Wildflowers of Torrey Pines, Guy Fleming Trail

Super Bloom, Spring 2017

The drought that has plagued the Southwest United States, Southern California included, has been declared over… for the most part. We saw hardly any rain over the last five years and this winter we made up for the deficit. Finally! And when the rains come, so do the wildflowers.


The Torrey Pines State Reserve is a special place, and if you are visiting the San Diego area, try to stop by here. For spectacular scenery, the Guy Fleming Trail is one of my favorite places to walk, run, bring tourist friends, and take photos.


This year, a lot of photos. Never have I taken more pictures of any natural area. Ever. And I like taking pictures along hikes, so that is saying something.


From the dozen or so walks I have taken recently, I’ve saved about a hundred photos, culled down from four hundred, at least. The scenery changes every ten paces or so, quite literally! During San Diego’s May Gray and June Gloom, the fog sneaks and slips through the pines and up over the slopes that rise from the beach below. But- in a matter of minutes, the entire marine layer can clear up leaving tourist and locals blinking in the bright sunlight and marveling at the weathered bluffs, crumbling cliffs, and lovely, lovely flowers.

Just look at these side-by-side photos of similar views, but different times or weather:


and more…



Cold, early morning poppies vs. bright, shiny (and badly photographed) poppies:


I love these two:


Here’s a bit of the wildlife. Surfers count, they are totally legit wildlife…



Get a load of the geometry and patterns seen out on the beach trails:





And to conclude, a few of my favorite pics of just the flowers:

DSC_0230 2
Milk Maids
DSC_0080 2
The Blue Larkspur- spotted in the eponymous Larkspur Canyon.





All right. I have to quit. I could upload another 50 photos that are every bit as lovely as these, but I have to calm the heck down.

Happy hiking, all!

Favorite WordPress Blogs


I found a blogger who is new to me, but has been around here on WordPress for a while- Brad Young Art…A few of his posts that I liked in particular: 8/23/15 Space Needle, 7/26/15 Blondes and Tennessee, 4/19/15 Chicago Skyline, and 4/5/15 I Thirst.

I particularly enjoyed the different cities featured in his designs- many are only blocks from where I lived (our apartment up the street from Seattle’s Space Needle), or at least the same general yet beloved area (the Midwest rocked my world). Go check out his great art and sweet commentary!

It’s worth mentioning that the only way I came across Brad Young Art (and many other great blogs) is because he simply clicked that “LIKE” button on one of my posts, so I went and looked at his work… go discover some new blogs and encourage the love of great subjects today, everyone. And don’t forget to give that positive feedback.

While I’m at it- I’d really like to give a shout out to a few other fabulous writers I have come across over the course of this year while playing around on WordPress:

Cool San Diego Sights!– great pics and fun insights into what’s happening in the San Diego area

Cycling in the South Bay– about as introspective and funny as a cyclist can get, with life choices, hobbies, and family offered up on the Altar of the Blogosphere

Story Shucker– short, well crafted stories from a talented writer. I’m always looking for his works to show up in my favorites feed.

Finding Jeffrey– a family friend who can produce more thoughtful and humorous writings in two minutes with only an elbow on the space bar than an infinite number of me on an infinite number of keyboards could ever hope to pound out. Get cranking on that book, Jeff, we’re waiting.

Cooking with a Wallflower– I had to narrow down from a couple dozen food bloggers I’m following on WordPress, and Andrea’s blog has a fabulous compilation of really good recipes, wonderful photography, and culinary world finds that she came across on the Big Ol’ Web.

In Which I Get My Running Shoes Wet…

IMG_8876 IMG_8887 (1)

We had some high tides and storm activity last week in the Southland that brought a mess (literally…) of seaweed to the shoreline. As I ran, the pieces of kelp were fun to stomp on, bursting underfoot on the packed, wet sand. I think the serious runners coming from behind and passing me were mildly amused. I was greatly amused.

Isn't this kelp "kombu," one of the ingredients for dashi broth? Just wondering...
Isn’t this kelp “kombu,” one of the ingredients for dashi broth? Just wondering…

Pop pop POP!

But, dodging kelp and stopping to take photos can result in the waves catching up with you…

Taking a picture of this and got wet when it became…
…THIS! Ah, well. My shoes are now broken in.

I simply squish-squish-squished as I ran the return route. Guess my shoes are broken in now! i don’t run barefoot along the beach… makes it easier to stomp on and pop the kelp.


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Comic Con International 2015- Hall H Fantastic-ness and Cosplay Craziness!


What can I say?

I’m glad that the teens I knew and the Comic Con line sitters that I met on Wednesday talked me into staying in line to receive my Hall H wristband. Everyone said that we should experience the fun of the biggest convention lecture hall to see the panels, that it is a great Comic Con experience… They were right!

We stayed until after 10:30 Wednesday night to assure that we received our Toucan Wristbands, rode the trolly back to our car, slept for a couple hours at home, then woke up at 4:30 Thursday morning to rejoin our friends in line who slept outside the convention center… line holders are a special breed of people!

The big reason why we went through all this malarky was to see the head writer and actors of our favorite show, “Doctor Who.”

But first…

We finally got to enter the Hall H and find seats IN THE FRONT ROW, and a full thirty minutes later hundreds of people were still being ushered in. Over 6,500 seats were filled. One thing that really surprised me was how the convention center and security personnel cheered all of us on as we marched in to find seats. All of the sleepy people who, some having sat out for TWO NIGHTS, were really feeling the love.

The first panel was a surprise visit from Mitch Glazer and Bill Murray, promoting their new movie “Rock the Casbah.” Also starring Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, and Zooey Deschanel, the preview looked great and we are planning on seeing it.

From IMDB. Jennifer Lawrence likes Bill Murray
Jennifer Lawrence likes Bill Murray (photo links to and is from IMDB’s “Rock the Casbah” page)
We really did sit in the front row... I could have tripped Bill Murray.
We really did sit in the front row… I could have tripped Bill Murray.

Next up was the Mockingjay Part 2 panel…

Want to see a really great video of this? Click on this link to Flicks and the City’s You Tube video. But, here are my photos:

Conan O’Brien and Mockingjay Part 2 cast and crew! Comic Con 2015
Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth giving Josh Hutcherson love.

Seriously, click on the You Tube link above to watch this whole panel discussion.

Finally, we got to the panel that we had been waiting for, the Doctor Who season nine cast and one of the world’s most loved/hated writers, Steven Moffet!

Nerdist.com‘s  Chris Hardwick was a great moderator, and we loved hearing from Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Michelle Gomez and Steven Moffet.

Chris Hardwick, our mod for the panel...
Chris Hardwick, our mod for the panel…
Steven Moffet, undoubtedly coming up with an evil plot using Michelle Gomez as Missy, aka The Master.
Steven Moffet, undoubtedly coming up with an evil plot using Michelle Gomez as Missy, aka The Master.

One of the day’s best answers to a question came from Michelle Gomez and Chris Hardwick. In response to what advice they had for an aspiring actor, Gomez urged to never give up, since someone else will be right behind you, eagerly willing to take your place, with Hardwick emphasizing that if you can’t make it via the conventional route, one should self produce one’s own material and get it out on the internet. We have far too much technology and exposure opportunities nowadays to excuse anyone from just doing it.

It was fun yet frustrating to hear the cast asked questions; they would look at Moffet before answering… then… not answer since it would lead to spoilers. It was like watching kids check with their papa. One thing we do know, Missy will be back reprising her roll as the regenerated Master. Aiieeee! Can’t wait until September 19th for season 19’s premier!!

Peter Capaldi, the self professed major Doctor Who geek, answering  an audience question.
Peter Capaldi, the self professed major Doctor Who geek, answering an audience question.

We are very glad to have won tickets for today and have a friend who shared and extra pass. What. A. Blast. To put this into perspective, as much as I geek-out over a show or book, I am very lukewarm on the whole Cult of Celebrity thing. I still had fun!

Agent Carter and a Doctor #11 (or #12- that should start a great discussion!)
Agent Carter and a Doctor #11 (or #12- that should start a great discussion!)
A Spiderdude
A Spiderdude
a probably very cold Spartan
a probably very cold Spartan
The family that cosplays together...  from the latest Mad Max universe
The family that cosplays together… from the latest Mad Max universe

Part Two- Del Mar Fair, Finally! Snarky Good Fun…

Not my mess!
She did get more in her than on the floor…
Why I am really at the fair...
Why I am really at the fair…

After taking all the time we wanted to go through the Flower and Animal Exhibits and the “Crap You Can Buy at the Fair” booths (we warned each other “don’t make eye contact with any of the vendors!), we hit the food stands before moving onto Art and Hobby exhibits.


IMG_6936Let’s just get this one out of the way- here’s my son’s work on display- his art teacher is always really great at sending in the work of several students each year. She rocks!

IMG_7041IMG_7040Student art takes up most of the first floor of the West Grandstands building. If you get to the San Diego County Fair, do NOT miss this exhibition. The talent on display is nothing short of amazing. Let me share some of the more spectacular entries…


Their art truly was a highlight of the fair for me. These pieces need no explanation by me, they speak for themselves. I am impressed by what our county classes can do, and these teachers deserve awards, every one from every school.

Zoom in for explanation- a great photography class idea!
Love this guy’s story- zoom in to read it…

PLEASE, Click on the photos to bring up larger views of these student exhibits- they deserve a closer look!

COLLECTIONS- Fascinating to the Fabulous:

Miniature Foldout Photo Collection from World Fairs and Expositions
Miniature Foldout Photo Collection from World Fairs and Expositions
Miniature Foldout Photo collection, from 1900s-1980s
Miniature Foldout Photo collection, from 1900s-1980s

Miniature photos on keychains, necklaces and other souvenirs dating from 1900 to 1980… totally cool.  Another collection was similar, but all from world fairs and expositions… equally cool.

Click on all of these photos to bring up larger copies and then you can read the test which describes the collections and the motivation behind the displays.

Shark Egg Cases
Things Left Behind in Library Books

Some of the more interesting collections on display included a father and daughter’s group of shark egg cases that they amassed to show disbelieving friends that they do, in fact, exist. Another case held… this is great… a collection of items found in books that have been returned to the library. I would bet that no one has ever thought to collect such a genre, ever before, in the history of lending libraries.

Collections and Craft Entries from the Clever to the Weird and the Wait… What???

The Swede- she's speechless
Cat Fur and Lint?The Swede- she’s speechless
“Cat Fur and Clothes Dryer Lint” Yes, you read that correctly…

This really is amazing on more than one level. The sheer fact that someone collects dryer lint and cat fur is surpassed by the oddity that they decided to display this collection. Publicly. At the county fair.

I wonder what this fox would say…
Shirt Pillows
Shirt Pillows

After the fur and lint display, we were losing it. Other oddities included this beautifully crafted fox… we couldn’t figure out why the beads? It made us want to demand that artists be allowed to include a note about the inspiration behind their pieces, just like the Collections are able to display. We loved the goofy shirt pillows, a great recycling idea.

IMG_6973We saw jewelry- something that I don’t have a lot of patience for, but my friend crafts gorgeous pieces herself… look at this great idea for what to do with all the pressed penny souvenirs that you may have collected in your travels!

IMG_6967I love pottery and had to include this piece. Look at the colors! Great job, artist!

Cookie Tea Set!
Cookie Tea Set!


International Cookie Dolls!
International Cookie Dolls!

Food Exhibits

The Food Exhibits were puzzling to me… I am dying to know how they are judged. Honestly, I’m such a snob about my own cookies, for example, that I looked at the winning chocolate chip cookies and thought “Humph! My cookies look better than these… I bet they taste better, too.” I ought to back up this proud attitude of mine and enter them next year… that ought to shut me up! I have to include these cookie sculptures simply because they are so well crafted.

Next year I will be back- not only for the Indian Fry Bread Tacos and Garlic Fries, but maybe even to throw my own chocolate chip cookies into the judging arena.

Two Moms Finally Let Loose at the Fair, Part One

We made it!

We came, we lingered, we laughed. Oh, how we laughed.

Black Magic roses... stunning color and shape!
Black Magic roses… stunning color and shape!

We delighted in the floral specimens, scarcely believing that roses could achieve that color or dahlias could be that perfect. We wanted to die for the level of fluffiness we witnessed in the bunnies on display. The student art floored us- what talent! The collections and cooking entries included everything from the amazing to the confusing. We left with enough examples of beauty and to fodder for laughter for ages to come.


Fair Award Winner "Charlotte Ann"
“Charlotte Ann”
"Ketchup and Mustard"
“Ketchup and Mustard”

Roses have names, we know that. “Peace, Mr. Lincoln, Iceberg, and Julia Child” are all common varieties, but today at the fair we found many far from common- names like the enigmatic titles given to race horses or those found on the back of sailboats… a few could be romance novel titles, honestly.

Stunning "Memphis Magic"
“Memphis Music”
"George Burns," what a fabulous tribute!
“George Burns”
"Power Point" is another winner
“Power Point”

A sampling: “Renegade, Black Magic, Playboy, The Fairy, Wise Portia, First Kiss, Super Hero, Betty Boop, Foolish Pleasures, Mother’s Love, Power Point, Nemesis, Seattle Destination, Bees Knees, Shameless, Lusciously Lucy, Monkey Business, Jump for Joy, Hot Cocoa, Gourmet Popcorn. ”

Huge dahlias!
Huge dahlias!
"Clouds and Rain"
“AC Clouds and Rain”
"Mary Eveline"
“Mary Eveline”

The dahlia displays were no less stunning- what amazing symmetry and size! Annika’s take-away after seeing the dahlias was how much these flowers seem to jump right out of a Dr. Seuss book. I left wishing I could come back with a golf club. “Fore!!” Just kidding… kind of.


We were both sad to see that there were no fancy chickens in the livestock barns, but were completely delighted with the bunnies. Oh my GOSH, it was a fluffy overload. How can something be that impossibly fluffy? Here are a few of our favorites:

Annika’s Goth Bunny
World’s Cutest Bunny
Fluffiest Neighbor #2

These are a few of the fluffiest, cutest, most adorable critters I have ever seen at a state fair.

Fluffiest Neighbor #1

There were as many people crowded around the bunnies as there were anywhere. Everyone wants to just marvel at their sweetness, and who can blame them?

We left the animals saying goodbye to the mama pig and her piglets, reminding Annika of how she prefers to eat marzipan pigs to the real ones. Mama Piggy gave me an entirely different idea: it was high time to visit the corndog stand.

Why I am really at the fair...
Why I am really at the fair…

Coming up in Part Two- Student Art and Photography, and the Home and Hobby collections, displays, crafts and foods.

Did You See the Strawberry Moon?

I learned a new term- “Strawberry Moon.” Isn’t it interesting how there are so many different terms and names for the phenomena all around us in our natural world? So many of us have either forgotten about them or they have simply fallen by the wayside because we are out of touch with nature now-a-days in the modern world… time marches on, eh?

With my super-novice photography abilities, I snapped a few pics on the lovely moon we were all talking about on Social Media Tuesday night.


So, what is a strawberry moon, anyhow?

“Full Moon Names”

“The month of June’s full Moon’s name is the Full Strawberry Moon. June’s Full Strawberry Moon got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit.
It was often known as the Full Rose Moon in Europe (where strawberries aren’t native).”

From Almanac.com