Southern California Rain. Stuck Inside The House.

Being the princess that I am, I don’t like to drive in the rain. I like to be DRIVEN around in the rain, but my private chauffeur/tugboat man’s not here, so I decided to stay home and concentrate on indoor activities, something that as a California girl, I really hate!

Our office can always use a bit of organizing-such a perfect job for a rainy day. My tugboat man and I found the table discarded on our street; hauled it home, and refinished it (well, he did all the work). Perfect for the office sofa!

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Lots of seashells and rocks and a glimpse of my 70s sewing machine. Oopsie doodle, Chanel bag photobomb.officerain3

From the office window, my camera’s pointed down to the California native and drought tolerant part of our front lawn area, which I designed and planted with my own dainty hands.officerain Gloomy and drippy day. Right across the street. You can see where I looked for Angel Boy playing at recess when he was in elementary school. Ever the protective mom…officerain2

Here’s a bright spot of color…my on-time blooming Christmas cactus.
xmascactus2014 xmascactus20142What do you do when it rains?

 

Sunset On A Heavenly California Horizon

A photographic essay. Southern California. End of November. Big surf. Late afternoon.

It’s so cool to showcase this amazing Carlsbad sunset embellished by WordPress snow.sunset1

 

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A glorious ending to a spectacular day. Happy December!



The Unbearable Death of a Boy-Man

It’s been  a year since my son’s boyhood friend tragically died in Hawaii from a surfing accident.  His body was never recovered. I wanted to take a moment to remember this bright shiny boy and the joy he brought to everyone he met.

From Kirk's Facebook page

From Kirk’s Facebook page

The loss of a child cannot be fathomed.

Who could ever be prepared for their child to die before them?

There must be endless tears and sorrow and sadness and a forever and unrelenting pain.

For me, it’s a pure and simple matter.

If I never heard my son’s voice again or was never able to wrap my arms around him, I don’t know if I could take another breath.

…On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Kirk Passmore, 32, a passionate big-wave surfing veteran and Hawaii resident, is presumed to have drowned and as of today his body has not been found.

One minute he was alive, surfing an estimated 20-foot wave at Alligator Rock on Oahu’s North Shore, with an audience of other surfers and photographers.

He dropped into the steep face of the wave before falling over the front of his board and into the water.

The top of the wave crashed over him and witnesses say he surfaced for a brief moment before he was crushed by another wave.

It was the last time anyone saw him.

Although extensive searches have been conducted in the area, he’s been missing since the day of the accident and is presumed drowned.

It was all caught on video.

This is the video of his last wave. Somehow he never made it out alive.

His dad wanted the his final ride shared with as many people as possible.

Maybe you heard about this. Maybe you were watching the news on television and you paid scant attention to the story while you were on the computer or eating dinner.

Maybe you read it on the internet and saw the pictures or the video.

You probably thought to yourself or even said out loud, ” Wow, that’s really sad.”

Kirk Passmore.

Why am I writing about him?

Yes, it’s true that he was someone’s child, brother, friend.

But he was also one of my son’s friends.

They went to school together.

He’s the first of my son’s friends to die.

Kirk had the biggest smile and the reddest hair. Everyone called him “Fanta” or “Red”.

He was one of the many boys I’d chauffeur around, packed like sardines in the back seat, all gangly legs and arms, endlessly stuffing their mouths —  bottomless pits of growing boy bodies– with the cookies and smoothies and other snacks cheerfully provided to everyone who came over.

A carful of boys talking about school, skateboarding; laughing, always smiling, always a thank you for the ride as he slammed the car door.

“See ya, Jason.”

A flash of bright red hair lit the way as he ran up the walkway to his house.

But no more.

I bet for most of these boys – and I still call these thirty-somethings BOYS because to me they will always and forever be “the boys” or “the guys” — my son’s friends from Kelly Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Carlsbad High School — this is their first experience with death and subsequent thoughts of their own mortality.

I feel so bad for his family and his friends who are mourning him with candlelight vigils, surf paddle-outs, tributes, and memorials. 

To honor Kirk, they’re handling their pain with grace and beauty.

One of them, artist Bryan Snyder, created a memorial wall in our town. If you’re ever in Carlsbad, check it out.

Bryan Snyder

Bryan Snyder

Our deepest sympathies go out to Kirk’s family. Our hearts are heavy and we are so very, very sorry for their loss.

The Passmore family released the following statement:

Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah.  He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school’s surf team for four years.  As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.

He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer.  He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii.  He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California.  He also surfed Maverick’s in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico.  He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France.  He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.

Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Waialua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).

The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search.

Not a Sunflower

And not an artichoke, either.

