Chapter 89 West Coast Winter

True winter today, at least in the Bay Area. It’s a torrential downpour of rain since about 3:00 a.m. and 50 mph gusts of wind, which make the raindrops horizontal rather than vertical. The raindrops don’t show in the photo below too well, but you can see them if you look to the left of the tree.


We have a free-standing basketball hoop (10 feet tall) out in front of our house, and it blew over and out into the street. (Why must these things always happen after Thoughtful Husband has gone to work?) My neighbor called to say that my basketball hoop was blocking her exit from our street and could I please come out and move it? 😉

I put on tennis shoes (I live in California — I don’t own waterproof boots!) and my only jacket with a hood and went outside to lug the fallen beast out of the street and up into the driveway!


And remember what the chimney repair man told me last week about my roof missing some shingles? Well, the rest of them are joining their missing friends one by one as they get wallopped by the gale-force winds. Happily, no indoor leaks to report yet, but we’ll definitely need to do something about the roof this spring.

The wood pile for the fireplace, although it is tucked in under a large overhang, is soaked to the core, but not before I rescued about a dozen pieces and brought them inside. If firewood gets wet, can you still use it without it making lots of steam and smoke? Will it light? How long should I let it dry?

Remember my pre-Christmas garage flood, due to a broken pipe in the laundry sink? Well, just as I’ve gotten everything cleaned up and dried out, the wind has blown all sorts of water under the garage door today:


I went to the grocery store this morning and decided to make a roast in the slow cooker and make some fresh bread.


As long as we don’t lose power, it’ll be a warm and delicious meal around 6:00 p.m. tonight. If we do lose power, we’ll have to eat cold sandwiches. Also, while I was at the grocery store this morning, part of its roof blew off! Very loud and very exciting. (One thing with which I am fascinated — and of which I also have a healthy fear — is watching the force of nature at work — whether through earthquake, fire, flood, or mudslide, all of which I have witnessed during my life in California!)

Up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe, where we took the kids last week, they are expecting a blizzard to hit sometime today with 100 mph wind gusts and white-out conditions over Donner Pass, the summit of the mountains. Yes, Donner Pass is named after that Donner Party – the ones who ignored the warnings of treacherous winters in that area, and, late for their planned arrival in California, pressed forward and got trapped in the mountains during a truly gruesome winter (rumored cannibalism, but you didn’t hear that from me). I’m sure glad we came home from the mountains on Wednesday, when we Californians were still entertaining the prospect of drought and summertime water rationing. I do hope this storm lasts long enough to put that fear to rest. If you’ve ever lived through water rationing (and I have — the motto last time was, “If it’s yellow let it mellow” — eeew!), you’ll never want to again.


Alright, enough grousing about the weather. Those of you who live where there is a real winter (Sarah in Maine — 4 below zero — I’m referring to you), bundle up and keep warm and try not to laugh too hard at the seasonal wimpiness of your California cohort. I’m off to pick up Tom and Huck from school and have plans to read a book in front of a fireplace this afternoon. (Don’t worry — it’s a book about bookselling, so I’m still working 😉 )Have a great weekend!

See you in the stacks!


Filed under A Family Business, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Chapter 89 West Coast Winter

  1. WM

    You left out the second half! “If it’s brown, flush it down!”

  2. I just wanted to make a brief comment about the photo of “The Expedition of the Donner Party” in this post. It is an excellent photo that reveals a lot of condition detail is not out of focus at all. I am considering purchasing a digital camera for an online bookselling business and wonder if you have any general tips you could pass along.

    I assume that this sort of photography is what used to be called macrophotography. I understand that digital cameras are much more suitable for this than the old SLR or paralax viewfiender film cameras. Besides a camera, I suppose there is a tripod purchase and possibly some sort of specialized lighting? I noticed you had a little glare in this photo and am particularly interested in what you have been doing to minimize this.

    I recently purchased a remaindered copy of O’Reilly’s “Digital Photography Pocket Guide” by Derrick Story from their ‘O’Reilly Digital Studio series. Generally, I like O’Reilly’s editorial style quite a bit. The book talks a little about ‘Light Balance’ settings in the camera but says nothing else about setting up for indoor macrophotography lighting requirements. This book’s main comments about macrophotography are to use a tripod with a few broad hints on composition (no relevant) and depth of field (somewhat relevant).

  3. Steven, I’m sorry to say I don’t know too much about photography, but I use a very small and very not-professional Casio Exilim digital camera. When I took the photo of the Donner party book, it was flat on my dining room table, the flash was on, and the chandelier above the table was turned on. This room gets a lot of natural light from windows. The only reason there is little glare is because the cover is not glossy. I think this camera does a good job revealing the condition of the book. However, when I image books for my website, I use a desktop scanner, an HP Scanjet G4050. I feel I get a better result with no glare whatsoever. Also, it’s faster than hooking up a camera, as the image size can be preset and the image goes straight into the computer. For imaging fragile books, I do use a homemade light tent and a camera, but for blogging, I just snap a photo of the books. The “Digital Photography Pocket Guide” sounds useful. Thanks for recommending it.


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