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Archive for July, 2009

Splashdown 2009



Mike by The USS Hornet

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

Today Mike and I spent an enjoyable and educational afternoon on board the USS Hornet, which has been converted into a museum. The Aircraft Carrier USS HORNET Museum is a national treasure, having participated in two of the greatest events of the 20th century — World War II and the Apollo 11 manned space mission.

Now peacefully moored at historic Alameda Point on San Francisco Bay, the USS HORNET is a timeless memorial to those who defended our American values and to those who have pursued America’s technological advancements. In 1969, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet recovered the first two NASA missions that landed men on the moon – Apollo 11 and Apollo 12. The ship is the largest surviving artifact from these incredible events, which are among the most important in the history of humankind. In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, the featured speaker was former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11 and the 2nd man to walk on the moon. The USS Hornet served as a premier platform for the release of Buzz Aldrin’s newest book: “Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon.” The book is a memoir about his triumphs in space and the hard times back on Earth.

Following his public speech at about 1:15PM, Buzz had an autograph session where he signed copies of his new book for the first time in the SF Bay Area. Mike had purchased two books, one for him and one for Jeremy. As we waited in line, we learned that all 1,050 of Buzz’s books had sold out by 1:15PM. There were about 2,000 people at this memorable event, and we were privileged to briefly see Buzz as he signed our books. Due to the large number of people waiting to have their books signed, he was not able to shake hands or write anything personal in our books other than his name. But he did look at us and said “Thank you”. That was probably the highlight of our time there.

There were many other exhibits and activities for kids and adults alike, including a flight simulator, model Mars rovers, actual moon rocks, the mobile quarantine facility used for the Apollo 14 crew, and many more. You can click on the title under the above picture to be directed to my flickr website and view more pictures. It was truly an enjoyable and informative day for us.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLY

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLY MARIE! WE LOVE YOU AND ARE PROUD TO HAVE YOU AS OUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW!

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New Addition

Pierre the Red Cap Fish

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

In addition to the four goldfish in our backyard pond, we now have a new fish that we’ve named Pierre. Because of the red cap situated above his head, he resembles a French man, hence, the name Pierre. Pierre is a red cap fish from the goldfish family. Another name for this type of fish is oranda. An oranda is a fancy goldfish characterized by a prominent raspberry-like hood encasing its head. The hood or headgrowth (also known as wen) encases the whole head except for the eyes and mouth. Due to the fleshy outgrowth on the upper half of its head and sides of its face, the oranda has become one of the most popular goldfish. It is described as wen by the aquarists. The oranda is a metallic or matte scaled goldfish that is similar in appearance to the veiltail. It has a large, long and deep body accompanied by a long quadruple tail. This four-lobed and contracted tail normally spreads out broadly when the oranda stops swimming. The headgrowth of young fry may take one to two years to develop.[1][2] The oranda can reach 8 to 12 inches (20 to 31 centimeters) in length.[2][3]A specimen from China, named “Bruce” (after late actor and martial artist Bruce Lee), has attained 15 inches in length.[1] Sometimes the wen grows enormously covering its eye,due to this the eye sight is limited or no vision.These fishes should not be destroyed because they can still manage to survive. Special care should be given to the wen because it is prone to bacterial infections.Oranda can tolerate temperatures from 65-78 °F.More recently blue scale oranda have been developed but these fishes are very rare[5]. Oranda goldfish are especially sensitive to cold temperatures, more so than other goldfish.

Originally, Mike had purchased three orandas for our outdoor pond. However, a few days later, he found one and then two of the fish had been sucked into the bottom suction drain in our pond. Unfortunately, they did not survive. So today, Mike purchased an aquarium for the remaining oranda. Pierre seems quite content in his new home, which we have placed in Jeremy’s old room.   Feels like we’re parents again!  We hope to add a couple more buddies to Pierre’s home soon.

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DSC_1127

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

The morning again began with sunny, blue skies. After breakfast we packed up and said our goodbyes to our lovely cottage in the woods. We would always cherish the special time we shared there in commemoration of our 30th anniversary.
Last October, we had endeavored to hike around the valley floor. There is a trail that goes completely around the valley, but due to that time of year, we ran out of daylight before we could complete it. We had begun the hike at Curry Village and ended at the Yosemite Lodge. Today we were determined to pick up where we left off and finish this hike. We drove to the campground near the Yosemite Lodge and parked our cars. Today was warmer than yesterday, so we did not bring any jackets. We started our hike on the trail shortly before Yosemite Falls. On the way, we passed a group of people taking rock climbing lessons on one of the walls. It is always fun to watch them practice. Although this is not a sport or hobby I would ever care to undertake. Before long, we were again at lower Yosemite Falls. We did not linger here too long since we had just passed by here yesterday. The trail next led us deeper into the forest and started ascending higher up above the trees. We were very near the rock walls on the eastern end of the valley towards Royal Arches. At one point, we left the trail and climbed up a semi steep hill to the bottom of a large rock wall. Above the wall, an ephemeral cascaded down into a small pond. It was a tranquil setting. We also saw some rock climbers nearby up the wall. We ventured back down and continued on the trail. About a mile later, we arrived at the grounds of the Ahwahnee Hotel. We stopped by the gate keepers hut and took pictures. The trail next led us behind the Ahwahnee parking lot and again began to ascend higher back into the forest. We crossed a small foot bridge near Lahamente falls and saw the canyon where the Indians used to travel through to reach Yosemite Valley. As the trail neared Mirror Lake, it started to descend again. At times, we could see the bike path which we had been on many times before. But we were determined to stay on the valley loop trail and reach our destination of Mirror Lake. Once again, the trail ascended up into the forest. This was also part of a horse trail, and it seemed the higher we ascended, the more difficult the trail became. The trail was strewn with rocks and horse manure. It became slippery and somewhat difficult to continue one, not to mention the foul smell of the road apples we were encountering more and more. But eventually we did make it to Mirror Lake. How good it felt to dip my tired feet in its cold waters and be refreshed. We sat by the lake’s edge and ate our trail mix. Of course the local squirrels seemed to have some innate sense in them to know that we had food. They were soon coming up to us. Mike fed them a few peanuts. It was entertaining to watch them chew their food. Afterwards, we caught a shuttle bus back to our vehicle near Yosemite Lodge.
It was getting later in the day, and we needed to head to our next destination at Yosemite West. After a quick stop to the grocery store, we made the 20-minute drive to Yosemite West. We are staying at a small house called Cozy Bear. The entire décor of the home is a bear theme. The house has 4 different levels. The first level is a small living room area with a gas fireplace. The next level is a small kitchen that leads out onto an outdoor patio with a gas grill and table and chairs. The third level has our bedroom and a bathroom, and the 4th level has another bedroom. There is a 5th level, but it is locked, and we did not have access to it. The home is tastefully decorated, and very cozy, hence the name, Cozy Bear.
Jeremy and Molly arrived here at the Cozy Bear cabin around midnight. They are going to spend the next three days with us. We’ve looked forward to seeing them. We only visited for a short time after their arrival as it was late and everyone was tired. It felt good to lay our heads on our pillows for the night.

