Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shabbat Wisdom

All Who Seek You
by Rainer Maria Rilke from "The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God"

All who seek you
test you.
And those who find you
bind you to image and gesture.

I would rather sense you
as the earth senses you.
In my ripening
ripens what you are.

I need from you no tricks
to prove you exist.
Time, I know,
is other than you.

No miracles, please.
Just let your laws
become clearer
from generation to generation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reality Check

When we left on our trip to San Francisco, we hadn’t planned on the remnants of a winter storm greeting us upon our return.  We had no shovel, no boots, and no interest in snow.
But necessity sometimes becomes the mother of invention.  I spied a stack of plastic garbage bags on UA100 and requisitioned 4 of them to act as overshoes while we dealt with getting the car out of the snow.
It was a good thing because it was freezing when we landed and there was no valet service.
Today I’m dealing with the inevitable post-sunny-trip depression that results from jetlag and coming off the high of no responsibility and lots of fun.  I must reschedule the hair appointment I missed, restock our larder including a dreaded trip to Costco, and remember what it’s like to cook and take care of a house.
Jake was so well cared for that he doesn’t even seem to care that he’s back home.  But we’re certainly glad to see him nonetheless.  
I suppose you have to be rich to be on a perpetual vacation.  Oh well…
(Excuse the amateur bad photos, but I thought you might like to see what was happening in the Dulles long-term parking lot last night.) 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Gift of a Day

Usually a delay in getting home is considered a real nuisance. Today it was a gift that delayed our return to the snow-ravaged East by a full day. We made good use of our extra time here in sunny California.

We were staying at the Osprey Nest B&B in Inverness near Pt. Reyes. After finishing off a bowl of homemade granola, we leisurely drank our coffee on the deck, where we could watch the hummingbirds feed.

We then decided to drive out to the end of the Pt. Reyes peninsula. On the way we stopped at the Drake's Bay Oyster Company, where we got a lesson in raising my favorite bivalves.

We headed out to the lighthouse to do some whale-watching while we shared a picnic lunch. There were 21 sightings yesterday, but not a one on our watch.

However, there were more elephant seals than we could count at Chimney Rock nearby. It sounded like a wild party going on as bulls courted and females prepared to leave their month-old pups.

The entire peninsula is home to many herds of cattle. They appear to be quite content as they quietly graze on the pastures overlooking the ocean.

Back in the town of Pt. Reyes, we visited The Cowgirl Creamery, just one of several places making artisan cheese. We stocked up on food for our trip home since UA doesn't even hand out peanuts any longer.

Stinson Beach was our choice for seeing the sun go down. It was a spectacular evening with no fog and lots of color. It was completely dark by 6 PM.

It seemed fitting to eat a plate of baked oysters as we got ready to say goodbye to this lovely area of California.

We're starting to think about the daunting task of digging out our car at the airport, that's if we manage to get home tomorrow, assuming Dulles Airport reopens. Then there's the question of whether our street will have been plowed and whether we will have lost power.

Living in California is starting to take on a new appeal!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Bayshore Hwy,Burlingame,United States

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let It Snow

I snapped the above photo as we were leaving the Glendeven Inn this morning, marveling at the fact that it hasn't rained one drop since we arrived in California.

We spent the day driving through towering redwoods in the wine country outside of Mendocino and finally reaching Tomales Bay with all its natural beauty. We felt a little sad not to be able to explore this area since we were scheduled to fly home from SF tomorrow.

But then all that changed when UA cancelled our flight home tomorrow because of the pending snow. As a result we will be able to wake up much later at the 4-room Osprey Peak B&B and then leisurely explore Pt. Reyes and Tomales Bay, eating oysters at every opportunity.

There is Glee trivia everywhere! It turns out the innkeeper at Glendeven is a long-time friend of the producer of Glee. He has gotten to pal around with the cast from time to time. Here is a bad photo of a picture on the wall of the wine bar(n). In case you can't tell, it's of John and Sue.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Inverness, California

Monday, January 24, 2011


After an early yoga session, our day really started with a knock on the door to announce the arrival of breakfast. And what a breakfast it was!

After dragging out our second cups of coffee, we headed across the street to hike along the cliffs over the ocean. It was a perfect day: sunny and cool but not cold.

(credit Camera+ and hubby for photo of us)

At one point we saw a spotted seal and her cub, who would sporadically swim off the rock to explore.

After lunch and some shopping in the small town of Mendocino, we headed up to the lighthouse at Point Cabrillo. I spotted a few whales fairly far out to sea.

In the late afternoon we got to help feed the llamas.

Apparently they don't care who is holding the bowl.

Here's a video from our morning hike.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moving North

We left the city today for a couple of days in more rural California. The good news is my stomach is almost back to normal.

We took an off-the-beaten-path route to get to Mendocino, slowly snaking over some fairly significant mountains. It was quite a contrast to go from the hustle and bustle of the city to seeing no one for miles.

After traveling along the coast and taking in some breath-taking views, we reached our destination -- Glendeven Inn. This is the kind of place where they have thought of just about any amenity you mighty want. In our room we found warm brownies and a personalized welcome note. We had a complimentary wine tasting with appetizers at 5:30. I'm sitting here writing as a fire burns in the fireplace.

I'm going to an 8:15 yoga class offered by the owner before breakfast tomorrow. An interesting piece of trivia-- Bill and Hillary stayed in our room in 1984. His comment in the guest book noted that sometimes romance is more important than politics.

Our room in "the farmhouse" includes the three windows on the upper floor to the right.

The view from our room includes the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

The Inn also features a flock of chickens, which supply the eggs we will eat for breakfast, and 6 llamas, which quietly graze in the pasture below our room.

Tomorrow we'll do some easy hiking, perhaps visit a local winery, and poke around the little town of Mendocino.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Scenic view and fireplace photos by DD.

Location:Mendocino, California

Saturday, January 22, 2011

House arrest

I'm convinced we have the best deal going. We are staying at the Kabuki Hotel in the Japan Town neighborhood of San Francisco. We had booked a room at $90 a night, only to be voluntarily upgraded to a palatial room upon checking in. It's huge with a king-size bed, a chaise lounge, and a whirlpool bathtub. Did we get it because my husband mentioned the one reported occurrence of bedbugs? We'll probably never know.

Tonight I'm tucked into this room as I try to shake some bug I woke up with. It's a yucky stomach bug, which I initially attributed to food poisoning, but we had all eaten the same thing and I was the only one staying close to the bathroom.

I did manage to spend some time with a friend today, but my appetite and my energy had deserted me.

After dealing with MUNI and BART for what seemed like hours, I came back to our room in Hotel Kabuki, where I crashed. I'm sipping Sprite and waiting for Chinese takeout of broth and rice.

I'm really hopeful this is a 24-hour virus so that I can head off to Mendocino tomorrow with renewed appetite and energy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Post St,San Francisco,United States

Exploring the Marin Headlands

Today was yet another picture perfect day. We rented a car and headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge.

But first another breakfast special at The Grove, our newest find on Fillmore. I made friends with a big gray poodle out front, who could do every trick we asked of him, including shaking hands.

We did an easy hike with some incredible views of the bridge and the coast. Here is the birthday boy above and the Pacific Ocean below.

We had a guided tour of the Marine Mammal Center, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of mostly seals and sea lions (over 1,000 each year), who have become injured or who are sick or abandoned. About 40% can be released back into the wild. Note the sign prohibiting noise, so the "patients" don't become too acclimated to our sounds.

I love this sign along the way. I was glad not to have avoid squishing frogs today.

After lunch in quaint Sausalito we made our way to Muir Beach to catch the last daylight.

There is not much that can compare to the views in this part of California, just minutes out of the city.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:McAllister St,San Francisco,United States

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SF Revisited

Thirty years ago tonight my water broke and I was launched into parenthood, a truly life-changing experience. We are in SF to celebrate our first-born's birthday tomorrow.

We spent the day walking and eating, doing enough of the former to justify too much of the latter. Our destination was the Sutro Baths when we boarded the 38 bus on Geary for the long ride to Land's End, which is literally just that. Our trekking took us to some beautiful spots along the coast.

At the end of the path, the Cliff House beckoned with the promise of a view and decadent food and drink.

We then took the 38 back to Union Street, where I bought a pair of happy socks.

This is just one of the many hills that make this city such an interesting place.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Post St,San Francisco,United States

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ice from the Inside

There was a time when I was fanatical about ignoring the weather and carrying on with my life.  I'm sure there were many days like this one when I slipped and slid and took unnecessary chances just to show up for work.  I wasn't about to use my leave to stay home, even though it was often "liberally" granted.

In contrast it was great to wake up today and look at the blanket of ice enveloping everything outside, knowing that I had no reason to leave home until mid-afternoon.  I stuck my  head out to take the above picture.  Jake like an idiot decided to eat the ice off the deck.

That sort of weather-induced angst takes its toll.  I'm really glad to have the freedom to escape it these days.

Friday, January 14, 2011


A colleague of mine once related a story of her 7-year old daughter, who came home from school complaining that no one had given her a valentine.  As my friend worried about her child, she happened to see a bag sticking out from under her bed.  On closer inspection, she found it to be filled with valentines.  
Sometimes I think I am like that little girl when I start feeling lonely and worry about how many real friends I have.  This has been a life-long problem.  In any group of more than two people, I am always sure the others are closer than I will ever be with any of them.  I’m just now starting to see that this is mostly my perception and not reality at all.
In truth I can only remember two people in my entire lifetime ending their friendship with me.  In both cases, they were obvious about it; it wasn’t my imagination.  That actually seems to be a pretty good track record for 62 years.  
In talking to my daughter today, I mentioned this and was surprised to hear her say she had experienced some of those same feelings.  We talked about it rationally and realized that in fact we are often much better listeners than talkers in a group setting.  We acknowledged the need for both.  
Just now as I feel stirred by so many connections with people I love and people I like, I realize the delusion under which I have been living most of my life.  Perhaps armed with that realization, I can face my remaining years with a new confidence.