Sunday, November 5, 2023

I knew I Could - Vickie's A-musings

Hi, I'm Vickie, and I just had some great fun!

I earned 4 ribbons!! Sweet!

Me with two of. my 4 ribbons

I just knowed I could do it. I'm just a runnin', funnin', fool my mama says, on account of I like to chase plastic bags on strings. I learnded that some folks call those bags "trash bunnies" on account of a lotta plastic bags are for trash, and some dogs, like me, like to chase bunnies, and the plastic bags are the next bestest thing! 

Yeah, sometimes I do slow down and take it easy!

My mama and dad took me to a place with a whole lotta dogs. I was struck dumb, as in, not able to talk bark, kinda dumb - cause truth be told - I'm smart as a fox, not dumb at all. In fact, I was almost named Foxy Lady cause I even look like a little ol' red fox, but they named me Queen Victoria the Vixen instead. A vixen is a fox, or a shrewish, ill-tempered woman. I guess that kinda describes me!  I can be kinda bossy-like, and, man-o-man, I bark in a very high-pitched, shrewish way....just to make my humans bark back at me. I know how to get attention, yes I do! After all, I am The Queen! They either named me right, or I have grown to fill the name they gave me!

If you look at the top of the quilt I'm snuggling with,  it has my title!

Anyways, I digress (see how smart I am, although I first thought that word was degrease, and I'd love to degrease that frying pan any time it's used!) My mama and dad once happened to see a coursing event. They didn't know nuthin' 'bout it, but enjoyed seeing the dogs running after trash bunnies on a zig-zag course, and were enthralled by watching dogs run as fast as their legs would take them on a 100-yard dash. Touch down! When I first exhibited tendencies to chase the doggie poop bag on the end of the leash, they said to themselves...or thought to themselves, that Vickie might really like that 100 yard dash thing. So, they looked it up and found out it is called FastCAT. When I first heard them talk about it, I must be honest here, I was sure they were talkin' about dogs chasing' fast cats, but it turns out there ain't no cats, which would be almost as good as bunnies in my book! CAT stands for "Coursing Ability Test". It's a way to see what dogs have that ability, and boy, do I have it! I'm all about chasing that bag. I have lots of ability. Dontcha just know it!

The first night at the E-vent I got to try it just for the heck of it. I didna' need any help, I didna' need my human to walk down the course with me...I was on it, lickety-splitidy. I was so intent on what I was doing, I even forgot to bark! I runned and runned and runned as fast as I could go, and the guys in charge said I did great. 

This is a watercolor my mom did, tryin to show how fast I run!

The next two days I got to try it for real, with a timer and everything. I runned the course 4 times. My first time was 11.32 seconds, and my fastest time was 10.66 seconds. That means, even with my stubby, chubby legs I runned just under 19 miles per hour! Not bad for a Corgi - in fact, the AKC (whoever they are) has a chart showing the top Corgi scores in the USA...and I'd fall about 114th fastest Corgi. Holy cow! And, I'm just one year old. I'm gonna get faster and faster - I bet. 

Anyways, my mama and dad are really proud of me. They gave me some treats and lots of pets and lots of hugs and told me what a good girl I was. I just sat there, like a Queen would do, on account of I am Queen Victoria!

Monday, August 28, 2023

Home Away from Home

We sold the house we owned in Point Richmond a few years ago. It was a beautiful home and location, but it wasn't convenient for visiting the kids and family. Since then we have been on the lookout for a place near the kids. We looked at many homes, enjoying open houses in the area, but grew to realize that a "sometimes home" (especially at Oakland, CA prices)  just wasn't practical. After several years of looking for condos, one showed up on Realtor in October when I just happened to be in town. It seemed perfect. 

The condo is on the ground floor where the umbrella was set for staging.

The condo is on the ground floor, straight ahead

A huge selling feature was the parking area between the buildings and the street, and a nice large, open grassy area. 

The condo is 890 sq ft

It ticked a lot of boxes:
      • .4 mile from the kids
      • 1 mile from our other son
      • four different grocery stores in under a mile
      • walking distance to BART
      • convenient bike trails/bike friendly streets nearby
      • more than 1 bedroom
      • off street parking for a car in a dedicated spot
      • restaurants & coffee shops in under a mile
We decided to buy the condo and closed on it near the end of 2022. Before the condo was in our plans I had already arranged a trip to Las Vegas to see friends. Once we had the condo, it seemed like a perfect time to fly on to California. The Mister, who detests flying, suggested that he drive out to California bringing some items we had in Florida that we'd like to have in California, so he left a bit after me, and showed up a few days after I arrived. 

Our first night in our new "home away from home" did not go especially well!

I carried the key that was labeled "California Storage" with me. I met the movers there the next morning, only to discover the key did not open the lock. Since The Mister had signed the contract, only he could sign a form to have the lock cut off. He showed up that evening and we spent our first night on a borrowed inflated mattress with borrowed linens. We had a borrowed chair and occasional table. We had an office chair and a few other items brought from Florida and a few bins we could also use as tables. It was in the low 50's and rain had set in... and the heat didn't work in our condo - it was cold! The next day our neighbor leant us two space heaters and we discovered that The Mister had the key to the storage lock on his key ring! 

