First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunrise 6:12: Making every drop count

The female Dawn Jogger didn't see any ducks or other water fowl on Tuesday when shes went around Lake Lagunita but today it seemed almost every inch of the last pond was taken up with activity - an egret, bunch of mallards, the two white ducks she's not sure of bred, and a mama with new ducklings. It becomes a race against time as the lake continues to dry up. Luckily, no heat spell is forecast...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunrise 6:11: Fog finger

One of enduring delights of life on the mid-Peninsula is the fog finger that appears under just the right condition on top of the coastal range to the west of Menlo. It was something the female Dawn Jogger's mother would remark on, looking out from her kitchen window on Hillview Drive. And the DJs also point it out to one another. It seems more up close and personal when viewed from the top of the Dish like this morning...


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunrise 6:11: Clouds show off

The female Dawn Jogger was treated to some spectacular altocumulus clouds from the time she left the house just minutes after dawn until her return. While not colorful, they were very painterly and pleasing to view from different vantage points. It's the fun of photo taking that she learned from the male DJ - try different shots and compare the results, extra easy now that everything is digital. This morning she had good results all around, so choosing a shot to post was difficult. The "winner" was taken from the west bank of Lake Lagunita midway through the run...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunrise 6:10: Excuse for Grace

The female Dawn Jogger got up this morning to find Clario's battery dead and truth be told there wasn't much to photograph on her outing this morning. Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent amidst family and good friends - the male DJ off to see James Taylor with daughter-in-law Julie (and dinnner with Grace before hand) and the female DJ to attend the wedding of her grade school friend's son. Good fun was had by all.
The male DJ took an iPhone photo of now crawling Grace...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunrise 6:09: Half full - or half empty

The male Dawn Jogger was disappointed at the time it took him to walk - accompanied by the female DJ - to the San Mateo bike bridge and back this morning. He used more steps and tacked on additional minutes compared to yesterday morning when he's walked about the same distance. The female DJ looked on it differently - he'd accomplished back to back two-miles walks without the aid of his cane. So it's all in the perception...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sunrise 6:08: Abundance of pelicans

The Dawn Joggers headed off to Baylands today where the male DJ broke another record. On the female DJ's loop run she passes the southern end of Baylands which is adjacent to Shoreline Park. Here along the estuaries are numerous colonies of American White Pelican. A quick web search about this big magnificent birds says that they winter along the California coast. Maybe these guys have found the living is easy year round...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunrise 6:07: Shoes on power lines in Menlo

Gang markers. Drug dealer locations. Symbol of lossed virginity. Plain old high spirits. The female Dawn Jogger has heard all the explanations for why shoes are on power lines, including their use to warn low flying aircraft. But she's never seen them in her neighborhood in Menlo Park until this morning. It's all kind of silly...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sunrise 6:07: Shaping young golfers

The Seibel Varsity Golf Training Course, which debuted last spring, is getting a workout this summer with the various golf camps being held on campus. The female Dawn Jogger sees them setting up on the mornings she jogs by the 30-acre facility that caused the closure of the DJs old path along the regular golf course's second hole. The practice course is nicknamed the Road Game Greens, constructed as it is to simulate conditions at courses the amateur golfers during competition. Let's see how the golf team does come fall...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunrise 6:06: Bright on the Dish

After a late evening out, it helped that the sun was shining brightly (good bye grey skies) when the female Dawn Jogger got up and did her Wednesday dish run. Moving up the hill is a good wake up too...


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sunrise 6:05: New Dawn Community members

On Tuesday and Thursdays the male Dawn Jogger has been walking while the female DJ is out on her morning jog. He's been joined by two new members of the Dawn Community, Scott and Tiger Lily. Scott had wanted further motivation to do more walking; the male DJ values the companionship and the opportunity to walk without his cane, which he's been trying to do more and more. No surprise, Lily has opinions...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunrise 6:04: Digging and excavating

The construction on the Stanford campus is constant. Its impact on the female Dawn Jogger's morning jogs is sporadic, but currently intense. Over the past 10 years many new buildings have sprung up on the engineering end of campus bearing names like Hewlett, Packard, Gates and Allen. Current projects are taking place in the center of campus with movable fences altering pathways on an almost daily basis. Huge dump trucks line up to take the dirt away, requiring their own traffic force. New to the scene is an excavation close to Frost Amphitheater. What's being dug and who's doing the digging is not known...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunrise 6:03: Full day of activities

It's almost always the case that the Dawn Jogger writes about the beginnings of the day in the morning of the day. But today proved too full. The male DJ awoke about an hour after dawn eager to test the limits of his walking without his stick, which he is more comfortable doing when accompanied. So off the DJs went at 7:45 am, returning an hour and fifteen minutes later with a new distance record (1 1/2 miles with no cane) as well as new speed record for the two miles distance covered. Then it was off to the ballpark with good friend from Hillview Dr. days to see the Giants play the Brewers. Unfortunately ace pitcher Tim Lincecum was good but not good enough...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sunrise 6:03: Creatures on the trail

This morning the Dawn Joggers headed out to Arastradero Open Space, which, along with adjacent Foothills Park, had been closed for a few days due to what turned out to be an unsubstantiated mountain lion attack on a hiker. Neither the professional trackers nor examination of the man's shirt turned up any evidence of the large cat. The DJs have often commented that they think many of these mountain lion sightings are actually coyotes, and the female DJ thought about that today when a coyote appeared on the trail about 50 feet in front of her. She caught just a fleeting glimpse before it disappeared into the brush; due to its color another observer might have mistaken it (although "cats" and "dogs" really do look quite different). After doing her usual 5-mile loop, she caught up with the male DJ at trail's end...


