Too much on offer

It was a day on which I drank several lattes, worked on releasing all of the posts that have been hung up for sometimes months pending a photo or three. And went to a reception at lunch and the “Captain’s Table” for dinner. Said table actually being run by the hotel director.

It was a lovely meal – they ate lamb and steak – I received wonderfully flavored Indian and we all were happy. Glad I hit the gym this morning because there were more than a few calories involved (sucker for chocolate covered cherries – what can I say. Dinner started late for me and finished even later. And add to this the hour time loss since we are going to Hamilton Bermuda. I need sleep as 0600 for the fitness center is going to feel very early tomorrow.

Back at Sea

Yes – you read that right. After getting off the Explorer on the 16th of May and walking on land for 90 days (+) I’m back on a nice cruise ship. In case you are wondering, I am completely and totally not counting that disaster of a ship I was on in June. I enjoyed the time with George, loved Scotland, met nice people and struggled to find anything worth eating for 7 days. Not my idea of a good time.

So here is the route –

Baltimore  Bermuda

Baltimore <-> Bermuda

and the actual itinerary

Sat Aug 27 Baltimore, MD 4:00pm
Sun Aug 28 At Sea
Mon Aug 29 King’s Wharf, Bermuda 1:00pm
Tue Aug 30 King’s Wharf, Bermuda 2:30pm
Wed Aug 31 At Sea
Thu Sep 1 Baltimore, MD 7:00am

which really means that it is going to be warm, humid and a chance of rain. I’m planning on a really nice relaxing time…

Who won anyway?

Saturday is the traditional evening for the Hugo award ceremony. As part of the reg crew with set up at 0800 in the morning I am sort of feeling a bit ragged about 2000 when the ceremony is supposed to start. This was compounded by a brilliant person thinking that there would be attendees showing up late just to go to the Hugo’s. At $70? I don’t think so. More like someone was either immersed in fantasy land or just avoiding dealing with hall passes.

Those of you from the US – I am sure that you remember Hall Passes from school. They came from your teacher if you were running an errand or needed to be somewhere other than your class room during the hour. Or from the office if you were there for any reason; giving you permission to be somewhere other than normally appointed location by your regular schedule. Some schools even used them to allow quick restroom tricks.

The catch, of course, is that someone has to screen the person/request, decided if it is valid, and then issue the pass. Might take a few minutes, right?

So there we were, stuck and bored till 2100. I had made a couple of trips up to the Con Suite on the main exhibition floor for beverages and munchies as well as pitching in on table clearing. Am I going to hang around with everyone eating, drinking, partying and watching the big screen? Nah -I am going back downstairs to my quiet group of fellow sufferers before heading back to the hotel.

It wasn’t raining! What more could I ask?

Oh – the Hugos?

Best Novel: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Best Novella: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (
Best Novelette: “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, translated Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
Best Short Story: “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2014 or 2015, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Andy Weir

All the votes didn’t match mine, but I wasn’t displeased.

Didn’t think of this

It was a reasonable morning @ 0800. Even discounting the announcement that we couldn’t take the shuttle to the convention center like we had yesterday. Apparently we weren’t special enough, not being relocated at the last minute from the Phillips Hotel. Never mind the drive who was enforcing his list wound up with no passengers. The rules must be followed.

The tram is new, free, clean and lovely even if this area of Kansas City is not exactly thrilling or appearing to be thriving (parking for $5/day?).  I didn’t give the weather or outside temperature a thought since I was trapped occupied inside the convention center for the day.

Observed around the Con

Finally finishing up ~2100, I forgo the Masquerade in favor of getting some sleep. Ditto for the parties. It was about this time when I became aware that the outside rumbling was not trucks driving under the building but thunder relating to the ongoing storm.

Hello? California resident here – specifically East Bay. We get fog or low lying clouds in the summer with an occasional covering of morning dew. We don’t get rain. In fact this past winter (note, north of the Equator August is most definitely not winter…) was the first in four years to get rain, ending the long standing drought. So color me not prepared for a good, rousing Mid-West thunder storm complete with this wet liquid stuff descending from the sky.

Contrary to public opinion, I’m not a witch and don’t melt with water. I was by far more concerned about keeping my camera and books dry. I dashed the three blocks to the tram and boarded the one that was about to leave, staying on to Union Station.

