Monday, November 30, 2020

End of November Photos

 I have been forgetting to post some of what we've been seeing here in our beautiful skies. Here are some sun and moon rises, cloud formations and my active imagination in the month of November.

My imagination sees a whale spray

My imagination sees a Griffin

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Story and A Song

I had an interesting optical experience the other day, and it had nothing to do with sunlight or clouds or ice crystals. It had to to with my eyes or rather my brain. Twice in the past six weeks I have experienced an ocular migraine. I had no idea something like this existed, but once you experience it you will never forget. Suddenly in my peripheral vision of my right eye I saw lightning shaped flashes of rainbow colored light. It persisted if I closed my eyes, covered one eye or the other. It persisted. It was not painful in any way, but it was unnerving in every way. The first time it happened, I called my optometrist office and explained what I was seeing. They scheduled an appointment right away. The doc checked my eyes, my vision, and took a good look and photographed my retina. It all looked fine. I was worried because my twin brother had been experiencing something called retinal tugging which causes flashes of light (like a camera flash). The doc said he didn't see any issues with my retina. Well, okay. I didn't think about it until it happened again on Tuesday. Since I knew it wasn't related to my vision, I decided I should google around and find out what might be going on. I googled rainbow flashes of light in peripheral vision.  All of the information I found called it an Ocular Migraine. It typically lasts for five minutes, but can last up to an hour. Luckily my rainbow light show only lasted five minutes, but those five minutes are truly unforgettable. An ocular migraine is a type of migraine that can occur without a headache. It can occur in people who typically do not experience migraines (me), but have family history of migraine sufferers (my father and sister). I was hoping to find an image that captures the experience. This came close, although it is a bit softer in color than my zigzag rainbow flashes.

I'm hoping that it never happens again. It is bizarre and weird in every way. You just never know what your brain is up to. 

Now the music. I often say that music is our common language on earth. We can listen to songs in other languages, or played with instruments we have never heard of. Some music will inspire us to get up and dance, others will pull our hearts and make us weep. For some reason when I stumbled upon the performance of these two Hasidic brothers performing on the streets of Jerusalem, it reminded me that music is our common language.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn...

... as seen from California on November 18th just around sunset. We love when we can see the planets like this. I wave hello to Venus most mornings before sunrise lately. It helps to remind us that we are on a beautiful planet whirling through the Milky Way Galaxy. 

We are grateful that Biden is finally able to start the formal transition process. We are almost starting to feel safe here, starting to believe that Trump will really leave the White House. This nightmare might really be ending. We are so waiting for that moment.

Life is very quiet. The pandemic is still raging here in the USA. Thanksgiving is coming and the airports are already seeing a heavy uptick in passengers. On Sunday more people took flights than have since March. So, things are going to get very messy in a few weeks. We're staying home and staying safe. We hope you are all doing well and finding ways to keep your spirits up.

Maybe we'll have something interesting to post here soon. Wouldn't that be cool? One can always hope and dream.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday Music: Will You Go, Lassie Go

A friend sent me this song the other day. I found it so beautiful. I don't remember ever hearing it before. When I googled around to learn more about it, I found that it's been around for a very long time. I was surprised  to see that even Joan Baez sang it in 1965. The history of the song goes back even further than that.  This is the link my friend sent of Ger O'Donnell and Maria Ryan performing it in 2019. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hawk In A Tree


We had a bit of a break in the rain, so we went for a walk. If this hawk had not called out before we saw it, we would not have looked up. But it did, and there it was, at the top of an old pine tree. I clicked one photo before it flew off rather miffed by our intrusion on its hunt for lunch. Sorry hawk, we'll be more conscious of your plans next time.

Monday, November 16, 2020

These Times We're Living In

Okay, is it crazier than you'd ever thought it would get? And does the threat of even crazier simply make you want to hide for the next couple of years? Even here in our little town far from the populated throngs of California's biggest cities, the virus cases are spiking up. And the really big bummer about that is that many of the cases are simply community based, meaning transmitted not by someone known. Ugh. We're being careful and conscious whenever we have to venture out to the market. We're now wearing two masks because some of the masks simply aren't quite good enough to protect on their own. We are not going to socially gather for the holidays, and if you know us that's not too big of a change. Things are going to get worse, how much depends on each one of us. 

