Why Being a Mother Means Forever

OK, here’s the real deal on parenthood.

IT NEVER ENDS.

Like that proverbial albatross in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, being an active parent doesn’t end at eighteen or twenty-one.

They don’t tell you that in the Guide to Being a Mom and Dad — oh wait, there IS no real, nitty gritty “how to” manual that tells it like it REALLY is.

But I’m here to tell you — from my own personal experience — BEFORE you think about the joys of having a baby — is that there’s never an end date on your responsibilities and obligations.

Not that it’s bad or anything; but this is an important point to remember.

Here we are, tugboat man and I, NOT on vacation, NOT hiking or camping a newly discovered wilderness area, but on the east coast in sweat-producing humidity, doing HARD physical labor (not unlike the labor of childbirth) helping Angel Boy get his house ready to go on the market.

Sweating profusely, I might add.

I’m wearing sweatpants and a stained shirt, helping to empty the house and into the dumpster.

Eight years of JUNK.

And all done out of love, ‘cos we’d do anything for that baby boy, whose smile for me is and will always be the sun and the moon and the stars.

You’ve been warned.

Gotta go, I’ve been called back to work.

Just a heads up that parenthood lasts FOREVER.

AND P.S. if you’re in the Rhode Island area, or relocating to RI, let me know. I’ve got a great house perfect just for you!

Heed the Call of the Song Dog: Why Coyotes are Important

coyoteprintlagoonWhen we first moved to Carlsbad in 1985 well before a LOT of indiscriminately built developments encroached upon animal habitats, our street abruptly stopped at a magical and wild hillside covered with sage, buckwheat, and coyote bush. There were deer and bobcats; even a mountain lion sighting now and again.

And always the ubiquitous coyote.

I’ve only spotted them a dozen or so times, but their scat is always present, and the symphony of songs we’ve heard over the years has been part of the joy of living here.

At sunset, at midnight, before sunrise, our lives have been punctuated with yips and howls.

Recently, there’s been one particular voice that belongs to a specific coyote we’ve named “Old Man” because he has a distinctive lower tone, and his signature song is one solitary defined melodious cadence.

It’s an unspoken code between tugboat man and I that if one of us hears a coyote — even in the dead of night — and even if one is asleep, we wake each other so that we can both enjoy it.

What is so amazing about “Old Man” is not only his distinctive voice, but he seems to be located in our yard, and silly or not, we believe he’s communicating with us.

I know. Crazy, right?

That’s one reason why we’re so upset about all the development that willfully destroys their environment: coyotes play a necessary and important role in managing rodents and rabbit over-populations.

COYOTEPIC

Beautiful and intelligent.

I’ve curated some great information about coyotes from Project Coyote and The Natural History of the Urban Coyote in hopes that everyone will learn to love, protect, and respect them as much as we do:

Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.
Due to sensationalistic reporting, many urban residents think all coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity, or that they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.

Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores and will eat fruits and vegetables along with animal prey.  A study by Urban Coyote Research Program analyzed over 1,400 scats and found that “the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only about 2 percent of the scats had human garbage and just 1.3 percent showed evidence of cats. “Apparently, the majority of coyotes in our study area do not, in fact, rely on pets or garbage for their diets,” say the researchers.

This aligns logically with urban coyotes’ preference of sticking to parks, preserves, cemeteries, and other out-of-the-way areas as much as possible. The food available in these locations is rodents, reptiles, fallen fruit and other food items that are part of a natural diet.

Coyotes of course take feral cats or the occasional domestic cat that has been left outdoors, and there is certainly evidence that coyotes that have become habituated and overly bold will go after small dogs. However pets are not primary prey for them, not by a long shot.

As it is with the presence of apex predators in any ecosystem, having coyotes living and thriving in an urban area is a positive sign of the health and biodiversity of urban areas. Their presence can be considered a thumbs-up for the quality of a city’s urban ecology.

Project Coyote, a North American coalition of wildlife scientists, educators, predator- friendly ranchers and community leaders, promotes compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife.

As a national non-profit organization based in Northern California, Project Coyote works to change negative attitudes toward coyotes, wolves and other native carnivores by replacing ignorance and fear with understanding, respect and appreciation.

All of our work — through education, science, and advocacy — strives to create fundamental and systemic changes in the ways wild carnivores are viewed and treated in North America.