Cool what ? (taken from dry inside)

Cool what ? (taken from dry inside)

There is an overhead walkway enclosed system (Skyways or +11s as is know by some) which connects Union Station with the hotel complex.

which feels like going down an umbilical

which feels like going down an umbilical

and leads to an

inside water hazard.

inside water hazard.



Just for fun, go read Wiki on Dr Robert C Baker.

The reason I learned about him today, much less of his existence was courtesy of

Paul & Storm

Paul & Storm


Food science is important. And McDonalds is not the originator of the chicken nugget…

The duo is known for their spoofs in the SciFi fan world, skewering George RR has lead to a couple hilarious songs (one on on YouTube and the other here which is a take off on American Pie. Hey, all of you are old enough to remember singing Don Mclean’s

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Of course, if you have absolutely no clue about Game of Thrones, you probably won’t get most of the references..

Other than picking up and wearing my new hat (picture tomorrow) I was able to get to a panel, a literary beer and otherwise wander around since it turned out that most people had picked up their badges yesterday (or more likely are waiting for the weekend).

I didn’t spend much time with the camera but saw this

More displayed costumes

More displayed costumes

and went to give

and the wandering Tardis

and the wandering Tardis

a bit of a hand calling the elevator since it doesn’t exactly have a free hand, now does it?

Opening Salvo

Unlike most of the previous WorldCons, we were so good (cough, cough) at our jobs in registration that we essentially never had a line. Seriously, after dealing with lines varying anywhere from 2 to hundreds of dedicated fans.

By the end of today, we had logged in almost three thousand without really straining ourselves. Lots of individuals who were preregistered and the rest who seemed to be competent in filling out forms. One of the changes with this Con is the complete switch to Square Register for processing payments (rather than the old credit card machines which were bulky at best and cranky at worst.


I had fully intended to see something, anything today but it proved pretty much to be a plan not able to come to fruition.


Instead, I headed up to the main floor after 1900 when we closed to capture a bit of the flavor and exhibits….


Not counting, of course – the ever popular


Going to Kansas City

and that means Missouri, not Kansas for all us who never knew/have completely forgotten US Geography.

It was a morning that started obscenely early. BART get to Oakland in time for me to make an 0620 flight so our eldest kindly (and she is so NOT a morning person) gave me a ride to the airport sparing me the 69$ Supershuttle fee. The Taxi folks wouldn’t even give me an estimate.

It was a direct flight to Kansas City, location of this year’s WorldCon. Catching the shuttle wasn’t a problem except that I had completely forgotten about the two hours time change which means that I had not exactly given the correct arrival time. It was too early to get to my room but dropping off luggage and heading to work reg for the rest of the day was just fine.

This will be the only comment I will provide on the Westin. They don’t provide desk staff who can think ahead. It didn’t occur to them that someone standing at the Bell Captain’s desk might need help. Or that perhaps it would have made sense to mention their shuttle service rather than leave me a phone message necessitating yet a third trip to the front desk. No free wifi… argh.

The new tram – free – runs up and down Main Street which really helps in the humidity. Union Station is amazing. I’m going after photos tomorrow….

The Boys are back

which is not great for the garden but certainly better than talking about the lack of Oakland’s pitching performance for the last three games. Shall I just leave that bit with “Cub’s have pitchers” and the A’s just couldn’t manage to get on base?

I’d like to think they have a chance against the Orioles, but I am not holding my breath. Going to the game tonight, yes. But not expecting anything for the performance….

Back to the boys who have been hanging out for day after day after day. Totally destroyed my lime tree along with beating down a patch through the landscaping on the hill. “We are not amused” even though they look quite at home.

and now there are three

and now there are three

taking a break

taking a break

doesn't he look comfortable?

doesn’t he look comfortable?

George went through his entire pile of small stones next to the door, managing to hit one of them a couple of times. Means that they left for oh, let us say about 15 minutes before they came back and settled in again. We don’t feed them. These three boys do look fairly healthy which doesn’t mean a thing as far as ticks or Lyme disease. The only thing I have noticed so far is that they don’t seem to like the laundry rack. So out it went with a couple of large RCCL towels flapping in the breeze…

(and before you ask – yes, we have tried just about every imaginable spray to no avail. They like munching on my plants….

