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.
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.
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.
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer. Image of roadrunner via National Park Service Death Valley.
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.
I did record the sound the roadrunner made. It was hiding from me but you can still hear it.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Coffee’s up. Come in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you I continue my quest to capture a photo of the Roadrunner. There have been several sightings but he will not stop long enough for me to get a shot. One bit of news is that he has been coming closer to my house. My husband has been the one to spot him lately and say things like, ‘the Roadrunner just ran across our driveway,’ while I was retrieving our trash can from the curb. The tricky bird ran behind me. I turned to say to my husband, ‘are you kidding me?’ We looked in the direction our bird friend headed and I spotted him running off at the end of our cul-de-sac. On a recent morning, my husband reported the Roadrunner was on the wall in our yard and had flown up into a neighbor’s Shoestring Acacia tree. Try as I might I could not see the bird. I am now on high alert for any signs of him around our yard.
I have been taking walks about every day and noticing more interesting cacti and succulents. The first one, below left, looked like a giant asparagus to me. It turns out the Yucca is part of the Asparagaceae family like the common asparagus we eat. I think this is called ‘The Lord’s Candle’ or Yucca Whipplei. If it blooms I will be more confident in my identification skills. The next plant, center, is a Madagascar Palm, (it’s not really a palm but a succulent), or Pachypodium Lamerei, which looks to me a bit like a pachyderm trunk. The name Pachypodium comes from two Greek words, ‘pachys’ meaning thick and ‘podion’ meaning foot. The word pachyderm translates to thick skin. The little flowering tree on the far right looks interesting. Does anyone know what it is?
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer. Image of ‘Coffee with foam’ by Lotus Head in Johannesburg, South Africa on wikimedia.org That’s a lot of foam. Looks good.
The first day of May 2021. This year has been a blur like the last one. Still feeling untethered with the days passing by. We are quietly hoping we will continue to pull out of the pandemic here in California. Disneyland is open. I am taking yoga classes in person with a mask on. Oregon is having a surge in cases and closing down again. Oregon is one of our border states so that makes me nervous. Their governor says they are in a race against the variants with vaccinations. We still need to be careful here. Let’s not rock the boat.
Looks like we have started Summer here already. No more Spring weather for us. We will be staying close to 100 degrees F for the next 2 weeks. Glad we have good AC. Maybe the heat will dissipate again before June, but many years I remember hot Mays turned into hot all the way through until the Fall. At least I feel I can go outside in 100 degree weather. Yesterday was 107.
Coffee’s ready. Please join me and pull up a chair. We have Pete’s French Roast this morning. I am out of half and half so we will need to use milk. If we were having coffee I would tell you I met some of the neighbors this week. One lives next store, a nice lady with two small friendly dogs. Things are opening up here in California but I still don’t see all the neighbors out and about much yet when I take a walk. We found evidence of a new resident in our backyard. I spotted a hole in the ground near the grapefruit tree. It has some sand piled up near the lower edge of it as if something has been digging. I’ve been keeping watch and haven’t seen anything coming out or around there. I think there is a bit more sand pushed out today. I noticed there is slight cave in of the ground above and another small hole near the big one. We are not sure what to do about it yet. We do plan to ask the gardener. I did a bit a research on which creatures make burrows in the sandy soil of the desert. I don’t think it is a tortoise but it could be a rodent. I read snakes do not make burrows but would occupy a vacant one. I don’t want to use poisons because that can hurt birds like The Roadrunner. If he finds out we have a critter in our yard, he may come in and hunt it. Roadrunners will eat things like that.
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie of Natalie the Explorer.