First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunrise 5:51: Euro soccer frenzy

A bit of Euro soccer frenzy has hit the Peninsula. While not a pervasive as Super Bowl Sunday, it was evident that fans were gathering at homes in their neighborhood to watch the finals (live or recorded). On her loop run across Stanford and and back through Menlo, the female Dawn Jogger spotted a Spanish flag, a sign of the victor (Spain 1, Germany 0). Reports are that in Spain the party last all night...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunrise 5:50: Stickless in Menlo

The female Dawn Jogger mentioned at breakfast that as difficult as it was to take Australian Shepherd Cassie on a Sunday outing during the last year of her life - she tended to wander a bit aimlessly on the leash and then get stuck in places - she nonetheless missed the companionship. The male DJ volunteered to be a good doddering replacement. He's been challenging himself to use his walking stick less and thought a Sunday morning outing around the block would be a good test - and the female DJ could provide welcome mental support. His trainer Heidi is always pushing him to get to the next level and not let mechanics interfere with mental and visa versa. Kind of like Barry Zito, the female DJ thought...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sunrise 5:50: California is golden

A week ago the female Dawn Jogger was in a lush and leafy green Kansas City suburb. Today she and the male DJ headed out to Arastradero Preserve, a prime example of oak woodland in a California summer, much more golden than green. This was a preserve that the DJs and Cassie had long enjoyed on Friday mornings just before or at the crack of dawn, where they enjoyed watching the seasons change and often encountered the wildlife out grazing, or in the case of the many coyotes in the area, after a hunt. Most but not all of the smoke from the fires north and south of them had blown away and it was a cool morning, good enough reasons to head out to a area that's often too warm during the summer to jog, even as early as 9:00. The irony of shared past experiences was evident. The male DJ photographed a deer and a thistle while the female DJ recorded a bunny in her path and another kind of thistle. Moments that happened at near the same time while on separate paths...


Friday, June 27, 2008

Sunrise 5:49: Third red morning in a row

Up earlier than usual again, the female Dawn Jogger was greeted by the same red sphere that she's seen the two previous mornings. It seemed a bit less hazy to her but when she got back to the house, the weatherman was talking about the smoke coming from a Big Sur fire to the south rather than the Lake county fires north of the Bay Area. No one can remember witnessing this type of atmospheric conditions, particularly for days in a row. Can only hope that the fires are soon brought under control...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sunrise 5:49: More red glow

The sun was a bright sphere once again this morning when the female Dawn Jogger headed out on her route around Lake Lagunita. In the early light, the entire sky glowed red, making for a somewhat eerie scene. The atmospheric conditions are caused by smoke from forest fires mixed with coastal fog. It's a big topic of conversation locally...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sunrise 5:49: Red glow

The sun is already rising two minutes later since the Summer Solstice last Friday, and just two minutes makes a difference. This was true, in particular, this morning when the female Dawn Jogger got an early start. The air in the Bay Area has been very hazy the past few days due to wildfires north and south. The result this morning was a red glow spotted near the third tee of the golf course. It was back to Big Dish Wednesdays for the female DJ....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Water be gone

When it's been as busy as it's been at Lake Lagunita this spring, a few days can make a difference. So the female Dawn Jogger looked forward to getting back to her Tuesday lake route, where she often meets dawn community member Judy as she did this morning.
The stream that's been flowing into the lake for the past three months has been turned off, so the water, now choked with vegetation, will slowly begin to recede. All 14 ducks of on of the early hatches have made it to almost maturity, with only new feathers left to emerge to distinguish between the males and females. There's one new group of six ducklings, a sort of last hurrah to the busy season. And the tiny frogs continue to jump along the banks in certain places. All in all, a very successful spring on the lake...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Say goodbye, White Plaza

You go away for a few days - and everything changes. So the female Dawn Jogger thought this morning as she made her way across the Stanford campus, passing by Roble Hall (welcoming Summer College students) and on to Tressider. But no further - at least without a detour. The area around White Plaza and Lasuen Mall has been bulldozed, part of planned renovation that will create more green space and allow for better performance areas. As always, this is just one of dozens of constructions projects underway on campus. The female DJ didn't know about the Stanford farmer's market on Fridays...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunrise 5:53: Another good baseball town

It was another up early and get on an airplane for the female Dawn Jogger this morning, so she's looking back on the fun time at "The K" home of the Kansas City Royals last night with friend Alice watching the San Francisco Giants in interleague play. The "K" is one of the last of the old style (meaning 60s/70s) stadiums, opening for play in 1973. Now that really old style has become new style, it, too, is getting a face lift in time for next season. Kansas City doesn't have the reputation of some of the other Midwest baseball towns (Chicago and St. Louis) but it was a near sell out crowd last night to see the losing Royals play the losing Giants - and the female DJ managed to make some new baseball friends in line for the obligatory brat and around their great seats behind the Royal's dugout. Losing again today, the Giants are probably glad to be getting out of town...

