Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Dream, A Chuckle

As I think I've mentioned before, I don't dream (or remember my dreams) very often.  However I woke from one on Saturday morning, my first day of spring break, that made me laugh.  I'm not sure of the context, which is usually the case when I dream, but for what seemed like several minutes I listened to someone say, "business" over and over and over again.  But rather than annunciate the three syllables in the word it was said emphasizing the many "s" sounds in the word.  It was more like, "bisssss nisssss, bisssss nisssss".  I remember thinking, "Why do they keep saying that?" feeling irritated.  Then I woke myself up, and it was only about 6:00 am.  That's when I remembered that my bedroom window was open, and I heard a bird whistling in the same two beats the "person" was saying "business" in my dream.  With eyes still closed, I got up, closed the window and fell back into bed.  I wasn't going to let this bird interrupt my sleep or invade my dreams that early on the first day of break.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday 9

This week's song link is Asia's Heat of the Moment...
1) What's something you did or said "in the heat of the moment?"   Most of my life “mouth” has gotten me in a bit of trouble in all sorts of moments.  Now that I’m old older, it’s no longer worth the aggravation that it causes me vs. the point I’m trying to make.  C’est la vie
2) Asia's founder and bass player, John Wetton, passed away in January. One of his bandmates remembered him as a reliable performer who made everyone around him look better. Do you enjoy being the center of attention? Or would you, like Mr. Wetton, prefer to play a supporting role?  No, I do not like being the center of attention and would prefer to play a supporting role.
3)  When were you in the car for than an hour?  Most of my hour car rides are for a drive that is, by mileage, quite short.  The traffic here is atrocious most of the time, so none of my hour car rides are exciting adventures...just trying to get from one side of town to the other usually.  Today, we are going wild flower hunting though.  So we will probably be in the car for a longer, adventurous drive!
4) The song refers to disco hot spots, which apparently, by 1982, no one wanted to go to anymore. Let's make that negative into a positive. Describe your perfect night out with friends. Where would you go?  These days, my living room’s couch sounds like a nice place to hang out with friends.  But if we’re feeling motivated, I evening out to the theater or one of the museums for an interesting speaker.  Add in a nice meal, and it sounds like a fun evening to me!
5) In 1982, the year this song was popular, someone laced bottles of Tylenol with cyanide. That's why we now have tamper-proof caps on many products. Have you used anything in a tamper-proof bottle yet today?  I remember the Tylenol scare as a kid!  I have not.  It’s the first day of spring break so there are NO aches and pains.
6) In 1982, Time Magazine's Person of the Year wasn't a person at all, it was "the computer." What do you use your computer for most often?  There is very little these days I DON’T use the computer for. 
7) 1982 also saw the premiere of The Weather Channel. Where do you learn the day's weather forecast? (Watching the local news on TV, checking your phone, looking out the window ...)  The Weather Bug and Accu Weather apps on my phone. Although, my phone has phantom photos on it that are taking up storage but aren’t actually there.  I have had to delete a whole bunch of apps, just to use my phone until I can hook it up to the computer and wipe those photos from it. 
8) In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie, Conan the Barbarian, was a hit in theaters. When you settle down to watch a movie, is it usually a fantasy, like Conan? Or do you prefer another genre?  My preferred genre of movie/show is drama/suspense/thriller and if its about detectives or spies that’s even better.  I also like comedy, if not too slapticky, romance comedy, if not too sappy, and action if there is some semblance of a realistic story in it.  Fantasy or pretend is not a genre I tend to watch at all, but I have seen all the X-Men/Wolverine films, and do like those! 
9) Random question: What is something you try to avoid?  Mayonnaise (listening to it, seeing it, or eating it) and having my picture taken.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Treasure. A Benign Post.

My level of frustration with our federal government's new administration is on red alert, and if I were blogging about that, I'd have plenty to say.  Trying to bite my tongue and stay away from posting about politics has felt a little stifling which has led to me not really wanting to write about anything.  Writing benign posts feels mostly uninspiring...but I think I've got one today!  :)
My dad spent part of the 60s in the navy.
Part of his enlisted time was spent in Korea and the rest he spent in Japan.
Growing up, I vividly remember a tea set that he had brought back from his time in Japan for his mom (my grandma), who then gave it to my mom.  The delicate pot and tiny cups were white, decorated with a red and gold dragon.  I have vivid memories of getting this tea set out every-so-often and playing with it, because what made it so special and fun to a little kid was that when the tea cups were tipped up towards the light, there was a shadow of a Geisha.  You would have no idea it was there unless it was in the right light.  I found them so fascinating.
The set was housed in my mom's china hutch.  But sadly, in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, that china hutch fell over and most items in it were destroyed, including the tea set.  We don't have a lot of family treasures or mementos, but I would have considered that one so it was sad when it was gone.
Fast forward to earlier this year.  I was visiting with family at my aunt's (dad's sister) house.  Before I left, she told me she had something for me.  She went behind the bar and came out with a bag.  Inside the bag was a Japanese saki set with the same red and gold dragon design.  Come to find out, my dad had also brought back this saki set for my aunt and uncle.  My mom and aunt had somehow touched on the subject of it the last time they were together, and my mom mentioned how special I found the tea set.  My aunt decided to give me the saki set.  That just warmed my heart and made me sentimental over it.  The best part of the set...the little cups also have the geisha shadow in it.
Since I'm even less of a saki drinker than I am a tea drink - I rarely drink tea - this set is residing in  my sideboard which is much less top heavy than a hutch.  Hopefully, it will remain safe there.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Visitors

