Your Weekend Was…?

Mine was busy, busy, busy, still.

Made time to watch the Chiefs win their season opener in a tight game. Can’t go 20-0 without going 1-0!

Other than that?

I hope you had more time to chill and kick back than I did. And Monday’s almost here…

It’s going to be another “fun” week. I hope yours will be enjoyable.

Yes, I am completely out of time on another deadline – how could you tell?

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Purple & Pink

Something related to morning glories, but they’re usually a little more blue.

These have always been more of a lavender color and a much brighter, more vivid shade of purple.

And “morning” glory or not, these prefer the middle of the afternoon to explode with color.

One thing that amazes me is how the blossom colors will vary so widely, even on the same stem or with flowers right next to each other.

They’re also a great draw for the hummingbirds.

It’s amazing what you can see if you keep your eyes open and be open to the experiences around you, even if you’re just dragging the empty trash barrels up from the street!

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Filed under Flowers, Photography

Lounging Squirrel – Chapter The Second

Walking through the kitchen to get a soda mid-day. Wait – what’s that out on the porch?

First of all, is it dead? It looks dead… Nope, it twitched. Is it dying? (And please excuse the Dodgers doormat out there. We’re really NOT that sort of people1 But when we moved in the landlord said it had to stay and three years later I still haven’t figured out if he was joking or not.)

I don’t want to move because he’ll bolt, but let’s use the zoom on the iPhone a bit.

Yep, he’s alive, and alert now that he knows I’m here. But he’s not tearing off across the yard and up the tree like he’s training for the Olympics.

This is definitely the closest I’ve ever seen him come up to the house. And he never lounges up on the porch. So what’s up?

When I posted his first lounging photo a few days ago, long-time follower of this blog Jemima Pett thought that it might be because when it got really hot, the concrete in the shade might still be cooler than the air and the critters would do it to stay cooler. That makes sense, but it would still be the first time that I’ve ever seen it. And today wasn’t “stupid hot,” just in the mid 90’s, when we’ve had plenty of days up above 110°, or even 120°. Maybe he was lounging by the pool at the neighbors house on those days, but now they’ve gotten a dog and we’re a pale, pathetic substitute.

I just hope this little beastie doesn’t figure out we’ve got the A/C on inside or he’ll be making a dash for the door when it opens. I don’t even want to think about all of the screaming, crying, and panic that would follow.

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Filed under Critters, Photography

Take The Time

We can get way too tied up with work and deadlines and stress, and skip the little things that might only take a minute or two but which can make all the difference in the world to our quality of life and sanity.

Such was the case tonight when I got so caught up that I nearly missed this – Venus in the lower left, the three-day old crescent Moon above, just 4° away.

We got the work done, hit the deadline, it’s satisfying and rewarding – but then I urged others to go outside and look.

They’re smart, good people. They did. You should too.

Seek out the little, beautiful things. Tomorrow night the Moon will have moved, but it will still be beautiful, and if you look up and to your left towards the south and the zenith, you’ll see bright Jupiter, and between Jupiter and the Moon you’ll see Saturn. If you have even a pair of binoculars, you’ll be able to see a couple of Jupiter’s moons, and craters, mountains, and mare on the Moon. If you have even a small telescope you can see the rings of Saturn and maybe Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

But maybe it will be cloudy or raining! So sit in the garage or on the porch and listen to the rain, not just the rain-ish sounding 45-second loop on that meditation or relaxation app.

Or listen to the wind through the trees, or the wind chimes, or the surf on the shore. Even the sounds of traffic on a nearby freeway will sound like surf. (“Ish…”)

Whatever – don’t wait for a rainbow or lightning to see you out. Go searching for the beauty and force yourself to let your shoulders slump, your jaw unclench, you gut to untighten.

C’mon – you did all of that budget re-modeling and you built all of those massive, interlinked Excel files! Surely you can figure out how to relax for a few minutes!

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

That Time Of Month Again

Two days past new moon, and the thin, bright, crescent moon is making the evening sky in the west extra beautiful.

Every month there’s a good chance that something else relatively nearby (on an astronomical scale) will be up there with it.

This month it’s Venus, up there to the left. (Ignore the lens reflection of the moon up there on top, it’s an illusion.)

