Christmas 2016

Christmas morning 2016

Christmas morning 2016

‘goodest’ christmas morning you ..

woke to a crescent moon lingering over dark seas .. the lights of the small city twinkling across the beach and water … grateful to be able to walk to the beach .. stand on the shore and ponder the inhale exhale of the planet and it’s inhabitants.. the strangeness and the things that make sense .. so many mysteries .. how energies can work at cross purposes and how our now individual manifestations can blend or clash with amazing intensities …

i sit somewhere down this long narrow peninsula .. once a piece of a grander whole, and wonder if that isn’t just us .. small fragments of something once much larger ..

or still connected .. that cosmic force that is unseen but occasionally intuited .. 

ah .. the ponder .. the fresh cup of hot coffee .. the sleeping children way past the dawn .. the gifts waiting to be opened .. the stockings to be reckoned with .. the early preparations of a meal to be shared with family and friends .. 

so many ways to open a day ..

on this christmas morning .. i wish you the magic that fills the hearts of children in anticipation of the holidays .. the gift that winter bestows, begging us to rest .. in preparation for spring and the burst of new life ….

When Friends Come to Visit

Cynthia and Cal Wagstaff rolled into Casa de Catalina late Saturday morning.  They’d been making their way down Mex 1 through missing asphalt, torn up roads, water filled arroyos, and detours in the wake of Hurricane Paul.  The drive from Hailey, Idaho is part of their annual re-migration their beautiful casa in San Juanico.  I’d worried about their drive – and was glad to see their smiling faces on arrival.  Chica Bonita and Pancho piled out of the car behind their owners.

Cal wasn’t as convinced that they should stay – he was pretty much about ‘let’s get home,’ but Cynthia prevailed.  We swam, SUPd, laughed, we played with dogs, ate and enjoyed cocktails in the patio.  Love my friends – and all the spontaneity that seems to be what Baja is about.

Dad’s Day

Crofton Myles Cooper : My Dad

in the quiet this morning, i embrace listening …

last night i sat under the stars : listening …

my own voice replaced by …. the flap of wings…  the toss of stones… the slap of sea… the hum of foraging bees… the coo of dove… the chatter of fishermen…  my neighbor on her phone… church bells ringin in town. pelican splash… hummingbird whir … oriole chatter …

the palms in bloom. their feathery tendrils reach down and cast thousands of tiny black seeds .. all hoping to be born into big trees

dads day.

the empty space that once he filled .. i hear his voice, gravely, “let me tell ya kid …”

i see the twinkle in his blue eyes, feel his hand grasping mine .. the first steps .. the last steps …

beauty where we find it …..

Baja : Pacific Morning

For the uninitiated, there is little that can be said to fully express the beauty of Baja California Sur.  From the moment one leaves the populations of Colonet & San Quintin, makes a requisite gas stop in El Rosario, and heads into the heart of undeveloped land of cardon, bojum, cholla, poloverde, cirrius and more …  the heart slows, the shoulders drop, and the mind begins to embrace again that primal space of undeveloped land.

Mex One zigzags across the peninsula in undulating rhythms, following for the greater part, the easiest passage through rough terrain.  That translates to switchbacks, mountain climbs and descents, and arroyo crossings.  Wide plains, dry lakes and craggy rock piles – the spewn evidence of long-ago volcanoes litter the landscape.  I’ve stopped counting the trips. I never fail to be inspired.  I am always stunned by her beauty.

For those who are afraid to travel, I am sorry.  So much the greater landscape and less crowded roads for me.  While the horrors of the drug cartels are not to be ignored, the city streets of any major metropolitan area has its own body and assault count.  I feel safer in my home in Loreto than I ever did in the states.

The Pacific side teases with waves that follow distant swells.  Spots like the Wall, Shipwrecks, the local spots of Ensenada .. and of course, Pescadero, Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas beckon surfers from across the globe.

