Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Postal - as in trying not to go

It occurs to me that all the barriers at the post office were created to ensure the safety of the workers. I had always wondered if it was a recognition of the fact that they all move so slowly and without regard for patrons' time (like most government workers).

I know that was a cynical thought. But it had crossed my mind a time or two as I waited in line.

Today as I examined the extensive covering keeping patrons from clerks - the only direct space open is where you hand back and forth money and stamps or receipts - I wondered: who keeps the clerks safe from each other?

Didn't going postal come from the violence they perpetrated on each other?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Santa Fe Pics

I practiced with the new camera in Santa Fe ... sometime earlier this month. Here are some photos from those days...I haven't figured out how to crop the photos. I wanted to do that with this one until I realized that the graffiti on the side is a nice part of the composition.
Testing out the zoom feature, but, again, I have not figured out how to play with the photos yet...
Took an interest in tiles...

And then in signs

it was maybe more than an interest, more like an obsession

I actually did take a picture of the statue that went with this sign, one of these days, I will post that picture, but probably on the other blog, because technically, it was "research."

This caught my eye while I was sitting in the plaza imagining my grandmother's life in the boarding school, and enjoying my lunch...

As I was walking around the plaza, I noticed these planes, left behind by some young tourists?There are more to come ... hope you enjoyed these while I am taking a few more on the train.

Monday, June 28, 2010

still waiting

The grunions are running tonight; and they did yesterday too. With a full moon, you would think it would be the perfect opportunity to get out there and see them. I am not interested in catching or eating them, just want to see them. Grunions figure in the lore of my mother's pregnancy with me, but I have never actually seen them, making them all the more mythical. Then my mother said to me, but it's so foggy out, you probably couldn't see them anyway. And the chance to see them was thus lost in the fog.As you may have noticed, without any argument, those grunions just faded into the background.
Everyone is asking and wondering how I am doing on my visit home. It's a long story, but there is sufficient and significant reason to ask that question. For reasons that I am not quite clear on, this is particularly true this year.However, when asked, all I can say is I am fine... not bad, not good, not great, not wonderful, not terrible, just fine.In fact, today I described it as holding my breath... sort of waiting for the bad thing to happen. I also described it as having low expectations. It is amazing how low expectations can help one to not be disappointed.But, I also said that I wasn't examining my feelings too closely either ... just in case.

What it means, holding my breath, not looking too closely, being fine ... is that I watch TV, I make few plans, I go with the flow, I feel an odd uneasiness that I can't put my finger on, that I have decided not to investigate... and I am not productive either.There has been a lot of sleeping, a lot of computer games, very little running, some walking, outings that meet with the approval of everyone else but that I have very little say in ... it's an interesting existence.There have been no blow ups, no issues, no trouble... so that is a plus.It's not a long term solution, but it works in the short run. It has been highly successful thus far for this five-six day trip.

Photos from my train trip south.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Squaw Valley Views

Beautiful setting for the wedding weekend...the morning before the ceremony, a few of us, and a million other people, all with dogs, did this hike up the mountain behind the hotel. Here is what we found:

So, I got a little obsessed with taking pictures of the waterfall...

I fell in love with this little calm pool amidst the white water

There were other obsessions, too, like wood

Then there was the blue jay that didn't want to sit for photos
Glacier rocks

And, of course, more water

One Charlie Brown Christmas Tree for my mom:

And flowers, I just couldn't make most of them work, but these are alright:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

train views

I was significantly challenged by the reflection/glare on the windows and trying to get the right angle... but here are a few shots that clearly show that I was on the train...
my first attempt at the horseshoe turn

I got really good at taking pictures of telephone wires and telephone poleshere's another one, just in case you thought I was kidding:

and another ... reaching expert level here
One more, for fun:

Some did turn out alright

or this

and this

another one
my favorite sight, not sure I really captured the essence appropriately, though...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going/Being Home

I am sitting here watching people going in and out of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf - most notably the mom and daughter duo with the matching purple hair dye.

