The housemate has been going through old catalogs and other mail and we've filled the paper side of our recycling cart for the second week in a row. Unfortunately I've been too much of a lump to also bale up cardboard boxes to prop up next to it, so they will have to continue piling up in the garage.
The Sunnyvale Sun continues to be delivered in a very hit and miss fashion—it remains free but the Mercury News, which is now almost totally useless, abandoned the few remaining street boxes and stopped automatic delivery soon after its owner also acquired the Community Newspapers group, and wants people to subscribe to the MN to get it; delivery to non-subscribers is now on selected streets each week as a teaser. The carriers most often give it to major streets, but I've increasingly noticed that when they do give it to our street, they skip our house. Houses with several already there in various states of decomposition, such as the house next to ours that is two apartments almost always rented to Chinese-speaking families, get it. But we don't. Perhaps they confuse our driveway with that for the corner house on our other side, which gets it in its front yard; but the two driveways are separated by tall greenery (formerly also a wall) and have two different cars parked in them. So I really can't figure it out. I've had to filch a rain- or sprinkler-soaked and out-of-date copy for years now.
The little pastel house was repainted yet again—whoever's giving the orders didn't like the yellow—and is now white with pale green trim. And it has a porch again: they added a free-standing metal one, with each of its four legs encased in a concrete boot as if it's to be flung into the East River. Unfortunately when it rains again, the water is going to run down the eave over the front room and then down the porch roof and fall in a sheet smack in front of the door.
It rained and blew most of the night, but dawned calm and clear. I had to refund someone when it started raining into his booth. And on the way home from the bus, an oak was lying across the street, having fallen in the night. Poor Grandma/Grandpa. I think it was the one that used to pelt the former residents' boat with acorns.
It actually got down into the 30s both Wednesday and Thursday nights: the neighbor's roof was covered in frost on Thursday morning. I stayed up most of my unexpected night off, but took a rather cold nap in the last couple of hours before dawn. I need to put the extra blanket on the bed.
Near the bank branch I normally use, there's a badly rundown little house. Signs of damp damage everywhere, a board nailed in the front doorway, and the front windows have broken screens and missing glass; fabric is stuffed around the edges, and a tribe of cats of all colors and types sit inside in fine weather and roam around that and the adjacent properties, popping in and out at will. The house is set about with bushes and one time when we passed it on walkies, there were clouds of butterflies. A camper van is often parked in the rear; I think the owner may live there when it is cold, as it is now. However, a dumpster has now appeared in the driveway. I fear the little house and the cat tribe will soon be gone.
The alley behind the store is as unsalubrious as you might imagine. The restaurant next door used to be some kind of Asian and have one of those makeshift shrines behind it: a sweet potato with offerings jabbed into it. It's been a Korean barbecue for years now, and they're open till 2 am, so the kitchen crew are out there washing up and disposing of food refuse during the first half of my shift. There are also noises of glass bottles being sorted coming from behind the gate to the liquor store's section on the other side, and later in the night someone scavenging for bottles to return for the deposit sometimes scales that and makes a lot of noise. The back of the alley is the tall privacy fences at the bottom of the backyards of the houses in the street parallel to El Camino; a typical tract of comfortable family houses, mostly occupied by very hardworking families. I occasionally open our fire door to put out boxes, but try to minimize it. I noticed this summer that immediately behind our store, a huge bush with those large bell flowers, 8 or 9 inches long, was spilling over the top of the fence. I only saw the flowers by the light coming out of the store, but I think they were dark cream. I meant to take in a camera and capture a photo, but the bush was pruned back some time ago.
The latest hire has pneumonia. Two and a half hours of overtime this morning (the other staffer worked two shifts). The looooong shift was enlivened by an elderly guy who came in wearing a fake Indian chief's headdress, then left it on the floor of the booth while he went away for an hour or two to get more money, since I had declined to buy his watch or his scratch-off ticket. He did return, and eventually left with his plastic feathers. I later saw him from the bus, crossing the San Tomas expressway, once more wearing it.
Rain! I helped it along by doing an errand involving a two-mile round-trip walk, at the end of which it was spitting heavily rather than the odd drop, and it started raining steadily during the next couple of hours and evidently carried on while I slept. The trees and other plants will be happy.
A couple of cold nights, the second colder than the first (not what had been forecast, but what I expected). All the self-sown morning glories are hanging on for now; in fact lots of new seedlings have been drawn out of the ground in the compost heap's other position, by the rain a couple of weeks ago. And the ones in the big planter under the kitchen window have been through so many generations that their flowers are shrinking in size. But it won't be long now.
The little house down the street that used to have a hedge of sunflowers had its siding ripped off and its insulation replaced, and has been repainted yet another pastel color: yellow this time. For some reason they also took off its porch. It looks sad without it.
My putting out my laundry on the line seems to have produced very local areas of dampness on the concrete, probably condensation rather than light rain. However the arums are coming up beside the driveway, the amaryllises are popping up foliage, and one of the irises the housemate's manager gave us has produced a purple flower.