The east coast, the beautiful bountiful Sea of Cortez, is filled with dolphin, sea turtles, fish of every color and size, rays and whales – blue, pilot, fin and orca.  Sunrises, sunsets .. kayaking, paddling, surfing, hiking, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling .. exploring ..  magic.  To be with and surrounded by such beauty is to me – pure magic.
And then there are the people – beautiful kind warm family loving folks.

Food!  Beverages!  Music!  Dancing!  Camping under stars and/or a full moon. Yes : Baja : I love and dream of you always.

Cow Poop and Midnight Rock Throwing

Beach Cattle

Okay : the unfenced range cattle are entertaining as they wander down the beach during daylight hours.  They piss off the dogs, but can be dissuaded from ‘home’ invasion by yelling, the blast of a hose, or a kind of ‘run-at-em’ motion.

At night – Not the same deal.

Last night, the dogs were just going off!  Shorty & Diego were barking at the top of their doggy vocal chords – and relentlessly.  Inside, Buster joined the howling chorus.  Yes, the dogs were doing their one job – GUARDING!

I’d been asleep for a bit over an hour – and in that groggy deep space where even though I knew I should get up, I kept hoping the dogs would simply settle down.

Then the phone rang.  Jeanne, next door, said, “They jumped my wall and they’re eating everything. The cows!  Now they’re in your yard.”  She was walking outside with her portable phone giving me a blow by blow report of the cattle escapade.  “There’s poop everywhere!”

“I’ll be right there,” I responded.  I’ve just got to throw on some clothes.

When I opened the front door, Buster tore off toward the tinkling bell one of the cattle has on his neck.  I rounded the corner behind him, just as Jeannie heaved a rock.  I dodged the rock and the cow made a dash out of the yard – right toward me.  Horns and all.  I leaped behind the F-150 and the cow kept on going.  One down, one to go.

I stepped into the yard and tried to shoo the second one out the now open fence, while Jeanne searched for more rocks.  How the fence got open, I have no idea.  Maybe the cattle pushed it open, but when the second intruder cleared the gate, I pulled it shut and reset the chain.

I reset the cylinder, sent a ‘good night’ to Jeanne, along with some shared belly laughs at our cow filled ‘hood’ and turned back to the house – only to step right in a fresh mound of cow poop!  GOODY!  Now I had to shower and wash my slippers and listen to the cling-cling of the belled-bull wander off into the night.

Still beats the 405 at rush-hour.

Omage to the daybreak …

Sunrise : Loreto : 102111

Sunrise : Loreto : 102111

Flap of pelican wings. Graceful dive of Arctic tern. Splash and leap of tiny fish. Wind rustling palm trees. The chatter of house finches. The coo of rock doves. The squawk of sea gulls.

The islands floating in the not quite break of day. The Sea of Cortez in stillness.

Buster, patiently waiting for his walk. My coffee, hot and a writing companion.

Neighbor, Chris, fishing on the shoreline. Neighbor, Mary, early walking the beach with her dog, Riley. Neighbor, Mark, sweeping his patio. Dogs at the door for morning treats.

Last night, the horses – five of them – on an unsupervised beach walk. Or did the bell on the lead horse signify a chain of command?

So much life to recognize each day.  Such gratitude.

… too much time in baja! ….

(coming round again)

You my have spent too much time in Baja if:

You open the refrigerator and are stunned it’s not filled with Coronas.

You can’t drink anything unless it has a slice of lime.

It’s not a meal without salsa fresca and chips.

You greet everyone with “Hola” or “Buenas Dias”.

You keep trying to throw your toilet paper in the wastebasket.

There are too many paved roads in your neighborhood.

You go out to check the pila, but it’s not there.

The electricity stays on for days without an outage.

You suddenly understand your gardener and your maid.

You step outside to swim, and all you find is your lawn.

Your neighbors’ dogs are all on leashes and snarl instead of licking you.

There’s nobody riding in the back of pick-up trucks.

The phone interrupts your siesta hours.

You try to bargain with the butcher.

Your feet no longer fit in hard soled shoes.

You’ve forgotten how to wear a necktie.

You’re surprised to find all your groceries at one store.

You don’t need to make an ice run for the drink cooler.

Shrimp, shrimp, shrimp.  Is there any other food?

