Was that a wild animal or what?

Last night I totally freaked out. I was watching my new obsession, Aussie Gold Hunters, and I heard a noise. My heart started to pound…

It sounded like there was some kind of creature in the house–in the room where I was on the sofa watching TV.

I muted the sound and looked around to try and figure out if it was coming from under the sofa, under the table, or near the patio doors.

It was a regular sound, kind of like scratching, scrabbling or fumbling, almost as if something was caught or stuck.

I got out a powerful little flashlight and looked everywhere. Then I thought that whatever it could be was trapped behind the entertainment center but there’s no way I can see behind it or move it.

After spending quite a while searching,I was pretty super stressed out. What to do? I straightened up the kitchen, put away in the refrigerator a half bottle of cayenne kombucha that I hadn’t finished, and went to bed, making sure my bedroom door was closed tight just in case IT tried to find me while I was asleep.

The first thing I did this morning was to check and see if I still heard the noises.

Nope.

I made my coffee and while it was brewing, I took out that unfinished bottle of kombucha, had a few sips, put the cap back on, and set it on the tile counter. I went to my bedroom to unplug my computer and bring it out so I could read emails and learn about what fresh hell the Supreme Court was doing while I was drinking the fresh French roast.

I HEARD THE NOISES AGAIN!

“Scritch, scritch, scritch…”

Now it seemed to be coming from the direction of the tile counter where I had placed the kombucha. I put my ear near the cap and heard the very same sounds that had alarmed me last night.

OMG. Apparently, my “wild animal” was merely the bacteria-friendly fermented carbonation trapped in the bottle of kombucha.

Did you know this? When making kombucha, bubbles are created during bottling (also called second fermentation). At room temperature, the yeast eat the sugar and create carbon dioxide (CO2). … This is how kombucha becomes fizzy! If your kombucha sprays out of the bottle as soon as you open it, it’s because there is too much pressure inside.

I quite honestly got weirded out over NOTHING. I really am crazy, but very glad to know that no critter was trapped in my house. Whew!

“Why are the cookies green, Grandma?”

UH OH. AB 2.0 is growing up. No longer does he simply shove as many cookies in his mouth as he can, or muffins, or cupcakes.

Now he’s more discerning and I hear these words and the skeptical tone in his voice, because he KNOWS why they’re green and he wants confirmation.

“Why are these cookies green, Grandma?”

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“Green? Do they look green to you?” I say, stalling for time to think of the right thing to say. I really wanted him to eat those cookies.

“I know why they’re green. Why do you put kale in EVERYTHING, Grandma?”

“Do you love kale more than me, Grandma?” (That’s a joke.)

The last time this happened Dad saved the day by interjecting, “They’re spooky cookies for Halloween, T! Aren’t they so scary and cool and yummy?”

Good one, Dad, I thought to myself. Our eyes wouldn’t meet or we’d both start laughing.

He ate them, but was definitely not trusting the veracity of the response.

OK it was a lie. There was LOADS of kale in my lentil oat raisin cookies, and I didn’t do a good enough job to disguise that fact. I’ll do better next time.

I don’t condone lying, but in this case, T doesn’t eat enough veggies and this has always been my secret weapon to make sure he eats greens so I’m satisfied that he gets a balanced diet. He’s a clone of his dad, very tall and very thin with a metabolism that I’d DIE for.

It’s the same thing we do with smoothies (I did it when Dad was little, too). I fill it chock full of veggies, but with the addition of blueberries or strawberries, it really masks the green. Don’t tell him, OK?

Thank goodness his little sister hasn’t yet learned to question the provenance of the muffins we just baked and didn’t see me slip a cup of chopped kale in the batter. She’ll eat pretty much anything. So far.

Here’s the recipe for Kale, I mean SPOOKY cookies…

No ReGRET, just my Egret AGAIN

Well, hello there!

As I pulled into the driveway and opened the garage door, look who was waiting for me!

