Thursday, February 18, 2021



We are staying at a B&B until we leave Saturday a.m. (We leave the building at 4:00 a.m. Saturday!) Today is our "goodbye" day, walking around the old neighborhood, because tomorow we have Covid tests and one last Goodwill trip, a meeting with our real estate agent, the sale of our car, and other last minute "stuff."
But I want to put in a plug for Amber House on 22nd Street between M & N. It's really wonderful, and I wish I had time to post pictures. I'll take some to post from Portugal, as downloading and posting them is the time-consuming part.
The B&B is split between two old houses (and we love old buildings), one on each side of the street. The main one was built in 1905, and the one we are in was built in 1895. We are in room 13 (which I've always considered my lucky number), called "the Beethoven Room." (We love Beethoven, but that's just coincidence.) We priced out other hotel rooms, but they all charged extra for breakfast, for parking, for all kinds of add-ons that made them more expensive than a B&B, and Amber House is walking distance to two of our favorite restaurants through the years: Tapa the World and Kasbah Lounge, side by side with shared outdoor "courtyard" dining.
I'll take some pictures of Amber House today and then post them after we get settled in. Inside and out, both buildlings are beautiful and artistically rendered, with an aura of bygone eras. I'll leave this little teaser of a bedside table and our room telephone used to call the office.
Time is flying and still so much to do!

How about you? Do you like old buildings? Classical music? Beethoven? And . . . what is your lucky number? (Do you have one?)

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (and Women)

Changes have been happening lately: Our buyers pulled out. They were a young couple in Seattle, and I think they got cold feet about moving to Sacramento. So now the condo is on the market again. But the good news is that it is generating interest again. We had one viewer earlier this week and another is coming tomorrow. 


Meanwhile, the airline called to say the flight of one leg of our journey was cancelled and had to be rescheduled to another date. Now - toca madera (touch wood) that it isn't re-scheduled again we leave here on February 24th instead of 21st. The good news is that there is one stop less.

So those two things have called for a lot of scrambling — paperwork to cancel the sale, emails to friends in Portugal, new arrangements for dropping off our car to the woman who is buying it, changing the dates of our stay at the B&B, the date of our Covid tests, etc. All of that is done, now, and we had a nice zoom conference with our immigration attorney in Braga, who . . .

. . . informs us the flat will be ready for us when we arrive: newly painted (she showed pictures, beautiful white walls), basic furniture we asked her to pick out for us - bed, bookshelves, dining table, chairs, sofa, chests - all good. The heating/a/c will be in. And we have changes of clothing in our suitcases until the shipping arrives next month.

So that leaves time for taking more walks around Sacramento (which we have always loved) and taking pictures of more murals and a couple of sculptures. There is quite a range of styles. Enjoy. 

This is called "Peace" 
This stylized dragon
is also a bicycle rack.


The next three murals are all part of the front of the regional transit building on R Street:

                    



I don't remember the name of this building, but it also is on R Street:   Cool, huh?


And then the next two walls. The first is in the R Street Corridor. The second is just before the R Street Corridor on the side of the 515 Grocery Store and Deli. It's a sylized ocean/beach scene.


The next three were on S or T Street. All by the same artist and marvelous.






And these last three were somewhere on Q Street (I think). Sorry I can't be more specific, but I vary my walks and then put the camera aside for a couple of days. 


                                    

I've become addicted to finding new murals. I think they beautify an area so much. How about you? How have you been using your lock-down time? Are there many murals in your town or city? Do you like them? Or do you prefer unpainted walls? (These murals are all samples of artists who take part in "Wide Open Walls" (whose acronym spells — appropriately, I think — "WOW.") 



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Condo is in Escrow.

 No pictures right now, because so much is happening, including far too many winds to go out and photograph the neighborhood.


But we accepted an offer, and now there is just the usual paperwork, etc. — which can be time-consuming these days with all the rules & regulations. Especially new regulations regarding Covid. 


But things are moving along. In just under three weeks we clear out the condo and move to a B&B, and on the 21st we board for Portugal. On the 19th we go for Covid tests, because a negative reading is required within 72 hours of boarding. 


Between now and then there are the good-byes. (Sniff.) But we are promised lots of visitors once it is Covid-safe to travel again. 


I'll post again before we leave, and maybe even with pictures! 


Yope you all are safe and healthy and the same for your loved ones. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

About These Long Silences . . .

 It seems my posts these days are punctuated with long silences in between. Life has been so eventful that everytime I plan to sit down and blog about it, something new happens. Originally I was going to post about the beautiful murals around town, you may recall, before I rewrote a new collection of poems. (And believe me, when the obsession to write strikes again after a long dry spell, I seize the moment.) Then there was our anniversary and then Xmas - both wonderful but celebrated indoors quietly. 

