I’m just back from an amaz­ing, and as-warned much to short vis­it to Cal­i­for­nia to see my novio. Sigh. And the Mex­i­can cus­toms con­fis­cat­ed the deli­cious sala­mi that I was bring­ing back. I’m grumpy to be back. I’m sure my mood will improve once I go for a run.

Except for the fact that I am a bit sad to have left my novio after 4 short days and my lack of Ital­ian treats to share, I real­ly can’t com­plain. I was on vaca­tion from the Peace Corps, which sounds a bit ridicu­lous in the first place. Since I haven’t lived in the US since 2007, it is always strange to go back; how­ev­er, Berke­ley is one of my favorite place to go vis­it, and it feels the most like home for any place in the US.

We took two days of prop­er vaca­tion and drove up the coast for the week­end to Sono­ma coun­ty to do some explor­ing and boul­der­ing on Sat­ur­day. We camped overnight. The fog was unfor­giv­ing on Sun­day, so we went with some friends for a hike in the Arm­strong Red­woods State Reserve. What had­n’t affect­ed me until this trip is the Cal­i­for­nia bud­get issues. All my friends in the bay area have jobs or are in school, and I just haven’t seen the impact until try­ing to vis­it all the small­er park areas along the coast. Many parks are closed, many of those still open have dras­ti­cal­ly reduced ser­vices, and the prices are incred­i­bly high to camp. I was­n’t just view­ing the prices through a Peace-Corps-salary-in-Mex­i­can-pesos lens, every­one was a bit stunned. I’m not sure though if it is only a sad thing. It was inter­est­ing to see nature reclaim­ing one of the closed parks that we snuck into and explored try­ing to find boul­ders. I wish I had tak­en a pic­ture of the pic­nic tables being tak­en over my moss.

As if was­n’t won­der­ful enough to be vis­it­ing M., I also got to use his cam­era, a Nikon D7000. I already knew it was a bet­ter cam­era than my D60 (which was his until he upgrad­ed and so gen­er­ous­ly gift­ed to me as a going-away present), but M. final­ly con­vinced me about this whole shoot­ing RAW thing. I’m con­vinced. One round of edit­ing, and I’m ready to back up, emp­ty, and start over with my mem­o­ry cards — ready for my new huge files. Also, it helps that I have plen­ty of space on the new lap­top, for now. It was time for an upgrade since Pho­to­shop would bare­ly run and I was hav­ing severe heat issues. So, I spent a bunch of my “real” mon­ey, and of course it was worth it. Last one was from late 2006.

I was debat­ing trick­ling out the pho­tos from the trip over a bunch of posts, but there are always more pho­tos to be tak­en. So here they are. I will be adding a bunch to the “From the Win­dow Seat” page as I get them edit­ed. The pic­tures of me are tak­en my M., but the rest are ones that I took.