- Just minutes after hitting publish on last week's notes, my mum emailed me to inform me that my dad had been rushed to hospital with severe pancreatitis. Pretty sure it was our fault for encouraing a week of eating cheese, cake, icecream and red wine. He's home again now on bed rest, minus his gallbladder. Sorry, dad!
- This week I did a little experiment on myself and vlogged a week of doing art. I'm incredibly self-conscious about it, but if you want to go have a laugh at me, it's over here.
- That's about it. The video covers most of the week, but if you can't bear to hear my voice, it goes: finished 3 paintings, started a new semester of Japanese lessons, went to ikebana and did some meetings.
- When I last left off, we were in Anderson Valley. The work-from-airbnb with friends experiment was a success, but we learned that next time we need to bring lumbar support for everyone because we're weak nerds with no core strength and kitchen chairs just don't cut it.
- I did a few plein air paintings while there. Nothing I'm excited about, but good practice.
- On Sunday, we got home from 2 weeks in the UK! They let us in! We didn't contract covid!
- The UK appears to have abandoned all covid measures, which was very disconcerting. We had to have a negative test before we flew, and because we're vaccinated we didn't have to quarantine. We did have to have a day-2 after-arrival test, but the results for that took 5 days to come back, so I've no idea why they bothered.
- It was a very nice trip! We spent a week in Cornwall, staying in my home town, and spent as much time as possible with my mum and dad, who we hadn't seen since 2019. It was perfect weather and we had a lovely time.
- The train back to London had the most British hiccup - a Tesco lorry drove into a bridge that supported the only train-line in and out of Cornwall. Consequently, we decided to do a last minute overnight in Plympton in an old Tudor manor. Pretty cool, actually.
- The London week was a mixture of work, lunches and coffees with friends and late nights in pubs. Business as usual.
- Jetlag since then. Went to ikebana and did a quite good rikka, and then yesterday went to see the Judy Chicago exhibition at the de Young with Monica. It's not really my cup of tea, but I appreciate the messaging and the huge range of mediums.
- I think I've miscalculated what week I'm on again, but who cares.
- A day late for actually Week 531 and I could have waited until the end of this week, but I'm procrastinating.
- I'm procrastinating because I have my last Japanese class of this semester, and therefore I have a test tonight I should be revising for.
- On Monday, I went to the new teamLab: Continuity exhibit with Monica at the Asian Art Museum. I've been to the ones on Japan, and it's the same people, but on a smaller scale. Think dark rooms with generative art projections of flowers, weather, fish and butterflies that subtley interact with you if you pay attention. Very nice afternoon out.
- The UK has finally decided to let folks in with vaccinations and not make them quarantine, so we've booked to go at the end of August. Alex has some busines in London, so it's fortuitous timing. I think mum and dad are... trepidatious... however, even if they are not excited to see me, I miss seeing them and am glad to be coming before the weather turns. I'm also severely out of good biscuits.
- I'm currently in an airbnb myself and some friends booked, somewhere near Philo. It's a working trip - everyone in the house is currently on a laptop working/on a call. We're considering starting our very own, very boring, reality show.
- Except for the aforementioned procrastination reason, it's really hard to get anything done when you're overlooking a beautiful vineyard with no less than 3 to 8 turkey vultures sailing overhead at any given time.
- Had a brief covid mini-scare and stress tested how easy and quick it is to get a test in San Francisco. Sort of easy, but a pain in the ass to locate if you're not web-savvy. A lot of "wtf, why is it like this".
- Consequently bought a bunch of these home tests. My British pals are surprised we don't have home lateral testing. I'm sorry - did you forget where we live? The FDA has not given us access to such sanity changing devices.
- We don't have covid. Yet.
- Did some culture - visiting the Nam June Paik exhibition with Monica. She described it well in her own weaknotes.
- Had one not very good ikebana class and one quite good ikebana class. Feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things. Also, I'm speaking more Japanese in class!
- Ate a really delicious pancake today. It was ube and in a bright purple coconut sauce, obviously meant for the instagram.
Alex changed jobs, so we took the opportunity to take some trips now that we’re vaccinated.
We started with a week out in Hawaii, just to chill and see one of Alex’s oldest friends and his family.
Then we took a just-over-two week road trip hitting: SF to Big Sur to Santa Barbara to Joshua Tree and Mohave to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon back through Las Vegas to Death Valley and then on to Independance (to visit Hawaii friend’s mum’s ice-cream shop - v good), Mammoth Lake and South Lake Tahoe (dropping in on Monica), ending in Calistoga for a long weekend at Indian Springs with some friends. It was great!
Most of the trip was basically a lesson to someone like me who grew up on a little island exactly how vast and empty most of North America is. Have some holiday snaps for explanation (mostly taken by Alex).
I restarted Japanese lessons a couple of months ago, so I kept those up while I travelled along with some work commitments because that’s all still online. A bit of an experiment in digital nomadism, where I’ve largely learned how crap most hotel WiFi is for video meetings (and how surprisingly decent Google Fi is for hotspots!).
I’ve also found a 1:1 Japanese tutor to help with speaking practice. I meet with her once a week on zoom, not because of COVID, but because she’s in Japan! こんにちはあゆ先生！
Now we’re back, ikebana class started again in person! So nice to be back with my coven. Here’s my first rikka since February 2020.
And then we’ve rounded off this re-entry into the world with a trip to the ER this weekend for a mystery trunk pain for Alex - suspect kidney stones but they couldn’t spot one? Not appendix, since that was the great wedding anniversary gift of 2014. Anyway, an exciting mystery that had me up at 4.30AM on a Saturday morning.