Sunday, January 31, 2010


It's January (okay, almost February.) But still. This is what's sprouted in my garden in the last week.

I know in many parts of the world, it's snowing.  Miserable. Cold. Icy.

And I show you this, not to rub in our moderate weather in California (because we've had our share of ugly stuff this winter) but, rather, to share this little piece of sunshine with you.

These little babies sprouted with full confidence that they were doing what they were meant to do, when they were meant to do it.  And even if it wasn't perfect timing,  their effort was going to be their best.

Nighttime frigid plunges? 
Flooding rain predicted?
Who cares? I'm here, World! Look at me!

Likewise, my camelia has joined in on this optimistic impulse.

Season after season, it waits until the dead of winter to share a little beauty with my fallow garden, dressing itself up with jewels like this one.

They're sturdier than they look. And they don't whine about the weather. Or the nighttime dips.
They welcome them as part of their journey, apparently. Expect them, even.
They simply bob their heads in the breeze and impart a little sunshine as we human's pass.

Yes, I suppose if they'd waited until April or May, they would surely have found a more welcoming climate, less adversity. 
 But the truth is, the timing of this bloom is perfect.
Absolutely perfect.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eenie, meenie, minie, mo...

Awww. So cute. Right?
Fuzzy little grey squirrel. What's he eating anyway? A nut? Sure. Nuts abound here in our neighborhood.
Fifty years ago, it used to be a walnut grove.

Walnut trees spring up in my flower pots all the time where some cute little squirrel has planted them. Sometimes jaccarunda trees too, with their little hard-shelled seed pods. Little gifts. Taking over my pots.

But they're sweet little things, aren't they?  So fuzzy. And grey.

I feel sorry for them in the rain. I mean, out there in the miserable cold?  Looking for that walnut they buried in one of my flower pots?

Cute Little Squirrel:  Now...which one was it? No. Not that one. Not that one... Oh,wait! What's that? Yum! That looks tasty!

Bleckkkk! Phuttt!

Yes, that would be my phone line.

My phone has been out for almost a week now. My internet is sporadic at best, and works when the rain stops for a while. (Hence my absence on all of your blogs!) I would like to thank that fuzzy grey squirrel who lives in my bottlebrush tree for mistaking my phone line for a walnut.  The poor phone repairman is supposed to show up today, in the middle of the worst rain storm  in years, to fix my dead line.

The phone repairman and I would like to send a shout out to you, sweet little grey squirrel.
No, really. Thanks. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not Forgotten

Even if we can only do something small, that small bit becomes something larger that carries our prayers and hopes with it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


What if we all just quit banking with them?

What if we just stopped using these loan sharks' freaking credit cards and paid cash?

What if we let them sink as they've done to us?

What if we took control of our destinies?
What if we did?
Then, what might happen?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Smoke Signals

Cybermation. \n. cy-ber-ma'-shun [2010] - facts perported on the world wide web; 2. \v. broadly : the validation of facts through cyber-means.

I'm inventing a new word. (At least, I think I am.)

Have you heard this word before? No, me either. But I think it's a valid word. And maybe it will end up in the lexicon someday as we're all doing it.

Need a restaurant? Look it up on the web.
Need to know who played Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life?" Google it.
Need a map to a job interview? Yahoo map it.
What the heck kind of bug is that crawling up my rose bush? Who knew garden clubs have websites!!
What's for sale on E-bay? Forgetaboutit! Hours are gone in a blink.

Oh, I've done it all. I don't have the phone yet that has the touch screen or the fun keyboard, (I'm still in the Stone Ages with my little AT&T ABC keyboard.) But at work or home, I rarely call 411 anymore. I look it up on the web. And once you discover this treasure trove of information at your fingertips, it's hard to stop . Some of us are a little obsessive.

I'm not naming names.
No, I'm not.

But along with all this wonderful access, I wonder if our own common sense is in danger of being trumped by the common opinion.

For example:

I was standing in a store line the other day with a woman who began chatting with me as she picked up a Mommy book for her daughter who was due to deliver this woman's first grandchild soon. We started talking about all the 'do's and don'ts' that have suddenly changed the face of pregnancy for our daughters. Mostly don'ts. Don't eat soft cheese. No fish. Don't sleep on your back. No this, no that.

Our daughters, both recenly pregnant had signed onto birth clubs online. And they had access to copious amounts of information that we'd never heard of wayyyyy back when we ourselves had had babies. How did our children ever survive without all of these warnings heeded??

