Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Friday, March 31, 2006

Parrot vs Coffee Cup

My parrot hates this cup. She tries to tip it over and if I’m not watching her she’ll succeed—she in fact ruined my living room carpet. One time she started attacking the empty cup from the middle of the kitchen table and I thought it would make a funny picture so I ran for the camera.

I took the first photo as she tipped the cup and the next as it went off the table (that's how fast she was) where it bounced on the floor without breaking.

I've used this same cup every morning for over 32 years.

I won’t let her near it anymore.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Riding the Cinderella

Yi, Winnie, me and Annette at the start of the Cinderella Classic (photos by Ed Johnson)

As predicted, Saturday was stormy, not a good day for a long ride. It was often quite beautiful with the vivid green hills, but the wind was so intense near the Altamont Pass (where windmills generate electricity) that just staying up and moving forward was a major challenge. I kept trying to stay above 5 m.p.h.

Several thousand women paid, but probably fewer than a thousand actually decided to brave the weather, and of those many quit before the end. My little group, Annette, Yi and Winnie, rode the entire route.

I'd made myself a yellow net tu-tu to go with the new Cinderella jersey but decided not to wear it, thinking it would hang limply after getting wet, but I saw lots of others and they stayed nice and stiff the entire ride. I'll save it for next year when with any luck we'll have perfect weather. (So far in March we've had 22 days of rain.)

The food and support were terrific. I have to hand it to the Valley Spokesmen, they have amazing volunteers who stood out in the cold for hours to supply us with food, not to mention all the sag vehicles helping with the hundreds of flats.

That's Annette and me eating lunch. We never took off our rain gear, though it didn't rain too often - it was all about WIND.

I was so stiff by the time I got home that I had a bowl of hot soup and went to bed - had to get up and lead the Velo Girls ride the next morning.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Big Road Trip

Living Sand Dollars

Day One: I'm sitting in the Salinas Motel 6. I spent this afternoon in the Steinbeck Center, then walked Main St. feeling lost, wondering why I have to actually go on a road trip when the weather sucks and I don't dare go anywhere off the beaten track in my old van. I'm simply doing this because I said I would. I know from experience that if I stick with it, keep my eyes open, it will take some shape. Day One is always this way if I have no real destination, no person expecting me anywhere. It's too cold and it gets dark too early to camp, to stay put.

The Steinbeck Museum was nice in the way new museums are "nice" --- aimed at grammar school kids with lots of blown up, colorful graphics. I really went to see his camper from "Travels with Charley." They had it behind a thick plastic wall.

On the way here I stopped at San Juan Bautista on top of the San Andreas Fault where several hundred grammar schoolers were shrieking, running, jumping and generally having a terrific time. I had an interesting chili relleno and pallid flan in town, and then walked over to brave the children, but not for long. Did not go into the mission. While walking back I stopped to watch the roaming roosters and hens amongst the prickly pear and poppies. Nice.

Early on I saw intense fields of blooming mustard, but none after Gilroy. Today, Day Two, I drove through rain showers and rainbows, sometimes several at once, but at 65 mph I couldn't stop to take their picture. I like driving on and on, seeing whatever will happen next. I'm less interested in actually being anywhere.

This morning I drove downtown on Main St., thinking I'd go to the Internet Cafe and connect. I walked in, lugging my heavy laptop and cameras, to find a bank of computers in back, not what I expected at all, so I turned around and left. Instead, I went to the old Victorian building that dates back to before Steinbeck's time. Read a New Yorker.

Then I drove west on Hwy 68 to Monterey, right into rain showers but it cleared up as I arrived. I followed the signs to the aquarium and parked, walked a few blocks, and paid my $20 admission. Now what? Same lack of interest, same going-through-the-motions.

After the aquarium I drove out to land's end and sat looking at the surf for awhile. As I drove back I pulled into a parking place in Pacific Grove and turned on my laptop, connected and sent my mail, all while hunched from behind the wheel turned to the passenger seat. Not sure why I didn't sit comfortably in back.

It's taking constant urging not to turn tail and head home.

