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Palm Tree in the Wind
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Palm Tree in the Wind

Jan 30, 2014 by

Stormy skies behind palm trees always remind me of snorkeling in the rain at Anini Beach, of sitting in a hammock in front of a tentalow at the Molokai Ranch, and of the Winslow Homer watercolors of blustery Nassau skies. This is a particularly happy day, because after so many warm dry days, it finally looks as if we are going to get some...

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Raccoon Prints in the Sand
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This is TOTALLY cool. I got to the beach about 9:30am with pup, and found dozens and dozens of fresh raccoon prints along the high tide line from Beachgate down to where Las Olas starts. King tide crested this morning just after dawn so this must have been the critters’ final bedtime snack before they tucked themselves in for the day. My cousin told...

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Crescent Moon and Venus
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I let the dog out just before dawn this morning and was stunned to see, in an otherwise inky sky, a perfect crescent moon and brilliant shining planet. Lacking the skill to take competent shots in the dark, all I can offer to mark the moment is what looks like the Batlight chasing a trail of lightening...

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Welcome To the Beach
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Welcome To the Beach

Jan 27, 2014 by

I would be remiss in this project if I didn’t post a picture of this sign. I pass it twice a day, once on my way down the Beachgate stairs and once on my way home. Looking at the photo, I wonder how it is that I only notice it every now and...

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Seagull Snacking
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Seagull Snacking

Jan 26, 2014 by

The gulls have returned. For several weeks, it seemed, I didn’t see them – most they were hanging around and fishing down by where Aptos Creek recently broke free to the sea. I have a friend who walks the harbor, and she often sees gulls eating sea stars and fish. For today, I am content with this gull and his beak full of...

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Beached Baby Boat
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Beached Baby Boat

Jan 23, 2014 by

I’ve observed a quirk of human nature during my daily beach walk: people decorate. Maybe it’s the urge to leave one’s mark, or perhaps innate creative spirits bursting forth. For whatever reason, I find logs and tree tops stuck straight up in the sand, fortresses built of sticks and kelp, rocks carefully piled into totems, mermaids carved in the sand, and this leftover beach...

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The Furry Child: Our PitShihHuahua
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When I walked my babies, strangers would stop me to tell me how cute they were. Now I walk the dog and  hear the same thing, although with the dog, people want to know what breed he is. We had his DNA done so I can answer now; it was an easy cheek swab from a kit shared by a neighbor. His paternal grandfather...

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Pine Nut Pine and Cement Ship
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I have walked past this tree for over two decades, but it was just yesterday that I saw a man with his two teenage daughters – a family that looked familiar to me, honest and earnest, as if straight out of a Portlandia episode, crouched on the ground underneath, sifting through the dirt and gathering what I discovered were pine nuts. I am now...

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Sunset Silhouette
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Sunset Silhouette

Jan 20, 2014 by

The changing winter light is sudden and striking,  Kid Two and I were walking the dog toward New Brighton and found this tree stuck in the sand. I stopped to try and capture it – unsuccessfully, I thought.   Not more than a half hour later, headed back to Seacliff Beach, the sky had changed completely. . . I thought the sunset picture would...

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Home Along Highway 152
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Home Along Highway 152

Jan 19, 2014 by

I don’t often travel from Gilroy to Watsonville along Highway 152. When I do, I always love the towering redwoods, the hairpin curves, and the sudden, startling valley and ocean vistas. Once I’m on the ocean side of the road, just like when I travel over Highway 17, I get that salt water vibe calling me...

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Biking the American River Trail
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I love bike trails. As a kid I would take off alone through Forest Park in St. Louis, but more recently I’ve had memorable solo rides along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage and the Silver Strand in San Diego. LL wanted in on the fun and promised to join me on a ride in Sacramento while Kid Two was competing the Magic:...

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The Road to Sacramento
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The Road to Sacramento

Jan 17, 2014 by

We went to Sacramento for the weekend; a winding route that took us over the Santa Cruz Mountains at Highway 152, through Gilroy to 101, 680 past the Livermore Lab, 580 over the Altamont Pass, 205 through Tracy, and finally up Highway 5 over a section of the California Aqueduct, past the Port of Stockton, past walnut groves and grazing sheep and dairy farms...

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Waves Backlit by the Sunset
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Another striking winter sunset. Tonight the shore break was fetchingly backlit by the golden sun, and I was happy to capture the sun’s reflection both on the water and on the back of the...

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Bird of Paradise
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Bird of Paradise

Jan 15, 2014 by

The past few weeks have been so oddly warm and bone-dry that our neighborhood plants are perking up from their autumn slumbers, thinking it’s already spring. Birds of paradise seem to flock to many homes in our neighborhood; the morning sun bathing this one caught my eye. Too bad there wasn’t a spider still lurking in that...

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A Sandy Delta
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A Sandy Delta

Jan 14, 2014 by

Sometimes, when the tide is low, you can see where rivulets of surf left their marks in the sand. I’m fascinated by these traces of water; they remind me of a topographic map of some ancient river delta. High tide washes them...

