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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We're having a nice quiet Thanksgiving Day here in partly sunny San Francisco. I made pies earlier. Pumpkin and apple. These photos are for my niece Casey, who is celebrating Thanksgiving in Senegal and is slightly homesick.

I'm thankful for living near Pt. Reyes. Steve has to work tomorrow, so he took last Friday off and we went up to Limantour Beach. This Ring-billed gull hung out by our blanket the whole time we were there.

It was a glorious day. We took a hike on the Muddy Hollow trail, which we later found out was actually closed (oops!) They are doing construction on it, but it looks more like DEstruction if you ask me. Supposedly they are returning the landscape to a more "natural" state. We saw a Virginia rail, which is a fairly common bird, but hard to see, as they are secretive. Steve saw a mammal swimming in a pond. We thought it might be a mountain beaver, but not sure.

When the sun started to go down, we drove up the hill to a lookout spot and parked the car. I got out to watch the sunset and I heard coyotes calling back and forth to each other across the canyon. Some calls were close to us. Finally the coyotes came together and started all yipping. It was such a wild sound. Really cool.

I hope you all are enjoying your Thanksgiving Days.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sanibel Shell Shadow Box

I finally put together this shadow box of shells that I collected at Sanibel Island, Florida in 2001. I've had the idea to do it as part of my bathroom redecoration for a long time, but just got around to completing it this week. I got a nautical chart of Sanibel Island off the internet and printed it out at a low opacity for the background of the shadow box. I even figured out how to use a hot glue gun.

Sanibel is known for its fine shelling beaches. It is uniquely situated facing east/west on the Gulf of Mexico and the sand extends far out from the island, dropping off very gradually, so the shells do not get crushed, but roll gently onto the shore. They have a shell fair every year there too.

Steve took this picture of a pile of shells on the beach there. So now you're probably less impressed with my collection, aren't you? (I think we might have planted some good ones in this shot.)

I really got into the shelling while there. They even have a shell museum which we visited. The best time to look for shells is just after the lowest tide and early in the morning, before the beach has been picked over. The last day we were there, I got up before the sunrise to go shelling and Steve took this picture. I'm SO not a morning person. The only things that get me up before the sun are birding and shelling.

Steve also took a nice photo of one of the beach bikes that our inn lends out to guests.

One thing you need to know if you are going to collect shells and bring them home is...they get really stinky if they are not washed and dried properly. I put mine in a tupperware container and it was really ripe when I opened it a few days later. Here's the whole collection.

The other really cool thing about Sanibel Island is that a big portion of it is a National Wildlife Refuge called "Ding" Darling NWR. Their specialty is wading birds. You can see spoonbills, ibises, all sorts of egrets there. It's wonderful, but don't forget the bug spray.

Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling was an illustrator, well, a cartoonist. He was also an early conservationist.

Now I want to go back there. They even shut off all the lights on the island at night so that the baby sea turtles don't get confused after they hatch and are trying to navigate by moonlight back to the sea.

My next project is to paint two faux natural history "prints" of these seashells to frame and hang over the bathtub. I hope that these will not take me as long to complete as the shadow box.

Friday, November 7, 2008


During my water running class at the Y this morning, 3 of the lifeguards kept circling the pool, staring down at the water and carrying a net on a long pole. At one point, Courtney put on a mask and latex glove and dove down to the bottom in the middle of our class, coming up empty.

Finally they located what they were looking for. Horst blew his whistle and declared, "Emergency, everyone out of the pool immediately!" They wouldn't tell us what they had found.

Reminded me of the famous Baby Ruth scene from Caddyshack.

Ok, well I can't always be highbrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Can Breathe Again

I feel like I have been literally "waiting with bated breath" for this election to be done already. Here in San Francisco we had 12 state and 22 city propositions to vote on, which I think is insane. The city voter pamphlet was almost 1/2 inch thick! And then the state one was another quarter inch of pages to wade through.

We decided to attend the Troubletown Election Night Party at this bar out by the beach called the Riptide. I know Lloyd and his wife Hae from serving with them on Graphic Artist Guild committees. You may know Lloyd from his illustration for the Airborne package.

Funny, there's a bar back in Marblehead called the Riptide (locals call it "the Rippa.") We got there just as the networks were calling the election for Obama. The place was packed with jubilant people. It was so crowded that we had to stand on a bench outside and peer through the window to watch McCain's concession speech.

Here's Steve and our friend Annie standing on the bench. Annie's from Paris. She did not get to vote, but she is glad that now she can go home for visits and not be embarrassed to live here anymore.

Lloyd had hung an "interactive map" just inside the front door of the bar. They were sticking chocolate dipped madeleines on for the blue states and saltines for the red states.

Our friend David, who's quite tall, managed to stake out a spot by the wall for us, so we crowded in with everybody to watch Obama's speech from Chicago on the video screens. There was a lot of cheering and clinking of glasses and beer bottles. When we got home, someone was shooting off fireworks.

I thought that this piece I heard on the radio was interesting. Perspective from commentator Brenda Payton, who thought her parents would never see "two little black girls living in the White House."

Too bad that Prop 8 passed.

I haven't been posting much lately, I know. I'm still very bummed about losing Esther.