naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Lately I've just not been feeling rested, even though I've been (trying to) sleep enough. I've had too many things chasing each other around in my brain, I guess. But things sort of crested last week and I've finally started making headway on the half-started and half-finished things I've been wanting done at home, and I took some time for myself and for fun, and I'm feeling a bit better.

Clearing physical clutter that has been bothering me for a while seems to have the effect of clearing mental clutter in the process.

And a wonderful, refreshing trip to Descanso Gardens didn't hurt, either. :-) Roommate and I had done a quick trip the weekend before last, but we'd gotten a late start that day and the garden was one of the final items on our list, so we only had about twenty minutes before closing. This weekend we went to the gardens in the late morning and early afternoon, and had plenty of time to wander around. It's wonderful to get out into the fresh air, surrounded by growing things, seeing the seasons turning right in front of you, stopping to smell the roses and watch the koi.

After that, we stopped at Min's Kitchen for the best Thai food anywhere. :-)

I had been thinking about going down into LA, but since it was already nearly evening and we were both stuffed full of really, really good Thai food, we decided to finish my errand to the outdoorsy store, and then forage at the local independent grocer instead. We brought home all sorts of goodies, including some wonderful Granny Smith's to make pie of.

On Sunday I wandered over to get my hair trimmed, and ended up getting sidetracked afterwards browsing in Cost Plus and brought home a few bags of goodies. I have to say that their Pumpkin Ale is one of the stranger beers I've tasted, but it's good. After that, we walked over to Market City Caffe for really, really, really good ravioli, and we watched little trick-or-treaters go past on the sidewalk.

The clocks changed this weekend, which is always disorienting for me. I grew up in the middle of Indiana, where the clocks never change, ever. I usually drag my way through the entire week or two after the change feeling like I've got jet lag, without the fun of even going anywhere.

I've been waking just before dawn the past few days, and watching the sky lighten and the sun begin to rise. It's a nice feeling, even if on Saturday I needed to nap midmorning before we could run our errands. I've really made a dent in the decluttering and organizing I've been needing to work on since we moved in April. I lost count of the number of times I scampered out to the living room saying, "Hey, look what I found! I knew it was buried in there somewhere!"

My new mantra is "I do not need to keep decades-old phone bills to prove that I exist." Yay for pitchfits!

Tonight it's a stop at the bookstore, and then to Target for a new muffin pan on the way home, and then some baking if I have the energy, and then last-minute research on local politics and the last of the California Propositions. I'm planning on voting first thing tomorrow morning.

Voter Registration Information
Voter Information
Election and Voter Information
The Official Voter Information Guide (Principal and Supplemental) for the CA November 2, 2004 Election
California propositions

League of Women Voters's site for Democracy.net Election 2004: Candidates and Information lets you type in your zip code for information about your specific candidates and ballot measures.

Democracy For America
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (path less traveled)
I'd picked Dad up from the airport on that Saturday, and he took Janis and I to brunch at the Market City Caffe which is walking distance from our place, which had a live string quartet serenading. Turns out they do that every Sunday, and we're going to have to do that more often!

Monday morning we packed the car, left Burbank around 10am and headed north, taking the 5 to the 99 to the 198. We stopped for Subway lunch and last-minute camping gear in Visalia, and when I tried to start the car outside of the Big 5, there was a loud BANG and a puff of smoke drifted out from under the hood of the car. Turns out that the battery caps had blown off and the battery was dead, dead, dead, but AAA has a battery replacement service running in Visalia which had us up and running again in less than 40 minutes. Yay for AAA, a cell phone with a good battery, and a Visa card!

We'd seen dust devils in the farmland plains along the 99, and the rolling hillside country along the 198 is just beautiful. I need to look up the history of Lemon Cove, because those little towns along there look really interesting. I want to know their stories, and the story of the little brick Edison Power building we passed. There was a bed and breakfast along there, too.

We entered Sequoia National Park by way of the Ash Mountain entrance on the 198, and stopped at the Foothills Visitor Center. Dad was still kind of deciding whether he was going to start his hike at Mineral King or at Lodgepole, but we'd be camping at Lodgepole and he needed to pick up his hiking permit from the ranger station there, so after spending some money for some lovely goodies at the visitor center (I need to write about the goodies separately... books and music and a membership in the Sequoia Natural History Association), we drove on along the beautiful winding mountain road to Lodgepole.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon Interactive Map

We checked in and got our introduction to bear-boxing all food and anything with a scent from the rangers, and then set up our tents in a lovely little campsite and heated up canned stew for dinner. Nothing beats hot stew for watching the sun set and the stars come out between mountain trees, especially accompanied by hot spiced cider. Rather than fussing with any of my camp stoves, we brought some of those canned heat things which worked like a charm. Until I have time to properly service my camp stoves and test them, I'm going to use the canned heat thingies for overnight carcamping trips.

I love my tent, by the way. Dad and I bought it a few years back after our trip to Rainbow Basin in the spring of 2000. We'd used my old tent that Dad had gotten for me used, and frankly, it had seen better days. I'd used it through college and it was getting tired. It flapped horribly in the wind, and it smelled funny. On our way back into LA from Rainbow Basin we stopped at REI and bought my new tent.

It's by Mountain Hardware, and the model is called something like "room with a view" -- it supposedly sleeps three rather friendly people in mummy-style sleeping bags, and it has a skylight. The skylight is screen in the tent, and clear plastic in the rainfly, so you can see the moon and the stars and the trees above you even after you've tucked yourself in at night. And there are plenty of little pockets for stashing your glasses where you can reach them. Even better than that, though, is how easy it is to set up, and how little noise it makes in the wind.

It's wonderful to fall asleep to the sound of light wind through trees and the rush of a mountain stream nearby, with starlight twinkling at you.

(With that image in mind, I think I'm going to sleep now. I'll type more later.)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
I've been rather swamped lately, but things are starting to look up again. Yay...

Anyway, I wanted to link to two wonderful places down in San Diego which now have websites.

http://www.aesopsgreekcafe.com/
http://www.infusionsoftea.com/
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
Indochine restaurant is walking distance from campus, along Colorado between Mentor and Catalina. It's on the second floor of the same little building as the Indian buffet and the Subway... it's small but cozy for lunch. They have a lunch special for $7 which includes a half order of spring or fried rolls along with soups or vermicelli dishes from their main menu.

Note that the Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk (cafe sua da) is strong enough at this place to knock me for a loop. Much stronger than at Pho 79 in Alhambra, and much stronger than the now-defunct Jasmine Terrace that used to be along Lake Avenue.

Same goes for the fish sauce... it's spicier than I expect it to be.

They offer vegetarian versions of both the fried and spring rolls, which is a nice touch.

The white agapanthus in the beds just north of Beckman Auditorium opened their blooms over the weekend, by the way. They're lovely, puffy balls of blossoms like snowballs soaring on their thin stalks. The hummingbirds were having a feast among them as I walked back from lunch.

Whee, coffee! I think I'm going to be a bit more productive this afternoon than usual... *zing!*

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