Monday, November 28, 2005

the usual suspects

Being the only time of the year when most or all of us are together, we usually gather for a picture together. This year was no different.

I snapped this as the line up was forming. Eventually we got somewhat organized and took a few shots. It's my job to run from the tripod to the line up (even if nobody yells, "Red Rover"), so we hope that I was fast enough this year that I got there in time to turn around and smile.

Spa-like? Spa-esque?

Something about the white wicker (faux wicker, actually, made of plastic) and the Adirondack chairs made me feel like I should be walking around in a white robe with terry cloth scuff slippers on, perhaps with a towel around my neck, or perhaps laying on a massage table.

Then again, it doesn't take much for me to think that I should be laying on a massage table.

Oh, Wawona, where the wind comes sweeping 'cross the plains...

The next day, Thanksgiving, those of us staying in the valley headed down to the Wawona Hotel in the southern part of Yosemite Nat'l Park to have dinner with those staying in Wawona. I've never stopped, although when I used to come into Yosemite from SoCal, I would often (usually?) see deer grazing on the golf course in the twilight hours.

I tried to take a picture of the golf course, but couldn't get anything decent. Let's just say that it looked green, and that there were people out there chasing tiny little balls around, like squirrels who lost the nuts that they buried in anticipation of winter.

In addition to the golf course amenities, the Wawona Hotel buildings and grounds have a spa-like feel to them. Like somewhere you might go to take the waters...if you were misinformed, since the only waters there are in the pool during the summer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

rollin', rollin', rollin'

After the junction with 156 to Hollister, we got rolling again. Through the metropolis that is Casa de Fruita, so fast that we didn't take the time to stop at Casa de Coffee, Casa de Wine, or Casa de Petting Zoo (if it's still there). And, we had plenty of fuel, so there was no need to stop at Casa de Gasa.

Then it was on down the hill beside the San Luis Reservoir toward Los Banos, where we stopped to use Los Banos. From then on, we were running under the dark blanket of night, bright with stars in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, up into the Sierra foothills, and on into Yosemite.

missing the forest

Although we had to sit in traffic over Pacheco Pass, it was nice weather and a pretty time of day be sitting there.

And it's not that there aren't forests in California, but I just love these solitary oaks, especially when the light is coming down through the dusk, at first a honey yellow glow, then a roan red across the flanks of the grassy hills.

home again, home again

We made it all the way home, where fall had fallen, although the sun was warmly shining as though summer wasn't quite over.

After a breakfast at Hobee's, Mom picked up Eileen and we headed out for Yosemite. Although we managed to miss most of the airport crowds by flying on Tuesday (and also by flying at 0'dark-thirty), we didn't miss the crowds on the roads by driving out of Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goin' Back to Cali

We're here at National, waiting to board our plane--this plane.

And yes, it does look like it's night time, because it's 5:30 a.m. The alarm went off hours ago at this point. Now we both know what's on NPR when nobody is listening.

Barky was not sure what to do, but willing to go along, until he realized that we were going without him. For as worked up as he gets when we do take him, you'd thin he would have been relieved. We bought him off with a Greenie and split.

We're still not sure what we're doing.

Monday, November 14, 2005

How 'bout those apples?

And the cider was just about the best either of us has ever had. Made fresh, unpasteurized, icy cold, delicious cider on a sunny fall day.

We also picked up a peck of apples, some of which Wifey turned into a pie on Saturday night.

Mmmm. Pie.

Glamorous a movie star, escaping her adoring fans for a drive through the countryside.

It's the small things.

To be precise, it's Mini things.

Through Zipcar, we reserved a Mini Cooper convertible for last Friday, and took it for a spin down Skyline Drive, through Shenandoah National Park, into Charlottesville and then back to DC.

It was a bit cold to keep the top down, although we did that for awhile, which was fun. For most of the ride, we kept the top rolled halfway back, so we could see out the top.

What does it take...? make her smile like this?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day

A beautiful fall day for an election...and what would a victory party be without balloons?

We vote at the local school--one of us going in while the other walks Barky around outside, giving me just enough time to snap this picture.

The party was just getting going by the time we headed back home, but we were there long enough to see some promising results. The results for the Werkheiser race, south of us, were disappointing, but everything up our way was going our way. It's a secure district, though, so that's to be expected. Too bad about Werkheiser, though. We've met him, and both liked him, and he was fighting the good fight in a tough district. Volunteering at Moran's office, we made calls into his district frequently, although it was apparently to no avail.

We happened to be walking out right as Delegate Moran was coming in. We missed seeing him, but talked for a minute with the head of his campaign. We didn't see Jim Turner there, who was the one we dealt with most as volunteers. I'm sure that we'll see him again, however. I'm sure that work on 2006 will start soon. Let's hope that election day turns out to be as beautiful.

A Walk in the Woods

This weekend we headed down to Prince William Forest National Park again for a hike with Barky. We all had a good time (we'll speak for Barky, since he won't speak for himself). The weather was beautiful. Warm enough, but with a cool breeze bringing cascades of leaves down from the trees. It was nice to be back out in the woods again, with nothing to hear but ourselves and the wind--and the snuffling of our dog, chasing scents through the woods, brambles, meadows, etc., vaulting streams in single bound, and impatiently pulling us along the trail.

We stopped by IKEA on the way back, of course, and I think that we even decided on a floor to buy. Turns out that we're going to have to tear out the parquet (original from 1969, and sort of the bane of our existence--although it has at least stopped giving us splinters), so we're having a contractor come out for an estimate this Saturday. We'll know after that what's next, although they estimated that it would take about a week's worth of work to do the whole place, from tearing out to new installation. On one hand, I can't wait to have a new, solid floor--the kind where pieces don't get sucked into the vacuum--on the other hand, it seems daunting, even if we don't do it ourselves. Sort of like moving without going anywhere, since all the furniture will have to be displaced somehow, although they said that they can move it from one side of the room to the other, then back again.

We'll see on Saturday.

If we're in shock after that, you may get more pix of Prince William Forest Nat'l Park next week.

It's rough...

..being the dog here.

Shoes for Jon

He knows who he is.