Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Polka Dotted Shoes
What if I said I had been gone for a week because I was on an odyssey, scouring the world for red polka-dotted pumps, which at last, after much travail, I found in a little goth boutique in San Luis Obispo, California? Alas, I would be lying. The discovery of these most perfect of all shoes was a pure coincidence, the cherry on the cake of a fun family trip. Have you ever seen better shoes? I want to put them in a glass case. I am a giant nerd for polka dots.
I was driven half=mad last week by my blog being inaccessible for the day and a half preceding my departure, not being able to put up a new post before going out of town. Then, at my sister's internet-less house deep in an oak-filled canyon in the wine country of the central California coast, I had to try not to think of all the new posts I was missing out on, all the comments that would never be left... luckily it was easy not to think about, since we were in a gorgeous place with family & wine to keep us company! Jim and I went down to California with my parents to visit my "baby" sister, who is now a professor at Cal Poly. For those of you not familiar with the West Coast, San Luis Obispo is somewhere between Santa Barbara and Monterey. It's the state's most remote town of any size, seemingly several hundred miles from anything, amid rolling hills of zinfandel vines and canyons with tiled Spanish rooves peering out between mossy ancient oaks. Beautiful. The Zinfandel festival was going on, and we did our duty of tasting as many of the newly unveiled zins as we could. Here is a link to some photos of the region. My favorite winery by far was Clotiere. Described as "Edward Scissorhands meets the Mad Hatter at the Moulin Rouge," there are baskets filled with wild wigs and hats to wear while you taste. Here are some pictures of my family in action:
One day we drove up to Cambria, an artsy little town tucked back from the ocean behind a hill of cypress trees. There we discovered a new artist (new to us), the Lithuanian painter Arunas Zilys and wished for the zillionth time that we could afford original paintings, or even giclees. But we did what we usually do, and bought the book instead. Also stumbled upon the town of Harmony, population 18, and bought some pottery, and drove up the coast from Cambria specifically to buy weird cacti for my sister and her boyfriend. During their years in Arizona they fell in love with the strange and spiny things, and though they live amid lush green hills now, they must have them. And since cages of live rattlesnakes constitute a major part of their decor (and reptile art the rest), the cacti blend in nicely. Perhaps I should mention Emily is a herpetologist who wrote her doctoral dissertation on something about sexual size-dimorphism in the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Oh weird, weird sister. But it's made for some interesting excursions, including one to the basement of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology where she worked as an undergrad at Berkeley, and where she took us down to meet the "preparator" -- the strange basement-dwelling man with the dermestid beetles (don't look if you're squeamish), those flesh-eating critters they use to clean off skeletons. I'll never forget seeing an entire dessicated giraffe leg lying on the floor down there -- weird man told us it came from Neverland Ranch, where Michael's eejit staff didn't bother to clear the poisonous mistletoe out of the trees before letting their giraffe loose to feed. But I digress...
We also got to spend some time with our friends Amy & Sasha who drove up from Orange County with their lovely little blond boy, Nikolai (seen above with pail on head), as well as Nikolai's soon-to-be-born brother, still safely tucked away in his mama. Amy and I have known each other since highschool, and she met and married Sasha while a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, and we've tried to get them to move to Portland, to no avail. Nikolai is one of those children that makes parenthood seem like a good idea, or more likely, Amy & Sasha are such good parents they've raised a two-and-a-half-year-old who laughs a lot, doesn't throw tantrums, is smart and delightful company!
So, that's the very condensed version of where I have been, and why my blog has been sitting here stale for a whole week. In the spirit of a weekend of wine & shopping, I leave you with this quote: "We are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut
Posted by Laini Taylor at 8:47 AM