Sunday, July 25, 2021

Cooking Delicious Food

 Yesterday I made another batch of seasoned chicken wings and small drumsticks.   My mom used to prepare them as appetizers for her fancy dinner parties.  I don't know if women entertain the way she did anymore.  That was a different era.  People would get dressed up, and go to each others houses for drinks and supper.  She would cook the poultry with butter, salt, and white pepper.  It tasted amazing!  The flavor was perfect, and the chicken parts developed a lovely brown color on theirskin.  

I basted this batch in olive oil, and seasoned the meat with garlic salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, and white pepper.  I used the spicy olive oil that was left in the pan as a sauce on a few baked potatoes.  Yum!  Absolutely delicious!  It really makes a difference to cook food that you love, and to choose the spices and flavorings that excite you.  It also feels good not to waste.  Normally, I would have poured the chicken drippings into a grease pan, eventually freezing it, and dumping it in the trash.  Using them on the spuds gave them an entirely new and a delightful  flavor.  My family has a long history of heart disease, so I felt better about substituting the olive oil for the butter.  

This morning I made my mother's tuna and noodle casserole recipe.  I wanted to get my cooking done early, so that I didn't heat up the cottage.  We are expecting a heat wave.  I even prepared my dinner salad before noon.  I ate half of it for lunch, with the leftover chicken from last night's dinner.  Cold chicken is one of my favorites.  

Have you been cooking or baking lately?  What's happening in your kitchen?

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Monday, July 19, 2021

More on Anacapa

 After climbing up the steep, steel ladder to the dock, I peeled off my wet bathing suit in the changing room and hung it out to dry.  I walked up the steps that rose straight two stories straight in the air to the hiking trail.  Once up there, all you could see were birds.  The island is a nesting sight for the seagulls.  They are EVERYWHERE!  It's unbelievable.  They had their babies with then, who were juvenile sized, speckled, grey, and downy.  

There are no trees on Anacapa.  I was worried that it would be intensely hot, but the temperature was very pleasant.  I hiked up to a spot with a gorgeous view of the ocean.  You could hear the sea lions bellowing, but it was hard for me to  see them.  One older woman standing near me described them as "looking like rocks, but moving." I spotted the four kayakers, paddling eagerly around the perimeter of the island.  I secretly wished that  I could have gone with them.  

I decided to return to the cove for one more swim.  When I got back, there were a couple of families in the water.  I had recommended taking a dip to one woman who was now there with her kids,  We had talked on the trail, and she told me that they were wearing their suits.  Treading water, she had a huge smile on her face.  Our eyes met and I nodded, happy to see her submerged in the salt water.  

The ocean felt amazing and powerful.  I am convinced that being in lakes and the sea is fantastic for our health, on many levels.  I sat and chatted with a woman who was staying there with her teen age daughter and husband.  They were camping in tents for a few nights.  She told me that they brought their own water with them, and packed some instant meals and lots of snacks.  They have a camper stove.  She explained that has a lot of backpacking experience.  (a foreign and interesting world to me.)  I just go for day hikes with a backpack.  It's totally different.  

I thought about what it would be like to camp there.  She seemed very relaxed and grounded.  Her daughter had long black hair that was practically down to her ankles.  She was leaning to the side, combing it, as I got out of the water for the last time.

On the boat trip back, we saw a whale.  It was a magnificent being.  We all gasped and cheered as it put on a show for us.  Once again, a pod of dolphins swam alongside our boat, and behind us, in the wake.  I sighed with contentment.  It was a rewarding and satisfying  trip.  

Once we arrived in the parking lot, I drove back on the 126 East,  heading home.  It was 7:00 p.m. when I pulled into the driveway, and I felt sleepy from the salt water and air.   I forced myself to fry a turkey burger and made a salad.  After doing the dishes, and washing out my swimsuit, I fell into bed, and slept deeply and soundly.  My  mind remembered the frolicking dolphins and that majestic whale.  Ah...

  The ocean is so healing.  I plan to spend much more time there in retirement.  (even if it's  just for the day.)

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Was COVID-19 made inside a Chinese lab? | Under Investigation

Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Visit to Anacapa, in the Channel Islands

 Last Tuesday I took the ferry from Ventura Harbor to Anacapa, one of the five Channel Islands.  I have always wanted to visit this part of California, and was excited to have booked a seat on one of Island Packers' daily boats to make the trip.

I left my cottage at 7:30 a.m.  There wasn't any traffic on the 126, it was a gorgeous day.  There were some light sprinkles on the windshield as I drove the forty miles to Ventura Harbor.  I parked in Lot 4, and checked in at the front desk.  All I had to do was give the woman  my confirmation number, which they had emailed to me.  You call in the morning to be sure that the weather is suitable for sailing.  If not, the trips are canceled.  Ours was a go.  

I waited in line for our boat, The Explorer.  Things were very well organized.  There looked to be about one hundred people on board.  I sat outside, and wore my mask.  I was glad that I had packed my handknit wool sweater, hat, and gloves, because it got cold and windy on the way to the island.  To our delight, over a hundred dolphins began swimming alongside us on our journey.  They were also diving up and down through the wake behind us.  We were all enchanted with their beauty, sleekness, and buoyancy.  The rhythm and show they put on was so uplifting.  

Once we had debarked, I watched  four kayakers who had brought their own kayaks.  They had to lower them from the dock with ropes.  I listened to the ranger's speech and  advice, and decided to kayak from Santa Cruz island next time.  They rent out sit on top kayaks, and they offer group tours.  It looks to me like you need two people to lift the kayaks and set them up in the water, which is quite a ways down from the dock.  He told me this group were all experienced with ocean kayaking.  My Oru Beach model is designed for still waters and lakes.  

Instead, I stepped into the simple changing stall, put on my bathing suit, and went for a swim.  I climbed down the steep ladder, into the 60 degree water.  Like the dolphins, I felt a sense of lightness in the salt water.  I was in a cove, and swam into one of the small caves.  The water was calm, and I was the only still there.  Everyone else had gone hiking.  The kayakers were out in the ocean.   It was such a healing experience.  I found it so easy to float.  The water seemed to make my body bounce, just like the dolphins.  

More on this adventure in my next post...the video below captures the beauty of the area.  It's near Santa Barbara, Califoria.  

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Replacing the 1950's Carpet and Flooring

 I just ordered new carpet for the cabin.  There will be oak hard wood floors downstairs, and  sage green high quality carpet upstairs.  What I currently have is nearly seventy years old, I think.  This was a vacation home that was just used on the weekends.   They spent money on quality, and bought materials that would last.  It's definitely time to update.

I was fortunate to find the gorgeous wood for the floors on close-out.  It would have been extremely expensive, but because of the timing, I got an incredible deal.  I think it will look fabulous with a fire in the fireplace.  The flooring I have now is laminate.  It's those marbled squares that are fake wood.  I think having the real thing will make all the difference.  

When they got older, my parents pulled up the carpeting in their home and replaced it with dark hardwood floors.  It really gave the house a rich, upscale look.   I loved how the brown stain matched their antiques.  

