Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Derelict Neighbors

When we bought our house in 2015, we didn't notice that the house next door was vacant. Over the years it has gotten overgrown with vegetation, lots and lots of weeds, blackberry vines and buttercups. Only once in these past four years has someone come and mowed everything. So here for a comparison are photos of our yard and theirs. Ah derelict neighbors.

Someone in the family inherited the house ten years ago and has literally done nothing with it in a decade. I can't even imagine what it must be like inside. Ugh. Ah derelict neighbors.

PS-- I confess to absolutely loving the blackberry vines growing up over the windows. I am looking forward to them covering the roof someday. As one of my favorite bumper stickers said,  "Nature Bats Last."

Monday, May 27, 2019

It's That Time of the Year...

 ...for our favorite Arcata event, The Kinetic Sculpture Grand Championship. It always begins on Saturday morning Memorial Day Weekend and takes three days for these sculptures to travel the arduous path to Ferndale, traveling on roads, dirt, sand, and in water. It's an occasion that makes us smile in every way. From the moment walk down to the plaza early Saturday morning to watch them do their brake tests, to watching them as they make their way out of town towards the sandy coast.

Wikipedia's explanation:
Kinetic sculpture races are organized contests of human-powered amphibious all-terrain works of art. The original cross country event, the World Championship Great Arcata To Ferndale Cross Country Kinetic Sculpture Race,[1] now known as the Kinetic Grand Championship in Humboldt County, California, is also called the "Triathlon of the Art World" because art and engineering are combined with physical endurance during a three day cross country race that includes sand, mud, pavement, a bay crossing, a river crossing and major hills.[2][3]
 Here are a few of the sculptures we saw. There were 43 competing this year.

We came upon this  Paranormal Society sculpture on the Plaza, but I didn't get a photo, so I borrowed this one from a local newspaper. The sock puppet picked me out of the crowd and said,"These are tough times for the planet. Are you gonna be the one? Are you gonna fix it, lady with gray hair?" I told him, "Yes!" The crowd loved it. He pointed to a little boy standing next to me and said, "Little kids don't have to do it. You older ones do!" We all laughed. It was so much fun.

Later on these sculptures made their human-powered way through our neighborhood streets, which were lined with cheering crowds.

I can't tell you how much we love this Kinetic Sculpture Race. It is a time of so much energy, enthusiasm, joy, and vibrancy.

"The day came replete with shouts of 'For the Glory!' saluting the late Ferndale artist Hobart Brown, the race’s 'Glorious Founder.' Brown’s inspiration demonstrates 'adults having fun so children will want to grow older.'”

For the Glory!!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

An Oreilly Update

Wednesday afternoon I checked the Marine Mammal Rescue website as I have been doing everyday since Oreilly was rescued on March 16th. His name was no longer on the current patients page list. My heart sank. There are 145 patients there now and Oreilly is not one of them. I thought about writing them to see what had happened, but I was too worried. I had to work up the courage to ask about his status. I emailed and got this very quick response.
"Thank you so much for reaching out to The Marine Mammal Center and your interest in Oreilly the elephant seal. He did extremely well here at the hospital in rehabilitation and was actually able to be released healthy back to the ocean just yesterday with a second chance at life! I have attached a picture and story of him (complete with a little identification hat we glued to his head to be able to tell him apart from the other elephant seals at the hospital).

Oreilly was one of over 170 patients onsite at the hospital in Sausalito up until his release yesterday.  He was just over 1 month old when rescued but extremely underweight as a normal 1-2 month elephant seal should actually weigh around 300 pounds and he came in at just 86 pounds (over 200 pounds underweight)!  Unfortunately, he appears to have been separated from his mother prematurely and didn't receive enough of his mom's milk and/or struggled to find and eat food on his own in the wild after his mom left.  Our trained team of volunteers and veterinarians are here to help though and actually supported him learning to eat fish on his own.  Wonderfully, he was able to learn how to eat fish on his own, gained over 55 pounds at the hospital and was able to head out to the ocean at Point Reyes National Seashore."

I know you know how happy this news made us. I did my Oreilly happy dance all around the house, shouting out his name. He was released on Tuesday May 21st with 16 other Elephant Seals.

It's so good to have such wonderful news to report in these times. We wish all the Elephant Seal pups good luck and long healthy lives. 


Monday, May 20, 2019

Views From The Road

The day after my twin brother drove back home, Roger and I hit the road and headed north to southern Oregon for his sibling reunion at his sister's. It's not a very long drive, only 185 miles, but almost all of it is on very winding two-lane mountain roads. It takes 4 1/2 hours to get there. The weather was still rainy and bleak.

