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Old Dubrovnik by Moonlight

After an afternoon on Lockrum Island, Jo and I went on a mini-shopping spree, followed by a short rest back at Villa Odak. Then we meande...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Holy Grail (and the Teensiest of Details)

Oh Joy of Joys! Called AT&T yesterday. A super friendly lady told me that I do not have to lose my cell phone number just because I lost the cell phone. Hurrah! AT&T nuked out the SIM card on the old phone so a new phone can take over my trusty old phone number.

So, chock full of this knowledge, after work I raced to the AT&T store. Oh though bright and shiny toys! Blackberries, flip-tops, slide-access dials and... the HOLY GRAIL of cells - The iPHONE (all hail the iPhone, drop to your knees knave!)

There was no way I was not going to get one I suppose, short of stuffing my fingers in my ears, shutting my eyes and shouting 'La, la, la, la. la...' when the sales clerk mentioned the things.

HOLY GRAIL

See? This is why we all want to grow up; so we can use our failings as an excuse to reward ourselves. Lost my cell phone? I get a new one. I WIN!

Before I complete this little tale - an important note: I own 2 pair of brown slacks. We continue...

This morning I rose, chipper & cheeky. I pulled at a pair of brown slacks in my bedroom closet. A loud clatter sounded as something dropped from the slacks' pocket.

Yes. It was.

Aw shut up. I said I had two pair of brown slacks. Apparently, in an unusual bit of tidiness, when I got home yesterday night, I hung up the pair I was wearing. Later when the I realized my cell phone was missing, I checked the brown pair of slacks that was lying on the chair outside of the closet, which I had not been wearing. Duh.

You know it could have happened to you too. Aw, shut up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Claire's 5 Stages of Techno Grief

Friday, Jan 23: Claire arrives home from work, only to notice - NO cell phone! Where EFF is it? Claire freaks. Decides must have left the thing at office. No biggie. <----DENIAL

Saturday Jan 24: Drives all the way downtown to office. Ignore security guard and get onto elevator, up to 10th floor and my desk. NO CELL PHONE! <--- ANGER

Sunday, Jan 25: Claire fretting, as well as packing bags for work trip to L.A., flight leaving at 2:10PM.

Barbara Via email offers the obvious suggestion that Claire was to freaked to think of: email phone company OR get ready to shell out $100,000 for phone calls to Istanbul.

Claire cancels cell service. Is upset. Wants blankie & bottle (a good '49 merlot) <----GRIEF

Claire flies to Los Angeles. Picks up rental car. Finds hotel, an Omni; a HUMONGOUS hotel. In room Claire is mesmerized by key locked, in-room snack bar containing food, only affordable if Obama names Claire as U.S. ambassador to Japan. Claire chews her own limbs rather than spend $4.75 on .o24 oz of gourmet gum drops.

The sun sets. Claire decides to listen to some podcasts. NO iPOD! (Repeat previous 3 stages of Grief, i.e., Denial, Anger, etc.). Last place iPod was relished was at Sacto Airport. Claire concludes, gods are livid & her electronic toys are being brutally taken from her.

Claire, tucked in HUMONGOUS Omni bed. Promises to stop pissing on gods lesser electronics if only errant techno toys return.<---- BARGAINING

As Claire mopes, here is nighttime scene from hotel room window.

Night view of Walt Disney Concert Hall

Fancy Shmancy restaurant below

Next morning. Bright and early Claire arises to mope while looking at daytime view out of window. Claire concludes, 'Oh well! Who needs a cell phone anyway. And now that the iPod turned up missing to, maybe I'll just go ahead and get that iPhone I've been wanting. <--ACCEPTANCE

Sun is up on the Disney Concert Hall
Museum of Contemporary Art is in the foreground

Fancy Shmancy restaurant by daylight

Time to go to work! Claire goes to court with Lawyer. Defendant is a no-show. Whole court scene is intimate - only the judge, a court reporter, the lawyer and Claire. Claire takes the witness stand and manages to give testimony with no outrageous mistakes or flubs. The gods, for now, are pleased.

Case over quickly and Claire is back at hotel checking out by 11:00. She gets rental car back. What is on the floor of the car, sticking out its virtual tongue? iPOD! Joy of joys, what was lost is now found. Now where the eff is the damned cell phone?Oh well. For now the ancient gods of techno geeks are pleased.

Monday, January 19, 2009

So as the Sun set on Phoenix...