It occurs to me that I might know some of these people. I mean, some of these folks might be my cousins and I would never know it. My knowledge of family is so situational-revolving around funerals, baby showers, weddings etc.

It also makes me shudder at the thought of how some of these folks might have gone to school with me. I remember junior high and high school through my own tortured lens. But there was that one weird fb message I got from someone I don't remember who remembers me - and apparently what he remembers isn't pretty.

I shudder again imaging what awfulness I might have perpetrated and what of my own crazy angst might have been construed as malice.

Odd since I sit here waiting for a former high school classmate with whom I reconnected at Christmas time. We had such a lovely conversation that I built her into my schedule as a buffer to my own "you can't go home again" anxiety.

We know so little about how people perceive us, especially when we are living in the wild inside of our teenage minds. I guess that mind lives on for all those that never leave that selfishness.

Location:N Rose Ave,Oxnard,United States


I got as far as into the workout clothes...being "home" is not working for my workout schedule.

This house makes me sleepy and I have been indulging.

No workout, no reading, no leaving the house ... I will break the cycle in one way or another today!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Train sightings

The baby boomer couple across from me reading. He - an old copy of Catch 22. She - a brand new copy of Kerouac's On the Road. Appropriate I guess.

There were ladies on their way to lunch in San Luis Obispo with bloody mary's and national enquirers in hand.

Drawbridge, California -- town given back to the wetlands. On the train you pass through the old abandoned buildings sinking into the wetlands.

Young Asian man I shared a window seat with in the club car for a bit. When I asked if I could join him I was just thinking that it was the last seat facing what would become the ocean in a few stops. After I settled in I noticed the collection of food wrappers (wings, turkey sandwich) and the neatly lined up bottles of heinekin. First two empty and one half full. A little later he asked me to save his seat and returned with another heinekin and two bottles of water. You know, what we affectionately call the pace car.

The conductor was full of interesting tidbits and terrible jokes. I was mildly amused that he had to read a warning about consuming alcohol responsibly at 9 am. Go ahead and drink as long as you buy it from us, and "remember bud does not make you wiser," he admonished to lighten the mood, I think. I thought well this might be appropriate in two senses. Then I watched as one woman walked back and forth from the club car with half bottle after half bottle of wine. One time a young man was leading her, she said, "I think I took a wrong turn.". Fantastic seeing as if you turn on the train you would end up outside. At the very end of the train ride, she was filling in for the conductor, showing us the way to disembark and telling us to watch our steps. And laughing!! She had a great time on the train.

I'll stop there as the racist and bourgeois comments about my hometown nearly got me out of my seat. Some things never change.

Location:N Rose Ave,Oxnard,United States

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The adventure begins

Why am I traveling with so much stuff? I have already pared down one bag and four books (I am desperately trying to be realistic about what I will read in the next five days, two ten plus hour train rides not withstanding), and I still have way too much stuff.

(Yes, I am reveling in writing long complicated sentences without a professor looking over my shoulder.)

So, the list of things I am carrying:
Camera bag - now weighed down by laptop power cords and all the charging equipment.
Bag of goodies - breakfast, lunch and whatnots. Why didn't I pack the bottle of vitamins in my luggage??
Backpack - super heavy with a laptop, all the purse contents, three books, binder full of unread articles and notebooks. My back already hurts and I have only walked four blocks in search of tea.

Too many and heavy bags aside, the crisp air and slight wind combine with the warehousey vibe here near the train station to make this city I know so well feel like new, unexplored territory.

Adventure is in the air!!

I love train travel.

I already have a list of things to do besides read, so I am hoping to focus enough on getting some work done.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Relationship roundup

Don't get excited, not mine, but others.

So it has been quite a few days of watching and reacting to a lot of relationships.

When I was first divorced, I was so sensitive to relationship drama. I think I wrote about it here before.

Now I am less sensitive (read freaked out) to it yet since I have reawakened my empathic side, I am still hypersensitive to the emotions I encounter, relationship or not.

