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Feb 28, 2011

WRITER'S CHALLENGE


I have the new Writer's Challenge ready for you. 
The subject is:
How would a massive lottery win change you besides the fact that lack of money would not be a problem any more? 
Please have this ready to go by March 18th. I will have the 
Mr. Linky set up for then. 
For those of you who have no idea what Mr. Linky is or those who do not have a blog to link to you can email me your piece and I will post it here on my blog. 
Remember this is a fun challenge and we do  not grade your papers. Everyone is welcom.

Feb 24, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO VACATION - PART ONE

My BB guy and I  took a few days off for a holiday getaway this past week. We decided to go to Carmel, Monterey and San Francisco. I have never been there but he has once before.
Our trip started out as many of mine do. Without my luggage. I seem to be luggage challenged. You can read about this HERE and HERE.
We left  early (6:00am)  on Saturday morning and drove down to the Canada / US border. We breezed through there and made our first stop for breakfast before heading down to the airport in Bellingham. We were flying to Seattle then on to San Francisco. We could have driven the distance between Bellingham and Seattle but the traffic is pretty bad since it would have been rush hour both ways and the parking fees are crazy. It is cheaper and quicker to fly.
Once in Seattle the airlines requested volunteers to take an earlier flight which we jumped at. They were to switch our checked bag (with all my stuff in it) to the earlier flight. Off we went. My suitcase? Uh  no….. of course not! That would be too easy wouldn't it.
We would use the time we saved to go and pick up our rental car. A quick trip on the train to the rental car area and then a lengthy procedure to actually get the car. The agent was very nice and she was trying very hard to get us a suitable  vehicle that the BB Guy would fit into comfortably. 
Question: Can you drive a Ford Focus if you have ADD? Ha, ha, ha….thanks to the guy standing next to us for that one. He had a million of them. Can you transport prisoners in an Escape? You get my drift?
This procedure took over an hour. Time to drive back to the terminal to pick up my suitcase. We hope. I jumped out at the baggage claim doors just in time to see "big red" coming down the carousel. Woohoo. A quick dig in the suitcase for the GPS and off we go.
The weather was a bit cloudy but it was California and we were hopeful. We were driving down to Carmel and things were going great.
Oh look………..SNOW………...in California……….between San Francisco and Carmel.
Things are still going great. We are in a big vehicle and the BB Guy is an experienced snow driver. (Did I mention we are in California?) Carry on down to Carmel. We are staying at the Carmel Mission Inn. It is a lovely place and right across the street from a mall! 
 Look at our funky room. This bed was so comfortable.
We get checked in and make the first foray out to shop. We head to the Safeway which I must say was a really nice store. We are jealous of all the beautiful produce in the store not to mention the wine. This store has 3 aisles of wines and liquor. We don't sell alcohol in our grocery stores in British Columbia. Not allowed. Did I mention we really like wine? We do. We really, really do. We bought wine. We also bought a piece of Brie cheese and a small loaf of bread, some pistachios and cashews and some orange juice.
 We went for a short drive around the area to scope it out and then back to our room for a bit of a rest. And some wine. Backing on to our hotel is an area called the Barnyard which is a little shopping area with many restaurants. 
Our first dinner was at Bahama Billy's and was a little overpriced but we still enjoyed our meal. Unfortunately there was a very large group in the restaurant that were extremely noisy with several really loud children.
The next day we got up to a glorious, sunny day and went in search of some good coffee. Heading down to Carmel by the Sea we found a little coffee shop and grabbed a couple of grande cups of a good French roast and a piece of crumb cake to share. We quickly found a parking spot right at the ocean. Yes fellow B.C. people. A beach area with lots of empty parking stalls. Free parking stalls. Believe it or not.
We walked along the walkway almost getting whiplash looking left at the fabulous homes facing the beach and then right to the ocean view. There were many people out on the sand with lots of dogs who were having the best time ever. There were a bunch of surfers floating around out there too but I wonder if they actually get up on their boards and surf. It didn't look like it. More of a social meet up I think.
We headed to Monterey for a late breakfast-early lunch. The drive started with the 17 Mile Drive, which you pay for, to cruise through the tree lined streets and then back out to the ocean. Years ago they let my BB Guy through for free because he was bringing an Indy race car down to the golf course for a display. No luck today. We paid. We also wondered if when you live in the area do your friends have to pay to come over for a visit? That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who your friends are and how much you like them.
This photo of the moss covered trees doesn't do them justice. They were glowing lime green.
Once in Monterey we find that the parking is definitely not free. We park off the main strip and manage to get change from one of the change machines on the street. We plunk in our money and head out for a walk down to the main area of Cannery Row. Think Steinbeck. There are many references to the author here. 
Since we really never had breakfast we decide eat first and then investigate the area more. We ask a young busker for his recommendation for the best breakfast around and he directs us to a place about 8 blocks away. Off we go down the promenade to find the place. Right where he said it was and it looked really good. Too good it would seem as there would be a 45 minute wait for a table. Since we had already been up for many hours and had not eaten anything other then that little piece of crumb cake that we split we were not prepared to wait that long for a table.
Lucky for us, right next door was a little diner called Archie's American Diner. Now my BB Guy has this issue with me taking pictures of our food in restaurants so the camera doesn't usually get pulled out at the table. (weirdo eh? ) Here is half of their menu. They do have breakfast items too but lets cut to the chase here. They have garlic fries. Fresh raw garlic mixed with parmesan cheese and parsley sprinkled over your hot fries. Did I mention the garlic? All over my fries.  Oh Sweet Delilah these are good!!! 
We then tried to walk off some of the food and headed back to Cannery Row. There are restaurants every couple of feet along with the obligatory T-shirt stores. I have to say I was not impressed with the quality of any of these places with their products being made off shore. They all had such a low quality feel to them you just know that one run through the wash would just ruin them. Tourist dollars stayed firmly in my pocket except for at the chocolate shop that also sold ice cream. A scoop of Espresso chocolate was just the perfect finish. Now that was a quality product.
We wandered and peeked in windows and people watched. There were so many things to photograph but I thought these boats were really cool.
By the time we got back to the car we both were commenting on how many pregnant women we saw here. Seriously if they all gave birth right then and there the population would have increased by 1/3 I am sure. It was really noticeable.
Back to Carmel and to another good long walk around. Every other shop in Carmel by the Sea is a gallery. Some really fabulous pieces for sure but nothing that would fit into my country style except for the one shop with a huge double sink vanity with a one piece hammered copper top and sinks with decorative copper faces on the cabinets. It was really nice.  Here is a lovely little walkway secret garden.
Lots of walking worked up an appetite (again) so back to our hotel to wash up, have some wine and figure out our dinner plans. Turns out we wanted Mexican food and there was a place right across the parking lot. The place was call Hola, By The Sea and we were happy to say Hola to them. We both had fajitas and we ordered a big pitcher of Margaritas. Don't they look good? They were Top Shelf Margaritas meaning they were made with the tequila from the top shelf of the bar or the better quality tequila. They were fabulous and we enjoyed every last drop throughout the evening.
Although we left the ocean before dinner I saved this photo until the end. The sun shimmering off the ocean as the day winds down. This is the end of this post of the first day and half of our trip. I will post part 2 soon as we head back up to the San Francisco area.

