Category Archives: My Life

Mash Up

First thought that popped into my head with the prompt word was ‘bangers and mash.’ I have never eaten that but remember it from an old movie. Don’t even know if the British still eat it. I like mashed potatoes but not sure about beef sausage, which one recipe called for. I have eaten chicken and pork sausage here. I’m getting hungry now. My brother-in-law brought us a bunch of ripe avocados. We will probably mash them up and make guacamole.

I am still on the look out for our neighborhood roadrunner. I have had several sightings. One day he/she appeared on 2 different streets while I was walking. I thought either we have more than one, or it can move pretty fast. Thinking about how it got from one place to another I noticed it could have cut through the golf course that some houses back up to. Then I spotted it close by and tried to get a photo. I did not have time to focus on my cell phone. But I did watch it jump/fly up about five feet to the top of a gate and wall. So roadrunners can run, jump, and fly. I guess that’s how they show up in so many different parts of the neighborhood. I hope I will get some good photos of one in the future. The photos I took this week were a mash up.

I blew up one of my attempted photos of the roadrunner and I did capture him but it’s a bit blurry. Will keep working on getting a good photo.

Roadrunner at lower right edge of gate

Cactus Mash Up below:

Ocotillo
 Bilberry Cactus, Whortleberry Cactus, Blue Candle, Blue Flame ?
Candelabrum Cactus, Cane Cholla, Walking Stick Cholla, Tree Cholla, Chainlink Cactus ?
Elephant cactus

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

Some of the cacti names found on plantsam.com and cacti.com

Weekend Coffee Share #15-Stepping Out

Coffee is ready. Pull up a chair and sit down. Would you like some cinnamon raisin toast? If we were having coffee I would tell you I have re-entered the outside world this week. The days are still blurring together and I am late doing this post. You ask what was I doing exactly. Well I got my first haircut at a salon in over a year. My daughter had given me my COVID haircut months ago. The appointment was at 9 AM. I don’t like having early appointments but this worked out well. There was no one else in the shop. The beautician asked if I wanted my hair blow dried and styled but I opted for cut only to get out of there quicker. I got some routine lab tests done at the new doctor’s clinic and I went back the next day to take my husband in for his. The chairs were spaced apart in the clinic waiting room and everyone wears masks. I went to two exercise classes at the community clubhouse. The first was Chair Yoga. The chairs were spaced but I thought the class was a bit crowded. Everyone must wear masks. I tried a different class a few days later, Stretch and Balance. It was more Yoga poses but emphasizing slow stretches, which I like. We were spaced out again and a bit less crowded. The mask was a bit uncomfortable at times. I did not like taking deep breaths with it on. Where I first approached the sign in desk, I questioned if I could tolerate wearing the mask for the whole time. It worked out better than I thought it would, but it will be so nice when we can finally get rid of the masks. You can see I kind of went full speed ahead here with activities. Feels like from one extreme to the other. I signed up to take the same classes for the next 2 weeks.


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

Difference

What a difference a year makes, 8760 little hours…An old song popped into my head with today’s prompt. You might say, ‘What difference does it make.’ I would answer ‘ it has made a big difference and you have to be brain dead not to notice that.’ It feels like the year has not ended but become a kind of mega year, a year plus. We are still in the middle of the plague in many places. But you know that don’t you, if you read or watch any of the news, and you don’t like me bringing it up again. You want me to talk happy talk. Get on a different subject. I can’t let it go yet because it has not let go yet. So I still write about it. So there.

I consider myself pretty lucky in that I did not get sick, I can shelter in a nice place, my husband, kids and grandson did not get it, I have enough money, not rich but enough, we have had our vaccines. It has come close to me though. I lost a brother and the older brother and sister-in-law caught it. My older brother survived but does have after effects. I did not want to take him for granted before and now even more so.

