Saturday, September 22, 2012

New York in 42 Hours

Written on the plane home last night. We made it home without incident, so I didn't jinx it! It's a beautiful fall day here in northern California.

So I've survived my first coast to coast overnight. I'm flying across the country again, twice in as many days. Swaths of darkness below, fretted with squared off webs of orange lights that cluster in waves of towns. They flow then crest into cities, ebbing back into towns, then darkness again, a black reflection of the speckled darkness above. I'm flying in between the lightnesses with a hundred strangers and it feels very fragile, very miraculous still though people have been ferried across these atmospheric miles for quite a while now.

Though the way home always feels interminable, it was a very nice quick trip. I may jinx it, but the traveling has been smooth. I had a lovely dinner with friend Cathleen during my one night in New York, a comforting ritual. The hotel was pleasant (thank goodness I didn't have this grim view for long!). The event today was also pleasant and free of drama, the worst gaffe being that I forgot to make a nametag for the main speaker! I felt foolish about that. But the unseatbelted cab ride (NY taxies are the only time I indulge in such brazen lack of safety) back out to JFK this afternoon flung it all out of me. I bought no souvenirs, dined not with cousins (next time, definitely!) I saw no sights other than the towering canyon perches of concrete that house flocks of humans. Wandering among them today and yesterday, I marveled at the plumage these bird flashed as they strut the sidewalks, wondering at how they migrated here from so many places and so many family trees and survive among the din and jostle and stench. It still amazes me how many people, how many utterly different people, share this narrow island. It restores my faith in humanity somehow. I think that's why I miss New York so much.

And now I'll go back to my yogurt making (which is going pretty well, by the way), my daily commute, my mornings at the gym, the mutual admiration of my dogs and spouse. Funny how much I miss it after just 42 hours away. Maybe it's the oppression of the autumn equinox--the changing of the light, the new chill in the evening wind. It's time to hunker down and make soup, not flee the nest.

During my hours at JFK I saw footage of the space shuttle piggybacking on a 747 and flying low over the Golden Gate bridge. How brilliant that NASA is making such a ceremony of retiring it! I was sorry to have missed it.

I didn't linger in New York so that I could have a real weekend at home. Next weekend is a visit with Grandma at her new abode in Spokane, a trip I planned to coincide with Dad and Ginny's for extra family time. It will be so good to see them all, well worth the hurtling between starscape and landscape again so soon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Weekends

"So...what part of your body hurts the most?" said M as we awakened Sunday morning.

"Aches. I think 'aches' is a better way to describe it. Especially the joints."

 Our second attempt at truck camping was definitely more successful but still far from ideal. We're just to old to find comfort in a mere couple of inches of padding. The research will continue.

 The test truck camping occasion was Caitlin's 40th birthday, which she chose to celebrate on Clear Lake. The campground was very nice and not to crowded. There were showers and trail along the creek which afforded views of birds and turtles. Lots of shade and not too hot. Sadly Clear Lake did not live up to its name. Scabs of viscous algae covered most of the surface, particularly at the shoreline. It was a bit smelly, too. But fun we had. We drove to a swimming hole not too far from the lake for a refreshing field trip. In the evening we feasted on a gourmet s'more-gasbord and marveled at the large number of green raccoon eyes watching us. It was a very mellow time, just what we needed.

We left the dogs in their cousin Felicia's care. While we were gone, our handyman installed our new gate. It's very different than the last one, which blocked the light and seemed very unfriendly.

It's been great having Felicia in Santa Rosa. We had a nice walk around Spring Lake one evening. Mom visited recently and the three of us met for dinner and a wander around the Heirloom Expo. I wish I had had more time to spend investigating the various veggies. As Felicia noted, the main exposition hall smelled so fresh! It was the last day and we were able to abscond with some particularly fine and unusual gourds as mementos.

Rob came for a visit over the Labor Day weekend, which was lovely. We took the scenic route down to the City on Saturday. We met a friend of his from New Orleans in the Presidio (I unfortunately muffed the rendezvous--I was hoping we'd be taking in sweeping views of the bay and city, and instead saw more of the underbelly of the new freeway--Rob was a good sport about it though). We did dinner at Dosa, then went to a studio where his friend did acrobatics to hear a really fine singer-songwriter. We ended the night at the Top of the Mark. Too much fog for views, but we were entertained by a band and some very energetic dancers from a range of generations and socio-economic statuses.

Today is my birthday and it's been lovely. Unexpected gifts and many good wishes. Felicia joined me for lunch, and I visited her at her office at the Goodwill headquarters, where I engaged in my first "bin dive." It was an unusual shopping experience!