Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weather Report

 We had rain! It's true. It rained in California at the end of June, in official summertime.
We know that's crazy talk, but it is the crazy truth. We had almost three inches of it.
It was simultaneously bleak and beautiful for two days.
And, when it was over, there were iridescent clouds forming and disappearing like ecstatic mirages in the sky.
Now we're back to heatwave hot temps.
Blue skies without end.
No rain in the forecast.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Father's Shoes

When I was young (a long long time ago) my father often promised me he would wear a pair of old penny loafers like these to dance at my wedding. If I remember correctly, the shoes were already worn and old, even when I was young. Over the years, he would show them to me and say, "I still have them," and we would laugh about it. I loved the idea. But I was a renegade and never really had a traditional wedding, where there were actual guests or dancing or a  party. And now those shoes are long gone.

Have I mentioned here on the blog that my father and mother loved to dance? In fact, they met at a dance on Valentine's Day in 1947. Music and dancing were an integral part of my childhood. So, my father's promises about dancing in those shoes were steeped in a tradition of cha chas, jitterbug, the two-step, and his graceful shimmying shoulders. When his first grand-daughter was born, he made her a promise. He showed her the shoes he planned to wear to her wedding and told her he was going to dance up a storm in them.
My father's shoes
After my father died more than 20 years ago, my sister Lynn saved several pairs of his shoes because those were some of the things that stirred our hearts. She saved them for her daughters' weddings. So, it came as no surprise that she brought these shoes to Corey's wedding last weekend and asked our older brother Marc to wear them and dance. He did. He danced with Corey. He danced with our mother. He danced and danced and danced the night away in them.

Later, Marc spoke to Corey's new husband. He said, "Chris, I am wearing my father's shoes, and I welcome you to the family." Chris was a bit taken aback, unsure if it was some kind of joke. So, Marc repeated it, and Chris got the full import of it. It was a warm and loving welcome to the family sent a long time ago.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Road Trip

The view from the motel room window in southern California
We took a thousand mile journey. From the foothills to the coast, from the coast to southern California and then back, in four days. We went for my niece's wedding, and a wonderful family reunion. Some cousins who I hadn't seen in more than 30 years came from New Jersey. My wonderful older brother, his beautiful partner, and his sweet son flew out from Virginia. I hadn't seen them since 2008. Add all that to a beautiful wedding site with blooming jacaranda and purple blossoms floating in the gentle southern California breezes, and it was quite a lovely love fest.

After all the festivities, we left Sunday morning for the long drive north back to the family beach house in Capitola. We hit a traffic jam that was literally the worst we had ever been in (and it wasn't even in southern California!). We crawled along at three miles an hour for more than an hour. It was absolutely insane, with no end in sight. We kept thinking that there had to be some kind of really bad accident that would create such a mind-numbing slowdown. Fortunately, we were able to pull off the highway and take a different route to the coast. We stopped for gas, and while Roger was filling the tank, I ran into the convenience store to ask what was going on. The cashier said, "Oh that's the traffic from the Red Barn Sunday flea market." WHAT? She said, "It happens every Sunday. There's only about five miles more of it." I couldn't believe that a flea market could cause such a traffic jam. I'm not even sure how that's possible, or why it's permitted to persist in such a thoroughly rotten way. I googled "flea market highway 101 traffic" and found that a lot of people have been complaining for years about this. I plan to write a letter. Seriously dangerous situation there.
The earth's shadow and Monterey Bay
But the upside was that we still arrived at the beach house with enough time to make a nice dinner and watch the light change as the sun went down. That's when we saw this wonderful atmospheric optic. It's the earth's shadow. The beach house is on a cliff that faces east. So, even though we are on the west coast, looking at Monterey Bay, we look eastward. The earth shadow is on the eastern horizon at sunset. During this unusually clear and fogless sunset, we caught this absolutely beautiful moment.
On our first day home, the sky gave us a day of halos. We waved and shouted, "hello halo," and were so glad to be back.

Don't we live on a spectacular planet?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I could post a video of all three kittens entering the trap together Monday afternoon, and then the string being pulled quickly, banging the trap door closed. The camera was set to record for 20 seconds, so it ended right as the door shut. The next video began soon after with the kittens literally bouncing off the cage walls.


They calmed down as soon Roger put a towel over the trap. Quiet. We put them in the car and took them to the shelter. It was their first alien abduction. I'm sure it won't be their last.


Sunday, June 09, 2013

What We've Been Up To

We stare at this screen waiting for kittens to show up.
Not much going on here at Chez Bums. We're still in kitten trappin' mode at the moment. Trapped the momma cat last Wednesday and brought her to Sammie's Friends, a very nice shelter that has the animals' well being central to their good intentions.

We've gotten these feral kittens accustomed to eating out of a food bowl and have gone one step further and put the bowl in the unset trap. As of this writing Sunday afternoon, one kitten found her way in to eat, and then out of the trap. We're waiting for the other two to join her. Roger reworked the trapping mechanism because we were not sure their little weight would set it off. And, if it could set it off, we didn't want to trap one without trapping all three.  So, Roger rigged the trap with a string that he will pull when all three kittens are in the trap at the same time. Yes, we have absurdly high hopes about this. We set up the motion detector camera under the deck to watch the live action. When all of them are in there… bang goes the trap door. The plan requires us to be watching their activities pretty regularly.

So, it came at a very inopportune time last week for our very old, hardly ever used PC laptop that was still running Windows XP to die. It was the one machine we had that would run the motion detector camera and record. So, we went out and bought a new Gateway PC that runs Windows 8. Oy, what a crazy OS that is. But what's worse is that the new OS isn't compatible with the camera. The camera's compatibility only goes to Windows 7. So, we borrowed our neighbor's laptop (so kind of them to let us use their PC on Friday afternoon). That way we could at least determine that all three kittens were alive and eating. YES. This kitten trappin' business is complicated stuff.

On Saturday Roger put on his GENIUS HAT and spent the day turning the new computer into a Virtual Box that runs Windows XP. It wasn't easy, and he did spend the whole HOT (102 degrees) day working on it. But when he was done, that new computer lets us use the camera, so we can watch the kittens in preparation for pulling that trapdoor string. Our goal: Trap Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Like I said, not much going  on here at Chez Bums.