It’s California weather. 

Dry and warm and pleasant (no nearby wildfires... so we’re good). You’re still wearing shorts to go bowling, to work outside on the yard, to go for a hike with the dog. You need to wear a hat to protect your balding head from the sun. There are a couple more tomatoes that might just make it. The car has been in the sun and it’s like an oven.

The next morning, it’s raining. The plastic trash receptacle is floating in the pond created by all the neighborhood’s tree leaves, which have blown over into the gutter in front of the house. The wind is moving the rain sideways. You just want to be home, warm, in bed.

Then you get up in the morning. The furnace was turned off like usual for the night ... and it’s cold. The dog needs to be asked a second time to go outside. He would rather not. There’s heavy frost on the ground. There’s hard frost on the car windshield and all you’ve got is a floppy rubber squeegee because usually you just need to wipe the dew off the windows. You need a hat to warm your balding head. At lunch time, you go get in the car, which has been sitting in the sun, and it feels warm and cozy ... you think about having lunch in the car... but you’ve got to go let the dog out.

I’ll share this ditty with local friends and they’ll mostly sympathize. “My thermometer got down to the high 30s last night,” someone will say, more than slightly aghast.

I’ll share this ditty with relatives back in the Midwest. They’ll frown and think evil thoughts about me and all Californians (especially when I send them the picture of the orange tree ... fruits are just about ready! ... that drives them mad.)



Thumbs Up: Not that we know all the ins and outs of the negotiations, but it’s interesting that an impasse was declared by Marysville Joint Unified School District and Marysville Unified Teachers Association.

The problem keeping them from reaching agreement on a new contract isn’t about money. It’s about training. If we understand it correctly, teachers want to have more authority about how money for personnel development is spent. The district isn’t comfortable giving up control of that part of the school budget – they want to be able to set the agenda for how teachers are trained. Teachers say that some programs in the past have been inferior.

We’ll stay out of the middle of that one. 

We’re just tickled that the negotiating parties are having a hard time coming to a compromise on managing the development program; not how much the pay should be.


A wire story last week reported that from 2012 to 2016, drought and pests killed more than 129 million trees in California – most of them conifers in the Sierra Nevada.

What do we do?

A University of California, Davis, forest biologist, Patricia Maloney, noting that healthy trees were mixed in with the drought-killed trees, theorizes that there may be some hereditary advantages enjoyed by survivors.

How are there healthy trees living in the same conditions that brought down the dead trees? 

She’s leading an effort to plant thousands of seedlings that might be heirs of genetic material that make them more tolerant of drought and the impacts of global warming.

The larger idea is that climate change is happening at such a pace that it will be impossible to change course and restore ecosystems. Nothing will be the same again; so life must adapt. 

Maloney calls her work “assisted regeneration.”

“I think what we’re witnessing is contemporary natural selection.”

Her work is going on in the Tahoe region. Just up the road from here. 


Ugh: You’re welcome:

– My wife told me she was leaving me because I keep pretending to be a Transformer. I said, “No, wait! I can change.”

– Don’t spell part backwards. It’s a trap.

– Don’t trust atoms, they make up everything.

– I got a new pair of gloves today, but they’re both lefts which, on the one hand, is great, but on the other, it’s just not right.

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