Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

March 27, 2008

Nitro Needs to Rant

I always said that my job is great, but for the clients. Of course that's a joke, b/c w/o the clients, I wouldn't have a job. But at some point in people's lives, they have to got to realize that they are responsible for the decisions they make, good or bad, and quit blaming said decisions on everyone else. Especially not on your lawyer and his staff. I'm not talking about the clients who are in a long term marriage and the guy blindsides the wife w/ a request for a divorce, and I'm not talking about the clients who are trying to collect child support from a deadbeat, with the exception of one demanding client, described below.

Yeah, yeah, everyone LOVES to bash lawyers. I get the amusing jokes in my email every now and then. Oh, funny-ha-ha. However, in these litigious times, more people are finding themselves in need of an attorney's help, to extricate them from the big fat mess they've made of their lives. And this is across the board: marriages, business decisions, real estate purchases, etc. And of course when things don't go their way, who do they blame? The lawyers, of course.

I've been pretty fortunate to have worked for some of the best, highly respected, most ethical lawyers around in the Bay Area and at my current job. OK quit laughing. There are lots of ethical lawyers. The few unethical ones give the rest of them a bad name (think: suing McDonalds b/c their coffee is too hot or b/c eating their food made someone fat). I've also had the misfortune of working for some real assholes. When I first moved to Washington, between June 1989 and March 2001, I worked at 5 different law firms. Five. I kept bailing b/c I hated my bosses. So when I find a job I like with a boss I like, I stay put.

Well, right now, we have a whole passel of pain in the ass, unreasonable and unbelievably demanding, and verbally abusive, clients. They act as if we are here on earth to serve them and only them. They expect us to drop what we are doing and wait on them when they drop by w/o an appointment. Oh yes, that's it, that's it exactly. We've been waiting all fucking day for you to call or grace us with your presence, Your Majesty. Or, "I called Steve this morning and still haven't received a call back". Well that was 2 hours ago asshole and my response is the same as it was then, "He's down at Court at a hearing, I'll leave him another message that you called." Then they try to trap you with, "Can you make sure that he calls me?" Oh yes, fer shure. Let me just get my trusty revolver out and hold it to Steve's head and say, "CALL MR. X", and keep it there till he makes the call.

On Tuesday, a particularly pain-in-the-ass-thorn-in-our-side client came in to our office, demanding to see Steve at 3:30 pm. Meanwhile, he is getting ready for a trial, our fax machine is spewing out 50 pages of the opposing party's trial stuff, he's on the phone w/ our client who is flying up from San Diego, and so we told her that he was unavailable. Then the bitch has the unmitigated gall to whine, "HE NEVER HAS TIME FOR ME" and storms out, slamming our door. I was apoplectic. Then the bitch comes back in, and proceeds to stand at Debby's desk, weeping about how unfair this is. BTW, sorry to sound racist or whatever, but she's white, her ex is black. Shocking that he's a deadbeat dad.

I had to go in the back, to the conference room, and wait till she left b/c I was seriously in danger of telling her off: "Listen bitch, how dare you say Steve never makes time for you!! YOU are the one that married the guy. YOU are the one that had a kid with him. YOU are the one who divorced him, THEN LET HIM CONTINUE TO SLEEP WITH YOU TILL HE KNOCKED YOU UP AGAIN! And now you are whining that he won't pay child support? We've done everything you've asked: Garnished his bank accounts, subpoenaed thousands of pages of real estate documents, dragged him into Court FOURTEEN TIMES since February, 2007, entered multiple Judgments against him and are now requesting jail time. It's not our fault that he's making a mockery of the system. It's not our fault that the Judge keeps giving him a chance to get an attorney. It's not our fault he filed for bankruptcy. So fuck off and shut up and oh here's a little hint, keep your fucking legs shut next time, you stupid whore. And by the way, you owe our firm about $7,300 so how's about bringing your account current before you start bitching that Steve can't see you every time you barge into our office demanding to see him."

