Where I’ve been


I went to Massachusetts for a few days. N had a week off, but a lot of work to catch up on, so she drove down to my mother’s, and I flew out to my mother’s and we hung out while she worried about her work and I worried about her worrying about her work.


I got to visit winter for a few days, which I very much enjoyed. We went to see a high school musical (Chicago), and to hear Mahler’s 9th symphony in Boston. We shopped for clothes that might be appropriate beyond a college campus. We walked the dogs and ate a lot. It was fun.

And now I’m home.

And very busy.

Oh! I read a great book on the plane — What I loved, by Siri Hustvedt. I also read What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell, which I enjoyed. And the Seduction of Water, by Carol Goodman, which I really did not.

So there you have it.

Big and small

Yesterday afternoon I had time for a short walk, so I went over the bridge to a walk that I’d been putting off for a while. It’s a little preserve surrounded by suburbs, and I thought it would be disappointing.

Because it was the first non-rainy day in a week, and I think more rain is coming, the sky was amazing.


There were incredible views across the bay.



Mount Tamalpais loomed. Apparently the native Indians thought it had a sort of evil presence, and you can kind of see why. It’s very dark.


And then you reach the top,


and there’s a whole other view.


Also, wildflowers





And lovely rocks.





That’s a picture from our hike last weekend. We went to an old fruit farm which backed on the hills. The hike went up into the hills, but there were lots of stray fruit trees here and there.


I’m not really sure if the strays are just escapees or if there really is a wild sort of plum that’s native to here.


It really did feel, once we’d climbed the steep steep hill, that we were in a faraway place unknown to other people. Like we were hobbits or something.


Here are the gates to Mordor — which is appropriate, because we saw two coyotes up there.

In any case, it’s been raining since Monday, which is a wonderful thing, actually. It’s cold again. We have a house guest, a bar mitzvah and a date for dim sum this weekend. I don’t know how I’ll get out to go walking, but I did clean the house. To be honest, we are still recovering from Christmas — but it is now safe to use the bathrooms.

Just in case you were thinking of stopping by.

M’s birthday

Yesterday was M’s birthday. She is 19. It feels odd to have her so far away — this is the first birthday ever that she hasn’t been home for. She apparently spent it writing a paper, something about anthropology and Mongolia and dancing.

Anyway. Here are some pictures of her.


I’m not sure why we took this one — it seems to have been for an occasion. It was taken over a year ago. (Maybe I can submit this as my self-portrait. It’s the other half of me, in more ways than one.)


Here’s another one, taken about a month later. It was for some kind of project at school.

Lucy in the cupboard

Here’s one from 4 years ago. We had just moved in and Lucy was exploring a cupboard.


And another taken for a student ID when she went to Italy, three years ago. I think she had tired of the photo-taking session.


A glamour shot with a large pelican,


looking at colleges,


going off to school one day last year and


playing cards two summers ago with my mother.

Happy Birthday, M!



Okay, I’m doing this thing, professionally, and I needed to send in a picture of myself. Of course, I forgot about it until last night. I looked at the examples — they were all standing in front of professional looking things looking professional. At about 5:30, when everyone else had gone home, I stood in front of our shelf of dictionaries and encyclopedias (which, to be honest, we don’t even use anymore) and tried to take a picture of myself.

In some I managed to include the coat rack. In this one I’ve captured some supplies and the mysterious holes, now covered in plastic, that appeared in the wall some time ago.


Each one more horrible than the next — I think I look like those Helga pictures Andrew Wyeth painted, don’t I?

To tell you the truth, it’s kind of an accurate portrait. Perhaps not the one I should submit, however.




Well. On our hike this weekend, we climbed a 1160 foot peak. Okay, it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s higher than we’ve climbed yet — we felt liked we’d climbed up to a different world. Up on top we saw three coyotes and another burrowing owl, attracted no doubt by the active ground squirrel colony. On the way down we saw a white-tailed kite. And we also saw a bunch of smaller birds — maybe western meadow larks? It’s kind of amazing how much there is to see, and not that far away.

Then we came home. A and A had made a pot roast, so we stayed to eat dinner and watch a movie (The Man Who Wasn’t There by the Coen Brothers — a sort of disquieting movie, actually). February is a good month for getting together with friends.

Sunday K had to go to work, but I finally tackled the pruning. The plum is a weeping plum, and I don’t really know what to do with it, but I also think it doesn’t actually need much done. But the apple — it hasn’t been pruned in 5 years, and before that badly. I think I actually made it a lot better, and it was so nice to be high up in the bare tree on a beautiful day. It has such lovely smooth gray bark.

I was just about to admit that spring is nearly here. Up in my tree I started to have all kinds of ideas about moving rosebushes here and there (some of which actually has to be done), but today it is rainy and cold, so I have a few more weeks to think about it.

The tree above is a buckeye tree with a blackberry vine growing through it, Can you see how it’s about to leaf out?

Another night scene


Busy. Mostly panic at work — we’re moving. Will we get everything done in time? I sincerely hope so.

K has been walking around with broken glasses (with tape on both temples) since December, and the glasses place has twice screwed up the replacement ordering. For insurance reasons they couldn’t do anything until January. Well, they could have, but it would have cost something. Poor K.

The good news is, for insurance reasons we were forced to change doctors, and I actually think the new doctor is better. I think it might be time for K to change eye doctors as well.

Sorry — that’s what it’s come to. I’m telling you about our health.

remnants of a walk


It was like a magical walk last weekend.


We saw a burrowing owl,


an american kestral


elk, as well as an osprey, an eagle-like thing, a woodpecker, seals, an interesting sparrow, western bluebirds, iris, ravens, a hawk of some sort,


and an early poppy. But there were also signs remaining from the people who used to live out there, including


calla lilies where no calla lilies should be,


as well as this (I don’t know what they’re called),


and this amazing remnant of what might have been a living arbor.

It was lovely.

Where will we go next week? I’m already thinking about it.