Today is my first day of winter break – my company generously closes from today through 1/3 – so I am catching up on, well, everything! Two days to get ready for Christmas – no problemo right?! Meanwhile the last 5 days were dominated here in So Cal by an enormous (for us) amount of water falling from the sky. The ground here is just not designed for absorbing up to 20 inches of rain over that time span! Luckily, in my area it was “only” 5 inches but even that fills up every creek bed, river, lagoon or low lying area pretty darn fast. I grabbed my camera for the drive in to work yesterday to record the coastal impact. I was lucky – roads leading in to work are in excellent shape and far enough away from any overflowing water sources.
A little standing water in the backyard. Not TOO bad. I've seen the whole yard under 1/2 and inch before
Penasquitos lagoon along Carmel Valley rd. Rarely this much water on the east end
Water goes right up to the base of the train tracks. Train service was flooded out, but not here.
Looking south from Torrey Pines Rd at the stormy skies
Now viewing the lagoon from the west end - looking back at CV Rd. Again, rarely looking this full
On the way home at the end of the day - a post storm sunset splashed cloud
Nov 17, 2010 - Classic clear fall blue skies & deep blue ocean
Some fog off on the horizon, but otherwise everything is a brilliant, deep blue. Contrast that with the same time of day in early January when a very muggy heat wave rolled through.
Jan 3, 2010 - high clouds, muted blue, almost green water
The sun was shining through, but still everything seems pale
1/3/10 - Pastel hues - everything seemed to have a pink blush
Rain rolls back into town this weekend – unfortunately creating an adventure for the Breast Cancer 3 Day walkers this year – though certainly NOT dampening their spirits I know!
Anyhow – Happy Friday!
If you appeal to his sense of tradition – such as a photo in The Cave on the way to Flat Rock – you can get a willing smile.
Testing a new WordPress slide show feature. 22 pics should rotate along. Perfect spring day – sunny but cool enough for a good workout without being over heated. After being thoroughly gassed during the first half of the workout Wed night with the group, I decided it’s time to build up the aerobic stamina a bit more. It was darn embarrassing how winded I got! So I drove up to work and walked across from there to the Flat Rock/Broken Hill trail. I alternately ran/walked (trails are too crowded to run the whole way) both down and then back up taking a break at the bottom for water and twitter pics The flowers are on display right now. I’m toying with going back tomorrow with the good camera vs just the iphone. Yellow everywhere with sprigs of red and purple interspersed if you are paying attention.
I passed a LOT of joggers with headphones on. I get that. Not everyone wants to hear the birds like I do, but boy did they miss out! I was able to pick out and identify the songs of about 10 different birds. Jays, towhees, warblers, thrashers, sparrows and hummingbirds all serenaded me.
As I made the turn back off the trail and onto the pavement along the golf course, I was treated to the rare alarm call of the Lesser Amateur Weekend Duffer. He was in fine voice too! A lovely string of “Gaaaawd DAMMIT! FORWARD FORWARD, not the the RIGHT! Arggggggh!! SHIT!” Yep – he’s in spring season form all right
Except maybe to walk along the beach below the Torrey Pines trails more often – here’s why:
High clouds created muted, but interesting colors on the water
Guy Fleming trail viewpoint
The boy on Red Butte off the Razor Point trail - 13 year olds are so cooperative with the smiles!
The tree that I use as my profile pic sometimes. Razor Point Trail.
He only agreed to smile nicely since it was my birthday
On the beack below the Guy Fleming Trail
Willet foraging at the wave line just before he escaped being lunch!
Perfect example of the layers of sandstone that make up the cliffs. Green to tan to red. There must have been a falcon perched up there because...
….just a little further up the beach Sportsboy & I noticed an interesting looking “ledge” of the green sandstone at the base of the cliff & we went for a closer look and I was about to take photos when out of the corner of my eye I saw two birds swooping down from the cliffs straight at him! They swerved right past (he swears he could have reached out his arms and knocked one out of the air) and leveled out and flushed the Willet and chased it up the beach. I thought for SURE the Willet was lunch because I knew right away they were a pair of Peregrines. One noticeable larger than the other and the big one was on that poor Willet’s tail! Somehow the Willet was just evasive enough – I think it used a life guard tower as a diversion – to escape at which point the smaller falcon swooped back up to the cliff face just above us and settled down. The larger one actually perched on the somewhat distant life guard tower rail for a bit & I was insanely jealous of the people near there who seemed clue less to the spectacle! Meanwhile I tried my best to get some sort of shot of the smaller one above us – here’s a cropped version which gives a little bit better look:
Peregine Falcon on a cliff ledge just below Guy Fleming Trail at Torrey Pines
The larger one then took off and came swooping right past us again – got a full view of all those dramatic markings, particularly the face mask and streaked underbelly. Such glorious birds to see in flight like that!
