Friday, December 28, 2007

Tomales Point Beach

After hiking past elk to Tomales Point, Cam suggested we check out nearby McClure's beach.

We arrived happy and full of enthusiasm.

The afternoon sun lit things up beauti-

The sea foam was im-
pressive. There were many rocks to climb on.

This beach is said to be on of the best beaches for tide pooling and there were pools but they seemed empty of noticeable sea creatures.

I found the patterns, made in the sand, by the water as it receded, fascinating.

It seemed more like the sand was growing upward, like a tree or bush, than that it was being pulled out to sea.

Sam was up for a little sand and water inter-

Cam waited patiently.

I continued to poke along, taking my time, lagging behind.

When I got to the opening in the rocks, through which Cam and Sam has disappeared, Cam was on his way back through, coming for me.

The intensity of the wind increased dramatically through this opening.

I was glad I'd missed it but Cam said there was a peaceful, secluded beach on the other side.

So, I followed him back through the crevasse.

He was right.

It reminded me of the beach from Alex Garland's book. Not that it was similar in many ways, just in the idea that it was a secret beach.

I followed Sam up the rock.

And joined him on his throne.

Cam looked happy and handsome.

What a lovely backdrop.

After awhile, we bent our heads to the wind and returned to the main beach.

Cam showed us a spot where fresh water was running down into the sea.

He pointed out how the birds liked drinking the fresh water on the beach.

The climb back up to the parking area was steep but not as strenuous as it could have been.

We had fun capturing the light and the setting sun.

Happy with all we'd seen, we were ready to return home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tomales Point Elk Hike

After our stop at the Earthquake Trail, we drove, for the first time to the Tomales Bay point on Point Reyes.

One of the first things we came upon were clusters of these interesting trees.

Sam wanted to climb around on some that had fallen long ago.

Still fearless.

And handsome.

Around the bend, Sam and I spied this large hole.

We wondered what type of creature made it.

It was a gorgeous day.

Just a bit chilly but not too windy.

The sun really made things nice.

Because we were on a peninsula, the ocean was on one side.

And the bay was on the other.

We stopped to have a snack and rest a bit. Up on the ridge, we noticed a herd of elk.

As we were sitting there, some people who were coming back from the point told us about another herd ahead.

After some more hiking, we branched off from the trail to explore this little area.

Sam discovered a colony of rolly pollies living under a small rock on this big rock.

You can see Tomales point off in the distance, behind Sam.

It was a nice spot to take pictures.

Even though we hadn't seen the second elk herd, we decided we'd better turn around. We still had to hike all the way back.

Then, we nearly stumbled upon them.

Because of the slight downward slope of the land, we hadn't even seen them, basking in the sun, on a on our way out.

It was great that Cam thought to bring the binoculars.

The does are elegant and graceful but the bucks (or bulls?) are quite im-

What a beautiful, enjoyable day.

Earthquake Trail - Another perspective

After Thanksgiving but before Christmas, Sam, Cam and I headed out to explore the Tomales Bay point on Point Reyes.

Either our stomachs are getting stronger or our driving is getting better on the windy roads that lead out to the peninsula.

But around the Bear Valley Visitor Center, I was feeling a bit woozy and asked Cam if I could drive for awhile.

He said sure but suggested we also stop to stretch our legs a bit. There is a cool Earth-
quake Trail at the visitor's center.

Sam and I walked it when we were in California in 2001 but hadn't been back since.

Cam wrote about the Maddux family's hike and showed this picture (and others) already.

Before we left the trail, I asked them to come back to the fence so I could document how the fence row became two fences from a different angle.

The earth really did move on that day.

Two films about the adolescent experience

In the litany of movies we've watched recently, I realized I left out one. The movie Thirteen came up on one of my cases at work last month. I hadn't seen it and it seemed like I should.

So, knowing Sam was going to be gone, I moved it to the top of our Blockbuster queue. I'd heard it was a very adult movie and Cam said he wasn't sure I wanted to watch it. I said I wasn't sure I wanted to either but that I was going to watch it anyway.

After the movie, we discussed how the most shocking part was that the kids' behavior wasn't all that shocking (maybe because it was an exaggerated situation?)

