Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DAY TRIPPING

Picture above from Wikipedia source, and photo is Public Domain.  The cluster of tall buildings near the water's edge happens to be the condo complex that my sister recently  moved to. 
The following day was spent touring the area around my sister's new home.  I freely admit that she has a plethora of  good eateries and fine restaurants in her vicinity.  There is also abundant shopping and a fantastic mall devoted completely to oriental cuisine and shops, which could have been an all day adventure in itself.   Unfortunately during this excursion my camera was left back at my sister's condo, not on purpose - just an oversight or a case of forgetfulness on my part.

Once my sister, Norma, gave us a taste of the area close to her condo, she then took us to The Legion of Honor,  where we viewed their exhibition of,  "18th to 20th Century Neoclassical through Post-Impressionist Art".   Though my camera was with me this time,  I felt it was inappropriate to take photos of these famous pieces of art, especially if a flash would be required.  
Above - Dancer by Edgar Degas
Now here I must make a confession.  First of all I am not a person who can spend 30 or 40 minutes staring at and studying a painting, I'm doing well to spend 5 or 10 minutes in deep contemplation. Secondly, my hubby, though he can appreciate art, is hard pressed to spend 5 or 10 minutes in an art museum period ! 
Above - Still life by Paul Cézanne

Therefore after having spent a couple of hours wandering about looking at the incredible works of Seurat, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Picasso and many other impressionist artist,  John and I had more than our daily quota of high brow culture for the day.  So when Norma suggested several other, highly cultural, exhibits we could tour, it was no surprise that both John and I voted unanimously to see the "Rosie The Riveter" exhibition.

 
I won't go into extensive detail about this exhibit but I will tell you we all enjoyed it immensely and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others who are visiting the San Francisco area.   
The exhibit is primarily dedicated to women's contribution in the work force during WWII, theirs' was an era when women were thought of as wives, mothers and homemakers and society, as a whole, felt that a woman's place was in the home.  It was an eye-opening revelation to see how many women back then defied this stereotypical conception and came out in force to help their country.
 
 
 
Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park was established in 2000, and their visitor center opened its doors in May 2012.

This is a national park, which explores and honors the efforts and sacrifices of American civilians on the World War II home front.  Come to the Visitor Center, watch a film, view exhibits, to find out how Americans lived, worked and got along. Many faces, many stories, many truths weave a complex tapestry of myths and realities from this time of opportunity and loss.

Address: 440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: (510) 232-1542


Friday, July 11, 2014

Moving on - Finally

As far as the progress of my trip out West is concerned, I believe I left everyone at a rest stop in Oregon.  4th of July came into focus, along with a couple of July birthdays and a few health issues and I became distracted . . . it could be that I suffer from undiagnosed ADHD, though I'm not at all sure about the "hyperactivity" part.

My hubby and I spent the night in Medford before driving the rest of the journey to San Francisco, where my youngest sister, Norma, lives. 

After trying unsuccessfully for several years to sell her large home in Novato, California, Norma was finally able to sell it this time around and for a much fairer price than she would have gotten a couple of years ago.  She has now purchased a smaller condo that over looks San Francisco Bay.  The view is spectacular, and the area around her offers a lot to do and to see but I'm sure the downsizing is going to take a bit of getting use to.

Photo above - View from my sister's balcony overlooking San Francisco Bay. 
Photo below - Even though there was summer fog, we were able to see the City of San Francisco from Norma's condo.
Photo below - The Bay Bridge that connects the city of San Francisco to Oakland and Berkeley.
 
Photos below - And then of course there's the Golden Gate Bridge.  Yes I know it's a long ways away but with my cheap little point and click camera, my zoom capacity is about 3X or 5X, which is almost nothing.
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th

 
 

 
May we take a moment to honor all the wonderful men and women who have given so much to make our world a better place.  Overthrowing tyrants and terrorists so that freedom could prevail.  God bless them one and all.
 
Wishing each of you a happy and safe 4th of July. 

 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heading South

photo above - Blue Star Memorial plaque, Oregon.
 
It's time to head South and make our way toward California.  As we drove through the state of Washington, I kept noticing wonderful sunny, yellow wildflowers that remind me of California's yellow Scotch Broom . . . only the ones in Washington are gigantic.

