Monday, August 30, 2021

Clear, Hazy, and Crazy

We actually had a clear-sky day here last week. So we went for a nice long walk. It's the walk we most often take these days. 

It's starting to feel and look like fall here.  No leaves changing colors yet, but the flowers are looking like they're at the end of their blooming time, and the fields are ready for a nice rain. We so loved being out in the sunshine and seeing the blue blue sky.
Then the hazy skies of summer returned. We are still surrounded by fires. None are close enough to truly make us nervous, but the smoke finds its way here. Before we head out for a walk we always check with the air quality report for our neck of the woods. On this day, in this moment, this was designated Moderate Air. Not good, but Not Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. Well okay, that's why we felt safe and ventured out to get a bit of exercise. We didn't cross paths with another human on this walk. That was a nice surprise. 

Later in the day I looked out the window and saw this in our garden.

It made me laugh, so I just had to photograph it and share it here. It's a crazy alien kale eating a kale leaf. It's trying to take over and rule the kale universe. We're going to let it. It's time for crazy alien kale to finally win. 


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Throwback Thursday

I was looking through a box of very old papers and stuff. I found my (and my twin brother's) high school diplomas, and my college diploma as well. It has tons of my old university paperwork and exams. In the thick of all that stuff I came across a small tattered and frayed Identification Card. I don't remember ever seeing before. This is the front piece of it.

It says: United States of America/ War Department/ Medical Department/Red Cross/Identification Card

It has my father's name and date of birth. It also has his fingerprints. There was a photo attached at one time, but that's long gone.

This back piece says: Loss of this card will be reported through channels to the Force Commander without delay. Issued in accordance with Article 21, Geneva Treaty, July 27, 1929. Signed by the Major General, the Admiral General of the Army. May 20, 1942.

How did we never see this before? I know I've never held this in my hands. I know that my father never showed this to us. We knew my father had been a combat medic, but never knew that it came with an ID issued by the War Department. So what a stunning surprise it was to find this in a box of my old college papers and diplomas.

And speaking of diplomas, when I opened up one of the diplomas I found this newspaper ad in it. 
Now there's a Throwback Thursday pic for you. It's an ad from the Santa Cruz newspaper The Good Times from the late 1970s. Pretty interesting because that handsome man in the ad is my twin brother! I scanned the ad and sent it to him. He couldn't believe it either. How did we not know this had been saved for so long? 

Sometimes you never know what you're going to find in an old box. Surprise surprise!

Monday, August 23, 2021

A Walk At The Marsh

  We thought we should head out to the marsh even though the skies were still hazy from the fires. We could see it as it shrouded the Coast Range in gray.

We checked the air quality levels and it said it was okay to be out there breathing, so breathe we did while we walked enjoying even the haziness of it all. (It's surprising how much the above photo looks like a black and white to me, and yet it's not.)

We were so happy to see these Brown Pelicans. It had been quite a while since they were here. We were worried about their status. Years ago they were on the Endangered Species list here, which was rescinded when their numbers improved. Then, they disappeared again. But here they are! Back and beautiful as ever. you can see a bit of the haze around them out there. I'm sure they're wondering what humans have done now. It's always something.

We also saw several American Avocets at the marsh as well. They are such beautiful birds that we only see during their migrations. This is what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about them:
The American Avocet takes elegance to a new level. This long-legged wader glides through shallow waters swishing its slender, upturned bill from side to side to catch aquatic invertebrates. It dons a sophisticated look for summer with a black-and-white body and a rusty head and neck. During the winter the head and neck turn a grayish white, but the bird loses none of its elegance as it forages along coastal waters or rests while standing on one leg. 

We're always glad when we get to take a nice long marsh walk. I should have photographed the ridiculous anti-vaccine graffiti that we saw out there. It really surprised us. I had always assumed that people who walked at the marsh were smart, well-read, sophisticated, educated, thoughtful people like Roger and me (LOL!), but I was enlightened by their ignorance.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Boredom Strikes Deep...

 ...into your heart it will creep. 

The Delta Variant is going wild here in Humboldt County. Here's a screen shot of a graph of the latest rise in numbers. 

That's CRAZY. Why are things so bad here? I have no idea. So we're just hanging out at home only venturing out to shop for food (will we run out soon? will there be another run on toilet paper? will our local bakery still have enough flour to make our favorite bread?), and to go on our local neighborhood walks. 

So for quite a while we've seen what we thought was a dog sitting on the front steps of a house we pass by out in cow country. It moved every now and then, sometimes sitting by the big mobile home trailer parked on the drive way, but mostly sitting on the front steps. It was always in the same position, so we realized it's a fake dog. The other day I thought I should photograph it because that's what boredom calls for, so I did.

What is that? It's not a fake dog. It's a fake pig. Isn't it? Why would anyone have this on the front steps entry way? Oink oink. 

And then if rising covid numbers and fake pigs are not enough, here's a view of what else is keeping us indoors these days. 

We are surrounded by fires. It's been windy here, which just adds to the flames. The air quality has been creeping up into the Moderately Bad category. We wait and watch the sun rise red in the hazy sky. 

Other than that, we do have a recall election here in California because some people have decided they don't like the elected governor. I think it started because they didn't like that he closed down the state early on in the pandemic. Ah well, boredom strikes deep. You never know what people will do with all this time on their hands. Oink oink.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Dancing in 1990... 1940s music. 

