First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunrise 7:05: Scampering on the green

It was still pretty dark when the female Dawn Jogger got from one end of the second fairway of the golf course to the other. But already a group of Stanford students were gathering next to the practice golf course. Seemed a bit early as it would have been impossible to see where the ball landed, or even hit it off the tee. But after circling the lake and headed back to the same area, she realized it wasn't golf they were there for. The group had grown to 30 or so and they were using the practice course for some kind of drill, most likely an initiation rite. As the course is 10 feet above the adjacent dirt road, she could only see pony-tailed heads...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunrise 7:04: Spooky light

The female Dawn Jogger noticed that a few Halloween decorations inched their way out of storage and onto Menlo Park front yards. The Stanford campus was ready for the celebration before it new it what with the promos for new website covering lamp posts. Just heard Grace is coming here to trick or treat...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunrise 7:03: Taste of France in Menlo

What better first-of-the-day activity then heading to the local farmer's market. The male Dawn Jogger captures the color. And filled his shopping bag with yellow wax beans among other fresh veggies...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunrise 7:02: A good subject again and again

The female Dawn Jogger has no idea how many times she's photographed the Big Dish with her trusty point and shoot camera, Clario (and Silvio previously). But she's always pleased when she gets a different angle that evokes a different mode. She got lucky this morning on her Saturday Dish run. Sort of looks like something from space coming up over the hillside...


Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunrise 7:01: Gearing up

The female Dawn Jogger noticed it was all about readiness on the Stanford campus this morning. The second fairway of the golf had platforms and riser in anticipation for tomorrow's Stanford Invitational cross country track meet; a mobile TV truck was parked between the first and second hole. With classes begun on Monday, White Plaza was being set up with tables and chairs for some kind of networking or informational event. And the opportunity to audition for Counterpoint, an all female a cappella group, being promoted. Predawn, it's all about what's to come...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunrise 7:00: New friends around the lake

The criteria for being members of the Dawn Community is frequency and consistency. Two women and their dogs, Rusty and Allie, have qualified and were good enough to poise for a photo this morning. The sun was not yet officially up...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunrise 6:59: Waiting for the sun

It was all about waiting for the sun to peak over the East Bay hills. The female Dawn Jogger thought she'd hit the top of the Dish about the same time the sun would come up. But it seemed awfully pokey this morning, and she caught just the first glimpse before descending down the back side of the Dish to Piers Lane. The warm air from yesterday's toasty day permeated the Dish top...


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunrise 6:58: The dawn still comes

The female Dawn Jogger awoke in the darkness this morning, having dreamed about her cousin, Kelly. It was a good dream; Kelly was getting ready for a party and was particularly pleased with her hair, something not always the case in real life. The female DJ can only pray that it was a sign of peacefulness. Kelly, only 45, died yesterday afternoon, less than a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She leaves not only husband Jim and children Emily (14) and Will (11) but a whole valley full of friends and family. Kelly was technically just a second cousin but much more; she'd been the female DJ's parents' first grandchild, in every sense but literally, and brought them much joy throughout her life, as has her sister, Karen. Death is hard; life on earth continues; dawn comes again. The female DJ's going to remember Kelly on a good hair day...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunrise 6:57: Autumn arrives

The autumnal equinox, one of two days of the year when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west, arrives this morning precisely at 8:44 am PDT. To the female Dawn Jogger, it's less about where the sun sets and all about the amount of daylight hours, which diminish daily. She hit the renovated White Plaza in the center of the Stanford campus shortly after sunrise this morning and was treated to some pretty pink cloud wisps. The student would prefer a more cardinal hue...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunrise 6:56: What is it, what was it?

After a morning off yesterday but the annoying head cold still fully in place, the female Dawn Jogger did a short jog around town rather than her longer Saturday distance. As always, it's interesting to see what turns up in the front yards of her West Menlo neighbors. While she could figure out how to make a planter of one object on display, it wasn't being used for that purpose. She's not sure what it is - or what it was...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunrise 6:54: Chilly all of a sudden

The fog was absent this morning, making for the first chilly morning, a hint of the Fall soon to come. The female Dawn Jogger had to pull out her gloves from the bottom of the drawer as well as put on her reflective vest. There were no more great vistas of the Golden Gate; it was back to a stangely quiet Stanford campus - given that the students were back - and a spin around the lake (this morning filled with a think layer of tule fog). The lack of activity extended to the horses corralled near the Red Barn, who awaited anxiously for the hay truck. The female DJ liked the way a ray of sun filtered through the paddock...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunrise 6:53: All bridge, all the time

The female Dawn Jogger explored the part of Fort Baker that shows off the Golden Gate Bridge this morning. In doing so, she continues to be amazed how well her camera jogging companion - the point and shoot Lumix with a Leica lens she calls Clario - functions, particularly with panoramic shoots in not great light. She captured one view of the Bridge from near Battery Yates, just above the Presidio Yacht Club. Then after jogging through the Coast Guard station and heading up a hill and under the Bridge, she took another view, this time from close to Hwy 101 looking south. With time, she could have played around with bridge shots all day...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunrise 6:52: Chasing the old, encountering the new

