Sunday, August 31

It's been rainy and gray all day long.

This Pola doesn't even begin to capture the dreariness of the day. Or the dreariness of our moods. Pooh. All week we have looked forward to Sunday, today, and what a wash out it has been. No picnic. Rain, rain and more rain. Gray days are such a rarity in Santa Fe that I really shouldn't complain about one, but come on, does it have to be gray on our day off together?! So we haven't done much of anything. Sulked a bit. Ran some errands. Wandered around the house, unable to settle into any activity. And to top it all off, it turns out that Will *does* have to go into work later this afternoon. So there you go. A nice dreary kick off to my birthday week. (Yes, I still get a whole week.)


That's what time I woke up this morning. And couldn't go back to sleep.

No fun.

I still don't sleep all that well most of the time, I just don't think about it that much. After months of keeping track of everything I ate, drank and did before bed, and searching for some kind of pattern, some kind of solution, I still wasn't sleeping any better. And I was going nuts from obsessing about it all the time. So I kind of gave up.

Lately, I continue to wake up throughout the night, but most of the time I can go back to sleep and I feel okay in the morning. The worst nights are when the cats are being bad. But last night, neither of them made a peep. I just couldn't sleep.

The automatic cat feeder that Will bought for Rocky has helped some. We give him his first nighttime feeding at 9:30 and set the other side of the dish to open at 3:00 AM. Sometimes he doesn't bother to look in his dish, he just comes in the bedroom and cries. Then one of us has to get up and show him that there is already food in his dish. But the past few nights, he's finally realized that somehow food magically appears in his dish without anyone getting up. I was pretty skeptical about the whole thing, but Will was right, it was worth a shot.

Rain has been coming down steadily since around the time I woke up. It's good in that we always need rain, but it's also a bummer because we were supposed to go on a hike today and have my birthday picnic at my favorite meadow. Sigh. I've been looking forward to the picnic for weeks so I am pretty sad about it. And today is the only day that Will is off so we can't go tomorrow. My birthday isn't until Tuesday, but of course that's the start of my work week. So I don't know what we'll do today. The rain will probably stop soon, but it's going to be so wet and muddy up in the mountains, I don't think it'll make for good picnicking.

A Happy Labor Day weekend to you all!

Saturday, August 30

Almost done.

Vacation, Day Seven

We got up early on Saturday morning to take a walk on the beach.

It was foggy as usual. Since Imperial Beach is right on the ocean, the marine fog usually hangs around all morning, burning off by noon or so. I remember it being that way when I was little too.

I was looking forward to our walk because it meant I could absorb everything at a slower pace than on my morning runs and take some pictures. And I could get my husband to help find treasures in the sand!

We found lots of whole sand dollars which was pretty neat. And I just love all the colors of the rocks and how smooth they are. As we neared the pier, we saw an area taped off with that yellow police tape. We could see something on the sand. I said, "uh-oh, that doesn't look good." As we got closer, we saw that it was a full grown sea lion that had washed up on shore. It must have just happened because the lifeguards were the only "offical" folks there. At first we thought it was dead which was sad enough, but then as we walked by it, the sea lion moved. Oh! So upsetting. It was dying. On the beach. Right there before us. It looked like it had gotten caught in a net and it just about broke my heart. I got all upset of course. We continued on our walk, but that sight definitely put a damper on things. So sad. (When we walked back, the sea lion was gone. I think the marine folks took it away.)

Oh, and I think I mentioned all the kelp on the beaches. Here's what I mean...

We also saw a couple of lobster tails.

Except for the sea lion sighting, it was a nice walk.

That afternoon we headed to the H&M in Chula Vista. It was at this place called Otay Ranch Town Center. We knew nothing about the place. I was just armed with Google Map directions to H&M from Imperial Beach. As it turns out, Otay Ranch Town Center is an *enormous* shopping center. Just about every chain store you could possibly imagine seemed to be there. We were a bit awed by it all. And also thinking, "man, maybe we should have come earlier." But no, we didn't want to spend our vacation shopping. I headed in to H&M while Will went off to entertain himself. I have to admit I was in there an awful long time. I tried on a ton of stuff and walked out with maybe five things. It was a nice treat to finally have some decent shopping.

We went over to the VANS store so Will could get his own fix. He bought a pair of classic slip-ons. He really wanted the Iron Maiden high tops, but we both knew he probably wouldn't actually wear them. He bought me the best flip flops ever. Seriously. I've never owned a pair of Vans in my life - I am more of a Converse girl. But these flip flops. So comfortable. I love them.

We also popped in Anthropologie too. Such pretty things, but way out of my price range. And nothing ever seems to fit me anyway. In their housewares section, they had a ton of owl stuff, but I refrained from buying any of it. I really wish I could afford this lamp though. It was super cute.

At that point, we were ready for cocktail hour so we high-tailed it out of there and back to IB. Uncle Jim had a pitcher of margaritas ready to go in the fridge. Sweet! He and Will drank whiskey.

And more whiskey. I stuck to margaritas. Uncle Jim made an excellent batch.

I pulled out all my cameras and took photos. I had a terrible time getting a proper exposure with my Polaroid Automatic 250. I really wanted a nice group shot, but they all came out too dark. This one was the first and best of the bunch.

Of course drinking and photography do not always go well together. The next night I realized what I was going wrong. Ooops. But oh well, we had fun. It turned into quite the festive evening.

Vacation, Days Eight & Nine

And so the journey home began with hangovers for both of us. Not the smartest thing to drink a lot the night before a long drive. We just weren't thinking about it. The drive wasn't too bad though. We drove through southern California and watched the temperature get hotter and hotter. We stopped at In-n-Out Burger in El Centro, CA. We'd been wanting to eat at one throughout the trip and that moment was the best one. These burgers saved us.

Man, they were good. We drove on into southern Arizona, eventually heading north to Phoenix. It was well over 100 degrees and it felt even hotter than Twentynine Palms. I don't know how people can live some place that gets that hot. It's crazy. We drove for about nine hours that day, stopping in Winslow, AZ for the night. The next morning we had about five hours to go, six with the time change. (Or something like that.) By then, we really just wanted to be back home. We did make a quick stop at a Wal-Mart in a small town. I was hoping that I'd get lucky and find cheap Polaroid 600 film, but no, it was actually priced higher than the Wal-Mart here in Santa Fe. In the beginning it was $12.14 for a 10-pack, now it's up to $16.88. So wrong.

We made it home by about one o'clock that afternoon. The kitties were thrilled to see us. The End.

Now on to present matters!

Another cut from Hills III.


Friday, August 29

Love this.

[Photo from]

How can I possible not have a Steelers gnome? I think that I *need* this for the front garden.

flickr faves

1. ttv white geraniums, 2. Untitled, 3. Daily life, 4. Untitled, 5. Untitled, 6. Untitled, 7. croatia, 8. Untitled, 9. Olá, 10. Williamsburg Waterfront, 11. don't you?, 12. Untitled

Created with fd's flickr toys.

Thursday, August 28

All better now.

It was two weeks ago that one of Rocky's hind legs looked like this:

Ouch! He was a very good patient though and healed quickly. I took him to the vet after lunch to have one suture removed. (No charge for the removal, thank goodness.) So he's all better now, back to roaming around outside, but hopefully staying away from the cat that did this to him. We started letting him go out again last week and noticed that he is sticking closer to home. Let's cross our fingers for no more trips to the vet until it's time for his annual check-up!

Still writing about vacation.

It's hard to believe that it's been a month since our vacation and I'm *still* writing about it. And posting photos. We're going to go on vacation again before I get done with this one! No, actually I'm rather sick of posting about the past, but I am determined to follow through and finish what I started. I have such a bad memory, it'll help me remember later.

Vacation, Day Five

I went running on the beach in the morning, something I love to do. The ocean is absolutely mesmerizing. Sometimes it is hard for me to focus on running because I keep gazing out at the water or searching the sand for treasures.

and rocks

The rest of the morning was all about rest and relaxation. My aunt and I spent many hours going through boxes of my grandmother's historical records which was absolutely fascinating to me. (Next up, scanning all the photos she sent home with me.) We took a drive through the naval base at North Island with my aunt and uncle which was actually pretty interesting. (My uncle is ex-Navy.) And then we had lunch by the ferry dock in Coronado.

Later, Will and I drove back to Coronado to check out the Hotel del Coronado. It's quite the grand hotel, built in 1888. We walked through the lobby and then had expensive cocktails at the bar overlooking the beach.

After cocktails, we took a walk along the beach. Coronado's beach is so much nicer than the beach at Imperial Beach. Cleaner. Wider. Though still covered in kelp.

That evening we just hung out on the patio out back.

My aunt and uncle have a lime tree and a grapefruit tree. So nice!

Vacation, Day Six
Friday was all about the zoo. We got there first thing in the morning and stayed a good part of the day. San Diego has a pretty stellar zoo, but visiting it in July is not the best time. We did not see a lot of the animals as it was too hot for them to be out. In fact, we didn't really see any of the big cats which was disappointing. The big cats are our favorites! But we did see the pandas, so cute!

And so hard to photograph. We had to wait in a long line and once in the exhibit, they kind of herd everyone through so it's not so easy to stop and take photos.

All-in-all it was a fun day, but we hope to go back sometime in the spring or fall so we can see more of the animals.

That evening we went out for seafood. Not having researched restaurants in San Diego, I didn't really know where to go. My aunt and uncle don't eat out that much so they weren't sure either. We ended up going to the Harbor House in Seaport Village, a restaurant that we used to go to when I was younger. It turned out to be overpriced and mediocre. Definitely a let down, but oh well, it happens. At least we had good company. Oh and it's right by the Convention Center. That weekend was Comic-Con and there were *tons* of people milling around. Lots of cool costumes and odd-looking folks.

We had been planning to head home on Saturday, but we were having such a nice time, we decided to stay one more day. Plus I was determined to make it to H&M and we hadn't done that yet. So, next up, day seven!

Tuesday, August 26

Vacation, Day Four

On Wednesday, we woke up early and watched the sunrise from our patio. The morning light was intense. We had our coffee and tea, took some more pictures and then packed up our things.

(One of my favorite shots from that morning.)

(Created with fds flickr toys)

We also took some shots in front of the motel sign. Why? Because U2 stayed at the Harmony Motel when they were working on the Joshua Tree album and took photos near the sign. Same motel, different sign. I know, we are dorks. The motel manager told us that many of her guests take photos of the sign. The office and common rooms are full of photos of the band. It's kind of funny. I have no idea how long they stayed there or what they did while they were there as the album was recorded in Dublin. If nothing else, they must have been very inspired by Joshua Tree National Park.

We loved the Harmony Motel and I highly recommend staying there if you are ever in the area.

The drive to San Diego was uneventful. We arrived around lunchtime. My aunt and uncle live in Imperial Beach which is just about the last exit before Mexico. It's not the nicest part of San Diego, but they have lived there forever. They are about six blocks from the beach and they just finished remodeling their house so we were quite content to be there.

This particular aunt and uncle have always been my favorite so I was delighted to finally see them again. We determined that it had been about 15 years since last we were together. They had never met Will. (Later we came to find out that they were worried that we might not appreciate cocktail hour. Ha!) My uncle is from North Carolina so he and Will got on famously, full of whiskey and tall tales.

(Created with fds flickr toys)

That afternoon, we walked down to the beach with my aunt and uncle. San Diego felt so cool after being in the desert. It was awesome. And like I said, Imperial Beach isn't the nicest area, in fact, it's rather seedy, but a walk on the beach is a walk on the beach. I love being that close to the ocean. Because IB is so close to Mexico, the water is often not so clean (i.e. sewage floating around) and lots of trash washes ashore. After hear that from my aunt, Will and I decided we wouldn't be swimming while we were there! There are many other nicer beaches in the area, but we got so much sun in the desert, we didn't really feel the need to hang out at the beach all day.

So, day four, another great day of vacation. We were so happy to be in San Diego and have a couple days of total relaxation ahead.

From the rim of Valles Caldera.

(A shot from our Caballo Peak hike a few weeks ago.)

Valles Caldera

Another song from Will's latest solo album, Hills III - Around.

Monday, August 25

I can't wait to read it.

I can't wait to read it.

I'm so excited about this book. Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors, perhaps even my favorite author, and here he is writing about his experiences with running which is one of my favorite things to do.


It's Called A Road - Hills III

Sunday, August 24

And in flew a bird.

We have a new display stand at work. It's made out of railroad ties and stands tall near the entrance. Yesterday a bird flew in the doors and perched on top. You can imagine how excited that I got.

"Look, look, a bird flew in the store!"

He sat there for a few minutes, looking around and then flew away.

Definitely one of the highlights of my day.

And speaking of birds, Simon caught one on Friday night. He brought it to the front porch and ate it. All. Nary a bird feather was left. Not to knock his prowess or anything, but I have to think that the bird was lame or something. He hasn't caught any since we moved here, and the birds that hang out around the house are well aware of the cats.

Saturday, August 23

Looking back

on our vacation, I left off with a post about the cholla garden, one of our favorite places at Joshua Tree National Park. From there, we continued south to the Cottonwood Spring Oasis. The terrain really changes along the way because the southern part of the park is Colorado Desert. There are not any Joshua trees down that way.

Cottonwood Springs is the starting point for a couple of hikes, we chose to do the Mastodon Peak hike. It's only three miles and we figured that was enough in the heat. (We were right!) Just down from the parking lot, there is an oasis of palm trees.

And then we hit desert.

Although it was the only area that we saw any green and in bloom ocotillo.

We also saw a lot of lizards.

It was a good hike despite the heat. It was nearing 100 degrees as we headed out. And there wasn't exactly any shade where we were.

As we headed up toward the peak, there were more and more rock formations.

Lots of yucca too. The yellow flowers looked so lovely against the blue, blue sky.

On the flip side of the hike, we walked through a lot of sandy arroyos.

I kept thinking about the flash floods that must happen when it rains. Wouldn't want to be walking out there when the rain clouds roll in.

We were dead tired after our short hike in the hot sun. And it wasn't even noon yet! Nonetheless, we stopped at the ocotillo patch on our way out of the park. It was really scorching hot at that point and so of course I had to lug out the tripod and take some shots with the self-timers.

I'm lucky that I have a patient husband who is very tolerant when it comes to my need to take pictures. Because it was hot.

The ocotillo have some pretty serious stocks.

No green to be found in this patch though. I guess it hadn't rained for some time.

I bought this little guy at the Farmers Market,

because it reminds me of the ocotillo and our lovely vacation. (Even though the guy I bought it from told me that it is a Madagascar ocotillo and not related to the ocotillo found in the southwest.)

We were done with the park at that point. Headed back to the motel and spent some time hanging out at the pool. Good times.

That evening, with some apprehension, we ate at The Rib Co.

Apprehension because it was so hot, a heavy meal of ribs just did not sound all that appealing. But Twentynine Palms doesn't have a lot of restaurant choices and we didn't feel like eating Mexican food again. As it turned out, The Rib Co. was awesome. They had a "lighter side" menu which was perfect for us. It meant we got to try the ribs but didn't get a plate of twice as much food as we needed. The lighter side was the perfect amount of food. And the ribs were excellent. We were happy.

After dinner, we went back to the motel and chilled. I took a bunch more photos, we read our books and called it a night. The next day, we were ready to continue our westward journey to San Diego.

Friday, August 22

It's funny, but I've noticed that since

we've been watching the Olympics, specifically track and field, I've been running faster in the morning. I mean, not *that* fast, but fast for me. I am typically a pretty slow runner, averaging anywhere from 10 to 10:20 minute miles. Today my pace was at 9:40 minutes a mile!

It makes me feel tough. Heh.

This morning I also started thinking that maybe it's time to try training for a marathon again. I've always wanted to run another one. The last one I did - back in 2001 - was hard on me and really messed with my head, but I am willing to give it another shot. Training is just so time consuming. Plus, last time I started doing longer distances, my knee started acting up. So we'll see. Maybe I'll start adding miles to my week and see how that goes.

flickr faves


1. Like Home, 2. happy accident, 3. Street Art (July 24), 4. Untitled, 5. sunset purple flower burnside, 6. Untitled, 7. Untitled, 8. .927., 9. Ode to Georgia, 10. Nova on rails, 11. they spent considerable time reflecting, 12. tatoo

Created with fds flickr toys.

Wednesday, August 20

On the fly

Just checking in quickly to say hello. And happy Wednesday!

Yesterday evening, for no apparent reason, I actually spent most of the evening thinking that it was Friday and that I had the weekend off. Weird little time warp confusion. Or just wishful thinking because yesterday work kicked my ass. And I think it's going to kick my ass again today. And so it goes.

I still hope to finish writing about vacation, but you know, watching the Olympics takes up a lot of time. Don't want to miss those Women's Trampoline finals. (Okay, so the trampoline finals were actually pretty cool.) All I really wanted to see was the damn gymnastics, but since they didn't air it until after my bedtime, I missed most of it.

This past Sunday, we did manage to go on a hike. We hiked the Caballo Peak trail, though we did not hike all the way to the peak due to time constraints. Our friend Ben took a lot of great photos which you can check out here.

Hope you all are doing well. More soon.

Thursday, August 14


I actually finished scanning photos today. (Well, at least until I get the Holga shots back.) Feels good to check that off my list.

Rocky is home and not a happy camper. I feel so bad for him. A kitty who has been sedated is not a pretty sight. Not only does he look rough, he can barely walk. His feet keep sliding out from under him. It breaks my heart.

Here's to a speedy recovery for the Rockman.

He certainly lives up to his name.

Rocky, that is. He was late for breakfast this morning, something that so rarely happens, it always worries me a bit. Eating is perhaps his favorite thing to do. But I also know sometimes he gets caught up doing whatever it is he does outside and comes home late.

But this morning I was right to worry. When he finally showed up, I let him in and right away could tell something was wrong with him. He seemed to be moving slowly. I started to do a body inspection and found blood on his hind leg. I got Will and we tried to get a better look at the wound, but we couldn't see much with the fur plus Rocky was yelling and hissing. Obviously the wound was causing him a lot of pain.

So another trip to the vet. It's been awhile, but geez, my Rocky sure gets in a lot of fights. We had to leave him there, something that I hate doing. The vet told us she wanted to sedate him before cleaning the wound because it was causing him so much pain. Poor guy. She called Will awhile ago to let him know that all went well. They got Rocky cleaned up. She found several bite marks on his leg, nothing anywhere else. I keep trying to imagine what happened...I guess he was running away from another cat and the cat got his leg. Who knows though, the outdoor lives of our cats are ultimately a mystery.

He can be picked up after 3:00 so only a couple hours until I can get my boy home. I am sure he'll still be out of it. And of course now he is going to be grounded for awhile.

All's well that ends well...nonetheless, the whole thing totally threw my day off. Guess it threw Rocky's day off even worse.

Tuesday, August 12

I'm never going to get this vacation log done,

am I? Three days off and I had the best of intentions, but I just couldn't get myself to sit at the computer. Yesterday I sat my ass on the couch and knit for a few hours instead of scanning and writing. Knitting is good too, so I can't feel too bad about it.

I am going to backtrack a bit, all the way back to our first day roaming around Joshua Tree National Park. We drove around the park for a good four or five hours, entering at the west entrance in Twentynine Palms and exiting at the east entrance near Joshua Tree. At that point, we were hot and tired so fortunately, check-in time had finally arrived.

After settling into our room, we took a much needed dip in the pool.

I am not really a pool person, but with a temperature of 110 degrees or more, I figured I could become a pool person. The cool water felt great.

Later, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Edchada's. It was recommended to us by a friend, plus we had passed it on our way into town so we knew where it was, always helpful. Being such a fan of New Mexican food, I am oftentimes skeptical about Mexican restaurants, but this place was awesome. I had an enchilada verde with shredded chicken, and oh my god, it was the best shredded chicken I have ever had. Yeah, it was that good. I was impressed. I can't remember what exactly Will had, some sort of carne asada type thing, and it was excellent as well. So dinner was a happy experience all around. The margaritas didn't hurt either.

After dinner, we sat on our patio, reading and taking pictures. There was a big pile of tile around the corner from our room, and it is one of my favorite shots from the trip.

And of course I can never resist my own shadow.

Given all my problems with insomnia and Will's restless leg syndrome, we were pretty excited about sleeping in a king-sized bed.

Nothing like being able to stretch out. And not feel like an earthquake is taking place every time that Will moves. (And he moves A LOT.)

We had thrown a couple of our netflixed DVDs of Battlestar Galactica into our suitcase, you know, just in case. Lo and behold, the television in our motel room had a DVD player in it. Yes! Our hopes were high. And then crushed because the thing didn't actually work. Alas. No Battlestar for us. So we went back to our books and called it a night fairly early in preparation for our early morning hike.

All-in-all, an excellent Day Two of vacation.

Friday, August 8

flickr faves

1. tree graveyard. coquina key island FL, 2. Blue Stripe, 3. favorite alley, 4. Untitled, 5. Bryce Canyon, 6. Bryce Canyon, 7. Cedar Breaks, 8. 25/52 the lone tree, 9. Untitled, 10. Sand and camel, 11. four of a kind, 12. Love Bugs

Created with fds flickr toys.

I wish vacation lasted forever.

We've been back home for almost two weeks now and I still miss vacation! Thank goodness we do have another coming up, but flying somewhere just isn't the same as a road trip. A road trip feels like freedom to me. And flying, well, it gets me where I am going, but there is nothing free about it. (In fact, I just learned that American Airlines now charges $15 for the FIRST checked bag. Each way.)

Anyway, I still have a gazillion photos to post on Flickr and I have to say, it's a little overwhelming. But it's also nice to revisit our trip. One of my favorite places was the cholla garden at Joshua Tree National Park and so of course I have loads of cholla shots. They are just so intriguing to me. And if you look at one long enough, it will jump out and stick to you. Well, not really, but if you get to close...ouch!

We were on our way to the southern entrance of the park for an early morning hike when we passed the garden. We decided to stop since I was really looking forward to it. And it was perfect because we were the only ones there. (Later, when we were driving back, it was full of people.)

It was quite and peaceful walking around, surrounded by the cholla. And, because it was on the early side (although I think it was already past 90 degrees), we had the awesome experience of seeing a black-tailed jack rabbit.

Will spotted him and then we sort of followed him around for a bit. (Off the designated path...ooops.) He was just so cool. It made our day for sure.

After that, we continued on south to Cottonwood Springs, the starting point of our hike. More on that later.

I so want to write more about vacation, if only for myself, but time continues to be short. And this week has not been a good week for sleep which has me ragged around the edges. Last week I felt so hopeful about the sleep issue and now I am back to feeling frustrated and hopeless. I just don't know what to do.

On the bright side, I do have a three day week ahead. And, um, football pre-season is on. Pre-season doesn't really do much for me, but I'm sure we'll tune into the Steelers game this evening.

A happy weekend to you!

Tuesday, August 5

Black and White

I struggled quite a bit with my first pack of black and white peel apart film. I went through a good number of shots that were totally blown out before they got a little better. Of course the bright bright light of the desert didn't really help. Nonetheless, I am rather fond of the black and white shots.

I have more stories to tell, but no time to tell them. Yesterday I finally had a few hours to work on scanning, but I still have a big stack of vacation pictures left, plus the 120 film that hasn't even been processed. Not to mention the email that I need to catch up on. I don't know where the time goes.

Santa Fe finally got a good rainstorm last night. My garden is happy. (As well as the weeds, ugh!) And I believe we are supposed to get more today.

Looking forward to a South Carolina beach next month. Vacation rules.

More soon...I hope.