Why Coyotes?
As the most persecuted native carnivore and a species that has existed in North America since the Pleistocene, the Coyote represents all misunderstood and exploited predators. Poisoned, trapped, aerial gunned and killed for bounties and in contests, an estimated 500,000 coyotes die every year in the U.S. alone — one per minute.

Revered and respected by Native Americans for their intelligence and resilience, coyotes have much to teach us about the capacity to evolve and coexist in the face of rapid ecological and social change.

By changing attitudes toward coyotes, we replace fear and misconceptions with respect and appreciation for all native carnivores as ambassadors for healthy and sustainable ecosystems

How to make your community coyote-aware:

Whether you live in a rural or urban area, you can help to educate your community about coyotes and coyote coexistence strategies.

Many state wildlife agencies are underfunded and understaffed and simply don’t have the resources to address increasing human-wildlife conflicts resulting from urban sprawl, habitat fragmentation, and growing human populations.

Here are just a few ways that you can help make your community Coyote Aware:

  • Organize a Coexisting with Coyotes event in your community; contact Project Coyote to see if one of our staff or Advisory Board members can speak in your community or suggest someone locally.
  • Organize a screening of American Coyote—Still Wild at Heart in your community; this may be combined with a guest speaker presentation.
  • Ask your local cable station to air American Coyote—Still Wild at Heart
  • Write letters to the editor to help educate your community about coyotes and the important ecological role they play in maintaining species diversity and ecosystem health. Click here for our tips for writing letters to the editor.
  • Organize a tabling event at local venues or events and help distribute Project Coyote educational materials.
  • Help spread our message and support our work by purchasing and wearing Project Coyote merchandise. Visit our CafePress shop to see our latest hip t-shirt designs and other products.

Let’s all learn to CO-exist with the coyote.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201210/coyotes-lets-appreciate-americas-song-dog

Coyote, America’s song dog, is an amazing and magnificent animal who is very misunderstood, historically maligned, and tragically and reprehensibly persecuted. Coyotes are intelligent, playful, affectionate, and devoted caregivers. Native Americans appreciated them as cunning tricksters. They are among the most adaptable animals on Earth and are critical to the integrity of many diverse ecosystems. I know coyotes well having studied them for decades.

North America is home to a very special wild dog—the coyote. Highly respected by Native Americans, coyotes have held a special place in our history. The Navajo’s sheep and goat herders greatly revered coyotes, and referred to them as “God’s dog.” It wasn’t until sheep ranchers began running large herds of unprotected sheep that coyotes began to be viewed in an unfavorable light.

 coyoteQuiet and intelligent, coyotes play a special role in our sense of the natural world and in our eco-system.

Though our interactions with coyotes are rare, these fascinating animals live in nearly every city in the country, and in every forest and town in between. Because they’re predators that will occasionally prey upon the domesticated animals we love—our cats and chickens—coyotes have been reviled by many. But it’s important to keep in mind that, like any predator, coyotes play an important role in keeping our ecosystem in balance.

42% of a coyote’s diet is made up of rodents. That means that coyotes work hard every day to keep a cap on the mouse and rat populations in our area. In farming areas, coyotes can be seen following farm machinery as they catch the voles and rodents that flee the machine. Nearly 30% of their diet is berries and grasses.

Lcoyote pupike all omnivores, coyotes will take food wherever they find it, which means that they will also eat insects, fawns, birds, frogs, snakes, and human trash. Coyotes eat raccoons. And, given the chance, a coyote will eat a cat. This happens rarely, however—studies show that cats make up less than 1% of a coyote’s diet.

In many parts of our region, coyotes are an apex predator, which means that they are at the top of the food chain. By nature, they keep the other animal populations in check.

Humans and Coyotes
Because coyotes are predators, their history with humans has been filled with violence. Coyotes are hunted in many parts of the country, including Washington State. Yet studies show that where coyotes are hunted and trapped, females produce more pups per litter than in areas where they are protected.

coyote pupMany people worry that coyotes might attack or bite a human child, but the truth is that coyotes shy away from people. In Kitsap County, for example, in 2007 there were 189 dog bites reported. There has never been a coyote bite incident in Kitsap.

Not all humans fear or dislike coyotes. For many of us, the coyote is a mystical, elegant animal. There’s magic in seeing a silent coyote standing on the forest’s edge, watching us warily before trotting, light-footed, into the woods. Coyotes are the closest thing we have to wolves, to the wild equivalent of the dogs we know and love in our homes.

