Tag Archives: SoCS

SoCS 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda is “wrap/rap.” I used unwrapped.

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I gave two unwrapped gifts to myself when I graduated with the Doctor of Education in year 2000.

The first gift was two season tickets to six operas in 2001. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a radio. I listened to the news, ghost stories and other broadcast on my neighbor’s radio. There was a theme music playing before the news. After thirty seconds, the music faded as a female announcer came in to report the news of the day. That was the beginning of my classical music appreciation and I later identified the theme music for the news broadcast as the Overture of Bizet’s Carmen. I started taking voice lessons at nineteen years old and sang pieces of operatic music.

 

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I hoped to see operas such as Carmen, La Bohème and La Traviata, and learn about less popular ones. Hubby likes mostly country western music, but he would go with me to see the operas. Part of the attraction to me was to dress up and be with other people who had the same interest. At the opera house, people could rent small binoculars at $7 each. We brought two binoculars with greater strength. I not only wanted to see the details of costumes but also the singers’ expressions.

Classical music was not Hubby’s taste, let alone opera. Many people enjoy classical music but have no interest in opera. The first opera we went, Hubby slept through the first half. I didn’t wake him even though his chin dropped to the chest. The only time I would interrupt was when he started snoring which didn’t happen. Snoring in a classical performance is rude to the performers and disrespect to the audience. People don’t cough or sneeze during the performance. They hold their breath and focused. When one movement is over, you’d hear people clearing their throats. The conductor waits until everybody quiets before he raises the baton. For the subsequent performances, I oriented him with the plots, so he watched the acts as if they were Broadway shows.

I stopped subscribing the tickets after three years when the popular operas repeated.

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The second gift was a new car. I had a Honda Civic for about eight years. It had enough scratches and mechanical problems. It was about time to get a new car. I had ideas of the features in a new car that I liked, so I made a spreadsheet, listing on each row the specifications such as 4-doors, sunroof, automatic, CD player, and other items. On the columns, I listed four makes of cars – Infinity, Audi, Lexus, and Acura. At the bottom of the spreadsheet listed the price of each car. After the comparison and considered the pros and cons, I decided on the Acura. There were two determining factors, one of them was the price. I had to be practical after paying for three years of a doctoral program. Another factor was Honda had a higher rate of returning customers. Acura is the luxury car of Honda. I like Honda, so I would be happy with Acura. I bought an Acura.

 

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Hubby kept up with the oil change and maintenance year after year. We didn’t have any major problem with the car. Four years ago, fifteen years after I had the car, I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I would need to buy another car for my remaining life. When to buy it? The car needed new tires, and we bought four new tires. The tires were good for five years or 50,000 miles. I wanted to wait until close to the end of warranty to get a new car. A school principal told me he kept his Honda to 300,000 miles. My car should make it for several more years with the leisure driving after retirement.

In September 2018, we went to Las Vegas for a week. Upon our return, the car started to get overheated. Hubby tried to drive slower, but it made no difference. I didn’t want to leave Nevada and have the car die in the desert. Calling AAA was in order. The driver came in a tow truck. After his assessment, he confirmed that the radiator broke. The car needed to be towed. We were not near any exit to turn around. The tow truck went forward fourteen miles to an intersection, then turned around toward Las Vegas. The closest Acura dealer was seven miles passed Las Vegas. Well, my insurance covers certain miles of towing and I paid for the rest. The dealer couldn’t work on the car until the next day. We spent a night in that city where the dealer was and picked up the car the next day.

After replacing the radiator, I started to think of shopping for a car but didn’t feel the urgency. I was thinking about doing that within a year. I should have gotten a new car before September this year but I didn’t. Last Thursday, September 12, 2019 was the first week of classes at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a program for the retirees. On my way to California State University, Fullerton, the car was not running smoothly. I found a place to park and called Hubby. He said the car had some traction issue but not a big problem. I went on to my classes. On my way home, the car had bigger traction problem. I pulled over by the curb, stopped and restarted the car, made it go for half a mile and restarted again. When I made a left turn at an intersection, it stopped in the middle of the road. I rolled down the window, signaled the car to bypass me. After great struggle to restart many times, I was like dragging a pouting dog to go for a couple more miles. Two miles before getting home, the car said, “That’s it, I refuse to go any further.”

