Enchanting Seashell Bouquets

For #ThrowbackThursday, I reached into the vault of previously written posts and found this one from 2012.

I reworked it a bit and added a few more photos of the seashell bouquets that I’ve crafted since then.

At the time, I needed a new project and somewhere. probably on Pinterest, I saw a bouquet of seashells and starfish and thought that it looked easy enough to re-create, so I did!

An added benefit to the seashell bouquet is to make as a gift for anyone who’s allergic to flowers. The irony here is that I’m allergic to roses. With a name like Rosebud, that’s pretty funny, not that I’d toss them out if someone wanted to send me a dozen, but we can’t be in the same room at the same time.

How to make the seashell bouquet:
1. Get craft sticks of all sizes; I even used chopsticks.
2. If you don’t have a glue gun, get one! I can’t live without mine, that’s for sure. For this project, you don’t have to be perfect, obvs you need to use more glue for the heavier starfish
3. Florist’s foam, that would be a good idea and it’s easily available at craft stores and the dollar store, which is where I got mine.
4. It’s pretty simple: glue the seashell or starfish or sparkly treasure to the stick.
5. Insert into foam cut to fit snugly inside the vase.
6. Done!

Voila! Here’s the finished product. This vase is at the bottom of our stairs up to the second level and is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. 

I used sticks from the garden because I wanted a natural, organic creation. The vase came from a vintage consignment shop in the village.
The vase came from Anthropologie; I embellished it with the seashell collar. Yay for glue guns!

Are you crafty? Let me know what you’ve been doing all the many months of being isolated during the Covid Pandemic. The next time I get to see Angel Boy 2.0, I think he’s old enough to help me make one, and I think he’d love to create a seashell bouquet. Of course, he’s still too young to use a glue gun, other than that, it’s a great project for children.

Disintegration

Piece by piece, it’s coming apart. Disintegrating. The demolition has been a long, slow process.

The Encina Power Station, located between Agua Hedionda Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean, opened in 1954 and was decommissioned in 2018. The stack was erected years later in 1978.

I remember when the stack was decorated for the holidays with bright and colorful lights, but they stopped doing that a long time ago.

Even so, It’s been a welcoming beacon and landmark to let us know we’re getting close to home sweet home.

Here’s what’s going to take its place…“The Carlsbad Energy Center will be built behind the present location of the Encina Power Station, and will add two new smokestacks with solely industrial purposes. Each smokestack will tower over 100 feet tall and add something the citizens of Carlsbad will have no choice in beautifying. One smokestack with a historic past and a potential for a brilliant future will be replaced by two ten-story towers to serve the new power plant. Meanwhile, neither the City of Carlsbad nor NRG have any concrete plans in place for what will happen after plant is destroyed.”
(From http://www.savethecarlsbadstack.com)

As usual, most of Carlsbad’s elected officials have failed to include the desires of the community in the planning process.

These unfiltered, unedited photos were taken yesterday at about 5:15 p.m. just as the sun was heading toward the horizon. I think it’s this lack of light along with the streaky clouds that account for the hazy, almost sepia-toned quality.

Covid-19 Vaccine: Second Dose

No rainbows or IVs this time!

Here’s a timeline of my experience subsequent to the second vaccine:

Due to my visit to urgent care after the first vaccine because I had an allergic reaction, my doctor told me to drink at least 64 oz water for a few days prior to my appointment. I know that’s a great idea anyway, but I never really drank that much water, so I definitely know it’s important.

My appointment was scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at 8:15 a.m.

Again, the facility did such a great job that we were checked in and promptly seen. Because of my allergic reaction following the first vaccine, I was whisked away to an enhanced observation area. I must have made quite an impression (lol) because the same nurse was there and she remembered me.

This time, perhaps due to being well-hydrated, I didn’t experience an allergic reaction and went home. My arm was a little sore but no other major symptoms–until about six hours later.

I became super fatigued, had a pounding headache, muscle/joint aches, and abdominal pain. Still no fever.

I continued to hydrate the rest of the day.

Around 6:00 p.m. I took my temperature and had a fever of 99.8. I had prepared for side effects by stocking up on soups and made a batch of my ubiquitious lentil veggie soup

I fell asleep on the sofa watching Vera on PBS. When I woke up, I was alternately hot and shaking with chills. This time when I took my temperature, it was 101.5. I took Tylenol and went to bed.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m., took my temperature again and it was 100.8, so I went back to sleep but didn’t take more Tylenol.

