First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sunrise 5:50: Out to Arastradero

The female Dawn Jogger is often less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a her Saturday ritual, seven-mile Big Dish run. But she's even less thrilled when it's not a possibility. The Big Dish remains closed "until further notice," and the fire appears to have be caused by "human activity" (the Stanford news report stops short of calling it arson).

So to get in a little hill work, she set out for the Arastradero Preserve this morning. It's in its golden-hued glory - lots and lots of dried wheat grass and pussy willow showing off in the sunlight. Also lots of poison oak that had already turned red (seems early...). She also discovered [yet another] new path cut in place of one of the last up and down segments on the DJs' old Friday route, which had been plowed under. It added a bit of mileage, so all for the good. It was the first time she jogged Arastradero since the brain journey began last fall...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sunrise 5:50: Sunflower bush

The female Dawn Jogger thinks of sunflowers as being tall, stalky plants but came across of bush of sunflowers on an "Allied Arts" route this morning. Due to high overcast and very slight mist, they did hadn't much to cheer up sun-wise this morning. The DJs are off to UCSF this morning to hear the perspective of the integrated medicine team...

Sunrise 5:50: Closed - for how long?

Missing her long Wednesday Dish run, the female Dawn Jogger went back to the Junipero Serra gate this morning. The sheriff officer was still guarding the entrance - and there was an ominous sign. This is not good. She realizes that since Cassie the dog retired from long runs, making it possible for the DJs to do the Dish again, and since the male DJ has been constrained by limited mobility, the two weekly Dish runs have become a key stress reducer and mental health pick me up. She will probably drive out to Arastradero Saturday morning if the Dish is still closed, but just the added step of getting into a car makes it a hassle. How many new paths does she have to explore...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sunrise 5:49: Closed Dish

The female Dawn Jogger arrived at the Junipero Serra gate into the Dish to find it locked. A Stanford sheriff was nearby to explain the area was closed due to a fire on the property Monday. "Still hot spots," he mumbled. The Bay Area is bracing for a potentially bad fire season, and the female DJ worries that if this fire was due to carelessness - e.g. a cigarette - that the Dish could be closed for the summer. Bummer.
The closure forced her to alter her route and wind back through campus and eventually along the new path with its pleasant geometric shadows. How the sun's light plays on the earth is a big benefit of running at dawn...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunrise 5:49: Summer of revenue begins

The revenue generators (lower case - they proper noun RGs attend the $50K executive program) have hit the Stanford campus. These are the young people and adults who attend one of the various - and many interesting - programs that provide a steady stream of income to the university. Many are housed in the dorms that adjoin Lake Lagunita; some make use of the lake's jogging path. The female Dawn Jogger first spotted a banner promoting the Summer of Great Books and later encountered a group of adults with lavalier nametags. All this amidst catching up with Dawn Community member Judy and her big presentation in New York...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunrise 5:48: Still there

It's not when your away for a weekend that you expect things to change. But as the female Dawn Jogger headed off on her morning run - and saw the sun for for the first time in three days - she was reminded some things don't change. It's been at least two years since a bike has been tethered at the corner of Oak and Sand Hill Road - and at least a year since this particular white bike has been there. It's been there long enough for the foliage around it to mature. Good to be home but Chicago is a great city...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunrise 5:17: Ok, so they aren't cows

"The cows were clever and everywhere, " overheard the female Dawn Jogger near the Field Museum on the shores of Lake Michigan this morning. "These are just a political statements." Well, nothing will every be as wonderful as those first cows in Chicago, so magically sprinkled throughout the city. But some of these Cools Globes, an art exhibit to promote the threat of global warning, were pretty darn creative. And as someone who was brought up my a man who so loved the out-of-doors, that he preached the conservation (old-fashioned word)of the earth's resources long before it became fashionable, it saddens the female DJ to think about the polarity of the issues today. It was a good long run this morning going south along the lake...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunrise 5:16: Drizzly lake run

The North Shore wasn't showing off its best when the female Dawn Jogger and friend set off for a six mile run along Lake Michigan. Skies were overcast and a light rain fell off and on. So while the beach activity was minimal - except for a big volley ball tournament - there were still lots of runners and cyclists. Running along the lake is right up there with great city runs of the world...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sunrise 5:48: Off to Chitown - PM Update! Orange!

The female Dawn Jogger's headed to Chicago for some r&r with friend Cind (notng alas, on the first day after the first day of summer, sunrise is already a minute later!).
Pix from the lakefront to come. Even bigger news: it's a granddaughter...

Cindy and the female Dawn Jogger went on a little all San Francisco Giant shopping spree - one orange coat for Cindy and two for the female DJ. Anything to put life into the lethargic ball club...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: All too familar land

The female Dawn Jogger ambled though the Rodin scuplture garden this morning. Many loads are heavy inspiring Robert A. Heinlein to write in Stranger in a Strange Land:

This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load.
She's a good girl---look at her face. Serious,
unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not
even the gods...and still trying to shoulder her
load, after she's crumpled under it.

But she's more than just good art denouncing bad
art; she's a symbol for every woman who ever
shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone
women---this symbol means every man and
woman who ever sweated out life in
uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under
their loads. It's courage...and victory.

Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn't
give up...she's still trying to lift that stone after it
has crushed her...she's all the unsung heroes who
couldn't make it but never quit

Sunrise 5:47: Spring ends

Today is the last day of Spring. It matters to the female Dawn Jogger because she knows she can no longer look forward to earlier sunrises. The past two weeks the sun has risen at the same time every day. She could go back last year, but she seems to recall that after the longest day of the year - and the first day of summer, which is tomorrow - the morning sunrise will hold for another week or so and then get later and later each day. So that in a month, she'll be seeing the sun actually rise as she heads up the Dish on the Wednesday Dish runs. It's always cheery to see the 'police cows' who were huddled along Alpine Road across from Piers Lane...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Graduation aftermath

There's a barbeque pit on Lake Lagunita's bank, adjacent to where the boathouse once stood. It doesn't appear to get used that often and sometimes is more a gathering place than food cooker. Signs of a post-graduation party were in evidence when the female Dawn Jogger passed by this morning. White folded chairs and empty beer cans were scattered around the pit. Somewhat more poignant was a lined notepad and squashed bowler hat next to a kiddie police helmet. There was a chaotic feeling to the aftermath...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunrise 547: Girlhood walkway

When the Dawn Joggers moved back to Northern California, a disappointment for the female DJ was to find Frost Amphitheatre fenced. It had been the adventure destination for her and her girlfriends. They'd bike over from Menlo and then lose themselves riding the dirt pathways around the rim of the amphitheater. It seemed so big, making her feel brave. This morning, the day after Stanford graduation, the female DJ found a fence ajar and jogged in and round the rim for "old times sake." Fun to have a whiff of childhood...

Sunrise 5:47: The 'farm' is thriving

Cassie and the female Dawn Jogger continued their recent Sunday tradition of exploring some detours adjacent to their regular route to Lake Lagunita and back. Before the old path was closed to make way for the Stanford practice golf course, it was easy to see and follow the progress of the various plots being cultivated at the Stanford Community Farm. Now it's hidden behind the mounds of dirt. New access is at the end of long driveway behind the university's co-generation facility. It was good to see so many of the plots thriving - some planted with vegetables, others with flowers. One 'farmer' had installed a plastic - but realistic looking - eagle as a scarecrow to deter smaller birds and ground squirrels. Waiting now for John and Julie and a little Father's Day festivity...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Many sights, one campus

By the time the female Dawn Jogger was jogging across Roble Field on the Stanford campus this morning, she was convinced that there can't be another university in the world where you can see such a mix of beauty, nature and life all within an hour's span. And all on within a mile of each other.

The heat wave of the past few days had broken, and the coastal overcast, while not directly overhead, had fanned itself around the perimenter of the Dish open space. It was the classic Peninsula 'built-in air conditioning' that the female DJ's mother like to point out.

