Sunday, June 24, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Progress on Gedifra 848 is coming along nicely, and I think I will love this one when it is done. The Top Soft yarn is so soft! I have finished the back and half of the front. Since there are no sleeves, I only need to do the turtle neck after that and it's done. I'm hoping it will be done for my trip back east in July.
I am on jury duty this week, but so far have not had to report to the courthouse. In CA, you are on call for one week and if you get called in, it's one day or one trial. Unfortunately, knitting needles are not allowed in the courthouse so if I do have to report, I won't get any knitting done and knitting helps to pass the time better than anything else!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Luckily the plantings were done in 2004-2005 when we had a lot of rainfall and the plants were able to get established before this summer of drought started. There was no funding for an irrigation system. Everything looked extremely dry to me and it is only June. It will be a long time before any of these plants get any appreciable water. What amazes me about California natives is their ability to survive under these very harsh conditions. Like deciduous plants in more northern latitudes, these plants can look totally dead in the dry season and then "spring" back to life when the rains start again.
We equipped ourselves with maps and photos of the plants that the Conservancy had listed and of course, my trusty camera, and headed out for a very pleasant afternoon hike. Joan had made metal tags to put on certain plants to help her identify them again in the future. We looked and felt very professional and laughed at our inexperience.
For those who may want to know just which plants the Conservancy planted, which plants they consider to be native not only to the southern coast of California but to our little peninsula, here is the complete list. If you live in Southern California, you may want to consider these for your back yard. They are all extremely drought tolerant and some of the flowers are lovely and unusual. And several of them like the artemisia and sages have wonderful smells. These are the sorts of plants that my other friend Kathy grows in her yard.
The above photo on the right is of a lupine. Lupines are not on the list so this one was not planted by the Conservancy and has somehow managed to survive or seed itself in the canyon on its own. There are over 60 species of lupine in California and I have had no luck tracking this one down yet. I love lupines and have to stop and take photos of them whenever I find them usually along mountain roads. The photo above left is Salvia leucophylla or Purple Sage and the one below is Isomeris arborea or Bladderpod.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
This past week, I was in a lot of pain at rehearsals and got very fatigued by the end of the week. Having rehearsals that go til 10:30 pm doesn't help. I read in the LA Times a week ago that a doctor had great success giving ginger supplements to people with arthritis, so I have been drinking ginger tea every day. I just grate some ginger into my Bodum teapot and add hot water. I like it straight but it is also good with a teaspoon of raw honey. It seems to be working! Last night at the concert, I was fine. No pain at all, although this morning is a different story. I guess a little adrenaline helps, too.
My current read is a book about cortisol, the other "fight or flight" hormone. The title is The Cortisol Connection and according to the author, Shawn Talbott, constantly raised cortisol levels is the root of all health evils from obesity and diabetes to arthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's. Essentially, he says, and he is not the first to say so, our high-stress life-styles are killing us. I am only half-way through the book so at this point I am not making any recommendations. I already have a couple of objections to his thesis—one is the diet he recommends (not low-carb) and the other is all the herbal supplements. Here is one more author saying that people can't stick to a diet or exercise routine and therefore need to take a pill instead. But at the beginning of the book, he clearly lays out the possible reasons for our elevated cortisol levels and the consequences to our health.
Note to Grace, my daughter, and daughter-in-law: The people with the highest levels of stress-related diseases are working moms! But you knew that, right?
So I plan to spend my day today trying to reduce my cortisol levels that have been raised by all those nighttime rehearsals which disrupt my circadian rhythm, the intensity of the work itself, and the pain in my neck. I usually am totally wiped out the morning after a big concert but my new low-carb diet has helped my energy levels considerably. The Yoga, stretching, and strength-training has helped, too. I tried doing some knitting yesterday to relax, but after having to rip back the last three rows four times, I realized I wasn't getting very relaxed! I could watch a movie, but the current Netflix movie that I have in the house (Pan's Labyrinth) is R rated and probably will raise my cortisol levels even higher. Our brains can call for more cortisol even if we just imagine a stressful event.
For me, browsing the Internet is very relaxing, but constantly using the mouse hurts my neck because my right hand is stretched out for long periods. (I do have an ergonomic keyboard.) Gardening is great for helping me to relax, too, so I may do some of that later today. But what I really want to do is try out a new Yoga DVD that I bought when I bought the Cortisol book—Yoga for Beauty with Rainbeau Mars. (Imagine having a name like that—Rainbeau Mars. And she lives in Hawaii, too, one of the most relaxing places on Earth.) I have her earlier set of DVDs, Sacred Yoga Practice, and do the Pure Tranquility routine from that set often, especially during concert weeks.
A nice stretch followed by hot ginger tea... Mmmmm!
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Along with the cars, was a display of the high fashion dresses that went with the era and with driving one of these autos. Photos were allowed in this area, so I took a few. Seeing these dresses and especially the gloves reminded me that I have inherited some high-fashion designs myself from my husband's aunt. I have them stored away and don't know if I will ever wear them.
The museum has undergone some expansion since I was there last in 2004. I hardly recognized the place. A new wing has been added that houses a lot of contemporary art. For me, this was the most fun part of the museum. Photos were allowed and the quirky artwork inspired me to try my hand at quirky photography. As usual in museums, no flash is allowed or the use of a tripod, not to mention the fact that there were people everywhere, but this just increases the challenge. I'm not sure the results are all that noteworthy, but it was fun.
This is a work by Cornelia Parker called Mass (Colder Darker Matter). It was done in 1997. (A similar and earlier work, Cold Dark Matter, hangs in the Tate Gallery, London.) My shot only shows the central portion of this work. It actually fills an entire room and consists of pieces of charcoal suspended from the ceiling by invisible thread to form a cube shape with the center being dense and full and the outer edges more sparse. The charcoal is actually the charred remains of a Texas church that was struck by lightning. The title suggests the cold, dark matter which fills the universe and also a spiritual gathering as well as the solids and voids that are the basis of the sculpture.
Another room-size sculpture was the favorite attraction of a lot of the young people in attend-ance. In fact, we were directed to this room as a "don't miss it" exhibit by the museum guard who struck up a conversation with us as we waited in line to buy our tickets. It certainly did appeal to my young grandson and I found it fascinating, too! You walk into a dark room lined with black mirrors. Hanging from the ceiling are tiny lights suspended by that invisible thread again (like nylon fishing tackle). The lights change from full color to white only and from low to high intensity. As you walk through (you can't see where you are going, you can't even find the exit!), you set the lights swirling and with all the mirrors you feel you are in a swarm of fireflies. The work is by Yayoi Kusama and is called You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies. Ms. Kusama has done other works on the subject of fireflies. This one is dated 2005, a very recent work. My photo does not do it justice at all. I wasn't sure I would get anything when I took the picture. It was a very long exposure and there was nothing for me to lean against for support. Kusama is definitely an artist whose work I would like to explore further.