Monday, September 28, 2020

A Truly Silly Diversion

 We are overwhelmed with dread and fear about the future. So... what do we do? We find things that take our minds off such heartbreaking things. A dear friend posted this image on Facebook:

What an interesting thing to consider. Is it possible that Stonehenge and Easter Island are truly at opposite ends of the earth like this? How would we find out. Roger set out to discover the truth of such an idea. He spent some time getting the coordinates and trying to place them on an imaginary globe in his mind. Then he discovered a website called Antipodes Map. Oh what fun that is. If you go to the link it will show you two maps. You enter the information about a place, like Stonehenge or the city where you live, and it will show you what is directly on the other side of the earth from you. 

The answer to the question is it true that Stonehenge and Easter Island are directly opposite each other is NO. Now, go and see what's on the other side of of earth from where you are sitting. See how much fun that is? And for five minutes we didn't think about you know who or our future or anything else!

Friday, September 25, 2020

A Song For My Mother

Today would've been my mother's 95th birthday. It's only been 2 1/2 years since she left us, and my siblings and I miss her everyday. I wrote my sibs and told them that I wanted to post a song for mom for my Friday Music posts. I asked them what song I should pick. And so a wonderful loving discussion ensued about all the music she and our dad loved. I was leaning towards something by Glenn Miller or Benny Goodman. My sister recalled how much our mother loved Neil Diamond and how she fantasized about seeing him in concert. My twin brother recalled that she loved Barbra Streisand. My older brother and I remembered all the albums of Broadway show tunes we had in the house and grew up listening to. Which song? Which song? It was hard to choose until the phone rang. It was my brother calling from Virginia. I picked it up, "Hello Marc, what's up..." He started singing this song. 

So a loving happy 95th birthday wish to our mom, we shout out to the universe.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Four Days Of Sky

The air started to clear a bit a few days ago, so we went for our early morning walks. It's interesting to look back at these photos and see what we considered clearer air. 

Sunrise September 15

Sunrise September 16

Radiation Fog Sunrise September 16

Ah really clear air September 18

Moon, looking west September 19

The few days of clear skies have been so good and uplifting in every way. We may be getting more smoke in the next few days, but we're hoping it won't be as bad as it's been. 

I am purposefully avoiding writing about politics here. It's really all too much, and you all know how we feel about all of it.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday Music: Sequoia

I had never heard this song before a dear friend posted it on Facebook. It is so beautiful and especially in these times when the forests are burning. It is a love song to our ancient redwoods.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How Things Look...

... from a satellite view. 

I annotated this photo with an arrow to show where we are in relation to the smoky coast and the surrounding fires. On Monday we actually had some sunshine, although the air was still an unhealthy mess. We went for a walk for the first time since last Wednesday morning when the skies were dark red all day. It felt so good to get out of the house. I wore two masks, one to protect me from Covid and one to protect me from all the smoke. I figured that the double protection would make me feel less crazy about being out there. We'll see how that works out. The news reports are saying that we may get rain some time later in the week which may clear up the air here. We're hoping. Not much in the way of photographic opportunities, but believe me, it's been gray in every direction for as far as the eyes can see. Dark enough to make us turn on the lights during the day. If you've ever wondered what a dystopian future looks like, wonder no more... it's happening right here right now. 

Before  I publish this post I'll share this story with you. I mentioned last week that old friends of Roger's lost their home in one of the fires in the mountains north east of us. We heard the details of it the other day. The wife got out and traveled the back roads into Oregon while her husband stayed to quickly gather things before he fled. The house caught on fire and was incinerated in 15 minutes. He wisely got out fast enough and drove his car into an open green meadow on their property and kept the engine and air conditioning running. He was there for three hours. He was rescued by his two sons-in-law, both forest service workers, who made their way to him. He suffered some burns but survived. The fire he was in is the one that is burning on the California/Oregon border. Just one of the millions of acres burning in our western states.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday Music: Orange Sky (with photos!)

