Thursday, August 31, 2017

In the lull between whales

I see this image every day.  I use it as the lock screen background on my phone.  I am reminded just how amazing and weird whales are.

These days the humpbacks and fins are north of the OC... north of LA... up around Monterey Bay.  They'll have to head back down this way in a few weeks, but until then, I haven't been out on the boats.  The Matt Walsh (out of Marina del Rey) is docked for repairs in September, so I won't be going out as a naturalist on any boats after Sunday, my last chance until Gray Whale Migration, and out of the OC, where I'm least likely to see any of the big baleen whales.

Groupon has $7.50 whale watches out of San Pedro on a boat with Aquarium of the Pacific naturalists.  I'm thinking of picking up a few tickets, which are good up to 120 days, against when the baleens start moving south again.

Today, however, I'm starting my "lull between whales" activities:  First real day of classes at City College (I'm taking a ceramics class) and tomorrow I have two different sets of medical imaging studies to be done.  I'm more than a little worried about both, but mostly I want to get as much medical stuff out of the way as possible before things get busy for me again.

At this point I'm in a holding pattern for the move.  I've priced out trailers and boxes and mattress bags at Uhaul.  I've got my hitch receiver installed.  I've budgeted money to put aside for a security deposit, which I'll have in full on Sept 15th.  I'm waiting for an open apartment, and getting ready to pack.  Part of me is sad I'm leaving.  I love the ocean... not so much the beach... definitely not the big city.

Last night I dreamed I was back in Santa Fe.  I had gone to a gallery on Canyon Road, and was surprised to see that there had been some of my work there, but that it had sold.  When they went through their records, they had sold a lot of my work, all beautiful soft landscapes from my travels... and I remembered painting none of them.

I've been thinking a lot about landscapes recently-- and the places I've seen.  But I've been more focused on the ceramics I have opportunities to work with for the next 6 months.   I may have to move up my time frame for getting paints and start doing some of those landscapes.  If I loose a lot of mobility in my left hand, I may be grateful to have another art form (than ceramics) to work with in the near future.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Moving (Forward)

I think this is kind of a segue post. It really holds little interest, even to me, except to explain the changes in my life and the stories I'm telling, whereas I've been concentrating on the places I've seen and the things I'm doing (whale watching, naturalist work, and photos relating to tourist destinations) I'm now moving into a time where I'm once again more acutely involved with financial and health matters.  Hopefully I can get my MRI scheduled and that will lay some of the health issues at rest. I've also come to understand that this is likely the end of my working in clay, because of the condition of my left hand, and my choice NOT to have cortisol shots in my hand that may make future shots in other locations less effective, and may be risky for the functioning of my hand anyway.  

My hand is the least of my concerns right now.  I'm used to pain.  Right now I'm focused very narrowly on the Petaluma move.  Right now I'm getting ready, making ready to jump when the opportunity presents itself. 


I've learned to prepare for the future in bits and chunks, grabbing on to bits and pieces when they become available, then holding on to that against the time when I can put it all into play.

Which basically means saving up and taking baby steps toward the move.

Today I'm getting a trailer hitch put on my car, something I'd planned to do two years ago and never was able to afford to do.  Now I have furniture that I don't want to lose in a move.  I've made it a point these last few years to buy things that are light weight, that come apart, or that pack small.  Everything can be moved by me alone, with the help of a dolly.

I am not moving next week, or the week after that, or likely the week after that.  I'm waiting for the apartment I want, and my next paychecks will be devoted almost solely to the security deposit and moving expenses.  I know it's not going to be enough.   I have to balance my needs NOW with my plans for THEN.  Of course, one of my NOW needs is to make it until THEN.

The farewell tour has been put on hold due to financial and health constraints.  I am surprisingly OK with that.  The only place I really feel an urgency to see before I leave is the L.A. Zoo, and there's plenty of time.

I've also invested in a class at City College.  I plan to use up my 75 lbs of micaceous clay this semester, as well as to make a number of high fire pieces.  Hopefully I'll have enough to sell at the Makers Market at the aquarium in November.  I keep thinking I'll be moving between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that's not a time a lot of people move out of their homes.  I'm more likely looking at late spring, which bothers me quite a bit, but I'm comforted somewhat knowing that I'll be here for another gray whale migration season.

Looking at all this I realize now why I'm stressed:  Work, school, volunteer work, planning a move, trying to put aside money, and struggling with what little money I do have.   Things aren't going poorly at this point, they're just slow, chaotic, and not at all restful as I'd hoped.  This isn't a bad thing. I just need to adjust my expectations.

Friday, August 25, 2017

In Case of Emergency

Over the last couple months I've thought a lot about emergency situations.  Saber rattling with Korea, the threat of earthquakes... whatever.   When I lived in Florida, the idea of having to evacuate quickly was a given.  I had a "hurricane bag", containing extra bedding, non-perishable food items, water, flashlight and batteries, a book and a deck of cards,  as well as all of my important papers, which I always kept in zip lock bags to keep them waterproof.

Since moving away from Florida, I've let a lot of that go.  But now I wonder what to grab, and how quickly I could grab things, should my home be crumbling or burning.

Recently I've been seeing these ads all the time on Facebook for "The Earthquake Bag":

Today I finally clicked on the link to look into it.  Basically, it's a backpack, with a cheap plastic fold up poncho, a small first aid kit, a flashlight radio, an oil lamp, a travel grooming kit, work gloves, a small sewing kit, and some water in pouches.  This particular kit is about $105, but they offered me a $10 coupon on the site.