The carpet I currently have is pale yellow, and is very old fashioned.  It might even be that indoor/outdoor carpeting that they used to sell.  It doesn't have any stains or tears, but it's very thin and faded.  I am so excited to see how the new, plush carpet looks.  One man will carpet the upstairs, while the other two install the flooring downstairs.  It's going to be exciting!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Taking Care of the Soil and the Trees

 Yesterday I drove down the 405 to Marina del Rey and went kayaking again.  I have figured out how to time the traffic.  I depart early, and head home before 1:00 p.m.   It is such a joy when I can fly down that 405 freeway.  It was crowded at the beach.  I have never seen so many kids in my life!  They kept arriving in school bus after school bus.   It reminded me of Disneyland.  I wasn't expecting it.  What a fun field trip for them.  

After paddling across the channel that leads to the open water, I noticed an animal sputtering by the dock.   At first I was concerned that it was a shark or dolphin.  I watched cautiously, and a sea lion poked its head through the surface of the water and  wriggled up onto the sun bleached wooden platform.  He sprawled out right next to one of the boats, nose in the air, very vocal and energetic.  I was thrilled to see him; I love seals.  They seem so awkward on land.  He or she squirmed  into a more comfortable position, like a mermaid.  Their fins fascinate me.

I have been focusing on caring for the numerous  trees at the cabin and have been religiously amending the soil.  The other day I applied composted manure to the woodland garden.  I will mulch it with straw tomorrow.  The hollyhocks are in bloom, and everyone asks me what they are.  I love the old fashioned flowers.  The dahlias look like they will flower soon.  

I'm finding that if I water the oak trees when it's cool and shady, they emanate a tremendous amount of oxygen.  You can literally feel it on your skin.  It's a relief to inhale such clean, healthy air.  I remember the days when everyone had gardens, healthy trees, and colorful flowers.  Now the focus seems to be on vehicles and possessions.  I love keeping the yard natural and comfortable for the wildlife.  There are so many birds!  I've seen quail, red tailed hawks, woodpeckers, robins, orioles, and a blue heron.  The mulch helps to keep the soil cool and moist.  When I had the trees trimmed last year, the arborist commented on how healthy the soil is.  That's where it all starts, down beneath the ground.  The forest floor is layered with nutrients.  How is your soil?

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Froze My Credit Today


 Today I did some research online.  After carefully checking my credit report, I froze all three companies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.  It was easy to do online.  The security questions were excellent.

 I have been hearing stories of seniors having their information stolen.  One of my older dancer friends had money taken from his bank account.  Someone called him on the phone, pretending to be a bank employee helping him, and it was a fraudster.  He was so upset.   By freezing your credit, you don't run the risk of someone being able to use your social security number or  obtaining a credit card in your name. 

Another older woman I know was renting out rooms in her house on AirB&B.  She recently discovered that her trust was missing.  What a nightmare.  It's important to have working relationships with you banker, insurance agent, and brokerage firm.  Everyone should know who you are and recognize your voice.  Unfortunately, there are people out there who will try to take financial advantage of those who are elderly and who they perceive as being easy to  manipulate.

I'm continuing to pull the weeds in the front and side yards.  It seems like a never ending task, but I'm nearly finished.  There is a lot of regular watering to do, but it makes all of the difference in the health of the soil and the trees.   I am going to pull several of the small oak seedlings that have sprouted out of the ground.  There is not space for them to grow into mature trees.  

I had two close friends call me over the weekend.  It was wonderful to have a long talk with each of them and to catch up on our lives.  Lifelong friendships are such a gift.  We can talk about anything and everything.  I love hearing their voices and laughing together.

A few different small children at the lake have asked me if I'm the lifeguard.  At fifty-six, that's quite a compliment.  (Thanks to henna and yoga, I guess.)  It may be because I am wearing a red one piece bathing suit, and sunbathe near the lifeguard station,   Still, it makes me chuckle.  They want to go swimming, and have to wait until the lifeguard is on duty.  

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Had Some Visitors

 


Yesterday my friend Diane and her husband Greg stopped by to see me at the cabin.  They were on their way home from Palm Springs.  I worked with them in "Hello Hollywood, Hello!" in 1984.  It's always so much fun to reconnect with old dancer friends from that show.  

I made a salad, and we enjoyed that with some whole wheat biscuits.  As you can see, we were easily able to socially distance out on the deck.  Later on, Greg and I had some ice cream.  Lula loved being near them.  In the above photo, Diane and I are having a very serious discussion about Covid and how it has affected dance studio owners. 

This afternoon I spent a couple of hours watering those trees that you see in the background, and the cherry and apple trees in the side yard that I panted.  The  blackberries  that I put in the ground are starting to ripen, and I'm thrilled!  They grow so well up here.  It's always easier to plant things that are native to the area.


As you can see, I have finally figured out how to download photos to this new laptop.  I don't know what took me so long.  Sometimes I overthink computers and how they work.

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Monday, June 28, 2021

Ventured Out to Ventura Harbor

 Today I packed a lunch and drove out to Ventura Beach with Lula.  I found a parking spot in the residential area near the pier.  I hooked up Lula to the Walkydog, and we rode along the bike path, admiring the waves and the water.

After crossing under pier, I pulled over to a bench and we sat and watched the surfers.  While Lula snacked on a dog biscuit,  I ate my quesadilla that I had prepared at home and packed in tupperware.  I gave Lula some water, took a few gulps myself,  and then we walked down onto the rocks.   Listening to the ocean and feeling the energy of the sea was hypnotic and calming.

After putting the bike on my bike rack and getting Lula settled into the  backseat of the car, I drove South on the 101 and exited at Telegraph.  From there I found Ventura Harbor.  As I was putting together my Oru Kayak, a skeptical man exiting the boat ramp  eyed me.  "Interesting,"  he commented.  He seemed sarcastic and dubious.  Once the kayak was assembled, I went to the parking lot and retrieved Lula.  

The man was still at the boat ramp.  "That's too much weight," he told me, as I was urging Lula to board.  "It holds 275 pounds," I answered.  His energy shifted.  "Did you design it?" he asked me.  "No," I told him.  "I kayak every day, in a lake," I added.  I could tell that he didn't think I was very experienced.

"It's an incredible design," he admitted.  "It cuts across the water really fast," I told him, enthusiastically.  

"I wish there was some way I could help," he offered, as I coaxed Lula in the boat and clumsily got in with her.  "Thanks!" I said, and pushed off the shore with the paddle.  Lula laid down lazily and rested her head on the edge of the top.  People on the other side of the harbor waved and made a fuss over her and how cute she looked.  She really is like a Disney dog.  We had a fabulous paddle together.  

It's so much easier when Lula is laying down in the kayak than when she is sitting.  If she leans to the side, (which she sometimes does,)  it could cause us to topple. "NO!" I told her sharply when she started to peer over at a fish or something distracting.  I praised her effusively each time she flattened her body on the bottom of the boat.  She got the idea.  It helped that she was tired from running alongside my bicycle, earlier.  One of the girls commented about how relaxed she was.  