 I thought about not posting any music today. With all that is going on in California and the west coast with fires; Roger's daughter Indigo under evacuation orders and fleeing with her daughter Luna, her doggie Lulu, and a trailer full of horses and pigs; friends whose house in the mountains burned down; major highways that connects us to the rest of the state closed for four days; with all of that it seemed a bit silly to post music. 

I did photograph the unbelievably crazy skies here on Wednesday. It was truly a sight all day that astonished us. From Santa Cruz to Oregon the skies were a sunset red orange all day. All day. I know there have been photos all over the news about, and truly it was an amazing thing to behold. I tried to photograph it, but I could never tell if I was capturing the intensity of it.

I did post the above photo on Facebook. I took that at 8:15 in the morning, two hours past sunrise. I tried for the rest of the day to get a true sense of it all. Here's a screenshot of some of the photos. I included three shots of the rising sun from the day before. Certainly a harbinger of what was coming.

On Thursday morning the sky was foggy smoky gray but without the stunning colors from the day before. Roger surprised me by playing this song, and my first thought was, "Oh yes, I do have a song for Friday."

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Weird Art On A Wednesday

I could do a whole lengthy post about the nightmare of my new MacBook Air, which as I type this is at Fed-Ex awaiting its journey back to Apple. The battery broke within 4 days of its arrival. To say I am exhausted by this computer BS would be an understatement.  I actually started wondering why I even buy these ridiculously expensive pieces of computing machinery to just be able to remotely socialize with people and read the heartbreaking news. I'm pretty sure this latest computing adventure has me questioning our entire modern world. It's insane. (I'm still using my eleven year old Mac, and it works!)

So here instead are a few photos of something we saw on our early morning walk last week. People often leave things out on the sidewalk for others to take. This was a whole new level of thing.

We think it's a beautiful homage to the scientific medical world, both human and veterinarian. Crazy, creepy, and cool.

And this is why I have a computer... to show you things you'll never see anywhere else.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Friday Music: Atheist Don't Have No Songs

I didn't have a song in mind for today. I've been sidetracked by my brand new MacBook Air that arrived Wednesday evening. I decided not to download any stuff from my old computers or even our very reliable backup drive. I chose to rebuild from scratch. It's challenging and time consuming and ridiculous, but I did not want to in any way reintroduce any files that were bad. I have a long story I'll tell you about how long this computer issue has been going on. Let's just say I was on the Apple website in mid July when I decided to try something new. Since that day I've been using a ten-year old Mac. Here we are. So, when I didn't have a song to post, I was going to just write I don't have a song. Then I remembered this. 

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Almost Wordless Wednesday: The Vulture's Ominous Yoga Pose

 I looked out the window early in the morning and noticed this vulture. It was preening and striking some interesting poses that made me laugh and wonder if it was doing vulture yoga. I wish I had gotten clearer photos, but lately they've all been a bit blurry.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Moon Shots


I ran out Friday evening after sunset and saw the moon with this wild orange hue. It looked pretty beautiful although I suspected it came from the bits of smoke drifting up here from the fires burning east and south of us. 

On Saturday I went out around the same time to take a look. Ah yes, that's the moon I'm familiar with. The skies are clear and fine now. 

I did a screen grab from my photo downloads on the computer that lined up perfectly for the comparison photos. 

Hope all is well for you, friends. 


Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday Music: In Another's Eyes

Many, many years ago when Roger and I were still working and living in Santa Cruz we found this music by a local band. City Folk was quite popular back then and even toured the country for a while. We liked their music so much we actually went to see them perform in Santa Cruz back in the day. Here is one their songs. Good for these times.

I found this review of their music: The subtext of their music is a healthy and whole community. Passion, integrity, respect and gratitude and a “hands and voices-on” approach to making this world a healthier, happier and better place for all its inhabitants. City Folk is a positive experience and a positively uplifting one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Life These Days

I took a screen-grab of this image from the San Francisco Chronicle. California has over 625 fires burning, more than a million acres. The thing that really caught my eye on this map tracking system was the "Select A Fire" drop down menu. These are the times we are living in, a menu of fires. We're lucky, all is okay here. We didn't get the thunder and dry lightning storm that was predicted for us and the rest of northern California on Sunday, and that made us very relieved and happy. We're waiting to see what happens next.

