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” – http://amarez.com/2009/07/19/leaving-my-california/

My first travel post describes my journey from California to Sedona –  http://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” – http://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.

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 – http://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

It doesn’t get any better than this – Slate Magazine’s Interactive Dan Brown Plot Generator

Here you go –

The interactive Dan Brown plot generator, By Chris Wilson, Slate Magazine – http://www.slate.com/id/2228327/



I picked the city of Los Angeles and the group Sierra Club. (Note: be sure to click the refresh button as there can be more than one plot for each selection!)

This is what I got:

A mysterious cipher whose key is somewhere in Los Angeles.
A shadowy cult determined to protect it.
A frantic race to uncover the Sierra Club’s darkest secret.

The Forgotten Temple

When celebrated Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Santa Monica boardwalk to analyze a mysterious rune—imprinted on a gold ring lying next to the mangled body of the head docent—he discovers evidence of the unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Destinati, a secret branch of the Sierra Club that has surfaced from the shadows to carry out its legendary vendetta against its mortal enemy, the Vatican.

Langdon’s worst fears are confirmed when a messenger from the Destinati appears at Olvera Street to deliver a fateful ultimatum: Deposit $1 billion in the Sierra Club’s off-shore bank accounts or the exclusive clothier of the Swiss Guards will be bankrupted. Racing against the clock, Langdon joins forces with the nervy and quick-witted daughter of the murdered docent in a desperate bid to crack the code that will reveal the cult’s secret plan.

Embarking on a frantic hunt, Langdon and his companion follow a 500-year-old trail through Los Angeles’s most exalted statues and historic monuments, pursued by a Romanian assassin the cult has sent to thwart them. What they discover threatens to expose a conspiracy that goes all the way back to John Muir and the very founding of the Sierra Club.

It doesn’t get any better than that – does it?

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mszv – amarez

My California – Lily of the Nile

Lily of the Nile plants, Agapanthus, are very common in the San Francisco Bay area.  Originally from South Africa (one of five Mediterranean climates in the world, like coastal California) they do well here.  They take to rainy winters with moderate temperatures (no freezing) and dry summers with no rain, the weather of coastal California. The plants are large, with a waterfall of green leaves year round and beautiful large clumps of flowers in the spring and summer.  Lily of the Nile flowers comes in shades of white and a beautiful blue purple color.  I love the blue purple ones.
                             
The plants have been popular in California for decades, used extensively in landscaping public spaces and private gardens.  In the late spring and summer, they form rivers and pools of blue.  The masses of blooms remind me of water.

Two links:

http://plantfinder.sunset.com/sunset/plant-details.jsp?id=128

http://playinginthedirt.ca/2008/07/27/green-thumb-sunday-agapanthus/

I took these photos in July 2009, before my move.  The road is Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto, at dusk.  I have trouble photographing the flowers well, given my casual photography skills, but this may give you an idea of how magical they are.   The Lily of the Nile blooming season is a part of My California.

         

Lily of the Nile, Oregon Expressway, July 2009

Lily of the Nile, Oregon Expressway, July 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lily of the Nile at Dusk, July 2009

Lily of the Nile at Dusk, July 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                    
 
                                                                                                                                               
                      
         

Lily of the Nile and the road, July 2009

Lily of the Nile and the road, July 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Leaving My California

I’ve lived in California since 1989.  I’ve lived in Palo Alto, a town on the peninsula south of San Francisco (Silicon Valley) for fifteen years.  I came here because I took a job at my former company’s corporate headquarters.   Now I’m leaving. 
                          
Leaving is the right thing to do, for my family and my work.  But still.
                                                       
I know that a place, a land, cannot love you, but I think that one of my greatest loves has been my California.  I love the place.  I love the look of coastal California.  I love the rocky cliffs next to the seashore, the seasons of dry and wet, the mountains in the distance.  My world is Northern California, the area around San Francisco, but I also love the California central coast and the southern coastal area.  I love the San Francisco Bay.  My town, Palo Alto, is one of the towns ringing the bay.
                                             
I love the weather.  Coastal California is one of only five Mediterranean climates in the world.  I love how the climate where I live is moderate, temperate, rarely hot or cold.  The air is dry, not humid or muggy.  I love how it cools down at night in summer, due to the blessed cold Pacific Ocean.  I love the Pacific Ocean.   I love how, when it’s not raining, the sky is overcast in the morning, and then the sky is blue.  I love how it rains only in the winter, and the rain just comes down, no thunderstorms.  I love how even in the winter there are days of sunshine.  I love how it doesn’t snow or freeze where I live, at my elevation, ever.   I love the look of the light.  I love how, even in the winter, something is always blooming.
                                        
I love something that’s hard to describe, a casual acceptance.   Sometimes that can translate to indifference, but it still works for me.  You make friends here, good friends – it just takes longer than you would think.   I’ve felt free here.  That freedom will go with me, wherever I live.
                                      
I love being in the hi-tech business in Silicon Valley, but that’s not why I moved here.  I moved for California. 
                                       
I love Point Reyes National Seashore – my favorite place in the world.  I’ve been there so much I know it in a way I’ll never know another outdoor space. I love Seacliff State Beach, the Palo Alto Art Center, various art galleries, museums and events, my coffeehouse, the Palo Alto Baylands Park, the swaths of blue Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus) plants blooming.  I love the work of various California artists.
                               
