Saturday, July 05, 2008

It Wasn't Meant To Be...

"Let us go in; the fog is rising."

-Emily Dickinson

Well, Alan and I knew it would be iffy. The weatherman, and weather woman, said that there would be a low blanket of fog and clouds on the bay, and sure enough, as if ordered especially for the 4th of July holiday, it came rolling in as the afternoon moved toward the evening. It was completely encased around the marina by late afternoon, and then it moved over the Marin Headlands a little while later. That's just life in San Francisco. Fog is a part of life here, and often times it can be unpredictable, that's why we decided to head for Marin anyway, just in case it decided to give us a break. Alas, it was not to be. I did get some really nice photos of the area anyway, and I was lucky enough to be standing in the right place at Vista Point, to get a nice shot of the fireworks, that were being set off around the corner of the bay in Sausalito, at Richardson Bay.

Downtown San Francisco Broadway at Columbus

Approach to the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge As The Fog Begins To Roll Through

About 1 hour later

Rock Formation Just To The San Francisco Side Of The bridge

Lime Point Lighthouse, which sits just below the Golden Gate Bridge on the north side of the bridge. Click on the link to learn more about it's rich history.

San Francisco Bay, facing the tip of Angel Island, and Emeryville, California in the background

The Fog Looming Over The Headlands

Fireworks From Richardson Bay In Sausalito, California

A spectacular 4th of July on the bay in 2007! Oh well, maybe next year!


All in all it was a good time. We picked up a Round Table All Meat Pizza, with a skinny crust, and some root beer, and had ourselves a little car picnic until time to stand at the wall facing San Francisco. We saw a lot of pretty boats on the bay, all lit up for the holiday, and even caught a glimpse of the Bell of the Bay, and Hornblower yhacts. Someday, I would love to photograph the fireworks while on one of their dinner cruises. Yeah... that would be fun! :) Till next year...

"The Golden Gate Bridge In Fog"
Marin County Vista Point
Marin County, California
July 4th, 2008
Late Afternoon/Early Evening

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day 2008!

"If our country is worth dying for in time of war, let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in peace."

-Hamilton Fish

Happy Independence Day! I bet you probably knew that Elvis would have on his holiday hat! Yep, he asked to have me help him get dressed at a very early 6:30AM this morning. LOL. He is a sweetie during any holiday, always so curious about things, and always willing to be helpful. :) This morning he helped me make a fruit salad for dinner tonight. He was the official watcher of mommy work! LOL. Even with all his little health concerns, he still manages to find the energy to watch me cook. No one has ever had a better sui chef! I will have an Elvis update regarding his health later this weekend, but for now, we are just celebrating the day, and wearing our hats!

So tell me, do you have big plans for Independence Day? Does your community have a fireworks show planned? Are fireworks banned where you live? Are you ready with your camera to capture all the sparkle?

PS: If weather permits, I will be off to Marin to photograph the San Francisco Bay fireworks display. Right now, the forecast is for low clouds and fog, and the temperature right on the bay will be around 45 degrees, but I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. Drop by tomorrow afternoon to see the results!

"My Yankee Doodle Boy"
Berkeley, California
July 4th, 2008
Early Morning

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Monday Photo Shoot: #27: Strange And Silly Signs

"For business reasons, I must preserve the outward signs of sanity."

-Mark Twain

New Monday Photo Shoot #27: Show us a sign that's unusual in some way - even if you have to fake it!

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

"It was ordained at the beginning of the world that certain signs should prefigure certain events."

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

I have showed you all these photos before at some point, but I think they are interesting, and amusing enough to be seen again. :) The photographed the first sign here in the East Bay, many years ago. At first glance it might appear like just another sign, but if you really look at it, you see the obvious problem. I titled the photo, "No Way Out" because if you drive up the hill of that one way street, you can't legally drive back down! LOL. Hysterical! It still makes me laugh to this day!

How many times have you been given a choice as to whether you want to venture down the road to HELL?!

.99 Cents Stores, Open 8AM to 9PM, 9 Days A Week! 9 Days A Week? Where do they get the extra 2 Days? LOL.

"No Way Out"
Hayward, California

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mall Futures

"If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow."

-George W. Bush

I think what President Bush was going for with that statement was, barriers and tariffs, but then again, who can be sure? Maybe he really does think terriers have some control over the economy. I am no economics expert by any stretch of the imagination, but even I am aware that America's economy has gone to the dogs. It's worrisome. So, rather then bury my head in the sand about things, I have been doing a good bit of research lately, so I can fully understand what's happening with the economy and how will eventually effect our family. With a national election coming up in just 19 weeks, I am more interested then ever about how our next president plans to dig us out of this hole we are currently in.

