after a wet winter

Things are a little different here after a wet winter.

  • Gnats. We’ve had gnats since late winter. I asked my brother about that and he shrugged his lizardshoulders and said it was cyclical. “They’re just looking for water,” he said. Terry replied, “Why can’t they look for water outside?” Exactly.
  • Lizards. The lizards are bigger. There’s more vegetation for the insects and more insects for the lizards. The lizards are an important part of our neighborhood ecosystem.
  • Missing sunflowers. The last two years there were lots of sunflowers from May and on. They bring back pleasant memories of my senior year in high school in 1971. This year sunflowers are late and scarce.

But that’s the way it is and that is how it goes.


a visit to the old campus

the Pitzer College campusSeveral weeks ago I received a phone call from a member of the Advancement Office at Pitzer College. Interestingly, he was not asking for money, but was wanting to make sure that Terry’s contact information was correct, which it wasn’t. He also has been talking to alumni around the country to learn what their lives have been like since graduation. He offered to come out to Hemet so he could buy me lunch and talk to me. Immediately after hanging up I had the thought, why would I want him to come to Hemet when I could go to Claremont and visit the old campus?

I did that last week. The campus is very much changed. There are new dorms, which are actually multi-the Pitzer brick I donated: "In appreciation of Profs. Greenberger, Glass, & all faculty who were part of my Pitzer experience. Mike Christie 1975."use buildings that also house administrative functions. The clock tower and McConnell Center, which housed and still houses the dining hall, have been painted. Other buildings have been remodeled. It was interesting and disorienting. I did, however, get to see for the first time the brick that I donated back in about 2006 or so when I was employed and could afford to do such things.

Steve from the Advancement office took me to a really nice bistro-style restaurant in the Village (so much bigger and so much changed!) where I described my life during and since Pitzer. I enjoyed an incredibly delicious Mexican pizza.

It was a great visit and an enjoyable day.


contributing to the cause

Ever since we moved here two years ago we have had three toters from our trash and recycling company: trash, recycling, and yard waste. But last year we were informed that we could start adding food waste to that toter. The company even gave us a plastic bucket for food waste.

biodegradable clamshell 2There was a reason for that. They have developed a new, state-of-the art facility that processes yard and food waste into natural gas and fertilizer. Amazing, no? The facility went online last November.

They even accept grease. The only problem is that you can’t put glass or plastic in the toter. I wanted to add the grease from our outdoor gas grill to the mix, but I needed an appropriate container for it. Amazon was no help, but what did our local Smart & Final have? These sugarcane recyclable biodegradable containers. We can add our gas grill grease to the mix.

How cool is that?

biodegradable clamshell 1


moving things around

I have written about my internet radio and how much I enjoy it. One of the things I like about it is that I can control it from an app on my iPad and iPhone. That works out well when we’re in another room and listening via one of our 900 mhz wireless speakers.

internet radioThe problem, though, after we moved to Hemet was that the output was not strong enough and when we were in the bedroom we would get clicking and popping. I therefore switched to listening via the stations’ web pages on my desktop computer, which also has a 900 mhz transmitter.

When me moved here I had set up my internet radio and transmitter on a side table to the left of my computer table. After I got my new hearing aid, however, I realized that it was silly to have it on the left when my good ear with the hearing aid was my right ear. This was especially the case since the top of the printer table on my right was empty due to the demise of my printer some months back and the fact that I was connecting to Terry’s printer wirelessly.

So I moved everything to the computer table. That shift of five feet or so means no more popping on the speaker in bedroom, so I can use the internet radio and control it from my iPad.

A small thing but a nice change.


two years

Two years ago today the moving van arrived at our new house here in Hemet. It was a Friday.

moving vanThe moving van arrived at our house in Gilroy first thing in the morning on Cinco de Mayo. It was a Tuesday. We had a lot of stuff and the movers were there all day loading everything, including my Toyota Corolla.

Terry and I spent the night of the fifth at the Best Western in Gilroy and boarded Tasha at her resort. We got up early on Wednesday, had breakfast, picked up Tasha and headed south. Tasha was a good girl for us on the trip as we drove down I-5. When we got to the Grapevine we gave her a tranquilizer to keep her calm as we drove through the L.A. Basin. She snoozed most of the way.

As we got close to our new home I realized that the transponder to get through the community gate was in the back of the car, so I stopped at a Rite Aid to pull it out. Tasha got excited. “Is this where we get out?” No, Tasha, just a few more miles.

We arrived at our new, empty home and set up the air mattress. Tasha thought that was really cool. We spent two nights on the air mattress and the moving van arrived about 9:00 am on Friday. Tasha was delighted to get reacquainted with her familiar smells.

Here it is two years later. Tasha has adapted well. It is a very different life for us, but much of it is good. We have a lot to be grateful for.

moving in


a new avocation

Terry has a new avocation.

Terry’s birthday is in early December. Shortly before her birthday last year she asked me for a combined birthday and Christmas present. The JoAnn Fabric newspaper ad had listed an entry-level sewing machine at a ridiculously attractive price and she asked me to get it for her.

Terry sewingI was happy to do so. Now I don’t generally frequent that store, but I ventured in. I wandered around aimlessly in what was an extremely busy store and saw no sewing machines. A helpful salesperson told me that they were behind the front counter. I got in line and purchased it for her.

She has been working at reacquiring the skills she let lapse after high school. On a recent Saturday she took a sewing class with our great niece. She really enjoyed it. The instructor told her that she had an excellent beginner’s machine that would do everything she needed right now.

Progress is slow because she is busy with other things as well, but it she continues to move forward. She just finished a shirt which turned out very nicely as her first venture.


Tasha at thirteen

Tasha had a birthday today. She is thirteen.

TashaWe don’t know that to be the case. (Apologies to those of you who have seen me tell this story so many times before.) We brought her home from the shelter on November 1, All Saints’ Day, 2005. We immediately made an appointment with our vet who told us that she thought Tasha was about a year and a half. Given that, we decided to designate her birthday as May 1, my late, beloved Grandma Monaghan’s birthday. So May 1, 2006 we said she was two. That means that today she is thirteen by our calculations.

Tasha is a very young, healthy thirteen. She is busy, active, and happy. She has a lot of energy. She demands her walks twice a day and insists that we stick to our routine. If it’s 6:30 pm, she reminds me that it is time for me to go into the kitchen and fix dinner. She still jumps up on our bed in the evening.

I think that Tasha may have understood one of the conversations that Terry and I were having about her age. Last Monday she casually trotted into the bedroom with something in her mouth and nonchalantly dropped it on the floor. It was a newly dead mouse. Our fearless hunter still!

We’re delighted that Tasha is doing so well and is such an integral part of our lives.