this week found me tackling small projects around the homestead. done in my typical haphazard method which involves getting distracted, creating stacks of clutter, losing many dust cloths and finding them in strange places, finding things i thought i’d lost, losing things i thought i’d found, preparing a basket of objects that need new homes, finding an old travel journal from san francisco in 2001 that i didn’t remember writing, uncovering loads of tiny pics from another travel journal i discovered also from 2001, also to san francisco.
i finally got out the hammer and nails and put some holes in my freshly painted & plastered art room walls.
i also rearranged my knick knacks, framed cat cemetery, and ma and pa.
gazed upon my incomplete collection of the works of voltaire. purchased strictly for their covers. i have 8 of them for future handmade books.
went on walks through a nearby neighborhood. i have 4-5 routes that i can quickly drive to in neighboring pasadena and south pasadena.
my hood is too hilly, too busy, and has too many barking, snarling dogs.
i don’t carry my phone with me anymore, but i did yesterday especially to get these shots for today’s post. i wanted to capture some of the gardens and sidewalk messages.
it’s cool and peaceful. few people are out so early.
i can walk alone in the quiet streets. crossing when i see people approaching. everyone is great about this. i like being around people who recognize the importance of social distancing.
when we “open up” again matters not to me. i will keep my distance regardless because i don’t think mingling is safe until there’s a vaccine. there’s so much we don’t know about covid-19 and i’ll let the infectious disease specialists and other scientists and researchers from esteemed institutions take the lead on what we should and shouldn’t be doing.
i feel grateful to be in a city and state where the mayor and governor are sensible.
i’m not pleased that i’m in the middle of some unavoidable dental work (crown implant) requiring multiple trips to the dentist in the coming months, but i am choosing to stay out of my head about it. riding mental tangents down frightening rabbit holes. out of the question! no no no. not going there. thankfully, i err on the side of pragmatism most of the time.
our mayor has asked los angelenos to go outside at 8 p.m. and cheer on the essential workers who are keeping our society afloat right now. at first i thought it was silly, but now i think it is DEAR. i live in a working class neighborhood made up of plenty of essential workers. the cheering happens like clockwork every night. i love listening to it from the porch. a friend recently said when he heard it for the first time, “it makes you feel like you’re not alone.”
i don’t feel alone, because solitude is my preferred mode of being, however the cheering is like an invisible presence that connects everyone. a sheer blanket that drops down over the city at 8 p.m. and leaves everyone feeling warm & safe. i like that. i like it very much.
someone in the neighborhood has a tuba and it reminds me of an elephant. i laugh and laugh when i hear its drunken roar. at 7:55 i drop whatever i’m doing, head for the porch, and wait for the calls, cheers, instruments, etc., to begin. the other night some little kids were screaming, horror-movie-style. at the top of their lungs. NOT in the spirit of cheering, but made me laugh out loud.
i love this little cottage that i pass on my walks each morning. this particular route has become my favorite. there is so much for the senses to absorb.
the blue jay below was a fixture of my childhood home. the wooden ones came home in my suitcase on trips from sweden.
below – some of the pics i found inside one of the 2001 travel journals. i still have and wear the SF fleece jacket to the beach. it lives in my car.
in july of 2001 i flew to san francisco. it was my maiden voyage – a solo trip. my first.
i had flown to greece for 2 weeks solo in december of 2000 to spend christmas with a greek friend in athens. that was my first official solo trip, but the one to san francisco in the summer of my 38th year was my first completely solo trip. how i loved it! exploring SF with public transportation. i kept a little travel journal (above) that i’d totally forgotten about until yesterday when i found it in a box.
july 11, 2001
alamo square park, san francisco
i am completely alone here in this little oasis. below me are busses and people and honking cars, but up here in this slice of lush park i sit on a slanted green bench. there is a delicious smell of eucalyptus in the air. i sit surrounded by towering trees of all varieties. filtered through the trees is an awesome view of the san francisco skyline. the wind is blowing all around me – swirls of eucalyptus leaves at my feet. i don’t see how, even if i visited all the cities in the world, i could ever find another as enchanting as this one. this trip is more glorious, more fantastic, more possible than i ever imagined.
