Friday, December 26, 2014

Ever the Estate Sale

Almost every weekend here, as is appropriate in a senior community where some folks become death statistics every week, there is a well staged estate sale. I'll be toddling off to a massage or shopping, and seeing the sign, clamp on my brakes. Half the time I convince myself that I need to accelerate once again for after all, I'm trying to get rid of accumulated trivia, not gather more. But sometimes, like last week, I can't resist the impulse.... What the other shoppers don't realize, I think, is that I'm more interested in learning about the mystery of who lived in the house and their life story, than I am in purchasing their treasured possessions. Of course, there is the eerie feeling, "Someday it will be me and my treasures they are pouring over; who will buy them and what will they think of me?"
A couple of weeks ago I stopped on impulse at a sign about a mile away. It was only about half an hour after the sale opening, and I could see many shoppers exiting the front door, arms laden with treasures, their faces half masked, half smiling, clutching their special finds. It took me five minutes to latch onto a large hand blown glass bowl with exquisite colors and designs (later Catherine and Mary's Christmas gift) and two very old Chinese Foo dogs that seemed to be calling my name. Not that I couldn't easily have spent $5,000 in five minutes, such were the art objects there, many from Bali and Asia. But what I really wanted was to learn was who had lived here, and what were the stories behind their treasures?
I brought the dogs home and put them on my kitchen table. Later I learned
from friend Elaine who has travelled to China many times that the Foo dogs I bought were male; a female dog has her paw raised with the ball in her paw. Hmm. I might have been less interested had I known. Or maybe not. Anyway, I already knew that they are supposed to guard the throne. So now they sit contentedly in front of my  fireplace, assuming their new role. I feel safer already.

 What I learned subsequently from Bonnie-type sleuthing was that the former owner had been placed in a care facility and died the day after the sale, and that in an earlier life she had worked for the CIA. I hope she passed on some of her luck and intrigue to me for I could surely use some going into this new year.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Brief Break In the Rain

Between the rows in the vineyards now water is standing in pools and the grasses seem to grow overnight. The maintenance staff here had to scoop frogs from the outdoor pools which were overflowing. Everything is so clean and shiny! Drought plagued Sonoma County has currently received over 1.37% of our normal rainfall. Over 6" fell in a 12 hour period or so they claim. Fortunately my house is dry and warm though other parts of Oakmont lost power briefly. The only malfunction I've experienced is a row of tiny ants in my bathroom.
Yesterday during a brief lull friend Ann and I put on our water wings and motored to nearby Sonoma to view a spectacular photography exhibit by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. It closes at the Sonoma Valley Library Jan. 3. Well worth the trip. The photographs, mostly taken at great depths, are mounted on aluminum so they glow with color. There was one I really coveted of swarms of fish and rocks and sponges. It was just the right color to go over my fireplace! On the way home we brunched at the Creekside Cafe which was folksy and quite enchanting. I ordered a single fruit pancake. In the middle were strawberries, raspberries and bananas. I was still full at dinner time...
Today I meet with the instructor for a new class I'm setting up here in January: Ikebana. Another adventure in the unknown.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Post Storm

No sign of sunshine yet but what few flowers are left are shaking off the excess raindrops. They say (who is "they"?) Santa Rosa had over five inches of rain in one day, making up for what we have missed in the last two years, and exceeding the bay area, though still not ending our drought. The Russian River peaked this morning and in Marin County some shops and homeowners are navigating on air mattresses. Quite a sight.
On Oakmont Drive we never lost power, though I was expecting it. Today the sky is pale grey and looks like it has been through a wringer. No juice left! In my role as a board member of the art association here I schedule all the classes and workshops.It was a humbling experience to discover last night I had scheduled two meetings in January on the same date and time. Aaagh. My brain must be waterlogged. Heretofore, I thought I was perfect! Happy advent.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Plethora of Persimmons

Besides the palette of autumn leaves which tickles my creative juices, I love late fall for the abundance of persimmons. Last week when visiting my old digs the new owners gifted me with a large jar of frozen pulp from my very own tree. Well, its not my tree any more, having passed it on to the new admirers, but I like to think it has my initials in there somewhere. It was a gift from Lee about 15 years ago, and it thrived from the day it was planted.  I like to think it has some of her spirit in it too. I have no room in my yard here for a persimmon tree, but lots of my neighbors do, and they thrive in Santa Rosa as well. So on my counter I have at least a dozen ripening. They will provide persimmon bars all year round.
Having painted the lush

orange globes so many years I thought I'd try something new this season. I'm experimenting doing a kind of free form on hot press paper. Who would ever think the models on the left produced the blur on the right?

It was playful and unpredictable, I'm going to try lemons next from Catherine's and Mary's Santa Rosa yard.

At this time when our nation is torn apart by police killings and violence and nightly demonstrations in the streets, including Oakland, perhaps it is good to have a few minutes of