This morning v and I awoke in Grass Valley, Ca. where we had driven up to on Saturday morning to attend the celebration of life of our friend Jerry Foote. He will continue to live on in our hearts and memories as a truly inspirational human being. We took a walk around Nevada City this morning before heading back home. It snowed last night, but only lightly. It wasn't overly cold while we walked. The temperatures were in the high 30's. The town looks like a time capsule from the gold rush days of California, except for the businesses now housed in the old brick and stone buildings.
I took a couple of pictures of interesting offerings in an antique shop in Auburn where we stopped for lunch.
As beautiful as the countryside along Interstate 49 and the old gold rush towns along the route, it is so good to be back in our little home and sanctuary. It was a lot for v as he finishes up round 5 of chemo, but he says he's fine, just a little tired. Isn't it said that a change is as good as a rest?
While v took a turn at driving I couldn't resist trying to capture the sunlight on the branches of the trees along the road home just west of Sacramento.
Finally the fall leaves I was looking for back in...the fall. News reports have been full of the reports that 2012 was the hottest year yet recorded in the contiguous U.S. It certainly stayed warm through to November. Now a drive through the countryside reveals the late fallen leaves. The world is heating up. The acceleration began in the late 80's and into the 90's. I'm going to ask that you think about something else here. Just like the effects of sun damage on skin takes years after exposure to develop, our current rapidly accelerating global warming is not happening because of the damage we inflicted on our Earth last summer (and we continue to inflict plenty). The resulting effects of our current contribution will not be felt for about fifty years. When I heard this I had to reflect on "what was going on 50 years prior to the onset of that sudden, and continuing, acceleration of climate change back in the late 80's to the 90's"? World War II and the atomic bombs, and all of the other catastrophic bombing that occurred in that and subsequent wars. Also, bombs aren't dropped just in combat, they must be developed and tested. I am concerned about all the attention, albeit important, put on "how do we stop global warming?", instead of serious discussion of just plain "how do we adapt?" Because adapt is what we have to do. If we stopped all activity that causes accelerated global warming tomorrow we are still facing steadily rising temperatures for the next 50 years. Is anyone really willing to do what needs to be done? We can't even agree on the causes anyway. Bombs aren't going away, planes aren't going away and cars aren't going away. The world as we know it is going away. In the mean time the east coast of the United States is facing seriously rising oceans and yet after the devastation of the storm Sandy people who can afford it are rebuilding right on the coast; homes and businesses. It seems always to be someone else's problem. In bocca al lupo. m & v
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. Henry David Thoreau
We are too quick to clear the land and cover it with asphalt in order to park a car on it for several hours a day. Our taxes support this. It is the infrastructure. We clear acres and acres of space for new, and frequently poorly constructed, new homes while older homes nearer city and town centers are allowed to deteriorate, to become "low-income" rentals that landlords feel little obligation to maintain beyond basic standards. We have no pride.
We've been convinced that "growth" for our economy relies on more and more new homes to congest our landscape, distance us, isolate us, and enslave us to the wasting of fossil fuels to return to our ever more distant jobs. On your way home from work make an observation as to how many large automobiles are single occupant. Why do we drive in a vehicle larger than the covered wagons that moved entire families westward? How many of the Conestoga's were private vehicles? Mom and Dad with separate wagons? The teenager gifted his or her own by virtue of living to the age of 16? Two to four wagons per family?
We should insist that our tax dollars be spent in the upkeep of existing residences and buildings. Architects, contractors, carpenters, plumbers, all journeymen would be just as busily employed with remodeling, upgrading, and redesigning. Instead of more roads let's build an efficient high speed rail system. Make public transportation practical. Give us the opportunity to walk or bike to work and the markets. Free up space and give us some air.
How can we and our county and state governments condone the construction of new shopping centers and malls while so many storefronts are empty and have been since the crash of '08 and before?
