Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Much ado about Miley...

Big flap still going on about photos Vanity Fair published of Miley Cyrus. I hope that child makes it out of her teens intact and without cracking under the pressure! Jamie Lee Curtis (yes, the actress) blogged about the photos and about the challenges of a young woman in show business - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-lee-curtis/topless-on-tv-the-miley-c_b_98990.html. It's a great post, insightful and compassionate, and shows a wisdom that makes me want to call Jamie Lee up and have lunch with her. We could be friends.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Paradise is...

...different things to different people.

As I was hiking in the Muir Woods on Friday, I overheard conversation among a pair of couples walking the trail. I recognized them as Jehovah's Witnesses right away. Having been raised in that arena, I'm fluent in the language (that language is a subject for another conversation some time).

The conversation centered around what they wanted in the New System. For Jehovah's Witnesses, the New System is the world as it will be after Armageddon, after Jehovah removes Satan's influence from the world for a thousand years so the earth and all its inhabitants can return to paradise and perfection. The comments were about what kind of homes they wanted, what kind of amenities. "I want a two or three story house with a window that opens onto a slide so I can just slide down into the lake right out of the bedroom window."

The thing is...we were in the middle of an old growth forest. It was clean, deep, quiet...the trees, some four or five stories tall, were graciously welcoming us into their homes. We'd just been graced with a doe and her fawn crossing our path; a birdsong symphony played in the background, and a gentle creek babbled merrily within earshot of most of the trail. We were already in paradise, and they didn't appear to recognize it.

Have we all become such expatriates that we don't recognize our native tounge? The world was speaking the language of paradise and people were talking about building a three-story house. Or maybe the constant focus on the future, the paradise to come, blinds people to the paradise that is.

It was a bit sad really. Maybe I'm making too much of it; they certainly seemed to be happy and enjoying themselves. But for me, caught up as I was in the rapture of ancient redwoods, blooming oxalis, and the humming energy of that beautiful place, there was no need for a new system. The old system was paradise enough for me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The California adventure continues..

Today was fun! I started the day in the Muir Woods Redwood Preserve and an easy mile-and-a-half loop on the trails. New photos are on Flickr.

What an amazing place! I know now what "the forest primeval" means. To the eye, it looks pretty much the same as Armstrong Woods that I visited yesterday. That makes sense; two old-growth forests in the same area, same types of plants, etc. Muir Woods is very old, though, and I think probably older than the Armstrong area, though I need to research that. 2008 marks the 100th year of the Muir Woods as a named entity, and the forest itself is ancient.

The first thing I noticed about the woods was the smell. Oh, that wonderful smell! Fresh, clean, earthy... heavenly.

Then there was the doe and fawn that crossed the trail. A guide leading a group of children noticed the pair trying to cross the trail to get to the creek. After finally getting the children and the oblivious adults to be still and somewhat quiet, the doe crossed but the baby was spooked by the crowd and failed to cross. Little deer starts looking for momma deer all around and can't find her. Everyone was oh-no-ing quietly.

Now, I've been told by more than one person that I carry a lot of "momma energy," and I know it's true. I got a little reminder of that today. As I watched the fawn search for momma, I said a little prayer and just asked the Lady to guide the little one to momma. Where does the fawn go? To me...all but into my hand. I think she (gender chosen for convenience; the fawn wasn't THAT close) would have just followed me across the road, until the kids realized the fawn was right under their feet and got excited. Baby ran back into the woods. The doe had started calling, and finally came back across, collected her offspring, and crossed back to the creek. We moved on. It was beautiful.

Next: San Francisco! I drove to Pier 39 and played at Fisherman's Wharf all afternoon. The best thing about SF and northern California in general is that it's drop-dead beautiful. The wharf was fun...lots of shopping, mostly touristy stuff, some jewelry, and food. Oh, and they had an honest-to-goodness arcade - that was fun! I didn't play anything; I just enjoyed walking through the dimly lit palace of fun things. Dinner was The Eagle Cafe. It was good, and the bartender made me the best bloody mary I've ever had! It had freshly grated horseradish in it and the rim was sportig a layer of seasoned salt. Yum!

