Tuesday, July 30, 2019


I realized late Monday afternoon that I hadn't visited any of my favorite bloggers at all. That's so unlike me. Reading my favorite blogs is the sane part my morning routine that I have kept for almost 15 years. What was I doing instead? Hanging out with my twin brother who has been here for a visit this past week and is leaving to drive back to Santa Cruz Tuesday morning.
We've been having long talks about life, love, family history, politics, the state of our planet, our country. We've been talking about getting old, plans for the inevitable future, our health, our hopes, our dreams. The kind of conversations that go on and on, diverge, get crazy funny and crazy sad. We laugh. We sprinkle the conversations with words from our long ago past, the Yiddish phrases our mother said to us, the funny things our father said. You know how those conversations go, so full of love and a bit of wistfulness.
My brother loves to go for long walks. So do we. So we've been out walking. He's a bird watcher. I'm a cloud watcher. We point out the beauty of earth and sky to each other. We took him for a walk in the redwoods. He took us to McKinleyville to see the mouth of the Mad River.
Here's a photograph he took of Roger and me one evening in the kitchen, "slaving" over the hot stove to make him dinner. (We had a good laugh about that!) He's leaving early Tuesday morning for the long (350 miles/563 km) drive home. We're going to miss him, but I'll have enough free attention to visit my favorite blogs and catch up with you all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Be Kind

Sometimes the words on a post in the neighborhood say all the words we need these days.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

July 20, 1969

Highway 1 in all its winding beauty
In July 1969 my parents and my aunt and uncle flew to California from New Jersey for the first time. My parents were going to explore the possibility of moving there after my twin brother and I graduated from high school in 1970. They flew from Newark to San Francisco where they spent their first night. They rented a car and drove Highway 1 south, that magnificent winding highway for 450 miles. When I think about it now, I am really blown away that they actually did that. They were all from the city streets and parkways of New Jersey This is quite a slow-going wild highway. But they did, and they fell in love with the beauty that is California. They chose to make it our future home.
Earth as seen from the moon
While they were there in California, my maternal grandmother came to stay with my siblings and me. She was 77 years old, an immigrant from Poland/Germany who had come to this country and settled in Newark, New Jersey in 1921. She was an avid reader of the news, subscribed to IF Stone Weekly, and was one of the smartest most insightful people I've ever had the pleasure to know and love. She was also a seamstress who hand-stitched wedding dresses (I always remember the needles and threads in the curtains of her kitchen window) and a baker who could make the most delicious plum kuchen. We had a lovely time together, the week that my parents were exploring California.
That moment
On Sunday, July 20th we turned the TV on to watch an event together. I sat with my grandmother and watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. We saw it; we felt it; we were amazed by it. It was a moment that lifted our hearts more miles than we knew possible. We were awestruck. It was a new future before us. My grandmother who had come from the shtetls of Eastern Europe, who had lost almost her entire family to Auschwitz, who had traveled farther than she probably ever imagined possible had just watched a man walk on the moon. I was 17 years old and suddenly had California and dreams as big as the moon in my life. The future possibilities seemed without limit.

It's hard to fully grasp that a half century has passed since that day. A half a century. I'm older than I ever thought I'd be back then. I have often wondered what Bob Dylan meant when he sang, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. In some ways now I know.

PS- all photos borrowed from the internet, one from Travel California and two from NASA. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Dandelions

In the foggy morning the closed dandelions looks so bleak, like a yard full of unkempt weeds.
In the sunny afternoon their yellow open flowers are beautiful in all that light, hardly looking weedy at all.
I'm pretty sure there's a lesson here somewhere.

Monday, July 15, 2019

In Memory of...

