Summer Blogging Happened So Fast

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It’s come to my attention that perhaps I am not the best blogger.  (This is a slight understatement)  I’m not ready to let my blog die quite yet, but I don’t think I’ve quite decided what it is that I’m doing.  I’m a person that operates in the confessional mode primarily, and in some ways blogs aren’t the best medium for the kind of writing that I like to do.  That’s what my personal journal is for I suppose. It’s a tension I feel because I like getting my thoughts out there, but I’d also hate for someone in my real life to know exactly what I’m thinking as I’m also a relatively private person.   There are blogs I admire, but I’m not a fashionista, a great cook, a outdoor loving mommy or live in London.  I’m a bit stuck, you see.  Nevertheless, I’m going to keep plugging away because the discipline might be good for me and perhaps I might find my groove, eventually.

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I did want to share about the last trip I took to the Filoli House and Gardens.   Filoli is located about 30 miles outside of San Francisco.  Before I visited or knew very much about it, I imaged the house had a very romantic history.   A name like Filoli made me  picture a family of Italian immigrants who made good in America and built themselves this beautiful home that reminded them of the country they’d left behind. The truth struck me as a little more prosaic.  The house first belonged to the Bourn family who made their money through gold mining and water supply.  Since this is California this story probably makes more sense, but I was a little sad to have to let my version of history go.

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I was more impressed by the grounds than the house itself to be honest.  I couldn’t help being dazzled as the gardens are laid out beautifully and are so lovingly maintained.  Filoli struck me as the perfect place to write poetry with its benches shaded by bowers and lovely view of the rolling hills nearby.

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The decor inside  wasn’t particularly grand.  It served as a country home so perhaps the family didn’t feel it needed their best things.  I found the library underwhelming, which is always a disappointment.  There was a severe lack of leather couches, not to mention books.  I found out later the the family had several libraries in the house, which somehow made me feel better.  What’s money for if you can’t have an amazing library?

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I felt really calm at Filoli.  Perhaps it was the fresh air, or the sun, but I just felt really relaxed by the quietness of the place, the beautiful flowers and the prevailing sense of peace.  There’s something to be said for a cultivated garden.  I’m not a huge fan of the outdoors.  I like my nature tamed, so Filoli hit my sweet spot with its controlled and civilized beauty.

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I had lunch in the Filoli cafe and it the offerings were adequate, but not outstanding.  I would probably bring my own picnic to eat next time.  You aren’t really allowed to eat on the house lawns, but there’s a nice area outside the grounds where you can sit and eat.  I bought myself a small plant from the gift store and I think that was the perfect memento to bring home from a place known for the beauty of its gardens.  Now if I can only manage to keep it alive!

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Posted in Holidays | Tagged | 2 Comments

Whoa! Unintentional Hiatus!

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Well, when one is a busy world traveler, things get a little out of hand.  ;)  Seriously though, I totally hit the ground running after I got back from London.  I had head into my travel for work and I completely lost all sense of time.  My birthday has come and gone *sob* and here we are already in November and almost to the holidays.  The year goes by too quickly, much too quickly.

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I loved London deeply.  San Francisco is nothing to it.  I also loved Oxford and Bath and I really didn’t have enough time to see every single thing I wanted to.  I just have to up and move.  I wish I had skills that allowed me to move anywhere in the world but alas,  I don’t. My trouble is that I can’t do maths.  It’s a terrible disability.

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In any case, I’m in the middle of some potential changes.  I’ve got a job interview lined up, and I fully intend to keep searching until I get a new place somewhere else.  I think five years of discomfort are enough. I never really thought about how people can make or break a work experience.  Maybe it’s because I’m something of a loner or in my last job I’ve been basically a person who works on their own, but man, job stuff can be the worst.

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I’ve also got to get my exercise act together.  I think the fall is a time when I start getting energy back.  I’m just a cold weather, dark nights, kind of person.  I think I probably should live in a place like Oregon, England, or the coast here in CA.  I’d probably be a much happier camper.  So yes, I’m not sure what will happen after the interview.  If I get it I’ll have pull up stakes and move, it’s better if I don’t think about it because if I do I’ll make my self completely nuts.  Anyway, so I’m back!  Hurrah!

Posted in Adventures, Dreams, Fings What I Love, Holidays | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Life With Father

I took my dad on a short holiday to celebrate Father’s day.  It didn’t quite turn out as I envisioned, but on the whole it was a successful trip.  What amused me is that on our ferry ride back to the mainland from Alcatraz, most of the tourists, ourselves included, looked like first world refugees.  Everyone was disheveled, had the wrong shoes on and was visibly exhausted.  I’ve read things that denigrate American tourist style, but I think it’s a universal condition to look terrible while trying to see everything you can in a new city.   I think it reconciled me to looking like an utter mess in London this summer.  Whatevs.   It happens to everyone,  I saw it with my own eyes.

10472046_306504356182458_735111673_nOur first stop was at Muir Woods National Park.  I read online that parking could be tricky and boy, they weren’t kidding.  We almost headed straight to the hotel.  We didn’t hike far because my Dad’s age doesn’t really make it possible, but what we did see was beautiful.  I’d like to go back one day and hike all the way out to the sea.

10453931_244747732400241_748370487_nCalifornia Redwoods are really something, truly, truly magical.  I’m so glad people had the foresight to set some of this land aside and not raze it all to the ground.

10413092_404392969703932_1743914360_nI really feel like I understand why fairy tales take place in forests.   They do look like places where something extraordinary could happen.

10431994_1433513140247459_1967657163_nSeriously, it looked like some kind of paradise where chipmunks freely roam.  Seriously, a lot of chipmunks, but I didn’t get any good pictures.  Still, trust me on this one.

925020_1436631549930461_1463305336_nI intended to show my dad inside the ferry building, but the walk to the Alcatraz pier loomed ahead of us and the amazing crush of people on a Saturday morning just put us off. We really parked too far away, but again, traffic was insane so we took what we could get and it only cost us 8 dollars in the end, which is crazy because everything in San Francisco costs at least 25 dollars minimum, which okay isn’t a lot, but it can start adding up.   Also, people poop on the streets.  I pretty sure my Dad and I walked past some human feces. GROSS.

915458_1508643522680729_736011806_nWe had amazing views from the ferry deck.  Since my dad walks with a cane we got priority seating everywhere we went.  I’m not gonna lie, that was a nice bonus.  We saw the Coit Tower and had a great view as we approached the island also known as The Rock.

10454092_299823103526741_1179951502_n There’s a great quote about this infamous place, “If you break the rules you go to prison.  If you break the prison rules they send you to Alcatraz”.  I’ve visited before and it’s an interesting footnote in history.  Al Capone was a prisoner here as well as the Birdman of Alcatraz, Robert Stroud. A whole community grew up around the prison.  Guards sometimes lived on the island with their families.  Escapes were attempted, but no man could survive the icy swim to the mainland.

10431797_308644552635329_498202290_nAfter our tour we had a quick clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, which is the required meal when you’re by Fisherman’s wharf and then we got out of dodge.

Posted in Adventures, Historical, Trips | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday

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You must have been a beautiful baby

I’m not sure how old I was here.  My mother was still alive, she must have taken the pictures, so I’d say about 4 or 5 years old.  It always surprises me that I really wasn’t a fat child.  I really think my trouble with weight and food began after my mother died, it was such a jarring experience and I really didn’t understand what was going on.   I find it consoling to think that while my mother was alive, I was well cared for and she took pictures of me.  I still miss my mother a lot.  It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I understand what it meant to lose her.  I think I still have a lot of feelings around her death that I’ve not looked at, but pictures like this help to remember who she was to me and who I was as a little girl who still had a mother. The first picture with the phone may also document the one time in my life I ever wore a crop top! Ha!

Posted in hard stuff, Loss | 2 Comments

Christmas SWOP 2013 Round Up

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It’s typical that I would update what was last years swop well into 2014.  I’m really terrible about time, obviously this is not an exaggeration!  I’m hopeful that I can change though,  I can’t give up on myself.  Which incidentally, is probably a great way to behave towards others, hopeful about their reformation.    I’m going to have to come back and update this post with the rest of my pictures  because I’m not done taking them!

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This was one of my favorite gifts. Eye liner and eyeshadow and a cute little bracelet

Chloe sent me this specific to Las Vegas brand of makeup, now if she could only show me how to use it properly!   I’m really not up on how to put this stuff on.  I use it of course, but not with anything I would describe as imagination or facility.  I’ve got to settle down with some YouTube tutorials and knock some makeup skills out.  I’m going to be needing some new eyeshadow soon so this came at a great time and I actually use brown eye liquid liner regularly, so this gift was pretty perfect.   There were some other cute things I need to show you so stay tuned for the rest of this post, then my conscience can rest easy.

