Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Uh oh, the witch is back!

That's my dear daughter, Jill, as a very, very scary witch. She'd get into costume and totally into character - so much so that she spooked anyone near her - and they kept coming back for more - and they told their friends - and next thing you know we had a "scene" at our hidden cottage.

It was quite an act. On stage she was riveting. A very scary kid.

After she grew up and left home it took years to stop the crowds from coming to be scared by her.

Actually, she's probably scarier now, but that's another story (just kidding, Jill).

Toothpick, Ice Cream and Shoes

I was in a car with a lot of other people. The car stopped and the driver carried back a little girl that he’d seen crying. She pointed inside her mouth. I could see one end of a toothpick, told her to hold still, and carefully pulled it out. It didn’t bleed. I offered it to her and said it probably wasn’t a good idea to run with anything in her mouth. Everyone had gotten out of the car - we were a small crowd , like from a bus, not a car - when I noticed we’d passed a much decorated VW van. I got out my camera to photograph it and then saw an older couple inside. I asked them if I could take pictures and they said yes and told me to eat some of the decorations. As I started eating some ice cream and reaching for cake I started trying to wake up; I guess I knew I didn’t want to eat all that fattening food out of politeness (yeah, right!).

Before I was in the car I was shoe shopping in Nordstrom’s. I didn't find any I liked. The shoe salesman was a Mafia hit man; this was known. We felt lucky to get away when he was elsewhere finding the other shoe.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sex and the single bird

I have an 8-year old pionus parrot named Sibyl. She keeps me company while I work here at the computer, either sitting quietly with her beak tucked under a wing, napping, or playing on a shelf full of toys.

Then one day last year Sibyl laid, or rather, dropped an egg. Two days later, another, and two days after that, another. They were all dropped from on high and they all broke. She never made any attempt to sit her dud-eggs and they were all removed.

The vet was visited, Lupron was injected to halt the process. The Lupron worked for some months but then the cycles started again. She dropped another egg in front of me this morning.

Besides the issue of potential egg-binding, there is the loss of a good friend. A hen looking to mate is relentless. (Like a little dog that won’t get off your leg, a hormonal bird solicits endlessly. It’s not funny!

Well, maybe a little funny. I'm picturing a bird wrapped around my ankle, aren't you?)

My latest scheme isn’t working, either. I decided if you can’t stop it, then at least have her sit a clutch and stop the incessant soliciting for a few weeks while she does. Yesterday I put a small cardboard box in her big day cage and left for the day, thinking she would love having a “nest.” She didn’t go near it.

This morning she was sitting on her basket next to the kitchen table while I ate my breakfast; she’d finished hers. I heard a strange wheezing or hissing sound and could see her getting ready to lay. I took her to a nest box, she looked inside, turned around and went up onto the low-lying coiled rope perch, and dropped her egg. She cocked her head to look at it but didn’t go down. I gently moved the unbroken egg into the box, hoping she would go to it. She didn’t. I moved her to the egg. She touched it a couple of times, turned around and went back up on her perch where she has remained, beak tucked, napping, ever since.

I suppose the box idea was too little, too late.

What to do?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I killed a spider today

. . .and it really bothers me.

It happened after I got home from riding down Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay, a round-trip just short of 70 miles, barely any of it flat. As is my wont I was slow up hill, fast down hill. I rode with two young women, young enough to be my granddaughters! They kindly waited for me; I knew the way, they didn't. (I'm still wired from the last part where I nearly rode the freeway where Alemany hits Hwy 101 on my way home and did some tricky maneuvers to keep Death at bay.) I fed Sibyl and went to get in the shower, but a really big black spider was in my way.

I have a long tube with a cap on it that I use to catch spiders. They never see the tube coming, and once they go inside it I flip it up, just so, and they slide to the bottom. I put the cap back on and take them out the front door, remove the cap and with a snap of my wrist - voila! they're in a better place.

But today I forgot to take the cap off.

Squished the big black spider.

