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.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have gotten caught up on my book list. I almost believed I was over reading books anymore. Now I think I just got out of the habit. I have a prompt today from Linda G Hill for Stream of Consciousness Saturday that relates to books.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “close eyes and point.” Grab the closest printed material to you when you sit down to write your post, open it up (if it’s a book, flyer, etc.), close your eyes, and point. Whatever your finger lands on, use that as your prompt.
I am getting near the end of ‘All The Devils Are Here,’ by Louise Penny. So I picked up the book, opened it, and my finger landed in the middle of a sentence on ‘hand reached.’ This made me think of people reaching out a hand to each other. Which leads me to something I have been thinking about after reading three other books on my list,
‘The Glass Hotel’ by Emily St. John Mandel
‘The Witch Elm’ by Tana French
‘His and Hers’ by Alice Feeney
There is a thread connecting all three of these books. The last book was one from my book group and some of us picked up on this thread. It has to do with the flaws of many of the lead characters, (protagonists), that you would usually want to root for. Not that characters can’t have any flaws but when they have too many I find it hard to be in their corner. They definitely did not reach out to help each other. What was disturbing is how they almost casually, mindlessly caused harm.
Maybe, the authors are all in a negative mind set from all the bad going on in the world. But when I read a book, I don’t want to be made depressed at the end. Louise Penny does give us characters to root for. Don’t we need that right now?
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I need an extra cup today because I did not get enough sleep last night. I’m feeling pretty grouchy as well. I woke up in the middle of the night to a pitch black room. It was creepy because I could not see a thing. What if there was someone hiding in the dark? After a bit, I told myself it was more likely the power was out. I turned toward the window on the opposite side of the bed and saw some light coming through the blind. The room was warm and it felt like there was no air, so I decided to get up and crack open the blind and window. I carefully walked over and opened the blind, then slid one side of the window open. I thought I saw a flashing light in the neighbor’s back yard and wondered could it be lightening or a fire. I groped around on my nightstand for my cell phone and clicked on the screen. This gave me some light to go into the living room and check out the house and neighbor’s yard. No more flashes from next door and our house looked normal. No one lurking in a corner or sitting on the furniture. I went back to the bedroom and there was more light in the room now from outside, but not enough to see well walking to the bathroom. I was concerned about my husband getting up and falling. When he did wake up a short time later, I informed him of the power outage and escorted him to the bathroom with my cell phone. He told me the flash lights were in the garage refrigerator. So I thought it best I be the one to go into the dark garage, with my lighted phone, to get the flashlight. It was pretty spooky to be in the dark like that. If someone said ‘boo’, I would have screamed my head off. Another spooky thing. My bedside clock radio was off during the power outage, but after the power came back on several hours later, the clock was showing the right time. Usually, it would have lost those hours, been way behind, and the dial would be flashing. I told my husband we must have a ghost. Or could I have been dreaming?
I plan to have flashlights in both of our nightstands from now on just in case.
If only I could snap my fingers and everything would be right with the world. It feels like it has been way too long that we have been living with the pandemic and all the unwanted changes it has brought to our lives. It can be hard to see when it will end. My husband and I got our COVID booster shots this week. Have to keep telling myself that infection rates are dropping.
I noticed that the grapefruit on our grapefruit tree were green for the longest time. I thought it was because there was some kind of stress or infection and the tree wasn’t able to produce normal fruit. Just this week I saw that the fruit is starting to ripen. I researched it and found out that it takes the tree 6 months to grow the fruit. It takes a good amount of time, but it will all be as it should in the end.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SOCS, is hosted by Linda G Hill.
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Natalie at Natalie the Explorer.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that if I got to sleep earlier maybe I would not sleep in and feel groggy during the day. But I have found that I sleep better if I go to bed later. Another reason I have been staying up is my habit of watching streaming TV in the evening. Lately, I have been hooked on ‘Professor T’, the Belgian version. I mentioned before that I really like police procedurals and mysteries. Professor T, aka Jasper Teerlinck, is an interesting character. He has some quirky personality traits but is a genius at solving mysteries. The supporting characters are good too. I like the secretary, Ingrid Sneyers. She has some very funny lines. I don’t mind reading the subtitles and it doesn’t get in the way of me understanding and enjoying the series.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been reading books again. One reason is I joined a book group. I haven’t been crazy about some of the books except for ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel. Since I liked that book so much I decided to read another one of hers, ‘The Glass Hotel.’ I like the way she connects each character’s story to others. They all seem to be headed for a bad ending though. I’m about half way through the book so I’ll let you know.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that through genealogy research I got into reading about the fishing fleet of Nova Scotia in ‘The August Gales, the Tragic Loss of Fishing Schooners in the North Atlantic 1926 and 1927,’ by Gerald Hallowell. I began to notice in the death records of some cousins that they were ‘lost at sea.’ One cousin, Warren Knickle, was the Captain of the schooner ‘Mahala.’ Then I noticed others were lost at sea on the same date, August 24, 1927. They went down on the Mahala as well. It turns out there were some ferocious storms in the North Atlantic where many boats were lost. Unfortunately, many of the crews were related to each other, fathers, sons, brothers, cousins. It could take weeks to verify that the ships went down because there was no ship to shore radio at that time. It made me appreciate the hard, and dangerous job they had.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I saw another roadrunner on Tuesday but my photos were too blurry to share. I did find something interesting today, a collection of fruit pits on the patio. I had seen one of the roadrunners looking up into the Fan Palm in our backyard. I wasn’t sure if it was looking at the date-like fruit or some insects. Now I a pretty confident it was checking out the fruit. It has recently ripened and one of the roadrunners must have snacked on some.
