Enchanting Seashell Bouquets

For #ThrowbackThursday, I reached into the vault of previously written posts and found this one from 2012.

I reworked it a bit and added a few more photos of the seashell bouquets that I’ve crafted since then.

At the time, I needed a new project and somewhere. probably on Pinterest, I saw a bouquet of seashells and starfish and thought that it looked easy enough to re-create, so I did!

An added benefit to the seashell bouquet is to make as a gift for anyone who’s allergic to flowers. The irony here is that I’m allergic to roses. With a name like Rosebud, that’s pretty funny, not that I’d toss them out if someone wanted to send me a dozen, but we can’t be in the same room at the same time.

How to make the seashell bouquet:
1. Get craft sticks of all sizes; I even used chopsticks.
2. If you don’t have a glue gun, get one! I can’t live without mine, that’s for sure. For this project, you don’t have to be perfect, obvs you need to use more glue for the heavier starfish
3. Florist’s foam, that would be a good idea and it’s easily available at craft stores and the dollar store, which is where I got mine.
4. It’s pretty simple: glue the seashell or starfish or sparkly treasure to the stick.
5. Insert into foam cut to fit snugly inside the vase.
6. Done!

Voila! Here’s the finished product. This vase is at the bottom of our stairs up to the second level and is the first thing you see when you come in the front door. 

I used sticks from the garden because I wanted a natural, organic creation. The vase came from a vintage consignment shop in the village.
The vase came from Anthropologie; I embellished it with the seashell collar. Yay for glue guns!

Are you crafty? Let me know what you’ve been doing all the many months of being isolated during the Covid Pandemic. The next time I get to see Angel Boy 2.0, I think he’s old enough to help me make one, and I think he’d love to create a seashell bouquet. Of course, he’s still too young to use a glue gun, other than that, it’s a great project for children.

Covid-19 Vaccine: Second Dose

No rainbows or IVs this time!

Here’s a timeline of my experience subsequent to the second vaccine:

Due to my visit to urgent care after the first vaccine because I had an allergic reaction, my doctor told me to drink at least 64 oz water for a few days prior to my appointment. I know that’s a great idea anyway, but I never really drank that much water, so I definitely know it’s important.

My appointment was scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at 8:15 a.m.

Again, the facility did such a great job that we were checked in and promptly seen. Because of my allergic reaction following the first vaccine, I was whisked away to an enhanced observation area. I must have made quite an impression (lol) because the same nurse was there and she remembered me.

This time, perhaps due to being well-hydrated, I didn’t experience an allergic reaction and went home. My arm was a little sore but no other major symptoms–until about six hours later.

I became super fatigued, had a pounding headache, muscle/joint aches, and abdominal pain. Still no fever.

I continued to hydrate the rest of the day.

Around 6:00 p.m. I took my temperature and had a fever of 99.8. I had prepared for side effects by stocking up on soups and made a batch of my ubiquitious lentil veggie soup

I fell asleep on the sofa watching Vera on PBS. When I woke up, I was alternately hot and shaking with chills. This time when I took my temperature, it was 101.5. I took Tylenol and went to bed.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m., took my temperature again and it was 100.8, so I went back to sleep but didn’t take more Tylenol.

The next morning I still felt pretty badly and managed to make a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and lie on the sofa. I was extremely tired and unable to do anything but vegetate, and that really annoyed me. The headache was as dreadful as the day before. All morning, my temp was steady at 99.8.

At around 4:00 p.m. I started to feel marginally better; the aches were dissipating, and my temp was 99.

I watched a bit of American Idol but couldn’t take more than five minutes of it before I turned to PBS. After “All Things Great and Small” was over at` 10:00 p.m, I took my temperature again. This time it was 97.6 which is my normal. .Other than a still slightly sore shoulder, it’s as if all the symptoms disappeared at the exact same time. I could feel an immediate absence of all aches and pains

It’s very strange to feel unwell and poorly but not actually BE sick. I didn’t have the flu. I didn’t have Covid. I didn’t have any other virus or infection. I kinda sorta feel as if I’m a human guinea pig involved in a gigantic science experiment.

Anyway, it’s over, I’ve had both doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. It’s supposed to offer 95% protection against the virus. I sure hope it does but to be safe, I’ll still follow protocol and wear a mask out in public.

Read about my first Covid vaccine experience by clicking on this link.

Clouds Got in My Way

After the really stressful but eventually successful first Covid-19 vaccination experience, today was more serene.

My doc emailed two times to check on me, going above and beyond her Hippocratic Oath.

Just a girl with a sore arm and some clouds embellishing the blueblue 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.

Covid-19 Health Tips

Can you believe how many months we have been living under the dark cloud of a deadly virus?

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

I’m not talking about tRump this time; I’m referring to Covid-19, formally called the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2.

I remember back in February when I heard some chatter about a new virus first noticed in China, more virulent than the common flu, and my ears perked up. With my chronic asthma and reduced lung function, I’m pretty careful in the best of times, and this seemed to be something else entirely.

I’m glad I listened to my inner voice and stopped going to the gym in March weeks before the official shut down, a preventative measure on my part because it’s normally never very clean and the air never smelled fresh.

During the shut down when everyone was hoarding toilet paper and Lysol spray and hand sanitizer, I asked my doc what I could do to protect myself.

Besides wearing a mask in public and staying away from crowds, her suggestion (and what she does) was to add zinc and Vitamin C to what I already take: D3, K2, turmeric, magnesium, and a B complex ‘cos I’ve been vegan for such a long time. I also take Carditone for cardiovascular health.

I’d rather eat healthy and take a few supplements than fall victim to high blood pressure meds, statins for cholesterol imbalances, and a compromised immune system.

I think probably the most important supplement we can take is a D3/K2 combo.

Years ago, my doc checked my D levels and was concerned that it was 24, way below the recommended healthy levels of 50-60. I started taking 5000 mcg daily and three months later, my levels were up to 40. Now they’re at the optimal number of 60, and I feel much better than I did in the beginning.

It’s been suggested that there’s a link between low levels of D3 and depression, and I believe it.

It’s a good idea to take D3 with K2 as there’s a synergistic relationship between vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 for bone and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K is essential for the proper utilization of calcium.

Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, while D3 supports a healthy immune system and muscle function.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

So far, I’ve been lucky not to have been infected by Covid, but I still wear a mask when out and stay away from crowds or gatherings of any kind, and wash my hands often.

Stay safe, everyone!

Walk With Me

Sights around my little town.

I saw an abundance of crows; not sure why, but quite a few of them joined me today.

Hello, friend!

This sign was posted a few blocks away; not a very nice person! I hope she’s caught and the dog is found unharmed.

Poor grammar; incorrect use of “they’re”…should have been “their”, but I’ll allow it this time.

When I got to the beach, I was astonished to observe how many people were walking so close to each other in public and absolutely defied the “Wear a Mask” order.

I encountered no one during my walk but I wore a mask when I crossed the street to stop at the restroom. I observed many non-compliant people huddled together on the seawall and sidewalk, pretty much 90% were NOT wearing masks, so I turned right around and went home. My own mask didn’t seem like enough protection and I didn’t feel like yelling at them.

They are not being good neighbors or visitors to our city.

The County of San Diego requires face coverings to be worn anywhere in public where you could come within 6 feet of someone you don’t live with. Face coverings should be worn in addition to, not instead of, all of the other health precautions.

At last, a couple photos of early morning surf before I walked back.

How was your Sunday?

We Wear the Mask (Poetry/Reality)

Here’s my assortment of masks waiting for me on the front seat of the car.

That’s REALITY, a temporary address where I don’t really like living for any length of time, as I’d rather dwell in the realm of fairy gardens with doors that open to a gentle forest of everlasting happiness.

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How’s everyone doing with the novel Corona virus, now officially called SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2)

Are you masking up in public?

Have you been to a restaurant?

Have you or anyone you know been exposed and/or tested positive?

Are you still restricting your daily activities?

Are you still washing your hands more than ever?

Disinfection game still at a high level?

ME:
• I wear a mask whenever I go to a store. As soon as I walk outside, I take it off.
• No restaurants or bars for me.
• My DILs brother-in-law got it, was extremely sick and hospitalized, it was touch and go but he pulled through.
• I’m in the high risk demographic and haven’t/won’t attend any large gathering and I also stay well away from anyone in public.
• Still washing/disinfecting daily but to be honest, I’ve always been a clean freak, so it’s not a hardship.

Here’s the bottom line…I HATE wearing a mask but I do it to protect myself and others.
Just in case. Kind of the same reason I wear a seatbelt. Or don’t drink and drive. To protect you and me. Just in case.

It’s a small price to pay, whether or not it’s actually necessary, but doctors and medical professionals wear masks and other PPE during surgery and when they’re in the presence of patients who present potentially contagious symptoms, so why not?


Here’s POETRY.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote a poem about another kind of mask. He was an amazingly insightful poet.

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!
BY  PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

The Fine Art of Healing with Retail Therapy

Frivolous or not, the re-opening of Nordstrom Rack sent waves of happiness through every cell of my body.

Today was almost like a pre-Covid day, with the exception of mandatory mask-wearing.

(I started sewing some Chanel and Dior masks; look for that DIY post soon.)

My day began at Homegoods where I found an adorable beaded basket for $7.99.

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I moved to TJ Maxx, where I purchased these amazing summery earrings ($9.99) and a skateboarding dinosaur t-shirt for Angel Boy 2.0.

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At Nordstrom Rack (yay, they’re open again!) I couldn’t resist these Sam Edelman Passion Red Velvet Dot Tulle heels. I might not have anywhere to wear them right now, but they are SOO me. They’re a bit pricier than my other items; on clearance, right around $50.

I LOVE doing photo shoots with shoes and jewels. It’s so much fun, especially balancing that one shoe.

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But my shopping joy didn’t stop there! Marshalls is next to the Rack. I walked up and down every single aisle and that’s where I discovered this gorgeous handpainted mandala glass bowl (I’m fascinated by receptacles). I couldn’t stop snapping pics! It’s embellished inside and out, glowing in the late afternoon sunlight. Also $7.99, unbelievable. How could I resist?

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It was a thoroughly satisfying and mentally healthy day, the best kind of retail therapy, and it doesn’t always have to be a pricey Chanel to bring pleasure.

UPDATE: While I was out, Governor Newsom ordered a new shutdown, so it seems as if it’s possible that stores and malls will once again be closed. I’m grateful I was able to experience a few hours of normalcy.

Pandemic Journal 2020: Walkin’ around my ‘hood

It’s Easter Sunday and that always meant a traditional day hike or walk to the beach or a camping trip to the desert.

This year was a bit different because of the pandemic, isolating to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19.

But the beach always beckons. Well, not exactly the beach because it’s now closed, but non one can deprive me of a view of the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

My round-trip walk is about 6.5 miles, maybe a bit longer because I took a detour to include pics of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

For those of you that didn’t get out for a walk today, here ya go!

It looks like an advert for a hallucinogenic (LSD) but that’s an ALTERED PERCEPTION haha. That’s just the way the light hit it. The sign really said “Beach closed.”

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And just in case you didn’t take the hint, this signage made it extremely clear…

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And if anyone is STILL clueless, this sign and caution tape is even more specific…IMG_9132

But here she is. Mother Nature. The Pacific Ocean. No waves. I bet a million dollars if there was a solid 4-6 swell, those waves would be packed. No one can keep a surfer from the water. That’s essential to life.

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I took the long way home around our Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Pretty daisies, the lagoon, and the power plant off in the distance.

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One of my favorite views; the lagoon and the ocean.IMG_9136

All the rain created a mudslide on Adams, the street around the lagoon.IMG_9137I’ve never before seen Adams closed at Park due to a landslide! Crazy times we’re in.

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And finally back home. There’s really no place like home. Dorothy was right.

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My experience as the virtual grandma at Passover dinner during a pandemic

Wednesday marked the first night of Passover 2020.

Although my grandfather was a rabbi and we used to observe most of the Jewish religious dates, it was much more for the fun than any strict adherence to dogma.

Hanukkah was the fave cos of all the prezzies of course, and Sukkot is cool cos it was a gathering of the harvest, and Passover/Pesach was chock full of symbolism and the time for the youngest member of the family (usually me) to have center stage reciting the Four Questions to explain what Passover is all about. (see below)

How is this night different from all other nights? This is one year none of us will ever forget.

Growing up, my son wasn’t too interested in anything Jewish, probably because we don’t live in a Jewish community and the lure of beach and ocean and skateboarding was more important, so I didn’t really push religion on him because in all honesty, I don’t really care.

For me, seeing a butterfly or growing and eating our own fruit and veggies is equally as spiritual or more so than being forced to sit in a smelly synagogue and recite endless words.

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my son and DIL’s interest in dipping their toes (along with Angel Boy 2.0’s) into the ritual and symbolism of certain Jewish holidays.

For instance, last night we all gathered together to celebrate Passover dinner. Since they are physically located in the Pacific Northwest and I’m here in SoCal and we obviously can’t be together right now because of the pandemic restrictions, I was able to be included via FaceTime, which was actually pretty awesome. I think the original Charlotte would approve.

Keepin’ it real, they set a place for Elijah, upon which my grandson placed a very realistic looking furry fake rat. Yup, he’s his daddy’s boy for sure. He had grape juice instead of wine, and if the way he drank it and kept refilling his glass is any indication of future behavior, well, ’nuff said.

I still have the Four Questions memorized, tucked away somewhere up in my gray matter, so I helped with the pronunciation, while my son read the story of Passover and they followed the rules of eating the symbolic foods on the Sedar Plate.

Angel Boy 2.0 ran off to find the afikomen (a piece broken off from a matzo during a Seder and put aside to be eaten at the end of the meal. (It’s traditionally hidden during the Seder to be searched for by the children.)  There’s a really funny Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about a Passover dinner, not sure what season, but it’s on Amazon Prime.

It ended with latkes and matzo ball soup (for them) and tofu for me. There’s always a silver lining and always a rainbow after a storm, if you keep your eyes open.

Here’s some info about Passover:
The story about the origin of Passover is also the story of the life of Moses. For a time, the Israelites lived in peace and prosperity amongst the Egyptians until a new Pharaoh saw them as a threat to his power. He enslaved them and ordered all their sons to be killed at birth to prevent a new leader from arising.

According to the story, one mother was able to conceal the birth of her son, Moses. When she could no longer hide him, she hid him amongst the bulrushes. The Pharaoh’s daughter noticed the baby and decided to adopt him. She sent Moses’ sister to find an Israelite woman to nurse him, so he was reunited with his mother. When Moses was older, he moved into the palace where the Pharaoh’s daughter raised him as her own son.

As a young man, Moses noticed the suffering of the Israelites and his actions in retaliation forced him to leave Egypt to become a shepherd. God appeared to Moses one day in the form of a burning bush and commanded him to return to Egypt to lead his people into freedom with the help of his brother Aaron. Although Moses and Aaron repeatedly begged the Pharaoh to free the children of Israel, they were not successful. As punishment, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians. After the 10th plague, in which all first-born children of the Egyptians died, the Pharaoh agreed to free all Israelites and to allow them to leave Egypt with their possessions. As they had to leave in a hurry, they did not have time to allow bread to rise, so they baked unleavened bread, known as matzoh (plural matzah), for the journey.

Many aspects of Passover have a symbolic meaning. Cleaning the house to remove chametz, using a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon, and a paper bag, symbolizes the removal of egotism and spiritual coarseness from life. The matzoh represents the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, and the red wine or grape juice represents the blood of sacrifices and male circumcision. Special kitchen utensils and the Seder Plates are used in the special Passover meals.

The Seder Plate consists of 3 matzoh piled on top of each other on a plate or clean cloth, which are then covered with another plate or cloth. Next, small pieces of symbolic foods are then placed on top. The foods are: zeroa , a roasted shank bone or chicken neck; beitzah, a hard boiled egg; maror, freshly grated horseradish or the stalks of romaine lettuce; charoset, a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and wine; karpas, a non-bitter vegetable, such as an onion or a boiled potato; and chazeret, more horseradish or romaine lettuce. A dish of salt water and wine accompanies the Seder Plate. Each item on the plate represent a different aspect of the Passover story and they are eaten in a particular order and in specific combinations during the ceremonial meal. From https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/first-day-of-passover

The Four Questions:

?מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?

1st Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin hametz umatzah; halailah hazeh, kuloh matzah.
On all other nights we eat leavened products and matzah, and on this night only matzah.

2nd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin sh’ar y’rakot; halailah hazeh, maror.
On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.

3rd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים
Shebkhol haleilot ein anu matbilin afilu pa’am ehat; halailah hazeh, shtei f’amim.
On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.

4th Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin; halailah hazeh, kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.

https://www.kveller.com/article/the-four-questions/

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