That's what I just had, because my dear wife is away this weekend. She's allergic to some mystery ingredient in Thai food, so I only get it when she's not around. And I rented *three* french-language movies. One must seize life's opportunities when one may.
But. This is not a culinary post, nor a cinematic post, nor any sort of cultural post. It's about my Saturday: Where I was not, where I wanted to be, where I might have been, and where I actually was.
Where I was not (most unequivocally, as in "no snowball's chance in hell of being"): MDS&W. Even if I didn't feel (thanks to some slow-paying clients) like a child on a tight allowance, I would not fly across country to ogle sheep, fondle fiber, and hork boutique yarn. I haven't crossed that line yet, but maybe I will next year.
Where I wanted to be: In Los Angeles, at the Revlon Run/Walk for Women's Cancers with Jen and La et al, trying to walk and knit at the same time, all the while keeping my head on a swivel, searching for celebrities to gape at. But due to pressing deadlines and a scheduling mishap of my own making, I could not fulfill this commitment. I'm bummed, because I love LA, a little road trip would have been the perfect picker-upper, and I desperately want to party with Jen and La, and pick Tortuga's brains about owning whippets--or greyhounds--whichever.
Where I might have been: In Santa Barbara with my dear wife. She's there on an unfortunate mission--attending the memorial service for a friend from her college days (rest in peace, Carl). While he is someone whom I admire and care for, I was not nearly as close a friend and so begged off, for the reasons mentioned above. She's bidding Carl farewell, seeing friends, and surfing, but she'll be back tomorrow night. Before she gets back I have to vacuum up the ankle-deep drifts of animal hair and clean the bathroom.
Where I actually was: fulfilling a volunteer commitment when what I need more than anything else in the world right now is a day of unscheduled, unsupervised playtime. I'm pretty sure I've worked four out of the previous four weekends, and if I know what's good for me, I'll do some work tomorrow, in a futile attempt to dig out from under impossible deadlines.
Back in late March I was called about doing a rather bullshit stint of volunteer work, and I tried to get out of it--but arms were twisted, and I agreed to serve again this year as a "host" at Audubon Canyon Ranch, in Bolinas.
Basically, this means hitting visitors up for money and telling them what they can't do while they're visiting. I hate both of these tasks. And because I've had a bad time previous years, really need some time to myself, and didn't want to do it anyway--I had a toweringly bad attitude about the whole thing. As in a huge chip on my shoulder. I made a half-assed attempt to change my attitude this morning before I arrived, but it didn't work very well, particularly when I was stuck behind a truck-with-trailer for approximately 10 miles.
But -- I got there and had a surprisingly good day. All the wonderful things about West Marin were present in spades, and all the bad/irritating things didn't happen. In previous years, the hours dragged because there were too many volunteers and not enough to do, and officious old
bitches biddies appointed themselves my boss and gave me shit. Today there was none of that--and I had a secret weapon. I brought my knitting.
It seriously made me feel like the day was not a waste, even though I didn't get to work on it much. I was too busy extracting money and addresses from people prior to their mediated, interpreted nature experience.
I did have some time to take pictures during the day, and on the drive home I was relaxed enough to appreciate the beauty of one of my favorite places on earth (you know, one of those low-key paradises where the bungalows go for a million or so, and if not for tourism, there would be no economy). I'm miserably cynical, but if I'm lucky my spirit will get to live in West Marin after I die. Here's the slide show.
Everything in West Marin is green and moist, even after other places have dried out and turned brown in the summer. It smells good (like laurel and lavender), too.
People come to Audubon Canyon Ranch (below, view out to Bolinas Lagoon, which is part of Tomales Bay) to see the egret and heron rookery there. Every year a large colony of birds nests and raises young.
Before a coalition of local Audubon Society chapters bought the property in the sixties, it was slated for development. Now Audubon Canyon Ranch is an independent nonprofit, and does a lot of environmental education.
People come to see great egrets, but there are other birds nesting in the ranch as well, like this cliff swallow.
Or these great blue herons (impromptu digiscope shot). The chicks are in the lower right of the picture:
If you are in the area and haven't been there before, you need to visit.