The fires have replaced the Coronavirus headlines. The cases are still surging here. The local university has let some students come to campus for in-classroom courses. So far after one week, five students have tested positive. Not sure what the impact will be on our community, but it does make us that much more vigilant about hand-washing and mask-wearing.

I'm sure you know we are not watching the Republican Convention. There's no way we could let those words and intentions enter our already challenged psyches. We are very worried about the future of our country. It keeps getting worse and worse, and it's hard not to be totally bummed out about all of it.

We've been walking three miles a day, but there hasn't been much opportunity for photos. The skies have been pretty overcast as the summer begins to fade into fall.

That's life these days. Fires, virus, political insanity, and gray skies. As one article called it When Crises Collide.

PS-- As if this all wasn't already too much, I created this post in the new Blogger format. It's interesting to figure this stuff out, but I think it looks pretty much the same. Could we just get back to something normal soon? Wouldn't that be lovely? 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday Music and Smoky Skies

If you've been seeing the news of California you know the dire straits a very large part of our state is in. Roger and I are fine here. The air is clear and the temps fairly mild. Family, friends, and former students of mine from my advising days at the university have been sending photos of the skies in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. It's a nightmare. The first and oldest state park of California, Big Basin Redwood State Park, is on fire. It's where Roger first went camping when he was young so many years ago. Friends have lost their homes. The evacuation area is huge. So, here are some photos and a song for our times. Take care and stay safe, friends.
My sister-in-law sent this, the sky at 4:00 in the afternoon

Patrick sent this of the skies over Oakland

Ricardo sent this of the sky over the ocean in Santa Cruz

Ricardo sent this of a Santa Cruz city street

Peter sent this of two separate fires burning in Sonoma County
Abigail sent this of the Carmel Fire south of Santa Cruz

Monday, August 17, 2020

Then There Were Clouds

The good kind, the ones that make me run outside with the camera. It's been a foggy summer with hardly any opportunities for sky watching. Then the heatwave struck California and the hot summer sun baked us for a couple of days. We stayed indoors with the shades drawn for what seemed like forever. And of course, we're still dealing with the ever-present threat of Covid-19.
While in our sheltering in place mode, I started thinking about a blog post that I planned to title "What Were We Thinking?" In it I was going to explain how those spam comments which kept coming finally had me follow fellow blogger Patti's advice (which she left in a comment on my post about spam) about turning off comments on older posts. So, I spent quite a bit of time looking at 250 blog posts (which only got me back to 2017) to turn the comments off, one blog post at a time. That's when I wanted to question, after having to look at each one of those posts, "What were we thinking, starting a blog on this crazy public internet and filling it with the details of our very personal lives?" We were so naive back in 2005 when we began blogging. This beautiful place to share our stories reminded me of my early days of having pen pals when I was young. Connecting with people all around our beautiful planet. I loved it. What had it become?
The spammers made me question our very innocent perspective. But since I turned off comments leaving only the five most recent posts open for comments, guess what... no more horrible horrible spam. So I intend to keep going to all nearly 2000 blog posts to turn them all off. I want to be reminded of kindness and beauty. We can't let the jerks win.

And then there were clouds, beautiful beautiful clouds. Yes.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Friday Music: Echo of Delphi Valley

This song comes with a story from more than a decade ago. Here is a link to a blog post we did in 2009 that tells how we first discovered the music of Peppino D'Agostino. We hope you enjoy both, the story and the song. If you do follow the link you'll notice there are no comments on that post. Back in the day we used Haloscan for comments. They discontinued their service, and we lost all the comments from the first five years of blogging.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Almost Wordless Wednesday

We've had some beautiful blue skies and sunny weather.
So one day we went to the beach. 
 Trinidad Head had a bit of low fog in the distance.
A few days later we walked the Moo Cow Loop and saw summer flowers and grasses where the winter season creek flows.
And the clay soil dried in the summer sun looked like paving stones, reminding us why we have to amend the soil here as much as we do to make a garden grow.

