Topper sets forth

We’re heading into another heat wave and so I took my walk early this morning. I was a little surprised, given the forecast, that the artists weren’t taking advantage of the cool weather.

Topper looks like he’s ready to hit the trail, with his basket of carrots and a bit of dandelion fluff in his hand. The other sides of the utility box are as yet, untouched

Of course, in the morning the building is in shadows which could make it difficult to do detail work.

It’s hard to tell what kind of lizard this is … a gecko or perhaps even an iguana. Our local lizards are quite tiny!

It also looks like the hummingbird is complete. Not sure what he’s up to though. Waiting for the otter to pass?

I liked this peak into the library. Above the spider’s web it looks like the beginning of a dogwood branch.

From the side. I wonder if they’re planning to add anything else. What do you think? Perhaps another hawk?

From a distance. Walking through my small town as it’s preparing for the day always reminds me of this song. Shopkeepers putting out chairs and tables, trucks bringing supplies to restaurants and stores, bicyclists stopping for a coffee.


As I thought might happen, the threat of thunderstorms slowed progress on the mural. The only noticeable change is, the bobcat now has spots.

The artist seemed to be contemplating whether to add more spots or not.

The other two artists were working on the side of the library. Once they finish it will be difficult to tell the real leaves from the painted ones.

Across the street Grasshopper Topper’s gotten a little further along – probably because the artist doesn’t have to use a cherry picker!

The artist told me he’s planning to paint animals on the other three sides once he’s done with Topper. I didn’t ask him what kind of animals. Why spoil the surprise?

#MuralMysteries: A surprise!

I didn’t expect this …

The mysterious face was that of a bobcat, otherwise known as a red lynx. I have seen coyotes, foxes and even mountain lions in the hills around town but I’ve never seen a bobcat. I guess because, like domesticated cats, they’re active primarily at dawn or dusk. The rest of the time, they sleep.

The artists hadn’t begun working at the time of my walk and so I was able to get a few close ups.

Poor fish looks like he knows he’s in trouble!

The leaves she was so tenderly working on.

Across the street, Topper is coming along nicely. It looks like he has a backpack full of carrots.

For the next couple of days we’re expecting unsettled weather with the possibility of thunderstorms so I doubt much will get done on the mural.

A new face #MuralMysteries

A couple of new critters have been added to the right hand side of the mural.

Can you spot the lizard? And the face? Perhaps if I zoom in.

What’s your guess? A rabbit? Or perhaps a cat?

Meanwhile, on the other side the artist is working on foliage.

Here’s she is from the side clearly enjoying her work.

Across the street, Grasshopper Topper is getting some color.

He’s holding what appears to be the longest carrot ever grown! Although I can’t tell what’s in his other hand … ideas?

I probably won’t have a chance to walk downtown until Saturday … by then some of the mural mysteries will be solved.

Here are shots of the mural as it’s being painted.

Painting the town #muralmysteries

Guess who reappeared today? The hummingbird. Well, at least his head.

And the fish is getting a friend.

I took my walk early today as the temps are forecast to hit 80. I hope she has plenty of water and sunscreen.

Across the street another artist was at work.

I’m not sure what he’s painting on – some sort of utility box. I asked him if the rabbit had a name and he said “Grasshopper Topper” or something like that. I said “Oh yeah?” And went on with my stroll.

I wonder who I’ll run into tomorrow. A grasshopper named Funny Bunny?

Name that otter

I don’t know who coaxed him back, but the otter has returned to the mural on the side of the library. Maybe he was taking a swim in the nearby creek and realized if he didn’t return, he would miss his moment in the spotlight! Perhaps he just wants a name other than The Orinda Otter.

And the snake now has some greenery to crawl atop. He seems happier.

Here are some interesting facts about otters than might make you want to become an “otter spotter.”

On the other side of the mural, can you spot the snail, butterfly, caterpillar and spider?

I think this little guy is a towhee or a finch or maybe a warbler? He should have a name too, don’t you think?

It’s hard to believe that it’s May. For me, it’s a month that contains far too many birthdays! It’s also the month to firm up all those summer plans. I’ll probably have less and less time to blog but I will try to keep you updated on the progress of the mural. Happy May, everyone.

Of marmots, missing otters, and First Ladies

Mural on the side of the library, April 7, 2022
The same mural April 24, 2022

Notice something missing? The giant otter! What happened to him, do you think? I doubt he swam away although we did have a spat of rain. Perhaps he washed away. Perhaps the artist changed her mind. Perhaps the town council didn’t want the town associated with a giant otter. Who knows?

However, we can see the snake more clearly now. Not sure where he’s going. The roof? It’s all a mystery folks!

And in front of the Community Center, a new statue. This one is entitled “Indigo Animal and Dame Eleanor Marmot.” This statue is based on the Indigo Animal Trilogy written by Rue Harrison, a psychotherapist and artist living in the SF Bay Area. Indigo is a lawn ornament and Dame Eleanor is sort of a mother figure (or power possessing figure) to him. The author based Indigo on her own forays into the subconscious. All … very interesting.

Meanwhile I’ve been watching “The First Lady” series on Showtime. The first season is focused on Eleanor Roosevelt, who held the role during the Depression, Betty Ford, who had to take over the role after Nixon’s sudden resignation, and Michelle Obama, the first African American. All three women were far too accomplished to allow the men running the White House to tell them how to behave or what to say. It’s a joy to watch.

Next time I’ll ride with a zombie!

