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.

Monday, June 08, 2020

An Homage To Persistence

Out on our daily weeks we see them, the ones that persist, that grow through the cracks, that won't take no for answer.
From every crevice they push their way up. After the rains, they find their way to the light.
I admire their tenacity. They make me wonder about all the seeds waiting their turn beneath the miles and miles of sidewalks and roads, the pavement over their dreams.
When all crumbles away someday in the distant future, and you know as well as I do, it will happen, the oldest viable seeds will find their way.
Like this sprouting fennel plant in the gutter, next to the pole, the abandoned old shoes, and down the street from the fire hydrant, all the seeds wait their turn.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Friday Music: I Hear Them All

I can't remember when we first heard this song, but it was probably on a radio station we listened to in Santa Cruz, KPIG. We've always loved the compassion and energy of the lyrics and music. It seems so right in these times to listen to it again. This particular video was recorded after the flooding by hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

I hear the crying of the hungry in the deserts where they're wandering;
Hear them crying out for heaven's own benevolence upon them;
Hear destructive power prevailing, I hear fools falsely hailing
To the crooked wits of tyrants when they call.
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the sounds of tearing pages and the roar of burning paper;
All the crimes and acquisitions turn to air and ash and vapor;
And the rattle of the shackle far beyond emancipators;
And the loneliest who gather in their stalls.
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

So while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power,
I can hear the flowers growing in the rubble of the towers.
I hear leaders quit their lying.
I hear babies quit their crying.
I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all.
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the tender words from Zion, I hear Noah's waterfall,
Hear the gentle lamb of Judah sleeping at the feet of Buddha
And the prophets from Elija to the old Paiute Wovoka
Take their places at the table when they're called.
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Test Results and Garden Views

Doing what he loves best, tending to the side-yard garden
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and good wishes for Roger. He got his CT brain scan results which showed normal results for a person his age (77). What that means is that "Hypoattenuation of the periventricular deep white matter, typically reflecting chronic small vessel ischemia," in most seniors is not symptomatic, but in Roger's case it is. He has been experiencing unsteadiness when he walks and a bit of change in his gait. This has been going on for a while, so we're glad to have some minor answers as to the cause. His heart monitor results were fine. He does have an ultrasound scheduled for next week to take a look at his carotid artery. So, there will be more information soon. The doctor said after a B12 test if things don't improve she will make a referral to a neurologist. Roger and I just got back from our second walk of the day (Tuesday, as I type this) and we were able to get in a total of three miles today. So that's really good! Hurray!

The front yard on Tuesday morning
We are lucky here in our little town. Yes, there are some Covid-19 cases, but we feel pretty safe. We still wear our masks when we shop at the market. We take our walks and don't even feel compelled to wear masks out there. There's enough room to keep six feet apart from everyone, and really we hardly ever cross paths with other humans out there.

Yes, we are reeling from the news of our country. We are watching a downward spiral that takes our breath away. We fantasize about leaving if the worst thing happens in November, but where would we go? And who wants two senior citizens coming into their country from the crazy USA? I'm serious... who? If you have any ideas please let us know. Are we on the verge of utter chaos and collapse of our country's foundational norms? It feels that way.

We have no words that haven't already been said, cried, shouted, whispered, and shrieked about the murder of George Floyd. We add our voices to the sum of voices. Never Again. Please... never again.