Sunday, January 21, 2018

Onward and Upward

As New Years Day arrived, we left the hotel and proceeded to an Avis Car Rental to pick up the car for the rest of our road trip.  We arrived to see a car and a van waiting at a closed gate.  There was a hand-printed sign on the front door of the Avis Rental Agency on West Katella Avenue in Anaheim stating "Closed...."

My New York daughter had arranged to pick the car up at 1 p.m. and that time was confirmed by Avis.  The people returning their cars weren't happy.  My daughter wasn't happy.  As I see it, Avis blew it that day.  I learned that these local locations are franchised, so Avis was powerless at the moment to help the stranded renters.  That 'franchise' and another local one caused Avis a loss of business after closing even though they had customers who had been left in the lurch.  After speaking to Avis by phone, they arranged for a car at John Wayne Airport.  I believe that was about 9 miles away.   About two hours later, we were on our way.

We began to smell smoke somewhere south of Santa Barbara.  We never saw any fires, because shortly thereafter we were redirected by Waze from Route 1 onto Route 154, bringing us up and across the Santa Ynez Mountains.  The road, also called the San Marco Pass Road, while scenic, seemed to wind its way through many bends as we traversed the hills.  The traffic was moderately heavy going to toward the West as we were traveling East.  It did make me a little nervous wondering what we were going into, but we did reach Route 1 again with no problems. Later in Cambria, I spoke with tourists from England who told me that they had visited Santa Barbara.  The husband said that he was amazed at seeing patches of burned land surrounded by green areas, seemingly unscathed by the fires.

We eventually returned to the 101 and drove up the coast.  My daughter had arranged for a night's stay in Cambria, a sleepy beach community south of San Simeon.  We arrived about 9:45pm and thankfully the clerk at the Cambria Beach Lodge was still on duty when we checked in. The Lodge was situated across from Moonstone Beach.  The sight and sounds of the waves were so inviting.  We dearly needed sustenance.  It had been a long drive and we were hungry.  Unfortunately, being New Years Day, most of the restaurants were closed.  There was one on the other side of the town, but when we got there we found it closed due to a plumbing problem.  So we went to the nearby gas station and purchased some cereal and milk, as well as a few snacks to keep us going.

Cambria Beach Lodge
Moonstone Beach, Cambria CA

The next morning, we arose and enjoyed a delicious continental breakfast at the Cambria Beach Lodge and toured the town. We checked out the Ball and Skein and More on Bridge Street.  The proprietors, a husband and wife, were very friendly and helpful. They encourage you to feel the many different kinds of yarn. Their stock of so many lovely and interesting yarns make a visit well worth it.

We strolled along main street finding an interesting store,  Among Friends .  We enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere and the beautiful variety of wares.  My daughter purchased a lovely wrap and I found some beautiful greeting cards.

Then, we had to decide where to eat lunch.  We spotted a sign for Linn's Easy as Pie Cafe on Bridge Street.  I enjoyed the Salmon-Artichoke Quiche.  Even though it was January, we chose to eat in the garden.  While their array of pies looked delicious, we decided to forgo any dessert.

After lunch, we embarked on San Francisco, stopping at Hearst Castle and visiting the nearby William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. When we stopped at Hearst Castle, the docent advised us that we would have to take a bus to the castle.  Even though it had a history, I wasn't interested in waiting for a bus and then, walking around the castle.  I consider castles cold buildings.
William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach
View of Hearst Castle from the beach

Now the elephant seals were a different story.  We stopped by what is called a Rookery in San Simeon.  It is certainly a sight to behold.

Female Elephant Seal with her babies

I've seen seals at LaJolla Cove in San Diego, but these seals were humongous.  They seemed to form a community.

Elephant Seals resting on the beach near San Simeon

We watched three female Elephant Seals make quite a racket because a male seal laid on a baby seal.  He seemed to just ignore them,  The baby seal had great difficulty freeing itself from underneath the massive body of the male, but finally did.  I've read that these males weigh upwards of 2,000 pounds.  A few minutes later, about 20 or 30 feet away, we saw a male approaching a female who rebuffed him.  Breeding season started in December.

Now, on to San Francisco, actually Oakland.  My daughter had arranged a airbnb there.   The picture of the bridge is lopsided, but it was a major sign that we reached the San Francisco area.  Better photos of this bridge to come later on.

To be continued....

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (in paperback and on Kindle) 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Christmas Travels

The past few weeks were a joy.  I traveled to Denver, Colorado to spend Christmas with my son, daughter-in-law and their children.  My arrival was met with bitterly cold weather.  Thankfully, I had my lined leather gloves, though the tips of my fingers cracked anyway.

