Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 87: Fails

Today for my One New Thing I am going to post four photograph fails for all the world to see. But first, I took so many pictures yesterday, and that blog got way too long, so I just ended it. But the day wasn’t over! So I’m going to indulge myself and finish out yesterday today.

My friend and I went to the Cliff House in San Francisco for drinks and snacks after a long day hiking and beaching. 

I’ve been there before, so I won’t focus on the restaurant except to say that, while the views are absolutely fantastic, I think the attitude of the staff is snotty, and the food does not justify either the attitude or the price. I’ve been there three times now, and I’ve felt the same way every time. Still, we were in the mood to be happy anyway. A couple sat near us who clearly needed their picture taken, so I offered to do the honors. We got to talking with them and had so much fun! They were a little older than we are; he is Australian and she’s British. They met this past New Year’s Eve at a party in London and have just meet up again, on purpose, in California. They are so happy, and truly delightful. They were really into each other, and at the same time they were eager to hear our stories and get to know us a bit.
However, we had more walking to do, and sunset was coming, so we headed off down the steep hill to the old bathhouses and the cave below (which I hadn’t done before). It was amazing, how many wildflowers were in full and riotous bloom! I stopped for a wild nasturtium salad on the way down. It isn’t my favorite snack, but I believe in the amazing subtle nutrition of flowers, so I indulged. Happily, these were nice and honey-sweet on top of their traditional peppery bite.
This area is so fascinating. These used to be baths, and there is the cave beside them, and it was just coming into the mistiness of evening and there were plenty of people around, but it still all felt muted. We wandered around for a while, then headed back up to the top. To our great pleasure, we encountered our new friends again, and had another fun visit. All in all, we had a most satisfying day.

And now at last, for Day 87, here are my “fails.” They’re not too bad, and they’re kinda fun.
And my favorite fail, taken yesterday at the Cliff House:

Have you done something new today?

Days 85 & 86: Dandelion Burdock Soda & Pacifica Beach

When I started this One New Thing adventure at the beginning of this year, I was in a deep rut, neither working nor working on anything, still healing, bored and needing some real life change. Now after almost three months, I am immersed in an intensive five month course for social entrepreneurs, have added new friends to my life, and am committed to spending quality time every day in meditation and tapping. I blog three to four times every week. I’m in the midst of getting two books ready for publication and I’ve started writing the next one. In addition, I am newly committed to a different way of living, to doing things that I enjoy, to finding ways to celebrate this precious life I’ve been given, and to share that with others. Oh, yeah, and doing One New Thing every day.
I intend to keep doing New Things. However there may be some changes. A few days ago I went to World Market and stocked up on food and drinks I’ve never tried before, because honestly? I no longer have the mental or emotional energy to spend all day every day thinking about what New Thing I’m going to do. And there may come a day when I choose not to insist on doing one every single day. I hope that doesn’t happen, but if this becomes more of a consistent drain than an adventure, I’ll choose to focus on the things that will improve my life, just as I chose when I started this.
Having said that, let me introduce you to Fentiman’s. On Day 85 I tried Dandelion  & Burdock soda, a “fermented botanical drink.” Okay that is never going to be on my favorite drink list! Our Man about the House seemed pretty meh about it, and Beth really liked it. I cannot isolate what it tasted like to me. There is a back taste of black licorice (anise), and an odd powdery taste like bubblegum. I can’t do any better than that at isolating the flavors, even though it has both pear juice and ginger in it (and you’d think if it had ginger in it, I of all people would be able to taste it!) It wasn’t a very sweet drink. And that’s the best I can do to describe it. Strange, very strange stuff. I’m really glad I tried it, though, ’cause now I’ll never have to drink it again!

