Rainy May Day. Politics, flowers & #$% cat!

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Wouldn’t you know that after I wrote yesterday’s post, THE big political flub of the season came down. Of course, you could say that my one sentence on Hillary addressed that :-) However, yesterday was more than just making a fool of herself. Now, there has been plenty written and said about it already. And I think I read and watched it all last night and this morning! A lot of it was overdone which is pretty much what the media does best. Yes, I loved Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment. Especially when he ran down all of things she, or her surrogates have said in the past year which required forgiveness and then declared this one Unforgivable. So true. But I think the one that more completely matches my reaction to every is this one by Juan Cole. Short, to the point, no hysteria or hyperbole. The final paragraph is particularly on point I think:

The second thing the incident tells us is how traumatized the nation still is by those horrible killings 40 years ago, and how much unfinished business of healing those wounds there is. Hillary didn’t mean to pick at the scab. But she did. And we bled a little, all over again.

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For the first time in almost 20 years, I didn’t have any fuschias in my yard this year! They all bit the dust in the big heat wave last summer. Probably because I didn’t have the time to go out and mist them every night. And I thought it was for the best. I don’t have time for these gorgeous, but high maintenance flowers right now. But then I went to Grumpy’s house and saw their beautiful, large, profusely blooming fuschias around their pool. And I drooled. And he remembered and brought me some cuttings this week that I promptly stuck in the only free pot I had in the back yard:

It’s been awhile since I have grown these from cuttings, but I am confident that at least half of these will take root. Yes, they are sharing space with a random lobelia sprig that has been growing in that pot. I am hoping it provides inspiration :-) One thing this wet weather has been good for of course are these cuttings. The fuschia variety is called Display and is one of the more hearty varieties. Of course, that was also one of the ones I neglected to death! Hopefully by next spring, I will be seeing this:

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What happens when toilet paper just doesn’t do it for you anymore?

AMBER!!!!!!

What Mama? Me? Not sweet lil me!!

Yeah, riiight.

Just to satisfy the google searches

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And because I am trying to avoid surfing the ‘net while watching the AI finale, yet it is odd to watch and not blog….here is a picture of trees that flower (top 5 search hit). My favorite and a so cal staple, the jacaranda:

A gorgeous tree that lines older streets in So Cal just like this one. It’s messy as hell and looks truly scraggly once those blooms drop, but for that spring time bloom, it is worth it!

Another glorious day of hiking

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I rewarded myself for working mad hours this week by taking off at 2:45 yesterday and meeting two friends at Torrey Pines. One was from out of town – camera in hand much like Robin! – and the other lives here though is a recent transplant from the mid west. Of course, that fabulous book that I picked up when Robin and I were there with the wildflower guide was left at home! Duh. Oh well, I managed to remember a *few* items I’d read. We hit up Guy Fleming Trail AND Flat Rock so it was a pretty long hike. The weather was perfect though with the clouds rolling in just enough to ease up the sun and keep it from being hot. Especially on the way back UP the hill from flat rock, cloud cover is critical! Here is one flower which FoodGal remembered – a Wild Hyancinth:

Bird activity was really high, though no peregrines yesterday. FoodGal started asking me about the songs we were hearing and the trail to flat rock had a lot of activity so I had a blast rattling off the names of birds I recognized by voice or on sight. We saw a pair of California Quail scramble down the path ahead of us, a White Crowned Sparrow, a Rufous Sided Towhee and his cousin the Brown Towhee and a Scrub Jay. We heard a Wrentit and a Gnatcather in the shrubs.

The state bird of California:

Quails are so cool!

Anyhow, we were hungry and FoodGal had suggested her favorite restaurant for dinner so I gladly joined them. The place is called Spread and is a vegetarian restaurant that goes out every day to the local farms and buys ingredients for the evening. The open at 6:00pm until…whenever for dinner and their menu naturally varies according to what they can find when they are out shopping. It was SOOOOO good! Omigosh I have never had food so fresh and packed with flavor. We had an arugala salad and a bruchetta that I honestly could eat every day. Here’s a kicker – there are some veggies that I really don’t like raw, or at all. Tomatoes for instance – love them cooked, but just cannot eat them raw. There were fresh tomatoes on the bruchetta that were amazing – I was eating them without abandon! Another sauteed vegetable dish had zucchini and almonds in it – two more I would normally pick around and avoid – no way, they were so so good!! The key besides the fresh organic vegetables, is also the seasoning/sauces they create. They were absolutely perfect compliments to the food. The only one that was a little over powering was the citrus sautee. But, that was the last dish brought to the table and I was so full from the first three that I did not mind! And the sangria! The first one we had was a passion fruit blend and the second was a cinnamon apple. So lovely. As someone who is quite a committed carnivore, this restaurant is now on my list of favorites.

Of course, the company was awesome. FoodGal and NYCGuy are people I met from DailyKos and have since met in Vegas and Chicago at the YK conventions. We had a wonderful time trashing the debate and the media together!

