Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye December and 2016

I'm sorry TS Eliot, you were wrong. December is the cruelest month. I have not wanted a month to end quite as much as I want this December to finally be over. It has been one of the worst, most-grueling, painful, and stressing months of my life. Even Roger hated it, and he hardly hates anything, mellow guy that he is. But oh December we both say GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

Why did we hate December? Well, to start with my mother moved south to the land of sunshine. We miss her so much, but most especially at dinner. She always had something so funny to say. But then she left, and left such a sad empty space at the head of our table.

Then there was pain. Oh the pain from a pinched nerve in my lower back that goes all the way down the FRONT of my leg causing my shin bone and thigh bone to ache so crazily that it wakes me in the middle of the night. Pain that makes it difficult to stand for any length of time without having to bend over, trying to straighten something out that doesn't want to be straightened. Numbness that makes my left foot feel like I have pins and needles all the time. Pain.

Before the "remodel"
Then there was the remodel of our deck, demanded and executed by the all powerful power company that has an easement in our yard. What a surprise that was.  There will be further alterations with tree removals and our attempts at making our yard more private again.
After the "remodel"
And then there were the ants. Thousands of ants. Argentine ants. So invasive, so relentless, so outrageous. They came in through the electrical outlet in the bathroom. They came in where the door jambs meet the floor. The came in the space where the fireplace and floor meet. They marched like an army wherever they could and set up base camps looking for anything to eat. They ate the soap on the soap dish. They flocked to any single minuscule crumb we missed during our frenzied sweeping and mopping routines multiple times daily. We blocked their entrance in one place, and they immediately found another. ANTS. We finally had to call an exterminator. Something we are truly loath to do.

So, December, we bid you good bye. Go, and take this whole crazy year with you. And by all means, let the door slam you hard on the way out.

LOL! Happy New Year, friends!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

we joined weather underground

"you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"  bob dylan

"...the inspiration for the name of the American radical left group the Weathermen, a breakaway from the Students for a Democratic Society."

both quote and embedded quote from here

we have become minor weather geeks. we have a very low tech rain gauge. a glass tube mounted on the fence. we have to go out to read it and empty it. easy to forget when it was last read and emptied. we also have a slightly less low tech temp thing that displays the inside temp and, thru an outside sensor with some kind of radio link, the outside temp. the house also came equipped with a dial style thermometer mounted just ouside the kitchen window.

we walk a lot so we check our temperature readings and consult Weather Underground and the national weather service. walking in the rain and/or wind is fun if one is properly prepared. well, the rain is ok but the wind is kinda not.

so we leapt cautiously into the higher tech  area of personal weather stations by acquiring one from Acurite. now we have this colorful display showing inside temp, outside temp, wind speed and direction, outside and inside relative humidity, and barometric pressure. we have also entered relevant info to both acurite and weather underground to have the info from our little station available as an option for this area. it may take a day or three for it to appear in the list of local stations.

the thing that sends this data to this display wants to be high up (recommended 33' !!!). that isn't going to happen. but it can go on a short mast attached to a drain vent poking up thru the roof.

here i go up onto the new roof. so glad this is a one story house.
TADA. a professional installation if i've ever seen one. pvc and stainless clamps. there is a leveling bubble on top of the unit. hmmm. how would one check this if the unit were on top of a tall pole?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: A Mural

One of the walks we often take into town is to the local market. It's where we go to buy our date night fare. The other day when we were walking up the hill it occurred to me that I should take a closer look at the painted concrete wall that we walk past every time we make the trek. I was surprised to see how incredibly well done it is. It's a full block long. Here what we see walking up the hill.

Happy Winter Solstice, friends!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Shades of Blue

Today would have been my father's 98th birthday. It is the day the electors in my country cast their vote for President and Vice President. Is it any wonder that all I see before me are shades of blue? We took a walk out on the north jetty, hadn't been there for almost a year. I was expecting rainbows in the surf like last year, but all I saw were these shades of blue.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Words On A Wednesday

The house is suddenly empty. We took the last box to the local Post Haste store and shipped pillows and hangers to my mother, who was at that very moment flying south to her new home. We stopped at the local market afterwards and bought something for dinner at the deli case-- tofu, veggie egg rolls, coconut basmati rice. Date night on our first night in four months without my mom.

When we got home Roger put on the mellowest music we have: Stephen Halpern's Chakra Suite. We track my mom's flight online as she gets farther and farther away from us and closer to the new life she had chosen. Yes, she had regrets. She couldn't even remember why she wanted to leave, but all was done, packed and shipped. My sister came to get her and take her back south.

At the beginning of the day there was chaos at the tiny airport when we they were leaving. My sister found out that their baggage was not going to be automatically transferred to the next connecting flight because it wasn't with the same airlines. She was going to have to schlep three extremely heavy suitcases, her heavy laptop bag, and my mother in a wheelchair at one of the busiest airports in California where you have to take trains to get from one terminal to another. WHAT? The chaos and angst overtook the moment of farewell. I barely was able to give my mother the hug I had planned and the words I wanted to say.

It was just, "Bye ma! I love you." A wave and not even a look back.

And so it goes, and so it goes. We're expecting four inches of rain in the next two days. She's off to sunny southern California. These photos were taken on the day we took my sister to see the marsh. Our new life begins.