The female Dawn Jogger woke up this morning at Fort Baker in Marin County, now turned partially into luxe resort Cavallo Point. (The male DJ is blogging away at a green tech conference.) She headed north on her jog this morning to downtown Sausalito, a place she hadn't been in decades but remembered well. Both the town and the Fort bring strong memories of her father, a proud-to-serve officer in the infantry during WWII. How much he would appreciate the tender renovation of the officer's quarters where the DJs are staying (built 1903). And how amused he would be at the female DJ's search for the long gone Sally Stanford Valhalla restaurant in Sausalito, where she was taken as a girl. Stanford was a famous San Francisco madam turned restaurateur and it all seemed quite exotic to a youngster. Thanks to a local, she did find it although the red plush interior is no more. Back on the conference grounds she spied the newest transportation vehicle, a $103,000 Tango electric commute car..

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunrise 6:51: College life turns big

The female Dawn Jogger noticed the signs of Fall academic life returning to Stanford when she ran across campus this morning. The undergraduates are returning and moving into the dorms with cars parked for easy unpacking. Mom or Dad's very used Olds or Chevy (or a battered VW Bug) of her day have been replaced with much more luxe models. Anyone knows that campuses are combat zones necessitating a Hummer...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunrise 6:51: Wow - what a 24 hours!

The female Dawn Jogger took a morning off from exercise but it's not like it hasn't been a jam-packed 24 hours. First a "trip" to India last night courtesy of friends Cathy and Mike (the DJs, pictured with Alice are posing as British Colonialists) and then a visit to Holy Trinity by the Bishop of California, the Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus. The male DJ chose to reaffirm his baptismal vows...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunrise 6:50: The girls are back in town

A little bird greeted and flitted up the hill from Piers Lane to the Dish this morning with the female Dawn Jogger. The antics of birds were one part of many lively discussions (including the current state of politics) last night at fun dinner with friends ( r. Cathy, female DJ, Alice, Terri, Terye and Barb) who've known each other almost all their lives, dating back to grade school and Menlo-Atherton high school. Over the years, the male DJ's called them Ede's Brownie troop...


Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunrise 6:49: Back to the Dish

The female Dawn Jogger missed out on a Wednesday Dish run due to the UCSF appointments, so decided what with all the upcoming weekend festivities, she'd get a bit of good ole hill work done this very grey morning. There is a seem of satisfaction of gliding up the steady incline slowly but easily. And the Dish itself is the perfect halfway marker...


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sunrise 6:48: Is it art?

During the work on the construction of the new bike path, a large tree was taken down. Somewhere in the archives of First Blush, there's a photo of the male Dawn Jogger and Cassie on top of the stump that was left. More recently it's morphed into some kind of art installation. At least that's the female DJ's best guess...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sunrise 6:47: Stuck on lakes

It was a UCSF appointment day for the male DJ (continuing good news on that front), so the female Dawn Jogger used part of the time to take a good long walk in Golden Gate Park, just down the hill from the medical center. The route took her nearly around Stow Lake, which she visited frequently as a child. She remembers it was always a big deal when she was allowed to go over to Strawberry Hill in the middle. (Could she possibly have gone alone - that's her memory). The boathouse looks much as it looked then. Guess she can't get lakes out of her system...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunrise 6:46: Busy at the lake

The sun still was not up when the female Dawn Jogger made it across the second fairway but already student golfers were lining up at the adjacent practice course. The entire campus was surprisingly alive, given that classes have yet to begin. There were runners circling the lake, people on the tennis court, and some action going on at the kosher kitchen. It took the female DJ back to busy Annecy, so it seemed right to take a boat photo. Looks like someone is finally cleaning up from Floatopia...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunrise 6:46: Welcome home signs

It seemed very dark to the female Dawn Jogger when the alarm went off this morning at 6:00; she knows reflective vest wear is coming soon. There was some light as she headed off across the Stanford campus this morning, and she was greeted by some familiar sights - first the group of cyclists she often sees in the morning (and who usually give her a wave) and then by a mother racoon who was guarding the tree in which her three offspring had scampered up. Kind of good to be home but Annecy is a place she could have lingered...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunrise 7:02: Farewell France

The female Dawn Jogger tried to get a farewell shot of the lake from the DJs' balcony on the east side looking over to where their house was on the west side of Lac d'Annecy. But the light was too dim - even at 7:15 am when they got on the road to the Geneva airport on route home. They're still reeling from their 18 course dinner last night, which included infusions and creations beyond their imagination. Pictured is Marc Veryat's version of a lollipops...