These are SUNCHOKES.sunchoke1 I wonder what they taste like. Anyone tried them?sunchoke2According to Wikipedia, The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunrootsunchokeearth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.[2]

I haven’t harvested my tubers yet ‘cos I’m still enjoying the flowers — that’s about all that’s flourishing in my garden during this horrible drought in California — but when I do, I’ll probably roast them with garlic, since we got a HUGE string of garlic from Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, the last time we drove through central Cali.

Sunchoke Liqueur

Sunchoke Liqueur

Have you ever tried sunchoke liqueur? Maybe best of all, in Baden-WürttembergGermany, over 90% of the Jerusalem artichoke crop is used to produce a spirit called “Topinambur (de)”, “Topi” or “Rossler”.[13] By the end of the 19th-century, Jerusalem artichokes were being used in Baden to make a spirit called “Jerusalem Artichoke Brandy”, “Jerusalem Artichoke”, “Topi”, “Erdäpfler”, “Rossler”, or “Borbel”.

Jerusalem artichoke brandy smells fruity and has a slight nutty-sweet flavour. It is characterised by an intense, pleasing, earthy note. The tubers are washed and dried in an oven before being fermented and distilled. It can be further refined to make “Red Rossler” by adding common tormentil, and other ingredients such as currants, to produce a somewhat bitter and astringent decoction. It is used as digestif, as well as a remedy for diarrhea or abdominal pain.

If you’ve cooked with them, please send me your recipes. Thank you!

 

The Great ANT Invasion of 2014

English: Small hand-drawn ant graphic

English: Small hand-drawn ant graphic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a day like any other day.

My tugboat man and I awoke to the caw-caphony of a million restless crows, wishing us either a good morning or something less pleasant from the tops of every eucalyptus tree in Southern California.

I could almost taste that first fragrant sip of coffee as I put on my glasses and pulled open the drapes.

Trader Joe’s French Roast, freshly ground, filtered water — I was salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs (need I interject how much I abhor and detest any kind of animal experimentation?)

Tugboat man opened the patio doors.

“Good morning. It’s gonna be a hot one”, he said.

“That’s what they say”, I replied. And “Good morning to you!”

We are polite like that, we really are! (Well, most some of the time.)

“You’re not gonna like this”, cautioned my tugboat man.

“Uh oh, what’s wrong?”

“The kitchen is covered in ants.”

“On every surface.”

“I know you’re going to go crazy. I better leave now, haha.”

“OH MY GOD!”

“AY DIOS MIO”

This day just turned into the worst day ever.

Can you imagine what a roomful of ants, not only on every surface, countertop, floor, sink, and cupboard DOES to someone like me who is ever-so-slightly OCD?

I didn’t know where to start.

But I knew we needed coffee before anything was going to happen.

However long this cleanup would take, my strategy was to begin where it was most needed — the coffee pot area.

Can you believe there ware ants INSIDE THE GLASS CARAFE?!

Because of our ongoing drought and extreme heat, I guess they were searching for water; quite possibly that’s why the kitchen sink was black with swarming ants.

Or maybe they just decided to choose Casa de Enchanted Seashells for some sort of karmic retribution — for what, I have no idea, as I try to NEVER hurt or maim one of Mother Nature’s creatures.

But this was too much to bear.

I could foresee the hours of my day…purging all of the pots and pans and dishes out of the cupboards and food out of the pantry — cleaning and sterilizing every f***ing thing.

Like soldiers marching on the Rhine, they broke me.

I retreated.

I waved the white flag.

But it was only a strategy designed to divert those little soldiers from their goal of full-scale conquest.

I reached under the sink, surreptitiously pulled out a gigantic canister of ant spray, and with a battle cry reminiscent of Mel Gibson In Braveheart I let loose a vigorous stream of poison with the force of General Leslie GrovesManhattan Project atomic bomb testing in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Princess Rosebud won this round. I’m not proud that I surrendered to the use of toxins to win this war, but I felt I had no choice.

steaming-heart-cupFinally, we enjoyed a well-deserved mug of life-giving, life-sustaining dark, rich, bold coffee.

The spoils of war, my friends.

Mission Accomplished.

P.S. As much as I wanted them GONE, I can’t help but admire their determination. Let’s all sing along with Frank Sinatra in “High Hopes”

http://youtu.be/vWZ-pLUb9L8

SUNDAY UPDATE…BREAKING NEWS…
Mission NOT so accomplished. A terror cell of insurgents split from the main army, invading our bedroom. Coming from the attic, this has nothing to do with being thirsty. This is a military coup. Princess Rosebud is fighting back alone; her tugboat man retreated to the safety of a beach. 


 

Gif source: http://webhost.bridgew.edu/jhayesboh/coffee/steaming-heart-cup.gif

My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety

A CONFESSION.

But it’s not EXACTLY what you think.

It’s not THAT kind of performance anxiety.