The reason I feel bad is because I identify with the fickle finger of fate, capable of wiping any one of us out in an instant, a la squished spiders or ants, etc.

Like today, coming off of Devil's Slide into Montara, a cretin in either an SUV or pickup truck came as close as possible to my left arm as he could without actually hitting me (too many witnesses to blatantly knock me off the road). This is not unusual behavior from a certain segment of our society and I'm used to it (one must always hold one's line; a wobble could be fatal). Happens all the time.

The ride was spectacular. Really first-rate. Perfect weather: not too cold; not too hot. Great company (thanks Adrienn and Marion). Good riding at a good pace. I wouldn't even mention the jerks except that it relates to why I feel so bad about killing that spider. I really do. It's like I've messed up my karma, or something, and now I have to find a way to fix it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Shopping while hungry

Monday, I went to two grocery stores with no real list and no real idea of what I'd like to eat all week and because I was hungry, very hungry, I got everything from artichokes and avocados to yams and zucchini.

But of course I'd forgotten the hold-it-all-together key ingredients to actually make anything and had to go back to the stores all week.

Not having key ingredients (per an old recipe) made for a delicious meat loaf that I'll never be able to duplicate because I have no idea what I threw in (that being something I only make every 10-15 years). I ate it for lunch and dinner all week.

Today I made a big pot of meat and veggies cooked with Dijon mustard and tomato paste for flavor. I'm going out for a Japanese dinner tonight before the symphony so it will go in the fridge for next week. I'll add peas and string beans and make dumplings. It's very good.

I cooked a pound of bacon and froze it. Before a long ride I've been having bacon and eggs these days and now I don't bonk before I even start. That's the only time I eat it. I will be riding to Half Moon Bay in the morning, so that's set to go.

I only left the house to get my mail. Today was a cooking day, make left-overs day.

No new pix. The one above is from my last trip and is looking back at Devil's Slide on Highway 1. Those are surfers, not birds, in the water - a long way down. (Click to enlarge.) I won't be carrying a big camera tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Once I actually walked somewhere

This old scanned photo just came up on my PC’s screensaver, reminding me of my first (and only) backpacking trip in the Desolation Wilderness.

Barb and Frank and I worked together in the E.R. Mike, another E.R. doc, shared a big house with Frank somewhere in the east bay. I no longer remember whose idea it was to go backpacking, certainly not mine, but I think the plan was to head for the mountains for 3-4 days.

We'd talk about it between patients in our shotgun conversational way, and a date was set.

I got off work at midnight and drove to their place, expecting to leave for the wilderness the next morning. I had insomnia, too wired from work and wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. Sharing a joint didn’t help. I don’t think I slept at all.

We got up fairly late and started sorting the sleeping bags and tents, neither of which I had. Frank set me up with an old backpack and sleeping bag; we’d share tents. We were missing odd things, like tent stakes, so trips to the outdoor store happened. Toking happened. More packing and rearranging. Finally, we all piled into a car to head for the wilderness. But first we had to get more munchies.

We drove. And drove. And drove. It got dark. More toking happened.

Where are we? No one knows. We stop for more munchies, maybe dinner somewhere, lots of laughing. But finally we realize we’d better get off the mountain roads and get some sleep. Whoever is driving says something like, “That looks like a good meadow, let’s camp there and go on tomorrow.” The day was lost, getting nowhere.

We took our bedrolls into the middle of the meadow and after toking a whole lot more and telling shaggy dog stories and gross E.R. stories and laughing a whole lot more, Frank and Mike plop down on the meadow with Barb and I, like bookends, on either side.

That’s when I discovered the holes in the down bag. I thought I would freeze that night because I was just too ummm - immobilized, actually - to deal with it. Another sleepless, though not unpleasant except for freezing night. I want to say it rained a bit, but maybe not. Our bags did get wet, but probably just from dew.

It was a very long night out there on the edge of two snoring guys.

. . . .worrying about bears.

