Saturday, July 31, 2010

Never Mind The Cold ~

It's funny, after viewing my photo's of Oakland, I realize now, how nice it really was. Let me explain. The majority of our day, I was freezing and that is pretty much what Nessa and I focused on; my fingers were freezing and my toes were numb. I had only brought a light-weight thin sweater. This was only because the week before while my daughter and I spent the day in San Francisco, it was very warm and at times I felt like I was melting. I didn't want to have another day like that. While Nessa and I were walking, I kept my eye out for a shop I could buy a light jacket, sweatshirt, or anything for that matter. At one point, I was so desperate I didn't care what was on it. It could have had a picture of a skull with a ring in it's nose, I didn't care. There weren't any clothes shops anywhere! Although, I did see a lot of food shops... in fact I couldn't believe how many there were. I guess all of those people working in all of those buildings have to eat somewhere and really don't have time to go shopping.

Close to where Rob works, there was a lake where you could walk around to get to a park. There were morning joggers and people speed walking that whizzed by us as we took in the sights .

I couldn't believe all the shapes and sizes of the buildings! Some with great detail and some made of almost all glass. You have to remember, I am just a country mouse visiting the big city.

Nessa and I thought this cross walk was neat and a little confusing. Which way do you go when the light turns green?
I loved the movie The Joy Luck Club and Nessa pointed out the sign above the restaurant.

I love old painted signs that can still be seen on brick buildings. Charlie and I used to drink MJB coffee when we first got together. In fact, he got me hooked on coffee. He made my first cup with lots of cream and sugar. Now I drink it without sugar and with fat free half-and-half (the color of caramel); one cup every morning. Once in a while I will have two. During the summer on really hot days, over ice shaken. If I drink it with desert, it is just black. This is a total tangent...
I thought the pigeons next to the painted green light were sweet.
I enjoy browsing through old books store's. You never know what you will find. Some books have autographs and some have an endearing note in them.
I like how in the older part of cities, there are usually shops that go down below the street.

You seldom see anyone with a yard in the city. Although you do see lots of potted flowers on the steps and maybe a garden on top of a roof.

The building where Rob works could be seen in the distance almost from any street we walked.
Nessa and I liked the reflection of an old building in the windows of the new building.
As we walked around, there were little area's where one could come out and take their break. I noticed how calming they appeared to be; maybe to help with the stress level one might be experiencing?
The Veterans Memorial Building.

Whatever we focus on expands.


What Does F U N Mean?

F is for friends doing stuff together.
U is for you and me.
N is for never ends.

When Nessa and I get together, we always have fun. Regardless of all the mother-n-law/daughter-n-law jokes and innuendo that goes along with the stereotype. I always hoped to have a good relationship with my daughter-n-law and I can't help but notice the surprised look when people find out how we are related after they have observed us for a while.

We both brought our camera's to Oakland and would stop to take photos periodically. Every time I would stop to take a photo, she would look to see what I was taking a photo of and then take one too. We ended up with almost the same photos. Although she did take some I couldn't because of the lens I had on my camera.

Old ironing boards used for tables and painted black stools and benches outside of a sweet cafe in downtown Oakland.
What a neat idea!

I love old theaters and their signs ~ Lights, Camera, Action!
Here is the Fox Oakland Theater.

Painted mural ~ Always Faith.

During the morning, it was overcast and cold. Nessa and I went inside a beauty supply store hoping we could warm up. This store had wigs and she decided to see what she would look like with short hair.

She doesn't even look like our Nessa! I took a picture and sent it to Rob while he was working because he has been wanting/teasing Ness to cut her hair (we can't figure him out).

No matter what Nessa and I are doing; making dinner, painting nails or going to a beauty supply store, the fun never ends.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lunch In The Park

While Nessa and I were in Oakland, we met Rob for lunch in the park-like setting in front of the building he works. Rob seemed very happy we were there with him. I am sure it was a change from sitting alone on the very bench we sat on. As we opened our insulated lunch bags, Rob and I noticed we packed almost exactly the same thing; cottage cheese, assorted veggies, Trisket crackers, fruit, trail mix and water. Nessa mentioned she has noticed Rob and I do that a lot. I thought it was cute. As we ate our lunch, a little bird with dots on it's breast caught my eye. It seemed it wasn't only our lunch time. It was theirs too! Or should I say hers? Rob, Nessa and I were trying to figure out if she was a baby being fed (I thought she was too big to be a baby) or wife/mother and the husband/father was helping the wife/mother gather food for their babies. We couldn't figure it out. Does anyone know what is going on here.
I bet Abraham Lincoln could!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life In Transition

I got a call from Nessa last Monday asking if I would like to go with her to Oakland. She had our whole day planned; we would do some sight seeing and then meet Rob for lunch and then do some shopping and then meet Rob to go home. I thought that sounded nice. I have wanted to see where Rob works for quite some time. Have you heard of "Bring your kid to work day," well... this was "Bring your wife and mom to work day." The only drawback to all of this was that we would have to get up early so we could leave with Rob. It is a good thing I had a week to recuperate from my day trip to San Francisco.

