About Enchanted Seashells by Princess Rosebud

MIDlifestyle blog. I'm the mom of Professor Angel Boy and grandma to Angel Boy 2.0 and Angel Girl 2.0. I love to camp and hike. I've been in a few films, co-produced a surf-related radio show, co-owned a couple small businesses, and co-directed a non-profit organization. I love seashells and rocks, gardening and baking, Hello Kitty, Chanel, and anything sparkly. I've been a veg since 1970 and an ardent animal activist forever. Fashionista...veganista...animal activista. I'm still trying to find the perfect shoe! And...I met His Holiness The Dalai Lama, so def read about it here: https://enchantedseashells.com/2017/06/19/meeting-the-dalai-lama-thaumaturgic/

Giving Thanks

In Hawaiian culture it is said that each person is born with a bowl of light.

This light is the light of consciousness and love.

Each time we give way to negative emotions such as jealousy or hate, a stone appears in the bowl and the light is diminished.

Sometimes it seems that the weight of the accumulated stones will extinguish the light forever.

Hawaiian spiritual teachers say it is always possible to tip the bowl over, empty the stones, and live again in the embrace of the miraculous light we were gifted at birth.

For more on this beautiful concept, read The Bowl of Light by Hank Wesselman. In 1996, a revered Hawaiian elder befriended an American anthropologist, and from their rare and intimate rapport, something miraculous emerged. Through the words and teachings of the kahuna wisdom-keeper Hale Makua, Dr. Wesselman was gifted with an enhanced perspective into the sacred knowledge of ancient Hawaii.

Info curated from https://www.facebook.com/burt.kempner

Deception

Don’t let these gently flowing fronds in this photo deceive you.

Pampas grass is invasive and chokes out the growth of beneficial California native plants. This out of control stand of grass invaded all the scorched earth from the big fire in Carlsbad almost two years ago. Visit the link for that post: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/20/fire-in-carlsbad/

Interesting fact: Pampas grass is not illegal in the United States, though it is illegal in Australia and carries a $10,000 fine.

Pampas grass is a quickly growing grass that forms massive clumps along roadsides, steep cliffs, river banks, and open areas that have been disturbed by human activities or natural disturbances. Introduced to Santa Barbara, California in 1848 by nursery operators, pampas grass has spread all over the state, threatening native plants and the animals that rely on them.

An individual pampas grass stand can produce millions of seeds annually that travel several miles, and because these grasses are very tolerant of intense sunlight, drought, and frost, they are very efficient at establishing in many habitat types. Due to the fact that pampas grass can live over a decade, it has become a favorable plant for people to grow in their gardens.

Invasive plants such as pampas grass displace native plants and create habitats that are lower in biodiversity. Furthermore, pampas grass has leaf blades that are highly undesirable as food or shelter to birds and other wildlife, and can actually cause physical harm to those animals, including humans, because the leaves are extremely sharp. Therefore, it is important that we do our part by not planting pampas grass in our gardens, but instead plant native plants that are comparably beautiful and provide the same utility.

Native Alternative: Giant Wildrye (Elymus condensatus)

Giant wildrye is a grass that, like pampas grass, forms dense stands in a variety of different soils. It remains green year-round and is drought tolerant, but will also survive in regularly watered locations, meaning little maintenance is required to keep this grass looking great in your garden throughout the changing seasons. Giant wildrye has beautiful blue-gray or dark green leaves that are topped by clusters of yellow flowers during the summer and although this grass prefers full sunlight, it can also tolerate shady locations.

Unlike pampas grass, Giant wildrye is native to California and does not readily outcompete other native plants for resources such as space, light, and nutrients. It also spreads slowly compared to pampas grass, and therefore, it is much easier to contain within your garden fences. Furthermore, while pampas grass is not desirable to most animal species, Giant wildrye attracts various birds that enjoy their seeds.

Giant wildrye is a great native alternative to invasive pampas grass because it provides the same beauty and utility in your garden, but unlike pampas grass, it contributes to higher biodiversity and does not negatively impact the natural environment or those animal species that rely on it. Try out this native plant alternative in your garden today!

For more information on any of the topics above, please contact the Native Plant Program at nativeplants@wildlife.ca.gov.