Easter Sunday Grandma took a ride on a roller coaster with Santa Claus. She chose Santa as her companion over a zombie and the Green Hornet because she always wanted to ride in Santa’s sleigh, however the sleigh cost extra and so she was asked to choose between Indiana Jones’ jeep or the Batmobile. She chose the jeep because the roller coaster was going through Jurassic Park and it just seemed more appropriate. Plus Grandma doesn’t like cars that ride low to the ground, particularly if she’s going to be encountering brontosauruses. She and Santa might end up squashed like bugs.
“Do you want to shoot the dinosaurs?” They asked Grandma.
“Not really!” She said.
“Ho, ho, ho!”

Grandma looked to her right and there sat Santa Claus staring blankly at her.
“Reach out and touch Santa, Grandma!”
But when she reached over her arm turned into pink plastic and twisted like taffy. She’d become a friggin’ Barbie Doll! Granny Barbie, that’s what she was! One of her “fingers” touched Santa and he said “Ho, ho, ho” but didn’t change his expression.
“Take the stick, Grandma and see what it will do.” They put the stick in her plastic hands and she pushed the buttons. The ride started. “If you get dizzy, shut your eyes.”
“Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa as they began rolling over green hills. Here and then raptors trotted across the fields nipping at each other as the jeep bounced along. A very serene scene and then …
“Whoooooa,” said Grandma as the jeep suddenly dropped into a deep canyon.

The skies grew darker and suddenly they were in a jungle where boa constrictors and tarantulas hung from the trees. “Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa as Grandma pressed more buttons and there were small explosions. Well, these buttons aren’t worth a fig! Grandma thought a they emerged from the jungle and headed for a cliff. “Holy Cow,” Grandma said aloud as the jeep became airborne and they flew through a sky filled with pterodactyls and other flying dinosaurs whose names Grandma didn’t know. “Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa, as they tried to bite off his head.

By now Grandma’d had enough of Santa. “Shut up!” She told him. “Ho, ho, ho,” he responded still smiling like the bloody idiot he was! “We’re in mortal danger and all you can say is “ho,ho,ho.”

The jeep was on a track again, this time moving rapidly backwards while being chased by snapping Tyrannosaurus Rexes. “Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa as they grew in size and surrounded the now dead Jeep, snapping and growling and barring their teeth. “I guess we’re goners,” Grandma said and guess how Santa responded?

“How did you like the ride?” They asked Grandma as they removed the goggles from her head.

“Well, I’m not going with Santa again! I think I’ll take my chances with the zombie instead.”

“Ho, ho, ho.” They all laughed.

  • Images are from Bing images

April is the cruelest month

The first year I lived in Northern California it rained all winter and far into spring. I was a young mother in a new neighborhood. The neighbors were nice enough but I had little in common with them. The rain often came down in torrents, turning the road in front of the house into a river. I prayed for the rain to go away but it just kept falling. Gradually the sun came out and I ventured from the house, met like-minded people and went back to school. But I can still remember those long and lonely days of April.

Decades later … it’s early April with only the possibility of light rain showers in the future. We need rain. However, given the fact that fire season will soon be upon us, it’s silly to stay inside when the air is clean and pure.

The mural being painted on the side of our library. So far, I’m not seeing the vision, are you?

When I lived in Europe (1970), Johnny Hallyday was a like a god to the French. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his face on a magazine cover or hearing one of his songs being played. But I knew nothing about the man himself.

So the other day while waiting for the AAA guy (gremlins broke into my car while I was sleeping, turned on the overhead light and played cards, or some such nonsense, and completely ran down the battery!) I watched the Netlix series on him. Holy Cow, if you want to know what it’s like to spend most of your life being treated like a god, every personal moment photographed and talked about, watch this series. Ugh. It was such a grim slog through countless interviews with an obviously troubled soul that I almost gave up. But I’m glad I watched to the end because, finally, finally, he did start to feel comfortable in his own skin.

April 15th: I’m happy to report that we did get rain with more on the way. But I’m a long way from ever praying for the sun again.

The years between

In my neighborhood, for a cool million dollars you can buy a dump.

Of course, it’s not really a dump. It’s just neglected and so old and out of date that whoever bought it will probably tear it down. I walk by this house almost every day and it’s always shrouded in ghostly light.

Like a dwindling number of bungalows in my neighborhood, it was built in 1938 and has two bedrooms and one bath. And a detached garage with a sign that reads “Beware of Dogs.” The other day the power company was on scene detaching the electric wires and cutting off the gas so soon, very soon, it will disappear. Because it’s sitting on a fairly large lot, what arises from its rubble will probably be a monstrosity. A very expensive monstrosity with a view of the freeway. The real estate market is insane.

There’s something tragic about walking past an empty lot where a house once stood and so I have started walking to the other side of town.

Bridge over the freeway on/off ramps. The message made me smile.
Something’s happening to the side of the library. Can you make out the head of an otter? I wonder what’s he’s up to! Perhaps he’s going into outer space … the first otter astronaut from Borinda!

I am slowing down, there’s no doubt. Clearing out closets, taking longer and longer walks. Rewriting and rewriting the same story as though shaving off bits of my life. I just put away the Christmas ornaments that have been hanging from potted plants for over two years. Each one was given to me by someone special … many gone … some just recently, others long ago. But wait. Didn’t Auntie Dottie just pass? I can still hear her laugh. Eventually it doesn’t seem to matter … the years between.

My troll family from Finland.

But there is tomorrow and perhaps the mural on the library wall will start to make sense. Certainly more sense than war and genocide and why anyone would pay over a million dollars to bulldoze a house.