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.

Apple Blossom Time #WordlessWednesday

It’s a little early for this blossoming activity because SoCal can’t decide if it’s winter or spring–looks like spring won the contest.

They smell so delicious, I might have to try Helena Rubinstein’s Apple Blossom perfume which was originally released in 1936 and is still in production. The license from Helena Rubinstein was acquired by Kent Cosmetics in 1988 and according to the manufacturer, the formula is still the same.

Hmmm, I’d be curious to see if any human-made scent could duplicate the purity of intense fragrance contained within these five little flower petals. If so, I’d be tempted to bathe in it every day.

Where I Am: At a Loss for Words

When I can’t seem to locate my own words to express how I feel, I turn to Mary Oliver.
She speaks for me, to me, through me.

Sleeping in the Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.–Mary Oliver

Photo by Mohan Reddy Atalu on Pexels.com