Monday, April 27, 2015

Touring Neiman Marcus

At Stockton And Geary Street In Union Square

I will be the first to admit that I am not sophisticated, which is why my girlfriends and I so much enjoyed our self guided tour around Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. I never shop at Neiman Marcus. The only thing I've ever bought from there is a Christmas snow globe and chocolate nutcracker.  Even if I could afford it, I could never justify spending that much money on designer clothing. But it was sure fun to look!

When I peeked at the price of one of these handbags ($1500.00), I uttered a very unsophisticated “Whoa!”
My friends and I went to Union Square in San Francisco. Union Square is an urban park surrounded by luxury retail stores, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, art galleries, theaters, etc.. Because it was a "Budget Day Trip,” we brought our lunch, stole seating at a cafĂ© table, and ate looking over Union Square. Unfortunately, the square itself was temporarily fenced off while they dismantled a corporate event. No matter, we still enjoyed our lunch.

One Of San Francisco’s Many Fund-Raising Heart Sculptures
On The Eve Of The Civil War, Pro-Union Demonstrators Used To Rally In Union Square
Macy’s Is One Of Several Major Department Stores That Surround Union Square
After lunch we walked to Neiman Marcus, located at Stockton and Geary Street. This particular Neiman’s features a beautiful rotunda with a stained glass dome. The dome, and an old atrium, is all that is left of the original building - a California historical landmark -  built by an old San Francisco department store called The City of Paris. Despite a large public outcry, Neiman Marcus demolished the building to replace it with one of their own design. Besides preserving the rotunda, Neiman Marcus kept up the tradition (established in 1909) of placing a huge Christmas tree in its center.

The Golden Ship Honors The Ships That Transported French Merchandise To The City Of Paris Store
Now I'll give you a little tour of the interior of Neiman Marcus; we had a lot of fun without spending a cent.

The Store Was Practically Empty When We Were There During The Week

Patiently Waiting

We Were Told The Hats Will Quickly Sell Out To Ladies Going To The Kentucky Derby

We Were Out-Shined By The Mannequins!

I Think The Shoe Department Was Our Favorite


Fringe Anyone?

I'll Take This One
I Guess This Is How You Feel When Wearing A Gown Bought At Neiman Marcus!

Where Would You Wear These? Though They Do Look Fun . .

At Last - A Practical, Though Expensive, Shirt!
The Rotunda Restaurant - Yelp Reviews Here

Beautiful View From The Restaurant

Looking Down From The Restaurant Balcony
No one seemed to mind me taking photos until I visited the last department - the Children's Department. Even though there were no children present, the sales lady got very upset and called the store's public relations person. I was politely told that they "don't allow pictures in Neiman Marcus," except for pictures of the rotunda. Luckily, I was done anyway!

See The Sales Lady Leaning On Her Desk, Glaring At Me!

Hours And Directions  

If you go: parking is expensive in San Francisco. I parked at one of the  cheaper lots - the
Sutter Stockton Garage, 444 Stockton and Bush.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thrilling Rides At California's Great America!

Cork Screwing Around Flight Deck

Great America has many thrilling rides including the unwanted thrill you'll get if you wait to buy your ticket at the gate - $64 per person! Luckily, my daughter and I went with a friend whose mom had discount coupons from her work.

This is not a budget trip. You’ll want to buy your tickets online (saving $20 to $25 per ticket) or get coupons from your work if they offer it, or check out your local Costco and see if they have a deal on a season pass. Of course you can also buy the season pass from Great America (buy it online!) The Season Pass includes parking. I had to pay $15 for parking! But enough complaining, this is why you go to Great America . .

A nice atmosphere - they've made changes to the park's environment since I was there over 20 years ago.

A Cool Place To Relax
Nostalgic Music From The Double Decker Carousel Columbia
A Very Small Bit Of Small-Town Charm

Young children will love Planet Snoopy - we were excited to see Snoopy too!

Most Beloved Beagle
Emerging From Behind The Camera -  And Snoopy’s Ears!
Peanuts Pirates
Sally’s Love Buggies

Thrill rides - the biggest draw for tweens and teens

Gold Striker - 108.2 Feet High, 53.7 Mph
Recovering Well From The Drop Zone - 22 Stories in 4 Seconds!
50 Miles An Hour Of Flying Fury - My Daughter’s Favorite Ride
The Tiki Twirl - Tilting And Twirling, Enough Said
Firefall  - Featuring Unpredictable 360° Vertical Arcs - My Daughter Hated This Ride
Firefall Continued, About To Go Upside Down And Stay That Way, For What Seemed Like Forever -  Ugh
The Demon

Opening hours
Interactive directions

If you go: we went during spring break and the park was wide open, no crowds, no lines, it was great. But don't expect that in the summer. It will be crowded and hot, so try to get there as soon as the park opens. Luckily there are several water rides that will get you soaking wet; even better, they open up a water park in the summer called, Boomerang Bay. Bring a bathing suit and towel for that one.

Food is standard amusement park fair, meaning not too great.  There are lockers, water fountains, plenty of bathrooms and even an EMT staffed first aid station - is that a good sign or a bad sign? Well, as I always tell my kids, make sure you're locked in and have fun!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Enjoying A Cat Show

I Always Assumed Persians Were Grumpy, But Actually They Are Very Sweet

Recently, my daughter and I decided to try something different and go to a cat show. It was held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds and was called the Tails And No Tails Cat Show. Admission was cheap, $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for children and $6.00 for seniors.

The cat show was confined to one large building. There were vendors, rows and rows of cats in cages, and I believe, three judging rings. The rings were actually a table (judge standing behind, cat on table), backed by a semi-circle of waiting cats in cages, and a few rows of chairs for the audience. In other words, it was very casual.

Face-To-Face And Nose To Nose

The Cats Were Not Bothered By The Audience, And In Fact, Were Eager To Play.

Here’s A Black Beauty
I was surprised at how quickly the judging went. The cat is lifted onto the table, the judge does an  examination, including getting the cat to stretch (attracted by a toy), and that seems to be it.
After all the cats in the semi circle are judged, ribbons are attached to their cages. The owners then retrieve their cats and bring them back to their personal carrier at an assigned spot on a table.

 Maine Coon And Proud Owner
We enjoyed walking around, looking at the various cats. Many of the cage doors were open so the cats could come out within a limited space. You must ask the owner first, but many of them are happy to let you pet their cat. There are also a couple of ambassador cats where petting is definitely encouraged. I only saw one nervous cat, all the others seemed to enjoy the attention.

My Daughter Enjoyed Petting The Cats Best
Maine Coon Cat - Just Chillin’
 The best way to find a cat show near you is to go to the Cat Fanciers Association website and type in your ZIP Code. If you like cats, even a little bit, you're sure to enjoy the show.

How Can You Resist?