If only I could snap my fingers and everything would be right with the world. It feels like it has been way too long that we have been living with the pandemic and all the unwanted changes it has brought to our lives. It can be hard to see when it will end. My husband and I got our COVID booster shots this week. Have to keep telling myself that infection rates are dropping.
I noticed that the grapefruit on our grapefruit tree were green for the longest time. I thought it was because there was some kind of stress or infection and the tree wasn’t able to produce normal fruit. Just this week I saw that the fruit is starting to ripen. I researched it and found out that it takes the tree 6 months to grow the fruit. It takes a good amount of time, but it will all be as it should in the end.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that if I got to sleep earlier maybe I would not sleep in and feel groggy during the day. But I have found that I sleep better if I go to bed later. Another reason I have been staying up is my habit of watching streaming TV in the evening. Lately, I have been hooked on ‘Professor T’, the Belgian version. I mentioned before that I really like police procedurals and mysteries. Professor T, aka Jasper Teerlinck, is an interesting character. He has some quirky personality traits but is a genius at solving mysteries. The supporting characters are good too. I like the secretary, Ingrid Sneyers. She has some very funny lines. I don’t mind reading the subtitles and it doesn’t get in the way of me understanding and enjoying the series.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been reading books again. One reason is I joined a book group. I haven’t been crazy about some of the books except for ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel. Since I liked that book so much I decided to read another one of hers, ‘The Glass Hotel.’ I like the way she connects each character’s story to others. They all seem to be headed for a bad ending though. I’m about half way through the book so I’ll let you know.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that through genealogy research I got into reading about the fishing fleet of Nova Scotia in ‘The August Gales, the Tragic Loss of Fishing Schooners in the North Atlantic 1926 and 1927,’ by Gerald Hallowell. I began to notice in the death records of some cousins that they were ‘lost at sea.’ One cousin, Warren Knickle, was the Captain of the schooner ‘Mahala.’ Then I noticed others were lost at sea on the same date, August 24, 1927. They went down on the Mahala as well. It turns out there were some ferocious storms in the North Atlantic where many boats were lost. Unfortunately, many of the crews were related to each other, fathers, sons, brothers cousins. It could take weeks to verify that the ships went down because there was no ship to shore radio at that time. It made me appreciate the hard, and dangerous job they had.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I saw another roadrunner on Tuesday but my photos were too blurry to share. I did find something interesting today, a collection of fruit pits on the patio. I had seen one of the roadrunners looking up into the Fan Palm in our backyard. I wasn’t sure if it was looking at the date-like fruit or some insects. Now I a pretty confident it was checking out the fruit. It has recently ripened and one of the roadrunners must have snacked on some.
Also sharing with Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer.
Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. Today we are trying Major Dickason’s blend. If we were having coffee I would tell you that since the pandemic I feel like one day blends into another and the weekends do not seem any different from the weekdays. Being retired has something to do with that as well. My schedule is pretty free and flexible but for the limits imposed by the infection rates in our community. I avoid doing things where I have to be with groups of people. We are still in the ‘red zone’ here for infection rates but our numbers have been decreasing. I should probably keep a lid on this, because we really don’t know what is going to happen next. I read infections are decreasing across the US except for Alaska. It has been reported (New York Times), there is a 2 month cycle to the pandemic so far. Two months of surge and then it dissipates. I read that there is now hope that the end is near. If only that will be true. This whole thing still feels unreal, like a really bad dream.
My morning routine, always includes coffee and some kind of toast or bagel, and the newspapers, LA Times, Washington Post, sometimes NY Times Newsletter. I skim a lot of the stories. Some make my blood start to boil. So to avoid blowing my top, I try not to read too deeply into them. Like the oil drifting toward pristine tidepools, fire scorching the beautiful redwoods, or people attacking teachers, Nurses, or airline employees about being asked to wear a mask.
Some good news. I had a great roadrunner sighting on Tuesday. We spotted one in our yard. It even hopped on top of our patio table and seemed to be peering through our patio door. We did not want to get too close and scare it off. So I couldn’t get a close up photo. Next time I think I will try to capture a shot anyway. I went around to the front of the house and got a couple of pics there. The roadrunners are one of the lights in my life right now.
Speaking of light, we had some lightening in the sky around our house earlier in the week with a little rain. And today we had some more rain. We often get flash flood warnings with rainy weather but so far we’ve haven’t had any. We would need to aware of flash floods if we were driving over a flood channel or hiking in a canyon, not around our house. Below photos from my backyard this morning.