Puzzle Factory

I’m not sure what I expected when I walked into Liberty Puzzles in Boulder. I have been buying puzzles from them for years. Lovely, real wood puzzles cut by laser with each piece unique + dozens of whimsy pieces in each puzzle. No, they are not cheap, but I believe the value for the money is there.

I left Colorado Springs this morning after spending an enjoyable week with Kathy, seeing some of the local sites but mostly relaxing and getting caught up on a number of projects. With a flight tonight I needed to fill the day. Why not Boulder? The drive just isn’t that far. Jane & Don’s whose car I will be returning in a couple of hours live near the airport and certainly on the right side of the city to go to Boulder.

Where was I?

Oh, walking into Liberty Puzzles after finding it on 49th very close to C 157.  This is not a paid advertisement, but a report of a place with a great product and even better customer service.

see those old puzzles on the wall?

see those old puzzles on the wall?

There is part of the owner’s collection of hand cut wooden puzzles passed down in his family.  There are displays of the current puzzle lines –

As well as a table with several set out just to temp me into spending more time.

The kind Collette gave me a tour of the manufacturing process which takes about 3 days total per puzzle.

The picture for each puzzle is printed on archival quality acid free paper

The picture for each puzzle is printed on archival quality acid free paper

Then applied to the wooden piece so that it seals and drys (which starts the explanation of the amount of time involved. From here – the puzzles are individually cut in the production room. Think more than a dozen individual closed machines each computer controlled and capable of burning a puzzle in about 45 minutes. (and no pictures in this room).  This is followed by cooling….

From there –

each puzzle is then taken apart piece by piece

each puzzle is then taken apart piece by piece

with each being checked and rough edges sanded or filed as needed. Then comes hand packing in boxes. Followed by my gleeful shopping in the inventory racks!

I stuck with the adult puzzles

I stuck with the adult puzzles

and stayed away from both the small round and the kids puzzles. It really helped me to look at the boxes to give me a much better idea if I really needed that puzzle. I did find a couple by one artist and then there is the Dr Seuss line. Shipping, as it turns out is much, much cheaper than Boulder sales tax (9%).

I also found enough puzzles to extend my puzzle membership for another year which makes me a happy camper but not sure how it is going to affect our bookshelves… It is probably extremely good for my pocket book that I won’t be back this way anytime soon. My flight is rather late this evening from Denver direct back to Oakland.

Now, I was going to ask if I really wanted to get up for an 0715 exercise class in the morning before realizing that I at least exhibited enough common sense to sign up for the 0945 session instead. Followed by an A’s game. Then I need to pack up my current puzzle in anticipation of some new ones arriving in the mail!



as seen from Ft Carson billeting…


and then there were –

bunch of baby bunnies

bunch of baby bunnies

where is a dog when you need one?

It was a quiet day mostly one of backing up photos and clearing out my hard drive.

Rail and Raft

Just to entertain myself – I went looking for rafting in the Colorado Springs area.

Hello! The Arkansas River is just up the road and there are more than a few rafting companies out of Canon City. Did I want to do Class IV & V rapids? I don’t think so. Class II to III are much more to my liking. Plus there is always the chance (extremely high as it turns out) of being in a raft with a load of people having their first experience on a river.  Class II & III are one thing – higher difficulty rapids increases my chance of taking an unwanted swim…

So I emailed off to several firms and Raft Masters replied – so that is where I booked. Canon City isn’t that far and turned out to be not difficult at all to find. In the morning I took a ride on the Royal Gorge Railway.

We started at the Station –

and headed up the Gorge. I thought that I could see something from the Dome Car. Turned out that really was the location for food and it wasn’t like I was looking to eat. Instead – I did the entire 12 miles out and 12 back in the open air car.

which looks like this

which looks like this

the morning picture gallery

There are a number of raft companies on the Arkansas River as you can see.

After lunch, we headed out to the Big Horn Sheep Canyon. There were six of us – a couple from outside Austin, a family of three from Austin (just random assignments – go figure) and me. I was the only one of us six who had rafted before. Our guide was a Noah in his third year of guiding.

