Category Archives: Winter-wet season

Getting distracted

“It’s four o’clock,” I said, “the train will be here soon.” Carol started to get out of the car, and then said, “Oh look!” and pointed at the rainbow. It was low in the sky, and quite vivid.

She ran off to catch her train. I started driving back to the office, and managed to miss my turn because I was looking at the rainbow, which had faded and had lost the top of its arch.

I drove around in one of those suburban tracts where you can never go in the direction you think you want to go. I was a little bit embarrassed that I had gotten lost because I was looking at a rainbow; rainbows are so wonderful that they’re trite; little kids like rainbows; I’m sure the other adults who driving around didn’t bother looking at the rainbow, although they might have had a little kid in a car seat who pointed at it.

Eventually I got back on the right road again. I came back to the office, and didn’t think about the rainbow until just now.

Nothing better

I’ve got nothing better to do
than stare out the window:
the gray clouds not moving,
the planes landing at SFO,
the cherry blossoms waving in the wind,
the rooftops doing nothing.

I’ve got nothing better to do
than to listen to nothing:
a stereo booming in a car stopped out front,
a clock keeping Eastern Standard Time,
a computer fan whirring,
a crow idly cawing about nothing in particular.

Nothing better to do
than nothing.


Alan said, “Did you see the hummingbird nest?” I hadn’t seen it, couldn’t go see it right away, but finally after the second worship service went to see. The nest was in a shrub right next to one of the doors to the Main Hall; there was a female Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) in the nest, sitting on two eggs….

Click on image above for full 2660×1393 pixel image.

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Crab season

Carol and I both noticed the sign in Trag’s supermarket: cooked and cracked Dungeness crabs at $4.99 a pound; winter is crab season in the Bay area. We asked the man behind the counter how big a crab to get, and he said, “Sounds like you haven’t bought a crab before.” We said we had just moved from the Massachusetts coast. “Oh yeah, lobster and all that,” he said. He picked out a crab, cracked the legs, and wrapped it up for us. We took it home and ate it right away…

Carol had never had Dungeness crab before; I’d only had it once in a restaurant. We ate the whole crab in one sitting. It’s better than lobster, with a lighter, more delicate flavor (and no icky green stuff in the guts that you have to decide whether eat or throw away).

Rainy season

Thanks to El Niño, we’re getting a string of winter storms this week: high winds, cloudbursts, lightning, threats of flooding. The San José Mercury News reported at midnight last night that “effects [of yesterday’s storm] on the Peninsula were mostly minor, but widespread.”

I woke up yesterday to find that power had gone off briefly last night. The commute from San Mateo to Palo Alto was long and slow. It was raining lightly when I left San Mateo, just hard enough to run the windshield wipers. In Belmont and Redwood City, there was no rain but the announcer on the radio said there was heavy rain in the Mid-Peninsula. Within five minutes, I had driven into a cloudburst: the windshield wipers could not keep up with the rain even at the fastest setting; lightning lit up the sky; the road was an inch deep in water; and with the exception of a few idiots who chose to risk hydroplaning, traffic crawled along at 30 miles an hour. South of University Avenue in Palo Alto, the rain stopped.

I’d guess we got well over an inch of rain in the morning, most of it in a few heavy downpours. In the middle of the day, we saw the sun for a brief moment before dark clouds rolled in over the coastal range and let loose another heavy shower which turned the church’s rose garden into a two-inch deep pool of water. The rain has tapered off now, but the weather service predicts that a low pressure system will move into our area over the weekend, bringing “substantial rainfall, and with the ground already saturated hydro problems are possible.” That means more creek flooding is expected.

I wouldn’t wish flooding on anyone — but speaking as a New England expatriate, I’d rather have El Niño flooding than ice storms, blizzards, and hurricanes.

Such bad news from the northeast, oh dear.

Stupid alter ego Dan is still feeling under the weather from his mild bronchitis. But Mr. Crankypants is here to keep this blog up and running. Today’s topic: the weather.

Mr. Crankypants is feeling particularly cranky because of the weather today. The weather here in California wasn’t quite perfect. It only got up to 61 degrees Fahrenheit. And it got too bright and sunny in the middle of the day, so much so that Mr. C. hurriedly had to smear on some more sunscreen. Why, at one point it got warm enough that they left the doors of the Palo Alto church open (not that Mr. C. would ever admit to actually attending church services).

At the same time, Mr. Crankypants notes with glee that a major snowstorm hit the northeastern United States. Dan’s dad measured 10 inches of snow on his deck. Heh, heh. E, a regular reader of this blog who lives in Washington, DC, has posted pictures to her Facebook page showing what looks like 16 inches of snow in her back yard. Heh, heh, heh, heh. In New Bedford, former home of Mr. C., they got 20 inches of snow. Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Seriously, Mr. Crankypants feels very bad about all the snow to hit the Northeast. He feels bad that so many people had to cancel church services today. He feels bad about all the people who had to shovel all that snow. He feels so bad he thinks he will go out into the back yard and pick an orange or two to make himself feel better. Then he will walk down the block to admire the Bird of Paradise flower that is in full bloom in someone’s front yard.

Update: Mr. Crnakypants notes that E, a yoga instructor, has advice on how to shovel snow properly without hurting yourself. You in the northeast can follow that advice, while Mr. C. is outdoors doing sun salutations on the green grass in the warm California air.

Feast day

Our Lady of Guadalupe is both the Catholic patron saint of all the Americas and a symbol of Mexico; today is her feast day. (She is also beloved of many feminists, who make some interesting interpretations of the aura which is always depicted as surrounding her.) Our downstairs neighbors put a little statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe under the little orange tree that’s between the garage and the house. In between rain showers, I made a photograph of her yesterday afternoon:

No oranges were harmed for this photograph.

Heavy frost in San Mateo

Carol burst into the bathroom when I was taking a shower. “It looks like it snowed!” she said. We went to the door of our second story porch to look out at the white fuzzy stuff on the roofs of nearby houses. It turned out to be a very heavy frost, the result of last night’s below-freezing temperatures and nearly 100% relative humidity. The sun was melting it quickly, so I grabbed a camera and stood just inside the back door, still starkers from the shower, and took a couple of pictures of the last remaining white frozen stuff, with two palm trees in the background.