The next morning I still felt pretty badly and managed to make a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and lie on the sofa. I was extremely tired and unable to do anything but vegetate, and that really annoyed me. The headache was as dreadful as the day before. All morning, my temp was steady at 99.8.

At around 4:00 p.m. I started to feel marginally better; the aches were dissipating, and my temp was 99.

I watched a bit of American Idol but couldn’t take more than five minutes of it before I turned to PBS. After “All Things Great and Small” was over at` 10:00 p.m, I took my temperature again. This time it was 97.6 which is my normal. .Other than a still slightly sore shoulder, it’s as if all the symptoms disappeared at the exact same time. I could feel an immediate absence of all aches and pains

It’s very strange to feel unwell and poorly but not actually BE sick. I didn’t have the flu. I didn’t have Covid. I didn’t have any other virus or infection. I kinda sorta feel as if I’m a human guinea pig involved in a gigantic science experiment.

Anyway, it’s over, I’ve had both doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. It’s supposed to offer 95% protection against the virus. I sure hope it does but to be safe, I’ll still follow protocol and wear a mask out in public.

Read about my first Covid vaccine experience by clicking on this link.

Happy Valentine’s Day From Me to You

My plans were to post this on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, but I’m getting the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow and if predictions are correct, I might be too sick to do anything but lay on the sofa rolled up in a warm blanket and watch Netflix or reruns of Bewitched, so here it is!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image result for 1960's old fashioned vintage valentine cards

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day in spite of the commercialism. In elementary school, I looked forward to the day we’d give and receive those little Valentine’s Day cards (including the inedible heart-shaped candies.)

Later on, I especially cherished Angel Boy’s handmade cards –which I saved–every single one of them.

There’s something lovely and old fashioned about being thought of as someone’s Valentine, and I like that a lot.

I have simple wants; a bunch of wildflowers is treasured as much as a dozen red roses; all gifts from the heart are appreciated whether it’s a Chanel or a seashell. Or a handmade card from the Angels.

These flowers are called alstroemeria. Native to South America. I prefer their other name,  Lily of the Incas, ‘cos it sounds exotic. I’ve been growing them for about fifteen years. Surprisingly, they do quite well here and are drought tolerant. I’ve even been able to successfully dig up and divide the tubers.

I hope you’re having (will have) a happy, happy day!

Great Basin National Park

For #throwbackthursday, this is one of my most favorite places to camp and hike.

Great Basin National Park is in Nevada. At 10,000 ft., Wheeler Peak is one of the tallest peaks in the country. It’s full of bristlecone pines and turkeys and solitude and serenity.

Here’s a beautiful alpine lake:

Sage Advice

February 2021 is a busy sky month. There are five planets piled atop each other in the sign of Aquarius (six if you count the asteroid Pallas) — which form the rare and powerful Aquarius stellium of 2021. Those who know about this stuff tell us that this month could bring loads of innovative changes, out-of-the-box ideas, and revolutionary energy. Or not.

We shall see.

With all these planetary energies wreaking havoc all over the universe, it seems to be a good time, not only to balance our chakras, but to cleanse the house with some of my white sage picked from the garden that I have been drying for a while.

I don’t always tie up the leaves in the traditional smudge bundle; sometimes I simply put a few leaves in this cute little censer from Greece.

I hope this cosmic alignment is positive for all of us. Stay safe and healthy, y’all!

Happy Birthday, Mommy

If only she could see her namesake or the one that’s a curly haired clone of the other one, that would be truly awesome; however, today we’d be celebrating her 106 years on this earth and that wasn’t meant to be.

She died in 1987 from pancreatic cancer, still one of the most horrible and painful diseases. We took care of her here at home with the help of hospice. Since she was a head nurse, she taught me things like how to do her IV and heparin locks, and she’s the reason why I’m a great caregiver and caretaker. I’m forever grateful that I was able to care for her until the end.

Angel Boy 1.0 was –without a doubt– the love of her life. Here she is with AB at 18 months, the same age as Angel Girl 2.0 is right now. They were best buddies. She would be so very proud that he grew up to be a great dad AND a tenured professor before he was forty years old. (Notice the clever way I slipped that in?) We knew he was VERY smart.

