Sunday, April 01, 2007


We had a lovely getaway just overnight this weekend in McCloud at the McCloud Hotel, and a wonderful dinner experience on the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train. What made it even more fun is that we went with a whole group of friends -- there were 16 of us, and a lively bunch it was, too!

There were no TVs in the rooms, no phones, and it was quiet == not that it is noisy out here in the country, but the lack of urgency to DO something wasn't there, nor was the vague sense of "I ought to be doing....(pick your favorite to-do)" that is nearly always present. It was simply relaxing and enjoyable. I wasn't thinking about what to fix for dinner or breakfast, wasn't thinking about doing laundry or answering e-mail or organizing the desk or anything. I was completely focused on what was happening in that moment....listening to the stories, watching the animated faces, laughing at silly comments.

The slow clickclack of the train through the piney woods was wonderful ... just enough sway to remind you that you're on a train, but it was easy to walk through the car without stumbling. And the car itself was just magnificent -- completely restored wood, lovely tables set with heavy flatware, white tablecloths and fresh flowers. Three attendants took care of the whole car -- probably around 50 diners -- for three hours, taking drink orders, pouring wine and water and coffee, serving four courses, and chatting as though you were the only people there. They were efficient and very pleasant and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

It's so interesting to watch people in a group. We knew most of the people who came, and easily visited with the new acquaintances. We discovered things we didn't know about the people we already knew, and enjoyed the new personality mixes.

I found out a few things about myself, too. I watched more than I participated this weekend.... oh, I talked plenty and laughed a lot. But one group started singing on the train -- lots of songs I've known and sung for years -- and while I followed along, it was quietly and not in the middle of the group for a change. They were old songs, and I've known all the words to most of them for decades (oh, those college drinking days!)

It was a bit of a new experience to stand back and observe the personalities and interchanges, and to watch the others in the group and on the train as they reacted to the singers. I was aware at different times of pulling back and watching and listening instead of sharing a comment or a related story -- and that was different for me. There are very strong personalities in this group and I learned a lot by just watching.

Yes ... I can keep my mouth shut and stories to myself on occasion!

Strangely, tonight I'm really tired -- we talked about it at supper and decided it was just letting down our guard and getting away even briefly, and that it was very, very relaxing, and that is what we're both feeling --

We love our home office. But you don't ever leave the office either -- even when you shut off the computer and walk into the other parts of the house, it comes with you. We need to get away more, I think, and let it go.

Friday afternoon I planted seeds in the garden -- romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, mesclun, radishes, green onions, and sugar snap peas. And I threw a few bell pepper seeds into the ground to see if they'll root. The dirt is loose and fine from tilling it again just before I planted, and I hope to see seedlings later this week.

But we've already had a bumper crop of rocks. The garden is located on the old debris pile for the entire subdivision -- lots of trees, shrubs, rocks, etc. were dumped there in the late '70s when it was built. When we moved here, we burned the pile, which had sunk considerably, and it glowed for a week. We tilled and put a couple of loads of manure on top of it and let it sit over a winter before we put it into raised beds and tilled again.

And the rocks keep coming -- they grow little rocks. Some of the charred smaller sticks that were deep in the pile are coming up to the surface this year too. And rocks. Big rocks -- four or so inches. Gravel. Little rocks.

Long as the garden keeps growing, it's okay. I'll just keep sifting through the rocks with my fingers and toss them onto the paths around the garden. I expect to be sifting for many years.

It was a good weekend. I feel almost ready for the coming week -- but first, a good sleep in our own bed, kitties snugged in with us.

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