Friday, July 18, 2008

Sunrise 6:02: Meandering Stanford's courtyards

The female Dawn Jogger decided to take a different approach to her morning jaunt across campus, with no certain route established. It meant that she took turns and went down some passageways she doesn't normally do. And she kept stumbling on interesting things - more than pictured. A forest of succulents. A marker that honored a woman who was instrumental in establishing the bike paths (oddly in an overgrown field). A silver utility truck. But she most liked that giant "chair" in the CCMR building's courtyard (for a person with two bottoms, remarked the male DJ) and the way the gardener became part of the statues near Memorial Courtyard. Just when she thinks she's seen the whole campus she discovers new things...


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sunrise 6:01: Getting their plans together

Lake Lagunita is now down to just two ponds, and this morning it looked like all the ducks - joined by an egret - were having a morning meeting discussing where they'd all soon be off to. Yes, again the female Dawn Jogger admits how really satisfactory the the Lake has been this spring. It will be missed when the water dries up completely...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sunrise 6:00: Gloomy on the Dish

The female thinks that only be able to report that the weather was gloomy on a Dish run is a good thing. That means everything else was good - easy run up and down. She noticed that both the Big Dish and smaller dish further down the path were pointed the same way. (Probably easier to see if you click on the photo to make it bigger.) Tracking the same celestial happenings?...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sunrise 6:00: Heading the wrong way

The last time that the sun rose (at least in the Bay Area) at 6:00 was May 14, the day after the Dawn Joggers had returned from France - and the frogs were debuting around Lake Lagunita. From that day forward it got lighter and lighter in the morning until the summer equinox in June. Slowly it's gotten darker in the morning. This isn't news but it's something the female DJ never looks forward to. While the sun makes it debut later, the lake continues to recede. It's down to just a couple of ponds now. Time to put the kayaks away for the season...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunrise 5:59: Lots of walking for $54K

The female Dawn Jogger ran right into a group of authentic Stanford revenue generators this morning, complete with their exercise "tootsie." This of group men (and usually a sprinkling of women), part of the Stanford Executive Program, has long amused the DJs with their crack of dawn exercise regimen lead by fit young women. It's all part of the six weeks they spend on campus in the summer for a fee of just $54,000. Before the new executive housing was built, they'd do their warm ups on Roble Field, allowing puppy Cassie to practice some herding manuevers. Spotting the revenue generators is a summer ritual...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunrise 5:58: Grace takes a bite

The Dawn Joggers were up and off early this morning for church. And while the female walked across a bustling Stanford campus this afternoon (filled with all sort of revenue generators - tech camp, golf camp, publishing course, and more), she thinks it better to concentrate on Grace. The DJs went to Oakland to have dinner at Camino, a new restaurant that's created quite a buzz - including a short write up in the New York Times - with Julie, John and Grace on Saturday. A hallmark of the restaurant's interior are two 30-foot long redwood tables, evidently made from a tree felled by a storm. One made the perfect teething ring for Grace, when she wasn't playing peek-a-boo (no, that's not some head scarf). All four diners gave the food "thumbs up"...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunrise 5:58: Touch of country

The male Dawn Jogger had made a date to meet a former colleague and his family, here visiting from Michigan, for breakfast, so the DJs parked at the Ladera Shopping Center (where Mike's Cafe is located) and headed out in their two speed space for a walk/jog along Alpine Road. The female DJ took a couple off the cuts that they'd used in the past when Cassie was along to make the route feel even more like country. But even along Alpine, it's more rural than suburban with its vineyards, corrals and fruit orchards. One horse approached the female DJ looking for a treat...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sunrise 5:57: Two views from the top

It had cooled off some yesterday and so the female Dawn Jogger took a chance that the Big Dish area would be open - and it was. As she climbed up the Junipero Serra side, it was apparent that there was still some smoke in the air, mixed with the moisture in the air. What was a bit amazing to her was the difference in the color of the sky facing east towards San Francisco Bay (there's a tiny glimmer of the Bay in top photo) versus a more westerly view with the sky distinctively more blue. The photos were taken just minutes apart so it wasn't due to how high the sun was...


