Protea blossom

September 13, 2011

White Owl

Protea Laurifolia 'White Owl' blossom

Several years ago I saw this blossom amongst the plants at the UCSC Arboretum plant sale. When I got closer, I realized that all those plants were gone but I was determined to get one for my garden! A year or so later the plants were available and I got one!

We brought it home, planted it and it grew slowly. But sadly we have had very few blossoms. This year looks to be different. We have this blossom and 3 more have formed. I’m hoping that all of them will bloom. I’m also hoping that there may be more buds that are too small to see.

close up of White Owl

Closer view of the White Owl

I love the white “feathery” edges of each blossom which contrast with the green too. I’m looking forward to watching how the blossom matures!

Temporary Road

March 30, 2011

Working on the temporary road (March 29)

Work on the temporary road continues and soon it looks like we’ll be able to drive home again!! YAY!


March 27, 2011

We’re working on getting used to the new “normal” for our life. It’s hard to know just how much longer a trip away will take now. I’m sure that we will get used to it soon though.

We had more issues with other storms last week. The path out is difficult since it is mud! Rob and some of the other neighbors put down boards for us to walk along. They help a lot! I got some good mud boots today which helped a lot when I returned from shopping this afternonn!!

Another road we all use had problems on Sat. Some how the road was undermined and part of it collapsed. So now it’s a one lane road in a few spots. No one really knows how that is going to affect the heavy equipment that is needed to make our path into a road (our immediate concern) or that will be needed when they start taking down the slide.

We were very sad when a large tree hit a home on our road. Luckily no one was physically hurt but I can only imagine how devastated that family is now.

The rain is supposed to be over for the next few days and we’re set to get warmer temperatures. I got some gardening supplies today so I will be working in the garden. I ordered some fabric dyeing and I’ll be working on that too. Life goes on, even if I can’t drive directly home!

TV reports for Wed.

March 23, 2011

The TV crews were around again today. I guess they wanted to see how we could manage with the latest rain.

We needed food so I took Megan and Alex to get supplies. Alex had an art class this afternoon and he needed more Lego sets for his stop motion animation project. We took off with our shopping bags and his Legos. When we walked onto the path, the TV crews spotted him and decided that was a good shot. He was interviewed by two reporters and we were filmed walking along by 3 different cameramen.

Alex’s interview

Shot of us walking

March 22 community meeting

My interview

They get us!

March 23, 2011

Here’s a report that comes pretty close to understanding those of us who choose to live in the Santa Cruz Mtns! Rob is in one of the last cars to drive through – a dark blue SUV.

More links

March 22, 2011

We got one of our cars moved to the other side of the slide today. Now we can get out to get what we need. It won’t be easy but it will be possible!

Rob is in one shot – he’s driving the tractor to create a way for us to get the car out.

KION coverage

Rob’s arms are in one shot where it shows someone using a chainsaw. He is shown driving the tractor too.

KGO coverage

I’m in the background of one shot. I’m sitting on the back of a truck talking to a neighbor about how we might get garbage pickup while we wait for the slide to be cleared. I walked right by the interview with the blond woman too.
KTVU coverage

There may be more but these are the ones I could find tonight. Lots of media were around again today. It’s raining now so I’m not sure if they will be around tomorrow.

We can drive to get things now; I have my medicine (thanks so much, Sarah!!). The kids can get to their classes so we’ll begin to return to normal…

Life is an adventure

March 21, 2011

Our first view of the landslide closing our road - yes the road is under all that

other side of slide the person is a reporter and he gives a sense of the scale of the slide

Today started out like any other Monday. The kids and I were planning to go to park day, I would attend a class on learning to use a microscope later. Rob was going to work and then meeting us for dinner.

He left for work about 10:15 AM and about 5 minutes later returned home. He informed me that there had been a small slide on our road – he got into working-outside clothes. Then he and the chainsaw hopped on the tractor to clear it (this is what we do here – nobody waits for the officials to do all the work). I called the fire department which in turn called the county to let them know of the slide. He came back 20-25 minutes later and said that the county work crew stopped all work. They thought it was too dangerous to work there. He decided to work from home today and the kids and I debated going to park day. We decided that it would be an at-home day for us too.

Things were going quite well for all of us when suddenly we lost power. Usually the power would flicker and then go out but this was a sudden switch “off”. We figured that PG&E had decided to cut off the power so the slide could be cleared. Rob and I decided to go see what was happening so we took off – figuring we’d pick up our mail and then come right back home.

As we approached the slide area, we realized it was much, much bigger. One report says it’s a 200 foot long pile of mud and rock that is 30 feet deep in spots. It is covering the road and closing it to all. Some of our neighbors showed us a path around the slide which keeps us a safe distance away. But all our vehicles are here at home! I’m not sure how we will solve this or how long it will take. There was no mail delivery and probably won’t be until it’s cleared. We are supposed to get more rain which could mean more difficulty in getting it cleared. We’re just not sure about much – we have electricity now but we need food before too many days!!

Sometimes life is more adventure than you might want!
Here are some links to news reports some of which show aerial shots of the slide.

QWAM update

March 3, 2010

I know QWAM ended on Sunday but I have a good excuse for not posting earlier! My daughter found out about a teen writing camp last week – with the application deadline of Monday! The application consisted of a 2,000-6,000 word short story. So she spent time writing and I spent some of it editing. My son had a report due yesterday in a homeschooling class we are taking so that took time away from blogging about this too.

