Sunday, December 31, 2006

End of year resolutions

What, making resolutions at the end of the year, instead of at the beginning? Today, I'm looking back and having some 'gee, I wish I could have..' thoughts about the year petering out as the clock moves forward.

I wish I could have spent some more time singing and less time working.
I wish I could have spent some more time with Glenna before she passed away.
I wish I could have spent some more time in New Zealand, especially on the west coast.

It's all about time, isn't it? and how it trickles away... we think we are "spending" it, but really we are swimming against its current, thinking we are getting somewhere, while it is pulling us with it, downstream, carving a shape in the landscape as it rushes through. What would happen if we let it pull, enjoy the flow, stop the resistance. Would that make life seem faster, or would it slow things down and allow for more energy to savor each passing scene?

Well, it's all metaphor and illusion... the only wisdom we seem to know is to live in the moment, whether pulling up or flowing down, and look at each other and say "I love you".

One resolution: I will blog more in 2007.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Robin's 'hood

I have written here before about the yearly visitation by a large flock of robins. They often arrive around new year's, but this year, in the rain, they arrived yesterday. We saw a very large flock during our morning walk... they are more numerous than ever before, though individually, the birds look a little thin (perhaps from sharing the resources among a larger flock).

I rushed home to put out more seed in the backyard, but as of this morning, they hadn't discovered the feeder or the tree full of juicy holly berries that they so enjoy. There must be a hundred of the beautiful birds... they are circling the neighborhood and decorating the trees as the last of the leaves fall.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Here's the recipe

Pear Molasses Pie

8 pears (I used 2 Bosc and 4 Anjou. I think the Anjou are better, cause they are firmer, but if you like a soft filling, use Bosc)
6 Tbsp molasses (I used organic blackstrap)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used freshly made Jersey butter), cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp tapioca
2/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I think I used more)
1/4 tsp salt
flour, for dusting
dough for two pie crusts

Preheat oven to 425. Quarter 6 of the pears. In a large skillet over medium high heat, bring 3 Tbsp of the molasses to a boil. Let simmer about 2 minutes, until it thickens. Put half of the pear pieces in a single layer in the skillet. Sprinkle 1 1/2 Tbsp butter over the pears. Cook, turning occasionally, until the pears are well caramelized on all sides (but not cooked through), about 5 minutes.

Scrape pears & molasses into a bowl. Add tapioca and toss. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining pears. Add second batch the bowl and combine.

Thinly slice the remaining pears and add to bowl. Stir in the sugar, ginger and salt. Put the filling in the bottom crust. I latticed the top crust.

Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until the crust is dark golden and pears are tender when pricked with a fork, about 45 minutes more. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing, if you can stand it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pear Pie

The NY Times pear pie recipe (sans pomegranates) was so delicious!



I used blackstrap molassas, which was beautiful when it boiled in the pan, and made the pears a rich dark brown after they were carmelized. The crust came out very flakey.. I'm not sure if it's because I used freshly made butter from the farmer's market.

I want to try the recipe again, with apples and walnuts.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pies

This is pie season.. I have been enjoying making pies all year long, but now we have reached the month when pies are held in high esteem by nearly everyone. You see them for sale in great piles at the stores and farmers markets. The pies that you can buy are always just so - with a perfectly trimmed crust, with no spillage or juice that has bubbled over pooling around the bottom of the pan. They sit, neatly pristine, in a spotless white box and every slice comes out cleanly. I worry about how they get that way. Every pie I have made is just a bit messier than that.

Tonight and tomorrow I'll make a few pies for the feast. Pear and apple. I found a recipe in the NY Times for Pear Pomegranate, which sounds lovely, but requires pomegranate molassas, an item that I'm pretty sure I'll never find another use for. I think I'll pop in a few strawberries and achieve the same pretty pink that the pomegranate molassas would have provided. The apple recipe, from the same source, calls for thyme. That sounds lovely and savory and just right for pie season.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Four pleasant things about Autumn

The way the grass starts growing again after the first rain - thick and dense and soft with moisture.

The cooler nights with the stars so clear and near that you could touch them, if only you had a tall enough ladder.

Hearing birds in the morning who haven't been here for a while. The bird whose "tswooeeeoo" goes down in pitch almost an octave from onset to end.

