A hike to the waterfall

Still trying to sturdy myself for the terrain. The right shoes and a hiking pole help, but it’s also a game of balance and when in doubt, planting as many points of contact as possible. Whether scrambling down a path or over rocks, I’ve found my backside is one of the best anchors. May the image of this gracefulness be regulated to text.

Today’s destination was a bit further upstream. A waterfall that is best reached by going up the creek itself. The rocks are hot to the touch as temperatures soar above 100. Best to minimize using those and favor the shady parts.

Once we arrive we set up a blanket under the trees and wade into the water when we want to cool off. Rinse and repeat while the world rotates.

Sun streams through the canopy
Sunlight tree canopy reflected in sunglasses
Canopy reflections
Bodhi on the lookout for wild animals
Vegetation grows between rocks in a California creekbed
Ambling over rocks up to the waterfall
The waterline in four different photos
Waterlines
A dog shakes off water on a small island of stones in the middle of a creek
Shake it off

Wonderment and gratitude

Transitioning to the California timezone I’m waking at 4am (normal wake-up time in Ohio) and going back to sleep until birds start chirping. Getting up for reals, I have enough time to make a pot of coffee and watch the sunrise on the deck, pictured above.

When the pandemic hit and unknowns swirled, my initial thought was: get to the mountain and ride it out. Before too long it was clear that sheltering in place would prevent cross-state traveling. So I tucked the idea of this retreat out of mind.

As travel began to open up, it was time to daydream again. If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

This was the place.

Normally I stay at my friends’ yurt, but this guesthouse was available and I jumped at the chance. And now I’m settling into this groove of being surrounded by nature and good friends, filled with wonderment and gratitude.

A craftsman styled cabin
The guesthouse
Multi-level deck and California hills
A claw footed bathtub
Though dreamy to think about, a bath is out of the question in a drought.
The path in a wooded area with a large boudler

Juneteenth

There were 11 annual federal holidays until this week — the previous addition was Martin Luther King Day added in 1983. I went back to get a better understanding of all this after President Biden signed the Congressional legislation to add Juneteenth as the 12th annual Federal holiday a few days ago.

Last year mid pandemic, I was mortified to learn of both Juneteenth and the Tulsa Race Massacre after the murder of George Floyd and innumerable black lives brought these histories in focus — stories that weren’t taught in my school.

If I was closer to civilization today, I would have liked to join a Juneteenth celebration. In lieu of that, I’m happy that this day of emancipation is now a part of our national lexicon. I’ve much to learn about racial disparity, the stories, the truth, and more importantly — the actions we can take to acknowledge and eliminate racism in all forms.

Floating under a first quarter moon

Started off with yogurt and granola with fresh yellow raspberries from up the hill and another early day of work. The payoff was revisiting the creek armed with inflatable tubes and iced drinks during the hottest part of the day.

Two men hang out on blue inner tube floats in a creek
Enjoying the shade
A man's legs are draped over a blue inflatable innertube
Taking a break from tanning my gams
A huge granite rock in a creak bed
That rock to the left is like 15 feet above the water. Massive.
Rocks under creek water, the ripples creating lines of sunlight across the surface
Sunlight ripples across the water and rocks
An orange colored rock
My friend Zan loves rocks so much she created an Insta for them. I thought this would be a nice addition to her collection.
Aforementioned yoghurt, granola and yellow raspberries

Easing in to taking off

First proper full day on the mountain and it is transitional. There’s still work to be done and thanks to a chunk of satellite internet at the my friends’ cabin, we’re able to squeeze ones and zeros over to clients.

There’s an extra character by the name of Darla keeping us company. An adorable Frenchie, all she really wants is to go outside and play fetch.

We close our laptops after the final emails are sent off to many timezones and hike down to creek for relief from the heat. Much of the US is experiencing a heatwave at the moment, and Northern California has not been spared. But it’s fine in the shade. (It’s a dry heat.)

I’m just getting my “mountain legs” so I figure in a few weeks time I’ll be get down to the water’s edge in no time.

We closed out the night with some solid highlights. 1. Loaded low carb pizza (pictured above) and 2. Playing a round of a card game we’ve been building virtually over the pandemic. The pre-production decks arrived a few weeks back and this would be our first time playing together.