We will practice again soon.  A yearly pass is $150.00, and I think it will be well worth it for us.  Today it cost $13.00 to park for the day.  How is your summer going?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Happy Kids

 


Yesterday I drove down to Marina del Rey to enjoy kayaking through the marina.  I parked the car, paid my $10.00 at the self pay station, and placed the receipt on my dashboard.  I carried my Oru kayak, th paddle, and beach bag out to the water's edge.  It's a short walk, and since my fold up kayak only weighs 24 lbs., it's pretty easy.

A woman and her husband watched me set it up on the sand.  She asked me if I minded her asking some questions.  I was happy to oblige; I love telling people about this kayak.  She explained  that she had purchased an inflatable kayak on Amazon, but that it popped while she was inflating it.  She returned it and bought a plastic kayak from Sam's Club.  She said that it's heavy, and she doesn't like how it cuts through the water.  They weight about 90 lbs.  Her  friend told her that it's worth it to spend more money.  I agreed.  I told her that I just love mine, and especially appreciate how lightweight and portable it is.  I can  throw it in the backseat of my car and it stores well in my cottage.  

I paddled around, admiring all of the beautiful boats, and studying their names.  They seem to be from all over: Corona, Catalina, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, San Diego, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and more.  I could look at them all day.  They are all so unique and artistic.  The photo above in Long Beach.

I chatted with a man in a green inflatable kayak.  "Aren't you afraid it will pop?" I questioned.  I realized after saying it that it was probably kind of rude. "No," he replied.  He feels it will last a few years, and that then the salt will weaken the material.  He told me that he lives in a one bedroom apartment, and loves how compact his is for storage and driving to the beach.  

I met another lady in a tandem kayak with her grandson.  They were from Beverly Hills.  She was relaxed and smiling, enjoying the sunshine, views, and family time.  We talked about how pleasant it would be to live there, on a houseboat. 

As I headed back to shore, a sweet little boy eagerly called out to me from the kayak he was sharing with his mother.  "I thought I wasn't going to like it," he admitted.  "But, he continued, "I saw a DOG, and it was eating a FISH!  I love it!"  He was so enthusiastic and friendly.  I laughed and encouraged him.

After laying on the warm sand  in the sun for a while, and  munching on an orange and a piece of cherry pie, I packed things up, reluctantly.  It was so relaxing there, but I knew I needed to get back on the 405 and beat the traffic home.  

After cleaning and folding up the kayak, I passed the mother and daughter from the family with the little boy.  "Wow!" she exclaimed, when she saw my folded up version of the boat. She sounded like she was from Norway.   "That is incredible!" her daughter cried out, in amazement.  I agreed with her, smiled, waved, and got back in my car to drive home.  The traffic was thick and heavy at the 5 North, but worth it.  I felt a deep sense of contentment and relaxation from the kind people and relaxing time on the water.

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

My First Podcast

 


One of the dancers from "Hello Hollywood, Hello!" asked me to do an interview for her podcast, "Bluebells Forever," last month.  It was released today.  It's called, "Never Stop Learning."  You can listen to it it on Apple podcasts, or google Bluebells Forever podcast with Stephenie Lawton to find it.  It should be under June 17th 2021.  https://linkpodcasts.apple.com/.../bluebells.../id1513513525...

We live in an amazing time with technology that is available.   The interview was given on Zoom.  I initially resisted downloading the software, but have thoroughly enjoyed every meeting that I've attended.  It is so fun to see my old friends' faces and to hear their voices and laughter.  We are all older, but somehow still the same, on a soul level.

How are you doing in this heat?  It was 110 degrees in Canyon Country.  Wow!  Palm Springs hit 118 degrees, and I heard on the radio that it was 125 degrees in Death Valley.  (hence the name.)  I have the bathtub filled with cold water, and have been taking a dip in the lake or the tub throughout the day.  I hope you are staying cool and comfortable.  Be careful of heat exhaustion; it can creep up on you.   I just watered the trees in my forest, and they are giving off lots of fresh oxygen.  

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Making Fitness Part of Your Lifestyle



Today, after swimming, I stopped and chatted with a woman who had just worked out at the gym.  She was tall, with long grey hair, and  excellent posture.  You could tell that she worked out regularly.  "I'm 83," she told me.  I was so impressed!  She uses the weight machines every day.  I am meeting more and more seniors who are strong, fit, and disciplined.  They all make exercise a habit, and  seem happy, at ease, and self assured.

"I was watching you swimming; that's good exercise.  Is the water cold?" she asked.  "Yes, but I like it," I answered, enthusiastically.  I find hydrotherapy invigorating.  After doing my laps,  it feels wonderful to relax in the sun, enjoy a few snacks, and then slather on some sunscreen."  I like to absorb some vitamin D for the first half hour or so.    

I hopped on my bicycle and pedaled  back home.  Several neighbors waved to me from their cars as we  headed up the hill and around the bend.  Living in a walkable town is a great opportunity to leave the auto at home when running errands or taking  short trips.  It also helps the businesses, who may need the extra parking spaces for customers.  

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Ventured Out to Kayak at Pyramid Lake in California

 Today I drove up the 5 North towards Bakersfield.  I turned off at Smoky Bear exit to  the boat ramp for Pyramid Lake.  I had my Oru Beach kayak in the back seat.  I had stopped off earlier at Big 5 to buy a red life vest and a dry bag.  There were many big rig trucks climbing up the grapevine, which made me nervous.  I took a breath and focused on the water.

The people working at the park were extremely friendly and helpful.  I didn't realize it would cost $20.00 to use the lake with your own kayak, so I was a little short on cash.  Fortunately, the nice lady there  took my  debit card.  

It was windy, and the boat inspector warned me to be careful.  They have a sheriff's station with a boat that patrols the lake.  I carried my kayak to the boat ramp, and set it up.  This was my first time on such a large body of water.  I had been practicing and building up my strength at a smaller lake, near my cabin.  Using that is free, since I have an Adventure Pass.  

This location was much more intimidating.  The lake is huge, and very deep in places.  355 feet, according to my research.  I had read about drownings, so I wanted to be careful and extra cautious.  I met a couple of other kayakers who had rented theirs, and said hello to a fisherman who had a boat with pedals and a motor.  I saw him later as we were leaving.  He is able to transport his small boat in his van by putting the seats down-fascinating!

One of the sheriffs drover up to me on my lunch break and complimented me on my strength.  I don't think they expected someone my size to be able to handle the force of the wind on the water.  We had a great chat.  I used floaties in my kayak to keep it from sinking, in case water got in the boat.  I think I had watched too  many Youtube videos about ominous kayaking accidents.  I wanted to cover all of my bases.  It was warm today, but I think my next investment will be a wet suit for when the water is colder.  It's exciting to discover new places in LA to swim, bike, and paddle. 

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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Replacing the Faucets and Hot Water Heater

 


Today I replaced the kitchen faucet and hot water heater.  I decided to buy a Bradford brand for the water heater, since they are the best quality, and last the longest.  I asked the plumber to choose a faucet that he thought would be well made, durable, and not need to be replaced quickly.  I would rather spend more money up front on excellent materials, than have to pay for another visit from a plumber, and all of the other expenses of replacing something that isn't well made.

The first thing I did was take a bath, then did a load of laundry.  The sun is hot, and it is drying the clothes and towels quickly on the line.  I stopped at a local fruit stand yesterday, and picked up some fresh blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.  They are so sweet and delicious.  My rhubarb is nearly ready to harvest.  I am slowly reaching my goal of having enough fruit from my trees to feed myself all year.  There are still blood oranges in the bins of my fridge.  The last harvest was huge!  They keep well, too.

The birds started to peck at the apricots on my tree before I got to them, so I stripped the tree, and placed the fruit carefully on the kitchen counter.  In just one day, the apricots had gotten soft and turned sweet.  They are such a delicious fruit, and grow so easily in California.  I love their flavor.

It's time to polish the furniture and clean my washing machine.  The older I get, the more I see that less clutter makes your life easier and happier.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Kind and Encouraging Drivers

 


Today as I was pumping my way on my bicycle up the hill after a trip to the lake, three separate men offered me encouragement.  One gave me the thumbs up sign.  It seems that many men really like trailers.  The Burley Travoy that I have won an award in Europe.  It's an excellent design.  Mine has market bags that hook onto it; they fit on the dolly perfectly.  My mom bought them for me, when she was still alive.  They were expensive, but have been totally worth it.  I'm sure she's happy that I'm using them so frequently.  She always bought the extras with her purchases, and I'm starting to see why.

As I was pushing myself to make it up the incline, two cars needed to pass each other on our narrow mountain road.  I pulled off to the shoulder to let them pass.  The first young man said, "You are such an inspiration..."  He was really sincere.  I thought that was so sweet.  I have been pushing my body very hard lately, especially with the kayaking.  It feels healthy to get the muscles toned and strong again.

The next driver apologized to me for my having to stop to let them by... I could tell he knew I needed the momentum to keep going uphill.  It's not his fault, passing is tight with two cars squeezing by each other.  I laughed and explained that it was no problem, and that my sandal had slipped off my heel.  Both men seemed athletic, and I could tell they  knew about bike riding.  I am surprised that I don't see more adults on bikes here.  Many of the young boys ride small motorcycles.  I guess people are just used to driving their cars.  I think a lot of it has to do with stuff, too.  We carry an amazing amount of equipment  with us to the beach, the lake, and to campsites.

Another lady on my street asked me about the "neat contraption" I was pulling, too.  It's a shopping cart that snaps onto the back of my bicycle.  I told her that it really saves me money on gas.  I love leaving the car at home, and enjoy the intense exercise and fresh air as I cycle around town.  Gas has shot  up to over four dollars a gallon here in Clifornia.  Yikes!  I only drive if I have to, and combine my trips.

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

A New Coffee Table

 


One of the reasons I love vintage and antique furniture is that the pieces are smaller and crafted to last a lifetime.   I just purchased a coffee table for my den.  I had been setting my tray of java, half and half, sugar, and a spoon on a bench that came with the cabin.  I kept wishing for a coffee table like my parents had when we were young.

I found exactly what I was looking for at one of our local shops.  It has has beautiful, dark, wooden curved legs, with roses carved into the wood.  The top is an oval piece of grey and white marble.  I just love it.  My grandparents had marble steps that led up to their front door at their home in San Francisco, and it always made me gasp...the smoothness and richness of the stone filled me with awe.

I picked up a few birdhouses at the vintage shop as well, and hung them around the garden for decoration.  A pair of quail has been visiting my front yard every day.  I leave water for them in the tiny stone  birdbath.  Recently,  I've only seen one of the pair, so I'm hoping that the female is sitting on her eggs.  

It's back to swimming and sunbathing at the lake each day.  I love the routine.  Today I rode my bike there.  It's so healing to immerse yourself in the  refreshing, cold water.  All of the kids that hang out at the country club are so friendly and happy.  It's heartwarming to see everyone's smiles again.  What a  wonderful place Wrightwood is  for children to grow up; they are surrounded by nature.

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Monday, May 24, 2021

First Day on the Oru Beach Kayak-Fabulous!

Today I took my new kayak to a local lake for its first excursion.  I had practiced putting assembling it at home, inside the cottage.   I was so sore and tired after dismantling  it, that I didn't have the energy to attempt using it at the lake.  It will take a few times to break in and become less stiff.

Today, after spending the morning watering my pine and oak trees, I packed up a beach bag with a homemade  quesadilla for lunch, and headed to the water.  I reviewed the how to video on Youtube before I left.

  I placed my California Adventure Pass on the rearview mirror.  That way you don't have to pay for day use.  They are valid for one year.  I carried the lightweight kayak down to the water from my shaded parking spot. 

I unfolded the kayak, and began buckling the straps, and inserting the pieces.  An excited Asian man ran up to me.  "Do you want help?" he asked.  I accepted.  He was thrilled to see how all the pieces fit together.   This foldable kayak is a great  conversation starter.  He spoke very little English, but we were in sync.  I think he is from Korea.  I will have to ask him.

I explained a few of the details, and we worked quickly and easily together.  He had about five family members with him, all women.  They were very friendly and helpful.  One lady offered me an egg salad sandwich.  I thanked her, and took  half of one with me.  

The kayaking was a blast!  I was amazed at how lightly and smoothly it glided across the water.  I could have stayed out there all day.  It's so much fun.  The paddle gave me great speed.  It really opens your heart, too.  The views of the pine trees and mountains were spectacular.   As I skimmed across the water back to where I had launched, my new friend came running towards me with a bottle of water.  I thanked him, and told him that I had packed a bottle of water in my supply bag.

When I debarked, he must have noticed that I was having a bit of trouble using my knees to break down the boat.  He came over and helped me.  He had a rag in his hand, and was wiping the sand off of the bottom.   He was such a kind and eager helper.  It was really touching.  (especially with all of the violence Asians have been facing in our country recently.)  

He carried the kayak back to my car for me.  The lady with him asked me if it was expensive.  "Yes," I answered.  "A hundred dollars?" she guessed.  "Over a thousand,"  I answered.  It was worth every penny.  I think I will be kayaking daily.  It's such a fun, relaxing way to enjoy the water and nature.  

As we were packing up, one of the women wanted to know if I planned to come back tomorrow.  "Yes," I responded.  "What time?" she inquired.  When I told her my schedule, she said with a smile, "He will be here to help you."  They are so sweet.  I am looking forward to seeing them again.  

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A New Kayak and a Visit to the Campground



 Yesterday my fold up kayak from Oru arrived.  I was very excited to receive it.  I watched the instructional video, and carefully read the manual.  It has a drawing of a woman and her dog in the kayak.  Reminds me of Lula.  I was able to assemble it in my living room fairly quickly.  It takes a lot of muscle.  My arms were really sore this morning.  I think I will get used to it...I hope.

The design is like origami.  It's quite sophisticated.  I also ordered four solar lights, a paddle,  floaties, and a backpack to carry the boat to and from the water.  Everything seems to be very well made.  I am excited to get out on the lake and start paddling.  It's time to research the best marinas and locations.

I drove up to Table Mountain campground this morning and visited my neighbor.  She had a choice spot  there.  She is able to watch the sunrise in the morning, and enjoy  the sunset at night.  She had everything set up beautifully.  I was very impressed.  Her location actually reminds me of where I live.  I think I like staying in the cabin just as well as I would like sleeping in a camper.  There's something about the comforts of home that I love.  My soft couch, hot water heater, well stocked kitchen, and chaise lounge are all things I would probably miss.  I do enjoy cooking outdoors, though.  

I ran into some friends at the lake today.  We chatted for a while.  It's wonderful to be enjoying the sunshine and water again.  Summers in California are so fabulous!  How are you doing?

Friday, May 14, 2021

Invited to a Campsite



Today I ran into one of my neighbors on my way home from swimming and sunbathing at the lake.  She told me that she has a campsite reserved nearby, and invited me to visit.  I put it on my calendar.  I am so excited!  I plan to bring my bicycle, as it's near one of my favorite bike paths.   The views are glorious, especially at sunset.  She has a fantastic camper with pop-ups.  Being outside is a great way to socialize.  I still wear a mask, but am looking forward to the adventure.

I have never been camping, but I did visit another friend of mine at her campsite once, in Lake Tahoe.  It was so much fun!  She's from Australia, and was staying there in a tent, with her son.  I remember cooking over an open fire.  Being outdoors is such a part of the Aussie  lifestyle.  It's part of mine, too.  Lake Tahoe is an exquisite location.  We were doing "Sugar Babies" together there at  the time, at Harrah's.  

Being up at the cabin feels like glamping.  I see trees everywhere, from all the windows.  The air is fragrant with pines and lilacs, and the birds are singing.  For me, having a kitchen, bathtub, and sauna makes it very comfortable and luxurious.  Now that's it's warmer, we can walk to the lake and take a swim.  The air mattress is getting regular use, the sunscreen that smells of delicious honey is slathered on, and I even started soaking in the jacuzzi.  The jets are powerful,  and the heat feels fabulous!  I just love the lazy days of late spring and summer.  

Have you been enjoying any warm weather where you are?  

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Met a PCT Hiker Today

 


Today while I was running Lula alongside my bicycle on the Walkydog, I ran into a smiling, radiant woman wearing a hat.  She was walking a cinnamon colored dashhound mix.  The dog had long hair, and an intelligent, expressive face.  She told me that she is sixty, and is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!  (For those who don't know, the PCT runs all the way from Mexico to Canada.) It takes months to complete.  She is doing it solo.  

I was so impressed,  That's something that I've always imagined doing.  I told her that I'd read all the books about it, and really admired her.  I asked her if she was scared.  "No," she replied.  "I  just stay aware as I do when going to the grocery store at night."  I asked her if she had done a lot of camping, and she nodded.   

I commented that she looked very stylish for a hiker.  They are usually dusty, and lugging these huge backpacks.  She laughed and told me that the woman who owns the cabin where she is staying let her shower, do laundry, and that she also lent her some clothes.  Her eyes were flashing with joy and adventure.  I could see that she was very spiritual.

A little further down the road I ran into one of my neighbors who was out on a walk.  I asked her how she was enjoying her retirement.  She answered  that she had just returned from driving from the West coast to the East coast on her own, staying with different friends along the way.  I smiled, nodded, and told her that she looked very happy and jazzed.  I think we all love adventure.  These women both enjoy their own company.  We are all exploring new ways of traveling.

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"DEVELOP THESE 3 Skills To Become A MILLIONAIRE!" | Kevin O'Leary & Lewi...

Friday, May 7, 2021

Loving the Garden

 


This is one of my favorite times of year in the  garden.  The soil has warmed up, the flowers are fragrant and blooming, and the trees have leafed out and become green.

Yesterday I planted a six flat of red poppies, and placed a young artichoke plant in the front yard.  They are such conversation starters...and need plenty of space to expand.  

The citrus trees have developed tiny green fruit on them.  The rhubarb is nearly ready to harvest.  I love how all of the disciplined work comes together.  The watering, pruning, weeding, composting, and mulching all combine to make a healthy, robust plant.  Rich, black soil is key.  All of my fruit and vegetables scraps break down in the compost pile over the winter to be returned into the earth.

The longer you have a garden, the more synthesized and robust it becomes.  Sometimes competition makes the plants become stronger.  Today I'm digging up some of my larger plants to divide and share with my neighbors.  Many of them were from cuttings that were given to me from ladies in this area when I first bought my cottage.

How is your garden doing?

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Monday, May 3, 2021

Resting When You're Tired

 


Today I am feeling a bit exhausted.  We just finalized the agreements of my father's trust.  That's a relief.  I mailed the contract this morning at the post office.  After that, I spent a lot of time pulling weeds. then took Lula for a gorgeous bike ride early this afternoon.  The lilacs are all in bloom.  I love the different shades that people have planted: white, a deep purple, lavender, and pink.  Their intoxicating  fragrance lifts my spirits.  I picked some from my garden early this morning, and placed them in a vase of water.  I have been carrying them around with me all day.  The flowers are so petite and sweet.  The older I get, the more I appreciate the fragrance and energy of homegrown flowers from the garden.

I have been reading a book about seniors who live in their RV's.  It's very sad.  I think that's part of why I felt so drained of energy this afternoon.  Their plight makes me cry.  It makes me more grateful than ever to have a home, and more determined to keep up with my chores and responsibilities.  

Many of the people the author interviewed seem to have a refusal to follow rules and will do anything to avoid paying taxes.  I feel like California is one of the most comfortable and beautiful parts of the world, and am happy to pay my taxes.  I want to contribute to keeping the roads, bridges, and schools running.  

It's sad to hear how many of these people lost their homes and retirement savings.  I closed my dance studio during the recession, and my emergency plan was to sell my cottage and move to someplace cheap, like Nebraska.  I knew I could buy a small, older home for $20,000. there.  To me that would have been far less expensive than driving a gas guzzling RV, and I was always able to find work as a ballet and yoga teacher.  

I will try to finish this book tonight; it's a difficult  read.  It's taught me a lot about squatters and has  been eye opening.  I have had several people here try to use my forested property as public land.  It took some action and firmness to stop them.  Reading about this group of people has made me see that many of the drifters will look for opportunities to store their vehicles and those of their friends if you don't watch them closely.  

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Friday, April 30, 2021

Day Trips

 


Day trips are a great way to feel like you've had a vacation while still saving money.  If you live fairly close to the beach or a lake, it can be a relaxing getaway that is still close to home.  Lula and I love to jump in the car and head off to the beach.  PCH has some scenic bike trails, (some right near the sand,) that are completely free from cars.

The dogs that we've met there are well socialized, calm,  and happy.  Everyone follows the leash law.  You can tell by the pets' body language that they don't have any aggression issues.  Canines at the beach always seem to be relaxed and smiling, like their owners.  We often stop and chat; everyone is so friendly.   I get a lot of questions about Lula's Walkydog.  It makes it so easy to ride her alongside me on the bicycle.  The bar keeps her stable  at my side.  It's safer than a leash; I can keep both hands firmly on the handlebars.