As the sun came up I opened my eyes, looked at the meadow around me and noticed my head was an inch from a dried up cow pie. Eeeuw. I sat up very fast, and all around was nothing but trampled grass and countless cow pies. (I don’t think any were fresh; I don’t remember actual cows.) We were, in fact, sleeping on top of cow pies.

“Hey, wake up, you guys, look where we’ve been all night!” Lots of laughing.

We drove some more; we had a big breakfast somewhere; we hit another outdoor store for more missing gear; and we drove some more.

We were probably a 3-4 hour drive from their house to where we ended up and for the life of me I can't figure out what took us about 30 hours to get there. Ha!

We got a hired boat ride across a lake to the trail head; we trudged up and over an endless wild landscape to find just the right spot, with Frank packing about 50 lbs. of books, forchristsakes, because that’s what he planned to do while we three did outdoor things, and wouldn’t you know he never missed a beat while Mike and I were huffing and puffing to keep up. Barb was out there ahead too, but she was an experienced trekker, back from the Himalayas. I had just quit smoking, and had never hiked on purpose.

I don’t know, maybe it was all about getting there; maybe it's always about getting there and seeing the cow pies along the way. Someday I’ll finish the story. Or not. Lake Louise. Yeah. It was beautiful.

Amazing what a surprise look at an old photo can bring forth - that took me less than 15 minutes to write.

(We wore blue scrubs and white coats at work and apparently blue denim everywhere else. We did not plan this. How cute.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sculptures along the way

This hot Indian summer is just too good not to take advantage of and so I hopped on my road bike meaning to ride from home to Tiburon and back - about 60 miles.

I didn't leave the house until after 10:00, and within three miles I had to stop and use my camera, which I often take along because you never know in this town what you'll run into, and what I ran into was the removal of the ugly sculptures near the Ferry Building. (See earlier post "Really Ugly, HUGE Sculptures.")


(They will be replaced by a spider.
I can hardly wait.)

And I also saw this woman in her matching tights and helmet cover. I said, You must have made your matching tights and helmet cover, and she said, Oh yes, it's the only way to get what I want.

When I looked across the Embarcadero I noticed this sneaky rooftop sculpture; I can't tell for sure what it is, but I think it's a chef with twinkly lights strung around him.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful and, other than stopping in Mill Valley for a banana and at Mike's Bikes for some gloves, I rode fast and hard and it felt really good.

But I always did want a shot at the giant red exclamation point! in Mill Valley - and just because I like the little girl climbing up on it, the Strauss statue at the bridge.

Yeah, boring. But that was my day. Now it's over 80 in my house and I'm dying. But when I think of what's going on down south with the wild fires, I won't complain.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

and Sunday

Tom Carter in Siberia (his photo)
I was going to get up early and ride to Candlestick Point to watch and photograph the cyclocross races, but I slept too late and then I decided to have another proofing go-round with Tom's China text, which I've been reading for him. He's been backpacking for three-plus years into all 33 provinces, taking amazing photographs along the way - his book is coming out very soon. I keep forgetting to ask, but I think he's now in Hong Kong working on it. (I later learned he's back in Beijing.)

Jill packing for trip to Portland
After lunch I decided to drive to the afternoon races and wait there for Jill to call for me to pick her up at the airport. I'm glad now that I didn't try to get there by bike - it's off the beaten track and I'm not sure of the route outside of taking the freeway.

Well, Candlestick Point was visually uninteresting as a photographic background and I think maybe I'm done trying to get good action shots (not exactly my interest, anyway) and only Lauren was in pink today, though I saw old teammates who have moved on and I took their pix, too. Lots of changes.

Lauren in and on pink
And it was freakishly hot and I was wearing heavy clothes. My house has been in the high 70s every day, even on the days it rained last week. It's October, right?

. . .took care of e-mails and made a new gallery on pbase and fixed dinner and watched a bit of t.v. and now I have to do the reading for class in the morning.

A good Sunday. It would have been even better if I'd been out riding my ass off instead of (mostly) sitting on it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I had a nice ride on the peninsula this morning - rode the Woodside out & back twice because it was so nice - and then returned to do a few more tutorials on-line.

This camera RAW and Adobe CS3 is just too much fun. You can move pixels in a gazillion ways - and I don't mean to make composites or tricks, but just to bring out the best in your image, or make it say what you wanted to say about what you saw, if that makes sense.

Or to reflect a state of mind. Like the commons room in my old high school (before the people went in). I'm putting two versions up. I like the one that shows just how I felt in high school - can you guess which one?

(I gave up trying to post a photo since an error message kept coming up - I went to the help thread and apparently this problem has been going on for several days; today it's my turn to be hit. . . but later it worked again.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This winter

I will be warm. Today I bought Smartwool long underwear and a zip t-neck, plus heavy thermal tights that don't look so tight that I look nekkid - these are to wear when I ride up hill to get to school on cold winter mornings, and then sit all day in classes. If I wear anything like cotton I get sweaty and then cold once I get there. If I wear polypro I'm pretty sure I stink, 'cause that's the nature of that beast. But, very expensive wool shouldn't itch or stink. I do hope this is true. (Tres expensive stuff.)

One thing I've been noticing lately: using one's thumbnail for a screwdriver is probably not a good idea. But, getting a professional manicure is a cheap way to feel glamorous and well-groomed. I got one on Friday for Saturday's HS reunion and I'm still holding my hands out to look at my shiny pink nails. I'll have to do that again when this wears off (or after my next bike maintenance).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

High school reunion

I took this in the spacious commons room of Carlmont High School, which had a nice feeling to it sans noisy teens.

My first impression of the crowd was: Omigod, who are all these old people. But they looked younger as the evening wore on; by the time I left we all looked much better!

I guess it's just getting over the shock. (It's like having hundreds of mirrors to show you how much you've aged. Unavoidable.)

Everyone I talked to - well, the women, anyway - said they liked their life better now than they ever had.

I slipped out without saying goodbye. Nice people, but I don't like to remember those bad high school years.

And it's over.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Two rainy days

O.K., that's enough. Two days with rain this week and I'm ready for this season to be over. (Well, Wednesday was not even half a day, but today it has not stopped.)

. . .I'm bored. I have the pre-high school-reunion blahs. I've been looking at old yearbooks. Scary. Very scary. I think I've improved with age; for sure my life has.

In Kyoto we got caught in a downpour near the end of a day spent riding from one wondrous site/sight (they're both right) to another and stood inside a doorway waiting for it to quit. This did not stop cyclists who whipped out their clear umbrellas and kept on their way.

On another day I was wandering around a major temple's grounds when it began to rain; the tame deer didn't seem fazed, but they didn't smell very nice, either. Wet dog, only worse.

. . .I don't know if many people I knew will be at this reunion tomorrow. I don't know what "casual dress" means. I don't know how to make small talk at parties. No one else will be there solo. I signed up for this nearly a year ago when I was in a good mood. . . .now, I'm not.

It just quit raining.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Clutter and time-outs

After a week of working on images, or riding a bike, or going to classes, I had piles of clutter on every surface and too often underfoot - time to take a day off and deal with it.

And so I did.

The next thing you know I'm weeding out books I picked up second-hand and know I'll probably never read.

And then I had to take this picture of my models now that the guy has a new jacket from the Buddhist Ninnaji Temple, where we stayed in Kyoto.

I need to get the blog past that ugly beach picture from yesterday - it really bothers me. Yeah, I'll find something with a lot of color to add...

This was taken in Nara, Japan, and the cloud is reflected in a lake. I don't know what kind of flower it is, but it certainly stood out.

Tomorrow is a holiday - no school - so I'll finish the cleaning, maybe fill a few more bags with old clothes and books and cluttery things and take it to the thrift store (where most of it came from in the first place).

