Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Finds - My Lovie

Valentine's simplified. That was our goal three years ago when Mr. P and I agreed to exchange only chocolates. In the midst of a a holiday and special occasion whirlwind of Christmas>>Anniversary>>Valentine's>>My Birthday, the pressure for a constant stream of thoughtful gifts took all the fun out of giving and receiving. Simplifying our Valentine exchange has alleviated the stress and we've had sweet Valentine success that we both look forward to.

Here's my recipe for a relaxed Valentine's at home. TGIV!


L to R:
If Only - Constellation Chocolate Collection (special offering for a cause)
Alton Brown - Pan Seared Rib Eye

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recent Muni Moments

I'm currently shooting a 30 part instagram series that I'm tagging #onmycommute. I snapped this last night on the 49 inbound and I love it for so many reasons - beautiful city hall, the reflection in the window, the pride lights. It was a little bit of magic after a long day and a stressful bus commute.


Then today, I had a little afternoon palette cleanser fun with these Ryan Gosling earrings sighted on Muni.


Photo via Muni Diaries, meme take by me.

I've got a big public transportation story to write, but it deserves a post all its own. To whet your appetite, it's called A Tale of Two Kisses. :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

On Being Cool and Being on Facebook

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Facebook, the social media site formerly known as The Facebook. If you were a college student back then, you might remember a young crop of knock-offs sprouting from the fertile soil of college students with high speed Ethernet connections. Wow, so fast. Within weeks of The Facebook going live, our little school IT administrators were putting the kibosh on "The Bucknell Facebook," and acting crotchety about privacy rights.

A week or two after that I was on the phone with Mark Zuckerburg interviewing him for a newspaper article on his site. I was trying to sort out who exactly invented the idea of a facebook and what it all meant. If I could find the article buried deep in my box of memories two feet deep in the linen closet, I could tell you if we were even using the term "social network" back then. I doubt it.

I had no idea who I was talking to. I had no idea the site was going global. I had no idea that in 10 years, I would be loathing its very existence with every baby announcement, tom-fool-look-at-me status and incessant jibber jabber. I had no idea that I would be living a stone's throw from Zuckerburg in a city forever changed by its invention.

I joined Facebook the day I returned to campus for my senior year, Aug. 26, 2004. Bucknell was maybe the 30th school or so the site was released to. It felt prestigious. It felt cool. And for a little less than a year, it was both.

Melinda - I am already your friend! You show up on my list and I see myself on yours...singletons rock!
Like · 
The first thing ever written on my wall.

I spent that year silently observing, stalking and curating a clever profile. It was the new phone hang-up without the repercussions that caller-id had brought about. I checked out and was (hopefully) checked out. I was soiling the exclusive Ivy-league waters, which I didn't realize until I felt the waters had been soiled by other, lesser schools. Schools without any ivy on their campuses whatsoever. Hrmph.

Photo: But it was the perfect ending to a fantastic weekend!
My first picture posted to Facebook in 2007 (having a digital camera was a big deal!)

For the past 9 years, Facebook and my relationship has been complicated. Kids I used to babysit friended me. There was mama drama when our mother's joined. It became one big b*tch-fest married to one big green eyed monster. People went on fasts and gave it up for lent. What was once an alternative to MySpace became MySpace, complete with half-clad, slutty bathroom mirror selfies that I have to manually hide in my feed. In essence, the Salon became the barber shop. It lost it's cool.

Yet, I still check my feed almost daily. I've learned of marriages, babies and deaths. It is my personalized, local newspaper without the newsprint fingertips. There's rallying around the causes I hold most dear like first steps, miraculous recoveries and adopted puppies. My life unfolds over my timeline as I made my relationship Facebook Official and photos of us hoisted in the air during the Hava Nagila were posted hours after my wedding.

No, it's no longer cool. But Facebook is a remnant of the last summer of my youth. I think about it nostalgically, remembering the newness and possibilities. My timeline reflects a life I never would have predicted, and now can't imagine any other way.


10 years and we've both come a long way.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Exterior Window Washing

What Didn't Work

Buying an extender arm, outfitting it with a squeegee, using window spray, trying to clean on a cold day, trying to hang out from the inside of the house, having 3 spectators make "suggestions"


What Did Work

Hiring housekeepers with vintage window experience who walked in, tilted the windows in and had them clean in 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Urban Memorial Garden

While they planted, I supervised and remembered. Our urban beautification project and the anniversary of my father-in-law's passing crossed in time. To plant living things and nurture them while they take root is an act of patience and love. As it turns out, so is recalling the memories. 