We stayed inside most of the time.  The day before I left, I was able to take a walk through the neighborhood when the temperature rose to 40 degrees.  On my last evening with the family, we went to PF Changs in Broomfield, to celebrate my daughter-in-law's upcoming birthday.  Since my appetite is small, I enjoyed the Hand-Folded Crab Wontons for my dinner.  The others chose beef dishes. That evening, I had my first taste of edamame.  On the way home, we stopped for ice cream treats at Cold Stone Creamery. This was a great Colorado night out.  I enjoyed spending Christmas with the family.  The children are growing so very quickly.

I flew home on Friday morning and that evening, one of my New York daughters flew to San Diego to take me on a surprise vacation.  After I visited some of my long-time, wonderful friends for lunch in El Cajon, we drove with one of my San Diego daughters and her two children to Disneyland in Los Angeles. We stayed at a near-by Hyatt hotel and used the shuttle to the park.  This provided freedom from any concerns about parking the car.  My daughters' plan was to spend the whole day until midnight to celebrate New Years Eve.

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle

Upon arrival at the Park, we enjoyed a quick breakfast at the Market House on Main Street as the crowds of people grew.  Then, on we went for a wonderful day.  After we enjoyed the Enchanted Tiki Room, we stopped by the Tiki Juice Bar and enjoyed a frozen DOLEWHIP that my San Diego daughter and her family never skip. They love it.

For Lunch, we stopped by the Plaza Inn, mostly because while there were many diners, there was no line.  Because there was a buffet, each family member could choose from pot roast, chicken or pasta.  Unfortunately, the youngest of the troop lost his cell phone on the Thunder Mountain ride.  A quick call to his father resulted in locating the phone.  A dutiful mother returned to Thunder Mountain to claim the phone.  Then after a delicious lunch, we went on with our day.

When we stopped for dinner, as many restaurants were filled with people celebrating New Year's Eve,  one of my daughters approached the hostess at Cafe Orleans.  We had only a short wait for a table.  Everyone was pleased with their choice of entrees.  I have a small appetite, so I enjoyed the Seafood Gratin.  I noticed grapes at a neighboring table, not realizing it came with a child's meal.  The waitress graciously provided grapes to me.  Her service was exemplary.  We finished dinner with beignets shaped like Mickey.  During dinner, we were able to enjoy a magnificent fireworks display.

The family rode everything from the "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad" to "It's a Small World," to the "Jungle Cruise" to "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", and, if I remember correctly, "Space Mountain."  I stayed away from anything like roller coaster rides, but everyone else enjoyed them greatly.  We basically managed to go on every ride that interested the children, including "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters."  My San Diego daughter purchased a 'MaxPass' to provide unfettered access to the rides, so we didn't have wait a long time at each location.  I was very grateful, since waiting has never been my strong suit.

Disneyland Countdown to New Year
Towards midnight, we joined a celebration in Tomorrowland with the Suffragettes Band.  As we were walking toward Main Street, some of the celebrators were just lolling along.  As I stepped to go around them, I fell abruptly to the ground.  I had not realized that as I stepped to the side, I was actually stepping from a sidewalk onto a road.  Although the area was lit, I didn't notice I was stepping down into the road. Some people passing by picked me up and a Disney employee offered to call a nurse.  However, I declined thinking it wasn't necessary.  Then, another Disney employee approached me to ask if I was OK.  I've written Disneyland to suggest that they paint the curbing with a paint that glows at night to prevent this from happening to anyone else.  If they already have it, I didn't notice it.  The area just looked like an open plaza.

Before leaving, we took one more ride....The Disneyland Monorail, which I had been pointing out all day.  Our visit to Disneyland was wonderful.  My New York daughter stated that she planned to visit another Disneyland for New Years Eve 2018.

More of my travels to come.

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (in paperback and on Kindle) 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Exceedingly Busy Month

I was in New York for the month of October visiting my daughters, driving around researching answers for a need of a loved on.  Then unexpectedly, I spent about 10 days with my youngest granddaughters because each was home from school for five days on separate occasions, due to illness.  When the younger child returned to school, the older child became ill.

I was very, very busy.  I think I put about 600 miles in a borrowed car just doing local driving.  I appreciated the time I spent with my daughters and granddaughters.  And, I was very grateful to be needed.  Time is fleeting and every moment precious.

Here in San Diego, I've established a routine of exercise, knitting and teaching knitting, playing Words with Friends with mostly younger friends, staying up-to-date with social media, and occasionally meeting friends for lunch.

When I visit New York, I usually am able to visit long-time friends.  Not this time, though.

