pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out

06 April 2014

Cherry blossoms. Sort of.


Jefferson Memorial
Washington, D.C.
5 April 2014

Cherry blossoms have their own time frame, and the District has had a rather brutal winter (and spring. We got snowed on last Sunday. One thing you can say about spring in D.C.: you never know what you're going to get). My grandmother died in late March years ago, and when we buried her at Arlington, the cherry blossoms were already finished. It had been a warm winter. This year, they were only getting started at the end of this last week.

I rarely do the tourist thing when I'm in Washington. It never occurs to me with the exception of seeing an exhibition that interests me at one of the museums. But the spouse and daughter have spent far less time there, so I try to accommodate the odd amusement when they are along. This year, I booked a cherry blossom cruise.

California people associate the wind with warm. My kids grew up with Santa Anas. The cold, cutting wind off the Potomac just doesn't register, despite me saying repeatedly, "Take a coat." They decided to sit with me on the open deck, even though I told them, "You will probably want to stay below."

So the daughter huddled against me while I tried to take photos. Not that there was much to take photos of, just the faintest frosting of white and pink on the trees. Later in the afternoon, the daughter and I made the hike from Georgetown to the Tidal Basin, where a few trees were giving it their best shot.

It's supposed to rain this week. Those poor flowers do not have a chance.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000. Yes, the camera finally made it out of the box! I did say March, didn't I? And read the manual? No. Boy, does it show.

01 April 2014

Only a memory

 
Williamsburg, Virginia
1 April 2014

I visited this place when I was 14, and on Tuesday, walked unerringly back to this spot, a place that has haunted me since I was there all those years ago. That I remembered the precise location and how I arrived there astonished me.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

26 March 2014

Big, puffy clouds

 
Where else?
26 March 2014
 
The county and every city for miles has opted to tear up all the roads (again. This is an ongoing theme in my life). Helpfully, a water main near the daughter's school ruptured last night, and the result was traffic backed up for miles. No one saw fit to tell us about this until 3:30 this afternoon, at which point, I was already sitting in the for miles back up. The spouse and daughter had already endured the 45 minute version early this morning.
 
In the morning, the drive is enlivened by every child for miles heading off to school, and we see 100 or so wandering up the road, singly and in packs. This morning, one small girl took advantage of a captive audience and spent her walk up the thoroughfare waving to all the cars. Naturally, she was largely ignored.  But the daughter, being the daughter, waved cheerfully back to the small girl, which caused the girl to stop in her tracks.
 
"Oh!" she cried, looking at the daughter. "You're pretty!"
 
And that pretty much made the daughter's day, despite nearly being late for school.
 
The world needs more small girls who wave at cars, and older girls who wave back at them.
 
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

15 March 2014

Times change

 
Starbucks
CSU Long Beach Library
Long Beach, California
15 March 2014
 
First of all, yes, the out-of-focus iPhone apparently is a function of helpful Apple's iOS7. I knew there was a reason why it took me months to downgrade update my phone. I haven't even checked my iPad. It's just too depressing.
 
(No, I'm not going to 7.1 anytime soon. And I'm so annoyed, I'll likely just get an Android for my next phone.)
 
Second, back when I was in college, we spent all of our time trying to throw people with food and drinks out of the library. Okay, my alma mater did have one of those disgusting 70s coffee machines in the basement--you know, the giant things that drop a cup and then squirt some simulacrum of coffee into it, if it doesn't miss altogether--and I sadly drank more of that stuff than you can shake a stick at (where did that turn of phrase come from? ). But still. Today, I sat in a Starbucks in a library waiting for the daughter to finish the research she was doing for a project.

Not unwelcome under the circumstances. But very strange.
 
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. Yes, thank you, I know I have a new camera I haven't even used yet. But I got the iPhone in part so I wouldn't have to carry a point and shoot. So much for that.

12 March 2014

Sunglasses all the way

 
Santa Ana, California
10 March 2014
 
Time change. I resent losing an hour, but I appreciate driving in daylight.
 
And I am convinced that iOS7 has wrecked the camera.
 
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.

11 March 2014

Waiting


Santa Ana, California
11 March 2014

The daughter was filming late tonight, and I sat and waited.

I wait.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4. I am convinced that iOS 7 has borked my camera lens.

08 March 2014

From the 2


Looking west from Hwy 2
8 March 2014

On the drive home tonight, the son asked that we stop at our alma mater. So we drove down into Los Angeles, parked and commenced a brief trip down memory lane.

The spouse and I didn't really know each other well when we were in college, but we bumped into one another because of mutual friends. He is older than I am, so graduated before me, and I lived off campus most of my academic career, so was less involved in campus life and happily, didn't ever visit the dining hall after freshman year. Nonetheless, we met again a few years after I'd graduated, and eventually, we married in the campus chapel.

I worked in the library, and the spouse spent most of his college life in the building that housed the science labs, but for us both, every corner of campus carries a remembrance of things past. We peeked in windows and laughed about shows we'd seen in the college theater. Reminisced about seeing Patrick Stewart in the audience when we went to see a Gilbert & Sullivan production in the outdoor amphitheater. I pointed out the building where I was got stuck in an elevator, and we went to the place where I fell down a flight of stairs. The stairs are gone now, weirdly, erased from the hillside, though they are marked indelibly on my spine.

We took the kids past various residence halls in which we'd resided, and told stories. And we laughed.

For the most part, I enjoyed my college years. They weren't easy by any stretch. I came from a poor family, so I worked many hours while taking a full class load, which didn't particularly bother me. On the contrary, I was really proud of what I accomplished. But when college was done, I was ready to move on.

Even while we walked around campus, and I remembered the moments when I was flooded with that curious sense of "You Are Here," I felt a strange disconnect and the certainty that I really had moved on, decades ago. It's a recognizable piece of my past, a place that motivated me tremendously, but it is, quite firmly, in the past.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone4.