Saturday, February 28, 2009
"Sometimes, in a summer morning...I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance....As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest. My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock..."
Thoreau's little house in Concord, Mass., or his "nest" as he refers to it, was a place that allowed him to live by nature's standards which aren't confined to days, weeks and years, but rather go on in one continuous moment. I can see myself getting lost in this too if it were possible to forget about all the burdens of the "civilized" world. I'm pretty sure Thoreau would be spinning in his grave at the way we live today. He thought his world was fast-paced and disconnected...I wish I could send him a text message saying it has only gotten worse.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
One place the magazine recommends for seeking solitude is the Torrey Pines Gliderport, but not the actual Gliderport, which happens to be filled with people; it's the sky above the Gliderport that provides some relief from the constant drone below it. My Dad and I talked about taking tandem flights off the La Jolla ocean cliffs the first time we saw the Gliderport after moving here. And on Father's Day in 2007 that's what he wanted to do. A co-worker told me her Dad asked her to go to church with him—my Dad wanted to jump off a cliff—I'm not sure what that says about my Dad's outlook on his family life, but it sounded fun to me.
It's kind of sad that to get some sense of silence in Southern California, you have to launch yourself off a cliff with a parachute. But I do agree there is nothing more peaceful and breathtaking than floating around in the air without an engine roaring around you. I'm scared of a lot of things, but heights isn't one of them and I've been able to take advantage of parasailing, hot air ballooning and paragliding now, and I highly recommend them all for anyone who seeks a natural sense of quiet (you'll hear the wind, the waves and probably your own heartbeat), but also gain a different perspective on the vast and beautiful world below you.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
After failing miserably at buying BART tickets to and from the city itself, I realized that I am not cut out for any form modern transit. First of all, there are no people to be found. Machines can't tell me when I'm buying the wrong ticket...which I, of course, did. And machines don't give refunds when you're an idiot. Machines also try to trick you on purpose...the BART machine tries to automatically get you to purchase $20 worth when you only need $4, and figuring out how to subtract your money is a true test. On the way home I had to put cash in the machine because it wouldn't read my card. This meant I needed change which came spilling out the mouth of the machine in the form of quarters and sounded like I was a jackpot winner at a Vegas casino...great in Vegas...bad in a subway station crawling with homeless people who appeared at my side faster than you could say, "winner!"
The cable cars were more my style...there are very few of them, so less chance of hopping onto the wrong one; they have to follow a very set track so you always know exactly where they are headed; they are run by people who you can actually see and talk to while you are en route, and you can pay these people/give them your pass directly. I say bring back the cable car, or at the very least, bring back human patrons at the subway/train stations. Having one-sided arguments with machines is really getting embarrassing, but maybe that's just me.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
It was a gloomy evening when we got to Chinatown, making the lanterns look extra inviting. The only thing that stopped me from loading my arms with lanterns was that I would have crushed them in my suitcase on the way home. So, I settled for buying a new set of chopsticks and a pretty silk pillowcase. And the trip was not made in vain for Tommie either, who, while waiting for me to snap out of the "deer in headlights" trance I was in below the canopy of paper lanterns, found his favorite Asian candies (Kiwi gummies).
We spent the next rainy day at the Golden Gate Park visiting the de Young Museum, and during a break in the storm were able to scoot over to the Japanese Tea Garden where we took these pictures.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Point Sur Lightstation (there is a road up to it on the left-hand side of the hill). Families used to work and live up there, now it's automated and, I read, haunted.
Point Lobos State Reserve where I got to see a wild sea otter (the reason I wanted to go there).
We stayed the night at the Glen Oaks Motel, located in the Big Sur River Valley. It was perfect location-wise and was one of the best deals price-wise I could find (everything is really expensive up there). The room had a pretty gas fireplace and a heated bathroom floor...something I think every house in New England should have.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
First stop is the Elephant Seal Rookery along Highway 1. I knew I wanted to stop to see these guys when I saw it marked on the map. We have a harbor seal rookery in San Diego, but elephant seals make those little guys look like Labrador puppies. The elephant seals are huge (the males are the size of small whales) with bulbous snouts, and they make the most disgusting noises (burping noises that reverberate across the beach) and, of course, they smell. Basically, the female seals sprawl across the beach sunbathing and nursing the babies until a fat male seal drags himself out of the water and decides to flop himself on top of her. For obvious reasons she seems annoyed and burps/growls in his face...which only seems to make him like her more...it pretty much sums up the male/female relationship for any species.
Because I love watching animals in their natural habitat and am oddly fascinated with ugly things, I enjoyed seeing (not so much smelling) this part of the California coastline.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The picture below is of me and Eva on a recent trip to Las Vegas. I'm not 100% mean...I did take her with me when I went there on business and she went on business to gamble and sing karaoke. When Eva took this photo my arm was going in for the classic "bunny ears" behind her head, but I didn't quite get there before she snapped the picture and caught a devilish smirk stretching across my face. I always knew I got some kind of sinister enjoyment out of even the simplest means of getting back at my sister, but I'd never actually seen evidence of it on my face like that. I like to think I hide it pretty well, but in that instant Eva caught the look of evil that I now realize has probably flashed across my face at least a million times before.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
My mom is a weirdo magnet. Whether she’s in a store, walking downtown or simply minding her own business, weird people start talking to her—and she happily talks back. Whenever I’m with her I can guarantee we’re going to meet the guy in Home Depot who claims he can see what color aura we possess or the man at the apartment complex who sings “My Girl” in the hot tub every morning. I always thought this happened to my mom because she was too friendly...a neighbor could stop by to borrower a can opener and leave 20 minutes later with our life story (it’s happened before). But as I grew up, I was horrified to learn that weirdoes didn’t just follow my mother...they followed me. And let’s make one thing clear—I actually make a concerted effort to be unfriendly 90 percent of the time. I try to blend in as much as possible wherever I am and give off the appearance of being completely disinterested in people, but it’s as if they can smell it on me. A man at the grocery store will start telling me about the time his car got stolen, the time someone tried to kill him, and the time his car got stolen...again. Meanwhile, slews of other people pick up their bread and milk and leave the store uninterrupted. This type of thing happens to my sister too.
We all know we inherit certain physical traits from our parents, but what about traits that are not visible to the eye or even apparent from a DNA test? Behavioral patterns or strange instincts that also seem to follow us down the family tree? I’ve been thinking about this because one of my favorite T.V. shows started up again last night: Medium. Patricia Arquette plays a woman plagued with dreams that give her clues about mysteries and things that may happen in the future. It’s been alluded to in a few episodes that her daughters have inherited her psychic gene. My mom might not be psychic but she certainly has a "six sense" when it comes to strange folks.
Some might inherit a knack for painting or an ear for classical music, others...well, we get some kind of pheromone that attracts weirdoes to us like mosquitoes to a bug light. It's a gift, really.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I saw the following message posted on a fellow blogger's site and couldn't resist the invitation to post another poem on my own blog. Enjoy!
A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading
Anytime February 2, 2009
Some poetry is warming. It cracks the ice in the heart of the Earth to remind her that spring is just around the corner. Or...if you live south of the equator, choose poetry to cool the heart of the Earth so as to remind her fall is coming.
Select a poem you—a favorite poet or one of your own—to post February 2nd.
Feel free to pass this invitation on to any and all bloggers.
I have chosen the following poem from Louise Gluck's collection: "The Wild Iris." I like how you can read this poem from the perspective of the flower...but also apply it to the viewpoint of a human being awakening from a long winter or other trying time.
By Louise Gluck
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring—
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.