Funny thing – I was tired when I returned to Ft Carson

Garden of the Gods


From the Visitor's Center

From the Visitor’s Center


The Visitor’s Center opens at 0800. The park itself opens at 0500 in the summer. Means that arriving just a few seconds after 0800 meant parking challenges but we managed to grab the last parking slot in the main area.

019A1507 019A1508

Then looped at the maps before heading out for the close, easy loops…

The Rocks are sandstone, carved mostly by wind with the occasional bit of precipitation tossed in for good measure. Of course, this is mountains and Colorado, so you can add snowfall in the winter. The formations are amazing. Any of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them. Thumbnails here just so that the page loads in our life time.

And yes –

I was actually there

I was actually there

please note a reasonable attempt – not at a disguise – but at sun protection including (but not limited to) hat, glasses, long pants, hiking shoes, sleeves that could be rolled down AND sunblock…

I might go back to see the sunrise one of these next mornings…

Since I don’t remember having wandered any part of “historic” Colorado Springs in the 1970s, that was our next stop. I have the feeling that there has been a lot of renovation in the last 40 years….

Caribou Coffee, like Peet’s and Seattle’s Best, is much better than Starbucks along with being conveniently located on the butterfly corner.

The commissary, unlike the Berkeley Safeway, still has cherries……

In a new state

First things first – yes, I passed the driver’s test. Knowledge test that is. DMV didn’t make me take a behind the wheel so I missed the terrors of parallel parking. I have this multiple layer piece of paper which states I am legal to drive until my license comes in the mail. (Or 30 days – which ever comes first).

The particular piece of paper that I almost forgot this morning when I was trying to convince myself that 0300 in the morning wasn’t all that early. I didn’t believe it but managed to get myself dressed and out the door accompanied by George who was stuck driving me to the airport as BART simply doesn’t run that early.

Shall we skip the part about the I-880 being closed in Oakland with a couple miles of backed up traffic? (Hint, trust the navigator when she says – this exit NOW! Followed by driving along some quiet streets and landing 3/4 of the way through the detour when she had planned just to take the back way through Alameda).

Check in and TSA took all of ten minutes and I was left to twiddle my thumbs in the gate area without coffee. Flight boarded at 0515. Coffee shop didn’t open till 0500 to a line of 20+….

Kathy picked me up in Denver and we drove to Bear Lake Park (or something like that) where Carmen met us for a lovely walk. Yes, it was hot. Yes, I put on both sun screen and a hat.

We saw dogs, bikes, kids, adults and horses. No snakes (which is a lot better than one time when Noah and I went hiking in Arizona).

More road construction and a significant amount of time later, Kathy and I arrived in Manitou Springs. Had lunch, wandered the town looking at buildings, arcades, tourists and tasting water from one of the springs. Interesting to see a place that was actually founded to be a tourist trap.

I’m now at Ft Carson and really tired. Plans for tomorrow include Garden of the Gods and being a tourist in Colo Springs.

I think I can handle that….

Driving – getting past the DMV

Today’s entertainment

It is now (about 0700 in the morning) while I am sitting with coffee cup in hand working through the various Cal Practice Driving Tests since I finally managed to get a DMV appointment for 1020 this morning. I don’t know why I am letting my anxiety get cranked up. It is not like I haven’t had to take driver’s tests before. At various times I have held US licenses in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington DC and New York. Then there is USAREUR, USAFE, Germany and Kuwait. That means a lot of knowledge tests over the years plus more than one behind the wheel test. Yes, you don’t get to drive in Europe (either a country license or military) without passing a lot of right of way and international sign questions. For that matter, you don’t get to drive exciting vehicles like cracker-box ambulances or the deuce and a half without a behind the wheel test.  Much less an APC or tank (got to try, did NOT go for the exam).

So why is this one bothering me so much?

Probably a combination of several factors. There is a large amount of information on driving while impaired. I don’t drink, so I really don’t care how long the suspension will be or when a revocation is mandatory. Not my problem. Frankly, after dealing with European Law, the idea of anything less than 12 months off the road for anyone, regardless of how high over the legal limit I find insane. Listing penalties for 2nd and 3rd offense within 12 months? $2000 fine minimum for injuring someone while DUI? Hello? WTF are they doing on the road? And then there is an extensive set of questions on the “under 21” crew.  Since I’m not under 21 and don’t have a driver in the house under 21 – see irrelevancy noted above.

