Lurking Lizard: Search and Rescue

I’m involved in a search, rescue, and release mission because a baby lizard somehow sneaked in the house.

Right now he’s lying low, evading my efforts to liberate him, lurking behind the sofa.

I’ve tried everything; this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but so far I’m not successful in this rescue and release.

And that means neither is that lizard because there’s nothing for him to eat here – no flies, worms, caterpillars, nada.

I’m only trying to help.

I cleaned behind the sofa and now there’s no dust, either.

WHERE ARE YOU, LIZARD?

A brief Google search let me know that lizards symbolize resurrection, rebirth, and regeneration. In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the symbol of the lizard was representative of plentiful abundance. A lizard in one’s house is often seen to represent an old friend or acquaintance, reminding you of their spirit. 

The next morning…still no sign of this lizard, but I’m still looking. I haven’t given up yet.

Just after noon, I almost stepped on this little lizard as he was well camouflaged on a floral rug, but he made a wise choice to reveal his location. I grabbed a plastic container, pushed him in, and ran outside to set him free.

Enjoy your freedom, my friend!

Mission accomplished.

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.

Musical Notes: A Composition of Crows

I’ve never played a single musical instrument — well, I took a few guitar lessons many years ago but I can’t remember a thing plus I had no talent.

We have a piano because of Angel Boy. His grandma really wanted him to learn so he could play Ode to Joy and Fur Elise for her, which he did, and it made her very happy, especially during her final illness.

I looked up on this very sunny and hot blue sky day and the first thing that popped into my head was that I was looking a musical score of some sort.

I think I’m not the only one who has observed birds on wires and took similar photos, but this is my contribution. Whatever tune they’re playing is a special sort of magic. Counting Crows?

A Fork in the Road

Literally.

On my walk home from the beach, near the train tracks, I looked down and saw this fork in the road.

A single fork with nothing else around it; not a flimsy plastic utensil from takeaway, but a silver fork with a blue handle, part of set, I’m sure.

Thank goodness it was pointing in the same direction I was heading, because if not, that would have definitely caused me to stop and ponder my next step.

I’m not sure what, if any symbolism I’m supposed to glean from this random fork in the road, but I’m relieved to have quite possibly been given a heavenly sign that I was on the right path.

Regardless, it was the route that would eventually bring me home — and for me, like Dorothy, there’s no place like home.

I left it there to help guide others on their own journey, but I did bring home a silky black raven’s feather to add to my collection.

The Kindness of Strangers

I had to go down to the airport which is about forty miles away, not because I was going anywhere or picking anybody up, but to take care of some business.

We have horrible public transportation here in Southern California but I heard there was a new free airport shuttle, so I thought I’d be an adventurer and try it out. It would save gas and save the hassle of finding a place to park.

The first step would be to take the Coaster from Carlsbad to another station where the airport shuttle would be. The problem with that is so few times on the Coaster schedule meant the entire process would take approximately six hours or more.

I decided to drive down to the Sorrento Valley train station. After I drove around for about ten minutes until I located the parking lot, I called the shuttle and asked where it stopped. I was informed that I was at the wrong station (my bad) and would either have to wait forever for the Coaster, or drive down to the Old Town station, which I did.

Upon arriving at the Old Town station, I couldn’t figure out WHERE THE EFFING parking lot was. There were no signs, no arrows, nothing that directed me to anywhere to park my car to take the free airport shuttle.

Since I was now ALMOST at the effing airport, actually only two exits away on the freeway, I got back on the road, drove to the airport, and found a place to park my car. They’ve totally torn apart Terminal One so it was a good thing I needed to be at Terminal Two or I would have ended up turning back around and heading home without accomplishing my mission.

In the parking lot, I asked a gentleman how to get to the terminal because THERE WERE NO SIGNS. He started to point in a direction, thought better of it, and kindly walked me to an unmarked spot where I could cross the street and head up a flight of UNMARKED stairs to a skybridge that eventually connected with the terminal.

It wasn’t a very busy day and there weren’t too many people, which was great because I tend to get disoriented in crowds.

After all that driving I had to use the restroom and while I was washing my hands, a nice airport employee told me I looked like I needed some help and I started laughing because I didn’t know anyone could see into my mind. I told her where I was going and she said I was in the wrong place and if I walked about ten miles and up another flight of stairs, I might locate my destination. I followed her directions and ended up walking from one end of the terminal to the next with no luck.

I was close to admitting defeat and trying to find my way back to my car when I spotted an information booth. When I asked the VERY KIND LADY how to get to where I was going, she said she’d take me so I didn’t get lost again and escorted me in an entirely different direction UP another flight of steps until we arrived at the Clear kiosk, where she handed me over to another patient and delightful person who helped me finish the eye scan and fingerprint process so that all my future travels would be expedited.

Whew! I was certainly relieved to be done with THAT, but now I had to figure out how to get back to my car. I accepted the very real possibility that I’d be wandering around the airport all day. I was all twisted around and didn’t know what level of the terminal I was on or what door I needed to exit.

I remembered that I saw a sign for the USO near where I parked so I located yet another airport employee and asked for directions to the USO where I hoped I’d find something familiar. When he showed me the proper crosswalk, all the pieces fell into place. I retraced my steps back where I had spoken to the original helpful stranger, and lo and behold, there was my car!

After driving around and around in the parking lot because I couldn’t find the POORLY marked exit, I paid $6 for the privilege of feeling incredibly dumb in my attempts to navigate the big city.

