Parental Advisory Notice and a Jacaranda tree

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Jacaranda tree next door

Jacaranda tree next door

Since one of the google search hits that is still going strong here is “Jacaranda Tree” rather than bringing peeps to a post with a randomly stolen picture from the web, I thought I would post a picture of my local one in full glory. Apparently these were planted in front of every house when these homes were built 26 years ago. Almost all have since been yanked out because, as you can see below the tree, they kinda make a mess! But I am really glad that this is one of the rare ones still around. It’s next door where I can enjoy it daily – and I do love it’s shape – and also not have to clean up after it :-)

Despite being very sore from a leg-heavy workout yesterday morning, I did get out into the yard today to start some way overdue cleanup. It’s so easy to ignore my yard now! Sprinklers are automatic, SweetPrince does the lawn maintenance and the only thing I need to do is water the backyard potted plants twice a week which takes about 3 minutes. The landscaping has matured nicely and the hillside is covered with succulents vs weeds. It’s down now to just the two small side yard beds leading to the front door and the main front hillside which needs attention now and then for some weeding and cutting back overgrowth. I could only handle the side yards today though. My legs were protesting heavily and there is no way I could support myself on slanted ground to clean things up. My roses are getting eaten up though – another down side of neglect – pests. Despite that though, one of the roses that was here when I bought the house is having it’s best year ever as far as blooms. It’s just covered and the blooms smell so nice. I think it’s the only one of the plants that has a scent really.

I think this is a tea rose variety.

I think this is a tea rose variety.

Ok, the Parental Advisory: Make sure when cleaning out your child’s backpack now that school is over to follow these steps:

  1. Take it outside (you will need the ventillation)
  2. Bring a trash can nearby, preferably one not too full already
  3. Wear gloves
  4. A face mask might be a good idea too
  5. Be prepared to just throw the entire thing out

I was not willing to consider #5 since I had just bought the backpack over the winter break and it’s only beenin circluation half a school year. We try to squeeze 3 full years out of them and I really want this one to make it at least through jr high, and hopefully through 9th grade too. So, I had to clean it completely and get it to a point where I could wipe down the inside. Now, the boy *has* a lunch box but heaven forbid after he removes food from it which he doesn’t finish, OR after he trades food or simply buys something additional that he should put those items back in the lunchbox itself. Much easier to stuff them into the bottom of the main pockets. Yummy.

At least I earned some money – found about 45 cents in there which is mine. But, ick, do I want it?

Spring in the yard

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African Daisy

African Daisy

Star Jasmine - can you smell it?

Star Jasmine - can you smell it?

More African Daisies

More African Daisies

Fuschia about ready to burst open

Fuschia about ready to burst open

Nastursiams

Nastursiams

Fuzzy Freesias.

Fuzzy Freesias.

After a lazy morning, we got to the field for LL game warm ups at 10:45. I got my walk in for the day – 40mins worth by making one lap around the fields and then going around the entire neighborhood block which is pretty darn big and very very hilly so it was a goood walk. Now that I have been walking more, I am no longer feeling so sore after which is an improvement over a couple of weeks ago! The team won again 7-6 after falling behind 6-1 making for a very exciting game. Weird thing was – it was COLD at the field. Sun never really came out and the wind from the ocean is quite bracing. Still, my plan was to clean up the weeds and one dead bush in the side yard beds so I bundled up and went to work after lunch. And…then the sun came out! Blazing. Which was actually kinda nice. I finished up and then sat out back and read for awhile. Sportsboy had come home and hit the books to finish 2 of 4 subjects and was reading quietly inside. On his own. Do you know the boy who took almost a full year to read the first three Harry Potter books has now finished books 4-6? He started book 6 just a week ago.  He kept on marvelling at how fast I went through them, but I told him it was just practice. I think he gets it now :-) The challenge will be what to get him into when he is done with HP.

How about you dear reader? Any signs of spring around you?

Monday in pictures – Flower Time!

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My yard in flowers (despite my overall neglect for the past 5 months) + the jacaranda next door:

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 :-)