Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ticks and Trees

What a day. Mom and I went hiking on the pristine coast between Ano Nuevo and Pigeon Point. Two hours in the sun with amazing views, birds, anenomies to poke and shells to collect.

Unfortunately we did have to hike next to some poison ivy that got on our pants. Once home my mom suggested we grab pants and then change next out in the laundry building so that we could put our oil laden pants straight into the washer and check for ticks. Well, I strip and she goes back into the house for something. As I check my self in my thong, I see a black thing on my hip. I poke it and an insect leg comes out and I'm totally repulsed.

So I do what all adults do - call for my mother. But she doesn't come. I call again. No response. Now, I'm thinking that if I pull this thing off the head might stay in me and then it will get infected and I'll be stuck on Cipro for the rest of my life. So I sprint back to the house (thank GOD there is a fence between us and the road) and into the house to get mom (the expert) advice. She says to just flick it off. I try, but then all the legs come out and wiggle around. So she hands me a tissue and tells me to pull it off. I'm about to puke, but I'm an adult, right? So I do it and then try to crush it in my hands, but am unable.

I open the tissue and all of it's terrible little legs are desperately trying to grab at me. I yelp and try not to drop the tissue, instead wave it like a flag on at a 4th of July parade.

It vanished and all was well... Until mom asked me for her help. I promptly find a tick on her sleeve. She generously asks me to use the tweezers to take it off - again I taste lunch in my throat. But do as she asks. Maybe I really am OK out here in the wilderness...

But we get de-ticked and I take some time to relax in the sun. Amazing how I'm OK with lying around in nothing risking total tick exposure. Anyway, after a bit mom asks me to help her fell some trees. I go and put on clothes that will prevent more tick access and say yes.

Took down two trees, put up chicken wire around her tomatoes and did time in the garden cutting flowers and pulling weeds. Pretty good for a city girl. I kinda like it out here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


So my plans got thrown into a tailspin. I got sick with an infection on Monday. I started the Cipro I had from my China trip and just spent the day in bed. Had some quite time reading a wonderful book that Greg gave me and reflecting on my life.

But then used all my strength to get down to my mother's house that night to pack up for my trip. I got to bed at a reasonable hour (midnight) and then was up at 5 am to get to the airport to sit wait for a stand-by place to be available to me. As the hours and flights passed me by I got more and more tired. But I met a nice guy, Lee-John who helped pass the time. We both gave up on getting out of SF and he called a friend who took us up to The City. I spent the night there, getting to bed, again at the early hour of midnight and again, awoke at 5 to get to the airport. Through all this I've been dealing with the run-down feeling of the infection and the digestive problems of the Cipro.

So this morning I got woozy in the airport. Called mom and she came and got me. Nothing like having to call a parent for help at the lovely age of 31. But my car is at her house and I needed a quiet place to be for a few days. I came here and just passed out.

Had some time to reflect on things and realized that Europe is not in the cards for me right now. However, I do not want to hang out in SF for the month of July - so I'm planning my Boston, Cape Cod, NYC/CT, maybe DC and definitely St. Paul family tour for the month. So far so good... If I can nail a flight out for next week before I crash again.

There is such serenity to be had at my mother's house in the woods. And I've got the China photos, but now I've got to find a way to get them posted up online. Give me a day or two. That said, my first priority is getting healthy.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fine romance

The last 10 days have been such a rush. Back in love with San Francisco. Just a dizzy time visiting with friends and family... Got the Southwest photos online, finally, landed an interview for this afternoon - just looking for ways to support my living habit here in San Francisco.

Missed out on a few things... There are a handful of friends I didn't get to see. One friend had a baby last week and there isn't time to visit before I leave for the European trip (tomorrow AM).

I'm frantic. Should have more interesting things to write once I get to Italy... By Thursday if all goes well.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Keep your anemones closer

Got to visit my mother Wednesday night. What a treat. It was as if I had never gotten married or moved to Southern California. We took a hike up to see this massive boulder from a landslide. We chatted about the local water problems, my love life and she had a mound of clippings for me as usual. The sun has been out and we took advantage of it with a little sun bathing.

