Saturday, January 31, 2009

One World-One Heart Event is closed. Winners will be announced tomorrow.


It's time for the One World-One Heart Event and I've almost missed it. Vacations have a way of making you forget everything. This is event is so much fun you just add a comment here on this blog to be entered to win five note cards. These are prints of my pastels and are 4 1/2 X 6 1/2 inches. Envelopes are included.

Giveaway Update: If I get 100 comments I'll give a second prize. This is last years lapel pin but I'll give something similar. It is handmade felt with embellishments.

To enter please include:
  • Just click on "comments"
  • add a link to your site, if you have one,
  • or your e-mail address.
  • Let me know if you are also participating with a giveaway.
Now just go to the host's site One World-One Heart and visit all the other participants. Right now there are almost 800 other crafty people participating. Have fun!

DEADLINE February 12th. I will randomly choose one name and let the lucky person know by e-mail or their blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 30, 2009

From El Rincon: Breakfast with the Godwit's

At sunrise the Pacific was flat with just a hint of morning mist hanging off the coast of Santa Cruz one of the five Channel Islands. I sat with my morning tea watching the shore birds dash around looking for breakfast. Marbled Godwits, Whimbrels, and Willets made up this early morning crowd. A wave comes in then retreats and they scurry down to the edge of the water to poke and prod the wet sand looking for sand crabs and small invertebrates. They usually get away before the next wave but sometimes the wave will wash over their slender heads as they come up with something particularly yummy and worth the cold splash. The Sanderlings, much small birds, run in a pack of ten or twenty and they rarely get wet. They perform a choreographed ballet dancing between the wet sand and water.

In front of a cresting wave a pelican glides effortlessly only inches from the water. Near sunset a dozen or so birds will glide single file for miles. I often wonder if they are looking in the clear water of the wave for fish swimming by. They also hunt fish from about twenty feet then plunge headfirst into the water resulting in a dramatic splash.

Beyond the breakers, small groups of Bottle-nosed Dolphins travel up and down the beach feeding on fish. There is a photo of dolphins riding a wave off Ventura but I've not seen it in the wild. I did see California Sea Lion in a wave snatching himself a large fish once. What a treat.

For other post about this lovely area click on the label "Rincon" at the bottom of this post.

Monday, January 26, 2009

AFK to celebrate 39 years

Last year we celebrated our anniversary at the beach so it seemed only natural we head back. To add a little spice we've planned a trip with our dear friends. This should be fun, we've traveled many times together and they are game for some short day trips--plus they love to "antique" and eat as much as we do--so we are expecting a pleasant getaway.

As we are watching the weather the forecast looks promising, though cold, it's 38 this morning. This is just a reminder it's winter because after the past two weeks of 80 degree temps here in SoCal it sort of makes one forget.

For dinner I've planned some outdoor cooking with my camp dutch oven if we find a nice level spot. Rain would be the only thing keeping me from trying this. I could post something interesting on our food blog, Peanut Butter Etouffee, but my camera died. Maybe someone else could take a snap it's not good to be a stranger at your own food blog. We'll also eat out as there are some great places just a short drive from El Rincon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sometimes the locals are right

There is a blogger from LA that I like to read, Chanfles. He lives in a small corner of Los Angeles, Lincoln Heights, kvetches--my word not his--like so many of us do, about what goes on in our community. He has a category "Shit I hate" and is funny. He's, among other things, a vegetarian in search of the perfect Huevos Rancheros and reports back when he finds the good ones as well as the not so good. His most recent food venture lead him to San Bernardino and stated he wasn't going back even if it was popular with the locals: sometimes the locals are wrong.

That story rang so true as my sister and I are foodies and while traveling together we try all sorts of restaurants. We even had one entire trip in search of the perfect tamale but ended up learning so much of the New Mexico cuisine I don't know if we decided. We did find posole, ah and don't forget the sopapillas.

One trip to the Southwest we were in search of some tasty Mexican food and after settling in at our hotel in Sedona asked the clerk if there was a good local place to satisfy us. There were directions and a full parking lot and a list to be added to for a wait so this all looked promising. Wrong. We thought, maybe the locals were Gringos because this wasn't hitting any bells with us.

