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.