a bit deceived....but,

I ate them anyway.....all thirty of them.  Mmmm.  : )

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oh, what a night!

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."
~ John Andrew Holmes

Everyone in the room last night had to have felt "lifted" as we watched my dear friend stand in front of the crowd and speak from her heart. Over 400 people stood and watched and listened as her story unfolded.

The place was Gus Mayer, an upscale shop in one of our malls.  The whole store went "pink" for breast cancer.....the painted pink walls, the lighting, pink items for sale, the skirted fabrics on the tables....even the rosy raspberries in the champagne.  Many of the people there had pink on....the men sported pink ties, looking very dapper....and, many of the women wore all shades of pink from whole outfits to small bracelets. It was an incredible sight. 

Greeting me as I walked into the store was a huge, tiered, pink birthday cake that was perched on a silver was absolutely breathtaking.  Tables were set up with delicious foods and drinks were available at the many bars placed around the store. The joyous spirit could be felt all over as people saw old friends and made new friends.  Most importantly, we were all there for one singular cause; breast cancer research.

The birthday celebration was given by my friend, Carole, a breast cancer survivor, herself.  This unbelievable
night brought in  $65,000 to be donated to breast cancer research!  One night!! And, the store is still offering to contribute a percentage of sales for the rest of the month. Amazing....just amazing,  how one peson can make such a huge differerence in the fight against breast cancer.

Carole mainly wanted to honor her team of cancer doctors which she did so eloquently by making them the focus of  the evening.  But, she also spoke of her gratitude.  She expressed being so grateful for the love and support of her many friends and family....and, shared some intimate details of her life's journey. She is such a courageous woman.  I don't think that there was a dry eye in the place and I believe that we all left the event last night feeling a little a very good way....our hearts were full.

It was truly a celebration of the heart....and, I was honored to have been a part of it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My mom always amazes me with her ability to get rid of things that she doesn't see a need for anymore.
And, she does it so easily....without looking back.

Her apartment at "The Home" is smaller than her small condo that she moved out, she feels this need to clear things away every once in a while.  If she finds something that she thinks one of us (my sisters and I) might want/need she will possibly save it....but, most of the time it goes into the garbage or donated.  She can throw out several bags of  "stuff" at a time without any concern that she may need/miss any of it at some point.

Not me.

I tend to hold on to things just in case I might find myself in need of it someday.  One never knows, right?!

I have this basket at my office desk.  It is filled with papers with information that I feel I might need.  Once the basket gets so high that it may topple over, I go through it and throw out about 1/3 of the stuff.  Then, I begin the collection again.....and so on and so on.

I hate to get rid of old clothes....even though I have gotten a bit (ahem!) "thicker" and they don't fit at all quite as well as they used to....I just keep them hanging there in my closet....just in case.  Like, maybe I will get back into some of my old college clothing.....or, perhaps these bell-bottoms will come back in style one day.

Then there are just "things" that I can't seem to part with.  I mean do I really need my little collections?  I mean how many salt and pepper shakers does one need? And, will I ever really need to use that fancy schmancy silver champagne bottle holder?  My book collection is getting so overgrown that I may begin to give out library cards to those who come over and want to peruse my bookshelves.

Oh, and the art!  My walls are so covered already...filled with "things" that I just can't live without.  I'm an artist, so it just makes sense that I would have a lot of art in my home.

But, I know that Mom has the right idea....simplify, simplify, simplify.  We really don't need to surround ourselves with so much stuff.

And, I plan to do that..... soon as I see if those bell-bottoms still fit me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joy.......and other related stuff.

Oh, to be a child again!  : )

I had such a nice thing happen to me yesterday.

I received an email from a gentleman in New York.  He had read my story in Chicken Soup for the Divorced Soul and it had helped him sort out some things going on in his own life.  His wife had walked out of their 32 year marriage and he was devastated.  The story that I had written about my own divorce experience had given him hope.

I had hoped that writing about my experience could do that....and I felt so good about it. 

I certainly wish him the best....I know that in time he, too, will be fine.  I know it....because I lived it and joy is once again a huge part of my existence.

I adore my girlfriends.

Yesterday was Mah Jongg Monday...and, it was great fun.

We moan, we groan, we complain, we even curse...but, we insist that we love the game....because, we also laugh, laugh, laugh....and, laugh some more....mostly at ourselves.

Such a joyous way to spend my Monday afternoon.

Mom's stories from "The Home" continue.

Most of her focus right now is on her dinner table.  Every night she sits with the same group-three men and one other woman.  They are an affable bunch and she seems to be enjoying it....however, the people who run the dining room are quite strict and things like 5 people sitting at a "6" table is not really tolerated. Well, Mom went to the "higher ups" and complained about this, they gave her group their own table for now.