...someone we never met, but who touched our lives since the beginning of our blogging days. Roger and I started The New Dharma Bums back in late 2004, when we had just retired and had moved from Santa Cruz to Port Townsend, Wa. Oh those were the days of learning about birds and native flowers of the beautiful pacific northwest, of seeing bobcats and coyotes in our yard and herons in our pond. Early on, someone named Sky Babu started to comment on the blog. She lived in the Seattle area and was a lover of birds and flowers.
Sky's photos of her garden flowers
We started to email each other back then and began a lovely and loving virtual friendship. She had a blog, but did not post much there, and finally gave it up in 2014. Through all of our moves, Sky and I stayed in touch. We connected on Facebook ten years ago and stayed friends there ever since. She was a kind and caring person, one whose professional life taught her much about the importance of compassion, heartfelt care and true concern for our fellow humans.

I have been very quiet on Facebook lately, here too for that matter. Facebook's algorithm doesn't always show me my friends' posts, and none of the posts that do show up are in any coherent time format, so I lost track of some people. Just the other day I thought about Sky. I hadn't heard from her and I didn't see any recent posts or comments. I thought I should just send her a message to check in, but I didn't. I let the thought slip away. A day later we received an email from Sky's husband letting us know of Sky's death on July 10th. My heart sank. I so wished I had followed my instincts and written her.

So here's what I've learned these past few days, when you think of someone you haven't heard from and are wondering how they are, write them. Don't put it off. Also, how will you let your blogging friends, your virtual heart buddies know when you have shuffled off this mortal coil? What are your plans for your blogs?

The news of Sky Babu's death woke my heart up to new questions. Here we are waving good-bye to people we've never even met in this lifetime, and yet we cry.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

A Meager Attempt

There are very few things that shut me up, and right now there are so many of them that it's hard to think of a single thing to write here. I never like leaving the blog unattended. So here is my meager attempt at having a post here.

Neck-banded goose
We saw these geese out at the marsh. I photographed them because I love how big the young geese are getting. When I downloaded the photos I noticed that the parent goose has a rather tight band around its neck. It has letters on it. I called the marsh to ask if they knew anything about it. It did not look good at all. They didn't know, but suggested someone I could email. I'm just curious, why would anyone put such a thing around a bird's neck? If I hear anything I'll keep you posted.
Towels in the afternoon breeze
The weather has been beautiful. An incredibly lovely balance to the things that are breaking my heart. For the past month we have been drying our laundry on the line outside that Roger constructed for us. I was inspired by our fellow blogger friend Sabine to make the best use of our beautiful sun. Sabine also wrote about getting energy from her solar panels even on cloudy days. Well, that made me want to try and dry our laundry outside on our typical gray days here. It worked! Ah, the best part of the internet.

We are finding joy in the little things, and that's pretty much all we've got.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Monday, July 01, 2019

Planning For The Future

Scenic Overlook
California has a new season.  It's called Fire Season. If you google California Fire Season you'll see all kinds of news articles about how the possibility of forest fires is now all year long. We've experienced the impact of fires here in Humboldt County and also when we lived in the Sierra foothills from 2009-2014. The biggest threat to us here has been the smoke. It gets pretty bad in late summer when the fires are burning in the forests east of us. It can go on for weeks. Northern California's utilities are provided by Pacific Gas and Electric. They were fined a HUGE sum of money this year for the horrific human cost of the most recent few years of fires which were determined to be caused by their large, sparking electric line towers. The latest news is that PG&E has sent out word that we should expect power outages and rolling black outs that will likely last up to five days. Well, that should be pretty interesting. So, we decided to go out and buy a little generator to keep our refrigerator running. We have a gas stove, so that should still be workable.
Zoomed in close up
We drove up to the little town north of us to purchase the generator. We like to run any errand that takes up to McKinleyville. It's just 4 miles north of us, and right on the Pacific. We drive through town and get back on the freeway so we can go to the scenic overlook. I always like to see if there are any harbor seals on the bank of the Mad River. If you look closely at the top pic, you'll see those little white specks and spots. Yes! Those are napping harbor seals.
Mad River and the Pacific
Just a short walk takes us to where we can see the mouth of the river. No matter how many times we stop here to take a look, it always wows us with its beauty.

It was easy to forget for a short while that the purpose of our journey was to buy a generator for what will surely be necessary in our future. Ah, modern life. What a wild time it is to be alive these days.