My older brother Marc who lives in Virginia called me a few months ago and mentioned an old video recording that was stuck in an old VCR player. He said it was a video he shot 30 years ago, it was two hours long, and it was of our parents. He was afraid to try and get it out because he didn't want to ruin the tape. He said if he could figure out how to get it out he might try to see if he could get it converted to a DVD. I thought that sounded like a lovely idea. He never mentioned it again, and I completely forgot about it. Then a small package from him arrived in the mail the other day. As soon as I opened it and saw a DVD in it, I knew. I couldn't believe it. I was going to watch two hours of my parents recorded by my brother in 1990.

It brought tears to my eyes to listen to them answer my brother's questions. They told the story of how they met at a USO dance, how my father asked my mother to dance, and they danced the night away. Nine months after they met, they got married. Just hearing their voices was a tug on my heart that brought both tears and smiles. But watching them dance made me want to get up and dance with them. My parents loved to dance. It's been nearly 30 years since my dad died. This video was shot shortly after my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I would have never dreamed of being able to hear his voice again or watch him dance again. The modern world can really bridge a gap.

So, now you get to see 19 seconds of my parents dancing in 1990. It's all Roger could get downloaded and converted into something that would play here. He's working on converting that old DVD to digital. Maybe we'll be able to post more. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Fire Season 2021

It's fire season again in California. The air  here is still in the good range, but the skies have been hazy gray for days. We were supposed to have clear skies this week, and I had been looking forward to peeking out in the middle of the night to see if I might catch the Perseid meteor showers. But instead we have gray haze. No stars, no meteors. We do get to see this red sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. It's interesting how many photos I have of red suns over the years.

The UN released a rather ominous climate report on Monday. Oh wow, the news was all over it. It was as dire as we thought. By Tuesday the headlines were back to the same old same old. Climate change? We've moved on to the important stuff like the NY governor's resignation and fights in Congress over the budget. Tomorrow we'll see this red sun rise and set again and simply hope for the best. 

Monday, August 09, 2021

Redwood Burl

 A few days after our walk in the Arcata Community Redwood Forest here, we went into the town a few miles south of us to visit with Roger's daughter and the grandkids. We were going to celebrate Roger's birthday a few days late and E's birthday a few days early. We all agreed the celebrations meant another walk in the redwoods. This time at the Eureka Redwood Park, a short walk from E's house. What a wonderful little journey that was.

Here are two of the grandkids sitting on a very large redwood stump. They did a lot of posing for me, as we explored the forest.

We were so excited about this particular redwood. It had a burl. We've seen a lot of tables made from burl, but not many burls still on the trees. What is a burl? Well, here's what the internet had to say. 

"Burl is the knobby growth most commonly seen at base of some coast redwoods, though it can also be found high in the canopy as well. Burl is a woody material full of unsprouted bud tissue. It serves as a storage compartment for the genetic code of the parent tree. If the redwood falls or is damaged, the burl may sprout another redwood tree known as a clone. "

 If you would like to read more about Redwood Burls here is a link.

Honestly, I had no idea how important burls were to the life of the redwoods. It makes all those pretty redwood burl tables seem so wrong. So seeing this one still on the lovely big redwood made us all very happy.

I tried to get the burl and the magnificent height of this tree in one photo. Not very successful, but conveys a bit of how tall these trees are.  

And because we were celebrating birthdays and time with the grandkids, here's Roger with the youngest grand.

The Coast Redwood forests are sure beautiful here. It's inspiring to walk among these young giants. I did a little googling around and found an article in The NY Times from 1973 about the conservation efforts to save these trees. Back then, nearly 50 years ago, only 15% of the old-growth redwoods were still standing. It's hard to imagine what that number is now. There is an old-growth forest about 50 miles south of us. We've driven through it so many times over the years on our way south to visit with my mom. We're starting to think it's finally time to make that forest a day-time trip destination. We'll keep you posted here when it happens!

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

How We Celebrated

Roger wanted to take a walk in the redwoods for his birthday. It had been quite a while since we had gone up to the city forest. The foggy gray weather does not beckon us to walk in the even darker forest. So on his sunshiny birthday we went. It was so good to be out there, walking through the woods.

When we arrived this is what greeted us. Oh yes, the forest had been expecting our arrival. We loved that it was someone else's birthday as well, and we got to see that.

I always ask Roger to wrap his arms around the old growth tree stumps to show just how big these beauties were at one time. This tree could have been here more than a thousand years ago, and its awesome presence still inspires. Can you imagine how many beings have walked up to this tree? 

I wish you could get a closer look at this stump. There are so many naturally carved works of art here. I think I may have posted a pic of this tree on the blog before, but I couldn't find it. I love looking at it and finding the art in the natural beauty of it.

That's how we celebrated Roger's first day of his 79th trip around the sun.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021


i'm 79 today. older than i ever thought possible. i feel no wiser than i felt at 78, or 56, or 22, or ever. woody allen once said "showing up is 80% of life" in a movie. i have showed up every day of 78 years. went by like flash. earth looks to become a more dangerous place. i wish you all the best of life. hope it all works out better than it could. in conclusion i will quote the parting message of the good old grateful dead at the end of their last concert. "be kind"

Monday, August 02, 2021

Sidewalk Planets

On our way home from our afternoon walk we noticed this wonderful bit of sidewalk art on our street. 

What a lovely surprise it was. All of the planets in the right order from the sun and in the right colors. I wish I could have gotten a better photo, but it's pretty stretched out and hard to contain it in one shot. The sun at the top of the photo and then MercuryVenus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune. The lovely artist even added Pluto. A nice man was bike riding by and stopped to take a look as well. He said, "Can you name them all?" We said, "No, can you?" He said, "No." We had a good laugh and then we had a chat trying to name all of the planets. None of us remembered Neptune, but we all remembered Pluto. 

It was a nice way to end our walk on our little planet earth, third planet from that beautiful sun that was shining down on us as we made our way home.