Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weather Update For Milt of Milt's Muse

San Francisco Bay Area Weather Report

And A Perfect Yellow Rose For Milt

Milt - We miss the weather report from Idaho so I'm following Ronni's, Claude's , Peggy's , Joy's, Joared's, Terri's, Gerbera Daisy Duke's (in Terri's comments), Millie's, J-Funk's and Mop's lead by giving you the weather report from the lovely San Francisco Bay area.

It's clear and sunny here after a cool night. I can feel a little Fall in the air but it looks like it will be a perfect day.

Since I can't leave comments on your blog I decided I would post my good wishes for you on my blog and tell you how much we miss that darn weather report from Idaho!

Hopefully your fans in Blogdom will post their weather reports for you too.

Thinking good thoughts for you Milt..........

Friday, August 25, 2006

Milt's Muse Update

Maggietx alerted me tonight that the Milt's Muse blog site has been taken down. Milt has terminal cancer and has not posted since May of this year. We've had updates from his grandaughter Amber thru the comments on his site. I know it was up and running in the last 2 days because I was able to leave a comment.

If anyone has any information at all please let us know. The two best places to contact are either Time Goes By or Blogging in Paris since they both have a big readership base. You can also email me thru the email link on my profile.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Great Dog Walking Day

Gorgeous Day

We had a great dog walking afternoon. The weather was sunny with cool winds on the bay and if you're in a hot zone I'm sending you some of our bay breezes. Not every day is a good dog walk day. We try.... but my little old cocker spaniel has days when I have to help her into the car and when we get to our destination she quits soon after we start. Those are the days when she stops to smell everything and I know she just doesn't have the energy. She's losing her sight and has been deaf for awhile....but today there was a little zip to her walk and I count it as a GREAT DAY! This is the view along one of the many places I take her. It's at the end of a corporate park and the buildings don't block the view. They landscaped the area with plants that are almost like California natives, lots of different grasses and low water shrubs and flowers. At last landscapers understand we don't have English weather and lush lawns and flowers waste too much water here.

And here's what I love about this particular walking area.....doggie clean up stations with never ending rolls of poop bags and a disposal can below. They have them about every 50 feet. So what do I see within 2 feet of poop on the ground! Geesh some people don't get it and make it hard for the rest of us dog people...rant over.

I know it looks too manicured and tame to some of you but for me and Gwyn it means no fleas and no fox tails to get in her ears and feet.

The walk was the only productive thing I did ALL DAY and my time off is coming to an end. I didn't do any of the cleaning or tossing I said I was going to do and now I'm in a panic. Sunday I have a birthday celebration for my dearest friend in the world who will be 90 and I have to get cracking.

Ya think maybe I'm spending too much time in Blogdom?

Hope your tomorrow is as beautiful as my day was today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My Secret and Brief Garage Sale Life

Drawing Of The Holy Family Late 18th or Early 19th Century

Artist Unknown

For a brief time I thought I was going to make a fortune selling old books and vintage "finds" on Ebay after I retired. I was watching way too much Antiques Roadshow! My dear friend Mary and I would have meetings about what we would look for to sell. At first I thought costume jewelry would be fun but the more I researched the more confusing jewelry was. Then I decided I knew about books and that would be my ticket to a neat little hobby - HAH!

I scanned newspapers and planned my garage sale weekends. The only problem was I had to get up early and I'm NOT an early bird. So for a few weekends I hit the sales and looked for "estate" sales in particular.

One house I'll never forget. It was the smallest house on a ritzy block. The house belonged to an elderly, childless woman who died. She had eclectic tastes and many of her things came from her European trips. She was divorced from some famous painter who did portraits of Washington...wish I could remember his name but I recognized it at the time. What was so unique about the house was her old pink gas stove (free) and the shelf paper inside her cupboards. The shelf paper was actually old "Free Love" posters from the Haight Ashbury hippy days in San Francisco. Now this was a woman I wished I had met.

I wandered around her house in awe looking at her cherished possessions. They weren't Roadshow material but said alot about the woman who bought them. And this is the problem I have going to estate sales after someone has died. It feels like I'm invading something very personal. But it obviously didn't stop me from buying some items. I bought a couple of beautiful old books, a hand painted Japanese plate with swallows, an old Rexall drugstore poster circa 1915 that was framed in her bathroom and a European drawing of the Holy Family (above) in an old gold leaf frame.

