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!

April’s Garden Beauty

From April’s angst to something a little more palatable and because I try to always look on the bright side, these are some photos I took to cleanse my brain while the rat guy was disinfecting the shed. I carefully avoided that area…

Delosperma Cooperi – succulent ground cover against a backdrop of insane ceanothus with some (I think) Cape Daisies and Creeping Aloe.

Pride of Madeira.

A baby pomegranate!

Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly caterpillar on my Palo Verde tree.

No rats here! Just peace and serenity.

April’s Angst

I don’t know what the heavens have unleashed, but since April 1 every day seems to bring a new disaster, a series of unfortunate events…

—I tore or somehow injured my medial collateral ligament on my right knee, the one that had previous injury issues! Talk about collateral damage…It’s starting to heal; KTape is my new best friend.

—The day after our big rainstorm, I went out to my pond to empty the filled up basin so I could use the water for the garden. There used to be a waterfall with a motor that kept things moving along, but that’s no longer working cos it’s some sort of big job to fix the electricity.

—I very gingerly knelt down to protect my painful knee. I then leaned IN (not the kind that Sheryl Sandberg wrote about) with a small container to transfer the rain water to a larger bucket. Everything was still slick with the inch of rain we had and as I leaned my left hand on the rocks surrounding the pond (some cemented in, some not) I apparently leaned on a rock that was NOT cemented in which was super slick and my left hand slid right in the water, while my right hand which had been acting as a stabilizer got sliced on the other rocks. There was blood EVERYWHERE.

That’s not even the worst of it. I fell so hard and unexpectedly that the larger cemented in granite boulders directly collided with my upper left quadrant rib area. I have prominent ribs and oblique muscles so there wasn’t a whole lot to cushion the blow, which felt like I got hit by a bus. Now I have either bruised or cracked ribs or cartilage, not sure which as I’m going to wait as long as possible to call the doctor. I think that’s called “blunt force trauma.” I figure as long as I’m not having a problem breathing, I can be pretty sure that my lung wasn’t damaged, not so sure about the spleen, but I’m hopeful the ribs caught the brunt of it.

Did you think that was it?

Nope, there’s more…

—Yesterday I went in the shed to take out all the deck cushions and toys to get ready for a visit from the Angels. (My ribs are sore and I know I shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy.) I haven’t really been all the way in there for a while, maybe only briefly to get a rake or some clippers so I was absolutely SHOCKED to see that everything was covered in layers of fresh and old rat droppings. It is quite literally the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.

Apparently in our tight housing market, the first rats to move in must have communicated this free space to their entire extended family and they set up an elaborate condo development. The rats also ate completely through the plastic bags of fertilizer and snail killer, which was NONtoxic (unfortunately).

I thought about cleaning it up myself, but as I looked around at the filth and contamination, I realized that it was beyond my capability. I don’t even know what I’d do if I saw a rat run out of there; I’d probably be scarred for life. The shed also appeared to be a perfect breeding ground for the hantavirus which I definitely didn’t want to breathe in and become infected with, so I found a company that’s coming with biohazard gear and they’re going to take everything out, vacuum up the droppings, disinfect it all, and help me figure out how to avoid another catastrophe like this in the future.

I love all animals but the not the ones that bring disease.

You have to know that a situation has to be REALLY REALLY bad if I don’t clean it myself. I have pics but you probably don’t want to see them. The only one who seemed interested was Angel Boy 2.0 who wanted me to flip the camera around so he could see.

“Show me the rat poop, Grandma!” “Wow, that’s a lot!”

Yuck. I’ve lost my appetite, hope I didn’t do the same to you.

This garden has possums, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and owls; all of whom include mice and rats on their menu. I’ve tried to make a hospitable environment for them here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells and all I ask in return is that they keep my space rodent free — and they let me down. They failed. I’m very disappointed in our relationship.

What more could April bring? I don’t even want to know. Tell me when it’s my birthday month of May, OK?

UPDATE: The rat guy left and the infestation was so bad that a lot of stuff had to be discarded!! It’s all clean and disinfected now, but WOW. If anyone’s in the SoCal area and needs similar services, I 100% recommend Pacific Coast Animal Control.

Strange Encounters

Do you listen to your inner voice? Do you pay attention when you’re in a situation and something doesn’t feel right?

I know it’s a been a good long time since we’ve gathered in groups. For me it’s been a bit more than two years because I had a feeling that this mystery virus was worse than anticipated and stopped going to the gym or any other public event at the end of February 2020, a couple weeks before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

Now we’re in this sort of post-pandemic limbo coupled with a country inhabited by repression and rampant racism, banned books, elected officials who want to turn the clock back to a time where women had ZERO rights (reproductive and otherwise), and schools are prohibited from teaching certain subjects and acknowledge individual gender identity — and if we add the genocide in Ukraine, the world seems bleak.

A few days ago I had every intention of attending an all day seminar but I left after a few minutes.