Finally headed for San Carlos and the hotel I booked on Orbitz. I have to say that I am impressed with Orbitz. I hadn't written down the hotel address so I called Orbitz for help. They found me in the computer system with just my first and last name and were able to give me everything I needed. With their help and the guidance of the trusty GPS system in my rental car, I got where I was going without mishap.

Now it's time to pack up and get some shut-eye. My flight home is 6:00 AM, which means a 3:30 departure from my lovely room. Hope I can sleep on the plane!


I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony...

...but it appears that someone beat me to it.

My beautiful friend Leslie sent a link to a great article, "How to Sing Like a Planet". Beautiful stuff...and the article is written just to my taste, too. Funny, intelligent, and with a sense of wonder. Thanks, Les!

I've got more to say about this (you knew that, didn't you?)...but not now...gotta pack and get out of this hotel room. Stay tuned...

What a great day!

I had some time after the last session I wanted to attend today, so I headed out for some adventure. Chuck at the California Visitor's Center in Santa Rosa gave me the scoop on a scenic drive, along with a handy map with route personally highlighted by Chucks' own hand, so off I went. It was great! You can check out the photos on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/25941852@N07/show/

First stop...Martinelli Winery for a quick taste and three lovely bottles of wine. This small family winery had some delicious reds and the place was just beautiful.

Next up, Korbel Champagne Winery. Loved the bubbly, but the bottles wouldn't fit in my already-purchased wine shipper, so I bought a bottle of cream sherry. I've never been a sherry drinker, but this stuff is delicious!

Next...Armstrong Woods and a walk among the redwoods...quite possibly the highlight of my trip so far.

Turned onto US 1 and followed the coast for a ways, through Sonoma County State Beach area. I popped off the main road at Goat Rock State Beach and walked down as far as my city girl sandals would let me. And...you guessed it...the pictures are on Flickr at the link above.

My 8 AM oatmeal finally ran out and I had to find food. Ended up at The Tides in Bodega, and it was good. The food wasn't pretty, but it was tasty (lots of garlic) and filling. The restaurant is right on the water so the view was worthy.

Finally, turned for home. Bodega Highway reminds me of home...lots of modest homes and dairy ranches. We don't have ranches in Birchwood...but we have cows...and pastures...and other country stuff. Bodega Highway was like that...felt good.

Whew! Good day...long and adventurous. Tomorrow I check out and head back to San Francisco to see what I can get into there. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Miracle or zombie?

So here I am at the SNCR Forum in beautiful Santa Rosa, California, surrounded by the best and brightest true believers in the social media universe. I'm inspired to the point of resurrecting this blog from the shallow grave it's called home for over a year now. Is it a miracle or a half-decayed hungry thing that eats brains for breakfast? Time will tell...stay tuned for more updates.

This conference has convinced me that it's time to get back in the pool. David Parmet, Joe Jaffe, Richard Binhammer, Paul Gillin, Geoff Livingtgon, Kami Huyse...names I know and respect are here and I'm soaking it up (hopefully more like a sponge than a sieve). On both a personal and professional front, conversation, true interactive discussion, is where I'm headed.

Did I mention yet how much I love conversation? What a lost art! People talk at each other but so few have any idea how to actually have a true give-and-take conversation anymore. I call them "versations"...there is no "with" component. One person says something. The other says something. Half the time they don't even relate, much less resemble a true response, and heaven forbid one participant actually forgoing their own agenda to ask a question or encourage the other. Instead of verbal ping pong, we play catch, holding onto our turn until we have to take a breath, at which point the person waiting her turn snatches the ball out of our hands and takes control.

Geoff Livingston and Kami Huyse talked today about steps to entering the social media ring that I think can become rules for conversation in any arena - Listen, participate, contribute, evaluate. If we applied these rules every time we talk with another person, our versations would become conversations again and we'd find ourselves actually hearing, stimulating, challenging each other.

Oh, but wait...we can't do that because that might lead to discussions about things that really matter, minefields in the politically correct, you will respect my diversi-ty world. But that's a topic for another post, another time. Right now, I'm going to go back to learning at the feet of the masters.

Don't go away...we'll be right back.