Monday, February 29, 2016

this one should be obvious

What a great month of meandering! From Seattle to Sacramento, Sacramento to San Jose del Cabo, Cabo to San Diego, San Diego to Oceanside, Oceanside to Los Angeles, all around L.A., and tomorrow, L.A. back to Sacramento, before heading home to Seattle on the 5th. This has been a great time of seeing new things and meeting new people, visiting co-workers, friends, and family, surfing in the Sea of Cortez, watching the Pacific go by from the window of a train... an all-around fantastic month! I've always said that I love living in Seattle, but if at all possible, a trip to a sunny climate during the winter months is a medical must. I now feel chock full of vitamin D and I'm ready to head home (but already plotting my next trip).

Trouble with the Curve

Over 6,000 stainless steel panels comprise the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and none of them are flat.

I think Frank Gehry must have been on a bender when he designed Seattle's EMP Museum. It's a building which inspires a visceral reaction from some (that being hatred); some people (I imagine, having never met such) must love it; I have always felt somewhat indifferent to its radical design. But after today's L.A. adventure, touring the amazing elegance of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which Gehry designed starting in 1988 and saw through its completion in 2003, I can't help but feel a little ripped off. I'd seen pictures of the Disney Hall and always loved the super-sleek, industrial look; the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain is similarly striking... but the hometown EMP? "Elegance" is not a word that comes to mind.

There is no connection between the concert hall and the Disney Corporation; the name of the building is due to the fact that in 1987, Lillian Disney, Walt's widow, made the initial gift of 50 millions dollars to the City of Los Angeles for the purpose of building a performance venue, but maybe Frank could have used a little Disney magic when he was working in Seattle.

Gehry has said that while the outside of the Disney Hall is industrial, the inside is organic - support columns are designed to look like trees, skylights throughout bring in natural light, and the carpet, which Gehry also designed, was inspired by Lillian Disney's garden. The EMP was inspired by the shape of guitars and more specifically, guitars that had been destroyed, paying tribute, I guess, to the turbulence of rock n' roll, but I think there's a certain kind of elegance to this.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

L.A. Story

I left Cabo on Saturday and flew to San Diego; my cousin Andrea and her daughter Jessica picked me up and took me to their home in Oceanside, which is about an hour north, and I spent several wonderful days with them, basking in the sunshine, walking Lucy, the dog with Andrea, working from the dining-room table, and generally continuing along my vagabond way. Yesterday, I got on a train in Oceanside and took it to Union Station in L.A., from there I caught a bus to LAX, picked up a car, and drove to the Los Feliz neighborhood. I had a room booked in a what turns out to be a lovely house owned by the equally lovely Sammy. I'll be staying here for the weekend, doing a little exploring, doing a little shopping, working from yet another remote 'office space' on Monday, and heading out on Tuesday. The month of meandering continues.
Sammy's house in Los Feliz

this will be my office space on Monday
these two will be my office-mates
Today I got up and drove to the Getty Villa which is off the Pacific Coast Highway. The villa was built by J. Paul Getty and houses 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities dating from 6,500 B.C. to 400 A.D. I'm not much into ancient treasure, but I am interested in architecture, so I took the tour of the building which is modeled after a villa in ancient Rome. I only went into a couple of the galleries after the tour, but it was a lovely day to be outside, walking around a villa built by a billionaire.

And then, in a fun coincidence, Cheryl happens to be in L.A. this weekend too, visiting Andy and Kim, and in a further coincidence, Andy and Kim also live in Los Feliz - so they all came over this afternoon for a chat, and we're getting together for dinner later. This is so much fun, I don't miss being home at all!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Blue Crush

Today, however - no work, more surfing. I did better this time, caught almost all the waves I went for, didn't snort any saltwater, and had a blast. 

