Sometimes it’s what you don’t see

Right this minute, there’s nothing to see here except for a fence and a pine tree.

Not a bad view as far as views go, but it’s what happened seconds BEFORE I snapped this pic that makes it memorable.

For me; sadly, not for you.

So it’s a memory stored somewhere in my hippocampus and now hold on a sec, I need to save this draft and swiftly do some research to make sure I’m right.

OK, I’m back and here’s what Google taught me…

Deep inside the medial temporal lobe is the region of the brain known as the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, the amygdala, the cingulate gyrus, the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the epithalamus, the mammillary body and other organs, many of which are of particular relevance to the processing of memory.

I’m right; memories are stored in the hippocampus.

Use your imagination because I’ll try to explain what you didn’t get to experience:

In the photo, if you pretend you can see what you can’t see, the bottom of the fence that you can only see about half of, there’s a potting table.

I was standing there planting lavender that I had propagated myself. I’ve been doing that for years with a decent amount of success, and it was time to birth another lavender baby.

I wasn’t making a lot of noise, but I wasn’t quiet, either…I was fully immersed in the whole procedure, enjoying the blueblue sky and eighty-five degree weather.

There was a cooling mug of ginger tea next to me and next to that was my phone.

I looked up as two doves flew out of that pine tree.

At almost precisely that same exact time. a HUGE redtailed hawk (who must have been stalking the doves) perched himself on the the fence.

He was LITERALLY INCHES AWAY FROM ME.

I mean, if I had longer arms, I could have reached out and touched his beautiful feathers.

REALLY REALLY.

His golden eyes looked right at me and they widened, as if he was surprised-like WTF human–but he wasn’t nearly as astonished as I was. I froze. We stayed that way, eye to eye, gazing at each other for an eternity of probably less than five seconds before he launched himself off the fence and flew away. There was no fear, simply the connection between the hawk and myself.

It was a MOMENT.

I am not at all kidding; to look into the mystical magical gaze of a hawk and see the recognition that he was trying to make sense of the encounter as much as I was–is HUGE.

Moment-ous. Important.

Regretfully, no pics to share. But I’ll never ever forget the way he looked at me. Eye to eye.

I read that November 11, 2018 is a memorable time in this Universe. If you believe in things like this, it’s SIGNIFICANT.

And I believe that my hawk experience was significant, too. And if not, it was so so beautiful and made me happy and joyful and grateful. All good stuff.

Happy Sunday, y’all!

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An Afternoon’s Journey

I know other parts of the country are freezing, buried under a mountain of snow, but here in SoCal, it was about seventy-five degrees and sunny (don’t hate).

It was the perfect day for a hike in the back country to inhale sandy, dirty trails and think about setting positive intentions for 2018.

We drove for a couple of hours (to a secret spot) and started walking. As the sun rose to its celestial meridian, I started shedding layers.

Does this look like it could be a Native American bedrock metate?

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Beautiful fruiting manzanita; well, I think it’s manzanita…

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We know it’s a going to be a great day when the trails are heavily strewn with coyote scat!

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And this remnant of a coyote or bobcat’s meal. Upon close inspection, it looks like part of a tail but I’m not too sure how it ended up perched on the dried grass.

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Steep and rocky.

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Stopping for a snack and water, the perfect time to touch up dry lips with a little Chanel. I’m always prepared!

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Who says leaves don’t change color in Southern California?

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There’s really nothing more soul satisfying than exerting oneself physically until you’re bone tired and then eating a huge late lunch (with french fries) and feeling zero guilt about the amount of calories consumed!

#gratitude #nature #hiking #backcountry

Heavenly Sky in SoCal

Tonight’s sunset was so effing glorious that for the first time in years, I saw people stopped in their tracks, looking up at the sky instead of down at their phones. It was like an episode of Twilight Zone, all heads tilted up staring at the beauty of sundown.

It was a shared moment of humanity; there were murmurs of “Oh my goodness, did you see that?” leaning on their cars in the Marshall’s parking lot, doing nothing but absorbing the beauty of the universe.

Time stood still for all of us for the duration of the last visible rays of the sun.

“Wow, that was amazing”, was the consensus.

Apparently, there’s still a glimmer of hope for us.

These are raw, unretouched photos from my iPhone.

Mother Nature, I raise a glass to your magnificence. It’s truly humbling.

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My Fave FOUR-letter Word

What do you think it is?

Nope, not that.

Not even close…

It’s SCAT.

S-C-A-T.

HAHAHA…

I bet you NEVER would’ve guessed that, would you? WOULD YOU?

I took myself on a little hike today to a local spot, and was so happy to see several piles of coyote scat (that’s “poop” for those that don’t know.)

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It warms my heart to know that coyotes are still living in this concrete jungle, in spite of the egregious overbuilding here in Carlsbad, that insatiable and sick hunger to remove habitat for any and all living creatures that don’t have the capability to line the pockets of our city leaders–allegedly, of course…

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Another “s” word!

SNAKE!!!

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Facebook friends said it’s harmless; I’m still glad I gave it a wide berth.

