Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘travel’

a beautiful sunset at Coronado Beach 11/10/12

Back from California which feels good. To run on one’s own neighborhood’s sidewalk, to hike in one’s familiar woods, to cook one’s own food, to eat one’s own mother’s famous spaghetti sauce, to sleep in one’s own bed, to see one’s own children in the flesh.

It is my father’s birthday today. He would have been a whopping 91 years old. Yeesh. What does that make me? Still a girl who lost her father too young is what.

I liked La Jolla, somewhat, especially the ocean and the pretty architecture and being able to ride bikes around and the beautiful plants, flowers, and trees and the birds one doesn’t find in the Eastern US and the art outside the museum and the food, some of the food anyway. I loved our B and B and Margaret, the innkeeper and chef. I liked some of the food in San Diego. I did not like Coronado, but I did like the pretty beach. It was so windy, the sand whipped at our feet and the stainless steel public toilet made our ass skin very cold.

Who says ass skin? Nobody, nobody but me. Try it, though. It is not as easy as it seems. It is practically a tongue twister. And I’ll stop right there lest you get ideas and think of any double-entendres.

Long ago, I thought I would chronicle my travels, no matter how humble and close-to-home, by taking photos of myself in the facilities (the “loo” in other words) of places I visited. Probably due to my restless nature, I did not stick with the plan, though on occasion, I do remember to take a picture (if I’m lucky enough to have remembered my camera).

I do not have a photo of the stainless steel toilets from the public restrooms at either La Jolla or Coronado, but when I searched google images, I found a lot of photos of fancy, $1200 stainless steel toilets, presumably for the asses of Romney-type voters (Koch, Bush, Rove, but let’s watch those double-entendres, plz).

We had the pleasure of yet more friends coming to visit us from further north in California, this time a couple who we already know. You may recall we met Ms. Coldiron for the first time earlier in the week.

We went to a little park just a block from the sea and we sat on a bench and we sang songs to a guitar and a banjo. It had been a long, long time. Seven years maybe, gasp.

When we were singing in the little park, freezing our buns off, a little wedding was going on. Sometimes I sang a little bit loud, what one might describe as enthusiastically, I think, and when we all realized a wedding going on (because we weren’t quite sure at first), we tried to be a little quieter. The amazing thing is that the wedding people never asked us to stop. It was all so groovy, but it didn’t really feel hippy groovy or California groovy like you’d think, but it was groovy nonetheless.

The song I most remember grooving to was this one. We sounded pretty good, but I think Susan and George’s fingers must have been about frozen. Amen.

Here is a photo of the handle in the bathroom on the Star of India at the Maritime Museum in San Diego

Of course it is not me peeing, but it is what I was looking at as I sat. The ship originally did not have modern toilets as it was an old ship, but even these “modern” pieces of hardware are more beautiful and solid than most of what one finds nowadays.

One thinks of other things one can describe as solid brass.

Read Full Post »

This is a photo of me on Tuesday morning. I was not thinking of jumping.

The world flies by. We forget.

I am glad, gladder than glad (Glatter than glad) that Obama will remain president for the next 4 years. But I am also almost as glad that the most cynical election in history is over. I think it speaks to a very sad time in our country. The money; the waste. Forgive us all our folly. Now let’s get Citizen’s United overturned. Power to the people.

(it is barely sunny out here. this image is bullshit, but the sentiment is not)

I’ve been having a bang-up time out here on the West Coast. Many good things. A friend we hadn’t yet met in-the-flesh came out to see us on Tuesday. Someone both Hubby and I have known only via blogging and the internet. This is the world in which we live, in which great things can happen, in which our best selves can come to light.

We did not take a photo of Katharine, as per her request, but you know she was here by the photo she took of us. We are in a cave; not an underground cave, a sea cave.

What else? Rock carvings in front of oceanfront mansions

I love this bird

it is a marbled godwit, not a whimbrel or a dowitcher, but I wonder what the birds would make of our names for them, our folly, our need

ART

private

public

and rogue

These are my 2 songs of choice for the reelection of Obama, the same ones I listened to over and over last time around

(Sorry for the cheesy visuals on this next one. They’ve pulled all the well-recorded live versions from back in the day)

Shout it from the rooftops. GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAH!!!

Read Full Post »

La Jolla

harbor seals

didn’t I write about vibrissae here before?