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Feb 18, 2011

A NEW WRITERS CHALLENGE


I think it is time for a new Writers Challenge but this time I am going to get you guys to come up with the topic and then we will go with the favorite choice.
For those of you who are not familiar with this meme it is a very low pressure challenge. We will have a topic and we will write a post about that subject and link up so everyone can visit and read each others posts. Never done a link up before? Don't worry. We can help you.The date will be March 18th and we will run the meme through the weekend so you have a few days to link up.
These topics have already been done so lets come up with something new. 


1. The nicest thing anyone has ever done for you.
2. What is your favorite movie and why.
3. Teachers in your life.
4. Favorite place to visit in the world.


Now it is up to you guys to come up with a new topic. Just leave your idea here in a comment and we will go with the most popular choices. If you want to read the previous ones just click on the lines above. 
Even if you don't have a blog you can join in. Write something and I will link it up here. 
Grab the badge from my sidebar to post on your blog.  
I am going away for a little bit but will try to get some web access to touch base with all of you.

Feb 12, 2011

I LOVE A PARTY

What a fabulous weekend I am having. Our dear friends are in town for another friend's 50th birthday. We started the party on Friday night. 
We have fallen right back into the old days when we were back yard neighbors and have been laughing non-stop since. 
Tonight we will go the the birthday party which is within walking distance luckily. 
We will have 4 overnight guests. Breakfast should be interesting. 
Here is what I put together for the Birthday Girl who has a fondness for Tequila.  
Take a Margarita glass that is about a foot and a half tall.  
Add in a cocktail shaker that is a foot tall. 
 Put in a bottle of Patron Tequila Silver. Do you see that card? It is a Muddy Boot Dreams art card. Check out her new line of marble tiles with her images on them. 
 Fill giant glass with limes.
Find a sturdy base. I lucked out with a tomato box. 
Wrapped it in tissue along with the bottle and shaker. 
Ooops didn't wrap the bottle yet but I will. 
Trust me it looks prettier than the picture shows. Total height is about 3 feet tall. 
Well it will be time to leave soon. Looking forward to a great evening with great friends. What more can we ask for. 
 