 

Destination…top of the hill!IMG_2576

Beautiful oasis even though it’s manmade…Lake Calavara

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Running water!

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Monkey flower and black eyed Susan!

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Cool green unknown plant!

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Pretty spring flowers…

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Happy Pink Moon, everyone!

7 Ways to Use Lovely Lemony Lemon Balm

The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.

Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.

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Most exciting for me is the herb garden.

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Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.

Ahhhh.

Heavenly!

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).  help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!

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Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.

Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm

1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2  cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2  cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2  TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.

If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:

7. Lemon Balm Extract
Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.

**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065

 

Dear Carlsbad, Oh What a Year It’s Been…

I posted this on Facebook today:

One year ago, I showed up at Carlsbad City Council as an thirty-year resident who had finally had it with the way this city was being manipulated by outside developers. The final straw was the possibility that a monstrosity of a concrete mall was to be built on Agua Hedionda Lagoon. NO WAY, I thought. I didn’t even have a speech written when I pushed my way through the crowd, but I knew it was time to step up and speak up. That was the night I spoke about “not being impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.” I may have walked in to those hostile chambers alone, but walked out with the new and lasting friendship of a tribe of hundreds and hundreds who soldiered on to save the lagoon as we’re saving Carlsbad, one council seat at a time. Much love, appreciation, and gratitude to our TRIBE.

Yes, the lagoon is safe FOR NOW. But there will always be the threat of over-development and that’s why we stand vigilant, never again complacent to the machinations of our self-serving local government.

Here’s my speech in its entirety:

“First, I’d like to make a brief observation; other than the farm workers at the strawberry fields, Caruso’s soft focused Utopian propaganda video had no people of cultural diversity represented. Kind of crazy, right? I mean, when you really think about it? What’s that all about?

[This refers to a video shown by Caruso Affiliated. Big bucks in play here.]

Mayor and council, I need to make myself particularly clear. 

I’m not impressed by fancy suits and ‘healthy’ fake tans.

My family and I are vehemently opposed to the development of Agua Hedionda.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive resource and ecosystem that needs to be saved and protected and restored, NOT built upon and destroyed.

I love to shop and I don’t want Nordstrom built on the lagoon when we have a perfectly good mall that needs the promised renovation.

No matter what or how we were duped in 1986 and 2006, that should not mean this deception should continue.

For thirty years, I’ve watched you and other councils systematically destroy land and native habitats in Carlsbad.

This needs to stop.

Enough is enough.

My family and I vehemently oppose all building on Agua Hedionda.

Enough is enough.

Leave it alone.

Shame on you Mayor and City Council. 

Shame on you all.

And finally, Mr. Blackburn, we met privately about the pet store in the Westfield mall that sells puppy mill dogs and you PROMISED me that when the mall was renovated and all the stores were closed, that store would be gone and wouldn’t be allowed back. But it’s still open. You promised and I feel betrayed.

Do the right thing, would you?”

More to read…

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/08/10/something-sorta-stinks-in-carlsbad/?iframe=true&preview=true

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/26/power-to-the-people-cos-sometimes-the-only-answer-is-a-revolution/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/09/28/carlsbad-referendum-signatures-stun-caruso-city-council-pals/

 

Strawberries, Sage, and Stevia

Sorry to most of the rest of the country but here in SoCal, our growing season is pretty much never over.

Here’s the raised bed tugboat man built for me the day before he left. I planted tomatoes, kale, red leaf lettuce, beets, beans, and broccoli — I packed a LOT in a 4×8 space. He was supposed to build a second bed, but this is another one of those “such is the life of a tugboat wife” moments where I need to wait until he’s home again.raisedbed

There wasn’t any room for the eggplants or these spicy jlapenos.

jalapenospotI dug a fresh, new herb garden directly under our bedroom window. I’m hoping the lovely aromas will waft up and in.Herb garden

There’s a couple different kinds of sage; basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, lemon verbena, cilantro, and STEVIA.

SteviaDid you know you could grow stevia?

Neither did I, but when I saw a pot of organic stevia at Armstrong’s Nursery, I had to try it. The leaves are super sweet. I’ve seen stevia extract on the grocery shelf as a sugar substitute but I’ve never tried it.

From Mother Earth News, a few facts about stevia:

If growing your own calorie-free, natural sweetener sounds too good to be true, it’s time to get to know stevia.

Native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas, the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) produces leaves packed with super-sweet compounds that remain stable even after the leaves have been dried.

Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and beverages throughout South America for centuries.

More recently, diabetics and dieters alike have turned to stevia to reduce their sugar intake because, unlike honey, maple syrup, agave or molasses, this natural sweetener has zero calories and is not metabolized by the body.

Stevia is especially well-suited to sweetening drinks, fruits, salad dressings, yogurt and most creamy desserts. Stevia can substitute for some, but not all, of the sugar used when baking, because it does not provide all of the multiple functions that sugar does.

Many commercial drink mixes and packaged sugar substitutes are sweetened with a derivative of stevia.

This sweetening compound is called Rebaudioside A and is listed on labels as either Reb A or Rebiana.

