So I spent the past four days, Saturday to Tuesday, in Corning CA, visiting my sister-in-law and her husband. Mike telecomutes from a job in the Bay Area, and Sharon raises and trains dogs. The resident animals are Molly, a sweet-tempered, three-legged Rotwieller, and Ysha Rose, a Belgian Shepherd. Both are work-dogs, and Sharon has done a number of trials with both of them (Molly before the cancer that took her front left leg).
Mike and Sharon have a real nice place in Corning, near the northern end of the Great California Valley. Originally they were just looking for a summer house, but the place they found is so nice, they made it their year-round residence. It is perched on a bluff looking south over almond and olive orchards (Corning has a dry, mediteranean climate, and it is a major olive producer). The hill catches a good breeze even when the rest of the valley is still. Though the valley proper extends about 60 miles to the north before hitting the true foothills, the view south feels like you're at the head of the valley and all of California is beneath you.
I had agreed to go down during a slack period in the office workload, so of course things have started to pick up immdiately afterwards. But I had promised Kate (and I had dodged out of a couple trips before), so I drove most of the 11 hours from Seattle to Corning. The land rises out Seattle and dries out as we go south, until finally hitting the pass on the Oregon/California border and a drop into the promised land. The trip was pretty quiet, though it was definitely through Red America - Lots of Republican signs lashed to farm fences facing the highway - lonely things, far from any habitation or farm buildings. By contrast, the overwhelming number of bumper stickers I saw were for Kerry/Edwards.
Long trip down, two days at rest, long trip back. Didn't take my computer, so I was confined to wading through more of Neil Stephenson's Quicksilver. Generally a quiet time, though Ysha Rose looks exactly like the canine version of my main charter of a short story, which reminded me I still have to finish the revision.
I have more on the trip, but that can wait for after the revision. Later.
New Arrivals - So, times when I visit Marquette, I almost always find out about new books on Tolkien that have come out since I was last there. And this time was no excep...
53 minutes ago