Category Archives: California

Weekend Coffee Share #26-Abundance Of Roadrunners

Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you we coped with the extreme temperatures here in the desert. Now the heat dome has moved northwest. We continue with temperatures in the 100s F. We are doing well with air conditioning, but it makes it harder to fall into a routine with outdoor activities. It can be in the 80s at 6 AM. It gets hotter in the afternoon, so the evenings are still hot too. I do go to an indoor Yoga class. This week I am deciding if I need to wear a mask there again. We heard the announcement by the LA Public Health Department that people, even vaccinated people, should wear masks while in public, especially when indoors. This Delta variant is causing concern and I read the Biden administration is sending out ‘surge teams’ of specialists to assist communities where the virus is spreading rapidly. Our county here has not made any announcements about wearing masks.

I hadn’t seen the roadrunners for a while during the high heat, but just spotted one crossing the road yesterday. And today, so excited to see three of them. One was right near our driveway. I thought it was going to go in our yard, but it must have gone next door. The most wonderful sighting was on the patio outside one of the restaurants in our community. I think people must be feeding that one because he was not as shy as the others, and I was able to get a few closer photos of him. He was just beautiful and my photos did not capture all the colors around his eye, but you can see a blue streak on his tail. It was good to see that the roadrunners are surviving the weather.

This roadrunner had some striking colors. Can you see the blue streak on his tail?

A nice closeup. Can you see there is some color around his eye?
The roadrunner takes a bow

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer.

Ups and Downs

This is Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. The prompt for today is ‘up/down.’

We’ve had lots of ups and downs here lately. The temperature gage has gone up and down for the past 2 weeks. I now know we can manage survive 120 degree F weather. The water levels in the states reservoirs have decreased due to dearth of rain. But we had some rain here in the desert this past Wednesday which was a welcome change. The grapefruit tree definitely appreciated the extra moisture. I learned about a large reservoir for Southern California that will help provide water for the dry times. But the rivers and streams of the state are so dry that that baby salmon had to be transported to the San Francisco Bay. The temperatures hear are headed up this weekend but will be down again next week.

Lake Oroville on the morning of Memorial Day 2021. In May 2021, water levels of Lake Oroville dropped to 38% of capacity. The boats are dwarved by the exposed banks while California is headed into another drought year. (Frank Schulenburg)

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. Image of Lake Oroville by Frank Schulenburg via wikimedia.org

Weekend Coffee Share #25-Not Quite Into The New Normal

Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. We have cinnamon toast today. If we were having coffee I would tell you it has cooled down some this week, as low as 102 degrees F on Wednesday with some rain showers. We are heading back up into the teens on Saturday. It was good to have some rain and I am pretty sure the citrus trees appreciated it. Some of the leaves on the grapefruit were getting puckered with 120 degrees. I love the smell of the earth after the rain. I went to check the mail box one late afternoon during the high heat and there was a hot wind blowing as well. I thought I was going to burn up right there. I did take an early morning walk this week. I did not see any roadrunners.

We were hopeful for a smooth transition from lock down to post-COVID life. We had a setback just after opening here. We had just had week one of the end of restrictions and I had gone to a couple of yoga classes without a mask, when we received an email from the HOA telling us that a person who tested positive for COVID had been inside both club houses in our community. It made me realize that COVID is still out there and close to home. But I have been telling myself that I have to trust the the vaccine is providing all the protection I need and I have to re-enter society eventually. How long am I going to wait? So I am continuing to take the beginning steps. I went to the grocery store again but I still didn’t feel comfortable getting too close to other customers. I keep reading in the paper that fully vaccinated people are protected even against the new Delta variant, so I will try to remember that.

The book group I recently joined is still meeting on Zoom until the Fall. Meeting on Zoom feels like being on camera, which it is, and a bit outside my comfort zone. I didn’t realize it would have this effect on me. It feels a bit like public speaking when we discuss the books and it is awkward for me. I have to get accustomed to it. It’s easier for me to express myself in writing.

Speaking of books, I am reading ‘While Justice Sleeps’ by Stacey Abrams. It takes place in current times and it is an engaging suspense thriller involving a Supreme Court Justice and the government intrigue he and his clerk are swept up in. Stacey is an articulate speaker and talented writer as well.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer.

Hold On To Your Sun Hats

This is Stream of Consciousness Saturday and the prompt words are, ‘hat, het, hit, hot, and hut.’

We are in the middle of a heat wave here in Southern California. The temperatures are into the triple digits. Here in the Coachella Valley the temps are in the teens heading up to 20s, so our huts better be air conditioned and it is good to wear a hat outside. The current heat wave is the result of a meteorological phenomenon called a ‘heat dome.’ That sounds like something out of science fiction. The aliens construct a heat dome over the land to roast the inhabitants into submission. You might say it’s nothing to get het up about. We are having ‘flex alerts’ to prevent rolling blackouts. It’s supposed to start cooling down by mid-week and only hit 108. That’s not so hot.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.

