First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Colorful year end

With good friends David and Ricki Perry due to arrive for a morning visit, the female Dawn Jogger took Cassie out for an overdue spin (knowing that she planned to later walk downtown and back). There had been a fairly heavy frost overnight but the bright sun was all that was needed for these fall leaves to show off their early winter color. "Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." - Hal Borland...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Warm and cloudless

Clear skies usually bring cool temperatures during winter on the Peninsula, but not this morning. There wasn't a cloud visible as the female Dawn Jogger ascended the hill toward the Big Dish this morning. And it was a good 10 degrees warmer than it's been.
And the sky was Bruin blue...


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Wildlife gives Clario a work out

Continuing to take advantage of the wonders of walking in winter - especially after another overnight rain - the female Dawn Jogger headed out to Edgewood County Park, a place she last visited sometime in 1990 (well before Cassie appeared and the need for trails where dogs are allowed). It's not a particularly spectacular park, given all the nearby options, but it's close and was near where she was headed on errands. The area does get a lot of visitors, which became quite obvious given how the many deer she saw behaved, standing their ground as a human walked by. She used Clario to take an across the meadow shotof four grazing, and then again for a zoom-in shot of a two that were closer to the trail. Feels good to get out the hiking boots again...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Out between the rain

It started raining last night and is supposed to rain again today, so the female Dawn Jogger felt fortunate that there was a break in the back to back storms this morning.
It was exactly the kind of winter morning that would have once prompted the the two DJs and Cassie the dog to head out on some trail adventure - fresh and green after the precipitation but not soggy. So it was with a bit of a heavy heart that she made her way around Lake Lagunita solo. It's good to have a bit of nature so close...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Greening of the Dish

The frost was still abundant but the skies were less crystal clear this morning when the female Dawn Jogger did her Wednesday Big Dish run on Thursday. There's more and more green appearing - and she remains enchanted with the oak in their winter sculpture mode. She's also experimenting a bit with Clario's capabilities...


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Old Menlo Park

Having the luxury of time this morning, the female Dawn Jogger decided to walk to her appointment in downtown Menlo Park and back. She grew up in the town during the post World War II building boom in which ranch style homes were build on land she presumes were either orchards or oak woodlands. These are now slowly being replaced by mini mansions just as they replaced small bungalows. A few bungalows remain - possibly the former summer homes of San Franciscans or tradesmens homes. The one pictured is on Santa Cruz Avenue about a block from Fremont Park, the training site for 40,0000 troops during the first World War. Given it's location, it could have been an officer's residence. The lot is deep and she predicts it will also be replaced. It's been interesting to watch a suburb evolve...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunrise 7:23: Cavorting with Christmas coyotes

On a crystal clear and frosty Christmas morning, the female Dawn Jogger headed out for a run at Arastradero with new photo companion, Clario, in her pocket. Clario is a Lumix 100 which features a very capable Leica lens and large 12 MP sensor. Those twin features make for very sharp photos - even at long distances. It got a robust inaugural workout. At first the female DJ was going to try for some distance shots - she could see much so far away - the three local peaks, Tamalpais, Diablo and Hamilton; three bridges, Dumbarton, San Mateo and Bay, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. There have been few clearer days. But then she was joined on the trail by two coyotes, one of which seemed to have a shimmering gold Christmas collar. They ambled down the hillside about 100 yards ahead of her (they're a bit hard to spot in the top horizontal photo but one is in front of the center bush and its companion is to the left), turning from to time to time to chart her progress and then disappeared around a turn. When she made the turn. she found they'd moved off the trail onto a still mostly brown meadow - and in somewhat closer view. Clario came through with the best coyote shots ever. The male DJ was equally impressed with the results. Christmas blessings to all...

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunrise 7:22: And nothing was stirring

...Well, almost nothing. The female Dawn Jogger did see a one of Stanford's famous black squirrels but other than that she was pretty much alone before dawn on campus this morning. She'd thought that last Friday would be her last predawn jog of 2007 but a special breakfast with lifelong and dear friends got her up and out early. It was a spectacular morning complete with full moonlight and dense tule fog on the golf course and lake. Grace arrives later today for tradition of church and crab...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunrise 7:22: Wander through West Menlo

The female Dawn Jogger wandered around the streets of West Menlo adjacent to San Francisquito creek late this morning. They were strangely quiet, as if the bustle of Christmas preparations had already given way to the day itself. The Allied Arts Guild and just opened and she found a rustic wreath hung on one of the old out buildings. The DJs think they're ready for Grace's first Christmas...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sunrise 7:22: Morning after the winter solstice

