Coffee’s up. Pull up a chair and join me. If we were having coffee I would tell you that since moving to our new home in the desert during a pandemic, my husband and I have had to learn how to assemble some of the furnishings we needed. We have assembled outdoor lounge chairs and indoor side chairs. It has been ‘interesting’ reading the directions for each project. My husband worked very hard on the lounge chairs but eventually got them built.
The latest project was a sleeper sofa from Ikea. I looked for quite a while to find the right sofa for our small second bedroom. I learned some things in the process, like I need to keep in mind the width of the doorway into the room. I studied all the specs carefully to determine if the sofa would fit through the door. It turned out with Ikea the sofa comes in several boxes to be assembled by its new owners. Ikea recommends a service called ‘Task Rabbit’ to hire people to come out and assemble your purchase. Unfortunately, there was no ‘Task Rabbit’ available in our area. So we were it.
We were both apprehensive at the start. We put off opening the boxes for a couple of weeks. Finally, my husband asked if I wanted to get started. I reluctantly said OK. We studied the illustrations provided by Ikea and had a few debates about what the instructions meant. Little by little we put the parts together. I am proud to announce that my husband and I put together our new sofa sleeper by ourselves. I think it looks pretty nice. Now our kids can come to visit and sleep over.
I don’t collect things like I may have in the past. I prefer to travel light now. The few things I hang on to are family photos and a few special greeting cards or letters. If you have a lot of stuff it adds to the clutter in your house and in your mind.
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.
I have been writing about my re-emergence into the world. In the past couple of weeks I have made those long put off appointments for a haircut, routine medical tests, and started taking some live in-person exercise classes. We are still taking precautions in California like mask wearing and social distancing. Each foray into the world has been a learning experience in increasing my comfort level around people again. There has been visibly more activity in our neighborhood. I see more people on foot or driving around. It seems like there are more repairmen trucks parked in front of neighbor’s residences.
One thing missing from view when I have been outside is my friend The Roadrunner. I was thinking this could be due to all the increased human activity scaring him away or he/she was injured or killed.
I have gotten in the habit of taking my cell phone with me every time I go on a walk so I can take photos. I always keep an eye out for The Roadrunner. As I mentioned, I haven’t seen him, until today. I was on my way to the mailbox and he was crossing the road near there. I was so excited to see him I said it out loud, ‘I’m so glad to see you.’ We stood still observing each other. I did not have confidence to point my cell camera and get a good photo for fear of spooking him. He ran over to a palm and disappeared. I gave the palm a wide birth so as not to startle him or have him charge me. The palm was next to the mailbox and there was a wall behind it so I am pretty sure he was in there somewhere. He did not come out and I did not want to go in after him. Next time I will try for the photo even if I am shooting blind.
Thinking about all the places where the pandemic is surging. Sending thoughts and wishes for strength and healing. Let this terrible time be over.