Fast and Furious Flash Floods

Fast and Furious Flash Floods

The emergency notice came loud and clear on my cell phone, Flash Flood WARNING. I didn’t have too far to go from the building where I had been at a meeting. My car was innocently waiting for me under the torrents of rain, so I held my so-called raincoat tight, pulled the hood over my head, mocking myself for leaving my umbrella behind, and raced to the safety of my sweet little Honda Insight. And got soaked.

This wasn’t the day to be driving that small driving machine that still gets fifty-six miles to the gallon, more than my son’s motorcycle. Once in the car, I raced up the hill out of that parking lot that was sure to flood in another five minutes. Traffic was heavy on the avenue, all heading to Connecticut’s truck highway, the infamous Turnpike, I95, the least likely to have a flash flood. It was around 4:30 pm, traffic is usually mega heavy, heaven only knows why the vehicles were not horizontally stacked.

Traffic was moving steadily, but slowly. I got into the middle lane, the safest that would be the last to cover over with water. But it was moving too slow for me, so I maneuvered to the left lane that was practically empty of cars and water. I kept up my speed watching for any sections that were filling with that stuff falling from the thick black clouds.

I only had to go five exits, about thirteen miles. Moved back to the middle, noting the water beginning to fill in my current position, and hung there till I got close to the next slowpoke. I moved back to the left lane that now had one of those tour buses illegally in front of me, but thrilled to have it carve the way. Almost at my exit, I moved over and out of the now backed up traffic. It was easy to leave the highway and onto the road home, praying that I wouldn’t drown on any of the streets.

I ran into one significant puddle, but my little car behaved like the Little Engine that Could. It took me straight home with nary an incident. I got the mail and pulled into the garage.

WAIT! I’m not done. On my way up the stairs from the garage, I could see that Tom was outside doing something. I stopped, went back down the steps and turned into the basement, the floor was filled with about an inch of water.

“Oh no.” I traveled all that way, no problem, and found the flash flood inside my basement. Soaking wet through my raincoat, my jeans wet too, I forgot about my condition, put on my snow boots that I keep in the ready and headed to help fix the situation.

Yup, water was filling our basement, the drain outside the back door was clogged. Asked Tom where our wet vac was, got a couple of pails to bail out that water like I was in a sinking boat, while Tom was building a dam to try to stop the water from running into the drain and wishing I had sandbags.  I started vacuuming out the water, my priority, and Tom was building a dam, his priority. We survived, both of us soaking wet, but in spite of all this, my Geraniums were blooming in their pot on the deck, a little bit of pink sparkling reminding me that mother nature is amazing.

And how was your rainy day?

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

You’re invited to my art show

You’re invited to my art show

Art has always been a big part of my life. Guess what? I’m having an art show and you’re invited. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, 10 am-5 pm. (rain date Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018). At my house. And the Sangria is on me. If you’re interested in attending and you’re in the area (Fairfield, Connecticut) you can email me directly at

Join me for my art show COLORFUL VISIONS and celebrate color and beauty in our world.

Art, nature, Sangria. Sounds like fun to me. Hope to see you there. xo Gail

Many of my paintings will be available for purchase, including the ones featured in the postcard above. I will be donating half of all sales of my paintings to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. A National Historic Landmark since 1971, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Lockwood-Mathews holds educational programs throughout the year for schools, colleges, and universities along with other educational groups and for the general public. Lockwood-Mathews also hosts various events throughout the year for the public including art shows, flea markets, tea parties, costume balls, private tours as well as offering guided historical tours of the estate.


Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

My Wild Walk on the Beach

My Wild Walk on the Beach

Rockaway Beach Morning Shoreline by Maureen E Ritter

I was alone. A sultry day in July, the sun was blazing, the temperature in the nineties. A walk on the beach sounded like a great escape. Sneaking away from my family was no big deal.

Jumping into the soaring waves was refreshing, revitalizing, invigorating. I waited for the next wave, then the next. Giggling at the cool spray that tickled my skin. The heat no longer bothered me after each successive splash of cold water coated my arms and legs. Suddenly, I found myself overcome by a giant wave. Unexpected. Scary. Gasping for air and flailing my arms I couldn’t stop the pull of this force of nature.

Would someone see me and come to my rescue? I hadn’t noticed a lifeguard. Who thinks about that when there’s so much fun to be had. I tried to drag myself out of the frothy water, onto the safety of the beach, but my strength was fading fast. The undertow pulled me farther and farther away from shore.

Rockaway Beach

Desperate. Frightened that I would drown, I fought the waves with all my might, dragging myself back. Finally, I managed to stand and slog my way through the shallows to shore.

I was eight years old.

Since that day, I have told this story hundreds of times. I promised myself I would never take the power of nature for granted ever again. I was pretty tall for my age and was a good swimmer, but it didn’t make a difference. I was at the mercy of the tides. Since then, I never go into the ocean when the waves are bigger than me.

Those lovely old cottages

Jones Beach undertow

My family had a cottage just up the street, in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. The experience put a damper on my love of the ocean. The almost-drowning is what I think of whenever I see a gigantic wave today.