Thursday we got up early (if you call 7 am early) and did a couple things around the house - as usual, I was moving heavy objects and climbing ladders. She always has so much to do around the house to keep it up. John, her man, came by about 9 am and we all went to the beach.

Right now we are in a period of exceptionally low tides. So, we hiked a beach where an arch is only visible during super low tides. Just amazing to look through a large crack in the rocks. Nature does the darndest things. Then south down the beach. Before too long I realized the coffee was going through me too quickly, but we were not going to find a outhouse on that stretch of beach. My mom directs me to her usual sheltered spot where she empties her tank - she walks this beach once a week with a beach watch program, so knows it quite well.

However, this spot was a bit over grown with poison oak. I was left trying to figure out why my mom directed me there. There wasn't much shelter that wasn't going to cause my nether regions to break out in hives and her man kept walking in front of the opening. I wasn't sure what to do, but finally he went away and I could duck behind a large log. All was well - nothing like an open air pee when one skips the undies and truly has to air dry.

Back to the beach and we hike up to the tide pools. And they were filled with anemones. I love poking them! With a childish glee, I hopped around the rocks and tickled all the little creatures. They shrink back and if they are above the water line, the squirt. So much fun. I'm giddy thinking about it.

All that and lunch at a darling little spot called Gazos Creek - I highly recommend it. Just look for the large turkey out front.

The afternoon was terrible - spent in the sun with my friend Ian. I really should learn to apply sunscreen, as I'm now a lobster on the front, and only the front side, of my body. When will I learn?

Now, must get out to enjoy this insanely wonderful weather. It's like I brought SoCal weather with me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

News and other oddities

Saturday night I was at dinner with my Father, Step-mother, brothers, current & future sisters-in-law and got to tell some tales about China. When asked how it was to be there when there was some crash in the Asian Markets, I was blank. There had been a crash?

With little access to the Internet, and no faith in the totalitarian governments, I had ceased to read papers and had no other access to worldly news. For all I know, France could have fallen into the sea.

All this got me thinking about how we get our information. There have always been filters on what is shared with the masses - be it self-censoring editors or governmental ones. Where do we put our trust in accuracy? 33% of Fox News viewers believe we found WMD in Iraq - does it even matter? The right is constantly offended by NPR and their news reporting, but I found it remarkable that, when reporting on ADM they were also running commercials for ADM. As no one wants to see Big Bird get cut, the right is now trying to infiltrate with right-wing commentators - to ruin what they cannot stop funding.

So, how do we decide where to get information? Blogs are often seen as the new source, but how much good are they? Who checks their facts? I could state, here on the Daily Oyster, that the sky is falling and there is no one to dispute it. A recluse might actually believe that the skies over San Francisco are falling - of course its God's punishment for the Gays.

How much of this matters? What amazed me in China is how easily I could function without knowing that there is a new treatment for HPV ( Well, it does matter - but how much to my daily life. The war in Iraq, the state of the Dow - so easily ignored. I'm almost embarrassed to say I have no idea if it is above or below 10,000. I need so little information to get about my daily life.

An living in such a way has challenged my news junkie side - but I'm sure that will return as soon as I get settled back in the City.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Home again, Home again

I did it. I'm in San Francisco with all my stuff. The move was much less traumatic than expected. Since I wasn't turning on or off utilities, it didn't really seem like a move. Only was it on 405 North did I realize that I had just walked out of my life in Los Angeles and was starting a new one.

San Francisco is being great. The weather is ideal - sun and no fog where I am. Driving around this city is a DREAM. No more idiots, well, not as many idiots on the road. The timed lights make it easy to go the 4 miles from SOMA to the Marina. I got to honk at the j-walking hobos - what could be better?

But I still haven't found the heart I left here...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Miss Wiggle - my new nickname!

My buddy in Bristol ( just gave me the nickname Miss Wiggle. While she contends it is a stripper name, I prefer to think that it is more about me wiggling all over the map. Oh, maybe that sounds a bit explicit. hmm.

