Stuff I learned today

I went to work today, but really I was just hanging out in case disaster struck — the library is pretty much staffed by undergraduates all weekend long.

Disaster did not strike, though there was some complication with the reading room lights, and I mostly just sat in my office. Where, by diligent searching on ancestry I found out that my grandmother had a lot of relatives around here. I knew she had some, but she had more.

I find it hard not to get sucked in. Janet, who was called Jenny at home, married a guy in Michigan (they were both Canadians who had come across for lumbering purposes. Originally they were all from Scotland). They lived in Ukiah and Everett, Washington, and then Oakland — all the while lumbering, and then he died, and of the five kids, three married and went away, one married and went away and then came back, and one never left. Her daughter married a ship’s pilot, and she died young and the son grew up to be a ship’s pilot, too. There are pictures of him on Treasure Island, which was a naval station in the bay.

Anyway — they are just people — I guess they would have been my grandmother’s cousins, so not even so closely related. But it is interesting to try to figure out how they lived.

I’ve got to find all the pictures my mother has stashed away somewhere before they are lost forever. There are great ones of my grandmother and my great-grandmother. There’s one of my great grandmother on a timber claim in Idaho, and one of my grandmother as a little girl standing on a pier in the water somewhere near Vancouver.

There’s another relative on my grandfather’s side — his aunt, in fact, who was named Nora. She eloped with a man from Kentucky. He later died or disappeared and her son went to jail. That must have been a shock.

Anyway, a project for retirement.


More animal news

My daughter Maddy rescued a dog!


Maddy lives in Beijing. This dog was hanging around her neighborhood.


He didn’t seem to belong to anyone, and he seemed like a nice dog —

IMG_0517She was worried the security people would take him away or worse, so she did some research and found a rescue place that would take him, train him, and try to find a home for him. She just had to catch him and take him to the vet, and the rescue would pick him up from the vet. There were even people who would help her catch him.

Last week she met other residents of her garden, which is what a neighborhood is called in Beijing, who were the dog’s friends. They were worried, too, and thought Maddy’s plan was a good one. So today, Maddy, the dog catchers, the dog friends, and Maddy’s boyfriend all gathered to catch the dog to take him to the vet. It was raining, so Maddy was worried that they might not find him, but they did!

IMG_0515Armed with treats and a leash, they found him, cold and wet, and lured him into the car. The vet said he was healthy, so it’s off to the rescue. Maddy will visit next week.

He seems like a sweet little thing. I wish she could keep him.

In other news, I’ve been working in the garden, where suddenly everything is in bloom. It’s nice to be out there.


Maybe 2X will be the charm and this blog business will stick.

I took today off — I have to work on Sunday, so it seemed only fair — and went birding with a friend. The trees in a canyon about an hour from here are full of migrant warblers, and I saw two hermit warblers, a bird I’ve never seen before. Also we saw a black-headed grosbeak, which my friend had never seen, so all in all a fruitful trip.

Yesterday was hatch day for the pair of peregrine falcons nesting on the campus bell tower and yesterday was hatch day. We got the campus art museum to show the live stream of the hatching falcons on their giant outdoor movie screen. That was very fun. Lots of people stopped by — it’s sort of on the path from the campus to the subway, but also lots of people had heard and came by.



There’s a small bit of sadness — two eggs hatched just fine, but one seems like it won’t make it — the chick pecked all around from inside but somehow couldn’t summon the strength to get out. Still — two chicks is fine, and it will be fun to watch them grow up. The livestream is here, if you want to watch.

Anyway, now I’m home, and Cora the cat and I are hanging out on the porch. Tomorrow I don’t really have to do anything which I am extremely happy about. I think I’ll go buy a broom and sweep up all the leaves —



Suddenly, I find that I am missing a place to post quick notices of daily doings. I can’t promise that I’ll keep this up —

  1. It’s spring! or maybe even summer! I rode my bike to work yesterday for the first time since last fall, and then to a party, and then home, up a giant hill. It was exhausting, but surprisingly doable. I’ve been trying to go to the gym regularly (i.e., for the past two days) and I am completely worn out. But then I was able to ride my bike up the hill — I can’t figure out if I’m in terrible shape or ok shape. I think, maybe, with my 60th birthday breathing down my neck, I’m going to have to just expect things will take me longer. It’s probably not ever going to be that I am going to beat 30 year olds up the hill, but then again, just getting up the hill at all may have to be good enough. I may never be able to hike 25 miles in a day. Oh, the other thing is that this lengthy ordeal was about seven miles. 🙂
  2. Also, I really do want an electric bicycle.
  3. I’m taking a class on the natural history of the California islands at a local community college. That’s another weird thing — what can I do with this? I sort of want to go on and get an AA in biology. Is that nuts? I mean — obviously I should not take a spot away from some young person who can go on and have a career. But it’s interesting, and I am enjoying it — hmm.
  4. I’m hungry —