Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Last night Gloria's house burned to the ground. A teenage daughter sustained minor burns and smoke inhalation trying to rescue her pets. She spent the night in the hospital and is being released today. She saved one puppy out of 4 dogs and two cats. No one else was injured - Dad, Mom, two brothers. One of the brothers is an adult, the other is in my sons' class in school.

Everyone I've seen today is ashen faced and tearful. Faces are tired, some from staying up all night helping, some from staying up all night worrying. Plans are being formed for donations of food and clothing. We talk of where the family can live. The movers and shakers are doing their things.

Fire is our worst fear. Most of us heat our homes at least partially with wood. A fact that is not likely to change with the cost of propane, electricity and heating oil. Emotionally, we are hard hit. It could have been any one of us.

Houses burn down here every winter, many homes are old farmhouses made of wood, but this is the first that has been so close to home. Someone we know - a family in our school. A friend of my sons.

The school will pitch in, the town as well. We area tight community. What the red cross doesn't supply the rest of us will. Eventually, they'll rebuild. But for today, we are all in shock, fear and tears mirrored in each others faces as we share the tragedy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fixing Fences

I spent Valentines day digging through the snow, looking for the break in my radio dog fence. I was pretty resentful about it.  Somehow I've got in my head that fences are for husbands to fix - like the trash is his to take out! I'm not sure why I think that - I've always been in charge of the fences. Horse fences & dog fences in all kinds of weather.

So why didn't I just refuse to do it? Let someone else fix it? I was thinking about that the other day, as I was driving down the freeway. It got me to thinking about how the work got done on the ranch when I was growing up. Here's the thing: I have NO memories of my dad doing the manual labor.  I have a few pictures of him with a shovel in his hand, but no actual memories.

My memories are of my mom. Irrigating ditches, fixing fences, rounding up cattle, helping cows calve. I used to follow her around while she did these things. I'm willing to guess that she was pretty resentful about doing all that stuff. Mom was an intellectual, she loved opera. She knew everything.

I don't think there was much opera available in the town near where we lived. Certainly not many fabulous intellects to have conversations with. 

So what does this have to do with me fixing fences on Valentines day? Everything. I'm following my Mother's example. If something needed doing, she did it. Like it or not. So when the fence is broken and the husband says "they're your dogs," I go out and start digging.

It's who I am.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is it Spring? Sadly, no.

We had the most beautiful sunrise this morning. Vivid pink. The best part was when I went out to get the car. The thermometer said 32 but it felt much warmer. It was light and there was a bird singing. I don't know what kind of bird - it sang tweet-chirp, tweet-chirp. 

If felt like Spring. But we don't really get spring here. And certainly not in February! But it's nice to dream. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

A message from Zoe.

This is Zoe speaking. There are supposed to be two dots over the e in my name, but I don't know how to put them there.

I thought I should let you know that my mom doesn't have time to write any brilliant missives today. She's doing the taxes. I know this because you can hear her sigh in the next county.

She asked me if dog food was deductible. I thought maybe if she claimed me as a guard dog for her computer that it could be a business expense. She said she didn't think the IRS would buy that.

Dogs rule.

Winter Sunrise - Santa Cruz

Sunrise in Santa Cruz, California. January 30, 2009 - 6 am? Such a huge contrast to the sunrise photos I took earlier that month and posted below. Notice the absence of snow!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moonlight and Snow

Maybe you've heard this before. Moonlight on snow is magical. My daughter and I were leaving her piano lesson last evening after dark. The moon illuminated the snow blanketing the crook of a maple behind the spot our car was parked.

I don't have the vocabulary to describe it so you can see it. The sky behind was dark but lighter than the branches of the tree. The snow was glowing blue, lighter than both the sky and the tree. 

How can I not believe in magic when there are such sights to be seen. It's compensation for the reading on the outdoor thermometer. It just hit 10 degrees.