Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Photos And Words On A Wednesday

Roger looked out the sliding door to the yard and said, "There are so many feathers falling from the sky, you've got to see this." We walked outside and the yard had feathers everywhere. There were other doves on the wires behind the house and none seemed alarmed. We have no idea how or why feathers tumbled from the sky to us. These came to rest at the top of our summer peas.
 The swallows decided on Tuesday that they should start building a nest right next to our front door. We told them "no," and deterred them by hanging things that we knew they wouldn't like. This is the look we got. We said, "Sorry, we understand it's a great spot, but no nest here by the door, thank you."
The house next door to us has been vacant for five (or more) years. The rainy winter and spring brought forth a new burgeoning ecosystem that the birds, butterflies, and critters all seem to enjoy. I have dreams of the blackberry vines going up over the roof. It really could happen!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Minus Tide On A Sunny Day

It has been a rather dreary time here on the north coast. Many many days of relentless fog, or what the weather service calls "overcast." It casts a gray dismal shroud over everything, blocking the sun for days at a time. Sometimes I wonder just how powerful that almighty sun really is. I think, "C'mon, it's just a bunch of watery bleak droplets between me and you, how can you not shine through this stuff?" But that's the way it goes here. So when the sun does shine its unbelievably bright rays of warmth and light, we are ready to head out for a walk. There was a nice little minus tide that coincided with a sunny morning the other day, so we said, yippeee let's go to Trinidad. We've walked the minus tide beach there many times, and it's always wonderful. When we arrived this time, it was WINDY. A serious wind blowing in, so we decided to hike up Trinidad Head to see how the view was from up there. Here's a photo of Trinidad Head I took last January from a beach about a mile or so south.
Here's what it looks like while hiking up the trail on Trinidad, looking north.You can see the beach where we would have been walking if it had been a calm day.
When we got to the top we had a wonderful expansive view. It wasn't windy, and it was beautiful in every way. Roger heard sea lions barking, and there was a halo around the sun. A truly splendid moment.
Then, we headed down around the other side toward the harbor. The light was perfect on the water that day.
We decided to walk down to the harbor and out on the wharf to see if there were any river otters hanging around. We saw them there a few years ago and were hoping to see them again. But they weren't around. We did get to see the wonderful pattern left in the sand by the retreating tide.
We love being reminded just how awesomely beautiful our planet is. Here is just one small spot on earth on one blue-sky day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Do Doves Exercise?

It was early in the morning, and I was waiting for the kettle to boil for tea. I looked out the window and saw this dove. Photos through a window are never the best...but placed together they answer the question.

Yes they do, and then they take a little nap!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Eighth Day

When I first moved out of my parent's house and hit the road in the early 1970s, I called them every Saturday morning from wherever I was. Back then I had to find a phone booth and gather a whole lot of coins to make that happen, or I would call them collect. There was no way a Saturday passed without a conversation. My dad always answered the telephone on those Saturday calls. Then, I would talk to my mother. It became a ritual, and I made those Saturday morning calls for more than 20 years. Then, when my father was diagnosed with primary liver cancer, I started calling them everyday. After he passed away in 1992, I continued to call my mother daily. That lasted until she sold her home in 2012 and moved to her first assisted living facility. Then, I started calling her twice a day, once at 9:00 am and once at 4:00 pm. It was our ritual that we adhered for the past five years, until the vascular dementia and Alzheimer's. As I type this I have not spoken to my mother in eight days. I have left messages for her everyday on her answering machine, which I know she won't listen to. When she tries to get her messages, she almost always inadvertently turns the machine off.

It's the longest I have ever gone in my life without talking to her.

Eight days.

My sister visits with my mom regularly and reports to us how she is doing, but it's just not the same. I would like to hear her voice, even if it makes no sense when we talk. In fact if I remember correctly one of the last times we talked she wanted to talk to the "other Robin." Oh right, the other Robin, the one without gray hair who used to call on Saturdays as she traveled across the country and Canada. Yeah, as my mother also says, "the fake Robin."
My mom went to a memorial for her sister-in-law last weekend. She got to see her brother and niece and nephew. It was lovely for her to reconnect with them. Yeah, she didn't make perfect sense when she talked, but the love was there.
So, while I wait to hear her voice, I've been out walking, photographing clouds, and trying to forget the world, and embrace our beautiful planet instead.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Do I See A Frog?

