Half Full

orange tree

Of course the easiest part of the harvest has already been completed, but this orange tree is still half full of the sweetest fruit.

Here, in Sacramento, the sky is half-spring already–though it isn’t even Groundhog Day yet. And, we, in California may not be able to remember whether we want Punxsutawney Phil to see his shadow when he emerges from his burrow (we want him to see his shadow for six–or more–weeks of winter), but we know we need rain and lots of it.

Half of the academic year has come and gone.  We start week three of the Spring 2015 semester on Monday, and we will be half-way to summer before we even realize it.

My courses are overflowing and in that state where the excitement of a new semester has all of us nervous and uncertain of how things are going to work out.  Even this is only half bad; this discomfort keeps us from being too complacent, keeps us on our toes so that we can harvest the sweetest fruits.

Speaking of harvesting, the creative writers will again have blogs:





Please sample what they have to offer, like them, follow them, and tell your friends.

Prosperity Plate

new years prosperityI grew up in a family that bred, raised, and raced Thoroughbreds. It was a miserable family business that taught me, from an early age, about the disaster that can follow hard-working people.

I cannot remember the chronology of our failures, but it is hard to forget the register of despair: the breach birth miscarriage, the colt with pneumonia, the filly who broke her leg before she broke her maiden, her sister who needed electrolytes because she could not sweat, the trips to the breeders that yielded no foal, the horse that died under the care of a neighbor while we were on vacation. I could go on and on, but one more…

Trying a different approach, we decided to partner with our trainer, Lalo, on a champion charger. Two months of losses later, Lalo respectfully requested to buy back our share for the misfortune we’d brought to the gelding’s career.

There are all sorts of cultural recipes for success at the turn of the new year:

One of my Chinese friends will not sweep at this time of year for fear of brushing away luck.

My mother says we must pair fish (usually kippers) and twelve grapes with our tipple.

Others have faith in the fortune of black-eyed peas.

Part of me doubts that anything could be the antidote to our unlucky lot. The other part of me chokes down a smoked salmon, grape, and black-eyed pea sandwich at the stroke of midnight.

Star Fish

When I was a teenager, I spent several summers camping on Catalina Island. After a couple of classes in marine biology at the marine science research center on the Two Harbors side, I can still name sea cucumbers, anemones, and bioluminescent brittle stars. I’m no expert, but I remain (perhaps too) unafraid of searching the water for prizes, looking for clams, crabs, shells, and picking up the abundant starfish. And the beach at Lovers’ Cove, just outside of Fort Myers, is littered with sea life–living and dead (we were informed that dogs love to snack on star fish tentacles).

I fondly recalled out loud to the sun that I once held a star the circumference of a frisbee and placed it as a crown on my head. I was startled as its tube feet adamantly adhered to my sunburnt scalp and long hair.

Yesterday, I spent an hour dipping into the ocean to again stick these echinoderms to my skin. As I was wearing a small one as a ring, I paired one with M’s shirt, naming it, as it curled onto his wrist, Bracelet.