I love where I live, a smaller, older apartment complex built around an inner courtyard.  The apartments are big, with a lot of light but not a lot of soundproofing, so the apartment managers try to hire quiet tenants.  It’s hard to describe why I like it so much.  Something about the place just worked for me.  In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve felt, oddly enough, like I was living in a resort, even though it’s not a fancy place.
                                 
I love the apartment pool, which is very California.  I love the blue of it, the water, the tile around the edges, the comfortable chairs.  There have been many times I was the only person in the pool, swimming a few laps, and then padding slowly back and forth.   When I was by myself it was “my pool”.  When a family member visited it was “our pool”.  It was magical.
                                            
I think that you can move forward, as they say, without denying what you had and where you’ve been.  There are good places everywhere.  I’m looking forward to swimming in my hometown community pool, to autumn in the northeast US, to being there for my family, to going to the Jersey seashore, to new work.  I think that my life will be good.  But in my heart I will never leave my California.

My California - Pool at Dusk

My California - Pool at Dusk

My California – Seacliff State Beach

A little over a week ago, I went to Seacliff State Beach.   I’m taking time out from packing to visit the a few favorite places.   This is my favorite beach in the Capitola/Santa Cruz area.   It has the stone ship – see http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=543  for a description and the history.  There are cliffs in the background.  It’s lovely and a lovely walking beach.   If you go during the week in summer, or anytime in winter you can park in the lots right next to beach, instead of having to park in the lot at the top of the cliff and walk a zillion steps down.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                   
Around here I don’t go to the beach that much in summer.  The water in this part of California is very cold.  Most adults don’t get in without a wetsuit, though you see a few braving the surf and the cold water.  I had to learn that you go to a beach for reasons other than getting in the water.  It’s still wonderful.    During winter it was easy to make a quick trip down Highway 17 to catch the sunset.
                                              
I’m going to miss the place.

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, The Stone Ship

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, The Stone Ship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, Cliffs in the Distance

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, Cliffs in the Distance

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, Goodbye

Seacliff State Beach, June 2009, Goodbye

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Recycling and Best Buy

I hate recyling. Let me explain. While I like the part about keeping our stuff out of landfills, I hate everything that goes along with those “green” recyling companies. I hate the snobbishness, the “holier than thou” attitude. I hate how if it’s inconvenient, it’s supposed to be OK because it’s good for the planet. I hate the “for the price of a latte” advertising slogan. I hate the extra fees, which tempt me to throw the thing in the trash. I hate to have to go to a place that only does recyling. I don’t even like those green “eco-friendly” bags that look like they use natural dyes, even though they don’t.
                                              
I do like one location that does recyling all by itself, the Palo Alto Recycling Drop-off Center. I like it because it’s located in the Palo Alto Baylands. The place is pretty and I can go for a walk in the Baylands after I drop off my stuff.

Palo Alto Recycling Drop-off Center, June 2009

Palo Alto Recycling Drop-off Center, June 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I  like – recyling done well by companies that sell you stuff, companies I might go to anyway. I just had a very positive experience at my local Best Buy. I was recyling a old desktop computer. The pleasant person at the front kiosk told me where to take my desktop and pointed me in the direction of the flatbed carts, conveniently located in the front of the store. I took a cart to my car (parking lot with plenty of parking, trees and flowers too), loaded the desktop on the cart, wheeled it back into the store and stopped at customer service, also located in the front of the store. The equally pleasant person at customer service asked me to fill out some minimal information and told me I could leave the cart right there – they’d take care of it. I had such a good experience that I did what Best Buy hoped I would do – I looked around the store. In the mobile electronics section I chatted with another pleasant, knowledgeable person about GPS. I might even come backlater to, you know, shop.

Best Buy, Ravenswood 101 Shopping Center, June 2009

Best Buy, Ravenswood 101 Shopping Center, June 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                              

My current MBA program has a concentration in sustainability. Assuming that recyling is part of sustainability, I hope my school talks about recyling in a world where it’s simply recycling, something that’s convenient, something that we do. Best Buy is making it work by including recyling as part of what they do. I like that.

When the Present becomes the Past (I borrowed this line)

There are times when, as a family member of mine puts it, you can see the present become the past.  One day you work somewhere, you live somewhere, and then you don’t.  You can target the minute, the second, between “I work here” and “I don’t work here anymore”.
                                                           
Yesterday was that day – when I stopped working at the educational institution where I worked for almost three years.   It’s interesting.  I think of myself as more of a private industry (publically traded company) kind of person, a person who works for a hi-tech company.  But you know, sometimes a place can work its way into your heart.
                                  
I did like it a lot better when we moved off campus, to a building in a lovely office park, with, obviously, parking, and the best place to eat, down the street!
 

Where I used to work, May 2009

Where I used to work, May 2009