Like Blanche DuBois, “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Everyone was lovely and courteous. Thank you all, and I’m even happier and more grateful to be home.

Now I need to plan some travels to make this travesty of a day worthwhile.

What I learned is that public transportation here is even more horrible than I remembered and there’s a lot of room for improvement, especially with signage.

I’m a Mutant

I may have confessed this before but I can’t remember when or even if I actually did, so apologies if you heard this story before…

The subject of body odor came up recently when my son was looking through my medicine cabinets because he forgot his deodorant and was hunting for mine. (We’re all about sharing is caring around here.)

I reminded him that I have NEVER used deodorant because I don’t need it; never did, and all that proves is that he NEVER listens to me because I know I’ve shared that with him a million times. (The absent-minded professor cliche and all that entails is a real thing.)

I have zero body odor.

I mean, I smell GOOD thanks to Chanel, but even if I’ve been working out at the gym or at the end of an all day hike, I never small bad. Most of the time I don’t even sweat, but if I do, I still don’t smell bad. It’s true.

I remember back when all the grown up changes were happening to my body and my mom gave me THE TALK and we went shopping for THE THINGS. She told me it was also time to use deodorant and we picked out a really cool one (mother-daughter fun times) along with presents for reaching a milestone (and you can see where I acquired my love for shopping!)

I dutifully added deodorant to my daily self care routine but I slowly realized that I didn’t need it. It made no difference to my body’s odors. I just didn’t have one, nor did I perspire. When I told my mom and had her SMELL me at random times, she was surprised but agreed, and as a nurse, her professional response to me was that I was a medical miracle.

I never purchased nor used another deodorant, not even when I was pregnant and my body was going through a million hormonal surges.

Since there was no Google, there was nowhere to research this unusual phenomenon. I wish my mom was here now so I could tell her what I’ve learned about the genetic factors that cause someone NOT to emanate an unpleasant body odor.

In fact, the gene wasn’t even discovered until the 2000s. It also has something to do with having dry as opposed to wet ear wax but that’s too gross for me to think about.

You were right, Mom! I really am a medical miracle!

The ABCC11 protein is important in transporting small molecules across membranes in secretory cells. Mutations in this gene will lead to dryer earwax and decreased body odor. Mutations in the ABCC11 gene may also lead to a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Two percent of people carry an unusual form of a specific gene (ABCC11) that means their armpits never smell.

What I find really interesting is that East Asian and Native American people were already known to have a form of the ABCC11 gene compared with other ethnicities, and as far as I know, I am neither of those. I haven’t done any genetic testing on myself to be sure, but I kinda doubt it.

My DNA is pretty much 100% Jewish princess.

I also know that I didn’t pass that genetic anomaly to my son because he definitely NEEDS deodorant. Most definitely, which is why he was searching in my bathroom. (Sorry, Angel Boy!)

The finding came from research involving 6,495 women who were enrolled in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, England and was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

In the study, 117 (2%) of the subjects were lucky enough to carry this gene that allowed them to never have to worry about using deodorant. 

People with the ABCC11 non-functioning gene variant have dry earwax and little or no body odor. People with a functioning ABCC11 gene usually have wet earwax and body odor. I didn’t know there was a connection, did you?

ABCC11 is required for the transport of lipophilic substances, bile acids, conjugated steroids, and – most importantly – the component found in apocrine sweat and earwax, which results in odor and wet earwax. Again, gross…

The transporter doesn’t work for people who have loss-of-function genetic variants and thus doesn’t transfer the odor-causing lipids into their armpits. 

One day I might do my DNA profile to try and figure out how I acquired this genetic deviation, but for now, I will just be happy to be an enchanted mutant princess who smells really, really good, like a rose!

Sometimes…Size DOES Matter!

Brought over by a friend because I love lemons. These are gigantic and SO juicy.

Seriously though, what did you think I was referring to?

I figured we all might need a bit of levity because dealing with reality today is HARD. I don’t like this country very much right now, So many poor decisions from guns to reproductive rights. It’s a hellscape so I’m going to slice a lemon and enjoy a refreshing and citrusy glass of water and try not to think about the fall of democracy.

Glad-iolus to See YOU!

This hot spell is a catalyst for all of my blooming bulbs. Here are the first two gladioli who decided to flower together in shades of pink.

All pink, ALWAYS.

Generation to Generation

The last time I traveled to visit the Angels, I packed a bag full of gifts but also a little baggie of steel wool pads infused with soap.

From previous visits, I recalled that there were none and nothing works better on pots and pans and glass dishes than a good scrub with steel wool, one of many life hacks I learned from my mom.

A couple of days after I arrived, DIL asked me where I found them, and when I told her they were packed in my bag and I had brought them, she started laughing.

Apparently, HER mom brought a bag of them from England the last time she visited, and showed DIL how they worked and what a valuable little cleaning tool they were.

I learned it from MY mom and DIL’s mom learned it from her mom, too.

It was a funny moment of cleaning secrets passed down from one generation to another; apparently this new gen can still benefit from the teachings of the elders.

After a little elbow grease, this sixty-year-old pan which originally belonged to my mom and now lives with the kids and is still going strong, will sparkle and shine.

SOS and Brillo to the rescue!

Happy World Wide Naked Gardening Day!

That’s today, May 7, and that’s also a definite hard NO from me, whether it’s “world wide” or “worldwide”!

I’m out in the garden, fully dressed, thank you very much. However, if YOU choose to celebrate sans clothing, please wear sunscreen and please DO NOT send pics!