Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Winter Is Coming

December is here. Our nights are finally skidding towards and beyond freezing when it seemed like Indian summer would never end. It's rained a little but not nearly enough. C'mon, El Nino!

November's adventures:

After lo these many decades of living in the Bay Area, M and I finally went to Alcatraz. It was a beautiful day to visit a sad, crumbling place. More photos here.

I took the whole week of Thanksgiving off and we headed south to the in-laws for Turkey Day. It was very pleasant. I slept in! Rex and Jack got along, relatively speaking, though it was pretty funny seeing Rex cow an 85 pound lab in the prime of life.

We visited the Shields Date Garden in Indio to eat dates and observe the religious "art" in the garden.

We rode the famous Palm Springs tram. It was cold at the summit.

Christin and Scott came over Thanksgiving Day. We ate well and played cards. And watched football. I miss watching football.

The day after Thanksgiving, M and I went hotrod parts shopping in Seal Beach and had lunch in Newport Beach. It's easy to see why so many people want to live by the beaches in Southern California.

We took Arienne out for a round of mini-golf at Camelot.

I was and am thankful for such a lovely break from life's routine and for this branch of my family. Here's the Flickr album.

We came home from five days in Orange County to frost-drooping plants and a patio finally carpeted in leaves from the mulberry tree. I tore up most of the remaining plants from garden bed. We're sharing the slow-growing kale with insects and the last of the chard and herbs are hanging on, their growth slowed to incremental. On Sunday we ate the last of the beans, boiled and mashed, and peppers, sautéed with onions. I'm contemplating frying up the last three frost-bitten green tomatoes. It was work, but I got so much enjoyment from our little garden this year. M and I are already planning next year's growing scheme.

I continue my search for more happiness, listening to instructive podcasts, walking the dog, looking at the sky, trying to keep creativity alive in my life. I knitted some fingerless gloves, three to be exact - the middle effort didn't quite come out right. It's funny how the cold weather makes me want to knit.

How was your Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Days Are Long

...but years are short. I read that recently in The Happiness Project. I certainly feel that way. The days pile up slowly, then are gone in a flash. What did I do this summer? This year? How have I gone so long without posting?

The air feels like autumn (yet again), surrounding the sunlight in a warm haze, pulling summer gently away into the past, peeling the leaves off the the trees, sneaking in the brisk wind that brings down branches while we sleep, a dry storm. We're all hoping for a real one, though I was relieved when we arrived in SFO from JFK a few Fridays ago, from rain to moonshine, and was happy for it until I remembered that I need to wish for downpours, not be glad to have left precipitation behind.

Speaking of years, I had a birthday! M threw a party for me. I was so touched and grateful for everyone who came.

The day after the party, Felicia took us up to Coppola for lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour.

Here's the Flickr set.

Since my birthday, I've been to New York and back twice, both times for work. The first conference was at Javits Center, very large, and it took a lot out of me to attend. I was so glad M came with me. We had some fun, though, good food, seeing the Madhu Caiolas and Noah, and going to the newly reopened Cooper Hewitt.

Here is that Flickr set.

I was back again six days later for a smaller event - I tried to make the most of the time I had.

I went for a lovely walk in Central Park Sunday morning. 

On Sunday night, I went out with Monique and Gina to see Fuerza Bruta, a fun performance piece. 

I finally made the time to get down to the new home of Poets House; I volunteered there when I lived in New York, at the Spring Street location. It moved to the financial district after 9/11, and it's in River Terrace a beautiful neighborhood by the mouth of the Hudson. I attended a poetry reading and discussion with Jane Hirshfield. Very inspiring - I noted that I was one of the youngest people in the audience, and which reminded me how very niche poetry is these days. 

I had dinner with my friend Cathleen on Tuesday night. On my last night in New York, I slipped out of the conference as soon as I could and walked downtown to Union Square. I had time to wander through Fishes Eddy and the farmers market (so many memories of shopping for so many meals!) before spending a lot of time in the Barnes & Noble waiting for and then enjoying the talk and book signing for the new Humans of New York book by Brandon Stanton, released that very day.  

Check out the Flickr set.

These are the kinds of activities that remind me how incredible, vibrant, and rich New York is, and why I enjoyed living there for so long.

But Sonoma County has its charms, too. For instance, Felicia took me to see Parsons Dance Company for my birthday the week between New York trips. And I had a lovely day today, walking the Tennessee Valley trail with the PA Gals.

I have a very good life!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Flickr link

Thanks for the reminder, Kam, I meant to post this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/99158622@N00/

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Adventures!

So my resolve to post entries more frequently has been put to the test--and defeated--by Life Stuff. But not snuffed out! Allons!

I also realized that photo organization takes up a lot of my time. I have to "lay them off" as the pros say from my camera into iPhoto, then edit and download them onto my desktop, then upload them to Flickr, and then upload some of them to a post here and finally to the Blurb book project. After that, posting a blog seems to be quite out of reach. Keeping it all straight is by no means easy either, even as organized as I am. First World problems, to be sure, and my current excuse for not putting digital pen to digital paper more often of late.

Since pictures are worth 3-4 figures of words, I give you my summer so far in photos.

Julian graduated from high school, and we celebrated with him, family, and friends.

Mom turned 75 and we celebrated with her and even more family and friends.

I went to a conference in San Francisco at the end of June. It went well. It ended.

Kalyani, Hannah, Jo, and Susi drove out from New York. We camped in Lassen. It's been a long time since we've camped!

Mark and I hiked to the top of Cinder Cone. The views alone were totally worth the steep, sweaty climb. We paced ourselves.

We had most of Butte Lake campground to ourselves. The lake level was quite low, which meant it was better for kayaking than swimming.

M and I hiked to Bumpass Hell. Pretty amazing place. Driving through the park was great - such vistas!

It rained pretty steadily our last afternoon there. Luckily the canopies provided enough shelter for games, conversation, and dinner. It was not a restful night for me, however - too damp for a good night's sleep. Despite reveling in the complete lack of connectivity, I was ready to leave. I hope it won't be another two years before we camp again, however.

We then rendezvous'd up on the coast. We had enough time to take a walk on the Stornetta Public Lands and visit B. Bryan Preserve, where we were "kissed" by giraffes. They are pretty amazing creatures.

I had a conference in Portland, so was there all last week. It's been in Portland for a dozen years, which has been wonderful occasion to see Lloyd, Jacque, and the cousins. Next year it will move to Austin, so I'm glad that I'll have a chance to see Dad & Ginny, but will miss the Portland pilgrimage. Lloyd and Jacque took me on a tour of the Columbia Gorge. We saw Multnohmah Falls, had lunch at Skamania Lodge, then stopped to see Herman the Sturgeon!

I did have some good meals at Ox, Noble Rot, and Farm Cafe during the conference. I also had a few hours after the conference ended to take in the International Rose Test Garden.

I'm really glad to be home. No more conferences until the end of September! The garden is going great guns and is a source of deep satisfaction for me.

Bonus adventure: Have you ever seen a steam roller be a tool for art creation? We did in June.