Friday, September 30, 2016

The Bus Ride from Hell

It was last weekend when we boarded a bus that would take us to San Francisco and the Museum of Modern Art. We were supposed to be riding in a modern coach with all of the amenities, including a rest room. We were also supposed to be departing on time. 7:30 was the announced departure and we were all in the parking lot, eager to be on our way. 7:45 came and there was no bus in sight. It was around 8 AM when we learned that the bus had a flat tire and would be there soon. Some of us took a long walk to the far corner of the shopping center, for a Starbucks of some kind. Myself and others took the cheap route by walking down to Trader Joe's and getting a small sample coffee that is always available for free.

Finally, at 10 to 9, the bus arrived and we all were on board in record time. The driver put the bus in gear and off we went. In the wrong direction. There was hurried discussion with the driver and the leader at the stop sign and the bus then made a right turn and returned to the parking lot. Some more discussion went on and the driver took us out of the lot and we were on our way, in the right direction. It turned out that the driver didn't know how to get there and the bus had no GPS unit on it. Our leader assured us that she was giving the driver directions by using her cellphone. She had to yell to give us this information as the microphone/sound system wasn't working.

It was about that time that we heard, from the back of the bus, "The toilet won't flush." Great! A bus full of older citizens and no toilet. What was next?

Once we got over the 'new' Bay Bridge the driver said that she had been told that there was no place to park the bus to unload at the SFMOMA and we would be dropped off at the Jewish Museum, just a few blocks away. Everyone on board vetoed that plan immediately and told the driver that she HAD TO drop us off in front of SFMOMA. Okay. That was the new plan. And it worked. There was parking for busses right in front of the museum and we were all grateful to be off of the bus and on our way to a wonderful afternoon at the museum. And it was. But, before we left, we were told to return to this same spot at 4:45 to get back on the bus which would leave at 5 PM on the dot. The same time that the museum closed.

The museum was fantastic. I got to see original pieces by artists that I have revered. And there were 6 floors of exhibits. But, first we had to get some lunch, for energy. We chose the museum lunch room and found the prices were astronomical. I had a bagel with smoked salmon and a cup of squash soup for the bargain price of $21. But, all prices in the Bay area are shockingly high because of the influx of high-tech millionaires from San Jose/Silicon Valley. Rents have quadrupled.

At this point, I have already taken 2 Norco for the pain and I'm depending on my walking stick. But with all of this beautiful art to see, I'm ignoring it as best I can. I do take many opportunities to sit and simply look at my favorite paintings.

In the museum they have the Red elevators (4) and the Silver elevators (3). And they have stairs; long, long flights of stairs. It seemed as if we had to wait a long time for an elevator and then I stood back and watched the doors opening and closing. The Red elevators only had one working elevator. The Silver had 2 out of 3. So we spent a lot of time in the stairwells. Pretty soon I had taken another 2 Norco.

All good things must come to an end and at 4:45 we were eager to sit down in the luxurious seats on the bus. Except, there was no bus. And no place to sit. Phone calls were made and after 30 minutes or more, we learned that the driver was lost in downtown San Francisco. She wasn't sure where she was.
At this point I had run out of pain meds and the pain was overwhelming me. I sat down on the sidewalk with my back against a light pole. The pain had turned everything to black. I couldn't think beyond the pain. And time went on. And still no bus. And I was not the only one in pain. A bus load of citizens over the age of 65 will have a large number of them suffering from all kinds of pain producing ailments. We all needed to sit down!

Then, at 6 PM the bus rolled up and we all made it aboard. Gratefully. And it was a very quiet 3 and a half hour trip home.

Even though the bus ride was hellish, the museum was not and I'm very glad to have gone. I really want to see it again on a day when I am guaranteed a nice ride and when all of the elevators are working. I'll bring a sack lunch...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Summer is on its last legs

We spent the early morning hours...after 7 AM...walking through the Farmer's Market here in Chico. We try and do this every Saturday as it's good exercise and we can buy good food. Especially heirloom tomatoes! The market is quite large now, taking up a full 3 rows in the city parking lot. In December it will be down to just 2 rows as the summer vegetables and fruit disappear. This morning we found a small melon for just $1.25 and 2 tomatoes for $2.90. Yes, heirloom tomatoes are expensive but oh so worth it.