Family Life
Some coyote pairs live together for years, hunting and raising pups together. From time to time, these bonds last for life. Coyotes breed in late winter (something to think about on Valentine’s Day.)
During pregnancy, the female digs a den under an uprooted tree or log or in a thicket or other protected area. The den usually has a small opening, but is 5 – 15 feet inside with a sizeable nesting chamber at the back end.

coyoteAfter 63 days of pregnancy, the female will enter the den to give birth to a litter of pups. The average litter is four pups, but this varies depending on food availablility and the density of the local coyote population.

Coyote pups are mainly cared for by their mother, sometimes with help from an older sibling. The male hunts for the family during this time. After the pups emerge from the den at 2 – 3 weeks, they’re ready to start eating regurgitated food in addition to their mother’s milk.

Coyote parents with young pups often move from one den to another in order to keep their pups safe and secret. Moving also helps limit the mess in any one house!

Young coyotes usually stay with their parents until they’re 6 – 8 months old.

Coyotes are incredibly adaptive, even to human society. In pioneer days, coyotes lived exclusively in the Intermountain West, but as people have expanded their territory, so have the coyotes. Human trash, development, and infrastructure have helped coyotes spread all over the country.

They may be quiet around people, but coyotes have plenty to say to each other. They bark and howl to signal danger, woof and growl to show threat, and they whine or yip in greeting. Group howls are often given when the family is trying to communicate with an absent family member.

Read more about Coexisting with Coyotes and Fun Facts about Coyotes.

“…I’m not impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.”

Who said that?

Um…

I did.

For those of you who don’t live in my little town, here’s a bit of background in a previous post:

Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

It’s become painfully clear that elected officials in Carlsbad seem to ONLY represent some of the people some of the time when it meets their own agenda.

I should state that I did not vote for ANY of those elected officials.

It’s about time we rethink WHO and WHAT we want to represent the best interests of Carlsbad.

No more realtors and developers or friends of realtors and developers.

We need a complete overhaul of city governance.

It’s time to emulate better cities with better practices who do what’s right for the environment and not what’s best for their personal interests.

I blame myself for not getting more deeply involved, and for not running for office  — there’s really no excuse.

The only other time I stepped up was to get a skate park built here, because I was tired of the way young skateboarders (my son included) were bullied and harassed by law enforcement and others; I rallied and organized hundreds of young people and their parents with petitions and public speaking, and due to my efforts, a skate park was built.

On Tuesday, August 25, Carlsbad City Hall was filled to overflowing with hundreds of people — people who were mocked and denigrated for demanding our democratic political process to be followed — for demanding transparency in government.

Toward the end of the evening, the mayor (who I believe fashions himself after Donald Trump) refused to allow the opposition their freedom of speech allowed time to speak for three minutes as he told them they now had only one minute AND couldn’t repeat anything that was previously said.

I believe he did NOT similarly admonish the supporters of the mall AND he gave Caruso an extra FIVE MINUTES to speak after everyone else had spoken or given up, defeated, and went home.

Hmmm.

Questionable?

I think YES.

The main point here is that the concerns of the citizens about the circumvention of standard process — was absolutely ignored.

The development was greenlighted by 100% of the council.

We don’t matter.

That’s the message I heard LOUD and CLEAR.

If you don’t agree with us, we don’t care about you.

And to the elderly woman who pushed me, you know who you are…you better be DAMN glad that tugboat man stepped in before you enjoyed a taste of a batshit crazy Jewish princess.

This is the same woman who called another woman a bitch because she was having a calm and INTELLIGENT conversation with an elderly gentleman (her husband?) rationally explaining the many reasons why and how Caruso had gamed the system with his council cronies.

Where is the sisterhood?

What is wrong with you?

And give me some of that Kool-aid y’all have been drinking.

It’s damn good.

Caruso’s main body of cult-like followers seem to be every single retired person who has swallowed that Kool-aid and bought into his heavenly representation of white blonde children running among the butterflies along the lagoon, stopping to shop at Nordstrom and lunching at the many corporate restaurant chains.

Maybe the reason these people got duped is because Caruso’s shady marketing campaign looks like heaven to them and that’s where a good percentage of them will be way before this mall ever opens.

Suh-NAP!

I was one of the fortunate ones who signed up to speak early, and was not challenged nor admonished to stop speaking (which I would have ignored anyway).