It would make common sense to have a “mature drivers” knowledge exam. One for those of us eligible for AARP and without young drivers. Then you could also concentrate on the mandatory physician reporting, medical conditions impairing driving, and staying out the way of the young and stupid.

Did you know that California has FIVE (count ’em  – red, blue, green, yellow, white) colors which can be painted on the curb? All we need is purple and orange for the rainbow. Oops – probably shouldn’t suggest that – there are already enough special snowflakes of every size, attitude and dimension here in Berkeley.

Then there is the issue of taxes – starting 1 July (procrastination always costs) you have to be a California resident to get a license. Before that, if you were here – you could get a license as part of establishing residency. Now, how do I prove I am a resident? Utilities bills? Not in my name. Unlike the Indian Consulate, bills in my husband’s name + a marriage license isn’t going to cut it. Neither is my library card. Rental agreements? Don’t have any. I am hoping that a bank statement, our property assessment and an update from the Social Security Administration are enough. Why did I mention taxes? Well if I am declaring California residency, I get to pay California personal income tax. Whoopee. Filed that through myPay yesterday and winced at the bite.

The last challenge is proof of previous driver’s license. California is generous with out of country licenses. Not. A German License – sign up here for both Knowledge and behind the wheel. Not going there, thank you very much. Which left me with the challenge of finding proof of previous stateside licenses. DC has a “pay on line and download your driving record” so I could do that. New York has the same, but the catch is you have to know your Driver’s License Number. Like I am going to remember a D – xxxx – xxxx – xxxx – xxxx from 1990-1991? Admittedly it was the same as Minnesota but still…. DC was easy – they were using SSN….  My Kuwaiti license which I kept as a souvenir? Nah – see comment on Germany above plus it is all in Arabic. I also found one of my old USAREUR licenses which was good through 2002. Still looking for the USAFE license (2008-2010) but haven’t located it yet. I am hoping that playing the “military and serving overseas for 23 years” plus proof from DC will be enough for me to avoid proving that I really, really hate parallel parking.

All of this is necessary because I do need to be able to occasionally drive legally. I enjoy walking and adore being able to take public transportation. But there are times when depending on OP (Other People = George & Shana) makes me feel like a “dependent” on top of disrupting their schedules.

So – I have a board call at 1000, the Driver’s Stuff at 1020, company for dinner this evening and a flight to Denver leaving Oakland Airport @ 0545 in the morning. Perhaps I should think about packing rather than stressing myself over the exam?

Wednesday Afternoon 1230 PM

Shall I just leave it with the Huston Astros were hot and the Oakland pitchers couldn’t find the strike zone with one hand or both hands. I don’t even think a laser sight would have helped. The batters manage to strand runners on base whenever they weren’t busy striking out, flying out or popping up to right field. Final Score 7:0, no extra innings needed….

Shana came with me. I think she is the favorite of the parking fairy. Late morning is not usually a time you can find a slot. She just drives into the closet section after trying one of the more distant lots. Voila! Parking Space. Our seats turned out to be equally charmed – second row on the first base side, Section 107. The upside of this location for two young kids near us was that this was a location where one could be handed balls from the field side of the fence. Especially since the visitors use the 1st base side and dads were wearing Huston Astros garb.

Extra Innings

That’s what you call it in baseball right? When the game goes beyond your standard nine innings.  Not overtime, like fußball with ties not allowed like in many other sports. The terminology finally came back to me, but not because I figure it out, but because a baseball announcer provided it as I was listening on the way home. There were some really amazing moments. Like getting tagged out because you are parading the baseline. Hint, it was a double – not a home run. A few stolen bases here and there, an error on both sides.  Lots of pitchers.

It made for a long day. A very long day. 

Oh, and Oakland actually managed to pull it off. First tieing the game in the bottom of the ninth

Walked in Runs

The Teams

The Teams

For those of you who follow baseball, we watched in amazement as one of the Houston Astro’s relief pitchers managed to walk three in a row. The first was “ok” but loaded the bases. The next two – not so much. I’m not really sure how players felt about scoring by being walked in. Certainly the two in turn sauntered along from third base to home with a wave or two to the crowd just to make the point. The upshot was that the score was 6:3 at the end of the inning.

