2010 Retrospective – Summer Swimming

The  summer heat and humidity in eastern Pennsylvania make it wonderful for summer swimming.   Here are many pictures of my hometown pool.  The best moments when I was growing up were at this pool — and the best moments of my time here now.  My photos tend to have a “where are the people”  look to them.  You’ll have to think of the people as being just out of range of the camera shot.

Sunset, June 2010. The pool is ready for opening.

Sign above the entrance to the pool. The season pass is a great deal!

Just before opening day. That clown is a little scary.

I'm in the water. June 2010.

Swimming on a sunny day.

Rope and post separating the deeper water from the shallow water. Interesting reflections.

Sunset, June 2010. I wish there was night swimming. It's warm enough.

View of the slide and one of the diving boards, from the water. August 2010.

A buoy, other side is the lap lane. Overcast day. August 2010.

A cloudy day. Magical. I have the pool almost to myself. August 2010.

I like to put my towel at the edge of the fence, closest to the creek on the other side. In late afternoon there is shade.

Pool nachos, the best junk food snack on the planet. I don't want to know what's in that cheese!

September 2010. The pool is closed for the season.

Looks like adobe (not the company!)

I am nowhere near the southwest US.   I’m in the northeast US.   But….I think this building resembles an adobe building in the southwest.  I like it.   Maybe, perhaps, I just want it to be the southwest, so that’s what I see.

Old Building, May 2010, view 1

Old Building, May 2010, view 2

Old Building, May 2010, view 3

More pictures of my community pool, part 2

This set of pictures takes you from January through June, right before the pool is set to open.  Walking by this pool and taking pictures is a thing with me.  It’s a solitary pursuit.

Pool, January 2010. Sunny day, now snow.

Pool, February 2010. Snow.

Pool landing, February 2010. My footprints.

Pool, February 2010. So very much snow.

Pool, March 2010. Dreary day.

Pool, March 2010. Dreary day with ducks!

Pool, April 2010. The trees are green.

Pool, May 2010. Drained, scrubbed, ready to fill. The cartoon characters are back.

Pool, June 2010. Dusk. The empty pool reflects the sky.

Many, many pictures of my community pool, part 1

This is my local community pool.  I know, it’s not a natural body of water, like a creek or a spring, but I like to see how it looks over the seasons.  I’ve taken many pictures in the course of my walks.   It’s a thing with me – walking by this pool.  I’ve made a path through the snow in the winter, to get up the stairs to the landing so I can look at the pool and take pictures.   What does this say about me?

Pool, August 2009. Swimming is wonderful.

Pool, August 2009. Mistly. The clown is a little creepy.

Pool, September 2009. No more swimming. The cartoon characters are gone.

Pool, November 2009. A few autumn leave remain.

Pool, November 2009. No more leaves.

Pool, December 2009. Sprinkling of snow.

Pool, December 2009. Snow and reflections.

Pool, December 2009. Pool at dusk.

Pool, January 2010. Cold. Snow and ice.

My Journey, California to Pennsylvania, July 2009. Part 3 of 3, Missouri to Pennsylvania

In July 2009 (this year) I left my beloved California and moved to Pennsylvania. I wrote about leaving California in my blog post “Leaving My California” – https://amarez.com/2009/07/19/leaving-my-california/

My first travel post describes my journey from California to Sedona – https://amarez.com/2009/12/05/my-journey-california-to-pennsylvania-july-2009-part-1-of-3-from-california-to-sedona/.

My second travel post describes my journey from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Oklahoma – https://amarez.com/2009/12/05/my-journey-california-to-pennsylvania-july-2009-part-2-of-3-santa-fe-to-oklahoma/

After Oklahoma, I drove east to Missouri,  continuing my journey to Pennsylvania.  I’m including my tweets (twitter posts), from that time.

July 26, 2009.   In Joplin, Missouri for the night – currently having dinner at a local place recommended by my motel – just down the street!

July 26, 2009.  So much for SF food snobbery. Grilled tilapia at a place called Whisky Creek, and it’s really really good!

July 27, 2009.  Staying in Rolla, Missouri for two nights. I need a break from driving. The Ozarks are pretty.

Ozarks from Highway near Rolla, Missouri, July 2009

























July 28, 2009 .  It rained here in Missouri. I miss the weather in my California – only rains in winter, no thunderstorms, no snow. Not a fan of weather.

On to Illinois.

Water Tower, Casey, Illinois, July 2009






























July 29, 2009.    Just west of Indianapolis. I saw fields of corn, being that I’m in the midwest.