We walked the length and width of the market twice and it was obvious that fall was on it's way. A lot of the stands had noticeably meager offerings. The peaches and nectarines disappeared 2 weeks ago, much to our dismay. They made a great topping for oatmeal.

Since we will be taking a bus ride, next Saturday, to San Francisco to see the SF Museum of Modern Art, I thought we should do a little more walking in preparation for the 7 floors of exhibits in the new building. Well, it's obvious now that I will have to bring my pain medications with me. We hadn't even strolled a mile and the pain was becoming intense. Now I'm home; I've taken some pain meds and I contemplate my life. I've completed 5 marathons, half a dozen half marathons, numerous 5K and 10K races. I once mapped my mileage as if I were crossing the country and I did. Plus. I put a 26.2 and 13.1 decals on the back window of my car. Now I can't even go a mile without pain and the state just delivered my blue 'Handicapped' emblem to hang from the rear view mirror. Color me depressed!

The bus ride to SFMOMA was arranged by the Chico Art Center.  It will cost us $180 for the ride and admission. I think it's a bargain. Driving and parking in Baghdad by the Bay is perilous! This way we have a comfortable seat in a modern coach with a restroom. Even if we traveled there ourselves we would still have no more than 5 hours to visit. And 5 hours is not enough, or so I've been told. We have a map and we will visit what we really want to see and come back some other time.

I have plenty to do here while I wait for the pain to go away. I do the data input for new members of a local charity. The Blue Bag, or the Chico Food Project. Once every two months the members will put a blue bag filled with food (packaged) on their front porch. The Blue Bag volunteers will drive by and pick it up and leave a new and empty blue bag to be filled in two months time. The collected food is then given to local groups that need the food, such as the Jesus Center, Salvation Army, some churches, etc. It's usually close to 6 tons of food after all is done and counted. It's a very successful project and I have to input new members every two months as well. I have 16 this time; added to the 1,000+ that we already have. The small town of Paradise, just a few miles away, has been doing this for years now and they have 1,500 members. We have been doing it for just a few years.

I also have my own projects here. I am still trying to arrange my photo collection (26,000+) while I continue adding to it. There are no perfect systems for this. I'm using Apple's Photo and not their iPhoto. For some reason that I don't quite understand, I get lots of duplicates. I didn't store duplicates originally but after a few weeks, there they are. And Apple's system doesn't follow a file if it's moved. Lot of systems can do that. If I change the folder that a photo is stored in, my Photo system acts as if it's lost and puts a yellow tag on the photo. It does leave a copy of the original but it can't be modified in any way. The hard drive knows the location of every file on it. The path to it should be irrelevant. Oh, well, it keeps me busy and my ASD mind demands these kinds of collections. I would bet that I've seen all 26,000 photos twice and they never lose their appeal. Not so much the visual, but the order is what appeals to me. Now I'm double filing them by using Apple Smart Folders that look for the keywords attached to each photo. Of course, I'm the one that has to type in that keyword on each photo. All of this activity does wonders for my depression. I used to use alcohol for it, but this way is much healthier

Earlier this week I had planned to post something here, but, when it came time to do it, I had forgotten what it was. I tried to remember it for at least two days without success. Memory failure are my biggest headaches. I was going to get a soda from the usual place in the kitchen. I went to our bedroom and the attached bathroom and then the laundry room before I found the correct place to find my soda. I can tell stories like that every day. I get some good exercise by just allowing my brain to guide me in my searches.

Maybe I will remember that fascinating subject for the next time I post...or maybe not.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The days keep on coming.

