March 31, 2011

Views at Palos Verdes

There are plenty of great views of the Pacific from the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In the above picture you can see the Point Vicente Lighthouse in the distance (far left).

See also my 2009 photos at the Trump Golf Course.

March 30, 2011

Frank at The Cannery

On the way to Laguna Beach we stopped for lunch at a restaurant that was located in an old cannery building. As you can see the tablecloths were so long you could not slide in the booth without practically pulling them off the table!

The decor was nice. I was less impressed with the food and the prices were high, considering.

The Town of Laguna Beach

We've been to the town of Laguna Beach before. It's a nice California town, with galleries and shops and (of course) a beach.

We browsed through an interesting gallery, Kush Fine Art. I don't have any pictures of it but you might want to browse their site to see the metaphorical paintings. They reminded me of Jerry Uelsmann's photographs, which I found stunning in the days before Photoshop brought photo-surrealism into the reach of hundreds of artists.  (Mind you, I'm not claiming that anyone can do what Uelsmann did. I once took a short course under him in Florida and found his work to be amazing.)

What? Photography Not Allowed?

One of the first places we visited on our recent trip to the Los Angeles area was Greystone Mansion.  I did not get any photos of it because they have signs prohibiting photography without a permit. We saw plenty of people ignoring the rule and I'm sure I could have done so too but I wanted to show respect for the folks who run the place. It was an overcast day so pictures might have looked dull anyway.

The manor house and surrounding gardens are owned by the city of Beverly Hills. It's been used for scenes in various movies. The interior is not generally open to the public but the exterior is interesting and (of course) somewhat familiar. The grounds are lovely and pleasant to wander through.

March 29, 2011

Max Wearing A Hat

Blame Frank for putting his hat on his sister's dog. Max shook it off right after I took the picture.

March 28, 2011

A Visit to the Norton Simon Museum

I was excited to get the chance to tour the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. I've seen Norton Simon as the credit for various works of art in books, so I knew there would be some great art there. And Pasadena is a nice town. We've been there before to visit the Huntington Museum and Gardens, which are spectacular.

Not surprisingly, the Norton Simon does not have the extensive gardens that the Huntington does, but it's art collection was wonderful. You can browse the Norton Simon website to see what they have.

They allow photography so I collected a set of favorite items to look at later, including works by impressionists and also by European masters.

It's been a long time since I saw so much great art in one place! When I was growing up we visited the National Gallery in DC many times so I got spoiled by it's abundance of masterpieces.

If your travels take you to Southern California, I highly recommend a visit to Pasadena to see this museum and also the Huntington complex.

It Rains in Southern California

We had some good times in Southern California but ... I want to vent about the weather!
Downtown Los Angeles had 2.42 inches of rain on March 20 easily shattering the previous record of 1.48 inches in 1943! (Click for more.)
It was cloudy and cool for most of our visit, and rainy about half the time we were there. On the rainiest day, the wind blew hard and our power was out for four hours.

On our previous trip to California, the weather was uncomfortably hot and nearby wild fires made the air acrid with smoke. I vowed not to go there in summer again. March seemed like a good bet.

I packed for spring weather, expecting temperatures in the 70's and maybe 80's. Ha! Our high was about 62 F.  I had to buy additional warm clothes. Having to shop while on a trip is not really unusual for me; I never seem to pack enough clothes! And I'm not a person who enjoys clothes-shopping; I buy most of my clothing online or from a catalog. (Yes, I wind up with some dowdy clothes. What's wrong with that?)

The picture shown here is a Pasadena street scene. I liked the Electric Vehicle Charging Station sign – I haven't seen this in our area yet.

See also August 2009 and September 2009 posts or all entries tagged California.

An Improvement at IAD

When we recently went to Southern California, we flew out of Dulles for the first time since they replaced the old "mobile lounges" with trains. I like the trains better, although they don't have enough seats available. But they are fast and don't smell like diesel fumes.
FCW 3/18/2011

March 26, 2011

Thoughts at an Outdoor Decor Shop

Does your garden decor reflect your religious beliefs?