Due to my scrambled brain, when I first scheduled my flight to Phoenix, I leaving the day that Dolores and Bea arrived. That wouldn't do, and though I added another day to my stay, one day with one's family just can't really be enough, but it would have to do. *heavy sigh*


Uncle Matt having a go at flying his remote controlled helecopter

So on Sunday, my last day, the ladies decided that a breakfast at Cracker Barrel would hit the spot. We all had Mamma's Pancake or French Toast breakfast - eggs, sausage the works.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hurrah! They're Here!

10:00AM, EEEEKKK! Get up! They're here - almost!

You never saw people move so quickly; Uncle Matt was up, dressed and out the door, headed for the Phoenix airport to pick up the newly arrived. Arna toured her HUMONGOUS home, tidying here, touching up a detail there, lighting candles, etc. Of course, the house was already perfect already before she started, but then, what do I know? At my house tidying up consists of throwing dirty clothing into the closet and tossing the dirty dishes & clutter into the dishwasher.

Before we knew it, just as Arna's beautiful home hit guest ready perfection, Matt was back with my sister and niece; Dolores and Bea. It is always precious time that I get to see my East coast relatives. Bea, who so radiates peace & calm she makes the Dali Lama look like Robin Williams on speed. She and her mom Dolores, my incredible 'Sis' are on trip that on Wednesday take them to Maui, HA, and back eastward to San Francisco before returning them to Baltimore.

The travel weary guests got the grand tour after which we collapsed into chairs on the back porch to soak up some sun - Doris (my niece, HI DORIS!) forwarded via cellphone, a photo of a snow strewn panorama in New York - 19 degrees and snowing. Big treat was my cousin Dovin dropped by with the masculine portion of his entourage - Matt (named after his Granddad) and Timmy (not named after the kid with Lassie - or maybe yes, what do I know?) The other half of Dovin's ensemble consists of his wife and daughter. The boys are adorable, I know at 10 and 11 they wouldn't appreciate my adjectives, but damn it, they are. They have big eyes with Bambi lashes just their Dovin did when he was a kid.

(left to right)DOLORES, Daddy Dovin with sons Matt & Timmy, & Bea


It was a great day for chatting and swapping family stories. Towards evening Matt, Arna, Dolores, Bea and I went to the new Gila River Casino for dinner and some big time gambling - Dolores won $8, which is way better than me; I lost $5.

My Aunt Arna, Sister Dolores, Niece Bea and Uncle Matt at the Gila River Casino

For a bit of idle fun, here is some video i took at the casino: the water fall and then the colorful dancing waters. Hopefully the casino won't hunt me down for posting these.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Whistle Stop Tours - in WA and AZ

After a some grade-A Kerfluffle, I'm here in Phoenix Arizona for the weekend. Flew in last night, then thought I ought to call up my Uncle & Aunt; let them know their niece was in town (yes, I'm that bad about warning them). They were home - YAH! Matt fetched me home. It's great seeing them and my firecracker cousin Eddie - they're hale and hardy to the last. Loads to catch up on. Found out Matt is from a back operation some weeks ago. The only way you can tell anyone was cutting on him is a back brace and Arna gently reminding him the doctor said not to pick up more then 10 lbs; Matt, of course, smiles - and ignores the advice.

This morning I woke to astoundingly beautiful weather, sunny, & in the low 70s. Ah! Matt went to fly his remote control helicopter and Arna and I lazed around and watched the Obama/Bidden whistle stop tour on its historic route from Pennsylvania to Washington DC. I haven't seen Matt's Mom Hilda (unofficially my very own 'Nana'). So in the afternoon, we buzzed over to Hilda's house, in style, in Arna's convertible.

I was blown away by how great Hilda is doing. I haven't seen her since her 90th birthday party 5 years ago. She too moved here from California and now she has a cute little senior apartment with her own kitchen and a HUMONGOUS walk in closet (I want one!). I am annoyed I didn't take video instead of stills, because, so help me, you would ne-vah believe Hilda. I mean, they just don't normally make 95 year olds as sharp, spry, fun or cool as Hilda. While Arna and I watched and expressed our amazement over the day's historical events, Hilda made a banana cream pie for Eddie (my cousin) and fed us home made peanut butter cookies - yummm...

Arna and Hilda - my own role models, who make me think I'm not going to mind getting older at all

All in all it was a great day. The only bummer was it dawned on me that I didn't bring any of the genealogy stuff - such as the paperwork of my Grandmother's passage to the U.S. from Barbados in 1916. UGH! How did I forget that? I promised to mail all such papers to Arna - and the rest of the family.