And that's all we've got for now.
Take care and stay well friends.

PS-- I put this post together before Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his VP running mate. We are so happy with his choice. Now, time to fight hard and win in November!

Friday, August 07, 2020

Friday Music: Dangerous Night

I've been thinking about posting this song for a while. We are living in such interesting times. Between the pandemic and the politics these days, it all feels like too much. Really, it's more than a dangerous night, it's dangerous all the time here in America.

Now some small parts seem right scattered here and there
One smiling face in a crowd that's angry and scared
Can't seem to see where it doesn't get worse
It's like one good thought getting lost in an angry verse

I try to write Buddha and it comes out guns
I vote for peace and the blood still runs
I want to believe I can pass happy to my child
But the truth gets lost and the system runs wild

Send me someone who has doubts about it
Who has conquered their own fear and lived to tell about it
Someone who won't give up in the frozen rain
Who'll walk right next to me through the orchards and the grain

I wake up from a dream of a baby and a blast
Scenes from the television in the blue light it cast
Seek peace in your own heart sounds true, sounds right
I'm a troubled soul searching for peace in the night

Send me someone who has doubts about it
Who has conquered their own fear and lived to tell about it
Someone who won't give up in the frozen rain
Who'll walk right next to me through the orchards and the grain

Trying to figure out how it all fits together
Humans and sun and oceans and weather
And even if I dream alone on such a dangerous night
Tryin' to make all these pieces fit right

Send me someone who has doubts about it
Who has conquered their own fear and lived to tell about it
Someone who won't give up in the frozen rain
Who'll walk right next to me through the orchards and the grain

Even if I dream alone on such a dangerous night
Somehow I know I'm going to dream again tonight

Monday, August 03, 2020

If A Blogger Screams On The Internet...

... can you hear it? If you could, you would hear me screaming wildly. Something wicked this way has come, a strange barrage of comments, literally hundreds of them from "nwonknu" (I spelled the name in reverse because I didn't want to actually put the fake name here on the post) who has all sorts of creepy horrible things to say, overtly sexual and mean. Most of the comments end up in the junk mail, but some show up in the inbox. Ugh. I have googled and googled around to see how to make it stop, but there doesn't seem to be a way. I already have comment moderation on, and I thought about limiting comments to people who have gmail accounts, but I have seen discussions saying that that hasn't worked. I've thought about starting a new blog. It's that creepy. Are you getting comments like these?

I'm also finding that sometimes blogger logs me out so that I can't leave comments on other blogs. It even logs me out of my own blog. I don't think it's a hacker/virus problem, but I do think it's a google blogspot problem.

What started out as a fun way to connect with people around our beautiful planet is getting to be a little bit troubling and less fun than it once was. I want to keep posting pretty pictures, if in fact we ever get out of our sheltering in place mode and walk somewhere besides our little neighborhood, but who knows when that's going to happen. I love the blogging community. You have shown me the most beautiful sights and shared insights and life stories that have enriched my life. I don't want to give this up.

What should I do?
And here's a photo for you. We had to drive into the big town of Eureka the other day. As we were zooming along at 55 mph I clicked this pic out the car window. I thought it looked so much like the ocean in the distance, the horizon and the cloud above. It's not; it's all cloud above the trees there.  A fun illusion on our short drive.