It's quick and easy to pack plenty of water, a lunch, dog biscuits for Lula, and fruit and dessert for me.   A sun hat, sheet, towel, and sunscreen are all that I need to toss into the beach bag.  

Parking is often free, and I can lock up the bike if we want to dip our toes in the water.  Watching the surfers is so entertaining.   They are still wearing wet suits.  They are in top physical condition,  I am amazed at how calm they are.  Yesterday we saw a lone paddle boarder and just one  man in a kayak.  The paddle boarder was surfing, and he was one of the best out there.  I feel in awe of their balance and control.  One was a complete master; he looked older than the others.  He was walking on his surfboard on the water!

It's exciting to be out in the sunshine again.  Summer is one of my favorite times of year.  How about you?

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Where Did Your Grandmothers Live When They Were Older?

 My father told me that during the Great Depression, his grandmother came to live with them in San Francisco.   They had a beautiful home  on Taraval Street, in West Portal.  The poor woman had run out of money. 

 His parents slept in the master bedroom, his sisters shared the back room, and my dad had to sleep in the middle room with his grandmother.  He was a little boy, and he didn't like it.  "She smelled like Ben Gay," he told me.   "And she snored," he added.  I giggled.  I guess many  older people come off as unappealing to young children.  We don't realize that we will be in their shoes someday.

She would stay four months with my dad's family, then go for four months with another one of her children, and spend the remainder of the year with her third child.  They took turns taking care of her.  Her husband had died, and she didn't have the means to live on her own.  There was no assisted living in those days.

It's important to look at our family history with money and retirement.  We can learn so much from the past.  Do you know what happened to your parents' grandparents?

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

Planning For Old Age

 


This morning I talked on the phone  with my friend about our financial plans for retirement.  We discussed how much income we will have, where we will live, what housing and living expenses will cost, and other subjects.

It is so important not to let retirement sneak up on you!  I can't tell you how many of my dancer friends have had to have unexpected surgeries at around the age of fifty.  None of us had purchased disability insurance.  (which is very expensive.)  When you are self employed, if you can't work, you don't get paid.  No one thinks that they are going to be the one on the operating table, but it is highly common.

I never imagined that I would be having my hips replaced at age fifty.  Fortunately, I had six months of living expenses in my savings account.  I also had a large stockpile of food, a productive garden and orchard, and a paid off home.  Many others aren't so lucky.  

It's wise to rehearse for your retirement.  Practice living on the amount of money that you anticipate receiving.   Factor in for inflation.  That surprises many people.  How long will your car last?  Will you need to replace it?  Can you walk or bicycle places so that you aren't wasting trips?   Keeping your mileage low really saves money.  Older cars are much cheaper to insure and register.

Will your home need a new roof?  How about your appliances?  How old is you water heater?  Do you have mature trees that need trimming?  All of these costs can sink a budget, if you haven't planned for them in advance.

I personally think an older person should have five years worth of living expenses in savings.  If there's a downturn in the market, you can pull on that cash and not lose a huge percentage of your principal.  

It's helpful to keep track of your net worth.  You can check your home's value on Zillow or Realtor.com.  If you add up the totals on what you have, you can get a visual picture of whether or not you are headed in the right direction.  Planning is everything.  Just getting started is the main thing.  

How does your future look?  Do you feel confident and optimistic about the old lady or man that you will become?  Will that person be secure and comfortable?

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Choosing Stocks, As A Woman

 I have recently gotten very involved in the stock market.  After my dad died, the brokerage firm where he had been doing business kept calling me and encouraging me to sell my Chevron stock.  It had dropped significantly in value.  I did not have a diversified portfolio, it was just a few stocks, with most of what I owned in Chevron.  I declined, and told them that I planned to hold the stocks for twenty years.  My approach at that time was one that  came to me intuitively: a third in land/real estate, a third in stocks, and a third in cash.  I just felt that it made sense.   I learned later that this was an ancient Jewish tradition.  Interesting, since I'm not Jewish.

As time went on, and my deceased parents' home sold, I started researching dividend paying stocks.  I watched Youtube videos made by investors who live off of their dividends.  This is what's called passive income.  That's what my dad did.  He sold his business before retiring, and invested that money in the stock market.  He checked his statements online daily, and didn't trade.  He lived off the interest and reinvested the dividends.  He also owned some land and a paid off home that went up in value.  California real estate has soared.  

I decided to mirror his approach, on a smaller scale.  I researched the companies that interested me, and linked my bank account with my brokerage account.  After finding the stocks that are at the price I feel comfortable with, I transfer the money for the desired amount, and then send my broker an email.  He calls me back to take the order over the phone, and it shows up on my computer screen once it's executed.

Many women are afraid of the stock market.  Suze Orman recommends only investing there what you can afford to lose.  She suggests having at least twenty different stocks, so that if one goes down, the others will probably equalize it.   It's not hard at all.  Once you start looking at your stocks each day, you memorize the companies, what you paid, what you've made, and which ones have dropped or risen in value.  It's kind of like checking what your home is worth on Zillow.  Just because it goes up or down doesn't mean you sell it.  This strategy is buy and hold.

My dad used to tell me that he managed his investments instead of working.   Now I see how wise that was.  I make far better money in quality stocks than I ever made teaching ballet or yoga.  Many artists struggle, and put everything into their art.  

I think that women can be excellent, disciplined, and successful investors.  Many trust other people to manage their money, and those advisors may behave in a reckless or self interested manner.  I believe strongly in making your own decisions with your money.  No one is allowed to touch or trade my stocks.  If you understand the companies, and feel that they'll be around for the long haul, you will probably feel safe with your portfolio.  

Once the dividends start coming in, it gets exciting.  You do need to plan for taxes, so that you aren't surprised when you owe money.  It's all part of the discipline, and helps you to earn interest on your money.  This way you beat inflation.  

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Got My Taxes Done!

 


I visited my accountant today and we discussed my taxes.  We went through my income, investments, health insurance payments, and the remaining  paperwork with my dad's estate.  I explained my retirement plan, and named  the stocks that I have purchased.  My goal is to have twenty different stocks, for diversification.  I learned that from Suze Orman.  I have been very happy with the dividends.  They are consistent, plentiful, and enable me not to touch the principal.  I told her that I had considered buying real estate, but that I far prefer the stock market.  "I can do it at home on my computer.  I study the charts.  I don't have to deal with personalities or the responsibilities of owning property and managing tenants."  She agreed.  My dad taught me to keep my expenses low, regardless of my income.   I paid my quarterly taxes, and she did an estimate for me for this year.    "You're doing really well," she observed.  "Most people live paycheck to paycheck."  I told her that my dad had taught me well.  Following his example, I drive a twenty year old car, have inexpensive hobbies like hiking, bicycling, and yoga, and my one splurge is gourmet groceries.  She assumed that I was eating and cooking more at home, but I've always done that.  Restaurant meals were rare, except when I  on a cruise or vacationing.   I had planned to travel in my fifties, but that is on hold, due to the pandemic.

Have you filed your taxes?  

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Hydrotherapy and Sauna

 


Since the pandemic hit, my intuition has been nudging me to take a weekly sauna, and to shower in cold water between the heat sessions.  Hydrotherapy is used in many cultures as preventive medicine.  Going from extremes of hot and cold is very healing and strengthening.  Over time, the cold water no longer shocks you.  You build up your tolerance.

When I lived in Europe, the general public visited the sauna bads regularly.  After showering, we would start with a warm jacuzzi.  From there we would head into the hot sauna, and then plunge into the cold water.  I own a wonderful custom built sauna here at the cabin.  It was carefully crafted by the same German man  who constructed the house.  It's a marvelous luxury to finally have.  I had always dreamed of having my own personal sauna at home.

My sense is that using hydrotherapy is also an effective  preventive  measure during this pandemic.  The more we can do to stay relaxed, healthy, and balanced, the better.  Sweating helps release toxins from the body.  When we are young, we tend to sweat every day, if we exercise regularly.  We still need this release for our health as we age.  

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Back to Yoga Amongst the Bullies

 I have been focusing on my daily yoga, meditation and chanting practice again.  It always calms me down and brings me back to center.  If I read too much news, or spend time among people who are in bullying mode, it makes me anxious.  Bullies always want attention.  They choose people who are conscientious, quiet, and studious.  They never pick on people their size or larger.  They always select someone small, slight, unassuming, and who follows the rules.  They hate to be videotaped in the act.  Insecure and struggling in their lives, they usually see something in you they will never ever have.  It might be your gift with animals or plants, your discipline, cleanliness, fit body, or calm demeanor.

I once lived near a man who was a terrible bully.  He would park near me in his truck,  yell angrily at me, try to make eye contact, disrupt my house guests, and fixate on me.  I maintained my distance and didn't react.  I prayed for Divine Justice.  He had a stroke.  After that, he made bird calls, (that were shockingly identical to the actual birds he was communicating with,) and smoked.  He didn't have friends, he lost his health, and deteriorated over time.  I always thought it was linked to his dominant, abusive behavior.  My policy with bullies is to wait and watch.  Their own negativity, need for control, and desire to instill fear seems to poison them.  I've seen it again and again, even with one of my own brothers.  What you project out comes back...

So, I return daily  to yoga.  I have posted some videos below showing a more yogic view of the virus.  I find these men very intelligent and relaxing.  I hope you do, too.  I'm getting more notes from other people who are also listening to their bodies as far as any and all health decisions.  You can always sleep on something.  You should never feel forced or rushed into  a procedure that is irreversible.  You only get one body, and it's yours, and yours alone.  Namaste.

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What If I Get Coronavirus?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Trusting Your Intuition During the Pandemic

 This morning I read in the news that they are halting the Johnson and Johnson virus, due to blood clots found in a handful of the women who received it.  I am so glad that I decided to wait to get the vaccine.  I signed up, but when I received my call a few days ago, I got a knot in my stomach   My intuition warned me to wait.  The texts I received were very high pressure.  I felt uneasy with the tone of them. 

My sense of foreboding  specified that the brain and the blood were involved.  I really noticed that having Covid in November of 2019  affected my short term memory.  It has improved over time, but right after recovering from the virus,  I was very concerned.    One morning I took a shower, and realized that my towel was wet.  I had no recollection of already taking a shower.  It was a shock.   I could relate to many people's stories of being disoriented.  I also have noticed that friends of mine who have HIV develop a dementia that is similar.  Since the Covid virus contains the AIDS virus, I worry that the vaccine could cause these issues in people.

We all have to do what is best for us, and I am not trying to influence anyone.  I have just noticed an intense pressure from the media and some people to hurry up and get vaccinated.  I'm not so sure.  My mother died shortly after developing a blood clot in her leg following heart surgery.   I know how serious blood clots can be.  Her treatment for it at the hospital was also traumatic and horribly painful.  My dad said she was screaming like an animal, and that you could hear her all the way down the hall.  Hospital workers can go into a panic in these situations.  She was given no anesthesia.  It's different when the doctors and nurses have a treatment that's fine tuned and polished, and everything goes as planned.   There is a lot of doubt and confusion right now.  The answers are not consistent.

My father had problems with his platelet counts when he contacted a rare form of blood cancer.  Without blood transfusions, he went downhill very quickly.  Once he stopped treatment,  he died in three weeks.  

I plan to still take all the precautions.  I ignore the people who make sarcastic comments to me about wearing a mask.  One  lady even accusingly told me, "That mask doesn't do any good."  I pointed out that the number of flu cases has dropped dramatically.  I told her that I wasn't interested in fighting with her about it.  

There's a lot of corporate and financial pressure to reopen businesses, but I wouldn't be surprised if we experience more lockdowns.  Some things can't be rushed.  Everyone's body chemistry is so different.

Has your response been okay if you have had the vaccine?  I appreciate people being vaccinated,  I just don't feel comfortable doing it myself at this time. 

Thank you for your comments.  They add so much talent and energy to the blog.  Please comment in English.  I'm sorry, but comments with links will not be published.  If you enjoy the posts here, please share them.  Comments may take a few days to appear; they are moderated.


Friday, April 9, 2021

Planting Rhubarb, Artichokes, and Flowers

 


This morning I fed my flowers some compost with bat guano, and watered it in well.  The tulips and irises are budding and are almost ready to bloom.  I love seeing them  transform.  It's amazing what goes on beneath the soil.  The daffodils look so healthy and bright.  

My neighbor stopped by and we had a passionate discussion about gardening.  She uses cocoa hulls for mulch, and enthusiastically described their scent to me as divine.  She loves inhaling the fragrance of chocolate as she's gardening.  She pointed out a house near ours  where the previous owner had planted a thousand bulbs.  Can you imagine?  I think they need to be fertilized to rebloom each year.  Mine love compost tea.  (and straw mulch.)

I fed the cherry and apple trees this morning.  The buds are starting to open and flower.  I need to buy a couple more bags of compost for the other beds.  I dug one artichoke plant in the fertile soil,  and will place the other one at a separate spot in full sun.  They are one of my favorite vegetables to grow.  They like the frost.  I am excited to grow them in the mountains.

I visited with another neighbor who was enthusiastically watering her flowers and  trees.  Everyone is excited that Spring is here.  There's a lot of planting being done.  Are you growing anything new this season?

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Enjoying the Weather

 


It's been an incredible week-Lula and I have been loving the sunshine!  The flowers are blooming, and soon the huge oak trees will be leafing out from their dormancy.  There are clusters of daffodils everywhere.  They add so much cheer and color to the neighborhood.  I love how they look surrounded by carefully structured stone walls.  

I've been watering the cypress, pines, and fruit trees.  Everything looks so healthy at this time of year.  Lula and I took a gorgeous hike together this morning.  We stopped at a bench for a short break and a snack.  There were just a few other hikers on the trail.  All were friendly and happy.   Everyone was enjoying the gorgeous vistas, pleasant weather, and fresh air.

On the way home, we sat by a stream and listened to the soothing sound of a nearby waterfall. Lula crunched on some snow laying on the embankment, and eagerly devoured her dog biscuits.

If you enjoy free or inexpensive hobbies, you spend far less money. (especially in retirement.)  I'm looking forward to a bike ride later this afternoon.  The longer days are inspiring.  Summer is on its way!

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Staying Patient During the Pandemic

 It's been an entire year since the virus and first lockdown  hit.  Actually, it's been much longer than that, in my opinion.  I have actually adjusted to this lifestyle, and plan to keep taking things slowly and carefully as we proceed.  I have learned not to let people rush me or push me into anything.  Listening to your body is, in my opinion, foolproof.  The body never lies.

I am grateful that I recovered from Covid in November of 2019.   I did notice some lingering symptoms that concerned me, but over time, they have dissipated.  My strength and power have returned.  I see strong parallels between this virus ad the AIDS crisis in the eighties.  I was close with many dancer friends who died during that time.  I sat at their hospital beds, brought them soup, and observed their painful decline.  I remember being shocked at how hard and fast the virus hit them.  They had been so muscular, vibrant, and healthy.  Suddenly they were skeletons with lesions.  Their bodies were listless and their eyes were hollowed.  All of them were all so young...in their twenties and early thirties.  How they used to look didn't matter, the horrifying effect was the same.

Each person has to make up their own mind how they will handle this current situation.  Some feel safe after getting vaccinated, some prefer to wait.  Others have ignored all precautions and flaunt the fact that they are breaking the rules.  

We can only control ourselves.  It's possible that highly sensitive people may know or sense things that you don't know.  Time will tell.  Each of us has to do what is best for us in this situation.  People are at different stages of life.  They have different priorities, agendas, financial and living situations, and reasons for their choices.  Time will tell...

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bulbs Are in Bloom

 


On Saturday I was happily surprised to receive two bouquets of gorgeous tulips from hollandridgefarms.com.  I wasn't expecting them.  I had started to place an order on their website for peonies, and then canceled it.  (once I realized that you need to order those in the fall.)  I will go back and reorder.  These bulbs are spectacular!  I am eagerly waiting for them to open and bloom.  I have been changing the water in their crystal vase each day.  They sent me both yellow and red ones...my two favorite colors when I was a little girl.  How thoughtful of them.  (and a smart business move.)


Many people are relaxing their Covid restrictions here, but I am still being very careful.  I shop for groceries at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., and spend a lot of time bicycling, walking, and hiking.  I turned down a recent invitation to a fantastic party in Las Vegas.  I would love to connect with my friends, but I just don't feel like it's safe yet.  Patience is a virtue.  I chat with my close friends on the phone, and keep in touch with others online.  I don't feel comfortable getting the vaccine at this time.  I plan to wait a year.

Spring is definitely here.  I have been feeding the fruit trees homemade compost, added a layer of mulch, and have been giving them plenty of water.  They really respond to the care.

Lula and I have also been soaking up the sunlight and vitamin D.  It really makes a difference in how you feel, I think.  Is it sunny right now where you live?

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Continuing to Exercise During the Pandemic



 One thing that has always made me feel more positive and healthy has been to get daily fresh air and exercise.  As the weather is warming up, and the days are getting longer, I find it easier to get in my daily walks, bike rides and yoga.  

I am fortunate to be able to walk through this beautiful neighborhood, enjoy the views of the tall trees, snow covered mountains, and the yellow daffodils that are starting to bloom.  Yesterday I rode my bike  at the paved bike path at Table Mountain.  There were only a few other people on the trail.  The weather was spectacular!  I stopped at a cliff and watched the skiers easing down the slopes at Mountain High.  They looked very relaxed and happy.  Enjoying the outdoors is healing for the heart and soul.

I came home, polished the furniture with orange oil, reheated my spicy chicken tacos, and sat by the glowing fire.  Lula followed me into the bathroom  when I  climbed in for a soak.  She made a circular bed for herself with the bath mat and throw rugs.  I guess it's getting warm enough for her to want to join me again.  The hot water and melted epsom salts felt soothing and comforting on my muscles.  I lit a couple of candles, and turned on the wall heater for a few minutes.   

After pulling the plug to release the water from the tub, I placed the strainer over the drain, and opened the windows.  We just had a tiny bit of light snow.  The air always smells moist and charged before it starts snowing.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

From the Beach to the Snow



 Last week the time we spent at the beach was relaxing and healing.  There is something so calming and spiritual about gazing at the ocean.  I can't wait to actually  get IN the water again!  We were just on the bike path.  I wore a sweater to cut the chill.  Hanging out seaside  helps me to appreciate the beauty of nature, and to forget about my perceived problems.  The sound of the ocean really broadens one's horizons.

Yesterday I drove back up to the cabin.  I placed an order for some dividend paying stocks in the morning with my broker.  I had researched the companies that I was interested in, and realized that the timing and price were right.  I like the stock market because it's fast, efficient, and liquid.  I just switched my accounts to the online version, and am very pleased with how easy it is to navigate the website  Having a new laptop makes all the difference.   No more paper statements hanging around...that's a relief.  On her last podcast, Suze Orman was recommending Chevron as a stock for us to buy.  That made me feel happy, because I have a large percentage of my portfolio with Chevron.  It's given me an excellent income in my late fifties.  Warren Buffett just purchased a tremendous  lot of it, as well.  

Today I paid the second half of my  property taxes for the land and cabin.  This time I did it online, using the county website.  There is no charge if you pay by e-check.  You have to carefully make sure that there aren't any mistakes in your paperwork, if you do, there is a $36.00 fee.  Yikes.  The transaction  went through immediately, and now I don't have to mail the bills or worry about them being received.

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Lovely Day at the Beach

 This morning Lula and I drove out to Piru to pick up some beeswax candles, honey sunscreen, and rich, honey jasmine hand lotion.  It was a gorgeous drive along the 126.  I decided to keep driving west, and to check out the beach bike path in Ventura.  I had forgotten how beautiful that route is.  I love the section where it turns into the 101 North.  The ocean views are spectacular!  How lucky I am to live in LA.  The woman behind the counter gifted me a jar of honey from their farm.  I was so touched.  I had just run out of it at the cottage, and hers is top quality. 

We pulled in at one of the campsites, and I bought a day pass.  I had packed plenty of water, a few snacks, and some dog biscuits for Lula.  I felt excited and  thrilled with the beauty of the bike path and beach scenery.  The outline of the mountains looked so blue and vibrant  The last few times we've been to Santa Monica, I was distressed by the number of disturbed and homeless people.  The vibe in Ventura was totally different.  It felt like we were mixing with the locals, rather than tourists.  Everyone was relaxed and groovy.  There were lots of happy, well socialized dogs.

The surfers were impressive.  I sat on a bench and watched them.  Lula laid at my feet.  I filled her water bowl and munched on almonds and a banana.  Lula enthusiastically crunched on her dog biscuits.  I was surprised at how many of the men carrying surf boards had grey hair.  I always assumed that surfers were much younger.   They were so talented.  There's a parking lot for the surfer beach; it only costs $4.00.  I think we will park there next time.  I paid $10.00 at the place that I picked.  It felt safe, and I am happy to support tourism there.  I wore my mask while breezing down the bike path and enjoyed the ocean breeze.  Lula got a lot of smiles.  

Have you been to the beach recently?

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