It’s Sad My Mom’s Not Here

the whole family

This is my first motherless Mother’s Day. It’s sad she won’t be here with us today.

Her death was the last step on a long road where the woman we knew and loved slowly disappeared. It didn’t seem fair for my mom’s life to be as burdened as it was with infirmity. She finally surrendered.

harold-betty-vintageSo, tonight I was sitting downstairs in the studio looking at some photos and remembering.

My mom’s name was Betty. She was one of two daughters in a family living the American dream. Both her parents had immigrated from Eastern Europe. My grandfather worked his way from waiter to the co-owner of a luncheonette. He and his partner (referred to only as, “Spiegel”) made, as they say, a good living.

Betty always looked younger than her age. She was very pretty. As her son I never picked up on that.

mom dad and meMy mom was very supportive–more than I deserved. I was always encouraged. My accomplishments were noted. My shortcomings forgotten.

One day she was summoned to Miss Leddy’s office at PS 163. Mary M. Leddy was our principal, humorless and stern. There was a very hard, very imposing, solid oak bench outside her door.

parents trudi and me“Mrs. Fox,” she began. “Your son Geoffrey is telling dirty jokes.”

I was in third grade.

My mom also got the call from Rabbi Thaler.

“Mrs. Fox, your son Geoffrey is going to embarass all of us!”

He was calling a week before my bar mitzvah. Spoiler alert. I did fine. We didn’t totally understand then that I was a performer.

At my niece Jessica’s wedding, my daughter and her cousin, Melissa, got their grandmother drunk! She was a fun drunk. My one and only time seeing her that way.

While working in Connecticut I called my mom nearly every night as I drove home. My dad told me she looked forward to it. Me too.

I knew grew too old to call her, “Mommy.”

I really haven’t cried much since my mom died. I am crying now. I really wish she was here.

In this particular instance, life sucks.

On Being Recognized


I’m in Palm Desert tonight. A chance of sprinkles brought me. It was overcast as I drove in, a majestic overcast of stratocumulus.

I got off I-10 at Monterey and headed to the gas station at Costco. As I was getting in the car to leave a man approached asking about the weather.

Wow! A Geoff sighting.

Tonight while getting dinner it was a husband and wife who called me over.

Maybe it’s silly after all these years to still care, but I do. I’ve only been here four months. Recognition on TV is not instantaneous.

I told Helaine about my sightings when we spoke. She reminded me of a story from Buffalo, circa 1981. I was hosting PM Magazine on WGR (now WGRZ). Helaine. my girlfriend, was visiting.

We filled up at a gas station on Elmwood. As I went to pay, the attendant said, “Hey, aren’t you that PM Magazine guy?”

I smiled and said, “Yes.”

He looked at my rust stained 1977 “Baby Poop Yellow” Toyota Camry then at me. “What are you doing driving that piece of s**t?”

The next day I went out with Helaine and bought a new car. Being recognized isn’t always perfect.

Bad Night — Good Dog


I’m in Irvine tonight. It’s raining. These are large economy size drops. That’s what convective showers produce. The atmosphere is unstable under a dome of cold air aloft.

The window thermometer reads 50. It’s raw tonight.

I escorted Doppler outside a few minutes ago. Now it’s coming back to me. I remember inclement weather! Isn’t this why we moved?

I looked down my street. No puddles. They might be against the HOA rules or possibly a city ordinance. Maybe both?

As always, Doppler was efficient. We were back in the house in a flash.

Helaine left a towel by the door. As I picked it up, Doppler laid down and rolled on her back. She’s been dried before. She obviously enjoys it. I carried her upstairs under my arm.

Bad night. Good dog.

Seriously, It’s A Big Deal


You wouldn’t believe how much time I’ve spent looking at the forecast for Friday. There’s a chance for rain in Palm Springs, a rarity in May.

Tiny. Miniscule. Little. Your choice. Not much is going to fall. Think interval wipers.

It’s a big deal to my viewers, so it’s a big deal to me.

Forget for a moment our shortage of potable water. Native Southern Californians pine for cloudy, rainy days. I see it in neighbors and co-workers. They’re excited about Friday’s potential.

I moved to California for the opposite reason, but I’m willing to play along. I understand.

I face a new problem in Palm Springs that didn’t exist for me in Connecticut. Our valley is small and the mid-range weather models have a tough time seeing it. Their grids are too coarse.

Usually Connecticut’s weather is homogenous. Everyone gets similar weather. Not so for the Coachella Valley versus its neighbors.

Approaching storms are obvoius. It’s easy to say LA and the OC will get a few sprinkles Thursday and more rain Friday. That doesn’t mean any of it will reach Palm Springs. We’re nestled between mountains.

Even nearby spots live Riverside and Moreno Valley will likely see rain. They’re on the other side of some tall mountains, the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa ranges.

Yesterday, I got to use the high res CANSAC WRF run. Its 2 kilometer horizontal resolution makes a huge difference. It only goes out 72 hours, so it’s only now becoming useful. Today, the 15 hour HRRR will add more insight.

There’s more to forecasting in the desert than I expected. More wind to consider. More storms that get close, but miss. It’s very intricate. More microscale than mesoscale.

It’s a lot of fun.

Doppler Can’t Multitask


I’ve been noticing this for a while, but it just struck me: Doppler can’t multitask.

Granted, dogs don’t have much to do usually. It’s noticeable when she’s outside to ‘go.’

We’ll head to the lawn, usually because Doppler has dropped a hint she’s ready. Once we get out there she starts her routine of walking and sniffing until anything grabs her attention. It could be a noise, a car, or someone walking nearby.

That’s it. She’s off-the-scent, literally and figuratively. If I gently tug the leash she immediately goes back to piddle patrol.

It’s one or the other, like throwing a switch. She can’t do both. It’s crazy to watch.

Dogs are so in tune with us we sometimes forget they’re dogs. It’s moments like this that brings it all back into perspective.

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