9/20/2017 Diablo Foothills State Park

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:02 pm
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
Went out with U, DW, and one other for the first time since early July, starting at 8:30 am. It was overcast with no wind so I went out in a t-shirt, a canvas shirt, and my trusty neckwarmer and was fine. No goddamned warblers nor any migrants save a Pacific-slope flycatcher or possibly two, and here it's the goddamned equinox. Very frustrating. A nice list of residents: )

Experiments in carrying bins )
newredshoes: it's good to feel things you want (<3 | lust lust lust)
[personal profile] newredshoes
A rough decision: This afternoon, I saw an apartment in my dream location. It's literally exactly where I would want an apartment to be, right down to equidistance to my favorite things in the neighborhood. It's within my budget, it's pretty light-filled, it's in the back of the building (a brownstone!), so it should be quiet. I feel like I should be ecstatic.

But the more apartments I see (so many of them utter, utter stinkers!), the more I realize 1) how important having a non-miniscule kitchen is to me, and 2) how little I want to live in the exact same apartment I've lived in since college. This is a steep fourth-floor walkup with no particular amenities, a sloping (and unpretty) floor, bad caulking and a bizarre kitchen (there's a ledge acting as an island that divides it from the living-room area). Plus, no pets. I just have Betta Barnes right now, but I'm really sad any time I think of not having the opportunity to get a dog without moving.

I pretty much have a week to find a place I really like if (and this is still an "if") I plan on going to North Carolina to dogsit Gus while Dad and J are in Thailand. I have to give my management company 30 days' notice that I'm leaving, and honestly, my broker explained today that the most danger I'm in (if that ) is losing my security deposit (which obviously I don't want to lose, but it's also kind of ceased being real money in my head, since it's been out of my hands for three years???).

So, this is my big stress right now. Presumably any place I could sign on for would ask for an Oct. 1 move-in date, which will mean 1) paying rent on two places at once, but 2) the opportunity for a staggered, gradual move. I'm trying to focus on this for the moment, because more immediately, some condensation from a glass of iced tea dripped into my trackpad on Friday, and my laptop has been almost unusably haunted since. (Please let it go away, I don't want to have to buy a new computer too, especially since I don't like any of the new Macs and I'm locked into the dumb system.)

Okay, going to hit post. Hi, friends. I would love to be someplace new already!!!!
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
The "Wildcat Peak Trail is closed" signs disappeared a while ago so this morning I went up to see if the trail had really been fixed or just bashed down by foot traffic. But first I was surprised on Upper Packrat Trail by a bicycle coming up behind me. The guy claimed to have come from a trail "up there" and to have seen no signs; I know of no trail "up there" and the ranger I reported it to much later didn't seem to believe the claim, either. I wish I could say I made him turn back, but I think he would have pushed me off the trail had I refused to step aside. So that was a nice start.

Wildcat Peak Trail has indeed been fixed, wider and flatter than before. I guess it was done by a couple of guys with shovels as I cannot imagine how to get any other equipment to the site short of a helicopter. Maybe that's what they did. Anyway, once up that far (the slide site is a lot closer to the top than I recalled, but then I was too freaked to remember clearly) I of course did not turn around (my plan were it not sufficiently fixed) and after briefly contemplating going down Conlon I settled for the connector down to Laurel Canyon Trail and out.

There have been first of season reports for a number of winter species, but I neither heard nor saw any. Wildcat Peak Trail has no hard bits but it's boring and today was no exception. Just the usuals: )

So not an exciting morning, and it produced some un-encouraging empirical data. Stupid back. )

I forgot to say that the weather was perfect, clearing quickly but cool. I went out in two t-shirts and a light flannel, with my neckwarmer to start, and was quite comfortable.
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
I got out about sunrise, went to three places, and was home about 11:30, so have three short lists. Point Emery: )

I didn't stay long before heading up the frontage road to what used to be called Berkeley Meadow. I walked east up the Virginia street extension, through the park, out the west gate, and along the fence back to the car. McLaughlin Eastshore State Park: )

There were great reports from Richmond Shoreline yesterday monrning but today it was the least productive. Meeker Slough: )

A day of mysteries.

My timing was terrible in that I was at Richmond Shoreline right around high tide and didn't want to hang around for an hour or more while the tide receded. There was also intense clean-up activity, which is wonderful if only briefly noticeable, given the unimaginable amount of crap that washes continually onto those shores and marshes, so too many people, however good their reason for being there.
newredshoes: sign: what's stopping you (<3 | what's stopping you?)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Nothing clarifies one's determination to move out, even if the space and the neighborhood are nice (well, certainly the neighborhood), like spotting Violent Neighbor's husband lingering on the sidewalk in front of the building, talking in a hangdog way with someone clearly blocking the main entrance. I spent 45 minutes sitting on a park bench rather than chance running that particular gauntlet. And weirdly, no one should have to live being scared of that, even if nothing was happening!!! So this evening I've been on the phone and corresponding with varying brokers and agents about no-fee one-bedrooms that are vastly out of my comfort zone financially but which score well on RentLogic, look nice on the inside, have some amenities (a dishwasher!!! A FEW IN-UNIT W/Ds!!!!) and seem to be in interesting neighborhoods. My weekend is quickly getting silly, but shoot, it will definitely be worth it.