Then we have who we'll call "Client X". We divorced him in 2005. We got him awarded custody of his kids. We also helped him out of a real estate jam he got into as well. So we find out last fall that he went to China and married himself a bride. We shook our collective heads...."What was he thinking?" Almost immediately after returning here, with the wife still in China, he decides he needs to get divorced. He has waffled over this for about 6 months now. He'll call, then change his mind. Last month he asked me to locate the Chinese marriage license he'd given us, b/c he needed it. He picked it up and that was the last we heard. Till yesterday. At 3:45 pm. He calls, "I NEED TO START DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS RIGHT NOW!!!" So again, Debby has to drop what she's doing to prepare the initial papers and get them ready for Steve to sign b/f he leaves for vacation because Client X got himself into this mess w/ a foreign bride. And by the way, it's now 3:50 pm, over 24 hours since Client X's frantic call. Has he shown up to sign the papers? No, of course not. He was called last night and told he could come in first thing in the morning, and by first thing, I mean 7 or 7:30.

And our favourite client, whose last name rhymes with "McPain", which is what we call her.....she's deceptive, a liar, demanding, verbally abusive, hears what she wants, and then misrepresents what Steve told her to her writing no less....which he then gives to HIS lawyer, and we get a nastygram from said lawyer, and Steve's left w/ egg on his face b/c he either never said what she said he did, or she's grossly misrepresented it. She and her husband despise each other. They have 3 young boys, who they are using as pawns, to piss each other off. And it's only hurting the boys. The 9 year old is reverting and trying to breast feed. On Easter, the youngest refused to put a stitch of clothing on to go to visit his father. Can you say, "serial killers in the making"? McPain has the kids on the most rigid schedule I've EVER seen. She calls it "The Happy House Rules". 7:00 wake up. 7:00-7:15, practice piano. 7:15-7:30 eat breakfast. etc etc etc. For grins, I started reading the schedule out loud, in an exaggerated German accent, "YOU VILL COMMENCE PIANO NOW! YOU VILL COMMENCE BREAKFAST NOW!" then I launched into a rousing chorus of "Deutschland Uber Alles". Steve and Debby were in hysterics.

We don't trust her at all. We have to write down the details of all conversations w/ her as a "CYA" thing b/c in all likelihood, she'll turn Steve over to the Bar Association. It's bad enough that she's still attorney-shopping behind our backs, b/c one called to ask Steve what her deal was. One day she called in a snit that "He changed the locks! I cant' get in to get the rest of my stuff! I need my work stuff now!" So Steve fires off a terse "how dare he" letter to the other attorney and we get one back w/in 20 minutes saying that the guy did not change the locks, and has no idea why she can't get in, and baseless accusations will not be tolerated. Then the bitch admits that SHE FORGOT TO BRING HER KEYS. Did she actually think she was going to get away w/ her accusation? And she LIED to us, making Steve look like a fool. Yesterday was the last straw though, and we're withdrawing as her attorney. Princess Bitch McPain can go bug someone else for a change. And incidentally, the bitch makes about $10,000 PER MONTH, but has she paid her bill which is over $8,000 now? Of course not.

I know that I'm extremely terse w/ the clients on the phone. I'm not a "soft touch", I won't mollycoddle and I won't get sucked into their dramas. I can't. It's bad enough that I'm covered in disgusting itchy hives, which have been diagnosed as stress-related. Debby, on the other hand, spends WAY too much time holding their hands and letting them whine and cry. I'm sorry, but I have a job to do & I have to keep them at arm's length. I'm sure that many of the clients think of me as a bitch, but I don't fucking care. If they are going to call me multiple times a day, demanding this and that, whining that it's "not fair" when they are the ones that created the mess to begin with, then don't expect me to be all soft and fuzzy. That's not to say that I hate ALL our clients, b/c I don't, and I'm not terse w/ all of them either. Only the ones that insiste upon calling 3x a day, plus sending emails up the kazoo. We have many good people who did get screwed, and who pay their bills. Ironically, it's always the clients who truly don't have a pot to piss in who regularly send us $25 a month, good faith payments. It may take them years and years but they send in their payment religiously. The wealthy clients who routinely carry mega balances w/ us are the ones who never pay and are the most demanding.

Just leave me alone and let me do my damn job.

March 26, 2008

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Interview

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, feminist, writer, and politician, is scheduled to be interviewed by Blog Talk Radio Featured Host, Brian Wolf, on March 30, 2008, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, on his Internet radio talk show, Shakedown Street. Shakedown Street is a Free World Radio Network production.

Ayaan was born in Somalia in 1969 and raised a devout Muslim. Her family moved from Somalia to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and finally settled in Kenya. Her father was one of the leading figures in the Somalian Revolution and was opposed to female circumcision. However, when her father was in jail, Ayaan's grandmother had the procedure done to Ayaan when she was only 5 years old.

