Monday, October 29, 2018

Breaking A Promise

Laughing at the news November 2017
Before my mother's diagnosis of Alzheimer's in January 2017, she told me that she knew that she would not be around forever and that she wanted me to keep her informed even after her death. She knew I kept a journal that I started back in 1992 when my father was approaching his final days. I wrote in it all the time to tell him the stories of our family, our country, our world. My mom wanted me to do the same for her. When I wrote in the journal for the past 26 years, the pages always started "Dear Dad." Now they start, "Dear Parents..." I love keeping this promise and it keeping their hearts alive in my own. (When my sibs and I were teenagers we began referring to our parents in the collective noun "parents" rather than mom and dad. It stuck!)

My mother loved reading the news. For all the years she lived in southern California she had the LA Times delivered to her house and then to the assisted living facility. She always started the day with a newspaper. When she lived here with us for four months she got the NY Times delivered, and then when she moved back to southern California, she resumed her LA Times subscription. She never watched news on TV. She read it, absorbed it, talked about it, laughed and grieved about it.

Now for the first time, I feel like not sharing the news with my parents. I can't bear to tell them the stories of what's happening in our country. A week of pipe bombs sent to people my mother absolutely appreciated, and then eleven people shot at a synagogue in Pittsburgh at a Briss. They would find all of this as unbearable and horrific, as we do. They would be afraid for our country and really the world, as we are. There is no making sense of the senseless. Our country has become a place of crazy gun owners who still resent the outcome of the Civil War and who seem to have forgotten that World War II was fought to end the reign of Nazis. We have a President who stokes the these flames with his astonishing ignorance and narcissism. He is so utterly unworthy of his position that the world is watching us aghast at what is unfolding here.

A paragraph from Howard Fineman's op-ed in the New York Times sums up the status of things right now:
My response is grief, of course, and the immediate realization that this horror is part of a larger pattern of mayhem and hatred in America and around the world. Churches, minority communities, gay nightclubs, politicians and journalists are threatened. We live in an age of assault rifles, pipe bombs and bone saws.
So I am going to renege a bit on my promise to my mom. I'm keeping the latest news cycle a secret. I want to share much better news after the midterms. We are hoping for a blue wave because truly what's left of our sanity depends on it.

How are you doing? 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Just A Story of Kindness

It's been crazy foggy here for days. We went from stunningly awesome clear blue skies to a bleak darkness that just won't quit. So, there are no photos to post. We just have a simple story of kindness to tell. 

We shop at the local food co-op all the time. It's walking distance from our house, a nice little two-mile round trip. We like to go on Tuesdays because it's senior discount day. Such a funny thing to be "seniors" and yet we are. We often call it Geezer Day and have a good laugh about it. We run into the same people shopping, those of us of a certain age who shop early in the day. We say hello as we all fill our little bags with organic bulk items.

Last Tuesday we were waiting in the checkout line, and one of the familiar old geezer seniors was ahead of us. He was buying a lot of stuff, so we waited and waited. Then, when it came time to pay for his groceries, he pulled out his checkbook, signed a check, and then handed it to the cashier. The cashier then proceeded to fill out all the pertinent stuff and then entered the data in the check register. He showed the check to the customer who approved. When they were finished, the customer turned to us and thanked us for being patient. We said it was fine (even though we are really the most impatient people to walk this earth!). Then the cashier checked us out, and within minutes we were walking home.