Now I'm pretty darn sure I can do a lot better than that.  I'm going to pass on the hazard tape and the tube tent, because honestly? there's no way I'd try to sleep in a tube tent during an emergency, I'd sack out in my car, which is much more secure.

So, lets start with the most expensive items on there:

Emergency hand crank and solar powered flashlight/radio with charger for $15.98.  Not sure why I'd need this, since I have a cell phone, battery charger, and an electric battery operated lantern at home I could keep in a bag.  The phone alone has everything I'd need as far as light and information in an emergency, unless the cell towers were down...then information would have to come from my car radio.

First aid kit.   They one they offer looks pretty dinky, and I already have one in my car, but I can get a great 75 piece first aid kit for $6.43  I may pick that up just to keep handy, or I can grab the medical supply box and medicines kits I keep on the shelf in the hall.

Rain tote:  $5.21.   I probably wouldn't be caught dead in this thing.

10 piece travel kit (more than enough grooming supplies) $5.97  Because you can't get out of town fast enough to buy toothpaste?  I don't know.  I generally keep one in the apartment anyway just for convenience when I take long trips. 

Water, well, let's get a whole 24 bottle flat of water for under $3.

Work gloves (why?) I can get something like the gloves shown for $2.94  I might buy more work gloves.  Mine are pretty uncomfortable.

Sewing kit: $4.21.   Since my arthritis is so bad, I don't even use my current sewing kit, which has a lot more stuff in it, including big eye needles I can use when I do have some grip.  I'll use my own.

So I could make a much BETTER kit, even if I were to start from scratch (which I don't need to) for somewhere around $40, not including the backpack, which, of course, wouldn't fit all that much water, but I could get a few bottles in there and leave the rest in my car.

As for the backpack itself, I don't expect I'd ever spend $60 on a backpack, and have a really great one I use for heavy duty packing that I got at a thrift store for about $5... and since it's a high end Oasis, I feel confident it'd stand up to emergency usage.

I can't help but wonder why someone would pay all that money for one of these "emergency kits" when they can do so much better on their own.  At the same time, seeing the ads has made me reconsider how I place things in my home, and where I should keep my bags for packing things in a hurry. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse, and 2024 Homecoming.

The skies cleared over Long Beach just in time for the eclipse.  I held my spare solar viewing glasses over my camera and snapped a shot:

I couldn't help but notice that our next eclipse, in 2024, has a path of totality that takes it directly over my hometown.

I may be heading back to the east coast in 7 years.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


A number of things have happened today.

First,that little whale that has been traveling around Newport Beach, and had been driven out of the harbor into the open ocean, is now perking up a little and swimming "laps" around the LA Harbor after being rescued from another location, where the water was too shallow for him to swim.


Until it was moved into open water, there was social media silence on the whereabouts of the whale, for the whale's well-being.

The whale is very thin, has not been observed eating, and has a long way to go to join other Gray Whales up near the Alaskan feeding grounds.  The whales will start their migration again down the coast in another few months.

The second bit of news is a little more uplifting for me.  Recently I posted about seeing a reddish egret in the wetlands along route 1.  I was pretty sure of what I saw, at the same time, had to admit to some skepticism since the bird was out of its normal range.   Today I had one of the Bolsa Chica Wetland Reserve Docents as a guest at one of my marine mammal lectures, and we had a long time to talk, since she and her husband came to a lecture long before the boat left.  After we discussed the mammals, and she mentioned her docent position, I asked about the bird I saw, and yes, she confirmed that there are currently 5 reddish egret in the wetlands this mating season.

I've now decided to add photographing some of the birds at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands as one of the items on my farewell tour.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Farewell Tour: Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach

Today, working down on the Peninsula, I suddenly realized that while I'd photographed some of the boats and the water, I hadn't really photographed the area that was dedicated to tourism down on the Peninsula.  Some of the shops are really struggling, and as winter comes on, they know they'll be facing a lean time.  For some reason, summer is the tourist season there.  

The sale of the Balboa Fun Zone to Discovery Cube is a great opportunity for both the residents and The Cube.  If they can make this a destination, if they can walk that fine line between history/ tradition and a modernized attraction, then can save a lot of businesses, a lot of jobs, and make a lot of money.

Today I've photographed the area as it is, complete with the disappearing and changing buildings, signage, and shops.

Hello from the Farewell Tour

Well, I ran out of photo space pretty quick over at Wordpress, so I added the posts I've done this summer to my Archives Site on Wordpress, and here I am, home on Blogger, where I'm pretty sure I can blog for years without running out of space for my pictures.

The sad part of all this is that I can't automatically post to my Facebook account here, but some things have to be borne.  I also don't have the cool theme options, but what I have will work out fine, I'm sure.

So, the Farewell Tour:  If you've been a member of THIS blog and not THAT blog (the Wordpress version) then you may need some catching up.

Yes, I'm in Los Angeles County, in Long Beach to be specific, and my hopes for Long Beach and the optimism I'd had were pretty much in vain.  I am less than happy here, although my medical needs are finally being met.   I have better options both for my living arrangements and my medical care in Sonoma County (Petaluma)  and am preparing to move there as soon as an apartment becomes available in my target complex.

So at this point, I'm tying up loose ends in LA, seeing the things I want to see before I go.  Recently it was a tour of the museums downtown:  The LaBrea Tar Pits, the LA County Museum of Art, The Museum of Natural History, the Science Museum, and, while I was in Exposition Park, the rose garden.  Shortly before that it was the South Coast Botanical Gardens.  I'll be continuing to post the Farewell Tour, as well as some of my other activities, and likely, now that things have heated up beyond my ability to keep silent, a lot more political ramblings.