IT’S RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!

It started raining in the middle of the night, so hard it woke me up.

Rain, wind, five inches of snow in our local mountains — is this May or is it December?

I was worried about my little hummingbird and her full nest.

How would they weather the storm?

First thing this morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there she is, swaying back and forth on the hummingbird wind chimes under the eaves, safe and dry.

See the rain coming down? What a smart mom to choose a home that’s protected from the elements and allows her to survey the entire back yard.

hummyMay8rainHumans can learn a lot about good parenting from other species.HummyMay7

There is no more important job than caring for her young.

Soon enough, they’ll hatch and grow and fly away, leaving her with that empty nest she worked so hard to build.

Maybe that’s what her tiny little hummingbird mind ponders as she sits there hour after hour.

And I know exactly how she feels.

SIGH.

Exploring Carlsbad, Part One: Signs

Warning: This series won’t be your glossy Chamber of Commerce tourism fluff piece to encourage more visitors.

Instead, It’s the candid observations of someone who’s lived here for thirty years.

Join me step-by-step as I walk around neighborhoods old and new all the way to the beach and back.

I’m seeing my not-so-little town through fresh eyes.

Today’s topic is Signs and Rules.

Do this. Don’t do that.

Carlsbad is chock full of sings and rules.

Here’s a sign with bad grammar.

And excuse me for asking the obvious, but WHY plant blueberries in a front yard on a busy corner lot where dozens of kids walk back and forth to school and in a ‘hood where almost everyone has more than one dog — when you have a HUGE backyard?

(That’s a rhetorical question.)

Next, are we going to see a misspelled manifesto to crows and blue jays about not picking and eating the ripe berries?

A lot of poop and dog-related signs.

Purchased or homemade…
I couldn’t find the common area this sign referenced; I assume the dog owners who live in the complex have been made aware of the pet-acceptable locations.

And what happens if they disobey the rules?

And here, humans are outlawed, while it seems as if implied consent is proffered to dogs and every other species.

I ignored the sign, ‘cos nobody tells Princess what to do.

That sign ain’t the boss of ME.

This tiki expresses exactly how I feel about being told what to do.

Or what NOT to do.

Usually I take a small backpack or cross body bag to carry essentials but leave my hands free to take photos; this time, thanks to Flipbelt sending me a sample to try, I wasn’t weighted down  — I hardly know it was there.

There’s room for my keys, phone, ID, lip balm, and a few dollars. Simply put the items in and flip the belt over.  FlipBelt is designed to carry on-the-go essentials without tying up your hands. Made of a moisture-wicking, spandex-lycra blend, FlipBelt slides right on and sits snug on your hip. No bulk. No bounce. FlipBelt is also machine washable and machine dryable.

flipbelt

It’s an ideal accessory for outdoor summer workouts, and will be great for biking and traveling, too, Flipbelt retails for $28.99, and comes in nine cool colors including black.  (I chose black so it would go with everything.)

For more information, visit www.flipbelt.com

For this review, there was no compensation; I was sent product to sample and review. The honest opinions are my own.


**And thanks to Kim who read my mind, I’m including this song about signs that all of us olds heard a zillion times:

Exploring Carlsbad, Part Two…coming soon.

Living in the Shadows in Sunny Shiny Southern California

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?

kellytrail3

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.kellytrail2I think this is a creek, or it could be runoff from all of the developments.
Kellytrail Hard to see the turkey vulture among the clouds.
kellytrail4Do you know who and what lives beneath the surface in your neighborhood?

 

 

Snow…Snow…SNOW! In Southern California!

Reflective
like the nacre of a million
perfectly pristine pearls
A confection of frosted pines
                                                           (by Princess Rosebud)


SNOW

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.

jeffsnowball copy

A winter wonderland  and only about twenty minutes away!

snow8LOOK!! A REAL BISON! Blurry ‘cos we were driving…snowbisonPhoto gallery of all my pics. Very nice special effects from WordPress with the snow over snow but then I’m easily amused.

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Merry Christmas! חַג מוֹלָד שָׂמֵח…fröhliche Weihnachten

From sunny Southern California courtesy of me (Princess Rosebud) and my Tugboat Man.

In every language…Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Mele Kalikimaka! 

As you’re opening gifts from Santa, enjoy a couple of my favorite holiday tunes.

