Friday, October 28, 2011

No n’t

by Shinazy

Many years ago, during a previous recession, I wanted to introduce some positiveness into my day.  (Is positiveness even a word, you ask?  Well,… it is now!)

But what could I do?
In order to be effective, I thought, it needed to be something that happened all the time, and it had to be subtle enough to go unnoticed by others, to avoid people asking me, “Hey, what’s going on with you?”
I woke up one morning with this resolution: I would stop using the word “not” and its cousin “n’t”.
I questioned: if I could change my speech and construct my sentences in such a way as to eliminate the use of these two words, would I start to think, feel, perceive, and communicate positively?  And could it really be this easy - to just stop saying or writing two words and expect my outlook on life to change?
To make this transition I found that I had to say exactly what I meant.  Instead of telling my children “do not  cross the street,” I would tell them “stay on the sidewalk.”  When my girlfriends wanted to see the movie Halloween, rather than say, “I don’t like that type of movie,” I would say, “I prefer comedies rather than slasher movies.”
Of course, there were - and still are - times when I open my mouth and my brain whispers “No n’t !” ….and then I stammer about with a string of “aaaaahhhh’s” while that same brain searches to form my thought without uttering an “n’t” word.
It isn’t easy to not use these words…aaaaahh -- mental correction -- it’s a challenge to avoid using these words… but it’s well worth the effort !

photo by sboneham

More Eating Counters for Us to Enjoy

  Update 12/5/2011

Thank you Bev
      by Shinazy

·         Fat Dog Cafe, Rotarura, New Zealand
o   You need to like a busy place.  Think about sharing because the portions are huge

·         Pastis, New York, NY
o   Folks either love this place or say avoid it; in the higher price range
o   Brunch is popular here

·         Mama's Fish House, Maui, HI 
o   Make a reservation to time your meal with the sunset
o   The food will match the view

·         Hali'Imaile General Store, Maui, HI 
o    Appetizers, cocktails, dessert = perfect    
o   Grand ol' building   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Learning For An Age-ing Brain

by Shinazy

The current info on the brain is that it continues to develop and is capable of learning forever.  We are encouraged to challenge it, to “exercise” our grey matter.  We might buy a few ‘Scientifically Proven Brain Fitness Programs”.  We can learn to dance, play a musical instrument, get a new cell phone, create a blog . . .  the list is infinite. 
My friend Ron goes to dance clubs and engages his brain with learning the tango, waltz, and foxtrot.  I tried to Salsa, 1, 2, 3, pause . . .  5, 6, 7, pause (this is the beat for my feet).  I took private lessons because I still cringe from the memory of those 1980s jazzercise classes where everyone else could move their arms and hips and legs and feet in a motion that resembled something other than . . .  I can’t go there, you get the picture.  I Salsa in my home, alone, with no music.  Change anything and I freeze.  Oh, I continue to practice my steps, but I think my brain isn’t being challenged.  So, on to learning something else.
Another friend, Kathleen, resumed her violin practice after decades.  Alas, for me, there’s no becoming a maestro.  I can recite the mnemonic for the five lines and four spaces of musical notes:  EGBDF (every good boy does fine) and ACEG (all cows eat grass), but I have no idea how the notes sound, and you never want to be in a room when I’m singing happy birthday.
Speaking of birthdays, maybe for mine I’ll get a new mobile phone and buy apps; playing with this new technology should keep my brain fit.  In a few months, I’ll let you know how that goes.
That leaves “creating a blog.”
Writing is like an onion, there are many layers.  The layers I fondly call: “What Should I Write About”, “Focus the Topic”, “Tighten the Imagery”, “Edit the Sentence Structure”.  Then, there are the behind-the-scene tech layers: domain name, site hosting, RSS feed reader, dashboard, float alignment, backlinks, gadgets . . . much to learn.
Each of us have items on our ‘bucket list’, most will require us to learn something – I decided to write.  So, for me, happily blogging every day should keep my ageing brain in the learning mode for quite some time.

photo by Christian Haugen

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eating at The Counter, part 2 of 2

by Shinazy

As promised, here are a few of my favorites. Watch for additions to this list as I eat at more counters or when I receive your recommendations.

