Friday, August 30, 2013

Of the 2nd Day of Bridge Closure, less insanity~~~~

Well Darklings,

I'm going in later today and working till early evening, Doyle has an appointment in South San Francisco and will take the San Mateo Bridge to get there and will pick me up from work and take the long round about drive home, but he says he'll take us over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafel to meet Sis there for Dinner.  They have it all arranged.  Brian will pick up Belladonna and bring her home.

So I'm just going along for the ride.

Dear Rebecca, I love your idea's for New Orleans, but I wonder when is the best time to visit, obviously not during Mardi Gra nor hurricane season.   And those tours you've suggested sounds wonderful.  I'm putting them on my wish list---hint, hint to Doyle for future plans.  I may get lucky and find some wonderful things for my Cabinet of Curosities.

I've been going on line to the Fright Store Web site to see what they have to offer and I've seen a few things to blow my budget on, a coffin clutch bag, a skull walking stick, some jewerly (even if its pot metal) and some Wonderful outdoor displays.  So much to choose from. 

I must add the Spirit Store and Fright Store links as well as the Doombuggies link as well,  that way Darklings you can have your fill of Disney's Haunted Mansion even when you are not at the Disney parks.  Never enough, just never enough.

I've had some internet friends ask why I don't comment on what is happening in the world,  I believe in another post I gave my reasons why, I want my blog to be a blog to get away from things even though there has been tragedy in my part of the world.

But for an update:  About the Rim fire near Yosemite, latest reports they have it 32 percent contained, cooler weather is helping and the rocky region near Hetch-Hetchy is slowing it down giving the fire fighters a chance.   And they've found a peaceful use of those Drone planes, since a live person is not in the plane they use them to find hot spots that cannot easily be spotted via normal means and can pinpoint water drops.

About Syria:  I feel that its best to leave that in the hands of those who have all or almost all the facts, the use of chemical war fare is horrible and the fact that Russia and China will not go along to condem that shows them for the "evil empire" govenments they are.  Britain's parlament did not pass their vote, maybe they are tired of war, but it can backlash upon them, France is with the U.S.  but again it does show that those middle eastern countries do not play by the standard rules of war, they hide weapons cache's among innocent civilians trying to make other's the "bad guys" and they target civilians to crush them. 

A veteran that I knew said that after the bombing of Dresden, of Heroshima, etc.  many military men knew that the rules of war was changing, the Germans bombed London, oh they were going for the docks etc. but it didn't matter if it landed on civilian targets.   And Sherman's march through Georgia, a burnt earth policy, leave nothing to the enemy.   In war there are no clean hands.   So I will leave it at that.

About the Boston Bombers:  That is going on still both indictments and investigations, a third party has been indicted for concealing and protecting the Boston Bombers and more evidence has been revealed that the two bombers were involved and committed murder the year previous, they are not the confused innocent boys that some parties make them out to be.

About the Limo fires:  One other happened fairly recently involving elderly women but all got out quickly and safely no injuries.  On the original Limo fire, it was found that a electrical short of some kind caused the fire.  A bill is in the works to change the design of Limo's as well as increased safety issues.

About the Murders of an Austrailian Athelete and a 88 year old WWII Vet:   Those parties responsible have been capture and arrested.  In the first it was 3 teen age boys 2 black, 1 white ages 15 to 17 they shot the athelete because "They were bored" and wanted to see what killing a person felt like---all three will be tried as adults in adult court.

In regards to the murder of the 88 year old WWII Vet:  This man survived the battle of Okinawa, was loved in the community was barely 5 feet tall, was waiting in a car for a friend in front of a Lodge Hall when 2 teenage boys draged him out of the car and robbed and beat him to death.  Because of the outrage in the Community one of the perps turned himself in and the 2nd one was Captured, the 2nd one has a record of assault and robbery, both are 16 years old and black, both (as I understand it) will be tried as adults.

If anyone says I'm being racial---I'm not---I'm only reporting what was printed and revealed in the news.

So can you see my Darklings, why I prefer to stay away from a lot of possible politically charged issues?

Why I preferr to stay on topics that are escapist?  

I do not ignore the world around me, I am too much aware of it sadly, and I really prefer to keep much of my opinions to myself as they can become much too volitale.  

I have very strong opinions about things and people, if one wants to know or have an inkling of my thoughts then I recommend reading Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries, time and again this charater voices very close to my own thoughts, which may seem harsh to some. 

And in my blog I do not want volitility, but just as I know I cannot protect my niece Coralline from the uglyness of the world around her, I can at least give her a measure of balance of things, of the Yin and Yang of life, of the Karmic destiny of it.

Recently a friend of mine said to me "Why do the criminals when they are caught having done a violent act, claim that They are the victims, espeically when their Karma has caught up to them?"  

As an Elder/Elderly Goth that has seen the dark and light side of life, I am in agreement with that sentiment.

Now I must go and deal with the Crush of BART.

Later Darklings

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Of first full Day of bridge closure~~~~

Darklings!!!!

Thank GOD Doyle is cooking dinner tonight!!! 

Everything was crowded, granted they put on more ferries but oh the crowds, everyone was polite but everyone wanted to get home!!!

Then the buses would fill up, alright I say to myself, its just today and tomorrow, so I flagged a cab, this fellow wanted the cab as well, so we both got in, fortunately we were going in the same direction, my home was past his, so we shared the ride,  I split the part from the ferry to his place although he paid a little extra because it did mean back tracking a bit, and he gave the tip to his place, then on to mine, and the drive got out of the car to help me out, usually they don't but he said I looked exhausted and I was.

And I thought it's my turn to cook dinner, but as I walked in I smelled the wonderful scent of meat grilling, Doyle just put the marinated kibobs on the grill, and now Sis has come home.

So now I have an idea of what tomorrow is going to bring.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Of fireplaces, bridge closings and Doombuggies~~~

Well Darklings,

I'm at work but taking a little break.

They are closing the San Francisco Bay Bridge starting at 8 p.m. tonight through Sept 3, and opening the new Span with some fanfare.   The last car to go across tonight will be a 1932 model A car and it will also be the first one to go across the new bridge.  It seems that this was the first car to go across the old span when it first opened.  I love history, and so nice that it will be that old car repeating history.

But getting to work for the next few days will be a bear, It will be either the Ferry or BART, I think I'll take the Ferry its more relaxing and some what glamourous.   Doyle and Sis are making sure their appointments will be on the Oakland side of the bridge for the next 5 days.  Good thing we don't have any plans to be in S.F.

My formal parlour fireplace will be finished next week, it will take longer than a few hours to do the repairs and the screening, we need to also do it to the other chimney as well as a precaution, other than that the fireplaces are fine and will be ready to go.

I'll be working a bit late tonight, so Sis will prepare dinner.

One of my co-workers told me of a web site called DoomBuggies, it is dedicated to the Disneyland attraction the Haunted House both in Disneyland, Disneyworld and the Eurpean Disneylands, espeically the one in France where its called Phantom Manor.

The Haunted House ride has been always my favorite ride, last time I was there I rode it 5 times, just could not get enough of it.  I'll have to go back, the Pirates ride came close, and dinning in the Blue Bayou, so much fun.  Makes me want to go to the real New Orleans, but not during Mardi Gra that's insane, perhaps take one or two of their speical tours, even if some of the place in New Orleans are just fake, but its the history of it, as well as the deeper dark history of it. 

Oh well, must get back to work.

Later Darklings  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Of Fireplace repair and birds' nests~~~

Well Darklings,

I was right, the firebox in the formal parlour needs some repair, just a few loose bricks towards the back, needs to be re-sealed, he can either finish it today or on another day, I'll know in a few hours.  And it seems that during the summer a bird had made a nest in the upper chambers just under the chimney camp.  Fortunately we didn't burn a fire during the late spring and summer just in the family parlour, so we're assuming the little one's have flown, so we'll need to put some screening around the chimney caps to prevent that from happening again.

The gutter man is finishing things up, cleaning up the debris that was in the gutters, some enterprising squirrel had shoved nuts down one of the down spouts, so I've put them on one of the fence ledges for either it or another squirrel to find.

Progress is being made on my sister's house, a lot of plumbing repairs because of the former owners pouring cement down the drains.   The remodeling of the kitchen is wonderful, it had been upgraded so its victorian look had been long gone but it still had a lot of the 1950's feel to it that Sis wanted to keep.  But that Orange wall paper with the Big Yellow flowers from the 70's HAD to go.   I was getting a head ache looking at it.

The good thing is that the ceramic sink surround had been retained,  but the sink had to be replaced, Sis went with a double sink in stainless steel, and the ceramic tiles were matched to the old ones, pink tiles with green trim, sort of refreshing in a way, Sis said she would stick with white appliances it was simpler that way.

Brian Sis's tennant has been a good sport though all of this.

I'm going for a simple dinner tonight, spagetti with meat sauce, salad with that dressing that Doyle likes, french bread with soft Tillamoke Butter, more of that delicious Deadbolt wine, and fresh fruit mix of grapes and mango chunks over vanilla ice cream.   Hmmmm maybe leave the ice cream out, and just fresh fruit, the ice cream and the wine may not mix well.

Just taking a brief coffee break and once the men leave I'm going to take Belladonna for her evening walk before dinner.   It will feel good.

Later Darklings

Upkeep on an old house can be time consuming but worth it.


Of Cleaning Gutters and Halloween Goodies~~~~

Dear Darklings,

I'm home today, all day, a good thing too.  I had planned for the gutter man to come and clean out the gutters and by happy circumstance Doyle had arranged for the Fireplace man to come back today to clean and check the fireplace in the formal parlor.  So a lot of work being done today, and I'm to have the contractor who is working on Sis's house check in with me about the progress and phone Sis at certain times to inform her. 

I'm almost as busy as if I were at work, and I  must turn off "Kitty Kat" I don't want the poor fireplace man to be frightened.

Dear Rebecca, I'm not too worried about "Crazy", and we may not have to go that far with him, but we are documenting him, I have a special notebook for that, even when it is events that do not involve us directly.
I'm also sorry that you are suffering from 90 degree weather where you are, our mornings here are chilly, but they do warm up coast and bay side to the mid-to upper 70's and inland it does get hotter, although it is predicted that it could warm up this weekend even more.

My concern is the Rim fire down near Yosemite, it is HUGE, almost the size of the city of Chicago.  At this time only 20 percent contained and threatening the water and power supply at Hetch-Hetchy (what use to be known in the 1920's as little Yosemite)  They are saying that this fire may not be completely out until Winter, unless cooler weather and rains without lighting appear.  Nearly 4,000 firefighters are at this one.  Many people do not realize what a disaster this wildfire can be even though it was nature made.

We'll have to leave it in the Higher power's hands as my Mother would say.

With the gutter and fireplace work, and the stores Sis and I have put into the pantry, the house is almost ready for the Holiday Season and all ready I am thrilled, yes, thrilled Darklings.   I have recevied in the mail the Grandin Road Halloween Haven cataloge and my latest Victorian Trading Company Catalogue, now I must check both the Spirit and Fright Web sites and Pyramid Collections web site.   And I saw on Amazon two most marvelous pins that I can wear any time,  Octopusses, yes Darklings, Octopusses, almost looking like the God Chutulu,  this is a must purchase item and very affordable.

I am seriously looking forward to Halloween this year, although Doyle did remind me last night about the Gun Show at the Cow Palace next month and I check my calendar for the Vintage Fashion Expo in Sept. and the Vintage Fashion Fair in October as well as our Friends of the Library Book Sale,  then Halloween, and all its events,  we are seriously considering going to the Pirates of Emmerson Haunted house event, a month long thing, and then Thanksgiving  and the trip to Old Town Sacramento and the Delta King,  and then the Dickens Fair and all the Christmas fun---we'll put out our skeleton Christmas tree again, seeing Coralline during the holidays.

Darklings I am almost delirious with Joy at the thought of it.  And a friend or fiend of mine has invited me to a "seance" in October which should be very interesting and the classic movie series that will be starting up at several theaters.  Oh I must catch my breath.

Last Saturday, Sis and I could not make up our mind what to have for dinner and really neither of us felt like cooking, so we presented the problem to Doyle who said "Dress up ladies we are going out!" and we did in my vintage car, looking like something out of the 1940's, we went to one of our favorite places where they knew us as being a bit eccentric in dress but nice to wait on, we were seated at our favorite table.  I know other people dressed in their t shirts and jeans and flip-flops were looking at us, some of them even sat up straighter,  we had several come over to our table and ask if we were part of a theatre group and we said no we always dress this way, its more elegant.   Sis and I even handed our personal cards something that some people were amazed about, and we had our pictures taken with some of the folks, some even wanted pictures taken with my car.  

One young lady asked if it was o.k. to dress nice like this all the time, and I said "When one is going out in public, unless you are going to the dumps or to a lumbermill or doing home remodling or heavy gardening or camping, it really pays to dress nice."

The look in the young lady's eyes was very interesting, and the little "o" shape of her mouth at understanding.

Unfortunately we missed seeing "North by Northwest" that was playing at the Parmount Theatre last Friday night, but there will be other times.

Sunday we went to the folks house that are clearing out their Grandfather's estate, they had taken our suggestions about how to clear out more things, and it appears to be working.  The Grandson was enjoying his excursions in Flea Market selling and is thinking of doing it on a sort of full time basis, "I don't have to go every weekend" he said, "I do need time for more stock" to wit his wife sort of rolled her eyes but admitted that it was fun "We just have to get rid of the stuff that is, although sort of collectable is in a way, junk"  They were lined up for a number of Gun shows to get rid of some of the fishing rods and reels and other odd items, "We're pricing it to go" she said.

We had fun looking for smaller items, but there were several old style clocks that had me very interested, one was an oversize coo-coo clock with a large door for the bird to come out, there was no inards, only the clock frame, but then it came to me, could we have installed a birds head and with an electronic device tell the hour with wierd sayings like in "The Munsters"?  It could be done, it would cost some funds but I knew of a college lad who loves that sort of wierd stuff.  But the other clock was more traditional and it had the face and hands (not a coo-coo clock) but a battery operated works could be installed.  So we bought them, and a few other delightfull things to add to the house,  but what really had everyone puzzled was several marble tombstones,  very old, where they came from no one knew.

The folks wanted to get them out of the house as they felt uncomfortable with them, so we took them off their hands for a small fee,  I told Sis we could put them in the garden until we found out where they came from, Doyle said to me that he loves a mystery and would look into it, although it could take time but we'll have them properly displayed with respect.

Now I must go, the fireplace person is calling me, something about the firebox---I guess it will need some repair.

Later Darklings
Sis and I all dressed up and ready to go

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Of being busy, busy with home chores~~~

Well Darklings,

I was up early this morning, taking in the almost Fall chilliness of it, Belladonna was in her sweater she does not like the cold, and considering how I found her I can understand.  Coffee perking in the coffee maker, sorry Darklings, no drip for me, perk is how I like it.

But the aroma is enough to waft upstairs and wake Doyle to stumbling sleepy headedness, and I do mean stumbling, I heard him cussing when he stubbed his toe.  Told him to wear his slippers that is what I bought them for.  

I sat out on the back porch enjoying my coffee and idlely watching Belladonna sniffing the air, looking at the garden, her ears twitching for anything that should not be there.  Then she would do her back leg stretches followed by her yoga positon of "downward facing dog" and come back to me that all was right in her little world.

Doyle came in and I offered to make breakfast but he said he'd make do with oatmeal that he'd prepare, he can be quiet the gentleman, even though I'm the one who will be washing the dishes and pot, but I don't mind. 

So today I let Sis sleep in, she has been very busy of late, and she'd done her share while I was and am working strange hours, and she'll make her own breakfast and do all the dishes.  So laundry, changing sheets, washing towels,  then gathering up the dry cleaning, the bills to be mailed,  my weekly maid service will be in while I'm out and Sis will be home to monitor and answer questions, while I quickly run the errands.

I had a light lunch out after I took care of things,  I was of two minds to just window shop or go home, but for some reason shopping didn't hold any appeal to me today, but I did need some nylons,  and I found the type I like, came home and did mundane ironing of somethings, while Sis worked on her reports and we talked about what to have for dinner, as Belladonna would go to the backporch screen door and check on things in the yard, which reminded me to call the Gardener and talk to him about some of the roses and what blubs to plant for a Spring Showing.

This time of year the garden gets that sad, dry look but there is some color and then it will be time to put it to bed so to speak. 

Doyle has taken the van to the shop for oil change, checkup, make appointment for tune up, then to car wash for washing, then he came home and picked up Sis's car for washing, and now he has mine for washing.  My vintage car I have carefully hand detailed by a speicalist should the need arrise.

And now I'm  taking a breather, and Sis has told me that the family that I bought Coralline's desk from said they'd be home at their Grandfather's house if we want to go and see what they have that we'd be interested in, she made arrangements for tomorrow afternoon which is perfect.

I told Doyle and my Sis last night about the visit from Mr. Cute Nice Yummy Policeman.   Sis asked me how cute was he and I told her, in front of Doyle, so cute that I was seriously tempted.  Doyle hooted with laughter and said  "My Darling, if you had really put your mind to it that young man would not have had a chance.  What stopped you?"   and I said " He had a wedding ring on, and I have to respect that."  

