Friday, August 22, 2014


Flowers in the dunes at San Buenaventura beach
Sorry for the diminished postings. I've found my current day-to-day life uninspiring, while at the same time being riveted to current affairs. What's been happening in Ferguson, MO is polarizing, and this isn't the blog to discuss it.

Here's what's happening in my life:

  1. Our son's summer is coming to an end and he will be moving to the Bay area soon, for his PhD. work. He's looking for a place to live. He'll be couch-surfing for a little while, but I know he'll get settled soon. And then we can visit!
  2. The drought continues, and now, in August, heat. We're trying to stay cool
  3. [The Man I Love] has made a big step toward healthy living. He's got a regular exercise routine going now. I, on the other hand, am still lazy.
  4. At work, back in February, our Division Manager took a new job in our organization. They began a search for her replacement, hiring an Interim Manager during the, well, interim. Apparently, the search was unsuccessful; no one has been hired. They've asked the Interim Manager to stay on, but for a finite period. So what that means, I suspect, is a re-organization. Having been through one already, I am hunkering down, and scheduling a meeting with Calpers, our retirement agency.
  5. I've decided for sure that I am going to try to go back to graduate school and get an MFA degree in Creative Writing. I've got four or five schools picked out. I'm reviewing their application procedures, and starting to contact people who can write me letters of reference. If I get accepted, it will be to start in Autumn, 2015. Application deadline is January, 2015. 
What's up with you guys?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Opulent banality

The Hearst Castle Visitor Center is some 1500 feet below the hilltop where William Randolph Hearst's monumental self-indulgence is built. The parking lot is huge, and on the Saturday we visited, completely full of cars. We cruised the rows before giving up and parking, along with other visitors, in the dirt off the access road.

Inside the center, shops and restaurants lined a vast glass-arched central atrium, teeming with people. The ticket line doubled back on itself four rows deep. When we finally reached the front and received our wristbands, there was still a half hour before we could board the bus that would take us on the five-mile ride to the castle.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dockside by the rockside


 It was a bright and breezy sunny day when we stopped off for lunch in the little coastal town of Morro Bay, California.

As we approached the town from the north, as Pacific Coast Highway curves around the coastline, Morro Rock loomed like a great battleship in the mist, or a huge craggy castle.

Central Coast summer scene

A hayfield and a solitary oak near Paso Robles, CA.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

One eyed cat

Last night, in our lovely bed&breakfast here on California's central coast, befuddled by a glass of lovely Sangiovese, I washed my left contact lens down the bathroom drain.

The world will look different now , until I make it home to LA, where there's a spare lens.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fiesta time!

The Cat of Topanga is in a celebration mood!!

We're going on a weekend adventure!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sister Delicious

Monkish Brewing Co.'s "Feminist" Tripel-style Belgian beer. Spiced with hibiscus flavor, it's pretty, pinkish, and it'll kick your ass. Their brewery is open for touring and tasting, in the city of Torrance.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


The deer come down from the mountains because they want green leaves to eat.

We've had visitors at our house for the last couple weeks. It's been great to have them, but now everyone's gone and it's just the three of us.

In little less than a month, it will be just two of us, since our son will be at Berkeley.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Surf and turf

Last year, when we visited the Jolly Oyster food concession at San Buenaventura State Beach for the first time, it was a chilly weekend day in August, and business was slow. But this weekend it was another story - the sun was out, and the place was hopping.

An array of picnic tables with umbrellas are scattered on the grass, where a trailer and a food truck park. One sells clams and oysters you can get by the pound, and cook them yourself on the charcoal grills (bring your own charcoal). Some families bring elaborate picnics, with burgers grilling away, and sit down together to shuck oysters for starters. A boom box plays reggae and old '80s rock.

There's a bike and surrey rental stand next door, and the park's strange post-modern restroom complex, all of which puts the Jolly Oyster at a good location to attract passers-by.  The park's liberal rules allows guests to bring their own wine and beer to picnics, making for a convivial crowd.