We start to consider how our lives will be different here as restrictions are to be lifted on June 15. Health officials are still very concerned that we are at risk from the variants. But we start to allow ourselves to think about the new normal. A glimpse of light peaking over the horizon. David L. Ulin wrote a post in the LA Times ‘Not quite ready to reopen.’ He discusses the changes in his life brought on by the pandemic may become permanent. ‘As I receive more messages about reconnecting, I want to think about how I choose to spend my time. Among the benefits of lockdown is how it strips away obligatory get-togethers. This meeting or that cup of coffee, the dinner I had no desire to attend. I want to reemerge on my terms, to preserve the smallness, the intimacy, of my pandemic isolation. I want to preserve the space I’ve created for myself. A simpler life, if I can keep it that way…I want to move at my own pace, to be conscious about how and when I reintegrate.’

I too feel that I have not missed a lot of what I have given up. I have thought about what my life will be like going forward. I feel the need to create something new, something different.


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

My beginning sentence is a take off on old song lyrics from ‘What a difference a day makes,’ by Maria Grever. Below version shared on YouTube by phalenopsis1.

 

Weekend Coffee Share #14-Outside

Coffee’s up. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you I think I found the name of the those trees with the yellow flowers I told you about last week. They are not Golden Rain but are Sweet Acacia.

Sweet Acacia

They have feathery yellow puffs with thorns on their branches. There are two of these trees behind our back wall. I found some of the puffs on the ground.

Sweet Acacia puff (pollen)

The neighbors were having them pruned and we picked up one of the tree branches and found the thorns. The Sweet Acacia trees are losing their yellow puffs so hopefully less pollen. There are lots of things blooming around here now. So it could be something else. I took a short walk around and spotted a pretty yellow oleander and some beautiful Palo Brea trees.

Yellow oleander
Palo Brea blossom up close

I’m still using my cell phone camera for now. I have to hold the view finder away from me a bit to shoot photos. So my focus is probably hit and miss. I am seriously thinking about buying a new digital camera. The amount of sunlight does make a difference with glare. I tried the wide-brimmed hat but not as helpful as I had hoped. It is often breezy and I had to pull the hat on tight. Then the brim blocked my view down the road. I discovered some cloud cover is helpful in reducing glare.

I had another roadrunner sighting. First he/she was taking shelter under a low bush and later making a daring dodge in front of a FedEx truck. I read online that roadrunners can make a clicking sound like a raptor, (Jurassic Park variety), when hunting together. I heard some clicking sounds on one of my walks. I felt a bit edgy imagining a roadrunner dogging my trail.

Did you hear we are opening fully in California on June 15? We are cautiously optimistic about this. Maybe because we have these variants running around. The latest is called the Double Mutant out of India discovered recently by scientists at Stanford University. This is in addition to the New York mutant, the UK mutant, the South African mutant, and our own California mutant. Many Californians are getting vaccinated so hopefully we will win the race for immunity.

The thing is we now have to get comfortable re-entering society. I read an interesting article about how to gradually expose yourself to social situations to cope with the anxiety. It’s called ‘Dreading post-pandemic crowds and social situations? Exposure therapy can help’, by Ileyse Debrow DiMarco in the Washington Post. Even the thought of crowds makes me apprehensive and I know I won’t be exposing myself to them any time soon. Have an appointment for my first professional haircut in over a year next week. That is a start.


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

Weekend Coffee Share #13-Something Missing

Coffee’s ready. Pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would ask if you noticed the bags under my eyes this morning. I think I have an allergy to something. I am trying cool compresses to reduce the swelling. I will not miss the bags when they’re gone. Since the start of the pandemic lock down there are many things we stopped doing, like shopping, going to the movies , restaurants, hair salons, library, dental and medical visits, travel, and family gatherings. I have come to realize that I don’t miss some of these activities that much. I do miss more visits with family and friends, the library, and car trips. Before this all started, I thought we would travel abroad. Now I don’t know when we would feel comfortable with that.

