Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died today at Balmoral, surrounded by her family.

She’s free now to join the love of her life, Prince Philip.

I loved to watch her interactions with her grandchildren, to see the genuine love in her eyes, and that’s how I’ll remember her.

Crickets | Philosophy

Update to my dining room cricket dilemma…I was in the bathroom last night, brushing my teeth, when I looked down and witnessed the offensively loud chirping cricket hop onto the rug right near my feet.

This was quite a distance for a cricket to travel, but without really thinking about that (and I should have), I reached down, scooped him up with a page hastily torn out of a book, and dropped him in the toilet.

And flushed.

As the water was swirling and he “swam” away, I instantly thought that I had missed a valuable opportunity to have a chat with another species.

Why in the world did s/he visit me like that? Was it random or was there a message I was meant to hear?

I should have paused and taken a moment to put myself in that little cricket’s shoes (so to speak) and I now wonder what that action attempted to communicate or convey.

Instead, I lost a potential new friend and even more importantly, I acted in haste and without concern for his/her welfare.

Anyway, I’m really, REALLY sorry. Je regrette mes actions.

On the other hand, that was apparently the source of the late night chirps…

Arthur Schopenhauer said it best:

Ghost Ship?

Not this time.

My son takes the greatest photos.

A couple weeks ago, Lady Debbie, a commercial fishing boat, ran aground south of Westport, Washington. Luckily, there were no injuries and all six crewmembers walked away.

I wonder why she’s still there, unsalvaged, because it looks like it’s already starting to deteriorate and is now a canvas for taggers.

I wasn’t with the fam on this surfing beach trip so I didn’t get to actually see the vessel, but the last time I was there, I discovered a treasure trove of sand dollars which made me VERY happy.

Waiting For The Sky to Fall

It’s HOT.

6:30 a.m. and already 85 degrees. There are some monsoonal clouds drifting by and a bit of wind, but no rain.

I don’t think the temp has ever been this high this early, not that I can remember, anyway.

We are in an extended high heat warning. It was nearly one hundred degrees yesterday. Scorching, brutally hot.

It’s not often that we have humidity but that’s what made it all so unpleasant. Several records were broken. Climate change, anyone?

It was too hot to go outside. Because of the fires around here, air quality was poor.

And then critters started invading the house.

I heard the raucous chirping of a cricket and located the sound coming from the dining room.

Then, the family room was invaded by dozens of diminutive flying insects that seemed to have materialized out of nowhere.

A lizard clung to the patio screen door. I told him it wasn’t any cooler inside–there’s no air conditioning and he’d fare better by hiding in the shade of a rock.

I filled a bowl with water for my bobcat and coyote family.

I’m now waiting for the locusts.

Wavescape

There are hardly any plants that grow in the sand here, so when I saw these marshy reeds up against the seawall, I peeked through and snapped a few photos of the pretty ocean.

EASY Three-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

The Angel Kids always request my homemade ice cream when they visit but that usually involves ingredients I personally don’t like to use or eat, although I do it for them.

Feeling sorry for the chunk of body part that was chopped off a couple days ago, I thought that a bowl of chocolate ice cream would make me feel much better.

I didn’t want to go to the store and buy vegan ice cream loaded with all kinds of chemicals and other ingredients that help it replicate dairy ice cream and I’m allergic to coconut which is the mainstay for most vegan ice cream, so I decided to make my own.

I had an unopened container of almond milk from the kids’ recent visit and decided to do a little experimenting.

The result was SO satisfying. It actually tastes very similar to a fudgesicle and that’s not a bad thing.

It’s not super creamy but it’s very chocolate-y and yummy. Substituting one cup of full fat coconut milk for one cup of almond milk or a little corn syrup would provide a much smoother texture but all I really cared about was the chocolate. If I make it again, I will add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, but this is a quick and easy recipe.

I think this is a great recipe to use for homemade popsicle molds. I didn’t, but you could add mini chocolate chips or berries and that would be yummy, too.

It’s fun to experiment and I’m never sorry if I fail because I’ll try something different next time, but this was a success.

PS If you’re counting, I don’t consider vanilla to be an ingredient!

All You Need Is…

There’s a growing collection of animals at my front door, along with seashells and rocks, of course. Hedgehogs and bunnies along with frogs and turtles and owls welcome everyone to Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

These are brand new additions to the family…and best of all for my thrifty self, they were both on sale.

Always Wear Sunscreen! A Cautionary Tale…

I just got home from having surgery for a spot of basel cell carcinoma on my shoulder. The anesthetic is wearing off and my arm is sore and achy.

Even though the cancer was caught early thanks to my amazing dermatologist, let me tell you that it’s NO FUN to endure a biopsy and the subsequent treatment.

I’ve had Mohs surgery before for basel/squamous cell skin cancer on the back of my neck and that was even less fun because they had to dig deeper and my movements were limited for a longer period of time.

Since then, I’ve been more diligent about staying out of the sun, wearing a big floppy hat and UV sleeves to protect my arms while gardening.

There will be no more four-hour suntanning marathons at the beach with baby oil or cocoa butter.

According to my doctor, the damage was done decades ago when that was all we did during summer vacation; lie out in the sun. Because I live in Southern California, there’s a LOT of sun and lots of opportunities to attain that deep bronze-y glow.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I have to endure these kinds of procedures. I also had about five pre-cancerous spots removed from my face and chest, but so far none of the suspicious areas are melanoma, the scariest diagnosis of all.

While I’m indoors on the sofa, out of the sun, I thought it’d be a good time to remind everyone to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when you’re outside.

Another good suggestion is to visit a dermatologist and get checked out so you’ll have an established baseline for the future.

Now I’ll head over to Amazon and look for adorable things to buy for the almost three-year-old Angel Girl. Whatever it is MUST be pink and she loves Hello Kitty. She’s definitely MY little one, that’s for sure!

August Musings

This poem by Mary Oliver makes me think of the Pacific Northwest where blackberries grow freely on every fence and in every alley and all along the path we take to walk to the Salish Sea.

The Angel kids, as they carefully pick blackberries to avoid thorns, their faces and hands stained purple, turn now and again to share, “Here’s a nice big one for you, Grandma!”

August

When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.