Details are somewhat sketchy on this point, but in 1992, Ayaan was supposed to be married off in a ceremony which she refused to attend. She was on a plane headed to her betrothed's home in Canada when she disembarked in Germany. In order to escape this marriage, she fled to the Netherlands where she won asylum, apparently based upon "not quite 100% true" information about the arranged marriage, and eventually citizenship. Ayaan admits that she lied on the asylum application and is unapologetic. At university, she became disenchanted with Islam. Her faith took another blow after 9/11, and in 2002, she renounced her faith and became an atheist, after reading the Atheist Manifesto.

After earning a degree in political science she served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament for three years. She has since become an active critic of Islam, an advocate for women’s rights and a leader in the campaign to reform Islam. Her willingness to speak out and her abandonment of the Muslim faith have made her a target for violence and threat of death by Islamic extremists.

While in the Netherlands, Ayaan made a short, 10 minute film called "Submission" with Theo van Gogh. This film eventually lead to the murder of van Gogh by Muslim extremists. The short film criticizes the treatment of Muslim women in Islamic Society. When van Gogh's body was found, there was a letter addressed to Ayaan pinned to Theo's chest by a knife. The film is available to watch on You Tube.

Ayaan was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2005, one of Glamour Magazine’s Heroes of 2005, and she received the Prix Simone de Beauvoir in 2008. She has published a collection of essays entitled "The Caged Virgin" and a best-selling memoir "Infidel".

Despite her atheism, Ayaan was offered and accepted a position at the conservative Washington DC think-tank "American Enterprise Institute." AEI is the only place to offer Ayaan a job so that she could emigrate to the USA, when security fears caused her to leave Holland. She received her green card last fall. Although the AEI is conservative and Ayaan liberal, she welcomes the opportunity to protect free speech and discuss divergent ideas and philosophies with her coworkers.

I hope that you can take the time to join us for this interview. And as always, thank you for your support.

March 22, 2008

Hoppy Easter!

I has a soft spot for ickle bunny wabbits. Here are some recent selections from "I can has cheezburger". This first one is my new wallpaper on my work computer.

These birds are absolutely beautiful! Can someone tell me what they are?

March 19, 2008

A little bit a'this, a little bit a'that


Brian was in an accident today with a goddamn Potelco truck. I swear, if I am ever elected Queen of the Entire Planet, my first decree will be to force all truck drivers to travel between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. They can sleep during the damn day. I have many other edicts as well but that's a whole other post.

He had the right of way, but he stopped because the truck was pretty much blocking the lane as he attempted to make a left turn out of a coffee stand. The driver never bothered to look in Brian's direction the entire time, he just kept looking to his right at traffic coming in the other lane. By the time Brian realized that the driver had cut the angle too close and was going to hit him, traffic had stopped behind so he couldn't back up. He laid on the horn just as the truck ran over the front panel. Didn't break the lights or crunch the hood up and it's driveable, but this means another repair and another insurance claim, and I shit you not, we just received the settlement check from his accident of April, 2006 last week.

Brian went off on the guy, but because he readily admitted fault, apologized and mused that it was probably going to cost him his job, Brian let up. The Pacific PD came and cited the truck driver for "failure to yield". The truck driver had to stay on the scene until someone from Potelco go there; and I'm sure he was sent for an immediate urine test too. But Brian's back/neck, which have been a mess off and on since 1991, are now all in spasm and he has another blinding headache. He was just kind of getting to the point where he was fixed and stable from the '06 ax and only going for massages/chiro once every 6 weeks or so, and now he has to start all over again, which means having to use his lunch hour or go after work, then getting stuck in rush hour traffic to get home.

Oh, and here's the kicker: Potelco is only located down the street and the driver could have gotten a cup of coffee at work or closer to work...but he stopped at that coffee stand because it features "Bikini Baristas", a somewhat controversial fad that's sweeping the state. Fucking stupid man, thinking with his dick, causes an extremely inconvenient accident with Brian. It's not enough that the two of us are stressed out to the point of physical ailments, and now this. Yeah yeah, it's not serious, and he's not too badly hurt and that IS the important thing. It's the inconvenience of it all that I'm complaining about.