When can we say the election is over? Will it be the day after we vote and the clear cut winner will take her place in the seat of power? Will it be a week or more after the vote and only after the Supreme Court decides our country's fate...once again? Or, best of all, a week or more before the vote, after which we can all relax because his lies have finally all come home to roost and not a day too soon?

I want the latter. It's already overdue. I read the NY Times and they are unabashed in their hatred for Trump. They reveal his lies for what they are and their opinions/truths are dismissed by the Republicans, but without evidence.

Trump has to fail and then what will the Republicans do? Their Party is shattered into many factions and all yelling that the vote was rigged. They seem not to understand just how difficult that would be to pull off. And without anyone leaking the details of such an action? Thousands of people would have to be complicit in the 'rigging' and to believe that no one will spill the beans? Now that is unbelievable.

Now, I didn't go to college, but I can see what the 'educated' Trumpeteers cannot. I suppose I should be happy that I didn't waste my money on the tuition. Okay, that's stretching things. But, I do find it difficult to understand how someone with a classical education fails to see that Trump is a phoney. He's a liar. The list of dishonest things that he is is far too long for me list here. There are a couple of things he isn't and one is Presidential. The other is christian. (I'm not using a capital C here because I've found that those that capitalize Christianity are usually using that honorific for personal gain.)

I've tried my best to keep this election out of my head. I know who I am voting for and Hillary would have to be a convicted murderer before I would vote for Trump. But every once in awhile Trump says something so outrageous that I have to say something.

The Trumpeteers and their ilk are constantly saying that Hillary is a liar and she is responsible for the deadly raid on Benghazi; yet, the Senate, the House, the FBI and Justice Department have all said that she is innocent in every case. Innocent. What's so hard to understand about that? Anything else you hear is rumor mongering and part of a very lengthy campaign to paste so many lies on her that maybe one will stick. So I guess that the Senate, the House, the FBI and Justice Department are all in on this white wash campaign arranged by Hillary. Really? She is a liar or she is not. If she is, present the evidence and move on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Just another day

A good day. Went down to the Art Center, early, and unlocked our class space where 8 of us meet weekly for 3 hours of conversation and painting. Not all of us were in attendance, two were close by the fire near Paradise. It's been growing in size damage and the smell of smoke was in the air this morning. They weren't in danger, but the smoke was pretty thick where they live. Another member had other commitments so we were down to just the 5 of us.

I didn't get a lot done. My digital painting skills are growing, but I feel clumsy and I erase a lot of the work. Or start over. A benefit of digital painting is the fact that you can erase anything you put on the canvas...I think I've saved close to $1,000 in paint and canvas in just the past 3 weeks.

Home now and listening to the almost constant low roar of the 'bombers' as they land at Chico airport, fill up with fire retardant and take off again. The fire is growing; it was at 840 acres and only 10% contained at 1:00 PM. I just checked the incident page of the Cal Fire website and there hasn't been an update. It's close to 4:30 and I expected to see some change in the status. A little closer to 100% containment would be nice but the flights I hear tell me that there is still a lot of work to do.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Once again

I woke up the other morning and I was 76 years old. That's a good thing. Waking up was the good thing. Now I can concentrate on making it to 77.
Regarding  the Ring doorbell; we have enjoyed the ability to speak to someone at our door when away. Yesterday, we were shopping at Trader Joe's when we heard the doorbell. It was a friend of ours with a newspaper for me. We talked for a minute, told him where we were, and he left the paper at the door before leaving. Last weekend we were at church when I spotted my granddaughter unlocking the front door (she comes over to clean every Sunday) and I greeted her. She was surprised of course but thought the doorbell was 'way cool!'

We have to change the location of the Ring as there are too many false alerts caused by the noise of the trash trucks coming by. And that's twice a week. I'm going to check the new location with a tape measure to be sure I have the distance set right.

My digital painting is getting better and better. That's if you enjoy abstract expressionism. If you don't, the quality of my painting will appear unchanged. Sorry about that. I've been sending them to Costco to be printed and I have a few dozen of them now. Costco has the right price but they darken all my reds. I will try and compensate. Here's one without a red in sight...