Welcome to Northern California – hope you brought your raincoat!

Listen – I think it just stopped raining…nope, still coming down.

I am looking for a chance to take the dogs for a walk, without getting soaked through, but may not get it. Yesterday we went for a ride in the car, picked up the mail, etc. We saw a family walking their old labs in the rain, trying to hold on to an oversize umbrella  in that wind – we could feel that wind tugging at our F-150!

I wish I had  taken my camera, there were streets flooding all around the Vallombrosa post office and the Safeway shopping center, just because of leaves piled in the gutters.  Of course, the Safeway parking lot is laid out really well, and kept very clean, so there was no flooding there, just out on Mangrove and Vallombrosa and Palmetto. People have put their leaves out in messy piles in the gutter, leaves from trees located well off the street, and now the piles are spreading out in every direction. Driveways are flooded just 10 feet from a drain, blocked by a pile of leaves from somebody’s back yard. I saw a leaf pick-up crew in front of my house yesterday, in the dumping rain, but I haven’t seen them anywhere else. Little too little, a little too late – don’t they listen to the weather report? This storm was heralded by the press, and right on time, there’s no excuse for the streets not having been swept, except the usual, “we’re short of staff…”

I’ve lived here all my life, but these storms always take me by surprise – the force is just awesome, I’ll use that word appropriately for a change. Watching an enormous tree being bent and shaken like a doll is impressive. There is debris from our sycamore trees laying all over our driveway. The enormous cedars in front of my neighbors’ house do the hoochee-coochee – they shake, like Santa laughing. And the leaves fly like flocks of little birds. 

At the post office, the music teacher had put out those straw ropes, it looked like water had been coming in the door of the post office too. When it starts coming off the roof of a building that quick and hard, it just bounces right back at the door. The water from the gutters needs to be re-directed away from the building in a storm like that. Once when we had a problem with rain water building up around the base of our house, my husband used an old hose from a discarded shop vac to make an extension of the rain spout – end of problem. Now we have hoses on water barrels under our fastest downspouts, and that has been working pretty good – a puddle that usually develops right in front of our front door is now moved away to the lawn. 

I got plenty of chores to keep me busy, but every  now and then I look out a window and am just hypnotized by the power of nature, standing, watching the rain pound the neighbor’s roof, while a flock of blackbirds parties away in another neighbor’s neglected persimmon  tree. Every now and then they leave the tree en masse and swoop around as one big bird, then disappear into the storm. A lone buzzard rides the wind over our neighborhood, searching for a snack. Once in a while I see a crane or a heron, flapping along to or from the park.

Sure, I’m glad to get the rain, but you know, it gets old getting soaked every time you go out, your clothes still hanging wet from the last outing. A couple of days to open the windows and do some laundry would be much appreciated. We’ll see what happens.  I’m so glad we knew this storm was coming, got the gutters cleaned and the yard cleaned up, ready for Winter, which is coming right around the bend. Time to bring in your porch plants and tighten up the doors and windows, Jack Frost will ride in after this storm.  

I get my weather report, of course, from my good friend and constant companion Arthur Itis – that guy can feel cold weather! 

At this time of year, it is nice to have traditions – fun to decorate the house, wrap the gifts, make cookies and other special treats. While I hate the commercial frenzy of this season, I like the idea that, outside the malls anyway, life slows down, people come to visit, children, even grown ones, get excited. The ghosts of Christmas’ past come to visit too, and it’s good to tell stories, shed a tear, have a laugh. 

To the kitchen!






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