Today is Roger's 78th trip around the sun. He was going to post something here, but got sidetracked by fence repair work and harvesting potatoes. He's quite the energetic old man, and I'm so happy to have been on more than 32 of those trips around the sun with him. Happy birthday, Roger!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Music: Rishi's Garden

Here is a song that comes up on our iPhone music when we play songs that begin with the letter "R"-- we don't hear it often and when we do we always say how much we love it. We've been listening to it for many, many years. This live recording comes with a lovely story at the beginning. Mellow, beautiful, uplifting, and good for these times.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Nothing But The Moon and Venus

We gave up trying to see the comet Neowise. It's been mostly foggy here in the night sky and even if it hadn't been, our view to the northwest where it might have been visible is blocked by houses and trees. That didn't stop me from trying in the beginning, running across the street after dark and standing on my tiptoes hoping for a glimpse of that object zipping by in its near parabolic orbit near our earth. Nope. Not a single thing. It reminded me of all the times Roger and I ran out to see Hale-Bopp in 1997. I can't even remember if we saw it, just remember trying to see it.

On the morning of July 18th I opened the blinds a little after 5:00 am. There was a small possibility that Neowise was going to be visible in the eastern sky. It was a beautiful clear sky just before sunrise. I ran out there on that very cold clear morning.  I waited. I scanned every part of the horizon I could see, but nothing. Well, nothing but the moon and Venus. I loved the view that morning even if Neowise ignored my supplications. That's when I gave up trying to see it.

So, did you get to see Neowise? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Friday Music: Morning Dew

We were out for our afternoon walk and noticed how quiet the streets were out there. We didn't pass another human for our two-mile loop. It was a little eerie, and I said to Roger, it reminds me of the song Morning Dew. Not the happiest of songs especially knowing its history, that it was written by Bonnie Dobson as a post-apocalyptic folk song after watching the movie On The Beach. Well on that cheery note, here's the song done by The Grateful Dead.

Walk me out in the mornin' dew my honey
Walk me out in the mornin' dew today
I can't walk you out in the mornin' dew my honey
I can't walk you out in the mornin' dew today

I thought I heard a baby cry this mornin'
I thought I heard a baby cry today
You didn't hear no baby cry this mornin'
You didn't hear no baby cry today

Where have all the people gone my honey?
Where have all the people gone today?
Well there's no need for you to be worryin' about all those people
You never see those people anyway

I thought I heard a young man moan this mornin'
I thought I heard a young man moan today
I thought I heard a young man moan this mornin'
I can't walk you out in the morning dew today

Walk me out in the mornin' dew my honey
Walk me out in the mornin' dew today
I'll walk you out in the mornin' dew my honey
I guess it doesn't matter anyway
Well I guess it doesn't matter anyway, no no
I guess it doesn't matter anyway

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Funny Zucchini Story

This is one very funny-looking zucchini that Roger harvested the other day, but the story I want to share is about a different zucchini. It was the first zucchini I ever grew in the very first garden I ever had. It was back in 1972 when my twin brother, his partner Kathy, our dear friend Martin, and I left California and moved to Portland, Oregon. We ended up renting an old house on 14 acres of land in a little rural town called West Linn. It was our "back to the land" dream come true.

Back then we were all reading Alan Watts immersing ourselves in The Way of Zen. We held hands before dinner and may have even chanted a few Zen-like things. We were vegetarians. We were spiritual. We were gardening. We were making our attempts at an awakening.

As luck would have it, we read that Alan Watts was actually coming to our neck of the woods, about 40 miles away to a small town college in McMinnville. Of course we decided we should go and hear him speak. What an unexpected thrill that was going to be. So before we left for the event, I went out to the garden and picked the biggest zucchini I could find. Oh it was big, it was HUGE! I didn't know anything about zucchini back then, I figured bigger was better. I brought that zucchini with me to the gathering.

I wish I could remember all the things that Alan Watts said that day. I don't. I actually don't remember a single word of it. What I remember is afterward asking someone if I could give Alan the beautiful big zucchini I brought him. They actually said, "Yes!" So I went up to Alan Watts and looked deeply at him and handed him the zucchini like I was handing him the gift of enlightenment. I said, "Do you know what this is?" He said, "Yes, I do." I said, "We grew it in our garden." I actually gave him that zucchini.

