Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: November in Photos

It's been a smoky and rainy November. I'm glad that it's almost over and we can move on to see what December brings. Here are a few things we saw right here on our street, well except for the vulture out at the marsh. This was our November.
Cheshire Moon
Berry leaf

Vulture looking at us

Smoky sunrise with geese

Sunrise with crepuscular rays and iridescent clouds

Hawk on the pole

Contrails in circles
Iridescent clouds around an open blue heart
I had just finished putting this post together, plugged the camera battery in and started charging it when the sun came out. So, I grabbed the iPhone and ran outside. This last photo is what I saw.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Judy Judy Judy

One of our favorite neighbors here was Judy. We met her when we bought the house in 2015 and had the most delightful conversations whenever our paths crossed, which was often. She loved to walk as much as we do, and we shared stories of our lives in those few minutes we stood on the street yakking away.

One day I told Judy that whenever we see her I do the Cary Grant line, "Judy Judy Judy." She told us that so many people have told her the same thing over the years. "Judy Judy Judy," she said was never uttered by Cary Grant. We were so surprised. Seriously, how could such an old "meme" that had lasted forever not be true?

So, when we got home from our walk I checked it out. Well, what a crazy surprise that turned out to be. Cary Grant never did say "Judy Judy Judy." I found this explanation of how it got started:
In several subsequent interviews with Grant, he expressed his bemusement over the phrase. In the 1980s, he said he thought "it started with a celebrity impersonator by the name of Larry Storch. He apparently was appearing in a nightclub and doing me when Judy Garland walked in. And, that's how he greeted her." Now, this phrase is a beloved movie line that was never spoken in a movie.
Of course the next time we ran into Judy I had to tell her what a surprise it was to learn the truth after all these years.

Judy loved to walk in the blustery gray weather we have here. She had lived here all of her life, and in fact was living on the same property her parents had when she was a child. She didn't like it warm and sunny and preferred cool days. 

We once passed Judy while she was out walking and we were driving by in our car. We waved at each other, grinning like little kids. The next time we saw her, she said, "I saw you cheating." I asked her what she meant. She laughed and moved her hands like they were on a steering wheel. We laughed and laughed.

We gave her homegrown kale, zucchini and yellow squash; she gave us a fake wasp nest to hang outside to help get rid of the real wasps that had a built a home in between the outer and inner wall of our house. She said it would scare them to think there was another wasp nest around. It didn't work, but it was worth a try.

The last time we saw Judy, just the other day, she was out with another neighbor fixing some bit of fencing at the edge of her property. We had a funny chat as always.

And yes that was the last time we would ever see Judy. We learned from another neighbor on Saturday that Judy died suddenly after suffering a heart attack on Thanksgiving day. We were blown away by the news. I thought about the weather that day. It was utterly gray and blustery, rainy and windy. Judy would have loved it. Perhaps it was the perfect day to make her sudden exit.

You just never know the last time you see someone it might really be the very last time. We bid you farewell, Judy Judy Judy.

PS-- I turned comments off. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Things Go Wrong

Sunday afternoon at the marsh
The skies are still smoky here, but we're supposed to get a whole lot of rain Tuesday night that will pour all the way through Thanksgiving weekend. It'll be good for clearing the smoke out of the skies, but it's going to make travel tough for all the people who will be heading out for family gatherings. We're not going anywhere, just going to wait this storm out at home.

My camera has a problem that is not repairable. See the smudge in the sky and one in the water in the above photo? It's not on the lens, it's somewhere in the camera that I can't get to. All my photos now have it. I had been able to use Photoshop to edit it out of the photos lately, but now Photoshop isn't working for me.

I got a new computer the other day, and for some reason my Photoshop CS6 won't let me use it anymore. I bought the application 2012 and when I try to use it it wants me to log in to Adobe and start a 30 day trial. I remember going through this with the program last year when I got a new computer then. Somehow I figured out how to find the serial # and fix it, but really I don't want to go through the long drawn out hassle anymore.
Saturday morning at sunrise fog and smoke
So, I'm going to buy a new camera. I'm not a photographer. I have a good eye but no actual skills when it comes to F-stops, focus, etc. So, it should be interesting to find something that will let me photograph clouds and halos, dragonflies and spiders, and sun and moon risings. I've heard that Nikon Coolpix 900 might be good for my level of know-nothingness, so I might head to the store to see if I can easily and comfortably hold one in my hands. I've also heard they're a bit big and heavy. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Also, any suggestions for photo editing programs would be great as well. What do you use to enhance your photos to make them look the way the scene looked to your eyes? I've been reading about something called GIMP. I may try it.

