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September 30, 2020

Every day in politics is light your hair on fire day. Seriously. Every day.

Every day of my goofy little blog could be about politics. And way too often it is. So….. I’m not going there tonight. (But holy cow, read Heather Cox Richardson, or Dan Rather, or Frank Bruni, or Tom Friedman, or the NYT editorial board, or my dear WTFJHT… all wrote today about the existential dangers we potentially face if Mr. Unhinged acts on any of his threats.)

Instead…

The other day, I was making a lawn sign delivery to a woman who lives way the heck out of town, on a sweet little street off Rd 96. Honestly, it always surprises me to find these micro communities way out there on some of the lesser-traveled county roads. You think it’s all crops out there, and it’s not. I’m envious of the open vistas, the views of the Berryessa Gap, the big sky, the quiet. And… I’d prolly go nuts way out there, not able to walk to a cafe. I don’t know.

Also.. I had to wonder the value of a lawn sign way out there. Especially her house, which is on a tiny side street with NO TRAFFIC WHATSOEVER. Never mind the imposition, if I may say, of a volunteer having to run a sign way out there, when maybe she could have picked one up on a trip to town — she must make that trip a few times a week. OTOH, I loved meeting her, loved that she wanted a sign, loved our conversation, almost stayed to feed the horses… and got to escape my four walls, so to speak and take in some country air, if smoky.

The sun was setting as I left to return to town, and what with the smoke, the sunset was pretty.

This is looking toward Winters and Napa, where the latest fire, the Glass Fire, is burning. Shot through my smudgy window:

I leaned over and shot this one through the passenger window. It’s the gap, but the smoke is obscuring the detail a bit.

I actually got out to take this one, but quickly, as I was on somebody’s property. I just liked the windmill.

I’ve lived in Davis for 42 years and still can’t quite believe I live in the middle of farmland.

Debase

September 29, 2020

It was a big day in the political world… the first of three debates in the 2020 presidential race. Biden v trump. A presidential debate should be a monumental event in any presidential race, but it’s especially so this time around because, you know, the results of this election will determine whether our democracy survives: it’s the election of our lifetime, everyone agrees. Not being dramatic.

As important as this should have been, it was instead just an embarrassment. It ended literally four hours ago, and the pundits over on CNN are still pulling their hair out. Between the debate and its pre and post shows, I’m a little O.D.’d.

I’ll say this, though: It was disturbing on every level. The president* was his usual nauseating self. He came arrogantly unprepared. His team told him to be aggressive (I guess) and interrupt at every moment to keep Biden off balance (or something). Who knows. Didn’t work. He was disruptive. But he was also dangerous, provocative (inciting, more like), ignorant, rude, racist, dishonest… his usual fare. Ugly ugly ugly.

I’ll leave the rest to those who’ll write some delicious articles for tomorrow.

I’ll take some credit for my blog title though. My funny play on words: trump’s performance was aimed squarely at his people, it was all for de base… his base. And I’m sure they loved it. He also debased the office, as he routinely does. Every day, in every way. And… debase is almost like a typo of debate, which this post is about. Clever, huh?

At least the consensus was that he lost:

It won’t matter. He lost all the debates to Hil, too. I’m not allowing myself to feel optimistic about a massive blowout. Because: 2016. But the polls and commentary were at least validating.

I have a new favorite holiday! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of this one–could just be a social media thing– but I’m happy to celebrate it.. in this case through photos.

Here are a few of my all-star mom-son pics:

Wasn’t that fun? I loved that little journey. Makes me feel all warm inside.

Grand-Sibs

September 27, 2020

I’ve made it known to the universe that Jim and I shall be remaining on this earth to see our grandkids journey off to college (no rush, Peter, you just keep doing what you’re doing).

But until we have grandkids to dote upon, we have two grand nieces and a grand nephew.

Alexis calls River and Magnolia Irish twins. I had to look that up and found that it can be thought of as derogatory (by Irish folks), but it refers to siblings that are less than a year apart… and have a particularly close bond.

Yeah… I’d say so:

Here’s a sweet one. Looks like they’re at the doctor’s office…

And here are a couple individual shots. Alexis’s photos are just magic. She is the Norman Rockwell of cell phone photography.

This one really needed to be in color….

Juniper deserves her own entry on another day…

Driveway Moments

September 26, 2020

Socializing in 2020.

