Category Archives: architecture

U is for US Post Office

I love architecture. Buildings of all sorts. Two of my favorite buildings are the Devon Tower in Oklahoma City which is new, 

and the Petronis Towers in Kuala Lumpur which are relatively new (opened in 1996)

compared to the Downtown San Jose Post Office. 


This beautiful building was built to be the main post office for San Jose in 1933 by Ralph Wykoff. It’s a gorgeous example of Depression Era federal construction. The main post office has since been moved but the building still serves as the Downtown Branch.


Older buildings are charming in a way that newer ones simply can’t be. The level of detail on both the interior and exterior of the building is remarkable.


Although I’ve been in the post office several times to mail packages, I never looked up until I was there earlier this week. As in all old post offices, there are the banks of brass post office boxes and teller windows that look like something out of an old western. I love those things. But when I was asking permission to take photos, I told him I wanted to take photos of the marble, the lights, the ceiling. 

Oh the lights!


Oh the ceiling!


Aren’t they awesome?

This is inside the lobby and brings to mind the song You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon. 


I look around, around, I see angels in the architecture. – Paul Simon

The outside is spectacular. The entrances are castle-like.


And the corners are equally beautiful. 

usps_sanjose_cornerI truly love this building. I marvel at it’s beauty and detail every time I go in or even walk by. It’s my favorite building in San Jose. 😀

#CoffeeCON 2014

Last year, in May (yes, MAY!) I drove through a snow storm to get to CoffeeCON 2013 in the suburbs of Chicago. It was an awesome event where I was able to meet four twitter friends in real life (IRL) and have some fabu coffee. I also took classes and learned a lot about coffee. And got sick. Really, really sick. 

You see, with all that coffee there, I was like a kid in a candy store and I had ODd by around 11 a.m.  I was hoping to go back this year and was absolutely thrilled to be invited as a media guest. 

press pass

This year, I knew I would pace myself so I could fully enjoy the day and the coffee. And the visiting, of course.  CoffeeCON 2014 was held at the Zhou B Arts Center in Chicago. It’s on the same street, a few blocks down, from the park formerly known as Comiskey. 

Zhou B Arts Center

It’s such a cool old building which I loved almost as much as the coffee. I have this fascination and love of doors and had to take a photo of one to complete my day.

Zhou B Door

 This year, I was not too sick to try the Kopi Luwak coffee from Indonesia. If you aren’t familiar with that, in a nutshell, civets (a catlike animal) eat the coffee berries and they are processed after elimination. Sounds gross but the story behind why they originally did this is very interesting.

Kopi Luwak

 I found the coffee to have an interesting, sort of nutty taste. The little coffee cracker cookies they had at their table were delicious!


 It was fun to go around and talk to the vendors and sample their coffee. I absolutely got goosebumps when I tasted Rustico from Counter Culture and I had to take that one home. Their website describes the coffee as having a kaleidoscope of flavors and it truly does. 

Rustico by Counter Culture

I also got a Sowden Oskar pot which I haven’t tried yet but plan to this a.m. In the Sowden class, the man said it was simply the easiest way to make a good cup of coffee. I’m looking forward to that. The thing that struck me even more, though, and made me choose it over the Aeropress (which I’m sure I will get one of these days) is that it is like French press coffee, which I love, but the filter is so fine, less particulates are left in the coffee when it’s poured. I’m hoping this will help it to be coffee that David enjoys better, too.   

Sowden Class

The winner of the contest I held last week was Dwana, a long time twitter friend of mine. I was so happy I would get a chance to meet her. Our first reaction to each other, IRL, was “OMG you’re tall, too!”. 🙂 

My only regret for the day was that we didn’t take a photo together but I did make my CoffeeCON movie staring Dwana and the Aeropress.  

We were introduced to the iCup machine by iCoffee. I enjoyed the presentation we were given. The iCup will take a K-cup and turn it into a good tasting cup of coffee by steaming and aerating the grounds, extracting the Co2 before dispensing the coffee. It also plays a little Mozart!

Although I’m not a Keurig user, I’ve had coffee from one a couple of times and found it to be bitter. The coffee we tried from this machine was much tastier. A real improvement!

Of course I can’t forget about the fun coffee roasters outside. I know I talked about the heat gun lady and popcorn popper guy all year and they were there again. 

heat gun coffee roasting

The popcorn popper roaster had a new addition this year: a Weber grill. Ingenious! 

Roasting with a WeberOne of the ladies outside gave me my own little packet of green coffee beans. I’ve decided that I will make Beauty Pageant Roast by using my blow dryer and curling iron. 😉

green beansOnce again, I had a great time at CoffeeCON. Well, I actually had a better time than last year since I paced myself. Thank you, again, to Kevin Sinnott for inviting me.

There are other CoffeeCON events planned for this year in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Check the website for further information and Carpe Java! 🙂

Frank Llloyd Wright’s Rosenbaum House

As soon as I read Sheila Scarborough’s blog post at The Perceptive Travel Blog about The Rosenbaum House, I looked to see if there was any way we could include it in our coming trip to Orlando.


You see, I adore Frank Lloyd Wright. I’ve been blessed for the past 10 years or so to be able to look out my window and see his only skyscraper, The Price Tower, located in Bartlesville, OK. We’ve since moved to Tulsa and I needed a Frank Lloyd Wright fix!


I learned that the Rosenbaum House, located in Florence, Alabama, was just a little out of our way so we made plans to go see it.

Rosenbaum House plaque

The house is, in a word, AWESOME! Designed for the Rosenbaums by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939, the house is very identifiable as one of his designs. After falling into disrepair,the house was sold to the City of Florence in 1999. The sale was based upon the understanding that the house would be restored and used as a museum.