You go girl!

And, then there was the great "Orange Juice" controversy.  It seems that the men at her table were bringing jars to dinner to be filled with OJ for the morning.....Or, maybe for a screwdriver that night? Hmmmm.  It seems that this is no longer allowed.

Things are getting tougher at The Home....but her stories always bring me joy....
I love this time of the year for my morning walks outside.

The air is crisp and the sky is blue and all seems well with the world. Ahhh....

Simple joy.  : )

Monday, October 18, 2010

I noticed that the leaves are just beginning to show their colors here.....

But, Minnesota is a bit ahead of us as seen in these photos of  Owen and Audrey!

And, how about those two delicious apples (above) ?!?!

I love this time of year....and, to make it even better, I will be spending Halloween with  these two cuties a week from Thursday.......

Can't wait......BOO!

: )

Friday, October 15, 2010

San Francisco photos......

Posing with Snoopy in Charles Schultz' hometown.
Dave walking on the trail at Muir Woods.
My grilled calamari nightmare...!

One of my first views of the city.
Sculpture in Chinatown.
The Blue Angels...amazing!

The "Peanut Truck" on the mountain road.
Views of the city!

Domain Chandon winery...
Dave at the wine barrels...
Here's a toast to you, Napa Valley!

Etc. etc. etc. : )

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This gorgeous flower was right outside of our San Francisco hotel...., I just had to take a picture of it.

I am still flying high from our trip out West.  What a beautiful (and bustling!) city that is. 

Since I have already posted most of the trip stories in previous posts, I will just be putting some photos on my blog in the next few days.  That way you can match up the photos with the stories... : )
Yesterday was in incredibly touching day.  I was glued to the television most of the day watching each of the Chilean miners freed from their home for the last two + months.  Each one had a different story and role within the group of 33 trapped men.

I had tears in my eyes as I got to see a miraculous ending to a disastrous event firsthand.  The way our world is now, we can view these amazing events when they are actually happening.  It is truly captivating to watch the strength of the human spirit to survive.

Of course, it wasn't without some humor (?) as one wife continued to see another woman waiting for her husband.  She found out that she was, indeed, her hubby's mistress.  So, yesterday, the wife stayed home while the mistress was there to greet him.  One of the newscasters commented that the gentleman having the affair might want to go back down in the mine for a bit!
Unfortunately, my day today was spent at a funeral where a friend had to bury his mother.

As I stood there listening to the beautiful eulogies given by some family members, I realized how burdensome this particular time of our lives is. So many of us are having to face losing our parents, and it is so hard.

I watched as this friend's family gathered....the children of the deceased, their children....and grandchildren. 
As a child, one never really thinks of being without their parents.  As an older adult, it is a truth that we must be prepared to face.

Today brought back many memories of my dad's funeral not too long ago.  All of the sadness came right back to me as I felt the loss once again.  I find myself thinking about him all of the time.  Many times I will "talk" to him when I want to share something that has happened to me.  I am hopeful that he is hearing my thoughts and words...

The cycle of life....I wasn't really prepared for this to be so difficult....but, then, who is?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


..pooped. : )
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Leaving my heart in San Francisco...

Last day is here.  We head out at 7:00 tomorrow morning. : (

Today was a little less hectic than the past few days.  We checked out of our hotel and headed to the Ferry Building.  We had a lunch reservation at a Vietnamese restaurant that was lauded by friends who had been there as well as Frommer's, Fodor's, and Zagat.

We were lucky to get a much coveted table outside overlooking the bay. I sipped a cool glass of white wine while we looked over the lengthy menu. 

The food was served family style so we just got a few dishes to share....Hoisin sauced spare ribs, crispy vegetable rolls, and shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, brocolli and carrots over noodles.  Delish.

Lunch was filling....but not so much that there wasn't room for a mint chocolate chip gelato.  Heaven.
Tonight we are staying in a hotel near the airport.  We returned the rental car and then took the tram back to the airport where the hotel shuttle would pick us up.  After walking around the airport for a while and then finally catching the first tram that had arrived, we found ourselves on the wrong one and were soon heading back to the rental car area.

We quickly got off of this one and caught another one....which also ended up going in the wrong direction.

A few more rides around the airport and we were hysterically laughing at the craziness.

Yes, eventually we got to the right terminal....caught our shuttle....had a light dinner at the hotel...still laughing at our previous antics.

Time for bed....alarms are set for 5 a.m.

I just want a few more days here....but, then, doesn't everyone who visits this interesting and eclectic city??


