Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

Remembering 9/11

Firefighter*

“None of us will ever forget this day…” – President Bush

That morning I happened to have the TV on. Seeing what was happening in New York I called out to my husband. Together we watched in horror as the second plane hit. The decision was made to take our daughter to school and go to work.

Air traffic had to land thousands of planes and departures were stopped nationwide. As taxi drivers we knew that the many people at San Jose Airport would need transportation back to their homes or to hotels. It was a very busy morning for us. When the sky was quiet and the airport empty we went home.

*In Chico Ca.- To honor the 9/11 firefighters this patriotic goose is wearing a hand crafted costume.
CHICO GOOSE

Music in the Park in jeopardy?

Pato Banton at Music in the Park in 2010.

I’d heard rumors before that the San Jose Downtown Association was considering discontinuing Music in the Park after this season, and Josh Koehn’s recent articles in the Metro and on San Jose Inside have confirmed them. The problem seems to be that too many business owners (the members of the SJDA) feel like the event is creating too much negative publicity about downtown, and not generating enough knock-on business like restaurant visits. Recent Mercury-News articles implied a connection between Music in the Park and a knife fight at the San Carlos Street McDonald’s late on a Thursday night a few weeks ago. Commentors on Inside linked to YouTube videos of fights on VTA Light Rail following a Music in the Park concert this year.

And, as a Music in the Park fan for many years, I can say that in the past couple of years I do see more people at the event who seem to be as interested in showing off their hairstyle or clothes and trying to look tough than there were in earlier years.

But I don’t think the event has to be cancelled to fix this problem. It would only take a change in programming to get rid of the crowd who are making the event feel unsafe and not contributing to the downtown economy. The organizers just need to book more groups like Symphony Silicon Valley, Opera San Jose, San Jose Taiko, or the Santa Cruz based Brazilian dance group Samba Da. If they booked family-friendly groups like these for a substantial fraction of the dates each summer, the trouble-making crowd would lose interest, but there would still be fantastic entertainment to bring people downtown. There could still be a couple of more youth-friendly acts each year, like Neon Trees, Dredg, or the Wailing Souls, but if the bulk of the events were chosen to appeal to adults and families, the problem patrons would lose the habit of showing up “just for the scene.”

Unfortunately, I fear the real enemy is money. From what I’ve heard, Music in the Park is actually fantastically profitable for the Downtown Association. If Symphony Silicon Valley listeners don’t buy as much beer as Marcia Griffiths fans, the organizers are put in the tough spot of being asked to put on a show that might not make (as much) money, just to make sure the show can go on. But ending a 20 year tradition just because the crowds that spend the most on beer also create other costs would be a terrible decision.

It’s that time of year…

And that time of year is … allergy season.

Fall color in San Jose

Is it just me, or is the fall color around here much better this year than most other years?

SJC "The Terminal"

In 2004 Victor Navorsky (Tom Hanks) gets stuck at JFK when he finds that he is a man without a country. You must have seen ‘The Terminal’.

Could we have a similar situation going on right here at SJC? The first and second time that I saw her she didn’t seem all that out of place. She was pushing around a $3 Smarte Carte (baggage cart) loaded up with a couple of bags. Now its’ cargo has grown to include a couple of Styrofoam ice chests, and a tall tube-ish box which looked to have a drink cup dispenser attached to it. She now resembles a genuine homeless person.

When she became aware of my interest she quickly held a newspaper up to cover her face, and darted out into the parking garage. She often pretends to be making a phone call or other ‘normal’ activity.

An airport official told me that they were aware of her. Because SJC is a public property and until she becomes a nuisance there is not much that can be done. I wonder?

Make-Over for Breast Cancer Awareness

Today I was given a relaxing make-over by my friend Nancy at the Boots aisle in Target inside Westgate Mall.  She’s this sweet woman with a light touch and a magic for makeup.  

Many years ago when I was in England for business and some fun touring, I was introduced to Boots cosmetics, after forgetting to bring my moisturizer.  This product is a must have in England, the weather over there is not very forgiving on a persons skin.  So I was directed to the “Chemist” down the street from my Inn.  Chemist? Skeptical, I headed over not knowing what to expect, my mind raced with visions of  mini chemical bottles and weird potions.  I was pleasantly surprised “the Chemist” is the same as our Pharmacies, and the the aisles are lined with makeup, skin-care and the usual OTC healthcare remedies.  I was directed to the moisturizers by a friendly gal who gave me a thorough look, and handed me a No. 7 product, perfect for protecting my skin in the cooler climate. 

