Things Consumed

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Dry, so dry...

  Another episode of staring at the earth from satellites: Dry, white hills near San Lucas, CA - Google Maps.

This is a landscape I viewed many times by car on return trips from two semesters at a university in San Luis Obisbo. The white, chalky, dry soil also seemed so improbable in our lush state.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)6:00 AM

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Once upon a time, with a view of Everest

  It has always been a pleasure to love maps, but satellite images with maps delicately, digitally laid over them may be even better.

When I was young, so long ago, I went on a trek in Nepal. At one point, we were in Tengboche, a flat spot where there was a monastery, some outbuildings, and many festivals, though none timed to coincide with our too-early arrival. My trekking group stayed there for a few days. We had stunning views of Mt. Everest and Ama Dablam. It was extraordinarily cold at night: another story I tell, about my the water in my water bottle freezing solid in the tent, despite being between me and my roommate, occurred in Tengboche.

It occurred to me while telling another story about things I did in Tengboche that the name had no meaning to anyone who had not been there, or who had not planned a trip to Everest. So I mapped it.

Go to Tengboche, Nepal - Google Maps and make your browser window as large as you can. Collapse the sidebar. Zoom in, just a bit, or out just a bit, to see the Everest Himalayas (Everest is just up and to the right of Tengboche).

What a lovely planet we live on.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

Friday, January 29, 2010


  Is anything more lovely
than banks of cumulus clouds
lit by a full moon,
against a deep blue sky
dotted with rare, bright planets?

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday afternoon

  image of cloudy afternoon skies over Ocean Beach, January 10, 2010 by A.E. Graves
This weekend may have been just refreshing enough to prepare me for another week of work. Just maybe.

Or maybe that's just the nap influencing my judgment.

Having time to take a nap is so... luxurious...

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:22 PM

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning songs

  I spent about two and a half hours this morning listening to birdsong while watching the shadows of clouds pass over my neighbors' yards.

This was the best investment of time I have made all week.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)11:08 AM

Monday, April 13, 2009

California landscapes: Sunol

  white tree in Sunol Regional Wilderness, photograph by A.E. Graves[This photograph is the best one I took while hiking in Sunol, though it is not representative of the overall landscape, which tends toward lush, rolling hills studded with spreading oaks.]

There is something about the name Sunol that just won't stick in my head. I cannot remember it: I am always convinced it should start with Sol- instead of Sun-.

Regardless, I went on a hike with my ex at the Sunol Regional Wilderness | East Bay Regional Park District ( because I had never been there, though I had biked through adjacent areas with the Fremont Freewheelers ( on their famous Primavera ride, which would have been our first century if it had not been raining for most of the riding, and hailing for key sections of it. So instead, we biked in rain and hail for a mere 100 kilometers on the 100k course instead. (Have I mentioned the remarkable sound that hail makes on a bike helmet? WOW.)

The Sunol Regional Wilderness has the classic, oak-studded, rolling-hill, lush-in-spring landscape you love in this state. And being there at midday was PERFECT for shooting images in infrared, when all of the new growth was positively glowing.

Did I mention that I've lost my infrared filter? I have. I can't find it. I wanted nothing more than to shoot in IR, and spent the entire day sighing as I looked at the world and knew that I wouldn't be able to capture that magical, magical glow. The time of day was perfect for it, the weather was perfect for it, yet... Yet... *sigh*

It was still a lovely hike.

There is an area of the park which is called the "Little Yosemite" area, because it has a creek with cascades and some granite boulders. It is nice in its own way, but it is nothing like Yosemite.

If you know the whereabouts of my IR filter, please let me know. And if you need some classic California landscapes, perhaps with a cow here or there, and lots of wildflowers at this time of year, this spot in Sunol is a good choice.


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

Saturday, June 07, 2008


The hills are alive, with the sound of... lupines.

a hillside covered in yellow lupine and wild radish in bloomI have never seen so many yellow lupine blooming in once place as I did last week at Point Reyes. We went on a very windy hike to Tomales Point, and I was stunned to see hill after hill completely yellow with lupine.


Go visit now!

As an aside, we also had absolutely fabulous breakfasts at the Station House Cafe ( in Point Reyes Station before our hike, and I was planning other hikes in the area around the idea of getting to eat there again. Our party appeared to be uniformly satisfied with the meal. I had the huevos rancheros (because black beans are an important part of many nutritious breakfasts!), which is a dish I have rarely, but which I find is a good judge of quality, and these were VERY good. (It's so odd to realize that this means I've eaten eggs already this month! That is less and less common...) Others had Mexican omelet, an egg special, and a waffle with strawberries and fresh whipped cream. It was all stellar. I wish we had returned for dinner!

There are photos from the outing at starting here.


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

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