Sunday, October 10, 2010

I spent time in prison today....

Yep.  I went to Alcatraz this afternoon.

After a quick boat ride to this amazing island in the middle of the bay, we arrived at the world's most famous penitentiary.

We took the audio tour with eerie sound effects and interesting stories as we wandered around this relic.  Fascinating! I walked into actual prison cells including solitary....and, learned about attempted escapes.

Heading back home on the boat, we were treated to another hour of the Blue Angels....with the planes doing dips and dives over our heads.  The bay was filled with sailboats and other larger vessels...pretty amazing sight.
But, I must tell about my morning.

We had heard about an incredible place to go for breakfast while in San Fran.  It was called "Dotties"...and, we thought that it was just a stones throw from our hotel.

So, we headed out early this morning walking our way to this place.

After a few minutes we saw a huge hill before us.  You know, one of those famous unbelievable hills that San Francisco is known for. Dave saw what was ahead and said that he was going to go and get the car at the hotel.  Being the stubborn person that I am....I told him that I wanted to continue to walk and that I would meet him at Dotties.

So, I walked.

And, walked.

UP hills the likes of which I haven't ever seen before.

My heart was racing like crazy....but, I kept going.  After all, I walk some hills in Birmingham without any problem.

But, these were not Birmingham hills.  These were mountains!!!!!!

How crazy was I?  What was I trying to prove??

Dave called me on my cell and let me know that he was on his way with the car.  Of course, by then I was 3/4 of the way, I kept on walking.....and walking....and walking....!

When he stopped to see if I wanted to get in the car, I said that I could just walk these last two blocks.

Big mistake. By then I was quite exhausted but my pride won out.

Finally arriving at Dottie's, there was a line a mile long.  I guess that we weren't the only ones who had heard about this place.  It was just a little hole in the to seat just a few at a time.  But, the blueberry pancakes, I thought to myself...!  Oh, how good they would taste.

But, the people ahead of us said that it was going to be about a two hour wait.

We left and went back to the hotel, left the car, and walked across the street to a little neighborhood breakfast spot.

It was absolutely delicious. : )


Saturday, October 09, 2010

What exactly is Dim Sum?

Today was spent exploring....starting with Chinatown.

As we walked amongst the hanging lanterns and brightly colored street displays, we worked up an, we headed to a Dim Sum restaurant that had been recommended.

Not knowing exactly what Dim Sum was, we looked around to see what the other patrons were eating.  The first thing that Dave said to me (in a concerned voice) was that everyone was using chopsticks!  There wasn't a fork to be seen.

We then noticed the waitresses walking around with carts loaded down with a variety of dishes.  We were to pick what we wanted and the item was then stamped on the little card at our table.

The first thing that we tried was the shrimp roll.  It was basically a dumpling with shrimp inside.  It was very good....but, Dave was struggling with the chopsticks.  I tried to give him a lesson on how to hold them....but, he couldn't coordinate his fingers to get it to work correctly.  He wasn't sure what to do but I said to just ask for a fork....which we finally did....and, he was able to eat his shrimp dumplings!  I must admit, he was quite frustrated to not be able to master the chopsticks, but I assured him that it was quite alright.

We then got some mushroom dumplings, some egg rolls, rice, and some big crab claws...and then  some Chinese doughnuts.  It was an interesting lunch and very enjoyable.

After lunch we came up a local bar with a Pittsburgh Steelers sign out front.  Dave, being a HUGE Steeler's fan had to check the place out.  He loved it.  Of course there were four or five flat screen tv's in this very small bar....all of them playing football games!  So, we both got a beer and sat for a while as Dave felt like a part of the "Steeler Nation"!

Later on in the day there was an exhibition by the Blue Angels, the Navy's precision flying corps.  These pilots fly their jets in all kinds of formations...pretty amazing.  We went down to the pier to get the best view of these jets as they flew over the bay. I tried to capture some of the formations on my camera...but, they were so fast that it made it quite difficult. 

Without realizing it, we planned our trip during "Fleet Week" which is a big to-do here in San Fran. Fleet Week celebrates San Francisco's roots as a famous Navy town and has been celebrated each year since 1981. So, the town was in a celebratory mood and we found ourselves part of it!

After the Blue Angels, we headed back to the hotel so that Dave could catch up on some of the day's football games, of course. 

Then came the big dinner decision.  I found a cute place called Mona Lisa that served clams and mussels and crab, etc. with an Italian flare.  Dave, on the other hand was playing around with Google and found a hole in the wall place that sounded good to him.  What to do?