It is good we are able to visit with a few people who have had the COVID vaccine, like my son and daughter-in-law and my daughter who got the first dose will be able to see us sooner than we thought. My brother-in-law and his wife visited us yesterday which was very nice. A few things are opening with some restrictions. My little grandson started back at his preschool last week. He was so excited to be back in school. We were excited to see him when he visited last Sunday with his parents.

First day back at preschool

I will wait a while before being around more of the public because of the COVID variants.

Things I definitely won’t miss are masks, social distancing, and the fear of infection.

Golden Rain Trees?

Not sure if this is a Golden Rain tree or the culprit for my allergies but we have one right behind our back wall. They are pretty trees.


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

Roadrunner Watch

I spotted our neighborhood roadrunner the other day. At least I think it is the same bird. It was running furtively at the front of the houses on a nearby street. It must have a nest around here. I wondered what was drawing it to our residential neighborhood. I looked up what roadrunners eat. They eat insects, reptiles, small mammals, and even other birds. We do have a golf course with ponds and I am pretty sure there would be birds, insects, and lizards there. Here are some recordings of the different sounds and calls from All About Birds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). They have quite a repertoire. This website said they do make a ‘meep, meep’ sound when running away from danger.

Our neighborhood friend has been quiet so far.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill. The prompt word for today is ‘run.’ Featured image of Roadrunner by National Park Service Death Valley. I haven’t been able to get my own photo of our roadrunner. I would have to be ‘Quick Draw McGraw’ with my cell phone to catch it.

Weekend Coffee Share #12-Putting It All Together

Coffee’s up. Come on in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you my most recent favorite words are, ‘ no assembly required.’ My husband and I have been buying a few things for our new house. I ordered them online and most were from out of state. They are bulky items and I would not want to ship them back. So we had to make the best of it. I bought an inexpensive etagere that was a breeze to assemble compared to the chase lounges for our backyard. It took 2 days of hard work by my husband with some assistance from me to assemble them.

The patio table we purchased had the wrong parts and luckily we were able to contact the distributor and get the right parts sent to us.

This is how two lamps arrived. At first I thought they were broken and we were ready to just throw them out. My husband said it’s not worth the trouble of returning them because they were inexpensive.

Then he figured out we had to thread the cord through and screw on the socket.

We are dealing with shipping and assembly because we don’t want to go into stores to shop for this stuff just yet. I have now decided it is better, if I can, to order through local companies because if something is wrong or broken I can return it.

A few more favorite words are Free Delivery and Assembly. I was happy to order from a local store that offered to do both. And if anything is missing or broken we can easily return it.

Finished product

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer. Featured image’ Cup of coffee in cafe bar in Madrid’ by Gvjekoslav on Wikimedia.org (cropped)

California Blow

California! Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. Whoops, wrong state. But we do get a lot of wind in the Coachella Valley. It has to do with low pressure drawing in the air from areas of higher pressure through the San Gorgonio Pass. That’s why we see a lot of wind turbines dotting the landscape coming into the valley too.

‘Windgarten’ by Ian D Keating on Wikimedia.org

It get’s going in the afternoon right into the night and can really howl, an eerie effect at night. It doesn’t happen every night, but when it does I want to cozy up with a good mystery book.


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

Start of post inspired by lyrics to ‘Oklahoma’ by Oscar Hammerstein II.

Weekend Coffee Share #11-On A Lighter Note

Coffee’s up. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I would tell you this week we started ‘Daylight savings time’ here in California and most of the US. I thought I was over it since I no longer have to keep to a work schedule. But I notice I am more than usual groggy in the morning lately. It may take me more than two cups of coffee to wake up today. I have never liked the time change. Every year when my husband announces it’s time to reset the clocks ahead , you can hear my loud groan, ‘oh, no.’ I don’t mind ‘Fall back’ because you get the extra hour of sleep then. I have noticed since we moved to the desert that one thing we have plenty of is daylight. I don’t think we need to save any of it. It really seems brighter here. I read that the sky is bluer too because there aren’t as many dirt particles in the air. I hope we don’t have as much air pollution as the city. There is quite a bit of traffic here as the population has grown in recent years. Eventually, we are supposed to go to electric cars and what a change that will mean for Southern California.

