Monday, May 03, 2021

Two Sky Views

 It had been so long since I saw any atmospheric optics I began to wonder if the sun and ice particles had left us because of the Coronavirus. I thought it was gone forever. Then I saw this.

Oh yes! That made me so happy. It looked like the dark cloud was exhaling a corona/iridescent cloud. I loved it. The sky's beauty was back! 

Then a few days later I saw this.

Roger and I had gone out to roll the garbage can to the curb for the next morning's pick up. I looked up at the sky as I always do and then ran in the house to get the camera. This is a 22 degree halo with sundogs, a parry arc, upper tangent arc, and above it all circumzenithal arc. 

The ephemeral beauty of our skies reminded us of living life in the moment without worry and with hearts lifted as high and far as we can see.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Come Take A Walk With Us

 The weather warmed up and the skies were blue. We looked out the window and shouted, "Let's go to the marsh." Here is a bit of what we saw out there.

Our beautiful clear blue sky day

American Avocets on their migration journey

Mallard mama and her ten ducklings

A Cormorant who was hanging out with the ducks

A song sparrow perched on the dried head of a teasel flower

A Ruddy duck whose partner was just out of view

This walk reminded me of what once was our normal life. It felt so familiar and comforting. The natural world unfolds in its seasonal beauty. The birds are nesting. Our garden is planted. Our hearts are grateful. We hope you are all doing well and appreciate you stopping by and joining us on our walk.

Monday, April 19, 2021


This is why we let our dandelions live. The Pine Siskin comes and enjoys the seeds in spring time. Perhaps she'll take some to feed the young ones in the nest.

Still quiet times here. It's been foggy, gray, and cold. Not much opportunity for any photography or for even a nice long walk. 

I could do a a whole long diatribe about the current events of my country. We know you know how we feel, so I will keep my fist clenching anger to myself. Grrrrr. Are we ever going to wake up? Whoops, I started to go there. 

We hope you are all doing well, staying safe and healthy. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Still Not Much Going On...

 ...but here's a Great Egret we saw out at the marsh on a lovely sunny day last week. 

I liked the reflection. It's definitely nesting season here on the north coast. Birds are flying everywhere with twigs and dried grasses, heading to their secret places. The male ravens are still squawking madly over finding mates and flying after each other ready to assert their dominance. The hummingbirds have stopped coming to the feeder. It's been a few weeks since I've seen one. I keep changing the nectar every three days, but no one shows up. I think they're busy making nests and babies. I hope they return. 

Roger has been busy building a sauna in the garage. He has built a sauna in every house we've ever lived in. This is the longest we've gone without taking a sauna... more than FIVE YEARS! If you know our sauna history you know that on our very first date we went out to dinner. At that dinner Roger mentioned that he loved saunas. I said "Yay! I love a good sauna too." He replied that that was great news because he had packed towels in the car and knew of a wonderful place to go for a good sweat. So we went to Kiva Retreat in Santa Cruz and started a ritual that we've practiced for the past 30 years... well until now. But that's about to change. The sauna is being built and soon we will start up our mellow relaxing home retreats again. If you search the blog for the word "sauna" you'll see all the saunas Roger has built. This one is pretty interesting. He's building it in a way that it can be disassembled and taken with us if we ever move again. Yay, said I!

I got my second vaccine shot on April 2nd. So, this Friday it will be two weeks past the date that says I'm okay to venture a bit more out into the world... maybe. Still going to wear a mask and practice every precaution we can, but there really is something about feeling safe that takes a bit of the edge off of these crazy times. We may actually go shopping for things other than food. Wouldn't that be wild? 

That's life here in Northern California. Stay well and safe, friends, and thank you for stopping by.

Monday, March 29, 2021

A Week Goes By

Not much going on here. Still living in quiet times. We did get to see a few things while we've been out going to dentist appointments and taking our neighborhood walks or just taking a peek at the sun...