From: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Plants/Dont-Plant-Me/Pampas-Grass

Left Behind

I don’t know if it was Freud or someone else who said that there was an underlying subliminal reason why someone leaves things behind at your home, but in the case of my Angels, I love it when they do.

I find and gather up the artifacts to either mail or bring with me on my next visit. They’re like little treasures that attach themselves to memories of a special time.

Thank goodness I didn’t step barefoot on a fierce Ninjago Lego minifigure. I had found another one and mailed it along with random socks and a forgotten light up ball that had rolled under the sofa, but this little guy was exhumed when I changed the sheets and I recalled the morning Angel Boy crawled into bed with me at about 6am.

“Grandma, are you awake? Daddy said I could come down. He’s going surfing.”
“Look at my Legos.This is one of the Ninjagos, LOOK!” “He’s one of my favorites.” “Grandma, can you make me a Ninjago cake?” “You can do it, I know you can.”

“I don’t know, T. I can do a kitty or an owl or a bunny, but a Ninjago cake seems pretty difficult for me.”

“Did you wash my favorite (Ninjago) shirt for me?”

“It’s a bit early for me to handwash your favorite shirt, T. How about breakfast first?”

“Grandma, do you always do the same things every single time you wake up?”

“What’s that, T? What do I do?”

“You put on your glasses, take off your retainers, take a vitamin, and do your inhaler. And then you make coffee.”

“You know what, Angel? That’s exactly what I do, in exactly that order. You are incredibly observant to remember each and every detail. I do those same things every single day at your house and my house. Do you think about that?”

“Yes, I do. I’m hungry. Can I have some apple pie?”

The answer to that was yes. The children know me too well. I approve of apple pie for early breakfast. I wrapped a piece for dad to eat before his dawn patrol surf sesh, too.

Those Angels leave a trail of love behind, that’s the best part.

To See the Good

I parked my car (and made sure I knew where it was this time hahahaha). As I was gathering my shopping bags, I overheard a young-ish man with a baby sitting in a shopping cart as he was talking to his significant other.

He asked her if she needed any snacks, sweet or savory, and told her he loved her at least half a dozen times during the short walk to the grocery store, as we were headed in the same direction. The last thing he said was, “We’ll be home soon.”

I gathered from that brief exchange that she was probably pregnant and suffering from first trimester morning sickness. He was genuine, sweet, kind, obviously empathetic and caring.

I grabbed a cart as he stopped to disinfect his; the little girl caught my eye and said, “Hi!” I responded back to her, “Hello, sweetie!” She pointed to my mask (def wearing everywhere as I’m still recovering from pneumonia) and I nodded, “Yes, I’m wearing a mask.”

Her dad reiterated, “Yes, she is wearing a mask, my love.

That’s exactly how I refer to the Angels, so I told him he was a great dad; more dads should be like him. He thanked me and kissed his baby girl. She waved to me and we continued on our individual shopping journeys.

There are still good people in this world and that warms my heart.

Santa Fe, Turquoise, and Zozobra

I always thought “turquoise” was the most delicious word to wrap my tongue around. So much is going on with its delightful twists and turns.

Some summers saw us travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend time with family who lived in an adorable adobe house. I loved it there. It was dusty and hot and full of colors and sounds and smells that we didn’t have in Detroit.

Our family has a long history in Santa Fe. Before and during WW2, my parents used to hang out in Taos with Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence. I wish I could remember more of their fascinating stories but I was an extremely obnoxious eye-rolling teen and ignored mostly everything they ever said. About anything, haha.

During those trips to Santa Fe, of course I had to have an elaborate fiesta dress and lots of turquoise jewelry. This was probably when I first fell in love with this exquisite rock. I surely wish I still had my little fiesta dresses for Angel Girl, but all I have is my mom’s dress.

We would go to La Fonda and the Plaza where the Native Americans spread their treasures on blankets and we’d spend hours walking around.

This isn’t very PC but one day a little girl yelled at her mom and pointed to me and said, “Look at her, mommy! That’s a real Indian girl!” I always thought that was the coolest thing although I’m sure it was because I was very tan from being outside all day (no sunscreen back then) and my hair was plaited in two long braids.