PS-- All went well on the flights. There was assistance by airline crew and everything went smoothly and right on time. A sigh of relief all around. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Monday, December 05, 2016

A Day Begins and Ends

Wednesday morning
And in-between: I have a doctor's appointment to help me figure out why my left hip is painfully locking out of place and my left leg is numb and weak (there's an MRI in my future); we very carefully pack my mom's boxes for the move; the moving company comes to evaluate the shipment of my mom's stuff to southern California; a sofa is purchased to add to the load just to make the expense seem less ridiculous for such a light load. We come home and make dinner.
 Wednesday evening
The sun sets. We go to sleep.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

End of November Photos

Good-bye, November. I am not sorry to see you go.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Great Expectations...

...are often followed by Great Disappointments. This is how we find ourselves, three and a half months after my mom moved in with us, helping her plan her great escape. Ah, I make light of it, but it is sad for all of us. So many factors contributed to her wanting to make the move back to southern California. Some of it was boredom, loneliness for more human interaction, more rain in two months than she's seen in 20 years, and the usual friction between mothers and daughters when historical roles are both reversed and revised by dementia, and sheer cantankerousness on both our parts.

We all tried, we really did. Roger and I are both very quiet, self-contained people. We can spend hours and hours directing our attention to things that interest us: gardening, photography, backyard birds, sun and moon rises and sets, atmospheric optics, cooking and baking. Most of these things are done with hardly a word spoken, but just single-minded intent to get things done. It didn't occur to us that ongoing conversation would be an integral part of my mother's happiness. And really, even though we know now, we still don't have that much to say. See, I'm happily typing this, and I'm not saying a word out loud. Not a good thing for my mom who needs way more stimulation than either one of us could offer.

So, on December 10 my sister is flying up from southern California, and the two of them are heading back on the 13th. My mom is moving into an assisted living facility that's only 1.7 miles from my sister's house, much closer than the previous facility. We're all hoping this will be a good move for her, that she will be more socially engaged and stimulated there. I told her that it's probably a good idea for her to play with people her own age. We both laughed.

This not how we thought it would go, but this is how it's going. I have a whole new respect for people who can live multi-generationally and do it successfully. I once believed that that was how it "should" be. Now I'm pretty convinced it most definitely is not. Not anymore. Not the way we do it in the modern world. Not in these times of the broken vestiges of the ancient human family. It doesn't work.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

garden update november 1

garden posts are for us to have some record as it is not easy to remember what and when we planted. garden news is also a nice respite from all the other news. and it is fun to share. how is your garden doing? yes, the pictures were taken nov 1. i am a bit late posting.

two views of the beds which will get some sun all winter. carrots, beets(red and white), lettuce, kale(three kinds, two ravaged by bugs), chard(rainbow), and peas. we did roughly plan for winter stuff but this really worked out very well. we are due to get some cedar trees behind the west fence trimmed, which will give these beds much more sunlight this winter.
this bed has chard and beets. it will get very little sun til march. the tree trimming will give it a bit more but the house next door blocks it most of the day.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Two Snowy Egrets

We saw these two Snowy Egrets out at the marsh. We imagined they were having a conversation. 
They walked along just chatting away. Perhaps it was about our country and the most recent election.
Yes, that must have been it. Because suddenly they simply turned their backs on each other and went their separate ways.

I love when birds tell us a story.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Bovines

Whenever we take the drive from Arcata to Eureka we pass through pasture lands for dairy cows. We often see hundreds of cows as we go zooming by.
I'll confess that we always say hello and MOO to them as we drive past. They probably know us by now.

The other day on one of the trips to take my mom to the dentist, we saw something that was definitely not cow. It was bovine for sure.
We drove past, waved, said "hello buffalo," but we didn't know what sound to make. We'll have to find out! Ah, a new project. (Just found the sound a bison makes. Wow! I don't think we can do that one.)

Hope you are all well and recovering from the election. We're still waking in the night with dread and fear.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Our Multi-layered World

Trying to resume some semblance of normalcy after the election results utterly altered our world. How does one begin to absorb what it means to have this person be our President and leader of the strongest nation on the planet? We still waken in the night full of angst and fear and dread. And yet, we rejoice that we live in California and on the full Pacific coast of our country that voted against this moment.

But here we are. Not sure yet what to do, how to proceed, what to expect. So, we do what we always do, we go for a walk. We try to clear our brains of this scattered thinking about things unknown, and focus on something else. Take one step at a time, one foot in front of the other and see something other than his face haunting our dreams.

A multi-layered world spread before us. It was as tall as the wavy clouds; as small the Wigeons and Coots with towers looming behind them; as vast as the shoreline and sky and all that in-between. We start to look for things that he cannot take from us.

We are learning this new world. We are brokenhearted and full of fear for the future, but we are learning. We will march and rally and protest and fight when needed. In the meantime, we will keep walking.

How are you?

Monday, November 07, 2016

Election Fatigue

We are seriously exhausted by this election season. We don't remember a more contentious or nerve-wracking battle in all of our years of paying attention. It's hard to look away, and we don't even watch TV. It just seeps in everywhere. So, we are looking forward to waking Wednesday morning and having all of this behind us. Of course if the racist, bigoted, psychopathic nutcase wins, we're going to be very disappointed for the next four years. Actually as I typed that sentence, I realized it will be way more than disappointment.

Here are a few things we saw when we diverted our attention from the drama of the day.
Green-winged Teal

Two people in the sparkling sun

A Muscovy Duck

Canada Geese at sunrise

Lenticular clouds

See you Wednesday and hoping to celebrate good news.