Monday, April 24, 2017

A Few Thoughts

1. I'm writing these words on Sunday afternoon, the day after Earth Day and March for Science celebrations. I am somewhat dumbstruck by the very fact that we have to take to the streets for our planet and for science. SCIENCE! What is going on in our world? I said to Roger while we were out for our walk in the brief sunlit break between storms, "Shouldn't there be protest marches against Big Oil? Wall Street? The conniving thievery that is happening right before our eyes?" We need marches in defense of science? How is this possible? Why is this true? Please wake me up and tell me that it was all just a bad dream.

2. Donald Trump and I have something in common. It's ridiculously true. On the day he was sworn in, his 100-day countdown began, and so did mine. I suspect that his 100 days will be as empty as his cognitive skills, but mine will be fulfilled by finally getting my Medicare benefits. It's true, I will have me my socialized medicine. I can only hope that someday our country becomes enlightened and finally gets single-payer. But until then, Medicare, in one more week here I come!
I photographed the highway down to one lane in March.
3. We live in what is often referred to as "behind the redwood curtain." It's a 270 mile drive north from San Francisco to Arcata. The most direct and easiest route is Highway 101. The last 100 miles of the trip is through the redwoods and mountains. Some of it is two-lane winding, hairpin turns on the edge of a drop to the south fork of the Eel River. Speed limit 30 mph. Yes, it's typically a slow trip. Well, since the big rains of winter, there's been a stretch of that highway that was down to one lane because of a landslide. And since last weekend, there was an even bigger landslide that has completely closed the highway. Seriously. Food supplies and US mail are being re-routed to other crazy routes to get to us, on roads that have their own one-lane-traffic controlled brokenness. We asked our mailman the other day if he had noticed any changes, and he said yes. There are some things that are just not making it up here. Once the highway is opened, he said, you'll be getting lots of mail that is being held up. It's interesting being somewhat isolated at the moment. I told Roger, it sure would be a bummer if we had an earthquake now, wouldn't it? More rain in the forecast, although that almost goes without saying, doesn't it? (I remembered an old post from 2008 that Roger wrote about his travels on Highway 101. It's fun looking back. I sure wish we were using blogger for comments back then rather than Haloscan which disappeared in 2009. Sigh.)
Four Generations!
4. I don't get to talk to my mom as much as I would like to. We used to talk twice a day for years and years, but now I'm lucky if I get to talk with her twice a week. Her lucidity is not reliable at any given moment. But the sound of her voice, especially if I can make her laugh, is something as beautiful as a favorite song. On this Sunday afternoon my sister called me while I was typing this and said, "Call mom right now, she is in a great mood." So I called. She actually answered the phone and said, "Oh hello Robin, and how are you today?" I shouted "Mom..." with every bit of love I have in my heart. She said, "You know my phone doesn't ring much anymore." I told her that it's often hard to get a hold of her. She's not in her room all the time. She doesn't listen to her messages anymore. She doesn't really know how to make phone calls. I also told her that our phone doesn't ring much anymore either. She said,"I'll call you, and then I'll hang up. Okay?" We laughed and laughed. Oh, I just remembered that I forgot to write on the blog that my mom became a great-grandmother on March 24th!

5. If you have a gmail account, you may be surprised to know that every email you've ever sent or received is still available if you log in via a browser. Unless you have figured out how to delete things, check the category called All Mail. Our "robinandroger" account had over 24,000 items dating all the way back to August 2008, when we first set up our account. What a walk down memory lane that is.

6. These are the times we are living in.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Break In The Rain For Some Clouds

We have had a lot of rain this winter. Oh's spring, isn't it? Seriously, is it spring? We're still having so much rain, already past the monthly average to date. On Sunday morning I woke up and literally wished out loud for the drought to come back. Living with extremes is extremely exhausting. So, the somewhat bright side of such bleakness is the break in the clouds and all the beauty that comes with it.

On Wednesday it poured a good inch. The wind blew like crazy. It was cave-dark all day, but just before sunset this happened.

Less than fifteen minutes elapsed between the first photo and last, but it was fifteen minutes of the most beautiful light and clouds. I think there is even a mammatus cloud formation here. This was a wonderful way to end a very dark day.