After the dentist appointment, a short drive to the scenic overlook to see the harbor seals
and a cormorant hanging out with them

Out on our neighborhood walk we had a lovely moment with a cow who acknowledged our presence
Spring blossoms on our little suburban street

A 22 degree halo in a brief moment of wispy clouds

Maybe we'll have something to post next week. So far... nada, but I am laughing as I type this, so that's something to appreciate.

Hope you're all doing well, staying safe and healthy.

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Season of Yellow

Spring is such a beautiful yellow time of the year. Everywhere we look yellow blossoms are blooming everywhere. Here in our yard we are letting our garden kale go to flower and then to seed, with the hopes of planting our own homegrown seeds this year. One surprise was this beautiful Rufous Hummingbird on its 4000 mile journey from Mexico to Alaska stopping in our yard for some kale flower nectar. Yes! So glad to nourish this little guy on its way north. (I posted this photo on Facebook, so some of you may have already seen it.)

Out in the front yard the succulent is blooming yellow as well. I don't know if you'll remember what the owl patch looked like before we planted the succulent. 

The above photo is from April 2017. Here's what it looks like now out there. 

We are so happy about that! And the weather has been good enough for nice long walks. While we were out on Sunday we noticed the wild mustard growing turning the meadows into beautiful sprawling fields of yellow. 

We were able to take a close up look at the mustard blooming on the side of the road on our walk home. It really surprised me how much the flowers and leaves looked like our blooming kale. In fact, for a moment I wondered if it might be wild kale. So of course when we got home I googled around to see if mustard and kale are related. Oh boy are they ever!

I found this excellent article in Vox about mustard. Not only is it the origins of kale, but of brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage as well. What a wonderful eye-opening surprise that was. We are so thankful for this beautiful season of yellow. A delicious time of the year in every way!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

When There Are No New Memories

 We can only look back in time now. The old photos tell all the stories. I've been looking at them and remembering my mother, gone for three years now. For some reason I keep coming back to these two. 

My mom with my twin brother and my sister on the deck at Roger's old family beach house in Capitola. She so loved visiting with us there. I hold these images in my heart. My mom and the view she loved. This is how we remember her, loving this view, watching the dolphins and whales. 

The yahrzeit candle is burning.

Monday, March 15, 2021

A $771 Water Bill

in late january and the beginning of february it rained heavily for quite a few days. a lot of water on the sidewalks and running down the gutters. in the afternoon feb 2, as the rain abated we noticed water pouring out of the concrete box holding the water meter and into the gutter. i looked in the little opening where the meter reader checks the monthly numbers. muddy water right up to the top of the box. i removed the larger cement cover. the box was overflowing with water. we called the city office and reported the leak. “is it running down the street?" i was asked. “oh yeah” i replied. in 15 minutes there came a city truck and two water guys. they removed the concrete cover and pumped out the water. the significant leak was from our side of the meter and to our house and therefore our responsibility. they turned off the water. we learned how precious water is. no washing anything. no water for cooking. no water for flushing! 

our nice neighbor across the street was outside so i asked if he knew a good plumber. he told us that there is one who is a bit pricey but will definitely get there today. i called. the plumber came in about an hour. it took him more than two hours to repair the leak. he turned the water back on.

the fix. that is not a lot of room to work in.

i noted the meter reading and compared it to our latest pre-leak bill. OMG as we say on the inter tubes. we would have a whopper of a bill. it came.

bad enough for water usage. the sewer charge is related to water usage

we called the city and asked if there was any way to get a bit of a break. the very nice person i talked to emailed me a form to fill out and return with a copy of the fixit bill to show that we had taken care of it immediately. we returned the form and the bill within the hour. she also said that pending a possible adjustment we should pay the usual amount of our bill. we rounded up to $100 and paid. a few days later a city tech came by to check the meter to see if there was any leak. alas, we were out walking and didn't get to see him, but he noted a hose connection leak. oh no! i had failed to turn off the hose after watering out front, completely unrelated to the leak, but bad timing. another call from the city to notify us and an appointment, to make sure would be home, to check the numbers again. the water tech came and saw no more leak. good.

on march 12 late in the afternoon we got call from the city. they had reset our bill to what we normally pay this time of the  year. and we now had a five dollar credit which would show up on our next bill! a credit!!! we love Arcata.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

29 Years

It has been 29 years since my dad died, March 14, 1992. He was only 73 years old, younger than Roger is now. A yahrzeit candle is burning for him on the fireplace mantel. A ritual my siblings and I have followed for the past 28 years. Here is a photo of one year's loving remembrance altar to him. 