Well, this was lovely: A call yesterday morning from Sarah, saying she and Gabe would be passing by Davis on their way home from Napa… and wouldn’t it be nice to hang out for a bit?

Yes!

We ended up sitting there, on the driveway, at distance, well past the setting sun, into the land of the night-time rainbow.

Okay, not really into the land of the night-time rainbow.. I’m not that poetic. But Sarah is! Land of the night-time rainbow is a reference to the book she wrote, illustrated and published as a Covid project. We all need pandemic projects–some people make hammock stands and coffee tables; some people start cooking again after 20 years (80 new recipes, and counting); and some write children’s books.

Here’s Sarah’s:

This is a sweet story she told to her kids each night, adapting it to reflect the day’s events, big and small. And twenty-five-plus years later ….

The book’s got that Sarah flare.. colorful felt art, poked and shaped into illustrations:

Here’s a closer-up… so you can see the detail of the work:

So, so creative, that girl.

The book was a bonus gift. The best part was actually hanging out, drinking wine on a warm fall evening, and talking with friends we hadn’t seen in nearly a year. Like normal people.

Even if it was on the driveway.

Mending Fences

September 25, 2020

Ruben and crew finished the new fence this week. We went away to the beach for the day (on Tuesday) and found a new fence upon our return. From start to finish, it was more like three days (and three crew folks). It looks great!

Before:

After:

Just a Little Zoom Humor

September 24, 2020

I need a bit of levity tonight…

I saw this t-shirt and laughed right out loud. Every day, every Zoom call.. there’s always someone (sometimes me!) whose mouth is moving, but no sound.. because: they’re on mute. It’s just hilarious. (You gotta be there…)

And speaking of Zoom: it’s just plain our way of life. Every day, in every way, Zoom. Everything’s remote… meetings, school, parties, celebrations, funerals, tutorials. Probably really weird shit, too, but I don’t even wanna go there.

This picture also made me smile. It’s part of an NPR story about a CNN interview with this climate scientist.

It’s worth zooming in on (so to speak) to catch all the detail in the photo on the right. Also hilarious.

Get Down to the Sea Somehow

September 23, 2020

I want to go back to the beach. I’ll take any tiny coastal community far, far away where I can pretend the world is not going to hell in a hand basket, which it very much is.

Reading headlines, catching a few first paragraphs, watching just 20 minutes of news, I feel like we are hurtling toward a crisis so profound, perpetrated by the commander in chief himself, that unless we have an outcome that establishes Biden’s victory early in the evening of November 3rd and a map that turns overwhelmingly blue as the night goes on, we’re in big trouble. Anything short of an indisputable landslide… buckle up. If Trump loses, big or small, his loss will unleash mayhem… he’s making sure of that

And if he cheats out a win–which he’s orchestrating from every angle–we’re done. I don’t believe we survive another term under his rule. We won’t recognize the United States in a few years if that happens.

So yeah.. the beach.

~~

Here are a few more shots from Jim’s and my hike out on Tomales Point yesterday:

Stopped so we could pee (public bathrooms are hard to count on these days.. you gotta be like the Swedes: nothing more natural than the need to pee, so just stop when the need arises–whether you’re a bus load of 40 people or a lone driver), and found myself among a gaggle of wild turkeys:

Next on the wildlife checklist was this coyote out for a walk:

The trailhead for the Point Tomales hike was at the former dairy operation fo the Pierce family (ca 1867):

And I took these at the end, but it gives you a sense of the scale of the Ranch and a little about what they did:

A typical stretch of trail:

The trail offered views of magnificent Pacific on one side and the 15-mile long Tomales Bay on the other, with herds of elk in between:

Over the course of 4.7 miles from trailhead to point, the trail goes up and down, mostly modestly; the trail description says you gain and lose 1000′ overall. Here’s a view down to a stand of trees, where we’ll come upon a watering hole, a favorite location for relaxing elk:

After the watering hole, the trail climbs to a long, bushy plateau that then gently descends over about a mile to the rocky point of the long peninsula. The brush is about waist-to-shoulder high and the ground is now pure sand. You meander through the brush, picking a course (many options) through this giant labyrinth of options; all roads lead to the point.

