Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Did It Look Like This Or Not?

I looked out the window at 8:30 in the morning and saw rays of the low winter sun pouring through the leaves, branches and fence out there. So I ran out with the camera and clicked a dozen photos. When I downloaded them, I tried to figure out which one actually captured what it looked like.
After nearly an inch of rain on Sunday, the sunlight caught every bit of wetness out there and shined it out like moments of magic. And then it was gone.
The top photo is a screenshot of the downloaded photos from my camera, unedited. I tried editing a few photos to see if I could make it look like what I think my eyes saw. I chose this one. Is this what it looked like? Yes. Or did it look different? Yes. Can we ever really capture the moment with its color and light? Maybe. Maybe not. It's fun to keep trying.

Today is the last day of 2019. We are happy to say good-bye to this crazy year. We're hoping for a much better 2020. Roger and I wish you all a Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Solving A Silly Mystery

I run outside before sunrise to take photos of the sky so often. It's one of the highlights of the morning to see the sky fill with some color as the earth heads in the direction of light. So I went out Sunday morning and clicked a few photos. When I looked at them later in the day I saw this.
This is what the camera showed me, completely unedited. It always shows up dark like this, which is why I edit it to look more like what my eyes saw. When I was looking at this photo I noticed something that seemed to be coming down from the sky or up from the mountains, a skinny thing on the left there. I couldn't figure out what it could be. How did I not see that with my eyes when I was standing out there? Click on the above pic and take a look.
So I edited the photo, lightened it to look much more like what I saw. Mmm. That thing is still there. I see this view all the time, how could I not know what I was looking at? So I went outside in the afternoon to scan the sky and see if it was still visible. Why yes, yes it was. It's a very skinny little branch, the tallest one that sticks straight up from our miniature maple tree. It's the only branch that reaches that high above the fence. In all the years I've been photographing that view I never quite captured it like this.

I laughed and laughed and laughed. Really. I couldn't believe I had been bewildered by it, imagining all kinds of space alien transport system scenarios right here in Humboldt County. LOL. I laughed some more.

Here's a view of the sunrise, a bit closer, no aliens, and even a hint of iridescence.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday Music: Om

I had a different song in mind to post for today, but Ram Dass's death inspired me to post this. I first heard this song by the Moody Blues in 1968 when I was 16. Oh that sound... OM ... it really called to my heart. Then in 1971 I found Ram Dass's book Be Here Now, and that was something I would pick up and read many times over the years. How lucky I felt to have found it when I was 19 and confused about everything. Yes, Be Here Now. It's still true. How well Ram Dass knew. So, in memory of Ram Dass I post this.

The rain is on the roof
Hurry high butterfly
As clouds roll past my head
I know why the skys all cry
Om, om, heaven, om

The earth turns slowly round
Far away the distant sound
Is with us everyday
Can you hear what it say
Om, om, heaven, om

The rain is on the roof
Hurry high butterfly
As clouds roll past my head
I know why the skys all cry
Om, om, heaven, om

A few years ago I actually photoshopped the cover of Be Here Now, which I changed to Be There Now. I've never posted it anywhere, but I thought it would be good to share what I think the world looks like now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays

I posted this photo on Facebook nine years ago (and again yesterday). I photographed this from our backyard deck when we were still living in the Sierra foothills. I thought it captured the essence of the season, that star of sunlight in the fir tree. We wish you all a lovely holiday, how ever you celebrate, may it be with love, peace, and kindness.

Monday, December 23, 2019

My One and Only Radio Show

I’ve been thinking about this story for a while. It may have to do with sharing music here on Fridays, it seems to have reminded me of the time I did a three-hour radio show. It was back in the mid 1990s. I had been hired by a lovely woman named Tara (yup, that Tara!) as an administrative assistant for SOAR (Student Organizations and Advising Resources) at UC Santa Cruz. It was a job that had a lot of interactions with students who were involved with all the student organizations on campus, and there were a lot of them. One part of SOAR was Student Media that covered all the campus publications and radio broadcasting. They had their own director of Student Media and two advisers who specialized in either the print side of the student organizations or the broadcasting side. After a year at the front desk of SOAR, there was an opening for the Print Adviser job which I applied for and got. I was so happy. My very first college class was in Journalism, and it was a subject I dearly loved. So, I began advising students who published the campus newspapers and poetry journals. I loved that job. I was the go-to person for all their questions from how to get funding, how to find a publisher, how to pay their bills. I convened a First Amendment Seminar every quarter, and an attorney from San Francisco came to enlighten them about their rights and their limits. I loved that seminar so much.