I am laughing as I type this. I love remembering my naive 20 year old self. And that's my funny zucchini story.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Friday Music: Gordon Lightfoot on Canada Day

Looking for something else on youtube I discovered this. Roger and I were so moved watching it, we thought it should be shared here. Gordon Lightfoot on Canada Day. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

In The Eyes of the Beholder

Sitting out front on our little wooden bench, enjoying the sunshine. I looked over at Roger and saw our flower garden reflected in the lens of his sunglasses.

In these days of sheltering in place, we have to remind ourselves of love and  beauty whenever we can.

We hope you are all doing well and staying safe.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Friday Music: Like Lightning

We love this song even though we're not completely sure we grasp the meaning of the lyrics. We'd love to know what you think. A new song by Joshua Lee Turner.
Stay with me, oh sweet clarity
Certainty like lightning
Companionship a rarity
Oh stay with me, my clarity

Of an evening so far afield
A firefly he guided
In deepest dark he made our way
Then on my arm alighted

Stay with me, oh sweet clarity
Certainty like lightning
Companionship a rarity
Oh stay with me, my clarity

The light on the wall from the dormer through the shade
Was slatted, agitated
It drew him to and he could see his grave
And all the street lamps faded

The last one ended candidly:
He said, “In love you don’t fear dying,”
And she said, “It’s only that I loved you so I know you to be lying.”

In the hedges we heard a sound
A black-eyed dog to haunt you
But the worst of that's over now
We can go where we want to

So stay with me my clarity
Certainty like lightning
Companionship such a rarity
Oh stay with me, my clarity

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Hay Bales

It's hay bale season here. All the pastures have been mowed and bundled. This is what it typically looks like. Yes, the Great Egrets appreciate it.
So imagine our surprise when we saw this. Stacks of hay bales in piles three bales high. Hadn't ever seen them stacked like this before, and had never seen bales as big as these.
I called it Haybale Henge. A brief but historical moment in hay bale history.

Yes, we are bored OUT OF OUR MINDS and easily amused!

Monday, July 06, 2020

Visiting During A Pandemic

Dear sweet family members drove up from southern California to see their son/brother who lives here in Humboldt County. They called to see if we could perhaps meet and do our appropriate distancing for just five minutes. We hadn't seen Tsilla in quite a while and had never met her daughter Shanee before. With our masks on and our appropriate social distancing I tried to explain to Shanee how we are related.

This is how far apart we stood and shouted out our stories. Tsilla is married to my 2nd cousin Gabi. Gabi's father and my mother were first cousins. Gabi's grandfather (who did not survive the Holocaust) and my grandmother were brother and sister. My grandmother came to the US in 1921, while her brother (my mother's uncle) stayed in Leipzig. So, in our muffled voices I tried to tell Shanee how she is my 2nd cousin once removed.
Here is a link to a post I did three years ago about how we are related.

So here we are in the time of a global pandemic, a crazy fascist in the White House, neo-nazis walking around with swastikas and guns. Wearing our masks and trying to make sense of a truly senseless world.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Friday Music: A Story and a Song

Forty-five years ago my twin brother and I were living in Santa Cruz. We liked to go out and listen to music and found a musician who played at local venues. We became acquainted with him and even went to his house on occasion for some reason or other. One night at one of his shows, he had a guest with him, a visitor who was staying at his house. Some time during intermission he asked us if we would give his guest a ride home to his house. We said yes, and thus began our short time driving the author Tom Robbins to his destination. Michael and I had both read Another Roadside Attraction and were quite thrilled to be spending time with the author. We started a conversation though, that I will never forget. I think it was about a particular paragraph in his book that we disagreed with. Here is the paragraph:
“The most important thing in life is style. That is the style of one's existence the characteristic mode of one's actions is basically ultimately what matters. For if man defines himself by doing then style is doubly definitive because style describes the doing. The point is this happiness is a learned condition. And since it is learned and self generating it does not depend upon external circumstances for its perpetuation. This throws a very ironic light on content. And underscores the primacy of style. It is content or rather the consciousness of content that fills the void. But the mere presence of content is not enough. It is style that gives content the capacity to absorb us to move us it is style that makes us care.”
We wanted to know how style could be more important than content. It made no sense to us. Although these days in the modern world we do see how style takes up way more space than content ever will. It still does not rise to importance of content. Style did not get us to the moon, but it did get us doing a moonwalk dance! LOL!