Tonight Matt, Arna and I shared a nice port wine and ate Arna's good home cooking and took command of Uncle Matt's laptop - he will now have to wrestle me for it. And it will only get better - tomorrow my sister and niece fly in from Baltimore.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birding for the Bored

Bored with painting my kitchen, last weekend I escaped to the Bay Area for some feather chasing with my birding buddy Don.

Our first stop was to stare at a lovely, lone Long-tailed Duck at Redwood Shores in Redwood City.

Chocolate-Cheeked Long-tailed Duck

This photo is crumby, but that's because it was taken with my eensie Canon Powershot held up to Don's spotting scope. Hum... don't think it's so bad now, do you?

So, thrilled that we got that first birdie, we headed over to a water treatment plant where zillions of waterfowl - ducks, including Blue-winged Teal, geese, shore birds - lazed about.

The next stop was in downtown San Francisco where, a week ago Don saw, a now regionally famous Worm-eating Warbler. Here is a photo of what we DID NOT SEE because the bird was too stuck up and smug after having been admired by people from all over the the west coast. *sigh* For the record, I saw one one of these racing striped jobbers in Florida some years ago.

The Lovely Little 'no show'; a Worm-eating Warbler.Photo © 2008 Gil Ewing

Skunked by the ensie birdie, we headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael's Las Gallinas Water Treatment Plant (birders spend loads of time at such dubioius places, mostly because the birds do, in the doo-doo).

Not to complain, but Don held up the prospect of a young Northern Shrike over my head, which caused me to walk a mile to see the damned thing. Must admit the walk was worth it.

These photos were also taken through Don's spotting scope

Cute little Sweeny Todd, isn't he?

Bonus birds were there too, like these Widgeons.

Two Eurasian Widgeons (way cool vagrant birds) On the far right is an American Widgeon - he's not too shabby in the looks department either

Close up of butter-browed Eurasian Widgey

Ok, as if the above weren't enough, there were also a pair of River Otters gallavanting about. By the time we hiked back to the car my feet were rather raw - I really must invest in some good hiking shoes.

Our last stop of the day was Oakland's Lake Merritt

Feeding the duckies, swan, gulls at Lake Merritt

Time and time again over the years I've looked for Tufted Ducks at Lake Merritt. Tufted Ducks wander there every fall, even though they belong in Europe. Apparently, the 300th time is the charm.

This Tufted Duck's pony tail is bobbed - is he trying to match the local styles?

Ooooo and here's a beautiful (but a bit 'common', in a nice way) Ring_necked Duck.

Ring-necked Duck; that cinnamon smudge on his neck is the 'ring' of his name. The ring is not often visible.

Full the to topknot with birds, we had dinner at a nice restaurant, and then I headed home. The end. Go away now. Please. I've got a ton of stuff to do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Halle-flippin'-lujah

The silver moon rose over the little house in Fair Oaks. From a nearby pine tree, the tremulous voice of a small owl rose, as if in answer to some heavenly choir. The dogs of the little village did not bark and an unnatural peace was felt by all its inhabitants. Contentment reigned. There was joy, for the little iPod had returned home, and lo, the sacred box of the Gateway Dell was up and running. Google ran free; for Claire was at long last, on line.

Halle-flippin'lujah.


P.S. Last night I had to laugh at the audacity of Dell. While I was on line waiting to be served, they taunted me with an offer that for a FEE I could get service, with only a short wait, in which my call would be handled, …. Ok, get this… wait for it… wait for it…

by someone in NORTH AMERICA, and it was implied that person would not have an accent.

Can you believe that? The RAT-BASTARDS! Using their outsourcing of jobs to the kingdom of Whatthefuckistan to get a higher price for service that ought to be handled here anyway. What BIG-ARSE brass ones!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rasser Frasser Flim Flame Frackus! (Flintstone swearing)

Had anxiety dream last night. Usually in such dreams I can't find my car. In last night's dream I was lost in a foreign country, wandering about, no car, hopeless, bare-footed.

What could have lead up to such a dreadful dream? Let's see...
was sick Christmas eve through the following week with RHINOvirus. Then on New Year's Eve I was sick with a ROTOvirus (with all its intestinal fortitude or lack thereof). So I went home. Then I remembered I left my cell phone charger at the office and couldn't find the backup charger at home. Was too sick to either dig up the lost one or go out and buy another so had no phone for five days in a row. No problem, there's always email, right? So I got on line. My computer balked. I tried to reason with it. It rolled onto its back & died.

Sigh.

And me too sick to want to haggle with tech support and no cell phone to do that with in any case. So count me out of the loop folks.

Then got back on line (at work) this morning to find sad, shocking news about my Christmas Card buddy, a long time friend. Will explain later, assuming I get my computer back to running. My head is reeling.