Friday, July 06, 2012

Duly Noted

Morning weigh-in (Thursday): 179.5#
Probably a fluke, based on a skipped meal or two and some dehydration in this stinking heat, but I thought I'd make sure the date was marked...
A Quiet Fourth: There were some possibilities, but Anne and I opted to kick back and catch up on our sleep -- we woke up early enough according to "California time," but we were in Pennsylvania so breakfast was really brunch. We futzed around the house for a bit, then went over to Lake Nockamixon and did a mellow mountain bike ride, followed by a dip in the lake. Later in the day we caught up with other friends at Greg and Judy's barbecue, then caught the Bethlehem fireworks.
A Late Night: Deb and her boyfriend have been vacationing in Kenya, which from all accounts has been the adventure of a lifetime, but then, with the recent terrorist attacks, things got a bit too real and they decided to cut their trip short. We were going to pick them up tonight, but they cut their trip so short we got a text, last night, that they were on the ground at Newark Airport... Cue the comically fast music and off we drove, picking them up not too long after they cleared customs. They regaled us with their adventure stories (or maybe it was venting, with the focus on when/where things went downhill), and we got them home safe by 2:00 AM. So that's a big relief: except for sporadic Facebook posting they've essentially been incommunicado for about a week, and we've all been worried.
Anyway, tonight I think I'll be catching up on my sleep again.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Like An Angel, Standing In A Shaft Of Light

Back from my California vacation. I flew out to LA with Anne's sister Lorraine, picked up her daughter Vicky and drove to meet Anne in San Diego. Spent a few days there, then an overnight in Thousand Oaks before driving to Pismo Beach for a few days, and finished with a day or two in LA before heading home. I took about 300 pictures, many of which were either multiple shots for stitching into panoramas, or attempts to get a good shot of some nesting birds -- night herons were nesting in the tree outside our hotel window at Pismo Beach, and I have about 40 blurry photos of the (enormous) chicks -- but I should have about 150-200 good photos to post after the final cull. Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath...
So-Cal: First Impressions Three things impressed themselves on me right away: The first and biggest was that the traffic was far heavier, everywhere, than I expected. The second was that Southern California, though not particularly hot, is intensely sunny (and my hair is much thinner than it used to be, so I now own a hat like the ones that little-old-lady gardeners wear, bought in San Diego, and I still managed to get a serious full-body-plus-scalp sunburn) and though I knew the region was a mountainous desert, it was more mountainous, and far more desert-like, than I expected. And the third? The people I met and saw were nowhere near as "California" as I'd hoped -- they were pretty much like everybody else, oh well. Uggs seem to still be in style though, and there were one or two common male hairstyles that we don't see back home.
I did some mountain biking, not as much as I would have liked but we got two good days in, renting bikes and riding in Topanga Canyon, on mixed singletrack and dirt roads -- including the famous Mulholland Drive, which is unpaved at one end. Not particularly technical except in a few places, but was very hilly, and very scenic.
Most of the rest of the trip was nice but uneventful (we had a great meal at Bo Beaux in San Diego, where Vicky knew the chef, and had a nice day sightseeing in San Luis Obispo), but there was one unexpected highlight: The Getty Museum in LA. I'd never heard of it but Lorraine wanted to go, and we did that on our last full day. The artwork inside was almost an afterthought, the architecture and outer gardens were so beautiful.
(My laptop battery basically reached the end of its life last week, holding only enough charge for 20 minutes or so off the grid, so I ordered a new and better one on vacation, and it was waiting when we got home -- I went from 20 minutes to over five hours, which I verified yesterday. My car also got worked on while I was away, another burden off my checklist.)
We got home after midnight Saturday night, and spent yesterday just hanging out -- reading, browsing the web, and gardening (that last was Anne, even though I do have the hat for it now).  Later in the afternoon we biked out to the swimming hole near Freemansburg, and we ended the day with a visit to Brew Works to see some friends.
Anyway, I'm home now, and back at work, listening to the Penn State fans weasel-wording their way around the latest revelations in the Sandusky scandal.