Why yes, yes I do!

Monday, June 05, 2017

These Times We're Living In

We've been out taking walks to divert our attention from the unfolding nightmare that is our country at the moment. There are simply no words to describe our utter shock and dismay about the times we are living in.

So, here's what we've been looking at. Ah, we always say thank you to the earth for providing us with this awesome beauty.

This is Arcata Bay at a low-ish tide. Not even the lowest tide of the day. The algae is definitely in full bloom here. The colors are so vivid against that blue blue sky.
The tidal channel flowing back out to the ocean.
A wonderful illusion of a bay in the distance. This reminded us so much of Monterey Bay, but it is all only sky and cloud beyond the green pastures.

When I think about the times we are living in, I am always reminded of this song by Kate Wolf. She sings, "We've only got these times we're living in..." At the moment, that's a bit of a bummer.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: We Asked

They wouldn't tell us.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

For The Glory 2017

Memorial Day Weekend in Humboldt County is all about the Kinetic Sculpture race that has been happening every year for the past 49 years. Check out last year's post if you want more background on this fantastic race. I don't usually like crowds or big crazy gatherings, but for some reason I love this one so much. This is my third year watching it, and I just can't stop grinning the whole time I'm out there. The joy is simply contagious, much like this first sculpture we saw, the Kinetic Kootie.
The captain of this vessel has been in the race for 32 years! Their motto: We celebrate with humor and terror the thought of katching a kootie."

Here are some of the other truly fantastic and awesome sights we saw. There were many, many more.

Summer of Love 50th Anniversary

The Glorious Galloping Gastropod

Melvin (who has been racing for 36 years!)

Samurai Lawyers

Team Goddess Lightning Bug

Just a view of the journey out of town, I didn't even notice Santa until I looked at the photos!

Sparky (a team devoted to finding homes for dogs and cats)
All of these vehicle/vessels must successfully traverse roads, sand dunes, big tricky drops, and water crossings for 30 miles over three days of travel. They start out here in our little hometown on Saturday and wind up in Ferndale on Monday. I photographed one of the big sculptures in town.

A Cockwork Orange (Captain has been in race 22 years)
Then on the street heading out of town to the dunes.
And then we watched it live streaming on the internet Sunday morning as it made its way into the bay.

I tried to video it straight off my computer screen so you could see what these wild wonderful people go through, "For the Glory!"

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Halos and Arcs

I walked down the street on Sunday afternoon to check out a garage sale. I was talking to the two women there, one was the neighbor and the other was her friend who had brought stuff to sell. We were chatting about grandkids, toys, earrings, and barrettes. That's when I looked up at the sky. I saw something I had never seen before. It looked like a 22 degree halo, except it wasn't around the sun; it was ghostly white; and it was in the northern sky. I looked at them and said, "I see an atmospheric optic that I have to go photograph. Bye." And I literally took off running home. I try to imagine what it must have looked like for my neighbors to see me, the daily walker, out there trotting to the house. Crazy I tell ya, absolutely crazy. But here's what I saw.
I know this pale arc doesn't look like much. But I've never seen anything like it. Yes, there was a 22 degree halo in the sky, but it was exactly where it was supposed to be, wrapped around the sun with all its lovely colors in the southern sky. It was opposite the pale display.
Oh, and there was a circumhorizon arc below the colorful 22 degree halo as well. You see why I was running home to get the camera. I have no idea what that pale arc was. I am planning on sending the image to Les Cowley at Atmospheric Optics. I'm sure it's some Parhelion something or other, but I truly don't know. I know you know, I love a good atmospheric mystery.
The circumhorizon arc stretched across the southern sky. It was awesome. Definitely the kind of thing you run home for, I think! That, and mysteries.