Weekend Coffee Share #24-Odds and Ends

Coffee’s up. Today it’s Peets French Roast. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you we are in the middle of a heat wave here. It is already 100 degrees F at 8:30 AM. I did do a couple of early morning walks this week, but I would have to get up really early to get out when it was cool today. And I did not wake up early because my husband and I were binge watching ‘Mere of Easttown’ last night until midnight.

Have you ever tried cleaning a barbeque, grills and other parts, after the grease has baked on. I bought this non-toxic spray foam that is supposed to remove it all, but it takes a lot of scrubbing and the addition of Brillo pads. And all the baked on stuff didn’t come off. I researched grill cleaning tips online and one suggestion was to put the grills in the bathtub to soak. I can tell you that is not going to happen. I bought another brand of non-toxic grill cleaner and I will let you know how it works.

We re-opened in California this past Tuesday. I took my first Yoga class without a mask on Tuesday morning. It was the first time I saw the instructor’s whole face. The class was not crowded and I felt comfortable. When I walked into a local market on Wednesday morning it looked like the staff and customers were all wearing masks. I thought I had missed some information about the mask wearing rules. I almost went back to my car to grab a mask and then decided I would just pick up one item I needed and make a quick exit. When I got to the check out I asked the cashier about it and she told me if I was vaccinated I did not have to wear a mask but the staff were still wearing masks. The same thing happened at the bank. There was still a sign outside the bank that said face coverings and social distancing were required. So this time I went back to the car and grabbed a mask. When I asked the teller about it she said the employees were continuing to wear masks but I did not have to. Seems like not everyone is ready to go without a mask yet and I don’t blame them. Customers are not required to show proof of vaccination.

I was thinking about how the roadrunners were doing in this heat. I read that they are very adapted to the desert and take shelter when it’s really hot. I only saw one this week on one of my early morning walks.

There are cool places for the roadrunners to hang out in this area.

Roadrunner near pond in shade

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer.

Weekend Coffee Share #23-Need To Be An Early Bird

Coffee’s ready. Come in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you my life this week was controlled by outside demands and forces. My husband had medical appointments and I am the driver right now. I am glad we are getting connected with new healthcare providers in our community. My husband and I have both been catching up with long delayed medical check ups. At first it was nerve wracking to go into the clinic for appointments or lab work. But I feel that I have gotten more comfortable with going there. We will see how I feel after next Tuesday when restrictions are lifted and people are allowed to be in public without masks. I have gone into a few stores as well, still with my mask, so I am getting more comfortable with that.

Because I was so busy with the appointments I did not get a chance to get out and catch a photo of the roadrunner. I was up early one morning for a walk. I never thought I would be able to get up and out at 6:30 AM but I did. When I first started out, there were a couple of women out with their dogs. One of the women was talking loudly and I thought it would diminish my chances of seeing a roadrunner, the loud voices and dogs. But after I took a different route and walked over toward one of the greens where I had seen roadrunners before, I was rewarded with seeing the large one but only for a short time. There were some workers on the green and the roadrunner quickly sought a hiding place in a fenced yard.

I haven’t been able to get into a routine of early morning walks yet, but I will probably need to work on it because the daytime temperatures are starting to climb. We’re looking at a possible 114 degrees F on Tuesday.

Roadrunner that looked like this one crossed in front of our car.

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer. Image of roadrunner via National Park Service Death Valley.

Weekend Coffee Share #21-Feeling My Way Around

Coffee’s up. Come on in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you it has been a hodgepodge type of week. Definitely not a settled routine. The weather had something to do with part of it. It has been getting hotter, hovering around 100 degrees most days. So I have not been inclined to walk during the day. I am not an early riser so I have to walk in the evening. I thought I would be walking more in the daytime and would be able to see the roadrunners. I did spot them last week, which was great. Still not getting the photos I would like.

A better view but working on getting more

I did record the sound the roadrunner made. It was hiding from me but you can still hear it.

Roadrunner makes a rattling sound?

I may have to change to a morning person to catch the nature around here.

I realize I am really still in the process of getting acquainted with my new environment. This will be my first summer here. We are scheduled to open up fully in California on June 15 even though the county I now live in has not moved into the least restrictive tear yet. The latest push to get everyone vaccinated is a million dollar lottery. I hope it works and gets more people vaccinated. I don’t like the idea of going out in public unmasked with people who are not vaccinated. In the summer here going out in public will most likely mean being indoors.

Tumbleweed Social Club

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.

Sirocco

The name of the wind that blows off the Sahara to Africa and the Mediterranean. It seems we don’t have a name for the wind that blows through the Coachella Valley or at least I haven’t heard one yet. It is not always warm and dry. Today the wind was cooler. It can start up in the afternoon and blow all night. I hear it whistling through the cracks of my house. It makes the garage door rattle, like something trying to get in. But I like it anyway. I remember a past July, in the height of the summer heat, it felt like an open oven. Since I moved here some people ask if I like the desert. They tell me it gets very hot in the summer as if they are letting me in on a secret. My answer is yes, I really like it. I think it is beautiful.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘roc.’ Featured image of desert near Palm Desert taken by me while at Desert X.

