Photos of the Day – May 8-12th

Hi, there…..remember me? I haven’t posted on here this week because I was in Washington DC for a few days. It was a fabulous trip – took the train down on Monday, spent three whirlwind days of sightseeing, and took the train back home today (Friday)! I’ve never been in DC, before, so I soaked up as much of it as I could in three days…..but, not to worry…..my friends and I have decided to make it an annual trip and we’ll keep going until we’ve seen it all or can no longer do it! πŸ™‚

There will, of course, be a blog post with more photos and stories, but for now, here are the Photos of the Day for May 8-12, 2017:

MAY 8

# 128 Photo Prompt – Paint:

“View As We Left Union Station – Washington, DC”

#paint

God’s art work! After weeks of rain at home, this gorgeous sky was a real treat!

# 128 Caught By My Lens:

“Old Post Office Building – Now Trump International Hotel”

This building is STUNNING – especially at night! We saw it when we decided to take a stroll around the block of our hotel after dinner.

MAY 9

# 129 Photo Prompt – Steps:

“Amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Arlington National Cemetery”

#steps

# 129 Caught By My Lens:

“Robin Perched on Robert Kennedy’s Cross”

Bobby’s grave at Arlington…..near JFK’s

MAY 10

# 130 Photo Prompt – I Love… :

“History of My Country”

#ilove…

Lincoln Memorial – National Mall, Washington, DC

# 130 Caught By My Lens:

“Reflections in the Wall”

Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – National Mall, Washington, DC

There were a LOT of veterans visiting the wall that day. I was taking photos and happened to glance down the length of the wall and was so taken by the reflections of all these veterans looking for names of their buddies from the war and the one who was taking a rubbing of a name – like they were all a part of the wall – and had to capture it. I think this is one of my favorite photos from the trip!

MAY 11

# 131 Photo Prompt – Eyes

“David H. Whittier – died from injuries sustained in the line of duty on September 8, 1989”

I remember his Β  #eyes

David was a treasured friend and an Orleans County Sheriff Deputy. My only “must do” on this inaugural trip to DC was to visit the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial and find his name on the wall……here it is!

# 131 Caught By My Lens:

“Pasta Served Family Style For Dinner”

Believe it or not, they brought all this food just for the three of us!!! It was soooooo good, but we barely put a dent in what they brought us to eat!!! This was at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant in DC

MAY 12

# 132 Photo Prompt – Wire:

“Connecting The World”

#wire

This was taken just outside New York City from my window on the train – I chose to call it “Connecting The World” not only because of the power and phone lines, but also because that water is the Hudson River – connecting the Atlantic to the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes and beyond, and also because of the train tracks – connecting people and goods across the country and to both oceans and beyond!!!

So…..there you have a taste of my trip…..more to come!!!

Photos of the Day – May 7th

Here are the Photos of the Day for May 7, 2017:

# 127 Photo Prompt – Wish:

“If only they would stay like this all summer!”

#wish

# 127 Caught By My Lens:

“And from the other end…”

Pink weeping crab apple and pink dogwood – stunning!

The rhododendron and dark horse weigela are budding and will be blossoming soon, too!

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May 2017s Photo Prompts:

Photos of the Day – May 4th, 5th, and 6th

It is still raining……

Here are the Photos of the Day for May 4 – 6, 2017:

MAY 4th

Just kidding…..this is NOT the photo of the day! πŸ™‚

# 124 Photo Prompt – Inside My Home:

“Hallway – Kitchen to Front Door”

#insidemyhome

MAY 5th

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

# 125 Photo Prompt – On My Plate:

“Strawberries”

#onmyplate

# 125 Caught By My Lens:

“Fog After The Rain”

MAY 6th

# 126 Photo Prompt – Nature:

“I’m Tired of Peeing In The Rain, Mom!”

#nature

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May 2017s Photo Prompts:

Napa Valley and Sonoma Adventure

The best part of my time in the San Francisco area was the day trip to Napa Valley and Sonoma. I took a Gray Line bus tour – this one went off without a hitch and was thoroughly enjoyable – a great tour guide, comfortable seats, and fabulous views. It included visits to three wineries and lunch in Yountville. It was a fabulous day!

