Enjoying the Process

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
—Arnold J. Toynbee

As I’ve written before, I agree with that quote, and doing our income taxes every year is great chance for me to practice.

In the past Andy did the taxes using TurboTax and I did them by hand. this year I decided to use TurboTax too, and it’s fun to learn a new toy. We have a couple of discrepancies, which we’re ironing out, but there’s no hurry. And for me that’s the key, to allow plenty of time and enjoy exploring and learning something new. Break the process down into small chunks and don’t be bothered that sometimes it’s confusing. There’s a lot of joy when it all becomes clear.

Do you love learning new things and developing new skills?

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Springtime in the Rockies

I drove home from Silver Sneakers yesterday in a hailstorm. The hail accumulated on the ground, but started melting as soon as the storm passed. It did snow for a bit later in the afternoon.

Is that unusual? No. Sometimes March is dry and windy, sometimes we get precipitation. This is what it looked like last March 27:

We still remember our favorite weatherman about thirty years ago, when his forecast had been completely wrong,

One thing about the weather, it sure is unpredictable.

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It was foggy when Andy got up to the land yesterday:

Fire Hydrant and Shed, 11:44 a.m.

Photovoltaic Panels, 11:47 a.m.

And instead of clearing off, it got even thicker:

Fire Hydrant and Shed, 11:25 p.m.

Photovoltaic Panels, 12:25 p.m.

He had to drive slowly the first part of the way home because he couldn’t see the road. He drove off of it a few times, but didn’t get stuck. This is the first time he’s seen fog this thick up there — another example of our unusual weather.

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As I mentioned in the comment section yesterday, if we buy flowers they are usually planted in a pot so they will last longer. Our big exception is the local Visiting Nurses/Hospice fundraiser every March. They not only sell daffodils but if you order ahead of time they will deliver to your doorstep, and we always look forward to it.

What a heartwarming way to raise money!

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Poor Daffodil!

Sigh. Happy first day of spring anyway.

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They’re predicting 18″ of snow on the ski hill this week, but it looks as if most of the precipitation on the land will be rain.

Hopefully that will continue to melt the snow. Andy plans to continue walking the mile in, so he bought himself a poncho:

Ponchos are great — they’re light, easy to carry, and they’re big enough to protect backpacks too. That’s one modern development we love.

Update: Andy could drive a bit farther today — he had to walk only .8 miles instead of 1.2. He says it will still be a while before he can drive all the way in.

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Memory Trigger

California poppies, Image by skeeze from Pixabay

I just read ‘Disneyland-size crowds’ creating crisis at poppy bloom in small Southern California town about the tens of thousands of people descending on the little town of Lake Elsinore so they can see the spectacular bloom of poppies this year.

I’m so glad I don’t have to go there, but it does bring back warm memories of poppies in the Bay Area years ago. I was raised there and Andy and I would go every spring to visit my folks. We went then because the hillsides were still green before the summer drought, and they were often dotted with golden poppies.

My mother would tell us ahead of time how the poppies were doing, whether it was a good year for them, and the pictures of the grass and poppies are still vivid in my mind.

I hadn’t thought about them in years, but the memories have just come flooding back.

Have you had any memory triggers lately?

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Admissions Mania

After the the admissions scandal made the headlines there have been a lot of articles about how rich kids get help getting into elite colleges, including having professionals write or help write their application essays:

The Moral Wages of the College Admissions Mania

Wait, How Did You Get Into College?

How to weasel your kid into an elite college without paying bribes

I helped get rich kids into elite colleges. Obsessive parents drove me away.

Most of the articles talk about how the admissions process could be made more fair, but in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal column Kids, Don’t Become Success Robots (behind a pay wall, unfortunately) Peggy Noonan has a different take:

A few years ago I worked for a few months at an Ivy League school. I expected a lot of questions about politics, history and literature. But that is not what the students were really interested in. What they were interested in—it was almost my first question, and it never abated—was networking. They wanted to know how you network. At first I was surprised: “I don’t know, that wasn’t on my mind, I think it all comes down to the work.” Then I’d ask: “Why don’t you just make friends instead?” By the end I was saying, “It’s a mistake to see people as commodities, as things you can use! Concentrate on the work!” They’d get impatient. They knew there was a secret to getting ahead, that it was networking, and that I was cruelly withholding successful strategies.

In time I concluded they’d been trained to be shallow, encouraged to see others as commodities. They didn’t think great work would be rewarded, they thought great connections were. And it was what they’d implicitly been promised by the school: Get in here and you can network with the cream of the crop, you’ll rise to the top with them.

She points out that this emphasis is sick and harmful to the students as well as to our society. She recommends students find a good second tier college that is genuinely interested in education and helping its students.

Avoid elite universities if you can; they’re too often indoctrination mills anyway. Aim at smaller, second-tier colleges, places of low-key harmony, religiously affiliated when possible—and get a real education. Every school has a library. Every library has books. That’s what you need.

You’ll be with a better class of people—harder-working, less cynical, more earnest. First-generation college students who are excited to be there and committed to study. Immigrants who feel grateful to be there. Home-schooled kids with self-possession and dignity, who see the dignity in others.

Do not network. Make friends. Learn about the lives of others.

Good for you, Peggy!

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More Pictures

Andy took more pictures today. This first one shows how high the snow is along the sides of the Dome Road.

The next four show some of the live trees that had been toppled by the wind.

The following picture shows the road just before Andy reached the house. Notice the tracks — they were made by Wes with his tractor as he cleared a path on Andy’s way up. He pushed the trees we saw yesterday to the side of the road so that Andy can drive up when the road dries out some. He also removed a lot of the snow from the drift near the top. Andy thanked him for that, and Wes said he hated the fact that Andy had to walk around/over all those trees, so he wanted to help. What a thoughtful neighbor!

Here’s another view of the drift, taken from the house side:

A lot of our dead trees were blown over too:

The top of the ladder was still firmly attached to the roof.

But the bottom part had been pulled off and thrown by the wind.

A lot of the snow is melting in places.

But as you can see from the redwood tree, it’s still deep in other places.

Andy says spring may yet come!

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It Could Have Been a Lot Worse

Unfortunately a lot of big live trees blew down in the storm, but Andy didn’t have to do anything until after the fire station. Five of our neighbors and the county worked on that part of the road yesterday, and the county was back today.

Two of our neighbors also worked on the road down from the fire station yesterday. All Andy had to do today was use his chain saw to shorten some of the trees in that part of the road. He was going to clear the pieces on his way back, but our neighbor in the canyon took care of it.

A couple big trees blew over down by the brown gate, but another neighboring couple took care of them today.

I asked Andy to take pictures of all the trees on Woodcutters Road as he walked up, and these are the ones he took before he had camera problems.

He said there were eleven more trees after these. He’s hoping to take pictures of the snow drifts towards the top of the road tomorrow. That plus what the wind did to our ladder tied at the top to the roof.

One great piece of news — the photovoltaic panels and the heating panels on the roof were still in great shape. It was a toasty 72.4°F in the house when he got there. He’s really pleased with that system, and we’re grateful for our neighbors.

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