My ex husband was a darn good artist and we spent so much time in Europe going thru museums I was certain the drawing was worth more than the $35 they wanted. When I got home I knew it wasn't for Ebay since I needed more information about it's age. It sat around forever before I finally found an auction house in San Francisco with open appraisal days.

I trekked to Bonham's and Butterfield with 2 items and spent 3 hours waiting for an appraisal. It looked like a mini Antiques Roadshow and I had fun seeing everyone with their treasures - but almost everyone was disappointed with their valuations. Hardly anything was left there for consignment.

When it finally was my turn the appraiser was immediately intrigued with the drawing. He thought it was 17th century and started rapidly explaining the New York office would need to look at it but it was his opinion that a bottom figure would be $600 and it could really go "wild" - did I want to consign it with them? Well of course I did - with dollar signs dancing in my eyes.

He took it and I went to another desk to fill out the paperwork. I didn't put a "reserve" price on it cuz Ebay encourages you to think reserves inhibit bidding. It was set for their February 2006 sale.

This was November and by the time February rolled around I was convinced "New York" would discover it was a Michelangelo drawing and worth millions but since there wasn't a call before the auction I was only counting on maybe half a million.

And this is what a greedy mind gets actually sold for $300 (I think) and I got a check for $250. Now you normal folks would say that was a nice profit over the $35. It was. But now I wish I would have kept it. Turned out to be late 18th century and I never owned anything that old! Or maybe I should have put a $600 reserve on it meaning it couldn't sell unless the bidding hit $600.

I did check their site for other sales and I was surprised at how cheap some original art sold for - like mine! Jay and Alan - check the link for their current vintage car auction.

What I'm supposed to be doing this week is cleaning out all the "junk" and books I thought I was going to auction and turned out to be worth NOTHING. But I can bore you to tears about how to identify a first edition....and I leave you with these ideas if you love garage sales:

Ernest Hemingway once lost a suitcase full of unpublished manuscripts.

Only 3 signatures of Shakespeare are known. NONE of his manuscripts have been found.

No one has seen a full plate daguerreotype of the New York City skyline but some were known to have been made.

Someone once found one of the first printings of The Declaration Of Independence in the back of an old framed picture.

Someone found a copy of Tamerlane in a mail hamper filled with old agricultural pamphlets.

_________from the Collected Works of Bookseller Hints

Tamerlane is the one I'm looking for. Last copy found sold for $198000. It's Poe's first published work - in a pamphelt - his name is not credited. No signed copy has been found. There were not many published and none sold when published. So let the treasure hunt begin.......

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Night Special

In Venice

This is a direct steal from Peggy's Friday Night fun post. I've wanted to try Prosecco ever since I read A Thousand Days In Venice by De Blasi. It seemed Venetians were always celebrating with a glass of the stuff in her memoirs (book is good btw). I looked it up on the web and it's a trendy Italian sparkling wine with less alcohol than beer - favored by women here. Soooo at Whole Food's the other day I spotted some and bought the cheapest bottle.

Tonight I'm planning on reading John Berendt's City Of Falling Angels about a fire that destroyed a famous building in Venice. He also wrote Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil and tho both books are non fiction they read like fiction. The title is based on signs in Venice that said "watch out for falling angels" when they were doing renovation work on some of their churches. And that's why it's a good night for Prosecco and something Italian for dinner don't ya think?

Some of you probably notice the cap is still on the bottle so what's in the glass? Ok - so I took the picture Wednesday and it's white tea in the glass. One has to prepare ahead for blogging......

UPDATE ON PROSECCO - don't try this at home. I like all things Italian but this was vile. Maybe if you like Chardonnay you'll like it. To me it tasted like it was bottled with Venice canal water...down the drain it went. At least the book is good.

First Sign Of Fall

Here's the first yellow leaf on my walnut tree. Every year I look for that first fall leaf. Usually it's somewhere at the top of the tree. This year it's on the lowest branch. Just seeing that leaf and I suddenly feel Fall in the air. It's slightly cooler at night and of course the days are getting shorter FAST.