So, I generally hesitate to attend weddings and other gatherings celebrating relationships, or at least I try to steel myself to them.

This time around somehow I signed up for a three day wedding. I comforted myself with the thought that I had watched this relationship grow. Not from its germination but certainly from the seedling stage.

I watched it sway in the storms of trouble, bend but not break. I watched as the two of them grew towards each other and the life they envision for themselves.

I can attest to the beauty and resilience of the union. But I also know that storms are not only in their past. So when we were shopping for wedding cards and S. suggested that we shouldn't entertain buying any that included the words forever or always, I understood his sentiment completely.

It may seem crass or pessimistic, but sometimes realistic expectations breed a truer bond. We ended up with two cards. One with sweet sentiments that were not pie in the sky but apropos another that had us laughing so hard in the card aisle that someone asked us to show him the card. He read it and said it was perfect for his brother who was also getting married that weekend.

And it was a gorgeous weekend in a fantastic setting with old and new friends entertaining, supporting and loving each other gently and reassuringly. Love is truly a beautiful and wonderful thing.

Yesterday I got to spend some time with one of my favorite couples in the world... In part, talking about and wondering through how they would grow from a couple to a family that will include three generations in one house.

So maybe after all that serious love fest, it hit me particularly hard to wake up to the neighbors yelling at each other in the backyard. I could tell it was an old fight that really had nothing to do with whatever they were yelling about. I could, if I tried, trace out the fault lines as they cracked back to old wounds and project their trajectory as the get wider and more dangerously unstabling.

It reminded me of too many shouting matches where words were wielded like weapons relentlessly and recklessly.

I sat paralyzed listening, remembering and regretting all the time spent yelling.

I had already read the news that my new nephew or niece was no longer. I had already ached and worried about how my brother and sister-in-law would weather this particular storm.

I thought it might keep me inside wallowing in all that sadness. But I rallied and did a little retail therapy and now I am seeing it with a little more perspective.

(still have not downloaded photos, I will get there...)

Location:Trestle Glen Rd,Oakland,United States

Monday, June 21, 2010


I may learn how to download the pictures from my new camera ... and then I could show you what I saw this weekend.

I may take that 60 degree run in Oakland, or I might just take a really long walk into on of my favorite places...the cemetery. I have to visit Sadie.

I may read a lot or just catch up with friends.

I will try to get a handle on my emotions. They seem to be all over the place as though they have been placed on the tentacles of an octopus.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I admit to loving being around all the intellectual stimulation. But I am also somewhat overwhelmed by their seeming familiarity with each other and my lack of desire to get to know any of them too much.

There are all kinds of petty critiques I can make, but the long and the short is that I don't feel like a scholar in the way they present. It is not the sense of feeling like a fraud just different.

I might get there, or I may not. Not sure. I tried to think back and remember my last year at Princeton. Did I sound like them. I might have but it was never convincing as a life long way to see the world.

At least, in part, that was the reason I did not feel ready to go to grad school then. And if I feel ready now, it is because I feel grounded in the real world now. That is I feel as though I have lived in the real world long enough to keep my feet on the ground.

I remember Mr. Perez at Haydock admonishing the basketball players to "not leave their feet." I could not understand the statement, and I am not sure I do now in terms of making fouls in bball. But in terms of graduate school, I think it means keep it real.

That is, despite the need to argue, and argue effectively, the premise of our work, we should not take ourselves so seriously that we lose sight of our humanity (read fallability).

That's all... I am a little scared of the power I feel in their words. Power that doesn't always seem directed at dealing with the real world.

Keeping it real in Ohio and beyond.

Location:S Main St,Oberlin,United States

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Just for a moment, I feel like I an standing in the sacred spot in the middle of the desert.

In my oasis there are graduate students so excited about their work (and earnest) that their words feel like honey for your soul. It takes a little bit to register how young they are on earth years because their minds know no earthly bounds.

After a year in the desert, the metaphorical and actual, I am revelling in this sweet torrent.

