Joys in the little things

This has been a great few days in California. And productive…ugh. Talking about work, I know. But it has been good all around. 

Landing Sunday was by far a good choice. Who wants to spend a few hours in a truck after being on a five hour flight? Not me!

While performing the highway study I was sent out to do, the driver pointed out some local tidbits. You know things that don’t show up on tourist sites. Things like: a Tiki- themed drive-in movie. Or animals made from metal scraps. 


Or a gas station from 1915 and the parking lot from Back to the Future where Marty sped off into the past. Pretty cool places if you speak with the locals. 

Perhaps one of my favorite finds was a blast from my past: Jersey’s Mike’s Subs! 

Who would have thought I had to go to the West Coast to get lunch from one of my favorite places to eat on the East Coast? Yes, this picture made my husband jealous. We already planned to go there while visiting next week. But I was able to get a preview!! 

Can’t wait to see what today brings!

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California – What a Trip! – Pt. 1

We spent a week in California. And what a week it was!

We split our trip in half – sort of. Three days along the West Coast and the remainder of the week in the California Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, among the rolling hills.

Angels Camp is a beautiful, small town with much to offer visitors. Nestled among the rolling hills in Calaveras County, this tiny town was made famous from many successful gold mines as well as by Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…and this will *have* to be a multi-poster. I mean, how can I just haze over some of the most amazing sights that were seen by a couple of East-Coasters?

We left from Louisville, KY for Chicago, IL before heading west. This trip was the first time the 14 year old flew – and the first in over 25 years my husband stepped on a plane. The flight to San Francisco was educational as we were handed Coke cans in Chinese…I think…even the waitress wasn’t sure.

We flew over some pretty landscapes – even boring Interstate 80 looked pretty from above.

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Our first stop – Lombardi Street. The world’s crookedest street. I thought this street was a few blocks, but thankfully, the crooked portion was only one block. We took Uber to the top of the block and walked down.

From the top of the block, you can see the houses over looking the bay. The colorful hydrangeas planted along the block add beauty to the street.Since one photo doesn’t do justice to the street, I took a few…one of which captured my son walking down behind me – the kid flew in from Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning only to go on a trek of the city shortly after breakfast. Yup – we love him to pieces!

From Lombardi Street, we ventured over to the San Francisco Bay. I love history, and seeing Alcatraz in person was another highlight for me. I saw it safely from the pier instead of traveling and dealing with crowds – I do not do large crowds. *shutters at the thought*

We visited the shops and sights of Fisherman’s Wharf along Pier 39. We watched the infamous Sea Lion’s lay claim to their pack of piers.The Sea Lion’s have a fair amount of piers they have taken as their own, to bask in the sun and lounge on one another.

Coit Tower was fascinating to see after watching a movie where the family met there if they got separated, not to mention a point of interest for visitors in Telegraph Hill. The top of the tower resembles that of a fire hose, though that was not the intention of the architect. Instead, it was a tower built in honor of the lady who left money “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved” in a bequest upon her death in 1929. The tower offers a 360 degree view of the city. We didn’t make it to the tower, but we were able to see it throughout the day.

Now for the food – who goes to a new city in a never-before-visited state and not eat the food?! 20160605_12150420160605_121508

Blackened cod and fish and chips – served in a metal pail! Ha! I do have to add a little tid-bit about the bathroom – it was an “open concept” type…you walked in to a large area with double sinks in the middle of two sets of stalls. Two on each side. <whispers> they were not marked specifically “men” and “women”. It was a little unsettling until it was realized that people knew which side was which…thank goodness for locals!

 

Five Question Friday: 3.23.12

Yeah, I know it’s a day late, but at least it’s here. 🙂
Join in the fun with Five Question Friday.
You won’t regret it.
 
1. If you were free to just hop in the car and drive, where would you go? Or, if you could hop a plane and go anywhere, where?