"Wedding rings,  that is like garlic to us Dear Sister" said Sis.   But I replied "One has to respect the situation, he was on duty.  But I was seriously tempted."

Then Doyle became serious and said that we may have to eventually consider a restraining order on "Crazy" but I said that it appears that he is on the police radar as he's done other calls of that type to other people, it's an annoyance to the police but they have to check the calls out even if its from someone who is not right mentally.  So we made a decision to document each incident that we would have with our local 51/50, and fi it did reach a point where we'd have no choice then we'll go forward with the restraining order.

But now I hear Doyle driving up the driveway, he always honks twice so I'll know he's home and we've still haven't decided what to have for dinner.  Hmmmm maybe Doyle will take us out, we'll see if we can persuade him, we can always dress vintage style and take my vintage car.  That sounds like fun, we'll see.

Later Darklings  

Just another quiet evening at home.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Of wine, crazy people and cute police officers~~~

Dear Darklings,

I didn't have to go into work today as I have already done the hours for this week, but it will be insane next week with the Labor Day Holiday coming and staffers still trying to squeeze out the very last ounce of Summer while they can.

Frankly I'm looking forward to the  Fall activities, the Octoberfests, the craft shows, the wine festivals, Halloween, the Spirit Store opening, even the Classic Car show that a local community has, Love it, Love it.

One thing that signals that Summer is ending is this Huge Church Rummage sale, a 3 day even, but its best to go on the first day and have LOTS of Money.   Never know what you'll find.   I had Doyle take my car today while I had use of his van, both our names are on both vechiles so we're covered.   Good thing too, I found two antique end tables and a wonderful old style French coffee table.  Originally I had just my Aunt's couch in the Formal Palor but sometimes we have a lot of people and the room is huge so I purchased a 2nd couch from Victorian Trading Company that goes very well with the room but I needed end tables and another coffee table, and these were perfect.

You have to move fast and elbow quickly at these church sales,  then I took my time looking over other things and found a lovely table cloth for the dinning room table,  some 1950's style costume jewerly and hidden under a pile of "stuff" a Catholic "sick call" set, very old and complete and got that for $2.00 dollars.  That will go into my cabinet of curiosities.

After looking around for anything else and buying some home made jams and preserves there, (One lady makes marvelous perserves), I headed back to the grocery store and bought 5 bottles of "Deadbolt" red blended wine to add to my wine cellar.

Last night we weren't sure how well we'd like it but was surprised with it's plum and black cherry and currant flavors a hint of sweetness and jam and perfect for pasta or red meat, or if you just want to sip it.  Doyle thought it would go well with gourmet hamburgers as well, a fun tasty wine.  Doyle told me to stock up and put it on the list.   Sometimes one does get surprised and we found it went well with our evening meal.

Sis came home later having eaten out and we presented her with a glass and she found it very enjoyable.   One thing I've discovered, a wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good,  it just has to be good.
And I've been reading that more and more people are becoming interested in blended wine's to add to one's palate as opposed to just one variatal wine, something to tease the taste buds and the nose I guess.

So Doyle with his murder mystery, and Sis and I with our fashion magazines we relaxed and enjoyed our quiet evening all together and Belladonna snuggled next to me, happy to have a little knitted blankie around her, it did feel nippy.   Doyle informed me that the Chimney person was able to work on the fireplace and chimney in the family parlor but had not done the formal parlor and made arrangements with Doyle next week to come back.   I was pleased with him as there was hardly any dust.

Doyle told me that it was sound and the cleaning wasn't that bad.  So that room is ready.  The gutter man will come after Labor Day so I can take a whole day off to be there.

But today, it became very interesting for me,  I had just set the bottles in the kitchen and was going to call my neighbor to keep Belladonna for a few more hours, when there was a police man at my door.

Mmmmmm one look at him and I was wishing I was 21 again, Hmmmm I was also thinking how could I seduce him, but then I saw his wedding band, So cute and so married.  C'est La Vie  but still yummy!

I invited him in, I was glad that "Kitty Kat" was turned off, didn't want to have him started by kitty.  But I could see how his eyes were just rolling around in their eye sockets as he was trying to take in the entire house,  I took him into the formal palour where my Great-Aunt's portrait could intimadate him.  He stared at the portrait for some seconds as I asked him to sit down.

I asked him what was the matter and reason for his presence.  Well it seems that our local crazy person has made a missing person's report, of all people on my Great-Aunt, I laughed and said I could produce in a matter of two minutes both her death certificate and her will as well as the business card of her lawyer (and mine) who handled all the legalities,  well the upshot of it is that "Crazy Joe" as everyone calls him, had been very agitated, claiming he hadn't seen my Aunt and that I had stolen her house and was getting rid of all my Aunt's possessions.  

Oh Dear, I thought, he seems to have turned his attention to me, so I gave the very cute police officer a brief history of the house, my ownership and Joe's mental condition.   He told me that he had been informed about Joe's mental state by a more experienced officer, so I said "Well I guess you have to get aquainted with all the excentrics in your patrol area, myself included".   I invited him to make an appointment to take a tour of the property and house when he has more time to familarize himself with the layout.

I told him "We don't have much crime in this area, that I'm aware of but it pays to know" and he agreed.  He asked if I had a security system, noting that my property and house was large, and I told him yes and showed him but while I was showing him I activated "Kitty Kat", and I said that I had an internal house system as well and for him to go up just 4 steps to the 2nd floor.  Of course Kitty Kat did his thing and the poor officer almost jumped 10 feet into the air but when he saw me standing there so calm he just gave me a look, then looked at the Lion's head above him, went up the 4 steps again and Kitty Kat obliged.

He laughed and said that my place must be a blast on Halloween, I told him to come on by if he's patroling the area that night,  I also said that if he and any other off-duty officers would love to have a tour of the house and gardens with all the little "treats" activated,  to call me and I'd be happy to.

I gave him  both my personal card as well as my business card, he said he would certainly consider the invitation.  He did mention that earlier in the year there had been a call about "Joe" and I said "yes, he was dancing around in nothing but a smile and his tennis shoes, I didn't want the children in the neighborhood to be upset seeing him that way."     Yummy Young Cute Police Officer gave me a cute little crooked smile and said he understood.   We shook hands at the door and again I reminded him about Halloween and he said he would remember and he left.

Oh Sigh, thought I as I closed the door and leaned against it thinking "What a nice guy" and hoped all the best for him, and sinfully imagined what he'd looked like without his uniform.   Well Darklings I might be up there in years but as my Daddy would  put it "I ain't dead YET!"

And now to get dinner prepared,  and my mind on other mundane things.

Later Darklings

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Of relaxing and well just thinking.....

Well Darklings,

Went to work early today, it was good to get home early and quickly.  Right now as I type I have my feet elevated, Doyle is cooking today, Lasana (I don't think I spelled that right), with romain salad,with splashes of basil for a little bite, and Walnut Raseberry vinagrette, to be followed by lime sherbert.

I do cook but because I work I have to prepare it the night before and set it into the crockpot to cook the next day, I leave a note saying what time it went on and whom ever gets home first is the one to turn it off, sometimes Sis will come by to do that before she goes to her next client.

Dear Trisha, one thing I've discovered not all T.J. Max's carry the same things it depends on what the buyers can find in their area's but I hope you're lucky.  One store that has always disapointed me with its obvious cheapness is Ross, at least in our area, I have never been happy with it.

But if you love to make goulish goodies, watch for that magazine that I mentioned in my last post and those cookbooklets, you never know what will be tastefully intriguing.

Of course you expect Cheapness with Target and Wal-Mart, but the way they promote Ross that its an upscale bargain store, not on one's tintype.

I took time on my lunch hour to go to the drug store near my job, to get some personal items, the usual like toothpaste, etc. and I picked up the lastest issues of Vogue and InStyle magazines the September issues which way like 5 pounds each.   If I was being mugged all I'd have to do is swing my cloth shopping bag and bean the mugger with Vogue, guarentee to knock him out.

Since I had gone in early I got off early but Doyle called and asked if I could pick up a bottle of a particular salad dressing, Oh groan I thought  but Fate saved me, one of my co-workers was heading home early and needed to pick up some things at Trader Joe's so I traveled with her and was excited to see at the Mall, they were setting up things inside the Spirit Store, oh I can hardly wait. 

The dressing that Doyle wanted is not at Trader Joe's but at the Safeway next door, so we agreed to meet in front of Trader Joe's after we got our things.   While in the Grocery store I was intrigued by a blended red wine called "Deadbolt",  the price was reasonable enough so I indugled in a bottle.  If we find it good I'll let all you Darklings know.

