Friday, October 31, 2008

October Peregrinations

I'm blogging last month in reverse chronological order. It has been a super busy month, for sure. I think I just *might* have a semi-sane week coming up. Knock on wood and all that. But in any case, here are some bit and pieces of October.

The Historian and I got the hell outta town last Saturday. I woke up that day, realized I did not absolutely have to go to work, while I absolutely did need to get out of Dodge, so off we went to Muir Woods. Since it's right next to TH's childhood home, I got some entirely unplanned (honestly!!) retail therapy. The sign below hangs in front of the store where I bought 3 little day of the dead skeletons, a really cool fake rat (that went to MP2, along with some fake blood, pumpkin bread and chocolate), and a book about Mill Valley's early days (waaaaay earlier than when TH's mom moved there with him in tow).

It was a really darling shop, just down the street from...

...high end cookware!! I knew better than to go in. Just the week before I bought new All-Clad stainless mixing bowls (and passed my mom's down to MP1), so I had no excuse to go in and spend more $$. But I took a picture to remind MP1 and me that this store awaits a visit from us. Maybe a certain engaged anthropologist I know needs a bridal shower gift from this place. Why yes, I do believe that I've just come up with my latest excuse to go back. Plus the restaurant we ate in was really wonderful--lots of al fresco dining on good Italian food.

After lunch we headed to TH's old house in Enchanted Knolls neighborhood. No wonder he grew up insisting on being "a writer," all the streets in his childhood neighborhood are named after authors. The street corner below is kitty-corner to the corner on which the street signs above are planted.

If you look closely at this curb--above or below (click on the photo)--you'll see that we were in search of his mischievous juvi-vandalism. Yes, he was there in 1969 when that bulkhead around the ditch was poured. At first, when we drove to the crest of the hill and looked down toward the curb, he thought "Oh, they repaved the curb. It's gone." He was going to drive right by. But I had already noticed that the older concrete in back of the new curb was still there. I think they decided not to tear out this remnant from the Age of Aquarius. So I made him pose for posterity with his kiddie graffiti. He was 10 when he wrote this "TH was here in '69," line. My parents provided the four of us with plenty of opportunities to carve our names in newly poured concrete patios, or put our hand prints on garden curbs. Alas, that stuff is likely long gone. I should have insisted on a public curb in Marin County. Of course I would have been grounded, because my parents were not liberal-minded Californians.

This was his mom's house: 46 Longfellow. It's a tiny house hidden behind hedges. It's a fraction (literally) of the size of our house. Several years ago (last time we checked) it was valued at more than a million. That's Mill Valley for you.

Nice view from the driveway, though. That's Mount Tamalpais.

We did eventually head to Muir Woods. I love these trails. Parking was HELL though. It was not particularly smart to wait till the afternoon on a Saturday, but once we found a spot, it was sheer pleasure to hike these forest trails. In fact, after being cooped up in the Museum and Department reading files and sitting in alternately stressful and boring committee meetings, it felt like a JAIL BREAK.

It was a global village, international tourists from everywhere. That was actually a lot of fun--listening to people express their awe in all those different tongues.

I took this photo to remember the patina on the roots of these giant redwoods that are tread over by countless, plodding feet, for hours everyday--children and adults, school groups and visiting dignitaries, teenager lovers and little old couples (so cute!). I kept thinking about how nationalism claims such natural grandeur as part of its patrimony and how I was really buying into that whole ideological move in such a wholesale fashion while hiking here (no doubt this is why MP1's girlscout troop visited way back when--the last time I'd been here). And then (just to freak me out), a candidate's letter of recommendation from super, super famous anthropologist dropped into my iPhone mailbox. Super famous anthro works on psychological anth (in part). It was a bit of a surreal moment there for a minute. I had to choose between the grandeur of the redwoods or the importance of famous anthropologist; I chose the latter and opened up the letter. I actually met this guy once at the house of a former professor (who worked for a while on tango). We (me and famous) were serving ourselves Thanksgiving turkey at the very same moment and engaged in the kind of lame chitcat that grad students barely manage to effect when they are in the presence of legendary types.

These trees have those famous redwood burls that carvers make expensive bowls and platters from--the kind that have a grain that looks almost like maple.

The canopy is so high that there is little light even in the height of the afternoon. This was a younger, secondary stand of growth and I loved peering through it.

And here we have the famous Cherokee after whom the trees were named.

More, yet more, photos of humungous redwoods and lacy foliage beneath.

This was a gorgeous view.

A dedication plaque worth reading in its brief entirety.

