Friday, January 27, 2012

Rest in peace my friend

According to my son, Redd was a legend in his own right.  He was pure Siberian Husky, born in southern California November 1996.  He loved traveling to the Sierras, and he followed our son, Tim when he moved to Alaska.  Redd also traveled and moved with Tim to Portland, Oregon as well as Saranac Lake, New York.  When Tim moved back home here in San Jose back in 2007, he had in tow with him two dogs, Redd and Mick.  We lost Mick to kidney failure just last year.  She was only 10 years old.  But Redd was able to celebrate his 15th birthday just a couple months ago.  That is good for a husky.  Unfortunately, Redd had his health problems, and as he aged it was getting more difficult for him to fight off his health issues.  This past couple of months have been difficult for us because Redd couldn't keep any food down.  And he continued to lose weight.  In the last couple of weeks he lacked interest in eating and he continued to go downhill.  So, yesterday, Thursday, January 26, 2012, my husband had to take him to the vet to euthanize him.  Redd will be sorely missed, as well as all the rest of our pets who have gone on before us.  Rest in peace Redd.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Return to St Louis to fly home

Following the high school reunion weekend, we also had the opportunity to visit friends and relatives on Sunday before driving back to St Louis.  The weather for most of the week was humid as expected, but also mostly cloudy and a bit rainy.  We were aware that flooding had occurred throughout the mid-west before leaving home, but we had not heard that the Galesburg area had been affected.  Throughout our travels we did notice a number of corn fields and soy bean fields that had patches or places where the crop was flooded.  We also noticed a few areas throughout our traveled area that some farmers have/had total crop failure since most of their crops were still under water.  But I think what really hit home for me was our little trek over to the Gateway Arch in St Louis.  I had never been there and wanted very much to visit since we didn't have to be at the airport for a couple of hours.  I also learned that the Arch is located right by the Mississippi River, whereas the airport is located more inland to the northwest of the Arch.  Needless to say, I hope the photos will show how bad off this area of St Louis was.  These photos were taken on Monday, June 27.

I took this photo from inside the car since it was raining.  Actually, all of these photos were taken from inside the car.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cahokia Mounds and Springfield, IL

Last year my husband and I traveled back to Illinois to celebrate his 50th high school reunion (class of 1960). This year we traveled back again since his class hosted this year's class of '61 for their 50th and my husband served as master of ceremonies for the dinner. This year we flew into St Louis, MO and planned to sight-see before heading to the weekend of reunion festivities. After picking up our rental car we headed for Collinsville, IL where we stayed overnight so we could visit Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site the next morning. The photo below is a shot of Monks Mound, the largest of several mounds in the area.

Below is the second set of steps to the top of Monks Mound.
We could see the Gateway Arch and downtown St Louis from the top.
Below is a depiction of what archeologists have pictured what this community/city looked like back in its most populated era. This group of natives lived around the same time as the southwestern natives lived in Mesa Verde, around 1100 AD.
Below is a display of the pottery that was made and used by the natives at Cahokia Mounds.
Here is a map showing the area. As you can see various locations noted, such as St Louis, the Gateway Arch, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, etc. Even the interstate highways are marked.
The museum even noted that there was a connection between Lewis and Clark and the Cahokia Mounds and St Louis.
After visiting Cahokia Mounds we headed for Springfield, IL - Abraham Lincoln country. We stayed at the Rt 66 Motel and Conference Center. And they had so much memorabilia, it was so fun reminiscing old favorites like the photos below show. These food ads sure go back a long ways, don't they?
And here is one of three old Coke machines on display in one of the motel's hallways.
Here's another with the Rt 66 logo on it. How cool is that?
And then, just outside the main lobby there were two "fancy" motorcycles parked. The items painted on this cycle showed a theme of "Street Dreams" showing landmarks that are well known to most folks, such as Texas longhorns with the state/shape of Texas behind it. Another spot showed the desert southwest picturing saguaro cacti and a howling coyote. Another painting showed old 1950s autos.
This one showed a bunch of cartoon characters, such as Tazmanian Devil, Tweety, Roadrunner and Coyote.
The following day we visited the Lincoln Library and Museum and eventually Lincoln's Tomb. But first I wanted to visit the old "train station" which is now a visitor center and previously was the Springfield Museum. That was a cool place to visit. The interior is beautifully renovated to show what the station looked like back in the late 19th century. Outside the visitor center was this park (in the middle of town) and I was certainly attracted to the beautiful flowers that were blooming. Here are some pretty lilies.
Here's a view of several daylilies behind a bench. This seemed so inviting; I would have loved to just sit and enjoy, but we had the Lincoln Museum and the library to visit yet.
A bunch of black-eyed Susans also blooming in the park.
This is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in this same park which is the backside of the train station/visitor center.
This is the view of the backside of the station from the park.
This is the front view of the train station/visitor center. I found out that the street in front of the station (which I think is Madison St) was where the tracks used to be.
Here is Lincoln's Tomb. I found out that Lincoln, his wife, and two of his three sons are all buried here. His oldest son is buried at Arlington Cemetery.
A close-up of the statue of Lincoln here at Lincoln's Tomb.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I took the plunge...