It's my favorite season. The trees fire up (or down) and when the leaves start dropping it's time to hole up inside in the evening with a good book, knitting or watching the new TV season. Walks now till November are the best of the entire year. And of course Halloween is on it's way, the coolest holiday of all.

When the walnut tree leaves start falling I can't keep up with them - it's a massive pile every week. But I have time - it doesn't really start for a few more weeks. Sorry, didn't mean to rush us all into Fall.


Milt's Muse Update

For those elder bloggers who have read Milt's blog about his battle with terminal cancer there is still no news or postings but I noticed after "moderate comments" started, someone has been updating "comments". For awhile they weren't updated and I think some folks gave up visiting since there's been no new news from his grandaughter Amber. It now looks like someone is reading them - hopefully Milt - so don't forget to keep stopping by and saying "Hi". I'm a great believer in the power of good thoughts.......

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom

Wherever You Are

Born on August 17, 1914

I can't imagine her at 92 years old. She died in 1970 when she was only 56, two years younger than I am now. There has not been a day that I haven't thought about her. I was in my 20's and there were a million questions I still needed answers to....if only.

She was born in Peters, Nevada a town that doesn't exist anymore but was close to where Las Vegas is today. Her family worked the quicksilver mines in Tonopah before they migrated to San Francisco.

Mom was the kindest person I've ever known. She didn't have an ounce of prejudice and was always curious about and intrigued with other cultures. The first thing she wanted to know is what they cooked! She was a fabulous cook and baker and tried to replicate recipes from all the ethnic groups in San Francisco. She knew the best neighborhood restaurants and we were regularly treated to Russian, Mexican, French, Italian and Chinese food.

She didn't believe in God and was pretty frank with me when I was small and asking so many questions. Two things happened that shook her faith, the horrors of World War 2 and the death of her beloved mother from cancer. She told me I would have to decide for myself if God existed but would always take me to any church I wanted to attend. It's odd, now I think of her as very spiritual.

Mom was a Republican who adored Roosevelt and Dad was a Democrat who loved Eisenhower. In those days the two parties were more similar than they were different.

She gave the best parties and would cook for days before a party or a holiday. When we finally got a huge freezer in the garage Dad would kid us that Mom was cooking for the freezer - not for us.

She taught herself to drive and bought a used white cadillac convertible with red leather interior. Every night when she came home from work she would be in the basement with a rag polishing that car. She loved to drive all over the city and would take me on her night time jaunts. We had the best fun and because of her I knew every inch of San Francisco.

Almost every Sunday we would go to Chinatown and walk all the way down Grant Ave and then walk back. We went into grocery stores, bakeries and tourist traps. She would buy me chinese pajamas, dolls, slippers....for a long time I thought I was Chinese we spent so much time there!

Mom was a voracious reader. She never censored my reading and never told me a book was too adult for me. I read Dr. Zhivago at a pretty young age because she was reading it and anything she read I wanted to read.

She grew up poor and it became her mission in life to spoil everyone on their birthdays and Christmas. She shopped for months before Christmas. When the grandkids came along Christmas was a three ring circus. One year she had me help wrap the gifts but didn't want me to put tags on anything in case someone started peeking. She said she would remember who each gift was for. The livingroom had gifts all the way to the door and as we started opening the wrong gifts she was in the middle yelling "No that's Tommy's gift - no that's the baby's present". It was the biggest confusing mess of a holiday and I think it was her last Christmas.

She didn't like animals and never touched the pets we had but when my nephew accidently let my dog out the front door she spent the week driving everywhere looking for him. At bedtime Mom would come into my room and hold me until I fell asleep and leave the front door open all night in case he found his way home. Not to worry...we did find him in the next block in someone's house after weeks of searching. We saw him peering out of a downstairs window and at that exact moment we were driving by, their front door opened and he made a beeline for our car. He jumped in and we took off. How was that for timing?

When she died I learned how loved she was. The funeral parlor wasn't big enough to hold the crowd or the flowers and it looked like a meeting of the United Nations. I never realized she had so many friends - she was just Mom to us but boy what a mom!

Love you...always!

