Palm Springs

I’ve just had a very nice visit to family in my hometown, and now have an evening in Palm Springs before flying home tomorrow. Sadly, I didn’t know it’s Pride weekend here, or I might have stayed through Monday.

Because of Pride, the last place I stayed was full, so I just went for cheap. The first Motel 6 I checked online was also full, but there’s a second one, which I booked. It happens to be right next to the Ace Hotel (a hipster chain based in Portland), and so I’m currently awaiting a burger (made from a happy cow) and drinking a Babe’s Vanilla Blonde draft beer.



Sleeping memes

Perhaps it would be better to let sleeping memes lie, but I’m going to pick up on my friend blaugustine’s Where I slept in 2008.

  • at home, the vast majority of nights
  • my sister’s house in Brawley, California
  • Ramada Inn, downtown San Diego, California (after visiting my family)
  • AmeriHost Inn, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (at a press check for UU World at Royle Printing)
  • Embassy Suites, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (UUA General Assembly)
  • Newton, Massachusetts (housesitting for most of July and August)
  • Bromo Ivory’s house in Rochester, New York (on my way to CaleCon)
  • CaleCon at Stone Willow Inn, Saint Mary’s, Ontario
  • EconoLodge, Fultonville, New York (on the way home from CaleCon)

I really didn’t think the list would be so long. I forgot about staying in San Diego and the press check trip until I started writing this post. I guess I haven’t been such a homebody after all.

Stratford Tea Leaves

I spent the recent Labor Day weekend in St. Mary’s, Ontario, at a small convention of people I know from the Independent State of Caledon, a neo-Victorian, Steampunk community in the virtual world of Second Life. One afternoon, four of us went into nearby Stratford for lunch and a very pleasant (and informative) tea-tasting at Stratford Tea Leaves.

The proprietor, Karen Hartwick, is one of only a few certified tea sommeliers. She began by asking each of us what kinds of tea we enjoy drinking. She then took canisters off the shelves for us to smell, pointing out how each tea was similar or dissimilar from teas we mentioned enjoying.

tea cannister

Each of us selected a tea to taste, which Karen carefully prepared as to quantity of leaves and steeping time. She used special tasting cups, which had lids to keep the tea hot as it steeped, and a section of grooves in one edge, so the tea leaves could be captured in the cup when the liquid was poured into a drinking bowl.

tasting cup

Karen gave us smaller cups so that we could give each other samples of our selected tea. Two of us tasted several additional teas and went home with happy purchases.

The aftermath:


If you are ever in the area, I recommend a visit. Karen told us that she plans to add online ordering soon.

Comment period on DHS HIV travel restrictions

The GayCityNews has information on how to register a comment on proposed regulations concerning the entry of people who are HIV-positive into the United States (comments close December 6):

Individuals who wish to protest the harsh new DHS regs on HIV-positive travel may submit comments online . . . — but to do so you must include the docket number of the proposed regs, USCBP-2007–0084.

Select the pull-down for Department of Homeland Security-All, and at the bottom, select Docket ID and paste in the number. You can read the proposed regulation as well as previous comments (which include such sentiments as “i oppose giving any visas for aliens with hiv. none should be given. the law as it stands keeping them out is a good, sound, healthful one. there is no reason to change it.” and “I OPPOSE ANY CONSIDERATION OF CASE BY CASE BASIS. KEEP ALL WITH HIV OUT OF THIS COUNTRY.” Such are our fellow citizens.)

(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for keeping this before us.)


I’m going on Sunday with my friend Karen: New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (popularly known as Rhinebeck, after the town it’s held in). I’ve been once before, and I’m looking forward to going back. I’ve recently been picking up my knitting needles again, so it doesn’t seem such an extravagance to consider buying yarn or patterns.

Rhinebeck is comparable in size and variety, by the way, to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

Home again

Whew! The annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association was rewarding (who knew so many people like the magazine?), spending Monday doing tourist things was fantastic (I’d like to be able to visit the classical Chinese garden on a regular basis), but the flight home was absolutely terrible (American through Dallas-Fort Worth, with a night on a cot in the airport).

But at least I’m home, in the familiar heat and humidity of summertime Boston!

Ten things about California

Since the Friday Ten has fallen way by the wayside, I thought I’d do a Tuesday Ten. (I’ve always loved alliteration. Must be the Anglo Saxon in me.) So here goes, with ten things I liked about my recent trip to California:

  1. My parents are in good health.
  2. My nephew is cute as a button and smart as a whip.
  3. It was only in the 90s (F) during the day.
  4. It was low humidity. (See #3!)
  5. It was sunny.
  6. I saw a roadrunner.
  7. I had really good Mexican food.
  8. My new blackberry worked perfectly, allowing me to check email and even to Google a guest house in Palm Springs.
  9. I spent time in Palm Springs for the first time. WooHoo! I highly recommend it.
  10. All four legs of my flights were smooth and on time.

Summer recap

It’s certainly not that there hasn’t been anything happening, or that I haven’t been reading. But it’s been a busy summer–full, fun, difficult, challenging, all over the map.

I’ve kept intending to sit down and write catch-up posts. Perhaps the best way to get started is just to summarize:

  • One of my best and oldest friends, BH, has pancreatic cancer. I’ve been to Philadelphia, oh, five times since June.
  • I went to the annual Gathering of Friends General Conference, where I saw many old friends; took a splendid workshop (five days, 2 1/2 hours a day) on Sacred Harp; discovered that while I like Boston better than Philadelphia, I’m not as happy; and decided that perhaps I should address my now going-on-two-years spiritual malaise by trying out programmed Friends meeting and/or local liberal Christian churches and/or trying Buddhist practice. And I saw Mt. Ranier every day for nine days. Woot!
  • I got an aquarium, which is a return to a favorite hobby of childhood and some parts of adulthood.
  • I went to Provincetown overnight for my birthday, taking the ferry and also going out on a late-afternoon whale-watch. We saw many, many whales, very, very close. It was also the hottest day of the summer, and I spent the night in an air-conditioned room at a nice b&b. What a great decision to go!
  • I attended a convention of typography enthusiasts (or rather, geeks). It was fun, I learned some useful things for work, and I took a letterpress workshop. Which leads to...
  • I’ve started a letterpress/book arts course at MassArt, which will go through mid-December.
  • And I’ve read various and sundry books that I do hope to list eventually.