Sometimes we’d be there for Fiesta and the Burning of Zozobra, an event to dispel the hardships and travails of the past year. Zozobra is the creation of Will Shuster, one of Los Cinco Pintores, a group of artists who made their way to New Mexico in the 1920s. Shuster’s creation first burned in his backyard in 1924 as a 6-foot effigy, and over the years, has grown to a towering 50-foot high marionette.

Photos of Santa Fe from SantaFeSelection.com

Somewhere there’s a photo of me (with pigtails) standing on the steps just beneath the not-yet-burned Zozobra but I couldn’t locate it. When I do, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: My memory was inaccurate! This is a photo I was thinking of, but it wasn’t me, it’s my older brother and my parents, way before I was born…

Another photo, during another summer visit in Santa Fe with Zozobra…

The Burning of Zozobra has been called the first Burning Man, but I don’t like the comparison at all as the intentions of the two events are lightyears apart.

Every Little Thing

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Although I never before knew who originally created this quote, I always KNEW — deep in my heart — that a rainbow or a sunset or a whale, a Monarch butterfly, the sighting of a coyote or a bobcat, my hawks — the discovery of a rock or achingly perfect seashell — brings joy as much as a new Chanel or a stunningly crafted pair of heels.

The night when I was genuinely poorly, when I ALMOST thought I’d have to go to the ER, I was awakened by the conversational hooting of a couple of Great Horned Owls and felt comforted by their voices. In my feverish delirium, I believed they were telling me to hang on, it’ll be OK.

Thank goodness, they told the truth. As much as antibiotics bring their own set of issues with my little body (don’t ask), I’m on the road to recovery, as my RN mom would say.

This morning I have SUCH a strong desire for vegan hot chocolate, it made me think of her and start laughing. Simple joys, right?

When I was sick, as soon as I had a craving for anything chocolate, my mom said her nursey training told her all she needed to know to stop worrying about me.

I fully earned the title of Princess because I used to make her wear her nursey cap and drape her stethoscope around her neck when she answered the bell that was on my nightstand. And she happily complied while carrying a tray with ice chips, fresh flowers, and tea in the special antique porcelain tea pot.

At the end of the day, little things are undeniably all there is. Those of us who understand this surely are the lucky ones.

Downward Spiral

If you read about my non-conversation with a haughty school secretary, you might remember I had a bit of a mild cold, but NOT Covid.

Well…on Saturday night the landscape changed. I started to run a low grade fever, went to bed, woke up wracked with chills and my temp had climbed to 102. I was nauseous and developed a very ugly, very productive cough (TMI, I know.)

With my asthma and history of viral lung infections, I had an idea that I now had a secondary bacterial infection.

All day Sunday I tried to lower my temp with acetominophen since I can’t take ibuprofen but my chest wasn’t feeling particularly great.

Early Monday morning I was able to schedule a video appointment with the doc who ordered a chest x-ray.

And just like that, the diagnosis was bilateral pneumonia!

Doc said I was very lucky. My proactive attention to the symptoms stopped me from having to be hospitalized, that’s how bad it was becoming.

That is my WORST nightmare, for sure. With a mom for a nurse, I’ve heard too many horror stories to want to end up at the mercy of strangers, no matter how talented or dedicated they may be to the craft of nursing.

Being hospitalized also triggers memories of my son’s near death experience and I literally can’t stand the smell or the bright lights or the constant sounds.

So now I’m taking two kinds of antibiotics which I also hate because I don’t tolerate them well, but no steroids because I have even worse reactions to them. I’m also taking probiotics because I definitely don’t want to contract C-difficile, which is what my son suffered from AFTER his surgery. We almost lost my precious boy twice.

How it went so quickly from a slight sore throat and congestion to full blown pneumonia in two days, I’ll never know.

There’s always a silver lining though, right? At least the x-rays showed no pleural effusion or pneumothorax and the cardiomediastinal silhouette is stable. (You medical professionals will know this is good news.)

But the real life lesson here is to never stop being your own best medical advocate. I’m only giving myself permission to have one more day of feeling poorly (and slightly sorry for myself.)

