Sunday, October 21, 2012

Of Skies, Leaves, and Tractors

     In late October, the sun doesn't start to bring blue to the black sky until nearly 7:00 am -- and later when storm clouds or fog fill the sky.  I set out shortly before 7:00 to see what colors were in the vineyards now  and got to see sky colors galore too.

Clouds, circling in from the south, cut off sunlight to the laguna.

Grapes vines wait for the sun to reach them.

And now the sky finds its familiar blue.

Rolling vineyards decked out in fall's colors

This little grouping calls to me!  

Yup!  Farm equipment gets the right of way.......

.....including (or maybe especially) this guy.

Quintessential colors

I see eerie here....

Can't take my eyes off of you....

Death in front of dying?

     There it is, people.  NorCal wine country getting ready for winter.  The first real fall rain is supposed to roll in tonight.  The SF Giants just took the sixth game in the NL championship series - one more game to go before meeting up with Detroit in the World Series.  That World Series action just puts the exclamation point on the fall sentence!

Saturday, October 20, 2012



slammed up against the wall
tortured hands dug into brick
neck wrenched as if wrung
cheekbones touching concrete

no breath
aching power
strength beyond the years
and the wall won't budge

Wall so high
wall so hard
wall so gray
soul so done

step back
two steps
breath returns
movement  possible

edge of blue above
edge of green below
lungs expand
and wall still there

eyes open

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Muddy Feet

       To follow yesterday's post of things I've never done, I decided to make a list of some things I HAVE done.  Just for fun.  But it actually turned into not fun as I came to see that the things I celebrate about myself were largely accomplished in the earlier years of my life.  Sadness reigns.

    It's not that I haven't done anything interesting over the past 30 years .  It's more that life after marriage became an accumulation of minutes and hours that then turned into years.  There is a line from Ralph Waldo Emerson that reflects this: "The years teach much that the days never know". That pretty much says it all.  The moments in my life turned two infants into responsible, thoughtful adults.  The hours sustained a marriage through challenging times.  The days found me serving families in my community,  teaching 5 year olds to read and guiding middle school families through rough days.  It was all moments, hours, days, and weeks turned into a life.

    I am ready for some changes.  But change is scary.  I actually like change but I am also a person who appears to need security.  Much as I might like to leave my job and start over in some other work, I can't push myself to abandon the paycheck and the health benefits.  Much as I might like to sell the house and start over in some other geographic location, I can't get myself to give up the house and the financial investment.

    I like novelty.  I like change.  But my feet are stuck in the mud.  Damn!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


     My friend Jen over at Living a Full Life wrote a  blog post about things she's never done.  I hadn't really thought much about the things I haven't done and when she tagged me to play along, I decided that would be fun.  I'm thinking it's going to inspire upcoming "things I have done" and "things I will do" posts too.

1) I have never been to Las Vegas.  Ever.  I live on the Left Coast and know plenty of people who routinely go over there but I am not one of them.  I have driven through Reno a couple of times and once I think we actually got out of the car there.  Not much appeals to me about either place.

2)  I have never been to a professional football game.  I went to a college game once (SJSU vs Stanford) because it was the thing to do.  Probably went to three or maybe four football games in high school - again, the thing to do.  Not really into crowds and watching things from afar.  I went to a SF Giants game once at Candlestick.  Stayed in the bar the whole time.  Too miserably cold in the stands.

3) I have never eaten a Chicken McNugget.  Whatever the hell that is.  I had a MacDonald's hamburger once in high school.  I had a Carl's Jr hamburger maybe a half dozen times in college.  It was the dinner of choice for some guy I was dating. I was trying to make him like me.   I don't like fast food. Period.

4) To my knowledge, I have never been on TV.  Don't want to be either.

5)  I have never been arrested.  My behavior has not always been above the law but I was never caught.  I have never gotten behind the wheel if I have been under the influence of anything.  Not right.  Could not live with myself were I to be the cause of a serious accident.

6)  I have never worn a formal dress - like one of those prom dresses.  I eschewed such things when I was in high school and, to my knowledge, those things were off the table in my college days at California public colleges.  I've been married more times than I have been a bridesmaid.  That sounds bad but really?  Really I am only in my second marriage.  I think I have only been a bridal person once and I wore a lovely street sort of dress of my own selection.

