Category Archives: California

Nature Therapy

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we have Columbian or French Roast available today along with cinnamon-raisin toast, bagels, or turkey sandwiches. I’m recovering from our Thanksgiving celebration. My kids, grandson, and a brother-in-law were here along with two dogs. The turkey and the trimmings turned out well. It was lovely to be together with family. My daughter and I fit in a couple of outings in the days leading up to the holiday. We did a short hike in the East Indio Hills Badlands and made a daytrip to the Salton Sea. I had never been there before and it was very pretty. A moderate temperature and breeze made it very pleasant. The beach was covered with a blanket of tiny shells which we later learned were barnacle shells. The barnacles were introduced to this small inland sea by sea planes, and they have reproduced abundantly. The Salton Sea is really a terminal lake, meaning it does not have an outlet. It is the largest lake in California, 35 miles long, 15 miles wide, and an important wetland for many species of birds. I hope it can be preserved for the birds and humans to enjoy long into the future. It was really therapeutic to be out in nature again.


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

Weekend? What’s A Weekend?

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.

Nice to have the cooler temperatures here too.


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

Also sharing with Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘lid.’

Wherever You Are

‘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.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘near/far’.

Featured image ‘Far Away’ by Greta Louisa Gustafsson on Flickr.com

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

Weekend Coffee Share#36-The Official Vegetable

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.

Parry’s or Artichoke agave

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.

Cooking artichokes in water

We like to eat them with melted butter or mayonnaise.


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

Weekend Coffee Share #31-Weathering The Heat

Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. We are having Italian Roast today. If we were having coffee I would tell you the weather this week gave me a great excuse to spend a lot of time indoors with genealogy research. The temperature reached its apex with 122 degrees on Wednesday. I was watching the temperature climb on my cell phone weather app all day. I did get out for Yoga in the pool and an indoor class this week. I am getting more flexuous from the yoga exercises.

Back to wearing masks in grocery stores and indoors, anywhere there are other people. Getting tired of this virus, its variants, and reading about people who refuse to get vaccinated. I am glad many businesses are starting to require proof of vaccination.

There has been a considerable amount of bad news stories about drought and fires here and around the world. Does anyone really doubt global warming?

The temperatures are heading back down. It is just hitting 100 degrees mid-day today, and predicted to reach around 113. We already did some errands and I took a few minutes to snap some photos of a place I was curious about. Some cool photos of water around me and a glimpse of badlands, a place for future hikes.


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

Flexuous was the Merriam-Webster word of the day for Wednesday, meaning ‘lithe or fluid in action or movement.’

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.