Monday, June 30, 2008

History San Jose

History San Jose is part of Kelley Park containing historical buildings, an old trolley, an art museum, and more. O'Briens was the first place to sell ice cream in the West.

Most of these buildings were in the downtown area and moved to HPSJ because they were in danger of demolition.

Docents demonstrate the printing press in the Print Store. It's hard to know what life was like before computers did all the work.

Outside of the Trolley Barn is a small model trolley with a bell that rings. The chairs are small, perfect size for bears. Inside the barn are many different trains from models and toys, to a full scale car and some smaller scale replicas. There are train machines and tools showing the mechanics and workings of trains.

A covered wagon sits adjacent to the stables.

The Portugese Historical Museum.

It's a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and the price is right. Free admission!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Camp Grizzly

June 28th was National Backyard Campout Day. Eating premade smores and sitting outside doesn't cut it in my book. When I celebrate I take it to the limit. I started by making a sign for my "park." I invited my BFFs to join me.

Eureka is a good guitar player so she provided the music for our campfire songs. Our favorite to sing was "The Saga Begins" by Weird Al. It works as a group campfire song. Trust me.

James is the chef in our group so he handled the grill. He makes a mean veggie burger. When you open the frozen package on stick it on the grill, how hard could it be? I can't really give him a hard time, he did make some good food. It was quite impressive to see him make quesadillas on an open flame.

While the others went to set up their sleeping bags and decide on ghost stories, James and I stayed by the fire to eat more smores. I found you could make smores "vegetarian" by using marshmallow creme. Marshmallows contain gelatin which is made from animal innerds and bones. Marshmallow creme is made from egg whites. Yes, still an animal product but the lesser of two evils.

I don't know how it happened. One minute I was making vacation plans, the next minute I had a mouth full of fur. No complaints, though, James is very gentle.

It was getting late and everyone was ready for ghost stories. Minerva asked for me to not tell any too spooky as she didn't have a date she could cling on to. Beckett tried to act tough for Eureka, but I could tell he was going to sleep with his flashlight on. James has heard these stories so many times he could recite them without the book.

Some of my favorite California ghost stories are La Llorona (Trabuco Creek); Kate Morgan, the Hotel del Coronado; The ghost of the Brookdale Lodge; Sarah Winchester of the Winchester Mystery House; and more. I also enjoy stories of Bigfoot sightings and El Chupacabra.

The campout was a lot of fun. I still have smores ingredients so will be munching on those for a few days.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


While out running errands, I happened upon an independent bookstore that I had not ever visited. I had some time so I decided to check it out. In the back is a large toy area. This little guy was sitting in a wagon, waiting for a photo.

I thought this piano was just a propr, so imagine my surprise when I posed for a photo and startled everyone in the toy section. I am not very musical, mostly I just make a lot of noise.

In one corner of the store there were many models set up. There was a big dollhouse with a lot of very cute furniture. This pirate ship was also set up. I really wanted to buy one, but I am sure one more piece of pirate anything wouldn't be a welcome item in this house which could now be mistaken for the Caribbean.

There is even a section to do some "mining" of colorful rocks. Looking at the pictures now I realize - I didn't take any pictures of books! That opportunity will present itself again, I'm quite sure.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sonoma Train Town

Sonoma Train Town is a park I saw on my way into Sonoma. It's on Broadway/Hwy112/12. It is very cute, a great place for families or bears.

I wonder of the conductor will let me drive...

Halfway through the ride, the train stops in a 1/2 scale town where you can get off the train and explore.

I think they built this town just for me. I would love a bench like this for home, it would be great for reading or just lounging on.

They have a school, jail, church, and other buildings found in most towns.

The firehouse has a fire engine parked inside. It was so hot I was hoping to find a hydrant, but no luck. They probably would not have liked me to tilt it over anyway and that would be a waste of water.

Do you like my caboose?

The conductor was happy to pose for a photo.

This was a fun stop, I am glad I decided to check it out. Admission is free, however if you wish to take the train or go on any of the rides there is a fee for tickets.

Sonoma Plaza

Sonoma is where "California" began. In this plaza the Bear Flag Revolt took place on June 14, 1846. John C. Fremont ordered his men to proclaim independence from Mexican rule and started the California Republic.

This is the Bear Flag Monument in the plaza. It was so overly emotional standing in this spot, it's hard to put into words my love and devotion to the place I call home.

At the Sonoma Barracks at the Toscana Hotel is a museum highlighting the revolt and history.

Mission San Francisco Solano is the last of the 21 California missions.

The mission is not an active church but is open for tours and has a few historical artifacts and paintings.

The famous mission bells that mark the El Camino, the road linking (or following) the twenty-one missions. When first they were built the missions were planned to be one day's horseback ride from each other.

If you think you can gently lean against a cactus and not get your butt poked, think again.

Most of the buildings in the Sonoma Plaza have historical significance. Most are now used for shops and restaurants, but each have a plaque outside with a blurb about what the building's name is and when it was built. In the visitor's center maps are provided with the names and locations of the historical sites, and maps are also available in the SHP gift shop.

If you have driven anywhere in California, chances are very good you have seen a California Historical Marker and/or a sign indicating an historical site. Whenever I see one I stop if time permits. My goal is to see all of the more than 1,070 sites. I have always seen signs announcing one landmark. Imagine my excitement when I saw this sign. I was brought to tears standing in such historical greatness.

I love you, California.

Fifth Mission

As I was driving home I saw one of those California Historical Landmark signs. I didn't have anywhere else to be and as it was for a mission, it was a golden opportunity.

Mission San Rafael is the smallest I have visited. It shares property with a church and a school which could have possibly been a part of the original mission.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We're Going on a Trip...

While we were out for tea I suggested to James that we plan a road trip. He has never been north of San Francisco so we looked at the Northern California books.

I have been all up the California coast. It's all so beautiful. I told James he should consider one of the Marin or Sonoma County beaches to start. Mendocino would be another great place to go, with the wine tasting and the Stanford Inn, very animal friendly with a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Of course we would not go without asking a very close, personal friend that loves Mendocino. There is also the possibility of going northeast. I have not really seen much of the eastern part of the state so that's a lot more road trips to plan.

While at the bookstore James found this little Corduroy doll. That is one of my favorite books, he is a cute bear that goes on adventures. James thought it would be a nice treat for me. Isn't he sweet?

National Iced Tea Month

June is National Iced Tea month. My guess is because it's the first month of summer, and what better way to celebrate than to have a thirst-quenching glass of iced tea.

James and I went for some cold tea. He likes green tea, but with his sweet tooth he needed lemonade and sweetener to make it palatable. That bear sure does like his sweets. I sipped a Green Tea Frappuccino. I guess neither one of those drinks is technically "iced tea" though they are both cold and both have tea hidden in there somewhere. That's good enough for me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It was another hot day today so I thought I would go to Shoreline Park to cool off. Last time I thought going to the water would cool me off I was wrong. At least this time if it was roasting by the water at least it wouldn't be a long drive. Luckily it was breezy and cool.

Shoreline Park is in Mountain View. This is a great place to go windsurfing or kayaking. It is secluded therefore not always crowded. There is a park designated for kite flying.

An air jumper was set up and it looked so tempting. I had to bounce.

Attack of the killer geese! Just kidding, these geese are not killers. Mostly they just honked.