In theory, Mercury’s there right below the moon, about a smidge above the mountain in the lower right corner, but you won’t see it in these images. It’s still way to close to the Sun and will set before it gets dark enough to be seen. If you want to see it, go look back in May when they were all there together and a little higher and closer together.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space, Sunsets

The Valley Below

I do enjoy the view at night from our back yard out to the east across Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

At some point in the not-so-distant future (or not, who knows?) we may end up in a flat place in a flyover state or back on the East Coast. I’ll probably miss the mountains and the views.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography

Back At The Field

Between life and the pandemic and quarantine and more life, it’s been like three years (maybe four? No, gotta just be three. I hope!) since we were last at an Angels game in Anaheim.

Thanks to my sister, who had tickets that she couldn’t use, we’re out and about, watching batting practice and breathing in ballpark air.

We got here early enough so that I had time to find one of the most wonderful gifts I’ve ever received – a memorial brick out in the courtyard at the main entrance, which our kids got for me!

See it?!

It’s hot dog time! Plenty of time tomorrow for more stress and deadlines. Tonight, we play ball!

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Filed under LA Angels, Sports

A Second Clear Night

Last night’s post was rushed – I was running out of time before my self-imposed “posting deadline” of midnight. So it got cut off abruptly, with the bottom line being that I could see the bright star Capella rising very, very near the horizon in the northeast. That’s rare in SoCal, especially these days, since there’s usually so much haze and coastal clouds scattering the ever present light pollution.

Tonight it was clear again, so I went to take pictures. Again it’s clear, but Capella doesn’t rise until after 22:00, and it doesn’t clear the fence until after 23:00, so this will be rushed as well. (For example, I didn’t have the time to clean up all of the “hot” pixels in Photoshop – please ignore all of those bright red and bright purple specks.)

First of all, here’s a very quickly annotated copy – the (currently) sideways “W” or “M” shape of Cassiopeia  up high, near the north pole, which is unmarked but just to the left of it, right around the left edge of the image. And down below, grateful for that hole or notch in the top of the hedge, is Capella.

Here’s the unedited image. Click on it to blow it up and explore.

And there’s one more item annotated in the image, just to the left of the tree, a bit above Cassiopeia – that’s the Andromeda Galaxy.

No kidding!

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

A Clear Night At Last

I tend to pay attention to the sky. It’s that whole “obsessed with space and astronomy and astrophotography” thing. So when every hour my watch bugs me to stand up and walk around for a bit, I often end up after dark out taking a lap around the yard and checking out the stars.

The last month or so has been marginal in Los Angeles for stargazing. There’s been a lot of coastal clouds and haze as well as a few days that were just totally clouded over. (No rain, just clouds, at least in our neighborhood. We badly need rain!) With all of the lights in SoCal, it doesn’t take much haze to reflect it back down at the ground and brighten the sky pretty well. In real terms what that means is that on a normal night these days you can see the Moon if it’s up, almost always Venus in the sunset sky and Jupiter in the east an hour or two later (they’re REALLY bright), and usually Saturn up a bit to the west of Jupiter. Near the zenith, where the haze and clouds will be thinner and more transparent, you can see the brighter stars in the summer sky. Vega in Lyra and Deneb in Cygnus are pretty bright and overhead. Sometimes you can see all four of the bright stars in Cygnus, which is a good test of seeing.

But off to the south, you might see the bright stars of Scorpius and Capricorn, or you might not. If all you can see is Antares, it’s too foggy.

But tonight was wonderfully clear. Off to the north I could see something down near the horizon under Cassiopeia that I figured must be a helicopter it was so bright and near the horizon. But a quick check of the sky map shows that it was Capella!

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Filed under Astronomy

The Red Queen’s Race

Yet, amazingly, I remain up to my eyebrows in deadlines. While I’ve knocked off a few big ones, others loom, coming at me like freight trains.

To remain semi-sane and get some of the pressure off of my timeline, instead of kicking back, having a BBQ, watching some football, and so on, I think I’ll be spending the three days running the Red Queen’s Race.

See the source image

At least I get to go to an Angels game on Monday. Thanks, Sister#2 and BIL#2!

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Filed under Paul