In other news, I finally remembered today that when one has an ongoing low-grade cold that doesn't go away with sleep or soup, you can actually just buy cold medicine and it will help a lot.
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
I drove up through the fog to higher overcast, but the weather rose as well. It looked like this )

There were breaks in the clouds over Contra Costa and thunder to the SSE while I was in the parking lot, but it got worse as I headed north: not much rain but wind so strong I turned back at the first gap in the ridge lest I be blown over. Twenty minutes later I was able to continue and despite not much energy I walked out to 2 mile and back. Lack of birds doesn't help, but it was all made worthwhile just north of the first cattle gate. I was looking for a thrasher calling in a little hollow to the west; I never found it but I did find a wonderful mixed flock: bushtits, several blue-gray gnatcatchers, a Hutton's vireo, two orange-crowned warblers, and a chickadee. This is what we're always hoping for. I wasn't going to bother with a list til that happened: )

Some colorful and varied vegetation at about one and a half mile. )

It was 11 am and I didn't want to go home yet so I spent an hour at the EBRP Botanic Garden. It was still overcast but not cold, or even windy down in the gorge, and I had quite a few birds not encountered up on the ridge. Best was sitting on a bench and listening to purple finches singing and calling just over my head: Another short list: )

My view from the aforesaid bench )

Other taxa: From the Botanic Garden's primary bridge over Wildcat Creek I watched an enormous crayfish slowly but steadily working its way upstream. I've never noticed one there before and saw no other in other parts of the stream. I know they're in Jewel so presumably they're in Anza, but that's still quite a ways downstream. Impressive.
newredshoes: midcentury modern swallow (<3 | circumnavigator)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Oh man oh man oh man -- I had a truly ridiculous apartment-hunting day. The first place I saw, in my neighborhood but on the other side of it, was gorgeous and gigantic and also in the same building as the guy I dated and then ghosted on last year. His name is still on the mailboxes, AUGH.

The place I just came back from... has an in-unit W/D, a dishwasher, new kitchen (with hiiiiideous floor tile, lol oh well), a good size, no vermin that I could find, decent light (no trees nearby and the view itself isn't great, but fixable if you go for lots of houseplants) and. AND. THE MOST AWESOME ROOFTOP IN BROOKLYN, MAYBE? You can legit see everything, it's great. Pets allowed, so I could actually get a dog!!! Something I said I'd do only if I had access to my own washer and dryer. It's catty-corner from the apartment I live in now, so it might actually be the world's easiest move. If I can give 30 days' notice this week and start this lease... maybe on Oct. 1, the move might be doable, like, over the course of two weeks, in shifts? This might work!

(There are things to be meh about -- the hallways could be a little cleaner, but the broker said that was due to the workers doing the remodel/repair/&c. The apartment is also as-is, so I'd have to negotiate a deep-clean on their dime, I think. But I'd be close to my CVS, my familiar train lines, my bike routes, my co-op membership... I'd be in an elevator building, I'd be free of my evil neighbors... I'd even still be close to my favorite cheap takeout place. I do still want to explore more of Brooklyn, but it's only becoming clearer to me that any nice place that has the neighborhood amenities I imagine for myself is out of my reach unless I get a roommate, and I don't totally know that I can do that.)

So... hey, that might be a thing that I'm okay with. Now to decide if I'll be applying for this assistant editor position at the Mary Sue (which, er, I haven't read in a dog's age)...

GIVEAWAY!

Sep. 11th, 2017 03:38 pm
mrkinch: albatross soaring (Default)
[personal profile] mrkinch
So I wore the flanged ear plugs on the way to work once and discovered they are useless to me. Returning them is too much trouble (I've given up amazon AGAIN so returning stuff is a pain) and will ship them at once to anyone who wants to try them. Comment and then we can take it to email or whatever for the details. Please take them off my hands!

9/10/2017 Inspiration Trail

Sep. 10th, 2017 09:44 am
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
Took what is becoming my usual Sunday morning walk down Inspiration Trail, this time almost to the not-a-junction with Nimitz Way (blocked by cows). I was only out two hours because by 9 am it was quite warm. Surprise of the day was hearing both acorn woodpecker and white-breasted nuthatch up on the ridge. Not much migration so far: )

On the way out there was a coyote that kept peeking back around the corner at me to see if I was still coming, which I was, though very slowly. I glimpsed it on the way back, too.

Oh no, wake up or go to sleep?

Sep. 9th, 2017 10:39 pm
newredshoes: it's good to feel things you want (<3 | lust lust lust)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Today's apartment-hunting apparently left me wiped enough for an early-evening nap, which I'll surely regret. Apartment-hunting is so lolzy. Like, we saw one place that used to be the parlor in a brownstone, and it was HUGE with GIGANTOR CEILINGS and VERY MOULDED CROWN MOULDINGS and a FIREPLACE and... a truly incredible amount of IKEA furniture left by the previous tenant. Then there was the building near Pratt (and the overpass) that was its own duplex -- you could go down an extremely tight spiral staircase and literally have your own garden-level cave the length of most of the building, with access to a tragic concrete patio and a half-built freestanding fire pit.

In 11 days, I have a haircut scheduled. I have no idea what to ask for, but I really would love to try something drastic and new. (I realized recently that in my eagerness for outward Major! Starting! Over! signs, hair could be a good intermediate step before, like, ink I still can't settle on.) I like longer hair because I can retro styles, in theory, but I so rarely actually do them -- usually I default to buns, although because my stylist loves long layers framing my face, I also generally have to deal with hair that hangs in my face and doesn't stay nicely put. Do I want short hair? An asymmetric bob? Does anyone have any suggestions? I have not been posting a lot of selfies, but this is my most recent one.

There is literally nothing on Netflix that I want to watch. (Last night I watched Woman in Gold, in which Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany play old/young versions of the same character, which is BRILLIANT CASTING and SUCH GOOD ACTING. It's about a Jewish Viennese woman trying to get back a Klimt portrait of her aunt stolen by the Nazis; the woman playing the aunt was elegant, beautiful, vivacious... and also the actress who was Faora in Man of Steel. The world is weird. The movie was also maybe the best film portrayal I've seen of the rights of Jews being taken away by Nazis? Like, it was so much about suddenly being marooned in the middle of all these ecstatic supporters, and it was so terrifying and really, really hit home.)

I accidentally bought a book/memoir yesterday about the three-way border of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, which was supposedly a far easier border crossing than the Berlin Wall. I am looking forward to this, but I have some other things to finish up first: I'm close to being done with Our Lady of the Ice, which is set in a domed Argentinian colony in Antarctica sometime in the early '60s. There are androids and gangsters and revolutionaries, it's pretty great. What else is there? Sleeping Giants, about a scientist who, when she was a little girl, fell into a hole in the ground and landed in a giant metal hand. There's also Laurus, a translated Russian novel about a saint who may be trying to get to Jerusalem and may also be traveling through time??? I keep saying I'm going to stop buying books and actually read/finish my stockpiles (I've been not finishing books lately, which is aggravating), especially since I plan on moving soon, but. But books. (If you want to read something amazing electronically, somehow I missed [personal profile] skygiants' novella "Suradanna and the Sea," which is about plucky immortal merchant seafarers and it is great.) All of which reminds me that I guess it's Yuletide nomination season again? Ay me.

Finally, one prediction model shows Hurricane Jose (the one after the one hitting Florida this weekend) possibly hitting New York. I feel it's incumbent on me to now point out, whenever someone brings up Chicago's weather, that at least it is extremely unlikely that it will ever experience a hurricane. #MidwestIsBest
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
U and I left the East Bay at 7 am for Fort Mason via the San Rafael and GG bridges, which was not nearly as painful as I feared. We spent time in the community garden, walked around the General's mansion, and sat on a bench overlooking the batteries before moving on to The Presidio and El Polin Springs. The birding was much less interesting both places than on previous visits. A few yellow warblers at Fort Mason and that was it for warblers. One just never knows. Surprise of the day was a single call of a blue-gray gnatcatcher near the General's residence at Fort Mason. We looked at each other in shock; there was no question what we'd heard, but we could not find it. U has become a trained watcher with the Hawk Hill crew and said they had a flock of sixty gnatcatchers come through recently. Without that information I might have thought we were both delusional. Fort Mason: )

We shared El Polin Springs with several classes of small children at various decibel levels and three twenty-something white guys who were obviously tripping. Took me a while to twig, but no one giggles that much without chemical aid. We went up the stairs because I thought I heard a tanager, but nothing so interesting appeared. Best bird there was the selasphorous sp we saw at the north edge of the tiny parking lot, exactly where others had been in May 2014, though not in September 2015. Birds, man, I dunno. El Polin Springs: )

It's always good to get out, but these are not the lists we were hoping for.

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