On to more of the travel log...
Friday I slipped off to spend a night with the LOVELY Medlands. We had fun being 100% white: We danced around the house listening to Milkshake, boogying with over-bites and a total lack of rhythm. Any black observer would have shaken their head in disgust at us. But it was fun.

Saturday was a trip off to Palm Springs. I worked - hard mind you! - on my tan. Yes, I know it will look strange for a redhead to have a tan, but whatever. And we went to The Trinity Club for drinks. Ron, our host had a ball with my requests: Come Fly with me, Fly me to the moon and then he almost fell off his chair when I cried out, "Teach me Tonight". I was the youngest person in the club, mind you.

Sunday I took the long way down to San Diego via Cleveland National Forest, Anza, Warner Springs and Cuyamaca. Stopped at the neatest little place: and got myself some wine... which then I comically had to keep cool until I got home at 10 last night.

My cousins were visiting San Diego, David and Nathan. David ran the marathon while Nathan alternated between cheering him on and scouting out the girls. He even tried to pick up some Navy boys for me - knowing that I once had a thing for them, back when I was young and swinging in San Francisco.

Sunday night I had a super yummy dinner made for me by my friend Sal. Bruschetta to start, then a sausage pasta and Chicken with a wine and mushroom sauce. Dessert was limoncello and lemon sorbet with fresh mint. I think I gained 10 pounds.

Monday had time with Nathan and Polly, my grandmother. I just LOVE having such a fantastic family. Nathan is really one of the funniest people I can be around. And Polly has such history. At the same time, she's losing her hearing and so Nathan and I occasionally would get dirty or inappropriate jokes past her by speaking softly and quickly. I think she had to take out her hearing aids due to my incessant giggles. We got in a swim and a game of scrabble. I cannot believe I lost to my grandmother by 1 point!

Monday night included dinner and drinks with friend and mentor, Lee. Down at the Pilsner Room in some identity-free Orange County city.

My life is full of Chaos. I'm moving, I'm divorcing, I'm traveling, I have no home... and yet that all doesn't matter or get me down because I have so many smart, funny and caring people that love me. I am blessed.

But now I've got to cease with the blessing counts and run errands.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

China Sidebar

Since it is 5 am and my body is done with sleeping, I'd thought I'd sketch out a few observations from my trip which didn't fit in anywhere else.

First off, crotchless pants on babies. I saw these mostly in Beijing and some in Shanghai. As it was explained to me, instead of having diapers, these kids just pull on their parent's pant leg and then lifted or held in such a way that they can relieve themselves. Not the same as our Western system - which is fine, however it is jarring to see little baby bottoms running around. Good thing our memories from those time fade quickly.

Next up is the random pictures. It started with those three guys in Tianamen Square, with those three guys who each wanted a picture with me. No discussion, one would stand next to me and one of the others would take a photo. This happened again at the Great Wall. I've now been included in 2 dozen photos. Usually the person trying to include me doesn't speak my language. I was in a group photo of Philipinas in Macau. Since there was no common language, there was gesticulating and arm put around me. In my mind's eye I can see the photo with 4 short women and my head rising above like a redwood tree in the middle of a field.

On one hand I'm curious as to the cultural elements that lead to this compulsion of having a white stranger in one's travel log. How do they explain this photo while showing off their album? "Yes and here is our trip to the Great Wall. We got this tall, redheaded American woman to pose, can you believe they grow them like that across the pond?" And on the other hand, I'm concerned that if I am required to obtain governmental clearance, that these pictures will surface. Where it will be discovered that those taking the pictures are actually the secret police of Southeast Asian Nations. I'll have a lot of explaining to do.

Nails on men. This on is eerie. Long, filed nails on Chinese men. It is clear that there is a deliberate decision to have long nails, however, they aren't getting manicures. Reminds me of when guys would grow their hair out and it would be dry and nasty because no one every explained conditioner and product that we women use to make our hair look nice when it is long.

I think I need to go to the gym and work out some of this extra energy.