Bottom of the 6th

Bottom of the 6th

The final score was 7:4. Even the A’s didn’t manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It was late when I arrived home. The game started at 1900 and ran over three hours. Then it was home on the BART. It is July which is reputed to be one of the warmest months of the year. I am wearing a hiking shirt topped with a light weight fleece pullover. I have angora socks (from Iceland) and a pair of toasty warm fleece pants. Once the sun went below the scoreboard it seemed that the temperature plummeted as the wind started to rise. I added my fleece tunic and planned on pulling up the hood when things got chillier.  Sitting in the Plaza Reserve (great view, cheap seats) has taught me that it can be “cool.”

Remember when I remarked about not knowing that most ballplayers had gone to long pants sometime in the last 20 years? Someone forgot to give the Astro’s the memo. 7/9 were wearing shorter pants with dark socks. For teh average player it probably doesn’t matter leaving it a personal choice of style. If you are Jose Altuve reputed at 5’5″ to be the shortest pro-baseball player (not in the above picture) this particular fashion choice makes you look even shorter. But compared to the three girls down a few seats huddled under SF Giants fleece blankets – at least he knows which team he plays for….

My house guests leave in the morning and I figured out that an 0830 exercise class is just as good as 0715 and leaves me a few more minutes of sleep…..


The As get burned

and so did I.

It was about 1100 when I left home for the Oakland Coliseum. The temperature was barely 14* and it was overcast here in the “beautiful Berkeley” hills. According to Yahoo Weather the predicted high was only 21. It was partly cloudy at the ballpark BART stop and by the time I found my seat to have a bit of a snack the sun was beaming down. I obviously didn’t need my fleece tunic and the dark jeans I had worn to absorb the heat might not have been the best choice. With my new shirt (courtesy of a fan promotion)

to match previous years swag

to match previous years swag

I at least had a short sleeve shirt to wear. This is the particular company’s fourth year at it. Last year it was sweatshirts, the two years before that it was pants/leggings… Some people had all the pieces on.

But back to my previous comment. Do you think I brought sunblock? After managing to get through last week without a burn due to the liberal application of same…. If I hadn’t picked up a hat – the fan store had nice ones on sale it would have been completely doubtful that I still had brains in my head.  The family behind me had sunblock and shared so that is probably why I don’t have blisters.

the view, with blue skies

the view, with blue skies


There I sat, 3 hours in the bright sun enjoying the game from the third base side. As much as one could when your team pulls their first pitcher on the first batter (leaving the relief to deal with a full count).

The As tried a rally and tied the game, but then the Toronto Blue Jays gained two more runs in the top of the 9th. I will admit to leaving about then – 5 minutes to the next BART or 21 with everyone. I didn’t see a hope of the As coming back and I was feeling a bit crunchy.


  • Final

    R H E



    Blue JaysRuns5 Blue JaysHits10 Blue JaysErrors0



    AthleticsRuns3 AthleticsHits8 AthleticsErrors1

Wound up with friends visiting and crashing for the night. Julia came out to join our dinner (sandwiches) conversation. When Noah arrived home from work he did the same. Pleasant end to the day. I don’t think I will be so deceived about the weather tomorrow – but it is an evening game.

Safe Places

are those locations where you tuck away things too important to lose. Those critical things you don’t need on a daily basis but absolutely need to be able to find when you need them. Obviously wallets and keys don’t fall into this concern. Those are found, misplaced and hunted for by many on a close to daily basis. In my case it doesn’t even include my passport as that lives in my wallet as a side effect of living OCONUS and traveling for so many years.

I am talking about where you may tuck the family documents – those birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, school transcripts/diplomas which, as my son discovered, you do need on a blue moon. His need was related to getting his driving permit. The Oakland DMV wanted two IDs. They were happy with his school ID but didn’t want to take his passport as a second form of ID. Yes, you read that right – the woman at the counter wasn’t sure that was official ID and asked him if he could bring in a birth certificate. We have one, tucked in an appropriately labeled document protector in a binder. Which was in a box in my studio. He found it and decided to go to El Cerrito DMV instead where the gentleman just shook his head and used the passport.It has a picture. Anyone could present a birth certificate….