Prepare for PICTURES! Yesterday, day 86, my friend and I headed to Pacifica Beach for my ONT. We’d heard about it from a mutual friend who loves it there. It’s up close to South San Francisco, and in case the location isn’t enough of a draw, right across the highway is Gorilla BBQ. Mapquest, GPS and we all had a little bit of a struggle getting us to the right place; there’s the city Pacifica, and we went there first (oops!), instead of the Beach we were aiming for. 
It was a good start to our day, though. There’s a great big long pier we walked out on, and the ocean was just a roarin’ all around: it was quite exciting. Being way out on the pier, I got some good pictures of the backs of waves: never did that before! A lot of the pictures look very similar; that’s me doing my best to follow a wave with my camera. 
By the time we were done hanging out in actual Pacifica, we were definitely ready for lunch. We asked a nearby fisherman for directions for Gorilla BBQ, and off we went. We barely got lost again at all! Hmmm, why does no one think to mention it isn’t a building but a bright red railroad car? Don’t you think that might help?
We got there at 11:44; they don’t open till noon. No problem, there’s a vintage shop in the tiny building on the backside of Gorilla BBQ. I fell in love with a – get this! – burnt orange! fleece jacket. This is not a color that I ever would have bought before, but I just had to have it. So I paid the exorbitant price of $3.50 and took my new treasure with me. (By the way, it really is burnt orange, not red!)
Another thing no one mentioned: this BBQ joint has no seating. There’s a tiny kitchen, an ordering counter, and waiting space for about 5 crowded people. Also, no bathroom. Not even a hand-washing sink! Okay, we can deal. There was an area behind, up a steep hill and under some trees, where there were tables and chairs set out. We trekked up there, but the chairs were wet. So we hauled our bbq back down the hill, across the highway and into the park that would, supposedly, eventually lead us to the beach.
Oh, poor us! Look where we got stuck eating!
Our assumption was that we were just a short walk away from the beach. Oh, how the Universe must have been laughing!
We did some serious climbing! Rocky, shaley ground, scrub grass, beautiful wildflowers, a dance of sun and shade – it was marvelous! Finally we made it to the top.
Well, all this driving and walking and driving and eating and hiking and we still hadn’t made it to a beach that we could, you know, walk on! So, back to the car. My friend knew of a place, and if we timed things just right, after we went there, we could go to the Cliff House for cocktails and snacks while we waited for rush hour traffic to subside. But, um, did I mention that in order to get to this beach, not only did we have to drive some more, but we had another long walk ahead of us? At least we got some nice glimpses of the ocean while we walked.
There is one One New Thing we encountered yesterday that I will NOT be doing, much as I enjoy watching someone else do it:
And, finally, WE MADE IT TO THE BEACH!!!
<<< —  Check this out! The tide rolls away, and we’re standing on the freshly-wet sand, when I see this beautiful, perfect Celtic looking design on the just-washed sand. I look closer, and realize that the design is being made as I watch! See that little bump in the middle of the lower right circles? Some kind of critter was in there, moving around and making this totally fascinating design. Ahhh, Mother Nature, you are so divinely wonderful!

Have you done something new today?

Days 82, 83 & 84: Painting Hives, Blue Hawaiian & Mystery Walk

Day 82: Painting (and painting, and painting!) bee hives
Holy kamoley, these hives have taken forEVER! However, I justify using them as another ONT because I went from being a first-timer as a very assistant builder of hives to a first-timer as Chief (and virtually only) painter of hives. That little job alone took me about sixteen hours! However, I prevailed! The painting is DONE!!! The hives are, except for one tedious task that has been offloaded I mean assigned to Beth, are DONE! And not a moment too soon: our 9000 or so new best friends arrive Saturday.
These two days I’ve done a ton of kneeling, squatting, sitting on the ground and heaving myself painfully back up. My Physical therapy team in Michigan (you know, the aggressive ones?) might not have been too thrilled with me. I was concerned that I’d pay big time, but it was my job, and it had to be done. And you know what? My hip and knee feel better today than they have, well, maybe since I fell off that ladder last May! (We won’t mention my back, my shoulders, my quads and hamstrings. . .  my knee and hip are what’s important here!)

