Monday, October 29, 2012

What Happened Yesterday????

THE GIANTS WON !!!  THE GIANTS WON !!!  They won the Series and are now WORLD CHAMPS!!!!   Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of guys!!!  Finally the TV announcers are FORCED to give them their due.  These guys played their hearts out the last 14 games.  Thanks to Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo, the entire team has been kept loose and laughing.  I watched this in Atlanta in 2010 as well as the 2010 World Series.  I heard a couple of negative comments about their antics from announcers and other players, but obviously it works, keeping them relaxed rather than so uptight they can't hit!!   I got right on the computer and ordered my new SF Giants World Series jacket!!!!  Everyone is wearing their colors around town ... honking, waving and yelling at each other!!  There's nothing like baseball camaraderie!!  Congratulations Guys!!!
I lost my voice screaming last night and couldn't write this morning.  Just kidding ... I did wake up pretty hoarse sounding, but my morning workout time has been changed to 9:00 am which leaves me no time to write.  By the time I feed and medicate everyone, I have to leave.  

Halloween is upon us.  My friend Diane and I miss this holiday.  We used to dress up in some crazy costumes at work ... but since being retired, don't get to join in.  Actually, they quit doing it since we left!!!   The Wicked Witch of the West is me, complete with green spray-painted face and hands ... Diane is on my left.  We two would come up with ideas, gather our costumes together, then help everyone else with theirs so the entire office was in costume.
This year we happened to find 8 dresses alike at Goodwill (brand new ones) ... added several more from the internet, and became the Stepford Workers.  Everyone in the office was dressed exactly the same except the cat.  I made the hats, Diane got the gloves.  So much fun!!!
One year we were all brides of some sort.  I was the Dead Bride in the white dress on the left (found the dress in a bridal shop and took a can of black spray paint to it!!) ... Miss Piggy Bride, Harley Bride, Vampire Bride ... you get the picture!!  The black stripe across my face is a worm, glued to my cheek so it was coming out of my eye!!!  What fun!!  Our boss even got in the picture this year ... he was the minister on the right!!!  The guy proposing is .. you guessed it ... Peter.  We worked together for 8 years!!  We even got the guys to dress up.
I should join the local Playhouse ... dressing up is fun fun fun!!!

Next adventure ... Disneyland and Las Vegas!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


It's now three games to ZERO, just in case you hadn't heard.  One more win and the Giants are the World Series Champions ... San Francisco Heros!!!  I think I heard the San Francisco Mayor's Office say they didn't have any money, but they better dig some up.  The parade and celebration come at a high price with over 2 million people attending the celebration in 2010.  Two World Series in three years???  It's possible ... more history making!!  Bruce Bochy has done himself proud!!!

The fifth inning took 3 years off my life ... bases loaded, one out and their two big hitters up.  Vogelsong was pretty relaxed as Cabrera hit a pop fly and became the third out.  Blanco caught a huge fly ball at the wall in foul ball territory.  I can't believe he can cover ground so fast ... no one else could have caught that ball!!!

I'm sure you heard me screaming from my couch ... I was expecting the police to show up at my door!! Hoping the Baseball Gods and the Giants talent lead them to the World Championship!!!  I need a new jacket!!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Baseball and Birthday Cake!!!

A few more World Series images were hanging around and worth sharing.  Two of baseball's all time greats hang out at AT&T Park ... Willie McCovey and Willie Mays!!  I have run across them in the tunnel beneath the stands that the players use to get around.  I know baseball has it's "bad" guys but  these two are not them.  They love to talk ... to everyone.  Both are chauffeured around the park in golf cart limos ... and are always surrounded by fans.  Unfortunately he didn't turn my way, but since he's there often, I plan on getting a better shot.  At 81 years old, Willie still gets around fairly well.  The stories he tells of having to go in the back door of the ball parks while the white players went in the front, are fascinating.  Being from California, it's hard to believe people treated other people that way,  even when they were baseball stars!
Here's an I-phone shot of the bleacher section for those that haven't been here.  You can walk around the entire outside walkway.  All of the seats are slanted towards home plate so you don't throw your neck out trying to watch a game.
Giants player (Pagan I think) coming in to second base after a base hit ...  I'm focused on second base a lot.  From my seats, it's the best view to get a guy sliding in.  I have some great ones with the player suspended above the ground before he lands on his belly.  But this day the only guys sliding were the outfielders catching fly balls.
Lastly, Doug Fister ...  his mom lives in Merced and works with my ex co-workers at Merced County.  Everyone wanted him to pitch well, but not so good as to win because we are all Giants fans.  Right off the bat, he was hit in the head by a base hit ball.  It glanced off the left side of his ballcap above his ear.  Scary!!  He kept playing however til the 7th inning when they took him out.  In the end, it worked out perfect ... he pitched great and we didn't get any runs until the 8th inning.  