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sunrise 5:53: On the run in Kansas

The female Dawn Jogger awoke in Kansas this morning, birthplace of the next President of the United States, Barack Obama. She's visiting friend Alice who lives in a historical district of Leaward. The town's charming homes and tree lane streets makes it possible to pretend it's still 1958 and everything is simple (if you weren't worrying about the bomb).

On the recommendation of her host, she set out along Lee Blvd. on a 5 mile out and back route that featured a washboard terrain. It seemed a popular route, with lots of other walkers and joggers. Along the way she was greeted by Mr. Terrapin, a surprise to her but not uncommon in these parts. Tonight it's off to see the Giants play the Kansas City Royals...


Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Not alone in the air

The female Dawn Jogger wasn't the only thing flying Friday morning. She set out predawn to catch a 6:00 am flight, and on her connection through Denver came upon birds that had taken up residence inside the terminal. So 2008 remains the "year of the bird"...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Greeter kitty

The female Dawn Jogger had an early conference call to take this morning so was up and out on her morning jog closer to actual sunrise. She realized she hadn't seen the cat that lives across the street for awhile. This is the cat that she and the male DJ have long referred to as "Kitty's friend," as she would come over and visit their now departed (and still missed) Russian Blue cat. Today Kitty's friend watched intently as the female DJ did her stretching exercises and posed for a photo. The lack of light was a big challenging to Clario...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Status quo at the lake

The female Dawn Jogger can't barely bend over to tie her shoes but standing, walking and jogging painless. But she played conservative and went for a spin around the lake rather than the usual Wednesday up and over the Dish. The ducks seem to be really enjoying the decaying remnants of Floatopia. Probably the last week of a totally tranquil lake before the Stanford revenue generators descend...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Grounded - but great "last blush"

Whatever is creaky - and very sore - about the female Dawn Jogger's back continues and she grounded herself (again) this morning. But (even though it breaks the "first blush" rules) she needed to give a shout out to the male Dawn Jogger's lovingly prepared dinner tonight. The plan is to at least walk tomorrow morning...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Few signs of big day

Yesterday was graduation at Stanford. It's one of the seasonal milestones that the female Dawn Jogger takes note of on her jogs across the campus. But today there were few remnants of yesterday's big day - no balloons or other signs of the celebration.
One office building still had it's well wishes to grads displayed in it windows. Now the female DJ awaits the manner summer camps and executive education programs that provide summer revenue...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Proud papa

The Dawn Joggers headed over to Oakland to celebrate son John's first Father's Day as a Papa (as he calls himself to Grace) joined by Julie's dad, brother and sister. And yes, the female DJ is biased but rarely has she seen a better natured baby. The solid food introduction continues with asparagus a favorite. Hmmm, it took the female DJ five decades to like that particular vegetable...


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Gravel be gone

It's the little things that make a difference when you're running in advanced middle age, particularly when you're klutzy to begin with. So the female Dawn Jogger was delighted to see that the long stretch of the Big Dish path that's parallel to 280 had finally been paved. For years, it's been a gravelly, rutted mess, making the footing, even at a slow jog, a bit tenuous. She's still walking but a good pack and noticing things from a different perspective at the different pace. At the same time, the male DJ was conquering a new distance/time record in his renewed effort to walk more easily...


Friday, June 13, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Greeter robin

Some people have a dog or a cat to greet them. The Dawn Joggers have Ms. Robin who is often on the lawn when they return from exercise or errands. There she was hopping about this morning when the female DJ came back from a good walk around the neighborhood and back up along the creek. (She's still nursing ouchiness on both sides, so taking it slow.) The nest sitting continues as well, expected date of arrival of the new brood unknown.

