Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Squares and Angles

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is all about Squares and Angles.  This is one of my favorite aspects of photography.  I love to experiment with different angles and learn how to compose the photo!


This photo from Dubrovnik, Croatia has lots of squares and angles!  I was on top of the 2 mile wall that surrounds the City! Continue reading

San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building

We had a free afternoon from our Tour Director classes on Saturday, so I decided to go to the local Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.  Having visited Granville Island in Vancouver and Seattle’s Pike Place Market this summer (you can read about my visits to these farmer’s markets here and here)…I was also impressed with San Fran’s Market!

I love all of the bright colors and they were giving free samples of unusual fruits…like a pluot (a cross between an apricot and a plum).

This reminds me of Bugs Bunny!!

This of Mexico!

This of Europe!

and this of summertime!

I bought a shot of Wheatgrass Juice.  It’s supposed to purify your blood and give you the missing minerals and vitamins that your body needs.

I wish I had gotten a sandwich at the famous “Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie” just outside the farmer’s market.  The porchetta sandwiches are supposed to be out of this world…

Hope your day is filled with color, yummy food and people to love!!

An Hour at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

If you read my previous post, you know that I was in San Francisco for a two-week course to become certified to be a Tour Director.  While on our Motor Coach tour of San Francisco, we stopped at Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch and these are some photos I took…

The weather is gorgeous in San Fran during October…it’s like their summer.  It was sunny and in the 70’s just about every day.  Some people feel like Fisherman’s Wharf is too commercialized and “fake”, but there’s still a beauty to it!

Some of us had lunch at Boudin Bakery…it was yummy…their clam chowder in the famous sour dough bread bowl!

Hope you have a fantastic day/evening!!

San Francisco…Through the Eyes of a Future Tour Guide/Director

Part of our training to become a Tour Guide was conducted on a Motor Coach.  We were given a 25 page packet of information about San Francisco and instructed as homework to read, study and highlight pertinent information to prepare for our 5 minute turn in the hot seat!

So, one day we set out on a pre-planned route of San Francisco, by motor coach, hitting such hot spots as China Town, Ferry Building, Oakland Bay Bridge, Civic Center, Victorian homes, Alamo Square, Japantown, Twin Peaks, Haight Ashbury, Golden Gate Park and Bridge, Presidio, Lombard Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

We weren’t allowed to take notes up with us and we didn’t know which area we would have to talk about.  So…it was nerve wrecking!  The day before, we had the same tour, but one of ITMI’s employees “Amy” gave the commentary, to show us how it’s done.  Later that week, we did it once more for our final grade for the first week.  We stopped for restroom breaks/photo ops a few times, so the following are some photos I took:


This is the “Peace Pagoda” located in Japantown, given to San Francisco by the City of Osaka, Japan as a gesture of peace after WWII.

Both of the above photos were taken from Twin Peaks.

The two photos above were taken in the Japanese Tea Gardens.  One of the many things I learned in the past two weeks was that the Fortune Cookie originated with the Japanese (the Hagiwara family) that relocated to San Francisco to live in and take care of these Gardens.

Ladies and Gentlemen…the famous Golden Gate Bridge!!

Crossing over the Bridge…

The ceiling of the famous “Palace Hotel”.

An old lampshade in an Indian restaurant that we liked to go to…

Those of us who took the class most likely know more about San Francisco than residents do!

How to Continue Marathon Training While Out of Town

Keeping up your training and/or exercise while traveling can be a challenge.  Sometimes it’s too expensive to go to a gym, the weather is bad, or it’s hard to stay motivated.  During my recent two-week stay in San Francisco, I would leave the hotel early…usually 6:30am to jog anywhere from five to ten miles, three times a week, before attending class.

My hotel was located in the Union Square area of San Francisco and was about a mile from the Embarcadero…which was the waterfront where the piers were located and it was flat.

There are a lot of homeless people in San Francisco and generally they are rather non-confrontational and quiet.  Occasionally, one of them would say hello to me or vice versa.  A couple of times I would pass one that would be screaming vehemently at a wall or inanimate object.  I feel more connected to San Francisco from these early morning jogs!

The following are photos (not taken while jogging) of places and/or things that I would pass while jogging.

This is a temporary large piece (40 ft.) of art along the Embarcadero, called the “Raygun Gothic Rocketship”.

This is a permanent piece of art, erected in 2003, along the Embarcadero, called “Cupids Span”, inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros.

One of the famous cable cars…invented in the late 1800’s.  These were designated the first moving national landmarks in the nation during the 1960’s.  We learned all types of information about San Francisco during our class, so be prepared to hear some trivia!