Rosenbaum House rear

The renovation cost $750,000! And it’s gorgeous.i

Rosenbaum living room

The house is made of cyprus wood that is screwed together and was originally around 1500 square feet. The Rosenbaums had four sons and eventually another 1000+ square feet were added giving the family a dormitory for the boys and a new kitchen for Mrs. Rosenbaum.

Mrs. Rosenbaum, a former model in New York, was also a talented piano player and weaver. Some of her work can be seen in her weaving room. It’s beautiful.


The house is one of Wright’s Usonian houses, houses he designed for America’s middle class. There is an incredible amount of built in storage although the house – to two largish people like David and I – seems very small. I felt very tall in it. 🙂

There are also 140+ recessed lights.


The windows are screened with bronze screens and the bedrooms all have access to the outside.

This was a fabulous stop for us. I get so excited to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, which I admire and makes my heart happy. There is a small charge for the tour which takes about an hour. I can’t recommend you visit highly enough. So if you find yourself in or near Florence, AL be sure to stop by!






Stop! Hammer Time

We just spent an awesome week in Bilbao, Spain. I had never been to Spain (but I’ve been to Oklahoma – ha ha ha – I’ll stop. ;-)) so I was looking forward to the trip and also to see David whom I hadn’t seen since June 12.

We stayed in an amazing hotel, the Hotel Carlton.

Beautiful, old world style, terrific service, centrally located. We loved this hotel!

We ate some terrific food. The pastries at breakfast were not to be believed.

I got to use my one Spanish sentence, “mas cafe’ por favor”, a lot since they don’t drink coffee like we do here.  I said it in my head more than I said it aloud. 😉

We saw amazing architecture.

And drank beer on the sidewalk.

It was an awesome trip!

They smoke a lot in Spain. This was kind of disturbing. As we sat outside enjoying a beverage, we would begin to be surrounded by smokers. And there were plenty of people smoking as they walked down the street including kids coming out of school. I was actually surprised that I didn’t get burned by a flying cigarette during the time we were there.

But what was even more disturbing was the fashion trend we started to see – MC Hammer pants. Stop! Hammer Time!

When we saw the first gal wearing them, I thought it was a one off. But, soon, we were seeing gals everywhere wearing them.

My mom always taught me not to be rude and I wasn’t able to capture a photo of any of the girls wearing them. First of all, I was so shocked every time I saw it, it took some time for me to collect myself and think of my camera. But, then, how would you take a photo without being obvious? And rude?

So I found this one at

And that’s what they look like alright. His apparently were taken in Barcelona. Different town, same country. So I hope this is just a trend that is happening in Spain.

In his article, he basically says the same thing that I have been thinking: they look ridiculous. Even on the thinnest of girls, they look like they have huge hips and why would you want your butt all baggy. Doesn’t this cause chafing?

It confounds me. Disturbing for sure.

So Spain was fabu. I love it all except the smoking and the Hammer pants. I hope we’ll get to visit again some day. 🙂

My favorite street to walk on

If you follow my blog at all, you know that we walk around Bartlesville. A lot. I love walking downtown in general but do you know what my favorite street to walk on is?

Yep, this street is on the north side of my favorite destination in Bartlesville…

The Bartlesville Public Library.

When I turn the corner, I see…

There are cool sculptures.

And cool architecture.

And when I see this…

I just want to sing. And sing I do. There is rarely anyone on this street when we are walking on it and so I take advantage of that and sing out loud. Joyfully, happily, bugging no one. 🙂

And that is why 6th Street is my favorite street in Bartlesville to walk on. 🙂

The twins

If you’ve been following along our trip, you’ve noticed a lot of photos of the Petronis Twin Towers. These are two of the tallest buildings in the world and I am enamored of them.

Yesterday, we got a chance to get really close to them and wowza! I couldn’t get enough.

I can’t tell you how many times I nearly face planted because I was too busy looking up instead of looking where I was going.

My favorite things about the buildings is the juxtaposition of the curves against the straight edges

and the fact that it’s made out of so much steel.

There is a cool sculpture at the front entrance.

And the floor looks like this.

Here are my boys at night.

And from the top of the KL Tower.

Love them! 🙂

Muffins and malls

When we went down to eat breakfast yesterday, much later than we normally do, the restaurant was absolutely packed. Not an empty table to be found. Not my idea of a leisurely Sunday morning repast.

We decided to go out and find something to eat. According to Laura, Western breakfasts are not really common here in Kuala Lumpur so, before going, we consulted Google to see if we could find something that would work.

We found a terrific write up for a place called Terrace Bakery that told of caramel banana french toast amongst other yummy things. I looked at the map and it looked like it was near the Suria KLCC Mall. So off we went. I told David we could go and look at the mall after we were done eating, that it was one that Laura and I had been to earlier in the week.

Although we found the mall, sadly we didn’t find the Terrace Bakery. So we settled for the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. First we each had an incredibly hot muffin and cup of coffee that almost didn’t fit on the table. Can you say giganto?

Then we had some perfectly tasty Eggs Benedict that was ice cold. Maybe, because it’s so hot outside, it was meant to be served at a cooler temperature?

After that, we headed across the street to the Suria KLCC Mall.

Shopping here is not for the faint of heart. Kuala Lumpur has the biggest malls I have ever seen and, frankly, I don’t think I’m cut out for shopping like that but we gave it our best shot.

The coolest thing about the Suria Mall is that it’s right underneath the Petronis Twin Towers. I am so in love with those buildings that if I weren’t married to David, I might just marry them. 🙂