It’s been a few weeks since I’ve exercised any blogging presence. I have a good excuse.

I’ve been upside down!

I will spare the details of my “ups and downs,” but I’ll share my best guess as to what happened.

I did have a little inner ear “thing” going on, and could feel the pressure. It’s been high allergy season already, which may have been the root cause. And then there are viruses going around, and after a year with no exposure to even a common cold, perhaps a virus was at play.

Then there’s my activity level.

Gardening has been my primary pastime during the long Covid-lockdown season. On property I’ve amassed at least 200 individual potted plants, ranging from mini-transplant seedlings to plants that have grown so abundant I’ve had to invest in larger pots and more planting mix and expense than I care to admit.

All last fall I watched the squirrels digging in the pots and burying acorns, and what’s the saying? “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow?”

All of the carefully cultivated pots are sprouting oak trees. And so I ambitiously attempted, over two days, to purge what I could by careful plucking small forests from individual containers, and in entirely too many, re-potting several dozen other plants into larger containers.

Did I use the potting bench, as my dear husband suggested? Short answer, NO!

So after two days of doing head inversions, I did myself in, and now I have explained my vertigo. All is well now, and I’ve promised myself to be a little less physically ambitious (notice I don’t use the word foolish) and perhaps I can avoid this in the future. It has not been easy.

Recovery required a lot of sitting very still, and in those quiet and contemplative moments I recalled a field trip Jay and I enjoyed a couple of years ago.

Mission San Juan Bautista, fifteenth of the Spanish missions established in California (1797) is adjacent the San Andreas Fault and has suffered a lot of earthquake damage through the years, but has been “shored up” and repaired a number of times and the grounds are pretty with inviting views.

I have previously posted about many of the 21-missions that connect from the bottom to the top of the state. Unlike when I was a child and taught mission history from text books that glorified mission life for the California Indian, California school children today are taught a more accurate history.

The true and distressing story of the missions’ founding must include the near-genocidal policy in which the California Indians were herded to build the missions, and once there, not permitted to leave. I am appalled at the historical context and record and I can’t always decide how I feel about the missions today. 

I live in one mission city, San Gabriel, home to the fourth mission founded 1771. I’ve loved the architecture and the gardens and I’m continually amazed that with all the earthquake damage over the centuries, they remain. Upon visiting, I try to pay reverence and respect to the lives lost in the mission era.

In the 65 years between the establishment of the missions in 1769 and the secularization by the Mexican government in 1834, 37,000 California Indians died at the missions. This wasn’t a fact taught when I was in 4th grade!

It becomes a little complicated for me when I also get kind of a kick out of modern-day stories that connect to hallowed space.


Another pastime Jay and I enjoyed this past year was watching Turner Classic Movies. We have multiple subscription streaming services yet our movies of choice were the old ones. I grew up on old movies because in the Los Angeles market we had “Million Dollar Movie” which took a classic and repeated it all week long and twice on Saturdays. Apparently my husband was more industrious and didn’t repeat watch movies!

I enjoyed a steady diet of Hitchcock, but Jay did not. So in 2020 we binged! 

Scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” were filmed at Mission San Juan Bautista. Homage to the director and to the film are displayed in one of the chapel porticos, and since towers have changed some over the years I don’t know what remains today resembling the classic scenes filmed in 1958. The “old Spanish village” described by Madeleine (Kim Novak) to Jimmy Stewart’s character is a clear description of the historic mission at San Juan Bautista.  

For Hitchcock fans, a Vertigo movie tour of San Francisco could be a fun escape!

So that’s my personal experience(s) with Vertigo, and this week I’m planning to keep my two feet firmly on the ground with my head held high for quite a long time. No swift moves, and an excuse to sit down anytime I don’t feel like I want to cooperate with chores or work I don’t really want to do. It could be a good excuse to trot out from time to time!

I do hope to return to broad scale blog participation very soon. 

Here’s to a safe and healthy new week for us all!