As an added bonus, as I looked around the buzzing bar last night I was awed at the lovely hues on this rocking crowd.

Truly a blessing.

Location:S Main St,Oberlin,United States

Monday, June 14, 2010


My body has a strange fixation with 4:30am right now.

No matter what tine I go to bed or how much I have had to drink the few hours before, my eyes pop open at 4:30am. My body seems ready to go for that planned run whether I have had any sleep or am still drunk or wobbly.

I resist. But to no avail. The good news: I made it out for the run before I hit the airport.

I would feel more virtuous, but I did have that ice cream last night. I was an antojo from the start of the day, so I just gave in

First leg of vagabond tour complete now. Two planes and one van ride later, I am at Oberlin with wi-fi!

Five planes in five days is off to a fine start. Now out to the humidity calling my name.

Location:Sunport Blvd,Albuquerque,United States

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Santa Fe style

So, I did it. I found starbucks staff that is unattentive to rude outside of NYC. To be fair, I have never experienced rude staff in NYC. I only imagined that is where one would find them if they existed.

But, no, you can find then right here in Santa Fe. Along with the woman who wanted to run me down in the crosswalk.

The other day, I noted that fantasy heritage had one thing right. See sign below.

In Spain you would most definitely find plenty of this kind of sign. However more people would follow the instructions.

I was almost heartened to see so many people breaking the rules. But then I noted most of them were conventioneers, not locals. And, then, I came to starbucks and I learned the ugly truth.

In the defense of the franchise only one of the three behind the counter was rude. Though I didn't speak to the third. The second even tried to remedy the situation.

Location:E San Francisco St,Santa Fe,United States

Monday, June 07, 2010

Technical Updates

1) computer virus much worse than I thought. I decided with the tech (Jason) that it would be more worthwhile to spend three or four hundred (yes you read that correctly) on a new netbook than to fix this one. But then in further discussion we decided that it was actually better to partition my mac, use the already installed boot camp and make my mac a magic pc. Two hundred dollars later, it works and I don't need to contemplate carrying two computers in order to be able to work. Now I need to get the ninety back from the virus protection people.

2) my camera arrived today!! I just got through the putting on of the strap and lens and setting the battery to charge. But I an ready to play tomorrow in Santa Fe.

3) there isn't really a three except that without the itouch my life would be incomplete. I am ready for verizon to get the iPhone.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A smile grows

when I see the hot balloons rising in the sky on my morning runs.

sharing a good morning with my fellow joggers.

at the sight of sprinklers on a very hot day.

when the conejitos scamper out of my way as I make the loop around the field.

when I run past the honey suckle and take a deep breath in!!

as I imagine the lizards are running with me on the canal.

Just some of what makes my morning runs enjoyable.

Location:Historic U.S. 66,Albuquerque,United States

Friday, June 04, 2010

Big girl

Today practicing being a big girl means sitting on the patio at s'bucks when I know he will be here with the Friday friend and not care. Not act like I don't care. Actually not care.

It was made somewhat easier since he left within half an hour if me getting here. And that he made the effort to make eye contact and wave when he left.

I am beginning to learn how not to obsess. It is such a reflex it has been trying to move away from that behavior. Not sure why, but running helps. I have 13 miles logged already and seven more tomorrow.

Need to get back to the metta practice.

Location:Central Ave SE,Albuquerque,United States

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sight and Invisibility

It is amazing how much of love is seeing.

What is it about this life that we feel so invisible?

Maybe we just slowly lose our ability to connect to others as we acquire age and self-consciousness.

One of my favorite things about children is how they are always searching for people to connect with through their eyes. When you catch their eyes, there is always something there - coyness, outright flirting, playfulness or pretend shyness.

They love to be seen and feel connection through it.

Somehow it does not work like that for adults. It turns into only flirting in a not always wholesome way.

But sometimes it is just as it should be. And you can feel seen and appreciated.

Location:Nusbaum St,Santa Fe,United States