Doyle is saying that dinner is ready, the wine is uncorked and we shall try it out.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Of Lighting Strikes and Electricity in the air~~~~

Dear Darklings,

Well I am working a lot of afternoons and a few full days this week and next, vacations winding up and school starting for the children of a number of staffers, so I'm covering for them.

David and I have been going over what special and specialized things I do, he is familar with it but I needed to fill him in on the details and the dear man keeps bringing me my Hazelnut mocha latte to keep me going.

This is going to be a very good fit and a very good solution to what had been concerning me and the "powers that be", I feel very good about it.

Monday night was a very exciting night, our weather channel had put up warnings of lighting strikes along the coast and slowly moving inland. Generally we are concerned;   this was dry lighting and the vegetation around here and in the hills is tinder dry.  This state and all around has a lot of grass and forest fires because of these dry conditions.

And in the the Cities of course, such strikes can cause power outages,  I'm afraid that Doyles' recommendation to purchase a generator for the refrigerators and freezer is going to be acted upon, its just a question of having it safely connected between them.   Doyle said he'll talk to our electrican about what is best and how to do it.

But Monday night we could feel the electricity in the air, so Sis and I looked out the highest window in the house that faced San Francisco and we saw it, a number of electrical strikes.   They were magnificent and frightening at the same time, we watched for several hours, some of the strikes were thin and some were just powerful, we tried to do the timing trick to determine how far away they were and if they were coming closer but we barely heard any booms so it was hard to guage.   Sis thought that the cloud formation we were watching was moving more south of us and then East.   We didn't have anything to show the wind direction.

The trick is if you see a strike, start counting "a thousand one, a thousand two" etc, the number of seconds before you hear the boom as sound moves slower than light.   It gives a general idea of how far away, usually a mile per second but that maybe incorrect, but if the strikes and the booms are coming closer and closer together then you know the storm is moving towards you and when its on top of you.

Tuesday evening the electrical charge was greatly diminished, although the weather reports were still having lighting watches but it was more East of us in the Tahoe region and south.  But still exciting.

Yesterday after work Sis came by to pick me up since she had several clients in the city, so we drove slowly, and with the traffic it was slowly, home, we listened to the "Big Band" music on her Sirius radio to put us in a relaxing mood, she suggested we pick up something for Dinner since Doyle would not be home till late and before we could eat we had to get a present for someone we both knew, there was going to be a party Friday night, and the theme was 'silly presents'.  

I said "But if a foolish, silly present be useless isn't that cluttering up their home?"  and she agreed, "But not if it was something usable"  she remarked.     I suggested coffee mugs or cups with silly sayings on it, maybe a total of 4 or 6, "Why not?" said Sis, so with that we went to our favorite TJMax store  and we found a number of coffee mugs with silly or funny sayings, it was hard to choose so we finally bought 8 of them,  and got a box and paper to wrap them in. 

Sis said "They can always re-gift them"  yes, really it is the thought that counts as they say.

But TJMax also had some Halloween goodies out,  we went crazy over what was there, but I said lets not be foolish, it has to be something we can use for indoor decorations,  but it was hard and we were getting a bit hungry, but I saw it and Sis agreed----- a large ceramic pumpkin in off white with a black stem and leaves with the saying carved into it that said "Keep Calm and Haunt On"   perfect for the entrance foyer.

Sis said "That will give people something to think about" and it can be left out all year round.  

Sis phoned in our order at our favorite Chinese resteraunt and said we'd pick it up in 30 minutes but we still had to go to the store for milk and bread, so thing that always needs replenishing,  while there I got excited again finding a speical Halloween edition of "Taste of Home" magazine with goodies for food and decorating in it as well as several of those speical booklets that you see at the checkout all full of Halloween goodies.   Me pass them up??  Not on your Tombstone!!  I have one shelf just dedicated to these types of cook and decorating books.   One never knows what kind of inspiration one will get.

After that it was Chinese food, picking up Belladonna and home.   After dinner Sis and I had fun perusing our finds and seeing what we could make for our Halloween party, its never too early to plan Darklings, Never too early.

Later Darklings

Monday, August 19, 2013

Of Confusing names and getting mixed up~~~

Dear Darklings,

Well today I don't have to go in until 1 p.m. and just work till 5, I'll be taking the Ferry home and Doyle will pick me up at the dock.  I have need to be on the Bay, I just didn't feel like taking the BART and Bus home with all the jigging and jogging of the spine.

Yes, my back has acted up a little, and I was taking a stronger pain med, its better now with just taking over the counter meds, which in the long run I prefer to do.

But in the taking the strong meds, I found myself confusing names,  if I am not focused I do get things mixed up and instead say "Oh that do-hicky" or "Thingamabob" or "Whatchamacall it" or "Thingamajig" or "Do-Dad" and the final one that I'd say in complete exasperation "Oh YOU know what I mean".   To wit they really don't and give me that puzzled Twenty Questions look "ahh is it bigger than a Bread-Box?"

The other day I was talking on the phone to my sister-in-law Monica and calling her Carol, as a matter of fact I referred to her as Carol in one or two of my posts (I guess I'll have to go back and edit it) and Monica said to me "Ahhh are you sure you know who you're talking to?"  and I replied slightly exasperated "Of course I do, Your Carol, Coralline's Mother."  and she replied "No I'm Monica, Coralline's Mother"  well the stunned silence was longer than the longest laugh on the "Jack Benny Show"  until Monica asked me "Are you alright" and I became so apologetic, and told her I had taken a strong pain med for my back, which helped her to understand my confusion. 

She asked me if I was planning on driving my car and I re-assured her that I wasn't, because when I take a strong med I stay home or take public transportation or have someone drive me.   In this case it was my sister.  Oh I just hate it when I become be-fuddled.

But today I am in my "right mind", thank goodness.

This weekend Sis and I did a lot of shopping, we even went to a Farmer's Market not only for fresh goodies but also for preserves and packaged goodies that we love.   And we are also prepared for power outtages,  Sis and I happened to go into our local CVS drug store to re-supply our first aid cabinet and our car kits, when she spotted them, the "Old Boston Lanterns"  these look like old-fashion lanters but have LED lights and batteries,  we already had a couple but we decided to buy 3 more, to have for several areas of the house, and of course we bought batteries as well.  Sis also bought a couple for her house for Brian to use, just in case.

Doyle suggested that we might want to look into a gasoline generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer going during a black out, or if we have to for any reason cut off the electricity to the house.  I wondered about the expense of that, because we really don't have that long or bad an outage but could see the wisdom of it,  so I said "Lets talk about this at length the 3 of us to consider this, it sounds good but we'd have to justify the expense"   Doyle was resonable about my request, so we'll discuss this in the next day or two.

He also suggested that we may want to look into a couple of ladders and strong saw horses for the house as well, something we'll also discuss.

I have a feeling that the next few weeks is going to be "preparedness time" which isn't a bad thing.

I have a chimney person lined up to inspect and clean the chimneys and flues so we'll be fire safe for the winter, my gutter man is coming in on Thursday to inspect and clean the gutters but he also said it would be good to do the cleaning  again in Novemember when most of the leaves are gone from the trees.

So between myself, Sis and Doyle taking a day here and a day there to deal with all of this, we'll get it done and then relax for the winter.

And I am still looking forward to our mini-vacation on the Delta King and Old Town Sacramento.

Now to put some things together and head for work.

Later Darklings
 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Of coffee, a little dog and squirrels~~~~

Hello Darklings,

I'm waiting for my sister, she has to phone some clients to confirm their appointments for next week, so I have a few minutes before we go shopping.

Last night we went through the pantry to check what we need and those things we need to get for emergency supplies.   I'm good about those things, but Sis is very through,  she is also getting things for her own house for Brian, her tennant/house guest----but I guess it would be better to refer to him as her tennant.

Poor Brian has been putting in 12 and 14 hour days of late, so much to be done before the Labor Day weekend, I'm not totally sure what it is but it seems that where he's now at they are going to be shifting things over right after Labor Day and will need that week to tweak things.  He is earning his money.

This morning again I was up early, enjoying my coffee, there is something about fresh brewed coffee that has a waking up feeling to it, just the smell is enough at times to give a lift to one's mind and senses, and on chilly mornings like this one with that tang of Fall in the air it seems even extra special.

I think I could not survive without at least one cup of morning coffee, of course periodically I have to go to my dentist to gently whiten my teeth as coffee does stain, but not overly white, white-white teeth is sort of off putting to me, very unnatural.

No I don't think I could survive without coffee, tea, chocolate and a good bottle of wine----of course we also have to have the staples of life as well.  But those are the speical flavors and scents to keep us going.

This morning as I was sitting out on the back porch enjoying the garden and the nip in the air, Belladonna was with me, I put her light sweater on as it was chilly and had her out-door bed next to me, when I saw it.