Conversational Speed Bump

As I sit here with a sore throat, sneezing so hard I think I’ve rearranged some brain cells, I wonder how I even got sick since I still mask up in public. I’ve tested twice for Covid and it’s been negative both times, so that’s something to be grateful for. All I want to do is to curl up with a mug of spicy ginger tea and a cozy blanket.

My virus-type thing came on pretty rapidly after THIS experience. Maybe the Universe is helping me stay home and safely away from toxic people…

Photo by Michael Anthony on Pexels.com

There’s one specific car that flies down my street every morning, Monday through Friday, hurtling itself over the speed bumps/humps and barely – if at all – bothering to slow down for the stop sign before turning right and into the elementary school parking lot.

After randomly witnessing this occur over several days, I walked to the school and snapped a pic of the car in the parking lot.

I entered the Admin building and asked the school secretary to please take a look at the photo and explained that I’m sure this was an employee and it would be a good idea to caution this person that she was speeding and please slow down on our street as it’s not a freeway, even if she’s late for work.

I never imagined the vitriol I would soon receive.

First of all, the secretary curtly informed me that anything outside the parking lot wasn’t her business and I should go to the police. While she thought that statement would deter me, along with her frosty dismissive attitude, she clearly didn’t know with whom she was dealing.

I said slowly, enunciating carefully, “I came here as a courtesy, hoping that all staff would be reminded to drive carefully, legally, and responsibly around the neighborhood as it’s a known ongoing problem, and what you’re suggesting is that I should just go to the police?”

“Well, there are fifty cars out there, you can’t expect me to figure out who owns that car! How do I know if it’s even an employee! That’s not my job!”

I responded, “Oh, but yes, I surely DO expect you to do your due diligence, especially since you’re looking at a photo with the license plate. And I don’t understand why you’re not concerned or being helpful. This person is driving in a reckless manner.”

I will tell you that I spoke in a calm but firm voice, having been in that office dozens of times as a parent, which is why I know the lay of the land, so to speak.

I reiterated, “So what I hear you say is that you WANT me to go to the police and you are refusing to address this issue, simply and internally?”

She looked at me and said, “Where did you say this was? At the roundabout?”

Geez, I hate these kinds of encounters so much, but I persevered. I took a breath before continuing. “So far, I’ve explained to you three times that this car flies over the speed bumps on the street before the stop sign.” (And I actually pointed in that direction, which she could see through the doors.)

Her next words made me chuckle. So predictable for people like that.

“STOP YELLING AT ME! You’re being rude! I don’t have to be treated this way!”

I calmly informed her that I hadn’t raised my voice but that we neighbors do not appreciate staff using our street like a freeway and if she’d prefer that I give the vehicle info to the police, I’d be happy to do so as I had made the effort to come into the office as a consideration to avoid involving the police, which seemed entirely unnecessary.

In the old days, I would have been so angry that I would have met her vitriolic negative energy with a shit ton of my own. Trust me, I could raise the threat level to DEFCON 2 (next step to nuclear war) in a heartbeat.

In the OLD DAYS, smoke would have poured out of my ears and nose like a dragon, but this kinder and gentler version of me didn’t respond further. I walked home, shaking my head. Life lessons learned.

I was honestly surprised by her attitude. In my naïveté, I thought she’d thank me for bringing the matter to her attention and she’d inform the principal to review safety protocol for driving in our community, to respect the neighborhood, and to assure me that my concerns were important and would be properly addressed.

I was wrong.

So my next call will be to the police which was definitely avoidable. Once again I’m reminded of one of the reasons I HATED teaching elementary school.

(Another time I’ll recount the tale of the high school assistant principal who DARED to target my 4.8 GPA child for a crime he didn’t commit. Let’s just say that after I was done with him, he had another job. Mama bears don’t have an off switch when it comes to protecting their young, right?)

Searching for Doors of Perception

NOT the psychedelic kind that Huxley wrote about…but opening the door to self reflection with love and compassion.

This photo looks like it could be one of my favorite places, a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or here at Vermillion Cliffs, where I snapped this photo.

An Uphill Climb

We had rain, hardly enough to do anything but wet the street and sidewalk. After, the sky was painted with spectacular clouds and bonus moon sightings!

At the lagoon.

After the lagoon, walking up the hill, homeward bound.

#WordlessWednesday