And yes the Obama sign has gone up, joining dozens and dozens of others in Menlo Park. Like during the primary when few Hillary signs appear, McCain signs are few and far between. The San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week, citing Federal election data, that Menlo Park residents had contributed almost $500,000 to Obama compared to about $300,000 for Clinton and $78,000 for McCain through April. The female DJ still can't believe Obama is really the candidate, but she's really pleased...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Up and around

Aching leg less achy, the female Dawn Jogger hit the path again this morning, a conservative outing that took her around the lake rather than up and over the Dish, her usual Wednesday route. Like so many times this spring, she saw a couple of desert hare - just seems to be a banner year for this big-eared, fast moving bunny, a fact mentioned by her Potter Valley cousins. But not one is patient enough to sit for a photograph. That's the nice thing about shadows, they pose so nicely. With the warm weather back, the DJs have been eating on the patio and nest sittingMs. Robin is starting to feel better about sharing the space...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Guacamole Gracie

If her bum right leg if forcing the female Dawn Jogger to take a day off, no need to let the First Blush space go to waste. What better pinch hitter than one of the latest photos of granddaughter Grace, courtesy of Julie. Grace has embraced the first solid foods she's been introduced to, including avocado. The DJs look forward to a Father's Day visit...


Monday, June 09, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Pulled up lame

The female Dawn Jogger felt a bit like Big Brown this morning. Her right leg, which has been achy off and of for a couple of weeks just said, "no more." So she hobbled home trying to take the shortest path (naturally the leg gave out when she was the farthest point from the house), which happened to go behind the Stanford hospital, evidently celebrating 100 years of medicine. The DJs remain thankful for medicine today...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Up and over Dish

The female Dawn Jogger knew she was going to have a busy day so got up early and when up and over the Big Dish, reverse of the Wednesday route. The male DJ walked at the same time...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sunrise 5:47: Return of the robin

The female Dawn Jogger has company again when she's putting on and taking off her running shoes at the patio table. Ms. Robin has returned and is working on brood number two. The DJs had returned from France in time to see the last of the first fledglings leaving the nest. And they'd each remarked about how frequently they see a pair of robins on the side yard under the olive years. The male DJ researched robins and found out that a pair mates for a season and can produce up to three broods. While the nest under the [brand new] umbrella looks safe and protected, it also can get very warm, and on more than one occasion, Ms. Robin was see fanning the eggs (or very young birds) to keep them cool. She does seem to be getting use to the DJs, so maybe they can share the table with her this time around...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Art comes to the lake

Apparently the female Dawn Jogger is meant to spend some time (so to speak) with the artist she was introduced to this past weekend when the DJs spent a night at the Duchamp hotel in Healdsburg. One of Marcel Duchamp's most famous pieces is the Fountain (pictured), an example of what he called readymades (or found art) as they already existed as an object. In an act of provocation, the urinal with the signature "R. Mutt" that became Fountain was submitted to the Society of Independent Artists Exhibit in 1917. Almost 100 years later, it appears "toilet art" endures. New art has been installed on the banks of Lake Lagunita, a kind of bathroom without walls. The female DJ couldn't help but be struck with the irony of all of this toilet art in one week...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Blustery atop the Dish

The female Dawn Jogger encountered brisk and blustery winds atop the Big Dish this morning, although all looked calm when captured in still life. Great for kite flying and clearing up the air...


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Red poppies on campus

Each spring brings wildflowers to Stanford, scattered on berms across the campus. This year the female Dawn Jogger has noticed a newcomer on her morning outings, the red poppy that the DJs most associate with southern France. There's a particularly good display currently between the jogging/bike path and the new practice golf course along Stock Farm Road that's keeping the local bumble bees busy. Guess red is more inline with the Stanford Cardinal than the traditional Californian golden poppy....

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunrise 5:48: Public art in Healdsburg

The female Dawn Jogger saw lots of public art on her dawn run in Healdsburg this morning. (She needed every mile after the DJ's dinner last night at Cyrus where they enjoyed being surprised and delighted with each dish, having chosen the chef's tasting menu.) The sun wasn't quite high enough in the sky to to show most of the various sculptures at their best, but when she came back to their hotel (Duchamp) it was hitting the resident tomato quickly nicely. Duchamp, the male DJ informed her, was a French artist famous for "found art"...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunrise 5:49: Vine check with the dogs

After a family dinner last night at the local - and good - Potter Valley Cafe (pictured), it was time to work off some of the country cooking this morning. Both of the Dawn Joggers headed up the property, the female DJ accompanied by the two ranch dogs, Drake and Molly. Pretty much each and every row of vines was given a diligent sniff, if not a thorough romp through. Molly, in particular, is fond of chasing birds and gave some black scavengers a run for their money. Like France, the DJs could get use to the rhythms of country life. Heading south now for some local wine tasting...