Here are some photos:

The first winery was a small Estate / Boutique family run winery called Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma Valley. They specialize in Pinot Noir and it was fantastic! The representatives met us outside – it was a gorgeous day – with some of their white wines to taste. They, then, took us on a walking tour through the vineyard and explained how the grapes are grown and harvested and some history of the area and how it became known for wines. Then, we moved inside to the tasting room and gift shop to taste the Pinot Noir and another red wine. I was totally blown away that I enjoyed every single wine I tasted at all the wineries in Santa Barbara and Napa/Sonoma Valleys….not a single one caused me to think that I didn’t care for it! I had a bottle of the Pinot Noir and a bottle of their Chardonnay shipped home. πŸ™‚

View from the vineyard to the hills and hills of other vineyards as far as you can see!

The next stop was another small family run Estate winery called Madonna Estates in Napa Valley. This was a lovely winery, as well, but very different than the previous one. The representative met us outside to tell us about the winery and what we’ll be experiencing – he was quite a character!!! Once inside, he took us to the barrel room, served us some Chardonnay and demonstrated proper wine etiquette for us. Then we moved to the tasting room for a sampling of several of their signature wines. Again – all were amazing! I had a bottle of their Chardonnay and a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon shipped home! πŸ™‚

After two winery stops, we were ready for some lunch! πŸ˜€ So, we drove to Yountville – a wonderfully quaint little town. We had a couple hours to spend time having lunch on our own and enjoying the town. I ate at a very nice restaurant called Pacific Blues and then strolled the street to see what there was to see. I found a bakery that is part of one of four Mitchelin Star restaurants in town – they had an assortment of goodies that made me melt just looking at the showcase! I bought an assortment of French Macaroons to take back to my hotel for later in the evening…..OMG – they were DIVINE!!!

Delicious BLT on toasted sourdough bread with fresh fruit

I loved this LARGE sculpture of a basket of fruit!

The bakery

Next we visited Sutter HomeΒ Winery. I have to admit, I was disappointed when I saw Sutter on the list of wineries on this tour. I had hoped we’d stick with the smaller estate wineries. But, Sutter is one of the biggest and best known wineries in the area, so I understand why it was on the tour. Then, I got there! And I REALLY understood why it was on the tour. They have an amazing story, a wonderful winery, and one of the loveliest Victorian Inns and gardens that I’ve ever seen – I could have wandered around there taking pictures of the flowers forever!!! They also offered the most tastings of any of the other wineries! hehehe

Their story was cool……they started out as a small family run farm vineyard. The current family used all their savings (their last $20,000) to purchase the vineyard and winery from the original owners. They were so broke as they worked to get started that they didn’t even have enough money to pay to have the name legally changed – so they just left it as Sutter Home. Then, they “accidentally” developed the first ever White Zinfandel wine – they were working on a red zinfandel and it came out looking more like a rose’ and had a very unique taste. They decided to market it…..America fell in love with it……and it made them millionaires over night!!! They served us tastings of a higher end version of that White Zinfandel that they only sell at the winery that was really incredible! They also let us taste several other signature wines that can only be purchased at the winery – they aren’t sold commercially – that were excellent!

So…..I was glad we went there! They also had a fabulous gift shop…..I didn’t get anything from there, but there was a lot to look at and consider! πŸ™‚

Check out the huge wine glass one of my fellow tour participants used for a photo prop!

A couple other interesting things we saw along the way:

We drove by the Robert Mondavi Winery, as well as several others — the area was winery after winery after winery!!!

And, vineyards everywhere we looked!

I thought I’ve seen every kind of cow there is…..but, apparently, not……these are Belted Galloway Cattle – a.k.a. Oreo Cows!!! They originate from the west side of southern Scotland. This photo was taken from the bus as we drove by, so not easy to see them…..so……here is a photo of one I found on the web:

Pretty cool, huh?

They are most often used for their quality marbled beef, but also sometimes milked or used to adorn a field because of their striking appearance!

So…..that’s my day in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. It was a grand day, in deed! It was the main reason I wanted to hang around San Francisco for a few extra days and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to do so! It was one of three absolute favorite parts of the entire trip!

Next up……posts showing my time on the train through Oregon and Washington state and my days in Seattle!

