Sunday, August 18, 2019

Kite-flying weather & furry creatures

We went back to the beach this weekend & were met with the more usual August weather for this region: a goodly amount of wind and cooler temps. Fortunately, the sun was out, so that was nice. We brought along with us our newly acquired beach tent. Gusts of wind were really whipping at the beach. Tucked away in the tent, we were protected from the elements, but still had a good view of the surf as the front of the tent was left open and the wind was coming in from the south. The sea action was nothing like it had been last weekend, but we still enjoyed our day. It helped, too, that we had brought along a rather easy yet fun Tuesday New York Times crossword to complete. My only quibble was that the puzzle was solved way too soon! (This is rarely the case, might I add.)


As Eric was setting up the beach tent, I walked over to the line of boulders that separates the beach from the walk path above in search of a rock we could use to help weigh the tent down. Poking around for a good-sized rock led to this moment---

These wee creatures, I'd call them coastal squirrels, have lived among the rocks for at least as long I have been alive. When I was a kid, I would try in vain to get close to them in order to see what they looked like. Any sound would send them scurrying away, never to be seen again. Up until only a few years ago, this was still the case. Now, it's a different ballgame. As I approached the rocks, a squirrel popped out. The closer I came to him, the closer he came to me. It was jarring. I clapped my hands together at him and he remained motionless. I thought, Well, OK, I will now take your photo as little me would be so thrilled. I leaned my phone in to get closer to him and he moved forward toward my outstretched hand. It's clear that wildlife is being fed and that the constant feeding by visitors has changed how the squirrels interact with humans and it's not for the better. After taking the furry one's photo, I tossed a rock a few inches away from him to see what he would do. Well, he went after it as if it were a snack. :S 

Let's keep wildlife wild by not feeding it, shall we?


All my husband needed in the above shot was a massive string affixed to the collapsing tent. He then could have sent the thing sky high! Due to the wind, hubs wasn't able to corral the tent long enough to fold it up, so we walked with it open and blowing (like you see in the pic) off the beach in order to successfully put it away.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Better than television

This past Sunday was somewhat unseasonably warm here in the city. By noon the fog had burned off, so the midday heat was accompanied by a bright, blue sky. The hubs and I grabbed some gear & went to the beach. In anticipation of the warm temps extending out to the ocean, I wore a bathing suit under my clothes. I don't think I have worn a suit to our local beaches since the early 1980s. And, in my memory, those childhood trips to the coast were always beset with strong winds and chilly temperatures. Yesterday, however, the hair-whipping winds & cold didn't make an appearance.

Arms out for balance.

Cautious of the midday rays, I slathered myself in sun cream, or so I thought, before making my way to the water. I had totally forgotten to get my feet, so I've a nasty burn across the top of them. Oopsie! Burn aside, I had a delightful day at the ocean. I spent a majority of my time wading, letting the wee two foot waves repeatedly knock into my legs. A three-footer with some gusto eventually knocked me on my backside. Falling backward, I somehow managed to twist around, land on my hands & 'eat' a bit of salt water in the process. The sand at this particular beach is fairly coarse, so it almost felt as if I had landed on sandpaper. All I could do was get back on my feet, wipe the beach bits from my palms & laugh my sand-covered kiester off. In the above shot, you may or may not be able to see that I kept at it even after the spill. The sand seemed to have stuck to me like glue!

The below shot shows a speck of seal just out from shore. He eventually came in to play in the surf a bit, but kept mostly out of sight. 

The tiny black bit in the water is our seal friend.

Our seal pal wasn't out there in the Pacific by his lonesome. I think there must have been a massive fish run happening as there were scores of Pelicans, Cormorants, Terns and Gulls congregating in a large group out on the water. We witnessed multiple Pelican dives. There were bands of Terns tagging along behind the great birds in anticipation of dropped fish. Beyond the scrum were a few dolphins swimming in various directions. I witnessed a dolphin 'tail move' that I would guess were meant to corral the fish into swimming in a certain direction. At one point in the afternoon, the birds, a few dolphins and a few seals were all visibly doing their thing out in the ocean together. It was a bounty of marine activity and it was a delight. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Not-tella (you'll get it)

Perhaps this picture doesn't show the most delectable dish, but I enjoyed licking the spatula clean after making it.

I have always had a massive sweet tooth. And I was always one for dessert, even for breakfast. I mean let's be real, Nutella on toast is sweet enough to qualify as a dessert. In my career as a sweet fiend, I really, really liked Nutella. My favorite thing to eat it with was a spoon. 

I friend of mine has mostly rid processed sugar from her diet. She's constantly on the look-out for recipes that turn out a sweet product, but use some sort of sugar alternative. I'm also keen to cut down on my sugar intake & have already knocked out most processed sugar from my diet as well. This sort of Nutella replacement recipe from her sounded intriguing, so I made it & I'm rather pleased with the result. I would even venture to say that one could add less dates to the mix as I almost find this batch a bit too sweet. Too sweet or no, I'll eat it!

Here's on such recipe she shared with me---


1 cup of roasted hazelnuts
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
12 dates
1 cup of water


Blend nuts in mixer until it resembles nutbutter
Add dates & cocoa (I also added a smidgen of vanilla extract)
Add water until desired consistency is achieved
Mix until well blended 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Muni blues

Something must have happened as she tried to board the train. Had the train door started to close on her? Accented cussing and squawking up a storm, the elderly, presumably, Russian woman finally made it on board, but not without a lot of upset. Sitting in her seat, she kept on cursing a bit until a fellow passenger told her to pipe down as there were small children present. She finally quieted down and I thought all was well.

When the woman off-boarded about ten minutes later, the train conductor followed the sour puss out onto the street. Suddenly, I could hear high-pitched screaming coming from the woman. The train operator came back on the train muttering to herself about how folk who can't behave themselves do not get to be a passenger on her train. I could hear the Russian woman call the train operator an ape from the street before the train doors closed. The train operator is, as I am sure you could guess, African-American. At the next stop, the train operator came down the aisle of the train telling everyone that this was her last stop and that we were to leave the train immediately. In truth, it was no where near her last stop.

On my way out of the train, I tried to apologize for the horrid behavior of the older woman, but the operator wasn't having it. Not looking at me, she just repeated a variation of what I had heard her say before: if you can't behave yourself on the train, then you don't get to ride. I fully agree with that statement, but did wonder what it had to do with the rest of us. Another train came along presently.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Things that make you go 'huh'?

Before the beach poo.

The dog, for the longest time, did not join our man in the surf. At one point the little collie sniffed around the sand, moving ever farther from the water, before settling on a dry spot to defecate. After he'd done his 'business', the dog went right into the water for a bit of playtime. The owner, I'll have you know, was watching as his dog shat in the sand, but did not retrieve the poo before he and his dog left the beach. Dog owners, eh? (Yes, I know. #NotAllDogOwners.)

Pool Peep

I watched this kid watch me standing in my birthday suit as I was toweling off after a shower. My questions were: Where is his mother? Why is he in the change room if he's not swimming? Is he being scarred for life at the sight of a strange woman in the buff? I'd seen him come in with his mother/grandmother/don't know and some other adults and older children. Could she not have left him in their care for the duration? Maybe they were all showering together? Whatever the case, it seems to me that children are these days, by and large, attached to their parents to the point of absurdity. I was just thinking the other day that none of my childhood memories involving going to the public pool include adults of any kind. Sure, there was a lifeguard here or there, but the guards were only teens. Most kids nowadays, if not all, who I see at the pool are with chaperones of some sort. The child above is a wee one, so I should think he'd be with a parent in the change room, but I've seen more than my fair share of school age boys changing with their mothers. I find that odd, but I would imagine that some poor mother would be accused of child abuse were she to let her 7-year-old boy use the men's change room on his own while she got on with things in the ladies'.  

Also: Feel free to disregard what I've written as I am not a parent & just an opinionated child-free adult. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Swedish Family Picnic

Yesterday, I attended our annual Swedish Family Picnic. I hadn't been in nearly twenty years. The old guard is older, the mid-range folks rangier and there were a lot of young'uns whom I'd never met before in attendance. Overall, it was a relaxing afternoon amid the redwoods. 

Swedish Family Picnic, 2019

Cousin Bill made it down to the picnic, too. He's slated to move to Reno next weekend, so it was nice to be able to wish him well. 

Horseshoes game with Bill and my husband

My Dad revived the annual tradition, after a handful of quiet years, back in the 1980s. After Dad died in 2002, the picnic organizing duties were handed off to a cousin called Carol. Since Carol's taken over, the duties seem to move from family member to family member. In order to secure the same spot every year--the picnic began back in the 1930s--one has to show up just as the park opens to nab the cluster of tables right by a massive, fallen redwood. This old redwood has seen all of our footprints on it over the past many years. 

Cousin Carol brought along my Dad's carefully curated Swedish Family Picnic photo album that she had inherited. Dad had arranged all the photos around funny captions he'd written. He had been able to nab pictures of picnics past dating back from the 50s. It was a treat to view the album. 

I'm very glad I attended the picnic although it was the most standing I've done since the foot injury & resultant nerve issues last September. There was discomfort, but I pushed through it as best I could. -glad I did. 

I will leave you with a photo of a photo (forgive the glare) from the Family Picnic photo album: Great-grandpa Axel (one of the reasons this picnic all began), my grandmother, two of her siblings (and one spouse) & cousin Doreen. 

Swedish Family Picnic, ca. late 1960s

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Centre

I volunteered once weekly at an outreach center when I lived London. The facility offered those in need gratis showers, unlimited hot tea, computer facilities, discounted hot meals and laundry washed for a few quid, a place to sit and watch TV, to talk with others, or to be left alone.  Interestingly, the clients weren't all solidly from the UK.  There was a large contingent hailing from right around the area in SE London, but many more were from not just other parts of the city and the UK, but also from Central and Eastern Europe, bits of Asia, Africa, and Western Europe.  Most of those who used the center were men, but there were more than a few women among the crowd.

Here are a few snippets of what I experienced while volunteering at the center---

I went in one day and saw a middle-aged woman sitting alone at a corner table.  I recognized her from previous visits, but wasn't sure if she were English-speaking or not.  I noticed that she had a purple bruise under her left eye.  I assumed she'd been hit.  Another worker at the facility told me that she'd been attacked right outside by another client just a few days past.  He had knocked her down, hit her in the eye and taken the valuable contents of her handbag.  He'd been drunk, I was told, almost as if that were supposed to have excused his behavior.

Three young adults, a man and two women, from Spain arrived one week.  They had a sort of shaggy look and wore ill-fitting, second-hand-looking clothes.  The young man wore his hair in an outgrown Mohawk and all three of them had multiple facial and ear piercings.  Their English was pretty poor, but I was able to suss out from one of the girls as she waited for the women's shower to be tidied that they were in London to look for work.  The Spanish economy was floundering and they felt that they had to leave home in order to find employment.  Without much English they would probably be in for a long and bumpy job search, but I wished them a 'buena suerte' before they left for central London.  

I helped a Pakistani couple fill out citizenship paperwork.  The husband had been in the UK for 15 years and the wife 8 years.  Their adult children were spread out between London and back home.  The husband's English was fluent, but thickly accented and his wife spoke almost no English.  'Helping' meant actually filling out the paperwork for them while they sat and looked on.  The husband had written down the dates of birth for both him and his wife on a scrap of paper quite legibly, so I'm sure that he didn't really need my help with completing his form.  However, when it came to having his wife sign her document, I realized that she was illiterate and didn't know how to give her signature.  She instead wrote in scrawled print the five letters of her name.  I didn't think that what she'd written would be accepted as a signature by whomever were to accept her application, but I didn't say anything.  Maybe I was wrong.

A tidy young man came during the afternoon looking for someone to help him find housing.  He was well-dressed, healthy-looking, and, judging by the caliber of his clothes, not without money.  It was hard to fathom that he was without a place to live, but I'm not at the center to judge.  The advice personnel are, understandably, busy throughout the day.  The man 'couldn't be bothered' to wait, and, after a few minutes of talking to me, left.  That was, of course, precisely the moment that the person able to advise him became free.  It was such bad timing.

An aggressive Rastafarian once called me an 'asshole' because I didn't want to continue a convo with him in which he was becoming progressively more agitated and directing hostility toward me. Not every man with a head full of dread is going to be chill, I suppose.

Kite-flying weather & furry creatures

We went back to the beach this weekend & were met with the more usual August weather for this region: a goodly amount of wind and cooler...