Thursday, July 31, 2008


Aak...I've been blocked. Blogger tells me they had suspicions about my blog being a dreadded spam blog. One possible reason being a large amount of posts in a single day? Huh?! I made the mistake of "fixing" my last blog so it won't allow me to "publish" until a human has checked my blog for review. It feels like middle school when the cool kids wouldn't let me in the parking lot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


In my quest for movement, I have once again put myself on the water. Sunday morning I was on Big Lagoon, in the belly of a kayak, taking another paddling lesson, this time from Marna Powell of Kayak Zak’s. She came highly recommended.

When I set the goal to bring movement to my life, I presumed kayaking would get my upper half moving…arms, shoulders, maybe my torso. But that’s not all folks!. Marna taught me (and one other student) about the use of our legs and buns in maneuvering and controlling the vessel. We squeezed (my bun-muscles felt that). We pushed. We leaned – actually we edged. We paddled around the lagoon for three hours.

I love the water in any form but don’t necessary want to be IN it if it's moving fast. Surfing is the perfect example; I love surfing but, for me, it’s a spectator sport. No big waves for this girl but it fascinates me to watch braver souls take on the curls. I love a raging river – from the shore. Sea-kayaks are the perfect pace for me. I’m attracted to kayaking for the quiet. For the still water and calm coves. On Big Lagoon, we paddled to an area below the Rancheria where trees were filled with cormorant nests. Silly me, I presumed that cormorants, being sea birds that I generally see on rocks, do their nesting on the rocks. Not the double crested cormorant, apparently. Bobbing on the water below, we gazed up at dozens of trees filled with hundreds of nests, listening to the squawks and chattering of the parents and their rather large offspring. It cemented in my mind why I want to do this. I love those calm corners of the world where you can join with nature. To be in places not accessible on foot. Of course, I wasn’t sure if I’d be getting wet on this particular lesson so opted against my camera. I won’t make that mistake again.

Marna doesn’t need my help to drum up business but I pass on the recommendation to anyone interested in learning to kayak. She’s very patient and enthusiastic about this sport. I plan on taking the “Rescue and Recovery” class from her next month. That time I WILL be getting wet because I need to know that, even if I don’t intend to go in the water, I can get back in my craft if I do. Just in case.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I’ve been keeping up with my goal to ride the bus a couple times a week and am enjoying that little bit of down time with a book as we rumble through the city, stopping to pick up and drop off my fellow passengers. It’s a different view of the world than the one I get from behind the wheel of my car.

I've noticed the pretty purple clematis, growing up the gate on a house a block from my house. The new fence built at the house where previously lived tweekers who destroyed a piano with axes and hammers. That house looks cute and inhabitable again, by the way. Lots of smokers, sucking in that first wonderous dose of nicotine for the day, huddled on their porches because no one wants that smell in their house. I have a chance to say “good morning” to the groundskeeper raising the flags at City Hall and to a kid sitting on the steps of the Employment Office.

Hurry up and wait, that’s me. No matter how much leeway I give myself, I always walk briskly, petrified I’ll see the bus drive past just as I approach Fourth Street. Once I get to my stop, I wait and read and pace, occasionally glancing up to check traffic for my bus to round the corner a few blocks up. Once it arrives, I climb aboard and run my pass through the box. Man I miss the chink sound of the token hitting the bottom of the toll box on the Santa Cruz bus I rode with my mom as a child. I make my way back to an empty seat. Most everyone sits alone -- personal space issues? A girl in a hoodie is curled up on the seat like a child, catching a nap on the way to CR. Other’s rest their heads and eyes, ignoring the passing traffic. Many, like me, wear headphones. Are they really listening to music or just putting on the appearance so as not to be bothered? Someone around me smells a little stinky. There's a mystery I'd rather NOT solve -- I know it’s not me and that’s good enough. A few people load their bicycles on the bus’ rack so they don’t have to walk from their stop – a great alternative if the only stop is a ways from your job. The directions on the RTA website for loading your bike look pretty simple. I presume you’ll get help if you have difficulty. Will more than one bike fit? Yes but if the racks are full, you can bring your bike on board.
I tend towards motion sickness but manage to read and ride until we approach that off ramp to CR. I figure that, if I enjoy a stretch of road in my car, I will NOT enjoy reading while the bus negotiates the bend. That’s about the time I tuck away my book and enjoy view of the ebbed tide at that part of the bay. Mudflats and birds seeking food. The cows across from the college. The driver drops some of us at the security office near the south entrance and I make the trek up to my second walk for the morning makes for a nice start to my day, even if I DO come skidding in exactly on time.