It was a blast and we immediately had more ideas to improve card design and instructions.

Day 1 on the Mountain, Summer 2021 Edition? A success.

Farewell to Spring flowers
Farewell to Spring flowers
A French bulldog paws at a door
Darla would like to play fetch
A funny coaster that reads "Don't fuck up the coffee table"
A solid coaster message
Scorpion on a dirt path
DANGER: Scorpion
Blue Rock Creek
The creek was nice, but even better the next day with inner tubes.

Three cities from above

Today was a travel day — a first involving a plane for some time. (Above, Cincinnati at sunrise.)

Filled with caution and excitement, I moved through airports with elevated awareness. I’d heard horror stories about experiences with unruly passengers, but what I experienced was the opposite.

I noticed gratitude — my own and that of others. ‘Thank you’s’ hit a little harder and were received with appreciation.

And though I’ve flown out of Cincinnati and into Seattle and San Francisco before, the views of each city from the window seat filled me with so much delight.

This glow is tempered however. I’m still worried about variants and unvaccinated folks.

But for this moment, I cling to a shred of optimism that someday before too long? It’s going to be okay — and we forge ahead with a deeper understanding of what we’ve lost and what we may gain.

Seattle's space needle as viewed from an airplane window
Space Needle!
The Golden Gate Bridge and that other one!
A few more snapshots from the day

Tucker Carlson is vaccinated

Not sure where words like cheugy will land in the long haul of language. Apparently the slang for basic arrived in 2013 and has yet to land in a real dictionary — but what is real anymore, anyway? The silly term is here today and I honored it with a trip to Michaels with a few adjustments in post.

Home is where my Cheugy grows
Life is stupid & hard
Bless Joe Rogan
United we stan.

Celebrating 3, and other milestones

So… Today was a big day with some reintegration to society, fully vaccinated.

It started with an impromptu lunch on the patio of the Gruff with Joe and Mike. On approach I had a bit of fight or flight response behind my mask, but by the time the table was cleared frets had largely abated.

Then it was off to an outside gathering to celebrate the third loop around the sun for a young girl. And though it wasn’t the warmest day for swimming, it was an excellent time to put a toe in the water of social events.

A birthday cake with icing flowers surrounded by pink balloons
The birthday cake
An inflatable cat mermaid float in a pool
A cat mermaid
Water balloons
White Claw and a cheugy pillow.
Riding a bike for the first time
First time riding a proper bike
A young girl has a rainbow lollipop and a curious glance

Village General Farms Bouquet

One of the things I’ve missed greatly over the year has been picking out flowers while shopping. It wasn’t even an option for curbside until recently. ⁣ So months ago I pre-ordered spring bouquets from Village General Farms to scratch the itch. ⁣

Picked up the first batch on their porch this afternoon. ⁣ I’m putting them on my desk as their vibes are smile inducing, right after I snap a few photos on some poster board.

A pink flower in a bouquet
Detail of a bouquet of flowers
A bouquet of flowers on a pink backdrop

The Columns

Took a tour of The Columns, a new event space soon to open right in the heart of Findlay Market. Here are a few snapshots from the patio, but I hope to pop back down soon as all the finishing touches are in place.

A view of city buildings and a solar roof
A view of Findlay Market from The Columns patio
A geometric open roof revealing a blue sky with clouds
Blue skies and some nice architectural lines

Lotus

I need a tag to classify the weekly sessions with Emily we’ve been carving out. I am calling them sessions with no modifier as we haven’t stuck to a script. Each week we show up with ever changing objectives that tug at exploration, expression, notion and play with loose context of making something greater than the sum of the parts.

Often we’ll leave each week with a couple things to chew on. Today we tackled the question: “What does your ideal day look like?” Sounds easy, but not if you like to overthink!

I realized my days need variance. I’m all for frameworks (like showering to become human and having some quiet time with coffee to ramp up…) but a strict regimen of daily activities was daunting.

We decided to modify the prompt and zoom out to think about the ideal week, then the ideal life.

Two fun asides from our time:

  1. Writing a phrase with a friend in mind and folding it into a lotus flower to share.
  2. Exploring a tool that creates patterns out of photos.

A repeating pattern of an origami lotus flower