These are highly processed products developed by large food corporations. Most of the raw stevia used to produce these products is grown in China. These “natural sweeteners” have been stripped of many of the plant’s healthful properties.

On the other hand, growing your own stevia to produce teas, extracts, and tinctures made from high-quality, whole-leaf stevia contains up to seven sweet compounds (glycosides) and an array of antioxidants. Growing stevia is easy in well-drained beds or large containers, and the leaves can be dried for winter use like any other herb. Stevia grows best in warm conditions similar to those preferred by basil.

Here’s a link to making your own stevia powder and liquid:
https://wholelifestylenutrition.com/videos/how-to-make-your-own-pure-stevia-liquid-stevia-part-2/

Last weekend I hosted a community garage sale for a local nonprofit (post to come) and someone brought a box of strawberry slips. I took a few, quickly dug a bed, and put them in the ground. Since we hardly ever throw stuff away, I found a length of white wire fencing tucked away behind the greenhouse. There’s nothing better than organic strawberries! Yum, can’t wait!strawberrybed

The weather is so crazy here, my apple and plum trees are blossoming again.

During the last few days SoCal broke tons of heat records along with a few drops of rain —and then nothing.

But it was a beautiful sunrise over the lagoon, right?sunrise looking toward lagoon

Power to the people ‘cos sometimes the only answer is a revolution

A few thousand sleeping giants have awakened; where we were once snuggled into eight-hundred thread count sheets and fluffy duvets, drinking our ginger-kale smoothies on the way to yoga or an awesome surf sesh, we are WIDE AWAKE.

This is democracy in action!

We’ve come together as one voice, a tribe of local citizens who say…

NO F***ING WAY.

It’s time for a change.

It’s time for a REVOLUTION.

Power to the people.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

I have never been more proud to live here.

All the Davids took on Goliath and we WON.

What am I talking about?

In my not-so-little-anymore coastal town of Carlsbad, a mega-developer (Rick Caruso is the billionaire Republican developer and the dad of the “hot”–  but not really hot — debate guy). who owns a mega-yacht tried to work his way around the normal processes for development (with the blessing of our mayor and city council) to build a mega-mall on Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Agua Hedionda is a sensitive ecosystem that feeds into the Pacific Ocean.

Read more HERE “…I’m not impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.”

And HERE: Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Great article: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/aug/11/agua-hediona-8515-plan-sidesteps-ceqa/

Simply put, one does not build a mega-mall on a lagoon.simplymeme

No matter how much I love to shop at Nordstrom, NO WAY.

A movement was born to fight the onslaught of questionable tactics with subverted and suppressed democratic processes — the very opposite of transparency —  while dozens of citizen volunteers stepped up to spread out throughout the city from dawn to dusk to acquire signatures for a referendum to overturn the Caruso initiative and put the mall development to a vote OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE.

On Thursday, we met in the library parking lot and marched as a group to Carlsbad City Hall to deliver boxes and boxes of signed petitions.

We were stalked the whole way by Caruso goons and his campaign lawyer — that guy lurking behind the fence in the black suit and mirrored sunglasses.

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It was a moment I’ll never forget when one of our leaders announced the tally; more than nine thousand signatures, well above the sixty-five hundred needed (ten percent of the registered voters.)

Strong arm tactics and million dollar TV and print ad campaigns didn’t deter our citizen warriors.

WE DID NOT GIVE UP

WE WILL NOT GIVE UP

WE ARE STRONG

WE ARE CARLSBAD STRONG

The collective whoops and yells were caught on video. This is one of many, and much thanks to one of my son’s best friends, Bryan Snyder:
http://carlsbadcrawl.com/citizens-of-carlsbad-submit-9000-signatures/

And local TV:
http://www.cbs8.com/story/30107356/deadline-for-opponents-of-aqua-hedionda-to-turn-in-signatures

You say you want a revolution? Well, you just got one.

Power to the people!

Photo gallery:

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WoooHOOOOO!

Cloud’s Illusion

Pretty clouds but no rain.JuneClouds1 I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at allJuneClouds2 Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.JuneClouds3 Subtropical moisture in the air.JuneClouds4 Maybe…

It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at allJuneClouds5Just an illusion…circus8Thanks to Joni Mitchell, lyrics from Both Sides, Now

IT’S RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!!!

It started raining in the middle of the night, so hard it woke me up.

Rain, wind, five inches of snow in our local mountains — is this May or is it December?

I was worried about my little hummingbird and her full nest.

How would they weather the storm?

First thing this morning, I looked out the kitchen window and there she is, swaying back and forth on the hummingbird wind chimes under the eaves, safe and dry.

See the rain coming down? What a smart mom to choose a home that’s protected from the elements and allows her to survey the entire back yard.

hummyMay8rainHumans can learn a lot about good parenting from other species.HummyMay7

There is no more important job than caring for her young.

Soon enough, they’ll hatch and grow and fly away, leaving her with that empty nest she worked so hard to build.

Maybe that’s what her tiny little hummingbird mind ponders as she sits there hour after hour.

And I know exactly how she feels.

SIGH.