Always fashion forward, I found some old pics of me and mommy. It’s true what they say. You never stop missing your mom, no matter how old you are.

I wonder what I’m reaching for…

Here I am the same age as AB 2.0, just about five years old. Funny thing to share is that I still braid my hair like this in pigtails (like right now) and I still don’t know how to throw a ball, but I DO know for certain that my ribbons perfectly matched my outfit. Always. Check out the saddle shoes that were never dirty.

Happy birthday to the original CharChar; you are missed.

Runaway Kayak

Since I recovered from the side effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine, I walked to the beach on a foggy Sunday morning.

I noticed a lot of police and fire truck activity on the bridge overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon so I walked over to one of the officers to ask what was going on.

He told me that someone had reported an empty kayak had washed up along the shore and they were following protocol to search for anyone who might have fallen off and needed to be rescued and offer medical assistance.

It’s very possible it was simply a case of a runaway kayak that had come loose from wherever it had been stowed, but they were in full on search and rescue mode.

I left after a while because it didn’t look like they needed my help (haha) and walked back home.

As I walked away, a woman stopped to ask me what was going on. She was maskless, so I told her I don’t speak to people who don’t follow the mask mandate, and kept going. Yes, her mouth dropped open, but I stand by my comment.

It’s simple. Wear a mask!

Subsequently, I learned they searched for more than two hours and didn’t find anyone–or at least I assume they didn’t because there was nothing on the news. If I hear an update, I’ll post the info.

P.S. Me, police, fire, and rescuers were wearing masks. There’s no excuse NOT to follow county guidelines. I hate it too, but I DO IT.

Wispy Sky Angel Wings

At the risk of being accused of always having my head in the clouds (guilty!) I took this photo a couple days ago right about 4:30 or so in the afternoon directly across the street from Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

I’ve never seen the sky like this–Picasso-esque–almost as if these shapes are petroglyphs or messages speaking to me, but I can’t seem to decipher the code.

I’m not very good at comprehending signs from the Universe. For example, a while back I would be drawn to notice 5:14 on the dot, AM and PM, every single day for a couple of weeks. That’s my birthdate, so it must mean something important, right?

I never could figure it out, but subsequently, there was 5:41 AM and PM for a few days, and I have absolutely NO IDEA if that’s some kind of karmic joke or if it was mere coincidence. Like sometimes a rose is just a rose? I dunno, but it confused me and made me feel ignorant because if it WAS a message, what was it? Who was it from?

Sometimes I’m simply not very smart because 5:14 is popping up again unbidden. WTF? Mom, is that you? If so, WHAT DO YOU WANT? Sheesh, she can so annoying.

Best Ever #Vegan Snickerdoodles

I had a hankering for some old fashioned Snickerdoodles just like I used to bake with my mom, only vegan this time.

I’ve been asked, so to clarify…yes, this is my pic I took of the just-baked Snickerdoodles, not a random Google photo.

I realize that a majority of my recipes are zero sugar and include all forms of kale and tofu and lentils; healthy and organic for the Angels, but they’re not here right now and I have truly eaten enough kale to last several lifetimes, haha.

I developed this recipe after doing tons of online research. The internet offers dozens of variations; some recipes include flax seeds, coconut sugar, and spelt/oat/amaranth/chickpea flours (including gluten free)–but I prefer to keep things simple.

My philosophy is that more people might want to try a vegan lifestyle if it’s not too complicated. At least at first, and then as one delves deeper into cruelty-free living, it’s fun to experiment with more exotic ingredients.

Gather ingredients; Cream of Tartar is the key to snickerdoodle’s unique flavor. I know it’s against all the rules to use Crisco shortening, but once in a while is OK, and it’s awesome for cookie texture.

I didn’t think anything could be better than my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I was blissfully happy with the results of these crackly, chewy, intensely cinnamon-y full moon shaped pillows of satisfying spicy sweetness. (But not too sweet.)

If you have patience, let them cool for about ten minutes before eating, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to wait. I hope you try them and let me know your results.

My friend is going to drop off a bottle of imported vanilla so I’ll make them again, but I might still use the maple syrup because the maple flavor really enhanced the spicy cinnamon profile.

Caution: I go HEAVY on the cinnamon because I love it so much. If you don’t, adjust the amount to be mindful of your own tastebuds.