Winterness

IMG_1246Although we do get more “weather” here in the far East Bay than, say, closer to the Bay itself, we don’t get snow. Sometimes, a girl just needs snow. So we headed out to Tahoe for a weekend of skiing. The snow wasn’t the best, and it was a bit too warm so everything got icy and slushy at the same time, but it was still very fun. It is wonderful to anticipate many more weekends of skiing in the coming years, as well. I’m not the best skiier but I know enough to get myself in trouble, as the saying goes, and I’d like to make it a regular part of winter life. Sadly it’s still a 3-hour drive away, but I think I can manage a few weekends during the season.

The yard needs attention. I may get my very-sore body out there today and do a little pre-spring weeding, think about what plants I may want to get this year, and think about the garden. We had more rain this year than last, and the bulb flowers are sprouting all over. In a few weeks it’s going to be really lovely out there.

Winter is not my favorite season here in the Bay Area… it is this strange, anticipatory lull in the regular sunny seasons. It never really gets all that cold, and sometimes it rains but not really all that much, and it never snows. It’s just sort of mildly gray, with some frost sometimes, and people complain about how it’s 50 degrees and they’re freezing, and I long for some real weather. By spring, however, I’m very pleased with our early flowers and sunny skies and the early jump on gardening. So I wait it out during winter and enjoy my excuse to wear boots and tights and sweaters, and sometimes, in my shiny new life, I go skiing and get some real weather.

 

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not quite a book post but

…there will be one coming soon since I’m over halfway through Carter Beats The Devil and I LOVE IT.

I had to (temporarily) give up on The Gormenghast Trilogy — it is a huge thing, plus it’s extremely slow-moving, and very strange (but lovely) and I think I’ll just have to keep working at it all year. Which means I need to own the book — it’s due at the library yesterday, so. Will work on that one. I hate giving up on it but it’s going to take me awhile and there are other books in the wings that I want to get to.

This year was a strange one for reading. I started off being able to barely read two sentences before I passed out from exhaustion, then I re-read the entire Harry Potter series (love love love) and then it got better. But then I got a life! And so I didn’t read as much. I feel sad about this — I miss reading voraciously — but I suppose having fun and doing new things and traveling and all that is a worthy tradeoff. There will be years in the future where I do lots more reading, I’m sure.

I spent today talking with work folks about very inspirational things: how to help people (and ourselves) realize hopes and dreams, and recover their lives. My life has been recovered, and for the first time in many many years, I know I can truly do whatever I want. So what do I want? Let’s dream a little. What would I do, if I could do anything? I had such a good time today learning and really using my brain, so I’m thinking about school. What would I like to learn?

  • Art Therapy (Therapy in general)
  • Literature (I’d love to get a lit degree just for fun)
  • Critic (I think I’d actually be quite a good critic. Not sure of what. One probably does not go to school for this. But.)
  • Random art classes (I already have an art degree and I know I don’t love having my art being graded. Non-credit classes, however, sound fun)
  • Writing (’cause why not? I realize I can do this without a degree but I loved my writing classes in college)
  • Finish up that minor in Philosophy
  • ….aaaaaand let’s throw in some zoology just for fun.

The only one of these that would be worth anything in the real world is the first, but that’s probably more than I want to take on at this point. However, random art classes and writing classes sound doable. I might have an opportunity to do some theater/storytelling stuff at some point in the near future, so maybe I can work on something there and see what’s what.

I like school. I wish I had money and time to just go to school full-time all the time.

But since I don’t and I can’t, maybe I can do some fun learning just for me.

Here’s to a new beginning.

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a catch-up post in photos

This year I finally got a white Christmas tree. I’ve wanted a white or silver tree for many many years, and this year I finally found one for the right price, that was the right size (6.5 ft) and it’s perfect. I love it. IMG_1128IMG_1126
IMG_1130 IMG_1132I’m actually excited about Christmas this year. I felt inspired to decorate a little. We have some fun plans involving San Francisco light-display touring and a dinner out and going to see the lights at the zoo. Everything feels celebratory and happy, not obligatory and stressful. This is pretty nice, I have to say.

Some other photos to catch you up on where I’ve been… This takes us from Muir Woods and the Pelican Inn when Tammie came to visit at the start of November, to San Francisco (Sutro Baths and an otter spotting! with Tammie as well), to driving home from Oregon, to the Santa Monica trip, to autumn in the backyard, finally wrapping up with some cute Thomas shots.

It’s been so busy, but good. I continue to be so grateful for my current life. Next post: Books!

Muir Woods with Tammie The Pelican Inn Perfect lunch by the fire at the Pelican Sutro Bath ruins, Cliff House OTTER!! Driving home from Oregon Santa Monica PIer Santa Monica Amazing breakfast: bread pudding with baked apples Santa Monica Autumn backyard Thomas exploring the wet yard More gratuitous kitty photos Hiding!!

until the sun comes up…

…on the Santa Monica Boulevard…

santa-monica-pier2I’m here in Santa Monica for a video and editing 4-day crash course (plus a travel day). I still don’t really have energy to download all the photos I should, and totally update here, but I’ll give a little overview of what’s been going on, and a catchup from my trip here.

  • Tammie came to visit at the beginning of November. Her husband, the sweetie, arranged it all as a surprise, and she came for a few days. It was so much fun! I got to play tour guide and we went all over the Bay Area. Seriously: Alcatraz, Chinatown, North Beach, cable cars, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Livermore, thrifting, The Cheese Board, Muir Woods, The Pelican Inn, Ocean Beach (where we saw an otter swimming in the Sutro Bath ruins!), Golden Gate Park, two museums… plus election night in the Castro! Also we spent a night in and watched really bad movies (think: Striptease) and ate cheese and exotic fruits and laughed ourselves silly. It was fantastic. 
  • Lots of travel and weird scheduling stuff, including two trips to Oregon (one a shortie to support a friend and one long one for Thanksgiving).
  • Plus this 5-day work trip to Santa Monica.
  • This on top of two months of lots of fast change and general good stuff.

It’s just been a lot. All good, but after years of not much happening, having all this happen at once has been a little breathtaking — or rather, breath-stealing… I feel like I barely know what’s going on any given day. The next two months are going to be much slower: no travel except maybe a short ski trip or two, maybe a couple short work trips. It’s the holiday season but I’m going to take a lesson from last year and really under-do things and only do things that I enjoy. I did already decorate the living room, but that’s another post. I already made a lot of gifts (marmalade and plum liqueur) and plan on keeping things nice and simple. Make some gingerbread cookies, stay home for Christmas, etc. The beau (yes, there’s a beau) has expressed a desire to celebrate Solstice this year so we’ll do something meaningful for that, which will be a nice new tradition.

Life is really pretty great right now, I have to say. I’m profoundly grateful for all the good things in my life. It’s bittersweet and probably always will be. That’s okay — that’s life, right?

So back to now: Los Angeles. Santa Monica. I don’t really like LA, but I always try to explore and enjoy any new place. The beach is nice, although I definitely prefer Northern California or Oregon beaches. The pier (above) is pretty, and very close to where my hotel and the class is. The downtown is a little overwhelming, and it’s been raining, but I’ve gotten some good walking in, and went to a great restaurant tonight, True Food, which was created in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil, who I like (generally). I had a ginger drink (nonalcoholic), some miso soup, and a very delicious salad with farro, dates, manchego cheese, pomegranate seeds, etc. It’s a goal of mine to eat healthy on this trip as I feel like all I’ve done pretty much all November was either eat out or eat holiday food, and now I have 5 more days of travel food, oy. I did locate the Whole Foods nearby, and thankfully the one good thing about LA is that people are all crazy about health stuff so there are some very good options.

The class I’m taking is a 4-day video and Final Cut Pro workshop. It’s 9 hour days and CRAMMED with information. I feel like I learned an entire week’s worth of information today alone, but it’s all immediately useful, so it’s been worth it. I’m excited to start using these new skills for work — it’s been awhile since I felt like I learned something that I was both interested in and had at least a scrap of talent for. Tomorrow we start to shoot some video, and then we’ll edit it. I’ve messed around with editing some and feel like it’s something I might be sorta good at — at least, good enough to make a decent product and semi-enjoy myself while making it.

The teacher, however, is something else. I’ve worked with him before over the last few years on various video projects for work. He is a very nice man, but… oy. Seriously. He has very little internal edit, and the things that come out of his mouth… He offended at least three people in class today (“Idaho… isn’t that where the most racist city in America is? That skinhead town? What’s a potato farmer like you doing here in LA?”), but he made up for it later, as he does — he’s one of those people who is really hard to take, but has a good heart and eventually wins you over in spite of himself. Think: a small, hairy, sweaty, manic Jewish man telling vaguely offensive jokes, name-dropping stories every 5 seconds (although since he HAS worked at E, Inside Edition, Reuters, etc., they are all true and somewhat interesting), and endless self-promotion. Seriously, dude, dial it down a little. However, somehow it works for him — by the end of the class, I liked him more than I have in the past, and although he is kind of hard to take, I see that he just wants to share all this great stuff, and he is a pretty good teacher. It’s exhausting, but fun, and he is entertaining, I’ll give him that.

So there’s three more days of this.

And then? I will download some photos eventually, I promise. I’ll attempt to read more than a chapter or two a night and get through this massive book (actually a trilogy). Make a list of Guidelines For The New Year (not goals: those never work for me). Enjoy the season. Enjoy being happy and rested and content. Exercise some. Make some soup. Go skiing. Continue finally getting the yard put back in order (I let it go all last year and it’s taking some hard work to get it back into shape). Plan for some fun things next year.

Life is good. I am so thankful. A year ago, I didn’t know it would be this good. I’m still afraid for the other shoe to drop, but maybe enough shoes dropped over the last few years that I’ve been awarded a temporary reprieve. I’ll take it.

That’s it for now. I have another day of sweaty mania tomorrow, so gotta rest up!

things happening

Among which the most awesome is the fact that I finally got those awful junipers pulled from the front of the house. This is about half-way through. It’s so much better. My mom is coming this weekend and we’ll get some new things to plant, something more modern. Goodbye horrible prickly ugly 60-year-old junipers!

Another thing happening is that somehow I managed to turn 38 . I mean, seriously. How does this happen?! There ought to be a law. Celebrated with a special someone, and had amazing chocolate-hazelnut mousse cake for dessert. Nothing wrong with that, my friends. Nothing at all. 

(Being silly, contemplating the amazing cake)

Lots happening here at home, which I probably will eventually talk about here. However, in the meantime, all is well. I’m pretty busy right now but it’s all good.

I did manage to finish The Nasty Bits (Anthony Bourdain) and am currently working on Miss Peregrine’s Home For Unusual Children. I like it, but the links to the photos are always completely obvious/overworked and a little unnecessary. I think it would have worked just as well without the photos. I’m only about halfway through, so maybe it becomes a little less labored (photo-wise). Still, enjoying it.

It’s almost autumn, my favorite time of year. Lots more posts to come, about books and gardens and cooking and so forth; just wanted to pop in with a quick update!