Lastly, I want to wish a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mr. Dan Chance.  I'm sure he will get lots of love from his granddaughter and his favorite meal, BURGERS from his wife Patty .. or maybe a big juicy STEAK!!!  Have a piece of cake for me!!!!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Contortion City ... The Art of Pitching!!!

I seriously don't know how these guys can pitch as fast and hard as they can and still get that little bitty ball over that also little bitty plate!!  The contortions are almost unworldly.  My camera will take pictures very fast ... as many in a row as I wish.  I thought it might be interesting to see what these guys look like when throwing that strike.  This is Tim Lincecum, currently the Giants relief pitcher in the World Series.  He was pitching in game one in this series of images.
After getting ready, he pulls back ...
Starts his forward momentum .... His whole body is already heading towards the plate.  They keep their ball hand hidden until the last second so the hitter can't see his fingers and determine what he's going to throw ... The balance here is amazing!!
Ball still hidden, he's practically doing the splits ....
Planting his left foot, the ball finally comes up and he's heading towards release ...
Look at the stress and muscles in his right arm as he unwinds and lets it go ...  In some of my pictures, their wrist looks like its broken ...
Follow through ... if you don't follow through correctly, the ball goes wild ... and they play the embarrassing song "Wild One"!!!!!  They played it for Verlander.
So I'm in my back yard, throwing the ball for the dogs and think ...  I should try this.  Haven't we all done this??  Okay, just me ... anyway, the ball went all of 30 feet, 10 feet off the mark I was throwing at.  Tim pitches at 90-94 miles an hour ... I think mine was 5 mph ... and I'm sure I threw my back out!!!

Two more quick pics ... they play dancing songs between innings, and grandma was really getting with it.  They have cameras EVERYWHERE, so there's a good chance you will be on the big screen.  They also have a "Kiss Cam" ... where you have to kiss the person you are sitting next to ... hopefully your boyfriend.  In one instance, the guy was married, but was with his "girlfriend".  Boy did he get in trouble!!!
You never know who will show up ... Joe Montana, MC Hammer ... no really, they WERE here.  Arnold has showed up a couple of times, Robin Williams, lots of celebrities show up for the Playoff Games and they all get on the big screen.
Here's to the Giants ... they travel to Detroit today and play tomorrow.  Good Luck Guys!!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hmmmmmmm Baby!!!!!

THE GIANTS WIN!!!!! the first game of the 2012 World Series!!  You cannot even begin to imagine the feeling in that ballpark last night!!  It's a good thing this blog isn't an audio one, because I have no voice at all today.  It was an amazing game ... the guys played the best ball ever, against the best pitcher in baseball, and they blew him out of the water, they rang his bell and lit him up!!!  All baseball terms of course.  So many pictures ... so little space!

