The unexpected

This freight train obviously had the right of way! Santa Cruz, California, 2003

This freight train obviously had the right of way! Santa Cruz, California, 2003

“Look how often the unexpected happens – and yet we still never expect it!”
Ashleigh Brilliant

There’s never a shortage of surprises in California, and that’s part of why it was so much fun to live there. One sunny day in Santa Cruz, we were waiting in line at a four-way intersection, assuming the traffic backup was just the normal beach crowds. But then we saw something we’d never seen before, and haven’t seen since: a freight train coming right down the center of the city street, which trains apparently share with cars whenever they pass through.

Nobody around us seemed fazed by it, so it was obviously business as usual around there. But we got a real kick out of having a long freight train pass by our car windows so closely that we could have almost reached out and touched it. I image that the fun of it wears off pretty quickly for those who live there, but for us, it was a delightful surprise.

Today, I wish you something fun, friendly or at least interesting– and unexpected!


  1. I’m having all kinds of beautiful unexpected surprises just by being part of our little WP community. I thought it might be fun to blog, but honestly, I never expected to make the connections that I have. Great observation, you’re absolutely right Ashleigh.

    • I feel the same way about WP. In fact one of my favorite recent surprises is the stunningly beautiful handmade box of goodies that showed up on my doorstep just when I needed it most! Thanks so much for being here and for being YOU.

      • Julia, you are warm and wonderful. I just picked up all our mail and found your cards 😀 xox what a great way to start my day. The owls are adorable and yes yes yes ‘Life IS Sweet’ in every way. Your personalized card and message are so appreciated too. I know how little time you have for yourself so thank you for all the die cuts. I love the little teapots so much. While in San Jose we went out for a special tea date all dressed up so they’ll be perfect when I get scrapping. It makes me smile to think you’re enjoying your Boom-box and sharing it with friends, my intentions entirely 😀 Big hugs and love to you, I know you’re at the hospital today with Jeff and I’m thinking of you both. k

        • I am SO glad it didn’t get lost in the mail – I was thinking maybe I had written the address wrong. I’m a bit scattered lately. I hope you are able to get rested and back into the groove after your vacation. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Ryan

    That IS neat. I bet the conductor wants to open up the horn on the guy walking in front of him.
    This reminds me of a scene in Inception. It’s one of a very few movies I watch over and over.
    April and I disagree on the intent of the ending. I highly recommend it!

    • Thanks for the recommendation, Ryan. I am hoping Jeff and I will have lots of time to watch movies since they are telling us that his recuperation time will be EIGHT weeks! But we have reached the age where a lot of movies are either too slow to keep us awake (we both doze more easily at night now) or totally from another planet in terms of being able to understand them…the kind where you get to the ending and say “Hunh?” or “I don’t get it!” Thanks for being here!

  3. How interesting! I wish the same for you today!

    • Thanks Carla! It was great talking with you this morning!

  4. I can imagine how surprised you might have been.
    Today something very pleasant happened. Let me share it with you. A parent came today to wish goodbye – the family is leaving on exit (the father has been here for some thirty years). His three daughters have been with us for the last ten years and the relationship had never been smooth as he always blindly trusted all that the girls said to cover up their faults. But things started to change after I became his daughter’s teacher two years ago. Glad that I could change her attitude and no wonder her grades improved tremendously.
    Today the father apologized for his mistakes and we parted on a cheerful note. He even contributed some books to the school! Really a friendly, interesting and unexpected incident!

    • Bindu, I love this story! I have so many friends and family members who are teachers, and some of the things that happen between parents and teachers are so sad; there does not seem to be that level of trust there that I remember from my school years. (Perhaps my memories are clouded and simplified.) I am so glad this parent came to you to apologize. It could not have been easy for him, so he must have been deeply touched by the help you gave his daughter. Thanks so much for sharing this joyful note today. Such things really do inspire us all to keep doing what is right and trust that all will eventually end well or at least better than if we gave up. I really appreciate your visits here! I love hearing about your life and experiences.

  5. merry

    Meeting a freight train in middle of the street would definitely make an impression on me!

    • It was such fun. Probably the only time I didn’t get impatient waiting for a train to pass. I took lots more photos out the side windows of our car, and the train looks close enough to touch.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, my day consisted of taking care of Salty after he had an accident and we thought he had a broken hip.We had a long night until I could get him to his doctor this morning. I had prepared for the worst so I was elated to learn he had a knee injury that was treatable. My day really did have unexpected joy! I really enjoyed the blog and the comments were delightful. I hope you have a restful night. Sheila

    • Sheila, I am SO HAPPY Salty’s injury was treatable! Our dogs play such important roles and I’m so glad that he will be OK. Things will be hectic for awhile so if you don’t hear back from me, don’t worry. I’m not sure whether WiFi will be available where I am, but you know I’ll find it if I can :-). Meanwhile thanks for the prayers!!


  1. Enjoy, endure, survive | Defeat Despair

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