After Abcission, What’s Next?

My ash tree might be slightly confused.

Although leaves appropriately dropped during autumn’s abcission, I assumed it would lie fallow and stay calm until springtime, but that’s not what’s been happening.

This particular tree seems to be on its (his/her?) own schedule or maybe the mild weather is confusing the internal timeline, because in the last two weeks, it flowered, dropped the flowers, and is showing all new green leaves. In January!

Read about abcission HERE:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/11/20/the-process-of-abscission/

And then the flowers fell…

Covered in bright green newly birthed leaves.

If you listen very carefully, you will hear the buzzing of hundreds of bees who love the little flowers. We peacefully co-existed.

We might get a bit of rain next week and the temperature won’t stay as summery warm as we’ve been enjoying; I wonder what my ash tree will do?

Here she is, in all of her glory. (I decided she gives off intense fertile divine female vibes; definitely not an “it” nor male, for sure.)

Winter Veggie Garden

Today’s temperature hovered around eighty degrees and we’re in the middle of a Santa Ana heat wave. I’ve known a few January days that have been this warm, so I’m not exactly sure if it’s climate change related or if it’s simply because it’s Southern California.

It’s the perfect time to pick fresh garden veggies and make a salad.

My lettuce crop is thriving; so are the ruby red radishes.

I also started growing celery from the base of the stalks. It’s really easy. One method is to cut off the base and place in a cup with water to watch it sprout, or you can do it my way, plant it directly in the ground. The ribs aren’t as fat and wide as the original, but it’s super fresh and tasty and the leaves are deliciously herby. They’re surrounding by protective spicy mustard green leaves.

These pepper plants are two years old and still producing. There were almost completely destroyed by squirrels when they were in another location, but I rescued and replanted them in a safe location that was critter-free, and they’ve thanked me by continually producing tasty little green peppery jewels.

How does YOUR garden grow?

Well, this was an adventure…

I think by now I can safely assume that y’all figured out that I’m a tiny person with very curly hair who lives in a Southern California beach town.

You know that I love seashells and rocks and being outdoors. I have an amazing son and brilliant DIL who combined their DNA to create two of the most adorable humans to ever exist.

Moreover, I’m a passionate animal protector and defender.

My dad was an attorney and my mom was a SAHM — an RN who went back to nursing when I was in junior high. With certainty, I admit to living a less than edgy life. More like ballet or the symphony and learning to bake my mom’s best ever apple pie than drunken brawls and broken windows on Saturday nights. My memories are of a slightly quieter and more genteel childhood. You get the picture, right?

Maybe that’s the reason why, every so often, I crave a bit of excitement or an adventure or maybe the truth is that I’m too naive (or stupid) to know what it really means when I put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

So this happened.

Would you be at all surprised if I told you that I watched a burglary in progress and then I offered to chase after the guy with the store manager (yes I really did and FYI he declined my offer.)

Definition: Burglary (entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside) and larceny (theft) are two different crimes, although burglaries are often committed for the purpose of theft. Shoplifting is typically defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. In certain cases, the intent to steal, along with an act in furtherance of that intent, can also result in criminal charges for shoplifting (or retail fraud). 

Here’s the whole story:

Monday is my pandemic grocery shopping day; I try to do it all early while there are fewer people out and about to reduce the amount of viral aerosol drops. Traders and Sprouts are my go-to stores for my vegan food; stuff like tofu and hummus and veggies and lentils and beans, along with pea protein powder, coffee and tea. Not very exciting food, I guess, but I stock up for a couple of weeks, because you never know when stores will close again, either for the pandemic or because we’re in an insane civil war.

After that, I went to ATT because I was having a potential issue with the charging port on my phone which decided NOT to exhibit the malfunction while I was there so it was a wasted trip.

After that waste of time, I drove to one of my favorite retail stores because I need a new black zippered hoodie. I love to bleach pretty much everything, but made the mistake of wearing my black hoodie to bleach the kitchen tile and I ruined it.

Since the recent alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, retail stores again limit the number of people that can shop at the same time, so there was a very short socially distanced line. We were all masked. The masked employee was counting people in and out. From my vantage point, I could see a man walking very fast on the sidewalk toward us. For some reason, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was dressed all in black with a black hoodie pulled down low over his forehead, black sunglasses, and a black backpack. He had a black mask that wasn’t on correctly. He flew past the employee at the front door. Uh oh, I thought. What a jerk.

