While at Philz, Looking Through Old Photos: Self with Masako Sato, Dearest Mum

Local 3: Favorites, San Francisco Bay Area

” . . . who is local — the people and places we know by heart.”

— Jen H., The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 13 October 2016

The people and places we return to, again and again, cannot be dislodged from the heart!

Below, three of self’s favorite local places:


Señor Sisig: A Filipino Fusion Food Truck. Today’s sighting was in the Financial District.


Patrons at the Legion of Honor, Looking at a Vintage Poster of Sutro Baths


Half Moon Bay, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gathering: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

What is the holiday season if not a chance to get together with family and friends to over-indulge in great conversation, food, and maybe even a libation or two?

  • Prompt for GATHERING, The Daily Post Photo Challenge for the week before Christmas

Self’s first post on this theme shows:

(1) a crowd waiting to get in to the Santa Maria del Fiori in Florence:


WAAAAH! These are the crowds in NOVEMBER? Don’t even want to imagine what they’re like in the spring and summer!

2) an outdoor yoga class in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin:


St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, July 2015

3) pelicans and seagulls, Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay, CA


Fall, Half Moon Bay, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Monochromatic 4: Moody Landscapes

Half Moon Bay, June 2015

Half Moon Bay, June 2015

On the way to Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: May 2015

On the way to Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: May 2015

The Trans-Canada Highway, April 2015 (Can you imagine weather like this in April, self can't even)

The Trans-Canada Highway, April 2015 (Can you imagine weather like this in April, self can’t even)

ONE # 3: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

“This week,” the WordPress Daily Post says, “we want to see photos that focus on one thing. Maybe you’ve got a stark photo of a single tree silhouetted against the setting sun, or a lone sandpiper wandering the beach as the waves crash.”

Here are my three encounters with the concept of ONE.

The first is a large tree in a plaza off Main Street, in downtown Half Moon Bay.

Main Street, Downtown Half Moon Bay:  The plaza had a large Christmas tree.

Main Street, Downtown Half Moon Bay: The plaza had a large Christmas tree.

The second is of a lighted Santa in someone’s front yard.

Jolly Old St. Nick in Someone's Front Yard in Half Moon Bay

Jolly Old St. Nick in Someone’s Front Yard in Half Moon Bay

The third “ONE” is a gigantic snow man, in a large room next to the Rain Forest exhibit.

This gigantic snow man was in the auditorium of the California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park

This gigantic snow man was in the auditorium of the California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park

Well, it was fun. The Man treated to breakfast at our usual coffee shop, so self treated to the scallops, and bought a 20-lb. bag of sunflower seeds for the birds.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half Moon Bay: This Is Love

Art By Diane Varner (who self has known since 1986)

Art By Diane Varner (who self has known since 1986)

Self this morning is in Half Moon Bay.  She had dinner with Bob and Diane, and Diane showed self the house re-model she and Bob are embarking on.  Their beautiful home is cozy, but orderly.  Their food is organic and fresh, the dinnerware is green ceramic, and the artwork on the walls is Diane’s.

Last year Diane was flown to London (to Oxford, specifically), to speak about her art.

Above is the book with one of her pieces on the cover (Isn’t it AMAZING?).

And self is sorry that the only picture she took of Diane and her husband Bob is blurred.  But the attitude — the respect and affection and trust — make self want to cry!  Here they are:

Diane and Bob Varner, the most happily married couple self knows.

Diane and Bob Varner, the most happily married couple self knows.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Half Moon Bay, Happiness

Son and Jennie arrived in the wee hours.  Took them six hours from Claremont, straight down 5.  Ah, sweet energy of youth.

Store Sign, Main Street, Only in Half Moon Bay

Store Sign, Main Street, Only in Half Moon Bay

Decided to have lunch in Half Moon Bay.  Sun was out; it was still chilly.

Sign # 2, Still on Main Street, Half Moon Bay

Sign # 2, Still on Main Street, Half Moon Bay

There was an interesting store selling glass pumpkins (Alas, no pictures)

We found a great place to stop for lunch:  Chez Shea, on Main Street.

Jennie's Lunch:  Beet Salad.  Beets are supposedly very good for you.

Jennie’s Lunch: Beet Salad. Beets are supposedly very good for you.

They had the most humongous servings!  Highly recommended.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Another Beautiful Afternoon (May 2012)

Visited a dear friend in El Granada today.

We had green tea in her “shed.” Her husband, who as far as self knows was a UC Davis grad (though not, self is sure, in architecture), built “the shed” himself.

This is another of her husband’s many projects. He constructed the redwood box himself.

Inside the “shed” is another marvel of space-age engineering. Self is very envious of the mini’s high-gloss shine!

Yet another of Bob’s horticultural projects

Diane’s studio. She is an amazing artist. We’ve known each other since before Andrew was born.