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Feb 8, 2011

COOL INVENTION FOR NINTENDO WII

My friend David has a spinal cord injury. He has invented something so simple and yet so cool. Have a look at this video of David and his wife Rosa (my boss) with his invention. 
There is a 20 second ad at the beginning of the clip before the news item begins. 

Feb 3, 2011

SOME PEOPLE ARE TOO STUPID TO LIVE

***RANT WARNING*** RANT WARNING***
I truly feel some people are really too stupid to even be alive. How do they manage to feed themselves? How do they manage not to walk off cliffs? Too damned stupid to be alive. 
 It was just last month that we had to have our beloved Maxine put down at almost 14 years old. I find the following stories especially repugnant.  


Some stupid woman in Minneapolis tried to mail a 4 month old puppy to Georgia. Seriously. 
She put the little pup in a box, poked a couple holes and went to the post office and mailed it to a family member. The packing tape covered the holes. 
Oh wait she sent it Priority Post, how thoughtful. That would only take up to 2 days. No worries then. Too damned stupid to be alive. 
The box said on it "This is for your 11th birthday. Just what you wanted". Yes that is what every 11 year old wants. A dead puppy in a box. Too damned stupid to be alive. 
A regular box in the cargo hold of the plane will be in minus 40 degrees temperature. Too stupid to be alive. 
The postal worker asked if anything was perishable, dangerous etc. All the standard questions. I guess she was expected to ask if she was sending a live animal. All the woman said to the postal workers was "be careful, it is delicate". 
Thank goodness the little puppy made some noise in the back and moved around. The staff noticed it and got permission to open the box. The dog has been taken away but she could get it back through appeal. 
Oh yes, and the stupid bitch asked for her $22.00 back that she paid for postage. Tooooooo stupid to be alive. 
Don't even get me started on the horrific slaughter here in B.C. of around 100 sled dogs. I have stayed away from the news reports and newspaper articles because I can't stomach the thought of knowing what happened here. 

Feb 2, 2011

MAN IN MOTION AGAIN

August 25th. 1985 Rick Hansen left a local mall in Vancouver in his wheelchair heading south. He had started on his epic journey to raise money and awareness for spinal cord injury research. 
The first 3 weeks took him through Washington and into Oregon. He went under his own steam pushing his wheelchair forward with his own muscle power and determination. He wheeled up the 2000 ft. Siskiyou Summit in Oregon. Wow.
Rick Hansen, one of Canada's most respected pa...Image via Wikipedia
Rick Hansen wheeled through 34 countries on four continents on a journey that took more than 2 years. This was the equivalent of doing more than two marathons a day. 
They raised around 26 million dollars for the cause. Remember that this was in 1985 through 1987 when they finished. 
I remember when he came back to B.C. and can still see him pushing, pushing, pushing those wheels around as his arms bulged and he propelled himself up one of our steeper hills in the area. So close and still so hard. 
Now the anniversary date is coming up soon. The Rick Hansen Foundation has so far raised more than $200,000,000 for cutting edge research, quality of life projects etc. 
Here are some facts from Rick Hansen's site:
Start and end dates: March 21, 1985–May 22, 1987
- Total distance: 40,598 km / 24,901.55 miles (the circumference of the Earth)
- Countries: 34 on four continents
- Average daily distance: 85 km
- Average speed: 8–10 km/hr in the city; 13–15 km/hr in the country
- Average daily hours wheeling: 8
- Wheelchair tires worn out: 160
- Biggest crowd: Tianjin China
- Highest summit: 1,700 m in the Alps
- Most homesick moment: Terry Fox Garden in Jerusalem
- Letters received: 200,007 

 Beginning in August 2011 in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador there will be a relay to retrace the Canadian segment of the original tour. This time there will be about 7000 participants from across Canada who have each made a difference in the lives of others. 
This relay will end in Vancouver with events planned to celebrate the accomplishments in their journey. 
This will be a global call to action, his site says, to inspire further progress through securing international partnerships and recognize outstanding achievements in the areas of finding a cure for spinal cord injuries and creating accessible communities. 
Keep your eyes open for Rick Hansen and his band of relay participants. Great things have come from his hard work and I hope for more great things in the future.

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