The precise moment of the 2007 winter solstice was 1:08 am EST, meaning that on the West Coast it actually occurred about the time the female Dawn Jogger was going to be last night. And even though she got off to a late start on the abbreviated Saturday Big Dish run (she did her usual Wednesday route and got to see what the Junipero Serra side looks like in daylight), the scene was wintry - heavy frost on the golf course. At the corner of Junipero Serra and Campus Drive West about 20 golfers were descending at once on the course, the result of a shot gun start due to the frost. The Dish itself had far fewer walkers and joggers than normal. Result of the three-days-before Christmas rush, she presumes...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunrise 7:21: Frosty dawn but good community

There are rhythms to the Dawn Community. Meeting other early morning exercisers is one, and today it was Paul and dog Patches. Like others the Dawn Joggers have met over the years, they've never been to Paul's home nor met his children. But Patches was purchased because he took such a liking to Cassie the Australian Shepherd. Life events have been shared - his wife's death from a brain tumor, his daughters' growing pains and successful launch to college, the male DJ's diagnosis and treatment. Their meeting today place in a sea of whiteness due the heavy overnight frost. Cold temperature but warm spirits...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sunrise 7:20: Giving Optio a shot

Beau the Golden Retriever had a jaunty wool scarf around his neck - but like Cassie (also 14) and not into posing. So in the predawn light, Snoopy had to substitute. This was the Optio's (back camera to Silvio who's still drying out - may not be possible) first outing with the female Dawn Jogger in some time if not the first time. Hmmm...not quite the range or options of Silvio...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sunrise 7:20: Looking for Nana's house

The female Dawn Jogger's grandmother and Uncle Stuart lived in one half of a duplex (owned by Aunt Hazel's not well like husband) in the Sunset district of San Francisco between Lincoln and Judah. So early this morning, while the male DJ was getting his bimonthly MRI ("looks good," proclaimed the neuro-oncology team), she set off to find the house that she visited every Friday during her preschool years. (Her mom would clean house and then all the assorted aunts, uncles and cousins would have dinner together.) She thinks she found it - 1260/1262 11th Ave - (or was it 1250/1252 - she should have written it down). The distinct characteristic she remembers were brick steps, and it was the only plain house in the neighborhood from 11th to 15th avenue with brick steps. Big problem was the Silvio took an unexpected "bath" and was unable to take a picture. She needs to confirm the address with her older cousins...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunrise 7:19: Off to Santa's workshop

The female Dawn Jogger was rained out this morning - it's that combination of cold, dark and rainy. But she's off to an appointment where real life elves make very creative books and crafts for children and is hoping to add some seasonal shot later today.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunrise 7:19: Morning on the quad

The Stanford campus offers differing perspectives on the dawn. About once a month, the female Dawn Jogger will head down between the engineering buildings and then over through the main quad. Memorial Church is always illuminated and it's gold inlay frescoes sparkle. There often a pretty view looking East toward the rising sun. She thought so this morning...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunrise 7:17: Winter outlook

The female Dawn Jogger was intrigued with how the Big Dish looked in the almost winter light this morning about an hour after sunrise. And how the clouds gave the view a painterly touch. Upon her return, the male DJ agreed...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sunrise 7:17: Tree of beer cups

The female Dawn Jogger didn't know if this good use of used beer cups was an art installation, an attempt at a Christmas tree, or just students letting off steam as final week neared its end. Whatever, it was good fun to stumble upon it just before the official sunrise this morning on White Plaza. Frost on the roofs and on the golf course...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunrise 7:16: Jogging for exercise

The female Dawn Jogger realized this morning that she rarely thinks about her morning outings as "required aerobic exercise for health." It's become too much a looked forward to morning routine. But it's dark, cold (temps in 30s) December mornings like this one that remind her that "it's exercise and why be out of bed?" Some Christmas balls provided a bit of brightness...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sunrise 7:15: Chasing the dawn

Setting out across the Stanford golf course around 6:30 - a good 45 minutes before the official sunrise - the female Dawn Jogger could already see a hint of color on the horizon. It got more intense as she jogged up the Big Dish hill from Junipero Serra and was at almost perfect display when she reached the top. As the time of sunrise gets later and later each morning, she'll be increasingly at risk from missing these colorful dawn treats as she'll be up and over the hill. It's never as good from the west side of the Dish land. The walker she sees every Wednesday morning at almost the exactly the same spot had finally bundled up this morning, abandoning his walking shorts...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunrise 7:14: Increasing signs of Christmas

There was a rule in the female Dawn Jogger's house growing up about when signs of Christmas started appearing. It was firm - not until after her birthday. The DJs hotel in Mexico seemed to have the same rule. With the U.S. busting at its seams with holiday displays, the DJs were a bit surprised to see no decoration upon their arrival on Dec. 5. It wasn't until the 9th (after the female DJ's birthday) did the greens go up. While she was away, the lights had also gone up at one of the dorms near Lake Lagunita. It was a bit a cheer on a dark, chilly morning. Being back to the morning running routine felt good...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunrise 7:27: Night and day but no iguana