Let's just say the conversation did not go anywhere significant. It was awkward and silly, but I'll never forget it. In retrospect I'm a bit embarrassed that we actually did this, but when we're young it's easier to say whatever is on our minds.

A few years later the musician came out with an album that has the same title as the book Tom Robbins published in 1976. So, here is that song, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. The book was later made into a movie directed by Gus Van Sant in 1993.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Venturing Out A Bit

Life has gotten very quiet, very small, very contained. One or two trips to the market each week. Walks around the neighborhood everyday. Every now and then we venture out a little further. We went to the marsh. We wore our masks. We kept our distance.

There was a low fog when we arrived. It looked dreamy against the blue sky.

There was a Green Heron hanging out with a metal friend.

There were colors of blue and green that stretched in all directions.

A few days later we walked the Moo Cow Loop and saw a field of yellow that made us glad all the way to our bones.

This all we have. Roger is still experiencing his dizziness and gait issues. He mostly feels pretty good, and we're really glad about that. He has a phone consult with the doc next week. Life goes on in its utterly altered state these days. We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Take care, friends, and thank you for stopping by.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Friday Music: Steve Kimock

Roger and I have been fans of Steve Kimock's music since an old blogging friend sent us a link to his song Cole's Law. He's a fine and talented guitarist. Roger found this, an NPR Tiny Desk Concert (all music performed live at the desk of the host the radio show All Things Considered) performance by Steve Kimock and loved it. So, I sent a link to my brother Michael, which is why he sent us last week's Friday Music song.  This is a 16 minute "concert" with the first song (and the only one with lyrics) sung by Leslie Mendelson (who sang with Jackson Browne last week). So, if you like a mellow guitar, sit back and enjoy.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Two Minutes of Sky

I went out front to stand in the sun while I was talking on the phone. As always, I scanned the sky for any atmospheric optics. That's when I saw a hint of color around the sun. I kept talking with my cousin while I ran in the house, grabbed the camera, ran back outside and started clicking away. Left hand holding the phone to my ear, right hand holding the camera.

From the first photo to the last it was really only two minutes. I hope you'll click on the above pic to watch the corona form and then dissipate.

Here is my favorite photo.
This was the corona on solstice. It made me very happy to be reminded of the beauty of our skies in these otherwise bleak times.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Music: A Human Touch

I had a different post ready for today, a funny story and a song... but then my brother sent me this song. Roger and I fell in love with it. So here it is. It was written for a documentary about the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, but it has a compelling relevance to the times we're living in now.

Next week I'll post a different song and give you the backstory of how Michael found this song. Then in two weeks I'll post the song planned for today. We love music so much. It keeps our hearts happy, and we love sharing!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New Camera or New Phone

I am purposefully not writing about any of the utter insanity going on here in the USA. So, this is just my way of distracting from the nightmare.

I often wonder if our older model iPhone takes photos that have equal quality to the Lumix camera I've been using and disliking for years. We had to run an errand a little north of town  the other day and took our favorite trip home where we can stop at the scenic overlook. Here are two photos, one is from the camera and one from the phone.

I shot this with the Lumix camera

Roger shot this with the iPhone
Mmm? I'm wondering if I should just give up cameras all together and just get a new iPhone. I think their cameras are even better these days. What do you think? Do newer iPhones have good zoom-in close-up quality?

If you click on the pics you'll see the line up of Harbor Seals on the Mad River shore. Here's a closer view from the camera and a little bit more photoshopped to show what my eyes saw.

Here's a closer look, just because harbor seals are so cute.
They look like they're smiling when they sleep. Would an iPhone let me zoom in this close?