“Sir, there’s a line. Sir, Sir, Sir, there’s a line.” He completely ignored her. We looked at each other and said, “What the hell was THAT?”

Hmmm. That’s when I got the gut feeling that I normally ignore and this time was no different. I had a totally random thought that he gave off REALLY dangerous vibes and I bet he had a gun in his backpack. I thought to myself that SOMETHING might happen and it would probably be a really good and prudent idea to simply avoid it all by walking back to my car. I mean, I could fulfill my desire for a new hoodie on another day; it’s not important. Not at all.

But I didn’t do that.

It was my turn to go in the store and I thought I’d be like Nancy Drew, Junior Detective, and keep my eyes and ears open and be aware of my surroundings. I searched for the guy and saw him walking up and down the aisles really fast, pullings items off the racks and piling them in his arms. He never looked up. When he walked toward the handbags, I went up to an employee who was stocking the area and said,

“Do you see that guy over there? (I pointed.) He’s going to run out of here with a lot of things.”

She said, “Yes, I’m watching him, he’s taking the expensive purses with the security tags.”

At that exact moment, he flew by us and bolted out the door, just like I predicted. The stolen handbags with the security tags set off the store alarms. The employee who was outside tried to stop him, but he kept running.

The manager came to where I was standing with the employee and I said to him, “Let’s go after him, I’m a witness. COME ON! We can catch him.”

“Thank you, but I can’t do that. He could have a weapon.”

The manager told me the video cameras at the front captured a picture of him as soon as the alarm was tripped.

I then told him I would wait there while he called the police.

Now here’s the crazy thing. He said he wasn’t going to call the police because that wasn’t “corporate policy”.

Have you ever experienced anything like that?

I was shocked by what he said, and when I went out to my car, I called the nonemergency police number who told me they couldn’t do anything unless the store called and it’s apparently their choice whether to do that or not. She agreed with me that it was not a great decision but law enforcement’s hands are tied. Unless the store calls, they can’t do their job.

I told dispatch I wanted to run after him but the store manager didn’t and she started laughing at the thought but warned me to NEVER do that. Even thought my intentions were noble, there’s always the chance that I’d be harmed. I’m no hero, but sheesh! Right is right, right?

I still can’t believe this thief got away with armfuls of stolen items with zero consequences.

WTF.

It was a sort of adventure, slightly thrilling with a touch of danger, but nothing really happened except that I watched a guy run into a store, brazenly steal a bunch of stuff, and get away. It was like a movie and I was an extra or a bit player. Like most of my acting career, my scene will probably be cut from the final edit.

What would you do?

Surf City

We’re in the middle of a high surf advisory with sets up to ten feet. Although the bigger waves are south of me, I didn’t feel like driving to La Jolla or Sunset Cliffs; instead I took some pics at my local beach. The air temperature is in the low 70s and it’s simply sparkly and beautiful.

I was hoping to see whales or dolphins, but I wasn’t lucky today. The only animal life out in the water were of the surfer species.

Witch Ball, Y’all

Following the horrific acts of violence –sedition, insurrection, treason–in the Capitol with the knowledge that it was incited by that orange POS, discovering that many people from my little town are among his supporters, I decided it might be time to secure my house with something more than an alarm system, just in case civil war breaks out.

I had never heard of witch balls until I was looking for clear, empty Christmas decorations to send to the Angel Boy 2.0 as a craft. Have you ever heard of them?

My thought was that he could go on a nature walk with mom and dad and pick up special things like we do when I’m there; rocks, seashells, leaves, feathers–but I didn’t know that it also had a historical spiritual connection.

Image may contain: text that says 'Witch Ball A Witch Ball is a hollow glass sphere filled with herbs, crystals, sticks and stones (etc) According to Appalachian Mountain folklore, a witch ball was tool used protect the home. "hanging a witch ball near window, or in a corner of a room provides protection from negative spirits and thoughts, but they can also produce luck, much like the purpose of an upturned hanging horseshoe.", ilmypsychicjane'

I sent four clear plastic spheres thinking it might engender a family crafting experience, but I discovered that AB 2.0 appropriated them all for himself–he’s a hoarder like me–and I guess they’ll remain stashed away in his bedside drawer until I can finally get there and do it with him.

I also got a couple for myself and had a great time filling them and now one is hanging near the front door and one is near the back door so I feel completely protected and all demons have been vanquished.

Mine contain cinnamon sticks, red toyon berries, lavender, rosemary, bay leaves, sparkles, sea salt, sand, seashells, rocks, feathers, rosehips, white sage, faux pearls and diamonds, and crystals.

It was fascinating to see how many things I could fit inside the sphere. I felt like I should be mumbling an incantation under my breath as I was meandering around my garden, but I only laughed out loud and thought happy thoughts.

Just another very witchy day at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Hiking Mount San Jacinto

There are amazing all-season hikes to the top of Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs high above Coachella Valley.

San Jacinto Peak is 10,834 ft. and was known to Cahuilla Indians as I a kitch (or Aya Kaich), meaning “smooth cliffs”.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway hike is the less strenuous option. My son and his friend climbed all the way up and it’s not easy, but taking the tram (which is SUPER SUPER scary) is a perfect way to enjoy what John Muir referred to as “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”

Spectacular view.

We see beauty all around.

Palm Springs

I especially love the contrast of these stark white branches against the blue sky.

Yummy Vegan Veggie Lentil Soup

My doctor totally depressed me cos she told me her husband’s best friend just died from Covid-19 and because she’s on the frontlines treating patients, she cautioned me to be extra careful and stay home and away from people.

I decided it was a great day to make another version of my favorite hearty and healthy soup.

Lentil Tofu Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
*Carrots, 3 large
*Celery, 2-3 stalks including leaves
*Tofu, whole package
*Lentils,1.5 cups
*Kale, 2 cups
*Broccoli, half head
*Canned organic tomatoes, 28 ounce can
*Bay leaves and other garden herbs

–Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot.
–Add roughly chopped carrots and celery. I don’t like onions so I didn’t add them, but go ahead and chop up half an onion if you like them.
–When they’re nicely browned and have released a lot of flavor, add dried lentils and six cups of water along with a couple bay leaves.

–Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
–Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli and tofu along with chopped kale.
–Simmer for about an hour, stir every once in a while. Add more water as needed.
–Add a large can of diced tomatoes in juice and any herbs to taste.
–I picked sage and oregano and thyme from the garden.
–Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt (optional).

–Serve in a large bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful lettuce this season, so I picked a few fresh leaves for a salad to accompany this delicious soup.

Sometimes I make a crusty French bread but I didn’t feel like it because I’m sad about almost losing our precious democracy but I might make vegan biscuits tomorrow cos I’ll eat this soup for a few days.

It gets better every day.

Birds of SoCal

Here in SoCal it’s pretty warm during the day, bugs are out and about and these noisy little birds snapped them out of the air right in front of me. It was daylong entertainment, at least half a dozen birds catching flies and (I think) termites in mid-flight.

Black Phoebe

Scratching on the ground, a few California Towhees make my garden their home. They love their reflection and tap at the window or anywhere they can see themselves.

This was a peaceful first weekend of 2021.

Best Mantra for 2021

Let’s all take a deep breath and say goodbye to 2020. Hindsight truly IS 2020, isn’t it? At least now it is, haha.

I like to post a mantra to welcome each new year, and saw this one from the Dalai Lama to maintain peace of mind and remain free from worries.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

This mantra is often chanted to overcome physical, mental or emotional blockages, although it can also be used for blockages in relationships. It can help release hope for a particular outcome and bring the energy back to yourself, generating inner peace and clarity.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

To reap the most benefits, mantras should be chanted 108 times (mala beads can help.)

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

Happy New Year!

Easy DIY Mod Podge Candle Decor

We had our first winter storm today with some hail, so I needed an indoor project.

I love to embellish pretty much everything, usually with seashells, but not always. This time I decided to Mod Podge a silk scarf onto plain glass candles that came from the dollar store.

The scarf was an old Laurel Burch cat scarf that I must have inherited from my mom because I never was really a Burch fan. I’m not sure why I had originally cut it up, but there was enough material left over to beautify three candles.

The art of decoupage is so simple yet so satisfying.

1. Cut the fabric to the size of the glass container.
2. Brush a good amount of Mod Podge on the glass.
3. Carefully place the scarf on the glass and press firmly.
4. Brush on more Mod Podge. The silk adheres really nicely to the sticky glue and there’s enough time to push out all of the air bubbles.
5. Let it dry for about an hour and then paint another layer of Mod Podge onto the surface.
6. Let dry.

That’s it!

I’m beyond pleased with the results!

All lit up and glowing. They look even better than I thought they would. The best thing is that when the original candle burns out, I can replace it with a votive.