First we drove through two BART parking areas before finding a place to park.  Arriving at the ballpark, we ate amazingly good crab sandwiches at Crabies ... pricey, but sooooo worth it.  Then the player introductions ... I'll skip the dumb MLB TV announcers.  They make me mad ... they are always  SO obviously for any East Coast team and bad mouth our team and our guys.  I love it when they have to eat crow at the end when their "team" loses!!!
The singing of the star spangled banner is always followed by an amazing flyover.  Love these guys.  Yes they are very low and very loud ... but I also have my 400mm lens on the camera.
Here's Peter buying me a Ghirardelli Chocolate hot fudge sundae!!!
They have great food in this park.  Four scoops of ice cream ... count them ... FOUR!!!  And I ate the whole thing!!!
I won't go in to the entire game ... it was a crazy good one though.  Here is Barry Zito the opening pitcher.  Not only is he a spectacular pitcher, but he's spectacularly good looking too!!!!  I've actually met and talked to him a couple of times.  He's a surfer dude and couldn't be a nicer guy!!!  Terribly down to earth for someone who makes $127 million playing a game.
Barry pitching ... it's amazing the contortions they go through when they pitch.  Tomorrow I will show you what I mean.
This is Pablo Sandoval ... we call him Panda Bear because of his size.  Boy can he hit.  His first three times up at bat he hit home runs.  Thats right ... another night of history!!  Three home runs in three ups in ONE World Series game.  He lost the bat in this image ... see it flying into the crowd???
Pitchers pitch ... they don't bat ... and no one expects them to.  They always strike out ... well most of them do.  Here's our pitcher Barry getting a base hit off Verlander and getting an RBI (run batted in). The fuzzy picture is an orange rag being swung in the row below me!!!  LOL
Detroit Tigers second baseman getting ready to catch a ground ball ...
They finally took Zito out and put in Lincecum as relief pitcher.  He's actually one of our best starters too ... he pitched a little over two innings and got everyone out!  Also an amazing pitcher!!  Like his hair??  We do have some "different" guys on our team ... but they get the job done!!
Here's Panda Bear again hitting that third home run!!!  The guys all have nicknames ... Panda Bear, The Beard, Zites, The Freak ... and so on.  
Okay I won't bore you with any more baseball pictures.  I came home hoarse from screaming all night, sore feet from standing from the third pitch to the end of the game and tired from running at a marathon pace 1-1/2 miles to catch the BART train back to the car.  Exhausting but exhilarating!!!  I'd do it again in a flash.  As you may know, the Giants won the second game tonight, "against all odds", since EVERYONE said the Tigers would win.  They are now off to Detroit where they will play three games.  The World Series is the best 4 out of 7.  Whoever wins 4 games first wins the title.  These guys deserve a little more respect, so I'm hoping they kick some more butt in Detroit!!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Price of a Ticket!!!

I was sort of complaining about what I had to pay for the World Series tickets ($225 ea).  It's such a unique experience that so many want to attend ... willing to pay MUCH more than I did.  My good friend Peter is going to the game with me.  At 23 years my junior (no, it's not what you think .. I'm a cougar, but not a cradle robber!!!), we have been having fun doing everything from skiing every winter weekend to snorkeling to LOTS of baseball.  He suggested I sell the tickets for Thursday's game on Stub Hub, the site Giants use for resale.  When Peter said the tickets in my section were going for $850 each seat, I was in shock ... but got right on the computer and put them up.  It didn't take three hours and mine sold for $900.00 each seat.  That's crazy!!!!  It is a good start on my next year's tickets which will run about $5500 for 86 games .... that is if they don't raise it due to the NEW World Series Champions!!!!  I still have tickets for games 6 and 7 ........

In the meantime, I'm working on my quilting projects.  Figured I better get going if I was going to get this one done in time for Halloween.
After cutting and sewing ... finally getting somewhere ... I ran out of bobbin thread.  Aaahhhggg!!  For those sewers out there, it's a pain.  While loading the spool, the machine stopped and the bobbin holder flew out.  I spent an hour trying to get it back in and VOILA!!  I'm in business ... for two seconds.  Something apparently broke inside and now it doesn't work at all.  My 43 year old Singer (which still looks brand new) finally gave it up!!  It's not stitched together, but at least I got this far!!

DARN ... now I have to go buy a new Bernina!!!  When Patty was here, she and I found a great quilt store in Turlock that sells them.  The prices almost gave me a heart attack, so I'm going prepared with an oxygen tank!!!  Next up ... World Series pictures!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

WORLD SERIES .. Here I come!!!