A very, very fat squirrel come into the garden, grubbing around for food,  I knew that it loved to induge in the walnuts on my neighbors tree, for more than once I've found the reminants of shells here and there, and I could see that this squirrel had indeed fatten up for the winter, as he (or she) carefully picked and hunted its way across my garden,  I think that is why I love it so (the Garden), I get so much animal life here, the various birds, the squirrels and occasional possum (fortunatly not often), humming birds, bees, butterflies, and the scent of the flowers, I love to choose those that have a wonderful strong scent that travels on the air to attact pollenators.

In the mornings hearing the birds calling out, marking territory,  the other day I was surprised to hear the call of a Hawk, and what sounded like the reply by a much younger hawk, I looked up and spotted the pair high up in the sky.  How rare to hear something like that in the residental part of the city or in the city at all, but how wonderful as well.

But there was that squirrel, and I saw Belladonna slowly stand up, trembling not with fear but with excitement, here was her intruder that frequently teased and scolded her totally unaware of the Mighty Belladonna's presence.  Then quickly she flew down the stairs without making a growl towards her nemisis, the squirrel was completely unaware of the 4 legged danger swiftly approaching until the last second.   I thought that the little creature had met its doom, it scampered as fast as it could with Belladonna close on its tail, I knew that Belladonna would catch it, but at the last moment it made a desperate leap to a tree just out of Belladonna's reach and scampered up the branch.

I watched as Belladonna stood under the tree not with trembling frustration but with satisfaction, the squirrel in the tree was trembling, not even scolding the little dog, it knew in its over confidence that today would have been its last, if not for fate.  But Belladonna a tiny dog with the fierceness of a Rottwiller knew she had won the day and taught that sassy squirrel a lesson.   She did one self-satisfied bark and came trotting back to me in all her smug glory as if she were saying "That'll learn him, come around here like he owns the place, not while I"m on duty, no sir!"  

And for that I simply had to give her a bit of my buttered toast as a reward for a job well-done.

Later Darklings

Friday, August 16, 2013

Of some changes in my Job~~~~

And Darklings,

This is a good thing that is happening,  ever since I went back to work I've been talking to the "powers that be" about what I'm able to do and what I may not be able to do.  I did have some minor problems with my back, nothing major but enough to know that if I went back full time I could re-injure it and be out for some time to heal.

My Boss has been thinking that it would be good to in essence promote one of my co-workers who worked "below me" but has the same qualities that I have and to have him doing what I do full time with me in a back up, consultant position.

In talking this over I would need to retire and then they hire me back as a consultant working in tandem with David, yes David who has been bringing me coffee.  Frankly I am in total agreement about this, to be retired but still active but turning over the "heavy lifting" (mental) to someone extremely qualified.   This would leave the lower position open to be filled with a new hire.

Now it seems like there would be two "supervisors" and I know the long time staffers would turn to me, but by also saying "Let's bring David into this and see what he says" will let them know that he is taking "point" on the work.

David says that he'd love to be able to work Saturday mornings then off Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday off, and then come in Monday afternoon that way hour wise he'd have two days off, Monday is still covered and then I'd come in Tuesday thru Thursday to help with the back log, if he has to be at a meeting and something comes up I can contact him and cover, since the bulk of the back log is during the middle of the week which is when meetings get scheduled (unfortunately).

Later on when I decide to fully leave, he'd switch to working Monday through Friday and I'd be "On Call" to cover sick and vacation days---with coming in on days when there is training so I can be up to par with the rest of the staff.  

We've been looking over the medical and dental programs for me and I'll be covered for that.   In a way I am happy with these choices and plans, I've noticed that things in my life have been shifting in a way, so maybe the accident was, in the long run a happy event.

David has been concerned that it would seem that he is usurping me, but for sometime I felt that he is the best qualified, his ideas are innovative, checking out-side the box, he works well with everyone and listens to others if they have an excellent idea, he never rejects anything out of hand and has a steady focus on things and inspires the others.   I had quietly ask other staff members how'd they feel if David took over and they were happy with the idea.  So I know I can make these changes with good conscience.

So when I talked to him about this he said he knew he still has a lot to learn, there were things that would arise only occasionally and he'd want to be sure how to take care of it properly, so with having me on hand until I went to just "on call" status relieved his mind.

So we will make these shifts Starting on Sept 16 and still have plenty of time for adjustments should BART decide to go on Strike in October.

I am soooo looking forward to this.   And now I must gather my things,  I'm working until 3 p.m. today and I am going to enjoy this coming weekend.

Later Darklings


Feeling happy with the thought of "turning over the reigns"


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Of the Scent of Fall in the air~~~~

Darklings, it's early,

But already for the past few mornings I can scent Fall in the air, and it makes me tingle.

Don't get me wrong, Summer is fun and lovely, but there is something about the anticipation of Fall that is special.

I love Spring with the rivers and streams running full, the flowers blooming, all that wonderful green vegetation,  Summer is the scent of laziness, of cicada's humming in the tall dry grass, of ocean breezes and seashore shells,  Winter is cold,  bone chilling cold of pumkin spice coffee and tea, of hot soups and comfort food, of wet winter storms howling and pelting at your windows so you draw up to warm fires and tell ghost stories.  But Fall is a sort of combination of all these anticipated things, of fruits to be preserved, of the hint of warmth and cold, of the tingling of things to come, of darkness slowly creeping back, pushing the Sunlight away. 

Fall is of dryness and wet, of warmth and cold, of the shifts of the seasons, of being prepared for things to come.

And I get tinglely.  Perhaps this is the same thing that birds and animals sense for migration, hibernation, and mating.  

Sis and I have been going over the pantry the other night, while we waited for Doyle to come home,  she wants to do preserving of fruits and stock up on veggies again, and also check for oil for lamps and batteries for flash lights, in case we have a storm blackout, which could happen given our electric company's problems of not trimming the trees in time. 

And she's right, I want Doyle and I to go over the house and property to anticipate any problems, having the gutters cleaned out and any repairs, the roof and chimney's checked, and the fire places cleaned out, so go over the check list and make phone calls. 

Things cannot all be fun and games, a sense of preparedness is important as well, which reminds me to go over our first aid cabinet as well. 

Sis will not be able to move into her house until late Spring, depending upon how long it will take to paint and wallpaper and other upgrades and repairs, she's not hurrying, she wants it done right.  At least Brian her caretaker, house guest/tennant is comfortable.  I don't mind how long she stays, but she's right she does need to have her own place.

So we are planning to do a major shopping event this weekend and maybe do some buying up in Brentwood later on.  I really will look forward to doing something old fashioned and comforting all for Fall.

Later Darklings

We've tried it and we've found it delicious, just right for Fall

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Of Monster and Voodoo Dolls~~~~

Hello Darklings,

I am home,  hooray!!  I didn't think Home would look so good but it was a busy day, fortunately the trip home wasn't slow, but I think I am still tired from all that shopping.  Well Coralline marched from store to store like a drill sargent.  And she knew what she wanted.

She is in some ways maturing that little girl.

To Trisha and Lucretia I don't see why one can't collect the Monster High Dolls---I have a link and one can order them from Mattel, along with available accessories.

As a matter of fact my Sister thinks she might use them in part of her therapy, they are silly and non-threatening in their own fantasty-morbid way. 

When I came home and put my things away Sis came up to me and said "why not have a duplicate set here?"  "Of What?"  I asked.  "Of the Monster High Dolls and their things, book cases don't cost much at IKEA"  I looked at her for a second and asked "What are you getting at?"  and she replied "A playroom"  "And where would that be?" said I. 

She took me to the small room off the kitchen that use to be a maids room and it has a very tiny bathroom, no tub just a shower.  I had been thinking of using it for guests, but with Sis moving out I would have two spare bedrooms upstairs so that is not necessary, so I was thinking of it being a sewing room or something, but a playroom for dolls---I thought about it, the room is very plain so there are possiblities---I looked at Sis and said "O.K., but no racks or iron maidens" and she agreed.

While Sis is getting dinner out of the oven, I am planning for a play room, who says you can't collect dolls at our age. 

Of course Doyle might be baffled about this, but when I've gone into the basement area that is strickly off limits he asks me "Candle Time?"  and I reply "Candle Time"  if nothing else its good therapy and I do get results, I don't do it often but then I am my own woman.  I plot and plan carefully.

And now Sis is calling me to dinner.

Later Darklings

Of Monster High and Draculaura~~~~

Well Darklings,

It seems I got it ALL wrong,  the doll is called Draculaura and "she" is from the Monster High series of characters, and there are a number of them.

