Green with recent rain. Intermittent yesterday and today, with occasional cloudbursts. In a shady area, ferns can thrive in one of our wetter winters. I love the varying shades of green, the play of the light, the repeated shapes, the sheen of the leaves.
Of California poppies. Yellow and white is so crisp and cheerful. I think I want a white room with that glorious yellow tossed around, and perhaps a touch of turquoise too. I guess that’s a pretty common seaside color scheme for good reason.
Aren’t those edges against the black background just yummy? (Add a black anchor somewhere to that color scheme, eh?)
Grass, trees, ocean, clouds, blue skies. A public golf course with a hotel. And a restaurant open to the public. And public paths to the beach.
This is why people choose to live here — despite the traffic and the high cost of housing, which are the two main negatives. For me, there’s also the lack of good Asian food and the sprawl, which makes it harder (along with traffic) to access the art venues I’m interested in.
But — grass, trees, ocean, clouds, blue skies. And temperatures in the low 70s. Kids in shorts and tank tops. Eating outdoors at the end of December!
The bisection of violence. The us and them. Why does a narrow coil of wire grid remind me of a rifle? Why does everything seem to have an undercurrent of danger? The stones are gorgeous. Nature is gorgeous. People are gorgeous.
I haven’t featured food here for a while. This was our Christmas Day five-cheese lasagna. It rained cheese on those red hills, didn’t it? It’s a nice terrain, with hilltops of slightly chewy noodles, hidden rivers of tomato sauce studded with vegetables, and even some paths of underground melted mozzarella.
Actually, the eating was better than my describing. So.
Christmas Day. Walk on the beach with husband, daughter, and son. Chocolate chip challah French toast for brunch. Five-cheese lasagna for dinner. Board games and TV. Talk and song and candle-lighting and prayer. Group hugs. Laughter and silliness. Hot cocoa and hot tea. Warmth and comfort. Blessings abound!
A holiday gift from our Southern California climate, this graced our table this evening. Biscuits, cheesy corn chowder, and butternut squash accompanied it. Candles, gifts, dreidel, chocolate, laughter, and hugs, too. Wishing such blessings on all the world!
Well, the closest I’ve been able to get on camera. I’d call it “greenish” but not really green. Then again, my camera tends to make everything a bit yellower than it is, a little like cataracts. It’s a small, great drama anyway, green or not.
Ribbing, in progress. You know it’s “winter” when I start to knit. It’s comfortingly repetitive, meditative, productive. It’s a good thing to have while sitting in a waiting room, watching TV on occasion, or just to go blank. Going blank feels like a great contrast to all the racing disjointed thoughts that stem from the racing disjointed action around us. It may not be that disjointed, on second thought. Mis-jointed?
You can tell where I’ve been walking by the photos I show. Over the overpass again today, on my way to/from a haircut, and studying these rusty exposures of rebar along with the stresses of time and weight on concrete.
They create a whole new landscape of their own, I think. The bar disappears behind a low range of hills in the center, there, reappears, and finally shows us its roots in the riverbed below.
Everything but the answers. My thoughts are tangled like this. My brain is in a tangle. Heck, my emotions are in a tangle. I just returned from my second political meeting ever. Or maybe third? One was long ago about a school board. More recently, supporting a candidate. And now, a “speak and be heard action group?”
I have not been a deliberately political creature. It is not a comfortable place for me. But hey, is this tree comfortable?
So I spent over two hours with people who weren’t organized enough, weren’t specific enough, weren’t looking at desired results and what actions might accomplish those results…but did I want to take over the meeting? Heck, no! Do I have those kinds of abilities and do I have the temperament? I am way too impatient — although this was way too “facilitate-y” for me. All that IBM training…where’s the agenda? What are the decisions to consider and how will they be made? Where are the action items? Who’s in charge of them?What will they accomplish?
This is only a few minutes’ walk from our house. It was a super-clear day, with La Jolla to the south and Oceanside to the north very distinct. The kind of clear that is sharp and almost brittle after a good rain. We got our inch and it will be fun to see the plants respond. The crow set its wing just parallel to the horizon. Posing for me?
There’s something about flash that makes flowers glow, even if it makes faces look sickly. I think these humble blooms have more character and nuance at night than in the sun or shade. The richness, depth, and even delicacy of color all seem to be especially noticeable. And then there’s the yummy contrast with the greens of the foliage. These were just perking along in a parking lot, seen after dinner at around 8 pm last night. Let’s hear a cheer for California public landscaping!
With its green canopy hat. And the light peeking through. These shrubby trees are a testament to sturdiness, as they get so very very little water. Our rainfall is supposedly ten inches per year; in the five years we have been here, I doubt we have had ten inches total.
The gnarly twisty branches must be in part due to the wind patterns. The wind is often from off-shore unless the Santa Anas are blowing. Then there are the infrequent winds from the north that sometimes bring a little rain.
Maybe there should be a gnarly tree contest. Or exhibit. Imagine an art show whose theme is “gnarly.” Hm…
Teensy blue plastic cup. (See it?) I decided to leave it there. In the photo, I mean. No one can get to the cliffs to remove it. Must be careful not to drop phone. Cliffs are treacherous. But oh, my, aren’t those colors and textures “mahvelous?!”
Only in Southern California — or perhaps Hawaii or similar? — can one have such a Holiday arrangement. Oh my, I first typed “arranglement” — isn’t that perfect? We were doing some path-trimming around our teensy yard, and arrangled these from the large bird-of-paradise shrubs.