Hubby came right away. We called AAA and the tow truck came, towed the car to the dealership which was five miles away. This time it was the transmission problem. The manufacture doesn’t make the transmission for that model anymore. Getting a refurbished or used transmission cost $4,500. It’s not worth spending that kind of money when I’m overdue for a new car.

I got 217,000 miles and 19 years out of my Acura anyway. I’ll be car hunting and get another unwrapped gift for myself.

 

 

 

SoSC 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

 

 

 

 

SoCS 2019.09.07 – Cruise Experience

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “weigh/way/whey.” Use one, use ’em all, bonus points if you do that last thing. Enjoy!Linda G Hill

 

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We travel regularly, planned the itineraries on most of the trips and joined tours on four trips. Several months ago, my husband and I wanted to explore a different way of travel. We checked out some cruises and booked a short cruise for the Labor Day weekend which was last week. This is the shortest available, from Long Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico.

Friends told us this is a party cruise. My interpretation of a party cruise is seeing some young people singing, talking, dancing and laughing. School started in August and college students and school-age kids are in school. They wouldn’t be partying last weekend on a cruise.

We boarded the ship last Sunday night. The ship stopped at Catalina on Monday. It anchored offshore and people took the boat to go ashore. We had been to Catalina several times, so we strolled along the waterfront, visited the gift shops.

 

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Catalina, California

The ship was in Ensenada on Tuesday and Wednesday. We bought tickets for a city tour on Tuesday. The tour bus took us to La Bufadora which is a blowhole on the Punta Banda Peninsula. We watched the water exploded upwards from a sea cave. The height of the explosion depends on the tide. We had one hour there. After staying for ten minutes we didn’t see a dramatic performance, so we went to the restaurant to wait for the group to return. The bus dropped us off at downtown, the tourist area, for another hour. There was not a lot of shopping I wanted to do. The tour guide told us to be careful about food and drink, so we didn’t get any of those.

The dock is right by downtown area, so it took us a few minutes to get back on the ship. That night after dinner, my husband had a stomach problem all night.

On Wednesday, the ship was at sea all day. People stayed on the ship going nowhere. There was a small scale of entertainment such as vocal solo with guitar or keyboard, standup comedy, and movies. People gathered in the pool area and cafeteria, eating and drinking. Oh, now I see the party, a big party. I know there are about 60% population in the US is over weighed. Yet I had not seen the concentration of these folks until this day on the ship. Several ladies seemed to have more weight than their legs could carry, so they were on wheelchairs (they might have other problems).

My husband continued to have a stomach problem and stayed in the cabin all day. I didn’t pay extra to subscribe the internet or phone services. I stayed in the cabin and read the only paperback with me. Every hour or so, I walked around the ship, grabbed some fruit or a piece of bread from the cafeteria. It seemed forever to wait for the nighttime. We packed our bags and went to sleep early.

 

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On Thursday, the phone rang for the wake-up call at 6:45 a.m. It took us twenty minutes to dash to the line. We were the first one hundred people to get off the ship.

It was not a pleasant experience for our first cruise. It will take us a long time to get over with it before we consider another cruise.

 

SoCS 2019.09.07 – Cruise Experience

 

 

 

 

SoCS May 4, 2019

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fall from the sky.” Write about anything that falls from the sky–real, imagined, or idiomatic. Have fun! – Linda G Hill

 

When was the last time something was falling from the sky in southern California, something I experienced firsthand?

On October 1, 1987, when my daughter Mercy was two years old. I took her to the babysitter before going to work. Two blocks before arriving at Michelle’s house, my car was rocking side to side.

“I must have a flat tire. Let me pull over to the curb.”

I looked outside of the window. A girl looked like eleven years old was standing outside of her home on the other side of the street. She might be on her way to school. She was crying. I rolled down the window and asked if she was okay. My car rocked side to side again. I then realized it must be an earthquake. So, I told her to go back home. I carefully drove to Michele’s house and dropped off Mercy and told her I would call her once I arrived at school. Before driving away, I noticed that the chimneys of all the houses on both sides of the street on that block were broken and the bricks were falling from the sky.

