Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Rescue

Andrew and I were minding our own business in the living room today when I heard some noises in the carport. The ensuing kerfluffle was only enough to be a nuisance to me at first, but once I tuned into it, I realized that there were thumps out there and a cardinal chip-chip-chipping in the front yard.
I sent Drew outside, thinking it was probably nothing, but within a moment, he was tapping on the window, motioning for me to come out and help.
There was a confused baby cardinal floundering around in the carport, slamming into the side of the house and falling short of the safe roost in the rafters. He was, of course, even more frightened to see two big people out there with him and skittered under our car.
His mama was making all kinds of alarm calls in the front and, with our neighborhood's out-of-control feral cat population, I knew this little guy was in serious trouble. It goes without saying that we dropped our own agenda and patiently waited for things to calm down so we could help him out. Eventually, he made a break for it, zooming out and trying to take flight again, only to land in our recycling bin, getting trapped between cans and bottles. As unfortunate as that sounds, it actually gave me an opportunity to scoop him up into my hands and carry him out to safety.
He sat very still in my grip, breathing hard, heart fluttering wildly. He felt so tiny and precious in my hands - silky feathers and tiny, sharp claws all bundled up in an impossibly light frame. I took him to the back of a chair in a more open area of the yard and he gratefully disembarked, pausing for a moment to catch his breath and listen for his mama.
We were still a little worried, so we waited quietly on the back porch, standing guard against The Cats.
He managed to fly long enough to make it into a tree and we watched long enough to see his frantic mama rush to his side. Once we knew he was as safe as he could be, we went back about our usual business, but I can now say from experience that, once you've held a baby bird in your hand, nothing can ruin your day - nothing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Death of an Orange Grove

I drove by this on my quest for a black and white photo this week. I already had what I needed, but thought this needed to be captured too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice 2011

My dear friends and long-time readers will already know exactly what we did today. Today was the Summer Solstice and our family always goes to the beach to celebrate. Usually, it's just for the sunset and a nice picnic dinner - especially if it falls on a weekday.

Last year, we were nearly washed out by a storm, but this year was lovely.
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this morning, baking bread and making ricotta cheese to go along with some blueberry jam I made a few weeks ago. We picked up some lemonade (summer's official drink, right?) and - OH! I nearly forgot. We picked some fresh figs from a local tree.

Yes. It was just as decadent as it looks!

The kids had fun and I got to stick my toes in the sand while Chris hunted for shells.

And, of course, the sunset was stunning.

This year, I have been struck by how big my kids are getting. We didn't have to chase anybody to keep them out of the deep water and Emma got far less sand stuck in her swimming suit. The conversation was delightful, and my whole family watched quietly as the sun melted into the ocean.

I want to remember just how funny my kids were today. We drove in the car and they laughed so much in the back seat, making fun of business names and signs, throwing sarcasm around like it was nothing. I know that rough, teenage stuff may lie shortly ahead for us and I hope that I can look back on happy days like this and take heart, remembering what amazing people these two really are.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


We can build stuff at my dad's house.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Here is something novel: I'm going to write about my day.
I mean, I know that's what my blog used to be, but, let's be honest. It's gotten away from me a bit, yes?
I have to remember eventually that having an open and free couple of weeks does not suddenly give me the right to say yes to new things. This should have been the start of our relaxing summer break and it just hasn't been. The kids are in a couple of camps this week that I hadn't planned on initially, but am really grateful that they are able to attend. But, I had planned my week and my work around not having that, so, I have been spending my days in my car, taking my kids to places and taking me to appointments and such.
My very, very hot car.
The air conditioner isn't broken, per se, it's just squeaking so we are trying not to use it until we can get it looked at.
Let me tell you - I am very cranky when I'm hot and sweaty and running late.
It all worked out, of course, but I am very happily curled up in my air conditioned living room sofa, not even feeling interested in doing anything else for the rest of the day. Things got done. Appointments were kept. I started a couple of new piano students. And my own kids got to make some music.

All in all, a hot, cranky, productive day that I'm so glad is over.

Daily Bliss: the giant watermelon in my kitchen that I grew!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Today, I'm letting the thunder
any drama that comes my way -
from external or internal sources.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Do you see that streak in the middle of this otherwise-yawn-ish picture? No?
Click on it to make it bigger, then come back.
I'll wait.

Yeah, it's only the International Space Station streaking across the sky. No big deal.

We knew that there would be a good viewing opportunity tonight and headed out to a spot with fewer street lights and we were almost late. I had dreams of shooting a lovely time-lapse movie or at least some lovely star trail photos or something. But we were almost late, you see. There's only a small window of time to see it and we pulled up, literally, the minute before.
You should have seen me fiddling with my tripod as it first appeared in the South West corner of the sky. In the dark.
So, I didn't get the shot of my dreams, but it was really cool anyway and this little long exposure photo is the proof that I saw it.
Oh. Also, the kids really enjoyed seeing it cross the sky.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I did a bit of gardening this morning. It's getting to be so awfully hot outside and it's still so dry - our rains haven't kicked in yet. The aphids are running amok and sucking the life out of my tomatoes.
I pulled all the cucumbers and pumpkins out. They were pretty much gone anyway. And I mercilessly trimmed all the tomatoes of dead or diseased growth. We have eaten, probably, the last big haul of tomatoes, but there are still a surprising number of green ones out there. I think I'll call this year a success for tomatoes!
We have counted and re-counted and my pink lemon tree has 11 lemons on it. I am so excited about it! Also, I've managed to grow some fine-looking watermelons.
The sweet potato slips all got into the dirt today and our bell peppers are blooming fiercely.
I have learned that there are some things I am just not good at growing (squash and cukes) and some things I do well with (watermelon, peppers, sweet potatoes). And then there are the tomatoes. They are a category unto themselves. They take a lot of work, but I really like them.
I'm pleased with how much we've eaten from our garden this spring and with how our harvest dictated our menus a bit. I hope this trend will only grow from here.

Daily Bliss: hearing Andrew's teachers express how sad they are to see him graduate and how proud they are of his middle school career
Wake-up Playlist: I Feel it All, Feist

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This greenhouse is part of an abandoned nursery in my neighborhood. I drive by it all the time and have been just dying to get in there and take some pictures!
I didn't actually go into it this time (because I was wearing flip flops and there was lots of broken glass), but I hope to go back and trespass a little more boldly.
I have always been drawn to worn and decaying things - especially buildings. I think that what I like best about them is to see Nature reclaiming space that had been taken from her.
In this greenhouse, that is especially true as the cultivated plants - all the ones that were carefully planted in pots with good dirt and fertilizer - have long since died and the wild ones are running up and down the walls with abandon.

Daily Bliss: driving with the windows down, peeping at the giant, crescent moon