A perfect day off

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Thanks to a visit by Robin, I got to spend a day off work doing my most favorite thing – touring coastal San Diego’s most beautiful view points. She takes the most beautiful pictures so I did not even bother trying to compete, but a couple of times I could not resist so these are from the camera on the phone. First though, let’s see if I can figure out HOW to upload pictures with this new word press dashboard!! Testing 1-2-3:

Well, that is pretty cool! I was able to load all those pictures at once as a ‘gallery’ instead of one by one. Yes, they are a repeat of what I just posted to flickr. First one is Sportboy in mid-buzz cut from last weekend. Evidence that he had a mohawk for a minute anyway :-) Then some wildflowers from the trail yesterday. I got so tired of not knowing what we were seeing that I bought some books at the lodge afterwards. Now I know that yes, there is a bush poppy which is different from the more compact poppy which is the state flower. I also know that the yellow flowers we referred to as daisies are, in fact, a variety of dahlia and sunflower. The dahlia has a yellow center and grows on a taller stem so that they seem to sway in the breeze and the other has a black center and blooms on a more compact shrub. I also know that the red monkey flower which I was expecting to see in one particular spot in more abundance is more likely to bloom out in May so it was just too early for those.

If you read Robin’s post, you get more details of the day including our peregrine falcon sighting. That was a real treat because I had just told her about the day many years ago when I spotted a pair of falcons performing an aerial display that took my breath away. As we approached that same spot on the trail, one flew right by us and I got a great look at it head on so that I saw the gorgeous face mask.

We had a leisurely lunch in Del Mar and I dropped her back to her condo in Mission Beach. I do think that would be a fun way to spend a week – renting a boardwalk condo. You get a bird’s eye view of the beach, the constant sounds of the waves, and also a front row seat for all the fruits and nuts walking/biking/roller blading along :-)

Afternoon walk pictorial

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All pictures except for the bird taken with my Blackberry as I went on about a 5 mile walk around the neighborhood around 4 this afternoon. This is what is blooming in people’s yards right now :-)

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Snapdragons at the entrance to the Catholic church

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A common succulent used as hillside landscaping – a large patch blooming at once is a shot of magenta that takes your breath away and makes you put on your sunglasses!

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No clue what these are! Puffy slate blue flowers in the streetside landscaping.

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Non fruit bearing cherry blossoms.

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White Cyclamens in a yard.

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Tulips and petunias in a yard.

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Geranium intertwined with yellow daisies in a yard.

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Finally, lavender daisies in MY yard!

Catching up on some pictures

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Flowers from the backyard this weekend. Mini daffodils and star jasmine. The jasmine are taking over the back wall totally now and I love it. I have a very tiny yard – more of an extended patio vs a real yard in the back and it smells so lovely right now. I spent a couple of hours cleaning the yard (finally) from oodles of dropped peach tree leaves.

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The trophy given to SportsBoy at the football team party Sunday evening. Did you see the new pictures in the upper right corner here? Those are from the party and if you click to my flickr site you will see a couple more of the team sitting on the hillside after that last game as they waited for coach to talk to them. MusicMan is sitting with his brother trying to console him and I thought those really told the tale of that last game very well.

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I know it’s hard to see at this size so you may need to click on that one, but check out the cat hair. That sweatshirt came out of the wash yesterday, I put it on when I got home from work, and it acquired all that hair thanks to Amber who was little miss clingy kitty any time I sat on the sofa. Her fur was everywhere on me!

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Spoiled cats! Isn’t that a cool contraption attached to the french door though? Yes, Amber loves it. Especially now when the sun is hitting it. Oh and isn’t that kitty tunnel cool? That was her valentines gift from SP. 000_0054.jpg

As I mentioned, she likes to nap up there when the sun is hitting that window :-)

Sat morning in the neighborhood

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After many weeks of strictly indoor exercise thanks to rain and schedule conflicts, I finally got out for a walk this morning. I didn’t get moving until after 10:00, but it was nice to be lazy and putter first. After much indecision about what route to take and what to bring with me, I finally settled on the long circle around the nearby school and then looping out to the bank/pharmacy/Starbucks before heading back home. It always seems such a waste to use my car to run those kinds of errands when the shops are literally 2 blocks away. So I stepped outside and…holy sunshine batman! It was *hot*!! Back inside to re-do the wardrobe and then finally hit the pavement around 10:15.

I live in a very low key (translation, lower income) older area of a very upscale bedroom suburb which is surrounded by some very very wealthy rancho and beach communities. I love my little circle of houses. No HOA, but no need for it. Everyone keeps their places looking nice. Nothing fancy, just your basic, middle class stucco dominated rows of houses. The area is old for here (25).

First thing I notice is my next door neighbor out in her gardening clothes tending to her yard. I make a mental note to do the same thing tomorrow morning. My back yard needs some serious attention.

Another neighbor is washing his car. Then I see it. Flashback to the 60s. Two women talking over a fence! I didn’t think people did that anymore. Up at the corner, two small kids are riding their bikes in the circle as dad looks on. Turn the corner and there’s two more people talking in a driveway. Clearly the sunny/warm Saturday morning air has brought people out of their houses. As I transition to a busier street, I merge with a jogger. Turning another corner downhill towards the school, I see a couple pushing a stroller. There is someone out front of at least one house on every street I pass. Then I notice the smell. February in So Cal and all the yellow flowers are blooming:

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I always refer to February as the yellow flower month. There are trees and these ubiquitous landscaping bushes all over which bloom profusely with these tiny puffs of yellow. Pollen count is high as my sinuses can tell you (yep, had to take a claritin after walking). But it smells so distinct and lets you know immediately that spring is around the corner. The yellow is just a preview.