Last night, day 83, after our Man about the House (MatH) and I finally finished work on the hives, I had zero energy or inspiration for my One New Thing. I was about to despair when I had a brilliant idea. Our MatH and I would go out for burgers, then we’d go into a bar, walk up to the bar tender and I’d say: make me something – anything – as long as I’ve never had it before. And that’s what I did. He barely hesitated, checked to make sure I’d never had a Blue Hawaiian, and BAM! A couple kinds of rum, curacao and some pineapple juice later, and I’ve got a sweet, fruity drink. Now I don’t really go for sweet fruity drinks, but it was out of my hands. And it was delicious: just the right pick me up for that moment.

Days 80 & 81: Gluten-free Muesli & Celeriac

Beth is away for the weekend, and our Man about the House is gone all day, so I’ve got the place to myself: FREE AT LAST! Now I can do all those things I need solitude to do, like for example rewrite the ending to Deeper than the Deep Blue Sea, the coming-much-sooner-than-I’d-anticipated sequel to Left Turn at Cloud 9. But am I doing them? Noooo. Instead I’ve read a lot, and I’ve snacked a lot on yesterday’s ONT (I’ll get to that… ). And when I really started to feel guilty about wasting this precious opportunity, I pulled out the big procrastination guns: I did a project that I’ve been procrastinating much longer, since Christmas in fact! One of Beth’s presents was a beautiful blue shirt that I promised to paint for her… and hadn’t yet. And while I was at it, Gee whiz, I might as well paint the two I got for myself at the same time, right? Right!
I know this isn’t technically an ONT, but these completed shirts are new, and I had fun, so I decided to share.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’m ready to talk about yesterdays One New Thing: I made Gluten-free Toasted Muesli, another online recipe. I hesitate to mention how expensive this was to make (I had to buy almost all of the many ingredients). After all, I now have ingredients for several more batches, which offsets the initial investment, right? It was steady working for about 45 minutes to put the recipe together, then it was supposed to bake for 20 minutes. I must have done something wrong, because I had to cook it for more than twice that, and it never did get the dry and crunchy texture I anticipated. It’s sitting in its bag as I write, sticking together into a great big clump. But you know what? I don’t even mind, it is that good! I had it for breakfast with almond milk (which I don’t actually like), and have snacked on it all day. Yummy!
Next time I make it, I will make one little ingredient adjustment. Instead of regular pistachios, I’ll use the DEEEELicious new Trader Joe’s salt and pepper pistachios. They have a serious peppery bite and are very salty. The Muesli is nice and sweet, so I think the addition of salty and hot will skyrocket this recipe from really good to absolutely fantastic. By the way, this has no added sugar, though it has some honey. There’s plenty of sweetness from dates, raisins, apricots and cranberries. I could probably cut the honey and never miss it. Oh, and there was a bonus ONT with this recipe, because I had to quarter it and convert it from grams to cups. Hmmm, maybe that’s where my little mistake happened. . . .

Today I tried a completely new-to-me food, celeriac, also known as celery root. This is the root of actual celery, but not the kind of celery we’re used to buying at the grocery store. This kind is grown specifically for the root. As you can see, it’s pretty scary looking, which might be why I’ve never tried it before (that and the fact that I had no idea what to do with it). But my buddy Geoff  said it’s delicious, so I decided to go ahead. It wasn’t as hard to peel as I thought it would be; its much softer that I anticipated. Also it cooked more quickly. 
My intention was to saute this bad boy, then put it in chicken soup for my supper. But it was so tasty, instead I ate it by itself with just a little butter and salt. But the more I ate it, the less I loved it. It’s creamy like a parsnip, in fact it kind of reminds me of parsnip in the taste, too. It isn’t quite as sweet. And yes, there is a bit of celery taste.
As it cooled in my bowl , it seemed unable to make up it’s mind: it was not quite sweet, not quite sour, mostly soft but with some denser bites. I really did enjoy it at first, but much of it will go back to plan A, and end up in the soup. Which, after all that muesli and the 1/3 bowl of celeriac, will probably be tomorrow’s dinner.

Have you done something new today?