Most people who spoke in opposition simply want the right to vote on this major mall development on Agua Hedionda.

My desire goes further; to avoid the rape of even more land, and especially Agua Hedionda, where it needs to be left alone completely.

My speech, in its entirety:

“First, I’d like to make a brief observation; other than the farm workers at the strawberry fields, Caruso’s soft focused Utopian propaganda video had no people of cultural diversity represented. Kind of crazy, right? I mean, when you really think about it? What’s that all about?

[This refers to a video shown by Caruso Affiliated. Big bucks in play here.]

Mayor and council, I need to make myself particularly clear. 

I’m not impressed by fancy suits and ‘healthy’ fake tans.

My family and I are vehemently opposed to the development of Agua Hedionda.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive resource and ecosystem that needs to be saved and protected and restored, NOT built upon and destroyed.

I love to shop and I don’t want Nordstrom built on the lagoon when we have a perfectly good mall that needs the promised renovation.

No matter what or how we were duped in 1986 and 2006, that should not mean this deception should continue.

For thirty years, I’ve watched you and other councils systematically destroy land and native habitats in Carlsbad.

This needs to stop.

Enough is enough.

My family and I vehemently oppose all building on Agua Hedionda.

Enough is enough.

Leave it alone.

Shame on you Mayor and City Council. 

Shame on you all.

And finally, Mr. Blackburn, we met privately about the pet store in the Westfield mall that sells puppy mill dogs and you PROMISED me that when the mall was renovated and all the stores were closed, that store would be gone and wouldn’t be allowed back. But it’s still open. You promised and I feel betrayed.

Do the right thing, would you?”


How about you guys? What’s the local government like in your town or city?
I’m fascinated and repulsed by all this behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing.

Reaching the Pinnacle with Tugboat Man and Fighting Off a Rogue Gang of Raccoons

Hee hee.

Pinnacles National Park, that is.

It’s been a busy summer.

Last week we camped and hiked at Pinnacles, south of San Fran, and made our way up to Angel Boy/DIL for a few days.

This weekend we’re off to Providence, Rhode Island to get all physical and dirty helping him prep his house to sell since he starts his tenure track professorship at University of Washington at the end of September.

So much to do in not much time!

Back to Pinnacles…which was one national park I had never before heard of until my son hiked there a while back.

Pinnacles, Muir Woods, and the Grand Canyon were all set aside as national monuments in the span of seven days in January 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt.

The night before we left, I got a concussion by doing something really stupid. I’m accident prone on the best of days, but this was stupid even for me. I was trying to show tugboat man that I could get in his truck without his help –being so short, it’s a big step UP to get in — but I failed to factor in the fact that he had parked on the street which means the door is at least a foot lower ‘cos of the curb. So I opened the door and proceeded to jump in, and promptly smacked my head HARD on the car. I mean HARD.

As in seeing stars hard.

As in smacking my teeth against my lip hard.

As in feeling a bit dazed and confused hard.

My pupils were round, equal, and reactive – and I didn’t fall asleep, but I had a lump, a horrible headache, and was sorta nauseous, so I figured it was a mild concussion and didn’t tell hub how bad it actually hurt cos he would have wanted me to go to the ER and get a CT scan and I wanted to go on the trip.

I’m a tough girl like that.

Pinnacles National Park is a United States National Park protecting a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley in Central California, eighty miles southeast of San Jose.

People come to Pinnacles to hike, rock climb, watch and study wildlife, view wildflowers, and experience nature. Pinnacles offers solitude, challenge, and escape from the urban interface of both the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.

Unlike many national parks, Pinnacles is most popular in the cooler months. During the spring, when the grasses are green and a variety of wildflowers can be seen along any trail, hiking is at its best. Fall and winter are also excellent times to visit.

During the summer, extreme temperatures can make hiking uncomfortable at best, and possibly dangerous for those who are unprepared. If you plan to visit Pinnacles from late May through early September, please check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.

We knew it was supposed to be HOT, but arriving in the afternoon, the heat of the day was already starting to abate and we got our campsite all set up before heading out to hike.

There was extreme fire danger; all campfires were outlawed, but we had a propane stove to cook dinner, so we were all set.

Our first hike was pretty easy, to Bear Gulch.

My head was pounding from what I felt was probably a traumatic brain injury but I persevered.

