Saturday, January 26, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: Landmarks

"The remarkable thing is that it is the crowded life that is the most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crisis is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even it's few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty."

-Eric Hoffer

My pal, and Round Robin teammate, Karen, author of the blog, Outpost Mavarin, chose one of my suggestions for the challenges to play this time around. Cool. Thank you for that Karen. Believe it or not, I had to think and rethink what I want to do for the challenge. I pondered doing some photos of some of the more well known landmarks here in the Bay Area such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower or even Sather Tower located here in Berkeley, on the Berkeley campus. But let's face it, I have photographed those places to death... don't you think? I love the bridge, and it is definitely one of my favorite subjects to photograph, but it has become a bit too comfortable. So, for this challenge I am not posting my usual Bay Area icons, instead I am going to show you a very special landmark, that is all tucked away in the mountains in the South Bay, Alice's Restaurant, located in Woodside, California.

Named after the song, Alice's Restaurant, made famous by Arlo Guthrie, this Alice's Restaurant is a true country diner gem. While it may not be the original restaurant the folk singer sang about, it has an unmistakable charm that has me looking forward to my next visit. As you know, I like taking long drives for special culinary treats, like the amazing apple juice that can only be found at the Apple Farm, in San Luis Obispo, well now that I have visited Alice's, and had their French Fries, I would most certainly take that drive again for their fries. Hot, crispy, and light on the oil. YUM. I don't usually eat fried foods anymore, but this was a neat little treat. It really hit the spot on that cold snowy day, last week.

The building the restaurant is in, was originally built in the early 1900's and served as a general store t0 support the logging industry in the area. What had been called "Four Corners" was then turned into a restaurant. The building was eventually purchased by Alice Taylor, who renamed the restaurant after herself, and the song. The restaurant was sold again in the 1970's and has been family owned ever since. On summer days you can see long lines of bikers, stopping by for one of the fabulous burgers on the menu. I am planning another trip to Woodside, sometime this summer, and you know I will take lots of pictures. :)

A Wooden Indian greets you at the door!

A comfortable homey atmosphere.

I loved the lighting through the lace curtains.

Alan and I split a large French Fries. YUM.

Alan had a second cup of coffee.

I had a little fun setting up a "Still Life." :)

You can get a look at the menu at Alice's Restaurant by clicking here. And if you find yourself in the mountains near Woodside, be sure to drop into the landmark restaurant for a yummy meal, and enjoy the great "Oldies" music they have on the radio. :)

Linking List *Welcome New Members!

Carly... Ellipsis

Karen... Outpost Mavarin

Sandra... Strong Chemistry

Betty... Biker Betty

Jill... Letting Crazy Take A Spin

*Martha... Perception

Lisa... Lisa's Chaos

Sandy... Myanderings

*Shorty... I Couldn't Help Myself

Gattina... Keyhole Pictures

Nan... Life Is Like A Lunchbox

*Rachel... Rachel Schell, Spokane Photographer

Janet... Fond Of Snape

Vicki... Maraca

*Kim... Rainy Day Diamonds

Marie... Photographs And Memories Too

Chrissea... Chris-seas Corner

Teena... It's all about me!

*Robinella... Robin's Nest

*Janet... From The Planet Of Janet

Suzanne R... Living... Suzanne R's Life

Nancy... Nancy Luvs Pixs

*Pamela... The Dust Will Wait

Kim... Nekked Lizard Adventures

Duane... Life, The Universe And Everything

Gina... Gina's Space

*Momma... Sandcastle Momma

*Molly... Return of the White Robin

Sarah... Charish me

Be sure to drop by the official Round Robin blog later this weekend, to find out what our next challenge will be! :)

"Alice's Restaurant"
Woodside, California
January 22, 2008
Late Afternoon

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Snowy Stranger (Haiku)

"It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanities."

-Paul Strand

I had a good in the snow time earlier this week, especially with all the little happy touches I found here and there. Is there anything more happy, in the middle of a cold, cold winter, then the sight of a cheerful little snowman? This little guy wasn't very tall at all, but he had me smiling most of the day. It was an amazing feeling to feel snow between my fingers for the first time. It felt warmer then I thought it would, and now I know, I prefer it to rain. Yes, definitely. I did have a difficult time with the aches and pains that followed later in the day, but that is kind of a fact of life in winter. When the temperature drops, so does my toleration for pain. I am dealing with my Fibromyalgia the best I can, and I know trips like this are going to be a trade off. Sometimes that fact makes me sad. I will never accept that life has so many trade-offs to it.

I will probably be homebody the rest of the weekend, due to the large storm outside right now. High winds, talk of flooding in the Bay Area, and this is only day one of the 3 day storm. Yuck. Still, there is supposed to be a lovely, lively bit of lightning and thunder later today. I LOVE that. I sky making a big noise, and everything smells so good. :) I like to sit by the window and watch it rain, and maybe wish just a little that it would snow, and cover the whole world in those soft, mushy little individual flakes that make me happy. Like I said... everything is a trade-off.