July 30, 2009.   Stayed at the Hampton Inn – great rate with AAA and business travel is down so room rates are good. Reminded me fondly of business travel.

Hampton Inn, Plainfield, Indiana, July 2009























July 30, 2009.  In Ohio – not much further to go

The highways got more crowded.  Ohio had great highway rest stops, very nature oriented.  There was  a wonderful wooded area, with picnic tables, at the place where I stopped.

Wooded Area, Highway Rest Stop, Ohio, July 2009























July 31, 2009.  In Pennsylvania – not much further to go

Driving on Highway 70 through  West Virginia (briefly) and western Pennsylvania, the scenery was spectacular,  a winding road,  mountains, trees, very dramatic.  Sadly, I did not get any pictures.

I stayed at a hotel in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  While a bit on the faux “old timey” side, the hotel was confortable and had a certain charm.   The lights in front of the hotel were interesting.  The morning the fog was mysterious.

Street Lamps, Bedford, Pennsylvania, July 2009

Morning Fog, Bedford, Pennsylvania, July 2009





















































Continuing on the Pennsylvania highways.

Pennsylvania Highway, July 2009

























August 1, 2009.   2900 miles, 13 days and I’ve reached my destination! My road trip is over.

The miles are wrong — I was looking at the wrong thing.  Per google maps, the journey was 3112 miles!

Beautiful Garden, Family Home, Pennsylvania, August 2009

My Four California Plants on the Porch with other Family Plants, Pennsylvania, August 2009






























My journey ends.

My Journey, California to Pennsylvania, July 2009. Part 2 of 3, Santa Fe to Oklahoma

In July 2009 (this year) I left my beloved California and moved to Pennsylvania. I wrote about leaving California in my blog post “Leaving My California” – https://amarez.com/2009/07/19/leaving-my-california/

My first travel post describes my journey from California to Sedona –  https://amarez.com/2009/12/05/my-journey-california-to-pennsylvania-july-2009-part-1-of-3-from-california-to-sedona/.  After Sedona, I drove east to Santa Fe, New Mexico, continuing my journey to Pennsylvania.  I’m including my tweets (twitter posts), from that time.

July 22, 2009.   Rolled into Santa Fe several hours ago. Hotel is great. Will explore tomorrow.

July 22, 2009.   Note to self – drive from Sedona to Santa Fe, while spectacular, is rather long.

July 23, 2009.   Santa Fe – having green chili chicken tamales for dinner. Does it get any better than that? Santa Fe is a great place.

Downtown Santa Fe is small and very walkable.  Given the consistency of the architecture, one is tempted to think it’s too cute, too contrived, but it’s not, really.  Everything seems to fit.  Given the high elevation, it’s very comfortable in summer, though I made sure to drink plenty of water.  It was nice to just wander around.  I want to come back.

San Miguel Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2009. Oldest Church in the US.

Street Scene, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2009. I sat under the umbrella and drank a lemonade.

Street Scene, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2009

Tia Sophias, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2009. Santa Fe style Mexican breakfasts, incredibly wonderfully good.






















































After Sedona and Santa Fe, I had no specific places I wanted to see.  I took the most direct highway route northeast.

This is from a highway rest stop, the Llano Estacado, or “Staked Plain”, a large mesa straddling New Mexico and Texas.  A “mesa” is an elevated area of land with a flat top and steep sides (thanks to wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llano_Estacado).  The sense of distance was amazing.

Llano Estacado from Highway Rest Stop, Texas, July 2009
























July 24, 2009.   In Amarillo for the night. Listened to a really good alternative music station on the way into town. Swam in the hotel pool.

July 25, 2009.   Light travel day.  I’m in Oklahoma.

July 26, 2009 (posted this tweet after I left Oklahoma).  Favorite highway sign on I44 east – Oklahoma area – do not drive into smoke. What kind of fires do they have in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, I ended up briefly on Route 66, the famous US highway which ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, started in 1926, paving completed in 1938. (http://www.legendsofamerica.com/66-Mainpage.html)   I stopped at a fantastic commemorative rest stop.  You can also see views of the Oklahoma plains.

Route 66 Commemorative Rest Stop, Oklahoma, July 2009

Tile Picture, Route 66 Rest Stop, Oklahoma, July 2009

Oklahoma Plains



























































In my next blog post, I head on to Missouri.

