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I knew I was one of Those People

and the first thing I did when I hit the City of Roses was hug a tree…

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Now this was no regular tree.

This was a Jurassic-sized evergreen at the top of Mount Tabor and I was a tiny, tiny thing on its bark.

Here’s a picture for scale. A normal sized tree is just to the left of the biker (around 11 o’clock).

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I was compelled by some wicked muse to go there right after I landed, to set my mind properly to prepare myself for what I was going to see in the coming days. There’s hills here and for someone who’s now spent Decades in the flatlands of the Midwest, it is a phenomenally Wonderful thing. I actually cried.

Oh.

I’ve been short on pictures – no card reader – but now am catching up.

Here’s my temporary hut, which I’ve dubbed Bag End as it is, truly, in The Shire:

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It really is, I think, called the Sunnyside neighborhood, quite near Mt. Tabor (my king!).

Since I’ve been too slow on the draw with a camera (or was driving around), I started making a list of things so I can remember the distinct flavor change going on around my brain.

(I am the) Misty Satorialist:

Of course, boy-watching just can’t be helped and I noticed
– Beards but no mustaches
– Guys everywhere wearing pencil-legged jeans tighter at the leg than any babe
– Wearing dark socks while wearing shorts is not scorned

Ladies, put a swing on it
– Lots of just-below-the-knees leggings worn with all sorts of dresses, long shirts & aprons.
– A variant of the Chairman Mao hat in black seems to be quite in favor – yesterday I swear every third woman I passed was wearing one.
– Polar fleece hoodies with shorts and sandals were a close second. Today started out in the 50’s and got to about 80 this afternoon. I coped with layers and cuffed my jeans.
– Scarves galore! This is very exciting because it pinged my brain into action for some cowl ideas, and more.

Neighborhood and elsewhere
– Driving around clueless and suddenly up on my left looms Voodoo Donuts. Score. Probably couldn’t find it again.
– Had a grilled cheese sandwich, cooked then served from a Big Yellow School bus. Food carts are big here (475 carts available at any given time) and I accidentally found a whole passle of ‘em on Belmont & SE 43rd while looking for a place to buy toothpaste. Here’s a map of other “pods”. My whole mission on this trip is to hunt down a place to stay and this is as good a way as any to discover hidden gems in the hoods.
– Will try and tone down the cholesterol tomorrow – farmer / flea market 1/2 block down from my rooms. It is Berry Season – have already enjoyed some fine italian-style plums.

My other mission? Enjoying (and maybe taking some pics) of the outrageous flora everywhere – I am going to have to go hug that Mondo Pine on Tabor once more time to get grounded first.


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