Over the weekend, I saw a report on ABC's World News Tonight, about how we are on the brink of a Bear Market. Well, what the fresh hell is that? I didn't know, so I Googled it, and found some basic information on Wikipedia. Yep, based on what the news said, we are indeed sitting on the edge of a Bear Market. A Bear Market is marked by an overall 20% decline. We are currently at 19.9 percent. Our last Bear Market was in 2002 and lasted about two years. Our current trend toward the Bear Market is in direct relation to the price of oil, which rose by $3 since the close of trading on Friday. There are other factors affecting the market such as unemployment rates, and the housing market, the figures for both will be released later this week, and then the true situation will be known.

I also heard this past weekend that gas prices will more then likely hit $7 a gallon sometime in 2010. That seems like a long time away, but in reality it is just a 1 1/2 yrs. What will that do to my future? Well, there is a good possibility Alan will have to ask for a transfer to an office a little closer to where we live, as opposed to across the bay. We have all but given up the recreation we engaged in last year, which was short day trips to photograph sights around the Bay Area. With gas at $7 a gallon, we might have to consider going to one car and relying on the bikes for everything else in and around town. We might even have to reconsider having another pet, after we lose Elvis. As harsh as those possibilities feel to me, I know that it comes nowhere near the sacrifices which have had to be made by other couples, especially couples with children.

Recently, I visited a local mall here in the Bay Area. It was an odd feeling just walking into the shopping area, because I rarely do mall shopping anymore. A strange departure from the girl I was in the 80's who almost lived at the Fashion Island, and Stoneridge Malls. Oh my, if you are in your 40's right now, then like me, you may have been a part of the 80's mall craze. It was the place to meet your friends and hang out. Not to mention how much fun shopping used to be. Good times, good times. It was a bit of shock to walk into the mall the other day, and see it nearly empty. Sigh. I have been reading for months about different chain stores facing closures due to bankruptcies, but seeing it first hand gave me a chill.

I can see a day when little independent run stores will no longer exist... period. Just last year a great little store, that I enjoyed shopping at, closed it's doors after 29 years of business. It was a personal blow to those who had come to love the personal service you received there, and it was an even bigger blow the the city's economy and the loss of business to the businesses nearby. Sigh. It's happening everywhere. Cody's Books, in Berkeley, just closed it's doors after a little over half a century in business. Business on the small level is affecting us, and business on a grand scale is affecting us. If you make a purchase off the Internet to help save a little money, you are more then likely directly hurting a wonderful small business in your hometown. It's a dreadful spiral.

The absolute kicker for me this week, came from a report about how a lot of small communities in California are canceling their Independence Day celebrations due to cost saving measures. No fireworks, no picnics, no parades, no festivals. It's a bit like being a kid, and having to hear from your folks that there is no longer any money for cable or satellite TV, because mom and dad need to put gas in the car. But then again, as a matter of fact, a lot of households are having to do that as well. This might just be one of those times when parents and children totally understand the pain the other one is in.

So tell me, do you believe the dire predictions for our economy? What is the latest cost saving measure you have taken? What is your biggest financial sacrifice to date? Have you seen any small shops or stores closing in your area? What industry do you think will take the biggest hit before the economy recovers? Are any of your favorite mall stores currently facing bankruptcy? Do you shop most often on the Internet, in a mall, or at small independent stores? Where do you put the economy on your list of priorities when considering our next president?

Interesting Reading...

Economy Can Wait; Stimulate Your Savings (New York Times; Your Money)

"Empty Inside"
Hillsdale Mall
San Mateo, California
June, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Assignment #222: Phone Me

"If the phone doesn't ring... it's me."

-Song Title By Jimmy Buffet

Weekend Assignment #222: What do you use a phone for? Do you strictkly use it to make calls and pick up messages, or do you take advantage of other technology bundled with phones these days? Which features do you use all the time, which others would you use if they were available and cheap, and which would you not bother with even if they were free?

Extra Credit: Do you use your land line to make and receive calls from friends or family?

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

Well, yesterday, when I woke up, I found a pretty gold bag on my desk that said Godiva on the side, and had a little hand written card next to it that read, "Don't open until I get home." You see, it was my birthday, and Alan had a surprise in store for me. He bought me a brand spanking new cell phone. It is a Sony Ericsson Walkman, model #5801... in pink. And to go with it, he bought me a cute little purse and some cables for charging it in the car, and to play my music play list through my car stereo.