For years I have had to wear some type of corrective lenses. Since I've been 12 or 13 years old I've been wearing glasses or contact lenses. Gosh, that's been 50 years! Okay, so now you know how old I am. :o) This past spring (April or May) I had my eyes examined and was given a new prescription. Mind you, I have had progressive lenses for almost twenty years. But this prescription was the first set of glasses I just couldn't get used to. I even went back to the optician and complained and instead he told me the glasses were fine and what I could do for "medium" distances, such as computer work, I could get a pair of "computer" glasses to use when I'm on the computer. Well, the computer glasses worked fine, but it was such a nuisance switching back and forth. Even the close reading part of the progressives did not really feel right. So in my disgust and dissatisfaction I finally got up the courage to check to see if I could still qualify for lasik surgery. I said "still qualify" because I was considered a good candidate for it up to 5 years ago. Well, I took the plunge and had my eyes examined at the Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley on Tuesday and was told I would still be an excellent candidate for Lasik. As a matter of fact I qualified for the latest, most advanced type of surgery called Wavefront Intralase. I had it done yesterday (Friday, Oct 22) afternoon. It didn't take very long at all. I opted for something that is called monovision where you have your dominant eye adjusted for distance and your secondary eye adjusted for close work. I will admit it will take some getting used to, but I am presently writing this only about 24 hours later and I'm extremely pleased with the results. My distance seems quite sharp, but I'm still trying to adjust, or my brain is still trying to adjust to the difference. I went back this morning for a check-up and everything seems to be progressing very nicely. If you are thinking about Lasik surgery, by all means look into it. See if you qualify. Already I don't regret spending the money for it, or should I say making the investment.

Below is a photo of my surgeon, Dr Craig Bindi. He and his staff are excellent. I would recommend them to anyone. By the way, Dr Bindi is now the owner/operator of the Laser Eye Center of Silicon Valley. He bought Dr Gary Kawesh's practice, and Dr Kawesh is world renowned, but has since in the last year or two retired from the practice.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Monterey Bay Birding Festival - part 2

My husband and I visited the Ventana Wildlife Society on Friday the 24th. This place is located at Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur. The event was an all-day session where we were to see bird banding demonstrations in the morning and searching for California Condors in the afternoon. I was so fascinated with the bird banding that I failed to get photos of the birds that were caught and banded. It's amazing how small the birds look when they are held in one's hand. Some of the species caught and banded were lesser goldfinches, white crowned sparrows, Lincoln's sparrows, Wilson's warblers, and wrentits. We even hiked to the areas where the mist nets were to see how the birds are carefully taken out of the nets and placed in cloth bags, then taken back to the banding area where the birds would be checked over for molt or worn feathers, weighed and banded, then released. Afterwards, lunch was provided. And then it was time to caravan to several locations south of Big Sur to try to locate the condors. Sad to say, we only saw a brief glimpse of one lone female condor who flew to one of her favorite trees to perch, according to the condor expert. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos taken on Friday, but it still was lots of fun.
Saturday's activity was a half-day field trip to Natural Bridges State Beach. Our leader was Jennifer Rycenga, who has been a birder for quite some time and has been a leader in the past for the festival. We had the opportunity of hiking on a trail which took us from a wooded area to the beach. But the best location for taking photos was at the beach.

A whimbrel on the rock.

More whimbrels -- they are so photogenic.
Here's a black phoebe perched on the rock. The background seems so out of place for a black phoebe. Well, at least to me it seems out of place.
These dark colored gulls are Heermann's gulls, with a few more whimbrels thrown in.
And on this rock there were mostly cormorants, one brown pelican, and another gull.
And I couldn't resist to get this photo of a cormorant sunning himself.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monterey Bay Birding Festival 2010

Last weekend was the 6th annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival. Here are some photos I took while on one of the events, Elkhorn Slough Safari. This was done on a 27-foot pontoon boat, and the Captain was Yohn Gideon, owner and operator. The weather was great and my husband and I wish we could have gone for at least another 2 hours.
Sea lions hanging around the pier.
Cormorants - double-crested, pelagic, and Brandt's, hanging around the pier.
Notice the upper center cormorant with his beautiful blue throat-patch - a Brandt's cormorant.
Heermann's gull perched near the pier. He was hanging around with other gulls and cormorants.
A group of sea otters in the slough.
Close-up of some of the sea otters. The otter in the foreground with the whitish face is apparently the "grandfather" of the group. Actually, we were told that the older the otter gets the "whiter" or grayer their faces get.
Close-up of an otter eating a clam.
Harbor seals. Notice they are smaller than the sea lions, and they lack the "ears" that sea lions have.
Close-up view of a few harbor seals.
Brown pelicans along the edge of the shore.
Close-up view of a few brown pelicans.
A white pelican taking a snooze, and a couple of gulls standing guard.
Landscape of the Elkhorn Slough area. Notice the farming area in the background. This is a well-known agricultural area, especially known for artichokes, lettuce, cabbage, etc.
Brown pelicans watching the humans on the boat.
A brown pelican hanging around all those cormorants.
Captain Yohn took everyone's picture, or at least those folks who were sporting a camera. This Safari is highly recommended, and is available for various events/outings. There's also a special Photo Safari scheduled for Oct 23rd on a Saturday afternoon. I sure wouldn't mind going again.


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