Day 78 & 79: Domaine de Canton & Healing Touch

Day 78, and I was thinking that I hadn’t done anything ginger for One New Thing in quite a while.  I haven’t shared all the ginger ales and ginger beers I’ve tried this year because it started to seem a tad repetitious. Second to my best of the best, Wild Ginger from back in Michigan, my favorite so far is Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. But I was ready to up my game, so I headed off to Bev Mo (Beverages and More, for those of you who don’t live in these here parts) to see if I couldn’t find a nice ginger liqueur. I’d been eyeballing Domaine de Canton for a while, and I checked online for other options, but nothing else that looked really good was available around here, so D de C it was.
The thing I’m really looking for in anything ginger is a lot of heat and a tiny bit of sweet. Most ginger brews I’ve encountered are just the opposite. And that is a big spoiler for one of my favorite drinks, a Moscow mule: Ginger ale, lime and vodka. Without the right ginger ale, it just doesn’t work. So I thought maybe I could create one by coming at it differently. But first, what does the D de C taste like alone? . . . Oh, nice! The liqueur adds heat to the ginger, it’s a tad syrupy but I can work with that, and it’s got a nice rich flavor. Now for the real test. I use the Fever-tree, add sparkling water to cut the sweet from the D de C, and hard squeeze a lime quarter, and oh, well, gee, YUM! That’ll do!

Today was full of new things! It was my first real drive in my new-to-me van; I drove an hour north to Fairfield to meet a new friend, Lane. She’s taking the same online course I’m taking, and we’ve buddied up. We met at Kinder’s Deli, where I’ve never eaten before. It was quite good, and we got to sit out in the gorgeous sunshine and soak up lots of vitamin D while we ate and visited. And then, the big One New Thing, she gave me a Healing Touch session. What is Healing Touch? I’m glad you asked! According to Healing Touch International,
its “a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy. Gentle touch assists in balancing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healing Touch works with your energy field to support your natural ability to heal.  It is safe for all ages and works in harmony with standard medical care.” I’ve had energy work done on numerous occasions. I even do it on myself regularly, both tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine (which I used to heal myself of chronic clinical depression five years ago). I continue to get great benefits in physical health and emotional breakthroughs. Even so, it still seems a little weird, especially when someone does it to you.

For Healing Touch, you lie fully dressed on a massage table, and the practitioner touches you gently, or moves her hands over you, and I’m not sure what all else because I close my eyes and zone out a lot. The practitioner is checking out the client’s energies, which is kind of like checking out the body’s electrical systems. Then they move energy around if necessary… you know, I still don’t really understand how it works, and I’m not always comfortable with it. But the fact is, stuff happens. For example, every time she did stuff around my head, the muscles inside my right knee started twitching in a weird way. And it isn’t like my knee ever twitches like that any other time: it doesn’t. So something is happening. She told me the energy below my right knee was very sluggish, unlike on my left. That wasn’t too surprising, considering my injury. But what was surprising is that’s an improvement over what I was told four years ago when I had some energy work done by a teacher in my massage school: at that time, he told me it wasn’t moving at all! Interesting coincidence, since I’d totally forgotten about that previous session.

I think the body is far more interesting and complex than medical science would have us believe. It is full of mysteries, and the physical part of it is a mere fraction of the whole. Anything I can do to facilitate my whole system running well, I’m in favor of. Even if it does seem odd. After the session, I felt great. I was relaxed and full of energy and laughter, and a headache that’s bothered me for days had almost disappeared. And now that I’m thinking about it, I realize that my hip and knee feel a lot looser than they did earlier – my hip doesn’t appreciate long drives, and it was really bothering me before the session. I like that! And I had a wonderful time with a smart and fun new friend. All in all, a great day!

Have you done something new today?