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Halo Over the Setting Sun
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This last bit of the setting sun seemed to hang over the ocean for hours before disappearing in to the horizon. I was so busy taking pictures that I didn’t notice the halo until I got back and downloaded the pictures. I took this photo from the cliff above Seacliff; Pleasure Point would be visible just to the right of the...

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Sunset and Pine
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Sunset and Pine

Jan 12, 2014 by

The light! I’m in love with this low winter light. I feel so fortunate to have this live where I can stand on the cliff at sunset and witness how the particular golden hues change every day, and admire how the pine is perfectly backlit....

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Cloud Over the Cement Ship
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Today was most notable because Kid One finished moving out; he rented a U-Haul, enlisted Kid Two’s help, and they spent the day hauling chests of drawers and boxes of clothing. It was a cold day, and overcast. Pup and I took our late-afternoon beach walk together, and I was struck by the shape of this cloud in the eastern sky at sunset, loving...

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Iceberg Rose Hips
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Iceberg Rose Hips

Jan 10, 2014 by

I’ve long thought that rose hips are the most striking part of the plant; once the soft petals and shiny leaves of the rose has dropped to the ground, the study, plump, colorful hips linger on. This is from an Iceberg rose (floribunda, Kordes, 1958) from a patch at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. This lovely park will be the evening stroll destination...

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Seagulls at Sunset
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Seagulls at Sunset

Jan 9, 2014 by

Seagulls at Sunset – that sounds like the title of a Magic Treehouse Book, doesn’t it? Today’s brilliant winter red-orange sunset was most notable because of the sudden departure of the hundreds of gulls sunning and foraging on the beach – flying west into the...

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Overcast sky near sunset
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For every brilliant red-orange sunset I see during the year, there are at least a dozen sunsets that are lost behind a thick, cold marine layer – sunset swallowed by the fog. This sky is as rare as it is sublime, the subtle, muted palette tailor-made for a watercolor study or a full-blown plein air...

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Palm berries
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Palm berries

Jan 7, 2014 by

I’m not sure what the species of palm tree this is yet, although I have one in a pot upstairs on my deck.  A neighbor has the same tree, firmly planted in the ground resulting in comparative exponential growth. Pup stopped to check the p-mail at the trunk and I noticed these berries: some dried, some new, all indicating a fertile and healthy tree,...

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Red sky at night, sailor’s delight
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Red sky at night, sailors’ delight Red sky at morning, sailors take warning The sky grew progressively more brilliant as the minutes passed, but it was a full ten minutes past sunset on my beach walk with Kid One that this red sky fully manifested itself, a sunset walk that would be the last one with my oldest son still living as a resident...

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Hummingbird, Seacliff Beach
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Even though it is winter, or maybe especially because it is winter, it seems a plethora of hummingbirds dancing around the trees and bushes in the neighborhood. A few days ago one caught my eye, iridescent green against a brilliant blue sky, drinking from a scarlet monkey-flower. I’d hoped to find him again, but this is the only one I found, backlit and perched...

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Cement Ship and pampas grass
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Pampas grass isn’t native to this area; in fact, it’s quite invasive. But they’re visually appealing, proud and graceful fronds waving gently in the ocean breeze. The Cement Ship Palo Alto, a Seacliff Beach landmark, floats in the...

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Winter sunset, Seacliff parking lot
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Lately pup and I have taken our evening walk to the field above Seacliff Beach, and I’ve been both surprised and impressed to see how many people come out for the sunset: elderly couples walking hand in hand, parents with young children on training wheel bikes, larger groups of extended family visiting over the holidays, individuals at the end of their afternoon run and...

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Sunset surfer, low tide
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Big minus tides are my favorite time at the beaches, the only opportunity to explore ocean’s naked edge, the rarely uncovered beaches and rocky outcroppings at Pleasure Point. On this particular evening, we walked between 41st and 24th Avenues with dogs and children and hundreds of others exploring the wonders of a -1.7 tide: tiny sea stars, enormous sea cucumbers, white egrets, and masses...

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Flower, New Year’s Day
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Pup loves to stop and smell the roses . . . well, not the roses as much as the fire hydrants and fence posts in the neighborhood. I’ve learned, as I walk with him each morning, to take his slow pace to appreciate the way the early light illuminates my neighbors’...

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Aptos Creek, king tide
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Aptos Creek, king tide

Dec 31, 2013 by

December 31, 2013 The last high tides of 2013 were king tides that almost covered the beach and filled the Aptos Creek with fresh salt water. These old wharf piling are reminders of a long-ago day when this was a Spreckles sugar...

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Low tide, New Brighton State Beach
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December 30, 2013: When the tide is low enough, you can walk from New Brighton to Capitola along the cliffs. Low tide, after this morning’s king tide, was -1.7. Here, the sun prepares to set behind a man sitting on an exposed boulder, looking out to...

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