That print advising job went well. My supervisor was so pleased that after a year or two she was able to get my job reclassified to a higher level position, and I became the Assistant Director of Student Media. There was a catch though, I had to audit a full quarter long course on Radio Broadcasting. It was an interesting course, and I learned a lot at the time. Right at this moment, I have no idea what they taught me, but I’m sure it was enlightening. The thing I do remember is that in order to complete the course I had to do a three-hour on-air show. That scared me to no end. Me on the radio? No way. I’m a very shy girl, always have been always will be. Me on the radio? Really? Do I have to? Yes, the answer was "yes" every time I asked.

So, I did the radio show. Well… sort of… I’ll confess right here that I cheated. As you already know I love music, and Roger and I had lots and lots of music in our house to choose from. I planned ahead for those three hours and made three CDs of music for the show. I dedicated the show to the music from the 1960s. One hour of CD music was of bands that were from England. You know them all— The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Procol Harum, The Moody Blues, Cream etc. One hour was music from the east coast. There was music by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Simon and Garfunkel, etc. And one hour was music from the west coast. That hour had Crosby Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas, etc. We even recorded PSAs (public service announcements and press releases) right on to the CD. Roger read some of those for me. It was so much fun. So, when I did my three hours of broadcasting all I did was plug in those CDs, and then sit back and enjoy the show.

Here is a bit of the recording. That's me doing my on-air show 22 years ago, although we can't figure out why I'm talking in the beginning about trying to get this recording done. We had to upload it as a youtube video, even though it's mostly a black screen and my voice.  Blogger won't let us upload an mp3.

Now I have a nice short music show on Fridays. One song on the blog. No talking. No PSAs or press releases. Just the delight of the sound of the one thing that unites us...our universal language…music.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Friday Music: These Times We're Living In

This is one of our favorite Kate Wolf songs. She was an inspired singer/songwriter who died much too young of leukemia in 1986. There is an annual music festival in her name every year here in northern California.

Down by the river the water’s runnin’ low
As I wander underneath the trees
In the park outside of town
The leaves turned brown and yellow now
Are falling on the ground
Remembering the way you felt
Beside me here when love was new
That feeling’s just grown stronger
Since I fell in love with you

Now we’ve only got these times we’re living in
We’ve only got these times we’re living in

Winter wood piled on the porch
Walnuts scattered on the ground
And wood smoke risin’ to the sky
An old man comes home from work
And he hugs his wife in a sweat-stained shirt
Walks hrough that door to
Where it’s warm inside
And I’m walking as the wind
Rustles in the fallen leaves
My footsteps picking out a tune
My heart sings silently

Now we’ve only got these times we’re living in
We’ve only got these times we’re living in

See the roses dried and faded
The tall trees carved and painted
With long forgotten lovers’ names
Old cars standing empty
And dogs barking at me
As I walk through the quiet streets the same
If I could I’d tell you now
There are no roads that do not bend
And the days like flowers bloom and fade
And they do not come again

We’ve only got these times we’re living in
We’ve only got these times we’re living in

Thursday, December 19, 2019

101 Years Ago

Today would have been my father's 101st birthday. Not a day goes by that my siblings and I don't think of him even though he's been gone almost 28 years. I've posted about him here on the blog often. I feel like you, dear friends, know him too.
So here's an interesting thing to add to the story. Just the other day on December 16th there were many news pieces about the date being the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. I've mentioned many times that my dad fought behind enemy lines in The Battle of the Bulge. But it never occurred to my sibs and me to think about the actual dates of the battles. When we heard the news about the anniversary we realized that it was likely that our father celebrated (I'm not sure that is the right word) his 26th birthday on the fields of war. He was so young. He was a combat medic. He aided the wounded there on the fields, applied bandages, and assisted in his calm, gentle, and thoughtful way.
We remember him everyday, and on his birthday we shout out to the universe our birthday wishes and our ongoing love.