When I thought about it over the next few days, I really wanted to thank the cashier for such a thoughtful act of kindness. So, on Sunday when we saw him again, I told him how wonderful it was to see such a thing. He told us that that customer always checks out in his line and that he's been writing the checks for him for a while. He said the man had had a minor stroke and things were not as easy as they once were for him. He told us that the man was a long-time musician in the area and was actually quite well known. And then he shared this story. Back in the 1960s the old man was a musician in Santa Cruz. He was hanging out with Jerry Garcia back in the day. On Saturdays Jerry would go with him to his mom's house for a nice home-cooked meal. We loved hearing that story so much. It made me think that the next time we see the old man, I'm going to introduce myself and shake his hand. Because you know me, I collect handshakes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Earth's Shadow

For my friends here who didn't already see my post on Facebook. Our beautiful Earth's shadow and the Belt of Venus.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ground Fog In The Early Morning

We like to get out for our first walk of the day pretty early. Lately we've been out there before the sun has even come up over the coast range. There's plenty of light, but still pretty chilly in the crisp fall air. It has been incredibly clear and beautiful. Not much in the way of colorful sunrises at all, but the past few morning we've noticed a lovely low fog drifting in the cow pastures.

This is what it looked like Friday morning looking north before sunrise. The sky has a bit of that pink Belt of Venus look.

Saturday morning on the longer neighborhood walk, looking west toward the ocean. In each of the fields and pastures we pass, there is a low fog generated by that field.
Here it drifted across a little road. This view is also looking west toward the ocean.
As we headed back looking eastward, this fog was drifting across the road from the field on the right.
On Sunday there was both a low fog and a higher fog blowing in. The light was lovely.

So, after three mornings of beautiful fog, I thought I should google around and see just what makes this ground fog happen. Here is one explanation.
Radiation fog is the most common type of fog. It is formed when heat from the surface radiates back to space at night, cooling air near the surface to saturation and producing fog. To get radiation fog, you need clear skies and cooling, moisture in the air (a wet ground really helps), and light winds. Light winds help mix this cool, saturated air to higher levels in the atmosphere, creating a deeper layer of fog.
Most fog reaches a few hundred meters up, but sometimes radiation fog doesn’t even hit above the knee. If winds are calm, there is no mixing of the atmosphere and the saturated air at the immediate surface is stagnant, leaving a very thin layer of fog at the ground. This type of fog is called ground fog, and it is a specific type of radiation fog.
I love learning something new. Radiation fog. I had no idea! We think it would be a great name for Fox News. This is how we are amusing ourselves while we figure out how to live in the dystopia that has become our country.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Art on the Plaza

On the first Saturday in October local artists come to the downtown plaza and transform the sidewalks into huge works of art with chalk. We walked down there on Monday to see it in a quiet time. Here is a bit of what we saw and a local news piece about it. It's quite a colorful and beautiful sight.

We love when the community gets together like this.

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Times We Are Living In

It seems we spent all of our outrage before the vote to confirm Kavanaugh actually happened. So, when it did happen, it was simply a meh moment. All the tears had been cried; all the shouting had finally left us quietly muted. We do wonder who we are as a country and what we have become. We know that there really no answers to those questions. Someone is jubilant. Someone is weeping. This broken country we call home has a gulf that cannot be bridged. This has been true a very long time.
We have no idea what comes next. I was thinking that I would have to put the blog on hiatus because our anguish and grief will overtake everything. Who needs all that crying and shouting here? But then I thought maybe we could all just take a deep breath and work out a plan on how to stay sane while we hope for a blue tide this November.

I can't express what it is like to have the President of this country actually say, "...You don't hand matches to an arsonist, and you don't give power to an angry left-wing mob." How do we survive this craziness? For all of our friends who live outside of the United States, we wonder, what do we look like to you? Are you afraid for us? Are you afraid of what he might actually do next?

So, while we wait we do our usual stuff. We go for walks. We read very little news. We don't have cable TV, so there's none of that constant hum of insanity. We even stopped watching the PBS News Hour. Is this a good plan of action? Looking away from it all. What are you doing?

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I asked my sister if Senator Jeff Flake reminded her of anyone. She started to laugh. She said, "Do you mean Dad?" I yelled, "Yes! You see it too!" I wanted to send this photo to the Senator, but as it turns out, it's very hard to send photos to Senators. Understandable. But here he is, my father --
We have no idea what it is about Senator Flake that reminds us of our dearly-loved father, but something  definitely does.