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunrise 5:56: Hot and languid

The air remains heavy with the smoke from the many California fires. An article in yesterday's Chronicle says the smoke is actually keeping temperatures down by a few degrees during the day. But it's also keeping things warmer overnight. The usual freshness in the air that makes the female Dawn Jogger's morning outings so pleasant is missing. So she plods along with heavy legs, noticing how the lake gets smaller with each day. Looks like there's only one duckling family that needs to reach maturity before the lake goes away...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sunrise 5:56: No entry allowed

The female Dawn Jogger admits she probably should have thought about it before she headed out for her Wednesday Dish run. She'd heard that Stanford had closed the Big Dish area during the last heat spell, when she was away in Kansas City. So while she wasn't surprised, she was disappointed. To get the longer mileage that the Dish gives her, she headed further south on campus through the faculty housing and made a big loop down through the center of campus. Her timing was right on - she still met up with the group of bicyclists she sees every Wednesday at the Sand Hill traffic light...


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunrise 5:55: Much activity on the lake

Not only did the female Dawn Jogger catch a glimpse of a small band of "revenue generators" and their "tootsie" trainer, but the lake itself was brimming with activity. In one small section, she spotted a snowy egret, two Blue Herons and a couple of groups of ducklings. Guess everyone was out early to beat the heat. Clario is not quick strong enough to capture the birds in the distance...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunrise 5:54: Keeping the wolves at bay

The female Dawn Jogger has been playing a mix of Southern California (Los Lobos, Ry Cooder's Chavez Ravine) and roots music on her mini iPod on her morning outings the last couple of weeks. Lots of the tunes are from the male DJ's collection so its music she doesn't hear as often - both fun and eclectic. This morning she heard the Los Lobos hit Will the Lone Wolf Survive just as she came by the Stanford succulent garden. The sun was lighting garden in such a way that it looked to her like the tall palm was keeping its circle of wolves (huge succulents) a bay. Some of these plants are over 100 years old...


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunrise 5:54: Good walk - together

The female Dawn Jogger doesn't quite remember when the DJs have actually walked together any longer than around the block. There were some outings last fall with Cassie but the two of them tended to be way out in front of the male DJ. So today's 2.5 mile loop down one side of the creek on Bay Laurel and up the other side behind Oak Creek apartments - done so often over the years they've lived in Menlo - marked a triumphant milestone, the product of the male DJ's very hard work. It's the longest distance he's traveled in well over a year and at a pace that didn't put the female DJ in slightly slow motion. Along the way a cat jumped out of the bush and into the path, demanding attention...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sunrise 5:53: Steep sandwich board = good workout

The male Dawn Jogger had a "play date" (aka he was walking with a friend who's trying to get into an exercise routine) so they're usual Saturday outing was cancelled - or better it happened yesterday. Rather than running the Dish from home, the female DJ decide to park at Piers Lane and do the full circuit plus the up and back from the entry gate to the top. The challenge of this route is the number of times required to go up and down, including a few wedges. It proved to be a satisfying workout - and a pretty good distance of 5 1/2 miles. A year ago the Dish remained closed due to a fire that had scorched it's eastern side...


Friday, July 04, 2008

Sunrise 5:53: 4th of July milestones

The female Dawn Jogger rarely looks back on what she blogged in years past, even on milestone dates such as the 4th of July. But she recalled that last July was a particularly challenging time for the male Dawn Jogger, whose mobility and other related problems would have made it impossible to complete a two-mile walk such as he did at Baylands this morning. On top of his continuing progress, it was a strikingly beautiful morning by the bay, with the sun breaking through just the as the female DJ jogged past the pole art near the end of her route. Another difference from last year: the sun rose a minute earlier but there'd been fewer days before - no 2/29...


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sunrise 5:52: Forgotten landscape

While the female Dawn Jogger prefers her campus or Dish or other open space runs, she does do a neighborhood run every couple of weeks. It amuses her to watch the the latest tear down reconstruction and there's always an idea or two to get for front yard plantings. But a house on her street seems to have forgotten to factor in landscaping costs when construction was completed well over a year ago. Another neighbor mentioned that he's heard that some towns mandate that front landscaping be completed within a 90 day period after the residents have moved in. Guess Menlo doesn't have such an ordinance but maybe it should...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sunrise 5:52: Almost always a good subject

No matter what time of year, the female Dawn Jogger will take at least a half dozen photographs when she runs the Dish. There have been great sunrises and spooky fogs. But the tried and true star of the area remains the Big Dish itself. The various routes provide different angles and perspectives - and the Dish also moves in position. Today the sun had just emerged from the behind the clouds when the female DJ was crossing the cattle grate in front of the Dish on the Junipero Serra side. Other walkers and joggers have pointed out that the oak just adjacent is a good compliment. If is, as she's said before, one of her favorite scenes...


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sunrise 5:51: Enjoy it while it lasts

While to many observers, including the female Dawn Jogger, it looks like discarded junk (actually leftover Floatopia relics), to the ducks that remain even as Lake Lagunita recedes, it's good for perching and pruning. One blue part of a former boat is a particular favorite, good for another few days while the lake empties. Sharp eyes can spot fuzzy ducklings (in the right corner) still curled together...