Saturday, February 18, 2017


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


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!