Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Friday, April 21, 2006

Big ugly turtle

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This big guy was basking at the edge of Stow Lake and kept me company while I ate my hot dog. My herpetologist friend,Diego, says he's a common snapping turtle, Cheydra serpentina, and says the pointed tubercles on his neck would indicate a soft life. . .obviously, he was raised in someone's aquarium until he just got too darn BIG and they released him here.

That's the story of Stow Lake: foster home for unwanted turtles.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

France, here we come

Judy wants to ride in the Valley of the Loire, which Barb and I did as part of a 5-week ride in 1986, but this time we'll get to spend more time being tourists. We'll take our own bikes to Paris and either ride or take a train to Chartres, ride from there to the Loire, stay several nights in different towns, from whence we'll take day trips. We'll be able to leave our panniers in a hotel while we look around. After we've toured enough we'll take a train back to Paris for another week or so of sight-seeing.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Table stuff at night

ISO 200 - 1/60 - f2.7
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Friday, April 14, 2006

Hercules Rules!

On the first sunny day in I don't know how long I came to grips with the turtle-yard - a once a year ordeal following the rains - and while I was pulling weeds who should appear, sunning himself, but Hercules, looking sleek and clean like he's been out for a while, not mud-caked as if he'd just come up from his winter's nap.

I brought him in to weigh and measure; he actually gained weight since last fall. Clearly, he knows what to eat in his small yard. And, he didn't drown, or get eaten in turn (raccoons and rats are said to be on the prowl).

Seeing him do well just makes my spring!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Passport photos

I went out in the wind and rain to get my passport photo done yesterday, planning to go to the post office with the completed renewal papers afterwards. Well, in spite of asking the young man if he'd please use the "old lady" filter, I looked really bad and really old. He stood much too close so the flash was very harsh (and too revealing?). I left there for the post office, which is in the same shopping center, hesitant, wondering if I could do better---and of course I could. Anyone could! "If there's a long line at the post office, I'll go home and give it a try," I said to myself. And much to my relief---after all, one has to see this image for the next ten years---the line was very long.

I set up my tripod facing the only accessible patch of white wall in my house, got out my bicycle work stand, stuck a hat on it so I could focus where my head would be, and took my own picture. (Sibyl was amused.)

One turned out startled looking, the other had bad hair. I e-mailed them to friends to pick one. They both chose dorky hair so I tweaked it just enough to look like I think I look and that's the one I'll use. (The actual high resolution prints are sharper than these images.) At 2" x 2", they both look a zillion times better than the one I paid $14.95 for.

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Creativity, sideways

Last week I met Kaethe and Judy at the Legion of Honor where, after lunch and on the way to see the earthquake photos, we went through a collection of Master Drawings. I will go back to this show often.

I miss drawing. I miss how lines on paper look and how they feel when you make them. For many years, even thinking about picking up a pen 'with intent' has filled me with anxious dread. I think I'm afraid I will become lost in the process and something very bad will happen while I'm not paying attention. I know where that fear comes from; I've been unsuccessful at allaying it.

Lately I've been more involved with writing and manipulating material, whether words or images, and the momentum of it feels familiar and, while making me nervous, feels O.K.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dragon ladies riding

I left Potrero Hill to meet the Velo Girls this morning, expecting rain, surprised by sunbeams. The sunshine was short-lived, however, and it turned dark and gloomy as I met Me & Myself at the Sports Basement. I was launching into the Safety Speech when Myself said, “Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that before, let’s get going before it rains.” Me was really hoping it wouldn’t rain because she didn’t want to cover up her silver Dragon Lady jersey (it matches her grey hair) with a rain jacket.

Once on the bridge we had a conference and decided to challenge the Marin Headlands, just as the three of us had done last year, also just ahead of the rain. And once again speedier riders passed us, I returning their cheery greetings, Me busy sucking in her gut to show off and Myself grumbling about how slow we all were and reminding us to “C’mon, get a move on!”

In such good company the long climb melted away. At the crest a rally of Porsches was lining up to start down the long downhill so we quickly went ahead without stopping. I said she counted fourteen of ‘em as they passed us on the next climb, and then we passed all of them again when they stopped to explore the old gun batteries.

It started to sprinkle so we cranked it up a bit, came across a few others here and there, but mostly had the place to ourselves. We went through the tunnel back to the bridge and all was well until a young boy made a poor directional choice and slammed Me into the chain-link fence coming off the bridge. She stood there, p.o.’d, and worried about her Dragon Lady jersey, but it fared better than her oddly bruised deltoid. Whew! Myself and I told her to get over it; she did, and off we all went for the best part of the ride down Cowles by the stables, and today we were surprised by a stunning black stallion sharing the road with us.

I made it back to Potrero Hill before the rain; in fact, it still isn’t raining and we could have done the Tib loop, but who knew?

Me on Twin Peaks in better weather

Never at a loss for company

Me, Myself & I

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Perfect Storm of 'Missed' Calls

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After my flat tire ordeal yesterday I took a shower and got dressed to go out to dinner and the symphony with Rhonda. The storm hit here just before 5:00, heavy rain and wind slamming against my south-facing windows. Uh oh, I thought, Rhonda's going to have a hard time coming across the bridge from Benicia (40 miles northeast of San Francisco). She usually picks me up at 5:45 so we can grab a Tow Away Zone parking place in Civic Center when the spots open up at 6:00, then go for dinner; she usually calls me on her cell phone when she gets near and I go out to meet her.