Are the fat Buddha-like statues charming or offensive?

Can human beings stay as serene as these fellows when so close to folks of differing philosophies?

Why can't we all get along?

March 25, 2011

Moon On a Cloudy Night

City View after Dark

On March 19, when the moon was predicted to appear large, we were visiting my husband's sister in California. The rain clouds parted enough to see part of the moon.

I was disappointed that we didn't get the clear view. The moon was at the closest distance to earth in 18 years.

Afternoon at the Lake, Warren County

Here we see a couple more photographs I took at Shenandoah River Lakes, a subdivision in Waterlick, VA. This was on a different day from the pictures I posted on March 15.

It was a cloudy day but luckily some sunshine slanted through in the late afternoon.

March 24, 2011

Squirrel Feeding Time Draws to a Close

squirrelWarm weather is coming and that means BEARS! They will leave their winter dens across Virginia and search for food.

So unfortunately it's time to stop filling bird feeders and squirrel feeders so that the bears won't tear them down and destroy them.

Sorry, Charlie!

March 23, 2011

It's Max!

Max has lost his hearing over the years but is still a sweet dog.

Metal Moose and Giraffe

Not normally found together in the wild...

(Seen near Malibu at intersection of Topanga Canyon Road.)

The Old Iron Horse

Put out to pasture?

Surfing on the iPad

Although we've had our iPad for almost three months, I'm only now using it heavily on the web. Frank has enjoyed it all along as an e-reader, but I didn't use it much.

Finally I started taking advantage of it's ability to reach the Internet when we are away from wi-fi. After all, that's why we paid extra to get a model with 3-G capability. I signed up for a month of AT&T 3-G use and took the iPad on the road.

It works well. Although the speed can be slow compared to DSL, it is faster than dial-up,at least as I remember it.

The GPS feature is very cool. It shows your location on a map and can give you directions. I suppose this is old hat to those who have certain smart phones, but I haven't invested in one yet.

Email works fine, although sending pictures has seemed tricky so far. Browsing Facebook is fun with the touchscreen because I can move down the page quickly.

I love how fast the iPad comes on! It turns off quickly too. And the graphical interface is simple and elegant.

I found filling out forms rather difficult until I got out my Pogo stylus. It fits into boxes with precision, infinitely better than my clumsy fingertips.

Link: Ten One Design Pogo Sketch Stylus for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch (Silver)

March 20, 2011

March 17, 2011

March 16, 2011

A Picture from over A Century Ago

James and Maggie Shaffier

In the 1990's I bought a Javins domain name because it was my last name at the time. I put up a rudimentary site and soon starting getting emails from people looking for their Javins ancestors. I created a guestbook page so that those folks could share their information. Eventually I added another Javins genealogy page, and when spam became a big problem I discontinued the submittal form and started posting the messages in HTML.

Not long ago I heard from a long-lost nephew of my former husband. He sent me some pictures including this copy of a very old photo. A note explains that this is a portrait of
James Madison Shaffier and Maggie Carrol Shaffier. James lived 1858-1928, and Maggie 1848-1906. She was Native American and he called her Star Baby. Their daughter Lucy married Charles Stewart Javins and one of their sons was George William Javins, grandfather of my daughters.

The Javins and Shaffier families migrated back and forth across Virginia several times, sometimes settling in Briery Branch or Millboro and other times in Fairfax County.

March 15, 2011

Saturday at the Lake

Saturday was a nice day so we drove down to Shenandoah River Lakes and walked over the vacant lots we own. Recent heavy rains had left some low spots wet and marshy.

The ducks and geese kept their distance, preferring the opposite side of the lake by the subdivision entrance. We stopped there on the way out and I took some photos.

The third picture lacks the warmth of the first two, but you can see the span of our extra lots. I cropped the edges to approximate the property's boundaries. The lake house and it's yard adjoin the right edge.

Grey Geese

gooseThese are among the geese who hang out at Shenandoah River Lakes. I admire how well-fed they look!

These birds are members of the genus Anser. I'm sure there's a good pun in there somewhere. Geese are pretty loquacious!