Day 77: Morgan Territory Regional Preserve

It’s a hiking day in the world of One New Things, so I asked my friend Scottish John for a new place to hike. He pointed me in the total opposite direction from what I was expecting: North East, out past Livermore about 35 minutes, way out into the country, to Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. Had I ever heard of it? No. Was it fabulous? Yes! But first, we had to get there. The directions were simple enough, but neither Scottish John nor Mapquest mentioned the 5 miles of twisty, turny, ONE LANE road there at the end!
Before we got to that little surprise, though, there were other surprises that I enjoyed a bit more. First off, it is really a beautiful drive. We may be in a drought, but we’ve had enough rain that the hills are gorgeous and green, which I love so much! And as we drove along all this verdant beauty, I spied something I haven’t seen around here before: donkeys! I pulled over, jumped out of the van and headed across the road, leaving Beth behind.
And just as if I was the main attraction, those beauties headed for me at a skittish run, determined for sure, but shying away sharply if I moved, spoke or breathed. Friend #1 got over his nerves quickly enough, and Friend #2 was right behind. 
Bye Bye, boys! We were off, back on our adventure. And we finally made it to our destination.
Here are the views just from the parking lot.
We barely scratched the surface of this place. We were there for an hour, and it was so beautiful! A lot of up and down, woods and rocks and flowers and fantasmical trees – it was great! And have you ever seen manzanita trees? They have limbs like muscley arms, smooth and knotted and deep red. I love them!
. . . but back to the rest of the hike. . . .
We will definitely go back to this place. We’ll pack a lunch, and give ourselves a lot more time – maybe all day. There are tons more hills and woods and flowers and fields to see in this big wilderness area. Can’t wait! And the drive home was gorgeous – all that green. Beth did a fine job taking pictures out the window of my moving van! What a fun afternoon adventure.

Have you done something new today?

Days 75 & 76: Home Delivery Indian & Suiting up for Bees

Yesterday was a BUSY day! So when a friend I haven’t seen in a long time suggested I visit and we get home delivery Indian food, it looked like a great way to get my One New Thing for day 75. First off, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten from any restaurant in Union City before, let alone a highly rated Indian restaurant that delivers! And there was sure to be something on the menu that I hadn’t had before.
Sure enough, Favorite Indian Restaurant had several new things for me to choose from. I decided on Tandoori mixed grill, because not only did it sound delicious, but it had both shrimp and lamb in it, neither of which I’ve ever had Indian-style before. Oh, my, it was so good! Some of the meat had been cooked on skewers, some seemed oven roasted, shrimp and chicken and lamb… yum! Plus it came with both a green very hot cilantro-based sauce, and a slightly hot plummy tasting sauce, just a little sweet. Both were so good!
For dessert we had “rice pudding.” Okay, yeah. . . no. It’s been a very long time since I had rice pudding, but even so, I recognized that what I was eating was a lot more like rice soup than rice pudding! I mean, really, it was like half a cup of cooked rice heated in two – three cups of sicky-sweet milk. Skip that, I’m having more Tandoori! I also had a disappointing cucumber yogurt dish. Again, way too much sauce and almost no substance. I would definitely eat their food again, but I would stick to the main dishes, and skip both appetizers and desserts.

Spring is coming, and with it, the imminent arrival of our beekeeping adventures, Take Two. Our first experience was a total bust. First off, we depended on a beekeeper, and at no point in the process did he seem to have any idea what he was doing! We’d hoped to learn enough from him to be able to take over with confidence either this year or next. In fact, we learned so little that we decided that we could do it better with what little we know already. Secondly, our hive didn’t survive. So we are starting completely new this year.
As really truly beekeepers, it behooves us to have our own bee suits. Tada! They arrived today, and for my One New Thing I suited up for the first time. The hoods zip all the way around, and, oddly, they zip front to back so if you want to just take the hood half off, it hangs down in front, which seems a tad backwards to me. (Beth suggested that maybe that’s why these suits were on sale. . . ?) And the gloves are really gauntlets, elasticized up close to the elbow. Clearly, we are making a real fashion statement! Oh, and be careful taking the suit off: that snug elastic waist, so good for keeping out stray honeybees, is just as good for removing every last stitch of clothing you have on under it: guess how I know! Look out, neighbors and friends!
Speaking of bees, re-member my bee hive project from last week? After just four long days, our little project is finally nearing completion. It was a way bigger job than I’d anticipated! 
Even so, our three top bar hives are looking pretty snazzy, and one is just a screen-bottom shy of being quite done! So many thanks to Our Man About the House, who spearheaded the project and figured out the roof piece all by himself, and to my friend Geoff, who added some time and a table saw to the proceedings. Just two more roofs and those bottom screens, and we’ll be all ready for our 9,000 or so new best friends!

