Thursday, May 21, 2015

Travels with my beads

"'Cause everyone's your friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty."

Today was a make-lemonade sort of day.

Yesterday I had some Facebook issues where some people could see my bead photos in my for-sale listings but some couldn't. I did nothing different than usual when I uploaded them. I had to delete and relist some beads.

This morning a moderator had deleted a listing that had bids on it because she couldn't see the photo. You'd think she would have contacted me and asked first. I didn't keep a copy of the listing. I save unsold listings and the sold listings, but the one time I don't have a copy is when the bead is listed.

I relisted it and tagged the people I thought had bid. Hopefully they will find the listing and want to bid again. If not, I hope someone else does.

I had an appointment for a massage today at 4 pm. Got a message from the spa that Lorianne, my masseuse, is taking some time off and is not currently on the schedule. Nothing like advance notice. The only masseuse available at 4 pm doesn't do deep tissue. The available masseuse who does deep tissue had a 3 pm appointment available.

So I rushed everything to get in my 3 miles on the treadmill, and when I got to the fitness center all the treadmills were undergoing maintenance. I asked when they'd be ready and the techician said, oh, in about an hour. In other words, the time I would have gotten there if I still had a 4 pm massage appointment.

Another one for the fuck-it bucket. I thought about a walk around the lake instead, but it was super humid and threatening rain and OK, I just didn't feel like it.

I can't wait to get my own treadmill. For a lot of reasons. No more occasional waiting for a machine. no more walking next to people who stink. no more wrangling over the room fan, no more putting up with broken equipment, air-conditioning fails, empty disinfectant wipe containers.

Moreover, I can walk in rags if I want to. I don't need a bra or underwear to walk 3 miles an hour. Think of the laundry I will save. Think of the 30 minutes I will save not having to change clothes and drive over. It adds up.

I suppose I could have postponed the massage. Having had a week off while we vacationed in California, I'm less stiff and sore than usual. On the other hand, I haven't washed my hair in days because what's the point if you are going to walk 3 miles at 3 mph and then get rubbed in massage goo. I can't go one more day, and I also planned to do the laundry tonight. Any way you slice it, flexibility is not my best characteristic.

California was a lot of fun. We were there for my oldest first cousin's younger son's wedding. Five years ago we went to her older son's wedding in Memphis. A few years before that we went to my middle first cousin's daughter's wedding in Chicago. I look at these trips as an excuse for a trip for Neil and me plus a rare chance to see my cousins, who I really am fond of. With all our parents gone now (my mom and their dad were siblings and their dad died recently) we are it. The oldest generation and the end of an era.

My cousins' kids will continue to know each other because they are first cousins, close in age, and all but the just-wedded couple have children close in age. My own kids are their second cousins and virtually unknown to them. Years ago, when my aunt and uncle were alive, they saw each other once or twice in Florida. It's just not realistic to think they will ever be in touch.

What is sadder really is that my brother's kids, first cousins to my kids, have emotional issues, which is another whole post, or possibly a book, so my kids barely know them. Throwing in that we live in Texas and they currently live in Phoenix and Michigan, it's been a long while since they'veeven  seen each other. I'm not ruling out all hope that they'll get to know each other in the future though. Hey, it could happen.

Neil and I flew into John Wayne Airport in Orange County. I love small airports, where you can just stroll across a road and pick up a rental car. Even though it meant we had to drive all the way through LA, heading north, we landed mid-day and didn't run into much traffic. We spent the first two nights in Camarillo. I chose it because I looked at a map and saw it was close to the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center for Los Padres National Forest, 1,950,000 acres of mountain range stretching from Ventura to Monterey.

With 1,257 miles of hiking trails, I thought it would be easy to find some good hikes. My idea was to start at the visitor center, pick up a trail map and some ranger recommendations. Bad, bad assumptions. Between our GPS, the rental car navigation system and Siri, we couldn't even find the visitor center. We drove around in circles for a while, out of cell phone range, then decided to head back toward Ojai and the chamber of commerce, for lack of a better idea.