It's now Saturday morning, Day Three, and I'm sitting in another Motel 6, this time in Paso Robles, drinking their surprisingly good coffee.

I have to decide now what to do today. I still want to cut and run home, but will head east to Hwy 99 via Hwy 46, see what's happening in Oildale on a shoppers' Saturday. The weather report is for rain over there, too.

I can't believe I'm doing this.

Day Three: Road fever. I drove and drove and drove. Saw no reason to stop. One of the big reasons for taking this road trip was to spend time learning how my new camera functions but I saw nothing I wished to bring home enough to pull off the road. I saw many small rain showers off in the distance, impossible to capture stormy skies. Green rolling hills. Close your hand gently and see how your knuckles form soft ridges? That's how they look to me; I call them knuckle-hills.

Oildale and Bakersfield. No there there. Kept driving. No bugs on the windshield, too cold. I had a scare coming across the valley when there were no gas stations and my needle was going into the red. I even took a side trip to Huron to a cash-only gas station where the pump wouldn't work and I had to get help. Then, of course, back on the highway I came to I-5 within ten miles; I would have made it. I kept driving, stopping only for gas and to pick Sibyl up at the bird boarder's (Birdie Camp). I was home by dark.

It wasn't raining here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The City, Then & Now

I went out with my new camera this morning hoping for a rainbow; no luck with that, but here's an image of our increasingly crowded skyline. (Click to enlarge, use back-arrow to continue)

For comparison, here's a scanned photo from the early 70s (when I thought high-contrast was super).
Both were taken from Potrero Hill, over 3 miles from downtown.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Ridin' in the Rain

(Click to see larger, but then use the back arrow to continue reading)

Remember when you were 8 or 9 years old and you got to go out in the rain wearing your yellow rain slicker and rubber boots, and you went stomping through every puddle you could find? Was that not the best fun, ever? Well, that's what our ride was like today, all 30-some miles of it. Amy and Dianna were my co-conspirators for a really great ride in the rain this morning.

Dianna suggested we ride in the city and my eyes lit up since I'm always looking for others to join me on my favorite route, my modified "49-mile Scenic Drive" around the Presidio and Sea Cliff to Land's End, along the ocean and around Lake Merced, over Twin Peaks and across town back to the bay. Along the way we passed by more unbelievable mansions and awesome sights than you can find anywhere in the world. Instead of going through the Mission I started us down Market Street, thinking the St. Patrick's Day Parade was canceled, but we were diverted to a side street where the traffic snarl was pretty bad for cars; it didn't give us much pause and we were riding along the Embarcadero soon enough. By now Dianna had wet-everything and was glad to head home for a hot bath. I'd worn good rain gear and was still snuggly-warm, singin' in the rain!

Now to clean the bike and gear.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


What fun. I was asked to model, along with a few others, for a new SF Bicycle Coalition brochure and we all met at the bicycle mural at Market and Duboce. Two photographers took our pictures while we rode our bikes in various locations, and then took more casual shots while we had conversations with each other. (I don't really want to see the results; I forget I'm an old person until I see a mirror or a photo.)

This was the first time I got a good look at the mural - the area is frequented by the homeless - and I will go back to take lots of photos because it is an amazing work with many fascinating details.

We've had bizarre winter weather with snow, hail, thunder and lightning - none of which is typical of San Francisco! I'm glad I didn't have to drive anywhere; no one here knows how to handle ice and snow on the roads and there was a terrible accident just north of the Golden Gate Bridge this morning, shutting down Hwy 101 for many hours.

I'm hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow morning, I don't really want to cancel the Velo Girls ride to Tiburon.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

School is out for Winter Session and won't start again until mid-April, but I have plenty to do.

Right now I'm very slowly learning how to use many different tehnical things, some with an MP3 player, some with my new camera. None of this comes easily.

Here's a detail of my parrot, Sibyl.

Snow is expected as low as Twin Peaks tomorrow. Guess I won't be bike riding. Today I finally cleaned off the mud from last week's cycling adventures in the rain. Saturday I'm supposed to get photographed for a Bicycle Coalition brochure, rain or shine.

But mostly I'm just hanging out around the house, not even bothering to wash my face. Shameful.