As we walked up the stairs from the Bart, all you could see was this impressive big building, The Oakland Federal Building. This is where Rob works.

As I looked up and around at all of the surrounding buildings, all I could see was the detail.

The Tribune tower. It was a little overcast in the morning and still early as you can see by what time this clock said it was.

Clocks everywhere telling you what time it was and where you needed to be.

As we crossed the street to where he worked, he pointed to a lady getting off a bus. I noticed she was blind. She had dark glasses on and a walking stick. He told me he sees her every morning and has helped her in the building he works in and then another time he bought her a drink at Starbucks. I have noticed he takes note on what is happening around him. He was like this growing up, but I think even more so now and in a different way since he served in the military.

As we entered the building where Rob works, there was a park-like setting with benches and artsy sculptures. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures inside the building, but everywhere you looked there was granite and polished marble. As Rob, Nessa, and I cleared through security to go in the building, I was trying to process all of the events prior to entering the building and then trying to take the building itself in. I thought, 'This is what our son does every day when he goes to work. No wonder he is exhausted on the weekends and I hardly hear from him during the week.' It made me appreciate the texts I get periodically during the week telling me good morning, he loves and misses me or he was thinking about me.

He showed us what floor he works on and where his desk was. It was interesting to me, to see the pictures he had and what significant importance they had to him. He also had a collage of pictures of him and Nessa that I had never seen before, discreetly placed on the wall close to his computer. My son wears slacks, shirts and ties to work or an occasional suit, and by the collage of pictures a person could definitely get a different feel of who he was when he wasn't at work. I later told my daughter, I also noticed there were no photos of anyone else... just Nessa and him. I immediately thought about when I was his age or now for that matter, I don't have any photos of my parents up at work either just Charlie, my kids and our dogs. I also couldn't help but think about what it says in the bible, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (cleave) with is wife, and they shall become one flesh" ~ Genesis 2:24. The parent-child relationship is a temporary one and there will be leaving. I've always known this is what happens, is natural and the way it is supposed to be, although I felt it for the first time that day in Oakland. It kinda made me sad and happy all at the same time.

He took us to several huge rooms and showed us row after row of shelves with files on them and explained that each file represented a veteran. I stood there in awe and have such deep respect for each and every file. They with many others have fought for our American freedom. Rob explained the files date as far back as World War One. Wow ~ I shared what I was thinking just standing in that room and Rob felt the same way. He works for the Veterans Benefits Administration Department and really loves his job. He just wishes he lived closer to work and I don't blame him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Slightly Bruised Ego ~

I have tried to donate blood three times now, only to be turned away. Apparently my numbers aren't good enough for the blood bank to take. It has gotten to the point, when I walk in, they test my blood, instead of my having to fill out all the paper work first. My number is so low, they have given me information on how to improve my numbers by what I eat. I have always had a problem with being borderline anemic or just plain ole' anemic. I enjoy my veggies, but the problem is that I don't get enough iron from them. Eating red meat would satisfy my bodies needs, but I just can't do it! A person can only consume so many veggies in a day!! And, even with all the greens I eat, I'm still unable to hit an acceptable number. I have tried taking the iron tablets and even gentle iron I have a problem with (you know what that does...). The ladies down at the blood bank tell me not to be discouraged, to keep trying and that it's more common than you'd think, especially to women.

Since receiving my Phlebotomy state license, I have applied several times, only to be notified the job position had already been filled or that I have not been selected for an interview. In the past, when I have applied for a job, I have always been hired. Well, to be honest, there was this one time, it was "in house" and I didn't get that job, but understood why. There is something else upsetting me. In "my day," you walked into a place of business to apply. Now-a-day, you apply online...How do you make a real first impression? I really don't like or get it.