Latin is cool because of the –a ending singular and –ae ending plural

that is really about as much as I know about Latin

how, how, how could the mammals have come onto the land and have gone back into the water? it boggles the mind, but Hubby is right, it’s just what they did, they must have needed to. food? rising oceans? do you actually think I’ll read this and find out the truth? hell no! but you can.

pinnipeds

we decided to rent bikes, only a 2-mile-ish walk to the rental place, so we walked. noonday sun, so cal style, not a cloud. me? sunscreen, gott sei dank. enough water, apparently not. definitely slightly dehydrated from the 10 hours of travel yesterday, you know how dry the air in airports and airplanes is, you know how much dryer it is here than in New England.

got to the rental place and I already had a headache, but then riding the bike uphill, uphill, me with not enough air in my lungs (still), I pooped out. but I still got back to our place alright. there is a really nice bike lane on the main drag (Torrey Pines Road) outside of town (although there’s no where to cross the street on your bike if you are facing one way and need to get the other way, very few traffic lights where this would be possible and safe, wtf?) but no bike lanes in the town of La Jolla per se and rather terrifyingly huge SUVs, around which one can hardly see or be seen, parked up and down every street. it seems like mostly people are driving slowly in town and are acclimated to lots of crosswalks and pedestrians. I was not a very good cyclist today, alternating between the sidewalk and the road and even riding without my helmet on the second trip. I just wish I had more dang air already and I promise to wear my helmet at all times tomorrow.

after our first ride, I had to pop some ibuprofin, drink a slew of water, rest, and I was pretty well recovered. when we rode back to the rental place later to pick up a lock, the air had cooled rather beautifully and I felt much stronger. even the hills (there are really only a couple) seemed easier and my breath was better. La Jolla, not bad, I tell you, not bad at all.

writing about biking and anemia is pretty boring, I admit, but I still haven’t told you the whole sordid story of why I have been bleeding so much in the last year. I finally found out last month but I won’t go into it right now.

it’s nice to be in a Mediterranean/maritime (I looked it up) climate. the flowers and plants all smell so good. the jade hedges go on and on, they are HUGE, the rosemary is abundant as well, the trees are fascinating, exotic, and beautiful. I forgot how it all looks out here, though I’ve never been this far south in California, I just mean the Pacific Coast tout entire. god the flowers, god the plants, god the birds. the seals, the ocean. the fruit and vegetables taste pretty darn good, too.

the Mission architecture, the Spanish tile roofs, the colorful buildings, the windows, the wealth. the racism that you know is just under the surface, is not that long-gone (if at all).

St. James Church, across the street from our b and b, with the most amazing dragon tree, as you can see

not the Republicans, though, no, not them. Romney has a house here as does McCain, but I did see 2 Obama bumper stickers in a row today. gott sei dank.

I can’t wait ’til the whole obscene mess is over. the money, the waste. if Romney makes it in, I’d like to leave. Quebec isn’t far from me when I’m home, but they want Obama in the WH up there as much as I do and are subject to the influence of the POTUS same as everyone.

I am sorry my anemia is making me fatter and older. it’s unfair, really. every time I go through this, I gain about 8 pounds and lose about 2 years in my face. I try not to talk about my weight and body image, because, well, I have the same issues any American woman does, but I find it boring and demeaning. but today, I gave myself permission because I’ve about had it.

Read Full Post »

After dropping off Violet at a friend’s house today, an hour-and-a-half east of here, I stopped, impromptu, in Lowell. After much scratching of my head (lack of signage, fanfare, proper recognition), I was able to locate the Jack Kerouac memorial park. I don’t capitalize those last 2 words because I can’t really be sure that was the name. It’s a pretty sad thing when one of your most famous and influential residents is not given his proper due. Or maybe it is as fitting as it can be, like a sutra.

Lowell? You’ll just have to see it for yourself. In spite of early impressions, I do hope to go back on a non-Sunday, when not every sign in every store window is turned around to say CLOSED. I would like to walk along the canals and to visit the textile museums and to see, if possible, Kerouac’s house and grave.

What I did see were a lot of overweight Americans sitting on park benches, smoking, staring, most looking generally uncouth and threatening, downtrodden, down-in-the-mouth, unaware of Kerouac, of poetry, of anything but subsistence and it didn’t look like they were having a very good go at it.

Not having planned very well, and being sans fancy hand-held device, I was unable to take photos.

I only ever read 3 Kerouac books, way back in my 20s. On the Road and Dharma Bums, yes, that was it, and finally, after my dad was dead, Dr. Sax and that one rocked my face off. That was the finest book of the three. I fell in love with it. Was it the timing, because I was filled with grief and alcohol? What would I think now? I may never know, may never read it again.

Anyway, I tried to take a photo of a couple of the inscriptions on the marble tablets in the sculpture memorial, but I have a rinky-dinky old cell phone and even if I could make out the images, I have no way of getting them onto my computer. You can look up google images for the park, but not much will be viewable there, either. It’s a sad state of affairs, I tell you, as if every person who ever visited also forgot her camera.

It’s not the most elegant passage, but it’s a pretty damn elegant passage. Merci, ‘ti Jean, merci!

from The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac

22

Stare deep into the world before you as if it were the void: innumerable holy ghosts, buddhies, and savior gods there hide, smiling. All the atoms emitting light inside wavehood, there is no personal separation of any of it. A hummingbird can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest and be assured. While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.