Since then, I’ve had  my mother-in-law from No. Ireland either send me the products, or bring it over on visits.  I found this wonderful skin-care line, and I wasn’t giving it up.  So, when Target added a Boots aisle to their cosmetics I was overjoyed!  Now when I shop at Target, I head to Boots if not to buy, just to browse the products. 

So, today, Nancy asked if I wanted a make-over, and since I had time, I took this offer and we started chatting.  Turns out, she and the other Boots Beauty Advisor Jenna are hosting a Complimentary Make-over in the Boots aisle this Saturday, Oct. 25th,  12:Noon to 5:PM

For those of you in Cupertino, Nancy and her co-Beauty Advisor Carol are hosting a Complimentary Make-over Friday evening Oct. 24th, 4:PM to 7:PM in the Target store at 20745 Stevens Creek Blvd.

All this is all in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  a subject close to Jenna’s heart, her mother being a survivor.  And this big bonus, 10% of the proceeds of the  sold Boots No7 Mascara will go to the Susan G. Koman Fund.  They hope to see you!

The Boots Aisle at Target

The Boots Aisle at Target!

 

P.S. Nancy told me, if you don’t want a make-over, she’s happy to give you a hand/arm massage, what a treat!!!

Did you know you can’t feed the animals at Central Park anymore?

I didn’t. I didn’t know there was an ordinance passed that you can’t feed the animals at City and County Parks here in Santa Clara County.

When my sister in law was visiting from  Northern Ireland in September, we were out and about with the kids, just chilling and having a good time.  I had gathered a wee bit of old bread, and made a plan to take us over to Central Park to feed the ducks and geese.  It seemed like a nice place for photo ops and just some bonding time between my SIL and her nieces. 

So we get there just after lunch, it was a fabulously sunny and warm, and walk around the path towards the duck ponds.  My children were all excited about the ducks, and eagerly reached into my backpack to get the bread.  Not thinking hard about it,  I broke up the bread and tossed some crumbs into the water for the few ducks that had gathered at waters edge.  Well, one duck leads to another, then the geese and pigeons get involved, and  soon we had hundreds of webbed toed friends squawking at us for the morsels. My children squealed and jumped around with delight.  Well, so did my SIL and I, its amazing watching two little kids have that kind of fun.

I guess our commotion attracted a City worker, which brought him over in a huff. “Please don’t feed the animals”  he said.   I replied, half joking, half smart-ass “Technically they aren’t animals, they are waterfowl” He raced back to his truck and continued his work.

We turned back to the birds, and by this point the bread was nearly gone, maybe a few handfuls, and we were taking family type pictures.  While the girls were still laughing wildly, the City worker came back with an awful stance, and basically told us, we were disturbing the peace.  Now, mind you, there were only maybe 5 or 6 other people in the area of the park we were in.  He was probably  pretty mad at my remark, I thought. 

Just as we were finishing up, and talking about going to the playground, a Police Patrolman strode up behind us to demand stopping our activity.  He stood a few inches from my face, reprimanding me for our behavior, ignoring the posted signs and ignoring the City worker.  He wasn’t civil about it, nor did he back down when I took my sunglasses off (out of respect), and agreed I understood what he was saying.  He offered up a couple of reasons as to why we should stop. He said something about recent animal poisoning, the mess the birds make, and something about the ordinance.  But he got so intimidating that his words became fuzzy, and I just wanted to get my family out of there.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been a smart-ass to the City worker, my bad I know.  But why should they reject ten minutes of pure pleasure for two little kids?  Why did that City worker have to call the police?  Why did that Policeman have to be so bad-ass to WOMEN AND CHILDREN feeding the ducks?  Now when my oldest sees any policeman she asks

You can take a photo, but don't feed!

You can take a photo, but don't feed!

if he’s going to yell at us too.  So, in the end we were banned from that part of the park.  We could go to the playground as long as all food had been tossed away.  No, we left the park, I don’t think we’ll go back. If I see that City worker face to face, I might throw some bread at him.

