My little van was packed to the brim when I set out from Boston, MA for Iowa City, IA. The trip was done in three installments: Boston to Cleveland, Cleveland to Chicago, and Chicago to Iowa City.
I drove through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana, never anticipating the number of vineyards I'd encounter in each of these states. Sadly, there was no time for stopping, just onwards through Illinois to (drumroll, please) Iowa!
I love California. Almost every time I go home, it is as though my soul clicks into place. It has been a delight to spend July in "my country," as I like to refer to it. In this post, I will pay visual homage to my visit.
Through the years, Western Massachusetts became home. I now look forward to Iowa City becoming home, too.
Back in February, I wrote a post about the Mount Holyoke College 175th Challenge, geared towards young alumnae. Now that the challenge is over, the Office of Advancement has declared it a success! This makes me happy because I produced key content—five videos—for the challenge.
Here's an update on the final numbers for the challenge:
The fourteen classes included in the challenge raised a total of $71,096. With matching dollars by trustees and bonuses for people who had not yet given in FY13, a total of $159,467 was raised. The most gratifying statistic for me is that during the last three videos, 20 donors that had not made a gift in the past six years were compelled to give gifts ranging from $5 to $200! A total of 691 first-time FY13 donors gave during the challenge. I'd like to give a shout to Class of 2010, which had the most new donors at 81.
I made this thank you video back in May to be sent out at the end of the challenge:
During my California adventure, I visited a good friend who is working at Pie Ranch, on the San Mateo coast. The experience was deeply inspiring and provided beautiful visuals.
During my brief visit, I had the honor of milking these goats and then drinking their milk for breakfast. Milking was MUCH harder than I expected. To milk a goat or cow, one pinches high on the teat with index finger and thumb, then uses one's remaining fingers to push out the milk. Residents showed amazing skill at this, producing robust squirts of milk that resounded triumphantly in the metal milk bucket. I, on the other hand, produced feeble and infrequent tinkles.
The long-term residents of Pie Ranch live in yurts. This is the biggest yurt, inhabited by the family who owns the farm.
We sampled some of the harvest and everything was delicious, as well as stunningly beautiful.
Dulce lived up to her name, and was very sweet while I milked her. That morning, she produced a little over two gallons. The goats on the other hand, were ornery and managed to kick over the milk bucket. Repeatedly.
One of my first stops upon arriving to California was what my family calls Windsurfers' Beach. Just a few miles north of Hearst Castle, this beach once teemed with windsurfers. Now, kitesurfing appears to be more popular. The idea of being driven a considerable distance offshore by the wind with just a surfboard under one's feet sounds thrilling whether a sail or a kite is catching that kinetic energy. Less thrilling is how sand can get lodged in a camera's lens when it is being driven by that wind. Despite the risk of getting unlucky with sand, I was happy to get these shots.
A kite surfer rides the wind.
"Are you hitting the water soon?" I asked this surfer. She told me she had been out there, but had to "self rescue" and was now untangling her lines. As I learned, in the process of self rescue, one releases tension on half of the kites' lines, causing it to "depower." The surfer, now in the water, must wind in the kite and swim in to shore, dragging it. This surfer says luckily, she was close to shore.
Remember when I was filming with Knack back in February? Knack is now open at Eastworks in Easthampton for those of you in Western Massachusetts. Here's the final version of the video I produced. Congratulations to Knack for raising $5,001 with their IndieGoGo campaign!
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