Thursday, August 31, 2006

And a Fine Time Was Had by All, pt. 2

Surf Check in Santa Cruz

Sunday around noon we hit the road, heading north on Hiway 1, past the artichoke stands in Castroville (which were all of course on the wrong side of the highway where stopping would have necessitated crossing traffic twice), up to Santa Cruz, where we stopped in at step-brother's place for a BBQ and cake to celebrate his birthday. He still surfs daily in between his construction jobs, 50-mile bike rides, and girlfriends (most of whom also surf). After cake, we walked down to the bluff for a Surf Check (TM), then we packed up, hit the 1 again, drove north to Pescadero, then east to Woodside.

Sam Rides The Horse

And he enjoyed it so much, we saddled up and led him around a few times during our two-day visit. The horse's name is Binti, and she's one of my favorite riding horses. Even though she's 24, she still had plenty of giddyap, and her canter is as comfortable as a rocking chair. The dogs were also fascinated with the horses (and the horse poop, which dogs universally love to eat for some ungodly reason).

We also got to meet my sister for lunch at one of our favorite burger-n-beer joints,
The Alpine Inn, Formerly Known As Rosatti's. It will always be Rosatti's to us. On weekends the place is packed with the motley assortment of bikers (both pedal and motor), people on horseback and college students quaffing beer by the gallon, but on a weekday we pretty much had the place to ourselves and were able to visit and catch up. It was nice. And the burgers are great.

The folks have started cleaning out the closets, and sent me home with some family heirlooms: three San Francisco cable car paintings from the 1930's (which I just love because they were my grandma's and always remind me of her), a book of tinted Japanese photos from the 1880's, a portrait of an ancestor upon his commission as an officer in the Navy in the 1870's, and some various other documents. I think the Ancestor Portrait will have to be hung near the dining area for a nice bit of kitch, but I'm not sure yet where I want the cable car paintings. We don't have a lot of wall space in most of the house, so they'll probably end up in our bedroom, where I can enjoy them daily.

The trip home was delightfully uneventful. We've learned that our dogs are really great little travellers, and that we need to learn to pack bags more efficiently so that we don't have to completely empty the car when we're only staying somewhere for one night.

Tag, I'm It! (Meme)

This is my first meme! Maya's Granny tagged me. Here we go:

1. Things that scare me:
Religious fundamentalists of any stripe
People who think nuclear war is "winnable"
Entrusting Sam's care to someone after we're gone

2. People who make me laugh:
My sister, Spot
Jon Stewart
Louis Black
Garrison Keilor
Margaret Cho

3. Things I hate the most:
Overblown sense of entitlement
The man who embodies all three, George W. Bush

4. Things I don't understand:
Lack of compassion
Most computer hardware
People who think reality TV is entertaining
People who are afraid of knowledge

5. Things I'm doing right now:
Contemplating heating up a cup of coffee
Feeding the dogs

6. Things I want to do before I die:
Travel more
Fly in an open cockpit biplane (actually plan to do this for my 50th birthday next year)
Live in the mountains

7. Things I can do:
Learn new software quickly
Ride horses
Write clearly and concisely under pressure
Make good coffee

8. Things I can't do:
Apply eyeliner without smudging
Wear any clothing that's tight around my neck

10. Things I think you should listen to:
That little voice inside that says "don't marry him, he's an asshole!"
Wind in pine trees
Any music that lifts your spirits
Any music that helps you to feel
Children or dogs when they tell you they have to go potty

11. Things you should never listen to:
People who are ignorant
Anyone who tells you you can't do something
Fashion experts and movie critics

12. Things I'd like to learn:
To fly a small plane
To play the bodrhan really well
Cake decorating

13. Favorite foods:
Wild-caught Copper River salmon cooked on a cedar plank
Really good cake with butter cream frosting
Cole slaw
Chicken salad

14. Beverages I drink regularly:

15. Shows I watched as a kid:
I Love Lucy
The Virginian
The Green Hornet
The Wonderful World of Disney

16. People I'm tagging (to do this meme):
Not sure, other than Maya's Granny I don't personally know anyone who has a blog.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

And a Fine Time Was Had by All, pt. 1

Sam and the dogs and me at the beach.

Just got back this afternoon from a visit up north to see my dad and step-mom. We spent Saturday in Carmel, which has become quite a doggie-friendly town. Dogs are even allowed to roam free on the beach. Stayed at Carmel Valley Lodge which I highly recommend. Rooms are casual and comfortable, dogs and welcome (they even offer a dog-sitting service) and they have a nice buffet Continental breakfast. We wandered around downtown Carmel a bit, had lunch at The Forge in the Forest which has a special patio for those who dine with their canine companions, as well as a doggie menu. The waiters bring out bowls of water for the dogs when you're seated, and stop by regularly to visit with the pups and offer doggie treats. Then we walked down to the beach, while poor Doug spent an hour circling trying to find a parking space.

Saturday night we enjoyed dinner on the patio restaurant at the Highlands Inn where I'm told my grandparents went for their honeymoon. Views, of course, were spectacular.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Athenae speak, you listen

Nail. Hammer. Bang.

She sez:

Honestly. This is the same class of gits who would go around after Sept. 11 talking about how it crystallized the idea in their minds about the greatness of America or some shit, quoting people saying that 3,000 dead people had made them love their own families more, etc. The worldview Bush presented to them in the aftermath of that event (and it was a quick fucking aftermath: the dust hadn't settled before we were having mad coversations about the "9/11 generation" and a whole bunch of other self-absorbed bullshit) was one that allowed them to see themselves as part of something great.


The real trouble was, it was bullshit from the start. If this truly had been a great cause, Bush would have called for enlistments and conservation, not spending and travel. If this truly had been the transformation of our country, Bush would have called for charity to alleviate the desperation and poverty that makes hatred of America seem like a solution. If Sept. 11 had been the wakeup call that everybody said it was, five years ago, we'd have rededicated ourselves to making this country, truly, the richest and most prosperous and free nation on earth, so that if somebody wanted to hate us for our freedoms, at least we'd deserve it.

If Sept. 11 had been the making of us, we'd be painting schools in Afghanistan, not in Iraq. And Osama would be swinging from a tall tree.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Feeding The Beast

So I've been working on a post for it seems like EVER about some adventures in Costa Rica back in 1983, but I keep experiencing keyboard IBS (I'm either blocked or experiencing Detail Diarrhea where I keep mucking up the story with too much baggag- er, background). I promise I will get it into readable form, and in the meantime I'll tantalize you with some of the ingredients: Toucans, white horses, Frenchmen, Popeye, a sure-fire mosquito repellent, Peace Corps volunteers, a joint the size of a Cuban cigar, iguanas and Bob Marley. There.

Today is Sam's birthday. I can't believe he's 9 years old already, but on the other hand it seems like an eternity since the traumatic days surrounding his birth. He's very much enjoying one of his birthday gifts right now, a new Elmo DVD. Plus he had swimming and a big birthday cookie today at day camp, so I think he's had a pretty good day.

Ever fantasize about chucking it all and sailing to the tropics? Then you should check out Bruce's (my brother-in-law's) website...he's doing exactly that. It's not all lobster and margaritas, there are also storms and boat repairs, but I'll let you read about it there. Hopefully next year he'll be in Costa Rica and we'll be visiting him there, which is what prompted me to start reminiscing. See how nicely I tied that all together?