Stalking the Hummingbirds

They don’t seem to mind. I hide behind a nearby tree and wait for them to appear. Sometimes I wait in vain and when I return to the house they come and feed.  So who’s watching who?

Occasionally they indulge my passion – as payment for the food I guess.

These pictures are from our first few weeks of fall.

They’re Anna’s Hummingbirds and their dress is somewhat plain – until with a turn of the head, a flash of brilliant color appears.

~ Susanne

Cruising to San Francisco

It was day 4 and I woke with a start to my husband’s announcement that we’d just passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. And I’d missed it!

No matter. The best was yet to come as we headed toward the Bay Bridge, backlit by sunrise.

We sailed silently into San Francisco Bay careful not to wake the sleeping city,

and when we docked at the Port of San Francisco this was our view.

Out in the bay – the Rock.

On a nearby hill,  Coit Tower.

And in the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge.

There was no need to rush. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. and wouldn’t sail again until 10:00 p.m., our longest day in port.  So after a leisurely breakfast we disembarked and headed over to Alcatraz Landing.


Why the fascination with the island prison?  For those of us from a certain generation, I suppose it started with ‘The Birdman of Alcatraz’. At least it did for me. Never mind that Robert Stroud conducted his studies earlier at Leavenworth and wasn’t allowed to have birds at Alcatraz.  ( I guess “Bird Doctor of Leavenworth” didn’t make for a good Hollywood title.) With later generations, it would be movies about the attempted escapes.  Regardless,  it’s a popular attraction and I was happy I’d booked our 10:30 tour well in advance.

It was clear and sunny as we sailed to the island, past views of the city where the Star Princess was part of the skyline.

Alcatraz was straight ahead and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the dock.

For thousands of years, Alcatraz was just a lonely island. In 1859 a fort was built as part of a defense system for San Francisco Bay.  Used as a military prison from 1859 – 1933, it later became a maximum security federal penitentiary.  From 1934 to 1963 it housed some of the most high risk and notorious prisoners of the era including Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

We headed up for a self-guided tour of the former prison and found the accommodations  rather grim.

When we had our fill of prison life, we made the return trip back to the waterfront.  After lunch we split up and I headed to Pier 39 to visit the Sea Lions who moved into the area after the 1989 earthquake and decided to stay.

But mainly I walked, walked and walked some more along the Embarcadero accruing more steps on my Fitbit than any other day on the cruise.

We returned to the ship for dinner and went up top to watch the sunset.

The next morning we would arrive in Monterey, our southernmost port of call, and enjoy an excursion to Carmel this time by Tour Bus.

Stay tuned for that!

~ Susanne

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

On a cold and rainy day – it’s good to be Benji –

snug as a bug in a rug.

~ Susanne

No Longer Anonymous – A Blogging Update

I didn’t want to keep you in suspense after my post yesterday, having you lie awake at night wondering whether I would remain  ‘Anonymous’ forever.  And perhaps you or your followers have also been recently plagued by this issue when you comment on a blog in WordPress.

So after spending a LOT of time chatting with a WordPress analyst yesterday, it came down to my internet browser.

When I showed him a screen shot of the comment box I was seeing –  which looked different than before but I couldn’t say why –

he noticed it didn’t show I was logged in to WordPress. Microsoft Edge seemed to be dropping my log in “cookies” so when I commented on a blog, it showed up as ‘Anonymous.’  On some blogs ‘Anonymous’ would disappear directly into spam.

The resolution was to switch to Chrome for my browser and it worked.  The comment box now shows I’m logged in using my WP account, as it should.  My comments are showing up again with my name, no longer ‘Anonymous.’ Hooray!

So if you have followers complaining of the same problem have them try a different browser. Chrome worked for me.

No thanks to him.

~ Susanne

Blogging Fun with Anonymous

Hello blogging friends!  I seem to have lost my identity!

The last few days I noticed that the comments I left on some of your blogs disappeared.

A quick exchange with one of the bloggers involved (thanks Pete) yielded the additional information that my comments were showing up as ‘Anonymous.’

A subsequent comment I left on another blog (Hi John) confirmed this – rather disconcerting to say the least.

You may remember that I used to work in technology.  During my career, ‘bugs’ like this would be reported to the help desk and assigned to technical staff to research and resolve.  I enjoyed going behind the scenes to figure out what went wrong and fix the problem. I miss having those tools at my disposal.

I checked with my internal help desk and he was not impressed.

I intend to log a case with WordPress so hopefully this will be resolved soon.

In the meantime please understand why I may not be commenting on your posts.

If you’ve experienced this type of problem before and think you know the resolution feel free to comment!

Hopefully you won’t show up as ‘Anonymous!’   🙂

~  Susanne  (aka, ‘Anonymous.’)

Color and Surprise in the Fall Garden

I wandered in the garden and found color in the lavender –

and a rose –

and in a flock of visitors dressed in brilliant yellow!

Townsend’s Warblers – what a treat!

“Thank you for dropping by!  Please come again!”

~ Susanne

The Cruise Continues – On to Astoria!

We woke to sunrise on Day 2 of our cruise ready for our first port of call:  Astoria, Oregon, the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, founded in 1811. (Here’s Day 1 if you missed it.)

After coffee and a light breakfast I went down to the Promenade Deck for a walk around the ship as we approached the mouth of the Columbia River.  This was the view north, of Washington’s Cape Disappointment.

And this was the view to the east of Mt. St. Helens who blew her top in 1980.

And there – straight ahead – was a giant sandbar.

According to Wikipedia, ‘The Columbia Bar is where the river’s current dissipates into the Pacific Ocean, often as large standing waves… The waves, wind, and current are hazardous for vessels of all sizes.. Conditions can change from calm to life-threatening in as little as five minutes due to changes of direction of wind and ocean swell.. Since 1792 approximately 2,000 large ships have sunk in and around the Columbia Bar, and because of the danger and the numerous shipwrecks the mouth of the Columbia River acquired a reputation worldwide as the graveyard of the Pacific.

Scared?  No not me. I was trusting our experienced Captain and even more, the pilot boat that came to guide our ship safely to port.

I continued my walk and found quintessential views of Oregon to the south.

Just ahead was the Astoria bridge connecting Oregon and Washington. When completed in 1966, it was the longest continuous-truss bridge in the world.

We would dock just short of it, then head out for our shore excursion.

This was not our first time to Astoria so we’re quite familiar with its offerings.  But we signed up for a guided tour of Fort Stevens State Park and enjoyed stops by other landmarks on the way, including the Astoria Column for the best views in town.

We didn’t climb to the top – I did last time and that was enough.  A narrow winding staircase inside takes you to an even narrower platform at the top barely two persons deep.  But even without climbing the tower the views from the hill are great.

Our next stop was the Peter Iredale – because who doesn’t want to see a shipwreck?  This British ship ran aground in 1906. Remember?  It’s the Graveyard of the Pacific!

We finally arrived at Fort Stevens, a military defense installation, constructed during the Civil War, and fired upon during WW2. The tour guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the fort, having grown up as an army brat playing in its batteries.

After a full day we headed back to the ship for dinner and watched as our captain carefully maneuvered us out to sea.

There were parting shots of the Astoria Column,

more quintessential views of Oregon,

and of course the setting sun.

Next up –  a full day at sea, followed by an early morning arrival in San Francisco.

Stay tuned!

~ Susanne

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