Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March reads

Some (but not all) of you may know that I'm a big reader. Well, maybe a middle-sized reader. I usually get through a couple of books a month, unless they are particularly fat ones. That's less than dedicated readers consume, but probably more than the general population.

My sidebar shows what I've recently read, but I thought I might try a new feature here, finishing up the month on the ole blog with a bit of a showcase of the month's reads.

Or maybe I'm only enthusiastic about the idea this month because the reads have been particularly good.

So here they are:

The Cider House Rules by John Irving. I loved this book enough to give it 5 (out of 5) stars on Goodreads. And believe me, I'm stingy with my stars. Irving happens to be the author of one of my favourite-books-of-all-time (A Prayer for Owen Meany) but that doesn't mean I like all he has written. This one, though, it's a good one. Better than the movie (but aren't they always?)

The Lover by Marguerite Duras. I oscillated between three and four stars on this one. It's an odd but strangely moving tale. I am not a big fan of shifting perspectives or random, unconnected musings, but overall it was a poignant tale told in very beautiful language. I guess we should thank both the author and the translator (Barbara Bray) for that.

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is a must-read for anyone who is interested in (a) their health and (b) thinking for themselves. Very funny, very informative, and very challenging. I'm buying this for my Dad, and several other people I care about. Because we shouldn't just swallow what the media feeds us about our bodies and our health.

So tell me ... what have YOU been reading lately?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Henry Coe State Park

Henry Coe State Park entranceAt over 87,000 acres, Henry Coe is the second largest state park in California. I did a five mile hike, which of course only gave me a small sampling of the park's diversity, but it definitely seems worth a return visit. Northern California is so different from Southern. It's so much wetter and greener.
Little waterfallThere were lots of little rushing creeks ...
Love that moss
Mossy tree... pretty moss ...
Wild flowers
Wild flowers... and signs of spring. The ranger told me to come back next month for a better wildflower show, but I think I'll wander out to the desert then.

Coe Memorial
May these quiet hills bring peace to the souls of those who are seeking. Ahhh, yes. They did. Thank you, Henry Coe.

And now I'm home, showered, and ready for bed, tired and happy re another more than satisfactory little solo getaway.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cruising to Santa Cruz

Yesterday I drove 300-odd miles north through intermittent rain to a quaint bed-and-breakfast in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I stay in B&Bs whenever I get the chance, because I have a half-serious desire to own my own one day. I think.

This was the weekend I planned to camp at Henry Coe State Park, but the inclement weather had me seeking drier accommodations. There'll be plenty of time for camping in the summer.

By 10AM this morning I was ensconced in the living room of my pal Doña in Santa Cruz, cooing at her adorable 7-week-old. After practicing my baby whisperer skills, sipping tea and chatting for several hours, I headed a little further north to another of my calendar State Parks, Pigeon Point Light Station Historic Park.

(To anyone contemplating this drive: I recommend stopping at Pie Ranch for a leek galette. Yummy!)

Pidgeon Point Light Station Historic Park
Pidgeon Point Light Station Historic Park
Pidgeon Point Light Station Historic Park
Pidgeon Point Light Station Historic Park
Pigeon Point Light Station Historic Park
Basking sealions
The lighthouse keeper's quarters now operate as a hostel. Have you ever stayed in a hostel? Back in the 70s our family traveled around Europe and enjoyed these inexpensive accommodations (then called "Youth Hostels" though you didn't have to be young to stay in them.) I don't see many here in America, and I'm interested to note that the organization's logo has not significantly changed in all this time!

Tomorrow: Henry Coe.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


From RachelSometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we make expensive mistakes. And sometimes, just sometimes, those who are affected by those mistakes give you flowers and tell you that it doesn't matter, that you're still a good person.

This is what forgiveness looks like. I've received flowers and a little note many times in my life, and they've always been lovely, but this time, this time, this seemingly simple gift plucked the feeling-like-shit badness right out of my heart and tossed it out of sight. In one instant, I felt forgiven, absolved. Do you know what that feels like? It feels like flying.

I don't think my co-worker will ever know how much it meant to me. But it's got me thinking ever since. Thinking about the incredible gift of forgiveness, and how I want to extend it to others.

Because we're all human. We all mess up sometimes. But we're still good people, and it'll all turn out alright.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Commuting blues

Why my commute took so longFor the past two days, my commute has taken waaaaay too long. Two hours in the evening (up from 1.25 hours), because of rain damage to one lane of Pacific Coast Highway. Then today my morning commute was a crawl, courtesy of a burst water hydrant in Malibu.

I am so looking forward to moving much, much closer to work. It's the bright spot in all the sadness that's currently going down.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Last Date

IMG_1356Three days before the seventh anniversary of our first date, we went on what will probably be our last date.

You keep it up, you try so hard
To keep a life from coming apart
Never know what breaches and faults are concealed
In the shape of a heart
In the shape of a heart
In the shape of a heart
-Jackson Browne

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to start a new life: Part 5

SpinesRetract your spines. Lay down your shield. It's OK to be vulnerable. Let your healer massage the spots that make you cry. Then, when you feel better, dance. It's a beautiful day, and it's all fine. Seriously.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

How to start a new life: Part 4

petroglyphsPlan an adventure.

I've waited a long time to visit the China Lake petroglyphs. After all, only U.S. citizens are allowed on the site. Come June, I'm there!

Monday, March 07, 2011

How to start a new life: Part 3

FortuneReach out to your network. They know you. They love you. They'll help you.
This fortune was sitting next to the office coffee machine this morning. I didn't have my glasses on, so couldn't really read it, but I figured it was a message for me, so I stuck it in my pocket to read later.

How to start a new life: Part 2

IMG_1343Instead of crying, go for a night walk. Take photos of familiar places in a new light.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

How to start a new life: Part 1

ThymePot some herbs to take with you. Sage, for wisdom. Thyme, for courage. Rosemary, for remembrance.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


IMG_2879Sometimes the bond you thought was strong, turns out to be tenuous. Life's funny like that.

But it'll be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end.