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( Poet's Choice: Asian-American Poets )

By conservative estimates the mangroves will not return
in this century. Neither will the eyes, the limbs twisted like roots.
Today Viet lies deep in the mosquito sickness -- if he dies,
Duc dies too. There will be no time for separation, no time to airlift
the split being into surgery. Instead, the living half will wait passively
for what invariably will come rolling on, the roofs filling with people.
I didn't ask to survive.

--Quan Barry

We're at my brother-in-law's house in Sherman Oaks, back from dinner (vegetarian Mexican) and playing in a local park after an afternoon swimming in their pool; we headed briefly for the zoo, which was very hot and very crowded, and when they gave us a hard time about accepting our reciprocal membership with the National Zoo, we said the heck with it and came back to swim. The kids are getting along in stellar fashion despite the fact that they only met once before, at David and Molly's wedding sixteen months ago. But Lukas, the baby, is adorable, Adam and Maddie are having a great time torturing each other and Noelle and I have been discussing our mutual desire to see Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tomorrow I'm seeing [ profile] divineway and then my cousin and her mother, hopefully at David's restaurant!
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California Plush )

Still at my uncle's in Santa Clarita, leaving in a little while for my brother-in-law's in Sherman Oaks, then we're all taking all of our kids to the zoo and maybe out to dinner at my brother-in-law's restaurant, Real Food Daily (superb vegan food). I forgot to mention that on the Fourth we got the amusement of seeing him on a local morning news show where they had invited several chefs to talk about grilling for the holiday; David was there to represent the alternative food contingent, though they kept upstaging him with a bikini fashion show and he looked most bemused! He was in full chef regalia and must have been melting even at that early hour. Below, one of the Foleys' dogs dealing with the heat.

Yesterday we had a big get-together with most of my L.A. relatives, including both my cousins, their husbands and the older one's new baby, my uncle's wife's brother and all the kids. It's VERY hot and the kids wilted at the park with the pirate ship jungle gym, but the hills are beautiful and I love seeing all the spiny flowers blooming everywhere. We're off right now before it gets absurdly hot to see Mickey and Lesley's new house that they're building up in horse country.

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Independence )

Have seen fireworks from a bridge in L.A.! We are going out to breakfast in the Valley, then are off to visit relatives in Santa Clarita for the rest of the day. Have a lovely Saturday everyone!

Trees in the Bonito Lava Flow, Sunset
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Survey of Debris )

Greetings from sunny SoCal, where we have just gotten out of the pool and are getting ready to barbecue. I am not sure yet where or if we will be seeing fireworks tonight, as the local ones have been cancelled due to increasing restrictions on which organizations may possess and launch fireworks, but I expect we will all be sitting around bashing Bush's policies or some other patriotic activity. This has been a very low-key day, swimming, eating and catching up on news with old friends.

Touristy Ghost Town, Calico

Fellow citizens: Happy Independence Day! Non-U.S. residents: Have a great weekend! [ profile] divineway: see you Monday!
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To You )

Vegas to L.A. )

Star Trek: The Experience upstairs, Quark's Bar downstairs!

From the sublime to the ridiculous: the entrance to the Star Trek Experience (Quark's Bar downstairs, the extravaganza upstairs). A Trekkie fantasy in the middle of a city built entirely for entertainment, where parking is free, drinks are cheap and the swimming pools are incredible...
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A Postcard From The Volcano )

Last night at the Canyon, the sky was perfectly clear and I saw the Milky Way as spectacularly as I ever have with the naked eye. So I was up much too late star- and deer-watching, and today we got up early to see the canyon in morning sunlight, though it was already bright before 6. There was a condor flying around just below the lip of the canyon which was my thrill of the trip. We had breakfast in one of the Bright Angel lodge restaurants, walked around the canyon rim a bit, bought sun hats which I should have done the day before, then packed up and drove to Kingman, Arizona where we had lunch en route to Las Vegas. The landscape changed from heavily forested to hilly to flat desert with cactus and yucca to barren rock as we briefly entered California, which is the most direct route to Vegas from the Grand Canyon.