Karen Carpenter, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

“All I Want for Christmas Is YOU” Mariah Carey, of course!

To my readers from all over the world, I hope this list includes you!
From http://www.freelang.net/expressions/christmas.php

AFRIKAANS geseënde Kersfees
ALBANIAN gëzuar Krishtlindja
ALSATIAN gleckika Wïanachta
AMHARIC መልካም የገና (melkam’ yeghena) / የልደት በዓል (yel’det’ be’al)
ARABIC ميلاد مجيد (miilaad majiid)
ARMENIAN Shnorhavor Surb tsnund
AZERI Noel bayraminiz mubarak
BAKONGO Nowélé ya mboté
BASQUE Eguberri on
BELARUSIAN З Божым нараджэннем (Z Bozym naradzenniem)
BENGALI subho baradin
BOSNIAN sretan Božić
BRETON Nedeleg laouen
BULGARIAN весела коледа (vesela koleda)
BURMESE Christmas nay hma mue pyaw pa
CATALAN bon Nadal
CH’TI joïeux Noé
CHEROKEE ulihelisdi danisdayohihvi
CHINESE 圣诞快乐 (shèng dàn kuài lè)
CORNISH Nadelek lowen
CORSICAN bon Natale
CROATIAN sretan Božić
CZECH veselé Vánoce
DANISH glædelig jul
DHOLUO bedgi sikuku maber
DUTCH vrolijk Kerstfeest
ENGLISH merry Christmas
ESPERANTO gojan Kristnaskon
ESTONIAN häid jõule
FAROESE gleðilig jól
FILIPINO Maligayang Pasko
FINNISH hyvää joulua
FRENCH joyeux Noël
FRISIAN noflike Krystdagen
FRIULAN bon nadâl
GALICIAN bo Nadal
GEORGIAN gilocav shoba axal wels
GERMAN frohe Weihnachten / fröhliche Weihnachten
GREEK καλά Χριστούγεννα (kala khristougenna / kala xristougenna)
HAITIAN CREOLE jwaye Nowel
HAWAIIAN mele Kalikimaka
HEBREW חג מולד שמח (hag molad saméa’h)
HINDI Krismas ki subhkamna
HUNGARIAN boldog karácsonyt
ICELANDIC gleðileg jól
IGBO annuri Ekeresimesi
ILOCANO naragsak a paskua
INDONESIAN selamat Natal
IRISH GAELIC Nollaig shona
ITALIAN buon Natale
JAVANESE sugeng Natal
JAPANESE merii kurisumasu
KABYLIAN tameghra tameggazt
KHMER រីក​រាយ​បុណ្យ​ណូអ៊ែល (rik reay bon Noel)
KINYARWANDA Noheli nziza
KIRUNDI Noheli nziza
KOREAN 메리크리스마스
KURDISH Noela we pîroz be
LAO souksan van Christmas
LATIN felix dies Nativitatis (literal translation) / felicem diem Nativitatis (spoken)
LATVIAN priecīgus Ziemassvētkus
LIANGMAI mathabou Christmas
LIGURIAN bón dênâ / bón natâle
LINGALA eyenga elamu ya mbotama ya Yezu
LITHUANIAN su Kalėdomis / linksmų Kalėdų
LOW SAXON vrolik Kersfees
LUXEMBOURGEOIS schéi Chrëschtdeeg
MACEDONIAN среќен Божиќ (srećen Božić, formal) / Христос се роди (Hristos se rodi, informal) / Навистина се роди (Navistina se rodi, as a reply to the informal greeting)
MALAGASY tratry ny Krismasy / arahabaina tratry ny Krismasy / arahaba tratry ny Krismasy
MALAY selamat hari natal
MALAYALAM Christmas ashamshagal
MALTESE il-milied it-tajjeb / milied hieni
MANX Nollick ghennal
MAORI meri Kirihimete
MIZO Krismas chibai
MONÉGASQUE bon Natale
MONGOLIAN zul sariin bayariin mend hurgie
NORMAN jostous Noué
NORMAN (JÈRRIAIS) bouan Noué
NORWEGIAN god jul
OCCITAN bon Nadal
OROMO baga ayyaana dhaloota Kiristoos isin ga’e
PAPIAMENTU bon pasku
PERSIAN کریسمس مبارک (Christmas mobaarak)
POLISH wesołych świąt bożego Narodzenia
PORTUGUESE feliz Natal
ROMANI baxtalo Krečuno
ROMANIAN un Crăciun fericit
RUKIGA Noheiri nungi / webale Noheiri
RUSSIAN с Рождеством Христовым (S rozhdestvom Khristovym)
SAMOAN ia manuia le Kerisimasi
SARDINIAN bona Pasca de Nadale (logudorese) / bona paschixedda (campidanese)
SCOTTISH GAELIC Nollaig chridheil
SERBIAN Христос се роди (Hristos se rodi)
SHONA Krisimas yakanaka
SILESIAN Radosnych godów
SINDHI Chrismas joon wadhayoon
SINHALESE suba nattalak wewa
SLOVAK vesele vianoce
SLOVENIAN vesel božič / vesele božične praznike
SOBOTA dobro dedek
SPANISH feliz Navidad
SRANAN switi Krisneti
SWAHILI heri la Krismasi
SWEDISH God Jul
TAGALOG Maligayang Pasko
TAHITIAN ‘ia ‘oa’oa e teie Noera
TAMAZIGHT asgwass amaynou
TAMIL கிறிஸ்மஸ் தின நல் வாழ்த்துக்கள் (Krismas dina nal vaagethoukkal)
TELUGU Krismas shubhakankshalu
THAI สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส (souksaan wan Christmas)
TONGAN mele Kilisimasi
TSWANA (SETSWANA) Keresemose sentle
TURKISH Noeliniz kutlu olsun
UDMURT Shuldyr Ymuśton
UKRAINIAN З Різдвом Христовим (Z Rizdvom Khrystovym) / Щасливого Різдва Христового (ʃtʃaslyvogo rizdva Hrystovogo)
VIETNAMESE Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh
WALOON (“betchfessîs” spelling) djoyeus Noyé
WELSH Nadolig llawen
WEST INDIAN CREOLE jénwèl
YIDDISH אַ גוטע ניטל (a gute nitl)
YORUBA e kun odun Keresimesi