Have you done something new today?

Days 73 & 74: Ginger Beet Kraut & Cherimoya

Day 73 and I’m struggling! I admit to judging myself, because I never intended that this year-long experiment would devolve into just eating and hiking. But would that be so bad? I’m still breaking out of old ruts, still stretching and expanding. And there will be other things, most certainly! But until then, I’m going to, as I determined at the start, be gentle with myself, and just do what I can do.

That said, as I pursue improved health, I’m back at the concept of fermenting. I’ve been hecka busy lately, so I’ve not started a fermentation project of my own. However here’s one that’s all ready to eat, and it looked mighty intriguing to me: Ginger Beet Kraut. I love ginger, I love sour kraut, and I’ve got nothing against beets, so this should be a winner, right? Well, um, maybe, maybe not. 

This stuff is nice and squeaky-crunchy, like any self-respecting sour kraut should be. And it’s definitely bursting with flavor, I’ll give it that. I’m just not sure that the flavor it’s bursting with is going to be a favorite of mine anytime soon. I’m used to hot sour kraut that’s soaked up and soaked in nice porky juices for hours, and it’s mellowed out into a rich complex taste. This stuff I ate straight out-of-the-fridge cold, all by itself. And it’s a bit much for me: very sour! I’ve eaten it twice, though, and I’ve survived. Maybe I’ll get me a nice pork chop and cook them up together for the third sampling.

I was at New Leaf the other day (my new favorite grocery store), and just inside the front door was a bin full of these wild-looking things: cherimoyas. According to Wikipedia, cherimoyas originate in either in the Andes or Central America (there’s some debate), and grow on semi-evergreen shrubs or small trees. And I guess Mark Twain was a fan: he called them “the most delicious fruit known to man.” 
Of course I didn’t know any of that when I spied these gems. I don’t know if I would’ve tried them right off if this lovely heart shaped one hadn’t been right on top, speaking my name, but it was. And I needed One New Thing. And it seemed ripe-fruit soft, so I brought that little heart home with me. And guess what: there’s even a YouTube video showing how to eat it! The guy just cut it in two and ate it like a barbarian, scraping the fruit out of the skin with his teeth. I was a tad more refined, and used a spoon.
I don’t know if I’d call it the most delicious fruit known to man, but it was pretty darn tasty. The YouTube video guy said poetically that the taste was a mix of pineapple and several other fruits (which I’ve forgotten). His palate must be more refined than mine, because I couldn’t really isolate it out like that. It did have an almost powdery backtaste that reminded me of something, but I couldn’t quite place it. It was kinda sweet and kinda sour, and overall pretty tasty. The texture, though, was rather wonderful! It was almost custardy; this is most definitely not a slicing fruit. And it was drippingly juicy. Yum!
Plus the seeds were mighty pretty (though toxic – don’t eat them!): hard and dark glossy brown. I guess we’ll see if I can grow those bad boys into my very own cherimoya trees!

Have you done something new today?

Days 71 & 72: Book Cover & Nikon Telephoto 

Earlier this week I finally finished the manuscript of my newest novel, How to be a Redhead. YEEHAW!!! I sent it off to my highly skilled and generous big brother, who will format it for me. I’ve had some ideas for the cover which, as you may have noticed, are slightly shy of professional, though I love the concept. Yesterday for my One New Thing I did a presentation to a college graphic design class so that they can design the cover. It was pretty darn exciting: eight advanced students ranging in age from twenty-ish to around sixty, all listening intently while I talked about my story and my ideas for the cover art. They’ve got six weeks, and I get to let it all go while they do what they’re good at. Meanwhile I get to go on doing what I’m good at, working on my next story, the sequel to Left Turn at Cloud 9

