Walk with me again

Join me on yet another Odysseus-like journey through my town. I’m not sure what I’m searching for, but maybe like Odysseus, I’m trying to find my way home, facing challenges along the way.

This was an interesting morning.

When I began my pilgrimage, there was so much fog! It was coming down from the heavens like rain. Super cool for walking, not so good for curly hair, but I like to look on the bright side so I braided my curls and wore a hat.

Check out the Halloweeny spider webs on this pine tree, brought to life by the heavy fog.

For a while, I was a few houses behind a woman who was walking her Rottweiler. I was actually across the street, but couldn’t help but notice that she was roughly pulling on the poor creature’s leash/collar. The collar was one of those mean ones that have little barbs in them. I was already upset that the dog had a cropped tail. I believe that sort of mutilation is outlawed in other–more humane–countries, as is that nasty hurtful collar.

OK, I said to myself. Don’t say it, I said to myself. You know what to do, girl, I said to myself, keep walking and don’t speak. Don’t say a word this time, I said to myself. Just DON’T, I said to myself. Look away, I said to myself. Take a deep breath, I said to myself. You can’t protect every animal in the world, I said to myself. This might not go well, I said to myself. Take another deep breath, I said to myself. Mind your own business, I said to myself. Slow down your pace so you’re out of hearing distance, I said to myself. I mean it, have some impulse control; this time just don’t say it, I said to myself.

And then the woman and her dog slowed down, so they were within the range of my voice.

What do you think I did?

Yup. I really did. I couldn’t help myself. I TRIED really hard to get my Zen on, but my one little inner voice was joined by yet another little inner voice and the words spilled out…

“Umm, excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice how you’re jerking your poor animal’s neck that way with that awful chain around its neck. It looks really painful from my point of view.”

“She needs to learn to listen. It’s just a little pinch.”

I said…”Well, you might want to learn another more positive method of training that poor girl because as I’ve observed during the last two blocks, your way isn’t working out very well.”

I concluded by saying, “I’ve trained a lot of animals, and actually think those types of chains with the hooks on them are banned in other countries. It’s abusive. You might want to research using a harness which doesn’t choke your beautiful dog.”

Well, she didn’t say anything else to me because at that point she walked up a side street, in all likelihood to get as far away from me as she could.

To her credit, we didn’t get into a screaming match. Walking away was her best choice, as she would have lost.

I took a deep breath and felt good that I had spoken truth and possibly opened her brain to a nicer way of training. Or not. Maybe I just ruined her day. Either way, job well done, in my opinion.

I looked down and was rewarded by a treasure! This is the most beautiful hawk feather. I carefully picked it up and placed it in my backpack. I think this might be a tail feather, don’t you?

At the beach, there was the usual non-compliant non-mask wearers, but I wore mine, took my ocean photos, and turned back to walk home.

No wave too small if you’re on a SUP.
Still foggy, but beautiful.

The lights were out at the intersection of Carlsbad Blvd. and Tamarack. There was utter chaos with cars and pedestrians, near misses, and impatient drivers. I crossed the street, defying a white SUV who was inching slowly toward running us all down, and saw a few police cars show up to direct the shitshow, so I thanked them for saving our lives and continued on my way.

This was a new sign at the railroad tracks. I swear there’s a deeper, more profound meaning here, but I can’t figure it out. I don’t have a clue. What do you think?

I stopped at RiteAid and bought a couple of cute Halloween decorations to add to my display ‘cos they were on sale.

Six miles or so again. Except for a still sore left arm where I had the injections, I think I’ve fully recovered from the horrible side effects of these vaccinations. I’m no closer to answering life’s existential questions, but the song that came on as I was almost home was Sting’s If I Ever Lose My Faith in You, and I’m even more confused.

Happy Sunday!

obsesh/confesh [DIY Fairy Garden]

My new obsession confession….

Maybe because I loved the fairy garden I sent Angel Boy, or maybe it was the smokey skies that made being outside harmful to my asthma, but I had to find an indoor project or it was going to affect my mental health, too.

I thought to myself, what could I craft without having to buy any new supplies?

Pinterest and the internet offers a plethora of ideas by amazing people.

There are step-by-step videos for nearly EVERYTHING DIY.

My first attempt was a craft stick (popsicle stick) door. I have a package of 200 sticks that I was saving for projects with AB and I always have glue and paint. PERFECT.

The door was so aDORable with addition of the button for a doorknob that I painted gold, so I felt confident building the bench. Also easy and also way cool. I painted it white and added a touch of my own…miniature pillows, each stuffed with 1/2 a cotton ball.