 

Finches and a Flowering Loquat Tree

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!

loquattree3One minute he’s there, the next second, GONE! (Just like my tugboat man!)loquattree1AND they’re back!

loquattree2loquattree4 loquattree5 loquattree6 loquattree7 loquattree8

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

 

sunset13

 

sunset14

 

sunset15

 

sunset9

 

sunset6

 

sunset7

 

sunset5

 

sunset

 

sunset3

A glorious ending to a spectacular day. Happy December!



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

Fog + Condors, and California’s Amazing Big Sur

Remember when I ran away from BlogHer14?
(Click HERE to read my sad tale.)

My tugboat man and I headed west to take the 101 back home to SoCal.

We stopped in Carmel for a lovely night to celebrate hub’s birthday, and thought we’d camp for a few nights as we travelled south.

It was obvious that everyone else had the same idea. No open campsites and no hotels meant we drove all the way home, sad and dejected, at 2:00 a.m.

Even though we didn’t camp anywhere and there was heavy fog, every so often the sun would peek through and I was able to snap some amazing pics.

Ultimate optimists, we’re giving it another try.

We figure that everyone is back to school and we should have a road less travelled. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Until we return with more pics, here’s some of my faves.

See you soon!

California Condors with attached radio collars. Too bad I couldn’t get closer pics but we could see the collars with tugboat man’s superior binoculars.

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Boats hidden on a hillside only seen if you hike down a secret trail (and I’ll never tell)…

bigsurboats bigsurboats2

Weird things hanging off a tree.bigsurcrazytreeFog…
bigsur12
bigsur8 bigsur4 And once in a while, the fog cleared…bigsurtripbigsurfog10bigsurfog9bigsurfog8bigsurfog7bigsurfog2bigsurfog4bigsurflower bigsufog4

Another Beach, Another Bitch

THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS

“Yoo hoo!”

“Hey!”

“Hey, you!”

“I’m talking to YOU!”

Single girls, PLEASE stay away from married men.

Specifically, MY man.

‘k?

Do you unnerstand?

There are OTHER fish in the sea.

Those are YOURS.

This tugboat man is MINE.

Got it?


It happened AGAIN.