It didn't take long for the next adventure to show up at my door!!!  As you know, I am a Giants Season Ticket Holder.  Since I made a BIG mistake with the dates on the Hawaii trip, I had to sell all the post-season tickets.  Even worse, Hawaii isn't into baseball AT ALL!!  I only got to see part of the first game.  I watched the stats on my phone!!  It was traumatic to say the least!!  HOWEVER ... good news ... I did get to watch the Giants win Monday's game, sending them on to the World Series for the second time since I purchased these seats in 2003.  I'm so excited I can't stand myself!!
My good buddy Peter is going with me.  The Detroit Tigers are a very good team this year ... but we have been excellent too.  Our pitchers have been kicking some butt.  Problem is, due to the rotation, our best guys won't be pitching this first game.  I usually sell the second game ... 2 seats go for $1700 ... to help pay for next years tickets.  Two games here, three in Detroit, two more here if needed ... and I hope it's needed cuz I have those tickets too!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited?????  Pictures to come ........

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Last Day in Paradise :(

Friday was a "hang out at the pool and relax" day.  We were greeted that morning by a beautiful sunrise ...
We had more Maui Fish Tacos ... we are both REALLY going to miss those!!  Next thing I hear Patty saying "quick ... get your camera!!"  Outside our window was another gecko ... I thought I heard something about insurance ... so grabbed my camera and jumped up on the chair for a closer shot.  He was a cutie!!!  Then I grabbed Patty's camera to take one for her and was totally embarrassed by her point and shoot that I couldn't seem to work!!!  After about six tries, I got an acceptable one.
Saturday morning, another nice sunrise!!
After spending the evening packing, I was pretty confident that my luggage was definitely lighter.  We loaded up and headed to the rental car return.  The guy almost had a hernia moving my big red bag that was to be checked, but I figured he was just a wimp!!  After all, I sent TWO boxes back and Patty sent one!!  Before we left, I weighed it in at 48 pounds ... no problem, as you are allowed 50.  Well I guess you know where this is going ... we checked in and it weighed 55!!  This usually costs you an additional $50, but the very nice lady just put a big tag on it that said "Heavy" (which I think they would have figured out) ... and sent it through with no extra charge.  Love Hawaiian Air!!

It was a tough day however ... both Patty's carryon and my camera bag were also really heavy. We did not have seats together on the airplane ... so thankfully, nice gentlemen helped both of us get our bags in the overhead compartments.  I think I'll go back to the gym!!!  We did make it however ... and I have to give it up big time for Hawaiian Airlines.  The crew coming back were the nicest I have ever flown with.  They have brought back free meals ... and my teriyaki chicken with rice, salad and awesome cake ... not only was excellent food that we ate with a REAL fork, but they gave out free glasses of wine, red or white.  I totally felt like I was in first class!!!!

So we both made it home ... Patty just called from Tucson ... and my doggies are thrilled!!!  Now to break out my sewing machine and work on all the projects I bought in Arizona and Hawaii at the quilt shops!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's All About The Turtles!!!!

It's getting close to D-Day ... Darn it we have to leave day!!!!  One last long snorkel trip off Kamaole Beach Park across the street from my condo, is the first choice of the day.  I gathered my 2 foot long bright yellow Scuba Pro fins, mask and camera and headed out with Patty and all her gear!!  The water is getting a little chilly in the morning, but concentrating on getting your gear on makes it not so noticeable.   We head out to Turtle Town with visibility of about 25 feet.  It didn't take long to run into Big Mama!!!  This big girl is over 3 feet wide and probably as long as Patty is tall!!!  The green on her back is algae.
As she was swimming along, I tried to keep up, circling around her ... they look like they are flying underwater.  Of course, she left me in the dirt, but not before I snapped a few images.  You will probably be happy that my little point and shoot in it's underwater case, doesn't process images very fast  at all ... resulting in only a few pictures!!!  Don't worry ... I checked on Miss Patty often as I was swimming away!!!!!  She did a great job keeping up!!!
I followed Big Momma for several minutes as she headed back into the rocky shoreline at breakneck speed, always looking through the camera viewfinder ... and occasionally at the coral to be sure I didn't scrape myself.  All of a sudden, she made a sharp right turn, leaving me face to face with this guy!!!  I almost ran into him!!!  It is not so much the illegal aspect ... and it is illegal to touch them ... as it is the fact that humans have oils and germs on their hands that can affect the turtles drastically.  So as tempting as it is ... PLEASE don't touch them!!!  I back pedaled furiously ... missing the greatest picture!!!!!  But it's okay ... it's locked in my brain, at least for the next two weeks!!!
Turtle butt!!!!  Having come up for air, this SECOND smaller turtle, gulped down a breath and headed back down.  After swimming around for awhile, they settle on the bottom, usually in the same spot every time (which is why I know where to find them!!!) and rest for 30 minutes or so.  Then they come up for air again.  Most people don't know this, so they try to swim down to where the turtles are.  I just  wait for them to come to me.  While on the bottom small fish clean the algae from their shells.  If not done, they can actually drown from the heavy weight.   The water here is a little cloudy ... it helps images a lot if there is a sandy bottom.  Images taken closer to the top are much clearer because of the light.
I saved the best for last.  This younger guy came up for air as I waited.  Not as skittish as Big Momma, he and I floated side by side while he took three big gulps of air.  As much trouble as it is to haul the big camera and underwater case around, I think it would be worth it to get 20 images of this instead of one or two!!!
While he was gulping air for his return trip to the bottom, I was able to get around in front far enough to snap this image!!  You only have about 20 seconds to get all the images you can, and what you get is never enough!!!  
I'm fascinated by these amazing creatures and just can't believe I get to swim with them!!!  I'll be back next year guys!!  Hope you are still hanging around!!!!