I spent many a summer at Jones Beach watching my own kids jump in and out of the waves. I didn’t want to stop their fun or diminish their pleasure, but I was ready at a moment’s notice to leap to the rescue if one of my kids needed me.

Nature is beautiful but it’s also untameable. Wild. Have a safe summer.

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in the fall of 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.




Trail Map   ·   Photos   ·   Reviews

Lower Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls

There’s always more to discover about Yosemite. I’m writing a sequel to Indigo Sky, so I’m researching building a home there in the nineteenth century. In Indigo Sky, Rork, a successful artist and his wife, Leila, a dedicated mother and community leader, built a home in lower Yosemite and raised more than their children, they raised a village.

Building in Yosemite in the nineteenth century around one of those cedar trees.

About those lower falls:

Why See Yosemite Falls?  It’s a waterfall so high it has to take a break and rest twice in the course of its descent. It’s a 2,425 foot tumbler, tallest in North America and fifth tallest in the world. Ten times taller than Niagara or Shoshone Falls, nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building, it’s about the height a 200-story building would be, if somebody ever built one. The lower fall is the shortest section of the fall, but it’s still 320 feet (98 meters) high.

Best Time to Visit:  In the spring, when water is roaring off the falls and the breeze it creates at the bridge underneath the falls will blow your hat off.

Worst Time to Visit:  In the early fall and late summer, by which time the falls have often dried up altogether. Visit the Yosemite Falls webcam during California daylight hours to see how much water is currently flowing over the falls. Watch the streaming version of the webcam. The webcam only shows the upper falls, but savvy outdoorsmen can infer that if the upper falls are dry, the lower falls will be as well.

Yosemite Nature Notes: Moonbows

On clear spring nights when the moon is full, photographers gather by the score at the lower falls to see the moonlit rainbows that span the water, a phenomenon known as a moonbow, the world’s most romantic portmanteau. Yosemite Nature Notes Episode 15 explores moonbow fever and includes lots of lovely footage of moonbows shimmering in front of waterfalls and starry skies. Even the most kitten-kicking of cynics should watch the first two minutes to see a few examples.

Can’t-Get-Enough-Yosemite-Nature-Notes Dept:  You can find the entire YNN series here, though the first thing you should watch after this video is the Making-of-the-Moonbows-Episode episode. Ranger Bob Roney, interviewed in the film, has his own Twitter feed, as does YNN creator Steven Bumgardner. Yosemite Nature Notes itself also has a feed.

Thank you Wikipedia: History of Yosemite

Click this for lodging, places to stay to celebrate an anniversary, birthday or even just for r&r.

Raise your hand if you have been to Yosemite at night looking for moonbows? Would you rate the experience as one of your top ten?

I’m writing that sequel . . .



Shades of Green

Shades of Green

Green is the color between blue and yellow on the spectrum of visible light. It is evoked by light with a predominant wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm.



In the subtractive color system, used in painting and color printing, it is created by a combination of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; in the RGB color model, used on television and computer screens, it is one of the additive primary colors, along with red and blue, which are mixed in different combinations to create all other colors.

Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage.

Green leaves

Green leaves

Several minerals have a green color, including the emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content. In surveys made in Europe and the United States, green is the color most commonly associated with nature, life, youth, spring, hope and envy. Green is also the traditional color of safety and permission; a green light means go ahead, a green card permits permanent residence in the United States. Political groups advocating environmental protection and social justice describe themselves as part of the Green movement, some naming themselves Green parties. This has led to similar campaigns in advertising, as companies have sold green, or environmentally friendly, products.

Malachite green. A giant malachite vase in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Malachite green. The green giant malachite vase in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

During the Italian Renaissance, accessories were rampant and palaces were decorated with shades of green accented with minerals and cache pots. Interiors reflected the life styles of that time.

A 10th-century celadon pot from China (Musee Guimet, Paris). Celadon is a pale greyish green which takes its name from a character in the French romance Astrée by d'Urfe (1610).

A 10th-century celadon pot from China (Musee Guimet, Paris). Celadon is a pale greyish green which takes its name from a character in the French romance Astrée by d’Urfe (1610).



Our lives reflect the world today, no differently than the 16th century, or any century for that matter. If people are concerned about their future and whether or not their job is secure, they tend not to buy items in dusty or dirty tones.They  tend to respond to colors that are more upbeat.

Art has impact in our color choices, as does music trends and rock stars. We tend to mimic what we see. Are people saving our planet? If so, obviously greens and blue are important.

There was a time when hospitals thought green was calming, and perhaps it is, but it also  can be depressing. Today, color is used to enhance the patients moods. There’s a great deal to discuss about color and the shades of each color.
In the 1990s, the greening of America became a priority. Green was a popular car color. In 1996, green was the number one color choice for cars. I loved my celadon green car and apparently so did other people because their cars sometimes came way too close. But I think they just didn’t see the car. The color blended in with the trees and grasses. We couldn’t wait to get rid of the thing.
If you have questions, please ask away in comments.

Pin It on Pinterest