·        Central Park Bistro - San Mateo, CA  
    • Tell Gorgio, the owner, how hungry you are and let him select your meal and wine – you will be surprised with foods that are outside your normal choices
·        FarmsteadSt. Helena, CA  
    • A fine example of the Local-Sustainable-Organic movement, and of course, the wine country location supports an award-winning wine list
v  Thank you meekb for this recommendation

·        Iberia - Menlo Park CA  
    • The Best Tapas in the world - only serviced at the counter during the dinner hours.
·         JW Marriott Hotel - Miraflores, Peru 
    • I recommend you eat your first dinner be at the bar, enjoy authentic dishes, watch how to make a dynamite Pisco Sour, and listen to stories about the area
·         Va de Vi  -Walnut Creek, CA
    • Call ahead for reservations, or plan to wait; the wait is worth it

·        Vino Locale - Palo Alto, CA
o   I can truthfully say, they serve some of the best Santa Cruz mountain wines and in-season, local small plates

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eating at The Counter, part 1 of 2

by Shinazy

When was the last time you ate at the counter?
I really enjoy eating at counters, especially when I travel alone.  It feels like I’m sharing a meal with other people.  Eating at a table or in a booth, alone, is well . . .  eating alone.
When I eat at the counter, the person next to me may start a conversation or I will.  These talks are different from the talks with an airplane seatmate.
At the counter, everyone has something else to do – eat. 
Everyone has a different time to depart – when his or her meal is finished.
There are pauses to take a bite, or sip.  There are the interactions with the Server.  Because my time at the counter is short, I keep the topics light, talking about food, wine, the day’s events.
I think of The Counter as a daytime place.  The same place at night is The Bar.
At the bar, folks add business related topics to the conversation.  Sitting alone is a networking opportunity; business deals can start here.  Or, it can be like attending a mini party – happy people coming and going.
Sometimes I need to get out of the house, just to . . . be out.  So I take myself to my favorite local restaurant and sit at the counter or at the bar.  I enjoy watching the actions of the staff, well-choreographed movements, or the theater of a performing bartender, while I chat with folks I just met.  It’s a lovely time.
I highly recommend eating at The Counter.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about some of my favorite Counters.

photo by Shinazy

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just Being

by Shinazy

Sometimes we find joy in just hanging out with the people we care about.  No agenda.  No goals.  Just being.  Together. 

Sitting on a chaise lounge, at the edge of a pool.  Warm desert breeze, shade from the water starved pine trees, clear blue sky.  Is this featureless sky real?  Looking around I see no clouds, nothing on the horizon – no distractions for us to change our focus from being together.
Some of us are reading the Las Vegas Sun; others are napping; still others are writing their blog.  You can hear the sound of children playing – have you noticed; wherever you are in the world, the sound of children playing is the same.  Laughter is a universal language; we all understand a smile, a giggle, a laugh.
Yes, there is big JOY in Just Being.

photo by Shinazy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beach Towns - Catalina Island, part 2 of 2

by Shinazy

One of my intentions for this blog is to share links to information I find useful, or fun, or interesting, or . . . 
Side Note:  my daughter tells me that I need to include photos.  Ok, she's right.  I do.  However, at the moment I really don’t know how to do that.  But, hey, I’ll figure it out. 
Stay tuned for photos.

    • Spend the extra few dollars and upgrade to the Commodore Lounge.  You get a voucher for a beverage; I like Bailey’s and coffee or Mimosa.  You sit on the top deck so you get a great view of the Queen Mary, then Catalina Island.  If it is foggy, you can stay inside.  If it is sunny, you can go outside.  I like options.