He knows I have been wanting a new phone for a while now, and with the new law regarding using only hands free devices in cars beginning on Tuesday, he thought it might be a good time for us to do some upgrading. He got a new phone, and a blue tooth device also. He and I LIVE on our phones. I text with my pal H.P. all the time, and I use the picture and video options often as well. Not to mention using the reminder feature and mobile email. This new model has a great fitness application in edition to the little built-in MP3 player, so I can keep track of my steps and calories burned as I walk or bike. It's just an awesome little phone! And did I mention it's pink? :)

So, to answer Karen's question... I use every feature on my phone, but most often I use the email, text messaging and the photo features. As for my land line, I would have it disconnected all together if I wasn't on dial-up. I tried to get AT&T High Speed about a year ago, but they told me, at that time, I was living on the wrong side of the street! Sheesh. I am always the girl from the wrong side of the tracks! LOL. Maybe someday they will run a line on my side of the street, and then I can make the big move to High Speed, until then, I am way back here on the, slow as molasses, elderly dinosaur dial-up. :(

Extra Credit: Nope, never use it for anything but dial-up. I haven't spoken on my home phone since 2002.

"I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord I miss my mind."


PS: Oh yeah, I almost forgot, there were also two candy bars in the bag. A Godiva Sugar-Free Milk Chocolate, and a Chocolate Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar. YUM!

"Elvis On The Phone"
Berkeley, California
June 29th, 2008
Late Afternoon

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's My Birthday Today :)

"Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year. The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again."

-Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Yep, it's my birthday. My 46th birthday to be exact. I love birthdays, even ones with scary numbers like 46! Tee Hee. I feel good this year, I am especially good inside which is a nice feeling in itself, but outside I am doing well too, although there are a few too many gray hairs on the top of my head for my liking! I might have to remedy that soon. Maybe I will go blond, maybe I will keep it red, you never know with me. I prefer not to plan such things, it's good to move about on a whim once in a while.

I am having a quiet day today. We actually celebrated my birthday last night. Alan took me out to dinner and a movie. We went to see the movie, Get Smart, then enjoyed a nice dinner at Red Robin. I signed up for their EClub, so every year during the week of my birthday, I get a certificate for a free birthday burger. They have lots of yummy burgers, but I always liked their no frills cheeseburger the best. What can I say, I am simple girl to please. It is delicious, and with the rare indulgence of the bottomless fries... well... yum! But before the burger, came a cup of the French Onion soup. As you might have guessed, I think they make the best ever! It's buttery and delicious. You should try it sometime.

Get Smart was wonderful. While neither Alan nor I are big fans of Steve Carell, we both really liked him in the role of Maxwell Smart. In fact, I couldn't think of anyone who would have done better. The movie was more then predictable, but that wasn't really their fault, the problem was I grew up watching the old series Get Smart, so I kinda new what to expect. Shrug. That was a good thing because they didn't let me down. It was good. One of my big hesitations about seeing movies that are based on TV, or movies from way back when, is that the powers that be tend to change them too much to fit into today's trends. Sometimes I just want to see a remake of the original brilliance, not a cheap updated copy. You know?

I was ready to sleep when I got home last night, and sleep I did, until Elvis woke me around 7 this morning with the usual kisses and patty pats. That is my favorite way to wake up, so my birthday couldn't have gotten off to a better start. On the nightstand was a birthday card my mother-in-law sent me, and inside was a check for $100.00! She loves me! :) We have a pretty solid relationship, and in that she had three boys, she enjoys treating me like the daughter she never had. It's a nice feeling, since my parents are both gone now.

When I came into my office, I saw a nice gold bag sitting on my desk. It says, GODIVA on the side, and it is taped shut. The little card next to it says, "Don't open until I get home later!" Alan gets home around 2:00 PM so I will have to be good until then. I wonder what it could be? I will just have to be strong until then, who knows, maybe I will take myself out for my free birthday scoop from Baskin Robbins while I ponder it. LOL. I love getting those free offers in my email. Don't worry, I will share with you tomorrow what came in the GODIVA bag. I promise.

So tell me, do you sign up for free burgers or other free offers on your birthday? If so, which ones are your favorites? Do you have a favorite place to go and celebrate? Do you like birthday cake or birthday pie? When is your birthday? Are you ok with turning the age you will be on your next birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday?