dan blocker to the pier

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About to be swamped

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My girlfriend A and I took a little break from beach hiking while she went and got married. We were back at it this past weekend, hiking from Dan Blocker Beach to Malibu Pier. The tide was rising, which was not ideal. But we didn’t want to wait another week so we went anyway. It meant a lot of rock scrambling, and some unsuccessful wave dodging.

Some folk who live beachside on the Malibu coast strongly discourage ‘trespassers’. But it’s our legal right to traverse the beach/rocks up to the high tide line, and even higher if it is unsafe closer to the water. Which it kinda was, in a few places.

We happened upon a baby sealion up on the rocks, who we hope was OK. No mama in sight, but it didn’t look injured, as far as we could tell. We clambered on, getting wet up to our crotches. How we laughed.

lap duvet

Lap duvet

Lap Duvet

I finally handed over the last Christmas gift yesterday, a simple whole cloth quilt made of a couple of yards each of soft swiss dot cotton and a linen/cotton blend. Bamboo batting is sandwiched between; quilting is simple bar tacks. It’s just right for covering the lap while knitting and watching tv.

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Or, it seems, for their little Lucy to lie on.

walkabout malibu to mexico

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Untitled Untitled Inspired by this book, my girlfriend and I spent a second day walking the coast, over rocks and tidepools, under soaring bluffs, along empty sandy stretches between point and pier, past stinky seals lounging in the warm winter sun. Counting our blessings with every sandpiper, every anemone.

not much to show for all my elving

I’d been planning a blog reveal of the handmade Christmas gifts, but the photos are crap. Hastily taken, unstyled, out of focus. I’m a bit bummed, actually. I knew I needed to allocate time and attention to the photography, but I just didn’t.

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These are the best shots, and they are hardly blog-worthy. A little pinny for Cali (aged 2) and some garments to wear under it, or separately, depending on the weather. As for the rest, you’ll just have to believe me.

All the toddlers got clothes, and many of the women got lavender sachets. Two loved ones received handmade journals. And for The Guy and me, I made some stadium cushions, so our bums can be comfy when we go to the Bowl or Theatricum.

I really enjoyed the making; I spread it out over many weeks and didn’t stress too much about it. And, as always happens, the process fired me up for yet more sewing and crafting. I loved the bookbinding projects, and see many more in my future.

I’m thinking of taking on the Colette Pattern of the Month, even though January’s pattern, the Violet shirt, isn’t really my style, and fitting patterns to my unique body shape drives me crazy.

What about you? Did the holidays leave you creatively exhausted, or energized? What projects do you have coming up? Inspire me!

happy new year

Hello 2015

Tidal zen garden #beach #hiking #newyearsday #walkaboutmalibutomexico

#beach #hiking #cormorants #newyearsday

#foundart #beach #hiking #newyearsday

Goodbye 2014

“Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.”

~ Sheenagn Pugh

psa

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My dermatologist is a very gentle man. His voice is soft, his touch light. I gladly submit to his scrutiny each year, grateful for his eyes on the parts of me I cannot easily see.

Two years ago he excised a spot on my left shoulder blade. This week he made a matching scar on my right.

Did you know that one in every three cancers diagnosed globally is a skin cancer?

Some individual risk factors are:
~ fair skin
~ blue, green or hazel eyes
~ light-coloured hair
~ tendency to burn rather than suntan
~ history of severe sunburns
~ many moles
~ freckles
~ a family history of skin cancer

Except for blonde hair, I have all of the above.

Educate yourself. Check your skin. And get someone trusted to look where you cannot. Melanoma can appear anywhere, even places that are never exposed to the sun. And it’s a really really sucky way to die.

End of public service announcement.

it all feels right

It’s my first evening alone in my new home.

Just me and the ocean and the mourning doves. Oh, and the dog and two cats, of course.

No need to cook dinner, snacks will do. The upcoming weekend plans have radically simplified, so there’s no need to prep, to pack, to clean. (The Guy did a bunch of cleaning today, I can see that. So we’re good.)

I water the plants, and take photos from new angles. I stand on the cliff’s edge, watching the pelicans fly home, and let my shoulders drop as the waves crash in. No need to hold the world up.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing, why I am here. In this place, in this life. Do you ever wonder that, or do you know the answer, without question?

Tonight I listen to the ocean, and the doves, and it all feels right.

Oh my, I needed this.

pretend he’s got eight legs

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tina

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bookgroup

Third Wednesday is book group, which means dinner beforehand at Tina’s, one of the highlights of my month. She has the perfect touch in the kitchen, crafting wonderful meals from simple ingredients. Her home is quiet, calm, beautiful. There, I exhale.

We then spend a couple of hours with the erudite folks in our intellectual book group, whose breadth of scholarship far exceeds mine. I’m a relative newcomer to this decades-old cadre of literature-lovers, and I’m still re-learning how to read for criticism, not just for pleasure. Thus I’m frequently quiet at these meetings, having few unique insights on the month’s book, though I’m delighted to absorb the percipience of others.

But tonight I had plenty to say about Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast, having once been married to a man somewhat like Allie Fox, and having gone off with him ‘into the wilderness’ with a baby in tow, long ago. I well know the charm of a charismatic apocalyptist. The motives and fears of the nameless mother in the story excited a little passion in me. And who can deny the truth in some of Allie’s words?

We eat when we’re not hungry, drink when we’re not thirsty. We buy what we don’t need and throw away everything that’s useful. Why sell a man what he wants? Sell him what he doesn’t need. Pretend he’s got eight legs and two stomachs and money to burn. It’s wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Afterwards, our elderly French matriarch approached and took my hands, asking more questions about my life and saying how glad she was to know me. I felt awkward and a little abashed. I’m not comfortable in the spotlight, but it did feel good to make a contribution. I slipped away home as quickly as I could.

Tomorrow I go back to my job in advertising, helping to sell a man what he doesn’t need. Returning to homesteading sounds pretty good right now.

i.l.y.

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#signing #asl #signlanguage

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Darlene and Cindy. Photo by Lola.

Retirement party for my Sign Language professors. What an outpouring of adoration for these two women who, for 35 years, ran the best ASL interpreting program in the world. They were honored with words and signs, in song and dance, with hugs and gifts and tears. I was so happy to be part of the celebration.

But man, my ASL is rusty.

lunch break

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Children in neon swimsuits, squealing. A plane and a kite, both soaring. Cartwheels. I kick off my sandals and sink into the warm sand.

A brother and sister are carting small pails of water to dump into the hole they dug. Running down to the waves, trotting back with their watery loads, over and over. Why didn’t they dig the hole closer to the shore, I wonder? But they are not concerned with efficiency, just with the joy and freedom of being out of school, of being able to run in the sun, back and forth.

She is panting. He asks, do you want more? Yes, she says. Much more. And after that, let’s go play.

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