Monday, July 30, 2012

All the Way to Lihue? ~ July 24, 2012

It's foggy at Stinson this morning and that calls for a hot breakfast and cribbage before we head out to the garden to weed, water, and prune. We'll no doubt plan an adventure this afternoon.

How doe Lihue fit into the story you ask? Many years ago Rod and I made our first trip to Kauai for a wedding. Our first full day there we drove up to Kee Beach on the NE side of the island and by afternoon we were at Kokee State Park in Waimea Canyon on the NW side of the island. Our hosts were flabbergasted by the great distance we'd travelled. Kauai is about one-third the size of Sonoma County. Our exploratory journey was roughly the equivalent of a round trip between home and the town of Sonoma, no great distance in our book.

However, by day two we were thoroughly attuned to island thinking and island time. Our host asked if we could run up to Lihue for something. Our response was "You want us to go all the way to Lihue?" It's a 10 mile drive, but that phrase has stuck with us all these years and it's been uttered many a time when a short trip, for any reason, was involved.

The adventure of the day: a 2.5 mile drive all the way to Bolinas. We discovered the Bolinas Book Exchange, an incredible little used bookstore that is totally on the honor system. The sign over the deposit box reads:

Ordinary Books   $1
Really Good Books   $2
Extraordinary Books   $3
Great Books   $5
Spectacular Books $20

Rod is an avid reader of science fiction and I was looking for books to utilize for my artistic excursion into the world of altered books. We found the mother lode and calculated our 10 books totalled $17, so we deposted $20 in the box and left as happy campers.

A late afternoon walk on the beach netted a shark sighting ~ a fair warning to surfers there be dragons in these here waters.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Beach Unplugged ~ July 23, 2012

A sweet little staycation close to home to help my cousin with some garden chores at her cabin on Stinson Beach. The place was built by her dad in 1943 and we used to spend time there as kids. The original furniture is still there, faded and threadbare, but a myriad of pillows and throws have created a colorful and comfortable environment: the perfect place to curl up and read on a foggy day or rainy night.

It's delightfully shabby and filled with the memories, laughter and sandy feet of four generations. The shelves overflow with shells and rocks, old books, kids toys and varioius oddities collected at garage sales over the years.

It's a stones throw from the water on a little bluff above the beach. A chaise and a couple of beach chairs sit out on the edge: great place to plant your bum to read or bird watch. 

We get settled and head out for a walk. There's a lot of seaweed on the beach. It's the feathery kind, not the big leaf, thick stemmed stuff. The receding waves have left it in delightful shapes: sea creatures, bucking horses, moose, chickens, and fish. Lesson here ~ never leave home without your camera, you'll miss something.

 Bucking Horse ~ for Paul Zarzyski

 Night Moose ~ Bob Seger ~ for Laura

Gallo De Cielo for Tom Russell
Vegie plate and fresh fruit for dinner, the night is for reading. We'll make up the next couple of days as we go: but for sure we'll head up to Mt. Tam for a walk and a picnic. We haven't been to Bolinas in years and may head over there to check out a used book store someone told us about on our walk.

Night falls: curled up in our sleeping bags, the sound of the waves a heart beat and bringer of dreams.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just a Thought Series ~ July 28, 1975

Life is a learning curve and the light bulb just came on again. My journals are filled to the brim with carefully chosen words and gentle thoughts ~ life emerging in robes of rainbow color and velvet softness. But this isn't the real deal. In translation from mind to paper I filter experiences so the words come out smooth and romantic. Ah, ever the Piscean dreamer.


There's a certain charm to such an outlook, but it keeps you incomplete. I need to leave my experiences unwashed and unedited as I put them to paper: anger and fear, sadness and joy, understanding and confusion, warts and all. 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I've always trusted my intuition and I now realize I can trust others with my thoughts and not worry about what they think. Perhaps wisdom does come with age. I'm finding great joy in these discoveries: the freedom to question, explore, observe and write from the heart not the mind. Consciousness is a constant challenge. It's like running a little farther each day, sometimes a little difficult but you know it's good for body and soul.
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."
Mark Twain
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Moveable Feast ~ July 4th, 2012

We live on a little dead end road just outside the city limits of Sebastopol. There are five other families up here in this hilltop roost and Rod decided he wanted to do a pot luck breakfast to start off the 4th on the right foot. Designer pancakes from the griddle with fresh strawberries and the neighbors brought the rest.

