Occasionally life surprises you––sometimes for the good and sometimes not so good. Three times in the past few weeks were who’d-a-thunk-it situations that I’d like to share.
The green hills of California
Usually when I visit California, the green stops after Redding. Everything turns brown and I want to make a U-turn and head right back home. I’ve seen this every April for the past 15 years or so, but not so this year. I didn’t run into brown hills until after King City on Highway 101 and after Stockton on I-5. It was gorgeous to see green hills along I-5 and 101, along 680 to the Bay Area, along 49 in the Gold Country, and along the Ridge Route (aka Grapevine) on the way to LA.
In some areas, there were large patches of orange poppies, yellow mustard, or purple and blue wildflowers of some kind. It had been decades since I had seen this much beauty in California. And to top it off, the lakes were full of water. I loved it!
I visited a friend in Palo Alto and we went to Sonoma and Napa Valleys one day and then Carmel and the 17- Mile Drive the next day. Everywhere we went was beautiful with perfect weather. We had a great time. Years ago, we were college roommates and have been friends ever since.
Then I spent two weeks with my mom and the rest of my family. My mom will be 104 in July and either beat or tied me in cards every day except the last day. That is evidence that she is doing okay!!! I had a great time seeing the rest of my family too.
On the way home I saw friends in three locations. First, I visited Theresa in the LA area and had a great time. We visited the San Fernando Mission, which was very interesting although overrun with school children on end-of-year field trips.
I also visited friends, Mavis and Mike, near Placerville in the Gold Country. We had been neighbors in the Santa Cruz Mountains during the time he and I taught at the same school in Los Gatos. Later I had both of their boys in my first grade class. Their boys are now 38 and 40. How time flies! We had a great visit and saw Sutter Mill and James Marshall’s monument in Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Again we were overrun with school children, but still had a good time.
I also visited another college roommate, Phyllis, who lives near Nevada City. We went into Grass Valley and unexpectedly saw a car show as well as did some shopping and went out to lunch. We celebrated the fact that we had both survived cancer in the past couple years. She and I along with Teeta were all at Bakersfield College for two years–three girls crammed in a dorm room built for two. We survived it and are still friends. I try to see them at least once a year when I go to California.
Mountain lion on the deck
I live outside of town and have for almost 31 years. I’ve seen such wild animals as deer, raccoons, coyotes, and the occasional bear, but I’ve never seen a mountain lion. For the past year, we’ve heard reports of sightings in the area. Well, while I was gone, Carole who rents my downstairs, had a very scary close encounter with a mountain lion.
My upper deck is on what would be considered a third story, and that’s where a mountain lion was hissing back at Groucho on the other side of the kitchen window one night about 9 p.m. a couple of weeks ago. Carole had just come home and walked out on her deck on the second story and looked up to see why Groucho was making such a racket. Before she knew it, the mountain lion leaped in her direction as it came down the upper flight and swished its tail against her as it rounded past to access the lower flight of stairs.
And down below was the lioness’s cub . . . and Carole’s cat Zoey. Carole had been between a lioness and her cub unknowingly. A very dangerous situation! It’s a wonder, the cat didn’t attack her. Carole was extremely frightened and upset by the experience. And she hasn’t seen Zoey since. We assume she was carried off by the mountain lions.
Carole called the sheriff and fish and wildlife, and fish and wildlife made a visit. They told her that the mountain lion would be back. At the time, two other (very lucky) pet cats were on the lower deck and had sought cover. One belongs to Carole and the other to the neighbors. And, of course, there was Groucho in the window upstairs. Lots of reasons for the mountain lion to return!
I’ve lived here since 1985 and have never feared going out on the deck or down below in my yard even in the dark. But now, I watch my back in the daytime and avoid walking around in the back areas at night. Apparently, there are several mating pairs of mountain lions between Sea Lion Caves and Mercer Lake. Who knew!
85 books in one week
Now on to a more positive subject—book sales. My last blog post was on the start of the selling season. Now it’s really taken off. I sold 85 books this past week and didn’t make a single phone call or email to generate the sales. The sales were to three long-time venues that needed more books and to one new one that wanted more. (Two calls were made while I was gone, so it would’ve been spread over more than one week if I’d been here. )
The hospital gift shop where I put five copies of Around Florence for the first time just before I left for California, called to say they sold out in a couple of days and would like a dozen more.
Cape Perpetua carries my bridge books and needed 30 copies of The Crossings Guide and 12 of Crossings. They also provide books to the Dunes headquarters in Reedsport, since both are Forest Service venues.
The Florence Chamber of Commerce wanted five copies of The Crossings Guide and six of Around Florence.
And then Friday evening I received a call from Jim Forst, a fellow editor I’d worked with for 10 years at Oregon Coast magazine. He’s now the manager of the museum and gift shop at the historic area at Fort Stevens State Park at the northwest tip of Oregon. He wanted five copies of Crossings and 15 of The Crossings Guide for the gift shop. These books I put in boxes and mailed. All the others I was able to deliver.
What an incredible few weeks! I will long remember the beauty of California clothed in green with colorful wildflower accessories. And I simply cannot wrap my mind around the fact that a mountain lion was on my upper deck and most likely killed Carole’s cat Zoey. And I’ve never delivered/mailed so many books in one week before. Who’d a thunk it––times three!