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:

1953

1956 or 1957
 To this:
2008

2016
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

Monday, May 01, 2017

Minus Tide and Good Weather

We know you know how much we love this combination, a fantastic minus tide (-1.6) and a day without rain or wind. Both were predicted for the weekend. We couldn't wait for Saturday and Sunday morning to come.
On Saturday we headed north to Trinidad Beach. The lowest tide was at 8:30 am, and we got there a bit before. We started walking north, heading to the urchin-mussel-anemone covered rocks. Interestingly we were surprised by how high the sand was here. Much like it was in Capitola when we were there in March. These mussels (above pic) are on a rock that we can't see because of the high sand. We don't remember seeing it like this before.
We continued walking and came to where the usually drought low creek runs. Guess what? It was no longer a barely noticeable trickle anymore. Getting across this was a fun, wet, sandy mess of a challenge. We had a good laugh when our sneakers filled with water and we got wet above our ankles.
We actually crossed it a bit closer to where it flows into the ocean. It was fun to run across.
We were headed over to the other side of the rock to see the all the seaweed. It's always such a crazy bright color.
Not much wildlife out there, but plenty of stunning beauty to keep us happy. We headed back to the car after coming this far out. We got nice and wet on the way back and laughed about it all the way home.

On Sunday morning we headed south to the North Spit jetty. I've written about that here before. It's quite a walk out to the end of that. We don't get out there very often, but something always surprises us when we do. First, we saw a bunch of crabs that ran and hid all along the rocky north side of the jetty. I thought they were quite photogenic.
It really is a challenge to walk to the end of the jetty. It is crumbling, weather-beaten, time-worn mess. We persisted and made it all the way to the end. That's when I thought I saw something by the south spit. I thought I saw a whale. It was huge and had just barely come up to the surface before it went down again. We watched for a while, and it didn't come back up. We did see some harbor porpoises, as well, and that made us pretty happy. We started walking the long walk back when a woman heading to the end of the jetty stopped us and said, "Hey, did you see that whale?" YES! Confirmation. I really did see a whale. So we waited a while longer just staring into the mouth of the harbor when it briefly surfaced again!
It went down way too fast for me to get a photo, but I did capture this image of where that whale had been. You can just make out the shape of its long beautiful, awesome body. The woman told us that it was a Gray Whale with a calf. We were absolutely thrilled. When we walked back to the car, the few people who were out there fishing each said to us as we passed by, "Hey did you see that whale?" Yes, yes we did, we saw it! Awesome, indeed.

We love a minus tide and good weather.