Anza Borrego Desert State Park- Wildflower “Super Bloom” March 2017

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Brown-eyed Primrose

California’s above average, drought-busting winter rains are the proverbial blessing and a curse- floods, rock falls and mudslides that probably won’t be seen for another ten to twenty years, but the reservoirs are near to full, the snowpack in the Sierras is reassuringly deep and… oh, the WILDFLOWERS!

 

 

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Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed (AKA Wild Heliotrope?)

If you have considered driving out to the desert to see The Superbloom, GO. NOW. I’m going to conclude this post with a barrage of photos of the desert wildflowers.

 

Here is our Anza Borrego Desert State Park in full bloom on March 13, 2017:

Above: top left- Lupine (Arizona Lupine?); top right- Beavertail Cactus; bottom- Desert Sunflower

 

Some of the wildflowers at one of the highway park entrance signs, pictured below, include Desert Pincushion, Desert Dandelion, and Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed, and in the pic on the left, you can also see an Ocotillo “skeleton.”

It’s simply lovely. I mean LOOK HOW GREEN THE DESERT HILLS ARE! Below left, an Ocotillo’s tips are ready to fire up it’s red blooms. Below right a Cholla cactus is usually the only green thing you would see in this picture.. again, look at those GREEEN HILLS!

Henderson Canyon Road is stunning this year:

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A ridiculously beautiful expanse of yellow Desert Sunflowers

 

Coyote Canyon has water! And amazing flowers!

 

More flowers, Ocotillo, and Agave along the Coyote Canyon drive (off-road, not for casual tourists in sedans):

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Wednesday’s Wildflowers- Torrey Pines State Reserve

Along the coastal chaparral of the Guy Fleming Trail wildflowers are bursting forth thanks to the downpours we’ve seen this rainy season. If you can’t drive out to the desert region this spring, get over to Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the beauty before the heat returns and withers away these blooms.

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Wooly Paintbrush is one of the chaparral perennials.
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The San Diego Sea Dahlia, of the sunflower family, has contrasting sturdy stems and delicate leaves.
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Here is one of my favorite wildflowers to spot- Miner’s Lettuce, of the purslane family. An early spring edible like the more common purslane… but don’t take my word for it, I’m no botanist.
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One of the many mustards, Milkmaids are popping up all over the Torrey Pines trails.

Thanks to my handy-dandy spiral bound book-

Native Plants Torrey Pines State Reserve & nearby San Diego County Locations

by Margaret L. Fillius, 2nd Edition

This book is available for purchase at the visitor center atop the preserve, and if you’re lucky, the author will be on site leading a nature walk.

Good Old Friends and Complete Silliness

What happens when you put a family of five into an SUV for thirty hours of nearly straight-through driving to visit their old friends and attend the Rose Bowl? They have fun. We helped our old friends get their wiggles out by putting them through our Tourist Treatment, specially constructed for Hoosiers.

You get some terribly centered selfies…

Some Christmas Card worthy photos…

 

A whole LOT of drinking…

 

And pics that were as much fun to see and share as the whole day.

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Seven years ago we were all canoeing on Sugar Creek in central Indiana:

Back Camera

 

And this is the ridiculousness into which we have degraded:

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“Look, Mrs. J! I bet she’s not wearing any undies!”

 

 

 

 

Ballast Point Spirits- $1 Billion Purchase Nets More Than SoCal-Style Beer

The recent One Billion Dollar purchase of Ballast Point Brewing may have been just a blip on your local new, but here in San Diego this was Big News. San Diegans were either puffed with pride over the price tag, or horrified at the prospect of a local favorite becoming watered down for the national tastes. Ballast Point’s Sextant Oatmeal Stout is the first beer that I liked- up until I tried a stout, I thought that I just didn’t like beer… it turns out that I don’t like hops.

IMG_9787Constellation Brands Inc. not only bought some choice brews, but included in this deal are the Ballast Point Spirits- four of which are available in cans… yow! Conveniently canned mixed drinks include Fugu Bloody Mary, Three Sheets Rum & Ginger, Three Sheets Rum & Cola, and Old Grove Gin & Tonic.

This could seriously alter my adult beverage drinking opportunities!

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Handy guys deserve a good drink.

We tried the Old Grove Gin & Tonic. Could a classic mixed drink work in convenient pre-packaging? Yes. We highly recommend it. Got a little Pre-Holiday home repair going on? This is a fine occasion to serve a drink to the guy who can take apart a Roomba while doing other home repair, too. Just not too much, at least until the vacuum is fixed.

 

On Jealousy, Campus Exploration, and Good Entertainment

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Shakespeare, As You Like It

I’m pretty jealous of my friend. Her daughters attend the relatively local and highly desirable San Diego State University. They have joined a performance club that meets once a week, and tonight we were treated to their Showtunes Showcase. From torch songs to comedy, these fabulously talented students dished out some great entertainment.

