Late afternoon sun
Perfuming a slight warm breeze
Lavender grows here
By Princess Rosebud
For the longest time, these aloe vera plants never revealed the beauty that lay deep within their DNA.
And then they burst forth with vibrant reddish-orange spikes tipped with yellow.
They must be filled with nectar because the hummingbirds linger.
Not only is aloe beneficial for a variety of skin and digestive ailments — we all know that aloe relieves the pain of a burn, but did you know Cleopatra used it as part of her beauty routine?
Maybe she used this sugar scrub: Mix together two tbsp. of aloe vera, 2 tbsp. of brown sugar and 1 tsp. of lemon juice.
Mother Nature is so AMAZING.
There’s another side of California that you might not know about.
Sandwiched between the manicured lawns of upper middle-class residential subdivisions in SoCal, there’s a microcosm of humanity living in the shadows — migrant laborers from Mexico in makeshift camps.
In my own neighborhood, just minutes from the beach and overlooking chaparral-studded canyons, hidden behind purple sage and giant coyote bushes, we recently went for a hike and found evidence that suggests there are still active encampments.
Mostly these men are invisible, ignored by us as we speed up and down our streets, shopping, caring for our families, and only sometimes do we notice these shadow people standing on the roadside waiting to be picked up for day work or at the local liquor store buying twelve packs of beer and money orders.
Like the crows that fly in and out of our trees in a raucous cacophony, there’s an exodus out of the canyons at dawn and back at sunset.
Whatever side of the undocumented worker discussion you’re on, it’s a blight on our supposedly civilized society that in 2015, in this country of overabundance and excess, men and women live in the bushes without benefit of safe shelter or even running water.
When you scratch off the thin veneer of Pilates classes, weekly mani-pedis and facials, that fifty dollar bottle of pinot noir, and glance beyond Anthropologie and Sur la Table, in the hills behind The Forum, and probably most of the other open spaces that are clinging to life — that’s where you’ll find them.
It doesn’t seem quite fair for us to have so much while others are living in squalid conditions.
It’s sad, don’t you agree?
We especially liked the misspelling. There’s a certain poignancy.
There were several white rags hanging from trees along a certain path; we assumed it was to mark the way when it was dark.I think this is a creek, or it could be runoff from all of the developments.
Hard to see the turkey vulture among the clouds.
Do you know who and what lives beneath the surface in your neighborhood?
I love big studs. Hee hee.
It’s time to shake it off just like my girl Taylor Swift, and lighten up the content/mood here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
There’s no better way to accomplish this than by sharing one of my bestest prezzies this year.
My erstwhile tugboat man again departed for a smallish portion of the vast seas and that means that I need to return to my (ab)normal life as a part-time single lady.
Single and ready to mingle — with aisles of shoes and racks of clothes, that is…
I spent the better part of last evening attempting to capture the exact hue and sparkle of my new three carat oval morganite studs.
With American Idol droning on in the background, I posed (wasted three hours) these guys in every position, under every light, with every background, and have come to the conclusion that photographing jewelry is a most difficult task.
Shooting porn with two willing adults would prolly be easier, ‘tho I’ll never know, THAT’S for sure.
Anyway, here’s my jewelry porn.
Three of my most favorite words in the English language.
What is MORGANITE?
Have you ever heard of it? Just after graduating from college, I worked part-time at a posh jewelry store in La Jolla and that’s where I gained a lot of knowledge about gems and all that sparkles and shines. If you’re thinking that most of my time was spent trying on all the jewels and parading around the store like a princess — you’d be right!
Like emeralds and aquamarines, morganite is one of the better known gemstone from the colorful group of the beryls.
The enchanting soft pink to peach color is produced by trace amounts of manganese.
Morganite found its name in 1911 when it drew the attention of one of the world’s most esteemed gemstone experts, George Kunz of Tiffany & Co, He named it in honor of millionaire banker and mineral collector John Pierport Morgan.
Legend says that beryl was once used to ward off demons and evil spirits and that it can protect the wearer from danger while traveling.
Other legends also state that beryl can be used to bring good luck, cheerfulness, energy, and eternal youthfulness.
Morganite is believed to nurture feelings of love and to increase tenderness in a relationship. Morganite can enhance one’s communications skills and provide patience to help focus during times of stress.
Enchanting, gleaming, illuminating,…PINK!
I don’t often purchase jewelry online, but these three-carat studs set in a basket of real gold caught my eye.
I’ve been obsessing about pink stones for a while, not that I don’t love my sparkly white diamonds, but I’m one of those girly-girls who LOVES pink.
Pink diamonds are way out of my price range, but for their size, these morganite studs are perfect.
like the nacre of a million
perfectly pristine pearls
A confection of frosted pines
(by Princess Rosebud)
It might not be a big deal to a lot of you who experience snow every winter, but snow falling to around one thousand feet in the foothills of our valleys and mountains is a big deal for this Southern California girl!
An arctic storm brought a lot of snow down to almost record breaking levels; of course my tugboat man and I needed to end 2014 with a snowball fight. The snow was amazingly light and fluffy.