My Journey, California to Pennsylvania, July 2009. Part 1 of 3, from California to Sedona

In July 2009 (this year) I left my beloved California and moved to Pennsylvania.  I wrote about leaving California in my blog post “Leaving My California” – https://amarez.com/2009/07/19/leaving-my-california/

I drove across country, from California to Pennsylvania, keeping people updated (mostly) via twitter.  Thinking about what I wanted to see the most, I picked Sedona, Arizona and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  So, south from Palo Alto on Highway I5, stopping off at Gorman, California, as I always stop there on my way to Santa Monica.  Then, east through the desert to Sedona, Arizona, east again to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and northest to Pennsylvania.   I’m not a long distance drive and I stopped for two days, twice.  So, around 3000 miles, in 13 days.  Here’s the journey.  I’ll include my tweets — twitter posts.

My Apartment Pool, Palo Alto, California. I loved this pool.

Courtyard of my apartment complex in Palo Alto. I could not take the two trees I was growing, in pots.

Some plants from my container garden. Four plants made the journey with me.


Google Map of My Tip, July 2009





























































































July 20, 2009.  I5 to Gorman, California. Very hot. Econo Lodge kept the chandelier from the former Caravanseri Motel!   

Econo Lodge Hotel, Gorman, California, July 2009. They kept the chandelier from the Caravanseri Motel.































Drove east through the Mojave Desert, on to Arizona, highway through the desert.  Lots of space.  It was very hot.  The Mojave desert had a stark beauty.  Continued on through the Arizona desert, which was beautiful.

Mojave Desert from the Highway Rest Stop, California, July 2009

Arizona Desert, West of Sedona, July 2009
















































July 21 , 2009. From what I’ve seen in the dark, Sedona looks like all kinds of wonderful, my kind of place.

July 21, 2009. Looking forward to actually seeing the red rocks of Sedona, tomorrow, as I head out of town.

July 22, 2009.  Eating breakfast (huevos rancheros, yum) at a cute place down the street. The red rocks of Sedona are everywhere – dramatic, beautiful.

View of Red Rocks, Sedona, Arizona, July 2009

Tile Picture, Kaiser's West Restaurant, Sedona, Arizona, July 2009. Great Breakfasts

View of Red Rocks of Sedona as I Leave Town, Sedona, Arizona, July, 2009






























































Next Blog Entry, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and east.

In the Land of the Cute

I take walks in the small Pennsylvania town where I’m currently living. I’ve noticed that this town has something I had not seen in years, little figures, lawn ornaments, nestled on people’s property, on their lawns, in their gardens, on a step. The figures are positioned so they can be seen from the street. The intent, I believe, is to be charming, sometimes cute. You do get the cuteness, but you also get effects that are sometimes strange.

These are my favorite pieces. I describe the piece and then show you the picture.

This is an assertively perky figure, all bushy tail, alert posture, slightly startled pose. It’s also very worn and needs paint. The combination make the figure somewhat unsettling, as if the creature was trying to keep up that perkiness, no matter what the cost. I thought it was more interesting to see the figure from a distance, so I didn’t zoom in.

Squirrel, Pennsylvania, October 2009



















This is one of my favorite pieces. I like the look of the angel, the lines, the sweep of the wings, the angle of the folded hands. The tipped flower pot nicely frames the angel. The shape of the plant complements the shape of the angel. The green and white colors provide a nice contrast. But you have to ask yourself, who is the angel praying to?

Praying Angel, Pennsylvania, September 2009



















This little bunny is worn, but still cute, in a genuinely nice way. I think it works well in the space.

Rabbit, Pennsylvania, October 2009




















I thought that I would see more figures in birdbaths and water fountains, but this is the only birdbath sculpture I found on my walks. This work is on the sweet side, and appears to be influenced by Disney, though it’s nicely done. The fairy is easier to see if you click to get the big picture.

Fairy and Frog, Pennsylvania, August 2009

























The frog is chipped and needs some paint, giving it a “don’t mess with me, I’ve been around” look. This is a scary frog.

Frog, Pennsylvania, October 2009



















Although this picture is flawed, I wanted to include it. I think the frog, though hard to see in this photo, works very well in the space. The frog is a little scary looking, but not as scary looking as the other frog.

Frog under a Tree, Pennsylvania, October 2009

























There’s a lot going on here. We’ve got a kitty, a little house, a flag, a bent tree, and two people (elves?) clasping each other. While somewhat odd, even for the Land of the Cute, it has its own charm.

Kitty, surrounded by many things, October 2009



















This is an advertisement for a garage. It’s a wonderful piece, perhaps crafted by the owner, funny and engaging. It’s more a work of folk art than a lawn ornament.

