"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Monday, December 29, 2008

Did you guess our first stop even after seeing the picture? I wouldn't have either but its M5 Industries, where Myth Busters TV Show is filmed....

Heading into town then to do the typical tourist thing - a sightseeing bus tour. On the way we got our first view of downtown and drove along the piers which brought back very clear memories of 1968 and boarding the Lurline to sail to Hawaii with my family.

Once we got parked, everyone was hungry and what caught the eye of the two who have lived in California was In-n-Out Burger so we had to go. It was VERY crowded and actually very good, even considering we had to eat standing up or sitting on a chair with no table...

Actually we've found that bus tours can be very good and we had a great driver and saw far more than we would have on our own with Bill driving and me trying to navigate in a city of traffic and hills....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Getting to San Francisco

Weather and holidays - what a mixture for travel....We headed out on December 21st never thinking it would be such a horrible day to travel....but with snowstorms on the east and west coasts and in Chicago, it was a very busy day at the airports. Luckily we had no real trouble getting to San Francisco although there were many people stranded both in Mpls/St Paul and in San Francisco trying to get home to Portland or Seattle for Christmas. Katie had more trouble - after her car wouldn't start (and had to be off the street or be towed while she was gone), huge accident on the LA freeways, got to the airport where there were LONG lines for security and they would only let people go ahead of the line if their flight was 10 minutes from departure. (dumb because by then all seats had been given away to people trying to get north to Portland and Seattle) so when she got to her gate before the time the flight would leave, they would not let her on..... told her to get in the customer service line which did not move for 1/2 hour. So she called and booked a new flight rather than try to be reassigned with her old ticket and then that flight was 2 hours late but finally did get to San Francisco.... We had to just be patient and be very thankful we all arrived when so many did not get where they were going by Christmas.

After that things went better.... and we were very lucky to have better weather than predicted....

We stayed on the bay at the Embassy Suites Burlingame where we could watch the airplanes come in over the water.

Backing up a little.... when we decided to go to San Francisco, Colleen told us she had never been there and we reminded her of a trip when she was about 2..... but as we talked about where we were staying (on the Bay), she said "wait, is San Francisco the 'Bay Area'?"..... turns out she had been there and stayed "somewhere on the bay" when the USC band was up at the USC-Cal Berkeley football games. Then we pulled up to the hotel, and she said "hey, this is where we stayed". Then we walked across the street to a restaurant for lunch and heard "I've eaten here before!"..... Later, downtown, she recognized that they had indeed gone into San Francisco and gone to Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli square, etc... but more about those later... and I'll bet you would not have guessed what was the first famous sight we went to in San Francisco....unless you see my posts on facebook....

Friday, December 12, 2008

I wanted to do an entry tonight but I've been sitting here looking at this empty spot with nothing to say.... I could comment on how it feels to have my husband gone for 2 weeks - and how so many things came up that made me wish he was here! Christina locking herself out of her car, and the key he hid for it not opening the door, or how she left one of the tapes for her movie for film class in the motel where she filmed and had to have it driven down to her (by Colleen leaving me to do all Colleen's work that day) or how it snowed and there was no gas for the snowblower and on and on. Then there was the week of no sleep while trying to keep Christina going on her final week of school with everything due and nothing done....

But the week is over and Bill comes home Sunday. Christina finished everything and even got her application to grad school done. Her movie turned out to be a hit in film class. So now I would sleep all weekend except I have 4 families who want to be on our wait list for a kitten coming to "allergy test" with our Siberian cats.

I don't have much for you - not even any good pictures. Although I did enter some pictures from my iPhone in a contest for iPhone photography! I'll include one of those here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


A little out of order here - on our trip to Nashville, Jeanne and I visited The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson. And Opryland Hotel and Convention Center where Bill's meeting was held.

It would be hard to imagine what was inside based on looking at the first view of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The inside of this huge facility has four large halls, slightly different natural settings, all beautiful. I'm just going to tell it in pictures...but this is a place you could visit and be transported to a tropical paradise of waterfalls, flowers, paths to walk, as well as restaurants in every conservatory room and many shops.