PS-- My father got a birthday present one day early from the House of Representatives. Trump was impeached. Now that's a gift that would have made him so happy. Yay!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Words On A Wednesday: The Dream

I don't usually tell my dreams here. It just seems odd to share such a thing, but I had a dream and actually remembered it. It's been years since I have remembered a dream (way back when the neurologist called my neurological event of 2011). I used to remember them in the most exhaustive details. I could go on and on recounting them to Roger, and then all of that stopped. I know I still dream, but they are gone from my conscious recollection. Gone. I had a dream Monday night that I remembered.

Sea Otter photographed in 2015 in Monterey Bay
The streets were filling with water. Gushing and rising higher and higher. I looked out the windows. I called to Roger to come see. The water was everywhere, and that's when I saw it. A sea otter was staring at me from the rising tide. The otter and I looked at each other. I looked away. When I looked back she was at the door looking in at me for help. I let her in. I looked away. When I looked back there was a giraffe and a rhinoceros with a monkey on its back. They were all looking in at me. They wanted help. I wanted to help, but I didn't know what to do. I looked away. When I looked back they were gone.

That was my dream. This is life on our planet.  I read the other day that the population of California sea otters is now only 3000, and the giraffe has just been added to the Endangered Species list. I looked away, and then they were gone.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday Music: Coney Island

Coming down from Downpatrick
Stopping off at St. John's Point
Out all day birdwatching
And the craic was good

Stopped off at Strangford Lough
Early in the morning
Drove through Shrigley taking pictures
And on to Killyleagh
Stopped off for Sunday papers at the Lecale District,
Just before Coney Island

On and on, over the hill to Ardglass
In the jam jar, autumn sunshine, magnificent
And all shining through

Stop off at Ardglass for a couple of jars of Mussels and some potted herrings in case
We get famished before dinner
On and on, over the hill and the craic is good
Heading towards Coney Island

I look at the side of your face as the sunlight comes
Streaming through the window in the autumn sunshine
And all the time going to Coney Island I'm thinking,
Wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time.

I can't remember when Roger and I first heard this song by Van Morrison, but we've been listening to it for many years. We learned that the word "craic" means news, gossip, fun, and enjoyable conversation. Yes, when we we're out the craic is good. The last lines always move me.

Roger always drives us on all of our adventures. I look at the side of his face and always think... wouldn't it be great if it was like this all the time. Yes, yes it would.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Pareidolia

Pareidolia is when you have a propensity to see faces or objects in things, like clouds. I tend to do that when I'm out and about and looking around. Tuesday morning I looked out and saw this cloud formation. My first thought was, "Wow, there's a monster's face there. Look at those fiery eyes!" So I grabbed the camera and photographed it. Do you see it too?

Friday, December 06, 2019

Friday Music: Scarborough Fair Revisited

My brother sent this to us the other day, and I cannot tell you how much we love this music. A song that sends us back to our younger days being performed by such talented young people. Sometimes I think music is the one thing that gives me hope about the world. It just seems to transcend borders and boundaries, beliefs and ideas, religion and politics. When we listen to this we both sing the words from so long ago. Roger said, "You know Bob Dylan had some of the same lines in Girl From the North Country." It's true. These words, "Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine." So then we wondered who wrote the lyrics first, Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel. Well, surprise surprise for us, those words were written much longer ago and according to Wikipedia may have actually been inspired as far back as 1670. Ah music, we so love the art and poetry of it all.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Wordless Wednesday: On The Church Roof

I thought about captioning this, but then decided I would leave that up to you.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Iridescence and Grandbabies

I'm sure the neighbors must wonder why I run outside with the camera all the time, but most especially when there are some lovely high clouds and an abundance of sunshine. Well, because every now and then the clouds and sun produce iridescence like this, and it makes me happy. I blocked the sun behind one of the vents on the neighbor's roof and watched the colors unfold.
It disappears pretty fast, leaving no trace other than the smile on my face and my uplifted heart. Yes, this makes me happy.
Elena, Silas, and Ian
And this also makes me happy. Roger's youngest daughter Elena gave birth to her third child on the day before Thanksgiving. Lovely little Silas Orion arrived on November 27th and was home in time for the day of celebration on the 28th. It is truly a remarkable thing for me to see a tiny human being only a few hours old. There are nearly 8 billion humans on earth, and yet there we were looking at Silas and feeling the awe of beholding someone who is utterly unique all the way down to his DNA. We welcomed this little human to our beautiful planet with the hopes that it will be as good and beautiful for him as it has been for us when he reaches our age.