Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Visit from Enn Zed

My cousin Joan fell in love with a marvelous man -- in New Zealand. Her Arizona mother was concerned, but Joan and Martin make an extended trip to the U.S. every few years to visit.

They have two children, now both in college, so this year's trip was just my cousin and her husband. They came through San Francisco, and picked me up at my office. We had lunch at the wonderful Brick House across the street, and then our brief visit was over.

-- Rachel

Clutter, continued -- Sept. 2007

Slowly I make progress. It feels like none at all, but I look at my pictures, and the dates when I took them, and I see that I am inching forward.

August 25: You are looking down at my shoe and at a square of clean carpet which represents an entire STACK of boxes of unread newspapers. I flipped through them and took all four boxes to the porch. Then I realized I'd seriously overdone it with my bad ankle, so they are still on the porch, waiting till I heal more and can haul them to the recycling center. Still, I think being stir-crazy after days of immobilization, helped fuel the energy that helped me clean and toss.

Sept. 16: I moved the contents of a huge, legal-sized file cardboard cabinet into real file-cabinet space. Then I added the ancient cardboard container to the growing stack on the porch.

Here are the files in their new home.

That same day, I cleared off the things on top of my tourney chest, which stands behind where the legal box had been. Two old computer monitors went on the porch. Then I aired the contents of the tourney chest. (I also discovered that the chest itself was making little rust marks on the floor, so now it's standing on a small forest of clean, empty plastic applesauce tubs, to allow some air flow under the chest. The floor in my house seems to seep moisture up from the damp basement.)

Then last night, Sept. 24, I cleared off an entire CHAIR. It's my recliner, in the bedroom, and now I will actually be able to SIT in it. (It does have boxes still stacked all around it, which will give it a cramped feeling.) The pink sheet is to protect the velvet from cat fur.

In addition, I went through nearly one entire bag of old mail and got rid of most of it, answered a survey from my health plan....

-- Rachel

Summer of Love -- 40th Anniversary

"Almost cut my hair," mused singers from the sixties. Crosby Stills Nash and Young in the album DEJA VU. Keeping long hair was an article of faith -- the song is about being tempted to set aside independence and indivuality; after all, it was 1970 and the sixties were over; time to bow to the pressures of family and employer to present a conventional appearance to the world. So it was nice to see this couple at the huge gathering in Golden Gate Park. Great hair.

(I personally kept my hair as long as it would grow -- about the middle of my back -- until late in the 80s, when my lover died. Later it grew grey and wirey, so I keep it shorter now.)

I had hoped to take a sort of tie-dye census, but my injured ankle was still bothering me and it was VERY hot, so I stayed put and didn't take a lot of photos. Still, I did manage to catch a shot of this nice shirt.

This man brought a broken TV set, some sort of old dresser as a stand, a box that he stood on, and a lot of props. He set up a station next to one of the park sidewalks, and performed a constantly-running show through the whole afternoon. He had a weather helicopter, cars, traffic pictures...very entertaining. I didn't catch his name though, so if anybody knows who he is, please let me know.
-- Rachel

Crocheted Hat

I have a long commute, but it's broken into little pieces, so I can't really concentrate on anything. I often carry with me a small crochet project, which can be picked up and worked on, then jammed into my coat pocket. A small project like this is also good for slow spots in meetings -- I can still pay attention, but I'm less likely to fidget if I'm doing something already with my hands. I learned to make simple crocheted hats from my sister. This is one of my latest, in acrylic worsted-weight yarn, mostly dark green with some variegated fall colors for accents. -- Rachel

Sunrise over the Valley -- mid August, Sherman Oaks

I took these three photos very early one Sunday morning, from the home of my sister's mother-in-law. -- Rachel

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Disaster Recovery and Net2

I'm attending NetTuesday, whose topic is Disasters.

Ephrat Bitton from iCare has made a presentation about how they match donors outside a disaster area, with requests from inside it. Jesse Robbins, who headed a Katrina relief team, argued that donations of small items, and trips INT0 the area, were liabiliies for months afterward. iCare is forging parnerships w/ orgs such as shipping companies.

Humanlink is giving a talk--Jonathan Thompson -- onhow they help improve telcom for disaster relief teams. From simple steps like de-virusing local servers in aid offices, to caching internet content on those same servers, Thompson and his associates have smoothed and speeded up disaster relief. One of his starting points is: transportation and communication are the two primary needs in such times. The UN and another firm pretty much handle air transport (and nearly every relief worker owns a satellite phone), but there are no disaster-aid ISPs.

--Rachel Holmen

sent via wifi from my Palm Tungsten T3


Visiting Monterey

Friends are going to Monterey. My favorite places there are the beaches at Asilomar, the park south of Carmel at Point Lobos, a French restaurant (VERY inexpensive, which is amazing) called Fifi's in Pacific Grove just down from a big intersection in a small shopping mall with easy parking, the excellent natural history museum in Pacific Grove, and best of all, Dennis the Menace park, just north of downtown Monterey next to a lake. It's a well-kept secret known primarily to locals. I have taken adult friends there and even though the park could be described as simply a large outdoor gym, we have had a lot of fun climbing around all the equipment (quite sturdy enough for adults), swinging, etc. Free, and I think open daily except Monday. The cartoonist Hank Ketchum lived in Carmel, and he designed and paid for the park as his gift to the city. Other than the name, there is not a single commercial reference -- no T shirts can be bought, no stuffed animals, no refreshment stands, no way to spend money at all. Just a place to have fun, and watch other people having fun. (If you go to the aquarium, its gift shop, while excellent -- they have a particularly nice selection of posters and prints -- will probably pry some cash away from you.)

The library in Monterey was a favorite hang-out for me and for my brother. We'd ride our bikes down hill to the library, past the motel with the huge aviary full of canaries (which my classmate Gloria's family owned). We'd hear weekly readings from the then-new novel "Mr. Bass's Planetoid" by Eleanor Cameron. Going home, we'd walk our bikes up the long, steep Martin hill past a fascinatingly dangerous rock quarry [now completely covered over and converted to a tony housing development], turn left at the top, and find our way back to our home on Via Ventura -- which, last time I was there, looked almost exactly like it did when we lived there.

Carmel Mission is another nice stop, with a big park-like space still attached to it -- nice gardens and a particularly nice fountain, and a small museum. Not the best-marked spot -- not much in the way of signage even when you are right next to it.

A far more obscure mission is located on Highway 101 east and south, in a hot valley -- but it's one that still preserves a lot of what its original self must have been, since there's no urban encroachment. Ah, here's what I located on Google: "To visit Mission San Antonio, leave King City by crossing Highway 101 towards Jolon on County Road G14. The mission, about 10 miles west (inside Fort Hunter Liggett Army base), is the third founded by Father Serra in 1771. It seems virtually untouched by time, and both church and the museum in the cloisters are worth the detour. Nearby Lake San Antonio County Park offers camping, hiking, watersports, and other activities." I don't know anything about the county park, but there is also, in the miniscule town just south of the mission, an old hotel built about two feet from the railroack track that went in presumably in the mid-1800s; it's another museum, with two or three small rooms. BTW, the town of Jolon is pronounced "whole OWN".

--Rachel Holmen

sent via wifi from my Palm Tungsten T3