  • Buffalo Nickel Restaurant
    • The food is fresh and tasty.  I recommend the Mahi Mahi tacos – big moist chucks of fish.  For dessert try, a drink called Buffalo Milk, the signature drink on the island.  Each establishment has a slightly different recipe.  I think the one at Buffalo Nickel is the best (ask for more chocolate syrup if you want) – beware Buffalo Milk is easy to drink and potent.
      • Buffalo Milk
1 ½ oz. Smirnoff vodka
¾ oz. light crème de cacao
¾ oz. dark crème de cacao
¾ oz. banana liqueur
1 ½ oz. half and half
½ of a fresh banana
Blend ingredients with ice and pour into a hurricane glass.
Dribble chocolate around the inside of the glass and top with grated cinnamon and nutmeg

  • Zip Line
    • Yes, this is FUN.  The first step on the first line is scary.  The first step on the second line is less scary.  Then it is just FUN.  On line 2, my sister stopped short of the landing.  As promised, a rope was tossed at her, but she forgot to catch it.  Then came a series of maneuvers until one of them worked and she was pulled onto the landing.  Was she scared being stuck on a wire, hanging over a ravine?  “Nope, it was pretty cool”

  • CatalinaWiFi 
    • If you want speed greater than 1Mbps without interruptions, then head for somewhere above the fifth floor, otherwise, forget it.  Anyway, you’re in a Beach Town, try unplugging.
  • Taxi from LAX
    • Before your trip to LAX, call and arrange for a taxi to be at the airport.  I call the Long Beach Yellow Cab Co-Op and ask for the driver named Menour.
    • Try to travel the freeways between 10:00am and 2:00pm; otherwise, it will take twice as long to get anywhere.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beach Towns - Catalina Island, part 1 of 2

by Shinazy

There’s a feel to Beach Towns.  I live on the San Francisco peninsula, where I try to live as if I were in a beach town - this takes effort.  Living in a beach town you just connect with other people – that’s simply how you live life.

I’m on Catalina Island, the 26 miles across the sea Santa Catalina Island.  I’m here with my sister and brother, we’re on our Third Annual Sibling Reunion.  We arrived yesterday afternoon from Long Beach, after staying on the Queen Mary. Once you leave the Catalina ferry dock, you can sense you are in a Beach Town. 
We asked the cab driver where he eats when going out and he recommended the Buffalo Nickel. Our GPS showed it was close to our condo, when actually it was a 20-plus-minute-up-the-hill- no-sidewalk trek.  And, of course, we got lost.  We stopped a man named Campos and asked for directions.  He told us the Buffalo Nickel has a shuttle, he then called them; and told us to wait by the two palm trees.  A few minutes later, a van arrived.  This pick-up service is offered to everyone and when your meal is over; someone in the kitchen will drive you home.  Would this happen in your downtown?  Not mine, but remember this is a Beach Town.
The next morning, while walking to the Zip Line, I stopped a man driving a golf cart, carts are the major mode of transportation on the island, and asked the man if we could pay him to drive us to the Zip Line.  “No problem, hop in.” and off we went.  It was his day off, he was driving to the store, and although the zip line was out of his way . . .  well, this is what folks do in a Beach Town, they do favors for each other and for strangers.  Folks do this without thinking about pay back.
Wherever you are, you can make that place a Beach Town. But How?  Well, talk to the person behind you while you stand in line.  Chat with the store clerk about something other than what you intend to buy.  Hold open the door for the person entering or exiting.  Offer to take the vacationing couple's picture.  Try talking to folks you just met  . . . You will be surprised how open people are and how much joy you will get from the conversations.  You, too, can live life in a Beach Town.

see tomorrow's post - some fun facts and tips

by Shinazy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And so it begins . . .

Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe
by Shinazy

Why start this blog?  Well, to write about all the grand experience we have every day, and to tell stories along the way.
I’ll point out a few things that you might find interesting, or fun, or . . . and together we will remember experiences from our history, family history, life history.
I’ll give you some facts and include a website or two.
There will be tips and suggestions about how to do various things.
Mostly, I hope to return joy to our lives.

How did I come up with the name Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe? 
Well, according to:
Urban Dictionary*  Bitchin’ means: 1. Spectacularly good.  2. Awesome, great. 
We all know Ol' is short for Old.  
Wikipedia says, a Boomer* is “is a person who was born between 1945 and 1964”.
And our ol’ standby, Merriam-Webster* defines Babe as “a young attractive woman”. And, hey, we are all still “young and attractive”.  Right? Right !

So, Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe is the perfect title for this blog. Remember, this is our blog, so if you want me to write about a specific subject just let me know and I’m on it.

Oh, yes, BOBB is the nickname.

See y’all tomorrow.
photo by Jim
·        Urban Dictionary
·        Boomer
·        Merriam-Webster dictionary