Here’s why:

Right off the bat I got some weird vibes (only way I can describe it) from a group of guys that were clearly in the military. There were about a dozen of them, very young and all unmasked although masks were still required. They stood in the hallway just outside the room. One of them, way too clean cut and extremely militant looking, for some reason picked me out and started interrogating me with rapid fire questions in an insistent, belligerent, almost hostile, overly assertive voice, “Are you the teacher?” “Do you know where we’re supposed to go?” “Are you taking this class, too?” I took a moment to breathe and assess the threat level (haha) and responded, “You sure do ask a lot of questions” and he tried to stare me down before he walked away to stand with the guys he arrived with. It’s not easy to intimidate me so he obviously picked the wrong person. I might be only five feet tall, but that’s misleading if anyone thinks I can be bullied. I can turn into ghetto grandma in the the blink of an eye. (Namaste, y’all.) My initial feeling is that they were white supremacist/Oathkeeper-types. No, I have no proof, only a feeling, and not a good one. Why they were there didn’t make sense.

I observed another man, older, also unmasked, making the rounds of the room before the seminar started. He seemed to think it was one of those instant speed dating events as he chatted with all the women. When he came up to me, I purposely made no eye contact but he didn’t seem to care. “You must be cold. YOU MUST BE COLD.” I glanced at him. “Your arms are folded, you must be cold.” I ignored him. I don’t play the “friend finder” game. He was annoying and obnoxious. He walked away without escalating his sales pitch, thank goodness.

I don’t think it was ME — I wasn’t spewing negative energy — I was minding my own business.

The instructor showed up and closed the door. I was sitting all the way in the back nearest the exit and counted about fifty people in the room with only ten masked, including myself. All I could think about was the newest variant and how it might not be prudent to be stuck in a room with no open windows or air circulation.

When I quietly told the instructor’s assistant that I didn’t feel comfortable being there, she was extremely gracious.

I feel like I totally did the right thing by leaving for all the reasons.

I wonder what the story was all about with those Marines because they were out of place. I heard the instructor and his assistant talking about them too, so I know it wasn’t just me. Something didn’t fit. Something wasn’t right.

Are things back to normal for you now? Would you have stayed?

A Sunday Pictorial

Just a day in the life…

Caring for a friend’s old and adorable cat for a couple of days…

Chasing butterflies in the garden…

The clouds hung around after a bit of welcome rain.

A whole lotta bicyclists ride down the beach highway.

There were supposed to be waves up to eight feet but not here, I guess. It was kinda disappointing, but still a beautiful Pacific Ocean scene.

Happy Sunday from sunny Southern California!

Time for a Confession

I need an intervention.

I’ve watched so many British TV shows that I called somebody a wanker (under my breath) and actually started to get in my car on the OTHER side.

Sometimes I use the word “whilst” and stop myself from adding a “u” to color, honor, favorite. I actually think they look better with the addition, but that’s a personal issue.

I think it all started years ago with Absolutely Fabulous and all the British baking shows, Downton of course, Broadchurch, Vera, Scott & Bailey, Call the Midwife, Endeavour, Sherlock, The Crown, Unforgotten, Grantchester, now All Creatures Great and Small…soooo many!

Honestly, I don’t watch a lot of American TV unless it’s reruns of The Nanny or Bewitched or Emergency and it’s turned me into a bloody fool, but I should stop whinging. I’m cheeky like that. No worries, it’s all brill.

My DIL thinks I’m so funny because she likes to watch American shows and I don’t think they are nearly as well acted or written. Oh, we love to watch trashy Dynasty, but that’s a one off for me.

One of my favorite sayings is “needs must”. I reckon those two words speak volumes.

Cheers! Off you go then.

Happy February | Imbolc | Chinese New Year

This is a great day for all of the reasons!

Have you ever gone to a store with a purpose, on a mission, like you know exactly what you’re looking for or need, BUT you become sidetracked and MUST HAVE what caught your eye?

Well, that happened to me. I was looking for prezzies for my almost six-year-old. I like to start accumulating stuff way in advance of his March birthday and not wait until the last minute. I put a lot of thought into the gifts I choose; some educational, some for fun, some for artistic craftiness.

Up and down every aisle and there’s really nothing that I/he can’t live without…until I spy a pink butterfly and I’m entranced. When I get closer, I’m hooked. I’m in love. Obviously I’ve forgotten all about my original intention because this beauty was coming home with ME.

It’s a 12×12 pink butterfly pillow and it’s entirely crafted out of beads and sparkles. Oh my. It’s EVERYTHING. It’s gorgeous and sparkly and pink and tactile and PERFECT for my bed, and it’s on sale. It’s obviously not to be used as an actual pillow; it’s decor– it’s princessy and enchanted and beyond precious.

I have no idea why it was discounted 50%, but I l very gently– reverently— carried it in my arms to the register.

The employee said, “Where did you get that? It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” I pointed, and she said, “Just a minute, OK?” and ran over to snag the only other one.

“I had to have it”, she whispered, and I nodded. “I know. Sisters.”

What a simply perfect way to start the lovely month of February.


January 2022 | Early Days Photo Journal

So far, January has been sending out pretty good vibes. I know we’re only five days in, but things seem to be looking up for sure.

#wordlesswednesday