The poems are finished. Now I have to decide where to submit them. This is a little more complicated than usual, because . . . we are moving to Braga, Portugal. Next month. (February 21st.) And I'm wondering how to submit to American markets from Portugal, and to European markets in English. 

I know, I know, we just moved last summer, leaving our home in Midtown of 22 years! But Portugal has been on our minds and in our hearts for quite some time. We started going to Braga in 2014, and we went every year until Covid-19 struck the world. We've talked about moving there soooo many times, then talked ourselves out of it, then back into it, then out of it . . . which is why we decided a wiser move would be to the smaller condo downtown. But Portugal wouldn't let go of us. So we've decided if the desire to move there is going to keep recurring, we'd better just do it. The shippers came last Monday, and Thursday and Friday our wonderful real estate agent and her assistants staged the condo. It's on the market. 

So, I was going to write about that, and then the whole "stolen election" drum beat started overtaking the news with the projected march on Washington that culminated in the horrific coup attempt last Wednesday. The National Guard has beefed up  security this week-end and until the inauguration in all 50 states as well as DC. I'm sure that dissuaded planned armed protests, but what happens after the inauguration when the NG troops go home? Are isurrectionists going to vanish in a puff of smoke? I've been hearbroken over this.I never thought I would see such a thing happen in my country. And I don't think the trouble is over.

Not to mention the death toll of Covid-19. It's been hard to think about all of these things and whip out a  cheery post, but despite that last paragraph, I am feeling hopeful. 

Meanwhile, the weather has turned into early spring weather here. I took my walk along the river yesterday and families were out. The neighbors next door were having a barbecue and the grilled-meat smell floated over which, vegetarian that I am, doesn't really bother me. In the river yesterday, small boats were out. Along streets, people were raking leaves and weeding their flowers. And today was very similar regarding the leaves and flowers. If you stayed away from the Capitol (which I did), you would never know it was surrounded with Guards and a kabillion police. But blocks away from it, where I walked, two national guardsman were patrolling every federal building I passed. It was surreal. And so sad.

But beauty lingers still, no matter what is happening in the world. That is really what keeps us going, isn't it! So I leave you with pictures of the beautiful murals around downtown. (They are all over Midtown as well, but these are mainly in downtown.) They are also taken in different weather, but . . . better late than never.









And then there are the buildings. A whole building at "The Metropol," an apartment building, has been painted with scenes:




And across from Roosevelt Park on 10th Street, from P to Q Streets, the 10th Street face of an entire residence complex has been painted in a continuous scene. Below are cafes and a cleaners; above are residences: 









It's quite a surrealistic mural that wanders across the faces of the buildings from one street to the other, but delightful to see. 


How has your December/January been? I hope this finds all of you safe and well. What have your biggest concerns have been during this period?

Friday, December 4, 2020

Another Long Silence Because I'm Writing

                                           

            Well, actually not writing, but re-writing a collection of poems I wrote about Galicia. (Although, "rewriting" can sometimes feel like writing. Some poems have been entirely revamped. Picture me at this desk, huddled over my computer, deciding on words, then redeciding.) 

I want to finish it sometime next week. There are forty poems altogether, and I have five left. My Storytellers Writing Group has valiantly critiqued many of the rewrites, after they and two poetry groups I attended before Covid-19 had critiqued them the first time around. At times like this shut-in period, one truly appreciates the Internet. 

So, I really don't have a lot to say right now until I finish this project. I've tons of pictures taken in my walks around town that are out of season, now, since the last ones were taken in October and early November. Still, when I finish the collection, I'll post them anyway—beautiful murals on public buildings (another of Sacramento's beautification projects, this one called "Wide Open Walls.")

That will have to be in my next post. And that will be in a couple of weeks.  Till then, wish me luck on finding the right place to send this collection. My husband and I both love and miss Galicia, Spain, as well as Braga, Portugal, and these poems are from the heart.

If you are a writer or artist or love to garden or scrapbook, I hope your own endeavors are going well. And if you are a reader, I hope you have been enjoying some wonderful reads. (I have.) Whatever you love to do, I hope you are able to do it during these Covid times. 

Take care, and stay safe and well. There will be light at the end of this tunnel. 


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

SORRY FOR THE LONG SILENCE: WE MOVED!

 


We moved to small condo downtown at River Front Plaza from our beloved midtown home of 22 years. And if you don't think moving even just 2 miles away is disruptive, think again! For about three months leading up to the move, all we did was cart things to Good Will or Friends of the Library, and call friends to see if they would like certain pictures and momentos, since we were downsizing from a three bedroom, two bath, plus basement and garage to a two bedroom, one bath with a parking space below the complex. Then there was the move. Then unpacking and finding a place for things. Here I am at our front door, masked, of course. Below, I am unmasked, proof I still look like a real person. (In that pic, I'm taking pictures for a "guided tour" I gave on Facebook, lol.)