The rest of the day was spent glass hunting ... no big finds.  We took lunch and sat on the beach while getting sand blasted from the wind.  A little sand in your sandwich helps digestion!!!  We watched a couple of locals spear fishing in the shallows.  One guy came out with a two foot long octopus dangling from his belt.  Finding nothing worth writing home about, we went back to the condo for some sun by the pool and pan seared salmon!  It just doesn't get better than this!!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What to Do ... What to Do!!!!

Snorkel?? Find Glass?? Shop??  Decisions decisions!!!  With a view like this one though, it wasn't a tough choice!  This is Ho'okipa (pronounced Ho Ke Paw) where the surf is usually pretty high and the best of the best surfers hang out.  The water is beautiful shades of aqua and blue as the sun comes and goes.  We heard there was glass here, so we walked the long beach to the left.  Clouds came in quickly and it rained quite a bit, giving us a good soaking ... I mean we got REALLY wet!!!
Since I'm carrying my camera that is getting damp, we head back to Paia (Pie E Ah) for lunch.  There are many places to shop here, but very little parking.  If you head up Baldwin Road, there is a large lot on the right where you can park for free.  Might as well shop in all the little stores on your way down the hill!!  We were headed to The Fish Market for lunch ... a local hangout, definitely not fancy ... it's family style seating and you go pick up your own food!!  Again, in honor of Dan's burger obsession, we have the Mahi Mahi burger.  This is the best fish sandwich on the island!!!!!  You HAVE to try this!
You never know who you will meet in these small towns ... while shopping next door in the Mercantile, we ran into two nice women from Lodi who work at the store!  After finding out one of them was raised in Jackson, California, we asked them about finding sea glass on the island.  They gave us directions to a couple of great beaches, so we decided to check them out.  First however, Patty wanted to check out the cute surfer guys, so back up to Ho'okipa Point where I could get some photos.
Unfortunately, the wave action had died down, becoming very flat ... not much surfing going on.
So I'm taking pictures and I see Patty off in the corner talking to a local dude.  She flags me over to meet her new friend ... his first question of her was do you smoke weed????  (LOTS of the locals do here!)  She declined, but was interested in what he had in his makeshift bag (his T-shirt).  He had been down on the beach gathering Opihi ... Limpets!!  The locals scrape the little ones off the rocks and eat them raw.  Being the nice guy that he was, he offered one to each of us.  Excuse me?????  Raw fish?????  No way ... but Patty said "Of Course"!!!!  Sorry I didn't get his picture ... I was set up for surfing ... not portraits!!!  He was a cutie for sure!!!!
After hugs all around, Patty said goodbye to her "friend" ... he offered her more Opihi, but she declined saying one was more than enough!!!  Remembering the glass beach, we drove down a narrow road, turned in at the third driveway, drove warily so as not to get stuck in the sand ... and parked next to the most beautiful beach!!  Lots of glass, great shells and coral pieces.  Here's a beauty that we left for someone else to enjoy!!
Another big bag of treasures and we decided this beach was worth a return trip.  Dinner was at Fat Daddys Barbecue ... I had brisket, which unfortunately wasn't the best ... Patty had ribs (yup she ate ALL those greasy yummy ribs!!) and said it was the best she'd had in a very long time.