On Thursday a brief respite brought us this heart.
On Friday we went out to the marsh for a nice long walk. We saw this cloud formation and weren't sure we'd get back before it poured on us. But we took our chance.

It was quite a sight, that ominous cloud. But we lucked out and didn't get rained on at all. The cloud headed off in a southeast direction and we could see from miles away the rain as it touched ground.

On Sunday, just before the rains began again, the sky at sunrise looked like this.
And then it did something interesting that I had never seen before. Not sure what kind of formation this it, but it preceded some light rain showers.

So, that's how things have been here. Our first rose of the season has bloomed. We have anemones, ranunculus and columbines flowering. The gaillardia are full of buds almost ready to blossom. I guess it really must be spring!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: DoveGate

Click to embiggen

Monday, April 10, 2017

Deleting The Moon

I noticed the other day that I had over 21,000 photos in my iPhoto folder on my computer hard-drive. I had, many years ago, transferred five years of photos (2005 to 2010) on to discs and deleted them from my computer, but I hadn't done a very good job of keeping the photos from piling up since then. Twenty-one thousand photos is a lot of photos to look over when trying to decide what to delete. I download every photo from my camera and only play around and edit the ones I like, but I NEVER seem to get around to deleting the ones that  are duplicate, useless, and poorly photographed. So, I have started this tiring, daunting, and crazy task of looking over these photos and deleting them.
Screenshot of the delete file. Good bye moon!
Here is a screen shot of the moon photos that I deleted on Saturday. How many photos of the moon, the moon and venus, the moon and mars, the moon full, the moon eclipsed do I need to have? I suddenly started wondering why I even photograph the moon, stars, and planets at all. I've looked at the photos. There ain't nothing there that hasn't been photographed a million times by a million photographers. It all looks the same.
Hello beautiful yellow moon.
Okay, there are a few exceptions, like this moon rise in Capitola. Look at the color! That is definitely a keeper. Or the moon with a 22 degree halo. So, once I decide to keep one, I have to decide which one.

Screenshot of photos I'll be considering deleting soon.
See what happens? Each of those 21,000 photos has to be looked at individually.That's true of every butterfly, dragonfly, moth, and spider that crossed paths with us and unknowingly posed for photos. Also true of every snowfall, sunrise, sunset, and rainbow. Then there are the mushrooms, flowers, tomatoes, and peppers, etc. Which one goes? Which one stays?
Screenshot of deleted froggies!
And then there are the animals. I have been looking at so many bird, deer, rabbit, frog (I was blown away by the number of frog photos I had) and otter (sea and river) photos trying to decide... this one or that one. I don't want to keep any that are simply redundant and I don't want to back up all the photos and decide later. I  am doing the work now to be done with it. But what a crazy task.

I began deleting photos from April 2010, and as of this writing I am now up to March 2012. Five years of photos to go, five years. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Watching The Tides

I always check the tides. Everyday. I use this website. I typically check the high and low tides for Arcata Wharf. Then, if we're not going to the marsh where the old wharf used to be, I try to calculate the tides for wherever we're headed. Seems like a reasonable thing to do, right? I made a big mistake last week when I erroneously assumed that the minus tide would occur later rather than earlier north of the wharf. I don't know why I made that assumption, but I did. So, when the tide was supposed to be -.5 at 10:00 on Friday, we headed up to Houda Cove, expecting to see this.
We came to explore all those gorgeous tide pools that we had seen in July of 2016 when there was a -1.6 tide. But when we hiked down those harrowing wooden steps to the beach, there were no tide pools to be seen. It looked like this instead.
The water was much higher than we had expected. It was still beautiful, but we could hardly get out there and take a look around.
The above photo gives you an idea of where the tide was in the moment and how high it reaches at its peak. But there wasn't a tide pool to be seen anywhere. Here's what we had come to see.
But instead we saw this.
So, what happened? Well, as it turns out the tide actually reaches its lowest point here a full hour earlier than it does just 10 miles south at the Arcata Wharf. Seems crazy to me, but now I know for our future adventures. And I checked ahead and made a note on our calendar that there is a significant minus tide, a -1.6 at the end of this month. I marked the time carefully too. We want to see those tide pools, crabs, anemones, and sea stars again. It's why we make the journey. Well that and all this beauty.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

yard report

we have made some changes in the front since we moved in. there were no flowers. there was no rock border at the sidewalk. it was all like the part to the left of the flowers. the big rocks we used for the border were scattered among the smaller rocks. the fence had no gaps. that hardly mattered when there was only grass inside it.