And then it was all gone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Arcata Arcs

It had been a while since I'd seen so many arcs and halos like this. I think the last time was three years ago when we were still living in the foothills. Always a surprising joy to see such a thing. It doesn't last long, but the moment lasts a lifetime. I knocked on the neighbor's door so the kids could come out and take a look. They loved it. It's good to know there will be a new generation of fans of the atmospheric beauty of our skies.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Moon and Dove

I had a lovely birthday, and I thank you for all the good wishes. I did get to talk to my mom and she said, "I'm sorry I forgot your birthday." I said, "You didn't forget, there's still time to say 'happy birthday, Robin' to me, and I'll love it." She said it with the most loving joy in her voice. And then she asked me if it was someone else's birthday as well. She remembered! So I gave her Michael's telephone number, and when she was writing it down and repeating it to me it reminded me of something that happened just the other day. I posted about it on Facebook. Here's the post:
The phone rang. Roger answered it. I heard him say, "You have the wrong number." Then he said it again. Then he said our phone number to the caller. I was thinking, "Yikes, what kind of new phone scam is this?" He hung up and said that it was an old woman looking for her daughter. He felt bad for her. Then the phone rang again. I answered it. it was the old woman, and she really was looking for her daughter and it was not my mother looking for me. The woman told me that her daughter lives in Ohio and repeated the phone number. Yup, our number, but she didn't know that she had to dial the area code. So, I asked her where her daughter lives. She said Cincinnati, or maybe Akron. I looked up both cities and found three area codes. I had her write them down and read them back to me. She was very confused. We did it several times until she had the numbers straight. I wished her good luck and told her to call us again, if it didn't work out. I hope all confused seniors find a cooperative sad daughter at their wrong numbers.
I told my mother the story, and she loved it so much. When she called my brother to wish him a happy birthday she told him that I had just told her such a wonderful story.

Ah love. It can be such a heartbreak sometimes. Full of joy and tears, joy and tears.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Twins Are 65

Today my twin brother Michael and I celebrate our 65th revolution around the sun.

We went from this:


1956 or 1957
 To this:

In the blink of an eye! I'm pretty sure we are senior citizens, although we're still total goofball kids at heart.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sunday, May 07, 2017

She Went A-Wanderin'

Well, we learned the statistical probability of Alzheimer's behavior the other day when my mom managed to escape the 24/7 Board and Care facility and wander out on to the suburban streets of the neighborhood she hardly knows. Sixty-percent of Alzheimer's sufferers will wander, and sadly 50% of them not found within 24 hours will suffer serious injury or death. On the beautiful, hot spring day my mother managed to find a way out, pushed her walker beyond the cul-de-sac on to another street and continued walking. A woman in the neighborhood saw her and thought she looked unsteady and confused, so approached her and struck up a conversation. She thought my mother definitely needed assistance and called the police. The police came and questioned her. My mother knew her name, but not where she lives. She knew my sister's name, but not how to contact her. It took the police about an hour to find my sister's contact number and call her. Imagine getting that phone call. My sister was utterly devastated to hear the police say they had our mother in the back of their car, that she had escaped from the facility and needed assistance.

Luckily, all was okay. My sister picked her up and took her to her house rather than back to the 24/7 care facility. My mother was dehydrated and exhausted. She slept for several hours before my sister took her back to the facility. So, of course, now we're looking at other facilities that have more onsight care and a true safe environment that can't be fled. We had already been considering moving her to a place where there is more mental stimulation, at least more than a TV turned on in the living room for distraction. My mother needs engagement in all ways... music, dancing, card games, and conversation. She needs staff who are completely skilled in the ways of personal resistant behavior, and not perplexed or stymied by the answer "No" to every suggestion of personal care.

Lately my mother has been saying that she wants to go home. We try to make sense of it, wonder what it meants for her... a place? a time? her former brain? death? But in researching wandering behavior I found this:
I learned that people suffering from Alzheimer's want to go back -- back home. It doesn't matter if they are at home. They yearn to go home.

I get email all the time from readers telling me they are being driven nuts because their loved one wants to go home.

A word to the wise is sufficient. When they start saying this get your eyes and ears open. They might decide to try and make it home on their own --
they are ready to wander.
My mother continues to try and find ways out of the house. The restlessness and desire to wander is a hallmark of Alzheimer's, as is resistant behavior. I cannot tell you how tragic and heartbreaking this has been for my family. There are no words to convey this ongoing loss.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017