Well, I gave in and we went to his place....and, I am so glad that we did.  It was a family owned joint that had people waiting in line to get in.  The owner was so funny as he kept the people in line happy by offering small glasses of wine for free. Music was playing....some of the waitresses were was joyous.

We were seated after a few minutes and began to enjoy the loaf of delicious bread that was put in front of us. We ordered some raw oysters that were great...and, then Dave ordered a special of the night, a flounder dish with lemon and capers.  I went for the big (and, I mean BIG) bowl of Ciopinno...which is basically a seafood stew chock full of clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, scallops floating in a wonderful tomato broth.  You know the kind that you just have to use your bread to sop some of it up. Oh, it was yummy....and, filling.

I knew that we would be "eating" our way through this town.

: )

The tale of the squid...

Lunch, yesterday, was interesting if nothing else.

My "Frommer's Guide to San Francisco" had mentioned a great place to eat while in Sausalito....right on the bay, it was appropriately called "Fish".  This bustling restaurant had an interesting menu and Dave and I decided to order two things that we both liked and share them. 

We were all set to get the fried oysters and the fish tacos.....UNTIL, I overheard a man order something with calamari.  It   piqued my interest, so I asked him about what he had just ordered.  His answer was something that wasn't even on the menu, but sounded kind of good to me. And, he said that it was "Delicious, to die for!"

"Let's be adventurous" I said to Dave.

So, we decided on the oyster dish and the grilled calamari on top of a mixed greens salad....

When the huge bowl of salad was put down in front of me I did a double take.  Staring up at me were a ginormous amount of raw looking squid.....some were just like rolled up pieces but some were the actual little legs, etc.  They almost looked like plastic as they sat there on top of my otherwise normal looking salad. For a moment I thought that I was on "Survivor" where they are forced to eat raw foods as part of a challenge.

But, I took on the challenge and began to make my way through the rubbery little creatures that were inhabiting my lovely salad.

It took a lot of chewing and a lot of getting used to the texture of these little things...but I managed to eat about two thirds of them.

My stomach never felt the same the whole rest of the day.

Maybe that was why the gentleman said that they were "to die for".

: O

(by the way, Dave's oysters were absolutely delicious!!!)

Friday, October 08, 2010


Day two of our San Francisco trip.

What a beautiful place this is!

A few things that we have done so far:
Domain Chandon winery.  We were supposedly at a "tasting" that turned out to be more of a "drinking"!  We took the little tour and then went to have a taste of the delicious sparkling champagne.  Four smallish glasses
later (!) and we were a bit giddy.

Dinner that night was at one of the places that Dave had found on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  It was a little local favorite with a full menu of delicious Italian foods.  We left there satisfied and several pounds heavier.

It was late by the time that we left there so we headed for our hotel in Santa Rosa.  I didn't realize that the drive was going to be along a winding mountain road.  Not a very relaxing fact, it felt like a ride at an amusement park but, we got to our destination safely.

Today we left wine country and headed to San Francisco.  All I  kept saying was "wow"....the scenery was incredible.  Before getting to the hotel, we stopped at Muir Woods. There were a variety of trails to walk along and see the huge redwood trees.  It was a delightful day....a little cool, sunny....perfect for our 2 mile "hike". There was such a sense of peacefulness walking amongst these giant trees.  It was really lovely.  Dave moaned about the hiking part for a minute....but, ended up enjoying it as much as I did. 

Leaving there afforded us some incredible sights along the steep roads.  We stopped at a couple of areas off the road so that I could capture some of the beauty with my camera.  Breathtaking, absolutely breathtaking.  And, of course, on the way down we saw a little truck set up selling all kinds of nuts. We stopped and  I purchased a big bag of honey roasted cashews. Mmmmm.

Our next stop was Sausalito for a bit of window shopping.  As we headed down the main street, filled with a variety of shops, ice cream parlors, coffee houses, etc., we ended up at the bay and were given a view of the Golden Gate bridge as well as the city of San Francisco. Amazing.

After checking into the hotel, we went down to the lobby for a complimentary wine hour...and, then it was on to Fisherman's Wharf where we had some fresh fish and bought a "tourist-y" tshirt for Dave and a sweat shirt for me.  I was delighted with my new hot pink "San Francisco" sweatshirt because by this time the sun had gone down and it was chilly out!!

As I type all of this I am realizing why I am so exhausted tonight.

I am looking forward to another fun day tomorrow.

G'nite. : )

Thursday, October 07, 2010

...sitting in an airport in Phoenix, Arizona....

Since Dave brought his computer along, I thought that I would go ahead and write a quick little blog post.

OK. Truth be told, I am extremely kind of bored.