Bedroom at Cozy Bear

Bedroom at Cozy Bear

Ahwahnee Gate Keeper Hut

Ahwahnee Gate Keeper Hut

Pond & Waterfall below Royal Arches

Pond & Waterfall below Royal Arches

Below Royal Arches

Below Royal Arches

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anniversary ahwahnee

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

The morning of our 30th wedding anniversary began with sunny blue skies. After a delicious breakfast at the Curry Village Pavilion, we rode our bikes around the valley. Although it was mid June, the temperatures since we have been here have been in the high 50’s to low 70’s. It does not yet feel like summer. Our first stop was at the historic church in the valley. We always enjoy visiting this church. By this time though, part of the valley was beginning to fill with clouds, so the photo opportunities were not as ideal as we would’ve liked. From there we rode to the visitor center. We ate our meager lunch of granola bars near the Indian Village which is behind the visitor center. After that, we watched the film “Spirit of Yosemite” in the visitor center. We first saw this film in 2001, and it is still being show there. The footage carries many spectacular views of not only Yosemite Valley, but also Tuolumne Meadows and the high country. We had been told before that the majority of people who visit Yosemite do not venture any further than 500 feet from their vehicles. If that is true, it is a shame, because there are so many breathtaking places to see in this great park. Our first visit to Yosemite was on our honeymoon in 1979. We were so impressed with this place of such natural beauty, that we have returned again and again. There is so much to see, and we probably have not even scratched the proverbial surface of all there is to see in this great national park.
After browsing a brief while in the visitor center, we rode our bikes over to the trailhead for lower Yosemite Falls. On the way there, we ran into the O’Keefes again. They were heading over to El Cap meadow to watch the rock climbers on the wall. They are such a special couple, and we look up to them. We wished them well and rode over to the trailhead of the falls. We made the short hike to the footbridge where many visitors were enjoying the amazing view of the falls cascading from incredible heights down the mountainside. It took us longer to return from this hike as we were having so much fun taking photos and experimenting with our cameras. I am a beginner in the world of photography and have a lot to learn. Mike has been a big help to me.
From there we rode our bikes back to our cottage at the Ahwahnee and changed into our dinner clothes. We walked to the Ahwahnee and enjoyed some tea and cookies in the hotel’s Solarium. This room is behind the great hall and offers a good view of Glacier Point high above. The Ahwahnee has three main wings, and each wing was designed to face prominent scenes in the valley. The dining room faces Yosemite Falls. After we finished our tea and cookies, we wandered around some of the other rooms in the great hall and viewed old photos and relics of the past. At 5:30, we were escorted to our table to enjoy our 30th anniversary dinner. Mike had requested this special table, and we were happy that they were able to grant us our wish. The table is called the honeymoon table. It is located at the very back of the large dining room and sits in front of a huge window that I am guessing is probably 30 feet high. From out of this window, you can see Yosemite Falls. Mike ordered the Filet Mignon dinner, and I ordered the Alaskan Halibut plate. A basket of delectable breads was brought to our table. Before eating, we held hands, bowed our heads and thanked God for giving us 30 years of marriage together. In an age where more marriages appear to be failing than succeeding, we are so grateful to God for being with us all these years. When Jeremy and Molly were married last October, Pastor Stoops charged them to always keep God in the center of their marriage and to put Him first. If you do this, you will succeed. It was a special moment. We also ordered a watermelon salad. Neither of us had ever heard of this or tried it before. I was quite surprised with how pleasing it was to my palate. The watermelon was cut into small bite-sized cubes and arranged along with a few pieces of avocado on a thinly sliced dill pickle. There was a hint of mint seasoning on the melon along with some other spices. The combination was truly refreshing. For dessert, we each ordered the raspberry sorbet. The entire meal was delicious. We walked around the hotel and grounds before retiring for the evening. Thankful to God for this very special day.

Wedding Day June 16, 1979

Wedding Day June 16, 1979

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