Read Full Post »

Provincetown: a pair of little dogs in a pink doggie stroller being fed ice cream by their owner. Egregious behavior? Not until she licked from the same cone and then tried to force feed one of them when it roundly rejected the ice cream. Other details available, just ask.

Window at one of my favorite galleries. On my way to a body and hair like this? Time will tell.

3 flying seahorses grace the handles of the Lipton Cup in the Provincetown Library. The cup was awarded to the great sailing ship the Rosa Dorothea, a reproduction of which is on the 2nd floor. When I say reproduction, I mean half-size, 66 feet long. Part of it is lit in pink. A Cape Cod must-see.

living sculpture:

Advertising for a show, The Naked Boys, I think. After you walk past these guys night after night, it’s awfully hard not to pull that terrycloth down and see what’s going on under there. And such pretty legs. Dang.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Yes, this is the pool that I loved. High tide was often on either side of my poetry writing workshop. The Bay beaches lost a lot of shoreline a couple of years ago in a severe storm, so when the tide is high, there is just water next to a fence; this is why I jumped in the pool morning, noon, and night, naked when possible (also hot flashes are abundant ’round my these parts). I want to go back to the same house. I want to live in the pool.

The full moon last week. It makes me think of the nursery rhyme boys and girls come out to play, the moon doth shine as bright as day….I swear I’ve posted that song here somewhere, but I am too lazy to find it. Perhaps a video is in order?

4th of July, fireworks on the beach. This was a kick, fireworks dotting the shore as far as the eye could see with the closest large display in the harbor at Provincetown. The great thing was that everyone was happy and running around in the cool windy air. Beyond Ptown, on the ocean side, we could see lightening. What a night. Here you can see what someone was shooting off right next to us. Tide coming in, but look how wide the beach is still…

All the girls (lucky man, that Paul):

Back to Ptown: Hubby and my mom, in front of Puzzle Me This, the best store in the world for games and puzzles

a very bold woman or a lost extra from the set of Lord of the Rings:

This is from our last night in Provincetown. We want to laugh at first, but it’s not funny, you know. It reminds me of the Jacques Brel song about the sailors and the whores.

Can you imagine?

Read Full Post »

In 1983, I was a sophomore living in the dorms at Kent State University.

Some time that year, we got the diagnosis that my father had colon cancer. Now that I come to write about it, I realize I don’t have many details. He had surgery to remove part of the colon and when they opened him up, they found that the cancer had metastasized to the liver.

My parents were living in Sylvania, Ohio at the time.

Some time in 1984 or ’85. Our good family friends in Southfield, Michigan, lent me a giant, dark-green Ford so that I could commute back and forth from Kent to Toledo while my father was dying. I spent the summer drunk, screwing a number of non-boyfriends, dancing to reggae bands upstairs at Mother’s Junction (above Ray’s), and going to see the Numbers Band at JB’s down.

I can’t remember what job I held. I do remember the heart-wrenching misery of driving to Toledo every Friday night and returning every Sunday. The long dark road, I-80, where deer/car collisions were a regular occurrence and the tail-end of the Appalachian range flattened completely by the time you’d reach Northwest Ohio. Some damn ugly land. I remember how everything in me screamed not to go. If I didn’t go home, would he not die?

Richfield, Ohio, Kita Lyons’ property. I had written in my book that this is July 13, 1985, 2 days shy of my 23rd birthday. One of the necklaces I’m wearing belonged to my Tante Nelli, but she died in May 1986. I wonder if she gave me some jewelry earlier than I remember.

My father died in August 1985.

I decided to make my pilgrimage the following year. My mother bought me a used, silver Toyota Corolla/Tercel, a model that they made for only a short time. I think it cost 4 thousand bucks. I have no memory of how many miles it had on it. I do remember going to someone’s house to check out the car, how their driveway looked, dark black asphalt. I would pay my mother back from my aunt’s estate when I received that money. My father’s only living sister, Nelli Landau. She died 9 months after him. I know it was a broken heart, for she loved my father and had no husband or children of her own.

I decided first to drive east. I would be staying mostly in youth hostels, but also had a few connections to stay with people I’d never met. Friends of friends. I miss that spirit. I miss it.

I am not sure any more all of the places I stopped. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I stayed in a governor’s mansion because my friend’s friends were the caretakers. The wife was a New England blue blood, going back several generations. She was a fiber artist, had a studio set up in the house.

They steamed mussels we picked up fresh from a little fish shack in town. I’d never eaten mussels before. I learned what a Widow’s Walk is. I toured the rose arbor in the back yard. The wife’s name was Sydney. This is how people name their children in New England.

One night, we drove past oceanfront mansions, stopped on the damp ocean beach, got high, and watched the sunset.

