Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best Beach Vacation Ever

What a lovely time on the coast we had.  We got home this afternoon, but I still feel the slight tingle of sunburn on my nose, my shoes still have a sprinkling sand inside, and of course there's the tell-tale pile of sandy laundry upstairs on the laundry room floor.  I'll worry about that tomorrow.  I figure today is still a vacation day and now that I've unpacked, I am going to just savor the lovely week. 

There's something so inviting about seeing a path that disappears over the hill, with a glimpse of the ocean beyond, isn't  there?  I took lots of pictures like this .... I just couldn't help myself.

We walked the loop that went from the house, to the edge of the bluff, along the bluff, and then back several times a day -- to give Gemma a chance to run and for us to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

I still can't get over the luxury of the long empty stretch of beach below the house.  If I were a runner, I'd have run there... but I'm not, so I didn't.

I did walk a lot, though.  We were told that if we started at "our' beach, it'd be six miles along open, flat sand like that all the way to the lighthouse at Point Arena.  We never did walk the whole way.  Maybe next time.

 We were also told that the lighthouse point at Point Arena is the closet point to Hawaii in the continental United States.  Aloha!

And of course, there was lots of digging and general sand play.

Both of "the kids" had a grand time.

Some fancy camera play, too.  (This isn't Photoshopped.  This is a real, live action shot.)

 One afternoon, it was so wildly blustery that sitting outside was like sitting in the middle of a typhoon.  While the rest of the family napped in the house, I created my own sun room by taking the the car to the crest of the hill, opening the sunroof, cracking the windows.  It was a lovely reading and viewing spot.

But when we weren't out wandering, we spent a lot of time right here.  It was the perfect spot for morning coffee and after-dinner wildlife and bird watching.

It was just what a summer vacation at the beach should be.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Busy Week Ahead

I might not have much time to blog this week, as things are looking rather hectic now that we've come to the Mendocino Coast for the week. You know the problem: books to read, tide pools to explore, beaches to stroll, naps to take, hot tub soaks to endure, magazines to peruse, jigsaw puzzles to do, margaritas to drink... I will hardly have a minute to spare.

Not a bad set of problems to have. I think I will manage.



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

What I Have Learned About Exercise Over the Years

I have been reflecting on the wisdom I've acquired thus far in life, and I thought I would pass along  a few hard-earned lessons about exercise.  You may be amazed, but I have found these facts to be true:

Buying an exercise machine, no matter how persuasive the late night commercial, does not result in weight loss.

Placing the exercise machine in the bedroom and gazing at it from the bed does not cause weight loss.

Hanging clothes on the exercise machine does not result in weight loss.

Joining a gym does not result in weight loss.

Driving by the gym while going to and from the grocery store does not result in weight loss.

Watching exercise videos from the couch does not result in weight loss.

Watching exercise videos while eating lunch does not result in weight loss.

Calculating how many calories one can burn in an hour's brisk walk does not result in weight loss.

Sitting in a restaurant in San Francisco watching joggers pass by does not result in weight loss.

Perusing catalogs of exercise clothing does not cause weight loss.

Buying exercise clothing does not cause weight loss.

I speak from personal experience on these matters.  But I think I'm honing in on something that *might* work.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Just What I Needed

 Some days, you stumble onto the very message you need to hear.  Maybe it's  not a fortuitous stumble, but that miracle of the universe giving you what you need.  This week, Jess at A Diary of a Mom sent out words to those of us parents with kids with special challenges.  I read Jess's blog regularly, and relate so often to the events and feelings she talks about.  But this post and this post were exactly what what I needed this week.  Thank you, Jess.

Do you know a parent of a child with special needs?  Please send them to Jess's "Dear You" posts.  Or print them out and hand them to them with a big hug.  Or pop them in the mail.  But trust me, they need to hear Jess's words.  They really do. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Friends, Food, & Photography

Yesterday, good friends from San Diego were in the area so we arranged to spend a day in San Francisco together before they flew home.  We had a gorgeous day, filled with good food and lots of talk and laughter and plenty of time walking around the city.

After picking them up at their hotel in the financial district, we headed to our very favorite dim sum restaurant, Yank Sing.  (This is well worth a visit if you are in SF, folks.  You won't regret it.)  

Dim sum is the perfect lunch when you are with friends and want to just talk and enjoy without that bother of reading menus and making decisions.  Food comes by on carts and you choose based on what looks good.  We had those gorgeous broth and meat filled dumplings above, and the pork shu mai below...

And a bunch of other goodies as well!  But our unanimous favorite was these sea bass and sweet basil pieces, wrapped in a thin layer of sweet potato (we guessed).  Heavenly.

From there, we headed over to a place we'd never been before, the Pier 24 Photography gallery.  I would not have known about this place but for our friends, who are big photography collectors and enthusiasts.  Turns out that Pier 24 is a beautiful exhibit space run by the Pilara Foundation Collection, and is designed to show photography to the public.  So it's essentially a small, FREE museum showcasing the best that photographic arts have to offer. And it really is in the historic Pier 24 building, directly under the Bay Bridge.

The current exhibit, "About Face," is all about portraits, and showcased a wonderful and large collection of portrait photography from around the world.  There were photos from Dorthea Lange, including several of her migrant farm family photos.

There was an odd but fascinating wall full of mug shot photos from the 1930s and 1940s, work by Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, amazing photographs from South Africa, China and Japan, even a quirky set of Famous Photographer baseball cards, featuring photographers in baseball player poses.  Ever imagine seeing Ansel Adams as a catcher?!  This photo by South African photographer Pieter Hugo made me return to it several times, due to the intensity of the subject's gaze.

There was a room full of Richard Avedon photos, called The Family, from photographs of political figures from 1976 taken for a Rolling Stone special edition.

It was a fascinating exhibit.  I don't know much about photography in terms of the photographers  and it made me want to learn more.  Our friends could walk through the exhibit and identify who was the artist behind almost every photograph, and I felt like we had a personally guided tour as they knew so much.

If you're interested in visiting Pier 24, be aware that it's open to the public but by appointment only. You must visit the website and make an appointment for a specific day and 2-hour window.  They ensure that the visiting groups are small that way, and that you can enjoy the exhibit in a quiet and spacious atmosphere.

From there, we strolled down to the Ferry Building, another of my favorite SF places. 

Inside, it's a market full of wonderful shops and food stalls, contained by all of the ferry building gorgeous architecture.

We were drawn to the sweet shops -- we spent a long time looking at the beautiful pastries at Miette

but ultimately bought a few bits of chocolate at the Scharffenberger chocolate stall.  We had to save ourselves for our next stop, dinner at the Fog City Diner.

This is another of our favorite SF places -- it's on the Embarcadero, has easy parking (no small thing in SF) and most importantly, great food.  We sat with a view of the bay and enjoyed delicious small plates of food (the pulled pork in hoisin sauce sliders were to DIE for) while we compared calendars to figure out when we could next get together, and bemoaned the fact that Gail and Mel had to leave so soon.

What a fun, fun day.