Stranger than Paradise

Patricia, the woman who owns this house called me a "workaholic" yesterday, which would make anyone who knows me laugh out loud, but she can't understand why I would come to Cabo and work all day. I keep explaining to her that working here is in fact a vacation compared to working at home, that the shaded patio, warm breeze, and bright sunlight in her oasis-backyard is an amazing break from the gray winter in Seattle, and that being able to be here and work full-time (ish) is a fantastic benefit of the job I have.
On Wednesday, I did finally go into Cabo san Lucas, if only to placate Patricia, who I think was starting to wonder if I was agoraphobic. I lasted barely an hour in Cabo - I walked around the marina and the mall, had no interest in eating or drinking at any of the many restaurants and bars catering to the tourists, and was finally bored enough to catch the bus back up the highway. The bus, um, just happened to drop me off right in front of the taco stand, so there was really nothing left to do but order two and walk back to the house.
there's nothing in Cabo I want or need
Yesterday I worked all day, took a quick dip in the pool (Cabo is warm, the pool is not), did some reading, watched a couple of movies, made some awesome guacamole for my taco-stand taco dinner (the acquisition of which involves crossing a five-lane highway on foot; I've taken my life into my hands three times now for tacos), and went to bed.
the taco stand down the road and across the highway
hosts: Paola and the kitty; Patricia, and Pinky the dog

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Office Space

This is my home office in Seattle. I really like this room. I spend a lot of time in it - Monday through Friday, 8ish hours a day; I've been a teleworker for almost three years and rarely go to my company's actual office, where previously I had a nondescript cubicle on a floor filled with cubicles, in an office building, which took me close to an hour to get to on a good day, and close to two hours to get home from on a bad day. I love being able to work from home, and I'll never be able to beat the 20-foot commute from my bedroom to this room.

But this week my 'home office' is here:

My 'desk' is on the patio of a lovely house on the outskirts of Cabo San Lucas. It's in a quiet residential neighborhood off the highway, across from which there's a taco stand, and that's really all I need as an antidote to winter in Seattle. The patio will be my office until Thursday, I'm considering another surfing lesson on Friday, and Saturday I'll be off on another warm-weather adventure in SoCal.

The beauty of being able to work from home, is that "home" can be anywhere, so this month, I find myself meandering to parts south; first stop was Sacramento, second stop Cabo, third stop will be Oceanside, CA, then L.A., then back to Sacramento, and finally home... that is, primary home. 

Tomorrow I might work from the upstairs patio at this house - different view:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Soul Surfer

While it is extremely presumptuous of me to title this post after a movie about a young champion surfer who won competitions even after her left arm was chomped off by a shark, whereas I have now surfed exactly twice in my life and just spent the morning mostly tumbling, snorting salt water, falling, and nearly wiping out on some rocks (if not for the gracious help of a girl who zoomed up on her board, pushed my board toward the sand, and grabbed my hand as we both fell into a rather treacherous zone), I'm sticking with the title because as much as I claim to not be a "beach person," and for as many times as my friend Chris has given me grief for going to awesome beach towns and  literally never getting into the ocean, I LOVE being on a surfboard. I'm not remotely good at surfing (yet?), but there is something glorious about just sitting on a surfboard off a sunny beach, watching the waves, soaking in the rays, feeling the earth move under you, and acknowledging that you are a very lucky person.

So here's the deal - this was not Waikiki. This was San Jose del Cabo, and these waves were not the gentle 2-3 footers from my first experience. These waves were much bigger, much faster, and much harder to ride. Alex, from the Costa Azul Surf Shop was my teacher and he sent me back out into the fray over and over until I finally rode one (sort of) in to the shore (most of the way). I got up a few more time but never with the ease or dare I say grace I had in Hawaii. But I kept at it until my legs were so tired they were shaking. 

On the way back to my lovely abode for this week, which is just outside Cabo San Lucas, I asked Alex where I could get some great tacos, which is all I ever want to eat when I'm in Mexico. He dropped me off at a road-side taco stand where I bought four tacos for less than $10 and walked back to the house. It's definitely time for a siesta.