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Just Added

Val’s Wrecking Ball

My daughter is home from college for winter break. I snuck her cell phone one night and texted some of her friends. The message was something like “My mother is so great. I’m so lucky. She is wonderful. I love her so much.” This was on my computer screen the next day. Payback?

Watch out Miley!

Watch out Miley!

I promise no twerking (I’d probably fall over) and no sticking out my tongue, just wishes for everyone to have a safe, healthy and joyous holiday season.

Just Added

Wear Gloves

I know it is winter, but I don’t mean those kind of gloves. I mean the kind you wear when you use toxic products around the house. My oven racks were black and I decided to clean them in the sink with Easy Off oven cleaner. My right hand was protected with one of those yellow cleaning gloves because it was doing all the work. My left hand was bare because it was just holding the racks when I rinsed them. Not a good idea.

Hand Using Glove

Hand Using Glove

Hand not in Glove

Hand not in Glove

Luckily, I had water rinsing over my hand the entire time or it could have been worse. I’ve been rubbing burn cream into my fingertips to try and heal them. So far, so good.

Just Added

A Succulent December

One of the coolest things about having a succulent garden in So Cal is what happens to it in December. For some reason–maybe growing up in New England–I mentally associate blooming as a spring and summer activity. So I am always pleasantly surprised by the unusual way succulents show off in the winter.

This is what I expect to see blooming in the garden.

Dec 2013 Poinsettia

This is what I don’t expect to see.


Dec 2013 Succulent 1

Dec 2013 Succulent 4

Dec 2013 Succulent 5

If you love succulents and live in northern San Diego, there is a wonderful place to see them. Near Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, there is a home with a spectacular garden. The owners have planted their entire slope with succulents. I spoke with the wife who told me her husband’s hobby became his passion. I haven’t been there since October. She told me to come back again between Christmas and New Year’s to see the best winter blooms. I can’t wait.

Happy Holidays to everyone. Hope your holidays are succulent.

Just Added

Using The Senses

The holidays come at us in a rush with music, decorations, Black Friday, cyber-Monday, buy buy buy. These attacks on our senses reminded me of a few exercises I did in one of my writing classes. The lesson was to write short pieces using your senses. I picked two to share: a fun one and a serious one.

Clean Teeth
I smell the antiseptic.
A warning of things to come.
Sharp, metal and shiny.

I hear the tool scrape.
Humans have too many teeth.
Silent prayers for no dentists in heaven.

I see her eyes peek over the mask.
My mouth a stretched “O” in her plastic glasses.
Nothing in the room distracts me.

I touch the grips on my chair.
A finger taps out SOS messages.
No one comes to save me.

I taste the mint paste.
The cup of water is like fine wine.
My mouth is mine again.

I Remember
Smelling fear when my toes skimmed the ocean floor
Touching smooth wet skin when I grabbed her
Tasting briny water when she dove under
Seeing regret on her face before she swam away
Hearing waves drown out my cries for help
Feeling peace when I was in God’s hand.