First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sunrise 7:14: Calm at the moment

It wasn't until the female Dawn Jogger came home did you hear that more rain was imminent. But it was still dry and calm along the Menlo Park/bike bridge loop at dawn. Walking the path along San Francisquito Creek was Cassie's very first trail outing when she was a young pup, and the scene of new friends, especially a large male Aussie who she'd brawl with. The DJs find her memories everywhere...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sunrise 7:15: The sky is blue

Spoiled residents of the Bay Area, rarely go for days a time without seeing blue sky. But the female Dawn Jogger was surprised at its brightness after a couple of weeks of cold and nasty weather. She walked up Divisadero from UCSF Mt. Zion to Pacific, checking out the new and old mansions of Pacific Heights. And getting great views of the Palace of Fine Arts and the bay. The climb up felt good...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sunrise 7:16: The lake returns

All the rain in the Bay Area over the past 10 days or so has paid off in an almost full Lake Lagunita. Two dogs were splashing on its shore in the predawn, a scene that reminded the female DJ instantly of Cassie, who could never resist a dash through a puddle or dip in the lake. It was a pretty dawn from the west bank...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunrise 7:17: Little bit of everything

It was raining hard when the female Dawn Jogger's alarm went off but had subsided by dawn. So out she went to see what state the creek was - rushing but far from dangerous - and other signs of the long diluge. It was clear with puffy clouds in the distant. But before she returned she was treated to a double rainbow in the east, another perfectly arced rainbow (right half pictured) and a good hail storm. She came home pretty frosty...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sunrise 7:18: Still adjusting to life's changes

It's just the kind of morning that the Dawn Joggers and Cassie might have opted for a walk rather than jog - looking for a place to go to between storms that would not be muddy but provide a little exercise. And maybe complete an errand, such as walking over the Stanford Shopping Center, which also allows checking out the state of nearby San Francisquito Creek at various places in its route. The female DJ decided on the shopping center option this morning. The route was particularly lonely without her companions today as she continues to mourn the loss of Cassie. And while the prerequisite creek snapshot was taken, there was little pleasure without the male DJ there to discuss just how high it had risen along its banks when the rain was at its peak yesterday. She knows this is life...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sunrise 7:19: A very satisfactory pet

There was no more joy-filled member of the Dawn Community than Cassie the Australian Shepherd, brought home by the male DJ from a ranch in Galt as an 9-week-old puppy in February, 1994. From the age of six months on, she accompanied the DJs each morning and on their longer weekend hikes (pictured her on a spring, 2006 outing). A herding dog by breeding, she was an enthusiastic trail companion. The last year meant short walks rather than runs, but each and every sniff along the way continued to be enjoyed.

"A very satisfactory pet, don't you think?" the male DJ would often repeat in the same understated way Nan would use describing some particularly successful flower or plant in her Hillview Drive backyard. Cassie was, of course, not just satisfactory, but superb. And while her heart and ultimate loyalty belonged to the male DJ, her cheery disposition made each and every person in her wide circle of family and friends feel special - that she was happy to see them, in particular.

Today the 14 years of companionship ended. Her decline had been steady for some time, but the end came more suddenly the DJs were prepared for. Always to be missed and never to be forgotten...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sunrise 7:19: Perfect house, perfect garden

The female Dawn Jogger realizes her admiration for spare, modern architecture is not widely shared. This is apparent from all the overly gee gaw houses being built in Menlo Park and Atherton, which, in the main look to her like some architectural acid trip.
One house near the San Mateo bike bridge is example of new construction decidedly sleek and simple. Its front yard in now growing in nicely as well. Looks like snow on the neighboring hills...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sunrise 7:20: Sadness and unexpected joy

The Dawn Joggers are confronting the realities of an aging pet. For the first time since Cassie entered their lives 14 years ago, they spent a night [at home] without her. She's been having trouble with her back legs - couldn't get in and out of the house or navigate around it, especially on the hardwood floors. So in consultation with the vet they decided the wisest thing to do was hospitalize her. It was the first thing the DJs thought about this morning, and she was much on the female DJ's heart when set out for a morning walk.