As I made my way out of the neighborhood towards the shopping center, I came upon the little park and grassy area on one corner. Today it was filled with tiny soccer players. Not more than 5 years old for sure. Parents lined the perimeter of the rectangular playing area watching as two coaches demonstrated some maneuvers and tiny legs tried their best to copy. Ah, the early days of youth sports!  A lazy Saturday morning at the local park vs driving an hour for a high pressure tournament or kick ass football game. Enjoy these relaxing days in the park young parents!

At the shopping center I was encouraged to see I was not the only one walking to do my errands today. I passed a man I recognized who lives around the corner from me who walks every single day coming out of the grocery store. As I came out of the store I saw the couple from earlier with the stroller. I also saw some firemen doing their shopping – is there some rule that all firemen must be former GQ models?? Seriously!  Wow. Anyhow..I love that I could get my coffee, pick up a prescription and take out cash all in one store. Back out on the pavement I met up with another mom pushing a stroller as she was walking back home form her coffee run.

Just a glorious, warm Saturday in San Diego!

Playing with the camera & more randomness

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I found the close up floral setting on the camera and took it around the yard today. The detail is so awesome!

Had a great time at the ballpark both days. The Padres sucked, but the atmosphere and seats were great anyway! SP came with me today and we enjoyed our usual pre-game meal at Tin Fish. Unfortunately our seats which were great, were in the sun and I did not dress well for that. I also still have some issues with the left side of my mouth. I woke up this morning as if someone punched me in the jaw. My teeth feel fine, but just opening my mouth hurts. Weird. Still no sign of a fever so I am not concerned about an infection, but the healing on that side is taking longer than I though and sure does hurt! Anyway, due to that discomfort, I had to bail out of the sun and we ended up in the sushi restaurant which is another favorite place to be at the ballpark. However, I am still quite wiped out from the sun and dealing with the hurt jaw so this is all I can muster up today. Enjoy the pretty pictures :->

Mother’s Day Pictures

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We celebrated with my parents and both boys yesterday. Today I am in pre-surgery prep mode so I was happy to have the day free to clean the house, do laundry, select recipes for the week and get groceries. One fun item – I am boiling local lobster tails tonight as a treat. They were on sale at Henry’s this week. I am sure they wont compare to Maine, but still! The nurse recommended that I load up on protein tonight since I have to fast after midnight. I thought this would be a pretty nice protein treat for both me and SP who is taking the day off to shuttle me around and then take care of me when I get home.

I didn’t need/want flowers this year – because look at my rose bushes! I have never seen all three in bloom so nicely! This first rose bush was already in the ground when I bought the house and I’ve maybe seen 2 or 3 blooms at once. I took all these pictures walking through my garden today. Look at this! A full bouquet on one branch:

This is one I’ve had forever. I cannot remember any of the names, but this was in a pot for years and then I put it in the ground when I moved here Sept ’03. Again – never much of a bloomer at all. Battled all sorts of fungus and rust and bugs. Shoots green stalks like crazy, but rarely flowers. Not this year:

Now this one is my favorite. SP gave it to me our first Valentines Day together. It was also in a pot until moving here. It is the only one I’ve ever had that always blooms brilliantly – and it blooms year round. If I didn’t strip them to canes in Dec/Jan, this one would be blooming 12 mos. However, like the others, the total number of blooms is pretty amazing:

What I love about this one are the changing colors. Yellow, pink and orange all on one flower. It starts out with the yellow and finishes with pink before the petals fall off. Here is a close up of a bud:

Proof of my continuing evolution to a true liberal lefty:

Ok, maybe a very chic lefty :-) Look at those gorgeous purple grocery bags!! They are Chico bags – $5/each. Washable, reusable, super strong and super stylin’! I ordered 10 and promptly used all of them with a rather large shopping spree at Henry’s today. I was due though since I had not really been at all this past week when it was just me at home most of the time. DS1 and I ate the cupboards and refrigerator pretty bare so I had to stock up on some things again. I like to do that with his discount :-) Anyway, I really really always hated using those plastic bags at the grocery – even though I always reused them as small trash bags or took them back for recycling. When I trace my progression from politically leaning right to left, the environment was my first nudge towards liberalism. I am trying to slowly turn this household more green. Or, in this case – purple!!
Amber apparently approves:

So does Chip:
I hope everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day! I am off to boil lobster tails. Hopefully I will sleep tonight. I alternate between thinking this is No Big Deal to kinda laughing at the absurdity of the whole process to really really wishing I did not have to go through it, ya know? I would much rather go to work tomorrow. It will be fine. It’s not that much of a procedure. Outpatient. Small grain-of-salt sized cells. So not much to remove so not that much to cut, right? I hope. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffft!!