Monday, December 31, 2018

End of December Photos

I was going to do a post about what a crappy year 2018 was, but seriously you all know what a bummer it was, why be reminded? I was going to do a post about how this New Year's Eve is the 30th anniversary of when Roger and I met, but I've written about it here before. So I thought I'd just end this year with a few of the sights for this the 12th month of the year 2018. It was a rainy and chilly month, so not a lot of photographic opportunities, but some waves, sunrises, and mushroom surprises that grew from the ancient neighborhood fences and woodpiles.


 Here's hoping for a wonderful 2019. Happy New Year, friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Floating in Air

It looked like this, but I wasn't sure I could capture the sense of this tower floating in air. It was a beautiful illusion.
Do you see it too?

Monday, December 24, 2018

T'was The Night Before Christmas

Fifty years ago on December 24, 1968 this photo was taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to orbit the moon. It became known as the Earthrise photo. There is an audio recording of the sighting and Wikipedia posted this lovely excerpt:
Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There's the Earth coming up. Wow, that's pretty.
Borman: Hey, don't take that, it's not scheduled. (joking)
Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim?
            Hand me that roll of color quick, would you...
Lovell: Oh man, that's great!
Yes, that really is great! It's quite a view of our planet, isn't it. These days when so many people can hardly see the stars at night it seems more important than ever to recognize we are on this revolving earth in a solar system, in a universe so vast it truly defies our grasp of it. I think we need to see ourselves like this all the time. Forget walls and boundaries. This is us. This is all we are. We need to remember.

This is why I run outside all the time to photograph sun and moon rises. It's small reminder of this. The true gift, life on a planet whirling through the universe. This is all we are.

T'was the night before Christmas. I hope the stars are shining where you are.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Words On A Wednesday: One Hundred Years

Today would have been my father's 100th birthday. It's hard to imagine a century of years has passed since the day he was born. I've written about him many times here on the blog, often on his birthday and the anniversary of his death. What I have learned since losing him 26 years ago is that the love a daughter has for a kind and good father lasts forever.

My father never had a computer and certainly never a smart phone. I can't imagine what he would make of these blog pages that I have devoted to him over the years. It's an interesting thing to consider he has a presence in a medium that was hardly present in his lifetime. It's a little like putting pieces of him into a spaceship and sending him into the vast universe that will last in 1s and 0s forever (or at least until Google gives up on blogger!).

I love looking back at old photos and imagining him this young...

...or wearing a uniform during World War II...

... or posing sweetly with his grandmother...

... or falling madly in love...

... for the rest of his life...

... or ... you know... simply growing old...

... which he did, but not long enough... and sometimes I got to sit by his side...

...until the chair was empty.

So, here is my post for my father on what would have been his 100th birthday. He is still and will always be dearly loved by his family.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Winter Has Arrived

I looked at the photos I took on Saturday to see if there were any stories to tell. Nope. Not really. It's been rainy and blustery here for days. We did drive into the "big city" of Eureka to visit with the kids and grandkids. The sky was full of clouds. Roger said, "Well that's the real 50 shades of gray out there." We had a good laugh. It's true. I don't think we've ever seen so many variations on a theme. It was this dark at 10:00 in the morning. Bleak but beautiful.

We zoomed along the highway. I was photographing the sky through the windshield and through Roger's driver's side window at 50 mph. Not the best for really good shots, and I was using the old iPhone. But it sure was quite a sight.  I couldn't resist.

On the ride home the sky had lightened quite a bit and there were patches of blue. We are definitely in winter mode here. The winds have been blowing like crazy, loud enough to wake us in the night. If it weren't so stormy we'd head out to the ocean to take a look at the 30 foot waves crashing at the shoreline. We are under a "High Surf Warning" at the moment. We may try on Monday, but plan to view it from a very high very safe place. It's hard to resist wanting to see such big waves.

The National Weather Service warning:

* IMPACTS...Large breaking waves along the coast will lead to
  increased wave run-up on beaches with waves topping and
  washing over large rocks and jetties. These large waves can be
  erratic and unpredictable. Use extra caution near the surf
  zone as these large waves will be capable of sweeping people
  into the frigid and turbulent ocean water. Mariners traversing
  the bar are urged to exercise extreme caution especially
  during max ebb which is predicted to occur around 900 PM
  Sunday and 1000 AM Monday, or stay in port until the threat

Wouldn't you want to go take a look? Of course you would!

