Claremont, California, Ashland, Oregon, and Peralta, New Mexico

Gray Sandhill cranes, bent to pluck bugs and seeds from the fields, have been gurgling their strange, raucous call since dawn.  They look almost like sheep from a distance with their long necks reaching down, or small, gray emus closer up.  Pale winter fields, fallow at this time of year, stretch all around my sister’s hacienda here in New Mexico, where I arrived on New Year’s Eve after a 2 hour flight which took 4 and a half.    So I was tired last night, but waking to their wild calls, looking out upon a frosty world outside, was stimulating and refreshing.

I have been on the move since my arrival in the US.    San Jose at Thanksgiving, Claremont( a week later.  Looked at a few homes near my son Matthew’s townhouse.  Took a train to San Jose again – an unusual mode of transport in these parts, but comfy, with broad seats, plenty of leg room, an electrical outlet by every seat, and a dining car with white tablecloths and real silverware and real food -then met a friend there with whom I shared a ride up to Ashland, Oregon ( to spend Christmas with son David and his children Sage, 5, and Malia, 7.    The passes over the Cascade mountains, past Mount Shasta ( to which must be added the adjective “majestic”, were snowy, but roads were clear on the day we crossed, and the predicted storms did not arrive.

I prepared mussels in white whine with “frites”, a salad, and sourdough french bread for Christmas Eve supper at David’s house, then enjoyed Christmas Day with enthusiastic children.

Arrived back in Claremont, I bid on the townhouse I had looked at.  It was accepted, so it looks like I’m in the process of buying it. Yikes.

Now in Peralta (, where I will spend 3 weeks sleeping in the same bed!!  Yippee.