Getting back to brightness of the light here. I have been attempting to take photos of some of flora with my android and noticed I have trouble seeing what’s on the viewfinder because of the glare. I took a couple of shots almost blind. I googled the problem and read I could use a umbrella or large brimmed hat to provide enough shade for the camera. It reminded me of the old-time photographers who used to cover their heads with a cloth to block the light. In my brief research, I found there are attachments for digital cameras called digital display shades. Or it was suggested to drape a towel over my head. I think I might scare the neighbors with that technique.

A couple of my blind shots:

Palm shadow

Palm flowers

I was frustrated I could not get the shots I wanted of other plants and trees. Still figuring out my new android and how to manage all the light. Almost forgot, I did get a shot some of my grapefruit blossoms.

Grapefruit blossoms
‘Man standing in paddock’ c 1930 via State Library of Victoria on Flickr.com

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

Weekend Coffee Share # 10-Coming Out Of The Cave

The coffee is ready. Come on in and pull up a chair. If we were having coffee I might ask you how your life has been over the past year. We are passing through an anniversary of sorts. It has been a year since we first heard we were in a pandemic.

The year of the pandemic started officially on March 11, 2020 with the declaration from the World Health Organization. For me it has felt like a year of unreality. The shock and fear in the beginning. On March 19 Governor Newson announced the lockdown of California. The first lock down which was to last until April 21 in LA. I remember thinking how will we get through it, a 1 month lock down. Little did I know it would extend into a year plus. The memory of our first trips to the grocery stores. We went in the early hours of the morning designated for older people and found long lines at one of our regular markets so decided to try another instead. The disorientation of walking into a store with many shelves, milk and meat cases empty. The hasty decisions about what to buy out of what was left. I quickly learned how to order online groceries and at first there were shortages with that as well. It seems like ages ago when we couldn’t get paper towels, toilet paper, or disinfectants. I remember hunting for those items everywhere. There were worse things to come. The loss of my younger brother to COVID. I remember visits with my grandson at a distance on our front patio. Dental visits postponed indefinitely. Doctors visits done remotely. A very frightening visit to the ER where we waited for almost 2 hours in masks. My husband hospitalized with a non-COVID illness. Eventually we all felt safe to visit with our grandson inside our house. We were our own little pod. My daughter was living with us for several months, so at least I was able to be with her regularly too. So grateful that my husband, children, and grandson have made it through. I have become accustomed to living my life inside my house. I am an introvert so this is not completely uncomfortable, but it will take some getting used to being out in public places again. Like shopping in a market, going to get my hair cut, or going to a movie theatre. I wonder if I have developed a mild case of ‘cave syndrome’, ( a term coined by Dr. Bregman, a psychiatrist), where I fear going out of my house. During the pandemic my hair got very long and I took to wearing it in a single braid down my back. My daughter said I looked like Willie Nelson and gave me my COVID haircut. She did a good job. I haven’t had my hair professionally cut for the whole year. My husband has an appointment for a haircut at the end of this month. He will wear a mask but I still feel nervous about it. He did go to have a couple of haircuts when the barber was allowed to be open. I know I will adjust to going into shops, the dentist, and doctor eventually. It will feel very strange in the beginning.


Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Featured image ‘Good Morning Coffee’ by Daniel Go on Flickr.com

Also sharing this post with Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, hosted by Linda G Hill. Linda who asked if we would be comfortable sharing our experience of the pandemic year. I have shared my experiences throughout the year as you know if you have been following my blog. I wanted to do a post on the One Year Anniversary of the pandemic and Natalie and Linda were thinking on the same theme.