Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Friends For 20 Years

Here is our good friend Tara walking with me down the tracks in Capitola. She and her husband Steve came to visit and have dinner with us on Saturday. Steve took this wonderful photo of us. Tara hired me at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1996, and we've been good friends ever since. It was wonderful to spend time with old friends. Just what we needed after the long drive.

PS: A fellow blogger and Facebook friend has identified these flowers as Echium. Non-native, but quite beautiful!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Road Weary Travelers

We were on the road for eight days. As we've gotten older travel has gotten much less comfortable. There was a time when ten or twelve hours in a car (truck/van/camper) was easy, but now six hours makes my neck and back stiff for days. Have cars just gotten more uncomfortable? It seems to me that the headrest in any position is worse than useless. And what's with all the beeping beeping beeping when we are backing up? Do the car designers think we don't know when we're in reverse? Sometimes I just long for an older car that uses a key in the ignition and doesn't tell me everything that's going all the time. I'm old, and the cars are new. We don't really get along.
We spent four days with my mom, helping her get ready for her move to Virginia in late May. Much of the time was spent going through old paperwork that needed to be tossed, organizing documents that needed to be saved, and getting all the old photographs and albums together into one spot for packing. There wasn't much time for enjoying the scenery or taking photographs. We did get to watch the full moon rise there. It was lovely to see the moon from my mom's third floor balcony. This image is slightly photoshopped. The details of the moon never show up unless I am zoomed in on it, but then the lovely trees are left back on earth. So, the moon here is from one photo and the trees from another. The moon is layered over the bland, washed out moon.
After the few days in southern California, we headed back north. California is truly stunning after the winter rains. The fields are ablaze with yellow mustard flowers. I took this photo while we were zooming up the highway at 70 mph. This photo was taken with the iPhone. I thought it captured it pretty well.
We spent two nights at the family beach house, to rest up for the long journey back to Humboldt County. While we were having dinner I looked out the window toward the bay and saw something in the sky that was most definitely not a bird. It hovered and zipped around like a little machine, which is exactly what it was. There was a drone out and about photographing the beach scene. I'm sure this paddle-boarder had no idea he was being droned!
On the morning we left for home, the sky was a moody gray with sunlit rays. We went out to say good-bye to the bay and clicked this photo. We arrived home on Sunday, road weary and very happy to be back behind the redwood curtain.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Assisted Living

Hanging out with my mom and the other inmates at the assisted living facility. I just had to photograph the walkers lined up outside the dining room and the hallway out of here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Roger and I are on the road. We arrived at Roger's family beach house on Saturday afternoon after a long drive south from Humboldt County through the wine country, the city of San Francisco, and down to Capitola. It's 356 miles (573 km). Yes we arrived absolutely exhausted, but as soon was we opened the blinds and looked out at Monterey Bay we were invigorated. Interestingly, the view we saw out the window was different from what we usually see. Capitola Beach was full of driftwood, lots and lots of it in various piles and sizes. We don't remember seeing so much driftwood here in all the years we've looked out at this beach. There has been a lot of rain this winter here, and this is what the rain brought. It also brought out lots of people to the beach and some wonderful spontaneous driftwood art and structures. We walked down and took a look. This is what we saw.

On Monday we're driving another 350 miles south to see my mom and help her get ready for her big move to Virginia to live with my older brother on his 80 acres of land. So much to do, but always glad we get to stop in Capitola for a respite between our home behind the redwood curtain and the absolute populated madness of southern California. Wish us luck!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Granddaughter of Immigrants

If you've been paying any attention at all to the news, you know that there's a lot of angry talk in our country about immigrants. I'm not going to go into the details because it's just too tragic to consider what compels people to leave their home of origins and what compels people to want to deny the bereft, brokenhearted, or simply dreamers seeking a new home. These are difficult times.
But I'm thinking about immigrants because today is my grandmother's 126th birthday. My wonderful, smart, immigrant grandma who was born Zara Zlata Dienstfrei in Brody, Galicia, Poland on March 17, 1890 came to this country with her husband Abraham Pikarevich who was born in Kiev on May 10, 1888. He left his homeland with his brother and literally walked across Europe to Egypt, where they both learned to be barbers. They then went to Italy, France, and finally to Germany during World War I. That's where he met Zara. They got married and had a son, Jozef in 1917.
On June 2, 1921 they boarded a ship bound for America. They arrived via Ellis Island where they changed their names. My grandfather chose Adolph. My grandmother became Sophie. Jozef became Josef, although my grandmother always called him "Yussie." They settled in Newark, New Jersey, where my grandfather and his brother opened a barber shop. My grandmother was a dressmaker. My mother's older sister was born in 1923; my mother in 1925, and two more children followed in 1927 and 1930.

I hardly got to know my grandfather. He died in 1954. I do have a very distinct memory of him though. He loved to take my twin brother and me out for a walk in our twin stroller. He loved to sing a little song to us in Russian. I still remember the words, but I'm not sure how to even type them or what they mean.

I did get to know my grandmother. She was a remarkable woman. So smart, so political, so engaged. She loved to sew, cook, and bake. She was utterly serious about the world and always kept up with current events. She subscribed to the I F Stone Weekly. She taught us to be serious and to question authority.

It is truly amazing to think she lived to be 86 years old, but she did. It was a good life here in her adopted country. It hasn't even been 100 years since my immigrant grandparents and Uncle Joe arrived.  In those intervening years, though, my grandmother's mother and two brothers died in the Holocaust. Sometimes, it really is the most important thing to do, to let people move about the planet as if we are all one species. 'Cause you know that's just what we are.

I am the granddaughter of immigrants.

Happy birthday, Grandma.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another Year Goes By

Every year on this date I write a blog post about my dad. He died 24 years ago in 1992 of primary liver cancer. He was only 73 years old. It's crazy to realize that that's how old Roger is now. My father seemed so much older then.
This is the only photo I have of my dad at Roger's family's beach house in Capitola. I think it must have been taken in 1990 or 1991. He was already ill and needing support. You can see how my mom is holding him to keep him steady. I remember we walked the beach that day. It was the last time he saw the ocean.

Look how young Roger and I are in this photo. I was probably 38 years old, and Roger 48. We were just starting our lives over together. Roger's mom is standing next to me. She was probably meeting my parents for the first time. In this photo my mom is just a little bit older than I am now. That generation seemed so mature. Roger and I are still rambunctious kids. It's so interesting how an era makes and marks you. It's nearly indelible.

My family will light a Yahrzeit candle for my father, and it will burn for 24 hours. We have done this every year since he left us. We will remember him with all the love we have in our hearts.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Monday, March 07, 2016

We Are Early Risers

We always get up before the sun. We don't have to. We're retired. But we always rise while it is still dark. One of us will turn the kettle on for tea and put the bread in the toaster. I always open the blinds so we can watch the sun rise. It has been rainy and gray for quite a while this winter, but often there is a sunrise worth running outside for and rejoicing.

This is what the winter skies gave us early risers in February.

The light between storms is a beautiful thing, definitely worth getting out of bed for and standing in the cold to snap a few photos.
And just in case you're wondering, this is what the skies have looked like here for most of the winter. It's easy to see why I run out at the first hint of warm sunlit skies.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016