 

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I got to Hillcrest School and pulled into the parking lot. Parents drove in, then took off after dropping off their kids. I was at awe that parents still brought their kids to school. Perhaps the school was safer than home. Or they had to go to work as much as I did.

Later, I found out that the earthquake happened in the Whittier Narrows at 7:42 a.m. PDT. The moderate 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in the town of Rosemead where I worked. It was the strongest in the Los Angeles area since the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and was felt as far as San Diego and San Luis Obispo, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Communication systems and local media were disconnected temporarily. The power outage left some early morning workers stranded in disabled elevators.

 

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I signed-in at the front desk and realized that there were about fifty students got dropped off by the parents. We centralized the students on the playground in the open area away from trees and telephone poles. Some teachers and instructional aides supervised the students, had them sit and did quiet activities. Some teachers were at the gates with the student emergency cards, wait for parents to come picked up their kids. Teachers only released the students to the adults listed on the emergency cards. When the parents or adults came to the gates, the teachers checked their IDs, then a staff would go to the playground to bring the students to the gates, releasing them to the parents. We released the last student around 11:00 a.m.

After the parents came to pick up all the students, teachers and staff with children at other schools or childcare facilities could leave first. I called Michelle and let her know I could pick up Mercy. The remaining staff took care of the paperwork and wrapped up things before everyone went home.

The schools and district evaluated the situation in the following meetings and set up guidelines and policy for the future earthquake preparedness.

 

 

Streams of Consciousness Saturday, May 4, 2019

SoCS March 23, 2019 – Mail

“Your Friday Prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “the last piece of mail you received.” Talk about the subject of the last piece of physical mail you received, i.e. a gas bill – talk about the gas, not the bill itself. Have fun!” – Linda G Hill

 

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The last piece of physical mail I received was a “Renewal Questionnaire” from  the Automobile Club. The Automobile Club is the carrier for our car insurance. I must fill out the questionnaire and return to the Club as required to receive the verified mileage discount at renewal.

We have two cars, one is an Acura, a sedan car which is my car. It’s registered in my name and I’m supposed to be the primary driver even though my husband does most of the driving these days. The second car is a Hummer, an SUV which is my husband’s car. It’s registered in his name.

I pay the annual license fee and the insurance fee for my car and my husband pays the same for his car. The Auto Club calculates the insurance based on the annual mileage driven by that car.

I bought the Acura in year 2000 as a gift for myself after I graduated with the Doctorate of Education degree. My school district was 22 miles away from home. My driving was about 45 miles a day for work, five days a week. Then I drove about 15 miles a day during the weekends. My annual driving was from 12,000 miles to 15,000 miles. I retired in 2010 and put in less mileage to the car.

 

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My husband bought the Hummer in 2011 for a low mileage used 2010 car because the manufacture stopped making Hummer in 2011. He worked closer to home and drove about 12 miles a day with the annual mileage of 2,100 to 3,000 miles a year. He retired in 2017.

 

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The insurance payment we pay for the cars depends on the annual mileage. When the mileage is above a certain number, we pay the regular insurance based on the depreciation of the car and the driver’s driving record that year. When the annual mileage is lower than a certain number, it’s leisure driving and the insurance is lower.

Since we both retired, for saving car insurance money, we use my car for everyday driving. My husband drives the Hummer only when we go out for a date night once a week and go to church on Sunday. He likes to do that because the Acura is 19 years old and he keeps the Hummer in a good shape. I’m practical!

We save car insurance on the Hummer!

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SoCS March 23, 2019 – Mail

SoCS November 10, 2018

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “mean(s).” Use it with or without the “s,” any way you’d like. – Linda G. Hill

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My husband and I eat simple meals with fruit and vegetables plus eggs for brunch; and for dinner, have salmon instead of eggs. That means we eat basically the same thing every day.