I take a shortened lunch to allow for leaving early to make the 4:21 bus home….4:21? What kind of launch time is that? Better than 5:07! No matter, I have a longer walk down to the bus shelter below the Forum so that is generally a brisk walk to be sure I make it but the ride home is far more relaxing than the normal commute home. Another walk from the stop on Fifth to my house and I’m home by 5:00, pretty much the normal commute time but without the frustration.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The start of harvest has begun at the CR Farm and we on the subscribers list have received our first box of farm-fresh veggies. The first few boxes are seldom exciting but lucky for me, I like my greens.

I grew up in a household where both parents worked at packing plants and would bring home fresh veggies regularly. I'm a firm believer that most kids don't like vegetables simply because they've only eaten the canned variety. I love vegetables. OK, I don't much like green peas (the roly-poly kind) but even I have been known to throw a handful in soup or tuna/noodles if they come in a farm box. I kinda wish the CR kids would go a little lighter on the beets but I always try their recipes so found borscht to be an interesting use of them, especially with a sprinkle of dill and a dollop of Daisy. If nothing else, they can be pureed and "snuck" into other foods. They make real pretty bread. My cousin was shocked at my dislike of beets and told me she just cooks hers in butter. I will have to try that because this week, we have beets…. little baby, radish-sized beets but beets nonetheless. We also have kohlrabi, new potatoes, baby spinach and a few summer squash. Oh yeah, a bag of cilantro.

What to do when I need to cook dinner and I have this entire box that needs to be dealt with? sigh... I cleaned the spinach (these veggies are fresh from the field and DO NOT come prewashed like the ones at the grocery store) and tossed it in my pasta y fromage…mine was homemade but I’m sure it would improve even the boxed kind of mac `n cheese. Later in the season, I look forward to bushels of tomatoes and clumps of basil (it freezes well so gets me through the winter) and cilantro to make pasta sauce and salsa. A few years back there were figs. Oh, man, I LOVE figs! We’ll have lots of peppers and carrots, some cucumbers. I love fresh veggie season. My intention is to share with you the contents of each week's box to encourage you to subscribe to one of the local farms. Supporting our local farms is a good thing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I'm not sure if there's a difference between old green and new green any more than between old money and new money. Money is money and green is still green, whether you're just starting to pay attention because it's in or you've been recycling for years. I'm old green. I can't remember not recycling or composting. I have grocery bags older than two of my kids. Yet... there are some sticking points. I'm happy in my rut and I can justify it any number of ways. Driving myself is so convenient. I can leave when I want and stop where I want. I have errands to run after work. Besides, my car gets good mileage.... Yeah, you get the point. But last week, my Catholic guilt grabbed my old green by the throat and -ta da -- I bought a bus pass and joined the mass-transit crowd.

I used to commute to work in Santa Cruz regularly. I worked at City Hall and the buses ran by my house and dropped downtown regularly. The ride was 50¢ with a day pass costing a buck. We live in Eureka now and I've wanted to ride the bus....I really did. But, to CR? When would I leave? Can I fit work around the bus schedule? It's hard. Maybe tomorrow. Every excuse to not give it a try. Last week, I got the entire 4-1-1 from Glo and borrowed her bus pass. I hurried through packing my lunch and scurried out the door, straight down to 5th. The bus was on schedule. The driver was helpful. The riders were few. I arrived in my office exactly on time. That afternoon, the ride home was just as uneventful. The next day, I bought a pass for my very own. That brings the cost of the ride down to $1.50.

I may not be saving money but I am saving fuel. If I don't drive two days a week, I'm not buying fuel for my car on those days. I'm sharing the fuel it takes to ride that bus with all of the other riders. Sure, I'll have to schedule my errands. What night will I grocery shop? What night is my hair cut? But once I figure out those days, I can ride the bus on the days with no errands. I'm not sure if this will continue once school starts. Two of us riding the bus versus two in my car that gets good mileage will require a new equation with the variable being the price of gas by the end of summer.

Either way, I feel good. I broke out of my rut. And the ride gives me time to read James Patterson books I've had set aside.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I felt his hands run down my legs.He loosened my gown and I felt the electricity as it surged through my body....tingling down to my toes. What a way to start the day. Oh, who am I kidding? Not as sexy as it sounds; totally G-rated physicaltherapy. Dammit! It sucks getting old.

Just for Blog Picnic ID purposes, let me say that the chick in the photo is NOT me. I've had lower back pain for ages. Nothing excruciating. Nothing I can't live with but I do get whiny on occasion. I've done chiropractic and love getting twisted and popped on occasion but, unfortunately, it did nothing for the long-term pain. I took Pilate's last semester. I now have a rock-hard six pack (I'll show you next time I remove it from it's padded insulation) but still was bound up.

So, now I'm on to the next step. Physical therapist, Dave, evaluated me and finds that my muscles are just too damn tight. Likely the minor back pain caused me to baby my back. So, he stretched me. I stretched myself. He added little zapping things while I stretched my calves. I'm to keep on going, three times a day. I am too young to feel this old and I will once again have a spring in my step. Maybe I'll be able to do whatever it is that Gumbi here above is doing.