now we have a gate. made from the fence boards we removed. robin promises that she will paint flowers and a sun on the gate. the broadleaf plant is a harikiki, native to new zealand. the previous owners left it and the owl.

this is before

no grass now. no lawncare. and the flowers inside will now get morning sun. some have flower buds.

the roses, also a legacy, are doing well after severe pruning.

well poop. some turf left. the greens in the boxes all overwintered. that's new lettuce  in the closest box.

the white lattice is for new peas in their new location. there are two pea plants that overwintered struggling to survive behind the older funky yet somehow pleasing lattice.

this is what it looked like when we started. they didn't leave the cat.

this area needs some work.

before pg&e reclaimed their right-of-way by removing seven feet of our deck.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Almost Wordless Wednesday: An Active Imagination

I look at this creek and try to read the sky pools. It must be a letter from our earth written in Urdu, or Sanskrit, or one of the 3,866 writing systems in the world. Is it a love letter or a plea for help? What do you think? (Click on the photo to embiggen!)
Yes, this is the Urdu alphabet.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Stegosaurus Pi

I posted a photo on Facebook and here on the blog a while back when we were heading south to see my mom. The photos were of the stunningly green California mountains and valleys after the rainy rainy winter we've had. One of those photos had an interesting cloud formation in it. When I posted it on Facebook, I actually called it my "pi in the sky." It was this photo.
The interesting thing is that I did not see the cloud formation when we were zooming by at 75 mph. That doesn't mean that it wasn't there, but I'm pretty observant when it comes to clouds, especially if they are crazily pi shaped like this.

So, I began to wonder, where did this formation come from. I kept my eyes on the lookout for clues, and then I saw this reflection out the window when were at a stoplight.
This image is even better than the original pi in the sky. It has its little head and tail too. But where does this little shy stegosaurus come from that it shows up reflected in our skies? Right here on the dashboard of our car.
We have a little menagerie of plastic critters that live there on the dashboard. We take them with us on all  of travels. The one on the far left, the green/blue lizard we've had for more than a decade. It has been in all of our cars since the day I found it in a parking lot. We can't even remember the history of all them, but they are part of our journeys. And interestingly, the stegosaurus has cast its vast plastic reflection on to the skies all over California, sort of. LOL! We love our Stegosaurus Pi!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Story Of A Rose

We arrived home on Sunday afternoon after spending a long twelve days on the road, driving 1400 miles (2253 km) round trip. Most of that time was spent with my mother who is working to regain some of her lucidity. She did remember me some of the time, but not always. I could tell when she really did remember me by the way she said my name. It was spoken with such warmth and love, it was like a song from her lips. I never minded when she didn't remember me though, because I always remembered why we were there, and that was to give her as much love, support and care as we could.

On the first day when we were at my sister's I noticed all the rose bushes she had. There was one out in the front yard that was particularly lovely. It produced the most beautiful multi-colored  flowers. So, I decided I would clip an almost-opened bud to bring to my mother. She always grew roses in our yard when I was growing up. She is a huge fan of such beauty. So I put the bud into a small empty plastic water bottle my mom had in her room. There it stood on the edge of her dresser like a promise of springtime. Then it blossomed into something breathtaking. I looked at that rose and thought, I'm going to take that rose back with me to the beach house when we head back north, and I'm going to toss it into the bay where my dad's ashes were scattered so many years ago. Roger and I have tossed flowers into that water in my father's memory many, many times. But never a flower that had bloomed in his beloved wife's room.
So, I picked a new rosebud for my mom's bedroom and brought it to her. Then, I took the blossoming rose back to my sister's, packed it carefully and we drove it 350 miles north to Capitola, to the beach house and bay. Our car has this wonderful little space for holding containers, and we thought the rose looked grand there on the trip.
After we unpacked the car, we walked down to the wharf and tossed this little rose into the bay. We said our love out loud to my father and told him how much my mother still loves him, when she remembers. And then we watched the wind and waves carry that beautiful rose out to sea.
If you click on the photo, you might catch a glimpse of the tiny red rose in the deep blue sea of love.