Tag Archives: California

November Day

I slept long this morning, but the sun awoke me blinking through the window shades with persistence from the east. It’s funny: When I yawn and stretch, my cat Calvin does exactly the same. Not that I make it a requirement for him to do so — he must assume that we should arise at the same time. Either that or he knows that feeding time is not too far off now. He did miss this little “stereo” routine once, but that was when he was hiding from the “blue monster” (the garbage truck). Who can blame him?

In just a matter of two weeks and with the cold nights that now about, the leaves of the two maples sitting in their pots on the stairway have turned from green to golden-yellow and carmine just like that. They have decided that it is indeed fall, a concept that many California trees fail to grasp.

A two-for-one coupon encourages me to make a trip to Jamba Juice. And no: my cat does not drink Jamba Juice. As I enter the store, I see Christmas decorations. Sigh — tis the season of merchandising again. As I point this out to the manager, he shrugs his shoulders: “corporate”, “but I wont’ put on the Christmas music until after Thanksgiving”, he adds. I give him a high-five as I leave with my juice.

On my computer calendar I notice that it is only 10 days until the 1. Advent. The year seems to have gone by fast, at least part of it for me. I almost miss the beautiful sunset as I’m typing, as God tells me to pay attention and I look toward the west out of my office window to catch the last dance of color in the sky. 

Thyme

After church last Sunday, I purchased a small container plant in my old Oakland neighborhood. The weather was quite hot, over 90 F. The person outside the hardware store was busy watering the sparse remaining stock. The specimen in question is a little rosemary plant in a two-inch pot, which I repotted into a larger clay pot.  It now sits in front of the door, in cosy proximity to the tiny olive tree, that my son Christian gave me. “Creeping rosemary” — the label informs. Indeed it tells the truth — having watered it every day this past week, my little culinary friend has already breached the rim of the clay pot it resides in. In my old loft in Oakland, I planted a rosemary bush just about the same size as my present one in the ground, and it grew to over four feet in all directions — a haven for bees when it bloomed.

Staying on the subject: taking a short walk recently, I saw a small garden, where the gardener had staked several signs in the ground: the first one read — there is never enough thyme, and a second one stated: “weeds” — a gardener with a lovely sense of humor. I hope a bird drops a flower seed — or two, into the “weeds” planter box. Nearing the corner of the lot, I noticed a warning sign  that stated unequivocally: “Area patrolled by Schnauzer” — this however, I was not able to confirm visually — perhaps he, or she, was taking a nap.

Have a blessed peaceful week, in Jesus name, Amen.

Rent-A-Cat

Back to reality. It’s time to pack the big green bag for California. It looks like half a grocery shelf that I’m bringing back for family and friends. My cat Calvin, a Rent-A-Cat for the time being, is most likely wondering where his human is. Solitary confinement in a house from his perspective, with squirrels mocking at the windows. But perhaps preferable to the feline brutes of the current neighborhood. I’m sure my old neighbor Bill has spoiled him rotten while I have been gone.

Should I confess to cavorting with dogs? Perhaps a bit later, after my absence has been forgiven. There is a pouch of rabbit in gravy sauce (a German cat food specialty), among the contents of the green bag, which may help to facilitate the matter…

Sunday observations

GingkoI set my alarm an hour too early by mistake today for getting to Service, but that made for a stop at the bakery beforehand, to buy some heavenly smelling French bread. The sky was hazy on the drive to Church, but occasional patches of fall color in golden ginkgo yellow and bright blood-orange red could be seen in the valley adjacent to the gray, dry, barren California hills. One of my brothers who lives in Marburg, Germany told me about walking his dog in the pouring rain a few days ago. The leaves are all gone there already in that lovely small University town, and November is a tough month to get through until the lights of the Christmas season appear.

After picking up some pistachios at the Farmer’s market (I like to eat them, my cat Calvin is adept at catching them in the air with his paws and then playing with them), I went into the donut store, where a girl — her hair tied with a pretty ribbon in a ponytail — was able on her third attempt to grab the donut I had selected with her tongs, spilling a bit of powder sugar on herself. The height difference and the counter in between accounted for this amusing delay. The donut was to be my companion for a pumpkin-spice latte.

As I sat on the bench outside the coffee store, my donut was immediately sniffed out by a dog of rather low stature, who gently took two small morsels after I got the OK from the owner. A dog three times it’s size but also still a puppy then came by to play. It had on a uniform that read: “Please ask to pet me, I’m friendly and a service dog”, so I obliged. After my petting duty was done, the two dogs played, then settled down under the bench below their owners to enjoy the early afternoon sun.

Have a blessed week

Snooze

Naptime

Nap-time

It’s been a restful Lord’s Day today, with beautiful warm weather. My dad would have been 89 today. There were many hummingbirds in the yard — his, and many in our family’s favorite bird — he would have been delighted.

On Friday however, it was a different matter, when I drove down to Hollister, attending to an errand for my youngest son. It was a whopping 95° F. when I got there with traffic aplenty. I was expecting my navigation system to complain about this excessive heat. I know, I would, if I was sitting under a hot windshield — and I would have asked for a glass of ice tea, or lemonade perhaps.

Several tractors plowing fields on the left of Highway 156, just past Gilroy, were stirring up clouds of dust driving on the rich dark soil. To my right several large broccoli fields. I love looking at the vast expanse of the different kinds of fields in the valley, the golden hills with their stately old gnarled oaks on them, spaced apart just right, surrounding the valley.

Having completed my errand, I enquired directions (inside the office building, so as not to hurt Ms. Navigation’s feelings) on how to get to Mission San Juan Bautista, one of California’s Missions, that sits on El Camino Real, and also the San Andreas Fault. For decades I had passed signs on Highway 101 attesting to its presence, but I never got off the highway before, always eager to arrive at my final destination, be it north, or south. After receiving instructions, I left.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. San Juan Bautista has the typical feel of a small California Central Valley town — a place that time forgot. One can picture it in a John Steinbeck novel. I parked at the Mission, and then stepped inside. The temperature drop inside must have been at least 30 degrees. The old — four to five foot thick adobe walls — have a natural air conditioning effect. After visiting the museum, I spent a few quiet moments in the Mission church, and then stepped out into the huge courtyard, greeted once again by the heat and olive trees, passion flowers, oleanders, and palms — a Mediterranean garden — peaceful and well maintained.

After exploring the garden I went back into the Mission and chatted briefly with the entrance fee collector. To my surprise, as I was leaving — I saw a cat sleeping on a chair — content of course inside the cool adobe building. I had passed the cat coming in, but hadn’t noticed it. I petted it, and it didn’t even bother to open it’s eyes. Siesta time, Mr. tourist — you may depart now.

Have a blessed week (and some naps).