Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Family Visit

My beloved and I got a great Christmas gift, my brother and his family came to visit.  Along with the pleasure of their company, we are exploring with new eyes the wonderful place we live.

On Friday we took a ride to Mt. Diablo, which is only 20 minutes from our house.

This is the Wind Caves in Rock City in Mt. Diablo Park.

Then we headed to San Francisco.  Because I lived there for so many years and have stayed in this area, I forget how beautiful it is, until you hit a day like this.

I have lived in this area for nearly 26 years and finally I made it to Alcatraz!

A sparkling December day.

I stood on this rock looking around and knew that there was nothing worth getting locked up in a place like this.  They had an audio tour and one guy talked about being locked up here and being able to hear the parties going on at the San Francisco Yacht Club when the wind was blowing just right.  Looking out and being able to see all of this would have driven me over the edge.  So, I am giving up my life of crime.

We also went to another place I had never been too.  The National Cemetary at the Presidio.  

Not only is this a spectacular place to pay your respects to veterans, they have great bathrooms.  So, while all those tourist are lining up at the public bathrooms at the Bridge, head over here.  Clean and shiney, just don't tell anyone else.

Then it was across the Golden Gate Bridge, which is always a thrill for me.  There were lots of people walking and biking across, we drove.  I have walked it, don't need to do it again.

Then we went down to Fort Baker, for those of you that don't know where this is - find it.  The views are great.  You will never get a better picture of the bridge.

Then back across the bridge - still driving - and a little tour of the City which ended at the Cliff House, just at sunset!  Always include this in any tour you give.  I will admit I hate the renovations they did to the inside of the Cliff House, I loved those old round settee's and white topped marble tables where you could lounge and watch the sunset.  Now, I would rather stand outside and freeze.  

Finally leaving the City by way of the water front so we could see the light install on the Bay Bridge. 

Long day, but full of fun for all of us.  My beloved, Chief Matron Mare-son, the Colonel, the Mrs., the college boy and the pretty girl all turning in soon after arriving home because it was up at the crack of before dawn for our next adventure.


I don't know why we forget that it is so close.  It is only a little over three hours from our house.  Since we have had very little rain here, which translates into snow in the mountains, I thought maybe we could take a drive.  I called the Ahwahnee and made a lunch reservation and we all got up and left before it was light.

What a fantastic lucky day.  The sun was shining, the light was amazing, the company was fun, the lunch was great!  I could not have asked for anything better.  

I was blessed to be able to share this special place with people I love!  It will be a memory I will cherish and I hope they always remember it.

My beloved and I are so happy you are here to share all these special places and our special day!

More on that later.

wink, wink

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kanye is stupid.


Kanye West has the balls to compare his profession to a soldier or a cop?

He puts his life on the line when he goes to work?

Rap is really hard work?  

"You're literally going out to do your job every day knowing that something could happen to you."

Seriously - what a fucking idiot!

Yeah, you could sing a wrong note, or maybe you could slip on the stage?  Wow, that sure sounds as dangerous as dodging bullets and IED's.

Stop buying his shit, stop going to see him, stop him from saying any more stupid shit.

Dial 112? Don't.

It is a little early in the moring to start to bitch, but here goes.

I just had a friend on Facebook post a story about a young girl driving alone at night.  She was being followed by what she though was an unmarked police car.  It had a flashing red light and was motioning for her to pull over.

The young girl remembered her parents advising her that if this ever happened to dial 112 on her cell.  She did this and was connected to her local highway patrol, who checked and determined that there were no police in her area.  They sent cars to where she was and they were able to surround the car behind her and arrest the wanted rapist.  Saving the girl.

Whew!  Close call.

What pisses me off about this?

The fact that it is NOT FUCKING TRUE!  Stories like this, while I am sure are meant to help people, they do just the opposite.  They give people mis-information, a false sense of security.

People, check this stuff out before passing it on.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013



I am watching Rachel Maddow and she is talking about an organization called ALEC.  Seems they write up laws that then them shop to states.  One of their great ideas?  The Stand Your Ground Law in Florida.  Yeah team.

Anyway one of the things they are thinking about are laws that will punish homeowners that are putting solar panels on their roofs to try to save some money.  Punish them for????  Well, punish them for not using fossil fuel of course.  What?  What?

Now, we are in the middle of having solar panels put on our home right now.  Why did we do it?  Well, to save some money, of course.  But also to maybe we are concerned about power and where it comes from.

You want to punish me for NOT using fossil fuel?  For trying to use a free source of power?

