Thursday, February 28, 2013

Clairmont Post Office

Yesterday, I went to the Post Office for more stamps.  I know, I know....I should have purchased more on Tuesday.  However, I don't usually use more than three a month.  Writing my grandson once a week has expanded my need.

However, this time I visited the Post Office in the North Clairmont section of San Diego.  This is a very nice community.  This Post Office is a very busy place, but the line moves quickly.  When I reached the Postal clerk, I requested three stamps.  He quickly pulled a sheet over with some square stamps with some nondescript pale-colored drawing on them.  I said I didn't want them.  His retort was - that was what he was selling.  I presume that they have to sell stamps left over from sheets.  Anyway, he wouldn't budge.  So, I asked him if that was what the other clerks were selling.  He shrugged his shoulders giving me the impression that he just didn't care.

So, as a customer left the postal clerk next to him, I just moved over to this man's station.  I told him I needed three stamps and then I asked if he could sell me the Purple Heart stamps.  He politely told me that he would check in the back.  He quickly returned to his station with a sheet of Purple Heart stamps and presented me with three.  I told him that I really appreciated his help.  His name was Alex.  I think he should be commended for great customer service.

Since I have some birthdays coming up, I guess I'll give in and purchase a small book of stamps.  Maybe this time I'll buy the "Forever Stamps."

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rosarito Earthquake

Last night I was sitting at the computer when I felt a roll in the floor followed by something in my kitchen actually rocking (my living room, dining room, and kitchen are an open floor plan).  In my estimation, it was strong, so I just prayed.  It didn't last long at all.  I immediately checked on the computer and sure enough, there was an earthquake in the waters off Rosarito, Mexico, which is over 60 miles south of my home.  I rose from my chair, went into the kitchen to check my microwave and then, I realized that this appliance was on a level cabinet.  Also, there are little statuettes and handmade Thanksgiving turkeys sitting on top of it.  Nothing there was moved.  But something  in my kitchen rocked.  It was a little scary.

My apartment complex might lie on the Point Loma Fault.  I know it is west of the Rose Canyon fault. Thankfully, I didn''t feel any aftershocks.  Just another day in sunny San Diego, CA.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Post Office

Today, I planned to walk the hills in Ocean Beach in preparation for my climb up Mt. Beacon in the Spring.  I needed to send a letter to my grandson so I stopped at the Ocean Beach Post Office.  I don't go there often, but when I do there is always a line.  Today I waited 20 minutes for service. The girl behind me in line put her head on the table along which the line is formed and just groaned.  A woman approached me and asked me when it was my turn. "please just get me two address change forms."  She didn't want to get on the long line for two forms.  There were now around twelve people behind me.  When I joined the line, there were eight people ahead of me.

The Post Office is planning to suspend Saturday delivery in August 2013 for monetary reasons.  Although electronic mailing has made substantial inroads into communication, I wonder if they gave better service, things would be different.  I will repeat myself; this particular post office always has a line.  So does the Midway Post Office, which I think used to be the main post office in bygone days.  That Post Office definitely has more workers and provides faster service, but going there today just wasn't convenient for me..

In asking for the American Flag stamp, I was reminded that you can only get that if you purchase a $20 book of stamps.  Why would they make it so difficult to express your patriotism?  The stamp with the American Flag should be the easiest to get.  Perhaps the executives at the Post Office should be thinking more like a customer.

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Mimi's, Mission Valley

I planned to meet a friend, Diane, at 1pm on Tuesday for coffee at Starbucks in Mission Valley.  I arrived about one-half hour early and found every table and chair taken.  Since I was early, I did a little window shopping at a furniture store.  I checked back at Starbucks about 15 minutes later and found that the same people were sitting at the same tables, as best as I could recall.  It reminded me of my younger days when lunchtime at a place (in New York) was so busy, you had to literally stand behind the person sitting on a stool eating their lunch.

When Diane arrived, I flagged her down, related the situation, and asked if we could go to Mimi's instead.  As we drove to Mimi's (just a short distance away), I voiced my opinion, "What's with these people?  They are prolonging their time in Starbucks just because it is cold, windy and raining outside."  Diane asked me, "Weren't we going to do the same thing?"  I'm paraphrasing but you get the point.