We've lost another dear friend this week. A sweet, sweet man, Jerry Foote. Numerically he may have been considered elderly, however it never occurred to us that he was. We've spent time with him and his wife, daughter and grandson at the symphony, the aquarium, and at their home. He'd retired from the art of teaching math, but he did not retire from life. He was a member of his own local symphony and was a museum volunteer, railroad museum. One of his hobbies was arranging music. He was such a vibrant man, how can he be gone? We've only known him a short time and his loss is inconceivable, it can only be worse for his family, a family we've come to think of as our own. We will miss him so dearly. In bocca al lupo. m & v
This old barn has stood on Hartnell St. in Monterey for nearly two hundred years. A silent sentinel. It is part of the Cooper-Molera complex that includes this barn, the main house and a large walled garden. We learned this past summer that the walls enclosing so many of the old adobes in Monterey were not built to establish boundaries of the properties nor to protect from enemy attacks. They were built to keep the Grizzley Bears out. In bocca al lupo. m & v
We took a walk around Carmel Bay. One can either walk along on the sand or the path above the beach. We chose the path. It was windy and cold. Although we didn't see any surfers we saw tidepoolers and this fisherman. I missed a shot when he pulled his catch out of the waves, but he obligingly cast off again.
The walk around the bay takes you from the crashing surf all the way around to a more protected beach at the mouth of the Carmel River. Further along you leave the ocean behind as you walk toward the Carmel Mission. Along that portion of the walk are the marshes. All the while one is circling the village of Carmel which is only the turn of the head away.
Another update on v. Today he began round five of his chemotherapy. He is tolerating it beautifully. No upset stomach and no more fatigue. He takes his oral chemo twice a day for two weeks, in addition to the infusion every three weeks. It may be that I am now more traumatized by the start of each cycle than he is. As he puts it, he is going through a process. I just see the poison he is having to accept and ingest. How is he? He is putting on weight, he is full of energy, and his lab work is outstanding. He is no longer anemic and it has been several weeks since his last iron infusion. That has stabilized. As always we continue to remain optimistic that v will ultimately go into remission (sooner than later, he feels). We have an enormous amount of support from coast to coast and even internationally. After his infusions we took a short walk downtown in Monterey then took in a matinee of Zero Dark Thirty. We enjoyed that. It was very well done. This evening we are relaxing and listening to the radio. m-e came by with lemon meringue pie so, tonight, dessert was first. Simple pleasures and life remains sweet. In bocca al lupo. m & v
Back to the routine day to day. Tomorrow is the day we traditionally take down our decorations and store them until next year. Resolutions? We don't generally make any formal ones. Keep up cooking more meals at home, try a new recipe at least once a we--, well once a month, put weight on v, take weight off of m, etc., etc., etc... Ah! Don't let the produce go all squishy. We don't actually consider it going to waste since we compost, but it'd be nice for us to reap the benefits first. Last year we got much better. A lot has to do with hitting more Farmers' Markets because we are so inspired by the bounty we behold. This year's Gathering on New Year's Day was a success with even more people crowding around our kitchen table for black-eyed-peas. It was our fourth annual gathering of dear friends. Like so many of these events, it started small, just another couple joining us. We now look forward to it as much as Christmas. Black-eyed-peas for prosperity! Spread the wealth! Our wish for everyone this year (beyond you two who read this) is for consideration: for all of us to be considerate of our loved ones and our friends, for the people who provide service to us and the people we pass on the street. Abolish rudeness. Callous behavior is not cool, or clever. It is corrosive. Well, there you have it; perhaps not a resolution, but a New Year's wish. In bocca al lupo. m & v
And made as he would eat me up As wholly as a dew Upon a dandelion's sleeve - And then I started too. And he - he followed close behind; I felt his silver heel Upon my ankle, - then my shoes Would overflow with pearl. Until we met the solid town, No man he seemed to know, And bowing with a mighty look At me, the sea withdrew. Emily Dickinson In bocca al lupo. m & v