Saturday, May 27, 2006

Abundant life

There has been a major change at work (from my perspective [edit: and that of a few other people]), and these past weeks have been occupied with preparing for and adjusting to the change.

Yesterday afternoon, shortly before leaving for home, I was "instant messaging" with a former colleague, and he invited me to his family's Sabbath dinner. I was on my bike, so I quickly plotted out a route to his house. It was a pleasant 45 minute ride.

I hadn't seen his family in some time, so it was great to catch up with everyone again. My colleague prepared most of the meal: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar; mesclun salad with feta cheese, pistachios and vinaigrette dressing; another salad of garbanzo beans, yellow and green bell peppers, and fennel; broiled steelhead; pan-fried potatoes; asparagus; two flavours of Fosselman's ice cream; and two bottles of delicious white wine. A truly spectacular meal.

As always, the conversation was animated and often about the deeper things of life, including how much we have and yet how we are often so fearful and thus miss out on what life is offering us. We discussed the change at work and how we (I) can respond to it without giving in to a deep sadness.

It was after 11:00 when my colleague loaded my bike into the back of their van and took me home.

An evening that was one of life's abundant gifts.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sisterly weekend

I had a great time while my sister was visiting this past weekend! She arrived Thursday evening, pretty tired from her travels, so we had a simple supper of duck egg frittata with chard and brown rice and a salad. (The frittata idea came from Liz's post on the Eat Local Challenge site.)

Friday morning, after sleeping in, we had French toast made from Trader Joe's thick-sliced cinnamon swirl bread and duck eggs. Then we took some measurements in the backyard and went off to San Gabriel Nursery, the results of which may be read on the garden site.

We were hoping to have tea at Rose Tree Cottage if a reservation cancelled, but when we called back, the power had gone out, so they were anticipating perhaps not being able to hold tea at all.

So, on we went to Aardvarks to browse through the racks of clothing. Then we had great success at a consignment and designer sample store.

We had a tasty dinner of burritos and taquitos at Burrito Express before going to hear David Korten present his new book, The Great Turning, at All Saints Church. It was quite challenging.

Saturday, after a hearty breakfast of hot cereal, we went to the Farmer's Market and enjoyed browsing and buying a few items. Then we came home and got ready to go hiking.

We made it all the way to Brown Canyon Dam (although we didn't go swimming). It was a warm but beautiful day to hike. The route is fairly shaded, and the breezes also kept it cool. We encountered two Forest Service employees patrolling on their horses.

I had never hiked to the dam as the guide, so I was pleased I was able to follow the route along creek quite easily. Where the trail isn't as clear, the creek determines where to cross.

About four hours later we were back at home with a little time to relax and clean up before heading out to meet the goats! (See the May 11 - 16 entries and pictures.) What fun!

Then on to meet friends for dinner at a Peruvian restaurant and for Shakespeare's The Tempest at A Noise Within in Glendale. We had to run from the restaurant to make it to the play in time. The play was well acted with some wonderful costumes.

Sunday was church. Happily, my sister had agreed to sing. She sang some Gregorian chants for the prelude (in both the English and Spanish services), and a beautiful offertory solo in the English service, "Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth," based on a text by Julian of Norwich (scroll down to view the words).

After coffee and greeting people, we came home to pack and leave for the airport after taking a self-portrait in the backyard.

Click to enlarge

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chic cycling

One of the Editors' Picks in today's WSJ is "The Cycling Commute Gets Chic" by Kevin Helliker (paid subscription required). The article focuses on what cities are doing to encourage bicycle commuters.

I was interested in this analysis of the "trend":
In a trend reminiscent of previous public-health fashions, affluent professionals seem to be leading the charge of commuters on bikes, just as they were among the first groups to embrace organic food, to stop smoking and to return to feeding babies healthier breast milk rather than formula. "So far, it's a white-collar movement," says Dave Growacz, a Chicago biking official and author of the book "The Urban Bikers' Tricks & Tips."
On my commute, which is not to a major urban center, I see more "blue-collar" riders, for example, construction workers or food service employees. Also, I see quite a few older folk who ride bikes to get around town and do their shopping or other errands, perhaps because of the large Asian immigrant population in the area.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


There's nothing like the prospect of housework to drive one back to writing on one's Web site!

My sister is coming tomorrow, about which I'm very excited, and thus I am in the midst of trying to get my house presentable. This is a major task. But the vacuuming is done and the dishes were washed a few days ago. Now I need to get the bedroom somewhat cleared up. The piles will probably stay on the desk, but they have to be moved off the bed! I need to finish putting a few things away in the living room, too.

The other big news is that I got my hair cut, drastically. I had been thinking for a while about donating it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients, and finally just did it on Saturday.

The organization the Cancer Society recommended is called Wigs for Kids. They ask for a minimum of twelve inches in length, which is why I had to go so short.

Here's the new look.

The freckles are evidence of riding my bike in the late afternoon sun on the ride home from work.