I would go see some of the sites around the country – I would love to spend a few weeks exploring the North Western states. There’s a ton of pretty landscape up there or so I’ve heard. We would start in the North and wind our way south, ending in Arizona. I think that would be fun, educating, and exciting. No reservations just driving and stopping when we get tired.
Flying to England and exploring some of the places where our family lived and worked would be on the top of the list. I would love to travel through England, to the Netherlands, to Ireland and possibly going through Germany towards Italy. My father’s family came from the northern countries while my mother’s side was all from Italy. But the cost of flying 5 people over there is something I don’t want to look at. 😉
2. What’s your most recently read favorite book?
I am reading the Hunger Games trilogy. I think that is one of the biggest series out there at this time. It’s nice to having a discussion with someone far away who is reading/has read the same book. It just makes the long distance seem a little less farther away. 
3. What’s your favorite Spring Break memory?
Spring Break started just after my birthday, so the week started off great for me!
My family didn’t go anywhere or do anything during the week we were off from school. I’m trying to remember if anything exciting had ever happened during that time frame…but I can’t think of any. While living in Texas, I’m sure I spent a good amount of days with my friends at their homes and while in Jersey, I believe that time was spent at the beach.
I do remember going to the local swimming pool with my siblings and meeting our friends there. I think we would spend the entire day playing in the pools, trying to keep cool from the 100+ degree temperatures. I might think of something later, but for now, my spring break memories consist of being at friends homes or with friends at the beach or bothering the life guards at the swimming pools. 

4. What do you put in your child’s Easter basket? Or, for those w/o kids, what was put in your childhood basket?
I usually put a few favorite candies in the baskets, the chocolate bunny is a staple – no exceptions, it has to be there!
I buy them each a TY Beanie Baby – I usually find odd ones around Christmas and hold them for a few months.
I also get them something they each wanted – usually under $20. Like a book they wanted or some small Lego set. (Again, under $20 and usually purchased around Christmas. After all, why not take advantage of the sales while they last?)
5. Do you get a summer haircut?
Not specifically. I do get my hair trimmed and sometimes colored, but not for the reason of “summer”. It’s more like it’s time for another trim. 

5 Question Friday: 1.6.12

Click the image and follow the link to join in the weekly fun. 

1. What is the weather like where you are and do you like it?

Crazy. Can’t make up its mind.

Last week started with snow and 28 degrees and ended with sunny and almost 70.

Do I like it? I like how the snow lasts until noon and the sun is warm. Otherwise, it’s better then having feet of snow and inches of ice.

2. When you’re sick what do you seek comfort from?

My blanket and pillow on the couch. The dark is also my friend when I don’t feel good.

3. What do you need to do before the end of the month?

EVERYTHING!!

In the land of work, I have several claims that will expire if I don’t get them through by the end of the month. On the home front, not much has to get done. I’ve been packing away Christmas and hope to have all of that all put away by month end – well, except my usual all-year Christmas tree and things. I also have some regular going through/ packing that I would like to have done.

4. Have you ever served on a jury?

Nope. I was called to go twice. I had been excused one time due to having a new-born and the second time because I was in the hospital recuperating from major surgery.

5. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Never thought about what animal I would be. Let me think…okay, a few days later and lots of time to think. I think I would like to be a giraffe. 

Oh, now I’m suppose to answer why? I like the height. No one really hunts down a giraffe for their spots. They are amazing animals to watch – they walk gracefully, they are quiet and usually well-tempered. They don’t eat meat which means they don’t attack innocent animals just for a meal. The flip-side, adult giraffes aren’t in the cross-hairs of lions, leopards, and other such fierce animals. So yeah, I’d choose to be a giraffe.

Five Question Friday: 12.30.11

Come join the fun! You know you want to! Click the picture for the link to some crazy or thought provoking questions. You never know what you might learn about yourself!

1. What’s the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?

Prior to September, it would have been my wedding dress – 20 years. But my parents came out and brought a pullover I had purchased when I was a teenager working along the boardwalk inJersey. Talk about a life-time ago! But hey, it still fits and it’s just as comfortable now as I remembered.

How old is it? Twenty-two years old.

What condition is it in? No holes, no frayed ends, no stains, and no wrinkles.

2. How many random blog readers have you met?

Define met. And are we talking those online or in person?

I have learned that several of my friends, coworkers, and other various acquaintances are bloggers. I didn’t know they were bloggers. I mean they never went around wearing shirts or hats advertising “hey look at me! I’m a blogger!” And it never really comes up in conversation..”how are the kids? Work? Blogging?” “I have so much to do today – the kids are sick, I have a dentist appointment and I can’t forget to blog.” My life doesn’t work that way. The only way blogging comes up in my conversations is when someone in my real life says “hey I found you on twitter. I didn’t know you blog too!” Then it turns into a blogging conversation – which leads to an interesting conversation and a half.

As for meeting random bloggers I follow – I’ve never met anyone. I’d love to meet some of the ones I follow. They are hilarious and have similar interests. Heck, I followed one by mistake and have ended up learning I had a lot of things in common with them. But meeting them in person? Nope. I’d like to – although some of them don’t live on the same continent as I do, so that might prove difficult. Unless by some miracle I win the lottery. But last I heard, in order to win that, you have to play it.

