Nectar of the Hummingbird Gods

To A Mockingbird

He sat for the longest time on a volunteer Brazilian peppertree. The original tree was removed because it’s an invasive species, but also resilient and obnoxious, an aggressive woody weed which displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites.

To A Mocking Bird

The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong;
No mimic thou: that voice is thine alone.
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare’s song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own.– Henry Jerome Stockard

#WordlessWednesday

Hosp Grove Murder

UPDATE:
Police released the name of the murder victim. She was physical therapist Lisa Thornburg. After the death of her husband in 2017, she moved with her daughter to Carlsbad in May 2020.

I’m completely freaked out. In a weird twist of fate, we had met online and were planning to go hiking together. She had actually messaged me a couple days before her murder to go hiking but I had another doc appt that morning and had to decline. I had written her, “Next time for sure.”

Only there wouldn’t be a next time. How absolutely tragic for her family.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Divine intervention in action.

On Monday morning, I went to a much delayed (due to Covid) eye appointment for new glasses and contacts. It turned out the new doc and I not only had acquaintances in common, but his wife graduated the same year from my high school. While I was there, he called her and she immediately looked me up in the yearbook. What a small world! It was also the best eye exam I’ve ever had, and I know a LOT about eyes.

I drove home around the mall, taking the road that follows a weird little piece of open space called Hosp Grove with a 3.0 mile heavily trafficked loop trail. Originally, Hosp Grove was founded in 1908 by a group of investors. They planted 219 acres of eucalyptus hoping they could be harvested and sold to the Santa Fe Railroad as railroad ties. Unfortunately, eucalyptus is a brittle wood and cracks easily, therefore was unsuitable to use. I don’t know why they didn’t do any research about the best wood for railroad ties, but I guess that’s what happened pre-Google.

It’s not one of my favorite places to walk because it’s dusty, devoid of native plants, and too short of a walk to make me happy, but I debated with myself about stopping because it was a beautiful day.

I slowed down, but FOR SOME REASON, decided not to pull into the parking lot, and continued home. This was a little before 11:00 a.m.

No sooner did I get home that I read post after post on NextDoor and Facebook questioning the appearance of yellow tape and major police presence at Hosp Grove.

I called the police department and a few details emerged:

The body of 68-year-old woman was found. She had been stabbed to death.

The victim, whose name has not yet been made public, apparently was walking or jogging when she was killed at Hosp Grove Park. Passers-by found her body shortly before 11:30 a.m.

Though no suspects in the case have at yet been identified, a tipster reported seeing an unidentified man who may have been in the area where the woman’s body was found around the time of the fatal assault.

The possible suspect is described as a husky, tan-complected, dark-haired man who was walking slowly with a slight limp or shuffling gait.

However, at this time, no suspect has been arrested and we have been cautioned not to walk alone in that park or the other trails in Carlsbad.

HOLY SHIT!

If I had acted on my initial thought of walking that trail — at that time– it’s entirely possible that I would have either been a/the murder victim or would have been a witness to murder.

I am so very sorry that this happened and my heart goes out to the woman’s family. I hope the police make an arrest as soon as possible.

Divine intervention. I’ll definitely add that to my list of things to be thankful for.

(I’ll update this post as more information becomes available.)

Rock Solid

The call of love sounds very hollow among these immobile rocks.
-Gustav Mahler

I love rocks as much as I love seashells. I’m drawn to all shapes and sizes, colors and textures. Each one has a story to tell. They’re alive; warm from absorbing the sun, cool to the touch when it’s chilly, and shiny wet when it rains. They change but stay the same. I can trust them and that’s important to me.

Rocks are composed primarily of grains of minerals, crystalline solids formed from a chemical compound arranged in an orderly manner. The aggregate minerals forming the rock are held together by chemical bonds. Immutable bonds of love.

This is my very own dry river bed. I hauled each and every rock with my own two hands; thousands of them; a true labor of love.

Vitamin Sea

Today was the perfect day to soak up the positive energy of the ocean.

“The ocean has the ability to trigger a psychological state of calm and contentment. It can literally wash away the pain.”

I didn’t see any whales and this beach isn’t abundant with shells, but the sand was warm and welcoming.

Hearts in the sand.
A pretty little shorebird. This looks like a painting.

And a couple short videos:

Heart/wrecked

Featured

Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

Convo #926 With the Brilliant One

“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”

“T, what was that big word?”

“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”

“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”

“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”

“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”

“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”

“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”

“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”

“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”

SEE?”

“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)

“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”

“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”

“Do I EVER forget?”

(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)

As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”

“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”

This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.

Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?

To Pee or Not to Pee

That’s the question (with apologies to William Shakespeare).

Quick post:

There’s a lively discussion on NextDoor about a woman who was walking on a local trail with her nine-year-old son when he needed to relieve himself and did so a few feet off the trail in the bushes.

This is not a remote trail, it’s pretty much in the city, paved and well-traveled.

Apparently a woman stopped to stare and made the boy feel uncomfortable. There were quite a few negative comments directed toward the woman who (allegedly) was looking, comments like “mind your own business”…

Mine seems to be the ONLY comment that talked about the possibility that it might be inappropriate for a boy that age to urinate in public.

In my opinion, I think this would be a different story if it was a toddler in the middle of toilet training, but a nine-year-old is too old for that behavior.

Normally I don’t respond to NextDoor because it’s a dark hole like Facebook, but I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

What if it was a nine-year-old girl? Does that change anything?

Obviously, they were in plain sight. I wouldn’t want my son or my grandkids to see someone else’s body parts or something that should be private.

What if there was a predator around?

I’ve hiked a lot in many different wild places and had to find a secret spot myself, but this location isn’t a forest or a remote mountain trail. It’s a mile-long walkway paralleling the railroad tracks with houses and windows all around.

Your opinion?

Celestial sunset brilliance

Everyone was out this Thursday evening with their cameras pointed up, taking photos of the cloud-dotted sky with amazingly intense colors.

That’s the Encina Power Plant undergoing demolition.
You can see a tiny slice of the ocean off in the distance. A couple blocks away from Casa de Enchanted Seashells.