I’ve written before about how tastes change as we get older. It’s true not just for toothpaste and foods and books. It’s true for style, too, including architectural styles. I was in San Francisco today, and as I was heading back toward the Golden Gate Bridge, I decided to drive by a house I used to love. When I lived in the city, if I was anywhere in the neighborhood of this house, I’d drive by and sigh wistfully. I thought it was so cool, with its grand entryway and curved staircases. I would dream that it was my Italian villa and imagine fantastic parties I’d have there when I was rich and famous novelist like Danielle Steele (another mansion I’d drive by — that one was on the route to a friend’s house).


Villa? Maybe in Tuscany. Not here.


Guard lions. Every villa needs ’em.

Now, I think this house is a tiny bit pretentious and out of place, not to mention that in a city with breathtaking views, this house is not oriented to maximize them. In fact, it looks like it’s shrouded by trees — combustible, non-native eucalyptus at that — and is likely dark inside.

While some things change, others remain constant. I still love walking the city’s hilly streets, even if I’m not as fast as I’d like. I especially love when walks lead to stairways. Bonus points when the streets are so steep that they have stairways instead of sidewalks, like this.


Steeps. I mean steps.

The views still make me happy, especially on sunny days like today when you can actually see them. I still look at Alcatraz and think, “Someday, I want to swim from there to shore.”


View. That house to the right has a rooftop garden.

And I still like to take photographs. I tried to get an artistic shot going down the steps, but it very nearly ended up with me tumbling down the steps. I know, what goes up must go down, but she doesn’t have to go down head first.


Artistic? Nah, just weird and dizzying. Yay for handrails.


 As I pulled books off my shelf, Derek tried to guess what I was doing. He guessed wrong. I’m not going to read a chapter of each in a round-robin. (My head would explode, more than it already is from the lingering shingles pain.) Nor am I going to read them all and throw all but one away. Well, I might do that, but that’s not my intention.

This is my in progress and pending list. I’m currently reading and loving Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, even though as I read it I think, “Wait, that’s in my unpublished book!”

The Golem and the Jinni and Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up were lent to me by the same friend who lent me The Night Circus, which was one of my favorite books of 2014. I’ll at least try anything she recommends.

Motherless Daughters was given to me by another friend who’s a fellow member of the Suckiest Club on Earth. And because she has many caring, concerned friends, she ended up with multiple copies. It may make me cry, but I hope it will also give me insight into what my goddaughter is facing and how I can help, since she joined the Suckiest Club far, far too young.

Derek lent me The Circle, though he didn’t particularly recommend it. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m curious.

Beyond Boundaries is an anthology from The Redwood Writers’ Group, the group I recently joined to meet fellow writers closer to home.

I gave The Irregulars to my dad several Christmases ago. It languished in his to-read collection until I borrowed it, only to let it languish in mine. It tells the true tale of Roald Dahl’s work as a British spy in Washington during World War II. Last year, I decided I needed to expand my reading from pure fiction to include some historical fiction and biographies. I read Unbroken and loved it. I hope this is as good.

So there they are, the first of my books for 2015.

PS – It’s late and dark here. I balanced a light on my head as I took that picture. Trust me, it’s better than it would have been using flash.

I’m all for safety warnings. People should be informed if they’re in an avalanche or tsunami zone. In national parks, you’ll see warning signs complete with pictograms indicating that you’ll drown and get crushed by rocks if you try to swim in the idyllic-looking watering hole near the top of the falls.

This, however? Just not necessary.


Don’t do it.

2014 is gone, and I was relieved to see it go. While I may have said “good riddance,” I managed not to shout “get the F&!* out of here,” and I’m pretty proud of that self-restraint.

I don’t want to curse the new year already, but it’s got to be better. That said, I have to be part of making it better. I’ve done resolutions in the past — with positive results, even. But this year, I want something different, more action-oriented. Progress I can track, because even though I’m a word nerd, I love being able to calculate my progress as a percentage (and maybe even a fancy spreadsheet with graphs and pie charts).

My 2015-by-the-numbers plan is as follows:

  • 52 photos
  • 52 blog posts with said photos
  • 12 stories or articles
  • One novel

Of note, the numbers above are weekly or monthly  — not for procrastinating so that I have to write and photograph like a madwoman in December. They’re also minimum goals.

I also want to knit 6 chemo caps and read 30 books. This past year, I aimed for 12 caps and reached 6 and 36 books and reached 27. Maybe I should try books on tape again, so I can multitask knitting and reading.

What are your 2015 numbers?


2014 low-light: Rhymes with Pringles, but shingles ain’t fun. Trust me. Not what I wanted for Christmas.


2014 highlight: Catalina. This is one of my favorite photos, possibly ever. Ironic that it’s kind of moody and gloomy.