I was inspired to write this by so many of your blogs! I started putting links to all my favorite stories and that got to be really crazy but you know who y'all are. This post is way too long - how do you put a life into one blog post anyway? I'm sitting here blubbering as I'm writing and just hope you're not bored.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Been Busy

as the squirrels

stealing walnuts from my beautiful walnut tree,
breaking branches and shelling the ripe nuts.

I wake up for about 2 weeks in the summer to chomping and cracking and breaking branches. I know Kell is horrified that all those walnuts are wasted on squirrels when she probably could bake something wonderful with them - like throwing walnuts into her pumpkin cookies.

But this is where they end up...on my patio where the birds pick thru the small bits. I've learned to wait to clean it all up until all the creatures have their fill. It's a great way for the tree to get pruned.

I love watching that tree go thru the seasons - each one messy.

I took some days off and have big plans to clean and toss junk. So far not enough tossing. But I did procrastinate with some good DVDs.

I remembered the TV series Twin Peaks after being reminded of it with the photo of Twede's Coffee Shop from Susan's new Not Strictly Seattle city blog. I loved Twin Peaks when it first started but thought it got too weird later on. I was able to get the first season from Netflix and watched it this week. Boy was I wrong! It was weird right from the beginning...also funnier than I remembered. Still think it's as good or better than anything on TV now (sounding like an old person). And I forgot how much I loved the theme song.

Right after Twin Peaks and the news was the Dame Edna Show. All the quirky programs on the same night - what a treat that was! My partner was pretty conservative and just could not understand either of these shows and why I lived for the weekend to see them. Netflix has some of the Dame Edna shows so more procrastination planned for this week.

Took me quite awhile to catch up on my blog reading tonight but was delighted to read about Betty's very british grandparents here and here. Not to be missed!

Back to tossing and cleaning for me - maybe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rescue Dogs

Aren't They Sweet?

I rescued these 2 girls over the July 4th weekend. I sometimes walk my own dog at a business park on weekends and on my way back to the car I noticed the little one in a parking lot with no cars around and no people. As I tried to get close to her she started barking and growling and seemed to be protecting the larger dog who was laying down in the hedges. My own dog is a rescue (story for another post) and doesn't get along with other dogs so I had to drive her home first. I grabbed bowls for water and dog cookies then looked up shelter and rescue phone numbers before driving back. They were still hiding in the same bushes when I got back. I called the rescue group as I was trying to coax the little one with cookies. The wonderful lady who answered the phone came right over with good smelly wet dog food and crates. After 30 minutes of sitting close to the bushes and tempting them with food we were able to put leashes on both and get them in crates.

They have turned out to be the sweetest girls. They get along with her motley group of rescues tho' the little one has "issues" like stealing food off the table. Jo, the Angel Rescue Lady is working with them on manners. We've checked for lost dog postings at shelters and in the local papers and have come up with nothing so she's about ready to adopt them out. They will have to be adopted together because they've bonded. They sleep together and obviously traveled together for god knows how long. I wish some of my blogger buddies lived closer as I'm shameless when it comes to pushing needy pets on wonderful people.

When I first retired I did a little volunteering for a wonderful 80+ year old woman who rescued American Eskimo dogs. The stories I heard about how dogs came to her were heart breakers. One of the sweetest dogs she had was deliberately dumped on the freeway right out of the San Francisco airport. A woman behind the van that dumped the dogs couldn't believe what she was seeing but was able to pull off the freeway and get both dogs in her car. The sweet rescue lady has since passed on after rescuing hundreds of dogs and I haven't spent much time involved in this since. I guess I'm posting this hoping that good thoughts in Bloggerland will draw just the right family to adopt Kimmie and Susi.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Was Tagged!

My Very First MEME

I was tagged by Susan at Slice of Life for my virgin MEME but first I want to copy an idea from Jay at Cynical Bastard (he's not) and do a Sunday Shout Out.

For those of you who didn't get to go on a nice vacation this summer I thought you might like to see a couple of my favorite travel posts.

First my dear friend at Cheeky Attitude went to Alaska with Stitch and took some fabulous pictures. Be sure and see them before all the hot weather melts Alaska. She also has some great craft and food pictures plus ideas on her blog.

