Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Road Trip…..day two
September 29, 2017

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We woke up early and had the continental breakfast that came with the room. This was the Ramada and I’d stay here again. Very quiet structure (cement floors), close enough to the freeway without the noise, comfortable room and only about a mile and a half walk to the downtown area. We booked all of our hotels ahead of time and also our tours of Hearst Castle, which would take up most of today. We booked three tours. Two in the morning with a break for lunch and then an afternoon tour of the cottages, kitchen and wine cellar. The tours are not cheap ($200.00 total) and when we were checking in at the Visitor Center, a person next to me said “I don’t have a reservation, could I get a tour?’ The response was “We’re sorry, but we’re fully booked for the day.” That’s what happened to me in 1984 when I first arrived in California, and I tried to see the castle. Still a busy place.

We drove straight to the castle (the scenery and ocean views along the way were stunning), by passing Cambria, Morrow Bay and Morrow Rock. We will do those on the way back from the castle. We didn’t want to lose our reservation. After checking in, we were guided to the bus loading area, and we boarded for the twelve-minute ride to the castle. Our first tour was the Grand Room, Dining , main rooms adjacent and the Theatre.

The guide we had made the whole tour. About 50 people were on this first tour, and he waited until all of us were together before he would start talking about the history and details of each room, who the guests were (all the famous people from the 20’s, 30’s & 40’s), and savory stories that accompanied them. He allowed us to ask questions, he made us laugh and overall we learned so much about Mr. Hearst and his life and how the castle came to be. The tour ended with a movie taken from clips at the castle and made the whole experience truly memorable. After the tour, our guide extended an invitation to explore the rest of the grounds before we took our bus ride back down the hill. However, we had to make our way back to the bus drop off location to start our next tour.

Our second tour was for the second and part of the third floors of the castle. This included Hearst’s private study/office, the library and numerous guest rooms with all of their art and antiques. Our guide for this tour was not as exceptional as our first guide. As she led us through the maze, she would begin talking before all of us were in the room. She was less than enthusiastic about telling us any details and the ones she did mention on a piece of artwork (“this is a fleur de lys and is French, or this is an olive leaf and it’s Italian”) I’m sure were told to us to make us think she knew what she was talking about. She mumbled, didn’t ask if we had questions and her memories of events that had happened in the castle amounted to her meeting Elizabeth Taylor and Mel Gibson. Near the end of our tour she looked at her watch and said; “We have just enough time for me to show you one more thing”. She pointed to some stairs and said “Go down this stairway and I’ll meet you”. It was the last we ever saw of her. We all went down the stairs and waited while she never showed up. Basically she showed us ‘the door’. I think it’s time some one did it to her.

By the end of this tour, we had just one hour to go back down the hill, have a bite to eat and then head back to the castle for our final tour of the kitchen, guest cottages and wine vault. At the visitor center we went to their cafeteria where they serve Hearst grass fed beef and other items from the ranch. The food we ordered was great, but they had only one cashier on and the line-up to pay was so long, all of our food went cold before we could eat it. It took so long for people to cash out it left us with only 7-10 minutes to gobble everything down and head back to the bus loading.

Our third tour guide was efficient, but she had a sense about her that made us feel…. “When will this end?”. And so we began our tour of the first construction on the site, which were the cottages. Each cottage was named for the view it entertained: House of the Sea, House of the Sun and House of the Mountains. They were the main residences of the Hearst’s and guests like Winston Churchill during the early years, while the main castle was being built. None had kitchens as everyone was required to eat together (a Hearst rule). One of the most surprising aspects to these cottages and the main castle were the bathrooms, which for the 20’s were as modern as we have them today. Hearst even experimented in these cottages with ideas like seven shower heads and ideas he used later on in the castle.

The last part of this tour were the kitchen(s) and the wine vault. Being in the cooking field for over 45 years I would have given almost anything to work in or even have a kitchen like this. For when it was built it is absolutely amazing and modern.

After the kitchen, we were taken to the basement to view the wine vaults. The photos say it all. It held over 7000 bottles of fine and rare wines.

The photos below were of a sarcophagus (Roman above ground tomb), the Neptune Pool (under construction…it was leaking 5000 gallons of water a day…now sealed and ready for the marble replacement), the indoor Roman Pool, tennis courts above the Roman Pool and the view of the hillside coming down to the Visitor Center.

 

This ended our tours for Hearst Castle and we headed back towards Cambria and our home base San Luis Obispo.

Cambria is a quaint seaside city hugging the coastline with numerous accommodations available and some wonderful restaurants and shops. We stopped for a few photos, but had to move on for timing purposes to Morrow bay and Morrow Rock.