Update: We went to see the waves. Wow in every way. Hard to capture on a blustery wind-blown day, standing in the chilly temps. Here is one view that almost captures one moment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: Rays

Crepuscular rays looking east before sunrise Sunday morning

Anti-crepuscular rays looking west before sunrise Sunday morning

Monday, December 10, 2018

Conversations With A Four-Year Old

We've been doing a bit of child care lately. A couple of hours a week spent with either our four year old grandson or his seven year old sister. Not both at the same time because they have different schedules, and honestly we haven't honed our skills to take on a task of that magnitude with such high energy little beings.
We have arranged the living room so that the kids have access to the new colored pencils, the new construction paper, and all the new stickers to play with at their leisure. They love it. Much time is spent on the floor with papers and pencils strewn everywhere, scissors and glue too. We don't use our fireplace, so it's become their art exhibition wall. They love that as well. We have a cork board in our bedroom filled with their art and love notes.

The other day Ian was here with us for the morning. He wanted me to draw a Christmas tree, which I did and which led to a brief discussion about why we don't have a Christmas tree, how I never had a tree when I was growing up. I couldn't figure out how to explain to his sweet four-year old mind that I came from a Jewish family that did not participate and why that was true. We also did not celebrate Hanukkah and that we were not religious in any way. When is it time to talk to kids about religion and god, or no god? I have no idea.
So I drew this tiny six-inch Christmas tree that Ian colored in. I also cut out a lovely little snowman from some holiday wrapping paper we have. Ian decided we should tape them both to the wall. I told him I could cut out little presents and tape them to the wall under the tree. He said no, we should get real presents and put them under there. Mmmm... that's not going to happen. He was content that we had this little Christmas tree.

We drove him home at noon to meet up with his mom. While we were there he and I were hanging out in his bedroom. He was showing me all the little treasures he has in his little treasure box. It was wonderful stuff. We talked about the planets he has taped to his ceiling, each arranged in a particular distance from the ceiling light, which of course is the sun. He loves celestial stuff. I love talking with him about it and showing him photos of atmospheric optics. While we were in there he asked me if I had a wedding ring. I told him I didn't. He seemed perplexed. He said, "You had your hands in your pocket. Maybe you put your ring in there. Empty your pockets." I laughed and emptied my pockets. "You don't have a wedding ring? Grandpa should have given you a ring." I told him that Grandpa and I are non-traditionalists. We don't always do the usual things. We like it that way. He looked at me like none of it made any sense. Someday he'll understand. It's a little like not having a Christmas tree.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The fault, dear Brutus... not in our stars, but in our very earth. Right here, incredibly close by. Last Thursday I was having a lovely conversation with my older brother Marc, the one who lives in Virginia on 80 acres grows his own veggies and raises his own beef. We were talking about something, probably politics when I said something about expecting an earthquake. Actually what I think I said was more like, "You know it's been quite a while since there's been a big earthquake. It's been too long. I wait for it. I think about it at least once day and a whole lot more." I'm always waiting.

So, you probably all know what happened the very next day. Yes, a big earthquake hit Anchorage, Alaska. No, we didn't feel it here at all, not in the visceral sense, but I got a good jolt thinking about it. When I was talking to Marc I was telling him how close we live to the San Andreas fault. We're not directly on it, but that faultline ends at Cape Mendocino which is about 20 miles south of us. For a fault, those 20 miles are irrelevant. When San Andreas shakes we're going to feel it. I also told him that I think about the Cascadia Subduction zone. I said it was off the coast of Washington and that it could cause a huge amount of damage here if it shifted.
Because I like to look at maps, I googled around to see one of the subduction zone. Oh wow. I was wrong. That bit of faultline actually extends all the way to... Cape Mendocino. Uh-oh. We are right on that one. It was a surprising bit of information to see that the San Andreas northern most edge is right on the Cascadia zone's southern most edge. That's where we live.

So, yes, I think about earthquakes. Interestingly, I'm not afraid. I participated in the most recent state earthquake preparedness test. At a certain time on a certain day, we were asked to find the safest location to get through a big quake. We used to stand in doorways, but nowadays we're told to hide under a table, away from windows, hold on to the legs of the table, protect your head and wait it out. Roger did not participate, but he did get a kick out of watching me under the table holding on for dear life for a long make-believe shaking minute!

Even though we know it could happen at any time, we don't have an earthquake preparedness kit filled with food or essential items. If one actually hit, we'd be gobsmacked in the moment. I do know where we'd hide, what happens after that I have no idea.

All of this makes me wonder if there is anything in your neck of the woods that you prepare for like this?

On Saturday Marc called me. He said, "Wow Rob, you predicted that one. Well done!"