Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doodles of Gratitude

A few closeups

My primitive artwork began as a small drawing about things I'm grateful for but...I couldn't stop. If you begin a similar project, you might want a larger sheet of paper!(If the entire family starts counting their blessings you might need one of those paper tablecloths and lots of colored pens.)
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and
 thanks for being a friend.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hiking, Preserving Good Ideas & Praying for Rain

There are good ideas and bad ideas. Leaving oaks for palms was not one of my better ideas. Perhaps I mentioned on a different post that I missed big trees while living in the desert. Of course, I had a great connection with my lemon tree and will always miss her fragrant blossoms and juicy, plump fruit. Lately however, I've reunited with some old friends and though I remember certain mighty trees, do they remember me?

Most ideas start with a seed that develops into something great and tall like an oak or they shrivel...withering away... if not watered and protected. 
Nurture your ideas and they will grow!

Going on a hike is a wonderful idea!
 Yes, pay the small day-use fee and let’s go.

Hiking boots are a must.
 Even though it's mostly flat terrain
 there are rocky sections and tarantulas.

Which way should we go? A Robert Frost moment.
Is this tree gorgeous, or what?

Before we moved to the desert, we lived five miles from the Santa Rosa Plateau and Ecological Preserve. It is a great place to go hiking--observe nature and sometimes--even wildlife. Yesterday, on a lovely November Sunday, and after a nine-year hiatus, we finally returned. Though looking a bit dry, I was elated that our new home is still only six miles away.
You should see this place in the spring!

Dry grasses reflect the seriousness of the California drought. Remarkable and strange due to the international news this area created during a deluge about a month ago. Huge floods just down the street were washing cars away. Lightning and thunder shook our home and a lake formed on a lot next door. There was also rain last week and evidence of lightning strikes up in the preserve.

Once home to the Luiseno tribe, it’s a serene place now consisting of 9000 acres. The preserve has coyotes, mountain lions, mule deer and other animals roaming free in their natural habitat. We saw two large, gold-colored coyotes but hurried along the trail so they wouldn't alert the rest of the pack.

There are vernal pools, meadows for horseback riding, mountain biking and the oldest standing structures in our county called the adobes. 

It’s only a 2.5-mile hike and a lovely way to spend the day. There are picnic benches surrounding the adobe buildings and it’s very quiet. The only sound was the woodpecker banging his bill into the 400-year-old oak above us.
 Here are some interesting facts about 
the adobes.

* Built in 1846 by a rancher called Juan Moreno--the last Mexican governor of California territory, Pio Pico, granted him 48,000 acres.
* Moreno sold his ranch in 1855 for $1000 and some livestock.
*    In 1876 some British businessmen bought the land for $1 an acre.
*    In 1894 it went into receivership.
*    In 1964 it was sold to Kaiser Steel for 21 million.
*   In 1984 it was purchased by the Nature Conservancy.

Have you heard of the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion trees campaign? Now that’s a great idea!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Losing My Stuffing!

Is Anything Pinky Proof?

Welcome to the Dog Toy Trials

Pinky is the official dog toy tester. 
She is being compensated and doesn't endorse one product over another. 
She is not an actor.

Dragon with a missing brain.

Rescued dogs seem to take all their frustrations out on their toys. Even after ten years....

Gutless camo-wearing squirrel

I usually wait for her to get to the stuffing and then remove as much of the white fluffy stuff as I can, as well as the squeaky thing. Once all that is in the garbage, I return her toy. She misses the squeaky part but still enjoys chewing on the toy.
A bird on it's last legs

I thought she’d mellow out by now but she’s as playful as ever. 
Guess I should count my blessings.
Tried something a little less plush and after one hour....

I realize there are tougher toys out there but they are usually hard rubber.
Squeak-no-more Skunk

Any recommendations? 
The packaging said it was very tough--made from automobile seat belts.

If someone you know makes a living designing toys for dogs, please suggest making them more durable. The above toys total $50 or more and though Pinky loves having fun with them--my trips to the pet store are now being monitored--because---someone around here thinks buying dog toys is a waste of money! Can you imagine??

So far the winner is brainless dragon but only because our official tester temporarily lost interest....

 Pinky and I hope we have helped other dog owners in the quest for the best toys.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Positive Energy

I've been thinking about energy lately. The kind of energy that unites souls. Some people call it animal magnetism or auras but I think there’s more to it than that. Besides, animal magnetism doesn't really apply to heterosexual, same-sex friends, does it?

Perhaps our greatest human strength is not physical.

Think about the last time you sat in a car and stared into another car. Did the passenger or driver look back? Coincidence right? Maybe not. Maybe it’s your energy? Are we ready to acknowledge our innate wireless connections? Have you ever showed up at someone’s house only to be told they are so glad you came and they were just about to call you and invite you over? Maybe you got there just in time to cheer them up or save them from a house fire because you noticed they left the stove on.

While quantum physicists are explaining their theories regarding atomic connected-ness, I’m thinking about it all the time. I don’t need the theory of relativity to tell me we’re related.

I remember Christmas shopping in a store that gave me bad vibes. By the time I left, I had accidentally cut myself on the sharp-edged counter and was bleeding profusely. Was it something they sold? Was it the building? Was it the people who worked there? Why did I feel so uncomfortable and why did I end up punished in a sense, for not liking their store? Sure, it seems silly to take it personally and yet there was a definite feeling hanging over my shoulders, making me feel like I wasn't welcome.

My husband is a real estate broker and has shown me many, many resale homes where I immediately sensed either a negative vibe or a positive ambiance. This has nothing to do with cleanliness or staging a home. When I walk into a home, I often feel there were huge arguments or perhaps painful interactions that might have taken place. I can be in a sunny, upbeat mood and feel like a dark cloud has landed on my head. Heading for the door, I wonder if the house will ever sell. Of course, I've been in happy homes where happy families lived and typically, I've wanted to linger. Isn't it strange how we leave behind these energy fields and how can we prevent them from seeping into the foundation?

While USA Today called Sedona, Arizona the most beautiful place in America, others say it’s a place of concentrated energy. A place where spiritual powers feel enhanced from what the New Age crowd calls a vortex and others say it’s just our own personal reaction to extraordinary beauty. A vortex is something that swirls like a whirlpool and takes place in water, fire and even lava. Like dust or snow flurries, they settle down after a while, unless it’s invisible like energy. The invisible part makes scientists dispute the energy claims of Sedona because it’s not very easy to prove and scientists love having proof. All I know is that my fancy Swiss watch had a new battery when I went to Sedona, and once there, it stopped running. 

Home to many different tribes--such as Hopi, Apache and Anasazi-- could the collective energies of their families, their prayers have seeped into the red stone monoliths to create a kind of outdoor cathedral uniting tourists and local believers?

We've all heard of the power of positive thinking and the laws of abundance but what are the consequences of the opposite? With so many negative things going on in the world, is there something we can do to create positive energy? Every word, maybe every thought alters the universe. Maybe our inner strength can end violence, create peace and end war?