I often want to hide my head in shame after posting about the weather here in California.  We get such little weather that when it does happen, as I've mentioned, we kind of lose our minds. As I also stated a couple of weeks ago, every few years we get torrential rains which makes us sound like babies, "Oh, it's going to rain a lot in this storm."  But the reality is that while the rains that come might be few and far between, they really are quite powerful.  Storm Lucifer has been talked about all week. It was predicted to bring a lot of rain and wind and with that some damage.  Below are some snippets of the news spliced together.  The most fascinating are the two sink holes.

It did rain VERY hard and it was so windy.  Luckily, due to the four day Presidents' weekend I didn't have to go anywhere.  And I didn't.  We mostly stayed holed inside the house listening to it, and again hoping that the very tall palm tree across the street that was blowing wildly in the wind didn't uproot itself and fall onto my house (which is a regular rainy day worry).  Anyhow, about midday it was time to coerce Rigby outside before she exploded.  Before opening the door to the yard, something moving on the grass caught my eye.  At first I noticed it was a bird, but then I soon realized that there were several.  They kept landing on the grass area and jumping around in the bushes and the fence.  I counted upwards of 10 at any given time.
 They're terrible pictures, but if you enlarge them you can clearly see some of them.  I've never seen birds that look like that before.  We have the little brown sparrows, the mourning doves, and the mockingbirds that come out in droves, but these colorful ones were a mystery to me.
 I tried to go outside without the dog to get a closer look, but as soon as the door opened they all flew up into the nearby trees.
I asked around and learned that they are American robins.  I had no idea we had them here!  I also learned that they usually are sighted in the spring.  Which makes me chuckle.  Of course they would arrive in my backyard on the most non-spring day we've had this year.
Not having the best of luck when it comes to wildlife in my backyard, I was a bit worried they were planning on making my yard a place to birth or die (neither have been successful in my yard) and I really wanted them to take their business elsewhere.  The dog went out shortly after that and so I didn't see them the rest of the day.  This morning, there were a couple in my yard and when I got home this afternoon, there were several flying around and singing in my trees.  I'm still hoping they realize I have a dog and they'll plan whatever they are planning at one of the neighbors' instead.  It's not looking that way, but my fingers are crossed.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Show

Anytime someone speaks or writes about their favorite band/musician, I'm always perplexed a bit in coming up with an answer because I have a lot of favorites.  Other than "country" music, I pretty much enjoy all music, and my favorites would probably depend on the day of the week or musical interests at the time.  If a gun were held to my head and I had to give an emphatic answer it would be Sting/The Police AND The Dave Matthews Band.  I've narrowed it down to them because they are both artists that have been around a long time, have an enormous collection of albums/songs, and while both have changed up their music over time they remain consistent to their "sound".  And maybe most importantly, they both give an amazing live performance.  I've seen DMB five times in concert, and two of those were three day shows.  I have seen The Police in concert twice (when the reunited in 2007) and Sting four times.  I don't go to concerts regularly like I used to, but make a point to if either of these are playing.
Sting came out with a new album, "57th & 9th" this past year and has been touring for the album since February 1.  This past Thursday night (yes a school night, and I'm paying for it this weekend) he was in Hollywood, and I got to go!   As usual, it was a great show.  I've only ever seem him (and The Police) at large outdoor venues like The Hollywood Bowl or Dodger Stadium.  This was at the  Hollywood Palladium which is a much smaller, indoor venue.  Other than some sections that have seats reserved for groups around the floor, it's general admission for standing around the stage. He was so close we could have touched him.  It was amazing!
On a side note, I don't usually film or photograph at shows because I just want to enjoy it while I'm there.  However, I did try to get a few moments on camera to share but my iPhone and I are having a battle these days over storage, so I didn't get much.  I found this on youtube and the person behind the camera seems to be in the seating area right behind where we were standing so what it shows is what I saw.  It's most of the show (minus 3-4 songs).  I love that it shows how close we were!
For this show, he is touring with his son, Joe Sumner, and a band from Texas called The Last Bandoleros, both of whom opened the show.  Then they were his back up singers for the rest of the night.  I saw Sting this last summer with Peter Gabriel at The Hollywood Bowl, which was an incredible show with a lot of spectacle.  This one was parred down and so intimate - it was different than the big venues but wonderful in its own right.
He played a little bit of everything - new ones from the recent album, older ones since his solo career, and then several from The Police.  Here's the set list for the show.  It was a good one.  Thankfully he included my favorite song of all during the 1st encore - at 55:07.  (sigh)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Volcano