I couldn’t park fast enough to jump out and greet this magnificent creature. I’m positive this is the same egret I had been lucky enough to have an encounter with on Sunday.

How did she know where I live?

In my fantasy world, I like to pretend that she was flying high above me as I walked home the day before and decided to pay me a personal visit because I helped her cross the street and stay safe from speeding cars.

I’m sure that’s NOT reality, but I like my version better.

This isn’t my house, but I followed her down to the corner. Come back soon, my friend! I have lots of yummy lizards running around the garden. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life: A Naked Lady and a Wandering White Egret

Or how I became the spirit human to a wandering white egret. Do you have a spirit animal? I’m sure we all do, but today I became a bird’s spirit human. At least that’s the story I told myself.

(I’ll not bury the lede and confess that I’m NOT the naked lady, just in case you were curious.)

I don’t know if it’s because of the lingering full moon energy coupled with another Santa Ana heatwave, but this was a strange and interesting Sunday.

I’ve been able to increase my mileage according to the doc’s plan, as long as my foot doesn’t hurt. It can be bit sore, but if I start limping, that’s my cue to give him a call. So far, so good.

On today’s walk, I got a late start and didn’t want to walk to the beach because that’s about 7 or 8 miles round trip, much more than the five miles he approved.

I walked up and around the lagoon. On the way back, I saw one police car and then two and when I saw the third one, my interest was piqued and I decided to follow it. They seemed to all be parked on a street that leads to a lagoon beach.

I stopped and asked a neighbor what was going on and he said he heard there was a naked woman wandering around the area. I then walked up to a police officer and asked him to corroborate what I heard, and he did. I exhorted (strongly encouraged) him to be kind to her since the police dog was there too, and it probably was some sort of mental health issue, not a “let’s unleash the hounds of hell” issue.

By the way, when did cops start dressing like urban warfare combat fighters? The ones I saw today were dressed in FULL ON body armor, in FULL ON FIGHT MODE to what was probably either a domestic or a mental health situation. They were incredibly intimidating looking for a little beach town, way too hard core.

I decided to move on and continue walking out of respect for whomever it was and whatever was going on. Sometimes I hang around to document possible police misconduct, but there were other people gathering, so I felt it was okay to leave.

After walking for another block or so, this is what I saw.

Yup, a beautiful white egret simply standing as still as a statue. S/he took a couple of steps…do you have any idea how SLOWLY egrets walk? It’s like doing a mindful walking meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh, something I’m not at all good at, ‘cos I’m not patient. At all.

But this time, I slowed down to enjoy the moment. S/he walked across the street SO S L O W L Y, turned his/her head and seemed to beckon me to follow, so I did. I stayed a couple feet back and every so often, s/he would turn to look at me and continue.

When it seemed as if (I’ll just call it a female, cos that’s the vibe I got) she wanted to cross a street that’s a bit busier, I went out in the street to warn traffic and to escort her safely. A mom and her two kids joined me and we all followed this queenly white egret up the street. Cars stopped to watch and it was so joyous and so delightful to participate in the Queen Egret Parade. The mom and kids went back home but I continued on our journey together to shepherd this magnificent bird.

I felt as if she was a bit timid, a bit unsure about where she was, and needed me. When we came to a clearing with a field and tall trees, I decided it was time for her to fly. I raised both of my arms outstretched like wings and silently communicated to her that it wasn’t safe on these streets and she needed to fly.

And she did. I watched her circle the area and land in a tall eucalyptus tree. Another egret flew by and my hope is that they all ended up back at the lagoon, safe and sound.

Honestly, I feel like in that moment, I became the spirit human to this pure white egret wanderer.

I don’t have any new information about the naked woman, and I’ll update if I hear anything.

It’s only 11 a.m. and I’ve already had a magical day. It’s time to put a clothes in the washing machine and check the video to see if my coyote or bobcat came to visit. For me, that would be the icing on the cake.