Viva Las Vegas )

Thanks so much for all the good wishes, everyone to whom I owe a note. Below, the thrill of my trip so far (besides my anniversary present):

...a condor in the Canyon!
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Making a Fist )

Saturday after breakfast with Deborah we drove through Illinois into Missouri, where we had lunch in Jefferson Park and went to see the Arch, though we didn't wait the more-than-an-hour to ride the elevator to the top. It was a gorgeous day, mid-70s, the Mississippi was beautiful, and we really enjoyed the museum of the history of the West beneath the arch.

From there we drove to Springfield, where Paul's cousin Todd lives with his wife and three kids (two boys and a girl, 12, 7 and 6). They have a big backyard and basement playroom and the kids hit it off immediately by pulling out their Yu-Gi-Oh cards. We had a barbecue and then drove into Ozark, where Todd is the GM of the Ozark Mountain Ducks. The team was away so we got a complete tour of the stadium and the kids got to play on an actual minor league field. They played half the night and we finally threw them all into bed.

I did have a moment of misery when my dermatologist called me on a Saturday evening with the results of my biopsy from last week -- which was abnormal but not malignant. Which means more surgery when I get back to make sure they got everything, but hopefully nothing more drastic. We were driving through the mountains when he tried to call and had no reception, so he left a message on my voicemail, and by the time I got it he had left the office. I called his emergency cell number which he sounded none too pleased about and he didn't remember my results at first but he said that if it had been melanoma he would have remembered. So I have to call him back Tuesday, as we'll be in campgrounds tomorrow and Monday. Just the kind of stress I do not want on vacation.

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Silva )

We're in a hotel in Indiana waiting for the kids to fall asleep so I have five minutes. We left Potomac yesterday around 2 p.m. after a hectic morning -- I had stitches in my throat from last week removed, but my doctor didn't have the biopsy results yet, which means having to worry about it on vacation -- given the family propensity for melanoma, not something I'm happy about and we're out of cell phone range quite a bit driving through hills and such. We stayed last night at a lakeside campground outside of Madison, Pennsylvania (sort of near Pittsburgh), beautifully wooded so despite being relatively full, we had plenty of private space as we were in a cabin surrounded by trees. (I don't do tents on trips this long; the likelihood of mildew is too great.) We took the kids swimming, then made hot dogs and s'mores over the fire once the sun had gone down and the 90 degree heat dropped into the 70s. It rained overnight, so the temperature was nice and cool when we woke. There were rabbits in many of the open spaces and blueberries growing by the lake.

After I took the kids to the playground while Paul loaded the car, we drove through the tip of West Virginia into Ohio, where we had lunch at a rest stop built on Native American burial grounds that were being excavated by a local archaeological group, which was sort of neat but rather disturbing -- who's the genius that failed to realize this when planning the rest area? Then we headed to Terre Haute, Indiana, where I met my friend Deborah who had driven in from Bloomington. We went out for Chinese buffet (the kids' choice) and hung out comparing notes on our last trips; I had brought her stuff from England, she had brought me stuff from IU. This is the friend who did most of the artwork on my web pages, including all the Janeways and the Boromir on the story index page -- now I have the original.

On a related note, I bought USA Today to read about the Supreme Court decision -- bad as McPaper is, it had a less prejudicial headline than the local Ohio paper -- and found the new Aragorn poster in the Life section. Niiiice. Tomorrow we are driving to Paul's cousin's house in Springfield, MO, where he is the GM of a minor league baseball team, the Ozark Mountain Ducks (??!!) We haven't seen them since Paul's youngest brother's wedding in 1998, so it will be great for the kids to see those cousins -- apparently everyone is into Yu-Gi-Oh. *g* From there we are headed to Oklahoma, where we're camping, and Albuquerque, so I am not sure when I will be back online.


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