Lights and Signs and Stuff... Sept 18/19 2013

Southern California speaks for itself...


This is where we're at.

 Never saw separate bike signals in a city before.

Bike-friendly is good.  How do you lock your bike to one of these things?

Urban Light:  202 restored glowing street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s = electrifying!

  Forest-like; solar powered and switched on at dusk = stunning. 

Next morning scenario:  No, I don't want any coffee.  It's too early.  Grrrr, go away.  Get OUT of my face!
(She backs away, "okay, okay, okay....")


Guess where we were on Tuesday, 9/17/13?

Yup, Radiator Springs!

 Howdy, Matt!  (his car won)

Matt and Jen ... ain't that ducky?!

 I got a hug 'cause my shirt has hummingbirds on it!

California Screamin' -- the guys do it every time; the girls do not.

 Jenny and me, and three serenaders!

Back to the Chili Pepper in the City of Orange every time --
L-R: Jen, Matt and Dillon, Alan, Lyn, me and Jimmy.
Good friends, good company, good time!


Here we come... Los Angeles! Monday, 9/16/13

On Sunday, Jimmy and I drove to Los Angeles, to spend a few days with my son, Matt, and his fiance, Jen.  Oh, and Maggie and Sophie.  Driving I-5 is long and boring - and it's an 8-hour drive from Nevada City to LA.  The Prius thermometer registered a high of 103 driving thru the central valley and the sun shone on us mercilessly - bleah!  By the time we arrived at their apartment, the temp had dropped into the 80's, whew!   We hadn't seen them since Christmas, so we were looking forward to hangin' out.

 Matt, with Sophie.  He and Jenny cooked us a great dinner Sunday eve.

Maggie & Sophie - we wore them out!

Monday we piled into Matt's Prius (we ARE a hybrid family!!) and headed for Palos Verdes Peninsula, SW of Los Angeles.  This peninsula juts out into the Pacific Ocean, with dramatic ocean views.  We could see Catalina Island clearly (Remember the song - 26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me?), but my camera tho't it was too far away.  We stopped at the Wayfarer's Chapel - also known as The Glass Church - overlooking the ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes, but a wedding was being held and we couldn't go in.  The chapel was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of architectural pioneer Frank Lloyd Wright.  The grounds were certainly beautiful.

The trees in front of the chapel are spectacular.

Me and Jimmy at an overlook on Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Don't be toooo shocked by this picture, but hunger drove us to Quality Seafood, where Jimmy and I had two local crabs boiled.  He is fixin' to devour his (minus the shell, of course)!

 I am fixin' to hammer my crab apart!  Matt had Cajun blue crabs.  Jen had grilled halibut!  YUM.

From there, Matt drove us to Manhattan Beach.  What a perfect day to walk out on the Pier.


 Waiting patiently...

Surfer dudes also wait patiently for THE wave.  This guy found a good one!

Tomorrow:  Another adventure!


Friday was a FULL day - Sept 6th 2013

You know how it is when guests leave -- there's a bit of laundry to do, a room or two to reclaim as your own, possibly push a broom over the kitchen floor -- stuff like that.  But that's not all, of course.  There's always more to a day than just that.

 Nannie and Bubba in midmorning, ready to head out in the Bullet, returning home to Louisiana.  So glad you could spend the week with us in Nevada City.  (next time we'll try to order less heat and NO smoke, ok?)


 After my sister and BiL left, I tackled the tomatoes I got at the Nevada City Farmer's Market -- netted 14 pint jars and two pints in the freezer.  Good deal.
Combined with the strawberry jam and peaches I canned in August (minus a jar or two), this place is beginning to look like "Preppers" live here!  Whatever -- Jimmy and I will enjoy this bounty come winter.  Pardon me if this is bragging, but these do make pretty pictures, huh?