We left the house at 5:15 a.m. to catch our 6:30 a.m. flight.  I slept a tiny bit on the plane, but was glad that I awoke in time to get a view of the Rockies....something that I hadn't ever seen before.

At 10:15 Arizona time, we will be back on a  plane heading for our final destination, San Francisco!!! 

First stop: Wine the Domaine Chandon where they make that wonderfully sparkling champagne.

The crazy thing with this time change is that while I am nearing lunchtime, most of the restaurants here are serving breakfast. 

Nothing appealed to me so I ended up getting a fat-free (of course) frozen yogurt vanilla/chocolate swirl for breakfast/lunch/whatever?

I can already tell that this is going to be a crazy trip.

Let the adventure begin..... : )

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." Helen Keller

Early (early!!) tomorrow morning we will be winging our way out west to San Francisco!  This long-awaited trip is finally here.

Some of our plans have been set, but, a lot of our time will just be free to explore.  And, explore we will.  I know that there is a lot to see and experience and, in our time frame we will be a bit limited.....but, I have packed comfortable clothing and (more importantly!) comfortable shoes....and I am ready to go.

We will start out in wine country (Napa) where we will stay over one night.  After we have had our fill of vineyards and tastings, we will head back to San Francisco for the rest of the trip. 

Going to, and, hopefully returning from (ha!),  Alcatraz is on our list of things to do.  As an artist, I am very interested in going to Sausalito which is known for its art. Chinatown is definitely on our "to-do" list.....and, of course, being the "foodies" that we are.....trying out the many restaurants is high on our schedule. Mmmmm.

Off to pack......more to come!
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Pink! Pink! Pink!

In honor of breast cancer month, our newspaper went PINK yesterday!

Every single page was printed on pink paper....even the comics!  The paper was filled with incredibly courageous stories about survivors as well as encouraging medical updates. It made me realize just how far we have come in the fight to eliminate breast cancer.

It was really lovely to look at, exciting,  informative, and, most of all, inspiring.
Way to go, Birmingham News!

Monday, October 04, 2010

My bra is on display today!

This is one of those....."now that I've got your attention" titles! : )

The truth is that one of our local stores is turning "pink" this month for breast cancer awareness and several designers and artists were asked to design a bra. The decorated bras will be on display in the store for the month of October and patrons can vote for their favorite. Each vote will cost one dollar with all of the money going to breast cancer research.

Not wanting to "compete" with some of the well-known designers, I decided to do what I know best: pottery. So, I hand-built my bra out of clay.... placing hearts all over it....some with textures and some plain. I then stamped the word "hope" in one of the hearts and painted the whole thing in different shades of pink. The word "cure" was stamped and dangling from the center section hearts. I wired the whole thing together, made ribbon straps...and, it was ready to go.

When I walked into the store with it, my dear friend and breast cancer survivor was being interviewed and photographed  by our local  newspaper. She will be hosting the "Celebration of Life" event at the store coming up on the 21st of this month.  It is being held on her birthday and she is using that special day to honor her cancer doctors and to raise money (and, awareness) for breast cancer research.

I was quite excited when the photographer ended up taking a photo of my clay bra! I was then interviewed by one of the paper's writers....only to find out that this will all be part of an article in this Sunday's paper!!

So, I guess that I can now say that I had my bra "published"!

(I mean, really,, how many women can say that?!)

: )

Saturday, October 02, 2010

This is what I did today....

We got PINKED!

The video above was of the "Flash Mob" that some of the Girlies and I participated in today. (I am the one in the pale purple jacket in the video.)

We have been rehearsing for this "big moment" for the last couple of weeks and finally today we did our thing at one of the local malls in the food court.

The whole thing was to raise awareness for breast cancer and it was put together by the local Breast Cancer Research Foundation here in Birmingham.

To say that we have had such fun doing this would be an understatement!  We have laughed and laughed as we "seniors" of the group tried to learn the dance moves.  A few bobbles here and there, but I really think that we did a pretty good job....and, it was for a very good cause!

Time for a nap!  : )

Friday, October 01, 2010

I felt like a 62 year old lady this morning as I slowly got out of my bed....

and, then I realized that I AM a 62 year old lady!

I still wonder how that happened?

It seems that my "well-toned, strong-bodied" self (HA!)  has been taken over by some achiness and strength "zapping" demons and a variety of moans and groans.

I'm not complaining (well, yes, I guess that I am)....just noticing the changes.

Getting older is a bit of a challenge these days.  I was going to say that getting older is a bit of a b***h, but, I didn't want to offend anyone.

Please don't say "consider the alternative"....!

I'm actually quite happy being alive and being just who I am right now.

 I just like to gripe about it every once in a while!

: )