Families started showing up around 10am. Chairs and tables were set up under the pear and redwoods. Seems like most of us would sit in one place for awhile and then move to a different seat or spot to visit.

By the afternoon most everyone was still here, some had walked home to take care of chores and come back, others just hung out with us to enjoy the weather and the day.

Our new neighbors, Kathleen and Christian asked us to join them for an afternoon meal so about 3:30 we all toddled down to their place for homemade chili, ribs, pasta salad and cobbler. We had an incredible meal while relaxing on their deck and getting to know their friends up from the Bay Area.

We walked home about 5pm and took a lead from Ruby the Wonder Dog. 

Think we were asleep by 9pm. We missed the fireworks from Santa Rosa, but we'd seen Sebastopol's the night before from Andrea and Steven's porch after smores cooked up on the campfire. Our two day celebration was just one of those magical gatherings that brought friends, food and kids together for a delightfully good time. We're all still talking about it. The consensus is same time next year, starting with the evening smores on the 3rd.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just a Thought Series ~ Fall 1975 or so

I was rummaging through some old photographs I set aside for my collage and altered book projects. The purpose was to come up with a way to organize the chaos of a unsorted box. During the expedition I rediscovered this photo. The words of the hand carved grave marker have always made me smile: reminding me of my own father. 

A little history: I was on two week road trip to Colorado. We spent a couple of nights in Crested Butte with a friend of my traveling partner. To get to Aspen we decided on a road less traveled and took Kebler Pass towards Redstone. We made a short detour to an old grave yard where I photographed this marker. I've always wanted to know the story behind it so I did a little research this morning. I looked up pioneer graveyards in the area including Ruby and Irwin and found nothing. Not one to give up easily I searched the entire quote and was astounded to find the following:

Cpl. Mervin C. Wheeler was laid to rest in the Old Irwin Cemetery. There is now this permanent marker and his wife, who passed away in August of 2009 is buried next to him. The poem on the marker was written by (or quoted by) their daughter Linda. What a wonderful memorial to a father. There is always more to a story. Look beyond the pictures and the words.

Monday, July 2, 2012

To the Redwoods ~ June 4th-5th, 2012

We're headed for the Smith River on the north coast of California. Hwy 140 out of Lakeview, OR is another great blue highway that takes us west to Grant's Pass where we turn south onto Hwy 199 and head deep into Redwood country. It's about a 280 mile drive. The weather is continually changing: sunshine to a dusting of snow, periodic showers to heavy rain.  There are large ranches in the valleys of SE Oregon. Juniper, pine, and wildflowers dot the landscape. Once back in Redwood country we breathe in the aroma and marvel at the majesty of our north coast forests.

We're in a day early to the Smith River. We have reservations for the 5th-6th but they find us a space for tonight. It's raining cats and dogs but the sound is magnificent. It's late afternoon and we're curled up drinking green tea and reading ~ Rod with Mark Twain and me with a "bodice ripper" from Harlequin called Operation: Midnight Cowboy. I traded it for one of our paper backs at Junipers Lake. It has a cowboy, a redhead and an international terrorist, what more could you ask for?. Tomorrow is supposed to be only 20% chance of rain so Rod's looking forward to some fishing and I'm looking forward to hiking with my camera.

After dinner we set up for the night and continue to read. The lights start dimming. Say what? The rig battery is failing so the pilot light isn't firing on the propane refrigerator. Rod tries to start the generator, but it wouldn't fire until he starts the rig to give it enough juice. We run the generator for about 10 minutes and that seemed to do the trick. We've had the rig plugged in at all our our camp spots, and this is the first attempt at "dry camping" on the trip. We turn off all the lights and get out the battery lantern for the rest of the evening. Now we're sure there is a short somewhere in the system, perhaps damage from the separated tire treads that beat up the underside of the coach on day 2.

We wake up at 5:30 am and Rod 's ready to throw in the towel and head home. He's disappointed in not being able to spend a couple of days fishing on the Smith River. I mention that if we camp at a place where we can plug in we'll be okay. He sees logic in my suggestion and off we go to Trinidad and Emerald Glen Park where we started the trip. Expecting the usual north coast summer weather of cold fog and drizzle, we are oh so pleasantly surprised to find it clear, sunny and about 70 degrees. Perfect!

After lunch we headed for Trinidad Harbor and walked on the beach. Walked back up into town and down a large number of steep steps to the cove on the harbor side. Our knees were barking like harbor seals by the time we got back up the stairs. After that little workout, we're back to camp for a shower, dinner, a movie and early to bed. Home is calling.