Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Stuff: Good or Bad? Debate!

Yes, our stuff has finally arrived. And while it's nice to have a bed to sleep in (actually, it's beyond nice, it's just about the greatest thing ever), it's discouraging to see how much stuff we have. Yes, I have lots of clothes to wear now, and more than one saucepan and one skillet in my kitchen, but we also have a box of MST3K VHS tapes that we never opened after we moved from Chicago (we have many - I'd say several or even quite a few, but that doesn't do it justice - boxes that we never opened after we moved from Chicago). I guess the first step towards getting help is admitting that you have a problem.

Can't be too depressed, though, when the weather is glorious, the produce is fantastic, fresh, and local, and the Westside Bakery and Cafe (from whence I blog) is kicking out jams like Curtis Mayfield's "Pusher Man" (from the soundtrack of what film? Superfly, of course!) on a Tuesday morning.

Recent photos:

Got lost coming home from downtown Oakland the other day (that's where the nearest branch of our bank is) and wound up WAY up in the hills!

Brian and I wait for the bus around the corner from our house.

Brian's new office at Berkeley Friends Church.

Super amazing topiary house in our neighborhood.

Mystery fruit in our front yard. They're about the size of eggs, and get very orange when ripe. Persimmons is my best guess right now.

Took a walk at the Aquatic Park, a few blocks from our house, over the weekend. Hard to see in this photo, but the background are I-80 and beyond that you can see San Francisco.

Close up of one of the frisbee golf stations in the park. Brian not as excited about this as I thought he'd be, but I hope he gets over there and plays soon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home, Strange Home

Doing my best to settle in to my new home and city. All very strange. There are big hills in the distance, and I don't know what most of the plants are. And there are plants everywhere. Quite a riotous display of vegetation everywhere one goes.

Berkeley seems like a nice city with lots of cool things to do and great places to eat. Have several great restaurants within walking distance of our house. Can't wait to show family and friends around when we have visitors!

Will be much happier, though, when our furniture arrives. Moving company now says August 24 (original estimate was August 19-21, but what's their hurry - it's not them sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags). Coping with the delay as best we can, though we're both getting a bit cranky. The pets seem happy, though - especially Morty, who thinks it's great that we all sleep on the floor together. That's the way it should be, right?

There's a drawer in the kitchen just for energy bars! Is this a city ordinance?

There are artichokes growing on our back deck. Neither of us are huge fans, but we ate one last night nonetheless. Food doesn't get any more local than this! We also have a huge fig tree in our yard, with actual figs. And our neighbors have a pear tree.

Morty waits for us to come to bed, so he can lay right next to my sleeping bag and keep the communists at bay (much tougher here than in Indiana!).

Violet loves sleeping in a sleeping bag.

Went to the East Bay park the other day - quite the spot for kite flying.

Finally figured out at least one plant we were seeing - anise. I had never seen licorice in its feral state before, very interesting.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2,470 miles

Made it to Berkeley around 5pm yesterday (Pacific time -that's going to take some getting used to!). Brian very happy to see us, and we very happy to reach our destination. All things considered, we had a pretty good trip. Yes, it was a long, exhausting drive, but we had lots of fun and no major problems along the way. My eternal gratitude to Shelly, World's Greatest Sister, for coming along with me - I don't know if Morty and I would have made it without her!

Here are some pics of the last two legs of the journey (no internet access Thursday night, so we were unable to post from Elko, where we spent the night with Brian's Aunt Sid and Uncle Bruce).

Parts of Wyoming very beautiful....

... others not so much.

The Bonneville Salt Flats (very miserable stretch, Shelly did great).

Welcome to the East Bay!

Morty meets the new neighbors....

... who came bearing gifts!

Brian gives us the low-down on Berkeley.

Who, us? Tired? No way, we could have gone another 2,000 miles easy!

Stay tuned for: "Bri 'N' Steph's New Neighborhood", and "Will All Our Worldly Belongings Ever Arrive?"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To the Peanut Gallery

Communist Bear was a gift for Shelly, purchased on the Asia Fall 2007 trip. He has now been named Mao Tse Ted. And, yes, we let the dog get on the bed during this trip. As Shelly put it, we had to throw him a bone! On a trip like this, all bets are off, and everyone deserves special treatment.

We ARE the new Road Warriors!

The New, Improved, Laramie Project?

Made it to Laramie, Wyoming, today. Checked into the Days Inn (pet friendly, if over-priced) and then had a nice dinner at the Altitude Brew Pug -- I mean Brew Pub. Mort now settled enough that we could leave him in the car (don't worry - we parked in the shade and it was a cool evening) without high-pitched keening ensuing.

Tomorrow we hope to make Elko, Nevada, where we'll spend the night with Brian's aunt Sid. After that, it's only 500 miles to Berkeley!

Recent Photos:

Passed several wind farms in Kansas and Colorado (also many sunflower farms, which were really hard to get a good shot of from a moving car).

Some threatening clouds, but only a few sprinkles on us.

The road to Laramie.

The Lincoln Monument, also on the road to Laramie.

Mort, not happy but being a very good boy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Four States in One Day!

We drove about 650 miles today, and made it from Plainfield, Indiana to Salina, Kansas. We were going to stop in Junction City but they SUCKED so we went on to Salina. Nicer Days Inn (slightly) than last night in Plainfield -- no holes in the floor, but the beds are higher and Morty can't make it up on his own (poor baby!).

Morty lolls in the back seat.

The Strait sisters in their motel room in Salina, Kansas.

Peteena and the Communist Bear from the Hong Kong airport giftshop.

A few of the really cute things Shelly brought, two of which she made herself!

I'm Outta Here!

Survived moving day. Barely. Two hours waiting for movers to arrive, four hours waiting for movers to move, four hours cleaning, hour and a half to Indy, an hour waiting for Shelly's plane to arrive from Austin. Made it to Salina, Kansas on this, our first full day of driving. Morty VERY good in the car, not so much whenever I'm out of his sight. High-pitched keening ensues. Glad to have Shelly along!

View of the moving procedures from inside the front door.

Mort waits for me to get done cleaning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Parting Shots

I'm actually somewhat surprised at how nostalgic I'm getting about leaving Richmond. Will miss the ample parking, lack of traffic, and generally friendly folks. Will definitely miss my neighborhood, where I know everybody and talk to them all the time. Will also miss, in no particular order: Blue Jays, Carolina Wrens, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Red Squirrels (though I don't really know yet what color the squirrels are in California), the ground hog that hangs out on our back porch, Fiditch the Golden Retriever who lives down the street (yes, he's named after the Scotch), Frank the pug who lives up the street (yes, he's named after the pug in Men in Black), and Cuddles, the mutt two houses down who barks her head off at everything.

Here are a few odds and ends from the last few days:

Baby animal rescue fun never stops at HELP the Animals. These are baby possums in a cat carrier.

Mort is never too upset, as long as there's still a patch of sun to lie in.

It's astonishing how much stuff we have. This is only one section of one room - we have boxes EVERYWHERE.

Regardless of the chaos that surrounds her, Peteena reigns supreme.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bye, Bri!

Saw Brian off to Berkeley on Wednesday. For those of you who don't know, we're moving to California! Movers coming Monday, then Shelly flies up from Austin to ride out with us and share the driving.

Bri's last meal in Richmond was, of course, Tim Horton's! That's Violet in her carrier in the foreground, ready to go on an airplane for the first time.

Timmeh's comes through with the veggie sandwich - yea! You gotta ask for it, though, it's not on the menu.

Self portrait, eating Tim Horton's outside the abandoned ice cream parlor across the street (only problem at Timmeh's - no outdoor dining!)