Monday, March 28, 2022

Twin Photos

My twin brother went out to the marsh the other day to do some birdwatching. Roger and I stayed home being our lazy selves. The phone rang, and it was Michael calling to say it was so beautiful out there. He was photographing the clouds. He said, "Robin, there's a cloud shaped like a bird here."

Michael's photo at the marsh

I was so excited by that news, I ran out to the yard to see if that bird shaped cloud was visible from here too. 

My photo from our backyard deck

Yes, it was here too! What a lovely twin moment that was for us. The bird cloud made our day. And yes, we are easily amused. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Yard Work

I've been nursing a painful bad low back pain while Roger and my visiting twin brother have been out in the yard getting it ready for spring planting. 

I couldn't resist limping my way out into the yard to take this photo. You can see why, those two hard-working sweethearts just scream "Take my picture, take my picture." I'm a lucky girl! They both cook too! We love when Michael comes up from Santa Cruz for a visit. I've known this guy since we were womb-mates 70 years ago. 

Before my back pain started we did get out for a lovely sunshiny neighborhood walk. Down the street from us a neighbor has the most wonderful side yard of flowers. Full of so much color and beauty. So, I clicked a few pic with the iPhone.

Every spring we walk by here to enjoy the view. Ah spring, we so love this time of the year. The blooming blossoming bird-chirping nest-building burst of life. 

Other than bad back pain, all is okay here. We never turn on the news, so I have to say that it is true that ignorance is bliss. Hope all is well for you. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Same Old Same Old

 There has been a dearth of atmospheric optics here. It's been going on for weeks. I thought about writing Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics website to report the phenomenon of nothingness. The sun and ice crystals are broken, and I want to shout out to the universe, "Fix it!" Not even an iridescent cloud to color and lighten my day. Nothing. Yes, I'm shaking my fist at the sky. Okay, so it shows me a 22 degree halo. Was I happy? Yes, a little. I want more. Is that too much to ask?

Halo on Sunday March 20th

The planet is insane. There are wars. Covid might be making a bit of a comeback. Can't we balance this with some sun cloud sky ice crystal beauty? Okay, I'll take this 22 degree halo, but I want more. 

That's my rant for Monday. Hope you are all doing well and laughing.

Friday, March 18, 2022

And Now It's Four Years

Today is the 4th anniversary of my mom's passing. My siblings and I emailed each other all day Thursday with memories of her. March is a month full of days that tug our hearts. Four years gone she is.

Roger and I went for a long walk, and I was thinking while we were out there under the beautiful blue skies, what song can I post here for my mom? Interestingly the song that popped into my head and stayed for the whole walk was a song she probably never listened to and really has no inherent relevance to her. For me it's the harmonies and words, "Just a song before I go..." but which I sang "Just a song before you go..."

My parents loved music. So for them here is that song: Just A Song Before I Go by Crosby Stills and Nash.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

He Gave It All Away

Roger did a post back in 2006 about his ancient music album collection. I was just going to put a link to the post, but decided to copy and paste it here. On Tuesday he gave all that music away. He must have given 400 albums to a little shop on the Arcata Plaza called People's Records. We're starting to lighten our load. It's time to give stuff away. So it begins...

"i have collected, over the years, a bunch of vinyl. as i was just a bit more stable than the parade of transient hippies who lived in my various houses, i "inherited" quite a few. i'm talking lps. albums. records. analog music. and some spoken word stuff too. they have been packed away for many years. i also have a box of cassette tapes gathering dust. and now the cds robin and i have, have also been superseded by technology. we are connected. we get our tunes on the intertubes and put them on an ipod. i just recalled that somewhere here with us in our new home is also a stack of 78 rpm records. those might not be vinyl. oh yeah, i may have one of the earliest records i bought. a wannabe beatnik kid stuck in the 'burbs, at 16 i bought a 45 rpm mini album, maybe called an ep(extended play): music from the movie "the man with the golden arm," which i had not, and still have not, ever seen.

last week i pulled out the ancient garrard turntable i got from somewhere. the needle had lost its point, so i laid out 20 bucks for a new pickup and needle. those old lps sound great! ok. here's some technical stuff. we record this stuff on a mac using a free program called audacity, by plugging one end of a patch line into the headphone outlet of our stereo amp and the other end into "line in" on the computer. we also record on our older pc using a program called sound forge, which we bought some years ago. either of these systems works for taking music from cassettes too. these programs record in wav format, and convert that into mp3. itunes will also convert a wav into an mp3.

here is a small sample of my albums, with commentary. it was tough to pick out just a few. there are lots from the sixties, seventies and eighties. rolling stones, the dead, quicksilver, jesse colin young, fever tree (??!). loads of us have those (maybe not fever tree, or cat mother and the all night newsboys) so i didn't pick any of them for pictures.

i was raised on jazz. well, not really. my parents liked music, but had no records. and thelonius monk wasn't even on their radar.

oh just look at this! you see the word "rapping?" does it sound modern? was this guy ahead of his time or what. recorded live in oakland, california, 1960.

i was there! as the crowd thinned out late at night the ushers opened the gates and let my high school buddies and me in. we were ten feet from the stage. 1959.

this record is in perfect condition. no scratches. and she is just too sexy for words.

one of my early faves. i may have worn out the grooves.

okay, i love this, but really, where did i get it?

paul is barefoot!!! is he dead?

a must for every beatnik.

one of the best live recordings ever of a great jazz standard.

i have more too.

another of my early favorites."

We waved good-bye to the past and hope someone will fall in love with this old way of listening to music. Now we're playing songs off our iPhone that's wired to play through the incredible speakers and sound system we discovered in our house when we bought it nearly 7 years ago. We still and will always love music.

Monday, March 14, 2022

30 Years


My dad and me 

My father died 30 years ago today. I've been thinking how long it's been and realized this:  When he died I was only 39 years old. I had only known Roger for three years and we hadn't married yet. I hadn't started my real job at the university, I was still doing temp work proving my value as an employee. He never got to know me as the Assistant Director of Student Media at the university. I hadn't bought my real first house in Santa Cruz. I didn't even own a camera. I didn't know the names of flowers or birds or cloud formations. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as atmospheric optics. My father never had the chance to see me become the person I am now, although I sense that he always knew there was someone in me waiting to emerge from my shell. I'm still working on that one, Dad. 

My father was only 73 years old when he died. My older brother turned 73 last November. My twin brother and I will be 70 in May. My sister will be 70 in 1 1/2 years. When I think of how young we all feel, how vibrant and full of the eagerness to learn new things, how death seems like a distant star that will take us light years to get to, it knocks me out that my father was so young when he reached that star. 

So we have a yahrzeit candle burning for him. It will burn for 24 hours, and we will hold all of our memories of our father deep in our hearts. We'll shout out to the universe how much he will always be loved and remembered... even by people who have never met him, but who read this blog and have known him for years. 

So, this is for you, Dad. A lovely display of iridescence above our chimney photographed just the other day. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Birds At The Marsh


I wish you could have seen these two Northern Shovelers moving along in the muddy marsh at a low tide. They were walking along and eating with their bills in the mud slurping up food ( as Cornell Birding website says eating, "tiny crustaceans, other aquatic invertebrates, and seeds which they filter out of the water with comblike projections (called lamellae) along the edge of the bill.") They just moved along like this the whole time, enjoying their lunch. (I'm thinking this is why they're called Shovelers.)

Here's a closer view.

We loved watching them, their energy and delight. Yum! 

Then we walked further on at the marsh and saw this beauty, a Greater Scaup.

They are sweet birds that over-winter here before they make their long journeys to northern Canada and Alaska during breeding season. 

I hope you'll click on the pics and take a closer look.

Monday, March 07, 2022

Avoiding All Talk Of War

I don't watch the news. I see the headlines in all of our online subscription newspapers. There's a war. There's a war. Right now. On our planet earth. A war. I look away. I have no words. I only want beauty. Do I have my head in the sand? Maybe. I don't mind being uniformed. It's peaceful that way. I look out the window and see funny things like this.

The sky is looking back at us with many eyes. It's wondering what humans are doing on earth right now. Crazier than usual stuff it seems. 

Facebook reminded me that I photographed this Pileated Woodpecker ten years ago when we were still living in the Sierra foothills. Oh how I miss seeing these beauties. 

On a very sunny Sunday morning we went for a walk. This Robin in the tree called to me. 

I was so happy to see this lovely sign of spring here and a reminder that even if we don't see Pileated Woodpeckers we still have Robins!

The weather forecast says that we're in for a nice sunny week ahead. That will really help us keep our eyes on the beauty of the world around us and completely off the news.

We hope you are all finding ways to stay sane and see the beauty all around you. 

Thursday, March 03, 2022

A Sunrise

The sun and earth still provide us with so much beauty. I've written it so many times that beauty is the best balance to the world we have created on this planet we call home. 

I run out every morning at the slightest hint of light and color. This is what the sky looked like for just a few minutes on the first day of March. 

I zoomed to get the breath of beauty that would lift my heart as high as the sky. Five minutes later it was all gray out there. 

Between ruthless war makers and hackers I am feeling quiet these days. I hope you are all finding ways to get through these times with your sanity and hearts intact. I'll keep looking for beauty and reading your blogs and dreaming of better days.