It takes patience with yourself that the grief is not past. I read a book that said it takes 3 years to move through the grief process for an unexpected death. I more recently read Anne Lamott's Stitches and I think I agree with her. You never get over it. It's a visitor that can come unexpected and sometimes doesn't visit as frequently, but you're never quite rid of him.


It takes love to actively engage in the memories despite the pain. Love and beauty intertwine in whispers of faint laughter and new buds struggling to open. I find it difficult to straddle time this way. To recall the past and keep the memory alive, while also looking straight into a future where those memories will never be repeated or experienced again in the present.


We didn't set out to plant a memorial garden, but in the afternoon of togetherness, that's what it became to me. The foliage and flowers have bloomed, re-bloomed and some fallen away. When I step past it on my way to work each morning, I think of it as Harry's garden. And I think I would like to spend some time there, fortifying the memories.

WeVerb 2014 - Fortify
I'm loosely participating in WeVerb 2014 as I catch up on several saved posts and reflect on last year! Join in the fun: http://www.weverb14.com/

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Arroya Seco Tubing Adventure

A friend of a friend suggested a tubing adventure. Adventure is our middle name we all collectively said. So we found ourselves equipped with Wal-mart inflatable chairs and two Gatorades each. The friend of the friend had given careful instructions on the type of chair and size of Gatorade. We began the day intrepidly, darting up the fire truck path, deep into Los Padres National Forest, along the Arroya Seco river.


The Gatorade, which at first had seemed like overkill, was quickly drained as we trekked to the drop-in point. Dipping into the promised pools motivated every step.


It was all fun and games in the first large pool. Dogs splashed nearby and teenagers, with less common-sense than us, leaped from the surrounding cliffs, showing-off for the girls below. Winded, breathless, we filled our chairs until we nearly fainted. It took an hour to recover.

Of course, it wasn't quite the adventure we had envisioned. Afterall, nearly everything we had done so far could have been done at the public pool at the YMCA. We followed the river, anxious to happen upon a waterfall.

We picked our way through shallow, moss-covered river beds with all but the most sure-footed of us landing upon our tushies. The round, smooth river stones somehow always transformed to hazardous jags right where we landed. Just ahead, there must be a pool, or some fun. And there was. Secret hideaways, with no one for miles. Rapids that tested our resolve. Deep, dark waters hid unknown fearsome creatures that the ophidiophobic among us was certain were nipping at his feet.

We rested in other pools, the careful stepping along the river, the diminishing Gatorade reserves and the zapping strength of the sun, all taking their toll. The hours passed and our uncertainty grew. Where did the friend of a friend say the exit point was? Did this bend look like it could be the bend?



Paddling. Searching. Adventuring. Unlike the amusement park, you couldn't just get off the ride. We pressed on until the way became clear. Dragging our wet bodies up the steep and dusty ridge, eroded over centuries of the Arroyo Seco biting down upon it, we saw the last obstacle. A rope lay in front me, the top grounded 10 feet above. The only thing between me and the civilization of the car loaded with Gatorade reserves was this bit of climbing. I wish I could say it was without trembling, but my knees were knocking every step. Hand over hand I pulled, unable to close my eyes to the height and control the fear of falling.



Back at the car, we commiserated. It was a bit more adventure than perhaps we could handle. Masking our disappointment with exclamations of "We're too old for this shit!", we resorted to comedic relief. Later at the hotel, under the 1970s original motorcycle artwork, we recounted the fun and the terror. We nursed our bruised feet, our sunburned bellies and wounded pride.


WeVerb 2014 - Remember
I'm loosely participating in WeVerb 2014 as I catch up on several saved posts and reflect on last year! Join in the fun: http://www.weverb14.com/

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bernalgrams - Reflecting on 2013

Sometime late in the summer, I started a 30 day photography project that I had been ruminating about all year. I was working from home and often found myself marveling at the variations of the same scene from my kitchen window. Bernal Hill loomed in the back ground in the morning when I started the coffee maker. Through the coffee maker steam when I got another cup. Behind a thick veil of summery fog. Doused in the blue twighlight. Bespecked by flurries of clouds. In the dawn, while the street lamps still shone.


I concluded my project after a guestimated and non-consecutive 30 days. Above you can see the slighter variation and below you can see some of my favorites.


I'd like to do another series, perhaps on my commute. Follow me @palindromeathome on Instagram to follow along! #onceadaybernalhill #frommykitcehnwindow

WeVerb 2014 - Capture
I'm loosely participating in WeVerb 2014 as I catch up on several saved posts and reflect on last year! Join in the fun: http://www.weverb14.com/