in the pre-social media world of 2001, there weren’t lots of stories and images of solo women travelers. i ceertainly didn’t know any. i was a working girl who never had any extra money. flying off on a solo trip seemed like a huge extravagance. that trip was a portal to a new and different world i had not inhabited before. it was my declaration to the world that i would no longer wait for a someone to go with me. i would strike out on my own. take pleasure in the sights and sounds of a new place. in 2001 i had lived in california for 12 years, but had only been to san francisco once before
1 month later, in august of 2001, i returned to san francisco, but this time with my sister. i couldn’t wait to take her to all the places i had discovered the month before. the other pics of her and i are from that travel journal.
flash forward to the summer of 2020. BIG trips are off the table. flying is out of the question, but dreaming and planning are very much something we can all do right now. so carol and i are doing it! when i leave my house for my morning walks i imagine i am in training for treks to english villages.
me and my pa. circa 1979. apparently i felt very free in my body back then. we had just moved to the arkansas countryside from a big city in kansas. i was NOT adapting well to country life. there were no boys in the country, but from the looks of those shorts i might’ve been hoping one might drop by.
poor ma & pa. i really was hell on wheels.
this post is sort of all over the place!
okay friends, stay safe out there. i hope these pandemic days are finding you hunkered down, but still able to enjoy your life to some extent. i know everyone’s having different experiences during these times. let me know how YOU are faring out there in the big ole wild world.
sharing is caring
i’ve gone wonderfully insane binge watching nicki’s vlog from positano on the amalfi coast. i started with her quarantine diaries. carlo, her partner, takes care of the cemetery and molly the dog follows nicki everywhere. it’s marvelous!
collaging and keeping company with melville: donald marguilies in this time of quarantine.
one foot in front of the other: how a daily walk helps us cope.
monica smith says
I live in a state of nothing completely put away. When I try I suddenly find something that I Might…..Thus ends ” tidy up “.
I grew up in the north of England and my Mum also asked if I closed the curtains!!! The back of the house sloped down to a stream and the opposite bank rose about 50ft to a school playing field. I never found what we were shutting out except for those mythological people called fairies, elves and gnomes.
Here in TexasIt is too hot to go outside except in the early morning so I do take a short, up hill walk. Otther than that hubby and I are sheltered in our home with two cats, our only visitors are the birds who keep us entertained.
Thanks for sharing photos and words still, and the story about how your travels started. I think you’d write an excellent book on traveling bliss found on your own. I wish I could explore it more myself.
I’d sure like to meet up with the real you next time you visit SF…..and I live right near the Noe Valley Valley Bakery…I’m just sayin’.
Sandra L. says
Hi! Do you know what those tall purple flowers are? You have some lovely vegetation out there! My lilac bush is blooming–but–there is a robin’s nest close by and the parents yell at us when we approach. One egg hatched the other day; must check and see if they are OK–there was a lot of wind and very cold weather overnight. Weird for mid-May.
I am reading Dennis Lehane. Waiting for some used books to come from Abebooks.com. Taking some online journal classes.
Sorry to say, my trip to London is off. It just hit me recently; I guess I was in denial.
Thanks for sharing your walks!
Susie Lafond says
This was delightful Mary Ann. All your musings and thoughts going off road a bit. When you spoke of the daily honoring calls going out at 8pm, reminded me immediately of your trip to Turkey years back and your videos where the calls to prayer can be heard. To honor those on the front lines is not really that different. A form of prayer sent audibly to those who face Covid-19 head on, every single day. Just another way to let them know they matter, what they do most assuredly matters and doing this social distancing thing is one small way we can all do our parts. We all have a role to play in this in order to get to the other side of it. I’m with you. Listening to the experts is our best hope. Sending you long distance smoke signals that say howdy from afar and enjoy these posts very, very much. I look forward to them in the same way I look forward to a good book, netflix series, and packages of art stuffs, or goodies. (trying to support as many small businesses and artists that I can)
Su Hall says
Now, this is sweet! I am older, myself, so, my family is grown. I have been entertaining all the good things I have wanted to do in my life at the present, or I WAS! I returned to my art, images and scrapping them. I love junk journals and have PLENTY of ‘junk’ to fill them! (I had a lot of ‘pictures’ my children and grandchildren had made for me, some with only a few crayon marks or scribbles. These became pages in my junk journals! I don’t have to toss them and they find their way into some FUN pages and stories!)