Weekend Coffee Share #20-Desert X

Coffee’s up. Come in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you I had a great experience at Desert X last weekend. Several artists from around the world created outdoor art installations around the Coachella Valley. A friend of ours organized our tour and my husband and I viewed several of the displays. We were not able to see all the outdoor art but here are several examples below. You can go to the Desert X 2021 website to see all the exhibits and read about them and the artists.

We did wear masks but felt safe to have the masks off when outdoors and socially distanced. All of our group were vaccinated. We were fortunate that the weather was not overly hot and there was a breeze for most of the day.

The first installation we viewed was ‘What Lies Behind The Walls’ by Saudi Arabian artist Zahrah Alghamdi. We had to hike up a sandy slope to reach it. It was pretty dramatic to see once we got there. Some of material the artist used was desert sand from the local area. The artist talks about ‘the wall’ in the video below. Her hope for the world is not to have walls separating us but walls to connect us.

‘What Lies Behind The Walls’

The next exhibit was ‘The Wishing Well’ by Serge Attukwei Clottey, an African artist. It is constructed in part from the plastic of Kufuor gallon containers that are used to transport water in Ghana. 

‘The Wishing Well’

‘The Wishing Well refers to the wells to which many people around the world must trek daily to access water. Europeans introduced Kufuor gallons, or jerrycans, to the people of Ghana to transport cooking oil. As repurposed relics of the colonial project, they serve as a constant reminder of the legacies of empire and of global movements for environmental justice. Sited in the Coachella Valley, whose future is deeply dependent on water, The Wishing Well creates a dialogue about our shared tomorrow.’ (Desert X website).

‘Women’s Qualities’ by Egyptian artist, Ghada Amer, was the next installation we visited. It was located at Sunnylands Center and Garden. There is more about her display in the video below. She created her installation based on what the people of Palm Springs told her they thought were qualities of women. The qualities are: Nurturing, Resilient, Strong, Caring, Determined, Beautiful, and Loving.

Resilient

The next exhibit we viewed was ‘The Passenger’ by LA born artist Eduardo Sarabia which represents the experience of those who journey across the desert to get to the United States. It was difficult to walk on the soft sand of the desert in the hot sun to get to this installation. It made me realize that I might not fare well on such a journey.

The last installation we viewed was ‘Jackrabbit Homestead’ by California artist Kim Stringfellow. This was a tiny house that represented the houses of some of the people who participated in a government program called the ‘Small Tract Act’ (1938-2008). This involved up to 5 acres of Federal land sold off for very small price, ($10-20). People could lease the land and if they made some improvement to it, like building a dwelling, they could apply for a patent which was like a deed. There are still some of the structures standing today. Some are still owned and occupied. Click here to read more.

It was a very interesting day and a nice way to step back into what we hope is post-pandemic life here in California.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer. Pop over and visit her lovely blog and see a Linky to the contributions of other writers.

Weekend Coffee Share # 19-The Sky Is Not The Limit

Coffee’s up. Come in and pull up a chair. The coffee is strong this morning. I do have tea if you prefer it. If we were having coffee I would ask if you can relate to this. You know how we like to think we can do anything if we try hard enough. I recently enrolled in a ‘beginning’ Yoga class and found that it was too challenging for me. When I was younger I was able to do it. The instructor moved us through the poses pretty fast and some of the poses would be too hard on my shoulders and actually triggered vertigo. I felt like I was going to fall down from vertigo on the way out of the class last week. I had been trying to stick with it to see if I could improve over time. The vertigo episode made me realize that this class is probably not for me. I have a problem quitting something. I don’t like to admit I can’t do it. I have to tell myself that we all have limitations. There is no shame in accepting that we can’t do something. It is better to accept this than have a bad fall and possible injury if I continue with the class. You are not a failure if you try something and realize it does not suit you or you do not have the ability to do it. I can still do some gentle Yoga classes. The Chair Yoga class is working out well. You might think, like I did at first, that chair yoga means sitting in a chair doing yoga poses. Actually, you do not spend hardly any time sitting in the chair. The chair is used as a prop and for balance. I am glad I decided to try it again. The class is not overly crowded. We are spread out and all wearing masks.

I’m so excited to tell you that on one of my walks this week I spotted not 1 but 3 roadrunners. The first sighting was of a pair of roadrunners. One was larger than the other. I am guessing they could be mates or a parent and child. The larger one ran out first and the other stayed near a bush. Eventually the smaller one joined the larger one on the green. I had to shoot photos pretty blind because of the light and distance. I am not allowed to walk onto the golf course unless I am playing golf. The third road runner was making its way near some houses on another street. Unsuccessful in getting a photo of that one. I feel so lucky to have seen all three of them though. It really made my day.


Hallelujah! A pair of roadrunners
Single roadrunner looking to right

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer.

Featured image ‘Coffee swirl’ by Will Keightley on Flickr.com, reminds me of vertigo.