As I best understand it, its like Barbie but with monsters, all kinds of fun monsters, like Frankie Stein, and Clawdeen etc.  and Coralline has all of them very carefully put into a decorated trunk,  she also with her allowance has been able to buy the various sets of furniture that goes with it. 

Her Mom Carol told me that when Coralline does very well on a class or a difficult exam she gets rewarded with another Monster High thing or doll.   And it seems that its not just one dollhouse but several, and they are all bookcases with graphic backgrounds.  My brother put the bookcases on wheels so Coralline can move them around when ever she wants to do imagination play, but it seems that she's writting down the stories as well.

The one that was damaged by her brothers was the one that she was working on, and now that her room is locked they can't get into the others.  But she wants to be able to work on it here at my house for the time being.

But I asked Coralline that since she has Draculaura already, what was that other Draculaura doll?    I should have known better----Barbie remember?  Draculaura and the other dolls can come out in different guises.

I know Coralline is growing up, in another year or two she'll be starting high school, but I think this is a way to help her transition.  Marissa who lives near me, came by last night and was having fun with Coralline looking over the new clothes and Ooooing and Awwwing the Doll house, Marissa is older but its the imagination part that is interesting.

I'm looking at these dolls and saying to myself and my sister agrees  "We didn't have this when we were growing up,  we wish we did!!!"   Are we too old??  Sis says we are dolls enough and I have to agree.

And Coralline will be starting school next week---oh Pooh!!  She says, but I did promise her that she can stay over the 3 day Labor Day holiday unless she has a big assignment she needs to do.

But now I know what to surprise her with for Christmas or something special, I just have to co-ordinate with her Mother.

Well I need to get my things together and back to work I go.  High Ho!

Later Darklings

This is Draculaura in one of her many guises,  Coralline wants to style her hair like that, but without the pink (for now)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Of Shopping exhaustion and vampire dolls~~~~

Well Darklings,

We got home a half hour ago, fortunately we managed to avoid the commute traffic.

Coralline is estatic with her new clothes, shoes and other goodies,  we found things at J.C. Penneys, Target and Wal-mart, we took side trips to the Beverly's Craft store for Halloween goodies, and I could not believe the things girls can put into their school lockers, little battery operated chandilers, we got one in black with crystals, mirrors (one with purple and little bats on it) and other sundry goodies. 

We never had anything like that when I went to school,  we really bought two chandiliers one for school and one for her oversize Dracula Dollhouse, we came across a horror high dolls like Draculina and other girl creatures, of course Coralline fell in love with Draculina, she hasn't grown out of dolls yet but this was like it had become her mascot,  who am I to say "No".

I mean I wanted to get the Munster Dolls but couldn't afford them. 

Had to get her shoes that were correct for her school uniforms, as well as fun shoes, but we had to be sure they wouldn't hurt her feet.

And I did promise I would take her to the Spirit Stores when they open.

I finally had a chance to show her the desk that I bought at the estate sale, she was thrilled, she said it was so "Addams Family"  so now she has her own desk.   I thought she would want her Dad to take it home but she said she couldn't trust her over-active brothers to keep out of her room and doing damage to it.   As a matter of fact she asked her Dad to bring over her Dracula Dollhouse to keep at my home.  

It seems her brothers had done some mischief to it, thinking it would be fun to tease her, instead she screamed and for the first time in her life her mother told me (over the phone) Coralline chased her brothers hitting them with a broom and calling them monsters, this was over a week ago.   Coralline told her folks that her brothers had no respect for her things, and her room and declared that she hated them.  Her Mother told me that Coralline refuses to speak to them or acknowledge their existence.

I asked Carol (her mother) what was her feelings about this and she acknowledge that the boys had gone too far and not only were grounded, but grounded through Christmas, and Coralline can lock her bedroom when she is not at home or if she even leaves her bedroom to help around the house to keep her brothers out.  The boys had their video game things taken away and would not be able to watch any sports games on T.V. , of course that means that my brother is going to have to watch the games at a friends house.

And the boys are going to be doing chores around the house under strick supervision, no more fun and games for them.  The dollhouse is repaired and re-painted, but Coralline's distrust of her brothers right now is very strong.  Maybe when they are older they will wake up to the fact that teasing is not as funny as they think.

This was something I was afraid would happen, I even voiced this to my brother a while ago before this happened, but he kept saying "boys will be boys" but I kept saying they have to learn boundries, they know them here at my house, but are they really learning them in his house.  Well now he knows and even he is paying for it, my brother even complained to my sister and I but we took Carol's and Coralline's side, he realized when he was out-gunned.

So Coralline will have dinner with us and her folks will come to pick her up and drop off the Dollhouse which will be put into her bedroom, her desk will be in the Library so she can do her homework while I work on bills and reports, that way I'm there if she needs help.

Sis is preparing dinner, crock pot stew which will be ready in a few minutes, I have to confess she is a much better cook than I am, although I'm not bad, but she has the better talent.  We thought Doyle would be flying in yesterday evening, but he was delayed for another day and will be in tomorrow, he said to not worry he'd either take the transit or a taxi.

And the 60 day cooling off period has been invoked, although according to those in the know Gov. Brown can do more to get this impass moving.  It seems that the BART Board came back to the table but the Union walked out, it has been recommended to change the negotiators new faces, because the personalities and stepping around to do one upsmanship is getting in the way of serious bargaining.  I agree.

So the trains are running now til Oct 10 and then it starts all over again.  Hmmmm maybe I'll make a voodoo doll to get them to come to an agreement.   Ahhhh Dinner is ready and we are all hungry.

Later Darklings
This is a Cuthulu pie made with cherries with cherry eyes, Sis will attempt to make one eventually

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Of Shopping, shopping and more shopping~~~~

Hello Darklings,

Well I'm waiting for Coralline to finish getting dressed, although I know she is doing it as quickly as possible.

She spent the night at my home, because the stores she wants to go to is closer to me and I have not had the pleasure of her company for a while, and yes we did stay up late to watch "The Mummy's Hand" on Svengoolie.

So today we will go shopping for her clothes for school, she is getting to be tall, in a few more years I'm sure she will be as tall as me.

And I am looking forward to this expedition,  I also put in to have tomorrow off from work, since her school has not started yet we will finish the shopping tomorrow.  My Boss said that was fine since I had been putting in extra time to cover some vacations by staff and he'll have a full compliment tomorrow.

Well on the Bart Strike, Gov. Jerry Brown said for both sides to "hammer out a deal or else" which means he will call for a 60 day cooling down period.  But by law he can only do that one time.  From the editorial cartoons I've been seeing, the attitude is not sympathtic towards the Union or the Board, but more so not to the Union.   And if that state representative has his way it could make such strikes like these illegal, so have the Union done its members any good?  I don't think so.

Ahhh but at this point in time, I do not care, Coralline is here and is ready to go, Belladonna will go to her sitter and we shall be off to do what ladies do best----SHOPPING!!!

Later Darklings

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Of the wined up for the week~~~

Well My Darklings,

I've finally cleared off the build up on my desk.  I'm off for the next three days, and so looking forward to having the time off.

I'm waiting for a co-worker who is tied up on the phone to ask her a question so I can label one pile of reports for Monday and then I'm off to catch my public transportation home.

By Sunday we'll know if we have to implement Plan A.

Sis called me before she left to go home and asked if I was interested in Chinese takeout, she's tired too and Doyle won't be home until Sunday evening, so I said go ahead  but nothing Kung Pow or hot and spicy, so it will be the basics, which I do not mind.

I feel numb and mindless right now, I think with all the stress of BART and the threatened AC Transit strikes we're just flattened.

I'm going to see if I can book some SPA time at the Claremont Hotel and Resort, I feel the need to be pampered and cosetted, but Sunday is Shopping with Coralline and I do want to feel refresh for that, so yes, SPA time it is.   I'll call in the next few minutes to set some time.

I agree Rebecca and Tea, things become fun when the Spirit Store opens, we can be who we deeply are, wicked and willful and just a touch evil.

So if I don't post for a few days, I'm just getting my head back together to face whatever comes next week, oh well I've been through difficult times this won't be any different.

But I do wish my favorite stores for nail polish and cosmetics would have some new lines of colors for me to "oooo and awwww" over.  But it seems that will not happen for a while, they are pushing all the "Going Back to School" stuff.

School oh School, how I remember it well,  sometimes I felt like Wednesday Adams, just a bit on the outside of things,  Hmmm that reminds me of a few things that happened and how those reteched children that poked fun at me how they turned out.  Not nicely I might add.  Hmmm I think I might go over those school photos just to remember things, it will be a good and mindless excerise.