In the meantime, I'm going to use my smudgy camera and the Preview photo editing program that comes with my Apple laptop. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Smoky Skies

You've probably all read and heard about the fires in California. Lucky for us we are nowhere near them. But as it turns out that smoke does travel. On Tuesday we woke to lightly smoky skies. In the afternoon I looked out and saw this. It looks like a sunset sky, but it's not. It's the middle of the afternoon. Smoke and clouds sure do interesting things with the sun.

I had an entirely different post planned for today. I was going to write about the weather we've been having for the past few weeks. Stunning clear sunny days, starting with temps in the freezing range. The rooftops are laced in frost as are all the car windshields. The skies have been so clear we've been seeing Venus every morning shining so bright it literally sparkles. We've been doing our early morning walks wearing two layers of wool, flannel, gloves and hats before the sun has come up over the mountains. The Aleutian Cackling Geese have been flying over every morning, honking by the thousands. It's been going on for weeks. We stop and look up, wave to them and wish them a good journey. It's really quite a sound and sight. By afternoon, it's been so warm and sunny, we sit out on the little deck wearing tank tops and shorts. So Tuesday's smoky skies took us by surprise. We wonder how the geese feel about it. Crazy times here, crazy times.

Sunday, November 11, 2018



not intending to shock anyone. our blog helps us remember stuff.

cancer. i've had it. one colon cancer, cut out almost nine years ago. and now three kinds of skin cancer, basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.

i have a great skin doc. actually he is a physicians assistant. some months ago he took a biopsy of a strange thing on my back, and then removed the basal cell carcinoma. it was a small incision requiring 3 stitches. i have gotten good at getting injections or iv needles but as he was finishing up i started to feel faint. he was good at keeping me talking and it all went ok.

two weeks ago he took a biopsy of another thing on my back. it was a melanoma, but the best kind. a melanoma in situ has not yet gone beyond the derma. he told me that it would be a longer and deeper excision than before. concerned about fainting, i asked my gp for lorazepam (atavan) and got one dose. amusingly enough my one small pill came in a larger bottle than 90 of my bp meds. and it cost 20 cents. oh well.

so 2 hours before my appt i swallowed my pill. i brought our iPhone with all our music to play my faves and distract me during the procedure. as the pa was preparing me he said he’d like to listen too. so i left off the earbuds. i was very relaxed and the time passed quickly.

now i have a three and a half inch incision held shut by twelve stitches. i tried to take a picture of the piece he removed from me but my fuzzy brain couldn’t work the iPhone camera and i got a fuzzy picture.

i am lucky though. we have several family members and friends suffering from much more serious ailments.

i asked for a picture of the incision. not sure if the melanoma has been cut out yet
an out of focus picture of the thing.
see how relaxed i am

all done and healing

Monday, November 05, 2018

A Carrion Eater's Meal

A little story before tomorrow's election, completely irrelevant and non-political. Perhaps a sigh of relief, and a view of the future.
One of these could be Lew
For the past few months whenever I see vultures flying overhead I look up and say, "Is that you, Lew?" It's my new mantra. Why on earth would I say such a thing? Well, I'm glad you asked. I was reading about some of the old beat poets from back in the day and it made me want to read some of Philip Whalen's and Lew Welch's poems and bios. They were both college roommates of Gary Snyder's at Reed College in Oregon in the late 1940s. The three of them went on to write poetry, and Philip and Gary studied Zen Buddhism at the Zhodo Shinsu Buddhist Church in Berkeley. Philip went on to become a Buddhist monk. I was drawn to their poetry because I tend to like words written with an undercurrent of zen perspective.

Reading their bios reminded me that back in May of 1971 Lew Welch, while visiting with Gary Snyder, walked off into the woods at his Kitkitdizzi ranch in the Sierras and never returned. He left a suicide note and took only a .22 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. His body was never found. When I re-read some of his poems, like these last few lines he wrote in his poem "Chicago"...

You can’t fix it. You can’t make it go away.
     I don’t know what you’re going to do about it,
But I know what I’m going to do about it. I’m just
     going to walk away from it. Maybe
A small part of it will die if I’m not around
      feeding it anymore.
...I wondered if it was a foreshadowing of his death. He was writing about leaving the oppressive polluted over-worked factory life of Chicago in the 1950s, but all these years later, it seems prescient. And the poem eerily describes our deadly carbon footprint on the planet that we are all facing now.

So while I was reading about Lew a couple of months ago, I found a story about how his friends responded to his utter and complete disappearance. Whenever they saw a vulture circling overhead they would look up and say, "Is that you, Lew?" I loved it. I wanted to keep the tradition going. We'll all be circling in the belly of the carrion eater someday. So let's look up and wave hello.

PS-- If you don't read anything about Lew Welch on Wikipedia, here's a surprising bit of history. He had a common-law relationship with Polish refuge Maria Magda Cregg. He acted as the stepfather to her son Hugh Anthony Cregg, III, better known by his stage-name Huey Lewis. He took the name Lewis in honor of Lew.