This is all we have, these memories, these photos, this ongoing love. 

In four days it will be the third anniversary of my mom's death. 

This year we've added something new to the altar, a Buddha statue. It'll be there for my mom too. Thanks to Tara for such a wonderful idea.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

When Virtual Paths Cross

I first wrote this blog post on February 28th. It was the post that I originally had planned for last Wednesday.  But that was when all the blogging issues had finally gotten the better of me. The timeline of blogging woes began on the day I learned about Lawrence Ferlinghetti's death. Ferlinghetti died in the night on February 22 and I read the news on the morning of the 23rd which sent me on an internet journey of nostalgia and shared grief. What I did not know was that that was also the day that Firefox, my web browser, updated their program. One of the new features was something called "Total Cookie Protection" which they describe this way: 

"Today we are pleased to announce Total Cookie Protection, a major privacy advance in Firefox built into ETP Strict Mode. Total Cookie Protection confines cookies to the site where they were created, which prevents tracking companies from using these cookies to track your browsing from site to site."

The impact that had my ability to stay logged in even on our own blog was crazy.  It showed some blogs I visit daily as not being safe. It showed some blogs that said that I had approved cookies at that site. It was chaos. I don't like my routines disrupted like this, not during a pandemic!! So, after two weeks of this craziness, I reloaded my entire hard-drive files from a backup dated February 13. And voila... everything was back to normal. It's likely I could have just reverted to the previous Firefox application without going fully nuclear, but I went nuclear instead. LOL! 

 Here's the blog post I had planned to post two weeks ago, in memory of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

The best part of blogging is finding good, kindhearted, thoughtful people all around the world. We read the words of people on our beautiful blue planet. The ones who walk around in New Zealand or Australia. The ones who walk around Trafalgar Square or New York City. The ones who walk around in Florida or in Germany, Texas or North Carolina, Canada or Maine, California, Georgia, Washington, or Arizona. They tell us their stories. They enrich our lives. They remind us that we are all connected. 

On the day I read of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's passing I googled around trying to remember if I had taken my parents to hear him read at the University of Colorado in Boulder back in 1982. I remembered that I had taken them to hear someone, but I couldn't remember who (it was Gary Snyder). So I googled "Ferlinghetti Boulder." The second listing that came up was this blog post on a blog called The Daily Beat. I was blown away when I clicked the link. There was a photo of the poster of The Jack Kerouac Conference, the same poster that  we have had hanging in every living room for the past 39 years.  I read the post and was so delighted to find another fan of the Beat writers. I decided I had to email Rick Dale, the blogger. We have been corresponding ever since. It is truly the best part of this crazy interconnected world. Rick did a blog post about the first email I sent him. 

I was so grateful that our virtual paths had crossed. I hope you'll read his post. Thank you, Rick!


Monday, March 08, 2021


 I checked the skies early Sunday morning to see if there might be a nice sunrise. It was interesting out there, so I thought I'd go out with the camera and see if might even get better.

I liked the hints of crepuscular rays and the beginning of cloud shadows. Then the early morning quiet was interrupted by gun shots. Seriously. Bang bang bang. Someone was out by the slough behind our neighbors' houses across the street hunting. Bang bang. I was so surprised and so were the hundreds of geese back there.
They took off honking and honking, almost as loud as the bang bang from the guns. Quite a surprise at 6:30 am. 

But what was even more of a surprise was that I felt well enough to head out there. I got my first Covid vaccine shot on Friday, and on Saturday I felt a little bit crummy, headache, chills, exhausted. Sunday morning I felt a little bit better. It didn't last, but I did get to go out and get greeted by guns and geese.


Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I had a blog post planned for today, but for some reason I can't get it to publish. It says it is published even when it is not. Mmm? I've been having some issues with blogger, and I'm not quite sure how to resolve them. Even when I'm logged into blogger, it doesn't show me logged here on Dharma Bums or any other blogger site. When I go to leave a comment on other blogs, it doesn't show me logged it, it just says Google Account, but when I hit publish it shows my name. This has been happening for several days now. I'm learning that it has something to do with Cross-site cookies, which I had never heard of before this. Are any of you having similar problems? 

So, instead of the post I had planned, I'm going to show you the beautiful corona we saw on Monday. The skies have been a deep blue with lovely cloud formations. And for a very short time it showed us this Corona. I was so happy about that. So, I'm sharing it with  you. And for some reason, this blog post published. Mmm?

Monday, March 01, 2021

Egret and Cows


The egret was hanging out with the cows, although the cows were not interested at all. The egret didn't mind. It stayed and hunted while the cows mooed and chewed their time away.

News on the vaccine here, Roger got his second shot on Saturday. We were so happy he was able to get that done. I, on the other hand, have not even gotten my first. Not sure when the county is going to start doing the 65+ population, but it should be soon. They are still in the 70+ tier, but 5000 doses are arriving this week, so maybe I'll be lucky to get jabbed in my arm and start to feel safe again. 

We hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

As Above... below.

The rains let up, and we got out for a nice long neighborhood walk. The puddles were everywhere in the cow pastures creating lovely reflective moments. When I downloaded the photos I looked at this one and my first thought was, "As above, so below." Mmm... where did that come from? Why do I know it? It sent me on a google  journey to find out where I might have first heard this phrase. So far, I have not been able to pinpoint the moment. Do you remember it? If yes, where did you first hear it? All I know is that I heard it a long time ago. Maybe it was a New-Age thing from the 1970s.

While we were out there on this lovely sunny day, I also noticed a rainbow. Not a hint of rain, but a rainbow in the distance nonetheless. Sometimes I think I am a very lucky rainbow girl!

Our latest vaccine news is Roger's second shot was cancelled because of the terrible arctic blast weather conditions which halted distribution and deliveries all across the country. Bummer. I have not gotten my first shot yet. Oh well, maybe someday. Hope all is well for you, friends. Stay safe and healthy.

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Friend Sent Us A Photo

 I've been having an email correspondence with someone who has been reading the blog since the early days. She lives in Massachusetts and photographs the beauty she sees there. Every year, because we are so lucky, she sends us a calendar of her photos. We've never met, but we are long-time virtual friends. On Wednesday we were corresponding about these times we're living in, what's going on in her neck of the woods, covid, and politics. Then she wrote about this young porcupine she had seen and attached this photo. (Please click on the photo and enlarge it. It's gorgeous!)

Roger and I were immediately smitten with this little beauty. What a face. Such a sweet young porcupine moment. This made our day brighter and better in every way. And that's why we're sharing it here with you. Who knew a porcupine could be so incredibly cute? Not me, but now I do. Thanks to G. deFriesse for getting our minds off of Covid and back to the beauty of wildlife.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Rainy Errands

We had to go out and run some errands on another rainy day here. Not much to look forward to, a trip to the bank and then to the market for something or other. I can't even remember what. We came out of the market and saw this. Oh yes, that made me laugh. Good old Grateful Dead skull and lightning bolt drawing. Well done too. Made me want to remember to google around to read the history of this image when I got home, and so I did. I discovered that it was designed by Owsley Stanley. Oh wow, that's such a familiar name. As Wikipedia describes him, he was a "clandestine chemist" and the LSD supplier to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in the mid 60s. Owsley first heard the Grateful Dead in 1965 and financed them and worked as their sound man. He designed this image to put on their equipment so that it would be a highly identifiable mark. Yes, time has definitely shown it to be a highly identifiable mark. Can't look at it without thinking Grateful Dead almost 60 years after its design. And really, can't think of Owsley Stanley without thinking about LSD and the 1960s. 

Funny how an old bus with a drawing can be so trippy!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Lumpy Contrail Shadows

We've all seen the contrails that jets leave while flying at high altitude. Sometimes those contrails have shadows. Here's a photo I shot a few years ago of a fine contrail shadow.

We don't see them often, so it's kind of interesting when they show up. So, the other day when I was looking out at the sky I saw a different kind of contrail shadow. I was intrigued so I took a photo of it.

I sent the photo to Les Cowley at Atmospheric Optics and asked if contrail shadows can look like this or if I was seeing something else. He wrote that sometimes contrails are "lumpy" like this and their shadows take on this look. 

Well that was a surprise. I love learning something new. Lumpy contrail shadows. I'm laughing that I'm even writing about this, but we are living in interesting times, and this is all I've got.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Spring Is Springing

The rains left for a few days and the sun shone on us like a warm bright gift of beauty. The buds and flowers peeked out and were met with so much inviting light.  Come, said the sun, enjoy me while you can. And so they did.

Even the wispy cloud formation agreed. It celebrated and joined the fun with a cloud tulip.
Ah Imbolc, the return of the sun. We so love you.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Very Few Words

There just isn't much to write about lately. There's not much to photograph either. It's been rainy and windy for days, or has it been weeks? I can't remember. The pandemic keeps us at home day after day after day. When the sun makes a rare appearance we go for a walk. Or, if it's a very brief break in the back-to-back storms, I run out to take a look at the sky. Sometimes it gives me a glimpse at something lovely. 

We are looking forward to the Senate impeachment trial. How's that for having something fun on the calendar? LOL.

 We hope you are all well and managing in these times. We're finding it pretty damned challenging.

Friday, January 22, 2021

A New Day Begins

On the first full day of the Biden presidency the sun rose in a magnificent sky. The colors poured through our windows and lit the room. We felt renewed. We felt joyous. Our hearts rose as high as the sky. The monster is gone...gone.

Roger received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday as well. So far so good. We are so happy about that. I didn't get it because I'm not ancient enough (LOL!). Here in our county they are inoculating the 75+ age group. They won't get around to us young'uns (65+) for a few more months. Biden actually has plans. He is making sure that production is high and things get done efficiently. It's a whole new world here.

It's still life in the time of Coronavirus, but we are hopeful, renewed, and joyous. We haven't felt like this in years.


Monday, January 18, 2021

A Walk At The Marsh

We had a break in the rainy wintry weather, so we took advantage of the sunshine and went for a walk at the marsh. It was so lovely to be out there in the warm sunlight and to forget for a short while the political chaos and nightmare of our country.

We had forgotten how much we love walking here. There was a time not that long ago that we would go to the marsh at least once or twice a week. Now months go by before we take the very short drive there.

There were so many birds out and about. We  just strolled along enjoying their songs and their quiet nap times as well.

I always love when we see these birds resting and sleeping. They always look so peaceful and like they are floating in air.

But what really surprised us is when we walked past the place where we have seen the very furtive bittern, Roger wondered if we might catch a rare glimpse of one that day. We walked along enjoying the views when I looked down into the brambles and vines and saw this.

Yes! The bittern was there, hiding and hunting. I wish I had thought to photograph it before I zoomed in for the closeup. It's really so well hidden. We quietly said our hellos and walked on. 

We do so love the walks at the marsh.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

January So Far

We are as rattled and unsettled as it gets. There's no peace. We have no idea what's coming next, but it doesn't look good. The Democratic Headquarters in our county was vandalized last week. Still I run out in the morning to see the sky, and you will not believe the show it has put on already this month. The balance to madness is beauty. Here is what the sky has offered.

January 1

January 7


January 11

January 8 a little later in the morning