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.

Situational Calm

Late yesterday afternoon I dragged my poor little broken body out for a walk. “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, that’s my motto. I think it’s best to keep moving unless it’s impossible.

I was about three blocks away when I saw a few neighbor friends in their front yard so I stopped for a chat, mainly to bore them with photos of the grandkids.

Without warning, lights and sirens from no less than eight police cars, two fire engines, and paramedics drove right by us at a high rate of speed in our residential ‘hood. I checked PulsePoint and noted that they were going to a house just a few doors down from where we were.

A medical emergency isn’t unusual, but when it’s accompanied by heavy law enforcement–well, that’s a different story.

“Let’s go see”, I said, and we did.

It turned out that the medical emergency might have been related to an overdose, which sort of explains the police.

The person was on the ground and when my friend saw who it was, he became upset because it was one of his best friends. I instructed him to immediately call the spouse who wasn’t home at the time, had no idea, and was grateful for the call.

Allegedly, the person was impaired and fell, sustaining injuries, and someone else in the home called the paramedics.

My friend didn’t seem to know how to acquire info from the police or paramedics, so I did what I do–take charge of an emergency situation, communicate with all parties, liaise, and sort out the situation.

After the injured person was worked on by paramedics, was talking and breathing OK, stabilized for transport to the hospital and the spouse knew where to go, I continued on my walk.

I contemplated the many times I’ve been either personally involved in crises or as a bystander, and how I seem to exhibit a calm demeanor that encourages others to look to me for answers, to take charge, and to coordinate all aspects of the situation.

I KNEW I did those things but I had never before realized that is something I’m pretty good at. I don’t know where I learned them. It’s just something instinctual, I guess.

Whether it’s a fire or an accident or my son’s surgery, I don’t panic. I go to a place of calm, unemotional, rational, measured assessment while others tend to become stressed and unable to function.

My son once asked me how I survived his life threatening brief illness and major surgery because I seemed so calm. He asked me if I got upset or if I cried because he saw me as strong and capable during that horrible time and I told him this: during his surgery, I went into the bathroom in the waiting room and broke down and cried only one time. Then I looked in the mirror and told myself to STOP. What I never divulged to him was the mantra I kept repeating to myself, “If I cry, he dies. If I cry, he dies.” Truthfully, without the lifesaving emergency surgery, he would not be here now with those two adorable children. I felt as if I willed him to survive. And he did. After it was all over and he was on the mend, I was able to let go of my steely resolve a bit and helped to love him back to health. Every once in a while we talk about that dark time and how his wife and I never left his side, how we both spent every day and slept next to him every night at the hospital until he was released. SIGH.

I realize now with a little self awareness that I have been able to endure unspeakable pain by being stoic. It’s not that I don’t feel the emotion and the fear and the danger, but my mind seems to go to a different place and I compartmentalize (as my therapist would say) the feelings until later. Stuff needs to get done, someone needs to take charge and be a leader or there’s chaos.

If no one else steps up, you can count on me.

P.S. I made my first Anchor podcast — not my voice though because my microphone didn’t get recognized so I’m using Remy’s voice. Here’s the link, it’s kinda freaky. https://anchor.fm/enchanted-seashells/episodes/Situational-Calm-e16np97

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

On all charges.

Were you watching?

In a Minneapolis, Minnesota courtroom, former cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges relating to the murder of George Floyd.

Even better, his bail was revoked and he’ll be in custody for eight weeks until the sentencing hearing. Did anybody but me notice how his little eyes were darting back and forth above his mask? Such arrogance. It seemed as if he really thought he was going to be acquitted. NOPE.

Gotta say, this was very satisfying to watch.

Thousands of others have written with more eloquence than I’m capable of about this trial, so I’m only going to share my observations and my own opinions.

Justice did NOT prevail. Accountability prevailed. Justice would have George Floyd alive and breathing after he was arrested for ALLEGEDLY paying with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Chauvin got a trial, but George did not. Bad cops made sure he didn’t have a chance.

It’s simple. Police cannot be judge, jury, and executioners, but they were in this situation. All four of them. They are ALL guilty, in my opinion.

The only reason there was ANY accountability at all was because a teenager named Darnella Frazier had the brains and courage to use her phone to record the nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds it took for Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd. She continued recording despite threats from the cops on the scene.

