Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon there is one on New Year's Eve. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue as the name has nothing to do with the color.

The New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. The Eastern Hemisphere can celebrate with a partial lunar eclipse on New Year's Eve when part of the moon enters the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas.

A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown.

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month, a blue moon, occurs every 2.5 years. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year's Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

Blue moons have no astronomical significance, said Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "'Blue moon' is just a name in the same sense as a 'hunter's moon' or a 'harvest moon,"' Laughlin said in an email.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Notes From Myron

Myron was doing some guest posts for me this Christmas. He missed a few days due to his house guest., Miso. She tolerated the bow but not the bells (photo coming later).

I'm not sure who was more animated...Myron with his white paws swatting out from under the bed at her nose (he has no front claws) or Miso as she tried and tried to fit something more than her nose under the bed.

Hourly the noises escalated depending upon who had the upper hand...or paw. Growling that would rival most mountain lions emanated from under the bed. Husky talk and soft barks were accompanied by fierce tail wagging.

Quite the sites and sounds. But no fur flew.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Growling Continues...

Well, Miso (aka the dog) continues to try to make friends with us (Myron and Mable). Since we are cats we really just wish she would chill out.

But, she almost convinced Mable to be her friend. And then she just couldn't keep her excitement to herself. She barked. Mable did what any self respecting cat would do...she puffed up, hissed in Miso's face and hid in the corner. Miso didn't know what to make of that. She escaped to another room.

As for me, Myron, I just hide under the bed until Miso sticks her nose under it. Then I lunge and swat at her. If only I had claws! I have ventured out when she is sleeping. She doesn't look so bad then.

We'll see what today brings. Now if she would just stop eating our food.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Miso Comes to Visit

No photos yet...just a guest entry in the journal from Myron and Mable, my cats.
Last night a large dog that looks like a wolf came to visit us for Christmas. We immediately hid under the bed hissing and growling. Because she can't get under it we are safe from her sniffing.

Good news...she's afraid of our hissing. She even yelped when we became louder.
Bad news...she ate our food. Now that's low. I guess we'll have to hiss more at her.

She's really nice, for a dog. But she is a dog, after all. She just doesn't understand the rules around here. And that is...cats rule. We'll have to find a way to teach her that rule.

Tune in later for an update.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Consider this an early Christmas greeting. Since we will be celebrating with family and friends I thought I'd take a couple of days off.

See you next week.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wreaths at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery

What color on a cloudy rainy December day. In fact, red is one of three colors present right now at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery.

Green wreaths and red bows are impressive against the stark white headstones.

Sobering in size this newly dedicated National Cemetery is the seventh in California and the 124th in the nation. Able to serve veterans' needs for the next 50 years fourteen of the 561 acres are currently developed.

Saturday, December 12 was the date for the wreath-laying event honoring fallen veterans. This year wreaths were placed on all 5,400 grave sites.

Impressive to look at...sobering to know these men and women gave it their all for our freedom.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Festive Pelicans Have Last Minute Ideas

If you are in need of last minute ideas for your traveling's what these festive pelicans have to say.

Give a gift certificate to a spa. When your friends get home from traveling, they just might need a spa treatment.

How about a Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a globe...complete with maps.

Find a pair of easy to pack slippers.

Luggage tags.

Gift certificates to restaurants.

Movie passes.

Flowers...even at Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't Forget to Pack...

When I asked for favorite things you always take with you, these are some of them:

slippers...especially when going to a B & B as the floors may be hardwood and a little chilly

wine glasses...if you dislike plastic cups in your room, pack a couple of Riedel O glasses

coffee a coffee addict you might like to take your own to use in a hotel coffee maker

wool as a blanket on the plane or when you need an extra layer

reading light...small battery powered lights are great in hotel rooms with poor lighting

silk travel's worth the room it takes up

fleece hoodie...except in hot weather this works on the plane & out in public; plus you can wad it up in your purse or backpack and it still looks good

iPod...great for long plane rides

a husband...(my personal favorite answer)...good for leaning on in the plane, reaching stuff out of overhead bins, watching my purse when I go to the bathroom, carrying cash, holding my hand, getting me coffee in the morning...need I go on?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Protect Your Camera From Humidity

If you plan a trip to a destination with high humidity, save the silica gel packets that come in purses or shoes. Or you can ask for them at your local camera store. When you pack them in a plastic bag with your medications, binoculars, camera or iPod they prevent the humidity from damaging or fogging them.

When you get home, put the gel packets in a 150 degree oven for about half an hour and you can reuse them your next trip.

For your clothes, pack a large garbage bag inside your suitcase or duffel bag and pack your clothes inside it. Everything will stay drier.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where Am I?

Anyone recognize this site? Maybe a clue will help.