Did you know that in the Carter White House, solar panels were installed.  Yes, in 1979 Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed, hoping to get American's to be less dependent on fossil fuels.  Well, the guy that came after him (initials RR) had them removed.  Yup, you read right.

Well the White House in in the process right now of having solar put back on the roof.

I am confused.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scotland - last day

Saturday - our last day in lovely Scotland.  We decided to take another formal tour.  This one was into the western Highlands.  It was a cold and windy day and we got on a bus with a little Scottish girl who was both tour guide and bus driver.  She did a lot of talking and she liked to talk with her hands and she drove really fast.

It was nice to be a passenger.  When I was the driver I really did not look at anything other than the road in front of me. 

We started by doing a drive by of Stirling Castle.  We had been here on Monday, this trip was just a get out in the parking lot and look around.  We got back in the bus and started back down the hill, where Gail met a car coming up.  I think I heard her say seriously??  The car had to back down the hill until we could get by it.

Then off to Doune Castle

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the castle had been closed the prior month due to some filming.  Filming?  Filming?  What??? Some kind of tv show I am told.  Like a tv show based on a time traveling woman and Scottish man?  Like maybe The Outlander book?  I see the woman in the gift shop putting out some books.  Guess what???  Yes, they were using this castle as Castle Leoch, the seat of the Mackenzie.  They built a little village out front.  They will be back.  Then I read it was also used as Winterfell in the pilot for Game of Thrones.  OMG - does life get any better?

Then up thru the Highlands, we saw this:

I don't remember the name of this beauty.

Then to a little town called Inveraray, home of the Clan Campbell.  There is a castle here, but it was closed because the head of the clan was in residence.  Cool!!

But we did see this:

Then back in the bus for a quick run to a place along the road called "the rest and be thankful spot".  It was originally along a military road built by the Clan and was at the top of a hill where they would rest on the way to where ever they were going.  Here it is:

It was cold, cold, cold and very blustery.  I got out and took this picture and then got right back on the bus.

Then off to another cute town on the banks of Loch Lomond - our guide told us to to pronounce Loch like we were a cat coughing up a hairball.  The name of the town was Luss, it was getting on towards evening and we came around a corner to find this little kirk:

Then around another corner to this:

I just realized this looks like a Thomas Kinkaid painting, it was an accident.  It was really lovely.

Then back on the bus for the trip back to Edinburgh to pack and get a couple of hours sleep before being picked up for a ride to the airport for our 6:30 am flight.  Who made these arrangements.

This is what you see prior to getting on the plane:

We will be back.  Until next time.           

Monday, December 2, 2013

Scotland - Day Five

Friday we got back on the train going in the opposite direction - back to Edinburgh.  

We started getting some facebook posts from people asking if we were alright?  We did not know why they were asking, until we saw the news.  A helicopter crash landing on the roof of a pub.  While this is a very terrible thing, I did wonder if everyone thought we spent all our time in pubs and then I thought about our last trip to Scotland and how most of the pictures did get taken inside a pub.

Anyway, we got back to Edinburgh and walked up the hill to this:

Yup, Edinburgh Castle.  It sits right up on top of an extinct volcano and overlooks all of Edinburgh.  Get there and see it.

We wandered about for a while and I will tell you that sightseeing in Scotland in November is a lot different than during the height of the tourist season.  We were the only ones in some parts of the castle.  It was great in a lot of ways.

Next we walked a bit down the hill to the Scottish Whiskey Experience, where they say they have the biggest collection of whiskey in the world.  They had a lot of whiskey and they also have lovely restaurant.  We sat down to a wonderful lunch and about half way through the fire alarm went off and they herded everyone out of the place.  We grabbed our coats and bags, but left other stuff sitting there, which was really stupid since what if the place burned to the ground - that would have been just lots of pounds up in smoke.  It would probably smell really good while it was burning, but a lot of t-shirts would have been lost.  So they had everyone wait out side until the OK was given by these guys:

Looking at this truck and knowing the roads in Old Town I just don't know how they do it.  But they did  and they let us all back in after about 15 minutes.  So we go back in and down to the same table we were at and our food is gone.  We are then told they are re-cooking our meal?  We get a brand new meal.  A table of 5 that was a couple of tables over from us don't come back.  The staff chats about how when something like this happens - some people don't come back.  I will admit the thought crossed my mind, but we did have t-shirts in there.  

This place had a menu for whiskey that I wondered if they hired a poet to write the descriptions.  They were that beautiful.  On this menu was Cardhu, the distillery we had been to on our previous trip to Scotland.