Later Darklings

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Of Trains, Spirit Stores and Transit issues~~~~

Hello Darklings,

And Hello to you Undergroundfortea,   I have to agree traveling by train is the only way to see the country comfortably and in style, and I always prefer having at least a roomette, you can have your privacy, sleep in comfort without having to deal with a snooring neighbor or rude seat mates.  And you see sooo much of the country side, it gives you a better panorama of what our country looks like.....and all in comfort, no weight baggage issues, no long lines, hardly any delays, good food  and to be able to stretch out and walk around.

There have been times when I've had to go to L.A. or back East to visit family or relations but I've always taken the train and train travel has improved.  Many years ago I went back east by Coach----Never again, although service was very good, but having a roomette (at least) made it so much more Luxurious.

I have taken commuter trains when needed and that is not bad and its relaxing.  But flying, unless it was something of great urgency, I never fly.

And when you compare the cost of traveling by train, taking a plane or Greyhound Bus, the train wins everytime.   Unless you're going to a place where there is no train connections so its Greyhound.

Why one of the things Doyle and I plan on doing is taking the train to Yosemite, now the train doesn't go into Yosemite but there is a jumping off point where you catch the Yosemite shuttle into the Valley, then in touring the Valley and other areas you take the Valley tram, one does not need a car.   All one has to do is plan things carefully.

About the Spirit Stores, well with Blockbuster closing so many of them it does leave an opportunity for Spirit to make use of those locations,  they are usually easy to get to, have parking and easily spotted for the general public, it makes perfectly good sense.   I like them because if I see something in the Store and then when Halloween is over I can order it from the web site already knowing the quality of the product.  It can be very helpful.   And I am a tactile person, I like to touch or see the actual object before I commit myself to purchasing it.

I told Coralline on the phone last night and she is soooo looking forward to going,  and we are planning another shopping spree this coming weekend.  Well its just as much for me as it is for her.

About AC Transit.....it seems that Union and that particular Board was on the ball working out their negotiations, they saw the problems BART was having and they were not that far apart on issues and both were in agreement on many things.   At least common sense was working with them.  They were not going to the media but staying at the negotiation table until a final agreement was made.     So the Buses are running----Yeaaaa!!!  says a lot of my co-workers.  It will help with some of their commuting.   But we may have to fall back onto carpooling on Monday if no 60 day cooling off period is declared.

Yesterday the Director said to us that with the planning that we've made for such a problem, that it will be kept in place (that is on file) to have on hand for the possiblity of any other future transit strikes, that way the "wheel won't have to be re-invented"  we'll have a plan on hand and just do a little tweeking as needed.

And about that truck that caught on fire, it was an unusual situation, it does happen from time to time, its rare but not unusual.  It's just that it happened right at commute time and with a bridge they have to careful of the stablity of the pavement surface and it was also a sort of accident scene so all those things had to be looked into which caused further delays. 

But I have to say I have never seen such tempers fly like what was reported, it was pretty scary.

That is why I and many of my co-workers always have Plan B and Plan C in place,  and thank goodness for basic cell phone service to give family members the "heads-up".

But now I'll be getting my things together and hi-ho its off to work I go,  Sis is home today doing reports, but I'll be taking Belladonna to my elderly neighbor, the dear lady loves to fuss over the little darling.

Later Darklings

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Of the Spirit Store is comming!!!

Good Morning My Darklings,

My car pool ride home was relaxing and somewhat uneventful, except we had to take the San Mateo Bridge home instead of the SF East Bay Bridge,  it seems there was a huge truck fire that occurred on that bridge, no one hurt thank goodness, but a lot of sushi went up in flames.  As one of my co-workers remarked "That's a serious fish fry".   A humoriest he is not.

Traffic was backed up for 2 to 3 hours with people running out of gas and people being arrested for fighting.  A sign of things to come I fear.

But San Mateo Bridge traffic was fairly free-flowing so we took the "back way" home and contributed to paying for the extra gas to our driver.

Although I was a bit tired when I got home my sister was waiting very paticently for me and said "we need to get some staples for the pantry", it seems in the fun of shopping for Coralline for me and house re-modeling for my sister and Doyle out of town we forgot to do the basics----grocery shopping.

So with her driving and I going over the grocery list we went into Alameda to the Safeway there, and hoped that Trader Joe's would be open as well...we were lucky we got there in time before Joe's closed and then went to Safeway.   I was amazed at the peace and quiet in the Store and some of the strange "Nighthawks" that shop there after the sun went down.

Ever since many stores stay open either 24 hours or till 10 p.m. or midnight and since the "invention" of on line shopping, those that relish living at Night have many benefits of those shopping hours,  I'm sure during the Christmas shopping hours when many places stay open till 11 p.m. that is also greatly welcomed as well.

I mentioned to my sister about this and she said that in the hot valley areas and desert areas places like Wal-Mart and Target are open 24 hours so that people can shop during the cool of the night avoiding the heat of the day espeically when it gets up into the high 90's or 100's.   When she had to travel as part of her previous job this was something she discovered.    I looked at her and she smiled and said "Maybe we should look at the hours of our local Wal-mart and Target stores, it could prove to be very helpful."

I love the way she thinks.

After we were though loading our groceries in the car, Sis said she had to drop off a number of letters to mail and get stamps, the local post office was nearby and the lobby was open so we drove there and as we were going past what use to be a "Blockbuster" store we saw The Sign.   "Spirit Is Coming!"  

Yeaaaaaa we screamed like teenage girls at a rock concert!

We knew that towards the late middle towards end of September the store would still be stocking but also open to selling with a Grand Opening on Oct 1,   Sis looked at me and said "I guess we'll have to drive by here starting in September aren't we?"   Oh Yes said I.

I hope that they will carry the new Midnight Syndicate album and I do need to add to my Nox Arcana collection as well as any glass and plate wear and things to add to the house.   Sis reminded me to switch to my darker shades of nail polish like "Devil's Lure"  which means that there maybe some new and lovely selections of colors---I hope. 

I know Coralline will be thrilled----And I do hope the larger store south of us will be in its usual place.  Oh I am looking forward to Halloween!  

Sis also reminded me that the Vintage Fashion Fair will also be in October----Oh I thought, maybe I did have to forgo going on a vacation trip this year, but I am all excited in anticipation of the holidays!

And then after we got home and put the groceries away, Brian who was watching Belladonna while we were gone said that Doyle had called and would call back in a short while with some nice news for me.  Hmmmm I thought, I wonder what it could be?

I didn't have long to wait,  Doyle called back and asked me how would I like to spend several nights on the Delta King in Old Sacramento?  Tour the Old Town Sacramento and Sutter's Fort and if we have time maybe an art museum and get there by train?   Yes!!! I screamed.

Doyle had made arrangements for us to go in the early part of October, he said with all the stresses of what was happening I needed a bit of relaxation and fun.   And he made sure his calendar would be clear for those dates, all I had to do was set it up with my Boss, which I knew was not going to be a problem since it was well in advance.

And now with the morning gray and overcast as well as chilly I have my work papers ready and just for today will take the bus and BART and if tomorrow AC Transit strikes or if they don't I will be car pooling.   I just hope that in all this aftermath there will not be any fighting on the on ramps to the SF-Bay Bridge, I have to say on the news broadcast showing the fighting, there was one woman who was so big she could have lifted a bus without much effort.

Later Darklings

Monday, August 5, 2013

Of AC Transit getting into the act~~~

Well Darklings,

I'm still here at work but my work load is done, so a short break while I wait for my ride back home.

Everyone here at work is so dis-enchanted right now.  We heard on the news radio that AC Transit (a 2 county bus Transportation system) has filed to strike on Wednesday.  This will hurt those that have op to get to work or to the Ferry system to S.F. using AC Transit and I am one of them.

So we are looking at Car pooling again for those who live East of S.F. across the Bay, should AC Transit strike and its pretty much what we did before.  We got together taking an approved long afternoon coffee break to discuss this and setting up a telephone tree as well.

Our Bosses are just as unhappy with both BART Union and AC Transit Union essentally holding the public as hostages by denying reasonable transportation. 

We've all decided to continue what we are doing until we know exactly what is going to happen, including the car pooling.  If the Bus system doesn't strike then I can use the bus to take a Ferry but it seems like all is Chaos.

This is suppose to be Summer, a happy time, and school will be starting in a few weeks, there is going to be a lot of very unhappy parents and students.     

I have a feeling that Gov. Jerry Brown is going to be involved in that as well.  This does not bode well.

Ahh my ride is ready,  I'll keep you posted my Lovelies.

Later Darklings

Of A brief BART Strike postponement~~~

Well My Darklings,

Someone Finally woke up our Govenor Jerry Brown to the fiscal disaster the BART strike could do.

I'm still here at home, the contingency plan was we'd impliment our commute plan on Monday (today) strike or no strike, to see how it would work.

