Category Archives: Travel

Beautiful Laguna Beach

A few weeks ago my friends and I took a little drive to Laguna Beach for lunch. It was a hot, beautiful sunny California day and after a scrumptious lunch at Las Brisas, a restaurant overlooking the beach, we took a walk in the cliffs above the beach. Here is a video to inspire you to head for the water!

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Filed under Life, Musings, Travel, Video

Adventures with GPS

My husband has discovered portable GPS (global positioning system) technology. This is a little box you can put in your car that speaks to you and tells you where you are and how to get where you want to be.

He is absolutely entranced by them (he actually owns two of them, a Garmin Nuvi and a TomTom). Before he goes to bed at night, he fiddles with the GPS; when he comes home, there’s the GPS again in his hot little hands. He doesn’t speak to me or hear what I am saying, that’s the hold these little machines have on him (of course he does hear the little voice of the GPS which comes in both male and female versions). I know it’s temporary and will pass, but it seemed like good blog fodder.

Besides loneliness for the non-GPS leaning spouse, here are some other things that go on once a GPS is actually used while driving:

Blabber – I asked Bill to turn off the machine’s speech yesterday as we were driving to Pasadena. Everytime I opened my mouth, the machine would literally interrupt me with some bit of information not strictly necessary, like repeating an instruction every 1/4 mile or so. I know-it’s just a machine but it really pissed me off! I found myself unreasonably insulted that this woman in a box wouldn’t let me speak to my husband. I’m not a jealous person, but this made me wonder…

Interesting accents – these machines give you a choice not only of male and female voices, but also different accents. Currently, the Nuvi has an Australian fellow (named “Lee” by the software writers) and he is amazingly easy to understand; I like Lee. The TomTom has a regular American English female on it right now (I hate her, that husband-stealing bitch).

Inability to pronounce foreign street names – as you may know, a lot of things out here in California have Spanish names. The streets in my particular tract are ALL in Spanish. Some of the letters in Spanish have different sounds than English. For instance, if you see the letter “L” doubled in a word, it is a unique Spanish letter that sounds like an English letter “Y”. And the letter “H” is silent in Spanish. For example “Calle Hogar” would be pronounced “Ka yay Oh gar“. However, Lee the Australian virtual navigator has a lot of trouble with this. He believes the name of the street is “Call Hogger”. I found that absolutely hilarious the first time I heard it. Also a street named “Rojas” where the “J” sounds like an “H” in Spanish is pronounced “Rajiss” by Lee (it should be “Ro haas”). Not as funny, but still amusing.

The ding – On the Nuvi, a ding is sounded as an attention getter before instructions are spoken. It is identical to the ding you hear on a jet before takeoff when they want you to listen closely before a safety announcement. So the first few times I heard the ding on the GPS, I was compelled to recite the mantra “Please turn off your cell phone and extinguish all smoking materials now”. The ding has now been muted.

Getting there – The system actually works. Sometimes it maps out a route that is circuitous instead of taking a known shortcut, but it seems that you will get to your destination most of the time (I’d still keep a mapbook in the car though – you never know if that pesky satellite you’re locked on to will be obstructed or whatever it is that happens when the GPS announces that it has lost the satellite).

So, now you know the hazards and pitfalls involved when your spouse catches the GPS bug. Take precautions now and do not let him or her wander into electronic stores alone. Monitor their internet usage and lock out inappropriate electronic sales websites. You will be glad you did.

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Filed under Humor, Life, Musings, Travel

The Physics of Santa

I found this article in my favorite newsweekly magazine The Week. Experts did some calculations about what Santa would have to do to service all the homes he is purported to visit each year:

Experts have shown just how remarkable Santa Claus’ annual feat of delivering presents to the world’s good boys and girls really is.  Sweco, a Swedish engineering firm, calculated that assuming Santa visits 2.5 billion homes every Christmas, he has 34 microseconds per household to get in and out; that ‘s about a tenth of the time it takes for a housefly’s wing to flap once. To complete his task in 48 hours, Santa’s reindeer must travel at a speed of 3604 miles per second …

Another analysis makes Santa’s accomplishment even more astounding. It calculates that Santa’s sleigh, weighed down with presents and traveling at supersonic speed, would encounter such massive air resistance that it should burst into flame within 4 milliseconds of takeoff. T

The scientists could not explain how Santa manages to defy the laws of physics.

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Filed under Humor, Travel

Quail Botanical Gardens

These photos were taken at Quail Botanical Gardens in picturesque Encinitas, California. I spent the day in that lovely city with my hubby Bill and our friend Marcia. It’s located just north of San Diego, right on the coast.

This place has plants from all over the world planted together in their respective biomes. In this photo, I am standing by very large stalks of bamboo. Have you ever tried to remove bamboo from the ground? It’s almost impossible to do by hand. And the stuff grows something like 1/4 – 1/2 inch a day (someone correct me if I’m wrong), so it’s a very hardy plant. Bamboo wood products are available that are very hard and sturdy (they make excellent floors) – plus the products are biologically sustainable because the stuff grows so fast, they can harvest the plants and have another batch ready to harvest soon after.

A little story about this photo is that on the day we were at the Gardens, there were actually monks there. Yes, Asian monks were strolling down the paths enjoying the views. So here are these monks, and they are walking by the giant bamboo, as well as other Asian plants, so it looks just like a setting in Asia – I wanted so badly to take a picture of these guys amidst that perfect background, but I was too shy to bother them. Hubby agreed we should leave them in peace. So I could have had a really wonderful foreign-looking shot, but at least my karma is intact!

Here I am in “Hawaii”, recreated beautifully by the Garden staff:

All in all, a cheap way to travel the world in a few hours!!

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Filed under Life, Travel

Yogananda’s Garden

Paramahansa Yogananda lived from 1893 to 1952.

Born in India, his mission in life was to emphasize the underlying unity of the world’s great religions, and taught universally applicable methods for attaining direct personal experience of God.

“We are all part of the One Spirit. When you experience the true meaning of religion, which is to know God, you will realize that He is your Self, and that He exists equally and impartially in all beings.”

–Paramahansa Yogananda

Horticulturist Luther Burbank, operatic soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, George Eastman (inventor of the Kodak camera), poet Edwin Markham, and symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski were just a few of his famous students. He was officially received at the White House by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927.

Last Tuesday Bill, Marcia, and I went to Encinitas, Ca. to the Self-Realization Fellowship which he founded (there are several other locations in California). There is a wonderful chapel there where he presided over services. Down the street a few blocks is a beautiful meditation garden that stands on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. These wondrous facilities are free for all to enjoy and I found the energy and tranquillity in these places to be refreshing to my soul and body.

I finally got to enjoy some nature without being a Lyme-o-phobe (see earlier post). The colorful, well-maintained gardens included several ponds full of large, multi-colored koi, waterfalls, and flowers of all colors. Lots of green. Shade and sun. I felt renewed. I was reminded how much nature plays a part in our serenity.
Marcia and Bill at chapel
Marcia and Bill at Chapel

At the garden:


Juxtaposition of cactus and the ocean:


Marcia gazes out to sea…

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Filed under Life, Seeking, Spirituality, Travel