Monday, June 15, 2020

ten years after

it was ten years ago that i had my first colonoscopy, at the urging of the nice physicians assistant's at my doctor’s office. i woke up during the process long enough to see on the big screen little mechanical jaws chomping off a biopsy. i think i must have heard the doctor saying some thing about it. maybe OMG. when it was done and i was in that really loopy stage of recovery from anesthetic that the doc came in and said something about waiting too long and that i have cancer. bad bedside manner. i did not like him. the diagnosis was one invasive moderately differentiated metastic adenocarcionoma (cancer) and one sessile serrated adenoma(not cancer).

the surgeon i was sent to was great. tall guy with a bit of texas twang. he offered me full or partial laparoscopy, or full incision, which he said was the best way to make sure he got all the cancer and enough lymph nodes for cancer staging. also he could remove the nonmalignant lesion at the same time. i went for the big cut.

surgery was scheduled. i met the very nice anesthesiologist. they took me to the or. i awoke some time later and began 7 days in the hospital recuperating from an eight inch incision. morphine dreams.

then i went to see one of the two oncologists in the area. another very nice doctor who recommended chemotherapy as insurance against a reoccurrence of cancer. he explained the options and agreed with me that outpatient treatment with oral meds was a good option. two weeks on and two weeks off for 6 months. weekly blood work and consultation.  then a pet scan which revealed no cancer cells. then monthly visits for 5 years. i am writing a thank you letter to him.

i chose a different colonoscopy doc for a three year checkup. aaah. a very nice man. polyps but no lesions. yay.

the day after surgery

the good doctor. i have a sort of apprehensive look. this is really earlier than the pic above. i know that because i still have a tube up my nose.

here are some links to posts from that time.

this one has some medical words


Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday Music: On The Road

Roger and I discovered this video a couple of years ago. It's from a 1959 Steve Allen show featuring Jack Kerouac reading the last paragraph of On The Road (plus a few lines in the beginning from his novel Visions of Cody) while Steve Allen plays some jazz on the piano. It's a seven minute video.

Here are some of the words:
"....So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


i noticed that my laptop did not sit flat on a flat surface. it had a bulge in the bottom.

hmmm. that’s probably not good. i should take off the bottom cover to see what’s up with a bulge. i have a collection of computer tools left over from replacing batteries and changing from hard drives to solid state drives, which starts with removing the bottom cover, in two generations of MacBooks.

 tools at top from replacing hard drives with solid state drives and replacing batteries
tools below used for replacing macbook battery

surely i could remove the bottom cover of my newer laptop to inspect the battery. after trying every little screwdriver and failing to unscrew anything i searched the internet for a tool to remove the bottom cover screws from a MacBook pro early 2015. extra teensy philips? tiny hex head? no. apple outdid itself. a FIVE lobed screwdriver. i’ll ask the internet “what could swell up in a computer”? batteries, the internet replies. with pictures and warnings. batteries can explode and/or catch fire. best to unplug and turn off the computer or phone or whatever. i decided to go with battery failure so i went to my favorite mac hardware supplier at and found a battery replacement kit.

 as usual for these kits there is every thing required to put the new battery into a macbook. the clever five lobe screwdriver, solvent (the batteries are glued in place), a metered hypo for the solvent, nonstick plastic cards to pry the batteries free from glue, even eye protection glasses. yes. i saw the warning Professional Installation Highly Recommended yes plunged ahead anyway.
and a 12 min howto video which i watched!

the computer sans battery, the just removed bulgy old black battery, the new battery with adhesive strips still covered with white nonstick pieces.

i was without my computer for 7 days. lucky we still had an old macbook (early 2009)with 2 users, robin and me, each with a an image of our main computer, to use while i waited for battery delivery and installation. it is the first macbook in which i put a solid state drive and a replacement battery.

a garden view to soothe your eyes

there was a bonus effect too......fretting about the bulge, researching the cause, more fretting about whether or not the battery caused the bulge, deciding that it must be the cause, finding the replacement, watching the video instructions, deciding that i could do it, ordering the new battery, double checking the order, tracking the shipment, letting the package sit in the garage overnight to let the covid cooties die, actually doing the battery replacement....  all took my attention mercifully off our present situation, the big one, not my health.