Safe places – right. There is no such thing as a safe place (outside of a real safe) in a domicile that is hit by professionals. Not if they have a few hours in which to search all drawers and cupboards as we found out to our chagrin about a year ago in Heidelberg.

But I can tuck something away so safely that I can’t find it.

Take, for example, my small Canon D20. It is waterproof. A great size, it fits in my hand and has a cord with chinch so that you can manage to snorkel or dive without running a high risk of dropping the thing. It even has a great color adjustment underwater setting. It went with me on my last round the world jaunt which is why I just knew it had to be in the house somewhere. Tucked away in a safe place. Last weekend, before setting out for the American River I went looking for it. Took apart my camera equipment bags completely but it didn’t turn out. I found a few other things, but neither the D20 or extra memory chips. (Extras are always good, only thing worse than having your camera battery die without remembering to bring your charger is to have a chip give up when you don’t have any more…). Couldn’t find it. Looked in all the usual suspect places which are actually limited in this new house. Not in the closets, studio, drawers.

I gave up and resumed the search before we drove to the Trinity River thinking it would be really nice to bring along a camera which didn’t have to stay in a waterproof bag. Again, no such luck. I am now getting pretty discouraged. Canon doesn’t make this model anymore. In fact most of the major manufactures don’t bother as the Go-Pro has really overwhelmed the market.

This morning, after George left for the airport (DC three days of meetings) I started cleaning up the bedroom. Pushed the bed back from when the window frames were being painted. Picked up “stuff” from the floor and then tackled the small table I use as a night stand.

see that cord?...

see that cord?…

The one hanging down right next to my OysterCard folder because one always has to be ready to travel the London Underground. The poppet was made in last fall’s Suez trip knitting group. The only thing that would make my “safe place” more obvious would be if it was resting on top of a towel..

pulling on the cord

pulling on the cord

gave me a small bit of hope. I have two small pocket cameras. This was obviously one of them. The other has obviously found it’s own safe and comfortable nest.

and there it is!

and there it is!

It still has photos not downloaded. The battery works. Wheee!

Now where should I put it so that it is safe till I need it the next time?

US #1

I have my sense of humor back. At least as much a sense of humor as I ever have. That particular ability has been called into question more than once. My back is now reasonably straight and the trash is out of the car.

Just a suggestion, if your dear spouse/partner/friend/whomever suggests driving down US #1 aka the Coastal Highway to get from Northern California to the Bay area your answer should be a resounding NO! Preferably at the top of your lungs. Unless, of course, you don’t mind taking about 13 hours to make a less than six hour drive. Ok, discounting the 45 minutes spent finding cell phone coverage (which George needed for his 1700 conference call), it still took too freaking long.  The road is beautiful, twisty, curvy, slow, full of RVs and gawkers and most is completely without people, call boxes or cell coverage. i.e. make sure you have fuel, a good operating car and no significant risk of a breakdown. We didn’t do any of those, but others obviously had.

The photo opportunities were amazing, the wind chill and the camp grounds packed. I will leave aside the question of why people who are obviously interested in getting away from it all wind up packed cheek by jowl into Camping Parks, National Parks or State Parks with 150 of their new very best friendly RVs, Campers, 5th Wheels and tents.  I can see the attraction for the view (if you are seeing something other than the next set of campers) and toilet facilities provided for you. But still, it is more crowded than your typical Section 8 housing.

Avenue of the Giants

Heading west on CA 299, we went south on HWY 101 at Arata. Instead of staying on 101 all the way this time, we made a few stops along the Avenue of the Giants a large portion of which falls into


We made stops at both Drury-Cheney (no relation to politics) and Founder’s Grove.

We stopped for lunch, at a gallery but the Eldest was spared a tacky garden gnome and made the unrecoverable decision @ Leggett to drive to the coast. No doubt, it was beautiful even after the fog and mist started rolling in. It is more a matter of limited choices of alternative roads. FYI – please remember no cell coverage means no cell phone accurate GPS. Your phone can show your route current position. Because of programing, most can’t calculate routes without the Comms satellites. The hills aren’t exactly bristling with repeater towers..

We made multiple stops along the coast; it was then I started seeing the crowded RV parks and campgrounds.

Shall we leave it with – lots of fantastic scenery – and being glad to see my own bed at the end of the day?