Transitional Season

The San Francisco Bay Area is in the midst of deciding whether spring should arrive or not.  Bone chilling storms during which I huddle by the fire cursing my leaky windows have been alternating with seductively mild days that entice me to leave my house without a jacket.

Last Monday was one of the pleasant days and by luck, a holiday here.  I hiked Mount Tamalpais wearing just a t-shirt over my hiking pants.  It is still early enough in the season to see waterfalls throughout the state's green spaces and the day was beautiful.  See the blue sky in the photo at left?

On Saturday I hiked at Castle Rock and the weather had turned again.  Drizzly, cold, low visibility.  I was chilled to the bone and wet to boot!  But I have to admit the mist does look quite dramatic.
After Castle Rock, we headed out to the coast to try to catch a glimpse of an elephant seal at Año Nuevo and almost ran into one sleeping on the beach (left).  I didn't notice the scratches on her back until I looked at the photos.  I hope she wasn't hurt!  Elephant seals may seem awkward, but they are fast and can be aggressive.  I admit I was too chicken to walk around to take a photo of her from the front.  Now that we got to see one seal, though, we hope to return to the preserve in the next few weeks before they return to sea.

And I hope to see the signs of spring popping out at me more frequently in the coming weeks.  I plan to take a little stroll to the nursery around the corner to ogle vegetable seeds and seedlings.  I cooked beets and chard and had radishes from the garden yesterday and I'm inspired to be more attentive to the garden this year.



My mom's tree, San Mateo, CA
4 Feb 2010
Two weeks ago, Piglet and I visited the flowering cherry my family planted at the local park in memory of my mother.  It was a chilly day (for the Bay Area) and overcast, but the tree was just pushing out its first buds of the season (top photo). On Monday, I went hiking on Mount Tamalpais in Marin with a few friends.  It is an ideal time of the year to see waterfalls along the trails, and we were also lucky enough to see the first flowers of spring in bloom, white lilies (bottom photo).

During a particularly bleak year, when the humbling and numbing experience of searching for work in a market where there is seemingly none leaves in its wake the hopeless feeling of being unproductive, unneeded, even unwanted, the first signs of renewal are especially comforting.  Perhaps there is some glimmer of hope for the future. 

During my search for employment or some untapped niche to fill, I am also taking time to pay attention to my long-neglected household duties (repairs I can't really afford now that I'm not working, grossly overgrown garden), and contemplating finding some good cause to support.  I'd thought about going to battle with the health care industry and Congress over the insurance industry's death grip on what is a failing system, at least from the consumer point of view, but that is a war I can't win and could possibly work against me in ways I can't even imagine at this point.  If anyone has a good idea, let me know...

The first lilies of the year on Mt Tamalpais
15 Feb 2010


"Malou" by Zaz Chalumeau

I met Zaz, a writer from Lorraine, at the writing salon l'Eté du Livre in Metz last June, when I bought her book "Mémoires d'un Labrador". I'm still reading this story (yes, I read slowly ... and extremely slowly in French), and I find it to be a heartwarming story from the point of view of a dog.

Zaz has just released her latest novel, Malou, the self-published sequel to La Lavandière d'Igney. The saga follows a family over the course of a century, and I believe Malou is the second of four volumes. If you're a Francophone, feel free to order her books directly from her. Zaz's blog can be found at http://zazecritoire.unblog.fr/.