My Snowy Stranger (Haiku)
By Carly Gordon

My Snowy Stranger
Made Of Soft Winter Moments
Waves Warmly Goodbye

"My Snowy Stranger"
Woodside, California
January 22, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cold Financial Roads

"If you lend someone $20.00, and you never see them again, it was probably worth it."


Well, congress and the White House, have reached an agreement regarding the proposed stimulus package. Will it help boost consumer confidence? Does it make you feel better about the future of the American economy? Will it help hold off a recession or is it too little too late? What about the world markets, will this attempt by the government bring about a long-range fix or a temporary stabilization which can't possibly be sustained? And while we are on the subject, just what exactly got us into this mess in the first place? Are we Americans dropping the ball and not doing our part?

I have been reading as much as I can since early January about the state of the economy. I want to understand what's going on, why are the mortgage companies dropping like flies? What part does the decline play in the overall economy? Well, if you read about the decline in the housing market, you will more then likely find yourself shaking your head in disbelief. You find housing loans being issued to folks who want nothing more then to provide for their families. Folks who want a roof over their heads, being taken in by the greed of the mortgage companies. But wait, didn't these people who purchased the loans know what they were doing? Didn't they know they would eventually have to face the pinch of the variable rate?

Of course they did. So why did they take the bait? There are a lot factors to be considered when seeking an answer to that question. I expect that there isn't a simple answer. For some it was the drive to take care of their families, while others took these loans as an investment in the short term. Either way, the bubble has burst, and the economy will be affected by it for years to come. So, what now? How do we turn things around? I personally don't think this rebate will even come close to fixing the problems, because we aren't addressing the other issues contributing to the overall economic downfall. Higher gas prices at the pump, drives the price up for everything. It is a simple fact. It's shocking to me that with America in as serious economic state as it finds itself in now, oil companies are still reporting record gains.

I don't think you can blame the housing market for the state of the economy, and yet when the fingers start pointing to the cause, this is the first thing you hear about. Yes, it is significant, but I don't think we can necessarily ignore the other things that contribute to why folks choose not to spend. Let's face it, other than making your mortgage payment, what do you put your money toward next? Getting to and from work. And to do that, we have to fill our tanks. After housing costs and the need for gas, what comes next? Well, we have to have some energy to keep us warm, then we need to put food on the table, next comes the clothes on our backs and then what comes next? Entertainment? Recreation?

I remember, back in the mid to late 80's there was a housing boom in the Bay Area. Housing costs and property taxes were high, in San Francisco, and in the closer urban areas, so developers started looking out toward western San Joaquin County. Suddenly there was housing popping up in small towns such as, Tracy, California, priced in the affordable low $100,00's, to the mid-$200.00's. Those houses were snatched up, and the great commute across the Altamont Pass began.

But there was also a stability in prices, and even with rumors of instability in growth and economics, a pattern of stability remained. Things seemed to be working and Bay Area economy maintained a level of stability. Folks were willing to pay the prices at the pump, to live in the newer communities where housing was affordable, and commute to the larger cities where the pay was greater. Trickle down economics didn't work, but what did work was the fact that America didn't just put a band-aid on it's problems and call it healed, no, we fixed the problems to the point that it sometimes hurt.

I fear that this stimulus package is simply putting a band-aide on the injured economy, rather then addressing the cancer plaguing it. The war is an economy issue, so is gas prices, which cause the inflation of everything we spend money on across the board. We should not be kindly asking that the price of gas and oil be lowered by the countries supplying it, we should be demanding it, and I am not sure why we aren't. We consumers have been very complacent about the price of things. Why is that? I am no economics wizard, but even I know to have growth you have to have more coming in then going out. Sigh. Ok, I admit it, having that little check coming from the government in a few months will be nice, but I don't have plans to take it back out and spend it in a shopping frenzy. Even folks like Alan and I, who have no children, or a mortgage to think about, have other financial concerns, like the future of our retirement, which is coming up in about 15 years.

The future will never be 100 percent certain, and as I grow older I do read more and more about the economy and what causes the occasional flux to occur. How about you? Have you found yourself reading about things more often lately? Do you believe this stimulus package will be the shot in the arm the economy needs to bounce back? Will you be spending the rebate or will you more then likely put it away for a rainy day? What is your overall opinion of the situation with the economy? Tell me what's on your mind. How would you pursue fixing the economy in the long run? Opinions, opinions.

"How Recessions Work" from the website, How Stuff Works.

"Cold Financial Roads"
Woodside, California
January 22, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Powdered Sugar

"There is nothing more beautiful than the forest clothed to it's very hollow with fresh snow."

-William Sharp

You might have noticed that I didn't post an entry yesterday, did you miss me? LOL. Well, see, as much as I missed posting an entry yesterday, but it is a very good example of how things are for me, as I live with Fibromyalgia these days, especially in the winter. Sometimes I know I have a certain amount of energy to spare, and I have to make choices on how I want to use that energy. Alan and Elvis come first, then comes my photography, then comes blogging. I love blogging, and sharing my thoughts and photographs, but it is after all, at best, a hobby. So, when the news yesterday promised a nice a accumulation of snow at the summit, in the Santa Cruz mountains, Alan and I decided to make a day of it. Snow at that level is a rare occurrence in the Bay Area, although in recent years there has been a few more snow days then in previous years. :)

It was a very good day. Not only did I manage to get a nice number of winter photography done, but I also came up with something a little special for the upcoming Round Robin challenge, "Landmarks." It was a good day for my creativity, but with the cold came a lot of aches and pains, some swollen joints and my blood was a bit elevated after dinner. I am not sure what made it go up. It could have been the pain and tiredness caused by the Fibro, it could have been the talk Alan and I had on the way to the mountains, about the president's stimulus package, and how it just might be a case of "too little too late." Sigh. Of course it might also have been neither of those two things, but rather a just a fact of being a diabetic. Diabetes has a mind of it's own. You can do everything exactly right, and still have to face a rising A1c test result. All you can do is, do the best you can, and try to keep your stress level down.

I was happy playing in the snow yesterday, and I think my photos will reflect that. But today is going to be a lot less active. I have to consider both conditions I deal with, so, except for a trip downtown to the cheese shop, I am going to pretty much be a homebody today. And it's a good day for it! Did you know that today is National Pie day? Yep, it is. And I have big plans for a low maintenance afternoon. I am going to make either a Sugar-free Pumpkin Pie or maybe a Sugar-free Berry Pie. I have a recipe that I got from the Hungry Girl website for a wonderful Pumpkin pie that is only 133 calories per serving. :) I will let you know how it comes out. But for now, enjoy my winter photos, which is proof positive, that it not only rains in California, sometimes it snow also. :)


People frolicking in the snow at the crossroads of HWY 35 and HWY 9

Alan, holding snow. "Don't you dare throw that at me, Alan!"

I got to hold some snow, briefly, then I threw it at Alan! Tee Hee.

Lovely snow covered hill. I love photographing fences. :)

Is there anything more lovely then flowers in the snow? Especially lavender flowers. :) Purple is one of the hot fashion colors for this spring. :)

Note: Please click on the large photo above. It is a shot of the snow, with the lower mountain range in the back, which eventually hits the beach. It looks a lot better in the larger version.

So tell me, will you make a pie, or at least have a piece of pie in honor of National Pie Day? If so, what kind? What is your favorite pie?

"January is here, with eyes that keenly glow. A frost-mailed warrior striding a shadowy steed of snow."

-Edgar Fawcett

"Snow Country"
Santa Cruz Mountains
Hwy 9 at Hwy 35
Woodside, California
January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Karen's New Monday Photo Shoot #4: Look! Up In The Sky!

"Everything is created from moment to moment, always new. Like fireworks, this universe is a celebration and you are the spectator contemplating the eternal Fourth of July of your absolute splendor."

-Francis Lucille

New Monday Photo Shoot #4: Show us something in the sky. It can be clouds or birds or planes or planets or flying pigs - anything at all, really, just as long as it's visually interesting.

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

The weatherman says it's going to snow tonight, possibly at the lower levels around the bay. I live in the East Bay hills, so if you can imagine, it's mighty cold right now. :) I am hoping to be able to maybe get a few photos of snow falling down, but if I do, it will be early tomorrow morning. We'll see. But for the time being, how about some photos to make you feel warm? How about a series of fireworks photos from last May?

Actually, the large photo was taken on Twin Peaks, in 2006, but all of the small photos are from last year's Kaboom concert. Oh my, it was a warm, no I take it back, it was a HOT night, and I was sitting at the first vista point, after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge waiting for the fireworks to begin. I can almost feel that sensual warm breeze as it moved across the bay, and gave me that little chill that made my skin feel oh so good! It's a wonder I got any photos done at all. Oh my...

The large photo has been posted on Ellipsis before, but all of the smaller ones are new edits. I passed them up the first time, funny how you can see something different in your photos once they have been archived. :) Be sure to check back with this entry later this week, I might have an update. Wish me snow luck! :)

2006, Twin Peaks, San Francisco, Ca
2007, Vista Point, GGB, Marin County, Ca

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Karen's New Photo Shoot#3: Downtown

"Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts."

-Walker Evans

New Monday Photo Shoot #3: Show us something you saw downtown, for the purposes of this week's topic, your "downtown" can be in any municipality you go into on a regular basis, from the major city two hours down the highway to your own home city, town or village, or the only gas station and traffic light in a fifty mile radius.

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, (Outpost Mavarin)

I thought it would be nice to show off some of my favorite haunts, beginning with my very favorite city to photograph, San Francisco. I also have a picture of the town I live in, Berkeley, and my favorite sunny spot in Northern California, Santa Cruz. :) Enjoy!

What I See In San Francisco...

City Hall

Market Street

Street Performers In Union Square

The History of Haight/Ashbury

But Not Just History, Whimsy too

Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

Along The Beach And Boardwalk Of Santa Cruz

"Another San Francisco Street Photo"
San Francisco, California
May 24th, 2006