Photo: Trinidad State Beach Harbor


Two more photos from Trinidad State Beach.  Check out this photo or this photo or this photo for more from this fabulous California State Beach which I loved visiting.  There were relatively few people there when we visited due to the overcast day.  The town of Trinidad is small, less than 500 permanent residents, with a handful of trinket shops along its one stoplight main road.  The best part of visiting this town were the tidepools and the views of the California coast, meandering its way along the water.  It also has a quick uphill trail the leads to spectacular views of the harbor, coast, and beach.  Trinidad State Beach is a jewel on the California coastline.


Monday’s Photo: Sea Anemone from tide pools at Trinidad State Beach

This is a third photo from Trinidad State Beach in Humbolt county, the first one being this starfish and the second this lighthouse.  What a surprise to drive up to this state beach, walk out to a few clusters of rocks and then ecstatically gasp over the multitude of sea anemones and starfish.  Tidepools have always fascinated me.  They are eco-systems whose existence depends on cycles of feast and famine, the high tide that brings water and a low tide that often takes it away, unless a rock support system helps trap in a pool.  Anemones remind me of 3 ideas.  One, to always have a rock for support.  Two, during a state of abundance open up to the flow.  Three, when the ebb is temporarily absent, hold on tight to your rock and keep faith that the tide will come.

Monday’s Photo: Oranges from the Backyard

It’s amazing what a little water, some insecticide, and pruning can do for a tree.  These fresh oranges are from a tree that a year ago I didn’t even want to walk by for fear of being attacked by insect residue.

This poor orange tree looked haggard when we moved into our place in May 2010.  First, it was clothed in webs from spider mites.  The webs took over the tree, making it look like a net had been placed around it.  Very Gross.  Second, whiteflies or aphids (not sure which, most likely both) excreted a sticky substance on the back of the leaves and dirt and dust in the air collected on the stickiness, making the leaves appear not green but black and white.  Third, it was brimming with soooo many oranges, many which were long past their prime.

When we tried to eat these “fruits,” we spit them out because they were more cardboard than orange.  A trip to my local family-owned nursery helped me figure out a tactical plan to save the tree from infestation.

First we sprayed an insecticide, an All Seasons Spray Oil that connected to our hose.  I don’t know why I said we, Kris did this, while I shut the sliding glass back door and stayed clear.  Then Kris pruned off some of the lower branches which had withered fruit on them.  Immediately (this is not an exaggeration) the tree looked taller, healthier.  The leaves were green again!

Then I started watering it once every 2-3 weeks, a deep soak.  Whenever I remembered.

Now when we use these oranges they are sweet and juicy.  From time to time when we cut one open it is dry and a light yellow color instead of a brilliant orange, so we just head back outside and grab another one with our fruit picker.  The ratio of juicy fruit to dry fruit used to be 1 juicy fruit for every 4-5 dry ones, now that is pleasantly reversed.

I can garden!!

P.S. I used this fresh orange juice in this recipe.

Monday’s Photo: The Great Mosque (cathedral) of Cordoba, Spain

Kris and I went to Spain for our honeymoon in 2009.  We focused on the southern state of Andalucia.  One of my favorite stops was Cordoba, a city whose prestige traces back to Ancient Rome.  Cordoba during the 10th and 11th centuries was a bustling religious center for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  It is the birthplace of several influential Islamic and Jewish philosophers.  The Great Mosque of Cordoba, now a cathedral, shows the mixing of Islamic and Christian influences in Spain.  Wondering around the old Jewish Quarter, we saw the prolific Jewish cultural and religious tradition that ultimately was forced to go into hiding, expulsion, or conversion after 1492.

These are 3 of my favorite photos from Cordoba’s Mosque/Cathedral.


Please forgive the Mondays’ photo on a Tuesday. 😉

Monday’s Photo: No Poodles Allowed

I know.  It’s Tuesday, not Monday, and I have been missing for about a week now with zero, zip, nada.  I’m actually in the process of making a career transition from working in secondary education (high school) to working in higher education (post-secondary).  I will let you know how things work out.  In the meantime, please enjoy this photo from Granada, Spain.  In my humble opinion, it means, no poodles, but any other kind of dog would be fine.

P.S. Doesn’t it look like the poodle is wearing high heels?

10 Pictures and 2 Snakes from Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park

Last weekend, Kris and I took the pooch on a walk around the Berkeley Marina and Cesar Chavez Park.  It was an absolutely stunning September day around the Bay.  Clear skies with just the slightest hint of haze only as you looked out towards San Francisco.

The sunlight glimmered off the surface of the bay as if it was winking at you.

The sail boats not in use had erect, empty masts like skyscrapers on the water, only they bobbed with the ebb and flow of the waves.

We spotted a lot of seagulls and a couple of pelicans, loitering by the boat launching area. They must have thought they could get a free meal from fishermen’s scrapings.

Hidden in a small community garden was this cute “garden wedding” display.  I love the giraffe as witness.

Looping our way around the path that runs along the perimeter of Cesar Chavez Park, we got a spectacular view of San Francisco through a couple of layers of haze.  I love that glittering water.

Cesar Chavez is a mecca for kite flyers.  Some days you only have 10 kite flyers, other days 30 plus.  I’ve always been curious what it’s like on Kite Festival Days.

You will always hear the zooming of a master kite flyer, diving his/her kite through the air.  The wings flap frantically, and the wind hits the edges of the kite making it sound like the motor of a remote control airplane.  The kite swoops down like a bird of prey, and it looks like it’s going to crash into the ground.  At the last second, the kite flyer lifts his/her arms up and steers it back up into the air, only to dive bomb the kite again.

Lots of joggers, lots of bicyclists, but this little girl with her pink shirt, pink moccasins, pink bike, and pink ribbons streaming from her handlebars was the cutest.  She was closely following her dad and had a voice as bubblegum pink as her set of wheels.  I had purple streams coming off my handlebars when I was her age.

I was so tickled by this girl trailing her dad that I failed to notice this in the path.

Thankfully I have a husband who pays attention to what he’s doing.  He said it was just relaxing on the hot concrete path as if it were sunbathing.  A jogger started to pass us and Kris tried to warn her to watch out for the snake, but she had her headphones on.  Well, she found out about it soon enough, yelped, and almost lost her balance and fell onto the other side of the path.

It’s a quick path around this park, only 1 meandering mile, but as soon as you make the final loop, you get a view of Berkeley and UC Berkeley campus.  The tall white building is the campanile, the clock tower.

Just my luck, as I was getting excited to take the above photograph, Kris notices another slithering friend right next to my foot.

This time it was my turn to yelp, almost lose my balance, and scare the thing away.