I hope we can all be as brave as she was–don’t walk away, don’t pretend police brutality isn’t happening. Take out your cell phone and memorialize the abuse. Darnella Frazier is an inspiration to BE better and DO better.

A friend shared this link with me: ACLU Mobile Justice...https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police/mobile-justice?fbclid=IwAR3Gbc9lQGZGBGu-lEpmrz6H4zOTLTaB4Aev59wzciakM0eGjAO_9e4pNGQ

What is even more frightening is a report I read somewhere (can’t remember to cite the article so I’ll paraphrase) about the recruiting of white supremacists and paramilitary types to our police forces and military. There has been investigation and speculation that white supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across the country.

Law enforcement failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats and racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000. Police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

If we have any doubt that there is systemic racism in this country, we need look no further than active police officers training the Oath Keepers for a possible Civil War.

I found one of the most moving statements about the trial and guilty verdict from my friend, Vice-President Al Gore. (https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/11/04/i-met-vice-president-al-gore-at-the-apple-store/)

Statement by Former Vice President Gore on the Chauvin Verdict

April 20, 2021  by Al Gore

Nearly a year after America rose up in horror and anger at the tragic murder of George Floyd and cried out in opposition to generations of systemic racism, a jury in Minneapolis delivered a long-awaited first step toward accountability. While we know that true justice would mean that George Floyd was with us today, living free of fear of racism and police violence, I’m glad that we can at least say that with this verdict, the arc of the moral universe bent ever so slightly further toward justice.

The American legal system should be a beacon of accountability around the globe, and I’m glad that with the eyes of the world upon us, it lived up to that promise in this case. But at the same time, I’m all too aware that this same accountability and justice has never come for countless Black, brown, and Indigenous women and men in America.

I hope that this moment is a turning point for the real action and reform desperately needed to ensure our country can live up to its most sacred promise: that all men and women are created equal. While we unequivocally declare the truth that Black Lives Matter, it is long past time for the meaningful changes needed to allow Black Americans an opportunity to thrive.

My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends as they continue to grieve his loss and work toward lasting change.

A vigil for George Floyd is planned for Sunday evening at a park in my little town. I probably won’t attend because I’m still wary of public gatherings. If I change my mind, I’ll post photos.

Runaway Kayak

Since I recovered from the side effects of my first Covid-19 vaccine, I walked to the beach on a foggy Sunday morning.

I noticed a lot of police and fire truck activity on the bridge overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon so I walked over to one of the officers to ask what was going on.

He told me that someone had reported an empty kayak had washed up along the shore and they were following protocol to search for anyone who might have fallen off and needed to be rescued and offer medical assistance.

It’s very possible it was simply a case of a runaway kayak that had come loose from wherever it had been stowed, but they were in full on search and rescue mode.

I left after a while because it didn’t look like they needed my help (haha) and walked back home.

As I walked away, a woman stopped to ask me what was going on. She was maskless, so I told her I don’t speak to people who don’t follow the mask mandate, and kept going. Yes, her mouth dropped open, but I stand by my comment.

It’s simple. Wear a mask!

Subsequently, I learned they searched for more than two hours and didn’t find anyone–or at least I assume they didn’t because there was nothing on the news. If I hear an update, I’ll post the info.

P.S. Me, police, fire, and rescuers were wearing masks. There’s no excuse NOT to follow county guidelines. I hate it too, but I DO IT.

Well, this was an adventure…

I think by now I can safely assume that y’all figured out that I’m a tiny person with very curly hair who lives in a Southern California beach town.

You know that I love seashells and rocks and being outdoors. I have an amazing son and brilliant DIL who combined their DNA to create two of the most adorable humans to ever exist.

Moreover, I’m a passionate animal protector and defender.

My dad was an attorney and my mom was a SAHM — an RN who went back to nursing when I was in junior high. With certainty, I admit to living a less than edgy life. More like ballet or the symphony and learning to bake my mom’s best ever apple pie than drunken brawls and broken windows on Saturday nights. My memories are of a slightly quieter and more genteel childhood. You get the picture, right?

Maybe that’s the reason why, every so often, I crave a bit of excitement or an adventure or maybe the truth is that I’m too naive (or stupid) to know what it really means when I put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

So this happened.

