Saturday, December 23, 2006

Pretty and Cold - Friday 12/22/2006

We both had the day off on Friday, so we went into Palmdale to finish up our gift shopping. It was low-pressure and fun. The wind was cold, but the sky was gorgeous as we headed into town on Sierra Highway.

On the way home, Hydra pointed this out to me! At this time of day--around 3pm--at this time of year, the sun illuminates the rocks at the Devil's Punchbowl and you can see them from Palmdale! I had no idea!

They are the lighter ridge just above the telephone pole. These are massive sedimentary rocks that have been pushed almost verticle in some places. It's a great place to hike, and one of the things that initially drew us to this area. We hike there at least once a year.

The Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area is an L.A. County park, located about 2 hours from downtown L.A. There's a terrific short (1 1/4 mile) hike down to the middle of the rocks, where a stream runs in the late winter and into spring. There's usually snow there during parts of the winter, too.

Gifties! - Thursday 12/21/2006

This is one of the cute little airplane chocolates that was in a gift tub from one of Hydra's friends at work. It was movie and aircraft themed, since they work in the aerospace industry and they know we like movies. A ceramic popcorn tub stuffed with popcorn, sodas, chocolates, etc. Another friend sent home a cute Santa candle and a bottle of wine.

We're set for watching White Christmas in style on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some Days Are More Interesting Than Others - Wednesday 12/20/2006

When I got to work this morning, I found this in the photocopy machine. It's a holiday greeting from my boss's almost 8-year-old daughter to her family. It started my work day with a big warm smile.

Thanks, Peachy, for letting me post your daughter's sentiments. I couldn't have said it better!

I'm actually glad that the first photo of the day had slipped my mind, or I might not have gotten this one. Do you know what this is?

Ween and I took lunch and DVDs to our pal, Scryblgrrl, who is under the weather these days. We had a great chat with her and her mom, the energetic and entertaining Ms. Boop. On the way out, Ween brought this to my attention.

We were all the way out on the street when I said, "You know, I'm not going to see anything better than that today!" So we went back and made Ms. Boop come down and open the security door for us.

This, my friends, is a mid-2oth Century remote door opener! Scryblgrrl demonstrates how you open and shut the door at the bottom of the stairs with this cool gadget. It's completely built into the wall.

Pretty clever. Also speaks of a time when you could comfortably leave the bottom door unlocked (there's a lockable door at the top of this private entrance stairway). Makes me wonder what other subtle marvels lurk around this old Hollywood neighborhood.

Currently Making Me Happy: Paul Simon - Tuesday 12/19/2006

My man, Paul! I had this on LP as a kid, and listened to it all through middle school and high school. I remember being in my room, thinking that what he inspired in me in parts of this album was melancholy. It was probably a kind of new word to me. It's still the perfect word.

Besides the hits on this ("Mother and Child Reunion" and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"), I loved "Peace Like a River," and "Paranoia Blues." Listening to this CD over the past couple of days, I realize that I didn't understand the songs fully. But I kind of like the kid who connected with this music. The songs are even better than I realized.

Another Sunset - Monday 12/18/2006

I just wasn't quick enough to get the last of the bright shaft of light that was illuminating parts of the mountains just seconds earlier. Still, the sky was pretty.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - Sunday 12/17/2006

You probably can't see it, but this pine cone--from the tree in our front yard--has frost on it. It's been coooold here, for SoCal. We usually get down below freezing a few times up here at about 3,500 feet, but it's come early and often this year.

Frost on the strip of grass along the road leading out of our neighborhood. Hydra had more faith than I did that this photo would come out all right! Glad he did.

View from the viewpoint off the 14 North, just before Palmdale--about 10 miles from our house. I was trying to show the snow on the mountains beyond, but the aquaduct and reservoir in the foreground kind of stole their thunder, huh?

Below: Bird alert! Mltt! Avert your eyes!

Just liked the look of this starling on a shopping cart. There were a couple of others goofing around inside another cart, but the shot just didn't work out.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chocolate Joy - Saturday 12/15/2006

I think I showed great restraint by not immediately tucking into the Godiva chocolates I received, along with a Barnes & Noble gift gard, in the Secret Santa gift exchange on Friday.

Christmas Celebration - Friday 12/15/2006

I missed yesterday's Christmas lunch, but my coworkers generously decided to wait until Friday afternoon to exchange our Secret Santa gifts. We also exchanged cards, which I hung across the entrance to my half of the office I share with One-L, on some garland.

Festive, if slightly out of focus.

No. There was no egg nog involved in this loss of focus.


Becoming - Thursday 12/14/2006

Thursday was also the day that my writing group celebrated the birthday of the Elegant E. A day of dichotomies.

I wanted to post this image because I feel kind of excited about having created it. I took the photo and played with it in Photoshop, and the color-faded background color was a fortuitous Inkjet accident. I thought a great deal about the project Elegant E is working on right now, and about her, when I put this together. (The image is not of the E.)

This image went on the cover of a hardbound notebook like the ones I've been writing in for the past ten-plus years.

The Days Just Go On Being Beautiful - Thursday 12/14/2006

This plant, for instance, keeps on catching the sunlight outside Aunt Muriel's patio door, even though she's no longer here to enjoy it.

Today was the memorial. It was really lovely to have a glimpse of the friends and traditions that Aunt Muriel cherished. Hydra gave a truly lovely eulogy in which he mentioned that wherever she was, she always carried home with her. Then he sang, "Who Will Watch the Home Place?" by Kate Long and I tried to harmonize, but it was very emotional. The family asked me to write a memorial poem, so I did, and I read it.