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Friday, July 30, 2010

San Francisco Here We Come

.... right back where we started from" My family always sang that song as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. We visited this city a lot as I was growing up and I continued to come to San Francisco on my own. I thought someday I would live here, I suppose. It still thrills me to see a highway sign saying San Francisco and it still thrills me to cross either of the bridges into the city. Yesterday I came in on the Bay Bridge (East Bay freeway traffic does not thrill me) and the sun had burned through the fog, which you could see hugging the coastline. This is very typical weather in the city - warm jackets are always advised.
I began traveling by myself during middle school. I would take the Greyhound down 101 to Santa Rosa, where my sister lived. My parents were very naive about what kind of folks were on buses or in bus depots along the way. I did not clue them in, knowing that they would have stopped those trips altogether. When Nancy moved to Sacramento, I had to change buses in San Francisco and my cousin lived there so I would stay a night or two in SF before going on. My parents were also naive about my cousin's lifestyle and, again, I did not share. Once I got my license, I was driving up and down 101 with ease and my love of the road trip was set for life.
This particular visit to SF was only for one night and I used Priceline to bid blind for a hotel. I was trying to get close to 5th and Mission, where James Graham, a dance partner of Katy's would be performing at the SF Mint. Well, I totally scored. I ended up across the street and can see the Mint from my window! Praise to the universe. It is the Pickwick Hotel, old and charming and a block from the turnaround for the Powell St Cable Car. If I was staying, I would be able to walk to SF MOMA, a really fine art museum.
Travelin Light, the performance that I attended in the Mint, was wonderful. We first went down to the basement and they had the dancers in tableaus in all of these vaults. When the show started, we were taken up to our "area" where there were bleacher seats. I think we moved through 5 areas altogether and so we got to see a lot of the building as we watched the performances. The pieces had a loose theme of wealth and poverty and the dancers were wonderful. Joe Goode is the choreographer and Jay Cloidt the composer. James told me afterwards that the dancers were given a lot of freedom in the creation of the pieces. It really was so very good. Through Katy, I have learned to love modern dance and can appreciate that I was witnessing something very special.
But, I must say goodbye to the city and head up Hwy 101 to Eureka and Crescent City. I have changed the blog slide show to North Coast shots from a few years back. You'll see the house I grew up in on the beach and the river where I learned to swim. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Music On the Road and Kiva Beach, Lake Tahoe

What am I listening to as I travel, you ask? The Jetta came with SiriusXM, I have a 6-CD changer, AM and FM and and an iPod connection that charges it while it plays. Need I say more? The hard part is choosing and the easiest choice is satellite radio. I have 24 presets and I motivate around them a lot, although The Loft is my absolute fave. On that station I kept hearing this new song from Marc Cohn. Well, it's a cover actually, from the Dead.... New Speedway Boogie with Jim Lauderdale, who I am totally a crazy fan for. So then I'm in a Starbucks in Tahoe and there's Cohn's CD..... all of the songs are from 1970 and, naturally, I bought it. Pretty darn good, although Speedway Boogie sort of turned out to be different from everything else and Lauderdale is only on that cut.
In Nashville, I visited Ernest Tubb's Record Shop and picked up some bargain bin oldies of Emmy Lou, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and John Hartford. I'm pretty sure we don't have them at home but Bill buys so many CD's I may have a double.
In Memphis I got King & Queen, a duet album of Otis Redding and Carla Thomas and some very nice, young ladies gave me free CD's at the Folk Alliance center - to my surprise, a friend from Eugene was on it!
I started out the trip with one CD: Darrell Scott's Crooked Road. I saw him at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and told him I drove the Crooked Road of SW Virginia listening to The Crooked Road and it was transcendent. He signed my TShirt that I had gotten for Bill when I got Scott's CD but it fit me.
that Buster guy from NYC has a really ecelctic show on The Loft on Sundays and I heard Mahler's Death In Venice and Neil Young's Fork In the Road back to back. I was just driving into a big, black thunderstorm near Flagstaff. Again, transcendent.
Hope all of you are listening to some good sounds. My next post will be from San Francisco, where I am attending Travelin' Light, a dance performance in the SF Mint that one of Katy's friends is performing in. I scored a hotel on Priceline that is right across the street. Sweet.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm attaching a photo to this post that should have been with the previous onebut, that's OK, because I'll be at the same spot everyday I'm in Tahoe.

I have come to the point in my annual trip out West where it gets tricky. It takes my being in Tahoe or Crescent City or Eugene for a few days and then I am so wanting to move back. I see cute, little houses for sale (anyone interested here in Tahoe - I've found a really sweet deal) and shop at really great grocery stores that are not Whole Foods. I begin to have a longing that doesn't go away until sometime in October when I am far too busy to think about it and by December I am back to loving my 100-yr-old house on Capitol Hill and all of the friends that I made over the past 8 years. I think it's official that I lead a bi-coastal life and this year I just filled it in a bit.

I talk to Bill every day, maybe twice and exchange messages with lots of friends and all of that LOVE ENERGY just fills up my heart. Now it's time to head to Bill's favorite tacqueria and bring lunch back to Don and Ellen at the house. I'm starting to get into my summer novel: Infinite Jest. Anyone out there read it? I could use a Dummy's Guide. I do have a companion book with an interview with David Foster Wallace that gives me some kind of sense of who this wild man was. It's kind of like reading Proust but sort of sci-fi.

If you are reading this blog, post a comment. I do not wish it to be in vain.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This house, This home

I am writing from the Alpina Cafe, my coffee shop of choice in South Lake Tahoe for many years since my in-laws have no internet at their home, which is somewhat remote from the tourist bustle of the south shore. We drive over the mountain to Fallen Leaf Lake and hike in to a "secret" beach to swim. Didn't see another soul yesterday. We sit on their deck and watch the thunderheads form over the mountain peaks. It is the hottest I can remember - Don says since 1985. Ah, yes, the summer I was here with baby Maggie.
I think Bill brought me to meet his sister, Ellen, in 1974. We lived in Carson City the summer of '76, when he had a temporary job with BLM. That was the year Ellen laid the foundation for her house. We watched it being built and came often to stay over the years, especially when we lived in Bishop, CA, just down the Sierra skyline. Amazing country that I have grown to love so much; the Sierra Juniper, the granite, the atmosphere of 7,000 feet.
Maggie and Katy grew up coming to that home and Don and Ellen are their second parents. When the house was totally destroyed in the Angora Ridge fire in 2007, we were all emotionally devastated. I came to stay for a few weeks as they moved into a rental nearby and tried to make sense of a life with everything they owned gone. Bill's mother was living down in the Carson Valley at that time.
The next summer I came to help with hospice for Ellenor in the same, rented home but now a new home was rising out of the ashes and the past two summers I have been staying back on the same property looking at a very different landscape but knowing that Don and Ellen are healing and life moves on for us all.
I will be in Tahoe until next Thursday when I am attending a dance performance in San Francisco that one of Katy's friends is a part of and then I am off the the North Coast - the true home - via Hwy 101. I just can't put all of my experiences in the past month into this blog but I am also writing in a travel diary so, somewhere along the way, I will give you the condensed version.
Hope you are all enjoying the full moon wherever you are.