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sunrise 7:01: Last morning in Saint-Jorioz

The Dawn Joggers' stay on the west bank of Lac D'Annecy came to an end this morning. With the weather predicted to turn wet again this afternoon (and did it!), they headed out for one last jog/walk along the lake shore near the small town port. Both DJs found it difficult to say goodbye to their very comfortable hillside home. The afternoon took them to the other side of the lake to the culinary shrine of Marc Veyrat, where they're spending their last night and feasting one of his 18 course creations (all small tastes, they're assured). Monsieur himself is here - and yes, the decor is as over the top as descriptions...


Friday, September 05, 2008

Sunrise 7:00: Basking in the sun again

Truth be told the dairy cows - and what appears to be their teenage offsprind (pictured) - didn't seem bothered at all by the 24 hours of rain, lightening and (very load at times) thunder. But they seemed as happy as the female Dawn Jogger when she headed off for a jog this morning up and down the country roads near the house they're renting in Saint-Jorioz. One last night here before heading across the lake for a final night in France...


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sunrise 6:58: A chef with a point of view

The rain (and thunder and lightening) - very heavy at times - started last night and was still steady at daybreak and throughout the morning. The male DJ diligently did his "Heidi exercises" while the female DJ pondered how to spend a good portion of the day in a local activity. The solution: eat a long lunch.

She'd been intrigued by a restaurant in Annecy called Nature & Saveur featuring "cuisine origenelle" by female chef, Laurence Salomon. Their drive in the rain (and finding a place to park in the twisty streets of the old town) was much rewarded not only by the delightful food but the warm welcome of the staff (including Madame's husband).

If she were cooking in America, Mme. Salomon would be hailed as an accomplished disciple of Alice Waters. She sources her food very carefully and features only the freshest and most organic ingredients - and then turns them into dishes that mix tastes in inventive ways. If they were local, the DJs would become regulars...


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sunrise 6:57: Keep on movin'

A lovely wooden boat tied close to the Port of Saint-Jorioz was (again) about the only thing not in motion this morning when the Dawn Joggers went down to the lake for what turned out to be two good workouts. The female DJ headed initially toward Annecy, passing newbie roller bladers practicing in a tennis court and then a group of kayakers setting out for a paddle. As this was after 9:00 am, the bike path, which she followed in the other direction toward Duingt was already brimming with cyclists of all abilities - those just out for a nice pedal to a bunch of Italians who came racing by her singing heartily. She retraced her steps and then cut back to the lake along the pretty shoreline Sentier des Roselieres, finally overtaking the male DJ who had extended his distance. Now they've both just plopped on their terrace...


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sunrise 6:56: Mix of old and new

The female Dawn Jogger is particularly pleased with the current mix on her iPod Shuffle, chosen as usual a bit randomly and this time spur of the moment before leaving the States. It's a mix of the old and new - Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Duffy between Janis Joplin and Esther Phillips; Curtis Mayfield and Al Green amidst some [can't remember his name, pulled from the male DJ's list]. It's a bit like walking around the towns of villages surrounding Lac D'Annecy - lots of new homes set amidst an old working dairy farm or still inhibited châteaux. It's more fun to photograph the old...


Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunrise 6:55: Discovering tartiflette

The female Dawn Jogger is not sure how best to capture this experience. Maybe the fact that it's hours after lunch and the meal is still with her. Or that hearing her idea that she might go for a swim now that the sun had come out, the male DJ said, "You'll sink." Or that neither DJ could even begin to think about what they'd have for dinner beyond hot water and lemon. Such is their encounter with the most famous dish of the Haute Savoie, tartiflette.

The day got off to a virtuous beginning amidst still cloudy skies after last night's thunderstorm. They went down to the lakefront and did a good hour of jogging/walking. Their planned outing up to a chalet in the mountains was postponed due to the cloudy conditions, which would have blocked the views. So they headed instead to a lovely lakeside restaurant, Chez Ma Cousine in nearby Bout du Lac, known more for its innovative cuisine than local comfort food.

Neither DJ had ever heard of tartiflette but a New York Times article by Kim Severson - part of a good package of materials put together by their rental home's owner - peaked their curiosity. As described by Severson, tartiflette is..."cream-soaked potato and a smoky bit of lardon married with a smooth coat of reblochon - cheese made from the milk of one of three breeds of French cows that mark to Alp meadows in the spring and return to hay-filled barns in the winter." Voila - three semi-forbidden foods all in one tasty dish! Or as John Madden would say, "real sinking food."

Unlike their first days here, the cooler weather made such a dish appealing. The combination of tastes, intriguing. Their waiter double checked with the chef to make sure the dish (which came prepared for two along with super fresh salad greens) was available. And so it was presented straight from the oven in all its bubbly delight. Something like 10,000 calories in one dish - "a Michael Phelps lunch," proclaimed the male DJ. It was good - and they're both glad they tried it - but sink them it did.

Meanwhile the female DJ is considering doing an "air slide," a kind of tandem paragliding. They spent lunch watching them come down from the mountain across the lake...