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The birds never take the string that I leave for them.

I put various pieces on the porch railing every year: a green drawstring from an old, zip-up sweatshirt; a small length of berry-red wool yarn that was tied like a ribbon around a gift long ago; strings from clothing tags.

Now it is cold again and we saw snowflakes meekly flying across the yard this morning. The snow looked like ashes.

Maybe the birds don’t come because I have cats. Maybe I need to set the string out as early as January. Maybe anyone who partakes in this ritual is always left with string.

And maybe Spring will come.

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magnolia pods

beautiful horsetail (an ancient plant, reproduces by spores like ferns do) hedges landscaped into a rock-and-water garden in front of a (multi) million-dollar ocean-front home

jade hedges; rosemary hedges; bougainvillea spilling out over garages and porches and clay-tile roofs; hummingbirds; shore birds; harbor seals; cormorants and the white streaks of their excrement all over the rocky cliffs on the beaches in La Jolla; the black-crowned night heron fishing off of the ropes at the Maritime Museum; the beautiful black-and-white spotted feather with a bright-orange rachis that I brought home with me but still haven’t identified (anybody?)

ship’s ropes

I got all fancy-schmancy and used the digital switch-over function for b & w, something to which I’ve always been quite resistant. With my old Retina camera, b & w was de rigeur, but with digital, it always feels like cheating. What is wrong with me? Am I so pretentious that only 35mm b & w photography is good enough? Yeesh.

dummies in the ship museum (who still uses these guys? CREEPY and his hand looks bloodied!)

same dragon, different angle:

You know I’ve said I think boy pee has a stronger odor than girl pee, due to the testosterone and all. That was before I visited one of the San Diego airport’s women’s bathrooms at 9 pm on a Saturday and one of the Atlanta airport’s women’s bathrooms at 6 am on a Sunday. These loos smelled very strongly of pee, BOY pee. YIKES!!! Maybe our hormones are equal to and/or greater than theirs? (I’m baiting you, you know).

if this were a b & w photo, you might be confused as to who should use this john

They may talk big in the South about manners and all, but let me tell you, they don’t seem to know how to clean a bathroom.

Today’s song has nothing to do with So Cal except that our pal George sort of half-played it for us and we sort of half-sang along (as if we could it at all because the Feelies don’t really sing their lyrics, they sort of mumble them)

In Coronado, an uber-white, wealthy (or just wanna-be wealthy, for the clueless tourists?), tacky, less-cultured-than-La Jolla (if that’s even possible), gazillions-of-SUVs type community, there are a few places on the sidewalks and at the curbs where quarters are glued to the pavement, I kid you not.

First, it’s illegal (not to mention un-American) to deface American coins. How is it that in one of the most Republican counties in the US, this is allowed?

Second, it’s cruel. What, Coronado, you have so much money, you sit around on your xeriscaped patios watching the lowly plebians try to pick up quarters all day? What about the little barefoot ragamuffin getting run over in the street as he tries to pick up that coin he needs to buy a can of beans for his family’s supper? Have you no mercy?

So, Coronado Beach, keep your money glued to the sidewalks. We don’t need your stinkin’ quarters.

Look what this little New England street urchin found, not glued to the sidewalk:

Look what I saw when I came home:

I know this is not a great photo, but at least I didn’t make it b & w, right? I never saw a sunset like this in So Cal. Chalk one up for New England!

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La Jolla

harbor seals

didn’t I write about vibrissae here before?

Latin is cool because of the –a ending singular and –ae ending plural

that is really about as much as I know about Latin

how, how, how could the mammals have come onto the land and have gone back into the water? it boggles the mind, but Hubby is right, it’s just what they did, they must have needed to. food? rising oceans? do you actually think I’ll read this and find out the truth? hell no! but you can.

pinnipeds

we decided to rent bikes, only a 2-mile-ish walk to the rental place, so we walked. noonday sun, so cal style, not a cloud. me? sunscreen, gott sei dank. enough water, apparently not. definitely slightly dehydrated from the 10 hours of travel yesterday, you know how dry the air in airports and airplanes is, you know how much dryer it is here than in New England.

got to the rental place and I already had a headache, but then riding the bike uphill, uphill, me with not enough air in my lungs (still), I pooped out. but I still got back to our place alright. there is a really nice bike lane on the main drag (Torrey Pines Road) outside of town (although there’s no where to cross the street on your bike if you are facing one way and need to get the other way, very few traffic lights where this would be possible and safe, wtf?) but no bike lanes in the town of La Jolla per se and rather terrifyingly huge SUVs, around which one can hardly see or be seen, parked up and down every street. it seems like mostly people are driving slowly in town and are acclimated to lots of crosswalks and pedestrians. I was not a very good cyclist today, alternating between the sidewalk and the road and even riding without my helmet on the second trip. I just wish I had more dang air already and I promise to wear my helmet at all times tomorrow.

after our first ride, I had to pop some ibuprofin, drink a slew of water, rest, and I was pretty well recovered. when we rode back to the rental place later to pick up a lock, the air had cooled rather beautifully and I felt much stronger. even the hills (there are really only a couple) seemed easier and my breath was better. La Jolla, not bad, I tell you, not bad at all.

writing about biking and anemia is pretty boring, I admit, but I still haven’t told you the whole sordid story of why I have been bleeding so much in the last year. I finally found out last month but I won’t go into it right now.

it’s nice to be in a Mediterranean/maritime (I looked it up) climate. the flowers and plants all smell so good. the jade hedges go on and on, they are HUGE, the rosemary is abundant as well, the trees are fascinating, exotic, and beautiful. I forgot how it all looks out here, though I’ve never been this far south in California, I just mean the Pacific Coast tout entire. god the flowers, god the plants, god the birds. the seals, the ocean. the fruit and vegetables taste pretty darn good, too.

the Mission architecture, the Spanish tile roofs, the colorful buildings, the windows, the wealth. the racism that you know is just under the surface, is not that long-gone (if at all).

St. James Church, across the street from our b and b, with the most amazing dragon tree, as you can see

not the Republicans, though, no, not them. Romney has a house here as does McCain, but I did see 2 Obama bumper stickers in a row today. gott sei dank.

I can’t wait ’til the whole obscene mess is over. the money, the waste. if Romney makes it in, I’d like to leave. Quebec isn’t far from me when I’m home, but they want Obama in the WH up there as much as I do and are subject to the influence of the POTUS same as everyone.

I am sorry my anemia is making me fatter and older. it’s unfair, really. every time I go through this, I gain about 8 pounds and lose about 2 years in my face. I try not to talk about my weight and body image, because, well, I have the same issues any American woman does, but I find it boring and demeaning. but today, I gave myself permission because I’ve about had it.

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