Thursday, May 28, 2009

That Dreamy Look of Love

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Dreamin'

I said to Roger the other day, "In three years, you know, you're going to be 70."

He said, "Yeah, and I'm homeless."

We laughed.

But it's true. Well, not in the tragic sense.

We have a splendid roof over our heads where we see these magnificent and silent pterodactyls from our front yard.

But we have no place that we call home. All of our stuff (we can hardly remember what most of it is anymore) is in storage. Stuff we packed more than a year ago. Stuff. And except for photos, all of it could disappear, and it wouldn't matter. How's that for a lifetime of collecting.

Here's what we miss: a garden to tend; the work on it that makes us weary to our bones; the quiet and night-time darkness of the countryside; neighbors who have been around and plan to stay; knowing which birds are local and which are the seasonal migrators; the place where the bobcat comes through the yard; the howl of the coyote; the moth at the window; the wildflower in the grasses. The familiar, and the thing that will catch our eyes.

So, our search for a home continues. Saturday and Sunday we went back to this place. Roger walked up into the redwood forested hillside to see the meadow from above. There's plenty more than this photo shows. Two more structures to my right, an acre of meadow to my left, a big old barn beyond the little building here, a creek and the private bridge that connects this land to the road. That's me there, dreamin'.

We're making an offer Tuesday morning. It's California, so nothing can be counted on. Wish us luck.

UPDATE: Roger spent the morning at the county building researching this property: what would it take to make any of these structures livable; which structures were permitted and which were not; the condition of the septic, etc. Turns out it would be outrageously expensive for us to undertake such a project. It might as well be raw land, and in that case it's way out of our price range. These four beautiful acres are on the market for $383,000.

Here are a few conversions to give you an idea of what $383,000 US dollars means:
430,745 Canadian Dollar
273,943 Euros
240,335 Pounds
488,157 Australian Dollar
415,247 Swiss Francs
18,238,792 IndianRupees
5,028,057 Mexican Peso

So, it's back to the drawing board. Still dreamin'.

Friday, May 22, 2009

San Francisco Bound

It's been a busy week. Family stuff. Real estate stuff. All that stuff of life. Today we are driving up to San Francisco to have dinner with Elena (Roger's youngest) and her partner Jimmy, and his WHOLE family, plus Roger's ex and her two wonderful children. Jimmy is graduating from San Francisco State this weekend, and Friday night's dinner is a celebration of that milestone.

Here's the cool thing about driving up to San Francisco for dinner: We get to drive up the coast. Seventy miles of beautiful country side. We'll pass Ano Nuevo where the elephant seals come to mate. We'll drive by at least three state parks. It's pretty the whole way.

When we get there, we're having dinner at Metro Katmandhu. Imagine that. A little piece of Nepal right there in the city.

Jimmy has been accepted to graduate school already. He's planning on studying to become a special education teacher. He's really quite a guy, and we're just so happy to be heading up to the city to drink a toast to his dreams.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Whole World, Little Though It May Be

The spring birds arrived.
Caspian Tern

Wilson's Warbler

Hooded Oriole (immature male)

American Kestrel on the roof next door.
(Not really migrator, but definitely a surprise in this residential neighborhood.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Sea Mammal Day

A lot has been happening in the bay lately. We've been watching from the side lines-- our windows-- binoculars and camera always ready on the sill. Mostly we see it all from this distance and know that running down to the wharf won't ever get the intended results. By the time we get there the action is over-- no otters, sea lions, terns, pelicans, or dolphins. So a chance close encounter when we are actually down there at the shoreline is just that-- sheer good fortune, luck, and timing.
We headed out for our daily walk Thursday. It's been warm and sunny, perfect spring weather. We always start our little local walk by heading down to the end of the wharf. Typically there are people fishing from both sides with a little crowd at the end. Thursday was no exception, except the usual fishing quiet was interrupted by a barking ruckus coming from the bay. Two sea lions were cavorting with wild exuberance on this sunny afternoon. It was the kind of stuff we always see from our window. But here they were, close to the wharf and carrying on like our presence didn't matter at all. It was grand to be utterly ignored. We hoped their enthusiastic displays meant that there was plenty of food around for everyone. There have been hundreds of cormorants and grebes hunting madly for food lately, but to no avail. We'd like to think that the sea lions' presence bodes well for all these hungry creatures.
Surprisingly, at the same time we saw this sea otter lunching on some crab. When we see pelicans, cormorants, grebes, and terns diving and fishing, the sea otters are typically not around. This seemed unusual. While I photographed the otter, Roger and I both noticed that we could hear it cracking hard shells with its powerful jaws and teeth. It was a sound we had never heard before. Between the barking and the cracking, we were in the midst of a wild sea mammal duet.

