Don’t tread on me


Look! It’s a tiny rattle snake! I was walking with the former houseguest. She noticed it. We stared at it for a while wondering if it was actually alive. Then it flicked its tongue, and as she walked behind it, it coiled up quickly as if to strike. How dear!

Went for a hike again yesterday on Mount Diablo. Equal parts hot, steep, terrifying, cool, amazing and lovely.

Some wildflowers:




(red larkspur!)


An interesting geological feature:


A view: (that white stuff in the near distance is clematis)


And a view of where I was last weekend — (on top of that steep thing)


It really is so steep and horrible to get up, and really getting down is almost worse than getting up, but no sooner do I get down than I want to go up again.

Maybe next weekend — maybe I’ll get to the very top of the highest peak.



Here is the picture where you can actually see the windmills.

Feeling glum. Don’t know why. Spoke to N last night — well, via text. Possibly I am missing those kids. It happens.Not that I don’t have a scintillating and fully formed life of my own. As I do.

Also, there was no coffee this morning and I slept late, all of which led to an unsatisfactory breakfast experience.

In some ways I am a creature of habit.

I slept late because K woke me at 2:40 to inquire where his glasses were. They were on my bed table, although I find it hard to imagine I put them there.Although I guess I could have —

That is all.

Hound’s tongue, Indian paintbrush, buttercups


See how pretty it was?

I am feeling discombobulated. Everything I touch seems to have trails of sticky mire connecting it to some other project.

I can’t explain it. A week ago I felt like I was charging through things and getting stuff done.

This week I’d like to hide under my desk and refuse to answer questions.

It’s spring break, which means campus is pretty empty, except for homeless people.

We get these solicitors at home, periodically. You’re supposed to comment on their outfits and manners and then buy magazines, which of course you don’t want. So degrading — who am I to judge their manners? They’re invariably poor African American kids who have come here from somewhere else. It’s awful, because I don’t trust the organization that’s making them go around door to door having us assess their manners, I don’t want the magazines, but I can’t help feeling awful about not giving them anything. Probably I should just hand them $20 and say, good luck, kid. The kid last night wore a white button down shirt and a pair of too-big jeans. His name was Tyrone and he was from Brooklyn, with two kids. Poor guy.

I would have given him something, but his manager showed up, and he probably would have just taken it. And $20 would not have solved the problem that he has no job, and no real prospect of getting one.




This is Lucy. She is happy because it’s been cold, and we’ve put a wooly blanket on the bed.

I’ve cropped this picture to remove some undergarments, which were drying on the door handle. I’ve also removed my pine dresser, the low sloping ceiling, and even the canoes on the blanket — although if you know what you’re looking for you can see part of a moose with green antlers and a maple leaf or two.

I like our room. It’s the old sleeping porch. An Ikea curtain is covering up the glass door that is certainly not original.

Once we’ve got some money I’m going to rip out all the old bad windows and put in new ones that actually open. I want to rip the wall board off, too, because there are shingles underneath it, and find a better door.

It will be a beautiful room then, but it’s already pretty nice. Even without as many windows as it should have it’s a cozy place to sleep in the rain, and you can hear all the birds singing in the morning.

Eagle Peak


I have been wanting to do this hike for some time, now, but I kept putting it off. I thought it would be hard. My usual hiking companions are either too busy, or not likely to want to climb a mountain. But I wanted to do it, and I did it. I did not collapse from heat exhaustion; I was not eaten by a mountain lion; I did not break my leg and fall off the mountain.

Although you can see how I could have, right?




If you look closely, you can see the windmills way out in Suisun Bay.


There were lots of wildflowers. I did not stop to take many pictures because I was worried about making it back before dark. Here’s a hound’s tongue,


but there were also Indian paintbrush, Indian warrior, red and blue larkspur, poppies, fiddlenecks, baby-blue eyes, Mount Diablo fairy lanterns, wallflowers, blue dicks, poppies, milkmaids, salsify —

So, having barely dragged myself up there once, I am now pretty eager to go back. I am hoping I can convince someone to come with me —

So, lunch —

I am having lunch with MrsM.


I have packed all my bento boxes.


My lunch is not as elegant as Alice’s, but look how healthy it is! (Alice’s is very healthy, too.)


I’ve brought books to read, too.



I do love George and Martha, but do you remember Viola Swamp? That may be my very favorite James Marshall book — Miss Nelson is Missing.

For various uninteresting reasons my house is extremely clean now. It’s heavenly, but it was very painful to achieve. I may need to go to bed tonight around 8.

More views




Apparently, the mountain was protected from development first by having a dump at the base of it, and then by having several endangered species living only here. The vegetation is nearly all native, and according to one website I read but can no longer find, the growth here is very close to what would have grown in San Francisco before the Europeans arrived. It’s like going back in time 200 years. This is something I have long wondered about — so many things from so many places grow so easily in northern California that it is really hard to have an idea of what the place wants to look like. Is this more true of California than it is of other places? Or is it because I grew up in a very wooded suburb in Connecticut, so I always had an idea of what the wild place that used to be there looked like? I’m not sure —

It is making me rethink my front yard, which has a camellia, a hydrangea, a gingko, a pittosporum and wisteria, among other things. I don’t want to tear them out, but I am thinking about ceanothus, coffeeberry, manzanita and coyote brush.