Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Thousand Miles Later

We zoomed north up California Highway 101 on Saturday. Sometimes the speedometer said 85 mph. Could that be true? All the cars around us were going as fast. The flow of traffic is a crazy fast river of steering wheels and metal. There are places between San Luis Obispo and Salinas where the speed limit is 70 mph. We all know that's an invitation to go 90. Zoom zoom zoom. In our car the driver pays close attention to everything on the road, while the passenger sits and watches the world go by, a whirl of parched brown earth crying for rain. We take turns zooming and dreaming.

We remembered on this 300 mile leg of the journey to stop in Pismo Beach. It's a quick trip from the highway to the shoreline, and the sights there are always beautiful. This time we sat and watched the seals while we ate our homemade picnic lunch. The hypnotic hum of the highway disappears in the crashing waves, and we can actually relax and breathe in almost enough air to last us the rest of the trip to the beach house.

Sunday morning we packed the car for the 200 miles from the coast back to the foothills. We have a routine. We stop at Gayles to pick up some yummy breakfast biscuits and croissants for the road, and some unbelievably delicious enchiladas for dinner. Halfway between Capitola and Grass Valley we stop at the Lake Herman Vista Point and look out over Suisun Bay and the Reserve Navy Fleet that sits there rusting into the waters. We always call them the Ghost Ships. Here we sit and eat our brunch, sip our tea and enjoy the quiet before the final roar of highway home.

When we left the vista point, we were treated to a quick view of some White Pelicans flying high over the road. I tried to get a clear shot of them, but you know how it is with moving cars and cameras, always a blur of an image, but thrilling nonetheless. We thought that would be it. The highlight of the trip home.

We got home just before 1:00 pm, unpacked the car, the cooler, and the boxes. I went out to check on the hummingbird feeder. It was dry dry dry. Then I heard a sound amid the chorus of frogs. I almost didn't recognize it. I wondered what the neighbors might be doing to make a sound like this. I looked up. This only happens twice a year. Once when they are migrating south, and once when they are migrating north. The sky was filled with Sandhill Cranes. Hundreds of them. I ran to get to the camera which was still in the car. I ran out onto the deck to listen, to watch, to try and get a shot. They were gone in less than two minutes. Such timing. A thousand miles roundtrip and home to Sandhill Cranes.

So many times on the way home I would think we would be seeing Bonsai when we arrived. I had to remind myself over and over that wouldn't happen. So I sang Ringo's song, "Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go. But all I got is a photograph, and I realize that you're not coming back anymore…" We miss that boy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

On The Road

Grandpa  Roger with his new grandson Ian
Paddle boarders in the shimmering light of the bay

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our Thanks

All of the kind words you left for us about Bonsai have been like a balm for our broken hearts. We thank you for your thoughtfulness and commiseration.

We have been waiting for the first daffodils to bloom here. Thursday morning we looked out the window and saw these beautiful yellow flowers. Life goes on. Life goes on. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Memoriam Of Our Much-Loved Bonsai

There are some posts we never want to write. This is a post we would have put off forever if we could. But we couldn't. Not this time.
We saved Bonny's life probably once year for a decade.
And we were glad to do it. He enjoyed life immensely.
We did promise ourselves and him that the last time was the last time. His body simply didn't work well anymore, and all the repairs were always so hard on him. We told ourselves there were two thresholds that he could cross that would mean it was over. One would have been if he yowled through the night, unaware of his surroundings (which gratefully he never did). And the other was if he was unable to walk, which is what happened. And so it was for Bon-Boy, the last time.
Monday, B-man woke with his walking very impaired. He was unable to fully move his bowels. He was in obvious distress. He was suffering and in pain. He curled into a ball and stayed that way all day. All day. He didn't eat or drink a thing. He growled when we touched him, and only purred once when Roger lovingly brushed him the way he liked to be brushed a million times a day.
We called the vet. We knew it was time. And it broke our hearts. It broke our hearts to usher that boy out of this life. But we did. Because we love him. So the vet made a house call and helped us help Bonsai shuffle off this mortal coil.
Every morning, every evening I'd let BonBon out into the fenced yard and say, "You be careful out there, honey boy."
And so we say good bye to our beautiful furry companion of the past 12 1/2 years, and tell him, "You be careful out there, honey boy. We will always love and miss you, Bonsai."

Roger lovingly sat with Bonsai and the vet during the final moments of Bonsai's life. Roger told me he had been readying himself for this and had been saying "good bye" to Bonsai for a while. He writes:

"our feline companion of twelve years has died. his life had gotten smaller and smaller as he aged. his balance was shaky. his right hip, already dislocated and healed that way when we got him, was visibly more out of place. his slow gait was unsteady. he fell over often.  yet even a day ago he ventured out to sniff at the woodpile and check a few other interesting smells. his walk was short, as it had been for weeks, but full of discovery.

age. pain. constipation. it all overwhelmed him and on his last day he retreated into a curled ball, barely responsive. our compassionate vet came by after work, euthanized bonsai, which went very peacefully, and took his body away to be cremated. we will scatter his ashes in the ocean where my parents and robin’s dad’s ashes are."

PS Bonsai had a lot of nicknames, I used a few in here. There were plenty more!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cry Me An Atmospheric River

We asked for it, didn't we? People prayed, chanted, did rain dances, beseeched their favorite spirits. "Give us rain. Give us rain." And so it did pour. I mean POUR.

This is a screen grab of the atmospheric river pouring in California. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about atmospheric rivers. It's quite illuminating:

The term was originally coined by researchers Reginald Newell and Yong Zhu of theMassachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1990s, to reflect the narrowness of the moisture plumes involved.[1][3][5] Atmospheric rivers are typically several thousand kilometers long and only a few hundred kilometers wide, and a single one can carry a greater flux of water than the Earth's largest river, the Amazon River.[2] There are typically 3-5 of these narrow plumes present within a hemisphere at any given time.
A greater flux of water than the Amazon River? No wonder this storm dropped more than ten inches (25 cm) of rain in three days. Well, to be perfectly honest, this storm gave us 8 1/2 inches (21.59 cm) of rain on Friday and Saturday. We had 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) on Thursday from a cold front that came through. On Friday the warm front known as the Pineapple Express arrived, and as I sit here and type this on Sunday morning, it is still lightly raining. We've gotten more rain in three days than average rainfall for the entire month of February. Yikes.

A lot of people think and fervently hope that this storm will solve the drought. It's an understandable wish, but it does not get us out of our water predicament at the moment. I found this great graphic that does a good job showing what we need and what we are getting from this storm.

We're hoping for more rain over the next few days and weeks. Sure would be nice to get it a few hours at a time, a few days a week, instead of all at once.

Still, if the atmosphere wants to cry us a river, we'll take it whenever we can get it.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Some Photos And A Surprise

It's been really quiet here. Not a lot going on. The clouds come and go. The deer come and go. We've been getting the house ready, just in case we really do decide to sell it some time in the near future. Roger's been painting the baseboards in the living room and dining area. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint on the baseboards can do to a room. Everything looks new and bright and cared for. The little details can make such a difference. We're expecting rain and snow over the next few days. We're pretty happy about that. Although, to be perfectly honest, I would be happy without the snow. But whatever moisture comes our way, we'll be grateful.

Here are a few of the sights from the past couple of weeks. The surprise is at the end.
Caustics on the Yuba

We call these two The Buck Brothers

Some iridescence

This buck looks a bit worse for wear

Sunrise January 27th

Our new grandson Ian born February 3