I saw a couple of ideas for images, so we snagged a few plumeria off a tree and headed to the beach.  The sun went behind one small cloud just as we set this up and I got blasted by a wave, but it was worth it!!
Another beautiful day in Paradise ...... it may be time to just lay on the beach and be lazy!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We Be Swimming With The Fishes!!!!!

Very much alive,  we swam with the fish most of the morning!!  Ahihi Kenau Reserve, south of Kihei is an awesome snorkeling site.  The locals used to go to Fish Bowl, across half a mile of extremely rough lava ... you had to know where it was and there was very little parking.  That has since been closed, forcing the locals to this Reserve.  You can definitely see the traffic and it's resulting damage at this location, but the site is gorgeous and entry into the water is fairly easy, although rocky.  No nice sandy beach here ... just crushed lava rock.
Miss Patty, having gotten her sea legs, was flying along enjoying the sites!!
As you an see, the corals and anemones are alive and well here!!  The corals growing on the rocks are huge and very colorful, from purple to green to bright yellow.
There are several varieties of each kind of fish and I cannot tell you which is which, so I will just give you the general name.  This beauty is a Butterfly Fish.  Pretty amazing colors.  You should see them up close and personal!!!  It's pretty hard to get images ... they are moving in the surf, you are moving in the surf and your camera is always focusing on the wrong thing!!!
Yellow Tang ... all the while you are trying to photograph them, they are snacking on the tidbits in the coral.  It's like a huge lunch wagon to them!!
Orange Band and Black Triggerfish.  One of the things I learned in my Scuba Diving Instructor course (yeah, I do that too!!) was that water diminishes colors.  As you can see, yellow is the brightest underwater.  My fins and most of my gear are bright yellow so students can see me easily and know who to follow.  Red is the first color to disappear under water.  The orange band on this Orange Band really stands out.  The Black Triggerfish actually has quite a bit of blue on him that doesn't show up.
The Hawaii State fish is the Humuhumunukunukuapaa.  Say that that in one breath here and you get a free drink!!!!! Here's what he looks like!!
In the shallows are huge schools of Yellow Goatfish.  Don't ask me how they got their name ... maybe a better question would be WHO named them?????  They are here by the hundreds and you swim right through them as you stand up to get out.  The water here is about 18" deep!!
Finally a pencil anemone.  Fairly close to the surface, their rust color shows up.  The fish is another kind of Trigger Fish.
Tired and cold for having been in the water all morning, we check out the beach for sea glass and find a couple of small pieces.  I don't have any problem with bringing the glass home ... but if you come here, please DO NOT take any piece of rock or lava home with you.  It is said that Pele, the Goddess of the volcano, will follow you with bad luck until you mail the piece back.  The hotels around here get hundreds of pieces every week which they throw back on the beach.  Not saying I'm superstitious, but if everyone takes one piece, pretty soon there won't be any pieces left.  

One last treasure I wanted to purchase was a carved piece of bone.  We stopped at a local shop and the artist talked story with us for quite some time.  I learned that most of these necklaces are carved from cow bone ... a shocker to me!!!  Some are from whale and walrus bone which they can purchase from native Alaskans.  Some are even from mammoth bone.  After agonizing over which one to get, as they are all beautiful and have meaning, I settled on this one made of walrus.  It represents the Holy Spirit ... which will follow you always as you travel around the world.  
I haven't shown many images of the critters around here ... here's one of the moochers!  Every day when we come home, we open the door and screen to get some air.  This guy just walks in and makes himself at home ... right in the living room ... to let us know he's hungry.  We then obediently walk him to the door with lots of goldfish and cracker crumbs for his dinner.  Seriously, he was here EVERY day!!!  
Lastly, an image of one of Patty's great dinners!!  I have been eating like a queen!!! 
Our time here is getting short, so we are off to get a few more gifts/souvenirs and mail our boxes home. My luggage is already VERY heavy, so any additional "stuff" must be mailed.  The large USPS flat rate boxes work really well should you come here and need extra gift space!!!