Kilauea, the Big Island of Hawaii's active volcano (familiarly known as "Volcano" by the locals), has been very busy for quite a few years now.  When my parents first bought property there, maybe 25-30 years ago, it was labeled an active volcano, but its actions were small.  The first time I ever visited Volcano we walked in the caldera (just a short step inside).  Other than some active steam vents (one even burned my ankle) and some orange lava visible underneath the already hardened lava rock on our walk towards the ocean, there wasn't much going on that was visible.  The one thing that was interesting to my on that first visit was the size of it.  I'd never seen a volcano before, so what I had imagined was that upside-down triangle shape that spewed a plume of smoke with lava spilling down the sides.  This volcano is enormous.  Because it's so massive you can't even tell it's a mountain unless you are viewing it from far away to actually see the slope of it.  The drive around it and "up" to it is summit takes quite awhile.
After that first trip, Volcano started to get more active.  Since my mom has lived there full time (about 12 years now) it has been very active.  She has taken several photography trips by car, boat, and helicopter to see it.  And pretty much every time I go visit her, we make a day trip to see it.  Usually, "it's been very busy" with the promise of a lot to see.  And every time I have gone it's not doing a darn thing.  I can't tell you how many miles we've hiked out in the intense heat, over uneven and jagged lava rock, in the dark (at least on the way out) to see a whole lot of NOTHING.  The things I have seen haven't been all that exciting, but they are quite interesting.  The crater that we walked in on our first trip has since fallen and is pretty much full of lava most of the time.  Visitors can no longer get anywhere near it, and it is now a viewing attraction at the visitor's center.  Also, because of the slow, but fairly constant flow of lava the road we drove in on has gotten remarkably shorter while the hike in has gotten longer.  The lava has taken out roads, street signs, structures and now those areas are covered in igneous rock.  Even though all those trips have been a bit disappointing to not see what we can see in videos or pictures, it is still incredible that we've witnessed the earth literally changing in a matter of years

While I have vowed to never go back to that volcano AGAIN to see nothing, this past week has brought about some significant activity.  After a collapse inside over the New Year, the lava is now coming out like a faucet - just pouring out.  They call it a "fire hose".  If that isn't fascinating enough, it is also creating little explosions when it hits the ocean.
Now, that would be something to see!  


Monday, January 23, 2017

Raining Cats and Dogs

Southern California, especially LA County, is known for its little rain.  In fact, we've been in a serious drought due to record lows in snow pack/rainfall over the last several years.  Last year's El Nino was supposed to bring us some inches, but in the end as per the more recent norm, that weather pattern fizzled out, leaving us with another year of hot dry weather and a very serious concern over lack of water.  This year, La Nina has been predicted.  La Nina is a wet weather pattern like El Nino, but with colder ocean temps/weather instead of warmer.  These predictions have fallen on deaf ears over the the last few years due to their non-existence.
However, this year La Nina HAS arrived.  We've had more rain/snow so far this winter than we've had in the last 6 winters combined.  It is a GOOD thing, but I'll tell you, it is such a nuisance.  The thing about the rain here is that when it rains, it pours...and pours and pours and pours, with very little let up for days on end.

I tried to get the gist of it on the video.  It is just pouring, but there are only a few seconds where the lighting shows it off.  Poor Rigby went out to take care of business while I took this and she was just about to go when that wind picked up and knocked her off course.  She had a lot of stops and starts this afternoon. 

Another interesting fact about rain in Los Angeles is that when we have it we are reminded that there is an actual river that runs through the city.  Most of the time it is dry, and because of that it is a familiar site in the movies.  

When we do have several days of rain, it doesn't take long to become a pretty fast moving river.  It's such a novelty, people are always needing to be rescued because of the things they try to do when it's flowing.  One of our newscasters posted this on twitter.  
Update: This was written Sunday afternoon (but never posted because the videos were giving me fits) and the rain hasn't stopped since.  We had a little break today around lunch time, so the kids could go out and play (Thank goodness since inside "recess" is the PITS!)  Other than that, the downpour continues.  Here are some additional pictures that show the river, and this site shows the flooding/damage the rain has caused.  What struck me most tonight was this view of the river in Long Beach.  It looks like ocean waves!
Here, "When it rains, it pours" is literal.