The number of geese in the Vs that pass overhead gets enormous. They fly low and you can hear the creaking of the bones against the feathers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The view from above

I have, for many years, loved viewing the earth and seeing the whole planet really WHOLE, without the artificial border lines. The image of the earth from space that was on the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog was symbolic of what my generation wanted to achieve in our youth - a global village. I think the global mess - I mean, economy - that has evolved (despite that vision) is mostly due to overpopulation. But that's a topic for another day. I discovered a website where you can take a free ride on any of the multitude of satellites (funny word, isn't it? the etymology follows..).

1548, "follower or attendant of a superior person," from M.Fr. satellite (14c.), from L. satellitem (nom. satelles) "attendant," perhaps from Etruscan satnal (Klein), or a compound of roots *satro- "full, enough" + *leit- "to go" (Tucker); cf. Eng. follow, which is constructed of similar roots. Meaning "planet that revolves about a larger one" first attested 1665, in reference to the moons of Jupiter, from L. satellites, which was used in this sense 1611 by Ger. astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Galileo, who had discovered them, called them Sidera Medicæa in honor of the Medici family. Meaning "man-made machinery orbiting the Earth" first recorded 1936 as theory, 1957 as fact. Meaning "country dependent and subservient to another" is recorded from 1800.


Pick a satellite at random and see what continent it puts you above. You can zoom in and out and everything.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The memory of a coat

I was listening to a podcast this morning called NavelCast, in which this guy picks a topic and then pulls up stories from his life that relate to that topic. The one I listened to was on the topic of "cold weather". But the story that he told was about a coat that he had in third grade, and how he hated it (it was a hand-me-down), and how it almost got replaced..but didn't.

I had a coat in third grade that I remember quite well. I don't think it was a hand-me-down, but it could have been. It was fuzzy and brown, and wrapped up in it, I felt and looked like a teddy bear. I believe that the coat caused my classmates to tease me. It was in third grade that I was became a fractious student. I had a best friend named Carl who lived up the street. He and I walked to school together every day, and I recall that we especially liked stomping in puddles in order to get each other quite muddy and wet.

We were often late to school. My teacher, Miss Calvert, would punish us by making us stay after school. This was not really punishment, because it gave us more time together to play. The cloak room in the back of the room had been remodelled into a long closet with folding doors, instead of a separate narrow room as it was in the other classrooms. We found that you could get into the closet, have your friend close the doors, and then push the doors to "voila" emerge and burst into the room. This was high entertainment in third grade, I guess.

I can't remember much about many of the years I spent in elementary school, but I remember a lot about third grade. Kennedy was shot and killed that year, and we all went home from school in the middle of the day, after Miss Calvert's teary announcement. A boy in our class was accused of plagerism. He sketched a beautiful red cardinal that was so realistic, none of the teachers believed that a child could draw that well. Jim White was his name.. I hope he is an artist somewhere today. I remember that I drew a red-headed woodpecker for the same assignment. Miss Calvert used to put me out into the hallway when I talked in class. In that way, I missed a lot of time studying multiplication. I had to work on my multiplication tables at home with Dad. He would drill me (the 7s and the 9s were the hardest),and I would cry in frustration.

Miss Calvert would have us stand up in class and jump over our chairs as a way of exercising and burning off energy, I suppose. She would have us roll our heads around and stretch out our necks. She had a head of white hair and had taught several of my older brothers. I wonder if they spent as much time out in the hall and after school under her supervision as I did?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Music to my ears


Our quartet has been working hard all summer to perfect a couple of songs that we will perform in front of tens of thousands of harmony lovers on October 11th in Las Vegas. I don't think I've posted recordings here in the past because it is probably illegal in terms of copyright law, but, what the heck, I'll post a couple today for you to enjoy. The first is one of the songs that we'll compete with in Vegas, and the other is a new song that we'll compete with next spring.

How Many Hearts Have you Broken (link removed)
At Last(link removed)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dreamin

I used to be a wild dreamer. I have several notebooks full of dreams that I dutifully recorded, written in smudgey blue bic pen ink, by the light of the alarm clock in the middle of the night. When we were in our 20s and 30s, there was a fad of dream interpretation. There was thought to be value in writing down the dreams for a clearer translation.