If you’re committed to your exercise plan, it doesn’t matter where you are!

My first half marathon is this Saturday about 1 1/2 hr. away from my house.  I went and bought some goo (a small packet of carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement substance) to swallow for energy half way through.  Wish me luck!!

Tour Director School in San Francisco

Today is my first day back in Cincinnati from the two-week ITMI class I took in San Francisco, to become a Tour Director.  I go into more detail about what a Tour Director does in my other post entitled “What Makes Me Come Alive“.  I met a lot of very nice and very interesting people.  There were 27 of us taking the course ranging in age from 23 to 60 something.  We had class every day (no time off) and had quite a bit of homework.

For me the hardest part was the public speaking.  You’ve probably heard that there are more people afraid of public speaking than of dying.  We spoke a total of about 5-6 times ranging from a couple of minutes to 5-6 minutes each time.  We weren’t allowed to use notes, so it was difficult.  One of my topics was Black Americans in California.  We were on a motor coach (not a bus) a couple of times and in the classroom the remainder.

The last time I spoke in front of more than 5-10 people was in college in my 20’s and I remember being so nervous and shaken, that I’ve avoided it since.  I’m proud of myself for jumping so far out of my comfort zone!

I learned that it’s O.K. to not be perfect and to try to be myself!  My next step is to join Toastmasters and become really comfortable and well-spoken!  Anyway, here are some of the new friends and people I met…

We went on an overnight trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nat’l Parks and here is a photo of the class, along with the instructors!  I’ll have a separate post about these beautiful Parks.


This was in Sonoma…that’s Thyra (pronounced TEAR-RA) and me.  She’s from LA and a very cool and very smart person!!


This is Elise on the left and Daywee on the right.  I didn’t get to know Elise as well, but I really respect Daywee.  She’s got her stuff together and has a very bright future!  She’s from Indonesia and took some of us to an Indonesian Restaurant while we were in San Francisco and it was the best meal of my trip.


This is Lena…she was my roommate.  We were on opposite schedules…I would wake up between 4:30 and 6:00am and would turn just the bathroom light on to get ready in the morning.  Then go down to the lobby to do homework, or jog first.  We were able to make it work and she’s a sweetie and one of the smartest people I’ve met!!


This was taken at Fisherman’s Wharf.  From left to right…Thyra, Claxton (from Texas, former schoolteacher with a dry humor and good guy), Mary (she and I got to know each other on the overnight field trip because we were roommates)…really sweet and smart lady, and Bernard (French…that says it all…very charming and sweet)!!


This was one of the first photos I took…I love it…it’s Elliott (he’s loads of fun) and Sue (who I didn’t get to know as well as some others…but like everyone…very nice and friendly)!!


Here is the “cute couple”…Alyssa and Colton…they are both very smart and warm-hearted!  They’ll both be very successful in life!!


This photo turned out kind of weird, but this is JJ.  A few of us went out for sushi and it was his first time trying this cuisine.  He’s a cutie from Louisiana!


I’ve mentioned everyone that’s in this photo, but Ken (the big dude in the middle).  One of his topics was Sequoia trees and he touched my heart (just like many of the people did on the trip) when he gave his talk!  I’d like to mention everyone, but I only have so much time and space.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch with my classmates!!

California Angels

My first solo trip was to California in 2006′.  I planned my itinerary to spend two nights in each spot…San Francisco…Napa ValleyYosemiteSan Diego.  It was only $125 total to travel by Amtrak trains and buses to each destination.


I had a few hours to explore San Fran when I arrived…so of course I took the famous trolley…went to the pier…walked through China town, etc. etc.  The next morning I was on a tour bus to see John Muir Woods, and needed to throw a coffee cup away.  The bus driver said I could run across the street to a garbage can.  I didn’t even see the car that hit me.  I flew onto the hood of the car, bounced onto the ground and remember thinking my hand and behind hurt.  Immediately I stood up and looked at the driver of the car.  His eyes were bulging with shock and people started flocking around me.  A woman with a cell phone was trying to get me to sit down…I kept saying I was O.K.  Within a couple of minutes an ambulance appeared and they asked who the accident victim was!

After spending four hours in San Fran General…where they wanted to cut my clothes off…no way…I was famished.  I had a taxi driver take me to a restaurant and phoned my husband with the news.  In a distressed voice, he said, “Come home now” to which I replied, “No way, this is the beginning of my trip!”    The only sign that I had been hit was a red mark on my forearm the size of a pea!   I do believe in Angels! Continue reading