We made a trip over to the storage unit once the rain let up and brought back a few items that we hadn't packed very well, and that might not withstand a trip with the movers, who arrived the following day. 
Our condo was suddenly filled with whatever was left over when we sold the house, and couldn't seem to part with. We had a surfeit of chairs - we had enough that we could invite the whole family over, and still have spares!

The Mister takes a brief nap!

I guess we still need to unpack and organize a bit more!

After a few days of sifting and sorting, unpacking and unloading (we filled the trash bin) we were somewhat settled.

We entertained the family for Christmas breakfast. 
They walked over from their house, in the Christmas PJ's I gifted to them the night before!

After the rush of Christmas we bought a few things to make our condo a true home away from home.

We found an inexpensive love seat and a table we can use in the condo or out on the patio,
and I ordered some curtains and a rug online to add a pop of color

I found a lovely hutch at a used furniture store.

I added some bright color for the bath.

Guest bedroom now has a day bed and trundle sandwiched
in along with my craft and sewing table.

We love being in Oakland. We have had so many wonderful opportunities to see the family and to experience "city life"! 

Reading on the stoop with the granddaughter

Enjoying an "art in the park" installation down the street 
from the kids' house

I never know what I will discover when we are walking in 
the neighborhood! This particular evening an older gentleman
(who am I kidding? He was the same age as me!)
was making huge bubbles! The dogs were intrigued!

The dogs love walking by this fence just to see what might
pop out of the opening in the fence! 
Sometimes it is this kitty, at other times they find a small dog!

There is a huge dog park near the condo. We generally stop there
at least once a day on our way to see the kids.
One night I counted 30 dogs!

We love our condo! There are 16 condos in all. Most are occupied by young families, so we always hear children playing (sometimes crying) and there is a lot of activity. We have a nice patio, and the family enjoys coming over. With all of the other kids in the complex, our grands have the opportunity to come over and play in a safe environment. 

The dogs have room to romp in the condo, and once in a while,
when no one is in the community yard, I let them run all 
over the place!

Many of the families use the common area for get togethers. 
We had a "End of summer, back to school and farewell" pot luck
shortly before we left. 

We are also delighted to see our younger son more often. He often comes by on his way to or from the grocery store and stops in to say "Hi".  On occasion he has also brought us a sweet treat from the bakery for breakfast!

We closed up the condo and packed up our RV last week. It's time to head back to Florida and get in line for doctors and dentists. I'll miss the condo, and most certainly the kids, but it will be nice to be back home with our friends and activities that we enjoy there. However, I already have reservations made to fly out in October to enjoy another week in our "city" place!


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Let's Go Fly a Kite

While in the Astoria area we stopped by the World Kite Museum in Long Beach, WA. This is one-of-a-kind museum and the home of the annual International Kite Festival that will be in its 43rd year in August of 2023.

The museum traces the history of kite flying and has many interesting kites on display, as well as kites for sale.

A display at the  museum reads:

"Developed more than 2000 years ago the kite was mankind's first invention that could actually fly. For centuries people all over the world used kites to pursue the dream of flying themselves.

During Medieval times, the first human pilots rose into the air using giant kites for wings. Beautiful kites used in rituals and ceremonies kept the idea of flying alive in people's minds. Eventually, pioneering scientists discovered the secrets of aerodynamics, often by performing experiments using kites.

Since earliest days, kites have provided both the technology and the inspiration that has made flying possible." 

According to the Museum, the Japanese had the first word for kite, which meant "Paper Hawk".

This Chinese dragon kite is 50' in length. The orange and white "body" sections are suspended from the ceiling and wind throughout the museum. 

In China birds were considered to be a symbol of happiness...

This quite was huge...and beautiful

Insect kites signify good fortune

The Yunnan province in China makes kites in this unusual shape.
They have a sturdy frame and fly well in strong winds.

Alexander Graham Bell discovered that he could use tetrahedral shapes in different combinations to make a variety of kites. These kites had maximum lift and minimum weight. 

This kite is almost like a quilt!

A leaf quilt sewn with grasses or vines

This is a WWII kite that was used for different purposes during the war.
The kite could collect and send weather data on aircraft carriers to help determine when it was safe to fly or land. This kite also could lift equipment so enemy planes could be detected by radar when they were further away.

Kites were used for target practice. They were far less expensive than shooting at planes!

Many experimented with using kites to fly,
some successfully, others not!

One of the museum visitors commented that this kite should have been modeled after Pegasus, and have wings. It's hard to believe this particular kite could actually fly. 

The museum had a display telling more about kites. 

One display explained the basic types of kites.

One was about kite fighting. When I read "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini I was intrigued by the kite fighting described in the novel. The museum had several fighting kites, including some for sale.

In 1846 Engineers held a contest to see if anyone could fly a kite across Niagara Falls. A boy managed to get his kite snagged on a tree on the Canadian side of the falls. That string was then used to help pull heavier strings and cables across the water, enabling Engineers to finally get a cable across the water in order to begin constructing a bridge.

There was a display of the posters created for advertising the annual kite festival. I really enjoyed seeing many of the posters. The artists captured the fun of flying kites. Here are a few of my favorites:

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