Saturday, January 30, 2021


Things were a little stormy this week. I live in a town with a lot of big trees, so when the power flickered a few times at the start of the storm (winds > 35 mph), I expected to lose power for at least a bit overnight.

I did not expect to lose power for 36 hours. Then the power came back on in my area, and a few hours later I got a robocall from PG&E saying they knew about the outages and that it might be "several days" until power was restored.

Since I already had power, I laughed and said "oh, those poor bastards", at which point my power went out again.

Anyhow, I have power, and my internet is finally back. I don't think the temperature ever dropped below 45 F during the week, but it's hard to be motivated after 5pm when it's dark and chilly.

I had all my trees trimmed a couple of weeks ago, so I didn't have to pick up much other than some small redwood tree branches that came from my neighbor's tree. But the neighbor on the other side (A) and the people beyond them (B)...

If I didn't know better, I would assume there is witchcraft going on. A couple of years ago, one of A's trees dropped a limb on B's front fence. Then six months later, in the middle of a clear & still night, B's tree dropped a huge limb on A's driveway and demolished their car. This week, A's three-story spruce tree went down on B's pool house.

It's been going on for years. I can't imagine what their insurance premiums are. Plus, there was already some grumbling when B complained about A having chickens (hens, not roosters, and there's only six of them). Who complains about chickens?

Anyhow, it's five days later and I no longer hear the sound of chainsaws in the neighborhood. There are still areas downtown that don't have power, but I'm assuming they will be back up soon.

Coming Soon!

I'm planning on doing some photo manipulations for this year's Thingadailies, with the theme of "Space Kittens". I'm not sure if I'll have time every day, but anything that might give me more like this image is something to add to the list of things to do.

Two kittens looking through a hole in the floor at space

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


It's been an odd day.

Apart from the minor little coup d'etat, I had the experience of waking up to a Facebook notification that someone had liked the Tess Baytree author page. I was reading this on my ancient tablet, and the person's icon was tiny, but I thought "Wow, what an unfortunate crop of that icon. It makes it look just like male genitalia." (That is not a direct quote, but you get the idea.)

Then I got out of bed and fed everyone and sat down at my gigantic hi-res monitor, and got another notification. The new follower had posted something on my author page.

Friends, that was not a thing I needed to see while I was eating my cereal. I got my cardio workout in as I frantically clicked a bunch of different things trying to make it all go away. As part of the procedure to block the user, I was exposed to his profile page and I'm just saying, he seems very obsessed.

Anyhow, I have never been so relieved to only have three followers to my author page.

An Image To Help You Forget

This is a painting I did about ten years ago because I thought it would be funny, and then Jon (who sat in the cubicle next to me at the time) and I swapped it for some other artwork on the wall, and waited to see how long it would take before someone noticed.

A painting of a frog rowing a boat, with a clownfish in the nearby water, done by T. Baumgartner
As far as I know, this is still hanging on the wall.

Friday, January 1, 2021


 I'm not a great gardener. Mostly I just ignore everything around the house until it tries to come through the windows. I choose plants based on their ability to survive without intervention -- if something requires constant watering after the first year it goes in the ground, it's not going to last long here.

(In case you need a list of what grows in a dry, high-heat area with almost no water: roses, blackberries, artichoke, Swiss chard, and citrus. Oh, and of course oleander, which is poisonous and impossible to get rid of -- I'm not sure why people plant it all over the place. Sure, it grows anywhere, but it also burns like a torch.)

The best part of gardening, for me, is the meditative aspect. I'm bad at sitting still and thinking, but give me a shovel and some music, and I can dig for hours. (And then I can come inside and collapse because I don't use those muscles very often.)

I have a bunch of Bermuda grass (see terrible gardener above), and sometimes I make an effort to get rid of it. I realize that's an impossible task if you're not willing to use herbicides, but it gives me a goal.

In any case, today is the last day of Holidailies for the year. I hope you have your own version of meditative gardening to enjoy, and I wish you a healthy and happy new year!

Gratuitous Dogs Picture

Two dogs sitting in front of plants and flowers
(You can tell this isn't my garden because everything is alive.)