I next stopped in Cherryville, Maine, the famed place of an annual blueberry harvest which gathers hippies, loafers, stoners, and other back-to-nature types for seasonal farm work. Now I realize that there must be real migrant workers who go there, not just the educated white children of middle class families.

The hostel was really an old hippie commune. My first of so many things, again. I used an ATM machine in the quaint town. I got poison ivy (sumac?) on my legs. I stood in a circle with a couple dozen other people, stoned, holding hands, swaying, singing om om om. I learned what a Clivus is and determined that some day I would have one.

Maine, Bar Harbor, a little boat trip around some of the islands where I saw seals and puffins. The first time I heard the word shoal. Acadia where I walked on some barnacled rocks for a few hours, did nothing else, and left. I met a guy at the youth hostel. I remember eating a meal, walking around the town. Saying Bah Haba like the locals over and over, laughing, tschoke shops, lobster everything everywhere. I gave him a ride to the Greyhound station in Boston. A kiss in the rain. I didn’t even like him, but he was friendly. Dark hair, not too tall.

One very clear memory is of driving on the interstate in Massachusetts and the giant granite rocks on either side, with their trees and lichen, roots, gray and yellow stains. I think of it still when we go to Boston on I-90. I remember.

I started this post thinking about every car I’ve ever owned because my 2000 Toyota mini-van is up near 160K miles and creaky.

Let’s call this Installment One of Old Girl, the story of the first half of my cross-country trip after the death of my father.

♦ ♦ ♦

Hey, I’m not saying I like this, but I went to see them live a lot back in the day. The first video is kinda shaky to start, still good to see them looking good and playing after all these years.

Read Full Post »

Monday, April 16, 2012: Annie and I head to Montreal. The key to a successful car trip? Strange new candy, bien sur! Found on sale at the Stop and Shop. Something akin to a box of Pockys.

The highlight of the road trip north was the Vermont rest stop that has beautiful, Vermont-made objects and is the site of the Vermont Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial.

Inside the actual rest stop, Annie and I got a kick out of a record player thingymabob that you could make work (for FREE!). It was housed in an ornate wood-inlay cabinet and it had a perforated metal disc (as big as an old 33″) which made noise when it passed over little metal tines, like an old player-piano. We didn’t have our camera so I can’t show you a picture. Does anyone know the name of this kind of contraption (twinkly bonus points!!! I SWEAR they mean something, I just don’t know what yet).

There was a beautiful wooden canoe and a rocking chair and a loom which you were allowed to weave on (but we didn’t).

You already know that one low point of our trip north was the stern (think riding crop, thigh-high leather boots) border guard who chided me for trying to parle en francais. The drive went downhill from there, the Quebec borderlands being ugly-as-sin: flat, dusty farmland dotted with mostly ugly houses (except for the really old stone ones), boarded up businesses, lack of appropriate signage, &c.

The most charming thing I saw on Highway 55 Quebec were the yellow cautionary “Old North Wind Blowing” signs, but didn’t take a photo of those. I also took one wrong turn, due to the aforementioned bad signage and maybe in small part also due to my traveling companion’s relative newness as a map-reader.

That evening, we visited our friend Nora at the Shriner’s Hospital on the mountain, a beautiful area of hospitals, McGill University, old stone buildings, and Euro-style villas. This was the site of my FIRST EVER wrong-way turn onto a one-way street. (Again, I blame the Quebecois for their utter lack of appropriate directional signage).

Now, because the trip was already 2 weeks ago and I’ve bored you to tears with verbiage, I will let the pictures tell the story:

I thought it was a funny name for a spa

cow building around the corner from our b and b

hanging wabbits, vewwy scawwy

FISH SPA

(I happen to know what this is, do you? twinkly bonus points, people, but Hubby is not allowed to answer)

beautiful doorway, oh how I love thee

and another (and you know how I feel about transom windows)

cupcake shop right on our street! pretty, yummy, and a very nice proprietor: www.dliche.ca

details, baby

cherry blossoms, not as fabulous as the curlicue scroll but I like it

RANT ALERT! You have been forwarned!

beautiful anemone (-ae?) at the Biodome, which was rather a disappointment, to be honest, not only because where the fuck were all the animals, but for our folly as humans on so many levels. The Biodome, creating interior environments just for our pleasure and edification, the whole Olympic Park complex, all of that ugly concrete, all of that money, all of the maintenance, even if the Olympic pool was AWESOME and the anemone are pretty amazing as well as vagina-like and other orifices-like

I know this is long. I thought of breaking it up into two parts, but it would just be more photos, so just one more and I’ll quit

I loved the turquoise color on the walls and I like how my gaze is slightly heavenward (even if I sort of hate the way I look in the photo otherwise). I’m not even peeing or naked!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »