Monday, July 17, 2017

While I Blinked, the Kidlets Acquired New Skills

I was gone for just a blink of an eye, and when I came back, the kidlets had CHANGED.
GRQ has taken up photography...

ARQ has acquired that well known hand technique needed to scrub up for surgery....

I am amazed at how much they have changed in just a short time. Remarkable!

Monday, June 12, 2017

tongue twisters

The little grandkid is cracking up when she discovers she and her mom both have tongues that wiggle and misbehave.


There is a beautiful train!

I love how the grandkid delights in the discovery of the world around him - including the sudden awareness of a beautiful train. After all, trains are something he totally relates to.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Like Father Like Son

This is the 'almost' 4 year old grandkid's drawing of a tractor.


Here is his father's drawing of a spaceship when he was 9

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Glam Toes and Fingers

The kiddo's discovered a new way to use hair ties. It really does spiff up an outfit, don't ya think?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Kidlets converse and negotiate for trains and carousels

The eyes lighting up in this conversation, and the greater depth of these two kidlets conversing about carousels and trains, cracks me up.


 I'm kind of in awe of their growth and change in just a short period of time.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is next to Kings Canyon National Park in California. In fact, they share the same Park entrance, but they are two completely different personalities.

Kings Canyon is more closely related to Yosemite National Park, with its massive rocks, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and canyons. But Sequoia National Park is as if they had different fathers. And probably different mothers. In fact, they are more like neighbors that just moved near each other and share the same driveway.

Sequoia National Park is located about a 4-5 hour drive from San Francisco or about a 4 hour drive from Los Angeles.

These massive sequoia's are HUGE!. They are also VERY OLD -  almost 2000 years old. The two largest trees in the whole world are located in THIS National Park.
General Grant Sequoia National Park
These ancient old massive trees have survived fires, droughts, and probably plagues, but some, including the Centennial tree, didn't survive mankind. He was cut down to be taken for show and tell because people, at that time, wouldn't believe anything they didn't see and wanted proof. So, he gave up the ghost so people could say, "Oh yeah, I now see what you mean - it is a big tree!"
These ancient old sequoia trees are now protected in this National Park, and they are a bunch of beauties.
If you sit with them awhile, you may even hear them whisper and share some of their ancient tales. After all, they are some of the most ancient life forms we have on this planet, and have many, many stories to tell.

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is in the Sierra Mountain range in California, about 4-5 hours from San Francisco, and near Fresno, CA.

Kings Canyon is the nearby sister of Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is the one that is well known, beautiful, and popular, while Kings Canyon is the one with more personality. She isn't as flashy, but the variety and depth in her is rather astonishing.

Kings Canyon is located in the Sierra mountains. The high point is 10,051 feet and the low point is 2,260 feet. Needless to say, the drive from the high mountain roads toward the canyon floor in Cedar Grove will have your ears popping with such a dramatic descent.
Overlook towards Kings Canyon
The mountains are so high, they touch the clouds.
The floor of Kings Canyon includes the rugged granite rocks, breathtaking rivers, and pristine areas of nature.
Kings Canyon
The ride towards Kings Canyon is filled with natural wonders - a gazillion flowers in bloom...

many waterfalls...
rushing rivers...
and beautiful Hume lake.
Hume Lake Kings Canyon
Spend some time with Yosemite's sister, Kings Canyon. You will not be disappointed. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Searching for Gravel in the Tulip Garden

The grandkid and I have a game we play; we search for rocks and bring one back so we can chat about it. We then save some, and some we throw away. But wouldn't you know, this little blond munchkin is putting those skills to use at a tulip garden - and completely ignoring the gorgeous blooming flowers. He diligently searches and pockets the gravel.


I guess we need a new game of looking at colors and plants, while we also look for rocks.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The El Camino Real

When you take a road trip in California along Highway 1 or 101, you most likely will see these historic markers identifying this area is part of the historic El Camino Real.


The El Camino Real was one of the first state highways in California. It is a historic 600-mile road connecting the 21 Spanish missions in California between San Diego to Sonoma (just above San Francisco Bay).

In 1892 it was decided to place distinctive bell markers along the route in the form of an 11-foot "Franciscan walking stick with a Mission bell". These were then installed in 1906, but by 1950, only 70 of these markers survived. Then, in 2005 Caltrans developed an El Camino Real restoration program which resulted in the installation of 555 new El Camino Real Bell Marker This is what you can occasionally spot on different roads between Sonoma and San Diego.


BUT, if you really want to enhance the mood while you journey along the El Camino Real, add this music from Amos Lee, called, "El Camino".

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


What I enjoyed about the novel, "All the Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven, was the encouragement to explore and discover your own state and find out how the different places and landmarks in your own neighborhood can be filled with wonder, amazement, and even a place to create fond memories.

This novel takes place in Indiana, so the identified highlights are places like the Purina tower, or the largest ball of paint, or teensy hiccup of a hill that is 1257 feet high. It would be challenging for anyone to try and turn these places into areas of wonder and amazement, but the author was able to do just that. It reminded me of the advice, "bloom where you are planted" or "change your attitude and change your life". This was a story about many things, but what I most enjoyed was how it reminded me to that how we see things is often a choice.

We all probably dream of going on exotic places and having adventures of wonder and amazement. But we can do just that, even in our own backyard. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

10 Incredible Geological Formations

For those who are interested in rocks and travel....


Awe-inspiring landmarks can all be found on earth

Carrizo Plain National Monument - a Special Place

I recently visited Carrizo Plain National Monument in California. I had read an article about how the rainfall had been so much this year, that a person could even see the wild flowers from space!


So, I went to see the flowers.


First of all, the place is a preserve and not that easy to get to. There are some paved as well as dirt roads. If it is dry, it is possible to travel on the bumpy 25 mile dirt road in a Prius, but if it rains, you will definitely need a high clearance vehicle if you are planning to exit from the South. Otherwise, you will just need to enter and exit from the North side, on the paved roads.

Also, if you are prone to react to pollen (aka hayfever), you are going to experience a full blown allergy attack, so bring your tissues and meds. Also, there are no services in the area (no gas stations, no stores), so bring water.

Map of Carrizo Plain National Monument Location in CA
So is it worth visiting?
YES!!!

The experience of being immersed in nature when it is in full bloom, is an ENERGETIC type of wonderland. As you probably know, there are places on the earth that have a concentration of life force energy (or Qi) and at different seasons, you can actually FEEL that force of subtle energy and even use it to have some rather amazing experiences. THIS is one of those places. So coming here when the flowers seem to be shouting "look at us! look at us!" - well, it is letting us know there is plenty of Qi around to experience something rather unique and absolutely amazing.

There are even petroglyphs there, which often are the art work of the ancient ones, sharing a spiritual event that happened to them, long, long ago. In other words, this area is considered sacred. And it is. You can actually FEEL and connect with that type of experience, if you allow yourself that opportunity.

In the springtime, this concentration of life force energy in these plains is so robust, it is as if you can reach out and take some of that life force energy and place in directly in your heart and heal any hurt that may be lodged there.

The Carrizo Plain National Monument is special. It is unique. It really is an energetic wonderland.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Keep Going, OK?

This little clip amazed me. I have never seen such a dedicated little spirit do what was requested and push so hard, and at such a young age!  It makes me think the little kiddo must have been born with this drive and urgency, where she will crawl and push until the job is done.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hunting for Easter Eggs

The kiddo's did some serious Easter Egg hide and seek training all week to prepare for THE big day - the CITY WIDE Easter Egg hunt!

Imagine their surprise when they found the eggs not in hiding, but scattered over the grass. It was as if each egg was pleading to be scooped up and taken to a good home.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Best Buds

I love this. Best buds at 4 (and almost 4).

Leaving a Legacy?

Because I hang out with a lot of retired people these days, the topic of being forgotten, or being alone, or leaving a legacy is something that comes up after we open the 3rd bottle of wine.  

Before my former Qigong instructor, Suzanne, died (at the age of 45), she shared how she thought there is a NEED inside all of us, to create something that will outlive us. She seemed to hope her legacy would be her flute music, or perhaps the books she wrote, but I believe her lasting legacy was the spark of wonder and skills she transferred to us, her Qigong students, in those many Qigong classes.
My Qigong Instructor - Dr. Suzanne Friedman
My mother, an artist, before she passed away, would review the photos of her paintings, created over her lifetime. She would lovingly gaze at them, and no doubt remember the different decisions about paint mixtures and brush strokes to get each painting to be just right. I believe she would consider her art to be her most lasting legacy.
My Mother
Another special teacher I had was John. He shared how each of us leaves a personal essence of our subtle energy on this earth in places as we travel through life. He continued by saying that we will leave a type of “energetic marker” in different locations based on the emotions and feelings we created at that time and location. If that is the case, we are leaving a part of us throughout our entire life and scattering it all along the life we lived.

