California’s drought has lasted over five years. Many of us have learned to take shorter showers, capture running tap water while it is being heated so it isn’t wasted down the drain, and not be so fussy about… um… flushing. Some of us have changed out our landscaping to reflect the desert climate we live in and others have installed water barrels to better manage the rain they get. What at first may have seemed a hassle is now just second nature to most of us. It’s the right thing to do.
In the summer of 2015, we started to read about the warming waters of the Pacific Ocean and how the resulting El Niño weather phenomenon would give Southern California the best chance for above-average rains. I even wrote a post about being grateful that we had a roof over our heads because of the anticipated storms. At the same time, Northern California was predicted to get much less precipitation.
In fact, just the opposite happened.
Last season, Northern California did much better both in the rain they received and the snow levels they experienced. On the other hand, except for a few days of torrential downpours, Southern California’s El Niño was mostly El Disappoint-o.
When El Niño finally vacated the area, and its drier flipside, La Niña started to show herself, we were told to expect little rain this winter. An article in the Los Angeles Times stated, “If the weather phenomenon behaves as expected, the Pacific Northwest and far Northern California will enjoy a wetter than normal winter, while the southern swath of the state will remain dry.”
Well, that didn’t happen either.
Although the prediction was correct regarding the above average rain in Northern California, Southern California has been experiencing a wetter than normal rainy season this year too. In fact, we are now well above average in our seasonal rainfall totals. Even though we hear a few grumbles (including that we don’t know how to drive in the rain – which is true), most of us are willing to put up with any inconvenience for the sake of the overall health of our water supplies.
There has been some discussion about whether or not California’s drought is over. Some say “Yes,” and advocate for the removal of water conservation restrictions. Others argue “No,” and caution against prematurely declaring that all is well. I certainly don’t know the answer, but given our desert climate and how weather patterns have become less-and-less predictable worldwide, I’m willing to take the pragmatic approach and do what I can to help preserve this precious resource into the future.
In the meantime, I am so grateful for the rain we have received so far this season and, hopefully, will continue to enjoy over the next few months.
My husband cracks me up. He doesn’t tell a lot of jokes, not in the conventional sense anyway (“Did you hear the one about…”), but his silliness quotient is pretty high. In fact, he can be a total dork… and I love it.
Having a good sense of humor is one of the most important traits I looked for in anyone I’m going to spend time with, let alone live with. If someone can laugh at themselves and find the humor in less-than-humorous situations, it is a sign of self-confidence and flexibility. Who wants to hang out with anyone who needs to maintain a polished image or present their best self at all times? People who generally feel good about themselves and aren’t too self-conscious are usually confident enough to be silly. And being silly is when life gets fun.
I love our inside jokes… some that date back to the first days of our relationship. I love how just one word or look can instantly recall a funny story that resides in both of our memories. I love how we riff off of each other when one of us starts a silly streak, and the other picks it up, adds to it, and then sends it back for more. I love how we can laugh at ourselves and – gently – laugh at each other, confident that we are safe in each other’s heart.
We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in traditional “Hallmark Holiday” ways; we don’t go out to dinner nor do we give each other gifts of flowers or chocolates. In fact, we spend Valentine’s Day pretty much like any other day… but that’s OK. As long as our day contains a fair amount of fun and a good dose of silliness, I have all the hearts and romance I need.
I am so grateful to my husband for bringing his special brand of joy and laughter into our marriage. I wouldn’t trade my funny valentine for any other.
The concept for the Women’s March in Washington D.C. started as germ of an idea a grandmother in Hawaii had who was devastated by Trump’s presidential victory. Because she felt compelled to do something, she created a Facebook event page calling for a march on our nation’s capital. She expected a handful of people to sign up; a day after her post, she had more than 10,000 responses.
From that initial idea, a movement was started. Soon, in addition to the Women’s March in Washington D.C., solidarity marches were being planned all over the United States and around the world in opposition to President Trump’s agenda, and support of women’s rights and human rights in general.
Today, my husband and I joined an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 of our fellow citizens to walk in the Women’s March in San Diego.
The crowds were large, loud, friendly, and optimistic. Some carried children and some carried signs, but all carried a determination to make their voices heard. As we stood in the on-and-off sprinkling of rain listening to a group of speakers, there was a palpable feeling that the crowd was anxious to start their march and show their numbers.
And march we did: from the Civic Center Plaza, down Broadway towards the Embarcadero, and finally culminating at San Diego’s Administration Building, one mile away. The crowds were so large that by the time the first of the marchers reached their destination, there were still those who were just leaving the staging area.
As I was walking with the other participants, I couldn’t help feeling that my mother and father were there right beside me. Many years ago, I joined them as they protested and marched against another very unpopular president and a war that exacted a huge human cost. If they were still alive, I am confident that they would have joined us today.
Media reports are indicating that the “sister marches” in all fifty states have shattered participation expectations. In addition, large crowds attended marches around the world, including, London, Paris, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Sydney, Australia. A friend of mine currently visiting Oaxaca, Mexico joined about 500 marches there. Global estimates indicate that over 3 million individuals participated in the marches, up from the 1.3 million initially anticipated.
I am confident that this won’t be the last time we are asked to raise our voices in solidarity. And, it won’t be the last time I answer “Yes.” As was written on one of the signs held by a fellow marcher:
The devil whispered in my ear,
“You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.”
Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear,
“I am the storm.”
My husband and I stopped buying each other special occasion gifts a long ago. Not only would we rather purchase items as they are needed, but, like so many people our age, we are more interested in getting rid of things than acquiring them.
What I can’t buy for myself – but certainly need more of – is quality time spent hanging out with my best friend. So, when my birthday rolled around a few days ago, I asked my husband for a day doing exactly what I wanted: a day spent with him, exploring one of our area’s most beautiful cities – Coronado.
We’ve been having an unusual amount of rain in Southern California this winter. It has come in waves… a few rainy days interspersed with cloudy days, then rain again. Because of our persistent drought none of us are complaining, but every so often, in between the rainstorms, we get a day that just sparkles. And, two days after my birthday, they were predicting one of those days – a perfect day.
Coronado Island, a small beach community just west of San Diego’s downtown, is home to the North Island Naval Air Station and the headquarters of the U.S. Navy Seals, but is probably best known for the historic Hotel del Coronado. You might recognize it if you’ve ever see the 1958 movie “Some Like It Hot” (starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon), which was filmed on its grounds.
Surrounded by San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Coronado’s beaches go on for miles and the views are breathtaking.
After spending the day strolling on the beach, enjoying lunch in a lovely outdoor courtyard, admiring the gorgeous views, and exploring the grand Hotel del, we headed home… where the Caramelized Orange Birthday Cheesecake my husband made for me was waiting.
I am so grateful for being able to spend this most perfect day in the most perfect way.