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Four inches in a day, maybe a half an inch since then. To put this in perspective: until now, we had five inches in the whole rain year (since July, but the season really starts in late October or early November), and we get thirty in a normal year. So two days takes us from one-sixth of our normal total to one-third, and also takes us from certain drought to possible drought (we have four months left to make the total). We're expecting rain for the next week.

But the spectacular thing about the storm system was the wind. It was hard enough to knock out the power lines for a million and a half people from Oregon to the Mexican border. Power at our house was out for about twenty-six hours, but we take that in stride. The thrilling thing was being at work and waiting for the last parents to come and get their children. We announced at twelve we were going to close by four, but one mother was stuck over the hill and southbound Highway 17 was closed by a landslide "somewhere between the Cats and Bear Creek Road" which makes us sound pretty remote and rustic, doesn't it? It's not the only way to get into the county, though, so she drove the long way round, south and through Watsonville and then back, and she got there by four-thirty, which isn't so bad. An older brother of one of the babies said "Well, why are you the last person?" And I said, "Somebody has to be." And that's the simple truth.

So our power was out so long because a major transformer blew. This happens a lot in high winds around here. Downtown got its power back by mid-late afternoon, so we went to the bookstore and wandered around some. I think our own little chunk of neighborhood must have also had a piece of tree on a line, which also happens a lot around here. PG&E (the power company, for nonlocals) had said "westside Santa Cruz" would have its power back hours later than we really did. Which begs the question of "what do they mean when they say Westside Santa Cruz?" Because sometimes that means everything west of the river, and sometimes that means everything south of Laurel Street, and sometimes it just means everything west of Bay Street. For reasons best known to themselves, the Google maps people have a map that obscures how west and south could be used interchangeably in our town, but the Mapquest map shows you what I mean. Anyway. So we got our power back maybe six hours before we were expecting it.

About thirty years ago it was all the thing to talk about undergrounding power lines, but it never happened here. I guess new modern subdivisions get underground power, but if you've got old-fashioned tarred wood power poles in your neighborhood already, that's what you've got for the foreseeable future. And power outages in high winds.

On another front, I was bitterly displeased to discover I had the horrible cough coming back Thursday so I went to the doctor on Friday morning and got a review of reactive airway -- which is apparently what they're calling my used-to-be idiopathic asthma now -- and doubled prescriptions on my inhalers. Also, it's not an "emergency" inhaler to be used only when I think something terrible is about to happen, but a "short-acting" inhaler I should be using pre-emptively whenever I'm not pleased with the feel of my breathing.

And -- it's working. mainly. I don't see how an inhaler is going to last me a month like this, but I feel like I'm walking around in a redwood forest -- I mean, my airways feel delicious. I still get the cough now and then, but the spooky icky "how can I possibly be getting enough oxygen when I feel like this?" thing is gone.

Unfortunately, it's way too wet to test my stamina in Lost Camp, but we're going to the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga tomorrow, always assuming that Highway 17 is open (or 9, which is a more wretched road but for somereason doesn't seem to slide as much).

birds at the river mouth

The narrow point between Castle Beach and the river mouth. That;s the wharf off to the right, and those waves are much bigger than they appear. Notice there are no surfers.

West of Its Beach

West of the lighthouse. That arch is only a few years old. The waves keep sculpting the coast.

Castle Beach, with jetsam, and that narrow point by the river mouth. Raindrops on the lens, but I like it.

The Beach Boardwalk and some of Main Beach (at the river mouth).

Lighthouse Point. No lighthouse because, really, the lighthouse is not the lighthouse that the point was named after, and it's sort of cute and boring except that it was built as a memorial to a dead surfer and it houses the surfing museum. At low tide there's a beach down there, maybe twenty-thirty feet wide or more. On the opposite side of the point from here is Steamer Lane, where surfers line up in better weather.
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