Coffee’s ready. My husband has been making some of the Peet’s Sumatra that a reader recommended, and it is good if you make it strong enough. Grab a cup and you can let me know if you like it. If we were having coffee I would tell you this week I was inspired by the sight of more roadrunners on my property. They are using my backyard as a throughway. I have spotted them on my back patio but if they spot me they quickly walk away. I found they exit by the side of the house near my front driveway. That is where I am able to get a few quick photos. I aspire to make them feel I am not a threat by talking to them like I might to a little child, but I am not so sure it helps because they still want to leave. While I am trying to talk in reassuring tones they will look at me and raise the crest feathers on the top of their heads quizzically. I did snap a few photos on Thursday but it is hard with a moving target.
I think they were the highlight of my week. The lowlight was I heard the homeowners board caved to pressure and reversed its ruling on masks in indoor spaces. The rule for mask wearing in set to expire tonight although they haven’t posted anything yet. Maybe they are getting pushback. They had said they are following guidelines. That is hard to believe because the CDC, State, and County guidelines recommend those vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks in indoor public settings because we are in a county with a high positivity rate of COVID. We are in the ‘red zone’ which is the highest. LA County is lower and they still want their residents to wear masks in public indoor settings. So no more indoor yoga class for me.
I have been pretty busy with genealogy research. I thought I was coming to the end when I find I really have a lot more to do. I have been reading a book I mentioned before, ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words,’ which makes us think about how words that made it into dictionaries were selected and who selected them. I have a new book to read for the book club. We are still meeting on Zoom until the end of the year, which is ok with me.
‘Near, far, wherever you are…’ how are you? If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather is getting cooler here. We had a rain cloud parked over our area this afternoon and got a shower. It still feels humid but the air is cleaner. We have too much fire and smoke in California this year. Our state wants to work on climate change, fire prevention, and water conservation, all good goals. We are still struggling with COVID. California is doing better than a lot of other places, though. How are you doing where you are? I mentioned before that I was opting out of exercise classes because our community here was not requiring masks indoors. Well, things have changed since we have another outbreak. I heard 2 people died from COVID who were unvaccinated and attending events here. Now we are all required to wear masks indoors in public settings. So I felt safer going to yoga class again this week. Different parts of California are reacting differently to vaccines and masks. The places with low vaccination rates are seeing a surge in hospitalizations. You would think that people would be able to figure out that they are at risk because they are not vaccinated when other areas that have higher vaccination rates are doing much better.
It would be good to get this pandemic far behind us. It will be strange to resume all activities again with no worries. But I am afraid that time is no where near us yet. I feel grateful to have the internet and the ability to stream films and TV shows via wifi. It would be harder to cope without it.
Coffee’s up. We have Columbian again today. I want to get to the store and pick up Peet’s French Roast but haven’t made it there yet. If we were having coffee I would tell you that my husband has collected several boxed jig-saw puzzles. Those type of puzzles don’t interest me so much. I like a different type of puzzle, mysteries, police procedurals in particular.
Another puzzle I am into is genealogy research. I like finding the vital statistics and accounts of ancestor’s lives. I have learned some history with this research as well. It is engrossing and a reprieve from all the negative things happening. It’s a lot like solving mysteries and puzzles, putting all the pieces together in the right place.
Something else had been puzzling me. I hadn’t seen any roadrunners in quite a while and wondered what happened and where they went. Then, the other day, I spotted a large bird on the patio. I only got a brief glimpse as it slipped past the patio door. I went outside to the front of the house and there they were, a pair of roadrunners. One took off right away but the other stayed for a short time while we shared greetings. I snapped a quick photo before it went on its way.
This week leading up to the date there have been many stories in the news about 9/11. I could say it is hard to believe it has been 20 years ago, but I know time can pass quickly and memories recede. People often say things like ‘where were you when’ some historic event happened. When the event is traumatic, part of me wants to push it away. That is how it is with 9/11. I can tell you at the time I was living in Southern California and that made me feel insulated because it happened across the country from me. I know it would have been much worse if I lived in New York City or Washington, D.C. My memory is of the morning it happened. I was home on sick leave. I was going through a personal crisis with the loss of sight in my right eye. It was due to an inflammation of the optic nerve and after several weeks my eyesight did return. But at the beginning it was very stressful. I’m not sure if we had the news on or my husband came in and told me to turn it on. We saw the video of the plane flying into the first tower. Then the second plan hit the second tower. I remember how unreal it looked, like a scene from a movie. Later news reports told us of the attack in Washington and the passengers who helped crash Flight 93 so the terrorists couldn’t crash the plane into the Capitol. I followed the news and read the accounts of the people who lost family members or were badly injured. Life changed here with the heightened vigilance about more terrorist attacks. We were drawn into wars. It was a dark time.