No call.

I figure when she doesn't call she probably left her cell phone at home, or it's broken, but she'll get here soon or find a way to call me.

6:45, no call. 7:45, no call. . .10:45, no call. I've by now left numerous messages on her home phone and her cell. I've nuked a frozen dinner and put on my sweats. By 11:30 I'm really, really worried about her. I've been scanning the Web for "incidents" and accidents (a pickup was hijacked, but not in her travel area) and, finally, I called the Benicia police. They said they'd send someone to her house and call me.

No call.

I spent the night on my couch with my cell phone in hand, waiting. I fell asleep; I don't know what time. (Some friend I am.)

This morning I started searching the Web for her neighbor's last name, remembering she'd left a comment on Rhonda's business Web site, called 411 for her number: UNLISTED! Earlier, I found her mother's phone number on the Web (though 411 would have worked just as well) from a Patterson Historical Society newsletter, but was afraid to call her and alarm her unnecessarily if I could find Rhonda through her neighbor. I mean, after all, she has two cats, two dogs and a son---she wouldn't go off, even for a family emergency, without letting her neighbor know, would she? I e-mail her neighbor since I do have that address from Rhonda's Web site.

I vacillate between worrying that she's lying in a pool of blood somewhere, and chargin---even if she has a family emergency, surely she could call me by now!

I call her mother and get another machine, but not wanting to alarm her, I don't leave a message. I think, well maybe her mother's sick and Rhonda's at the hospital with her. (But why couldn't she call me?)

I decide to plead with the 411 supervisor to connect me to her neighbor's unlisted number---and guess what, the earlier operator made a mistake, Leslie has a number I can call. Of course, I get another machine. By now I'm nearly in tears, I'm so worried and plead with Leslie to call me as soon as she gets my message.

No call.

By this time it's nearly noon, I'm getting ready to drive to Benicia. I check my e-mail and---at last---I have a message from Rhonda saying she was so sick with asthma and coughing, she thought she'd left me a message yesterday (to the wrong number?) saying she wouldn't be coming, unplugged her phone and went to bed. Later she'd gone to Urgent Care and then back to bed. When the police came she was under the impression they would call me. Whew! I'm so sorry she's that sick; so glad she isn't in a pool of blood somewhere.

Still no call, but that's O.K., we'll talk when she gets her breath back.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Back to flowers & butterflies

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From flowers to flat tires

The sun was shining this morning, for a huge change, and I was about to go out on my town bike when I thought I'd top off the tires and, Yikes! the back tire was flat. I took it out in the sun to look for the cause, found so much embedded glass and so many deep cuts that I thought I'd probably better just replace it. But before I'd decided to go across town to my favorite bike shop, Noe Valley Cyclery, I pumped it back up and stuck it in the bath tub - voila! Bubbles. I didn't think they'd actually show up in a photo, but there they are.

That's the trouble with riding in the rain: the glass sticks onto the tread long enough to cut its way in, maybe not right away while you're riding, and maybe you won't even know about it for many days, then when you go to ride you're stalled. I always mean to check my tires for glass after riding in the rain, but there's always such a big mess to clean up that I don't quite get to it.

By the time I got to the bike store, ate lunch and mounted the new tires the rain had closed in again.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Flowers & Butterflies

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I went to the Conservatory of Flowers today

and concentrated on learning more about my new camera.

It was dark and gloomy outside so the light wasn't very good, but I like many of the images, even so.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Thinking ahead

I don't know exactly where I want to live in my old age, but my fantasy of a finished warehouse space keeps popping into mind---as long as it is warm and quiet, has an easy chair, a bed and a minimal kitchen with lots and lots of cupboards and storage. I'd like to be able to work on things, whether bicycles or art projects, even if the art project is about making a space to work on art/photo/computer projects, if that makes sense---it’s always more about the journey than the getting there. Ideally, it would be on the ground floor around, if not on Potrero Hill, with a central courtyard garden where my box turtle, Hercules, could live.

But, this fantasy is if I should have to move from my perfect cottage where I've lived for 32 years, all 500 sq. ft. of it! I get homesick even thinking about leaving here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Remembering my TD

I’m listening to Car Talk on NPR and either Click or Clack has an MG TD, which reminded me of the car I gave up when I got married. It had a wood dash, leather seats, and I loved it. I commuted about 30 miles to the Art Institute on Chestnut St., via Skyline Blvd.—often in the thick fog—passing through the Farmers’ Market near the financial district along the way. If my top was down the workers often tossed produce into my car.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized I was duplicating Nancy Drew's roadster; she was my heroine when I was about 12 years old.

Worried about Hercules

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My box turtle, Hercules, usually reappears in his yard by now but I haven’t seen him yet this spring and I’m afraid he’ll either starve, drown or be eaten*. We had 25 days of rain in March and it’s expected to continue for two more weeks.

* The daily downpours might also have something to do with the big increase in hungry rats that she said are responsible for devouring the bark off lemon trees. SFGate.com