After Morrow Bay, we headed back to the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. To finish our daylight hours, we passed our freeway exit and the Ramada and stopped at the famous Madonna Inn. It’s filled with surrealist items and construction. We sat at the bar and ordered ourselves a glass of wine each and took in the uniqueness before heading back to our hotel.

It was about 7:00pm when we got back to the hotel. We took a small break and freshened up. Then we walked over the freeway bridge to downtown and the Mission. We lucked out again. As we approached downtown, we could hear all of this music filling the air. It was Thursday and we found out, like Palm Springs, they have a street fair Thursday evenings. The street fair here has a vibrancy that we are missing in Palm Springs, but I think it is because of the youth factor. The streets and shops here, which remind me of Old Town Pasadena are filled with boutique shops and a population of young and old….heavier on the young side. GREAT Energy! They have a creek that runs parallel to the main street (which was closed for the fair) where you can dine Creek Side. Very charming and romantic with the night lighting. Lots of people milling about and all seemed carefree and happy. We searched out another attraction called ‘Bubble Gum Alley’ and found it. You can see from the photos why it has its name. After that we walked up and down the fair and enjoyed all of the excitement. Lots of musicians…guitar players, violinists, a group of about 12 students all doing percussion only, and many others too numerous to mention. One food kiosk stretched almost a half block and the servers for it made you feel like you were part of a movie with their antics, acting and fun-loving attitude. Great job! By this time, I wanted something small to eat to tie me over till morning. And I wanted to sit down away from all the commotion. We found a place called NOVO. A wonderful restaurant which I can honestly say gave me the best Lamb Salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. The flavors took me back to the Mediterranean. Every spice and flavor was balanced to perfection. Amazing: www.novorestaurant.com.

After this we headed back to the Ramada for some shut-eye and the start for our third day tomorrow.

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Oh Lordy, Let There Be No Tapes
June 12, 2017

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I wake up to birds outside screaming because I’m late. Usually I’m outside on the patio by now taking in the morning-glory of life. So I move my unresponsive legs off the bed hoping to find the floor and Eberhard says, “Careful, careful”. I make my way to the bathroom to relieve myself. All goes well except for the thoughts that start running through my head as memories from last night start to float past me. I get to the sink to wash my hands and lo and behold there’s a huge zit on my upper lip between my nose and mouth. What? Who gets this at 68? Last week it was one on my nose. God hates me.

I make coffee (I only have one cup a day, but I love it in the morning) and I make my way out to the patio to take in life for the day. I’m naked. Not a pretty site, but I’m protected (and so is the world) by an 8 foot wall around me. The birds start laughing at me in great furor. I am not my usual self, ready to take a moment to meditate. Instead I have these flashbacks….”oh my God, did I do that?” Jeff (karaoke man) why didn’t you stop me?” And Bobby,  you were suppose to keep me in check….. you even said to others that “I was never the same after my mild stroke.”

The evening was enlightening. We started out by meeting friends and their family relatives visiting from Georgia. It’s our ‘solving the world’s problems’ (Trump, etc.) get together that we have occasionally on a Sunday. Of course we discuss the delicate matters over a few glasses of wine. It was a very interesting perspective, not one we were accustomed to, as we tried to figure out why people are attracted to Trump, and why they can believe his rhetoric. We surmised, part of it was education, another part was environment and what they see around them, but mostly it was what people don’t see as they view their lives from  a finite perspective. In conclusion we decided “not to worry”…..this too will pass.

Dancing in front of the karaoke singers was just part of it. There was the bus ride from our beginning location to the karaoke bar. We got the whole bus to ‘rock’. Everyone got off at our stop and the bus driver was relieved, just hoping for a few more silent moments until his shift finished. Still, I remember Jeff encouraging myself and Bobby to sing. Not a nice picture or sound for that matter. Everyone run……run for your lives.

In conclusion, at some point in time, we all need a little release on whatever level makes us comfortable.  Just look at the TV in this moment. Trump, is surrounded by his cabinet in their absorbent moment of self-aggrandizement.  This is their moment of release.

True or False?

Beginning of………
February 3, 2017

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Identity
November 17, 2016

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We’ve lost our identity. Our true identity. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s because we’ve been trained to look outside of ourselves for respect, gratification and acceptance.

We’re feeling forgotten, left out and we’re in pain. You can’t fill that void with a new President-elect, drugs or any external means.

We have to stop, quiet ourselves…and listen to what we feel. We have to do this each and every day. And, each and every day we will learn truth and the outside world as we know it will slowly change.