Pets and their owners have been a steady part of the Dawn Jogging community. Judy and Zaire, the Vizlu; the companions who walked their dogs each morning near the Stanford mausoleum, Troon the red tri Aussie, and his Pike's Peak running owner; the elderly woman (who had spent her entire life living on the Stanford campus) with her brood of German Shepherds, mutts and Jack Russell puppy. They'd mourned Zaire's death and fear the worst, having not some many of the regulars for years, particularly the older ones.

Hence this morning unexpected joy. Another campus regular - always spotted with his two white dogs - had been absent for months. But there he was this morning, making his way in the same awkward manner, with both dogs (the smaller is obscured just in front of him). A good way to rejoin the morning patrol...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunrise 7:23: Taking a break

Back at it soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sunrise 7:23: Call for action

The female Dawn Jogger remembers the spring quarter when the big push for involvement (and taking to the streets) happened at UCLA. But Stanford students are being ask to get involved in the chilly winter months. They can sign up to dance or be a "moraler" - not a word she thinks she's heard of before - at the 2008 Dance Marathon. Or give their brains a workout at the Think Big conference which examines the health of women and girls in poorer countries. The signs of activism took her mind off the frosty conditions...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sunrise 7:24: Pea soup thick

The lovely dawn light of yesterday was squashed by a very dense fog this morning. The frustration was capturing the eeriness. Clario the new camera could focus perfectly on friends Jeannie and Lynn (encountered at the top) but "forgot" the fog, so much so the the female DJ cropped the background out. But when it came time to shoot the ghostly oaks about 50 yards away, the result was all misty muck. Up and over treat: the Alpine side of the Dish area was fog free...


Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunrise 7:24: The light of the morning

The female Dawn Jogger had almost forgotten about light in the morning and realized today that the late sunrise combined with overcast skies had make for a very dark last couple of weeks. The just a minute earlier sunrise doesn't make much difference but having clear skies (with lots of contrail activity!) did. There was already a slight blush along the horizon when she started across the Stanford campus and by the time she'd circled back to Lake Lagunita, the lights that line the levee bank were already off. Still lots of frost on the ground...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunrise 7:24: Grace visits

Grace, 10 weeks old today, came to visit the Dawn Joggers today. She likes to mimic sounds but any sound the female DJ tried to make, just made her smile. She's a very good baby her parents report...


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sunrise 7:24: Forgotten galaxy

The female Dawn Jogger had an early meeting at Holy Trinity this morning and decided to walk there to get in some morning exercise. As always, walking brings into range things that whiz by when driving and aren't as noticeable when jogging. She's driven by this old Ford Galaxie (at least she thinks it's an early 60s model) on Middle Avenue hundreds of times en route to downtown Menlo - from the looks of it, it's been in the same place for sometime. She'd totally forgotten about Galaxies (always being more of a Chevy person) but was reminded of the car and how the convertible version's roof collapsed into the trunk. Guess you didn't put the top down on vacation...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Soul of the morning

There is something different about walking rather than jogging in the predawn. Dawn Jogger community member Judy had commented on that last year when an injury reduced her morning outings to the slower pace. Moments seems longer. The Stanford gardeners, still busy cleaning up the big mess left by a succession of storms, paused and waved. Six ducks squawked and flew into the pond that is pretending to be Lake Lagunita and a magnificent hawk was swooping between trees, clearly on a hunt. The growing light can be more easily savored. And the sounds of the Ice Man (Jerry Butler) on the iPod seem even sweeter...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Waiting for July 4th?