Person sculpture, advertising a garage, Pennsylvania, October 2009
















Lest you think there is no such thing as an animal sculpture in an outdoor space that isn’t “cute”, look at this wonderful frog sculpture in Rittenhouse Square, Center City, Philadelphia. There’s something interesting and wonderful about the size, shape and look of that frog. This frog is not a resident in the Land of the Cute.

Frog Sculpture, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, November 2009

On being optimistic, tech, the quality of the light, good weather

I had lunch with a friend from high school, someone I had not talked to in years, except for a few brief words when I was back in town visiting my family. We ended up talking about whether we were optimistic about the future.


The economy is in terrible shape, jobs are hard to get if you don’t have one, and there’s a lot of scary stuff in the world. Even though my situation is less stable than before (looking for work will do that to you) – I realized that I am somewhat optimistic about the future – not as optimistic as some people I know (Hi Miki!) but reasonably optimistic. I see the same world as other people, but I think that my life, and the lives of the people around me, even the economy, will get better. I kind of see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

This isn’t a discussion about whether this is a correct or incorrect view, but in how we see the world. Sometimes I think that being optimistic has to do with the fields we are in, the work we do. Working for a tech company (like I did in the past) – it makes you optimistic.

There’s something about being in the tech world that makes you think that the future is full of possibilities, and you can do your part to figure it all out. Not only will you be happy, but, whatever you are working on, it’s going to make the world a better place, and even the non glamorous tech stuff is just so darn great! For some idea of what this is like, read the latest copy of PC World, quickly. Skim through it. Focus on the mood, the vibe, the feeling. Even when the writers at PC World are, understandably, complaining about the latest tech thing that isn’t working, you get the feeling that tech is swell! Tech is swell, and so the rest of the world must be swell too, because tech is in it! There’s a sense of optimism, a belief that the world is a good place.

Sometimes you see this happening in B-School – MBA land, though less often, recently. Perhaps it has to do with the idea of control, that you can do something to make things better and you can make a good living too. I enjoy the belief that you can make things good in the world and not suffer.

Then there’s the quality of the light, and good weather. In my admittedly limited experience the people from my life in California were more optimistic than not about the future. Since tech (and at the time a better economy) is threaded all through my time in California, I can’t separate out the tech optimism and the better economy from the optimism that comes with the wonderfulness of California. I like to think that being in the land of amazing natural light, low humidity, outdoor natural beauty and outdoor comfort – it makes you a happier and more optimistic person. I like to think that the Pacific Ocean and a Mediterranean climate make a person happy. I have absolutely no idea if this is so. Perhaps I would like it to be so, or perhaps that’s just how it was with me. California brought me a life of promise and a life of wonder, though of course there was also the not great stuff that we all have in our lives. You can read my blog post to see what I thought about California – https://amarez.com/2009/07/19/leaving-my-california/

The challenge is to keep that wonder and promise in my new life, not because it’s good or right, but because I want to do so. Can I still feel wonder and promise while living in eastern Pennsylvania (for now, might end up in New Jersey or Delaware). I think so. We’ll see.

Here are some photos on the quality of light.

A sparkling creek in Pennsylvania, near where I live now.   What an interesting reflection.

 
 
Creek, Pennsylvania, September 2009

Creek, Pennsylvania, September 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunset in the Palo Alto Baylands.  

Palo Alto Baylands, California, November 2008

Palo Alto Baylands, California, November 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Went for the day to Ocean City, New Jersey, with a family member. I love the ocean!

Seagulls at Ocean City, New Jersey, September 2009

Seagulls at Ocean City, New Jersey, September 2009

Where I live now – the Creek and the Pool

Eastern Pennsylvania is pretty, particularly in summer, lots of trees, hills, green.  But – the landscape as a whole does not resonate with me.  I have to find something in the landscape that does resonate with me.
                         
I found something.  I love the little creek in my hometown. I love the play of the light, how it sparkles in the sun.  I love the musical sounds, the water.   The part of the creek I like is narrow and not deep.  Oddly enough, it makes me think of Thumbelina, from the Hans Christian Anderson story, a person the size of a thumb.  For her the creek would be a river.  I looked at the creek and I thought the “rapids” might be too much for her, but perhaps not if she was in a little leaf boat!
The Creek, August 2009

The Creek, August 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also like the local swimming pool, the best community pool I’ve ever been to, ever.   Swimming (when it’s not raining) in the summer weather of heat and humidity – great fun!  Don’t let the clown trash container fool you.  Look at that lap lane – this is a wonderful pool!

Hometown Pool, August 2009

Hometown Pool, August 2009