Mimi's is a very nice comfortable restaurant serving good food.  When we arrived, we had a short wait and then, were seated.  Not bad for such a cold day.  I had not eaten lunch so I perused the menu and could not decide.  Diane was so gracious as she offered to share a soup and 1/2 sandwich lunch (for $6.99), as she had already eaten lunch earlier.  So, I had the half-sandwich and she enjoyed a small cup of tomato bisque soup.  Diane said the soup was good, though a little salty.  I enjoyed a the half of a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich on wheat toast.  The waiter was very gracious about our sharing lunch.

We enjoyed catching up on each other's activities and family news.  Although I like Starbucks, I think our move provided a more comfortable environment to spend our hour or so in conversation.  I think you would enjoy Mimi's in Mission Valley.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Palette

Last evening, in celebration of Valentine's Day, my daughter took the grandchildren and me to The Palette, which is a true fine dining experience, located within The International Cooking School at The Art Institute of California at San Diego.   It is totally run by students in the last phase of their culinary education.

We started the meal with The Little Gem Lettuce Salad made of poached pear, blue cheese, candied pine nuts, with White Balsamic.  This was a culinary treat and was very enjoyable.  The blue cheese was excellent.  My daughter and I ordered the Apple Sausage Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with roasted Brussel Sprouts and mashed potatoes.  My granddaughter chose the Porcini Braised Beef Short Ribs with Polenta and winter vegetables.  My six-year old grandson wanted the Parpadelle Pasta with Pistachio Mint Pesto.  The offering for this dish was presented on the menu as Spicy Lamb Bolognese.  However, he only wanted the pasta with sauce on the side.  He ate the pasta without the sauce and was happy with it.

Our meals were very delicious. The servings were very generous.  My granddaughter offered tastes of her Short Ribs and we decided that was the best.  Following dinner, my grandson asked, "Are we going to have dessert?"  When a server brought the Dessert Menu, we had to choose.  We didn't feel we had room, but who passes up such delicious sounding desserts?  We settled on sharing two desserts....a dark chocolate cake with a raspberry and candied fruit (served with a small mound of vanilla sorbet) and a trio of sorbets (melon, passion fruit and lemon).   My grandson chose the melon and my granddaughter, the lemon.  I literally had one teaspoon of each dessert.  The chocolate cake was literally "to die for."  It seems anti-climatic to say that the coffee was great, but it was.

The evening was very enjoyable even though Daddy could not be with us.  He was busy instructing future chefs.  The atmosphere with low level music in the background was perfect.  I would definitely encourage going to this restaurant.

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The Parrots are Back, The Parrots are Back!

This morning around 7:00am, I was awakened to the sound of the Red-Crowned Parrots flying over my home.  As I have written before, they are very, very noisy. Usually the parrots arrive around March 9 (my son's birthday).  So my assumption is that Spring will be early.

Today, I walked with a neighbor and her friends along the San Diego River to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.  Dog Beach is just that and was set aside in 1972 to enable dogs to run around without a leash and play with other dogs.  As we reached Robb Field, I saw a bird I've been looking American Kestrel.  When I first saw it, it flew up into a palm tree.  One of my fellow walkers spotted it. I was amazed that it stayed in the tree while a family with children stood and watched.  Everyone had their own idea of where I would get the best shot.  And the bird did not fly away.

It was a warm (75 degrees) and beautiful day.  As we continued to walk on to Dog Beach, I spotted a Little Blue Heron just walking along in the water.  I suspect he was looking for an afternoon snack.

After my neighbor walked her dog around Dog Beach and a short walk so I could get a Starbucks and my neighbor, a frozen yogurt.  Then, we backtracked along the San Diego River.  There were many people out today, probably due to how nice the day was and perhaps, they were starting their three-day weekend.

We are supposed to have nice weather until Monday when the temperatures will fall back to the 50 degree range.  However, I know Spring is near.  I heard the Red-crowned Parrots.

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