end of summer check in

Sunset hike

As usual before a long weekend, our office closed early today. So I had time to get out to Thousand Oaks for a three hour sunset/moonrise hike at Wildwood Regional Park. Combined with a CrossFit class this morning, and fasting all day, I’m kinda beat tonight.

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer in the US. And the end of the eighth month. So it seems like a good time to check in once again on my one little word for the year.

Sunset hike

So how’s my health?
• I’ve maintained my weight loss, effortlessly. The no-grains thing is working out for me just fine.
• I started CrossFit training about five weeks ago and I love it. I’m getting stronger and more toned every week. But …
• My knees hurt. I try to protect them (stepping instead of jumping for example) but there are still a ton of knee-impacting exercises. I am not sure what to do about this.
• I had many visits with a chiropractor in hopes of healing my jaw. There was no healing, though my posture certainly improved. And then I found out that my insurance wasn’t covering the visits (totally my fault for not clearly ascertaining that prior to treatment). I’m waiting for the big bill, which I hope to negotiate down to something manageable.
• In the meantime, I’ve decided to ignore my jaw. It works fine, for most intents and purposes. Nuff said.
• I haven’t had a cold or other sickness all year.
• As for emotional healing, I’ve kinda-sorta started dating. Well, put it this way, I have been on a few dates. It’s been nice, though there’s no-one special at this point. But I’m ready to love again, if it happens. If not, that’s OK too. I’m happy with my life as it is.

So yeah, it’s good. I’m healthy, and getting more so. Just gotta strengthen those knees.

with laughter and love

We can only experience the quest with laughter and love #newspaperblackout #secretmessage

i want to extend it now

I want to extend it now. #newspaperblackout #secretmessage

tell your friends you feel love

I went to San Antonio to teach at a conference, and ended up with a lot of free time. It was some kind of wonderful, because one of my favourite people lives there. So, less than three months since we last saw each other, David and I got to hang out again. Which, on the average frequency of our contacts over the last 21 years, is an amazingly short time between meetings.

Me and David at Mission San José, San Antonio

We ate and drank, of course. We also visited an art museum, and saw some really good stuff. (Particularly loved A Century of Collage.)

We went to a drum circle, and I took my first hand-drumming lesson (which I really, really loved — wish I had a pic).

Mission Concepción, San Antonio

We went to a couple of missions. And snuck into an abandoned seminary (the door was ajar, OK?).

David and I snuck into an abandoned building -- a seminary -- near the mission. Inside, we found this crumpled note. Oops, too late!

Inside we found this crumpled note. Oops! Too late!

We also talked for hours, and watched toads mating, and played with his cat, and composed fridge magnet poetry … and … and … yeah. It was good.

Untitled
Poem by David.

Devour dessert
Poem by me.

For more of David’s (less chaste) fridge poetry, click here.

the women of lockerbie

Untitled

Theatricum Botanicum is a union house, so photography is prohibited. I snuck this extremely ininspired pic before this afternoon’s show; it does nothing to convey the thrill I get from seeing their performances.

On Wednesday, 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven people in Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in the town and destroyed several houses, bringing total fatalities to 270.

I remember that day. Do you? My daughter Rhea was about to celebrate her first Christmas.

The Women of Lockerbie is set seven years later, and deals with the grief of both the Lockerbie women (who, in some cases, lost family members or who had body parts in their houses and yards) and the parents of a young American passenger on Flight 103.

It’s a powerful play, embracing concepts of rage, love, grief, hatred, forgiveness, relinquishment, honesty, duty, craziness, and blame.

All in 90 minutes.

Strong writing, but even stronger performances. I’m loving everything I’m seeing at the Theatricum.

It was hot. Over 100° in this outdoor amphitheatre. I felt for the actors, rugged up for a Scottish December, in coats and boots and scarves.

I mopped my brow. But I also wiped away tears. Because this play is moving.

Very.

i saw the perseids!

Click for source.

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, ‘go somewhere very dark and watch a meteor shower’ would be on it.

