Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taxes, taxes, taxes

I am so steamed. What about this time you ask. Taxes!!! Well who is not at this time of year, right?

I was told last year that I underpaid the Feds and the State of California.

I set up plans to pay them.

OK, I will admit I ignored them until I could not ignore them any longer and I am now paying them.

Last night on the news they talked about the top 250 delinquent tax evaders in the state. My ears perked up a little, thinking wow I can relate.

Well, I can't relate. The founder of CNET and his wife owe over 13 million dollars. Yes 13 MILLION to the state of California. Now I have to imagine that they are receiving letters every day telling them to pay up or else. I owed way less than this, I mean way less and I got scared when I got those letters and called and did something about it.

What is the state doing to collect this? I would think for this kind of money they would send someone in person to start some kind of collection process. How do you ignore this kind of debt?

I couldn't ignore mine, what am I missing?


You adopt a young child from a far away place. You bring them here to your own country. You have them for around six months and for whatever reason


Now I would think that anyone that adopts any child other than a little baby might just think there will be problems. Add into the mix a child that does not speak your language and has been in an orphanage for years and you might just expect some problems. So you just give up after a few months and send them back to what????

I don't know all the details - but I do know she adopted this little boy - she agreed to take him in and love him and when he did not turn out the way she dreamed about, she dumped him.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Falls, puppies and wonderland

Team hike number seven was an amazing!!! The Cataract Falls are part of the Marin Headlands Watershed. You travel up a very windy road past the Mount Tamalpais Inn, where you can get a good meal, a cold drink and a fantastic view. You eventually come to the trailhead and follow the Cataract trail. Coming in from this end you go down hill for quite some time and knowing that what goes down, comes back up I enjoyed every step down without thinking too much about the coming back up. I like it when the trail welcomes you like this:

It has been a pretty wet spring and the water level is really high. We hiked thru some nice woods, it was a little wet and it was very quite. Each and every week I am stunned at the beauty that surrounds us here in the Bay Area. If there is only one hike you ever do in this area, do the Cataract Falls in the spring you will enjoy it.

We hiked for about an hour when we came to the first falls, if you have seen the falls of Yosemite or Niagra Falls you might not be impressed. I have seen them both and while they both are spectacular this little fall took my breath away. I could hear it before I could see it and the water flowed over the rocks covered in moss. The water was clear and the air was crisp and it all made me so glad to have seen it.
The largest fall had about seven levels and was worth the two and a half hours it took to get to it. We met up with the big dogs, the A-level hikers, the ones that go really fast and longer than the rest of us. Me, I am not a big dog. I am a puppy, I hike slow and steady and am usually in the last group in, so to say they were surprised to see us is an understatement. Of course, they were on their way back up and we were on the way down. We got the evil eye from the team captain because we had been told not to come down this trail, but all us puppies were really glad we did.

I can see why this is the favorite hike of so many in my hike group. The hike back did not take us as long as we thought, even with all the stairs, yes stairs, we got back early because we missed a trail so we turned around and hiked back down the trail for half and hour and then back up for half and hour.

So I'm coming back up the trail and see something that I think is a deer jumping across the trail. I point it out to the person hiking with me and we stop and watch for a minute. Another flash of fur out in the field and back across the trail, then some running thru the woods on the side of the trail, then it runs across the trail again and doubles back and comes right at us down the trail! That is when I think am I in Alice in Wonderland? There sitting on the trail looking right at me is a huge..... jack rabbit! The ears were about two feet tall and were pointing straight up in the air. It sat there looking at us for a few seconds, I swear it tilted its head to the side like it was wondering what we might be and what we were doing there and then it did a little jump up into the air and in the middle of the jump changed direction and took off across the field. Crazy!!

Until next week....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bumper Stickers

The past couple of days I have seen some very interesting bumper stickers - most of them on the same car. I tried to get a picture of the car, but driving and holding my phone and trying to stay behind the car proved to be too much, so I can only tell you about it.

One of the stickers said:

Love them anyway

Another had the words Catholic Bashing and a big red X thru it

Then there was the fish thing - two little fishes facing each kissing and one of them had a little red heart in it.

Then yesterday I was behind a car that had that fish thing that I guess signifies you are a Christian. This one was the fish symbol with the words N Chips inside of it.

That one if for you Jeanne.

Buddy Hike

Augustin Bernal Park in Pleasanton is quickly becoming my favorite place to hike. Last Saturday was a glorious day and we spent four hours exploring this 237 acre gem just a few minutes from my front door. Saturday was a buddy hike, this means that you hike with a smaller group of people that live around you. My group was very small, me, my mentor and one other woman and I'll tell you the conversations on the trail are quite different in such a small group than in the bigger group of other hikes. This fabulous place is part of the Pleasanton Ridge and you get to it via a guarded gate. Thats right, you pull up to a little guard house at the foot of a gated community of very large, very expensive homes. You give the guard your name and they take down your license plate and then they direct you to the left and up the hill. You pass by lots of big houses that prove that just because you have lots of money does not mean you have any taste. And then you arrive here

The trail starts out as a steep dirt path up and up, then we hit a narrow path thru the trees and we came out up on top of the ridge. This cow gate is open which led me to believe that we would not have to worry about any cows, which made my mentor pretty happy.

There are lots of trees down all over the ridge. This one seemed to have been down for a while. I am not sure if with all the rain trees are just falling over cause the ground is so wet or if it is just the natural way of trees.

While looking out over the hills you really believe that you are out in the wilderness, miles away from civilization. I think we only saw six other people during our hike until we were on our way back down when we met more people starting their hikes a little later than we did. There were so many different greens this day that I did not even have names for all of them. One of the most beautiful was a tree that had fallen down over a stream and was totally covered in emerald green moss, it looked like velvet.

Another road less traveled, this beautiful path lead to a dreadful downward part of the hike and I have learned that when you go down you have to come back up, but we actually were able to go around and up the other side that was not as steep.
Then there was the water. You could hear it long before you saw it and once we saw it, it was beautiful. After all the rain we have had this season the streams are full and musical.

This is looking back from where we came. If you look closely you can see my wet footprints on the rocks. I learned some valuable lessons, don't put both feet on the same rock. This can only lead to bad things and I realized it as soon as the rock started rocking back and forth. Then I learned the next lesson - place your trekking poles solidly in the stream to help keep your balance. Thank you Theresa and Janice for the instructions because of them I did not fall into the stream.
This journey has been difficult, I really did not think that hiking would be this hard, but wow do these places make it all worthwhile.