But there are people in my state who are truly suffering, and have just been hit with insult added to injury. We had some terrible floods down south, in early December. The storm that destroyed a good part of Lewis, Thurston, Pacific and Grays Harbor Counties is a gift that keeps on giving. People are just beginning to tear out and rebuild their homes. But they forgot that their wiring has been corroding all winter, so now there have been fires that further destory their homes. And an old Eagles Lodge went up in flames in Chehalis yesterday - the United Way was storing tons of donated furniture and appliances to give away to the flood victims as they got their homes rebuilt. The whole fucking inventory is ruined. It sucks. It just sucks and it's not fair. This is exactly the reason why I don't believe in god. The economy down there is very, very bad, and now this happens. And the call has gone out for more donations and help, but with the state of the country right now, falling headlong into a recession the way it is, no one can afford to give anymore. I thought about getting a gift card, which is what the United Way is asking for, but we just found out that Weyerhaeuser sold a good portion of their Oregon mills to International Paper. Brian does Oregon claims. So what happens to his job when they turn the mills over to IP?


Snaps to the Boston Red Sox who threatened to boycott the much ballyhooed trip to Japan for their first 2 regular season games. Apparently MLB decided, at the last minute, that the coaches and staff weren't going to get the $40k stipend for the trip, which was promised, and agreed to, last fall. Kudos to the players for standing up for what is right. I can guarantee you the Skankees wouldn't have been so generous. Well it only took about an hour for MLB to realize what a public relations nightmare this would be. The promised stipends will be paid, and the Sox are off to Japan.


First, a big congrats to Brian on getting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to come onto his radio show for an interview on Sunday, March 30, 2008 from 4-5 pm, Pacific Time. Ayaan was born in Somalia and raised in a strict Muslim home. She fled to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage and became an atheist. She's very outspoken about the fundamentalist Muslims and so she is a target for the extremists. Ayaan made a 10 minute film called "Submission" with Theo van Gogh; and that subsequently cost Theo his life when he was murdered by extremists. This is a huge coup for the Free World Radio Network and they continue to grow with new hosts coming on board.

I'm sure you have all heard about the protests in China, over their forced occupation (and rape) of Tibet lo these many years. It sickens me what they did. Steve gets lots of travel magazines and he brings them in to work, and many of them offer these package tours to "Tibet". The tours promise visits to "monastaries to see the monks". It really chaps my hide to see these ads, because the tours show you only what China wants you to see.

Brian and I are not really "Summer Olympics" fans, but occasionally we'll find ourselves sucked into something. But this year, we are boycotting the Olympics and we're not gonna watch them. I heard about a website today, and they have a petition going. I am sad that the Dalai Lama stated that he will resign his position if the Tibetan people can't commit to peace and shun violence.

I hate the fact that our country kowtows to China. Can someone please tell me why that is? We have a ridiculous trade embargo against Cuba, supposedly because they are commies. Well, HELLO! So are the Chinese! Instead of keeping Americans working and producing goods, we outsource to China, so that we don't have to pay a living wage or provide benefits. Meanwhile, honest Americans are fighting to survive on unemployment and China's sending us substandard garbage that's poisoning our pets and children alike. I mean seriously man, what the fuck?! If we were making the stuff, unemployment would be way down, the quality of the items would improve substantially, and people would be spending their paychecks and contributing to a booming economy. And now the Air Force decides to outsource planes to France instead of giving the contract to Boeing. Another black eye for Western Washington, thank you very much.
Are we hunkering down for the long haul? You better believe we are. I'm working furiously to reduce our debt as much as possible and keep spending somewhat under control. It's gonna be a looooong year.

March 18, 2008

Peep Show

I just found out Easter is this Sunday.

Now here's a peep show I can get behind. I bet the people who made this were laughing their asses off. photo from I Can Has Cheezburger.

March 15, 2008

1943 Guide to Hiring Women

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine.
This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II. Snaps to my friend Charlene for sending me this in an email last week:

Eleven tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees:

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage.
Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they’re less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
What about the lecherous married bosses? "Oh Mrs. Smith, could you come in here and take some....dick'tation?"

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are included to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
"Cantankerous and fussy"??? Hell, I was cantankerous and fussy as a young woman!

3. General experience indicates that “husky” girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
FAT CHIX RULE! In your face, skinny women! Go eat a sandwich.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination - one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
Can you imagine an employer making this suggestion today? Hello, EEOC? And what, exactly, are "female weaknesses"? PMS?