Lichen that reminded me of when I lived in Denver. It had fallen from high up, but look at this combination of colors and forms and then imagine the spell of pine all around. Mmmm.
After several hours we decided we had to go ahead and make the trip to Stinson Beach. It is very close, but the stretch up Hwy. 1 is nauseatingly winding. This is why I don't do Sea Ranch well. Because I need dramamine. It's tough to be there on the edge of the Pacific, with the waves crashing below (and it looking just beautiful), but you feel like the worst weeks of pregnancy the entire way. Despite feeling really awful, the lavendar in the photo above was too pretty to pass up.

And then, the ocean spray and wind and sand. Ahhh. It was great. Except for a seagull cannibalizing another dead seagull. It was disgusting. Even the thousands of dogs on the beach were disturbed by this scene. I know because they told me.
Seafoam. I wish I had a beach house. I love, love, love the beach. Alas, we do not have one, and thus we had to leave. And I was NOT airlifted out--therefore I was gaggingly sick going home, this time winding in and around Mt. Tam. THE END (at least of the Muir Woods trip of a week ago).
There is a wonderful garden in back of the Anthropology Museum. (Actually, it also has redwoods in it, along with other very cool foliage).

This is new growth on horsetail. Isn't it wild?! The top photo I took with my iPhone, which is why I had to go back the next day with a semi-decent camera, to really get the color and detail (too bad it's a bit out of focus).

The grapes below were also taken on my iPhone. They grow in front of a local restaurant that is all about wine and food pairings. But I took this photo one Sunday after eating breakfast with MP1 and TH at the French cafe next door.

The Museum. Lots happening there. Our student group President, who also happens to be a guest curator for the current exhibit, invited basket expert from nearby archaeological preserve to give a talk. She also arranged for him to see our basket collection. I had him look at a couple pieces about which I was curious. Turns out the one below is far more rare than I thought. Plus, he was able to verify and even further narrow the attribution.

This basket (below), which is SO big it must live in our loft for now, turns out to be both more and less important than I had imagined. Size-wise, it's clearly amazing, in terms of material and weaving quality, not so much.

Sundays we nearly always meet MP1 for breakfast somewhere. This particular day, we went to a restaurant that is typically a lunch and dinner place, but has just started opening for Sunday Brunch. It's in the same shopping center as Wms.-Sonoma, which has just expanded into the space previously occupied (all too briefly) by famous basketball player's wife's spa and cosmetics shop. When that place closed, then W-S expanded. I bought my new mixing bowls that day. Then MP1 and I tried a carrot cake recipe I'd been wanting to experiment with. It was really good. And, I got to hand down to her the set of stainless mixing bowls my mom gave me a HUNDRED years ago when I got my first apartment (at about MP1's age). She just told me on the phone that my dad bought them for her not long after they were married. While my new set is m*a*r*v*e*l*o*u*s, the ones I passed down to MP1, altho smaller, are really top knotch--and thicker than you can find anywhere now.

Ready to come out of the oven (above); cooled and starting to layer (below).

[It was a delicious cake. But I'd never make it again without an army to eat it.]

My grad seminar is going to be off/dismissed for two weeks straight. One week, it's for Thanksgiving so no worries there, the other is for the annual meetings, so I felt like I should make that one up. I wanted to take them (anyway) on a tour of the most amazing basket collection I know, so I arranged for that as an elective fieldtrip. These two photos (below) are from that event.

And more on the OTHER repository front, CE got started on her workstudy project, which aims to identify all the crappy permanent loan material we agreed to curate for free half-a-century ago, and then I'm going to de-accession it (yes, some former anthropologists accessioned this permanent loan into our permanent collection--ripping hair out, ripping hair out) so I have more room for proper storage of things we own.

AND, on the grad student front, M has decided on a very cool thesis project, very cool; and K (below) has finished and sent off her application to teach in Thailand. I had to document the moment, because she worked very hard on it (not that you can tell after I photoshopped out identifying bits and pieces to post it here). This month I've had lots of potential grad students contacting me. My impression is that they are pretty good candidates. Hallelujah.

This month, I also agreed to mentor a high school intern. She is researching a Fon (Dahomey) processional as part of her internship (below).

And here we are, on October 1, and it's time for Oktoberfest. I love the chandelier in the local German Dance Hall...

...and the polka dancing and music downstairs (way below) is pretty fun to watch...

...but the band upstair was WAY too loud. We went with 4 or 5 couples from TH's department. We were literally having to yell at each other from 5 inches away in order to hear ourselves. I'm sure my hearing was, yet MORE, damaged by this 5 hours of fun.
Adios, October.

No comments: