Monday, July 27, 2015

Flickr link

Thanks for the reminder, Kam, I meant to post this:

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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Closes

It's the end of spring and the days are so long, there's almost too much of them to enjoy. I find myself going to bed while it's there's still a bit of dark blue in the sky, like the nursery rhyme.

Our little garden bed is growing pretty well. It's breezy almost every evening, which seems different than previous summers, making it hard for some of the peas to climb, but I help as best I can, rappelling twine down from the tops of poles, cramming their little tendrils into the cracks in the bamboo, hoping they'll have enough time to grown into a hold before the evening breezes start up again. The chard is prone to leaf miner, but I'm determined to rout it out. The tomatoes are all looking hearty, but none has set yet. We've started adding chard, kale, lettuce, and herbs to our meals regularly.

A golden snow pea
Vulcan chard

We've learned a lot about gardening in just this short amount of time, chief among them: soaker hoses on timers is the way to go.

M is busy teaching himself to weld. He's made a couple of machine stands already, one from one of my brake rotors, which he was good enough to change for me. He found a bucket of rusty used horseshoes at a garage sale and is already using them for few household projects.

Potholder corral
Star art in progress

He wants plenty of welding practice before attempting to plug the hole in the Chevelle floorboard. It's good to see him so excited about his projects although the wine bottles into glasses effort has subsided, unfortunately. I think we've drawn about even in terms of crafty dilettantism.

Memorial Day weekend was quiet. I did meet the PA Gals for lunch and a wander through the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond. It was interesting, though of course we did more talking amongst ourselves than museum-ing. I'd like to go back. There was a "Rosie" there, and I think there is most weekends - that would be a fascinating conversation. She and M could have compared learning to weld notes! I have been doing a lot of museums this year. I don't have any more visits currently planned, so I better get cracking. Maybe I should make at least one per month my goal for the rest of the year.

I just got back from a conference in Santa Clara. It went well. I'm glad it's over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life, Continued

My life continues to be divided along the very stark lines of working and not working.  Work is very intense. Deadlines loom and pass like thunderstorms, sometimes just threatening, sometimes providing relief, sometimes darkening, sometimes sharply illuminating. But the undercurrent is always gratitude, that I have lovely people to work with and that I'm employed. And hey, it's not like anyone dies or anything. I bring roses to work and stink up the joint with their perfume. I crack jokes with coworkers and I'd say smiles outnumber frowns 2-1, even my own. I go to the gym. Walk the dog. Listen to podcasts. 

And hey, there are weekend adventures, resetting the stress clock.

We took a long, foggy ride to Bolinas, a place I'd never been, which is crazy considering how long I've lived here. We rode through dripping pine and eucalyptus forests. We edged the Lagunitas reservoir and imagined how wonderful the vistas must be when they weren't gray-wooled with fog.

Low tide at Bolinas

Bolinas public shrine

The town of Bolinas itself is lovely, if remote and chilly and filled with hipster surfers, an almost inconceivable breed of humans. But even Bolinas is exclusively expensive these days. As we had lunch in an outdoor cafe, a golf cart pulled up to a parking spot on the street, a surfboard on top and two bulldogs riding shotgun. I'd like to go back on a sunny day, spend more time at the beach.

Last weekend we were in Chico, celebrating Mark's 55th and Sophia's 5th. 

Dad and Ginny came out from Texas. We went to Sierra Nevada for an early dinner, as per our tradition. It was graduation weekend for Chico, so lots of crowds, but we went at the perfect time.

In just about a month, M and I will celebrate 10 years of marital (mostly) bliss. Everyone was kind enough to stop by the Stansbury Home on the way back from dinner to pose for a portrait.

Same ol' view from the Motel 6
A brief but satisfying visit. Rex did not chase Mark and Glo's chickens, thank goodness. 

In other news:

The garden bed is coming along nicely. There's a lizard who, yes, I'm going to say it - lounges between the deck and the hay bales, soaking up the sun. He's the color of oak leaves and clay clods, the shape of the mulch, so I almost step on him every evening as I inspect the vegetables. I wish I could make him my pet, but he's probably pretty freaked out by my clomping. 