The trail culminates at a small ledge (maybe big enough for 3-4 people to stand safely, as long as nobody gets elbowed), with a great view of the ocean, the bay, Dillon Beach, Bodega to the north, rocky cliffs to the south, crashing waves below. It’s a nice prize after all the sand!

We’d gotten a late start (1:15 or so) so finished late, as well (5:45 or so).. but it was just lovely to be finishing as the sun was getting low in the sky…

While I’m a Sierra hiker at heart, and if made to choose, I’d go for the mountains any day of the week, I also love the coast and appreciated the expansive views, the fresh air, the coolness and breeziness. That air is like nothing else, and the forever view is good for pondering one’s place in the universe.

~~

I just read this. I think it offers a more cogent expression what I tried to say at the beginning of this post. It gives me no comfort, but it does validate my concern. And if Dan Rather thinks we’re in a crisis for our democracy, then we are. It’s not just me being scared. I mean, I’ve been reading it everywhere for a couple of years now.. the threat of this dangerous man has become growingly apparent to anyone paying attention. But interesting to read Rather’s commentary just now, after writing the above.

There is no more time for silence. There is no more time for choosing party over country. There is no more time for weighing the lesser of two evils. All women and men of conscience must speak or they are complicit in America lurching towards a dangerous cliff of autocracy and chaos.

This is a moment of reckoning unlike any I have seen in my lifetime. I have seen this country in deep peril, as the hungry begged for sustenance during the Great Depression, as the Nazis marched across Europe and the Japanese across Asia, as missiles were moved into Cuba, as our political leaders were murdered, as a president ran a criminal conspiracy from the Oval Office, as planes were hijacked into skyscrapers. All of these were scary times, but through it all I never worried about a president actively undermining American democracy and inciting violence to do so – even Nixon, for all of his criminal activity.

What Donald Trump said today are the words of a dictator. To telegraph that he would consider becoming the first president in American history not to accept the peaceful transfer of power is not a throw-away line. It’s not a joke. He doesn’t joke. And it is not prospective. The words are already seeding a threat of violence and illegitimacy into our electoral process.

I suspect he is doing this because he feels he needs to. It is the same reason he sought dirt on Joe Biden, because he is deeply afraid of losing. Losing an election could mean losing in a court of law. It could mean prison time and ruin. But I suspect Trump’s motives are more instinctual. He needs to hold on to power for the sake of power. He cannot lose, even if he has to cheat to win. Even if he has to blow up American democracy. He considers little if any about 200,000 plus deaths from COVID. Why would he care about our Constitution or Bill of Rights?

There is no sugarcoating the dangers and darkness we live in. But I remain heartened that the majority of Americans do not want this. Trump is in danger of losing states that he should be winning handily. Yes, his base is energized and numerous. But so is the opposition. I have seen opposition parties in foreign countries channel the morality of their causes to bring great change. And most of those opposition movements didn’t have the strength, power, and resources of those who stand against Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has himself defined the stakes of the election. This is a battle for American democracy as we’ve known it. We are well past warning shots. Allies across the political spectrum are ringing alarm bells. Right now, all those seeking to defeat Donald Trump know winning a close election may not be enough. The size of a victory will likely matter. Failing that, what happens? I don’t know. But I would say we all should try to remain steady. Try to conserve our energy for the battles ahead. Be committed to your community, your country, and your conscience. If enough Americans of decency and courage come together, the future of this nation can be better, fairer, and more just.

Anniversary Hike

September 22, 2020

With this guy…

Wuv him. Will post more photos tomorrow. It was a fun day.. and now it’s late!

24 Rock Music

September 21, 2020

Jim’s sources say one’s 24th wedding anniversary is celebrated with stone, or a rock. My sources said in the modern tradition, the 24th is celebrated with music (or a musical instrument). Rock.. music… Works for me!

We celebrated with take out Symposium — comfort food of the highest order, and an Egyptian eggplant dish that we ended up throwing away! (What in the world were we thinkin’ when we picked that recipe? Cumin seeds, cardamom seeds (toasted then ground), harissa paste, mint, garlic, honey, cider vinegar… it just was not to our taste.)

The day was mostly consumed by work (Jim) and a phone bank event organized to honor Justice Ginsberg’s legacy (me). So tomorrow we’re taking the day off, skipping town, hoping to find some clean, fresh air along the coast. And some vigorous hiking in cool, salty loveliness.

In the meantime, some pics from some of those 24 years.