Friday evening is our regular night out at a local steak house Cedar Creek. He orders the same thing every time – prime rib steak, 18 oz cooked medium well, French fries, green vegetables, house salad and horseradish for the steak. He makes it clear to the server that the horseradish must be fresh to a point it clears his sinuses. The same server waits on us for more than a year, so he knows exactly what my hubby wants. Sometimes the server is rotated to the patio section and we prefer to stay inside.

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I may eat 2 oz of meat now and then. When eating at home, a large plate of plain broccoli stir-fried with olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper serves me well. It’s hard for me to find a large portion of vegetables in American restaurants. At this restaurant, I order the Brown Derby Cobb Salad with romaine lettuce, small cubes of turkey, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese crumble, broiled eggs and avocado.

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SoCS September 1, 2018 – Roundabouts

The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, September 1, 2018, is “round.” Use it as a word by itself or find a word that contains it. Bonus points if you start and/or finish your post with it. – Linda G. Hill

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Roundabouts are where several junctions meet from a different direction. The design of roundabouts is to keep the traffic flowing. Traffic only flows in one direction around the island in the center of the roundabout. This circular road is a one-way street and may have one or more lanes. The traffic entering the roundabout must give way to traffic already on the roundabout unless directed otherwise by signs, road markings or traffic light.

The first time my husband encountered a roundabout was in Australia. He loved it because the traffic kept flowing.

It was also the first time he drove a car with the driver’s seat on the right. Even though I was in the passenger’s seat on the left, my eyes looked at the right when the car turned to left. When we walked across the pedestrian, there was a sign on the ground to remind people to look RIGHT for the oncoming cars.

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I read the news about roundabouts in England. Some tourists were new to drive on roundabouts. They entered the roundabout but couldn’t decide which street to exit, so they kept going around and around on the roundabout. They drove slower because they tried to read the signs on the streets or the exits. The local folks were not happy about the hesitant drivers.

In 2016, one website posted a video on The Brilliant Sorcery of England’s 7-Circle Magic Roundabout This would be more confusing to the tourists.

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Roundabouts are not frequent road designs in the USA, one roundabout per 1,118 intersections. There are stop signs in the intersections. In a 4-way intersection, the car comes to the stop sign first has the right-of-way to cross, followed by the next car comes to the intersection. In the residential areas, there are no traffic lights but have the stop signs every few blocks. The drivers make many stop-and-goes before they go through the street.

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Sources: Esri / Here, Graphic: Damien Saunder

I have a friend who drove his manual transmission Porsche to work. When he was ready to buy a new car, he counted that he made 147 stops from home to office. He later bought an automatic transmission new car.

In Orange County, California where I live, I have only seen three areas with roundabouts.

Linda G. Hill’s SoCS September 1, 2018 – Roundabouts

SoCS August 25, 2018

The prompt for the Stream of Conscious Saturday, August 25, 2018 is “Notice.”

My husband and I divide up the jobs of gardening. He mows the lawn once a week. I do everything else. I take care of twenty-four rose bushes, sixteen Date palms, three hibiscus trees, two plum trees, one apple tree, and all the smaller plants and annual flowers. The Date palms are getting taller than me. It takes a lot of energy to trim them. I let them grow for almost nine months without doing anything.

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When we came back from our Portland trip before summer, I trimmed two or three palm trees a week. At least I could finish in five weeks. When I came to one palm, I trimmed the leaves from the lower ring and moved up. Out of a sudden, I NOTICE a bird nest. It horrified me. When female birds are incubating, they don’t like noises or movements. Trimming the palm leaves exposed the nest means the female bird wouldn’t come back to the nest.

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I grabbed a bunch of leaves and arranged them to surround the nest. After that, I observed for the whole afternoon, peeking out the window. There were no birds nearby. I got a step stool and got up high enough to take a few photos of the nest. There was one small egg in it. I went on the website to search for similar eggs.  The search showed the robin eggs look like the egg I found in the nest.

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After observing the nest with the egg in it for many days, I decided that it was an abandoned egg. My research showed that some female bird senses something wrong in the eggs and abandon them. I wouldn’t find out the truth because we were not home when the birds built the nest and the female bird laid the egg.

I kept the egg!

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Linda G Hill: SoCS August 25, 2018 – Notice

 

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