Most of us probably assume our legacy will be the business we started, or our bank account, or any properties we own. It may even be the quilts we created our our cabbage patch doll collection. But most likely, our REAL legacy will be the feelings that we helped create with others - be it good feelings or bad feelings.  This is what will probably be what lives on after we die and will be our true legacy.

With luck, we will have created more good moments than bad, doing our part to make the world a better place through good energy vibes. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

ARQ, the intense Observer

ARQ, the 1.5 y.o. granddaughter, is quite the intense observer. She seems to notice everything. When something catches her interest, she fully engages in the activity of discovering more about it. For example, she discovered some of those teeny tiny black ants marching across the patio cement, probably going to their home in the flower pot. She squatted down, and observed their teeny tiny movements and march along the cement. She then started to chat with them for almost 10 minutes while she continued her squat and observations.

I found this rather fascinating to glimpse her interaction with the natural world. She seems to be captivated by almost everything around her.


Stories and imagination

I get a kick out of observing changes and development in the grandkids. The 3.5 yo grandkid LOVES books and enjoys being read to, but THIS weekend, when it was time to read stories before going to bed, he said he didn't want a book. He wanted me to TELL him a story.  I've been telling him a story AFTER reading time for months, but this time, he just wanted a story told to him while we laid in bed waiting for sleepy-time to take over.


The story usually is about a boy named George who goes on an adventure in a train, car, plane, or bike, and gets to see and do something new. But THIS time, it was as if I was able to watch his little mind paint the picture of the adventure he was listening to. It was pretty fun.

It is pretty cool being a Grandma.  Who knew? 

Weird toes

GDQ, the 3.5 y.o. grandkid, discovered I have some weird toes. He asked me what was wrong with that toe and I said "it's a corn" and I could tell by the look in his face, that if I wasn't careful, he would never eat corn again. So I corrected myself and said, "it's a blister".

He then looked a long time at my toe, and then examined all of them, one by one. ARQ, the little 1.5 y.o. granddaughter, then came over to also inspect my toes, too. This went on for several minutes as if I was a specimen at the zoo who displayed something rather unique in the genetic line of animals.


I realized they are now at that point of life when they are seeing imperfections of the adults around them, and for this visit, they observed some flaws and quirks of their Gramz they had not seen before. With luck, they will realize they can over still wrestle and play hide-and-seek with the old lady, even if she does have some pretty weird phalanges.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Wine Tasting in Argentina

Recently we went food and wine tasting in Argentina with Wine Knows Travel. I used a rating scale of 0-5, with 5 being the best, meaning yes, I would definitely buy this, and 0 being a way to let me know I probably wouldn't buy it.

These are the wineries we visited, and the wines we tasted on this segment of our trip.

Zuccardi Winery
• 2015 Torrantes. This is 14.5 alcohol; I rated it 3+
• Malbac 2015 – Malbec is the flagship wine in Argentina; I rated this as 3+
• Sweet wine Bodega Santa Julia; Rated 3-

El Enemigo Winery
• Sparkling wine; Rating 2-3
• Cabernet franc 2011; Rating 4+
• Malbec 2011; I rated this as a 5
• Bonarda 2012; Rated 3+
• Gran Enemigo Gualtallary, 2012 85% Cabernet franc, 15% Malbec; Linda rated this a 5; I rated it as a 3.

Casa de Uco Winery
We tasted the wines at this winery, but they were in different stages of the fermenting process, so needless to say, the wines we tasted were not ready, but the experience was very interesting.

Bodges Salentein Winery
• 2015 Malbec 3+
• Cabernet franc 2014 100% rated 4+
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 rated 3

Finca Sophenia Winery
• Chardonnay 2015, I rated this as average 2-3
• Sauvignon blanc 2015, rated as 4-
• 2015 Malbec rated 4+
• Sophenia Synthesis Malbec 2014, rated 3+
• Cabernet 2012, rated  3+

Caelum Winery - I really enjoyed this winery and their wines
• Torrantes 2016 Muscat family; great flavor; I rated this as 4-5
• White Fiono; crispy; This one was aged 12 months and needs time to ripen
• Malbec 2013; rating 4 aged 12 mo in oak barrels; about $20/bottle
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2013; Rated 4-5


Catena Zapata Winery
• Adrianna Vineyard White Bones Chardonnay 2014; rated 3
• Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec 2012; rated 4+
• Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2013; rated 2
• Nicolas Catena Zapata 2013; rated 2

Wine tasting is a very personal experience and your rating will probably differ from mine, and that is ok.