Movie Review – The Circle

Β I went to the movies yesterday….what better to do on a rainy day, huh? There were a couple movies on the list at my favorite theater – Tinseltown in Gates – that I have been wanting to see, but, one that I hadn’t heard anything about yet piqued my interest….mainly because it was a Tom Hanks movie – I LOVE TOM HANKS and with maybe one or two exceptions, I LOVE every movie he’s ever been in! So, I watched the trailer and thought, “hhhmmm, this could be interesting!” So, that’s the one I saw!

The Circle is about a young girl, Mae Holland – played by Emma Watson, who is working at a dead end job in customer service at I believe the local water company. She lives with her parents – Bonnie and Vinnie, played by Glenne Headley and Bill Paxton – and pretty much feels like she isn’t going anywhere. Until her friend, Annie – played by Karen Gillan – gets her an interview where she works – The Circle – the most powerful technology and social media company in the world! She gets the job – starting at the ground level in customer service. At first, her family is very excited for her, but she doesn’t feel like she fits in. But, soon, she gets more and more assimilated into the culture, moves onto campus, and catches the eye of the company founder, charismatic and charming Eamon Bailey – played by none other than Tom Hanks (perfect choice) and his side-kick, company COO, Tom Stenton – played by Patton Oswalt. Despite warnings by one of the company’s developers, Ty Kalden – played by John Boyega and her long time friend, Mercer – played by Ellar Coltrane (and later, her parents), she gets deeply involved in the a project focused on the next generation of social media – an all seeing, all knowing way to connect the world – alienating everyone she loves! (Don’t worry – no real spoilers here……the trailer and written synopsis all show basically the same info – these are just my words…..and, you pretty much know all this in the first 1/4 or so on the movie…..to talk in any detail about the rest would be just plain cruel!)

The acting was amazing……every character seemed incredibly real and sucked me into their stories. I have not been an Emma Watson fan, but she was excellent in this part – she displayed the perfect mix of vulnerability and knowledge that made her character the ultimate “Circler” – what the employees of the company are called. As a “Guppy” – what new employees are called to indicate small fish – she was eager to learn and fit in and excited about being a part of something huge! Tom Hanks was…..well, Tom Hanks! Like I said in the previous paragraph, he was the perfect choice to be cast as Bailey – he brilliantly brought Bailey’s magnetic and charming personality to life – who wouldn’t want to be a part of whatever he was selling? All the other characters were strong and held up their parts of the story extremely well. I didn’t quite understand the progression of Annie…..I wish they had gone into what was going on with her a little more, but it was a valuable view point for the story.

When I left the theater, all I could think was how people who are already paranoid about the internet and think too much about Big Brother watching them really should NOT go see this movie…..it would push them over the edge, for sure! It definitely shows a dangerous and scary path into the total loss of privacy – something we really need to hold dear and protect! If the story The Circle tells ever comes true, then the most appropriate quote from the movie was spoken by Tom Hanks’ character close to the end of the movie: “Oh, boy, we’re fu**ed!!!”Β I found the movie very interesting – it isn’t my usual type of movie, but I really enjoyed it – it had me on the edge of my seat! I rate it a solid A and highly recommend it!

Here are the two official trailers…….check them out and see if it might be something that you’d like to see – I doubt you’ll be disappointed if you do!

 

Photos of the Day – May 3rd

Here are the Photos of the Day for May 3, 2017:

# 123 Photo Prompt – Skyline:

“Crop Duster”

#skyline

# 123 Caught By My Lens:

“Canal Bridge”

Medina Canal Basin

And…..just a little “show off” pic:

“Over Loaded”

Love this tree!!! It doesn’t look like this for long, but while it does, I’m on cloud nine!!!

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May 2017s Photo Prompts:

Photos of the Day – May 2nd

We still had some rain, today, but just light patches off and on – nothing like what was causing all the flooding in the area yesterday! And, we had some strong winds, so most of the standing water in my yard is gone…..just a small patch and a lot of soggy grass is left! WHEW!

Here are the Photos of the Day for May 2, 2017:

# 122 Photo Prompt – No Filter:

 

“Washed Out of the Trees”

#nofilter

# 122 Caught By My Lens:

“Place to Sit and Reflect”

And, one more for good measure:

“Lovely Scene”

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May 2017s Photo Prompts: