poetry chide?

On Monday I shared what I consider a beautiful joyful poem. One that really touched my heart. I was really surprised later when someone asked me if I was sending them a hidden message.

It is a message in a way, but not hidden. The message was kind of 'hey, this is it, our lives and they are wonderful'. But that's not what the questioner got from it. They felt scolded, chided even though they also thought the poem was beautiful.

And I felt sad. So please everyone if you wondered, I am not scolding anyone, not even myself. I am just trying to wake up and remember. If the poem can help you take a few deep breaths and have a few moments of peaceful appreciation great. If not then I respect where you are right now, seriously.

spring is here

I have been hearing a lot of complaints about the weather. People asking 'where is spring?'

It's true that it has been quite a cold, wet and chilly spring thus far, but people it's still spring, really!

Since Monday there has been lots of rain, we set a new daily record for it yesterday, but you know there are compensations.

Two of our shrubs were glowing against the fence yesterday afternoon. Really glowing, gleaming in the grey light, like they were made of glass. They were glorious.

Today as I went past the neighborhood pond the three willows on the bank were dressed in the the freshest green, the strands looking like naiad hair. Seriously beautiful.

And surely I am not the only one who thinks the yellow flowers are singing right now?

Somehow it seems that spring has gotten more important to me the past few years. Last year it was so early and warm and wonderful like being in Italy or something. I thought that was why I loved it so much. But this year although dreary and slow I love it just as much. Does it mean something to love spring more?

poetry shortcut

When you are struggling with words to express yourself poetry can be really handy.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

by Wu Men

going direct

My knowledge of astrology is rather scanty and I started to just embrace my "don't know" mind around it. Is mercury retrograde just a story? A myth? A convenient shorthand? An inconvenient irritating scenario? An expectation fed situation? I don't know.

Some people don't believe in PMS. [I definitely believe in it] And that thing about light being a particle and a wave. At the same time. That still strikes me as odd. And part of my brain keeps trying to insist that the cat can't be alive and dead at the same time even though I accept alternate realities.

I do know that I am celebrating that it goes direct today and I am expecting an immediate improvement in clarity of communication and systems ... and thought processes. Or you know, not.

This time I am open to see what happens.

challenge ECD

It can be hardfor me post Playford ball to keep up with dancing. The summer comes rushing in, trips are planned, weekends at the lake all interfere with Sunday night English country dancing.

This year though I have made an effort to keep my schedule open and I have been enjoying it. The dances the past couple of weeks have been very nice and I have also been making it to 'challenge' night. I love challenge dance nights so much, why on earth don't I do them always?! I think the fact that it's only one night a month makes it harder for me to remember when it is.

The session today was all enjoyable, the stand outs for me:

Astoria Lass (Fried Herman waltz, duple, swirlies and chevrons. )
Trip to the Manors (Roodman 2Cpl dance, Becket formation. Merge into 1/2 heys. )
Abyss (Waltz for 3Cpls. Regency style by Allen Winston introduced by Sue Dupre)

The last one has a very odd name for a really lovely dance. Perhaps all the spinning = dizzy = falling into a deep hole? No matter I really appreciate the effort that goes into this challenge night, and it is nice to occasionally not have beginners to worry about.

Sorry, I realize that if you know nothing and don't care about English Country Dancing then this post is as dust to you. Tomorrow we chat about astrology and later on food relationships! Which may or may not be better :)

new regrets

It is hard for me to believe it's less than 2 weeks to Beltane.

I have been mulling it over in my mind recently. Perhaps it won't rain and I'll be there at dawn to watch the current morris dancers greet the day. It's a Sunday after all, that just makes it easier.

This led to fond thoughts of morris dancing in years gone by, who knows who I might run into at the celebration... I was remembering the squire and founder of Moonwood Morris, his patience and gentleness in teaching and guiding. His lovely dancing. His flips in Rapper sword. Although I hadn't seen him in years my thoughts of him were all fond happy ones. Then last night at dancing I heard that his memorial service was yesterday. I hadn't even known he had died late 2010.

It was so weird to hear about someone's death when I had just been thinking of them as alive. It is so strange to remember all those times I thought about looking him up and saying 'hey'. That door has closed now with regret. My fond thoughts are what's left.

it's snowing

This year is not a repeat of last year's long and glorious spring. But still the snow falling outside is quite beautiful even magical. Snow on April 15th just doesn't seem quite real to me.

I am surrounded by gardening books, I noticed the first shitake on the log outside earlier and I made my traditional spring cheesecake. Eggs from the coop are much larger than just a few weeks ago. It is spring just a different one.

The weird east wind finally dropped and the snow has been drifting down for an hour already. I wonder what the world will look like in the morning.

first outdoor run of 2011

It was hard to convince myself to leave the house.

Work had been a bear and even though I was almost sure that going for a run would make me feel better or at least sleep better, I was resistant. Even though half of me thought it sounded like fun especially since chilly temps are due to return swiftly, I almost didn't do it.

But I did and it was great to run outdoors, the first time running at all since my chicken pox. The sanctuary where I run looked totally different with all the trees bare. It felt so open. All the ice is off the water so there were lots of birds and some of the trees had urgent buds poking everywhere.

I ran and walked the 2+ miles and felt content and lucky. Especially since they are saying April snow on Friday!

Sprouting Spring

I have been craving sprouts like crazy. I have put them on fried egg sandwiches and pizza, soon I'll just be eating them on their own. I'm thinking it's a sure sign of Spring.

Or I am turning into a sheep. I have craved mushrooms and fish in times past but sprouts is a new one for me.

In the spring report, crocus blooming, cherry tree and forsythia budding. Planning new formal garden area outside dining room window that will include a lavender hedge. I feel giddy about it. I have always longed for a lavender hedge and now there is a lavender hardy for my zone!

I can't wait to try it.

getting pithy

I couldn't resist the pun. Did anyone notice that the grapefruit were fabulous this winter? Or was I just lucky. I'll miss the citrus for sure. Each season has it's own wonderfulness.

And I got my new computer cord already, it was so quick.
Sure enough back on Firefox my line breaks are returning. Way less head achy for sure.

I have been thinking about fruit since we are picking out fruit trees to plant and eating way more of it. We are going to take a chance on a peach in an extremely sheltered location. We will certainly need some luck but risks in the garden can be such a good thing.

fault discovered?

It seems that the 'no line breaks' are the fault of this old IE browser I am stuck using, perhaps for a whole week. Until then, short posts mean more time to bike?

Biking log: I've biked 14 miles so far this week and it feels good, let's see how long I can keep track of my miles.

where on earth did my line breaks go?

Granted I am using a different computer due to cord failure and mercury, but still line breaks are needed! ------------------------------------------------------------ They even go away when I code them in with the tag. ------------------------------------------------------------ Is this a ploy to get me to write many very short posts? ... ... ... ... I will have to resort to other methods...

it's spring, bring out the bike

But I didn't have a bike to bring out. Mine was stolen last June and I spent so much time running during last summer that I vacillated about replacing it. Occasionally I rode my wife's but now I think I was grieving for my old bike.

The warm weather returned this month, gas prices shot up again and I thought more and more about biking. So I went bike shopping. Then I realized I was hesitant to buy a new bike. I felt like I couldn't afford it and I worried about that one getting stolen. [yep, I worried about a future that was unlikely to even happen...definitely human I am]

Used bikes were priced high on Craig's list and I just didn't know what to do. It seemed hard, too hard.
My wife suggested I adopt one of her bikes, so with grateful thanks I did. She bought it used but we think it's this one. Her kindness saved me from most shopping tasks although hers needed some fitting out to make it more commuter friendly, there was no way to schlep any stuff with you unless it was on your body.

Today I had my first ride of the season, in glorious spring weather and I went to a local bike shop to get a rack, maybe bags and some lights. It was about 6 miles round trip. I had to laugh though after I picked out a rack and lights, all I had was a small messenger bag, there was no way I could tote that stuff home on my rackless bike. Since it was spring the shop was much too busy to install it on the spot. So I left my stuff there and swung by later on my way to the coop in the car.

I can see I need to get used to thinking 'bike' again.
I'm still planning on running outside this season as well, I hope to finish the C25K and finally make it all the way to 5K. All this and I am planning a cheesecake and a few crocuses are blooming. What are the different ways people are celebrating spring?

we visit chez panisse and the redwoods

We drove over to Berkeley. The last time I had taken the BART under the Bay so it was fun to see all the gorgeous views from the bridge. We were early and knew it but we checked in at Chez Panisse anyway and they were able to seat us in 5 minutes. Chez Panisse has a large reputation in this country and our food was very good. I could nit-pick at it but I don’t think there is much point. Everyone’s experience is so different.

I will say the lamb and duck were sublime. My wife said the oysters were fabulous as was the almond cake. My artichoke salad got better as I ate it, which was a rather strange experience. The chardonnay I drank very good. The servers, 2 out of 3, very nice. An enjoyable meal, with a laid back Berkeley vibe, craftsman decor.

I took quite a bit of time to process my experience and try to separate it from hype. I realized I would rather eat at Travail or Piccolo. I was surprised, that wasn’t what I was expecting but it was true. The next time I am in the Bay Area I’ll be trying other places before I make another reservation there. It just didn’t wow me into “I can’t wait to go back there”. I am glad though that I went once to such an iconic eatery. .

The next day was wonderful. We saw family in the city for coffee and then drove north to Muir Woods and spent hours with the redwoods. The cafe on site serves local organic food handy for lunch. Then more time at Muir beach, then quick fish tacos at Joe's in Mill Valley before heading south to Montara and dinner with some family on the shore. Caught the red eye home and managed to nap on the nearly empty plane.

It was 4 very busy, wonderful days. We enjoyed it but it certainly did make us tired. At least my energy is returning to pre chicken pox levels so that is great. We left spring in northern CA in time for real spring in MN, at last!

traveling in CA

The day after the wedding was sunny on the Monterey peninsula. We lucked out for breakfast, there was a fabulous cafe and bakery right across from the hotel. I would certainly make a point of going back to the wild plum the next time I was in the area.

Then we spent a couple of hours wandering over pebble beach in the wind and sunshine. I was amazed how not crowded it was and parking was easy. We then headed north on 1 to San Francisco stopping for a good sandwich at Emily's. Another delightful find. After Santa Cruz there was again very little traffic, clouds increased as we headed north. The views were spectacular and the beaches all fairly empty. There were several near misses with other autos, my heart got quite the workout.

Soon we were in front of our hotel unloading and absolutely delighted. We booked it through Hotwire and it certainly worked out great. Small rooms, clean, friendly, very European in the vibe, great decor, lots of extra touches including a pillow menu. We would definitely go back. While it was still light, we found the parking garage, strolled around a bit and I realized I was getting some blisters from the sand at the beach earlier. We were pretty tired from the past 3 days, so we just went into a random Japanese restaurant up the street. My bowl of Udon was way too big, especially since there was no way of taking it with me.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel which was fine. Our waiter was pretty poor but all the other hotel staff were great. Then we took a fun walk through the city to the Ferry Building and all around that area. There were so many great places to eat lunch it was hard to choose but I had a scrumptious sole sandwich from somewhere.

We hopped on a bus [going uphill] and went over to Chinatown and wondered for a few blocks then back to the hotel for vacation naps. That may have been the only time the room felt a bit small, but for such a short stay it wasn't really an issue.

Next up Berkeley and dinner at Chez Panisse