Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weekday Escape

As I mentioned earlier, Chris & I have taken a few excursions with the advent of Autumn, arguably the best season weather-wise in our part of the country. A couple weeks back, he had Friday as one of his days off, so I took a personal holiday so we could visit a new/old attraction in San Francisco.

The California Academy of Science, along with the De Young Museum, have been the center pieces of Golden Gate Park for a number of decades, hosting scores of exhibits & innumerable schoolchildren on fieldtrips~ Chris & I both have memories of visits throughout grade school. Both building were severely damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake & limped along with patched up repairs for years, until it was determined that they needed to be rebuilt from scratch. In all honesty, I really dislike the design of the new De Young (which reopened in 2005 after 5 years); but the new C.A.S. is a wonder & we’ve been itching to see it since it reopened last year.

The most noticeable feature has to be the Living Roof~ 2 ½ acres of native plants growing over the undulating surface of the roof;

it was rather warm the day we were there & the wild flowers were past their prime, but the gentle breeze from the bay & the buzzing of insects made for a hypnotic visit.

We started in the Rainforest exhibit~ we walked up through four stories of plants, birds, & butterflies;



looking down into the water of the pond, you could see strange animals sitting on the bottom.

An elevator ride took us down to the new Steinhart Aquarium;


Chris & Ranger Ruth had some close encounters with really big fish!

Back on the main level, we entered the African Hall, which housed the classic dioramas from our childhood


& then on to the Morrison Planetarium~ where we both managed to doze off during the “Fragile Planet” presentation.


After lunch in the Atrium (yummy Spring Rolls & killer cheesecake) & a visit to the gift shop, we took the long way back to the car, hiking through a stand of coastal redwoods that reside in the park

 “It’s this direction~ I’m certain!”

The Park is one of my favorite places in California~ I’m drawn back again & again, finding both new & old sites in this wonderful urban escape; too bad it’s such a pain to drive in the City, otherwise I’d might make the trip more often.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No,I haven't fallen off the planet...

Greetings for the great Wind Bowl of California; I’d wave, but I’d best hold on to this tree so I don’t blow away! Thanks to the remnants of a Philippine typhoon, we’ve had an early taste of winter this past week~ a drop in temperatures, driving rain, & of course, gale-force winds taking down trees all over. No major damage around the garden~ fences & furniture is intact, though the remains of the cucumbers & green peppers were flattened.

I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel work-wise; I’ve been working weekends for a couple months, but quarter-end & escheat reporting should be wrapped up in the next week, and my CEO told me that they are finally ready to hire a new accounting manager. YIPPEE!!! I doubt they will find and train someone by my next vacation (the week after Christmas), but it’s a relief to know I’ll have some help & backup in the future.

Good news on the Jessica front as well; instead of being homeless, she is now living & working back in San Jose. She was able to get on with Safe*way, at a brand new store near where she is living; the money is modest, but better than unemployment & it’s a union job with full benefits after her probation period. She seems to have lucked into a good roommate for a change, an “older” woman with a daughter away at college, so she’s being mothered & looked after~ or at least as much as she will allow (goodness knows where that independent streak came from!) We are fostering Violet the Cat again, but the transition has been a bit quieter this time; it only took a month for her to start joining us in the living room in the evenings, perched on tip-toe in my lap.

Chris is still working most weekends, but not the crazy-excessive hours of summer, so we’ve managed to slip away for a couple adventures over the past month (which I’ll be sharing shortly). This past Monday was a holiday for me & he had the day off, having worked the weekend; we lucked out big-time, scoring half-priced tickets for the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. We had the first entry at 9:00 am, & actually had the gallery all to ourselves for about 15 minutes~ we had quiet & room to enjoy the gorgeous artifacts without bumping elbows or fussing children. We were done in just over an hour, since the rest of the museum is closed on Mondays, & took a leisurely hour stroll around the Botanical Gardens & Arboretum pausing for a picnic snack, & to watch one of the many tai chi groups practicing in the park. Since the rain was threatening to start, we headed back towards home before noon, stopping off for lunch at Mimi’s CafĂ©; a restful day was capped off by a quiet nap with the cats & grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.

Time to sign off & pay attention to my novel, before it has to go back to the library on Tuesday; this is how I know I’ve been working too much~ I’ve only read 8 books since June!