What Came Through the Front Door First Week of February


Graphic of a cat
Romeo in a Bag

Cute, What Is It?

A paper bag was left on the floor, and Romeo immediately climbed in then looked up at me. This was irresistibly cute, so I grabbed my camera and snapped this picture. Then I thought, “was is it that makes us call something cute?”

Merriam-Webster defines cute as attractive or pretty in a childish, youthful, or delicate way. What is that makes something seem childish, youthful, or delicate?  I thought about this long and hard for about five minutes which the outer limits of my attention. Then I looked at some “cute” photos.  My conclusion that the first important element required by cute is roundness of shape. The next important element is softness of line.

But here’s the next question “how is it that critters that are definitely not cute manage to do things that are cute?  For this I have no answer.


What Came Through the Door Fourth Week of January

Cornerstone Sonoma

For a year, I’ve passed by a place called “Cornerstone” idly wondering what it was.  Last Saturday, I finally went on a fact finding expedition.  Basically, it is a tourist destination: a restaurant, four wine tasting rooms, and two high end gift stores.

It’s the gardens that make Cornerstone a worthwhile place to spend an afternoon. There are twenty plots; each the size of a triple office cubicle. Every plot contains a garden designed by famous landscape architects from the United States, Europe, and Asia. Naturally, I didn’t have my pocket Nikon Coolpix with me.  I had to make do with the camera on my cell phone.

Graphic Cornerstone, Sonoma
Daisy Windmill Farm
Graphic of Cornerstone Garden Mini Vinyard
Cornerstone Garden: Mini Vineyard
Graphic of Cornerstone garden with rosemary and century plants
Circular Garden featuring rosemary and century plants
Graphic of Cornerstone Garden
Cornerstone: Century Plant Forest
Cornerstone Garden Tunnel Walk


January 2018 Third Week

Sonoma Fires Three Months Later

Our neighbor across the way who lost the house he recently owned in the Fountain Grove area of Santa Ana, took several of us on a little tour of the fire damage.  After three months, recovery is slow because of all the hazardous toxins that must be removed from the soil.  Nature is doing her part to soften the damage by regrowth, nevertheless the damage remains stark.

Tour Guide and Former Home Owner
Remains of Hilton Fountain Grove
Once upon this was the largest K-Mart in Sonoma County
What’s left of a beautiful two-story house
Clearing out, clearing up
More clearing and cleaning
New definition of “scenic”

January 2018 Second Week

Socks! Socks!

The simple things of life can boost me over the moon. Others may win Super Lotto. But I now own five pair of the perfect socks. For a long time, I’ve had sock issues. The were too thick in the sole. They weren’t quite high enough. Recently they started slipping down the heel and bunching up under my foot. Walking half a block to get the mail was a misery. My world turned grey and lifeless. Then inspiration! Buy new socks. I took immediate action. I opened my browser to Amazon. There they were! Wool blend socks, of the perfect height, of the perfect thickness. Five pair in multiple colors. I pushed the buy button. As I write, my feet feel cozy in pair of salmon socks with turquoise toes, and ecru tops. Now I can walk a mile in my shoes without my socks sliding down my heels. Life is good.

If I had written this little ditty as a college student, nobody would have understood what I was talking about. The IBM Selectric was the last word in writing technology. If you used the word “Amazon” you were either talking about a very long river in South America, or mythological women warriors. Furthermore, I would have had to leave the house, walk to a store that sold socks and fork over real cash (college students of my generation rarely had credit cards).

The time they are a changing – day by day. Hope we don’t change ourselves into Atlantis and find ourselves at the bottom of the sea before the quarter century mark.


The Expanding World of Christmas Decorations

The last few days have been dedicated to taking down the Christmas decorations. On a microcosmic level, it is proof that we are living in an expanding universe. The decorations have expanded far beyond the storage in which they existed before Christmas. It required the purchase of three more 49 gallon storage tubs to pack them all, and there are still odds and ends that need fitting in somewhere.

What Came Through the Door First Week of January

Joy and Sadness

This week two strangers received joyous news. A match was found for a new kidney. Their struggle to live under the shadow of renal failure is over. The donor was my cousin Penny, who passed from this life January 4th when her life support was disconnected. One door closing opened two others. Life passes to life. Like water, life takes many forms and shapes that are beyond our ability to see. Penny lives in our memory, and in the lives of others as well.

Quentin, Who is Two

Quentin blew through the door (accompanied by his parents). They traveled from  Canada to visit his great-grandmother Genivieve Duffin. He turned two in December, and is a full-fledged member of the tribe known the world over as “the Terrible Twos.” Watching this little guy chasing the cat, running back and forth around the living room, and grabbing for everything interesting that he saw, I found myself thinking “it is the terrible twos” because it is terrible to be two. Here are these little tykes, waking up to a bright and shiny world full of wonderful things to explore, and all they encounter are people yelling “NO” and “DON”T TOUCH, and “YOU KNOW THE RULES!” When you are two it’s only natural to explore and grab and touch and climb. How else does one learn to negotiate the world? Of course one doesn’t know the rules. Big people tell them something that makes no sense in their world, then expect them to both understand and obey immediately. At two, you are so small that people can pick you up out of the blue and carry you away right in the middle of something interesting. It takes a lot of grit to survive being two.