My friend, Katie, who always makes time to drive up from the City when I'm in town, joined me for lunch at Homespun Foods on Main Street in Beacon NY.  They have a garden in the rear of the restaurant.  It was a very busy place.  Since it was 'Second Saturday' in Beacon, I found the atmosphere chaotic. When we sat down in the garden, the scene was calmer, with the buzz of conversation from other tables.  I chose a cheese and fruit platter for lunch.  It was delicious and refreshing.  It was too large a serving for me, so home it came in a box. I do recommend this restaurant and would lunch there on another visit to New York.

One of my daughters decided I needed a break.  So, that same evening, she and her daughter drove to Beacon and took me to a painting class.  I chose a fairly simple painting to copy.  My daughter purchased a tiny bottle of wine for me, which I hardly touched.  Unlike all the other patrons, I was unable to relax as I worked on the painting.  My granddaughter suggested that next time, I just paint whatever I want....a good suggestion.  However, I don't know if there will be a 'next time.'  For me, it was too stressful.

My 'busyness' resulted in a month that just literally sped by.  Hopefully, next year, I'll visit more.  Maybe next year, I'll obtain colorful fall photos.  Maybe next year, we'll have time for a game of cards.  I always enjoy seeing my daughter's friends and all the delightful banter that ensues. 

Maybe next year, I'll visit Ireland and climb Croagh Patrick.  Maybe next year, I'll cruise through the Panama Canal.  I always wanted to go through the locks. That's why I wanted to go through the Canal instead of to the Canal.  Who knows what adventures I may enjoy next year.

I read that Tiffany's in New York opened a Cafe.  I will definitely 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' in the Spring.  It was one of my favorite movies, way back when.... 

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'll Never Forget

I'm saddened, that in sixteen years we haven't learned that we, as a Nation, have a common enemy. Funny, how people can so easily forget tragedies when they aren't personally impacted.  We, Americans, are a generous and forgiving people.  Also, as a people, we are "on to the next thing."  As one of my daughters told me, "We must move on."  Move on, yes....but not forget.

On February 2, 1993, a truck bomb was detonated under the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  I commuted on the train and local bus with a woman who was at work that day.  She told me of walking down a smoke-filled stairwell.  The more detailed description of this horrific attempt to kill American civilians can be found in Wikipedia.

Eight years later, on September 11, 2001, it happened again.  This time there was a different set of characters, just as despicable.  Remember, eight years passed before this coordinated and heinous attempt to kill our civilians was carried out.  This time, though, there was planning.

President Trump, in an attempt to keep Americans safe, issued an 'Executive Order' suspending entrance to the United States by 'radical Islamist terrorists' from Nations known to harbor them.  A Federal Judge, in the Ninth Circuit Court in Washington State, blocked this 'Executive Order', thereby, in my opinion, exposing Americans to yet another horrific tragedy.  Where and how is yet to be seen and felt.  This edict was repeated by another Federal Judge in Hawaii.  Two other Federal Judges have acted in similar fashion.  Federal agencies, who are supposed to protect us are thwarted by their self-aggrandized leadership making decisions, under the guise of 'political correctness,' that only benefit themselves.  Remember these facts if there is a recurrence of an unspeakable attack on our Nation, since apparently anyone who wishes us harm seems able to enter our Country.

Don't get me wrong.  I thank God for the freedoms I enjoy.  But freedom doesn't mean tramping on another's religious or political belief, or shouting down a differing opinion.  Freedom doesn't mean we can harm persons or property just because we feel like it.  While we are free to disagree, remember a 'divided house will fall.'  For example, while some Americans are exercising their freedom of speech in the form of a protest,  some masked individuals attempt to change the intent of the protests into riots.  On the other hand, our enemies seem to have great patience in silently waiting until we, as a Nation, become more and more lax, less and less vigilant, and in need of unification.

I believe it would be beneficial to remind ourselves of the intent of our Forefathers, who wanted only good for our Nation.  I suggest you read The Constitution of the United States, or at least the first paragraph beginning with "We the People...."

Please remember those families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 in your prayers.  Those who experienced the horrors of that day here on our shores will never forget.

 Please pray for our Nation, for unity, common sense, and the safety of our people.

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Texting Gone Awry

This morning I received a text from one of my daughters.  During a school fundraiser last Spring, the children were offered an opportunity to choose a name for the driveway to their school.  Her daughter's suggestion was selected and my daughter was advising a group of about 15 people who had donated to the fundraiser.

Part way through all the 'congratulatory messages' one of my other daughters asked her son, who was also on the chat, a question about the itinerary of an upcoming trip.  Then others in on this text stated that they also would like the information.  Then, I piped up stating that I, too, would like the information, advising them that I live vicariously through their adventures.  Then, the kidding started.  The cousins agreed that if they didn't get the itinerary, they wanted out of the group chat.  The next addition to the text were the words, "Tertiary recognition of motion" from my son who was also on this thread.

