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So much for good intentions. Or resolutions. In fact, I didn’t make any resolutions this year. That might have been because I didn’t get around to thinking about it until New Years Eve, when I’d reached a nice mellow state after half a bottle of Moet during dinner in Nelson (top of the south island in NZ). If I had they would have been along the lines of calling my parents more often; or resolving to work really hard on my correspondence Masters degree (I have a nasty feeling it’s going to require a LOT of self discipline). And I’m pretty sure a resolution to post more frequently on my blog would have cropped up as well – because what’s the point of having a blog, even one with a deliberately obscure and quite pretentious title, if you’re not actually going to write blog posts.

So its just as well I didn’t make any resolutions because I would have broken that last one straight away.

To recap: last you heard from me, I was in NZ looking after my family after Dad ended up in hospital, in the intensive care unit. Fortunately for everyone, he made an excellent recovery, was out of hospital after only a week after surgery, and was making bounding steps towards being back to normal, in time for me to fly back to Australia, do a load of washing, instal a few more houseguests in our apartment to housesit for us, then hop on another plane with S, to wing our way to the west coast of the US for the long awaited Post-Thesis Holiday (S’s thesis, not mine).

We had a fabulous 3 weeks, exploring San Francisco, catching up with friends in Mountain View for Thanksgiving (not a big fan of the sweet sweet potato), wandering around Berkeley with some other friends, driving up the lovely coastal highway to the redwoods, then across to Napa for some wine-sipping, before a long car journey south to Monterey where we ogled marine creatures, and finally returning to SF for a final Hurrah.

The highlights were too many to really be called highlights. It was my first trip to the US, and so, quite an eyeopener – probably not for some of the reasons Americans would like. For example, not being able to walk 50 metres around the centre of town without being asked for your spare change brought home to me the big divide between Haves and Have-nots in the US. There are people driven to begging in Australia, almost always in the bigger cities, but nowhere near the number, even per capita, that we saw in SF. Also, the tipping culture became quite arduous, particularly combined with the practice of not including tax in the advertised price. Would it be so hard to incorporate the tax into the price? So you know exactly how much money you have to pull out of your wallet? Or to pay your workers a decent wage so they don’t have to rely on tips? We don’t suffer from poor service in Australia because we don’t have an entrenched tipping system.

Anyway, those were the bad things, and there were many good things to outweigh them. Like the proprietress from Yarn On First, in Napa, a gorgeous yarn store, who stayed open past closing for me to peruse her beautifully laid our store, then wound the skeins into balls while S and I went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, then dropped the yarn over to us at the restaurant, and threw in a sock pattern book I’d been looking at wistfully FOR FREE! Such a lovely lady. And of course, the scenery and the nature parks were amazing – I could have spent so much more time in the redwoods than we did. Perhaps when we go back to hike through Yosemite.

We returned to Australia for a week before heading to NZ. Details of that trip will have to be a future post, but as a summary statement, serious car accidents, earthquakes and a total hag of a B&B operator did not stop our four weeks there from being another wonderful holiday. In part, due to seeing family again, and, of course, the beautiful scenery, but mostly due to spending it all with my amazing partner, S, whose company I never tire of.

We were fairly travel weary at the end of it all, and were looking forward to our own bed, our own kitchen, and days on end without having to drive long distances. Sadly, a day after getting home, S found out he had to drive seven hours up to where the telescopes are, to babysit one very recalcitrant telescope for a week, starting the day after that.

I promised to post some photos of our trip in my last post, so here they are – in all their iphony artistry, and a very belated Happy New Year to you all.

Pipp lived at the B&B we stayed at in SF - the Golden Gate Hotel. He would also climb up the stairs and visit us in our room.

Gorgeous forests up in Redwood State forest.

We wandered around Stanford a little on Thanksgiving. Love the Spanish Mission architecture.

Napa at night - such a cute little town.

Union Square in December - I wish I was more patient when taking photos, so I didn't end up with randoms in my pictures.

The sign on the edge of Alcatraz island. An excellent audio tour, and not nearly as creepy as I thought it would be.

Iconic. Took this shot from the other side of the bridge, as we walked from Crissy Fields to Sausalito, on a beautiful cloudless day.

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