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!
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
Photos from our 1/29/08 hike which was supposed to be at the Rancho Penasquitos Trail, but that park was closed I assume due to high creek levels from the rain. We will attempt that site again Saturday. So we went to the place we know best, Torrey Pines Reserve. Parked at work and walked in from the southern end along the golf course to take the Broken Hill Trail connecting to the Beach Trail to Flat Rock and then back up. Perfect post-rain chilly day. Some mud and puddles on the trails, but overall just fabulous. Heard and saw more bird life than I normally do. This is going to be picture heavy so click through after this first one to see more. Here is Broken Hill:
So as I said in my previous post, this is the time of year when I try to catch up on doing things for me. Since I don’t have the 3-day walk to motivate me specifically this year to get out and walk, I needed some other inspiration. My training walks were all walks on my own. No training partner or team. I decided that I needed to find a walking group. And there they were. My favorite morning radio show had a member who almost interviewed me last year on Day 1 of the walk. But they went to commercial just as he had talked to me and I told him that unless he wanted to walk with me, he could hang back and talk to someone else, but I needed to keep moving. He hung back, and ended up talking and walking all the way up the Torrey Pines trail! Not trained, out of shape, in jeans and with a cell phone and regular shoes! Anyway, that inspired him to sign up for this year’s event AND to get himself in shape overall. So he had started a walking group that does various trails over the weekends and even weekdays. Sat at 9:00am is Torrey Pines. This being the first Saturday without DS2 or a game to go to, I decided to adopt this group! And it was great. There is nothing for me like being here:
We started at the bottom of the hill by the beach and walked up the road and then past the rangers station to the beach trail, down the trail to the overlook point above flat rock (the trails that were washed out in the big rains two winters ago and nearly completely rebuilt) and the up and out to the trail head that is actually the turnaround point of the walks I take during the workday! Back down the hill and I have no clue how far we walked, but it was more than I have done in months! I met and talked with a couple of women as we brought up the rear. Even though I normally walk pretty fast, since this was my first real distance walk in awhile, I didn’t want to push myself. Good thing because on the way down the hill, my right knee started to twinge right at the dreaded t-band. And it hurts now when I get up from sitting or go up and down the stairs. Sigh – even with the pre-walk stretching that I did, still things are tightened up. Oh well. I will make this Saturday walk part of my routine over the summer and bring DS2 with me to do it when he returns. Good for football prep
After the walk I barely had time to go home and change and then meet Jax for ‘brunch’ at T’s Cafe. After that walk a big ‘ol potato skillet was calling my name! I had the corned beef hash skillet with two eggs sunny side up and I mashed it all together and *almost* ate the whole thing. We yapped from 11:30-2:00. Probably could have yapped more, but I was yawning and the restaurant was clearing out from even the lunch crowd so we reluctantly said our goodbyes but also made a date for a day at the fair on the 1st. It was so nice to just be able to sit and relax and talk without any time constraints!
I was going to watch one of the three movies that I have tonight, but now I am really wiped out tired! I came home around 3:30 after some errands and was going to nap, but the phone kept ringing so I gave up and puttered in my yard, brushed the cats and then cleaned the downstairs floors and also threw out some crap in the garage. The goal is to have ONLY my car and the game table left on the garage floor when I am done purging. So I think I will continue to plow through my magazine pile tonight with the goal to be getting at my BOOK pile by the middle of next week. That will be quite a treat. A whole book! Fingers crossed. Fathers day tomorrow and as per usual I have waited until the last minute for a card and gift. Meaning I will get them in the morning. We have a 1:00 lunch reservation. I am pathetic! I know what I want to get him – a memoir written by Don Rickels. I hope they have one at the B&N up the street! You think I would learn eh? I can only laugh at the contradictions within me as some things are hyper planned and organized and some things are totally flying by the seat of pants. Hmmmm..you think that is what they call balance?!! Yeah, didn’t think so.