The cave is closed part of the year to protect bats raising their young, but was partially open and not to be missed. You need a flashlight cos parts of it are pitch black and kind of scary, but the steps are well maintained and there are handrails, too. Even if you’re claustrophobic, you should go – it’s that amazing.

Back at camp, we made dinner and discussed going to bed early. Without a campfire, there’s not much to do at night but sleep.

We had been warned about aggressive raccoons with cautions to secure all food and aggressively shout to deter them, but NOTHING could have prepared us for what happened as the sun set.

I was relaxing, nursing a cup of tea, swallowed another acetominephen (don’t take real aspirin if you even think you have a concussion or a brain bleed)  and watched hub clean up after dinner. The back of the truck was open and he was half inside the camper, securely packing up the food.

Peregrine falcons and California condors took advantage of the cooling afternoon breezes to circle high above the treeline.

This is when a gang of six to eight raccoons ran under the truck and started to jump in right where hub was!

I simultaneously screamed at him to shut the tailgate and grabbed my hiking sticks, proceeding to smack them together and yell, “get out of here!” as loud as I good, which is pretty loud and they deffo got the message.

The gang ran off into the bushes for a minute, regrouped, and returned.

This went on for what seemed like forever.

These raccoons were on a rampage.

Then the raccoons split off into two groups; a couple of them were the decoys that tried to lure me away while the others aimed for hub and the food.

Hub continued to put things away and I banged the sticks together and ran interference; blocking their access to our vehicle — on their final attack, three of the little hooligans hopped on the picnic table and were figuring out a way to run off with our propane stove.

I was so involved in defending our food that I wasn’t able to take any photos of the invasion.

But I took lots of pics of deer. Deer were everywhere, casually walking by our campsite; moms with fawns, family groups…it was beautiful.

We were awakened a couple of times during the night by coyotes singing, howling, and yipping so close it seemed they were right outside our tent.

We felt they were communicating approval of the way we handled the raccoon “situation” and our efforts to foil their looting.

The next morning we woke up early to beat the heat and hike before it got too hot.

Condor Gulch Trail is only about three miles round trip to the Overlook, but with a moderately steep 1,100 foot elevation. We ate lunch at the overlook, and it was a truly spectacular view.

This trail offers spectacular views of the High Peaks, whether you hike just a few minutes or the entire trail.

Photos:

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In Pursuit of the Perfect Vegan Backpack

“Maybe you’re trying too hard.”

That’s tugboat man’s sage response to my rhetorical question, “why is it so hard to find the perfect vegan pursepack?”

It’s my new mission/obsession/desire.

With all this travelling we’ve embarked upon lately, not all of it is strictly camping — like last week when we ended up in San Fran to see son/DIL and we were walking around the city — too much walking for a traditional purse (deffo not my Channies) nor a crossbody bag as we ended up at Lands End, and not rugged enough for my REI backpack, so I decided to go off on one of my totes obsesh mish to locate the PERFECT designer VEGAN small pursebackpack.

This is not an easy task.

More handbag companies need to design small pursepacks for their collections.
In my opinion, it’s the next big TREND.

Criteria:

  • Safety: I need it to have zippers for safety and security. There are lots of cute backpacks with flaps and drawstrings, but that’s not practical. It’s just asking for a criminal type to stick a thieving hand in and steal my wallet, phone, and camera.
  • Size: It can’t be too big nor too small. I don’t want to carry the weight of the world on my back, just the essentials.
  • Style: Classy, not childish (no Hello Kitty this time); able to look good with nice jeans or a maxi dress.

Here’s what I found in the marketplace:

For high (priced) fashion, there’s Stella McCartney but hub said NO in a very loud voice to a vegan backpack that’s around eleven hundred dollars, so…no Stella, unfortunately. Much love to her for not using any leather or fur in her designs. (Although if she’s reading this, please send one, OKAY??) http://www.stellamccartney.com

I found Gunas…High Fashion. Zero Cruelty. They have a really cool website and a decent quantity of well-designed backpacks in the one to two-hundred dollar range. 100% vegan and ethically made. Awesome! http://www.gunasthebrand.com/

Very cute backpack designs carried at Nordstrom by Matt & Nat…Ethics, sustainability, transparency. Committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in their designs, experimenting with different recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber, and cork. Since 2007, they use linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. http://mattandnat.com

Nasty Gal offers a variety of vegan handbag/backpack but not all of their other lines (like shoes) are vegan.

