July 12th, 2008

little review

Poem for Saturday

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We woke up very early Friday morning so we would have time for a walk on the beach in San Simeon before our 9:20 a.m. tour of Hearst Castle. It was worth it: there were dolphins, a seal, shore birds and sand crabs just offshore and we were the only people around. We packed up and went to Hearst's ranch, accessible only by tour bus up the hills past his former private zoo (there are still zebras and other animals), which I last visited when I was in my early teens. The swimming pools were as spectacular as I had remembered, as were the tapestries and medieval art in the main house. We also saw the film, new since I was last there, where I learned a lot about Julia Morgan, who designed both the houses and the landscape.

We ate a picnic lunch at the state park on the beach across the highway, where there were dozens of elephant seals sunning themselves and playing in the surf. Then we drove to Solvang, the Danish town with windmills and a Hans Christian Andersen museum above a bookstore, where we bought pastries and presents for my cousins' children. We also stopped to see the Santa Ines Mission. In the car we watched the end of the Second Doctor "Mind Robber" episodes, which we started the night before -- Jasper Fforde definitely saw these!

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Tonight and tomorrow we're staying with my father's brother and his wife near L.A. They have a horse and a pool in addition to a son between my sons' ages, so the kids are quite pleased -- they went swimming this evening after dark in the lit pool and toasted marshmallows over the outdoor wood stove. We had a big spaghetti dinner and watched the hummingbirds and finches flit through the backyard. It's cool and gorgeous here right now!