Check out how S L O W L Y she walks.

‘When in doubt, toss it out…”

Do you do that?

Do you check for mold on your food and eat it anyway or do you do as my RN mom did, throw it out?

I used to be pretty lax about eating questionable food, whether it was moldy-ish bread or food that had been sitting in the refrigerator for a while. My mom was always lecturing me about botulism and blah blah blah, I don’t remember what she said as I usually stopped listening to her, but I wish I had paid more attention!

Last night I made a batch of lentil veggie soup with black beans and tofu because I wanted to transform it into veggie burgers. I picked fresh celery and chard from the garden; added carrots and broccoli and herbs. It was all happily bubbling away on the stove and smelled really good.

Then I looked in the refrigerator and spied a jar of tomato sauce that had been opened but was still half full. I think it had been there for a couple of months. I don’t often use prepared tomato sauce because I prefer making my own from scratch but I thought it would add great tomato-y flavor. It looked OK and wasn’t past the expiration date, so I poured it in the pot. That’s when I noticed the cap was full of mold and spores and fuzzy stuff.

I surely wish I had thought to look BEFORE I added it, but that’s another lesson learned.

Gross, huh?

What to do? Did that mean my soup was contaminated? Should I take a chance that cooking it would kill whatever the bacteria was?

I agonized because I HATE to throw away food, especially since I had just added a whole container of tofu.

I researched and queried and the results weren’t clear. Some said it’s fine as long as the mold was only on the lid, some said to toss it out.

I’ve had food poisoning before (not from MY cooking haha) and it’s more than unpleasant. I will forever be reminded of the food poisoning scene in Bridesmaids, one of my all time favorite films.

According to the USDA, mold can cause allergic reactions or digestive and respiratory problems. Certain kinds of molds produce poisonous mycotoxins that make people sick or cause infections and one might even need to be hospitalized.

Anyway…I’m sure my mom would be very happy to know that I tossed it out. All of it.

I then had absolutely nothing to eat for dinner. Not one single thing, so I ate a bowl of oatmeal accompanied by a glass of wine in my sparkly new goblet.

Definitely follow me for more cooking and fine dining tips!

My Cinderella Moment

My poor little foot is finally healing properly because I FINALLY stopped re-breaking it since I didn’t know it was broken. It hasn’t been easy due to the fact that I HATE inertia coupled with the fact that I am an outdoor girl who NEEDS to keep moving. But I did and now I’m nearly ready to resume full activity.

The lingering issue is that my shoes might have contributed to the break. They had a lot of miles on them and had lost their cushion-y gel protection, which meant I needed to research and purchase new athletic shoes.

This is where Cinderella enters stage left…

There are SO MANY new brands. Asics had been my go-to brand for a decade, but I needed something more cushy and supportive, but NOT orthopedic, oh hell no.

I tried on all sorts of shoes…Hoka, New Balance, more Hoka, different versions of Asics-in all price ranges, until finally FINALLY, the nice person at Roadrunner suggested Brooks for high mileage walking. Hmmm, this was a new one, I had never worn Brooks, but research revealed they’re a great brand.

This is my Cinderella moment. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. It’s not a glass slipper but I’m more than satisfied that I’ll be able to hit the ground running as soon as my next x-ray. Plus, they’re CUTE, right?

Introducing my new Brooks. I’m not sure why the style is called “Ghost“, do you?

Foot Fetish

Due to a communications mixup, I didn’t get to see the new podiatrist until today.

Lemme back up…about a month ago, my foot started to hurt after a long walk. At first I thought it was a stress fracture, but there was no bruising.

Pretend doc that I think I am, I decided it was a joint or tendon injury: extensor tendonitis and possibly capsulitis of the second metatarsal. I wore a boot in the house, iced it, soaked in epsom salts, taped it up with KT tape, and did a lot of stretching.