We must change inside first, before our outside world changes.

 

Frustration
July 27, 2016

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Frustration is running rampant throughout our lives right now. On an international level its extremists and how to cope. On a national level it’s dealing with deep divisions in beliefs, and on a personal level its dealing with the myriad moments of daily life. Finding a solution isn’t that easy. If you ponder all of these scenarios throughout any given day, you end up with a cacophony of unending thoughts and turmoil in your mind.

Maybe the best solution is to simplify. Take the three necessities in life: food, clothing and shelter. Are these needs being supplied? And, are they being supplied at a level that does not invoke stress? If stress is involved, you must remove the stress factor or whatever is causing the discomfort. You must start from a point of peace in your mind. Searching for that peace will give you an open mind to finding peace in other areas of your life.

The world will always be there with all of its woes. Starting each day from peace will eliminate most of the frustration you feel. A pill will never cure your feelings. Money will not fix the emptiness and feeling of lack. All you can do is start over and start from the basics.

It will set you free.

Anchor
September 6, 2013

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The process that holds us to our beliefs.

Beliefs are temporal.

Much like life,

It’s more important to believe, than to …..

Assume

Your belief will open any door

Your wishes will leave you dry.

Leave wishes behind.

“The American People”
August 5, 2011

You hear this phrase often from politicians, but what does it mean? It’s all assumption. They think by quoting that phrase, they have the support of “The American People”. It’s a selling point. No more, no less. It means nothing. These politicians haven’t personally asked everyone for their opinions. As a matter of fact, most using this phrase are expounding their own personal views/agenda and enhancing their position by including “The American People”.

How about telling the truth? You really don’t know what the American people want.

Let the American people express their opinion from the elections and not an expression of rhetoric from a politician.

The Writing Is On The Wall
July 14, 2011

Our perceptions are based on our reality in this moment.

As we continually ponder our futures, moment by moment, in our everyday life, things in the world are changing around us. The collective consciousness will be moved towards more separation and contraction. A world burdened by debt has no other alternative than to pass the burden. There will be massive changes in our ability to maintain our status quo. Look carefully around you and cherish what you have now.

Move towards freedom of burdens. Discard what you cannot use.

The saving grace for us all will be expansion on all levels.

Expand in love.

It’s An Unruly World
July 9, 2011

I would like to blame Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for the way rules are disregarded now, but in reality the core base of what we see happening around us now began long before they came on the scene. They were just the vehicles that made us aware. They broke all the rules and got away with it. Responsibilities and consequences were brushed under the rug. People emulate what they see, and in this case, they saw it in our leaders and copied their actions. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

However, when two people choose to break the rules and it is copied by millions, the effect becomes overwhelming. There are endless examples around us each and every day. Here are two. ‘Stop’ signs have been mentally changed into ‘yield’ signs. Carpool lanes are for single people only, unless you are caught. And who’s to catch them? There is no enforcement, and the people breaking the rules know it.

Two factors make all this possible. First, is the thought process behind the action. The person breaking the rule is coming from a place called selfish. From their point of view and the world they live in, nothing else matters but their agenda. Secondly, they assume they will not get caught. But, if they do get caught, they will deny the action. “Prove it” will be their response. They will spend endless amounts of energy denying ‘what is’ or ‘what was’. And, why would they take this approach? Because, they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, if they get away with it. Kudos to the distorted and twisted way we’ve come to think. Where has our conscience, manners and belief systems gone?

The way of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. Living the good life, at the expense of others.

We Need Another Woodstock
May 6, 2011

What is it that makes us so limited?

Eberhard and I are watching the videos and the song ‘Aquarius’ comes on. Eberhard utters the title blog. I’m thinking……. he’s right. We need another Woodstock. Maybe they could call it “I Stock’ or “Wood Be Nice”. The point is, we need it.

Stiffness, tightness, controlled, lost, anxious. These are just a few of the feelings that are out there. Fearful, poor, tired and weary, scared, unloved are the other words to describe our feelings.

Woodstock set people free. It was an incredible escape. There’s nothing more that we need now, as that escape. We’re so caught up in ‘life’.

What is life anyways?

A string of moments laced together to give us a feeling. You place the ‘word’ on what feeling it is you want.

I’m watching him dance. His steps are one, two,….one, two. Locked into the conditions he or someone else said, ‘was the way to be’, or,  ‘should be’.

Where is our ‘Being’?

I’m walking home and a few farts slip out between the cheeks of my butt. I smile. That’s the freedom we need. To be able to fart in public and smile, with everyone looking on and saying….

“That’s cool”.

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