The female Dawn Jogger took a long walk along the beach this morning. Most of the great sights she saw trusty Silvio the camera was just not capable of capturing. A host of more never seen before birds, in particular. Funny they're just not up to posing. But she did get a shot of the only golf whole in the Pacific Ocean and the vehicle that gets golfers to the green. It's an optional hole - which means it's a gimmick. (Would Booka have tried it - she's not sure...) The real disappointment is that the iguana in a tree only yards from there room didn't show up well enough - really needed a telephoto lens. It was one of the pretty green iguanas who had found a tree limb to sun itself. The hotel staff swears they're friendly creatures and they're really too pretty to be scary. Bonus shot from last night at dinner...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunrise 7:26: Hike up the hill

The hut on top of a hill behind their casita had intrigued the female Dawn Jogger since she arrived. She attempted to get there (from the wrong side) once and just couldn't get any enthusiasm up for going on the guided tour during the hot time of the day (2:00 pm). There's supposed to be ruins on top dating to the Aztatlan era (100 BC). So she scrambled her way up this morning, only to realize about 20 yards from the lookout hut that there was a guard stationed there. Whoops - back down she went but not before getting one panoramic shot (the DJs casita is the building below the construction, second from right. The point of land in the ocean, know as the Rock, is the scene of nightly romantic dinners.) With time left to walk she headed down a construction road that had jungle like growth on each side, which in turn, provided some interesting bird viewing of varieties unseen by her before. Egad, now she's turning into some Audubon freak...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Life changes

The female Dawn Jogger has long felt that birthdays are more than just about one's own birth. The most exciting day of her life remains December 5, 1974 when son John was born. On her jog this morning along the golf course, she thought about her birth on this day (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!) and what it meant to her adoptive parents, Ede and John (aka Nana and Booka). The adoption was private, handled between two attorneys, and as such they didn't know whether they were adopting a son or a daughter until she was born. Her cousins remember gathering a few days later at her grandmother's house in San Francisco while her parents and Aunt Claire and Uncle Fred when to pick her up in Oakland. On that day the more carefree days of playing golf all day, partying all night and then teeing off at dawn ended for Ede and John. Life changed, just as it did for the female DJ 33 years ago. How blessed were all generations involved...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sunrise 7:25: Jog to the amate tree

For a person like the female Dawn Jogger unused to humidity, setting out at 9:00 am was a bit late. But it's vacation and she got a good workout nevertheless along the washboard like path from the hotel towards Ceiba. The attraction was a large amate tree that had been spared during the path's construction. Amate trees are used to make paper. She was really glad she carried a bottle of water with her...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sunrise 7:24: Day of the iguana

Like many people of her age, the first the female Dawn Jogger heard of Puerto Vallarta was during the shooting of the The Night of the Iguana with Richard Burton. It wasn't, of course, the film that was of note. It was the fact that Elizabeth Taylor joined the actor, one more chapter in their well publicized love affair begun during the filming of Cleopatra. Somehow the title of the movie and fact that there are iguanas in this part of Mexico didn't connect until this morning. Coming to graze (that's what it looked like as there seemed only grass to eat) just over the wall from the hotel's beautiful "infinity" pool appeared a male and female green iguana. Their children (at least that's what she presumed they were) arrived a bit later. They are really quite magnificent reptiles and her shot hardly did them justice. Yes, she did do a soon after a dawn hike up a hill but nothing as noteworthy as the big lizards appeared...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sunrise 7:08: Off to tequila land

The Dawn Joggers are up before dawn, head to the airport for a flight to Puerto Vallarta. It's a new part of the world for them both...

Sunrise 7:08: Wet Dish run

What with the Dawn Joggers up and out early tomorrow on their getaway, the female Dawn Jogger decided to do her Wednesday Dish run today. It was a rainy but warm morning. The precipitation cut down dramatically the number of exercisers but a hearty few remained. The rain is overdue and welcome...


Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunrise 7:08: No signs of victory

The female Dawn Jogger almost put on a reflective vest this morning, it was that dark when she set out. But she planned to stay on the lighted pathways of the Stanford campus - and presumed she'd see lots of signs of victory celebrations along the way, especially as she near the stadium. But it was all gone, cleaned up, as if it never happened. Silvio would have stayed in her pocket, but the dawn ray's were striking an oak and turning it golden. Good things are worth waiting for...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunrise 7:07: Looking for Christmas

Over the years, in the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas, the Dawn Joggers have often asked, "Will Christmas come this year?" It's a question more about the spiritual aspects of the holiday rather than it commercial manifestation. With the "extra" week between Thanksgiving and the start of Advent this year, the female DJ and Cassie decided to take an early morning walk to see if there were signs of Christmas in their neighborhood. Their mission was a success...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sunrise 7:06: Brisk on the Dish

It was in the 30s when the female Dawn Jogger started out for her Saturday Big Dish run. Both the temperature and her early than usual outing seemed to limit the number of walkers and runners. But the beauty of an oak is autumn was still apparent. And she felt virtuous when it the seven-mile run was complete...