Rick Steves, wonderful writer of travel books, had a quote in a recent newsletter talking about a place he had visited.
" I didn't realize until later that I'd experienced one of the highlights of my trip. The impression needed — like a good red wine — to breathe awhile. That was a lesson for me. "
I was so glad that Bill was late and Jeanne and I had hours to walk around these gardens, stopping to eat, to sit near orchids or waterfalls and just watch and relax and talk. Just lots of slow, deep breaths, this place was so relaxing and beautiful. It was the defining hours of the trip.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mozart - my all-time favorite....

So after Leo Kottke, I have to share my all time favorite....Mozart. This one is also known as sleigh ride and is one my favorites by Mozart and perfect for the Christmas season....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ah, Leo Kottke

The warm up hour was Los Lobos, a talented and nice to listen to band. Then came Leo Kottke, its my fourth time to see him but always the same..... this man is up there with Mozart in my I-Tunes listings! I can just be transported away from anything listening to his guitar playing....and to top it all off he’s very funny and talks a lot. If he picked me out of the audience and said to come follow him - wouldn’t I be helpless to go? :) Don't worry, Bill, there's zero chance of that happening....

But the voice, the stories, the music especially are mesmerizing. He plays alone but it sounds like three guitars. His picking style is unique and self-taught. First time I saw him was 25 years ago. He's still the same but with silver hair.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stone Mountain Christmas Village

At Stone Mountain in Georgia we visited the Christmas Village. This park is an attraction all year with its wonderful scenery, trainride around the mountain, villages, exhibits like glassblowing, restaurants, laser show and park. But at Christmas it turns into a wonderland at night....I'll let the pictures tell the story.

The Village

Telling of the Christmas story during train ride...

The huge Christmas tree and Judith with our token real child - Anastasia.

The Snow Angel and fireworks finale

Broadway Grill and Cabaret in Atlanta

The cat show was fun, if a bit tiring and hard on the feet standing on a hard floor all day. We didn't see a lot of Atlanta but certainly one highlight was the Broadway Grill and Cabaret. We got the front tables courtesy of Gary Narramore, husband of Siberian breeder Lillian. Gary was the singer and many talented people from the audience came up and sang also including Lillian. The dancing was wonderful to watch even if the only one we were brave enough to try was very slow...

Here are some photos from their website of Gary and one with Lillian and two others.

We had a great time - food was wonderful, wine was good and the cabaret atmosphere is worth many visits! Wish we were closer...

Here is their description below - click on the logo to go to the website.

We are still a night club, piano bar with music, we have great food and have a bigger dance floor. The baby grand piano and a key board are in the middle of the space. A variety of musicians, from jazz to rock, perform at the Cabaret. Professional singers, both male and female sing nightly for the guests. Talented guests are also welcome to sing. Music styles encourage fast and slow dancing.

Atlanta CFA International Cat Show

Cat shows and cat breeders - what an interesting phenomenon. Its all about winning and certainly more fun when you have at least a few ribbons to hang on your cages.... but this time with no cats entered, it was relaxed for me and I thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to meet several Siberian breeders and see their cats. Here are a few pictures (mostly courtesy of my friend Judith) of rows of cat cages - there were over 750 cats and a judging ring.

Walking around shopping was pretty good too!! 

The final awards were very formal and quite impressive as the best kitten, champion cat, and alter cat of each breed was presented.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Flight to Atlanta

Luckily a short flight as this was the view to my side, man sleeping
with his arms folded at shoulder height and sticking into my seat, I'm
in the last row where seats don't recline (not appreciated at 7AM) and
the smell of bathroom deodorizer is very strong and giving me a
headache..... what a contrast to by last flight....lesson on this one
is the good life is better.....but I knew that and didn't need this
flight to confirm it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Downtown Nashville

Walking impressions of downtown Nashvile....

These little boxes with giveaway ads and newspapers all in a row made me think of the Terracotta Army in China....

Nashville Hard Rock in the land of softer rock.

The old and the new Nashville - old part of Hardrock and the AT&T building

Down by the River

And an old bar on 2nd Ave

BB King's where we get to attend a private party hosted by Rockwell Automation tonight.

Gingko Biloba trees - now known to not help prevent Alzheimers...