7) I have never been to a circus (unless you count my life as a circus).  Not interested in going to one either.

8) I have never ridden in a speed boat.  I've been sailing on the SF Bay (beautiful, I might add) but have never been interested in speed boats.  Notice that I didn't say I am not interested in speed; only in speed boats.  Too noisy.  I like fast cars though.

9) I have never gotten a tattoo.  I have no problem with anyone else getting one but I have yet to have something mean so much to me that I would want the image or words permanently etched into my skin.  I do have five ear piercings, however.  Nine if you count both ears...

10) Sadly, I have never been inside a synagogue, a Buddhist temple,  or a mosque.  I have spent far too many hours in Catholic churches.  I have attended a handful of wedding or funeral services in some other Christian churches.  But I have never been inside the houses of worship for many of the world's people.

Okay, so that was fun!  Thanks, Jen, for the inspiration.  I have a lot of heavy stuff on my mind right now so this light post was an especially nice birdwalk.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Need to Read

 “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

       Ah, yes, reading.   Reading is what I depend on to get me through the day, through life.  It is my current one-and-only-go-to drug. I start and end my day with reading and spend  much of my free time and my work time reading one thing or another.  Reading, in one form or another, is what motivates me to get out of bed in the morning.
      My first pleasure of the day (generally around 4:30 am) is to check my email and see if there is anything good.  "Anything good" means an email from friends or family, a link to some interesting article, a quote from Goodreads to start my day, stuff like that.  After I take a few minutes to compose any necessary responses or send any emails out, I check a few other on line pleasures:  Huffington Post, FaceBook, Blogger, New York Times - just a few minutes to see what might be happening out there.  If time permits or it works into part of my workout time, I check Flipboard on my ipad.

      When I get home from work, generally I simply want some space, some silence, and something to read. I always have several books "going" but there is a primary one.  This is the one I will grab after work.  At other times and in different moods, I will select one of probably ten different periodicals to which we subscribe.  I might also choose something related  to painting or writing or even something related to work.  It's all good.

        I wonder what it is about reading that satisfies me so much.  I would much rather read than watch television.  I would rather read than socialize in the evenings. Reading is my default for relaxation, for escape, for good times and bad times.  I seldom drive away from the house without putting something to read in the car (just in case I have a flat tire and I have to wait for AAA). I love exploring things to read and have an intimate relationship with for book reviews.  I have been on Goodreads for several years but just recently started using it for more than quotes.  My idea of a lovely Saturday afternoon is to wander around the local independent bookseller and drool over all the books.  

      Again, I ask:  what is it that is so satisfying?  Is it the escape?  My life is not so terrible!  I don't need an escape.  Perhaps reading plays with that part of my brain that wants excitement and novelty, wants to learn, wants to feel, wants to be alive.  I find myself reading and rereading some sections simply because I delight in the way the words sound.  Sometimes I am taken with the way the words make me feel, even when that feeling is ephemeral and difficult to describe.  I do think reading connects me to something. Sometimes the connection is to the author or to the content.  More often, the reading connects me to some part of myself.  So that's it!  Reading is about connecting.  Connecting allows me not to be alone in my doubts, my thoughts, my dreams, my imagination.

    Does this fit?  

             “We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel... is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” 
                       Ursula K. LeGuin

    Yes, I kind of like that.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pulse of the World

     "We need the sea.  We need a place to stand and touch and listen - to feel the pulse of the world as the surf rolls in."                David Brower

    On Sunday, RR and I got out of town - something which we too rarely do.  We didn't go far but, in fact, we went to a whole different world.  We drove down to Pt Reyes National Seashore - about an hour south of our town.  It is a stunningly beautiful national treasure. Even my unwelcome sidekicks Stress and Tension took a hike while I was there.

    I was dazzled by the fall light.  We have been thoroughly socked in with fog and I was pleasantly surprised to see the fog and the sun dancing.  This was not one of those low cloud kind of days.  Oh no.  This was a sun-shines-bright-but-right-over-there-the-fog-completely-obscures-the-cliffs kind of day.  

   I took over 350 photos and had an uber hard time narrowing them down for this post.  I was just so taken with the colors, the intensity, the beauty of the day.  Feel free to browse and feel the breeze.  If you listen carefully you can hear the seagulls screeching.  I thought about giving you stuff to read along with it but no.  You won't want to be distracted by words.