Heading north on Highway 101 to Crescent City
One of my most favorite sights of the trip was seeing this stratovolcano, Mt McLoughlin. There is something about seeing a volcano that makes me get a sense of our ever-changing earth. This one hasn't erupted in 30,000 years, but that's a mere blip in time for our planet. Our human lifespans seem so very short.
Mt McLoughlin in the layers of gray
It was interesting contemplating our time on earth while gathering for a family reunion. It was a lovely time together for those few days.

Posing for me in Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon
We are all the elders of our families now. Our bodies changing in the way they do, bending with age and challenges. Some things we could laugh about, others made me cry while we drove home.

Highway 199 is a challenging road. It bends, curves, winds, goes up and down mountains, all within two very close lanes. You can't look away for a moment. Roger did all the driving. When we got home I looked for photos of the highway. I found this one that pretty much captured what it looks like in Oregon. Once we get into California, it looks a bit like this but with towering redwoods hugging both sides. While googling around, I found that this highway is ranked 13th of the top 25 most dangerous highways to drive in the United States. Wow! The ranking is based on the number of fatalities per mile on each highway from the years 2011 to 2015, with Highway 199 coming in at an average of .575 deaths per mile. That’s a total of 46 fatalities in four years. Wow again! So yes, we both pay attention while we're on this road.

Klamath Bridge Golden Bear
Once we're on Highway 101 heading south, we breathe a sigh of relief. We get to drive along the ocean for miles and miles. We also cross the bridge over the Klamath River. There are golden bears on all four corners of the bridge. I love seeing them. It's a challenge trying to take photos from a car window while zooming by in the rain, but it's a great diversion. Timing is everything.

Monday, May 13, 2019

67 Years Later

Today I am celebrating my 67th birthday. I've often felt older than my years, but those years are definitely catching up. On this birthday I have a gift I don't often get, my twin brother womb-mate is here for us to celebrate it together. It's been good to spend time with someone who has known me all of my life. He likes the same things I do, has a very similar diet, and loves to go for long walks.  We laugh about our neurotic selves, get hysterical about our phobias, and cringe when we recognize how crazily alike we are.

Today I am 67, and Roger is 76 (until he turns 77 in August). We were born nine years and nine months apart. I calculated how many times our birthdays gave us reverse numbers like this. Turns out it's every 11 years. It started when I was 12 and he was 21 way back in 1964. Then in 1975 23/32, in 1986 34/43, in 1997 45/54, in 2008 56/65, and now 67/76. See, this is what happens when the skies are gray and there are absolutely no photographic opportunities. I go off on mathematical tangents that will take up a good part of a cloudy afternoon.

And really, after spending 67 years at roughly 40 degrees north of the equator for most of my life, I have literally traveled on this whirling earth 19,014 miles per day, 6,940,110 miles every year for a total of 464,987,370 miles. That clearly explains why I am so tired at the end of the day.

I would like to thank you all for continuing to stop by the blog and leave your incredibly thoughtful and kind comments. You help make this world and these times manageable.  Truly the best birthday gift, and I thank you.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

A Brief Check In

Hawk on our neighbor's roof, keeping an eye on things
I was going to write a post here to explain why we have become so quiet. It's hard to explain the anger and grief about the times we are living in. It has gotten to me in a big way. I fear for the future of this place we call "our country" and for the planet we call our earth. I just don't have the words.

I would love to know what you are doing to manage these times. People have told me that they stop listening to or reading the news. I don't think that would work for me. I like being informed even if it means knowing the worst of it all.

For our blogging friends who don't live in the US, how does our country look to you? And for the ex-pats, I wonder if living out of the country makes you feel any less shocked by the direction we seem to be headed? Roger and I have talked about leaving the country if the unthinkable happens in the 2020 election. But would we really be able to "divorce" ourselves from this place we have lived all of our lives? Does that ever really happen, a separation that makes you feel less attached to the things happening at "home?"

Then the news comes out on Monday about the possible extinction of one million species. ONE MILLION SPECIES! I read the articles and find a particular perspective in them that is actually part of the cause of such a disaster. It's that sense of dominion. The tragedy is discussed in how the extinction may have an impact on human's getting food and water. We are the cause of this catastrophe. I often say to Roger that we, even the most innocent of us, are part of the human impact equivalent of an asteroid in slow motion.

See why I'm not posting much?

How are you? Are you staying sane, and how do you do it?