But the Govenor has stepped in to impliment a 7 day investigation period into the strike with a 3 member panel to see if a 60 cooling off period is needed and to continue negotiatons.

I will post the article as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal so that those who live overseas can understand how this works.  

So here it is~~~
Gov. Brown Intervenes to Stop BART Strike—for a Week, at Least - WSJ.comWSJ


By
WILLIAM HARLESS

California Gov. Jerry Brown halted a transit strike threatening the San
Francisco Bay Area's main commuter rail system, invoking a law that makes a
strike illegal for, effectively, the next seven days.

Because a strike would "disrupt public transportation services and will endanger
the public's health, safety, and welfare," Gov. Brown said in a statement Sunday
night, he had appointed a three-member board to investigate "the threatened
strike" over the next seven days. California law prohibits a strike while the
investigation proceeds.

Bay Area Rapid Transit workers picketing during last month's four-day strike;
with management and unions still far apart Sunday night, Gov. Jerry Brown
intervened to delay a second strike by a week.Train drivers, station agents and
other workers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System announced the strike late
last week after union and BART negotiators failed to make significant headway
toward a new labor contract.

It would have been the summer's second BART strike. The first, which lasted four
days the first week of July, cost the Bay Area at least $73 million daily in
lost productivity, according to Tracey Grose, the vice president of the Bay Area
Council Economic Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

BART Board President Tom Radulovich, in a Sunday letter to Gov. Brown requesting
he intervene to prevent a second strike, said the union's demands are still
insupportable.

"The BART system is aging, and needs considerable reinvestment to meet the
mobility needs of the Bay Area while state and federal support for transit
dwindle," Mr. Radulovich wrote. "Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining benefits
continues to grow faster than our revenues. Our labor agreements must reflect
these financial realities."

Pete Castelli, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local
1021, said BART's offer Sunday was "regressive"—financially worse for his
members than its previous offer—while BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said, "We
made a steadily upward climb in our offers all weekend, offering more and
more—the wage proposal went up."

"They were calling our proposal regressive," she said, "and our response was we
only went in one direction, and that was up."

As of about a month ago, Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555
were asking for a 4.5% wage increase for each of the next three years, along
with an annual 2.2% cost-of-living adjustment.

BART, Ms. Trost said, has offered an 8% salary increase over four years, while also asking workers to pay more for health insurance, saying their premiums are some of the lowest in California.

According to Ms. Trost, after the governor-appointed panel releases its report,
the governor will have the option of asking a judge to impose a 60-day strike
injunction as negotiations proceed.

The last BART strike before July's was in 1997.

Write to William Harless at william.harless@dowjones.com
Copyright 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So as I understand it the Union is requesting a salary increase of 4.5%  EACH Year for 4 years and a 2.2% cost of living EACH Year on top of that for a total of 6.7%  EACH Year for 4 years for a Grand Total of  26.8% in Salary increases on top of the over $75,000 a year they receive gross?   And they do not pay into a retirement program, BART pays into their program and they only pay $92 a month flat rate into their health plan?

I know of no other government agency or private agency that does that.   Where I work we pay a portion of our salary into a retirement fund and health fund and our company pays matching amounts if not more.   And because I budget my funds carefully I am able to pay into a private retirement fund as well.   When I retire I will continue with my same health insurance and also medicare, and I will pay so much into it and my compay will match it as well.  

I and my co-workers do not know of any company or agency that coddles their employees like that.

The safety issue I certainly can understand but if the employees want safety then they have to make adjustments on other issues accordingly.   Unfortunately it will be the passengers who will have to pay for the increase via their fare costs.   Nobody rides for free in this life.

No wonder my fellow co-workers are so disenchanted by the Union's side of things.   I also understand that a state legislator is seeking to have a bill passed that such strikes done by a government agency that serious affects the economy and commerce be deemed illegal, and force both sides to remain at negotiations even when a contract runs out.   So the BART Union has really started a process that will eventually hurt all Union members.  Tsk-tsk.   How short-sighted by the Union.

Well Darklings I must go,  by the way Coralline, her mother and I had fun over the weekend weeding Coralline's closet and shopping for goodies for her and we are not done, well get together again soon to do more.    The clothing that Coralline out grew and she is going to be a tall young lady, I have in two bags which will go to a charity,  talking to Doyle over the phone he said he'll take care of it for us.  Such a good man.

Later Darklings

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Of exhaustion and planning for the week~~~~

Well Darklings,

I didn't get home til 8:30 p.m. it was a long, long day.   But with discussion and taking into account upcoming vacations etc.  we were able to come up with a month long plan for getting to work during the strike, should that happen.

For sure the plan will start on Monday with a review to see if there are any updates.

Those who live in or near S.F. on the S.F. side of the Bay will come in using either Muni or their cars and they will car pool where possible, and will start the morning session,  everyone else will car pool or take transbay Buses and using Muni to get to work between 12 and 1 p.m. and work till 8 p.m. that way an overlap of 3 hours morning and evening will be covered.  No midnight oil at all thank goodness.

And we also planned to cover any holes that would happen with those taking vacations.   

Moi is on the afternoon/evening shift but I will have every Friday off since I'm only to be working part time.  3 day weekends will spoil me.   I was so tired last night that Sis made me a grilled Cheese sandwich and I crashed into Bed.

Now I'm up and bright-eyed and somewhat 'bushey-tailed'.   I'm leaving in a few minutes to go to my brother's house, and spend the day there, helping Coralline and her Mom go through Coralline's closet then Sunday its up early and we go shopping.  We'll go the Saturday vigil mass, then I'll have dinner at Coralline's house, they are asking me to spend the night there as well so Coralline and I can have an early start Sunday.  So that's the plan.

Sis will be busy with her contractor on her house, Belladonna will stay with my elderly neighbor,  Doyle is out of town for the weekend.  So it seems that all plans are in place.   Coralline called me a few minutes ago and said "Guess What?"   What said I,  well her favorite craft place "Beverly's" is already getting their Halloween things out.  Including Black Flowers!!  she said excitedly.  Well I do need to freshen up my fabric bouquets, so I think we will also be doing a side trip as well. 

Hmmm I think when I have a chance I'll need to check out the Spirit Halloween web site.

Later Darklings

Friday, August 2, 2013

Of the impending BART Strike~~~~

Well My Darklings,

I'm here very early at work today,  cleared off a lot of things and in about 30 minutes we will have our All-Staff meeting.

Already David is plying me with Hazelnut Mocha Coffee, our Director has cereral with either hot or cold milk, fresh fruit, fruit juice, coffee, tea, pastry, and Bagels with several different kinds of spreads.  He knows many of us left home without eating and this promises to be a long meeting.

We heard the word on last nights news broadcast, the BART Unions have given a 72 hour notice that they will strike on Midnight Monday Aug 4, so no service on Monday, unless both the Union and the BART management come to an agreement.

Which we know will not happen.   The Union is asking too much and are already the highest paid transport agency in the United States,  many of us have gone over the numbers and we agree that this Union does not pay into its pension program, only pays a flat $92 allowance into their medical program, where as other govenement agencies do pay into those programs with the company paying matching funds to match the difference. 

The BART Union does not want that to change, well as almost all of my co-workers agree, the BART Union better change or there will be new training under a new contract with less money and paying into those programs, and the old staffers can kiss their jobs bye-bye.   Much of the Public is not on the Union's side.  

One thing we do agree on is that better safety for BART employees and for passengers is very important, but the Union is using that as a cover-up to distract from the fact that they want to even be even higher paid.  And who is going to pay for that????   The Passenger riders with higher fees to ride the BART.  And many of them cannot afford to have that kind of increase.

And yesterday the BART Union Board as well as members of other Unions gathered in front of City Hall in Oakland to show solidarity???!!!  Where is solidarity for the BART passenger?!

And for the State Capital to become involved requires a vote by the state congress? as well as other legal hoops?   With out regard to the damage to the economy???   Oh something is very rotten in Sacramento.

So here we are, waiting for the meeting, already I can see huge boards being set up so that a plan can be in place, the idea is that we will copy what is finalized on the plan, then a designated person will print it out and distribute it, we'll look it over and agree or make final changes then print out the new plan for finalization.  We will be here till late I think, our Director said he will buy dinner if it looks like we are going to go past 5 p.m.  We all agreed PIZZA, much easier and we have two microwaves to heat up slices if need be.

Of course everyone is shocked, Shocked!!  I came wearing slacks, granted they are in black, but no one has ever seen me wearing slacks to work, I said "Well isn't Friday sometimes referred to as 'Casual Friday' ?  So why not wear slacks.  Espeically as this is going to be a long, long day."   No arguements.

One of my co-workers will give me a lift home, as its on his way.   ***sigh***  It's going to be a difficult August for communiting.

Later Darklings