These clouds do not bode well for meteor viewing

Driving out to the desert, the signs weren’t good. A severe storm darkened the skies. The nice thing about the rain was that the temperature dropped (from 111°F/44°C to 96°F/36°C), but there’d be no stars if the night sky was cloudy.

I rendezvoused up with my Meetup peeps at the Starbucks in Yucca Valley, and we caravanned out to Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree National Park, where we set up camp then went for a walk in the remaining light.

Lizard

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Sunset over Joshua Tree

Over a shared meal in the gathering dark, we marvelled at the comfortable temperature and the mostly-cloudless sky. Pads and pillows were dragged from tents, and soon we were all stretched out on the rocks, watching the show.

The Perseids did not disappoint. What can I tell you? It was magic. After an hour, and about 50 meteors, I declared, “OK, now I can die happy.”

I fell asleep long before the parade of light was done. But that was fine; I was sated.

Sunrise, Joshua Tree

This morning I rose with the sun and struck camp; I had to be back home by 10.

Sunrise, Joshua Tree

Sunrise, Joshua Tree

There was time for a little wander, and a few sunrise shots, before hitting the road.

I’m going to say it again: I want to return to Joshua Tree soon and often. Even if there are no meteors: just to see the stars.

And I’m going to save up for a lens with which to shoot them.

My life? I love it.

relishing

#sunset #griffithpark #ilovela

Excuse another sunset hike shot … this one was from last night, up on Mt Hollywood in Griffith Park … I know, it’s getting a bit tedious, right?

But the fact is, I’ve become a bit of an outdoors junkie. I just want to be outside. For hours. Every day. While moving my body.

And though I have always loved, needed, and relished alone time, now that I don’t have a family to come home to, I kinda like company. So my best discovery of late?

Meetup.

Specifically, hiking meetups. Which is how I found myself ‘walking very strenuously’ up steep hills in the gloaming last night, in the company of 20 or so others of varying fitness.

And how I plan to spend this Saturday night camping in Joshua Tree National Park, watching the Perseids Meteor Shower.

Three years ago, I said I would be back to Joshua Tree, “soon and often.” I haven’t. So I’m excited to go in a couple of days.

And all-round excited about my wide-open life these days. Freedom. It’s good.

And so is Meetup.

dig deeper

Untitled

At first glance, LA is not pretty at all. Flying in, one sees hundreds of miles of concrete, strip malls, poor air quality and traffic congestion. In fact, it’s downright ugly.

But stay for a while, dig beneath the surface, get out to the state parks, explore the secret stairways, and you, too, might find incredible beauty in this corner of the planet. In fact, you might never want to leave.

It’s the same with people, isn’t it? It’s so easy to discount someone as a potential friend or lover or even as worthy of one’s attention, based on first impressions. I’m keeping this in mind as I ‘put myself out there’ as a single woman again. (My divorce is final today.)

Sometimes it’s worth investigating a little more. Just sayin’.

P.S. This photo was taken yesterday, at the top of a Cold War missile tower in the Santa Monica Mountains. A group of about 25 of us hiked 4 miles there, and shared wine and nibblies and camaraderie before walking back down in the dark. It was awesome.

dance like nobody’s watching

Background: Kasey Chambers singing "Am I Not Pretty Enough". Foreground: little girl dancing super-awkwardly (think Elaine on Sienfeld). Life imitates art.

Santa Monica Pier.

Kasey Chambers on stage, singing Not Pretty Enough.

In front of me, a little girl with no sense of rhythm, dancing awkwardly in her blue hoodie, having a blast. She has not yet gained Kasey’s self-consciousness and pain; she’s comfortable in her body, happy to jerk her arms and legs about in front of a crowd.

I whisper in my heart, “May it last, little girl. May it last.”

bring it

Art journalling

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot.

Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

That’s how I feel right now, like this whole year has been a climb to this spot, this place where I am poised, ready and waiting for something new. My heart has healed. The view is exhilarating.

Bring it on.

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