The female Dawn Jogger admits to some crankiness on this dark (now 10 days in a row at the same sunrise time) and rainy (but surprisingly warm) winter morning. Her leg is still a aches a bit (although she did jog 2/3rd of the route). So seeing Christmas lights still up (especially ones that look more like they're celebrating the 4th of July) further set her teeth. (How's that for a phrase not written nor spoken since the first Roosevelt)...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Cat in the dark

The female Dawn Jogger decided to forgo her much enjoyed Wednesday Big Dish run due to a left leg that was really barking after yesterday's jog. Instead, she headed down Bay Laurel at a walking pace intent on doing a three mile loop. Before dawn and close to San Mateo Dr., a very friendly and talkative cat popped out of the bushes, demanding attention and petting. For a moment the female DJ thought it was going to come along with her, but after a good visit it jumped back on the rock from which it came. Always a cheer up to meeting a kitty...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Tuesday routine resumed

The pleasure of a Tuesday run is the female Dawn Jogger's meeting with dawn community member Judy at Lake Lagunita. The holidays - with later schedules in the AM - had meant an absence of this ritual, which was resumed today with the attendant catch up on their two lives and families. The sun was just coming up on their way back near the horse corral. They paused to look...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Dark and misty

The female Dawn Jogger had heard the rain on the skylight off and on during the night. And there was still a little mist coming down when she set off well before dawn. It wasn't the moisture that was the problem though. It was the still remaining debris - branches and such - from last Friday's big storm on the pathways combined with the lack of light, making for some tricky footing. First light appeared near the San Mateo Drive bike bridge over the still roaring creek...

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Grace smiles

Yes, the female Dawn Jogger is cheating. She didn't walk or jog this morning. Instead the DJs went to the early worship service followed by a poignant but grace-filled healing service in the chapel. It's a tradition that they, along with Trinity priest associate the Rev. Frannie Hall-Kieschnick, remember from their years at All Saints Pasadena in which the "laying on of hands" was offered to start each new year. And yes it's incongruous to feature a photo of granddaughter Grace, who wasn't in attendance. But we all hunger for that look of joy at some point in our lives...


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Sun and rain atop the Dish

The big storm has moved out of the Bay Area, leaving a mixture of sun and light rain in its aftermath. The rain, in fact, was so light, that sometimes the female Dawn Jogger could see it glimmering in the sun's rays more than she could feel it. Lots of folks were "doing the Dish," taking advantage of the favorable conditions. The female DJ spotted Cassie's favorite splash spot, now off limits to all canines. It used to amuse the DJs how many times she would run back and forth in it during her young years. Now she's a more sedate older dog...


Friday, January 04, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Storm watch 2008

The female Dawn Jogger is always suspicious about dire weather warnings such as were being issued last night. But this time the forecasters were spot on - a good sized storm has hit the Bay Area. No power at the DJs house this AM and lots of downed trees and flooding. Pix to come....

Afternoon update: The female DJ just heard KTVU weatherman Bill Martin call what came through the Bay Area today a "small hurricane." The winds were fierce at times and there was flooding such as this Trader Joe's parking lot along El Camino Real in San Carlos. The worst of this storm is over - more are on the way. The female DJ had to get a San Francisquito Creek shot (shot from Sand Hill, not the "golf" bridge, a DJ tradition...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Home before sunrise (and evening update)

And home before the forecasted rain that the female Dawn Jogger could feel in the change of wind and warmth of the air. It was only on the home stretch of Bay Laurel and Oak did first light appear. Big lights from courtside at Maples this evening, hopefully shining brightly blue and gold. Updated tonight...

Evening postscript: Yes, it was UCLA [almost] all the way as the Bruins defeated the Cardinal 76 to 67. Frosh phenom Kevin Love (sharing a moment with Lorenza Mata-Real) is indeed a big man but this night belonged to Junior Josh Shipp and his five 3-pointers. Great fun to be so close to the action - thanks Mike!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: Alone and dark

Much like her run across the Stanford campus shortly before Christmas, not a creature was stirring this morning. It had all the appearance of a place still "on vacation" - hardly look ready for tomorrow's kickoff of the Pac 10 basketball season. (Go Bruins!)
These early January mornings bring some of the latest sunrises of the year. It was all pink today...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Sunrise 7:25: New year, new herd

The female Dawn Jogger kicked of the new year with a Big Dish run - which will not put a dent into the calories consumed during last night's delicious new year's eve feast at Cathy and Mike's. She was greeted by the first of this year's herd, hanging out in one of the usual places near the cattle grate closet to Piers Lane. The herd's arrival is one seasonal marker, part of a year's rhythm. And just perfect for new year's day...