I tricked you and I know it’s not nice to do, but, well, I have no excuse.

I felt like it.

:)

Surf’s been up here in Southern California. A few tropical storms brought a high surf advisory —  thus creating a happy tugboat man.

He’s always in a great mood when he can surf or ride his stand-up paddle boards.

When he was around eight years old, he lived in Kauai and was friendly with Elizabeth Taylor‘s nephew — always disappointed that he never caught of glimpse of her. He also went to elementary school with Laird Hamilton — that very famous surfer.

My tugboat man has saltwater in his blood.

On Saturday, he told me to get ready to go to the beach and bring my camera so I could shoot vid of him shredding and getting barreled and tubed and mastering the wild surf.

This was definitely too big for me to make another attempt at reinventing myself as Gidget. (Click HERE to read all about ME.)

It was a beautiful, perfectly perfect beach day.carlsbadbeach1

Even a few seashells, but nothing like Florida.carlsbadbeach4 Cute shorebirds.carlsbadbeach6

A a proud and loyal wife, I planted myself on the sand with my Canon Rebel T3i zooming in on my tugboat man.

I didn’t want to miss a single wave.

Off he goes!

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Nice boat – there’s my tugboat man, ready to shred!

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Still waiting…watching…sitting…sitting…sitting…carlsbadbeach5

Is he here? Did he catch this one?carlsbadbeach8 Or this one?carlsbadbeach9 How about this wave? Do you see my tugboat man?carlsbadbeach10Nope, neither do I.

I don’t have a tripod (note to self to get one) and my arms were soo tired.

I gave up, sat down, and read a book.

When my tugboat man finally came out of the water, he just couldn’t understand what happened.

He’s a really good surfer and had been catching TONS of waves — UNTIL I got there.

Not a single wave. Not ONE.

See, performance anxiety, right?

Just not the kind you were thinking of.

Tee hee.

Update: To prove he wasn’t suffering from any long term surfing decline, he went back out without me for an “evening glass off session” (surfing terminology) and returned having caught at least a dozen waves.

I think I jinxed him. Oops.


P.S. In case you were wondering, I got hub’s permission before writing a post about this delicate subject matter. I would never want to embarrass him in a public forum.  Privately? Well, that’s a different matter entirely! LOL

 

Black Crows…Counting Crows…A LOT of Crows.

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…”
crows7I did not intentionally trick you into thinking I was referring to the musical groups,  OR DID I?

OK, yes I did, hee hee. Sorry. 

And sorry for the uninspired Poe reference.

I don’t know about other parts of the country, but we here in Carlsbad are being INUNDATED with crows.

Actually, I think they’re really ravens, but I’m not sure.

There are SO many that it’s now a topic of conversation and everyone stops to take pics when they fly back to wherever they roost in the late afternoon just before sundown.

It’s like an end-of-the-world scenario. Or a Hitchcock movie.

Yesterday, I heard an amazingly loud cacophony, ran upstairs, and took a series of photos.

Some people, like my aunt, used to call them, “miserable crows” but I like them.

I know crows/ravens/whatever they are, are highly intelligent creatures.

I know that wolves and ravens have a social and mutually beneficial relationship.

Plus, even though my tugboat man strongly disagrees, (‘cos what guy will ever admit he’s lost), but I KNOW that a crow/raven guided us back to our campsite at Joshua Tree National Park.  One lone bird stayed with us while we were off-trail wandering through the big rocks, and finally flew only when we were safe.

Weird, huh?

Can you count the crows? Or ravens? 

crows6In all the trees as far as the eye can see, a murder of crows or a congress of ravens. Whatever. All I know for sure is that there are a shitload of birds here.crows8 A little after school learning going on.crows1 The birds are coming, the birds are coming!crows3 Who’s up for a soccer game?crows4

 

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Dripping Caves: Hiking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park @Orange County, California

alisosignA few days before Christmas, we picked up Angel Boy (my son– and yes, we still call him Angel Boy even though he’s thirty-two-years old!) from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

We drove RIGHT BY South Coast Plaza but my mind was too excited to see my baby to care about stopping at Chanel or Valentino or Cartier or Gucci or Harry Winston….HARRY WINSTON!!

Crap, did I just miss an opportunity to check out Chanel???

Sigh, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

Aliso hike

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a jewel of solitude and natural beauty in hectic Orange County.

It comprises approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, the Mission Viejo Company, and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks.

Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over thirty miles of official trails. Many rare and endangered plants and animals make this park their home. This park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

To get to the main trailhead for Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, exit the 5 freeway at Alicia Parkway and head towards the ocean.

Of course it was imperative that we feed the child. Whether they’re four or thirty-two, the first thing they think about is FOOD! I had prepared a huge amount of food for the hungry traveler and we ate it at a picnic table near the entrance to the trailhead, under a canopy of old shade trees. He ate a couple of his favorite sandwiches: tuna with celery, apples, nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce — along with Lentil Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Veggie Chips, Persimmon Bread, and an apple and an orange. We never fail to marvel at the AMOUNT of food Angel Boy can pack away…and that doesn’t include the nuts and raisins for the hike.

What’s up with that kind of metabolism?

He eats so much and burns it all and needs to eat again every couple of hours or so. This is just his normal — I once took him to an endocrinologist to make sure his levels were OK, and we learned that he’s just an extremely efficient food user. All I can say is that he didn’t get that from me.

After almost eight miles, we drove home — exhausted –but in a good way, and restored by the fragrance of Southern California buckwheat and sage.

Of course it was time for dinner and another feast of epic proportions: the stuff of mom-joy, that’s for sure.

Shadow and light, me and my tugboat man.

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Great blue heron.

aliisobirdA hidden pocket of water.

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More water, rushing over rocks.

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A gorgeous meadow and hills, but look at the houses on the hill.
So close to civilization!

aliso4Fairy-like foot bridge.
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Another cool cave.

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Some leaves DO change color in SoCal!alisotree

A happy mom ‘cos my Angel Boy was home,
even if only for a few days.

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Princess Rosebud’s Fashion Forward Protest Garb

puppyprotestMy tugboat man and I joined more than forty dedicated angels with San Diego Animal Defense Team and Protest Oceanside Puppy on Saturday in a protest at the Oceanside location of a pet store owned by David Salinas.

Salinas owned a similar business in San Diego called San Diego Puppies before it was forced to close under an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council earlier this year banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at retail stores.

Animal rights groups want to end the practice of breeding and selling puppies bred in commercial facilities called “puppy mills.”

Quote from Protest Oceanside Puppy:

The owner of this store is busy churning out Christmas puppies and trying to make a profit off of the backs of the mother dogs. We have pictures of the inspections done at his breeders and it’s horrifying how these puppy mill dogs live their short tormented lives! These mother dogs never leave their cages, stand on wire their entire lives with no fresh air, little or no veterinary care and no socialization. Please help educate the public that THIS IS WRONG. This store owner was already shut down in San Diego! We must stand up against animal abuse!

About a dozen cities in California have adopted ordinances placing restrictions on the sale of animals from commercial breeders, including Chula Vista, Los Angeles, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

Under the ordinance passed in San Diego on July 9, no store can display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, auction, or give away animal pets in the city. Existing pet stores, including San Diego Puppy, were given up to six months to stop those practices.

Pet stores can (and should) offer adoptions of dogs, cats, and rabbits in partnership with a shelter or rescue groups.

If you’ve ever seen a photos or a video of the living conditions of the breeding dogs and puppies, you’d be as horrified as I was.

I am continually disappointed by the inhumane treatment we inflict upon other living creatures.

Sometimes we have to be assaulted by the ugly truth before we can make a compassionate decision.

SHAME ON CARLSBAD!

My city continues to allow California Pets to sell animals obtained from puppy mills.

Please take a few minutes to email or call your elected officials to let them know that you support any decision to shut down stores that sell factory farmed pets.

How can we, as civilized and caring people, continue to allow this to occur?
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But…being me, that is, being Princess Rosebud, I had to adorn myself in the appropriate fashion forward outfit to stand on the street holding a protest sign.

As much as I love to defend and protect animals, I also love to dress properly for any and all occasions.

I chose a sparkly Dior Not War t-shirt over Joe’s skinny jeans, brown knee-high boots, a butterfly scarf from Nordstrom, pulling it all together with a lovely gray sweater from Anthropologie.

Since it was sunny, I topped the look off with a lively turquoise straw hat, Chanel sunglasses, and my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which was, upon reflection, not the most politically correct handbag to carry that day, but I can’t be perfect all the time…My bad. Ooops.diornotwr graysweater

If you live in North County or you’d like to take a drive up the coast on Saturday, please spend a few hours supporting these amazing and dedicated animal defenders.

For more info: http://sdanimaldefenseteam.blogspot.com

Oceanside Puppy
1906 Oceanside Blvd., east of the 5.
Saturdays 12-3

More pix of the day:

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Beachy December Festival of Light and Color: Photos

Even though it’s the beginning of December and was the fifth night of Hannukah, here in Southern California we enjoyed a brief summery Sunday before a massive winter storm barrels down the coast from Alaska.

A late afternoon beach walk in Carlsbad with my tugboat man…magnificent sunset, boats, seagulls flying home. Not such big waves though, or he’d be surfing and not walking!

Maybe that’s why I get so excited for the WordPress snow to appear.

It’s the only snow I see unless we go skiing!

These photos have not been retouched. This is exactly what it looked like. AMAZING, right?

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