After the wharf, we walked up the hundred steps stairway to Depot Hill. Breathless at the top, we walk along the cliff, then down to the railroad trestle, across the creek, and back home. There I downloaded these photos and noticed that it looked like the sea otter had a crab in hand and one on its belly. We wonder, is it a sign the sea is producing riches for everyone? We really do hope so.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Twins In The Year 2009

That's my twin brother and me. I think you can pretty much tell how old we are now just by looking at this ancient photo. If your baby photos are in black and white, you come from era that has been eclipsed and saturated by color. Look at that TV. We were already mesmerized by the talking lightbox at such a young age. Now we stare at computer screens and will only turn our attention like that briefly, for someone with a camera. Well actually truth be told, these days if someone says, "Hey twins, turn around," like my father's cousin did more than a half a century ago, we'd both probably run the other way grumbling with our faces hidden. Well, really, me more so than Michael.

Today those babies are celebrating their 57th birthday. We are both avid birders, gardeners, lovers of nature. We are both progressive, liberal, peacenik, music-lovers. We both enjoy healthy diets full of organic locally grown produce and lots of tofu, rice, and beans. We both dream of perfect futures knowing that such a thing will never really happen in our lifetimes. Do we have hope? Probably not, in the biggest sense. Do we laugh like hyenas on the phone when talking about the current state of affairs? Yes, we actually do. Do we cry the same way over all the inequities in the world? Yes, we do that too. We were born two minutes apart; we live less than a mile apart. We are now gray-haired twins. Still hanging out in the world together.

Hey twins, turn around!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Home Alone Together

We're trying to resume our very lazy, laid-back dharma lives. After my eight days back at the university filling in for my former supervisor, and Roger's week-long family reunion, we are not quite floating pelican-like in current synchronicity. On Mother's Day we spent long hours just staring out at the sea. The house was quiet. Quiet. No one needed our attention. Everyone was gone, a day early. A reprieve granted by the heavens.

It occurred to me over the past few days that I have some questions for you: For those of you who work and maintain blogs--how do you do it? Between work and the family reunion, I didn't just not have time to blog, I didn't even keep up with my favorite bloggers. How do you keep up? What's your secret? Also, I noticed that my RSS feed completely lied, convincing me there were no updated posts on a few blogs. What's up with that? And, why do I never have the camera with me when we walk across the train trestle and the Violet Green Swallows come to rest on the fencing wire? It just ain't fair.

Tired, and that hardly describes it.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

guys and dolls

the clan, looking into the sun.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

tres amigos

that's me, my brother darryl and my other brother darryl. yes, i am the visibly (and actually) oldest.

hawaii, california, and mexico, left to right, geographically.

Monday, May 04, 2009

growing pains

in the midst of a midwinter warm spell our need to grow food rose up enough a month and a half ago to spur us to dig a ten foot by 15" x 15" trench and line it with chicken wire, a must-have defense against gophers here. we planted seeds for carrots and beets, and sets for onions and shallots. two weeks later, too lazy to dig more trench, we resorted to planter boxes for kale and spinach and odd containers for tomatoes and basil.

of course the weather cooled off. the seeds sprouted after a bit but grew slowly. the tomato starts seemed stuck in time. then the uncertainties of global weather change kicked in and early summer returned. everything has responded well to several days of extra high temps in the middle of a sunny spell. and now we are back to spring fog and drizzle.

one of those tomato plants has flower buds. we hope it doesn't rot in the fog.

i may get to see all my siblings together, a rare occurrence. the brother from kauai and his wife are in san francisco now doting over their new grandson. the brother from lake chapala, near guadalajara, in mexico arrives by air sunday evening. we'll dunk him in bleach and ammonia and alcohol. our sister lives near grass valley and will drive down sometime next week.

robin is working this week, filling in at her old job at ucsc while her former boss is away so i'm the blogger.
update..... kauai brother and spouse arrived sunday afternoon. he and i went to san jose airport and fetched chapala brother sunday evening. we imbibed and indulged and still all retired early. wonderful to see my two brothers together. sister arrives wednesday.