Somewhere, months after it was supposed to have been delivered and installed, a friend's dishwasher is being held hostage.
OK, as requested, the other side of the card.
Sent just 98 years ago. (Still can't quite make out the signature. Ira? Ida?)
This card was sent from Stockton, Ca, to Mr. Robert Hall in Brewer Maine on Dec. 16, 1919. The postmark even has the time -- 11 am.
I love imagining the moments of recognition as families unpack their ornaments and decorate the tree and for a little minute, everything is as it ever was.
It's the winter solstice today and starting tomorrow, a few seconds at a time, the days will start getting longer. (Fellow Laura Ingalls Wilder fans may recall Pa Ingalls' saying -- when the days begin to lengthen, the cold begins to strengthen. In this time of insane weather, predictions of a 75-degree Christmas day, and a year-round fire season, I can only say fingers crossed.)
Meanwhile, here's a shot of the clouds that surrounded us for a few hours yesterday, whispering of rain but leaving behind not a single drop.
First of all, the puppy is NOT that big. (But she really is that shiny.) Still, with the sloping trail and something that the point-and-shoot did, she looks larger than Walter. Of course I may just be in denial that she's growing up so feel free to ignore the protestations of the person behind the camera.
BUT, and this is definitely true, for some reason whenever the camera comes out, Daisy furrows her forehead and squinches up her face and she looks...not like herself. The late great Maisie also hated having her picture taken so who knows, maybe it's a Lab thing?
ANYway, this was just after sunrise and with the light pouring in, both dogs are having trouble keeping their eyes open. I love how goofy they look.
The northwest corner of Bluffs Park has become quite the gathering place at dusk these days as smoke from the terrible wildfires pushes the sunsets to extremes.
All week long convoys of firefighters from neighboring states have been driving north on PCH. I'm just glad they get to see a scenic bit of coast before heading into the heartbreak of the Thomas Fire inferno.
Here's Miss Daisy just counting down the seconds until it's time to go outside and wrestle with Walt, lick a 4-year-old boy's ear, and (ever hopeful, ever the Labrador) get a treat for her troubles.
Crouched on the horizon where December rain clouds once gathered is a thick band of smoke from the wildfires still burning.
And the sunsets have been just plain eerie.
Head high enough (and deep enough) into the hills and you can escape the sounds on the ground, the cars and voices and chain saws and leaf blowers and talk radio and and and. It's what's above, though, a constant in LA, jets and planes and helicopters and now drones, that robs you of the chance of even an instant without man-made sound.
But this morning, in the flats of Solstice Canyon, a miracle. The trails, the hills and even the sky, all still, and the silence, you could feel it on your skin.
Just after the sun set last night the winds kicked up, storming down Malibu Canyon in gusts so strong that standing up became a challenge. We were lucky (again) and an hour later all was still, save for the occasional siren screaming up PCH, mutual aid fire fighters racing north.
Homeowners in the Malibu Colony may not be climate change deniers, but buying there takes a certain type of denial nonetheless.
With our most recent living Christmas tree safely planted up at the barn last spring, it was time to find a new candidate to do holiday duty. We always go to Treeland in Woodland Hills, where the selection includes my favorite, Pinus radiata, better known as the Monterey pine.
It's a California central coast native that thrives in the sea breezes. Each January, after the lights and decorations come off, it gets transplanted into a roomier pot. Then it spends the year in a sheltered, semi-shady corner of the garden, hand-watered and, when luck is with us, rained upon.
Last year's tree had served for three Christmas seasons. It was so tall by the third year (a little more than nine feet) that we had to use a ladder reach the top. This year's tree, at just seven feet, feels small by comparison. But it will be beautiful when it comes inside next week and the Christmas things go on and a bit of wilderness transforms the house in these final days of the year.
Fall in the Santa Monica mountains, not the face slap of color you get in the east, but subtle and soulful, a sweet reward for true believers.
Here's the Malibu pier this morning, pelicans grounded, seagulls flung sideways, everywhere smoke from this newest round of wildfires.