One hardware store carries everything.

You think nothing of driving the length Mex 1 in a day.

Your trips are measured by distance between gas stations.

Doritos are a poor substitute for the real thing.

Baja Rummy is actually a game.

A traffic jam means there are three cars stopped in front of you.

Your electric bill comes in the mail, instead of being stuffed in the fence.

You actually have a water meter.

You wake for sunrise because it is breathtakingly beautiful.

Dorado is both a fish and a style of taco shell.

Golf carts are used everywhere except on a course.

You start jonesing for fresh tortillas.

The guy who fixes your electric, also does your plumbing, builds your fence, plants your trees, looks after your house, and feeds your dogs when you are away.

No one has a doorbell and everybody stops by.

A palapa, a panga, and a hammock are three of your favorite places to be.

Your friends ask you when you’re coming home and you wonder if they’re crazy.

beach days are some of the best :-)

Pelican swoops into Isla Coronado Bay

Jeanne had this great idea – “Let’s take the boat over to Coronado for the day.  Picnic.  Swim.”  And so we did.  She barbecued chicken, tossed up a couple of salads, loaded the cooler with beer and a bottle of champagne and invited her friends.  That would include me :-), Norma, Tom, and next door neighbor Bill.  We put the boat in at the Marina in Loreto, Mark drove to the island with calm seas and clear skies.  Magic- a perfect day!

southward bound

Gads .. Have I really been ‘north’ for over two months?  A 10 day road trip turned into 5 weeks!  Guess I was having a good time 🙂

Cobb Mansion

Started out in Virginia City at the Cobb Mansion, owned by Jeff & Paul (buddies from Loreto).  Friend Carol (used to be from Loreto) flew in from her new home in Austin and we partied and took in the sights for four days.  Met new friends, got to hang out with Lacy J. Dalton, and wandered around Virginia City.

Next stop : Idaho.  My sister Claudia lives in Bellevue, and friend Cynthia (from San Juanico) has a summer home in Hailey.  Buster got reunited with his Baja dog buddies, Pancho and Chica, and Cynthia I had some fine hikes in the Sun Valley area.  Even took in an outdoor symphony!

Buster and Claudia : Silver Creek Float

Claudia and husband Jimmy kept saying ‘stay’ .. so I did.  Jimmy took us flying, Claudia and I floated Silver Creek in their canoe, we took the canoe up to Petit Lake and paddled in ferocious winds (reminder : Jimmy : get another lightweight paddle!), took more dog walks, and then took the big boat out to Magic Reservoir and fished, swam, lunched and laughed.  Alan, from Laguna Beach, showed up in his RV with his kids in the midst of their summer drive.  He and daughter, Lili, joined Claudia, Denise (a Laguna Beach girl from way back) at Z – a sushi spot that has killer rolls.

It was hard to leave sunny Idaho – but I had a bug to go and visit Lila and Diedre in Bandon, and Buster and I took off on small roads, large roads, any roads .. exploring the eastern section of Oregon.  Beautiful country.  We stayed in Bend, drove to and sort of around Crater Lake, and on to the Oregon Coast.

Since I hadn’t planned on Oregon, I’d left surfboards, paddleboards and wetsuits at home. BIG MISTAKE!  There was surf, rivers to paddle and just good fun that next trip, I’ll be sure to be better prepared.

In Bandon, I ran into Norm, who spends his winter’s kite surfing and/or surfing surfing in Baja. Such fun to see friends I know from Mex in out of the way corners of the USA.

I missed ‘home’ .. I didn’t miss the overwhelming heat that blanked the peninsula this summer.  There was one day when the heat index was 135°.  Okay, that might not be quite human!

Glad to be heading south this week.  Can’t wait for whatever surprises wait for me. Time to touch that magical Sea of Cortez.

Chef Jimmy Surfs Scorpion Bay

Not only can my good friend Jimmy surf, but he’s one hell of a cook – excuse me – make that chef. Notice the title with his name. For more information on his skill set, and his killer MOJO product line, click here : http://www.chefjimmy.com/