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time, and the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
Oh shut up. Go away. I'm blogging.

6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
Oh because god forbid us ditzy broads just sit there filing our nails all damn day. Give me a break.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
I have yet to hear a woman say that she is happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
Just a sec...I have to go reapply my face.....
But doesn't this one fly in the face of item #5, above, in lost productivity?

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman - it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.
*sniff* "It's not what you said, but the way you said it!!"

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears to much of this.
Oh fuck off.

11. Get enough size variety in operator’s uniforms, so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy.
Yes, I was thrilled beyond belief that the Dan'l Webster Inn had those lovely and flattering chambermaid smocks in various sizes. Actually, I think it was "one size fits all".

Mutant Dog Toys

Last weekend when I was at the grocery store, I picked up a couple of new toys for Sagan's birthday. I always get one for Pepper too, so that she doesn't feel left out, and vice versa when it was her birthday. I didn't look at what I was buying, I just picked out soft squeak plush toys because we get a kick out of seeing them running around with the toys in their mouths.

Now that they toys have been laying on my family room floor for the past few days, I've become obsessed with trying to figure out what the hell they are supposed to be. I was going on and on about it this morning when Brian finally said, "My god, give it a rest already! They're just toys!"
But seriously! What the hell are they? Is this a bunny dressed like a lamb? Is it a lamb? Is it a bunny? Is it a bear? Does it have the pox? Is it contagious?
Then we have this poor fellow. It has a lion's head, but no legs. This sad little beastie must drag itself around the jungle by it's front paws. But what's with the tail? I've also never seen a body like that on a lion before.
Is it a leopard body with a lion's head? Is it a lion? A leopard?

March 14, 2008

Sagan's 3rd Birthday "Pawty"

Our teeny tiny little puppy guy, Sagan, turned 3 on March 12. We take him to doggie day mean "canine activity program" at Sumner Vet each Wednesday, so it happened to coincide with his birthday. I brought a disposable camera and asked the tech, Sam, if he could take some pics of Sagie on his birthday. They laughed and Sam said sure, he'd love to. Everyone at Sumner Vet loves Sagie, by the way, especially Sam. Boopy goes into full body and butt wag when Sam comes through the door to take him inside when I drop him off in the morning

When Brian picked him up and brought him home, he told me that the techs had a "pawty" for him. They blew up balloons and made hats. I got the pictures developed today! Sagan sez, "Chicks dig me!" He can't get enough lovin', this dog. I always knew that German shepherds were nice dogs, but I had no idea how unbelievably sweet and affectionate they are too. And goofy. But when he wants to turn it on and be the "guard dog", he does it in a flash.

Who's a handsome boy in his birthday crown?

And in a silly hat.

nom nom nom nom nom

"Can I get a scritch over here?!"

"Gee your butt smells terrific!"

March 13, 2008

The last of the '88 road trip to CA pics

Did I mention that I've been re-doing this photo album as well? Hence the pictures from this trip 20 years ago! I ran out of photo album pages last weekend though, much to my chagrin, and Fred Meyer was all out of the refills so I had to order them on line. Hopefully I'll have them by the weekend so that I can finish this project.

Sea lions in Monterey Bay.

Lone Cyprus, 17 Mile Drive, Monterey. That brown patch in the water is a kelp forest, a vital sea plant in Monterey Bay.

Carmel-By-The-Sea. It's just too quaint for words. And also too expensive for words. I do love all the little alleys and shops tucked away here and there. It's easy to get lost when you are exploring in and out of the alleys, but it's a beautiful town.

An example of one of the alley shops.

I could absolutely kick myself for not buying this damn poster. It was only $18, but I wasn't that big a Clint Eastwood fan, so I just took a picture of it instead. Clint was the Mayor of Carmel when I visited in 1986 w/ Charlene, and again in 1988 w/ my dad. Apparently there had been a law banning ice cream cones as well as other "fast foods" in Carmel. He repealed the law, hence the poster, "Law, Order & Ice Cream". Now this poster is extremely collectible.

Clint was also part owner of The Hogs Breath Inn.

Another lovely Pacific Coast sunset, Carmel-by-The-Sea.

Dad and I headed out really early in the morning from Carmel Valley, down Coast Hwy. 1, to San Simeon, home of the famous Hearst Castle. Charlene and I took in this site in '86 and I just had to bring my dad. For one thing, San Simeon is a tiny little blip on the map. When Charlene and I were trying to find the Hearst Castle, and were driving up and down the highway, we were flumoxed. Where could it be? I happened to glance up at the coastal hills and there it was, on top. We didn't realize that we had to park down below and have the bus ferry us up there. In its heyday, all the famous stars from LA, politicians and businessmen would take the train into San Luis Obispo (the nearest large town) and then be chauffered up to the Castle.

It gets pretty freakin hot in that part of the state, and I cannot tell you how tempted I was to accidentally-on-purpose fall into this pool. Of course it would have meant immediate ejection from the property, but it would have been SO worth it. I think I was whispering to my dad, "just push me in....we can tell them it was an accident...." The tour guide told us that once a year in the summer they have the staff party and that's the only time this pool is ever allowed to be used.

The Hearst Castle was built by William Randolph Hearst, the SF newspaper magnate. He spared no expense importing the finest art from around the world. The problem is, while each individual piece is beautiful, it's a bit of a chaotic mish-mash of various styles and cultures. It was just too much.
The Hearst Castle was designed by SF engineer Julia Morgan. Construction started in 1919. Ya gotta give Hearst props for hiring a female engineer; she was definitely an anomaly for those patriarcal times. The Castle has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, sports courts, the pools, exotic animals (many still roam the property), etc. There is a sweeping view of the ocean and surrounding hills. Julia Morgan also designed an amazing gravity based water delivery system from a nearby mountain top. She was truly ahead of her time.

Ceilings from Spain, furniture from France, rare pots and vessels from ancient Egypt....all lumped together.
This is the indoor Roman Pool and has the most amazing tilework. I was also tempted to jump in here as well.

Back on the road headed up to Carmel, we drove past Big Sur. I had to get all my "scenic view point" pictures on the way back b/c we were running really late on our way to the Hearst Castle that day, so I was unable to stop going down there.

Big Sur.

Coast Highway 1 can be a little bit hairy in some places where there are hairpin turns, with no guardrails, and some rube in a ginormous RV is taking up both lanes.....

Big Sur.

Bixby Creek Bridge. This bridge is featured in a lot of car commercials.

Otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Which, by the way, is extremely anticlimatic. I, too, had heard of the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.....but it's not that big for one thing. For another, it ONLY features life found IN Monterey Bay. You won't find rooms of exotic, tropical fish tanks, humid environs for reptiles, or performing dolphins and whales (which I don't like anyway). But that's OK, I could have spent all day watching the adorable otters. I had my face pressed up against the tank and I heard my dad sidle up to me and say, "Yes. I know. You want one." Pleeeeeeese dad! We can keep him in the bathtub!!!

When we got back to San Francisco for the final leg of our trip, we took the ferry over to Angel Island in SF Bay (the island behind Alcatraz) and walked around on the quiet, desolate trails. Angel Island was the "Ellis Island" of the west coast, processing thousands of immigrants, mostly Chinese. It's such a tranquil place to be, yet you look all around and you are surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the bridges, cities and towns. Here's a little cutie pie who was hanging around the picnic area, hoping for some food.

Then I dragged my dad to Mill Valley because "that's where Bob Weir lives". Dad's like, "who is Bob Weir and do you know where his house is?" lol Here's a deer on one of the quaint streets.

The deer can be a bit of a problem in Marin. Once we moved there, we learned very quickly to keep a watchful eye out for them darting across the roads. There are TONS of "Deer Crossing" signs all over Marin, and someone with a lot of time on their hands went around and put red dots on all the deer noses on all the signs. So we call them "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Crossing" signs. (Annie - have you noticed those signs?).

Our last stop on the trip was to the summit of Mt. Tamalpais, a large hill in Marin, that tops out at about 2,500 feet. Because of it's geographical shape, Mt. Tam supposedly resembles "a sleeping lady". I don't see it, personally. Anyways, when we got up there, the fog was coming into SF, as it does most afternoons in the summer. This was the first time I'd ever been above the fog to see the way it clings to the hills.

It's pretty sad that once I moved to CA, I didn't do or see near as much as I did when I went there on vacation!

March 11, 2008

What dog breed are you?

This quiz popped up in my inbox today from

These were my results:

"Wow, You're a German Shepherd!