Our next stop was Page, Arizona in the Northern part of the state. Tired from a full day of sightseeing we again asked a hotel clerk and she directed us to a restaurant within walking distance. Not to many in the joint but they had a bar which was now a big part of our criteria. With only one other table with customers they seated us on a large patio. I grimaced. What the hell, I'll have a hamburger but it smelled good with that gentle mix of lard and corn and the salsa was great. I had a good feeling in my gut, well, maybe it was just hunger but we stayed. I opted for Chili Verde, my benchmark in a good Mexican restaurant. We were so hungry by this point anything would do.

That turned out to be one of the best meals we'd had on our ten day vacation. So does that mean the locals were right? It didn't seem to matter that there weren't many customers so how do you actually find the good places? Luck, and the Kitchen Gods were happy with us that night.

How do you find good places when you are on the road? Do you hit the chain restaurants for something safe or are you adventurous?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The skin I'm in

Actinic Keratosis is a scary name for something only somewhat scary, skin pre-cancer. I'm just lucky, and I'm honest with that word, to only have these types of problems right now. I did have one basal and two squamous cell carcinomas removed so I get a good check-up twice a year.

My problem right now is I've had this dry patch on my upper lip frozen with liquid nitrogen three times and it still won't go away. So my darling dermatologist, he is darling, too, will re-try something; a horrible treatment that went somewhat awry last time. Last time I used this cream I got flu like symptoms and my lips swelled twice the size of Angelina Jolie. I was miserable. He says it has to be and I can do it slowing using a third of the dose.

As a warning to anyone younger than a boomer, SUNSCREEN. Buy buckets of the stuff and don't leave the house without wearing a lipstick or lip gloss that has an SPF of fifteen or better. Seems like all that lip gloss we wore in the 80s did quite a bit of harm to the old lips. Who knew? I suppose putting baby oil on and sunbathing until we were a crispy shade of brown didn't help either.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My President

For two terms I've longed to pen that phrase, My President and now, as of January 20, 2009, I can. I do feel in my entire heart that he is representing what I believe in; finally.

From the moment I heard his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention I knew he'd be the saving grace for America. It just took a bit longer to get him on the Capital steps swearing the oath of office.

Pride to be an American is what I felt for a few reasons. Pride in the system; I've always been an advocate of the power of your vote and quite angry when people say it doesn't matter. It does and Barack Obama proves that point. Proud of my daughter and her husband because they supported Obama from the very beginning and traveled to Washington, stood in the freezing cold for hours to be no closer than a few miles to watch the inauguration. I'll leave her blog for how that made them feel I know I was so proud they could believe in something so strongly. It was only twenty degrees for God's sake!

Time will tell how he does but I only beg that everyone gives him time. It took eight years to get us in the mess we're in so we can give him time to get us on the right track. Congratulations, Mr. President.

Friday, January 16, 2009

lil bird: on the wing

With the inauguration next week we are all a twitter here. Our own lil bird and her husband are traveling to the nation's capital to view some history and you can follow their antics on Twitter or her regular blog, Maltese Parakeet. Twitter allows herto publish from her cell phone so here's hoping we get many photos directly from the "goings on."

I'm truly jealous of them but will be thrilled to get them back and hear every word. I hope they remember and that it isn't all a blur.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


So simple a word but can mean so much. It's the air that moves about us and out of us, sometimes. It can be a gentle breeze or something attuned to a hurricane. In my little corner of Southern California it is the bane of my existence. For thirty six years I've dealt with the winds, some years better than other but always a pain in the backside.

Our wind in the spring brings pollen from areas I'd never visit and my allergies can't do a dang thing about it. The fall, oh the fall, the hot Santa Ana wind comes sweeping off the desert to dry up what little moisture we have in the hillsides and makes us shiver at the thought of a wild fire. At the least it makes my front porch a depository for any loose trash in the neighborhood. Winter wind can bring anything. One year the '94 Northridge Earthquake. This winter it brought 85 degree days. I'll take the warm days but I am tired of the blowing.

Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Water moving about creates negative ions. Beaches, waterfall, even your shower but the wind sucks the life out of them causes those little old ions to go positive. Positive is usually something good but in the case of ions it isn't. So here a little negativity is good but how to get it. There are a myriad of product for sale that produce negative ions. Oh so many crazy late night sales pitches but the best thing? Go get in the shower and let the water beat on you or sit on the beach and breath deeply. Some things are so simple, aren't they?

Monday, January 12, 2009

They didn't call him Tricky Dick for nuttin.

One can't watch the new movie, Frost/Nixon without drawing some lines to our current president. No fan of Nixon here but you almost feel a bit sorry for him. I said almost because you still had some insight into his denial since he felt it part of the presidential powers bestowed upon him. Respect for he job diminished with him and didn't recover. This is why I have hope with the incoming administration. Please, just bring some respect back to the job.

Humans are a compassionate lot, as a group, but will the American People somehow feel the same for Bush after he is gone? It might depend on what is said about his involvement in, his words, variety of mistakes. He is now saying some things did not go as planned. Ya think? In our life time we'll never know the truth. Hopefully, one of the "loyal to the group" will write a death-bed confession and then we'll know who's been controlling this country for the last eight years. Just how old is Wolfowitz?

Do go see Frost/Nixon before it slips into video. Frank Langella--who could forget his Dracula, pretty hot for 1979 but I digress--his performance as a beaten Nixon is spellbinding. Like driving by an accident, you can't look away, though it is painful to watch. Now my grandmother would have relished this part of the movie since she hated Nixon with a purple passion. She had two books beside her chair, the Holy Bible and Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry Truman; she could quote chapter and verse from both. She was none to found of Johnson, as she was sure he murdered Kennedy, until her nephew became the Johnson's Texas minister. Loyalties have a familial ties.

I'm looking for the original interviews on Netflix even though I lived through that era I don't remember watching the program. I did, on the other hand, watch too much of the Watergate hearings; who didn't. There is one thing my darling companion and I remembered, the country was glad to put it away. Hey, it was the '70s.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Just beachy

We did end up spending New Year's at our favorite camping place, Rincon Parkway. This little stretch of road is just outside the town of Ventura on the Pacific Ocean. Although this photo does illustrate the camping area is not representative of what the place actually looks like. I've never seen it so empty, ever. People who live local will come, park and pay on Wednesday and not show up until Friday evening to camp all weekend. Most of what we see these days are those huge diesel guys that we feel miniature next to.

If I stop and think about the camping area it's amazing why I love it so much. Let me try to describe it. Before the freeway opened a two-lane road ran parallel to the water. Between the west side of the road and the beach was space to park your car and on the east side of the road a high berm with rail tracks. A variety of passenger and freight trains travel on this line up and down the coast of California. This space is now designated for camping and most of the 127 spots are about 18 feet wide and close to 40 feet long.

When you pull in, depending on the width of your RV, you have a five feet no parking zone with a bike lane on the road side and about five feet of crumbling blacktop on the beach side. Cars and big trucks rumble by your spot at an alarming speed all hours of the day, and night. I shouldn't make it sound so attractive there are already too many campers. Past that large boulders help with beach erosion then, depending on the tide, a sandy beach and the million dollar view of the Pacific Ocean. Hook-ups? Nope, this $25 a day site is d-r-y.

The beach access can be difficult especially with a dog since you need to scramble over the boulders down to the sand. The height of the rocks varies and at many sites it's near impossible to navigate over the boulders so choose wisely. Once our site had great access and along with that came many visitors tramping through our five-foot front yard. I'm willing to share just knock the damn sand out of your shoes before you traipse across my rug.

So why is it always packed? The price has a lot to do with it and maybe because there are so few spots at the beach in Southern California but everyone I ask says, the view. You set up, get out a chair and sit down to watch. You're treated to Sea Lions and Bottle-nosed Dolphins playing and feeding in the surf and if you're lucky, the occasional blowhole spray from a migrating Gray Whale on it's way down to Baja to breed for the winter. Shore birds are too numerous to count most of the time and their antics will make anyone chuckle. Add to that the day-trip possibilities of Ojai, Cartpenteria, Ventura and Santa Barbara at for 25 bucks a night.

Wait, maybe I've said too much. Forget every thing I've said.