Refusing to give in to the pain, I forced my poor foot to go on long walks that were excruciatingly painful.

Finally, this morning, I got an xray and waited for the doc. Actually there were two of them that came in to see me, ‘cos I guess it was a slow Monday. They asked me what happened and I gave them both the benefit of my ZERO years of medical school.

I was pretty chatty and finally, one of them broke in and said, “How’d you like to look at the xray?”

I said, “Well, you could have shut me up about five minutes ago haha”, but he said he liked listening to my diagnosis, even though I was totally wrong.

The xray left no doubt as to what the problem is IT’S a COMPLETELY BROKEN stress fracture at the base of the toe and not healing because I kept re-injuring it.

My initial diagnosis was correct! I should have gone to medical school for real, oh well, too late now…

I hate my feet, I really do, they’re tiny but completely deformed from too many years of ballet and toe-crushing pointe shoes, in addition to breaking every toe multiple times because I’m CARELESS. I call them my fat little trotters.

I can’t walk anywhere for two weeks, I have to wear a hiking boot in the house, I can’t go barefoot at all, and I had to promise to actually and truly wear the boot so I wouldn’t be forced to have an aircast up to my knee. In other words, my foot needs to be completely immobilized.

On the plus side, they told me I had the softest feet they had ever seen, (which was only slightly weird) and they loved my high arches–from an anatomical perspective. The docs said I should see the rest of the feet THEY have to look at all day, and in that regard, my feet were a PLEASURE. LOL. AND that my sunny disposition cheered them both up because they were having a not-so-great Monday. We spent a lot of time laughing which made me happy, too.

There’s a SLIGHT chance I’ll have to have surgery in January, but only if it doesn’t finish healing correctly if I disregard their expert advice.

That’s my Monday, I hope yours is less fraught with injury!

Can You Spot the Typo?

Honestly, does anybody still know how to spell OR proofread OR edit their work?

This sticker is on every single gas pump–at least in my area, and it REALLY annoys me. If I knew who to call to lodge a complaint and demand a correction, I would, but there’s no company info.

By the way, do you have any idea how much I DETEST pumping gas? I let the tank get down to empty every. single. time. It’s one of the little life tasks that I absolutely ABHORE, and this desecration of a common word irritated the hell out of me yesterday when I was forced by circumstance to find a gas station or push my car home.

I discovered this gem, kinder than I’d be…” In the end, we’re only human, and humans make mistakes. That doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to avoid them. Be aware of common errors, learn from other’s mistakes, and take necessary steps to check your work. As author Randolph Hock warns, “If there are spelling and grammatical errors, assume that the same level of attention to detail probably went into the gathering and reporting of the ‘facts’ given on the site.”” https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/why-spelling-errors-affect-business/

(Also this, as pointed out by an eagle-eyed friend who questioned this: “Buildup is a noun that refers to an increase in something, like plaque on one’s teeth. Build up is a noun phrase that means to accrue or increase something.”)

Did you spot the typo? Let me know in comments…

Unexplained Mystery | Is Anyone HERE?

The first time this occurred, I paused for a minute, thought it was slightly ODD, but rationalized to myself that I must have done it and forgotten, although I don’t forget much.

THIS time, there’s no rational explanation that I can deduce.

What is it? Who is it? Has a portal opened into another universe? Is someone trying to communicate with me? Or has some creepy sociopath gained access to my bedroom?

About a month ago, I was changing the bed linens, something I regularly do on Sunday. I found a Shungite crystal under my pillow. I don’t have any recollection of lifting my pillow and placing it there. It’s not something I would normally do, as I have a pretty bowl of crystals close by on my bedside table.

I forgot all about it until yesterday when I changed the sheets and discovered another rock perfectly centered under the pillow on the other side of my bed. This was a pretty little sparkly round rock I found a while ago on a hike in the PNW.

VERY STRANGE.

I’m at a loss to figure out how this happened and what the message could possible be conveyed….can you?