German Shepherd
The Perfectionist

Doggedly dedicated to getting the job done, you don't let silly little distractions get in the way of putting in a full day's work. And after you come home, chowing down on a little grub and taking a little catnap is all it takes to get you up and at 'em for round two, whatever that may entail. Your dogma emphasizes the importance of hard work, and you swim laps around your dog-paddling, time-wasting co-workers. Your cleverness leads to you often being entrusted with some pretty important tasks, which you are always more than happy to sink your canines into. You really dig being outdoors and love a bit of exercise, but you draw the line at the ridiculous stuff, choosing a game of beach volleyball over Pilates in the park any day.

FAMOUS GERMAN SHEPHERDS: Teddy Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth, Humphrey Bogart, Oprah

LIKELY PROFESSIONS: Professional Athlete, Policeman, Wilderness Guide, Meteorologist."

Oh yeah, that's it, a Wilderness Guide. I can hear Julie laughing her ass off all the way up here.

March 9, 2008

Continuing the Road Trip

After my dad and I left Lake Tahoe, and because I was driving, I chose a route out of the Tahoe area, that brought us along the eastern edge of the Sierras. At one point, we were tiptoeing the state line between Nevada and California, on Highway 395. It's extremely hot and arid on that side of the mountains. While my dad and I did make chit chat on our road trips, a lot of time was also spent in silence, as we drunk in the views that grew more breathtaking with each turn. I like it when it's quiet on long drives so that I can let my imagination roam. Of course in this part of the country, all I was thinking about were cowboys and Native Americans and pioneers.

As we got closer to Mono Lake and the town of Lee Vining, I kept seeing this spectacular mountain range in the distance to my right (west). I finally pulled over to take a picture of it. When we got to Lee Vining, we veered off to the highway on the right that took us into Yosemite's eastern entrance. Imagine my surprise to find myself driving right through that mountain range. It's called Tioga Pass. When we were in the Pass, I tried so hard to get a decent picture but it's simply impossible to put a frame around these cliffs and walls of rock. So I had to burn it into my brain. It's magnificent!!!

We entered Yosemite and traveled through the eastern Tuolumne Meadows. Yeah, I know, "how the hell do you say that word?" Too-AHL-um-knee. The views were amazing.

Looking west. Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne Meadows.

We cut through Yosemite that day in order to get to our hotel in Mariposa, which is about 30 miles west of the Park. It's smack in the middle of gold country and the small highway that runs b/t Mariposa and Yosemite winds it's way down through a canyon which is dotted with old mines and suspension bridges, like this one.

See the mine shaft on the hillside?

Here's a travel tip: Don't visit Yosemite in August, in a drought year, and expect to see stunning waterfalls. When Brian and I went in April of 1992 w/ my folks, they were much better with the snow runoff.

Yosemite Valley.

We spent the next day in the park and we drove up to Glacier Point, high above the valley. There are no words to describe the wonder that is this view.

It's a looooong way down, innit?!

As much as I enjoyed our road trip to Tahoe & Yosemite, I was eager to return to San Francisco for our next road trip down the coast. I really needed an ocean-fix after being in the hot & parched Sierra Nevada's. We came back to SF for one night before heading south down the Pacific Coast Highway and I'd selected the Seal Rock Inn as our hotel, as it is right on the water, above the Cliff House. It was an absolutely glorious evening and I shot TONS of pictures of the waves and the ruins of the old Sutro Baths. The Baths are a blog post in and of themselves so I didn't include any pictures of them here.
Dad and I ate dinner at Louis', then spent the next few hours just wandering around at the baths, on the beach, in the tunnels of the old baths, etc. It was an evening I'll never forget. The series of pictures I shot I call "The Estimated Prophet Pictures" b/c of the lyrics to the song and it being my inspiration to really make the move to SF.

When we visited in 1988, there was a small concrete walkway that you could take to climb onto this rock, where people would try to fish. Unfortunately, many people were swept away off the rock, and you can see here how easily that could happen. The Pacific was really churning the night we were there. After Brian and I moved to SF, the City decided to blow up the walkway because it was just getting too dangerous.

That greyish bumpy hill in the background is Mt. Tamalpais, in Marin County, a place Brian and I visited all the time. There are some great trails up there.

I was so hoping to capture that green from the sunlight and the mist blowing off the wave in the wind!SPLOOOOSH!!!!!

Beautiful sunset that night too.

And people wonder why I refuse to move back to the east coast.