Coffee’s ready. Today we have Columbian coffee. It is pretty good for a change. We used to drink Columbian all the time until we discovered the darker roasts. There are blueberry bagels to go with it. I got a couple of walks in this week. I need to get out early though. Yesterday it was about 85 degrees F at 6:30 AM when I started out. It is still pretty quiet around here at that hour. I did see a few other walkers and people with dogs again. They need to walk their dogs before it gets too hot. One thing that I am missing is roadrunners. I haven’t seen any lately. While walking, I admire all the different plants in the front yards. I came across an interesting one yesterday.
These are a type of agave plant and they do look like an artichoke. Although, you need to be careful of the needles.
I do like regular artichokes and we did enjoy eating a few this year. California supplies about 100% of the artichokes to the country. They are grown all over but I am familiar with the farms on the central coast below Santa Cruz. The cooler climate and moist air are good for artichokes. I usually cook them in a couple of inches of boiling water for about 45 minutes. I trim the leaves ,cut off the tops, and squeeze some lemon juice over them. I looked up a recipe on the California Artichoke Advisory Board website. I may try it in the future because it looks easier than the way I do it. When I trim the leaves, I cut off those little needles. The artichoke needles are not as scary as the ones on the agaves here. While reading about our artichokes I found out that the artichoke is California’s official vegetable.
We like to eat them with melted butter or mayonnaise.
Coffee’s up. We have French Roast today. You have your choice of bagels or toast. If we were having coffee I would tell you that the weather has been cooler for a few days. This morning I was out for a walk for the first time in a while. It felt great to walk again. There were a few others out, some taking advantage of the cooler temperature to walk their dogs. The air looked clear this morning. We have had some haze in the past week. I read we are getting smoke pollution from the fires up north. That made me hesitant to get outside a lot as well. I can hear the coffee maker is ready. Let’s grab a cup.
Have you had a chance to see the new EPIX series Chapelwaite? I binged watched the first episodes last night, a spooky gothic mystery story. That and there is a new season of Vera on Britbox. I have read a bunch of the Vera books by Ann Cleaves. She has a new book out now but I want to wait until the price drops a bit.
Besides, I have a stack of books I purchased that I have yet to read.
‘All The Devils Are Here’, by Louise Penny
‘The Witch Elm,’ by Tara French
‘The Glass Hotel,’ by Emily St. John Mandel
‘The Dictionary Of Lost Words,’ by Pip Williams (I love the title).
I have not been able to get into reading books. I want to get back to it.
Lately, I have been listening to audiobooks at bedtime, by Tara Brach and Thich Nhat Hanh. There has been so much stress and bad news that I wanted some spiritual support.
Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. Today we have bagels with lox and cream cheese. The bagels were delivered this past weekend by our son from one of our favorite bagel places. He brought us two boxes. We put them in the freezer. They are fine there and just need to defrosted in the toaster oven. After heating mine, I sliced it and toasted it for a few minutes. We find that we don’t have any good bagel places near us. The one we used to go to went out of business during the pandemic. Our son tells us there is a good one near Palm Springs.
If we were having coffee I would tell you it has been a quiet week here. I decided not to participate in indoor exercise with mostly unmasked people. I did buy one of those foot pedal exercisers, mainly for my husband. I want to try it too for all the days when it is too hot to exercise outside.
It was so great to see our son and our little grandson last weekend. Our grandson just started TK, which is Transitional Kindergarten. He was born very premature so he is younger developmentally than other kids his age. His is so smart. He loves watching children’s music videos on his IPAD. I am getting familiar with his playlist. Some of the songs are ones my kids listened to when they were little, like ‘Wheels On The Bus.’ I am able to sing along with those. We have a stash of toys for him here, which he is not bored with yet. Some of the toys are over 30 years old. They were our kids toys that we had saved. He used to like to play ball with me, rolling a small rubber ball back and forth. I noticed this time he rolled me the ball while he went on playing with a toy he was more interested in. He was multi-tasking with Meme, and didn’t want to leave me out.
It’s hard to believe this is the end of August. Another year passing in this pandemic fog. I know we will come out it but the news from many places is sad. Stay well, stay safe, get vaccinated.