As I strolled the aisles at TJ Maxx after the gym,  I discovered an adorably simple and functional backpack by a company I had never before heard of, Violet Ray, so I did a little research.

Designed in the midst of New York’s fast paced high stress fashion industry, Violet Ray’s practical, utility-meets-trend approach, shines through. Classic shapes with modern purpose; polished custom hardware, varied textures juxtaposed; & embellishment that maintains function. A mecca of ideas & inspirations relayed into a streamlined product. Violet Ray invokes a familiar mood, while reconfiguring those ideas to portray a progressive, contemporary edge. Designs are ambitious at a attainable price point.”

Sounds good to me!

Here’s what I brought home: Blaire Zip Flap Backpack in navy (but it looks lighter than navy.)
Regularly priced at $88.00; on sale at TJ Maxx for $35.00.
It’s crafted
 from a smooth faux suede snakeskin material and has two front zipper pockets for extra storage. Its unique front zipper opening gives it a sassy flare and has adjustable backpack straps.

Zippers, comfort, function, style, VEGAN, and of course I added a little embellishment ‘cos that’s what I DO. This backpack is perfect for the essentials and more grownup looking than most of my accessories.pursepack vegan#vegan #veganbackpack #veganlifestyle

Change is SCARY and I Don’t Like Change

I don’t like change. I don’t DO change very well.

I like things to stay the way they are because change is SCARY.

I’ve lived in the same house for thirty years; use the same bank, cell phone provider, fragrance, car, laundry detergent, husband.

I’m a creature of HABIT.

When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. Herman Hesse

Thirty years of being here with trees that were already planted and grown and mature when we moved in, thirty years of pine needles and leaves and changing seasons.

All gone in one day.

From this…pepper tree pine tree redwood tree

To this…

treetrunksyard

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. Herman Hesse

Remember the treehouse and sandbox, the downy headed woodpecker nest in the redwood, scores of miniature finches descend on the pepper tree filling the sky with cheeps and tweets, hammocks strung between strong and solid trunks; sun-dappled shade, my son and his friends skating the half-pipe under the gnarly old pine; breaking up good natured pinecone fights with freshly baked cookies and apple juice…years of good times.

It’s not like there aren’t at least a dozen more trees; we haven’t totally denuded the landscape, but we have a personal attachment to these five old friends.

CooperHawk1My beautiful hawks will no longer have a tree to perch in and survey the pond.

No more. 

I don’t like change. Change is by nature unpredictable and I like to know what’s going to happen from day to day, year to year.

Tugboat man wore me down, convinced me that sometimes change CAN lead to good or even better, and because I trust him implicity, I’m willing to TRY.

In this case, we’re removing five trees that should never have been planted in the backyard: a California redwood (not meant to live in SoCal), a huge pine tree (mostly dying), a one-hundred-foot eucalyptus (volunteer plant/mistake), a Brazilian pepper tree (invasive), and a non-fruiting mulberry that’s way too close to the house with roots that could cause foundation damage.

We’ll replace them with an orchard of apples and oranges, peaches and plums, nectarines and avocados.

Fruit to eat, to can, to jam, to freeze, to bake into pies and toss into smoothies.

It’s going to be amazing and fruitful.

But I’m still sad to say goodbye to these friendly trees that hugged our backyard and nurtured my son’s evolution from kindergarten to college graduate.

Thirty years this October.

It’s a whole new reality, a new beginning, but we’re going to honor the life and spirit of each tree by saving wood from each trunk and creating something to memorialize them.

From the redwood we’ll build a table and a bookcase; not sure yet about what to do to save the spirit of the others, except for a mountain of firewood to last a long, long time.

Au revoir to old friends.

Do you do change easily? 


The Death of a Tree

When I see a tree cut down
whose life was not yet done
I look upon it with a frown
and then look at the sun.
For the sun that nurtured every limb
and every leafy branch
has one less tree to care for
that never had a chance
to say to man
”Don’t cut me down.
Don’t let me die.
Don’t let the sap
within me dry.’

For every tree that’s been alive
that’s grown upon this earth
is a gift from nature to us all
that’s always known its worth.
The problem as I see it
is man who cannot see
just what it probably feels like?
To be the cut down tree.