The Husband and I ditched the two high school boys and went off looking for the Experimental Theater on campus… getting lost… twice. We’ve never visited anywhere on the campus except the basketball stadium (Go Aztecs!). When we finally arrived at the right building we had missed the first of a dozen songs, but immensely enjoyed about a dozen more show tunes. Wow! What an amazing group of students! Seriously, if you have a university or community theater near you, get out and get viewing! I can’t believe we haven’t done something like this sooner.

Seeing these girls, friends of my girl, reminded me how close she came to attending SDSU and it makes me sad… I miss The Girl. But, as The Husband reminded me, I’ll probably be sick of her malarkey after only three days this Christmas break.

I’m looking forward to her malarkey.

SoNo Fest- Chili Tasting Meets School Fundraiser

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A lot of people trying a lot of chili… and will be sleeping with the windows open tonight, said one of our friends, ha.

And the Genius Award in the category of Fundraising goes to (drumroll)… The Originators of The SoNo Fest and Chili Cook Off Fundraiser for McKinley Elementary School in San Diego.

The South Park/North Park community has a gold mine here. You buy your little sampler pottery bowl for $20 and get to taste five chilis. Want more? Buy another five sample pass for $15 and reuse your bowl. Bring your bowls back from the previous year, too, if you like.

All of the tax deductible proceeds from this event go to benefit the Spanish, art, and music programs at McKinley Elementary… to the tune of over $50K last year.

IMG_9555I realized really quickly that the best strategy for tasting the best chili is the most simple- when my bowl is empty, I try the chili from the nearest booth. It is that simple- they are all are delicious!! One of my favorites was the Duck Confit, Lardon, Sausage and White Bean Chili from Café Madeleine for a non-traditional chili. I’m not the biggest chili fan… OH MY GOSH THIS WAS DELICIOUS!!

IMG_9557My overall favorite was a Pork Belly and Smoked Brisket from The Deck at Moonshine Flats. An unbelievable, savory, meaty, flavorful taste and overall the best chili I’ve ever had. So there. Eat your heart out, every other place. This is something that is served in Heaven, I am sure.

IMG_9558Another out of this word chili came from City Tacos, and may well have been completely unplanned. When they ran out of their Albondigas Chili, they substituted Carnitas. I am already a huge fan of carnitas, and this sample was pushed over the top when topped by chicharrones and tortilla chip strips. I KNOW, RIGHT??? CHICHARRONES!!!

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Finish that beer, there is more chili to taste!!

“Into the fun zone we go,” declared the ID checker we entered the Beer Garden. When one of our group (we’re looking at you, Johnnie!!) was holding up the Chili Sampling (Round 2!) with their unfinished beer, we decided to institute a new motto: Drink for Those Who Can’t… as in, if you can’t finish fast enough, we are now going to help finish it for you!

Music at both ends of the festival, student pottery available for purchase from the incredible gallery that is partly responsible for the SoNo Fest, unique vendors, and a handful of food trucks rounded out the sights for the day. Food trucks? I guess if you think you don’t like chili, you still will find some great eats here.

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Thorn Street Brewery, a festival sponsor
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Happy puppy, happy drinkers inside Thorn St. Brewery– nice people, too. If you two see this, hi!!
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Inside the San Diego Ceramics Connection, major sponsor and partly responsible for the SoNo Fest
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Buy my son some bow ties, Deedee, go ahead! Find these great ties online at ZBSavoy.com

More gratuitous chili photos:

 

Sea Glass… The Bad Kind -or- You’re Welcome, Barefoot Runners and Surfers

We’ve made it through Black Friday (don’t know about you, but I didn’t leave the house), Cyber Monday yesterday (did I even go online? I don’t remember), and now today has the honor of being named “Giving Tuesday.” Okie-dokie, fine by me. The Intertubes are full of clever stories of people sharing ways they have given back to the world at large. I like doing nice things, too, so I’m in. Maybe… a trash hunt on one of my favorite beaches for running- La Jolla Shores.

 

No glass on the beach, please!

 

The beaches have seen some higher than usual tides lately, and along with the seaweed, a lot of junk washed up with the waves. Junk including freshly broken glass- ouch! And there were at least fifty barefoot surfers out enjoying the spectacular weather today… I don’t want to think of the potential harm that one big piece pictured above could inflict. Again, ouch!

I had a short run of only couple of miles this morning, but still wound up with a fistful of glass to pitch into the trash. I’ve always told my kids to pick up trash on our walks and hikes, and it felt good to help take care of one of my favorite places to run and play.