And, oh yes, I will finally clean where once there was clutter.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Busy city

Today I met Judy at the ballpark for a city ride on our Bike Fridays - her Tikit, my Crusoe. As usual, getting through the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building was a gauntlet of taxis and mindless pedestrians, further honing our city-riding skills, followed by a detour around the Fleet Week crowd at Aquatic Park. By the time we got near Lands End we were hungry and stopped for lunch - all of 10-12 miles into the ride, but, hey, this was billed as a no-sweat ramble - and it was.

Coming down from the Cliff House we came upon a gathering on Ocean Beach. I have no idea why.

They do not improve the scenery, do they? It's dense and dirty looking, roiling up the sand, exposing the dark side. Not a place I'd want to be.

Next, we rode into Golden Gate Park from the North Windmill, smack into gridlocked car traffic - something about a free bluegrass festival today - and even we couldn't get through, at one point we had to go up on the pedestrian path. Cars were so stuck that whole lines were trying to back up, in both directions, or make hopeless U-turns (one lady right in front of me, as if I wasn't even there). That's probably the most snarled I've ever seen traffic anywhere.

Well, by now it's moving onto 2 o'clock and we decided to skip the climb to Twin Peaks in favor of going to Judy's to work out some computer issues she has and when we were almost there she stopped me and said, Have you ever seen this? Well, I've ridden down that street, Golden Gate, hundreds of times without seeing this doorway on the south side of her Opera Plaza building.

And here I am, home in front of my computer while Sibyl eats and plays next to me. I feel bad when I leave her alone too long - parrots, after all, are sentient beings and need a flock, even if only a flock of two.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Farewell Dianna

Dianna and Michael are moving to Vancouver, B.C. next week. Last year they spent three months testing the waters, loved it, bought a condo right downtown, and have been slowly but surely moving north.

I keep meaning to wish them well - but, it seems to me it goes without saying - I KNOW they will do well.

Today, Karen and I met Dianna for lunch at the Slanted Door in the Ferry Bldg. (Yum.) I took my camera, the first time I've looked at it since getting back (was that just one week ago?!). I'm putting the photos here so Karen, who has an iffy e-mail situation, can see them too.

I have mixed feelings about saying farewell to a good friend because my time stretches and shrinks so inexplicably. I know that when we get together again, in weeks or months, it will be as if no time has passed at all - but, hopefully, we'll have good news to share.

...and I wouldn't mind having an excuse to visit Vancouver again, it's a nice city.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Work, work, work

I'm finally seeing light at the end of the photo-processing tunnel (see Around Japan in My Photos for the few I've put up - most will be snapshots to share with the people on the trip).

In my mad dash for completion I haven't named things or even thought about what I felt and experienced while I was there - that will come later. I knew if I didn't tackle the photos right away they would be a long time getting done (I'm still on Italy!)

I want to do some writing about the trip and that will take a lot of thought and a lot of time, but in the meantime, it's all on the back burner, percolating. (Or burning, like the incense at this temple, which if allowed to touch an afflicted body part, would ease the distress - or so I was told.)

First, tomorrow I will do laundry.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Morning thoughts

It's 07:19, I'm sipping my coffee and will soon get ready to go back to school after missing two weeks of my classes.

My sleep patterns are back to S.F. time, I'm up to Kyoto with my photos. I've reorganized all of my backups to the external HD, freeing up some space on this Mac. (What good would a full back up do on the internal HD if the HD failed?) That buys me some time, but not much. I need to archive stuff, but not until I've cataloged it - yet another program to buy.

That's Ken looking at Mt. Fuji, which we'd climbed, or were going to climb on our bikes (I'm unclear on the order of things as I write). The first morning when I got up and looked where the mountain would be the sky was a blank, fogged in. I expected it would stay that way our entire three days and went back to bed. The next time I looked, it was there, and it stayed visible until the day we left when it clouded over again.

A typhoon to the south had brought enough rain the previous week to melt the last of the snow, so Mt. Fuji was bald. It was also very hot and humid.

More on this later, I have to get ready for school.