Saturday Night: Half Moon Bay

Ahhh, it’s been a very good evening. Had dinner in Half Moon Bay. For sheer atmosphere, drive to the coast at night can’t be beat. Never mind that, on the way back — hubby wasn’t feeling well, so self went solo — self was tailed for over a mile by a cop. On the CD player: James Blunt. Self blithely sang along to “You’re Beautiful” (Son says his Mom is so “emo”). Ate: crostini; scallops sauteed in butter; salad with avocado, fresh fennel and grapefruit; wild rice with quinoa; fresh asparagus. Self’s contribution was clam chowder (her first attempt!) Dessert was lemon cookies (baked by Diane as the rest of us were finishing up dinner), topped with fresh strawberries. Self had two glasses of champagne with hibiscus. Occasion: none. Simply an excuse to eat. Heaven!

Champagne With Hibiscus (Self had two of these)

Champagne With Hibiscus (Self had two of these -- !)

Decision was made to have the next dinner (in mid-July) be Filipino-themed. Self will send around links to Filipino food blogs, so people can choose which dishes they can try to make. No one in the group’s ever been to the Philippines, so self thinks it will be fun to bring along some Filipino books and magazines. Fun!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Today has been a day of surprises, dear blog readers.  The first surprise is that we left for the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival at 10 a.m., which was a rather late start for us.  So of course we got stuck in a humongous traffic jam, and it took us an hour to get there.

As we got closer to downtown Half Moon Bay, self began to worry where hubby would park.  In earlier visits to the Pumpkin Festival, hubby has insisted on parking in a high school on top of a hill, and it’s at least a good mile from there to Main Street.  And today self was not thinking straight and wore four-inch-high espadrilles.

Anyhoo, it was with great relief that self heard hubby instruct her to get down with brother-in-law at the corner of Highway 1 and Main Street; hubby said he’d join us after he parked.

At first self thought brother-in-law might want to have coffee while waiting for hubby, but he insisted on going straight to the festival.  On the way, we passed the Flying Fish Market, and self inquired of brother-in-law whether he had an inclination to peruse the produce therein.  To which brother-in-law replied in the negative.  And so we arrived at Main Street, and at this point, self began to see many many things that delighted her in all sorts of visual and olfactory ways:  such as a glass-blowing demonstration; and a table manned by Greyhound Rescue; and vendors selling all manner of pumpkin delicacies like pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.  But brother-in-law was walking in a straight line, and self had to scramble to keep up with him.

So we were walking.  And brother-in-law was walking.  Fast.  And he uttered not one word to self, who was always lagging just a few steps behind.  And he walked and walked and walked.  And after an hour we were still walking.  And it occurred to self that hubby must have parked by now.  But he had not called.  So self, who could not even call out to brother-in-law to stop (for he is very deaf, and only hears what you are saying if you are standing directly in front of him and he can read your lips), decided to chance losing him, and called hubby on her cell.  And lo and behold, hubby was waiting in a coffee shop, which was, oh, about 30 blocks behind us.

And self told hubby:  “Your brother is going like a rocket.  I think he wants to walk the entire festival and then head back.”

And hubby said OK, he would not move from the coffee shop, because if he tried to give chase, he would never catch up.  Which, to self, sounded like an exceedingly good plan.

And wonder of wonders, self did locate brother-in-law, still walking in that dogged and purposeful manner, never stopping at any booths, and self felt she was ready to scream.  And then self hit on a simply brilliant idea, which was that she would pretend she was alone, completely alone, and she would just forget about brother-in-law and hubby.  And she would take her time, stopping at any booths that caught her fancy.  And, isn’t it amazing, dear blog readers?  The minute she stopped thinking in terms of “catching up”, brother-in-law stuck close to her elbow (self means:  closer than he’d stuck before), and she never had to worry about losing sight of him.

Oh, she did once briefly lose sight of him, for about 10 minutes, but by then she was with hubby and, like a beagle to the scent, hubby seemed to know exactly where to find his brother, for he headed straight for a sausage booth, and there was brother-in-law, standing first in line.  And, after that, both men kept asking self where she would like to stop and have brunch.  But she was afraid to say anything, for she thought both men were crazy/unpredictable today.  And, in fact, hubby surprised her exceedingly by deciding we would have breakfast in Pasta Moon.  And, OK, that was quite a nice place for a repast (though self sincerely wishes that she knew in advance when hubby will be overtaken by the rare fit of generosity, so she can have time to refer to her list-of-restaurants-reserved-for-such-moments), but after that both men declared that they’d had their fill of the festival and wanted to drive straight home.  To avoid the Highway 92 homeward bound traffic, we had to detour through Pacifica, which was a very long detour, and along the way self saw many many fruit and pumpkin stands, but in keeping with the theme of the day —  which seemed to be:  moving on Auto-pilot —  hubby seemed to speed up whenever we approached any of these.

So self can’t really say much about the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.  She didn’t get to taste a single pumpkin anything, she didn’t buy any wonderful Halloween doo-dads (such as the orange wool berets, shaped like pumpkins), she was always tense, and she thinks that will probably be the last time she and hubby go to the great Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.

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