While we hope Sam doesn't get wrapped-up in those activities, we know they (although likely not to the extent they were portrayed in the movie) are part of life for many kids today.

Both of us are happy to be involved in supporting and encouraging young people.

Then, yesterday, we saw Juno.

While it also dealt with an extremely serious situation, it did so with laughter, warmth and intelligence.

It was touching, moving, sweet and endearing.

We enjoyed it very much, bought the soundtrack on itunes last night and will be rooting for it during the upcoming awards shows.

What do you remember about your adolescent experience?

Christmas Dinners

After spending some time connecting with family and friends online and over the phone, Cam & I headed out for a Christmas adventure.

The Sushi place we'd planned to go to for lunch was only open for dinner but the Thai place across the street was open.

We hadn't been there before so we decided to try it out.

I had the baby coconut drink with slices of coconut in it.

The server asked if we wanted to start out with some fish cakes.

We said, "Why not?"

They were a bit ugly but the pretty, spicy sauce dressed them up a bit and they were tasty enough.

Cam ordered Phad Thai with prawns.

He was happy with it.

I had salmon with veggies and green curry.

The heart-shaped serving of rice was a nice touch.

After lunch, we went to the theatre in Mill Valley to see Juno.

Then, that evening, we enjoyed the vegetarian cassolee Cam made for dinner.

It was warm and nurturing.

Thanks for taking such good care of us, Cam.

We hadn't done a lot of shopping since we were on an eating out kick.

After dinner, Cam noticed we didn't have a dessert.

We did have chocolate chips.

I said I could make cookies but thought that Sam might like making them with me when he got home.

Cam decided to have some with peanut butter on a graham cracker.

I melted some and dipped nuts in it. It worked.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A different sort of Christmas

This Christmas has been a different sort of Christmas.

For one thing, Sam's gone.

He was with us in Louisiana for Christmas last year. (Thanks again, Jim and Liz.)

So, it is only fair that he spend it with his dad this year.

He's been having fun in LA and even got to spend time playing in a park with my brother yesterday.

I'm not sure when he was last pushed this high on a swing or if he's ever played such an exhilarating game of tether ball.

It is a gift that they had this time together.

(Thanks for making this bliss happen and for the pictures, John.)

While they were playing, Cam and I climbed Ring Mountain.

I left the house wearing a four layers including a sweatshirt and coat.

By the time we reached the top, we were in short sleeves wishing for shorts and sandals.

We sat on top of Turtle Rock, basking in the sun, talking about how amazing this place is and the promise of future adventures.

In Sam's absence, we've been trying to see how many different cuisines we can sample. Friday night we had Thai, two prawn dishes, one with pumpkin, the other with eggplant. Saturday, we had Indian food for lunch and Puerto Rican for dinner. We enjoyed it so much that we went back to the same place for lunch the next day.

We've also been catching up on movies.

In November, we enjoyed the retelling of Into the Wild and were impressed by American Gangster.

This visit, we sang along with Once (differently enjoyable the second time), braved Cormack McCarthy's No Country for Old Men (so suspenseful, so good), watched Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, A Mighty Heart and our Christmas Classic, Love Actually.

Today, we're planning to have sushi and go see Juno.

We picked up a few small gifts, for Sam to open when he returns tomorrow, but the trip to Chicago for New Year's is our family's big present this year. We are already blessed with so much and need so little.

Through my new job, I've enjoyed being part of a holiday ice skating party for and selecting presents to give to kids in foster care.

One of the volunteers I work with works full time for the Haight Ashbury Food Program where they believe it is not enough to feed people for a day but it is essential to help people feed themselves and others for a lifetime. In the spirit of Christmas I made a small donation to them and also ended up giving money to a woman who stopped by our house asking for help protecting our National Parks.

Cam gave recently to support This American Life on NPR. We've talked about doing more giving of this sort but know that there is more need than we are able to fill but I guess if everyone gave a little, we could do big things.

Thank you to our families who have sent presents and gifts of money which allow us to do things like go out to eat, see movies, lend a hand to those in need, travel and buy new socks.

However you are celebrating the holidays, I hope you are enjoying yourself.

Much Love, Mary