Haircuts were next on the agenda today -- we were as shaggy as unsheared sheep; it'd been over a month.  Our usual MO is to set up shop on the back deck with our hair cutting kit and go to town on each other's heads!  First me, then him.  When he saw the pile of hair I trimmed, Jimmy said, "Looks like somebody sheared an OLD goat!"  I always think of using all that hair as pillow stuffin's.

We ended our Friday with Dracula!  We'd purchased tickets to this Nevada Theater production a coupla weeks back, benefiting the Nevada County Concert Band.  Being a weinie, I'd never read the book or saw the movie, but I was willing to give Dracula a try this time.  The play didn't end till 10 pm, late for us, but we really enjoyed the show.  They all did a superb job!

Here are some things I didn't know till today:  Built in 1865, the iconic Nevada Theater is the oldest active theater west of the Mississippi.  Even Mark Twain sat in the audience, and I've read that actors are still trying to figure out which seat!  It's steeped in hidden secrets, signatures scrawled on concrete walls dating back 50 years or more, and love notes folded in between floorboards have been found.  It's a fine old brick building, and it's a treasure in this city.

Me and a Dracula imposter in front of the theater before the performance.  (The REAL Dracula was inside, and he really was from Romania!)

The stage before the show and before I heard that no photographs were allowed.  Oops....

Glad I didn't see this lobby decor until after the show -- I might have chickened out!  (As it was, I only let out a half-stifled scream once or twice.)


More fun, Out and About, in NorCal -- Thurs, 9/5/13

Today would be my sister and BiL's last full day with us, so a plan was made to go check out Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, northeast of us.  Nannie and I made cashew-nut-butter and jelly sandwiches and we packed up small bags of chips, sandwiches, and drinks, and took off.  One of the last requests I heard was that we not get back too late (like after 5 pm) because they had to get things ready to leave for home in the morning.  No problem!  I wasn't driving so, I'm not exactly sure how we got there, but we ended up at Bridgeport (Nyes Crossing), southeast of us and site of Covered Bridge State Park.  This might be considered serendipity!

The sign that Nannie's standing next to reads, in part "Built in 1862... this bridge was part of the Virginia Turnpike Company toll road which served the northern mines and the busy Nevada Comstock Lode... it is the longest single-span, wooden covered bridge in the United States."  The entrance is gated and locked because the bridge is unstable and engineers haven't figured out how to stabilize it yet.  We all wished we could walk across it, but, alas, not today.

 The gift shop was open (I bought a tee shirt w/ hummingbirds on it), and my silly sister is pretending this stuffed Kodiak grizzly bear is tearing off her arm!  Photo op!

 One of the best parts of this state park is the clear South Yuba River -- oh, so refreshing to wade in on a hot summer day.  Didn't take me and Nannie a minute to shed shoes 'n sox!  We made a pact that if one of us fell in face first (hard to walk on wet rocks), the other would also "tump over!"  Probably would've felt good to get completely soaked, but it didn't happen.

The other good part of this park is being able to pan for gold, which my brother-in-law is doing.  He bought a gold miner's pan in the gift shop and commenced looking... for a nugget or two...!  The jury is still out on whether those are REAL gold flakes in the little vial he also bought.  All of us enjoyed inspecting the multitude of rocks at river's edge.

We messed around by the river for a long time.  These big ol' trees provided perfect shade for our picnic.  After examining more rocks and panning for more gold and more river wading, we left for Malakoff Diggins.

* * * * *

Jimmy and Nannie in historic North Bloomfield, standing beside a water monitor - the means of the hydraulic mining at Malakoff Diggins.

By 1850 there was little gold left in streams. Miners began to discover gold in old riverbeds and on mountainsides high above the streams. In 1851, three miners headed northeast of what is now Nevada City for a less crowded area to prospect. One miner went back to town with a pocket full of gold nuggets for supplies and was followed back by many prospectors. These followers, however, did not find any gold and declared the area "Humbug", thus the stream was so named "Humbug Creek". Around 1852, settlers began to arrive in the area and the town of "Humbug" sprang up  Now known as North Bloomfield.