Unfortunately when my hubby is driving he drives with a mission in mind; "Get where we're going without delay"  so I missed many an opportunity to photo these impressive wild flowers.

Somewhere in the state of Oregon, John pulls into a rest stop where I manage to retrieve my little camera and snap a few photos. 

Photo above - Emblem of USA flag at the base of "The Blue Star Memorial Highway" plaque.  Flag is made using red, white and blue stone chips and wood.  Looks like it could use a bit of straightening up but I'm sure that both the weather and the tourist are hard on it.
 
photo above - Wildflowers at Oregon rest stop.
 
I'm lucky at this particular rest stop as there is an area lush with yellow Scotch Broom and beautiful Queen Anne's Lace.
 
 
Back in my high school days, one of my assigned science projects was to collect wildflower specimens, and press and dry them.  After they were adequately preserved, I had to take the pressings and make them into a notebook.  It took weeks of work, first to collect the many samples of flowers, along with their stems and some leaves, and then the time consuming process of pressing them between sheets of paper and under a fair amount of weight, and allow them to remain untouched until thoroughly dry.  Since a flower press was not among my possessions, I had to round up all the biggest, heaviest, books available in our home.  Thankfully we did own a set of Encyclopedia Britannica and they really carried their weight  during this school assignment.   [pun intended] :)
 
I gained a lot from that science project, it taught me the names of many of my area's wildflowers and I learned a bit about each plant.  For instance I learned that the stems and branches of these yellow flowered Scotch brooms  were indeed once used to make brooms for sweeping.
 
Photo above - Close up of the Scotch Broom flower cluster.  It is considered a noxious weed but what a pretty weed it can be when blooming.
 
Photo below - I have never before seen such a large and beautiful Queen Anne's Lace blossom.  It was huge, about the size of a dinner plate and absolutely perfect.
 
When I see all the divine flowers that are grown up in the Northern states it makes me envious.  Deep in South Florida our soil is sandy and lacking in rich compost, the humidity is high and encourages mold and mildew on plants and our southern heat discourages many plants from establishing themselves.  As for bugs, they are pleantiful and ravenous for anything with a tender green leaf or stem.
 




Saturday, June 21, 2014

Day Tripping Back to the 50's and 60's":


photo above - Part of the interior of XXX Root Beer Drive-in.
In my last post I told you about how  John's old school chum, Ken,  spent the day with us and how we toured some of their old stomping grounds.  Today I'm continuing with this saga but felt it deserves its own separate post.

After spending a good portion of the afternoon driving up and down  little roads that led into lakeside neighborhoods  we headed back towards town.  Suddenly Ken was struck by an idea.

"Do you like root beer?"  He asked, with an obvious motive in mind.

I nodded affirmatively while John was slightly less enthusiastic.  "Well, I like an A&W float every now and then."

"I'm not a big fan of A&W "  Ken went on " To me it has a sharp flavor.  The best root beer, bar none, is triple X.  I find it has a smooth, creamy taste.  Whenever I'm in Issaquah I always have to stop by the triple X to get my Root Beer fix."

Like me,  John had never heard of triple X  Root Beer,  but Ken was quick to fill us in on all the pertinent facts.

photo above - It was a busy place, granted there are many empty booths but the majority of the customers were outside having their gigantic burgers  and frosty mugs of famous XXX Root Beer "al fresco" on the outdoor patio.  I found it difficult to get a clean shot of the interior without someone walking by - here I caught the flying hair of a hurried waitress.  Must admit she has lovely locks - long and shiny.  

XXX Root Beer's history is long, dating back to 1895, it's long but it's an interesting history;  the following is my synopsis . 

Basically XXX  began as a beer brewery but diversified into soft drinks.  With the onset of prohibition, XXX Brewery switched over from beer production to solely producing its line of soft drink.  There was a period of rapid growth and popularity and XXX Root Beer Drive-Ins were quickly spread across the continent.  But as fast food establishments emerged they began nudging out the smaller local drive-ins and diners,  XXX began to experience a decline in its number of locations.  


photo above - As is apparent, the interior of XXX is chock full of vintage memorabilia and tons of retro pieces. 

In 1960 it was suspected that Sassafras, an ingredient used in the making of a number of soda fountain drinks, was a carcinogen, therefore the government banned its use in all food and drinks.  Companies were given a one year "grace period"  in which to convert over to safer ingredients.  It took time but eventually  "flavor chemists" were able to find safe alternatives that would keep XXX Root Beer's historic creamy flavor along with the frothy head that draft root beer is noted for.