Edwina Reizer

Fearless Face Protection: A Review of Cosmedicine’s Even The Score Sunscreen

http://www.cosmedicine.com/even-the-scoreWhether your summer workouts consist of tennis, yoga on the beach, running through mountain trails, or surfing, sun protection moves to the top of the list of beauty priorities.

With Even The Score™ from Cosmedicine, you’ll be able to conquer your favorite outdoor activities without the interruption of sunscreen dripping into your eyes.

This miracle anti-aging sun-protection product was designed with high-performance athletes in mind and also strives for endless beauty by providing your skin with scientifically-backed nutrients for a radiant, younger-looking complexion.

Formulated without water, Even The Score won’t mix with moisture when you sweat or swim—instead, it locks in the skin’s internal hydration with a non-comedogenic protective layer of anti-aging vital nutrition.

I’ve been using Even The Score for about three weeks. I wanted to try it in a variety of activities before I wrote this review.

We used it while hiking Pinnacles in Central Cali, hub used it during every single surf sesh, and my son slathered it on while he ran up Twin Peaks in San Fran.

It performed BEAUTIFULLY and is truly water-resistant.

My son and I wear contacts and we were so pleased that we didn’t even get a drop of that usual stinging sunscreen in our eyes like we normally do, and Even The Score stayed put during hub’s surfing.

Did you know that this skincare lifesaver works for a cause?

A portion of proceeds from the sale of this product are used to fund Cosmedicine’s Even the Score™ Foundation to support skin cancer prevention efforts and furtherance of research for the cure.

Just the kind of product that gets my vote!

New to Cosmedicine?

This luxury skincare brand is steeped in the rich traditions of European based aesthetics treatment. The Cosmedicine formulation logic is unique in the marketplace and stems from the company’s mission to minimize beauty regimens while maximizing results. It provides its discerning clientele with the tools necessary to establish, maintain, and preserve beautiful, clear, healthy, and youthful skin.

When you live in California, sunscreen is second nature; we need to use it every day, and Even The Score is perfect skin protection, even if you’re just spending the afternoon gardening and you’re not charging up Condor Gulch or Mt. Whitney.

http://www.cosmedicine.com/even-the-score


I was provided no compensation, just product for sample and review.

Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is poised to become the backdrop for yet another nauseating acquisitive gluttony of commerce in an outdated mode of brick and mortar.

This is NOT what Carlsbad wants OR needs.

I stand in firm opposition to Caruso Affiliated 85/15 plan to build a Nordstrom-anchored monstrosity of a shopping center on the lagoon at the strawberry fields, in complete and utter disdain for its ecological and environmental importance to the sensitive ecosystem.

boatonbeachIn SoCal, we live very close to a lagoon called Agua Hedionda, (not the uber-romantic tropical blue lagoon in Kauai where my husband and I spent a magical pre-honeymoon in 1993) but this little lagoon of ours was named by the first Spanish explorers. The odor they reported might have come from a nearby Indian village, a sulphur spring, or possibly from decayed matter on the shores of the lagoon.

If you’ve ever been stuck in the muck, which is like quicksand in some spots, or if you’ve tried to wash the dried mud off a dog, you’d know it has a distinctively pungent odor.

Stinking waters for sure.

Still, it’s important historically for the Kumeyaay Native Americans AND the environment, and many of us are disturbed and concerned about the rumblings of development and a shopping center.

The developers seem to be trying to circumvent the standard process and place the development directly to the voters through the initiative process.

Hmm…something else smells in Carlsbad, don’t you agree?

Did you know that in November 2000, Agua Hedionda was designated as a critical habitat for the tidewater goby?

The San Diego Reader published a compelling article about this potential development: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/may/29/stringers-carlsbad-strawberry-fields-development/

From the article: Some say the initiative tactic used by big developers is a ploy to sway a generally uninformed electorate; or, in some cases, hoodwink them with slick or misleading campaigns. Additionally, councilmembers usually get a little nervous when angry mobs of voters show up at public hearings, usually opposed to large-scale development projects. Thus, councilmembers are more likely to follow public sentiment and vote against a project.

But Carlsbad residents should have seen this coming ten years ago, when voters passed another initiative, Proposition D. The measure set aside as permanent open space 300 acres along Cannon Road, which included some of the strawberry fields and the hills above the lagoon. Some Carlsbad activists say voters were duped, thinking open space was a good thing, but not realizing the rest of land could then be rezoned as commercial.