3. Do you let your kids stay up till midnight on New Years Eve? (Or, if you don’t have kiddos yet, did you get to stay up until midnight as a child?)

Yes…and yes!

I remember being in elementary school and my parents would let us all stay up to watch the ball drop. There would be many neighbors outside honking car horns, fog horns, or banging on some pots all yelling “Happy New Year!” But the second the singing and cheering was over, it was off to bed.

This is a tradition I have with my own kids. We let them stay up or if they want us to wake them up, we will. We don’t go outside, though. I think we’d scare the neighbors. The neighborhood is usually tucked in for the night or several of them are at bars or friends homes celebrating. Either way, we stay indoors, calling our relatives at each hour marking off the New Year for the time zone they live in. Then it’s off to bed for a few hours.

This year, though, it won’t be just us celebrating the New Year. My husband’s parents are visiting and we plan to play some games throughout the night until we all decide it’s enough.

4. What are the gas prices where you live?

Is this a joke? Which day? What time?

Yesterday morning gas was $3.29, by the time evening came and I had to buy gas the price was up to $3.39. This afternoon the price was down to $3.32 which then went up to $3.36 by evening.

newsinsacramento.com

It makes me wonder what they are thinking…but then I realize they aren’t!

5. What is one resolution that you know you should do but are too afraid to try?

I don’t have any resolutions I’m afraid to try.

My one resolution this year is to cook more healthy meals. I already have been doing that, but I want to cook different meals. I feel as if we have been in a rut – cooking the same meals week after week. It happens because of budgets (we know how much it will cost), ease (we know how to make it so the entire family will eat), and time (we can schedule our meal prep accordingly without worrying we won’t have time to eat before going to [enter weekly commitment here]). 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

This is my teenage son. He is a bit silly and full of wit and humor. Add a little (or a lot) of sarcasm, and you have the character traits of this ray of sunshine. I choose this photo to represent family because his expression captures the fun and crazy times we share – whether we intentionally try to be silly or not. 

Five Question Friday: 12.2.11

It’s another glorious Five Question Friday!

Check it out by clicking the image and join the fun. It’s crazy, it’s random, and it’s FUN!

1. What is your favorite Christmas decoration in your house?

This is a toughie. I have to pick one?!

Well, let me think…I can do this…alright, I can’t. I know it’s “cheating” but I have five to eight trees up at once and if they were all decorated the same way, it would be boring. 

Yeah, I’m a freak of nature. I know this. As does my husband, but thankfully, he doesn’t mind. 

Any who – I love snowmen and Santa ornaments. I mean, come on, they are adorable and always smiling. Face it, have you ever seen either grumpy, sad, or upset? Yeah, that’s what I thought. 

 Have I ever mentioned how much I looooovveee this season? I didn’t think so.

2. Do you finish your Christmas shopping early or are you a last-minute type?

Early. Last minute. It’s all how you look at the calendar. 

I start shopping for the next year the day after Christmas if it’s a really good deal. I don’t buy things for the kids that soon – their minds change so many times it’s too soon to make those types of decisions. However, I do take advantage of those after Christmas sales for other people. Things that don’t go out of style – unique ornaments, jewelry, books, Christmas decorations, you get the point. 

Although, I can and have and probably will again get the kids items that never go out of style. Cars, models, Lego sets, board games, and such are items I can pick up throughout the year. The kids have certain things they like that never change – for example, my daughter collects snow globes. These are easy enough to get and beat the lines and craziness of holiday shopping. Any clothing they want usually gets bought in October when I do my lay away shopping. 

So to answer the question – I’m an early shopper. I spend the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas shuttling the boys around to buy gifts for each other, but otherwise, I sit back, relax, and watch Christmas shows while wrapping. 

3. When do you turn on your heat?

The heat goes on when we get cold. This house has nothing on the west side, which is where the living room is, and when the winds blow, the living room gets cold real fast.

Otherwise, we don’t really have a set time when we turn it on other than when it’s cold and needs to come on. I don’t do the cold too well – but then again, I’m freezing in summer. 

4. Do you ever wish your blog was private?

I’m of the mind where if I didn’t want others to read it, I wouldn’t write it online. That’s why I have a journal, isn’t it? 

5. Do you put your deodorant on before of after you put on your shirt?

These questions can’t get more random, can they? Wait, I better now ask that. I remember one time there was a question about our washing habits. Yeah, personal stuff. 

Deodorant goes on after the shirt is on. Otherwise it makes a nasty mess of your clothes. Who wants to spend more time deciding what to wear because of a silly mishap with the deodorant? I sure don’t!