At that point, the mother of the winning child broke in to remind everyone that the chat was originally about the child, so no one was being removed.  She then added the question to the itinerary holder, "So, when are you arriving?" followed with a compliment to my son on his interjection of "Tertiary recognition of motion".   At that point, my daughter who originate all this hoopla, realized she should have texted her itinerary question privately.

One of the cousins, an engineer, texted, "I just learned how to use the word, 'motion,' as well."  This was followed by a question as to the person who wrote "Tertiary recognition of motion" since there were two members of the group with the same first name.  Then the wife of the person questioned about the itinerary texted her husband that she would also like to know the itinerary.

At that point, I laughingly shared that this would make a great blog post.  One cousin hoped I wouldn't use his name, adding that he never signed anything to allow it.  I reminded him that I never use names.  Then the wife of the grandson who knew the itinerary requested a 'fun' name.

Then the text originator alerted everyone that it was too much and to many people were on it.  This was followed by another family member saying he was disconnecting himself from the chat.

Following that, the winning child's father and members of his family joined in.  One of the cousins asked, "Who is this?"  The winning child's father's brother responded that he didn't even know anyone on the original chat.  He stated, "I have two chats going and I' confused. lmao." At that point, I texted, "Thanks for my morning laugh."  Then, the mother of the winning child came back on the scene, "Hi All." explaining the membership of the chat and put an end to the fun.  At that point, one of the chat members, who was previously disconnecting, texted, "I just pulled the spark plug out of my phone."

I will admit I found all the banter funny, but people do have jobs. 

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Overcast and Gloomy in Clairemont

When I awoke at 6:30am, I saw that this day was starting out with gray skies.  Around 7:30am, I ventured out to morning Mass honoring the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As I started the car, the windshield was covered with little droplets, which I felt as I left the building.  The windshield wipers did their job, but as I drove I realized that I had to continually use them.  Strange for San Diego in August.  As I reached the Mother of Confidence Church, in LaJolla, it was actually raining.  Again, in August?  WOW.

We often have gray clouds early in the morning, but it burns off around 9 or 10 am.  Not this morning.  The temperature remained cool for the whole day.  I chose to skip the pool.

Later in the afternoon, took a walk to Starbucks about one block away.  Haven't been there often, but when I have occasion to go in, I find the people, of all ages, quietly working on their computers. Some seem like students working together.  Older customers might be reading while they enjoy their coffee.  This Starbucks was the reason I pursued a home in this area.  Not because of the store, but the people I saw inside.  I reckoned that if this environment was calm and inviting, the neighborhood might be as well.  After a year of living in Clairemont, I found this to be true.

This cloudy day resulted in accomplishing laundry chores, knitting, etc.  No matter what the situation, what matters is how you use it.  Tomorrow, back to the pool.

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I've been suffering from 'writer's block' for some time now.  A friend complained to me last week that when she checked my blog, the posting was old.  I decided to do something about it. When I saw the date of my last posting, I was shocked.  So much time had passed.  But, with my Words with Friends, photography, volunteer knitting of baby beanies for a local hospital, 2 - 3 mile daily walks, checking Facebook, Twitter and my emails, etc....what to do....what to do.

I decided that I could think about all the things I take for granted and those things for which I should be grateful.  I'm always verbally thanking the good Lord for all my blessings, but haven't put it in writing in a while.

When I complained about something a number of years ago, a friend said, "You should be thankful that you got out of bed this morning."  I immediately thought of his massive heart attack.  That statement jolted me into changing my perspective, that is, until I began to take it for granted all over again.  We do many things unconsciously until we're unable for whatever reason.  I guess that's just human nature.  We should be thankful we can see, talk, walk, and generally use all our senses.

This past May I traveled to New York for my grandson's graduation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Even though it was rainy in Worcester with the cold temperature of 46 degrees, and I had not brought a coat, I was certainly grateful for the opportunity to attend.   My visit seemed to whoosh by me.  While I was in New York, my son-in-law pointed out the baby Robins nesting in behind their basketball backboard.

Being short of stature, this was the best photo I could get.  The baby robins were calling to their mother.  I suspect they were hungry.  However, a short time later, there she was sitting in the nest.

Brings me back to being thankful.  Thankful is a state of mind.  It's a choice.  Instead of concentrating on wants and perceived or real needs, it's best to think about our current situation and choose to dwell on what is good about it.  It's work, I will admit.  Frustration does rear its ugly head, but the practice of expressing gratitude is fruitful.  At least, I'm back to writing.  I still have a host of things I want to accomplish as well as a host of things I'd like to have.  I believe that there's nothing wrong with that as long as I maintain a balanced perspective. Thanks for letting me share.

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Perhaps by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook) 

The Book of Micah by Catherine Hall (on Kindle and the Nook)