 I'm still running outside to catch the ephemeral beauty of our skies. This sundog only lasted a few minutes, and then it was gone. A brief glimpse of something other than a frightening headline. A moment that has nothing to do with the madman in the White House who won't concede. To have to deal with both the coronavirus and the political insanity here is a challenging task. Something that we contend with daily. So yes, run outside and look for something that lifts our hearts and reminds us of easier times. 

We hope you are all doing well and staying healthy and safe. The ride is bumpier than we thought it would be, and it ain't over yet. Thank you for being good kind thoughtful virtual friends. We don't even need a  mask to stay connected with you all. We're so grateful for that.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Friday Music: Mandolin Wind

I checked the weather forecast and saw that we're in for quite a bit of rain. Not as much as my brother in Virginia, though, where they got over four inches on Wednesday. The thought of rain made me start singing this song that begins, "When the rains came I thought you'd leave, because I knew how much you loved the sun..." I'm sure you all know this song, but we found it so lovely to listen to again. Been nearly 50 years since we first heard it. I hope it takes your mind off of the pandemic that is raging again, and the crazy man in the White House who has never stopped raging. Music... ah it's why we listen.

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Day Before

On the day before it was announced that Joe Biden had won the election I set my attention on the sky, so I could try and stop thinking about it. I wanted to stop checking in on every news site I could find. I wanted to stop shouting, "C'mon how long does it take to count ballots?" Luckily there were two things that caught my attention.

Oh yes, the morning started out with a beautiful display of crepuscular rays. I loved how that wide ray split the cloud. I stood out in the near freezing temperatures clicking photos and feeling glad. 

Later in the day a few clouds came and there was a brief shower while the sun was still shining. Of course I ran for the camera to look for the rainbow.

And there it was! I love when I get to see a rainbow end like that. 

So, that's what took my mind off of the election. For the rest of the day we checked in obsessively and went to bed uncertain of the outcome.

The phone rang early Saturday morning. My sister was calling with the news that sent our hearts soaring as high as the sky. We celebrated with laughter and tears of joy. We celebrated with a sense of relief. 

Vice-President elect Kamala Harris spoke Saturday night, and we cheered for her historical moment. President-elect Joe Biden spoke, and we were grateful to hear the words from a person who knows compassion and how a government actually works. 

It's not going to be easy, and already the chaos is building. But we have hope for the future. Something we have not had in a long four years.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Friday Music: A Beautiful Noise

I was hoping to post something, a song that would be celebratory of the outcome of the Presidential election, but as I write this the race has not been called. We wait. We wonder. My siblings and I email and call each other. I tend to look away from the headlines. What else can I do but wait and listen to music like this. Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile singing A Beautiful Noise.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Solving The Rainbow Road Mystery

 In last week's Countdown post I posted a photo of a rainbow on the newly paved street in our town. There were questions about what made such a thing. I really had no idea, so I emailed my most favorite Atmospheric Optics person on our beautiful earth, Les Cowley. I sent him the photo and asked him what he thought would generate  rainbow on pavement. Not only did he have the answer, he already had a post on his website about it. His explanation there says, "Glass spheres make 'rainbows' in the same way as spherical raindrops. Light internally reflected once produces a primary bow. Its radius is only ~21° compared to the 42° of a water rainbow because glass refracts light more strongly than water."

So, when we were out walking Roger noticed this in the gutter and bent down to scoop some of it up. I thought, "Ugh, that looks creepy. Why is he touching that? Ugh." Then he showed me what he saw in this pile of stuff.

Tiny, tiny spheres of glass. Lots of it too. Here is a closeup of them.

Isn't that wild? We were so happy that Roger found them. The mystery was solved. There was one more thing I wanted to do. I read that rainbows actually can be full rainbows, not just the beautiful arcs we see. The full rainbow is harder to see because usually the lower part is below the horizon. So when we went to the sunny spot where the rainbows are I took another photos so we could see the bottom of that full bow. 

I hope you click on the pics and get a look at this rainbow road. Isn't it fun to solve a mystery! Yes!