Photos above and below - More of XXX's interior. One could spend days looking through the place and never see everything that's on display there.  It was truly overwhelming. 

In summation, the fast food chains pretty much took over and now there are but 2 of the old, original XXX  Root Beer drive ins left in existence;  one in Issaquah Washington and the other in Lafayette , Indiana.  These 2  drive ins still use the same creamy tasting, root beer syrup to make their draft Root Beer.  

Photo above - Fantastic vintage jukebox.  You don't see many like these anymore, especially ones that play the old 45's.

If you'd like to read a more in-depth history of XXX  it can be found HERE




Photo above - One enormous gum ball machine.
Photo below - I had my hubby stand next to it to give a perspective of its size. Yep, it's one really big dispenser.
 

As a side note, the Issaquah XXX Root Beer Drive-In is also well known for its summer car shows as their website can attest to:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Best Friends Forever -

photo above - Ken on left.  My hubby, John, in light blue on right.
 
Before we left on our trip out west, my hubby, John,  was in contact with Ken, an old school chum of his.  Since we would be in the state of Washington Ken made arrangements to drive to Issaquah and spend a day with us . . . or really with John.

It was enjoyable to hear these two close friends reminisce about bygone days, the kids they knew back then and how time had changed people and places.  During this conversation I also learned that Ken had been a couple of years behind John in high school.  Back then it was,  and probably still is today, uncool to associate with lower class mates.  However John and Ken shared common interests; they both lived around Lake Sammamish and they both like fast engines and things with fast engines  such as boats and cars.  Theirs was a friendship that would last the test of time and of distance.

When Ken arrived at the hotel we lunched together.  I sat and quietly ate while the two old chums talked and caught up on several years  worth of their lives.   Ken was full of stories about the many changes that had occurred to their old home town of Issaquah and to some of the kids that they once went to school with.
Conversations went similar to this:
"Hey John.  Do you remember Billy Dan-fangle ?"  Ken inquires.
John looks puzzled and shakes his head negatively.  "Can't say as I recall the name."
"Oh I'm sure if you had met him you'd remember."  Ken replies adamantly. "He was a scrawny kid, clothes were worn and dirty.  You could smell him from down the hall.  Don't get me wrong,  Danny was a really nice kid and he and I were good friends.  
He used to live in this area before Issaquah got all built up.  His folks had a farm here and about nine kids to raise .   They were about as poor as they come.   Don't think Danny had more than a couple of  changes of clothes and maybe one pair of shoes back then.  He always looked unkempt and, as I said, you could smell him coming.  Poor kid, the family didn't have running water in their old farm house so it was a luxury if Danny got a bath once a week.  They were good people, hard working, honest, respectable but dirt poor people.
Well time changes.   Bull-Dozer Corp wanted to build their corporate office out this way and had plans for a big development.  They offered the Dan-fangles a pretty penny for their hundred and some odd acre farm.  Over night the Dan-fangles  became multi-millionaires.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer family.  I like to see things like that happen to deserving people."
 
I couldn't help but be fascinated by Ken's stories of the past; the people and the places.
After lunch Ken suggested it would be fun to drive around  some of the old haunts that he and John grew up in.  So a drive around  some of the neighborhoods  around Lake Sammamish became our agenda for the afternoon.
 
photo above - a view of Lake Sammamish.  Most of the lakeside is private property, off limits to the Have-Nots such as myself, but someone had propped open a wrought iron gate with their flip-flop, giving us egress to the lake shore and the view.

Now a days we all know that lakefront  property is prime real estate, the crème de la crème of location - location- location.   Therefore our tour consisted of  comments such as:
"I don't believe it !  That used to be where Timmy Wagsworth's house was!   By God, it's been torn down and there's a mansion there now! "
 
 "Oh look!  That house is where  Trudy Pick-a-Lily lived.  Well I'll be,  it's just like it was back when we were kids. Hasn't changed a bit."
 
 

Unfortunately time had done away with both John's and Ken's old childhood homes,  but time can never erase all the memories that were made there.  The summers spent on the lake, swimming, water skiing or just cruising the lake in a boat
Things may change but some friendships stand up to time and distance . . . BFF.  :)

 


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