 

Before I move on, speaking of masks and such things, how are you weathering the Covid challenges? I hope none of you have been ill or lost someone. (We haven't lost anyone, but we learned three of our relatives in India were hospitalized with it. Thankfully, it was not fatal and they are home, now.)  

I'm not doing a guided tour here. Instead, I want to share with you some of the fun things I've seen on my walks. I love street art (well every kind of art), and I especially like murals. In midtown,  there were many, and I'm afraid I took them too much for granted to take pictures. But there are many here downtown, too, and here are two of my favorites:

  Aren't they lovely? Each So different, but they give me a lift. I especially love the mother and child to the left.

Then there are the painted utility boxes! I had noticed a few in midtown, but usually I was usually on my way to somewhre and didn't wonder too much about them. But there is a project all over downtown and midtown called the Capitol Box Art Project. Various local artists paint one of the utility boxes, and on all sides. Here are some samples from my walks: 

















Cool, right? Here is their link if you want to know more about the project or the artists: https://capitolboxart.com 

On another note, in the months I've been away (since April!) things seem to have changed in Blogger's layout. I'm going to have to study the changes, because, frankly, these pictures are much more spread out than I wanted them to be. Sorry.

But it's great to be back!

How about you? Do you like to take walks around your neighborhood and look for special sights? Yard art? Beautiful trees? Lovely gardening by someone who loves plants? Did you enjoy these painted utility boxes? Do you find moving disruptive? 




Monday, April 13, 2020

Making the Most of Staying In

That sounds like I've been productive, which I haven't been at all. Rajan and I spent a whole morning improving our home-made masks, which we finally found viable. Here they are:

Rajan took an engineering approach and came up with a clever pocket where he can insert a new coffee filter every morning for additional protection. I stuck with the original plan but just modified it so that I could fasten it in two places and pull a bottom layer over my chin while keeping two thicknesses. Both are washable.

What else have we been doing?

Rajan has been going over his negatives and printing some with his enlarger. He's also been doing the grocery shopping. And he starts the day reading news.

I've been reading news (signing petitions), perusing social media, checking on friends and loved ones, and doing a lot of reading.

Both of us have been doing experimental cooking, cleaning up the back garden, taking walks (keeping a social distance), and doing a lot of talking. Somehow the time drifts by. I keep thinking I should feel guilty about not writing. When I told Rajan I'm actually enjoying just day to day living, he said, "It's called retirement." And he has a point: When I retired from full time teaching years ago, I still subbed for friends, I volunteer-taught an after- school art class once a week, went to conferences, took writing and art classes and workshops, wrote and sent out stuff, and got five books published as well as several poems and stories. I didn't really retire.

And I know I never really will: Pretty soon, my fingers will be itching, my plot points will clarify, and I'll be writing away with new energy. But for now I really am following that old 60s phrase, go with the flow. I'm going with the flow.

One of the benefits of walking is seeing all the neighborhoods in bloom: I particularly like dogwood. When we lived in Georgia 38 years ago, I was smitten with the abundance of dogwood trees, both pink and white. There is something about those blossoms and the way the branches layer . . ..

The pink one here is my neighbor's tree. It hasn't reached its full bloom yet.

The white one is a couple of streets away. I took this one a few days ago.

Other things are blooming, too: Daffodils, Irises, Tulips, Lilies, all the bulbs, in fact. (I haven't always had my phone.)

                               One of the places I like to walk is around the garden that surrounds Sutter's Fort, which is spread out between K & L Streets and 26th and 28th Streets. On the K Street side, there are two little ponds with fountains on either side of a low bridge, and walking trails that let you walk through the park to the other side. It is so restful to walk through there: The sound of falling water is one of the most peaceful sounds to hear.

















         I do have to admit that yesterday, Easter Sunday, we were a little tired of cooking and tired of leftovers. So we decided to order an Easter meal curbside pickup at one of our favorite happy hour places, Piatti's on Fair Oaks Blvd. They had the perfect selection for us, which we went and picked up: Vegetarian Quiche, roasted potatoes, and a bottle of wine, all for a reasonable price. To that, I added a toss salad. (We are not big eaters, which makes for happy restaurant bills). We set the table with roses from our garden and a candle. I don't have pictures of the meal, but here is the table:





I know the purple pattern looks like a rug, but it's actually a tablecloth we've had for years.

And so, today we were back to normal. Or what my godmother used to call, "getting back to not normal." Soon it will probably be hard to be cavalier about staying home.

I am mindful that if I were younger and not retired, I would not have the luxury of being laid back about staying at home and would instead be chafing about rent/home payments, salary loss, unemployment, health coverage. So, while I am making the most of it at this point in my life, it's another reason I stay informed, sign petitions, call my reps and senators, etc., and I truly worry about all the healthcare workers and front line workers that are bearing the brunt of things.

But I hope, in light of all they are doing, everyone will stay home, stay safe, and stay well.