Or maybe anyone who watches golf will know where this is...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Caffe Delle Stelle

If you are in the Walnut Creek, CA area and want authentic Italian food you must check out this restaurant. Caffe Delle Stelle is located at 1532 N. Main Street in Walnut Creek.

It's been there a while and they know how to do food. My good friend, Anna, and I had a great discussion about food and Italy with our server, Domenico. He should know...he is from Italy.

Italians don't just eat a meal. They value it for what it is...a celebration of food, wine, friends, conversation and relaxation. He likened it to "getting away from your day" for this celebration. Forget your issues and take time to celebrate.

He's right. If you've ever been to Italy or have been around Italians at meal's an experience. With all the gestures and loud voices you may think they are mad at each other. Not so...they are expressing what is important to them and allowing you to do likewise.

All the while...good food and wine complete the meal. I'll be back to Caffee Delle Stelle.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't Miss Your Boat

If you are planning a cruise vacation this winter...don't be left standing on the pier watching your ship sail off. And if you live or travel through winter related areas, keep these simple tips in mind.

Leave a day early. This gives you a buffer in case there are delays. Plus you can start your vacation with less stress.

Take a non-stop flight if you can, eliminating connecting flight issues. If non-stop is not an option, leave a minimum of one hour in between your connections.

Try for the earliest flight out in the day. That way if something goes wrong, you have options.

If something does go wrong, don't panic. Try to be friendly to the airline personnel. Your bags just might end up with you for your destination in Miami instead of some remote spot in Alaska!

Keep your itinerary with reservation numbers, flight numbers, and phone numbers to the airlines as well as the cruise line. Instead of going to the long line at the airline counter you can sit down and make some calls. Usually you will get some resolution quicker than standing in line.

Check out trip cancellation lost baggage insurance. It may save you some money or in some cases will pay for you to reach your embarkation port or fly to another port to meet your ship.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunset in Monterey

Waves were still rolling in late in the afternoon and towards sunset.

Sun is starting to sink.

And when it just drops into the sea.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Waves by Monterey, CA

Roll after roll of large waves hit the beach in Monterey, CA.

Surfers would have been busy...except for the rocks.

Sea spray could not be avoided. And these really did thunder as they hit the rocks.

The rolling just didn't stop.

Exposed rocks...for now. Wait a few seconds and another round of waves will hit.

Water colors range from bright blue to blue-grey.

Monday, December 7, 2009

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission

When in Carmel, CA, take time to visit and reflect at the Carmel Mission. Built in 1771 this mission includes an "Indian Cemetery", which honors the Native Americans who worked and helped the Padres.

Stones, shells and simple headstones mark graves in the back courtyard.

There are five museums and a working church within the Mission grounds. This National Historic Landmark is a place to visit as you learn more about the Spanish and Mexican influence on the history of California.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Travel Secrets You Should Know

With a busy Christmas and New Year's travel schedule ahead of us, here are some tips learned from travel gurus.

Check out airlines that you would never expect to travel to your destination. For instance, did you know that many times a flight from JFK in New York to Vancouver, British Columbia is cheapest on Cathay Pacific Airlines? Best of's non-stop. Going from LAX to London? Take a look at Air New Zealand. Great flight...and they serve New Zealand wines on the flight, even in coach. Ever thought about taking Korean Air from LAX to Brazil? They fly non-stop Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Bureau of Transportation tells us these are the most inexpensive airports to fly in or out of: Long Beach, CA, Dallas Love Field, Orlando, FL, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor, tells us the three dirtiest things in a hotel room are the bedspread, the TV remote and the telephone handset. With all the flu issues it wouldn't hurt to use some anti-bacterial wipes the next time you're in a hotel room.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Terraces Winery

Bella, one of the winery dogs, shows off her "fancy" collar.

Fall has set in at The Terraces Winery. Leaves have all changed colors and some are dropping.

Golds and oranges are the colors in the vineyard now.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrates 25 years with exhibits about seahorses, otters, jelly fish and so much more. If you are close to this area, it is definitely worth a stop. Plan on spending at least a half a day there.

This otter was hiding in and out of his pool.

Even though these sardines look blurry in the photo...they looked even more blurry as we watched them swim past us.

One of many "jellies".

Another jelly

Coral and fish

Seahorse swimming through the tank...look at his "fan" on his back.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Decorations in Monterey

Hanging over the Fisherman's Wharf area, greetings are issued as Monterey gets ready for Christmas.

Overlooking Cannery Row this large festively decorated Christmas tree joins the palm and the flags.

Even Santa gets into the Christmas spirit with some boat trips in Monterey. Do you suppose the glass bottom boats will come across mermaids dressed like elves?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monterey Adobes

Walk along the Path of History in Monterey, CA and find yourself back when the California Constitutional Convention was held.

These preserved adobes represent Old Monterey.

California heritage is not only represented in adobes...check out this tree.