Monday, November 25, 2013

Learning, Learning

Saturday led my friend Mary and me to yet another genealogy workshop, this one in Gilroy (aka the Garlic Capitol of the World, or so they say). I work in Gilroy so pass these scenes often.
 The green hills create a beautiful backdrop...
 I love this Old City Hall (now a restaurant)...

It dawned on me this morning what a busy month of learning it has been ~  three weekends in a row of workshops!  First, the Ancestry Day in San Francisco, then the following weekend my daughter Ash and I attended a mystery writer's workshop in Monterey, then this past Saturday the DAR sponsored genealogy program.  Have loved all of them!

The Writer's Workshop was held in the Monterey Peninsula College Library -- in fact right there in the room on the right in the photo below. 
But my favorite part of the library is actually on the opposite side of the building, straight through those triple doors you see above.  Here is what the other side of the library looks like:
The library sits on a hill so guess what those large lovely windows look out on?  Monterey!  I promise to go back and take a photo from the top floor sometime, lest you think I am teasing you with the panoramic views provided. That section was closed during the time we were there.

Now it is time for cleaning and grocery shopping -- my daughters arrive Wednesday night and we'll start right in with our pumpkin rolls and pies.  Just in case I don't make it back here before the big day, I wish you all a heartfelt

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Little Carmel and San Francisco History

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm participating in this year's NANOWRIMO contest and my novel is moving along. 50,000 words in 30 days requires consistency and the ability to scream down the "inner editor" who pops up to tell you that you're writing rubbish.  After all, the idea is to produce a very rough draft of a novel during the month of November.  I successfully passed the half way point, both calendar-wise and word count-wise.  Now I need to pour it on for the last half of the book.  My novel is historical fiction, set during the turn of the 20th century in San Francisco and Carmel.  This requires some research on my part -- how did they get around at that time? What forms of communication did they have?  How did they dress?  Carmel has always been rather Bohemian, a place for artists and writers to gather.  And of course, the great earthquake of San Francisco occurred in 1906, and it will have a role in my novel.

Ocean Avenue is the main drag leading from Highway 1, through downtown Carmel, and ending at the Pacific Ocean.  We lived in Carmel for a time, in a house tucked in the copse of trees near the top left of the photo below.  I have walked from our house there, down Ocean Avenue to the stores.  It's lovely, but a bit steep going home.  This photo is from 1905.  Note the horse and buggy. 

I took the photo below earlier this year.  It is the same section of Ocean Avenue, but looking from the opposite direction, in other words looking down the hill rather than up the hill.  What struck me were the trees they planted down the middle of Ocean Avenue!  They have grown majestically.  The first tree on the other side of the bell you see below is used as the town's Christmas tree each year.  It has been a tradition in our family to go to the town Christmas Tree Lighting, and we have attended Carmel's and Monterey's in years past. 
As any San Franciscan knows, while the quake created extensive damage, it was the fires that broke out afterwards that really caused major destruction.  In doing my research, I found a map that showed how far reaching the fire extended.  Can you find the Ferry Building toward the bottom of the map with the clock tower?  It is the same clock tower I took a picture of in my last post on November 12th.
Besides serving as a ferry station, the Ferry Building now houses an active marketplace, restaurants, and office spaces.  It survived the Great Earthquake of 1906.

It is always interesting to find familiar places on old maps, like where my daughters currently live and work in the city.  San Francisco. Monterey. and Carmel have such rich histories and writing about them reminds me of why I love living here, earthquakes and all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ancestry Day and Veteran's Day

The San Francisco Hyatt Regency Lobby.
Saturday morning I was up before the crack of dawn to drive up to San Francisco for the weekend. It's always great to spend time with my daughters there, dining and shopping, watching movies and chatting. This weekend I had an additional reason to go north.  One of my hobbies is genealogy and was putting on a conference on Saturday. It was held at the Hyatt Regency and the ballroom was packed with people. I ate lunch in the hotel restaurant, then walked around to enjoy the beautiful views the floor to ceiling windows offered.
The clock tower of the Ferry Building.

The Bay Bridge (San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge)
The Embarcadero Center Ice Skating Rink.
The Ancestry Day presenters were fabulous and I left with a syllabus full of helpful hints and notes. Hobby experts now rank genealogy as the second most popular hobby in the country, following on the heels of gardening as number one.
Saturday night the girls picked me up at the hotel and we went out to dinner. I spent the night at their apartment and then Sunday we shopped. We don't have to have elaborate plans to have a great time together. 

Have had a few busy days here. Friday was a non-student day at work so the speech and language therapists in our district met to share therapy materials and ideas, then had lunch together. Yesterday, Veteran's Day, was a day off work which gave me time to try out some of the genealogy research techniques I learned and work on my novel. It's coming along nicely and I'm keeping up with the NANOWRIMO word count. 

This week and all year round, please thank a Vet for their service to our country! Researching our roots makes me appreciate all the veterans in our family tree, from the Revolutionary War to current days.

Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here! Nights are cooler -- November is in the air!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Encyclopedia of Moi: G

On to the letter G.... 

Geography - Call me a geek, but ever since I was a kid I've enjoyed studying atlases and maps.  I love learning about other countries. Yours truly was often the designated map reader on trips.

Giraffes - It wasn't until I traveled to Africa and saw these peaceful, elegant creatures in the wild that I began to fully appreciate giraffes.  At a giraffe center we have the opportunity to feed some (they have very long tongues!) and they were so gentle.
Gold - Are you a gold or silver person? While I do wear silver at times, I tend to gravitate toward gold for most jewelry.

Gardens - So good for the soul!  Not much of a green thumb myself, I do love wandering through beautiful gardens. Among my favorite gardens in the world are Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, near Victoria, British Columbia.  Isn't it gorgeous?
Gardenias - Heavenly smelling! They remind me of my mother who wore a gardenia coursage on her wedding day.  They were one of her favorite flowers, too.


 Genealogy - I'm adding this on to my G list a day late here. How could I forget this fabulous hobby! 

Start your own Encyclopedia of Moi!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Morning Moon

I was up before the birds this morning. I can hear them now, those sleepy heads, singing out their morning calls. Frosty woke me up at 4:30, wanting to go out. He doesn't bark, he doesn't claw, he just makes an irritating growling sound until I force myself to crawl out of the warm covers and stumble to the door to let him out. He's 10 now and just can't make it as long as he used to. Sometimes I can go back to bed, sometimes I can't. This was one of those mornings when I woke up both tired, with red, sore eyes, and excited with anticipation.

This is the first morning of NANOWRIMO! In case you are wondering what that is all about -- it's about writing a novel in a month. Impossible, you say? Well, we didn't say it was writing a GOOD novel in a month. It will probably be rotten. But the participants in this month-long writing frenzy, from all over the world, mind you, hope to at least spew out enough bad writing that it can later be shaped up into something more readable. You can read all about it here:
I understand it is all about moving forward, not re-reading what you've written and opening the door to the "inner editor" who wants to change it all around and keep you from telling your story, and logging in words -- lots of words -- every day. My goal is 2000/day. Thanks to Frosty, getting me up before the crack of dawn, I already have 1438 for today. A decent start. We have to have 50,000 words by November 30th. There is a lot of encouragement, forums, even local groups and buddies to spur you on. 
Besides NANOWRIMO, we know what November means -- shopping, Christmas card prep, Thanksgiving plans, Christmas around the corner stuff. I do love this month! So I may be absent from this blog, or I may surprise us both and be even more inspired to write.
Happy November!