March 14, 2011

March 13, 2011

LW at the Lake

Frank took this picture yesterday. I got my hair cut the day before and it's in a growing-out stage. The short-in-back look did not work out because it was just about impossible for me to style.

March 12, 2011

Mosby's Rock

I didn't post much here about the Mosby Tour that I attended through NVCC last May because it was mostly a repeat of a tour I took before and posted on my Civil War Field Trips site. However, Mosby's Rock in Herndon was a new stop for us, so I'll show it to you now.

The location felt a bit unusual. For one thing, it's a small green area surrounded by development (townhouses and a church), so it doesn't feel at all like the secret meeting place that it was 150 years ago. Also, it's not a large boulder, it's an unremarkable-looking outcropping. You would not notice it except for the historic marker.

Here's what the plaque tells us:
Mosby’s Rangers (43d Bn., Va. Cav.) used this rock as a rendezvous point and met here to divide the spoils after raids. The renowned Southern spy and scout Laura Ratcliffe, who lived nearby, showed this rock to Col. (then Captain) John S. Mosby, CSA, in 1863, and suggested he use it as a meeting place.
You can find directions to Mosby's Rock on

March 11, 2011

Trinity Church in Fort Valley

This quaint church is now part of the Fort Valley Museum, which is a short walk away. The sign on the church says "Trinity Brethren Chuch 1904."

A Castle in Timberville, VA

A friend mentioned that she had spotted a castle from route 211 near Timberville. So the next time I drove through there, I looked for it.

It turns out to be a private residence near the old creamery. Not your typical Shenandoah Valley structure, it does appear to have a nice pastoral view. It's been there for about a year.

Like This!

March 10, 2011

Gettysburg Campaign Tours in May

Northern Virginia Community College has posted their Summer 2011 Schedule. Registration begins March 29.

Dr. Poland has scheduled another Civil War Class: History 298 Seminar And Project Gettysburg Campaign.

It will consist of three days of field trips, May 20- 22.

March 9, 2011

For Bloggers Only

I just ordered a record of my 2006 blog entries on Blog2Print. It was my second book in a week; after all, they had a discount code available.

I finally figured out how to get rid of the annoying Copyright message that showed up after every singlel entry in the book. It turned out that I had long ago typed it in my Site Feed settings. I went back in there and took it out before generating the new book.

The those of you who use Blogspot, the field in question is under Settings on the dashboard, specifically under Site Feed. Now that I've made the books, I need to go back and reinsert a copyright notice.

If you haven't tried Blog2Print, you'll want to allow plenty of time to do your first book. The editing options are limited and most pictures show up rather small. Since the book quickly becomes expensive, you may want to move unneeded posts to "Draft" status before starting the process. I leave out the Table of Contests to save space too.

March 8, 2011

February Flowers

I took this picture in our yard on February 21. This may be something I planted a couple of years ago. It came up all by itself among the pine needles and acorns.

March 7, 2011

Ski Season Ending

Yesterday's rain washed away most of our snow, although we got about an inch of fresh snow last night. Will Bryce Resort still have enough snow for WinterFest on March 12? This is getting close to spring in Virginia.

I took these pictures two weeks ago at the top of the ski slopes. The little girl in pink was debating whether to ski Lochers Bowl or White Lightning.

March 6, 2011

Available: Rental home in Shenandoah County

My property in Woodstock will be vacant soon so I am seeking a new tenant.

I'm asking $890 a month for rent. The house is attractive and in good shape and the location is excellent!

It's on the outskirts of Woodstock, a short drive from I-81, Walmart, Lowe's, and Cracker Barrel. It's across the street from the Fort Valley Nursery and Garden Café, which in turn is next to a fitness and rehab center.

Each of the 2 bedrooms has its own bath and one has a walk-in closet. The living room has wood floors and the stairs and bedrooms have carpet that's only a year old.

My tenant has to move back to California later this month. He and his wife have taken care of the property so it is still in nice condition.

My husband is listing the property through Creekside Realty.

See last year's post about my buying this house as a 1031 exchange.

March 5, 2011