Would you be at all surprised if I told you that I watched a burglary in progress and then I offered to chase after the guy with the store manager (yes I really did and FYI he declined my offer.)

Definition: Burglary (entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside) and larceny (theft) are two different crimes, although burglaries are often committed for the purpose of theft. Shoplifting is typically defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. In certain cases, the intent to steal, along with an act in furtherance of that intent, can also result in criminal charges for shoplifting (or retail fraud). 

Here’s the whole story:

Monday is my pandemic grocery shopping day; I try to do it all early while there are fewer people out and about to reduce the amount of viral aerosol drops. Traders and Sprouts are my go-to stores for my vegan food; stuff like tofu and hummus and veggies and lentils and beans, along with pea protein powder, coffee and tea. Not very exciting food, I guess, but I stock up for a couple of weeks, because you never know when stores will close again, either for the pandemic or because we’re in an insane civil war.

After that, I went to ATT because I was having a potential issue with the charging port on my phone which decided NOT to exhibit the malfunction while I was there so it was a wasted trip.

After that waste of time, I drove to one of my favorite retail stores because I need a new black zippered hoodie. I love to bleach pretty much everything, but made the mistake of wearing my black hoodie to bleach the kitchen tile and I ruined it.

Since the recent alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, retail stores again limit the number of people that can shop at the same time, so there was a very short socially distanced line. We were all masked. The masked employee was counting people in and out. From my vantage point, I could see a man walking very fast on the sidewalk toward us. For some reason, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was dressed all in black with a black hoodie pulled down low over his forehead, black sunglasses, and a black backpack. He had a black mask that wasn’t on correctly. He flew past the employee at the front door. Uh oh, I thought. What a jerk.

“Sir, there’s a line. Sir, Sir, Sir, there’s a line.” He completely ignored her. We looked at each other and said, “What the hell was THAT?”

Hmmm. That’s when I got the gut feeling that I normally ignore and this time was no different. I had a totally random thought that he gave off REALLY dangerous vibes and I bet he had a gun in his backpack. I thought to myself that SOMETHING might happen and it would probably be a really good and prudent idea to simply avoid it all by walking back to my car. I mean, I could fulfill my desire for a new hoodie on another day; it’s not important. Not at all.

But I didn’t do that.

It was my turn to go in the store and I thought I’d be like Nancy Drew, Junior Detective, and keep my eyes and ears open and be aware of my surroundings. I searched for the guy and saw him walking up and down the aisles really fast, pullings items off the racks and piling them in his arms. He never looked up. When he walked toward the handbags, I went up to an employee who was stocking the area and said,

“Do you see that guy over there? (I pointed.) He’s going to run out of here with a lot of things.”

She said, “Yes, I’m watching him, he’s taking the expensive purses with the security tags.”

At that exact moment, he flew by us and bolted out the door, just like I predicted. The stolen handbags with the security tags set off the store alarms. The employee who was outside tried to stop him, but he kept running.

The manager came to where I was standing with the employee and I said to him, “Let’s go after him, I’m a witness. COME ON! We can catch him.”

“Thank you, but I can’t do that. He could have a weapon.”

The manager told me the video cameras at the front captured a picture of him as soon as the alarm was tripped.

I then told him I would wait there while he called the police.

Now here’s the crazy thing. He said he wasn’t going to call the police because that wasn’t “corporate policy”.

Have you ever experienced anything like that?

I was shocked by what he said, and when I went out to my car, I called the nonemergency police number who told me they couldn’t do anything unless the store called and it’s apparently their choice whether to do that or not. She agreed with me that it was not a great decision but law enforcement’s hands are tied. Unless the store calls, they can’t do their job.

I told dispatch I wanted to run after him but the store manager didn’t and she started laughing at the thought but warned me to NEVER do that. Even thought my intentions were noble, there’s always the chance that I’d be harmed. I’m no hero, but sheesh! Right is right, right?

I still can’t believe this thief got away with armfuls of stolen items with zero consequences.

WTF.

It was a sort of adventure, slightly thrilling with a touch of danger, but nothing really happened except that I watched a guy run into a store, brazenly steal a bunch of stuff, and get away. It was like a movie and I was an extra or a bit player. Like most of my acting career, my scene will probably be cut from the final edit.

What would you do?