A winter wonderland and only about twenty minutes away!
My tugboat man is home; he was able to take an earlier flight, yay!
I hope you all have a lovely day and special good thoughts go out to mariners and their families who are away from each other during the holidays. Been there, done that many times.
In our land of (mostly) perpetual sunshine, winter doesn’t always mean that all living things are dormant. Our loquat tree is flowering, buzzing with bees, hummingbirds, and a flock of the most beautiful little yellow finches.
You have to be quick on the shutter button to catch these guys — they flit around the tree like I run from rack to rack at a clearance sale!
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!
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. 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…
But really a post about the desert.
“We pretended that we were the only humans on earth, trekking across an eerie but strangely exciting landscape. It was silent except for an occasional far off bird or the buzzing of a fly. We ate quietly, not speaking, not needing chatter to fill up the silence, until the lack of sound completely settled in around us and we could feel the warm earth beneath our legs anchoring us to this special place.” December 7, 2014
17 Palms Oasis: Hiking with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man in the Anza-Borrego State Park.
We’ve learned so much from my son.
I may have taught him to discover the world through books, but he returned the lesson by opening our world through boots.
As in hiking, walking, exploring the beauty of land and nature.
About ten years ago, he gave us the best gift ever, Jerry Schad’s Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. We’ve been avid hikers and campers ever since. Sadly, Jerry died in 2011, but his spirit lives on in his every step that we follow and in his love for the backcountry.
A favorite destination for solitude is Anza-Borrego State Park.
Right now as i’m home, typing in the family room with the patio doors wide open, I don’t hear a single bird, not like we did not so long ago. My bird houses lay fallow; unused, no chirping of hungry babies.
What I do hear, however, is disquietude — the relentless sound of heavy earth movers raping more land in my town, leveling a previously beautiful little hillside, killing all the native plants and displacing the rabbits, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats. Do we really need 1200 more homes? Can we really afford more water and energy consumption, more negative impact on our already overpopulated coastal town?
We fought for years against this egregious overbuilding; this time we lost.
There’s not enough open space; our sojourns to the mountains or the desert are even more precious and as necessary to our personal survival as water and air.
This time we chose to explore 17 Palms Oasis.
Tip #1: It would be a good idea to have a four-wheel drive to get there.
We don’t, but tugboat man’s truck is pretty sturdy so we did OK, but keep in mind there are some really sandy spots.
Tip #2: Carry a shovel just in case, and of course lots of water, even in winter.
17 Palms Oasis, 5 Palms Oasis and Una Palma.
These areas are well-known watering holes for the regional wildlife of the Borrego Badlands. The palms at both Oases are often green and brilliant compared to the stark and barren desert that surrounds them.
They’ve attracted humans for thousands of years.
Nomadic aborigines, wayfaring emigrants, and determined prospectors have all taken shade and water from these islands in the badlands.
Remnants of a time when grasslands, streams, and herds of camels and mammoths covered an ancient landscape, the native palms exist today only because water surfaces here.
As the spring here was unreliable, early travelers with extra water would leave it in large glass jars. Thirsty visitors came to rely on the jars hidden in the shade of the palms. The desert wanderers would leave notes attached to the jars. Today the custom of leaving messages in the prospector’s post office is carried on by visitors. In the post office barrel hidden in the 17 Palms, among the palm tree bases, lies a visitor’s log book, notes and of course, bottles of water!
The 17 Palms area is located off of the S-22. Take the Arroyo Salado Primitive Campground turnoff, travel approx. 3.6 miles on Arroyo Salado Wash to the Seventeen Palms Turnoff which puts you on Tule Wash (you will see a small sign with arrow heading West (right) and travel another 0.2 miles to the 17 Palms parking area. To visit the 5 Palms Oasis continue past Seventeen Palms on Tule Wash to arrived at the Parking area for 5 Palms. Una Palma can be reached by walking over the ridges of the 17 and 5 Palms locations. Or you can go right on Cut Across Trail to arrive at the Una Palma Location.
I think I counted all seventeen palms, but couldn’t locate the oasis ‘cos of our drought.
Lots of mud as this was once a seafloor. Weird rocks, randomly placed.
The beautiful but stark and naked badlands. Our view as we stopped for lunch.We set off cross country as there’s no real trail. We pretended that we were the only humans on earth, trekking across an eerie but strangely exciting landscape.
It was silent except for an occasional far off bird or the buzzing of a fly. We ate quietly, not speaking, not needing chatter to fill up the silence, until the lack of sound completely settled in around us and we could feel the warm earth beneath our legs anchoring us to this special place.It was warm, almost too hot at eighty degrees. Being out here in the summer at more than a hundred degrees with no shade would be an extreme hardship.Ahhh…a refreshing cup of ginger tea at the end of a dusty hike. Good times! Angel Boy got tugboat man a JetBoil, an absolutely amazing gift– boiling water in about a minute.
Back to reality.
And back to being alone, as my tugboat man left again, but only for two short weeks, hopefully home on the 22nd, fingers crossed.
Take time to actively experience nature. Walk, hike, breathe in all of the beauty of the wild. It’s healing and restorative.