I would regale my friends with the dreams, most of whom could not believe the intensity and the detail of the strange visions. In recent years, as my hormones diminished and sleep became more elusive, the dreams faded too, until they completely stopped. I missed them. I wished I could awake with the sense of having been somewhere else, maybe in a house with many rooms and secret floors, or on a planet with fiery soil, flying over the mountains with a sense of elation.

Just within the last month or so, the dreams have returned. I don't know if it's the adjustment of my thyroid medication, or a new mattress, or just a new era. But suddenly I'm sleeping well and revisiting the land of nod. Last night I awoke several times during the night (Lola was wandering around the house, her paws clicking on the hardwood floors), and each time, I had been dreaming deep and hard. I guess I need to get a new notebook and put it by my bed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Constancy and Connection

I have to thank my blog for helping me re-connect with my college girlfriend, Sandy, who googled and found me after nearly 30 years! Hi Sandy! it was great to see you again.



I guess really I am not that hard to locate, since I've lived in the San Francisco area since 1979..though I have had seven addresses that I can remember off the top of my head. It turns out that even though I have always thought of myself as an explorer and traveller, I am really a homebody. Once I find something good, I stick with it! Barb and I have been together for almost 24 years, we've been in this house for 12 years, I've been at my job for 8 years!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Lyon's Share

A few weeks ago, I started a regular staircase hike up Lyon Street, which runs along the eastern side of the Presidio. It takes me about 15 minutes to hike up the 6 blocks, four of which are stairs instead of sidewalk. I have noticed that some of the fancy homes along the route have taken the street name to heart, and have decorated their homes accordingly.



The first leonine sighting is of these Chinese lions guarding an entrance near the Lombard Gate.



Up the hill a little further, you can encounter a fiercer creature. There are two of these fine animals protecting one of the homes along this street. I'm starting to get a little out of breath as I climb the steep sidewalk.



As I approach the foot of the staircase, there are several huge homes to admire. From the top of the stairs, I've noted that they all have rooftop gardens and grand etched windows. This one has some lions, too - can you spot them?



Look for the lion faces along the rope design:



Let's start up the stairs. There are leveled areas every once in a while, so that you can pause to catch your breath and take a photo. During lunchtime, lots of area residents use these stairs as their personal gym. Joggers run up and down the stairs in their spandex outfits as I trudge along. At the top, personal trainers wait for them, and when they arrive, the trainers will have them do situps or stretches on yoga mats lined up on the sidewalk.



We are halfway up now. The stairs get a little grander, as befits the neighborhood.. the houses get pricier, the with each improvement of the view. These stairs have a lower rise, and so I can speed up a bit.



I was looking for lions, but found these darling puckish figures instead, on the entrance columns of one of the homes along the staircase. You don't see much bas relief on modern buildings. Is it a lost art, or just a trend that is bound to come back some day?



Panting a bit (but not as much as the first few times I attempted these stairs), I attain the corner of Lyon and Broadway. We are having some beautiful weather this summer - it's not as foggy as it often is in August. The temperature is in the mid 70s, with a fresh breeze, and I enjoy watching the ships and boats tool around in the bay. The trees you can see along the bayshore are at the Yacht Club, where I also enjoy walking during my lunchtime strolls.



Here's the gate that leads back into the Presidio. I head through it to take a downhill stroll through the beautiful eucalyptus forest that grows here. The trees were planted 80 years ago by the army. They are lined up in military rows and columns. Because Barb is writing a story on the Presidio, we got to take a tour lately, and the guide was saying that the Presidio Trust is concerned with the fact that all of the trees will reach the end of their lifespan at the same time. They are starting to replant trees (in a less organized pattern) to avoid the Park becoming suddenly treeless in some future year.



The smell as you walk beneath these grand trees is divine, and it clears out your sinuses, too. Be careful not to slip on the long leaves that are strewn on the sandy soil.



Now we've made a full circle and have arrived back at the Lombard Gate. These trees at the Gate are always alive with the screeches of a flock of wild parrots. If you have seen the film The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, you know about these birds. They like to swoop around chasing each other, and every morning, a few fly noisily past my office window. If you haven't seen that movie, please rent it today. Promise me you will.

