One Week Done

Wicked is not a difficult musical to play, but doing any show 8 times a week (plus rehearsals) can zap me. Last week I walked, but left the camera at home since I knew I just wouldn’t have the time to stop and shoot. Today was my first walk with the camera, and I still barely shot … I think my brain is rather fried!

Dan left today for a 10 day trip, so I have the house to myself, which means I’ll attempt to clean a bit. I’m not sure, though, how much I’ll accomplish since I do have the eight Wicked performances, one Rigoletto rehearsal and thirteen students.

Below are some flora I’ve posted recently on Google+ and Facebook. All of these were made when I was up in the Mendocino area. All but one are from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. The Crocosmia was from in front of my host’s house and was shot the very day I arrived. Oh … and have I ever mentioned you can see my photos on Flickr as well?

Crocosmia_(Fort_Bragg),_7.20.14

MCBG-_Thalictrum_delavayi,_7.25.14

MCBG-_Begonia,_Orange,_White,_Yellow_7.23.14

MCBG-_Dahlia,_Bright_Pink,_Macro,_7.23.14

MCBG-_Eryngium,_7.21.14

MCBG-_Unsharp-_Erica_cinerea_7.25.14

MCBG-_Red_Dahlia_(I),_7.21.14

MCBG-_Dahlia,_Yellow_&_Orange,_7.23.14

MCBG-_Erica_cinerea,_7.25.14

MCBG-_Bee_on_Helenium,_7.26.14

Walking & Photography

Both of my favorite things to do have recently taken a nose dive. I haven’t been well: my dizziness, ear and eye issues were pretty bad this past week and a walk was, for the most part, out of the question. With my eyes refusing to focus properly for much of the week photography simply didn’t interest me. When I get in to these places I feel as if I’ll never feel right again. I start getting depressed, which makes everything seem even bleaker. The only good thing is that I’ve been here before, and I know I’ll eventually wade through the muck and reach the other side.

Today I was better, but I’m still not at 100%. I’m hopeful that the new week will cause me to feel like a new person. I can dream, right?

I do wonder about my eyes. I’m finding that my progressive lenses, which I use primarily for distance, aren’t working well at all. Instead I’m using my computer/music reading glasses even for driving and I’m more comfortable with them. I am wondering if maybe my vision has improved enough that my distance lenses are too strong. I suppose that could happen. I guess it’s time for an eye appointment … if only I could find the time to go in!

I did post this flower today. It’s from the beginning of July, when I was walking more and feeling a whole lot better. I look forward to getting back to my old ways of walking with the camera. It can’t happen this week, due to all the work I have, but I’m hoping that the following week will allow for some “me” time. We’ll see!

Romneya_coulteri,_7.2.14

… and more …

I’m going to attempt to get the remainder of things I’ve posted elsewhere here on the blog. Just because I know there are a couple of people who read this but don’t look elsewhere. (I’m also doing this because this blog is really dying and I’m going to see if I can manage to put things up more frequently. Either that, or it’s time to KILL THE BLOG!)

These are in random order, and not a good way to display things, but oh well. I’m just that lazy.

Or maybe I’m even lazier and don’t know it!

Pink_Poppy,_6.17.14

Bee_on_a_Pink_Dahlia,_6.17.14

Bug_&_Dietes,_6.19.14

Canna_(III),_6.27.14

Zantedeschia elliottiana_(color),_6.27.14

First_Shot-_Gardenia,_6.29.14

Agapanthus_(I),_6.29.14

Rhyolite-_White_Wildflowers,_4.1.14

Green_Bug_on_a_Dahlia,_7.2.14

Pink_Gerbera,_7.2.14

First_Shot-_Three_Yellow_Flowers,_7.4.14

Cucumber_Beetle_Antennae,_7.4.14

Our Train Adventure

(Posting to both blogs … because I can.)

I haven’t really written much since our return from New York and the IDRS convention. Between our house remodel, recovering from the trip, and other fun but tiring things, I’ve just not had the energy. But now I’ll at least try to write a wee bit about our train adventure.

Yes. Train.

We began in Emeryville. The Amtrak train station there is small, and there is really no security at all. I guess trains aren’t like planes at all! We had decided to fly out to New York, knowing it would take more time, but would also mean we’d see parts of the country one can only see from a train. I loved it!

Here … have some train music …

Sinten Nunggang Sepur (Who Is Riding the Train) by Heni Primastono – The NUSChoir

We did it up fancy, getting the larger sleeper car. Food is included, so while it was pretty darn costly, at least we didn’t have to think about the food. Of course by the time you’ve been on a train for three days and two nights you just might repeat meals, especially if you don’t eat red meat. I was fine with the food, though. My only issue was that I ate far too much of it! (I’ve always had a difficult time turning down things that seemed “free”. Funny, that.) I took a lot of iPhone photos from the train, and a few with my Fujifilm X-E1 as well. I’ve only had time to briefly glance at them. Most are blurred … but that’s to be expected, I think.