However, THIS time hub demonstrated that he’d learned his lesson from the previous incident and didn’t even TRY to tell me I was overreacting.

Remember when we were in Mexico?

Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband

 Part Two: “Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband

 And that’s why he’s still breathing and walking around with all his teeth.

Here’s how it happened:

Ya know how I posted My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety?

Well, that wasn’t the WHOLE story.

Yes, there were big waves which eluded hub’s expertise  – his timing was off, whatev.

I waited ’til he came in for a break so I could walk up to the bathroom.

I didn’t want to leave my camera bag and and all on our blanket, but a girl’s gotta pee, ya know?

I was only gone less than 10 minutes; honest.

Y’all don’t know what my tugboat man looks like, and although he’s beautiful to ME, he’s NO Brad Pitt or Chace Crawford or Ed Westwick (obscure Gossip Girl references). Or even Laird Hamilton, his nemesis. He’s getting better looking as he ages, I must say — like he came with me to a doctor’s appointment and the ladies in the office whispered to me, “He’s gorgeous” — I dunno, it’s hateful the way some guys look BETTER as they get a few wrinkles and gray hair — and we women don’t get similar responses. Oh well, another topic, another post, another day.

Back to the beach…

He’s not even sending off vibes –  trust me — he and I are TIGHT.

We’ve been a team for more than twenty years – and no one could tear us apart (INXS reference.)

So, as I’m walking back from the bathroom, I notice that — wait, let me back up and explain that the beach in this particular area is for surfing only and it’s not crowded with families — in fact it wasn’t crowded at all at 10:00 a.m.– there weren’t all that many people there, so it’s not like there was no other place to be…and I see this stupid girl with stupid blonde hair in a stupid teeny weeny bikini plunk her chair down RIGHT next to him – I mean only about two feet away from where my tugboat man was sitting.

And there was no reason at all for it.

And then she swished her stupid blonde hair back and forth just to make sure everyone (and by everyone, I mean tugboat man) noticed her arrival.

She adjusted her stupid bikini top and bottom a few times — unnecessarily, I might add — again OBVIOUSLY to garner the attention of my tugboat man.

For fuck’s sake, girl, could you be a little LESS obvious?

My ire was up.

As I made my way down the steps and across the burning hot sands of the Sahara, I assessed the situation.

Beneift of the doubt?

I DON’T F****ING THINK SO.

I announced my approach by throwing my sandals in her general direction  — wanting with all my heart to hit her in her vacant, vapid, empty head — but I curbed that violent impulse and tossed them THIS close (hold up thumb and finger to approximately three inches apart and that’s how close) to hitting her in her left leg, which was a classy move ‘cos it kinda sorta made sand  fly, which caused her to look up and see ME.

You should have seen the look on her face.

She had NO idea my tugboat man was not alone.

She was BUSTED.

Big time.

Stupid girl; she had failed to observe the signals that he was not alone (like his wedding ring) or the girly-type chair.

I picked up my towel and proceeded to shake the sand off of it (yes, in her direction) and sat back down squeezing myself between my tugboat man and this clueless female (hub is looking at me with glee and admiration and even a bit of lust in his eyes — if I may say).

We chatted a bit about his surfing debacle and what he’d like for dinner (always a topic hub loves to engage in) and then, guess what?

Stupid bikini girl picked up her towel and chair and flounced OFF.

Not just to another spot on the beach but up the steps and away!

BYEEEE!

I looked at him. He looked at me.

I said, “Did that REALLY just happen?”

Hub gave me a high five for my restraint in not hitting her in the head.

He gets it now, he really does…what I mean to say is that he understands now, he comprehends what I’ve been telling him about the predatory female and that I possess the ability to perceive them — to sniff them out, you might say.

I don’t know what it is about my husband that draws females to him.

In general, he doesn’t really even like women  — he’s like those people that don’t really like cats but they’re the ones cats jump on and gravitate towards.

Maybe that’s the secret to his appeal; a little disdain. What.Ever.

That’s the story; it made us snicker, ‘cos one of the secrets to our successful marriage is our feeling that we’re a team and we share a passion about absolute and total honesty coupled with the ability to laugh at ourselves.

P.S. And also because Princess Rosebud can go batshit crazy at any moment and her tugboat man knows it.

Hee hee.