We went back down the hill to our apartment and bundled up for another wait in line.  Yup, seeing Texas again on Friday night.  We get down to the venue and yes, there are people waiting already.  People that we know - well, kind of.  We had met most of them the night before.  As we are standing, more that we met come into the line.  It was like old home week.

There were also a group of old ladies sitting in folder chairs, they were waiting for tickets for a Irish tenor, whose tickets were going on sale at 9:00 the next morning.  Yes, they were going to spend the night in the cold to get tickets.  They had chairs, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, themoses and knitting.  They equivilant of the Red Cross would be checking on them during the night.

Anyway, doors opened about 7:00 and in we go.  Yes, we were back on the front line.  One of our new friends saved us a space.  It was on the opposite side of the stage as the night before, so we were able to see the show from two sides.  They sang the same songs, in the same order.  They were the same, but different.  I guess each show is different, based on how the band feels and the feedback from the crowd.   At some point some woman threw herself across me and into the no space next to my beloved, she spoke to her, put her arm around her and gazed at Charlene with love in her eyes.  My beloved confessed that she really had no idea what the woman was saying to her.  

I do wonder if Ms. Spiteri knows that she is an awful lot of lesbians wet dream.

The encore was different, a great rendition of "Jackson".  

All in all, it was worth the trip.

Then there was the walk home.  Went right when we should have gone left.  Walked way out of our way.  Finally grabbed a cab that took us part of the way, when the driver turned right on the Royal Mile instead of left I had to say - hey, I think you are going the wrong way.  He was and he turned around.  The Royal Mile is closed to vehicle traffic at some points, so he could only let us out and we walked the rest of the way.

Think of it, walking around all day, standing in line for two hours, standing in the concert for three hours, would your feet hurt?  

Ours did.  We both layed in bed that night telling each other how much our feet hurt.  I swear my feet would have killed me if they could.  Aleve was our friend.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Scotland - Day Four

I have been remiss in blogging.  Sorry, we have been a little busy.

On Thursday we took the train to Glasgow.  It was so easy, just to the station, buy a ticket and stay on the train until the last stop.  As can sometimes go wrong we went right, instead of left when leaving the train station and had to hunt a little for our hotel, which turned out to be actually attached to the train station.  Well, with a name like the Grand Central Hotel, it does make sense.  The hotel is one of those from the glory days of travel, where people dressed up and had a butler to carry their bags.  Well the butlers are long gone and jeans are more the dress coe of the day now, but the hotel still has some glory.

In truth, the bed in this room was larger than the entire bedroom in the apartment we had rented!

We had lunch in a shopping area in Glasgow and Christmas is in full bloom in Scotland

Well, I'm thinking this is for Christmas, but maybe it is there year round?

My beloved was getting very excited and we headed over to the O2 Academy at about 5:00 pm for a show that started at 8:00.  Truthfully, I thought she was out of her mind, but we were not the first in line.  We go in line behind a group of fans that we came to find out are not just fans, but FANS!!

After a little while they were joined by a couple from Manchester, England that were referred to as the King & Queen of Texas.  It seems that this concert would be their 12th show of this tour.  Yes, the 12th time they had seen the band on this tour.

I am not going to lie, it was cold waiting and waiting and waiting. 

But the company was making it a little warmer.  It seemed this entire group of people were connected via life, facebook, twitter etc. all because of the band Texas.  They knew all about them, had met them, partied with them.  Some might refer to them as groupies, but I don't think that word applies to them.  Ubber fans is what comes to mind for me.  And, I could quickly see my beloved becoming one.  She was just so happy to find her people.  Others like her, that love this music, others that she did not have to explain who they were or how they got their name.  From the movies Paris, Texas in case you wanted to know.  

So we stood and chatted and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally at 7:00 they opened the door and the rush to the stage began.  Our new friends ushered us in and directed us where to go and made sure we got a spot right in the front row.  Yes, after standing for the last two hours outside, we would be standing for the duration of the show.  It was a general admission show and we were right in front.  Between our new friends from Manchester and a couple of cute little lesbians, that were so excited to meet "girls" from San Fransico!

And so it began.

First a band called "A Girl Named Johnny".  The lead singer was a little tiny blond girl in a pink and white ginham shirt and black leather jacket.  Her guitar was bigger than she was!  They were good, but they were not the main act or the reason we were there.

This was:

The lead singer Charlene Spiteri came on like a power house and can she sing a song.

My beloved was so very happy!  It was worth an 11 hour flight to see her so happy.

We were able to walk back to our hotel after the show, it was a brisk walk, a really fast brisk walk.