Today was another day of uncertainty, of not having any idea what my One New Thing was going to be (I seem to be having a lot of those – YIKES!). I’d planned to take Beth back with me to Tassajara Creek Regional Park, because I knew she would love all the daffodils, and would want to have a go at them with her fancy new Nikon camera. She suggested I try it out, and use her big bad telephoto lens to try and get pics of the bees in the bee tree. Good idea – and One New Thing!
Sadly, the pictures I took with Beth’s zoom did a great job of showing the hole where the bees enter and exit their hive, but didn’t capture a single bee, so I’ve used Beth’s best pic. If you click on the picture it will get bigger, and then maybe you can see the bees better. I think she captured two.  🙂
I have to admit, I ended up using the lens more as binoculars than as a telephoto lens after the first few attempts at the bee tree. But I’m okay with that; I had my great phone camera and, for the most part, I’m quite content with that. It even let me get a really great close-up shot; it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen (remember these tiny mushrooms from the last post? Case in point).
I also got some good shots of the most beautiful feathers. What wonderful, exotic bird has such glorious feathers? They had a gorgeous metallic sheen . . . fabulous!
Just a few minutes later we saw the wonderful exotic birds – lots of them! They were. . .  wild turkeys!

And what about this: does this look like an oak tree to you? But those little cups? Those are acorn tops, so it has to be an oak of some sort. Ah, how I love California!


Have you done something new today?

Days 69 & 70: Tassajara Creek Regional Park and Yoga

Monday at about 3 in the afternoon, I suddenly realized I hadn’t done anything new, and I had no clue what One New Thing I was going to do. I’d kinda been waiting around for Beth to show up, thinking maybe we’d do something together, but she hadn’t, so we couldn’t. I got on the computer, looked for new hikes around home, found one in a place I never would have suspected, and hit the road. (I just got a van – I haven’t had my own wheels in over a year – so the ability to just get-up-and-go goes straight to my head!)
First off, even though I was looking for it, I drove right by it. Huh? That was it?  I gotta tell you, it looked pretty darn uninspiring! I turned around, went back, and was even less inspired as I pulled in to park.
Honestly, it just looked like a little parking area with a strip of grass at one edge, a signboard, and a latrine. However, there was a scraggly path leading off the back through an empty field, and I had to do something, so I shrugged and crossed the field. 
At the far side, there was a great big gorgeous tree with a trash can and a picnic table under it. Okay, there you have it: a park. But wait, the path kept going, curving down a steep little decline. So I kept going, and here’s what I found:
It was a delight, that’s for sure. Totally unexpected, and so well hidden that I honestly didn’t think there even was more to the park than that parking lot, the empty field and the picnic table. And just when I was really relaxing into this lovely little nature walk, look what else I found:
Someone, or -ones, had a wonderful time planting bulbs all along the edges of the creek bed and woods. It was so unexpected and bright and delightful, all those lovely daffodils in the tall grass, growing up through fallen branches and nodding through the fence. And of course there were other things to appreciate, too.
Another exciting moment was when I realized that one of the giant trees was a bee tree. Way up, far too high for anyone to ever reach, was a very active hive in a big, gnarly elbow. I found one back in Michigan, too, though that hive was much closer to the ground. I’m happy to know my little girlfriends are still out there in the wild, doing their thing to help feed us all.

Last night I finally did One New Thing that I’ve wanted to do for years. For a long time it was a simple matter of procrastination, and then after I was injured, it was a matter of first inability, and then finances. But at last I went to my first yoga class. My erstwhile physical therapy place has a beginner class on Tuesday nights, led by a woman who understands physical limitations. I was both pleased and surprised by the experience. I was surprised because even this extremely beginner class was really hard work! I kept thinking, Oh, you are gonna be SORE! And I was very pleased because I was able to do every single exercise (even if they were really hard for me). I am a lot more flexible and strong than I realized. I know I have myself to thank for that, not just that my body is such a phenomenal healing machine, but because I have stuck with it and worked really hard to get to this point. That feels really good to me. And I’m barely sore at all!
Have you done something new today?