Friday, February 08, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

headed SanFrancisco-ward

headed SanFrancisco-ward
Originally uploaded by marymactavish.
Contrary to meteorologist expectations, this winter has been way too dry. This part of the state, in La NiƱa winters, can go either way, wet or dry. Prognosticators wait until late in the year to tell us how it will likely go, and at the last minute, last year, they said it'd be wet.

Dry Januarys are not that unusual, even in wetter years, but this winter is just... too dry.

That said, chilly dry nights can make for lovely sunsets.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Huell Howser has died, and I am very sad about it

Originally uploaded by MrFabesBird.
I had other bloggy plans for today, but hey, Huell Howser died.

Years and years ago, I flicked on TV to see a show about a place that I, a fifth-gen Californian who thinks she knows a lot about it, had never heard of, the Calfornia Poppy Preserve. It was Huell Howser's KCET show, "California's Gold," or as Huell would say, "California's Gold!"

Dang that man had enthusiasm, and it was contagious. He was from Tennessee, California was an adopted home, and he was in love with it.

It just occurred to me as I started writing about this that a big effect he had on me was to teach me an appreciation of parts of California I didn't know much about or hadn't thought of as beautiful or fascinating. I am intimate with northern California. I love the redwoods, the scenery of the live oak woodlands that form a bathtub ring around the valley, I love the smell of sage in the high desert.

But the underground houses of Fresno? La Brea tar pits? And I hadn't even heard of the poppy reserve until he told me about it, and I visited it from up in northern California the very next spring.

I learned to appreciate southern California from him, and that's saying a lot, and I learned to appreciate places and people I hadn't considered beautiful or interesting before.

Looking for a picture of him on flickr for this post, I come across a mention that someone tried a small halal market after he mentioned them. And the caption here, sadness.

But it's not just that.

Cal Humanities said on facebook, "With wonder and warmth, he illuminated spots familiar, obscure, and magical across California through his public TV series."

He was full of wonder. He overflowed with wonder and delight. He had the kind of wonder that made people -- that made me -- want to pay attention to what
we were at risk of losing, in California, if we didn't protect our environmental and cultural heritage.

And he really loved people, so many different kinds of people were interesting to him, it's like he knew that the world takes all types and that any given person probably has a lot to share if you ask the right questions. Sometimes I look at how judgemental I can be about people who see the world differently than how I do, and I'm ashamed of that, thinking about how he related to others.

He was just plain decent people. Period.

Here is perhaps the most touching comment I've read in social media, so far:

"They used to show California's Gold on Armed Forces Network when I lived in Japan and I recorded all the episodes. And when I was feeling homesick, I'd watch them sometimes." (She says I can attribute this to "Roxanne Cooper --5th generation Californian." Maybe it's that so much of California seems ethereal or transitory, but we long-timers like to point that out.)

I hope Huell somehow knows about Roxanne watching him in Japan to soothe her homesickness for California.

That says most of what needs saying, right there.

LA Times, "Huell Howser dies at 67; TV host profiled California people and places"
His YouTube channel has a lot of video, check it out and see for yourself

Sunday, December 30, 2012

what kind of tree is this?

what kind of tree is this?
Originally uploaded by marymactavish.
anyone who knows which firs or spruces are used in California landscaping is welcome to help.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

fritzy's butt

fritzy's butt
Originally uploaded by marymactavish.

Friday, December 07, 2012

City Lights of the United States 2012

I stared at this for about an hour last night. I was most fascinated by Appalachia, with the lights arranged down the folded valleys, and how griddy the Midwest is.

The closer I looked at it, especially east of the Rockies (i.e. away from where I live), the more I got lost, the less I could figure out where I was from the surrounding pattern.

California was easy, but then, I live here.

And the Gulf of Mexico outside the Mississippi River Delta, wow. Those are all lights from oil platforms, no?

Click through to Flickr to see this NASA image, and to find the giganto-version.

Monday, November 19, 2012

reason 100 to like our neighborhood: neighborliness

I love our neighborhood.

Our next door neighbors are renters who have lived here for a long time. They really never go in their backyard, which is overgrown with random yard stuff including a couple of citrus trees and a big apple tree planted by the previous renters a long time ago.

Our neighbor across the street moved into his house when it was built, when he was a boy in the mid-fifties. He worked in local orchards, some in this block, for pocket money, but they're gone now.

Today I went out back to see why our guard-dachshund Fritzy was losing his head and found the across-the street neighbor in the next-door neighbor's yard (with permission) harvesting apples. He called me to the fence and gave me as many as I could hold.

They are so crunchy and sweet and huge.