I also recently had a meet-up with the Pointy Pals, my writing group, and I have been challenged-slash-inspired to write a poem. It really has been too long! So I hope to have some poetry to share in the next couple of weeks.

M is working hard on the hotrod. I don't know if there's any kind of timeline to completion, but it's wonderful (mostly) hearing the clang and whine and rumble of power tools ripping it apart so we can put it back together again. And yes, I think I'll have a role to play, if a minor one.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

More Art, More Family, More Projects

It's been a lovely couple of weeks. I don't think I've absorbed this much art in a month ever. 

I've been a member of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco for a while, mostly because I really enjoy the special exhibitions at the de Young and Legion of Honor. I've been wanting to see an annual   exhibit, Bouquets to Art, for a number of years, and I finally got the perfect opportunity. I played a bit of hooky on my way to a conference last Sunday morning and spent a few hours at the museum seeing some pieces from the permanent collection interpreted by floral designers.  

It was better than I expected, both the flower arrangements, and the permanent collection, which I felt like I hadn't really spent enough time with before. Some of the arrangements weren't particularly imaginative (I guess there's not much you can do with a painting of cherry blossoms in a ginger jar), but others were. I also took in another well-received show while I was there, "Botticelli to Braque," an exhibit from the National Gallery of Scotland. It was a great way to "fill the well" before the conference. 

View from the Grand Hyatt, San Francisco
The conference went very well. It's one of my favorite - a lot of really nice people. One woman I've known for a few years remarked at lunch that she "needed her Suzanne time" - I thought that was so sweet. The best part was Mark coming for a few days! We had fun hanging out during the show and in the evenings. The last night we met Katrin for dinner, which made it even more special. 

It was a long week, though. It was my own fault, but I had made plans to run early networking events every morning, so I didn't have time get to the gym. Also, sleeping through the night is but an elusive memory for me these days. It took a few days to recover.

But that didn't stop me from enjoying another art-filled day in the City. Felicia and I went to see a costume exhibit from the Brooklyn Museum on view at the Legion of Honor on Saturday. We also wandered through the permanent collection and around the grounds a bit after lunch. It was the first time she'd been there, which was nice. It had rained (yay!) the night before, so when the sky cleared we had beautiful views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Land's End. It was great to get my Felicia time in.

I didn't plan for it, which maybe helped, but today was one of the more productive days I've had for a while. I got up early and went to church - I had really been missing it, and it was a lovely, inspiring service.  I made a quick trip to the garden store on my way home, and so was able to finish putting in the starts in the raised bed. M has become quite the drip irrigation master. I'm hoping this will allow us to have lots of veggies without raising our water rates too much.

We've been talking about getting a Japanese maple for months now, to put between the stock tanks on the patio. While I was at the garden store, I saw one I liked. I mentioned that to M when I got home and he decided it was time. Off he went. Waiting for him to return, I weeded the front year, read more of the book I'm enjoying, Helen of Troy by Margaret George and vacuumed my car, which needed it, and did some other cleaning odd and ends.

The transplanted maple looks absolutely fantastic - exactly what the space needed. I hope it thrives. He also got a dwarf orange tree that he planted back by the peach trees. We spent an hour or so sitting on the deck as evening came on, admiring our handiwork while the birds flitted about as they do. 

Another project I haven't had much to do with yet, but I'm very excited about: after a decade of languishing in the garage covered with Costco items and patio storage, M has unearthed the Chevelle for renovation. He's been hard at work pulling out the interior and getting it read for repairs. 

I've volunteered to help with installing the new carpeting, upholstery, and headliner, when it comes time. It may take a while, but he's making great progress. We're both very excited about driving it around again. I remember how fun it was to turn heads as we drove around in barely mufflered style.


Other misc. medical notes - feel free to stop reading now if it's TMI: I have new dental crown.  I've had some low-grade pain in my upper back for a while, so had it Xrayed - it's a compression, so I had my first bone-density test a couple of weeks ago. It felt very Star Trek to lay there fully clothed while the white plastic "arm" with the spotlight scanned me from above. I've also decided to try to deal with the hot flashes that wake me up at night with prescription hormones. They've been playing havoc with my sleep and I'm desperate to make them stop. Ah, aging. Hope to feel rested enough to get to the gym tomorrow, it's been too long.