Once I had a cell signal I called the visitor center. I'm surpised a woman answered because it turns out they were closed. In fact they are only open one day a week and that day wasn't it. How did I miss that on the website? Oh right, because it wasn't the least bit obvious. Here's what the website promises:
The Visitor Center provides public information about Los Padres National Forest and also sells maps, trail guides, forest-related books, Adventure Passes and other items.
(I'm thinking LPNF coffee mug for my collection.)
Trained staff can help guide you to the many and varied recreational and educational experiences available in the forest and can also help with extended backcountry trip planning for the local wilderness areas. The Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center also serves as a hub for interpretive and educational activities and programs. These include presentations about the resources and issues of Los Padres National Forest.
The woman was helpful at least. She gave me directions where to park and find the trail head for Rose Valley Falls. Did I mention it was raining?

A little rain didn't stop us from taking a reasonable hike. Just for fun, I brought three beads with me to photograph along the way. I got the idea from another beadmaker who recently moved cross country and photographed one of her beads en route. I decided to carry my beads for Beads of Courage and document the journey.

Here are the beads at Rose Valley Falls. One bead went for a dip. I said no, but it insisted. Splash! (It was fine. I make sturdy beads.)

The beads also visited a bead shop and went out for pizza and frozen yogurt.

Since we had to wind up in Solvang the next night, I was able to find a hike in Santa Barbara called Rattlesnake Canyon trail, guaranteed to be snake-free. The trail description promised "views of Santa Barbara, the ocean and Channel Islands, oak trees, meadows and gullies." The weather was picture perfect, the views, trees and gullies didn't disappoint, and while we didn't make it to a meadow, the beads had fun anyway.

Saturday morning was the first family event, a brunch at the home of the father of the bride. More perfect weather, more beautiful scenery, granola, mimosas and my cousins. It was lovely. We spent the afternoon sawing Solvang in two, poking into the little gift shops, going cafe to cabaret, or mocha latte to danish pastry. Then it was time for the rehearal dinner, more good food and more distant relatives to see.

The wedding was on Sunday night at a winery in Santa Ynez. That left us free on Sunday to visit the Old Mission at Santa Barbara, where my beads had their last hurrah.

We did swing by the Santa Barbara Zoo too, but my iphone battery was low on juice, so no pictures. It's a small zoo anyway, 500 animals, 30 acres.

Another perfect day, ending with an unseasonably chilly (for Southern California) but still almost perfect wedding. My first-cousin-once-removed Alex married Dawn. I snagged this photo from their wedding website.

Alex and Dawn are vegan (eat vegan?) and the wedding feast was composed of some very creative vegetable combinations, with a nod to an amazing array of cheeses. The wedding cakes were chocolate, red velvet and gluten-free. Guess which one was mostly left untouched.

Currently, Alex and Dawn live in Brooklyn, and the very best moment of the wedding for me was when Alex took the stage with the band and sang "New York City" by the band, They Might Be Giants. It was spectacular. Even though we were as far from NYC as the continent allows, he just really put it over.

Ah to be young, in love and traveling together. Wait, what, I've got that going on. OK, OK. Two out of three ain't bad.

"You called me last night on the telephone
And I was glad to hear from you 'cause I was all alone
You said, it's snowing, it's snowing, God, I hate this weather
Now I walk through blizzards just to get us back together

We met in the springtime at a rock-and-roll show
It was on the Bowery when it was time to go
We kissed on the subway in the middle of the night
I held your hand, you held mine, it was the best night of my life

'Cause everyone's your friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is you and me

Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, Co-op City, Katz's and Tiffany's
Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State where Dylan lived
Coney Island and Times Square, Rockefeller Center
Wish I was there

You wrote me a letter just the other day
Said, springtime is coming soon so why don't you come to stay
I packed my stuff, got on the bus, I can't believe it's true
I'm three days from New York City and I'm three days from you

'Cause everyone's my friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is you and me."

(John Flansburgh and John Linnell)

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