The container is one of an asymmetrical pair of lidded jars that are too large to use on a counter top, and since we don’t store quantities of cooking oil or grains, I’ve never had a use for them other than as objects of beauty, which they certainly are, no argument. And now I know: tall flowers? Take the lid off the jar, and voila! A large vase.
Now, where shall I set this gorgeous gift of nature and human endeavor so that (1) guests can enjoy it and (2) the clumsy among us (author included) won’t trip over it?!
Chance of rain? Chance of storms? Chance of clearing? I’m going to a meeting next Sunday of women who are working toward the last of those — clearing. Clearing up. Clearing up the mess. Messes. So many messes.
Or clearing up the confusion? I wish I thought it were a matter of confusion. Sadly, no. I think everyone who made any sort of decision — whether at the top, middle, or bottom, in or out — had no confusion whatsoever. All very deliberate and defiant and defensive — and so very destructive.
My thoughts are scattered and they’re cloudy,
They have no borders, no boundaries
They echo and they swell…”
“These clouds stick to the sky
Like floating questions, why?
And they linger there to die
They don’t know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.”
Simon and Garfunkel had it right. And the ocean remains beautiful for now.
Moody. Like me. Moody is a lot better than — volatile? Volatility no longer under the surface. Out in the open. There for all to see. To erupt when? Where? How? It’s bubbling, churning, snickering, rubbing it’s greedy hands in glee.
But there’s an ocean out there, folks! And sunsets! And wonderful people to see them! And nature and animals and rivers and forests and deserts and mountains and valleys and hush and leaves whispering and waterfalls rushing, and there are people loving and children playing and carers comforting and teachers explaining and artists making and babies cooing and musicians tuning up and actors rehearsing and dancers exercising and teams preparing and writers composing and scientists researching and inventors testing and thinkers pondering and dreamers wondering, and any number of good things I cannot list. And this, this, is what the world should be about.
I am stumped. I am stumped by appeasement. I am stumped by denial. I am stumped by false equivalences. I am stumped by lies. I am stumped by false notions of fairness. I am stumped by the entire concept of “honor.” I am stumped by the idea that any change is good. I am stumped by disrespect. I am stumped by mysogyny. I am stumped by evil masquerading as righteousness. I am stumped by absolutism. I am stumped by racism. I am stumped by exclusiveness. I am stumped by lack of empathy. I am stumped by deliberate ignorance. I am stumped by cultural elitism. I am stumped by hollow words. I am stumped by misdirection. I am stumped by shady business dealings. I am stumped by “everyone does it.” I am stumped by rejection of civility. I am stumped by excuses. I am stumped by the lack of moral integrity in “leadership.” I am stumped by the number of people who I dearly hope have trouble looking at themselves in the mirror every day. I am stumped by people who should be ashamed of themselves. I am stumped by how we don’t learn from history. I am stumped by how we don’t learn from today. I am stumped by glossing over. I am stumped by “everyone thinks that, but he says it!”
I am stumped by war, hunger, suffering. We have the resources and skills to alleviate it. We do not, apparently, have the will.
The bottle-brush trees/shrubs are so reliable. This mostly gray, gnarled, dried-up looking structure had a few blooms just for the season. This one was practically reaching out to me. I couldn’t resist.
Does everything look better on a black background? Or is it just that they are dramatic white flowers?
The black came out almost velvety, which sets off the pure white of the petals so perfectly. There’s just a hint of green in the leaves, enough to provide richness. I’ve always liked the symmetry/aysmmetry of these flowers; the petals whirl like — well, like the blades of a whirligig. (Great word, whirligig — wonder what it is in other languages?)
Now I want some article of clothing with a pattern of deep velvety black, white, and rich, dark green! Or maybe a fabric design?
And after this glorious sunset, we were headed for an art show, speaking of drawing. The artist was my cousin’s daughter– that is, my first cousin, “once removed.” I finally understood that label when I realized it was short for “one generation removed.” Although, thinking about it now, I wonder — removed from what?! From my own generation, I guess.
Linguistics aside, it was fun to celebrate an art opening for an ’emerging artist’ and be with family I don’t see that often. My aunt (grandmother to the artist and a fine watercolor artist, museum docent, and retired art teacher herself — lots to admire there!) was out from the east coast for the occasion. Dinner afterwards. A fine time was had by all. Families matter. Much. We do need to draw nigh to each other!
Yet another tangle of underbrush at the campground. These dying/dead/barely alive shrubs serve as privacy hedges between sites. With only about 25% occupancy, we can see the difference in size, shape, and amenities in the various sites. For instance, most of the sites have a sandy ‘floor’ but some are gravel and a few are paved in asphalt. Some have a permanently moored picnic table, others a movable one. Some are wide and shallow, others short and deep. Some have utility hookups, others don’t. Half are against the cliff, facing the ocean; the others, across from them, are nearer the divided roadway (and are less expensive.)
Most, though, have some sort of dividing vegetation. This ginormous gray-brown mesh of trunks, branches, and twigs is not unique, but it was a readily accessible and dramatic example.
Before the storm. Which storm? Too many storms. Too much damage. Too much pain.
Which storm indeed. And, actually, it hasn’t been all that calm, although people are sure pretending it has been. This view isn’t all that different, but the vantage point has shifted; a major shift. The misleading calm before the storm.