Reading how you are coping has me feeling a part of a sisterhood this morning! We do what we have to do and keep on going, eh?! I’m also going through treatment for bone marrow cancer, but, you know what? With everything that has been happening around me and in my life, it is a mere speed bump! LOL I refuse to let anything get me down! Oh, I can get down, mind you. But, not by outside factors if I can help it! NOTHING is worth the battle – unless it is avoidable and really bad!
Hang in there! I will and I wish all of us could look at our world this way – all the time!
On the East Coast
Your posts always inspire me so, and today that wall of artwork takes the cake. I had a visceral reaction and had to zoom in, zoom out, zoom in again. What a gorgeous space.
Thank you for checking in. Your words and photos make me feel less alone, more alive and endlessly inspired.
Mary Ann Moss says
maggie your note is appreciated. i love shari elf and she is represented in 3 of my wall paintings: (leonard cohen, i like myself, and naked lesbians) blogging can sometimes feel like talking to a wall, but the little notes you good people leave me let me know that is NOT the case. xo
Gus McDuffie says
If you ever forget that you were here in SF during the summer the fleece pullover you had to buy will serve as a reminder!
Mary Ann Moss says
i was SHOCKED when i felt the temps in july in SF. who knew? not me! i love that mark twain quote about the coldest winter he ever spent was in SF in july. or something…
Janet Ghio says
I always look forward to your posts–interesting and inspiring–eye candy to look at–sometimes makes me shed a few tears–sometimes smile–I’m with you-have been at home for at least 8 weeks–other than going for walks and curbside pick up from the grocery store–I’m in it for the long haul–I agree that its going to be a long tie this way until there is a vaccine. thanks for sharing a piece of your life.
Mary Ann Moss says
glad you received my smoke signal from afar, janet 🙂
Absolutely love this post, thank you for sharing. ❤
So many beautiful things in this post. Is SF still the most enchanting city to you after all your wonderful adventures? I’ve loved following them since the day you started blogging and inspiring!
You are so right to keep your distance, even if the vaccine is a long time coming. I wish people here were as selfless.
Roll on the time when you will trek around English villages – in the SW especially!
Mary Ann Moss says
i can’t wait for that time chrissy and to come and see you and hugh at last in your world. i will rely on you to suggest a good home base for carol & i.
SF remains at the top of my list, but then there are few cities i’ve met that i didn’t fall in love with. over and over again.
Catherine Mondrus says
So too enjoy your posts and can also relate to your first paragraph as I sort through my various collections of “stuff”. Also doing some collages again lately inspired by Heather Murray, so, enjoyed you tube recommendation. Viewed Nicki’s vlog also, love it (we are all going thru this) and looking forward to viewing more of hers and her fav vlogs that she mentioned…3 fun things I did yesterday: finished a pair of homemade curtains for my laundry room…picked lilacs and roses just starting to bloom…and watched the clouds roll by…enjoyed your photos, your excursions, your enthusiasm for all around you….and you do have a way with words….thanks….looking forward to getting back to your watercolor class again which is soooo much fun! Know I will.
Mary Ann Moss says
i was just thinking of cobbling together some curtains for my art room at night. my dear mama moss would DIE (again) if she could see how many windows i leave bare. she used to constantly ask me if the curtains were drawn when we chatted at night. i would dutifully lie and say YES.
Catherine Mondrus says
Mine were cobbled together but are a joy only had a pieces for 2 panels on half a window and small piece for a valance but dug around and found a treasured piece of crochet for bottom of valance so that was a a good time digging thru that stash…Loving Nickis vlog, the sites, chickens and cooking…. and also the Chateau Diaries, especially now, because she is showing the interior of the chateau and some of the decorating and antiques…thank for the turn on..they are little adventures….
OMG, I could have written that first paragraph word for word. That’s exactly what’s going on at my old homestead. Reading your blog…always a pleasure.
Mary Ann Moss says
it’s good to rotate the piles, get some piddling in, and in the end some tidying. enjoy your activities xo
Sharon Bennett says
I so love your posts. I love being alone but I am still working everyday as a customer service rep for the city buses in Modesto. But when I am done for the day I play in my art room working in my “Strange Journal “. And in my Happy Happy Nonsense Journal. And then I work some in my regular junk journal too.
I have always loved your journals!
If you want a peek at my journals I am sharonbennett9113. Bye
Mary Ann Moss says
i am crazy about the titles of your journals! where do i look? IG? will try! xo