We found ourselves laughing in that store line. Not that we were discounting this new information, but that we often found our own experience as moms trumped by online opinion.

The other day, my grandson had his first runny nose. Here's how that went:
"I think the baby has a cold," she said.

"Maybe it's a cold," I suggested, "or maybe he's just teething."

"Teething doesn't have anything to do with a runny nose, Mom."

"Where did you hear that?"

"Online. Doctors say it has nothing to do with teething."

"Hmmm. You guys always got little runny noses when you had a new tooth breaking through."

"No, mom. That's just wrong information. Maybe an old wives' tale."

Was it? Wait a minute... It couldn't be just me... (And did she just call me an old--? Never mind.)

"Wait," I said, stepping into her camp, "let me look it up."

Naturally, I Googled. And I found information to back up my claim. Yet, even as I'm doing this, I'm laughing to myself. Why do I need the internet to back up my own experience as a mom? (And to be fair, I found information to back up her claim as well. )

I forwarded her my carefully selected quote. She emailed me back a consession. We both laughed. And as soon as that darned tooth broke through, his nose miraculously stopped running.

Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it is an old wives' tale. In the end, it wasn't really about who was right and who was wrong. It was either a cold or not a cold.

But it really made me think: am I actually second guessing my own real-life experience in favor of the common opinion??
I love the internet.
The internet is scary.
Now, excuse me while I google that pancake recipe I saw the other day online...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Christmas Vacation ( Part Deux)

(Part II)
Tucson was amazing and seeing my sister, Anne, again was so fun.  But, then, we were off to New Mexico to accomplish the real reason we packed ourselves up in our car and drove 900 miles.

The official cuddling our Grandson on his first Christmas!

We were lucky enough to be invited out to spend that first Christmas with our son-in-law's family (it was their turn this year to get the kids) . Our in-laws were wonderful hosts.  We arrived on Christmas Eve when the whole family gathered to exchange gifts with  our son-in-law's dad and  step-mom.

(Note: Yes, that IS an entire buffalo hide draped over the back of the couch!)

They had the biggest tree I'd ever seen in a house. And probably the highest ceilings. A real New Mexico  casa. Beautiful, with great views of these:

Here was our first glimpse.

And later, our second.

These beauties, called the Organ Mountains, (supposedly, because they resemble pipe organs) were, by then,  tinted pink with the sunset, and when the sun finally went down, the stars blanketed overhead across a black sky. I tilted my head back, tempted to break into Don Maclean's "Starry, Starry Night!"

Thankfully for all involved,  I refrained.

I wish I could have gotten a shot of that, because you really haven't seen the night sky until you've seen it in New Mexico. (Well, maybe you have. But not if you live in L.A.) But my camera wasn't quite up to that task of capturing it. Sigh. I'll just have to rely on my starry sky memories.

The real star of the show, however, was the little boo. (er, Ryan).  Here he is opening presents.

Being the one and only granchild, he was showered with toys, clothes, books and hugs. He had fun. Particularly with this:

This yummy doggie  he received for Christmas from his parents is strangely reminiscent of the one we got our daughter on her first Christmas. (see below)

(Note: Please try to overlook my hubby's yowsa striped bathrobe, circa 1980 in the background. It's hard I know. There's no accounting for 1980's fashion taste.)

Can you see the resemblence? It's in the smile. Whew, that takes me back!

But I digress.

So, over the next two days, the 'boys' played tackle football (and could hardly move the next day), went skeet shooting (bruised their shoulders and thumbs) and generally accomplished male bonding.

The girls cooked, shopped and visited the old-town square. (where Billy the Kid was reputedly incarcerated and shot down by Pat Garret!) The town looks almost exactly the same as it did then, with old adobe buildings and original glass windows.  La Mesilla was beautifully decorated for Christmas with paper bag luminarias on every rooftop and sidewalk.

That was gorgous. And then we all had wonderful New Mexican food.
Ry was happy.

He really enjoyed his sippy cup lid.
And we enjoyed him.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip with only one (minor) speeding ticket involved. ( FYI: In Arizona, if you see one of those radar jeeps with its antennae up, don't think for a second they aren't watching you. They're armed with cameras, baby!)  But it was a small price to pay. We had fun.

Hope your holidays were wonderful and filled with relaxation, friends, family and fun!
xoxox B