Monday, March 20, 2023

Pacific Sunset


When we were on our way back from our trip up the coast, we were just in time for the sunset when we had passed Jenner. We stopped at our favorite beach, Goat Rock, when the sun was just about to touch the horizon. There was no marine layer, aka coastal fog, and we were able to witness this spectacle that never ever gets old.

Kaefer walked closer to the water because she loves to take close-up photos of the surf, but she always  kept an eye on the ocean. She grew up here and knows how dangerous the Pacific Ocean can be.

Being Kaefer, she had to stick her feet in the water, no matter how cold it was (and it was very cold - at our coast, the Pacific is never warm. This is not an ocean to swim in - for that you need to go to Southern California.) Standing behind her, I was able to take one of my favorite photos during her visit.

Far too soon the sun dipped below the horizon.

The clouds over Goat Rock turned pink and the still glowing horizon was reflected in Kaefer's sunglasses.

Where's the drink, you might ask, since I need to share one for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Tuesday. Well, I already showed you the beer and cider we had in Gulala, so today I need to pick one from the archives. This one is a Turmweiße by Kuchlbauer. Do you see the interesting building on the can? This is the Kuchlbauer Tower, an observation tower designed by Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser on the grounds of the Kuchlbauer brewery in Abensberg, Lower Bavaria. Hundertwasser died in 2000 during the tower's planning phase. The tower was completed under the direction of the brewery's owner, Leonhard Salleck, with architect Peter Pelikan overseeing construction. It is 34.19 meters tall and is home to 4,200 Weißbier glasses (remember my post about German beer glasses?). It also has an exhibition of the brewing process and explains the Bavarian Purity Law. This can, by the way, is from a German beer advent calendar that we found at Costco last year.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Exploring the Tafoni


Our daughter hadn't been here for even 24 hours when we took our first trip to the ocean, the place that she had missed the most. We decided to go to Gerstle Cove in Salt Point State Park, a place that the Geek and I had only discovered last year and we wanted to share it with Kaefer. It was much calmer this time.

First we saw the harbor seals hanging out on the rocks.

There was much more driftwood on the shore than the last time we had been here, a sure sign of a very high surf during our crazy weather in January.

 When we arrived, Kaefer enjoyed just sitting on the shore and looking out over the ocean while we were taking photos of her as the "solitary mermaid" and the reflections in the tide pools.

But then she started to explore the tafoni and was just as mesmerized as we were.

We also enjoyed watching the cormorants sitting on the rocks and not minding the surf at all. However, there were no black oystercatchers this time.

Of course we had to take those family photos.

But mostly we explored the tafoni. I saw a lot of tiny living things on the rocks and just admired the beautiful shapes and forms.

In between we stopped every now and then just to take a picture of our girl.

A few years ago, Kaefer had given me a lensball for Christmas because she knows how much I enjoy photography and thought I would like to play around with it which I have done often. I had brought it with me and wanted to take some pictures of the tafoni with it - and as you can see, I wasn't the only one who did this.

Eventually it got very chilly at the coast and we decided to go for lunch. Of course we wanted fish and chips (another thing she had really missed) and went up to the Seafood Shack in Gualala. This is one of the best places for very fresh and delicious  fish and chips along the Sonoma-Mendocino coast. We had clam chowder in a bread bowl and, of course, rock fish and chips. Lecker, as we say in German.

Fish needs water - we had it in the form of some good local beer, a Scrimshaw (from Fort Bragg further up the coast) and Kaefer opted for some local cider from Sebastopol. You guessed it, this is for Bleubeard and Elizabeth and their T Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

A Hailstorm


Somehow I had hoped to blog more regularly again once my daughter had returned to Germany, but it wasn't to be. There was still so much to do that kept me busy much longer than I had thought. Last week a fight at one of our high schools ended with one of the boys who started the fight being fatally stabbed. This was a different high school than the one I used to work at, but still the same school district and I found myself at least emotionally drawn into it. While we still don't know what really happened, I have had enough experience with this school district and the school board to know that they haven't always worked in the interest of the kids even though they claim that over and over again. Too often have I seen that there were no consequences when there should have been some; there was no follow-up to problems that simply became worse by waiting them out and doing nothing; teachers' pleas and thoroughly considerate recommendations were ignored. Anyway, I didn't feel like writing at all, instead I felt anger and frustration mixed with a deep relief that I no longer have a kid in school and I am not working for the school district anymore. There is also shock that this happened here, but really, why did I even think it would NOT happen here? This is not an island of bliss where I am living.

Then I hurt my back and with it my energy level moved toward zero. But today, after a bad night, I found myself at the lake where I admired the American White Pelican at flight and enjoyed watching the Bufflehead diving. It gave me the necessary boost of energy and here I am!

The weather in California has been completely crazy this winter with a lot of rain for which I am very thankful. It has brought some relief to our drought, albeit no end. It takes more than one rainy winter for that. It has also been much colder than usual and I'm afraid I might have lost my pomegranate tree. I will know for sure in a few weeks. You have probably heard about the snowfall in Southern California. Yosemite is still closed because of too much snow and even we had some snow a couple weeks ago.

Last Sunday we had a short but fierce hailstorm.

Within just a few minutes the ground was white, covered in pea-sized hail. We had several hail "events" this winter, but none was like this one. It was quite the show.

Our street was all white and there was hail in the birdbath.

This might all be quite normal for you and many of you have had awful winter weather with freezing temperatures and lots of snow, but this is California. Our winters are usually mild with just a few freezing days, no snow (at least not here so close to the coast) and, if we're lucky, lots of rain. We're kind of spoiled when it comes to the weather (at least here in Northern California).

I have to admit I found this 15-minute storm quite exciting. No damage, by the way. The Geek even built a little hailman. (It didn't keep long.)

15 minutes later this is what it looked like to the East ...

and to the West (photos taken at the same time).

With all that was going on, I wasn't much in the mood of cooking and just did fast and easy dinners - this is what I call being a lazy cook. I found a package of Teriyaki chicken in the freezer section of Trader Joe's. I made it with rice, eggplant and green onion. To my surprise it was quite delicious. This is my foodie contribution to Rain's Thursday Art and Dinner Date.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Family Time


At the end of January our daughter came to visit for three weeks. At the beginning, three weeks sounded like a wonderfully long time, but in the end, time, of course, flew by way too fast. We filled those three short weeks with a lot of fun activities and tried to make the most of the time. Unfortunately, the Geek couldn't take off all of the time, but we still got several weekdays that we could spend together.

Since she still has quite some clothes here and didn't need to bring any, she filled her suitcase with the delicious things that we miss here.

Since she misses it so much in Germany, we spent a lot of time at the ocean, walking along the beach during sunset...

whale watching (unsuccessfully) ...

hiking the headlands ...

spending an incredibly windy day in Point Reyes, looking for elephant seals and their pups ...

and watching more sunsets.

One day she came with me to German School and did a fabulous presentation about Germany for my students. They loved her and we ended up having a pretty lively conversation in German.

We walked around the lake where we discovered American White Pelicans for the first time.

We walked among ancient Redwoods and she tried to hug one...

She spoiled our friends' dogs and the resident cat in our garden; they in return adored her.

We played cards on those rainy afternoons (we didn't have many of those) while drinking feshly pressed blood orange juice (this, of course, is for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's T Tuesday; it feels good to be back!).

And way too soon it was time for her to say goodbye to her parents and California.

There will be more about our time with Kaefer in upcoming posts.