Learn about Prop D: http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/11/07/ca/sd/prop/D/SierraClubWalk4

Just because some of Carlsbad voters may have been mislead by the 2006 Prop D’s real motives is no reason to give up and allow this shopping center on the lagoon under the power lines.

And come ON, do we really need MORE traffic congestion?

SierraClubWalk3

While I dug around for more information, I discovered an interesting read from 1976, California Department of Fish and Game U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s coastal wetlands report, The Natural Resources of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

I discovered some interesting data about how important is was — and IS —  to protect the lagoon’s rich environment and heritage; to preserve and enhance its natural resources.

Read it here: http://aquaticcommons.org/552/1/natural_resources_of_agua_hedionda_lagoon.pdfagua hedionda1976

Excerpts from the study:

Long-range resource management in the southern California lagoons and estuaries must be based on an understanding of the interactions of ecological factors involved, including human use.

PROBLEMS AND CONFLICTS OF USE
Development
The greatest threat to the present status of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and its environs is the continuing pressure for development of the lagoon and its watershed. The demand is for three principal types of development: 1) recreational 2) residential 3) industrial.

The City has prepared a very good and quite complete environmental impact report (EIR) that defines land uses in light of the environmental information available on not only the natural resources of the lagoon, but also on water and air quality, agriculture, aquaculture, archeological sites, energy conservation measures, as well as noise, traffic, visual resources, utilities, community services and recreation facilities. The EIR on the specific plan also speaks well to the relationship between local, short-term uses of the resources as opposed to preservation, maintenance and enhancement of the long-term productivity of the environment of the lagoon area. The specific plan EIR also enumerates the environmental effects which cannot be avoided if the project is implemented. These include: 1) a decrease in the amount of open space, 2) alteration of natural land forms, 3) removal of a small portion of the remaining natural vegetation, 4) displacement of some of the resident animal populations and partial destruction of their habitat, 5) an increase in erosion potential through vegetation cover removal, an increase in demand for recreational facilities, etc., 6) some problems in water quality maintenance and 7) increased human encroachment on sensitive natural and scenic areas. The EIR reflects the City of Carlsbad planning department’s awareness of and concern for the area’s natural resources. For the EIR also contains many sound mitigation measures for the impacts on the environment identified in the report. The EIR went into the review process in June 1976, and will be reviewed by several appropriate agencies, including the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Which brings us to right back to that odor, the stench of back door politics at work.

A couple of groups have emerged to help organize those of us who not only do NOT want our city to be further sullied by unnecessary development that’s killed most of what made Carlsbad unique, but is troubled by Caruso’s attempts to bypass the city’s usual planning and public hearing process and circumvent city municipal codes.

rosecarlsbad copyWhat can we do?

  1. GET INVOLVED!
  2. Send the Carlsbad City Council a PINK ROSE and urge them to let the people vote on the Caruso Affiliated Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan. (1200 Carlsbad Village Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008) (I brought a rose with a note attached to the council offices but the receptionist didn’t really didn’t want her picture taken as she accepted it.)
  3. Join Carlsbad Locals Against The Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carlsbad-Locals-Against-The-Agua-Hedionda-8515-Plan/782521181866712?fref=ts
  4. Join Citizens For North County http://www.citizensfornorthcounty.org/
  5. Attend protests, meetings.
  6. Vote/recall these politicians out of office!

how to excite your spouse (or why you men should really listen to us)

What happened in our home a few minutes ago is a perfect example of one of the many differences between men and women and if nothing else, it succinctly illustrates the very real fact that men do NOT listen with their full attention when we speak.

The facts:

I was cleaning the bathroom this morning.

Hub was in the garage.

I walked out to the garage and said to him…

“I need some white caulk”

THAT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT WHAT HE HEARD because his response was, with graphic hand gestures (ahem)…

“I’ve got some right here for you.”

End of story.

My plea to MY husband AND your significant other:

Please pay attention to us so that you will be spared the embarrassment (and disappointment) when you actually comprehend what we’ve said when we talk to you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to CAULK the area around the shower.

Have a lovely weekend.

caulk

Shhh…I have a secret

I do. Have a secret.

Not gonna tell.

Not yet.

But you’ll be the first to know.

Well, not the first, but high up on my list.

Maybe not super high on the list, but you definitely won’t be the LAST to know.

You can guess, but I’ll never tell until I do.

P.S. A good secret, nothing bad, neg, dark, sad.

Happy Wednesday!