Friday, July 07, 2006

So Sonoma

We took a little getaway over the 4th of July, up in the town of Sonoma. It's a pretty little town, nestled in a valley like Napa, but not mobbed with wine tasters the way that Napa gets on a holiday weekend. We took some beautiful hikes and drives up into the hills amid the vineyards.

On the fourth, there was an old time parade around the plaza. My favorite part of the parade was the town band, a fairly good band. They had a homemade banner with the words "The TOWN BAND". They grabbed my heart even more firmly when they came around again, this time with a different sign.



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer in the City

I took some photos of my lunchtime walk around the Presidio. Today, I walked down by the beach, but forgot to bring my camera. The weather was just beautiful, in the upper 80s with a cool bay breeze making me wish I had a kite with me. Kids splashed in the lagoon and made "snow angels" in the wet sand. I ate some sushi at a picnic table and then plugged into my iPod and walked the length of Chrissy Field and back again. (note - this photo is borrowed from a great site called Project for Public Spaces!)

Friday, June 16, 2006

My day

The instructions:
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the search box, type your birth day and month (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

Events:
1889 - The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
This is one of my favorite architectural features (not technically a building, would you say?)

1937 - Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.
I remember Mom telling me that she saw this explosion, or maybe just the smoke from it?

1940 - John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Do you remember when you discovered John Steinbeck? I read all his novels in one month, I was so excited about him.

Births:
1915 - Orson Welles, American director (d. 1985)
1961 - George Clooney, American actor
1955 - Tom Bergeron, American game show host - actually born the same year as me

Death:
1992 - Marlene Dietrich, German actress (b. 1901)

Celebration:
St George's Day — Đurđevdan (Serbian), Gergyovden (Bulgarian), Giorgoba (Georgian) the most famous Serbian slava, the most celebrated namesday in Bulgaria, and one of the two Giorgoba holidays in Georgia

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I wonder...

I took a lovely walk at lunchtime today, wandering through the Presidio. I had my iPod blasting the latest Acapodcast, which is my favorite new musical obsession. The #10 episode is just perfect for walking fast, with lots of rhythmic, upbeat selections. As I walked, I found myself wondering. I seem to do a lot of wondering. Is it the sign of a curious mind, or just a sign that I have more questions than answers? I wonder.

Here are just a few of the things I was wondering today-

How many fish does a pelican eat daily? (I saw a whole flock diving into the bay, in beautiful formation.)
How long will it be before Doyle Drive collapses? (the raised freeway that passes through the Presidio towards downtown S.F.)
How do you get your dearly departed pet buried in the Presidio Pet Cemetary?
How many horses do the Presidio National Park Rangers have? (I saw two walking by.) Are they cheaper to keep up than a fleet of electric cars?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Other worlds

We traveled to Denver, Colorado last week, and I snapped this oddly alien photo of a tent. It's not the Denver airport, which has a similar topping, but rather a catering tent at a private school where our nephew was graduating. I have never visited a private school before, and on this trip, we were immersed in the activities of two. Both nephews were graduating, one from 9th grade and one from high school.

At the recognition dinners and graduation ceremonies, the teachers and the students spoke at length about the wonderful educational experiences that the classes had shared, and each student was profiled with laudatory speech-ifying. By the end of the weekend, I was beginning to distrust the speeches - all the students had exceptionally happy lives and were all perfect students who had excelled in everything they had attempted?? But of course, no one would want the failures aired. We did get an odd kind of thumbnail sketch of each student, which we amplified by meeting some of them, and hearing the parents' talk at the grad party.

Among other things, we also learned about lacrosse, and that frisbee is now a competitive team sport. We saw a dvd of a school play called "Groovy", where 9th graders dressed in tie-dye shirts and granny glasses and spouted "power to the people".

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Onward

Yes! L'Attitude is going to compete at the International convention in Las Vegas on October 11th. When I tell people that I have been competing for 19 years and will finally be singing at the next level, I feel just a teeny bit silly. That is a long time to be hitting one's head against the wall. But, lo and behold, the wall has given way. We are ranked 20th of all the quartets that competed this spring (over 1500 of them, I believe).

Now, the summer begins. The calendar is full already of rehearsals and coaching. We are doing some fund raising (which is usually not called for unless a quartet is "representing" a chorus or region at International). We want to make a demo cd and sing on a few shows, as well.

We went to Arnold, California last weekend for a quick getaway. What pretty country up there! It was a jam-packed holiday weekend, with Putnam County Spelling Bee in SF on Friday night, then a quartet rehearsal on Saturday, the drive up to Arnold, socializing/hiking/flea marketing on Sunday, drive home, and then host a barbecue on Monday. We played a new game called Articulation that I had bought at a garage sale for a dollar. It was pretty fun, though the turns lasted too long. Maybe it was that we had eight people playing. Eight people and five dogs - we had a wonderful time.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pride, Pie, and Public Places

Our quartet did very well at contest this year, which accounts for the first word in the title of this post. We improved 50 points and attained the second-place ribbon. It's possible that we will go on to compete at the international competition in October, but more about that later - we won't tempt fate by writing about it before we have actually qualified! We'll know at the end of this month.

Ever since reading "Humble Pie", I've been trying to pesonally revive the art of pie making in San Rafael. All attempts have been tasty, but some looked better than others. I got a cuisinart for my birthday, and according to Martha Stewart, it's easiest to make pastry dough in a food processor. My latest pie, a green rhubarb/strawberry pie, came together quite easily using this new tool, although it will take some practice to know just how long to pulse the butter and flour to get the right texture. Other presents included a new rolling pin, a pie bird, and little cutters to make decorative crusts. Behold!



We took an outing to the new deYoung museum in Golden Gate Park, and really enjoyed it. I was underimpressed by the exterior of the building.. it looked so large and a bit bleek. The foggy day did not help, since the metallic sheathing was dark and unreflecting. But once inside, we found the exhibits to be extensive and interesting, and the spaces in the building were airy and inviting. Here is the stairway that passes the fern garden.



The tower was especially delightful, with unusual views of San Francisco in all directions. At the base of the tower was a collection of wire sculptures by Ruth Osawa. The shadows were just as beautiful as the wires:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Civic beauty

I have written here before about how much I love Marin's Civic Center. Last weekend, during a brief respite from the everlasting rain of 2006, we trotted up to the "scenic overlook". The bright blue roof, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to blend in with our (usually) perennially blue skies, looked quite cheery when backed by the dark rain clouds.

The abandoned terrace, where baby ducks will play, should the warm spring weather ever arrive, looked particularly bright, like a daycare center that was all spruced up and ready for a new class of students.


The echium, or Pride of Madeira, is finally in bloom. Aside from being my favorite color, they are just so grand. The purple and yellow of signs of spring are everywhere.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Weather's been funny

This is the year we are really beginning to wonder if global warming has "hit" us. All the regular schedules for our spring blossoms are out of whack. Our magnolia tree bloomed early, in January, and then the rains began in earnest. The peach tree bloomed, then the tulips started to come up. While the tulip buds still are upopened, the lilac burst into blossom. Spring mustard and summer poppies are both blooming in the grass, side by side.

While waiting for my tulips, perhaps in vain, I snapped these at the farmer's market.

In the meantime, we have become familiar with thunder & lightening, cloud formations and driving through standing water.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A yarn of a tale

About a hundred years ago, it seems, I used to crochet. I guess it was in high school or college. I made some stuffed animals, some hot pads, some other things I can't remember. They were all given as gifts, so I have no proof. I liked the motion of the hook and the satisfaction of seeing something substantial grow out of the thin strand of yard.

Before Barb went in for thyroid surgery, she talked about how Tony the Tiger would be her mascot, to give her strength in her fear of the procedure - he says "everything's grrrreat", and he wears a little scarf. So I got the idea of making an orange tiger-like scarf to protect her neck after the surgery. I have been inspired by the beautiful knitted scarves made by Mary (the tenor in my quartet).. they are works of art. The types of yarn available now makes scarves much more interesting. When I was young, the colors were limited, and if you wanted multi-colored, you had to choose this rainbow-colored yarn that made anything you made from it look like clown-wear.

I wasn't sure I would have time to shop for yarn, but on the way to the hospital, I noticed there was a yarn shop just a couple blocks away. While waiting for her surgery to end, I walked down the street and into a new passion. I picked some very interesting yarn, the softest I could find in the shop. It was fuzzy and bright orange and I got two types, and a beautiful wooden crochet hook. The shop owner asked me if I had crocheted with this type of yarn before. I admitted I hadn't, and she told me that she hadn't "dared". Hmm.

The yarn was "eyelash" yarn, which means it is really just thread with hair. The large wooden hook I had splurged on was too big, but I persisted. What was amazing was how my hands remembered the movement. Not at first, but by the third row or so, suddenly more complicated combinations of stitching came back through my fingers, and I found myself creating something. I have to say that the resulting scarf is not very good handiwork, but it is beautiful, just because of the yarn, and it's certainly warm.

My second attempt came out much better. A couple weeks later, a repeat of the same surgery, but different yarn. This time I had Barb pick out the one she wanted, but I suggested that a yarn made of fabric (like thin ribbons or strips of rag material) would be less warm and still gentle on the healing skin. She picked a beautiful blue combo that was so much easier to work with!

Now my fingers are remembering even more, and my mind is starting to put together patterns. When I am not crocheting, I find myself thinking about it. I start a new folder of bookmarks in my browser, entitled "crochet". Oh-oh. Well, what about hats? Glenna is newly bald from chemo, and I'm sure she can use a hat. I found some gorgeous yarn that moves from forest green to dark blue to magenta to dark grey. Thick and wooly.
Then, because my little cap idea had morphed into a beret, I tried the cap idea out on the remainder of the soft orange yarn, with a smaller hook this time. Bingo!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Good weather for hiking

The weather.. is it good or bad? Why do we look out the window at precipitation and announce, oh it's awful out there?

We hiked in the pouring rain yesterday, and this is what happened:
1. the dogs chased each other with glee, dancing wet-bellied through the brilliantly green grass
2. we saw brand-new wildflowers poking up, including wild iris, snowdrops and some kind of bright red sprouts
3. we got out of breath in a nice cardio-vascular way, climbing the muddy hill
4. we breathed incredibly clean fresh air and smelled the earth
5. the landscape looked like a Chinese watercolor, with purple streaked sky and draping clouds
6. we caught up on news and ideas with friends that we just couldn't face re-scheduling with - it's been so hard to find time when we are all free
7. we saw a trail become a stream, and the manzanita and madrone trees looked glistening in their rainy gowns
8. we all got wet, and so when we got home, we threw our clothes in the dryer and had hot chocolate. Then we were dry, happy, and virtuous for having hiked on such a day.

Give it a try sometime...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Over the rainbow

The four-hour bus trip to Milford Sound was wonderful, but we decided to forego taking it in reverse at the end of the day. We splurged on an airplane flight back to Queenstown. The plane in question was slightly longer, but narrower, than a VW bus, and looked just about as sturdy. Five of us and the pilot squeezed in, and off we went. You can see Barb, slightly hysterical, with Michele, in this picture. She was in the first step of the process of overcoming her fear of flying.

We took off towards the Tazman Sea, and flew right over the fjord and the boat that we had been sailing upon. The clarity of the water became even more apparent. The only other place I have been that compares with this spot is Yosemite Valley, where the granite monoliths rise steeply from the valley floor. These peaks rise in a similar way from the fjord. But the length of the fjord and the height of the peaks seem to dwarf Yosemite's grandeur.

As we approached this waterfalls, we gasped and shouted and pointed, in awe of the size and power. It wasn't until we got this close that I realized there was a lake at the top of the falls. These high alpine lakes were pristine and unmarked by any sign of humans. There is a single hiking track that we could see from the plane. The rest of the area is quite untouched.

It started to rain as we approached Queenstown. The pilot took us to a lower altitude to avoid some turbulance. Suddenly, a rainbow appeared below us, and I just couldn't help it, I burst into song.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Milford Sound

I can with certainty say that our daylong visit to the Milford Sound was one of life's perfect days, a day that will resonate and be remembered and be savored for as many years as I am able. The sound's color was an exquisite blue and the clarity of the 1000-foot deep fjord expanded the dimension of the views.

The rainforest came down to the waterline with ferny delight. The waterfalls, minimal due to a two-week drought, still threw themselves gleefully over the edges high above, racing to the clear blue waters below.