Monday, August 29, 2011


We came to spend the weekend with relatives John and Meredith. They have just bought a home in Woodside, in the southern part of Silicone Valley. Yesterday, in deference to Alla, we took a hike in the woods rather than ride our bikes. We enjoyed a long walk through a redwood forest up to the top of a ridge known as Skyline Drive. Alla saw her first banana slugs, including a particularly large and juicy specimen. Meredith invited me to join an elite club she joined as a child, but the initiation required me to kiss a banana slug and she wasn’t really able to tell me any compelling benefits of membership. Today I learned that John is a member too, but I still feel OK about the fact that I have not joined.

As we drove to and from the park, we passed dozens of cyclists. Traffic slowed to a crawl at a major crossroads, as cyclists whizzed hither and yon through the intersection and stopped at the local very fancy, very organic, natural foods store cum delicatessen. I remarked that perhaps one should not move to Woodside without first purchasing at least one bicycle. Fortunately, we have bikes. So this morning John, Meredith and I rode through that intersection and up to the top of Skyline Drive. The entire Los Gatos Racing Club rode past us when we stopped at the base of the hill. Naturally John and Meredith charged off to chase them and pass quite a few. Unfortunately, I’m not in that kind of condition right now and I managed to pass just a single straggler.

When they’ve put away their bikes, Woodside residents seem to spend lots of time at their backyard swimming pools. At least, that’s the way it appears to us as we listen to the quiet splashing sounds wafting through the bushes. As I write this, in fact, Alla is making quiet splashing sounds in John and Meredith’s pool, heated by roof-mounted solar panels. It’s quite a contrast to the Saturday morning cacophony of leaf blowers, and I’m quite happy to see that the leaf blower folks seem to have agreed on a fixed time for their endeavors.

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