A wealth of color at Uesugi Farms in Morgan Hill, CA

Uesugi Farms, Morgan Hill, CA

Uesugi Farms, Morgan Hill, CA

So, Sunday morning, my husband and I are going over what to do with our day. On any given Sunday our plan is to take the children and dog to a local walking trail and get some sunshine and exercise. But on the 5th of October, he wanted to do something new and different. While looking up stuff on the web, I looked over my shoulder at my husband, who had both children climbing on him like a mountain, and it reminded me and the huge pyramid of pumpkins at Uesugi Farms.

Poor Claire had to stay home, the farm doesn’t allow pets. She looked so forlorn. We filled her bowl with fresh water, gave her a hug and a Greenie, and told her to be good. She normally is, Good girl dog.

So, I quickly assembled a lunch for us (note: they ask that people not bring in their own food, but won’t kick you out if you open up a lunch box. The food is pretty expensive there, liken to a baseball stadium).. packed up the kids, and headed out to Morgan Hill around 10:am. I had taken my kids there last year in October, and was surprised my oldest remembered. She kept saying “chugga, chugga chugga! Choo-Choo!!” definitely her favorite part is the train, and then talked incessantly about the “great huge” Pumpkin pyramid. I was thrilled that she was excited. My husband was happy too, he rarely gets to be a part of this kind of outing. I stay at home, so, I’m the one out and about with the girls. It a was great start to this plan.

When we arrived I was pleased to see the parking lot fairly empty, knowing that the place can get very busy with families and different groups. I don’t know if it was because it was early in the season, or just early in the day, but we got close to the entrance which minimized walking distance and a chance of excited bolting from the kids. I haven’t decided if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, that the first thing you are greeted with is public toilet stalls. My daughter and I did have to use one almost immediately after the drive, but it’s not really a pretty site. But that’s just a small thing, I suppose they had to put those stalls somewhere, once you are inside, you basically forget about them, well, until you need it again..

Inside you are met with friendly faces of workers, everyone is so happy you are there. Pumpkin movers in bright orange shirts, and guides who are willing to tell you anything you could need to know. And then there’s the Mariachi Band touring around the farm. I loved that band, they actually played, “A few of my Favorite Things” Mariachi style, that was very cool indeed! There is a Pumpkin Lady walking around greeting the people. She’s OK, a tad bit scary, my kids were taken back a little, and I was too at first. But she is G rated, and won’t walk up to children if they seem afraid (one little chap cried and ran the opposite direction, I didn’t know who to feel more sorry for). There is a great amount of things to see and do, the Giant Pumpkin stands out completely, and then there are the corn rows and mazes, a genuine haunted barn, and two trains to enjoy. There is a field of pumpkins and flowers to walk around, and take some fabulous pictures among. The scenery is gorgeous, and it’s great to see all the smiles and happy children running and looking at the different pumpkins.

Of course you can choose your own pumpkin to buy, there are numerous sizes to choose from, from the hand held variety, to the kind you need a wheelbarrow (which are readily available and free for your use). We ended up with 4 total, two the kids were able to hoist into the wheelbarrow themselves and two handpicked by my husband and I.

So, we were out of there by 1:pm, and ready to go. The kids were cheery by exhausted, my husband and I were glad we made a day out of this farm. It’s a really nice place for families, I totally recommend it!

Hey, this is pretty cool!

A Great Big Thank You to Joann Landers, who asked if I wanted to write a blog here on Metblogs. What a huge honor in my humble opinion!  

I am your average 40-something woman, living in West San Jose,  married, two small kids and dog.  We like our world, it flows with the tide of life, with a whole lot of interesting things to see and do.

Can you see us?

Can you see us?

 

 

Joann asked if I would write about my observations, that is, with two kids and a dog in tow. Which I am happy to oblige. I’ll do my best to bring a little of my life into yours!

See you around, 

mrskarenf

White Tower on 280?

While driving south on 280 between 85 and Apple’s main campus I noticed a humongous white plastic looking object on the left side of the freeway. What could it be? — A utility pole? A transmission tower? Would it soon be seeking signs from Martians?

This is what I have discovered:

Once upon a time, (two decades ago) the city of Cupertino was busy getting ready to connect Mary Ave. This would be accomplished with a car overpass spanning 280. Earthen ramps were readied on both sides. Then the city began to hear that the residents living near Stevens Creek were raising concerns. What impact would the traffic have on their neighborhood? The work was halted.

Fast-forward to 2008 and we find that the city of Cupertino is once again attempting to traverse 280. This time it will be with a Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge. For reference: walkers and bicyclists will be able to move from the area of De Anza College to Homestead High School with ease.

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