Sunday, March 25, 2007


I'm in Huntington Beach now, but too tired to fully blog my first day here. Just a few small notes from the past few days:
  • One thing about warmer climes that I do really love - the variety of trees. At home, we have variety, but many look generally the same. Here the trees are very varied - palms and the like, flowering trees, delicate ones, hefty ones. San Diego especially feels lush on the expressway towards downtown for this reason.
  • My plane to LA smelled like a gym locker. Good thing the flight was only a 1/2 hour.
  • Seen in Del Mar: A two-story plaza. Upstairs there's a Koi shop - selling the exotic garden fish. Downstairs - sushi. Just seems wrong.
  • I wish I could capture the smell of the sea at the same time I'm taking pictures and videos and send it back to Mom, who I know loves watching the water as much as I.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Summer rain in March

Last night, a thunderstorm rolled through. It was still pretty light out, as the rain poured down. I went out to get ice for my room and the air smelled of summer rain. In March. How delightful!

The open skies of Southern California make me feel as if I've emerged from beneath the gray wool blanket of winter in the Northeast.

I still don't think I'd move here. Too much expansion, explosion of buildings upon buildings. Limited seasons. I want to go wander in a dark green forest.

Today was a day of excellent meals. Breakfast was a perfect New York Style chocolate chip bagel. Lunch was at Spices Thai Cafe. I had Spicy Thai Noodles with chicken - on a scale of 1-10, I ordered #8. Quite, quite spicy. Maybe I would have eaten a little more or faster if I had ordered a 7 or 6, but I enjoyed the spice of the 8.

Dinner was at Hacienda de Vega, a Mexican restaurant. Had a Mango Mojito Margarita, 4 types of salsa (my favorite was the tomatillo - taste of fresh spring and a spicy surprise), and chicken mole enchiladas. Yummmmmm....

Book #7 - The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I first read this as a kid. It's definitely worth rereading as an adult. What I recall from my first reading was the way Anne and the others were forced to live in hiding, what they had to give up. What I found so striking as an adult was the self-discovery Anne went through. I'm sure living in such an environment contributes to such introspection, but I found her insightful, nonetheless, and a personality I could identify with. It was almost like reading letters from a close childhood friend.

On to LA tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

San Diego

Sunset from Del Mar
I meant to post between trips. I guess I did once. Ah, well. Here we are again. Southern California is warm and pretty sunny, although dealing with some rain. It's good to meet with the team here and get some real sharing and conversations going. There are frustrations, as always, but not too bad.

Had dinner last night at epazote. The marvelous sunset shown here graced us as we waited for entrees. I had grilled swordfish with an orange-honey cumin glaze, some peppers and arugula,and brown rice. Very tasty. And a molten pb-chocolate cake for dessert. :)

I'm up to Book 7, but for now, just blogging Book #6 - The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary. Geary used a manuscript only discovered in 1990 as a basis for this graphic novel of the murders. After reading the casebook, this brings more supporting evidence to light, but it's striking that after presenting all of this the authoress (who has yet to be firmly identified) still seems to believe Lizzie innocent and an "unknown intruder" guilty. Geary draws comparisons on the back cover to OJ....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More books

I'm taking a trip next week for work. 4 days in San Diego, then 5 in LA. I love traveling, getting out of the routine, going new places. I like staying in hotels every once in a while, provided they have good bath products and a good bed.

I hate leaving home. I know J will really miss me. I'll miss the cats. I feel an excessive need to plan for every potential wardrobe contingency, but don't want to have to carry any bags.
I'm making many lists in my head.

The other part of it is that I'm naturally quite bashful, but really enjoy good people. I know, for the 5 days in LA in particular, I'm going to have to break away from my instinctive hiding in a corner and participate, meet, interact - otherwise I don't get the full benefit of being there.
I almost feel like I need to make a list for that in my head, too. Maybe it'll just come naturally when I get there and I'll discover my tendency isn't towards bashfulness but just pre-show jitters. Doubtful.

I keep in mind - what would a true kick-butt chic do? hmmm ... wwtkbcd.....

back to books -
Book #4 - Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman - I heard of Gaiman when I sat next to a girl at work who had this kinda creepy, but pretty cool, fascination with the Death character from his Sandman comics. I really got interested when I read the first chapter of Neverwhere online and later when I got the book. His blog just makes some of the "magic" behind the work more apparent - so his stuff is that much cooler. Anyway - this was a fun book that read fast (being stuck in an airport helped carve out some time, too). I liked it a lot. I'm always very excited when a book (especially one I'm liking anyway) deals with the power of language and the power of stories (also song here)to mold, create, and shift realities. My one-day thesis if I ever were to do one. Most excellent.

Book #5 - Lizzie Borden -A Casebook of Family and Crime in the 1890s edited by Joyce G. Williams, J. Eric Smithburn, and M. Jeanne Peterson. A much slower read, of course. As a casebook, it deals almost entirely in first-hand accounts - newspaper articles, letters, legal documents, interviews. Some of it gets a bit dry, but I found it fascinating. I wanted to corral the Fall River police and send a modern-day CSI squad in to cement the evidence once and for all. Not only did a whole "village" come through the house immediately after the bodies were discovered, but all the police tried to take credit for finding evidence - making the chain of possession impossible to really figure out - and the family and various hangers-on remained in the house a few weeks between the murders and Lizzie's arrest. Hmm wonder why they never came up with the dress??? No sealed crime scene there. Many other nuances that made this as compelling as a good 48 Hours Mystery episode - the 1 1/2 hour soliloquy that masqueraded as the judge's instructions to the jury - riddled with bias. (Would any sane person really tell a friend she wanted to get rid of her stepmother and then actually do it 2 days later? Common sense says "no". - to paraphrase) The cheer that went up for Lizzie at the acquital and the closing of doors back in Fall River. Anyway - very interesting if you can stand the Victorian newspaper reporting. (Reading a graphic novel version now - we'll see how that goes)