For Walt the equation goes like this: Pepperdine + walk = tennis ball. But lately the handsome border collie has been on the DL. He's almost 7 and Daisy is still just 2 and the mismatch of their abilities when they play has left him limping. I love the light at the pond this time of year but Walt's a mathlete when it comes to balancing the Pepperdine equation and won't walk there without a tennis ball to chase. SO (and yes, finally, we're getting to the point) here's a photo from Christmas Eve in 2015, a time before the world had gone quite so crazy.
It rained like crazy here all night, the sound of it loud on the roof and then later in the puddles that formed in the courtyard. By morning the storm was gone, just a few clouds left to linger over the islands off the coast.
Happy (true) New Year! I know we have to wait for the calendar to flip to January for everyone else to catch up, but oh my goodness -- it's a new decade.
Here's the tree this year:
...after three years, it has outgrown the house.
We watched first from the porch and then from the bluff and the smudge of sunrise colors on the horizon lingered for hours.
The winter solstice arrives this Saturday and the Monterey pine is ready for its third year in the house. Even the 10-foot ceiling wasn't tall enough so a few inches (repurposed into a wreath) came off. But boy, does the house ever smell amazing now, and the novelty of this gigantic live tree in the living room has become a magnet for the dogs and the kids here.
So many of us are undone today by the news that Scott Timberg has died. Such a kind and generous man, and a dear friend. Others have spoken more eloquently than I can, about Scott's intellect, his passion for music and art and literature and language, his generosity and curiosity, his humanity. I'm grateful to each of them for finding the words to express the depth of this loss. I remember when the laughable economics of a freelance writer's life in LA sent Scott and his family to try living in Georgia, and how that move never really took. It wasn't too long before they were back. Los Angeles was Scott's true home, and we are all the poorer for his passing.
Please consider a donation to the Go Fund Me campaign to help Scott's family with immediate expenses, and to establish a college fund for his son.
This is the third year for the Monterey pine. One more holiday season and it gets planted. It's a lot taller this year -- needed an eight-inch trim to fit even the really tall ceilings here -- and not quite as full. But the scent is heady and there's a profound and surprising comfort in knowing the details of its shape and branches so well.
The between-storm clouds have been so interesting that I've shot about a million photos, which means you'll have to be patient (sorry) as they play out.
One thing about living with unpacked boxes is the weird little surprises that pop up when you go searching for that stapler or photo album or suddenly indispensable muffin tin, like these library cards. I wish I still had the one from Mazomanie, a small prairie town in Wisconsin, where the retired farmers gathered to chat at the feed store each day, and the librarians always remembered your name.
The creek bed was bone dry for so many years that these days, the rain and runoff seem like a not-so-minor miracle.
The dogs get restless when it rains, do that laser stare thing where they try to bend you to their will with their minds. And I've found the best way to fight back is to break out the raincoats and let them have their way. They get a quick walk, I get a good laugh (Daisy in a raincoat, omg) and they're happy homebodies for the rest of the day.