It’s really bad, my Christmas tree (completely decorated, it’s fake so it’s not like it’s decaying or anything) is in the middle of my living room still, so really I’ve left other areas of my life on pause too.  I’ve been very busy watching the BBC’s Sherlock.  How good is that show?  I’m still so in love with Benedict Cumberbatch and the season is over almost as soon as it began, but it was so, so good!

Posted in Holidays, Obsessions, Presents, Televison | Leave a comment

12 Days of Christmas Swop Days 1-5

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I had every intention of blogging gifts every day, but that quickly went by the wayside since I’m actually on vacation.  The only consistent thing I’m doing now is running, which has been hard to do every day.  I can’t wait till the New Year so I can take a break in between runs!   When I told Chloe about myself I said I was essentially a practical person and so she was nice enough to send me things I will actually use.  I’m not a great cook but I enjoy baking and especially during Christmas time.

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On the first day of Christmas my Swop buddy sent to me! One kitchen mitt!

Red is my favorite color and so this handy pot holder is definitely useful and fits right in with my kitchen color scheme of  red and green.  I love primary colors.

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On the second day of Christmas my Swop partner sent to me: one spatula!

The second day I found a red spatula, again, it fits right in my color scheme and I actually kinda burned my other utensil so this is definitely going to get some use.

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One the third and fourth day of Christmas my Swop buddy gave to me! Measuring spoons and notes.

Doesn’t everyone need a note pad that you can put on your fridge and measuring spoons?  I have two other sets, but a third is always handy.

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On the fifth day of Christmas my Swop partner gave to me! One 2014 calendar!

I totally have this song in my head now! Viva Las Vegas!  This is both fun and useful.  I’ve never been to Vegas, but now I’ll think of this swop every time I use this calendar!   So there you have my gifts up today.  It’s been fun! Again,  want to check out everyone else’s gifts?  Here’s the lists of participants.

Posted in Christmas Swop, Giving, Holidays, Presents | 5 Comments

12 Days of Christmas Swop

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You know what’s my favorite? Presents. I love Christmas in general, but I really, really love getting presents! I totally sympathize with Buddy the Elf. So this year, my love of presents lead me to actually participate in Chloe at An Exercise in Trivial Pursuits and Juanita Tortilla‘s Christmas Swop. I also really love giving to others and was fun to try to find things that I thought my swop partner Teresa might enjoy. Actually, once I did a little research it seemed like I couldn’t help but find things I thought she might like, they seemed just to jump out at me. I had an idea to send things that were quintessentially Californian or Mexican-American, but that basically flew out the window. Plus, she’d already been to San Francisco so the unique Cali angle seemed to be gone. Still, I hope she’ll find the things I sent useful and fun!

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SAAANTAA! OMG!

I’m so glad my box arrived on time. I was really worried about it getting to Teresa because I’m basically chronically late doing anything, so hurrah for the U.S. postal service! They saved my bacon! I’ve also been sitting on my box from Chloe, who incidentally is now a kind of neighbor residing in the state right above me.

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Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

I will start opening mine on Saturday and probably begin blogging the gifts on Monday. Ugh! I’m so excited. I read her sweet card and I’m looking forward to getting to know her a little better through her gifts. Now, I just have to finish putting up my Christmas tree and begin Christmas Bakingpalooza 2013!

Here’s the list of other’s who are participating if you’re a curious cat like me!

  1. http://www.fatandfabulousme.wordpress.com
  2. http://www.rainsthoughts.wordpress.com
  3. http://janetsaw.com / http://www.flickr.com/photos/janet-saw
  4. http://birdwristed.blogspot.com
  5. http://fernandorafael.wordpress.com
  6. http://rsativus.wordpress.com
  7. http://allimcbally.blogspot.com
  8. http://www.adventuresofagirlfromthenaki.blogspot.co.nz
  9. https://whatbliss.wordpress.com
  10. http://wherethewildthingsare14.wordpress.com
  11. http://juanitatortilla.blogspot.com/
  12. http://wastedfashion.wordpress.com
Posted in Christmas Swop, Giving, Presents | 4 Comments