After making the two Dish ascents and the last wedge hill, she was about to exit through the Juniper Serra gate, when another jogger flagged her down, asking, "Do you think that's a mountain lion cub?" There, hiding in plain sight in the grass, was a young bobcat (distinguished by its pointy tufted ears and spotted coat) patiently waiting for a breakfast of ground squirrel. (The female DJ didn't want to distress the animal by approaching too close - and Silvio's telephoto lens is limited - but the male DJ helped by putting a red circle around the bobcat's head.)

The day's run was capped by seeing various members of the class of 2007 making their way to Baccalaureate or Senior Day festivities, undoubtedly thankful the temperatures had cooled down. A morning like this always makes the Bay Area's high real estate prices seem worth it...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Trek to UCSF

Today's sunrise brings a drive up to UCSF as the Dawn Joggers continue the brain journey. Anxiety as always...

Update: The MRI showed the tumor contained. Edema was decreased - although still substantial. The big discussion - how to balance the steriods, and their near poisonous effects on the male DJ, and edema control. Dr. Liu really like the male DJ's charts and graphs...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Found things

There's not a lot of the Stanford campus and lands that the Dawn Joggers haven't seen at one time or another over the past 17 years, mostly on their early morning outings but also on walks and hikes later in the day on the weekends. What makes it enduring is the possibility of coming across the unexpected - someone has built a small teepee adjacent to Roble Field, an area the DJs call skunk hollow. (Yep, seen quite a few of the critters nearby - usually predawn. When it's not quite light, their white stripe and waddle helps spot them.) Based on the early morning temperature, a hot day is ahead...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Much activity on the Dish

Maybe it was the projected temperatures in the high 80s today on the Peninsula that got so many people up and out on the Dish this morning. The female Dawn Jogger's group of a handful had morphed into dozens of walkers and runners with some regulars - like the man who comes up from Piers Lane entrance like clock work at 7:00 - missing. A Stanford crew was also busy clearning brush along each side of the path. Of course, it's only a couple of weeks until it was starts getting darker in the morninng...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Back to nature

The folks building the new Stanford practice golf course have spent almost a full year moving dirt around and rearranging the landscape on the far west end of the campus. Current status is about 20 acres (at least - not good at this stuff) of raised earth. Meanwhile nature is trying to take back the land, sprouting wild weeds along the dirt bank. Some day, the female Dawn Jogger may actual witness someone practicing...

Monday, June 11, 2007

5:47: That time of the year

The female Dawn Jogger knows that demonstrating for peace and spring were always intertwined. The campuses would spring alive as the days got the warmer and longer, making it a nicer time of the year to take to the streets. And while finals usually punctuated the spring demonstration period, she hadn't thought of combining the two as a student artist has done on the Stanford campus. "Make love, not war" and "Good luck on finals" are at least positive expressions...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Not too tough for Rags

The female Dawn Jogger isn't quite sure why a filly running against colts so captivates her attention. But she knows she's not alone. A filly can have the same morning workout time as a colt but consistently fail to win in a race. New York Times writer Joe Drape quoted veterinarian Dr. George Mundy in yesterday's edition: "...At the top level, especially, colts are usually bigger and stronger. They also have testosterone, which makes them more aggressive. There also is an intimidation factor. There are some fillies and mares out there with he-men characteristics, but they are few and far between" So when Rags to Riches outdueled Curlin down the stretch of the super long (1 1/2 mile) Belmont Stakes, she demonstrated a rare toughness, and the race will be long regarded as one of the most stirring in history.

These thoughts of horse prompted the female DJ to explore the Stanford Red Barn Equestrian Center on a walk with Cassie this morning. The DJs had watched the expansion of the facility from afar a couple of years back but had never explored the finished product, which is impressive. Leland Stanford's Palo Alto Stock Farm predated the university by 15 years and housed world-class trotting horses. The Red Barn itself, built in the late 1870s, is one of two surviving buildings from the Stock Farm era. Almost every horse stabled in one of the large - and sparkling clean - paddocks came over to give Cassie a sniff...