Also sharing with Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer.
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.
Coffee’s ready. My husband has been making some of the Peet’s Sumatra that a reader recommended, and it is good if you make it strong enough. Grab a cup and you can let me know if you like it. If we were having coffee I would tell you this week I was inspired by the sight of more roadrunners on my property. They are using my backyard as a throughway. I have spotted them on my back patio but if they spot me they quickly walk away. I found they exit by the side of the house near my front driveway. That is where I am able to get a few quick photos. I aspire to make them feel I am not a threat by talking to them like I might to a little child, but I am not so sure it helps because they still want to leave. While I am trying to talk in reassuring tones they will look at me and raise the crest feathers on the top of their heads quizzically. I did snap a few photos on Thursday but it is hard with a moving target.
I think they were the highlight of my week. The lowlight was I heard the homeowners board caved to pressure and reversed its ruling on masks in indoor spaces. The rule for mask wearing in set to expire tonight although they haven’t posted anything yet. Maybe they are getting pushback. They had said they are following guidelines. That is hard to believe because the CDC, State, and County guidelines recommend those vaccinated and unvaccinated to wear masks in indoor public settings because we are in a county with a high positivity rate of COVID. We are in the ‘red zone’ which is the highest. LA County is lower and they still want their residents to wear masks in public indoor settings. So no more indoor yoga class for me.
I have been pretty busy with genealogy research. I thought I was coming to the end when I find I really have a lot more to do. I have been reading a book I mentioned before, ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words,’ which makes us think about how words that made it into dictionaries were selected and who selected them. I have a new book to read for the book club. We are still meeting on Zoom until the end of the year, which is ok with me.
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.
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.
We like to eat them with melted butter or mayonnaise.
Coffee’s up. We have French Roast today. You have your choice of bagels or toast. If we were having coffee I would tell you that the weather has been cooler for a few days. This morning I was out for a walk for the first time in a while. It felt great to walk again. There were a few others out, some taking advantage of the cooler temperature to walk their dogs. The air looked clear this morning. We have had some haze in the past week. I read we are getting smoke pollution from the fires up north. That made me hesitant to get outside a lot as well. I can hear the coffee maker is ready. Let’s grab a cup.
Have you had a chance to see the new EPIX series Chapelwaite? I binged watched the first episodes last night, a spooky gothic mystery story. That and there is a new season of Vera on Britbox. I have read a bunch of the Vera books by Ann Cleaves. She has a new book out now but I want to wait until the price drops a bit.
Besides, I have a stack of books I purchased that I have yet to read.
‘All The Devils Are Here’, by Louise Penny
‘The Witch Elm,’ by Tara French
‘The Glass Hotel,’ by Emily St. John Mandel
‘The Dictionary Of Lost Words,’ by Pip Williams (I love the title).
I have not been able to get into reading books. I want to get back to it.
Lately, I have been listening to audiobooks at bedtime, by Tara Brach and Thich Nhat Hanh. There has been so much stress and bad news that I wanted some spiritual support.
Coffee’s ready. Grab a cup and pull up a chair. Today we have bagels with lox and cream cheese. The bagels were delivered this past weekend by our son from one of our favorite bagel places. He brought us two boxes. We put them in the freezer. They are fine there and just need to defrosted in the toaster oven. After heating mine, I sliced it and toasted it for a few minutes. We find that we don’t have any good bagel places near us. The one we used to go to went out of business during the pandemic. Our son tells us there is a good one near Palm Springs.
If we were having coffee I would tell you it has been a quiet week here. I decided not to participate in indoor exercise with mostly unmasked people. I did buy one of those foot pedal exercisers, mainly for my husband. I want to try it too for all the days when it is too hot to exercise outside.
It was so great to see our son and our little grandson last weekend. Our grandson just started TK, which is Transitional Kindergarten. He was born very premature so he is younger developmentally than other kids his age. His is so smart. He loves watching children’s music videos on his IPAD. I am getting familiar with his playlist. Some of the songs are ones my kids listened to when they were little, like ‘Wheels On The Bus.’ I am able to sing along with those. We have a stash of toys for him here, which he is not bored with yet. Some of the toys are over 30 years old. They were our kids toys that we had saved. He used to like to play ball with me, rolling a small rubber ball back and forth. I noticed this time he rolled me the ball while he went on playing with a toy he was more interested in. He was multi-tasking with Meme, and didn’t want to leave me out.
It’s hard to believe this is the end of August. Another year passing in this pandemic fog. I know we will come out it but the news from many places is sad. Stay well, stay safe, get vaccinated.