My husband and kids have told me it is a tight job market right now and not to take it personal. Charlie has seen how down it has made me and told me I really do not need to get a job right now, that I have worked hard enough going back to school for the past two years and to just have fun... which I have. It's just hard for me to know we had a plan and with the mindset that I have had, I would like to see it through.

So I sit with a slightly bruised ego, basically feeling not good enough.

Funny... I just noticed it all has to do with blood; bruised ego-unable to donate blood-a Phlebotomy career.

I know, I know... wahh! I keep telling myself, in the BIG picture, like Charlie would say, "It's all good!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Streets Of San Francisco ~

I started to post each street we walked, but realized this could take a week. As I looked at the map wanting to post each picture with accurate information, I also understood why I was utterly exhausted from the trip and it took me literally four days to recuperate! After I figured out where our feet took us and understood the why I had a huge one inch in diameter blister on the bottom of my foot at the end of the day. I walked into my daughter's bedroom and said, "What were you thinking?" I had to explain to her what I just came to realize after my excitement of our "day trip" had worn off. She started busting up laughing, saying "I wanted to see the streets of SF!" as I walked away limping.

This was in the Golden Gate Park.
The details in this building were absolutely beautiful!
I would love to see something play in this amphitheatre.
The statues made you feel like you were from another place and time.

As we walked out of The Golden Gate Park.
I have told you in the past, I seem to see hearts everywhere I go.
My daughter who is next to a Ginkgo plant. Taking a picture of her next to it seemed only fitting. She is so cute! She says Ginkgo helps with memory (although she also retorted a long term study just found it doesn't have any lasting effects, but helps with other things, like depression too).
Wild berries and succulents.
Park filled with daisy's.

Oh the feel of Ashbury.
The Summer of Love.
Bohemian subculture.
The Hippie movement.

Colorful Delores street.
Hilly, quiet and lined by grand old Victorians.
I loved the old houses and how the steps were lined with pots of colorful plants (it is the only front yard they have).
The detail in every house was unique and begging to be noticed.
While walking by one of the houses, a young man driving into his garage under his house noticed a big brown shoe in his driveway. The look on his face was like, 'What the h***?'

Ahhh Valencia... had a whole feel of it's own.
Farmers Market.
Wonderful boutiques.
Charming little cafes.
All natural stores.

The Clarion Alley Mural Project.
Amazing ~

More awesome murals continued...

As we got off the Bart, my daughter took the stairs motioning to me and saying, "Come on." I looked at her and said, "I am taking the escalator, thank you very much!" As we both had to take the stairs going up to Market street, I was rather slow. She looked at me like, "Are you alright?" I said out loud hoping someone would take me up on it, "I am getting ready to pay someone to carry me up these stairs!"

I love the old buses they use for the muni!
People playing the game of checkers.
San Francisco Capital.

After we went through some of our favorite shops on Market street, I went into a hotel lobby bathroom to freshen up the best I could. I took one look in the mirror and lost all hope. Ran a brush through my hair, powdered my face and freshened up my lipstick. Oh well... that was as good as it was going to get.

We then went to a Starbucks and got a double shot of espresso to get us through the rest of the night.

Now, this was the BEST!!!
I loved the Broadway show WICKED!
I laughed and cried and just loved every minute of it! My daughter is still belting out lyrics from her favorite scenes.

We got home at 1:10 a.m. and like I said, it took me four days to recuperate, but it was well worth it. I will say this though, San Francisco is too much to see in one day (AND so much more still see). We have several day trips to SF in the near future and it won't be jam packed full as this particular trip.

As we walked the streets of San Francisco, I couldn't help think about my baby girl being apart of this beautiful city some day as she would like to work at one of the hospitals when she finishes her Doctorate degree.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Next Garden

As we headed to our next stop in the Golden Gate Park, this little girl with blond hair caught my eye. Oh how it brought back memories of when my daughter was that small! From the back, it was as if I was following my daughter; the little girl dressed the same way I would dress her and she would at times have one of her three brother's rubber snakes, lizards or frogs in her hand. In fact, my daughter begged me to take this photo. She seemed to have recognized herself in the little girl, or vice versa rather.

The Japanese Tea Garden

My daughter plans to study abroad in India...and I hope when she does, I'll get beautiful pictures of such relics as this.

As we walked through its lushness, I couldn't get over its beauty and the serenity it offered. I couldn't help but feel at peace. We ended our walk through the garden with a cup of sweet jasmine tea.

Reflecting on our whole entire day, If someone asked me, "What was your favorite part of the day?" This would have been one of them.

*For those who are interested in the history of this garden you can go here.