Peggy in Scotland of Day to Day Life of a Very Lazy Gardener went on a diving trip to Egypt... of all places. I couldn't figure the connection between desert and diving but it turns out they dove in the Red Sea. How exotic is that? You'll enjoy all her travel log but my 2 favorites were her cab ride and the Old Market in Cairo.

And now on to the Fives MEME!

Five items in my freezer

1. Frozen Collard Greens for the dog's dinner
2. Frozen Veggies with Thai Curry Rice which Cheeky Attitude conned me into buying when I ran into her at the market
3. Frozen berries for my breakfast power drink and I use the word power loosely
4. Gardenburgers - I'm a vegetarian
5. Puff pastry shells - don't remember what the plan was for these

Five items in the closet:
Bedroom Closet

1. Angel wings from a 90's Halloween party - should send to Alan G
2. Snazzy dress heels I could barely wear - outdated but purty
3. Box of mementos/photos of my darling Daisy dog - long gone but still loved
4. Overnight Travel Duffel Bag
5. 2 rolls of rose wrapping paper for some forgotten project

Five items in the car

1. A million bio-degradable doggy poop bags that are also in all my clothes pockets
2. Dog leash
3. Dog water dish
4. Rubber dog hair lint brush
5. Whole Foods Market reusable shopping bags

Five items in my backpack
How about I just tell you what’s in my purse?

1. Wallet
2. Makeup bag with one item - what can I do with this face NOW!
3. Advil cold and sinus tablets that you need to show your driver's license to purchase because the Patriot Act now requires pharmacies to track usage - I kid you not.
4. Wadded up kleenex and paper napkins
5. Address book that's too big for my purse

Five people I tag:

1. Cheeky Attitude cuz she's NEVER been tagged with a MEME
2. Peggy just cuz she deserves it after her exotic vacation
3. Betty who needs a break from the campaign trail
4. Susan's daughter - new blog - never been tagged
5. Ginnie who will be really rested and raring to go after her trip to Alaska!

I was going to tag Alan G but he scared me out of it and besides he was tagged for another MEME.....

I'm plum tuckered out from this post and you probably are too.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday's Secret Garden

Stanford's Secret Cactus Garden

This secret garden did not require me to leap tall gates in a single bound or put my hand and camera thru security fences. No police roaming the area...only dog walkers and joggers.
Oddly it's official name is the Arizona Garden and can be found on the Stanford University campus.

It's still a surprise when you find this place. I first saw it a few years ago when it was only partially restored. It was originally planted in the 1880's for the Stanford family. The planned house next to it was never built and the garden itself was overgrown and forgotten around the 1920's. Restoration was started in 1997. I liked the prehistoric look of it when I first found it. It's a little too pristine for me now but still feels creepy on overcast or rainy days.

You can read more about it's history here and here and of course the pictures are better.

I've also been "tagged" by Susan at A Slice of Life for my first MeME.....Susan, I'm working on it - honest! Susan's daughter has just started her own blog The Amazingly, Interesting Life of Me and I think someone should rush over there and tag her with a MeME.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just Another Day At The Office

And Charley Hogs The Visitor Chairs

Don't have a clue why he does this but he loves to lay on the seam between two chairs and play with the arms.

It was a slow day outside...not enough people to stop and pet him so what the heck. Let's see if this gets him some attention. It usually does.

I know you're wondering how well he's cared for as the "office" cat. At 5pm he's put in his own office with 3 beds, 2 cat trees, kitty box, food and a crystal bowl of water. He's freed first thing in the morning to roam the grounds which are quite lovely and remote. He turns himself in at 3:30pm because it's close to dinner time. I'm not an advocate of letting cats outside but we have 43 different opinions where I work and this routine is what we all can agree on.

Charley initially showed up a couple of years ago very frightened and skinny. We couldn't get close to him even tho he was very vocal with anyone trying to lure him inside. When he finally accepted food from us the barriers came down and he turned out to be the sweetest cat I've ever known. We have children visiting all the time and he follows them around like a dog.

Initially we tried to find him a home but the entire place was so in love with him the idea just faded away. He's the biggest benefit of coming to work everyday.