Sleeping on the upper bunk is a challenge on the California Zephyr. There isn’t much head room, and crawling my way into bed was probably laughable had anyone been watching. Once I was there, though, it was fine. I slept okay, considering we were on a moving train.

Trains aren’t in a rush. I like that. I like that I can do nothing about time. It causes me to just go with the flow. For the most part I handled that well.

Ah, but the SMELL. Sigh. At one point in our trip the smell of what I can only think is sewage was so strong I thought I was going to go nuts. Truly. I looked online and read that others have had that issue as well. I guess so many people in a train and the use of bathrooms … well … you get the idea. They need to work on that. I don’t think I’d want to do a long trip again if I only thought about that awful, awful smell!

The California Zephyr landed in Chicago, and we enjoyed a two night stay there. Unfortunately the Lollapalooza festival was in the city, so we didn’t get a true feel for it. As far as I’m concerned it’s full of frat boys, sorority sisters, and lots of VERY short shorts, bizarre shirts worn by guys (disco, anyone?), retro 70s clothing (I should have kept my clothes and sold them there), and other bizarre outfits including one guy in overall short shorts and a sailor hat. The crowds were rather huge, but we avoided them when possible. We went to the Art Institute (Yes, I finally saw Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte!), saw amazing architecture (yes, we took the River Cruise!), and tried some Chicago deep dish pizza. I do hope we can return sometime.

Here … have some more train music with the King’s Singers:

From there we took the Lake Shore Limited to New York. I read that it is frequently called the Late Shore Limited. For good reason. It was quite late by the time we arrived in New York. We did finally grow weary of the train when we were stuck in a “dead train” in Albany: they split the train and half heads to Boston. There was no engine for our half or some such thing, and we waited and waited. Some riders were upset, and one was just ridiculously rude to our attendant, who deserved a medal for his patience. The food? Well, it’s the same menu as the California Zephyr. Variety might have been nice, but no biggie, as it’s only an overnight trip, and included just breakfast and lunch. (Due to a late train a dinner might have been nice, but I guess they don’t do that.) The bed was much easier to get into, since it’s a one level train and there’s so much more head room. The train, though, is old and things were breaking. Our bathroom door wouldn’t stay closed at all.

Odd, funny, or bizarre things:

I felt like a school girl doing the wrong thing in the dining car. I ordered sausage and then realized I hadn’t specified the chicken sausage and my server yelled out “WHITE OUT!” and had to redo my order. One must not dilly dally when ordering, either. It’s like “This is a no nonsense train and don’t you dare take up my time with your indecision!” I learned to come in with a good idea of what I wanted. It was also interesting to see that once they knew we were from the sleeper car we were treated a bit more politely than those from coach. (Long story about that with another person at our table, but I’m too lazy to write about it at the moment.) Someone else had filled out their order and got in a bit of trouble because we aren’t to do that. We are only to put our name and room number down, but they don’t tell you that plainly so how are we to know?! Ah well. I was, in fact, rather dismayed at being treated rather rudely. That being said, I can’t imagine the job is a fun one. Our California Zephyr attendant was only courteous after we tipped her the first time. Our Lake Shore Limited attendant was nice from the start (I wrote a letter to Amtrak about him, he was so good).

Below are just some shots from the first part of our trip up until Ottumwa. I’ve run out of steam so I think I’ll stop now!

Train_Room_on_July_30,_2014_

Start_of_Train_Ride_on_July_30,_2014_

Train_on_July_30,_2014_

Train_on_July_30,_2014_-2

Train_on_July_30,_2014_-3

Train,_2014_-4

Train,_2014_-5

Train,_2014_-6

Train,_2014_-7

Train,_2014_-8

… and then there was the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens!

I suppose I should quickly post some of these while I have the time! I LOVE this place. I love it so much I visited it four times during the week. I love it enough to buy the annual membership. I’m really hoping Dan and I can get back up there. He missed out and couldn’t be there during the festival due to the remodeling. I think he deserves a trip.

Yep. I’m only thinking of him. ;-)

MCBG-_White,_Pink_&_Red_Dahlia,_7.21.14

MCBG-_White_&_Pink_Fuchsia,_7.21.14

MCBG-_Clarkia_amoena,_7.21.14

MCBG-_Unidentified_flower,_7.25.14

Mendo, Bee On Borage

MCBG- Agapanthus, Mood Indigo, 7.21.14

MCBG- Hanging Begonia I, 7.23.14

MCBG- Unidentified Plant, 7.21.14