Highlights 1Q23

In past years we’ve always waited until the end of the calendar year to wrap up recent activities with a “highlights” post. This year we’ve decided to do it on a quarterly basis. Make fun of us if you will, but what with our “octogenarian” time sense (speeded up, considerably) and our increasingly faulty memories, it seems to make more sense to “check in” more often. So here we are, trying to remember what we did in January. 

How does our new home and neighborhood look to us now that we’ve settled in?
Dick in front of the ADU, April 2023
Dick in front of the ADU, April 2023

Actually, January was totally dominated by our move from an apartment in Rohnert Park, along the busy Highway 101 corridor, to a tiny (at least by modern standards) ADU in the much-more-rural town of Glen Ellen.

The house itself is completely finished, and we are settled in and comfortable. We even have a garage-based “man cave” (except I’ll be using it, too) so we can occasionally pursue quiet projects and hobbies on our own. Dick has already used it to sort telescope parts and figure out camera operations. My gardening tools are in the garage, and, as you can see in the photo above, I have already amassed a number of little plant friends on the front porch.

Dick’s astronomy projects

Dick has been interested in astronomy as a hobby since he was a teenager. For many years we lived in places where there was no way to set up and look through a telescope. But at our ADU in Glen Ellen we have beautiful dark skies every clear night! So Dick now has  a new telescope and has started experimenting with viewing the night sky and taking pictures of stars and planets.

Venus and the Pleiades from our back deck
Venus and the Pleiades from our back deck. Taken with Dick’s Canon Rebel camera and macro lens (5 shots were merged to get this result).
Venus and the moon
Venus and the moon. Taken with Dick’s iPhone and processed with Snapseed.
Anna’s pet photography projects

I’ve taken a number of pictures this quarter of our San Jose grandpets. Here are a couple.

Portrait of cats and moving boxes
Portrait of cats and moving boxes. All four Livengoods will be moving soon: Ellen and Rick to Glen Ellen, and Matthew and Miranda to their own apartments.
Harry sleeping
Harry sleeping. He is a very photogenic fellow. Miranda’s two kittens, Harry and Kendall, are very big and fluffy.
Dick’s macro photography projects

In our new home, nature is just outside our front door, including lots of flowers. We have started using our camera with a macro lens to take pictures, and we even attended a Zoom class put on by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (ARB) on macro photography of wildflowers.

Echeveria flower on our front deck
Echeveria flower on our front deck

Anna’s comment: As I sat outside reading the other day, a hummingbird sampled all the flowers on this plant, one by one. Then it flew to within a couple of feet of my face and seemed to thank me for the treats.

Anna’s telephoto photography projects

We used our “real” cameras so seldom toward the end of last year that we both wondered if we should just give them away and focus exclusively on our iPhone cameras.

It’s a good thing we had second thoughts, because the many birds in our back yard are proving to be irresistible subjects, and our telephoto lenses are proving to be very handy.

Mind that we don’t have anything stronger than 250mm, and tripods are increasingly difficult for us to manage, but the results are not too bad. Here’s a woodpecker I spotted on one of our walks at the regional park we visit often.

Woodpecker in a burned-over oak forest
Woodpecker in a burned-over oak forest at Sonoma Valley Regional Park (Canon Rebel camera, 250mm telephoto lens)
We love our hybrid car!
Dick and "Steely Dan" on our driveway in the rain
Dick and “Steely Dan” on our driveway in the rain

A little over a year ago we leased a pluggable hybrid car (Toyota Prius Prime) as an experiment to see whether we could drive such a car. Now that we live in our ADU, we can charge the Prius inside our garage. We have an battery electric “range” of about 25 miles. After that the car switches on the gasoline motor. Most of our common trips to Sonoma or Santa Rosa are now done using electricity only.