Christmas Conflation

Mt. Tam and wires. 3/28/12

Mt. Tam and wires. 3/28/12, a dog walk no-run night in suburbia.

Since I currently live in close proximity to the desirable and lovely city of  San Francisco, it seems to perplex many why I choose to not live in the city proper. It’s one of those topics that comes up in mundane, obligatory, work function, internet date type chit-chat. It’s the kind I especially loathe, where no one is actually listening to anyone but themselves and so things that are meaningful to you don’t get adequately represented or appreciated. Like why I live close to a mountain instead of on a cramped city block.

I live close to a mountain because I need that mountain. I need to come home from my city job – a job that I do love, appreciate and am inspired by – to this mountain and her trails and her trees and her quiet. I need it because when I start to feel that kind of city exhaustion that makes the tears rise to just below the surface, the only cure is a mountain. Unfortunately though, it’s also Christmas and everyone has lost their minds and that is impeding my mountain time. That and it’s dark at like 4PM.

As a general rule, I come down on the side of Christmas hate. I have spent many years researching this position, and feel confident that I am fine with it, even though there have been years that I actually succumb to the elusive, but oh so potent Christmas magic. I love the sparkle and romance and nostalgia and homecoming of Christmas, but I reject how our culture conflates happiness with forced gift giving while then producing endless songs, stories, TV specials and movies that say just the opposite, that it’s really all about the people you love, but we are all just nodding and winking that we know we are still expected to participate in this confusing madness that now starts the day after Halloween.

The past two days I have been feeling that Christmas funk; end-of-the-year projects at work are demanding and I can’t get it together to run on my mountain. I have insomnia, and I am cranky. I am really homesick. So, tonight, I walked. Not like this is a novel concept – I usually walk the dog whether I run or not – but I walked with the intention to be aware, grateful that I live near the mountain, and to honor that I chose to not live in the city so I could have a night walk like this.

I was promptly rewarded:

I saw a shooting star right over Tam, (it’s the Germinids!) and yes I totally made a wish. (Maybe I get extra Christmas wish points even though I am grinchy…)

And just for a bonus, a huge, beautiful Spotted Owl swooped right over me and Duke and into a nest in a 70 foot sycamore tree.

Thank you mountain, you took care of me tonight.

Me And Jimmy Stewart

Friends and readers know that one of my favorite movies of all time is Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring the singular, incredible Jimmy Stewart.  Another all time fave is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” from 1954.  Stewart plays a professional photographer, Jeff Jeffries, who has recently broken his leg and is not only stuck in a wheelchair, but also his tiny apartment.  He passes the slow and necessary healing time <ahem> in between visits from his glamorous girlfriend (played by Grace Kelly) and his nurse, by watching his neighbors across the courtyard.  He begins to nickname them and know some of their habits, and then in true Hitchcockian fashion, there’s a dead dog and then a dead woman.  It’s a FANTASTIC movie –  from Jeff’s observations of his neighbors’ idiosyncrasies, to the sheer terror of witnessing a murder and knowing who did it, wrapped up in the suspense of the confines of the full leg cast.

The camera work still stands up today as being sharp and innovative and exciting.  I cannot look out one window and into another without thinking of “Rear Window.”  As I have been playing with my iPhone camera more and more, and using Instagram to help me tweak the images, also known as editing (makes me sounds like I know what I am doing, but really, uh, no) and my participation the past month in the online photo class called Two Takes with the Shutter Sisters, well, I have been having a lot of “Rear Window” moments.  (See two of those at the end of the post.)

As is the cosmic glitter of new and re-discovery getting stuck to your brain, “Rear Window” of course sparkled up yesterday in my news feeds in the form of this genius time lapse of the courtyard scenes in under three minutes.  It is absolutely gorgeous and creative and inspiring and totally f’ing cool.  Please check it out and if you have not seen the real film, Netflix that bad boy.  I bet it’s in a lot of queues about now.

My perspectives below.

Exercising New Muscles

Fast-walked the two mile loop again tonight.  Wow, that’s three times this week.  With a sore throat and everything.  (Oh, made the appointment with the acu for Saturday, can.not.wait.)  Took the iPhone again, on mute, and stopped for a few more homework snaps.  These two are my favorite.

You can see that I still insist on wearing my florescent yellow running (stolen from the cycling department) vest.  Safety is sexy.  But what you should really be looking at is my excellent composition <ahem>.  How cool does this look with the tilt-shift blur???  I love it.

And this one is just neato.   Even though it is so California Spanish Mission, it really makes me miss New Mexico.  And the civics geek in me loves that it is the town, I mean, city hall.

Vernally Equinoxious

Apparently, spring arrived on March 20th.  I had it in my winter-numb skull that it was getting here on March 22nd this year, for no other reason than it has been on March 22nds of the past and that seemed like the day it should be on.  I can shamelessly admit to a high consumption of Irish alcoholic beverages on the 17th, so perhaps that is what threw my brain off.  Also, all the non-running.  (On the recovery front, have been introduced to THE sportie acupuncturist to cure me, booking a round of treatments is on the agenda for this week.)

I did do the two-mile walk loop tonight though, and brought along my iPhone which is rare.  (It only comes with me on trail runs and stays on mute the whole time.)  And so, I snapped some pictures.  Am involved in a little project that I am enjoying so I needed to do my homework.  Here’s a few shots.  Yes, I picked totally forgiving subjects and bow down to my Instagram filters. What can I say:  I’m just a girl going through a photography phase.  In springtime.