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Quick Dish, then dash

It was up at the crack of dawn for the female Dawn Jogger who did the weekday Dish run before heading to an all day Vestry retreat. The church grounds are great for young girls looking for a tree to climb. Appears the rector's and Vestry member's daughters were having all the fun...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: When is a brick a brick

Some mornings the Dawn Joggers start off together, walking to the end of Oak before going their separate ways. This morning they noticed a neighbor's front yard was being redone, and the male DJ commented that they were using tile instead of brick. The female DJ looked at the same material and thought of it sliced brick. A brick is defined as a rectangular block of clay. A block is a solid piece of something usually having flat rectangular sides. A tile is a flat thin rectangular slab. But this isn't about bricks versus tiles. It's about is looking at the something, processing the data and coming to different conclusions. About holding on to that view in light of new or different evidence. About looking at the same world and seeing different realities. Enough...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Busy at the lake

The female Dawn Jogger didn't encounter a single runner or walker as she made her way around Lake Lagunita on a crystal clear but cool (mid-40s in the male DJ's garden) morning. But there was a lot of activity for 6:30 in the morning. Two workers were mowing the lake, and a growing group of model airplane enthusiasts were flying their planes. Trusty Silvio the camera did not the have lens power to capture a really spiffy red helicopter. The female DJ likes helicopters almost as much as truch cabs...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sunrise 5:47: Bright outlook from the Dish

Every time it's bright and sunny, as it was this morning, the female Dawn Jogger realizes how much nicer it is to run the Dish than on dreary, cloudy mornings. Lots of people out today - maybe all awaking early with the sun as the northern hemisphere moves to the longest day of the year. Trying to keep sunny...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sunrise 5:48: Weighty topics around the lake

The dry lakebed of Lake Lagunita displays a range of orange hues under the early morning light. As has been the case the past week, a group of young men have been working hard on model airplances - an early hour for such endeavors, the female Dawn Jogger thinks, who was joineed by Dawn community member Judy this morning. She'd just returned from a half marathon in Vermont and will soon head to Manhattan for a major presentation to a multi-national cosmetic company. The necessity of a perfectly fitted suit was discussed topic. It's pleasant to turn to such weighty topics...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sunrise 5:48: The aftermath continues

June 1 is the beginning of hurricane season. Almost two years later, the pain of Katrina lingers - as does its aftermath of devastation. A Stanford student's installation is currently being displayed on campus near the Meyer library, chronicling her experience. Soon the Trinity youth group leaves on a mission trip of home rebuilding. Are faith-based groups the only remaining, ongoing support? From so far away it's hard to comprehend the work that still needs to be done...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunrise 5:48: Waking up with the otters

On the first Sunday of June, sleeping in is not an option for the Dawn Joggers. Oak Knoll school down the street holds its annual Otter Run, and preparations begin early. This year the DJs decided to walk the route with Cassie. It's the first stretched out distance the male DJ has walked since Burgundy, and while wobbly, he reported feeling good. Cassie has been under the weather, and it was her first outing in a couple of days as well. Fun to watch the young children as they stretched to make the 5K distance...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sunrise 5:49: Same old, same old Dish

The female Dawn Jogger did her regular Saturday Dish run, feeling the last of the seven miles a bit after not jogging that distance for a couple weeks (although a couple of the France walks were great uphill pulls). She was grateful for the overcast and liked the way it and the now brown hills framed the Dish as she ascended from Alpine. Wish life was as uneventful as this morning's outing...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sunrise 5:49: Route of discovery

The female Dawn Jogger has been experimenting with different Friday routes the past month or so. This morning she went all the way down Sand Hill past the senior housing and then turned behind the buildings on a newly discovered path. It was along this route that she came upon a carriage house built in 1860 as part of George Gordon's farm, which the Stanfords purchased in 1876. It's the only surviving building. Kind of fun to find these kinds of things hiding in plain sight...