The little tables were made out of pieces of broken costume jewelry glued to a wine cork. (Yes, I do save everything.)

Check out the little broom I made with a toothpick.

I’m also obsessed with windchimes and mobiles (another post) and came up with the brilliant idea of a mini-mobile made out of an old costume jewelry ring. I have no idea where the ring came from, but it was there in the box of broken things.

I attached tiny seashells and gems using silver jewelry wire and fishing line.

Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt, right? Next, I’m going to try to build the picnic table.

I didn’t really want to do a step-by-step DIY tutorial because mine wouldn’t be nearly as detailed and precise as the ones that are already out there, but here’s a few photos of the process:

I think I might attempt to pierce the veil between worlds and open that door. It was especially magical last night when the solar lights came on and sparkled the glass rock pathway.

“Grandma, something real bad happened.”

That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.

It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.

Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.

This:

He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?

When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).

He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”

I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”

He gave Tiger another hug.

I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”

“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”

“Grandma hug!”

And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.

Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.

So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.

Now you’re all caught up, right?

Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.

No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”

“Hello, my T.”

“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”

Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.

Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.

“What happened, tell me!”

“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”

When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.

There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.

“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”

“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”

“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”

“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”

“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”

“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”

“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”

“There we go. That’s good.”

“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”

I walked into his bedroom.

“Look, T. What do you see?”

“NO WAY!”

“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”

“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”

Soft Sloth Squeeze toys Mini Change Color Squishy Cute animals Anti stress  Ball Squeeze Soft Sticky Stress Relief Funny Gift Toy|Squeeze Toys| -  AliExpress

“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”

(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)

“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”

“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”

“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”

“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”

“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”

Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…

“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””

“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”

“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”

“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”

“OK, Grandma, Bye.”

And that was it.

Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.

If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?

If only.

“I am wonderful.”

Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).

Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.

Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.

We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.

Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,

I AM WONDERFUL

Wonder full. Full of wonder.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.

It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.

It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.

Colorful/wonderful.

What’s Your Inspo?

Friday thoughts…

(inspo = something or someone that serves as inspiration or motivation.)

deviantart.com/ignisfatuusii/art/In-the-Magic-Forest-3311904

I’m a forever child, never to grow up, still talking like the perpetual thirteen-year-old that I was/am, and sometimes a fairy princess in an enchanted forest with flowers in my hair surrounded by gentle creatures.

It used to irk my son when I’d repeat key phrases from South Park or Beavis and Butthead that were sooo INAPPROPRIATE, but now he laughs with me. A snarky chuckle, but a laugh nonetheless.

One day when he was in graduate school, we were eating lunch with a few of his friends and he put me on the spot and made me imitate Towlie from South Park. “Wanna get high?” in that Towlie voice. Good sports, we all laughed. I knew they were laughing AT me, but it wasn’t in a mean way. I laughed at myself, too. The jokes on them though, ‘cos whatever I did as a mom inspired my son to become a professor. HAHAHA.

Here’s Towlie in case you didn’t have a teenage son in the 90s…

NEVER GROW UP, that’s my mantra. (A girly Peter Pan without leaving all the narcissistic destruction in my wake.)

Just now at the ATT store I noticed that I was the ONLY one who was enthralled with two little starlings who walked all around me in a circle, not a care in the world with regard to humans and cars, and then I looked up and saw a gigantic White Egret. There was a UPS man parked right next to me and he followed my gaze as I was looking up, so I said, “Look at the beautiful white egret!” Nothing. “It’s a BIRD.” Nothing. “It’s really special!” Nothing. He continued with his stressed and frenzied pace to get those packages delivered and delivered and delivered. He looked at me like I was slightly off center but I wanted to tell him that he’d have a better day if he stopped just for a minute to BREATHE and LOOK UP.

There are miracles all around to be seen and heard. The simple things are the greatest bringers of joy and gratitude. It’s also true a Chanel handbag can bring its own kind of joy, as much as a seashell. Same.

Back to inspo

What’s MY inspo? Now it’s mostly Theo and Charlotte, and always my original Angel Boy, that’s a given.

I’m putting the finishing touches on Theo’s half birthday gift, another one of my personalized books with photos and beginner words that I write just for him.

Yes, we celebrate half birthdays around here. It’s a tradition started by my mom, the original Charlotte. Hee hee. Not only did I get presents on my dad’s birthday, I received gifts and HALF a cake on my half birthday in November. The same was done for AB and now his kids. I think it’s an awesome tradition.

When my son turned twenty-one, I embarrassed him (yet again) in front of his friends with my speech about my love for every breath he’s ever taken and then gave him a gift of a star that I named for him because he was and will always be my entire universe. Check it out: International Star Registry, Scutum RA18h 47m 46d D-12′ 24′

Do you celebrate half birthdays?

What’s your inspo?

Aquafaba. Not Awkwafina and definitely not Paso Fino

NOT Awkwafina, one of my fave actors and comedians from one of my all-time fave films, Crazy Rich Asians.Awkwafina has a scene-stealing role as Constance Wu's old college roommate in "Crazy Rich Asians."

And not a beautiful Paso Fino, either. I had never heard of that breed as I’m not a very horsey person but I met one while hiking at the Daley Ranch and fell totally in love. He was the most gorgeous creature I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t stop petting him. He was all dressed up in a shiny silver bridle. I’m mostly afraid of horses because they’re so big but this guy was gentle and affectionate.(This isn’t the horse I met; this pic is from Wiki.)

Puerto rican-Paso-Fino-Horse-chestnut.jpg

No, what I’m talking about is AQUAFABA. I don’t know how it is that I’ve never heard of it, but that’s the truth. It slipped right by me, like the noxious slime that it is.

Up until now, I thought that the viscous liquid in cans of garbanzo beans was vile and slippery and I drain them IMMEDIATELY before making hummus or veggie burgers.

Who knew that some brilliant person must have thought to herself, “Hmm, what if I whip this shit up into a frothy mass and use it as a vegan replacement for egg wihites?”

And who came up with the NAME??? Aquafaba

I(t reminds me of that stuff I put on my lips ‘cos it’s so dry in SoCal: Aquaphor…)

I would really like to have a chitchat with that person because my unimaginative brain does NOT work that way.

My brain is more like “EWW, gross.”

I promise to try it in a recipe and post the results. I’d like to see how it compares to egg whites in a lemon meringue pie or a chocolate mousse or marshmallows. Apparently, it’s virtually calorie-free, so that’s a plus.

Try this site for some great recipe ideas: https://www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/20-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever worked with aquafaba.

My New Best Friend

This little guy visits me every single time i’m outside. He’s easy to identify because of the dark spot on the top of his head. I’m not sure if it’s a wound or an injury, but he seems healthy. I pet him with a little stick; he also enjoys a back massage.

I see nothing wrong with having an alligator lizard as a bestie, do you?

“Hey, man.” Convo with the brilliant one.

No one can pinpoint the etymology of this phrase with regard to our extremely precocious almost 4.5 year-old, but yesterday was the first time I heard it.

We were FaceTiming so he could tell me about their week-long camping trip. He was regaling me with how much fun he had and how he went surfing and how his baby sister enjoyed her first time living on the feral, as we say.

As an aside, he started referring to his almost one-year-old sister as “Missy” and when I asked him who he was talking about, Mom took the phone and said he started calling her that after I sent an Amelia Bedelia book where the child she babysits for is called “Missy.” T has a very active imagination.

As, we’re chatting and he shows me some new crystals he got at a yard sale–green and purple, his two favorite colors–I heard Dad in the background say, “Tell Grandma about the lake we went to this morning.”

“Oh yeah, hey man, I jumped all the way in from really high, you would have been too scared, little Grandma!”

I said, “What lake?” and “What did you just say?”

And he replied, “Let me ask Daddy.”

He walks over to where Dad is sitting on the sofa (I’m dragged along on FaceTIme) and says, “Hey, man, what was the name of the lake we went to?”

My son started snickering and said. “It was Kachess Lake”.

T said, “Hey man, it was Kachess Lake”.

I replied, “Oh, I saw the pictures and thought it was Green Lake.”

He corrected me, “No, man, it was Kachess Lake. Hey man, did you see me jump?”

“I did. You are a brave boy. Hand the phone to Dad for a minute, please.”

“Hey J-boy. What’s up, man? Where did he get that?”

*snickering again*

“We have no idea; he must have heard it somewhere or maybe on Sesame Street, that’s all we can think of, but literally EVERY other word out of his mouth is ‘man this or man that’.”

“Hey man, I’m gonna hit the red button now. Is that OK, Grandma?”

“Yeah, man, that’s cool. Catch you later. Bye, Angel Boy.”

Have you ever heard a little one use that term in the proper context? He sounds so grown up, so sophisticated. SOOOO precocious. Heaven help us when he’s an actual teenager.

“Serenity now!” proclaims my Peace Lily

New people moved in next door.

A young couple purchased their first home since they got married. It sounded like this was going to be a welcome addition to the ‘hood, but things took a 180 degree turn when they made a decision to host party after party after party Friday through Sunday from about noon to whenever. With loud music, drunk friends, and a pool, what could go wrong? Think Animal House.

After a few weeks of enduring this disrespect, I mobilized my other neighbors to see if they were as annoyed as I am, and I discovered that they were, especially the couple on the OTHER side of the frat house with a new baby.

This is a family community; we live close to an elementary school. Whether it’s a fam with kids or people like me who have lived here for 35+ years, one thing I know for sure. It is NOT party house friendly. If that’s what they were looking for, their realtor dropped the ball.

Once in a while, a loud party is not a problem. Multiple days every week? NOPE.

It was so unpleasant that I felt held hostage in my home; I couldn’t even go outside in the garden because of the noise. Apparently other nabes felt the same way. It’s been so hot that it’s not possible to close doors and windows. Last night they partied until after midnight.

I was on my LAST NERVE.

Similarly frustrated neighbors and I met (with masks). We strategized and decided to first have a friendly chat and if necessary, follow up with other actions.

We had the chat; there were a few dumb excuses and a bit of denial, but that didn’t last long, then a begrudging apology. Fingers crossed, peace is once again established throughout the land –at least my little world.

This is the first Saturday afternoon I’ve been able to go outside and not listen to their LOUD music and intermittent bouts of increasingly more raucous laughter. The more they drank, the louder they were. PEACE and SERENITY.

“Serenity NOW” as George’s dad said on Seinfeld. “Serenity NOW!”

In honor of the sounds of pure silence, I gave my Peace Lily a sunbath on the deck.

Blissful, healing, tranquil SILENCE.

What does a shiny green beetle, pennies, and a lizard on my bed have in common?

What does a shiny green beetles, pennies, and a lizard on my bed have in common?

Probably nothing, but that’s the puzzle.

Yesterday, I found a baby lizard on my bed–on top of the comforter, apparently hanging out. It didn’t look confused or lost, but as much as I love animals, I don’t really want to share my bed with an alligator lizard so I ran in the kitchen, grabbed an empty hummus container, and RAN back in the bedroom, hoping he was still chilling out and hadn’t moved. Thank goodness, he was in the same spot. As fast as I could, I scooped him up into the container, slapped on the lid and released him/her outside in the garden. How strange is that? I know we live in SoCal and there are lizards everywhere, sometimes in the garage, but rarely ever in the house. I don’t have pics, but you can believe me. It happened.

(Here’s a photo I just took of either the same baby lizard or a cousin, catching some rays on the sprinkler. Stay outside, little one!)

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Very strange, I think to myself.

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Early this morning while I transplanted a few baby herbs, I found an old scruffy penny. As I looked around in another part of the garden for something else to fill up more empty spots,  I found another penny.

Hmm…that’s odd, I think to myself.

A couple seconds later, I spied something shiny and green on the lawn. When I got close to check it out, I saw it was a dead beetle which I’ll save to show AB 2.0 at some point in the future.

Hmm…that’s odd AND strange,  I think to myself.

So what’s going on at Casa de Enchanted Seashells?

I have no idea, but a little research revealed this:

Finding a lizard on your bed implies that you are losing control or authority over someone or somebody. Okie dokie. Not sure about that, but I’ll consider it. This is better…The ability of the lizard to drop its tail, and grow it back has led to it being a symbol of growth, regeneration, and survival. To many Native American tribes, the lizard survivability has made it an important symbol especially when it comes to the birth of a male child. Many cultures see lizards as protectors and guards. This is particularly true when you consider many native American cultures. For instance, any Plains Native American tribes revered lizards for their ability to survive. Umbilical cords were sewn into amulets that resembled lizards as this ensured the health, masculinity, and strength of baby boys.  (https://www.snaketracks.com/lizards-symbolism/)

The beetle is a Cotinis mutabilis, also known as the figeater beetle (also green fruit beetle or fig beetle), and is a member of the scarab beetle family. I don’t have any fig trees…Symbolically, if you see a beetle of a green color, it’s the symbol of good health and prosperity, The beetle is often seen (in many cultures) as a lucky charm. Some even use it as an amulet. … Beetles are also associated with change, balance, and consistency.

Regarding found money, the most common thought is that coins are a sign from a departed loved one sending you their love and support. Ok, I get that, but I wish my mom or dad had left a couple million dollars buried in the garden, not two copper pennies. I’m GRATEFUL for the message, but still. Ya know? Oh well. Thanks, guys.

And it’s not even 10am here. I wonder what the rest of today will bring.