Jimmy is all but hidden in the manzanita.

While beautiful in its own way, the Malakoff mine pit is a testimony to the destruction and avarice that was part of the California gold rush, and to one of the nation's first environmental protection measures.

Nannie set up a timed photo of the four of us perched on boulders leftover from the hydraulic mining..

 Nannie and Bubba at Hiller Tunnel, one of Malakoff's marvels.  Someday, me and Jimmy will remember to bring a flashlight with us to explore further inside this dark tunnel.  Maybe....

We kept on going, the four of us, heedless of time, having fun.  So much to see, hills to climb.  Pictures to take.  Finally, I looked at my watch.  Hmmmm, it was 5 pm.  And we were 45 minutes +/- from home.  Before we left this morning, we'd decided to eat pizza in a local restaurant, as it would be easy after a day Out and About.  It was around 6 pm by the time we pulled in the pizza parking lot, and I guess we got home around 7ish.  Well, we didn't make the 5 pm margin, but no one seemed to mind.  We had a great day, and they're not driving east too far tomorrow, so an early start isn't required. 

My sister and I donned our bathing suits and made straight for our hot tub on the back deck, to soothe those aching muscles and tendons!  Just the ticket to end a wonderful day! 


An outdoors day for sure! Wednesday 9/4/13

You know you've been out doing and going when you realize you're way behind in posting on ye olde blog, but that's okay.  Better to be enjoying time with family while family is HERE.  Blog when they leave!

On Tuesday, Nannie and I went shopping while the guys stayed home.  Wednesday we four elected to walk along the Cascade Canal trail, something neither Nannie nor Bubba had done on their previous visit, tho the decision to walk the upper trail section was made AFTER we left the house.  Temps were cool when we hit the path and, with a twinkle in her eyes, my sister said she was "cold."  (Which brought a smile to my face, and I replied, "Enjoy!"  Cool is certainly a welcome change from summer's heat!)

We stopped to take pictures often, and examined trees and bark and flowers and ferns and so on, all very different from their home base of Louisiana.  As we closed in on Noon, we were still not at the turn-around point and cool was long gone.  By trails' end, we were all hot, hungry and thirsty.  Guess we tarried too long.  We hiked about five miles R/T beside the canal, much of it in shade, but we should've brought more water.  Or walked the lower canal path, which is only approx three-and-a-half miles.  They've got some great photos for show 'n tell when they get home!

Three musketeers walkin' and talkin' and lookin' around....

Gone is Pacific Dogwood's dazzling blossom, transformed into clusters of bright red drupes (fruit).

My sister asked me what kind of butterfly this is.  Well, Nannie, this is a California Sister (like me)!!!

Another symptom of autumn:  Early leaf color.

Nannie & Bubba, hiking along, enjoying the morning!

The perennial Common Chicory flower (with hitchhiker) must be in the last throes of summer as there were very few left.  No color was added on this picture.  This vivid blue is what the camera saw.  Me too!

* * * * * * * * * * *

After lunch, me and Nannie headed to Riverhill Farm to pick red raspberries.  I love the taste of fresh-picked raspberries, and they are delicious on my morning cereal.  Jimmy has gotten right fond of them, too.  My sister doesn't eat cereal, so she misses out on this treat, but Bubba enjoys his breakfast cereal with fruit.  The farm has several rows of golden raspberries, but none of us really cares for their taste. 

It didn't take long for us to overheat.  I think the afternoon temp was in the high 80's.  We picked in full sun, of course, paid, got in the car and turned the A/C on high, headed for home and SHOWERS.  We figured we each dropped a few pounds just from hiking and, uh, losing, uh... buckets of sweat today!  Plus, it was high time to get off our feet!

Don't worry, we FILLED those trays.

Thousands of berries... and who can resist a two for the tray-one for the mouth routine?

Tomorrow?  A little less activity, please!