My idea of doing wonky blocks didn’t work out so well. I don’t know if I didn’t make them wonky enough or what to do. I found that it took longer to make them wonky than it did to sew them the “right” way. And since one of the goals for this month was to use up fabric, I decided to put those away for later and do them the “right” way! Here is a picture of some of the wonky blocks. They look fine but it wasn’t what I wanted for right now.

Wonky blocks

I finished to quilt top today. It’s single bed sized and I’ll be using it for a blanket to use as I watch TV or read in the living room. I wanted COLOR and I got it!

Finished quilt top

I started with the block that Melody discussed in her first post about QWAM and then decided they were too small. So I added more fabric. I’m really pleased with the result. I may add a border. I need to look at it and think for a bit.

Besides the demands of my life as a homeschooling mother, I realized that I needed to be better organized in my studio. I’ve known that but now I really know it. I took some time to consider what I wanted/needed and spent some time in IKEA. Then spent more time figuring out exactly what to get. Rob brought home some big boxes tonight and we will be reorganizing my studio! It’s a start. I must admit I was stunned by the size of the boxes we carried into the house tonight. They seemed smaller in the store! I know they will fit because we measured! I’m getting PAX wardrobe storage. Since I live in a dry, dusty environment I want to be able to close my fabric away from the elements.

We’ve had daffodils blooming for a few weeks now. But here’s a picture so those of you who still have snow can enjoy them! Spring will be here soon!


A young sea otter

February 19, 2010

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today to see their newest sea otter, Kit. Kit is a very special sea otter since she’s only 11 weeks old!

We decided to go this afternoon. We got to the aquarium about 3 and there were a lot of people on the street. I figured the aquarium might be crowded but it wasn’t. We walked up to the sea otter exhibit and I was really surprised at how big Kit is! I had expected a small otter but she was about 2/3 the size of the adult in the tank with her.

Kit aged 11 weeks

We found a good place to watch and they put on a fantastic show! Kit is very energetic and playful and Mae was more active than I’ve seen her for years! They swam, they explored their tank and had a great time. Kit was checking out everything she could; this was her second day in the exhibit. Mae was being a good babysitter and tried to keep up with her and pull her out of the trouble. We discovered that there’s a tunnel for the otters in the tank! We’ve been watching sea otters for the past 25+ years and didn’t know that existed. But a baby otter goes everyplace she can so she went in one side and came out the other one! As you can see, Alex and I were thrilled to be watching them!

Alex and me


It was great to see how Mae tried to care for this little one. The docent who was talking to visitors said that Mae had not shown any maternal instinct before. They were delighted that she was taking such good care of Kit. Even though Kit will be staying at the aquarium, Mae will be a lot of help in teaching Kit what she needs to know.

Mae and Kit

She is a very curious sea otter. Sometimes I think she was checking us out as much as we were looking at her. Rob took a lot of pictures and these are some of the best ones!

Kit looking at us

Megan really enjoyed seeing the otters too. Kit swam by the window where we were standing a number of times and she seemed to enjoy looking at us – assuming that she can see through the glass. Rob was behind the camera so there’s no picture of him enjoying the otters!

Megan and Kit

Since we were at the aquarium and it was not crowded at all, we decided to visit some of our favorite exhibits. Since I love penguins we needed to see them. They were quiet after a hard day of looking cute for their visitors. But Betty was enjoying watching the humans still! (She has a tag on her wing which gave us her name.)

My new friend Betty and me

Since there were so few people around we were able to get some good photos of the leafy sea dragons and the weedy sea dragons. They are sensitive to light and so you can’t use the flash on your camera. This makes getting a good photo of them hard – especially if there’s other people running into you. Rob was able to get some good ones this time.

Leafy sea dragon

We had just about given up getting a good photo of the weedy sea dragon. They were swimming at the back of the tank. Then one decided to swim at the front of the tank and so we got some pictures of him. Rob and I think that this species deserves a better name than “weedy sea dragon”. This guy has such interesting textures and color combinations…

Weedy sea dragon

I’m sure we’ll be visiting the aquarium again soon (the new flamingo exhibit opens in late March). We usually go in the late morning, see exhibits, eat lunch, and see more exhibits. But I really liked how much less crowded it was late this afternoon. I think we may start a new pattern for our visits!

We had a good dinner at Peppers, a very good Cali/Mexican restaurant in Pacific Grove. It was a really great day and I’m so glad Rob could share it with us.

QAWM – first days

February 1, 2010

When I read Melody Johnson’s blog Sunday I was delighted to see that she was starting on a Use-It-All-Up project. The block she had chosen had a lot of possibilities. And she invited anyone interested in joining her. This was just what I needed! My word for 2010 is DO. But so far I’d been wondering what to DO instead of DOing. I hope this project gets me out of my rut and gets me sewing and creating art!

I am making a few changes to the block. I’m using “liberated” techniques (think Freddie Moran and Gwen Marston’s work). I want to get more relaxed about my work and while I’ve done precision piecing in the past, I want to learn how to do the looser look now!

I picked out a few fabric that I wanted to use as the centers. Then I pulled from my stash others that looked good with them. While I was looking through my stash, I found some strips I’d cut for a different project so I added some of those to my center fabric too!

Fabric centers

I have these two sets done. They are wonky! My daughter asked me if I intended them to be so “off” and I said yes. She was glad because she was concerned that I wasn’t sewing as well as I did in the past!

Results so far

I need to make the blocks a standard size now. At first I thought I could work with them all different sizes but I think that will be too difficult. They aren’t square and that could be a problem too. I think I will finish the blocks I have started and then decide what size to use.