Body, Mind, Spirit
Summer vacation is here! Yay!! The boys are home and already staying up far later than they should. I’m walking 2.5 miles almost daily, and if I don’t I walk around 1.5 miles. On Father’s Day I put on a pair of shorts I couldn’t fit into last summer and on Friday I did the same with a pair of jeans. Okay, sure, the waist was a little tight. Not tight enough to give me a muffin top (my body isn’t shaped that way) but tight enough that my lower back felt ever-so slightly uncomfortable after a few hours. You know what I mean?
My weight is sort of the same–more on that on a later day–but what I’ve realized is that I need to up my game as far as my upper body is concerned. My legs are getting stronger, more tone. My stomach, arms, back, and stomach still look like something that has been sitting in a proofing basket.
I’m looking for are upper body exercises I can do every day after or before my walks. Whatever I do has to be low intensity since it would be a daily exercise, and just like my walks, I’m perfectly okay staying ordinary. I don’t need magnificent arms or a washboard stomach or shoulder blades I can use to crack walnuts. All I want is for my upper half to match my lower half. My goals and expectations are low, but I honestly think that’s why I’ve been able to go as long as I have. Sunday was day 167, in case you were curious. I’m only a couple of weeks away from the half-way point!
Body, Mind, Spirit
I can’t resist taking a picture of jumbles and cracks on my walks, so I thought I would make them the subject of my pictures this week. They’re easy to find in an older neighborhood with mature trees. I heard once that the canopy of a tree above ground mimics the root pattern below ground. I don’t think that’s entirely true, because we have a very tall, 50+ year old Liquidambar in our front year with a tight canopy, and those roots criss-cross the yard like highways all the way down to the street. They’ve torn up two sewer lines, a planter, and an entire sprinkler system. That tree is a hoodlum.
The trees around our neighborhood are just as thuggish. Cracked sidewalks, busted streets, lawns in a rolling state of upheaval–nothing new, move along. There is always someone, somewhere, repairing cement. Everyone else is hosing down their jacaranda petals. There is one street where there are tree roots cracking through the asphalt, jacaranda petals cover the only sidewalk, and the across the road stands a row of Bradford pear trees. You know, the trees with an easily identifiable and memorable smell. If the elms are the thugs and the jacarandas are the strippers, I suppose the row of Bradford pears makes sense. It’s my little red light district in suburbia.
Song of the Week
Ruby — Kenny Rogers
(The end of the video has interesting trivia.)
Body, Mind, Spirit
Funny I should choose the color red during a week where I was almost brazen about taking pictures. The red ball of whatever in the planter, the red swing next to the picture window with the curtains pulled back, the front door with floor-to-ceiling sidelights, the side garden, and the two buckets someone was using to wash their white Toyota Camry were all pictures that required some nerve to take–at least for an introvert who prefers solitary walks.
My walk on Sunday derailed almost immediately when a young female stranger and I had to wrangle a lost dog into a corner so we could lure him back to his house. His name was Sparkles, which if you ask Mikey is as good a reason as any to run away from home. I called Sparkles’s home since his tags didn’t have an address, and I had the supreme pleasure of speaking to the teenaged boy of the house. Such a charming lad! Full of enthusiasm and zest for life! Quick witted, too.
“Hi, we have Sparkles.”
“Your dog. We have your dog, Sparkles?”
“Okay, yeah. Yeah!”
“Right. We can walk your dog Sparkles to you if you just let us know where you are.”
“Oh! Yeah, right. Okay. Um, so where am I…”
“Just an address and we’re good. Like, the numbers and the street. That’s all we need…”
“Okay, yeah. Um, 5280 Springfield. Do you know where that is?”
I told him I did, but even if I didn’t I would have driven to a gas station and bought a map before I accepted any sort of guidance from that hormone riddled amoeba. There are glaciers in Antarctica moving faster than that boy’s neurotransmitters. Within 10 seconds I decided, using all my cynical wisdom, that he was one or all of the following: (1) watching TV, (2) stoned, (3) a teenager, or (4) embarrassed his mom named a male dog Sparkles.
My young female stranger co-dog wrangler offered to take Sparkles back to his castle, and I happily allowed her to head off into the sunset with him tucked under her arm like a football. I had more pressing matters to attend to. A picture of my feet standing next to something red wasn’t going to just magically appear on instagram.
Song of the Week
Pandora snuck in a Doo-Wop song one day last week, and I had so much fun I searched around until I found a 50s station I liked. I’ve been listening to 50s Rock n’ Roll ever since. There was a period from junior high until my junior year in high school that I listened to 50s music more than a child of the 70s/80s should. Southern California people, I listened to K-Earth 101.1 all the time. Twenty years later and I still remember almost every word to every song. I don’t know why this music makes me happy, but it does.
It wasn’t until I found this video on Youtube that I realized Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris (a cover–Bobby Day recorded the original) was in the movies Christine and Matilda. I haven’t seen either one, so the all-out war in the comment section over which movie should be associated with the song came as a surprise. People eventually resorted to insults. Insults! All over a song from 1957 with, quite frankly, some sketchy lyrics. My favorite comment, which I now can’t find, went something along the lines of: Everyone just shut up and enjoy the music.
Little Bitty Pretty One– Thurston Harris
Body, Mind, Spirit
I chose white for this week and in the process discovered the air around here is yellow. Everything reflects a hint of soft gold or umber. The white stripe in the second to the last picture is a hard water stain. I took long walks and short walks and took pictures of the obvious and the not so obvious. I walked past the white rocks 6 times this week before I noticed them on Saturday evening, which I thought is a lot how life goes in general. People, solutions, paths–sometimes what you need has been in front of you all along.
Song of the Week
Mikey wanted to dress up as a paleontologist for career day and had this complicated costume idea which I wanted no part of, though I did offer to make him a shirt. He still wanted a “paleontologist jacket and pants,” so I agreed at the last minute to check the racks at Goodwill. This thrilled Mikey because he loves thrift stores and flea markets. They appeal to his frugal nature.
He’s been asking me to be a member of Club Penguin for two years, and this year I agreed grudgingly after I heard a few moms I respect let their sons get memberships. This is before I knew there were free memberships and paid memberships. The fun, of course, happens with the $67 memberships. We told Mikey he could have a free membership but would have to save and pay for anything extra. He agreed and within 6 months of good grades, jobs for family, and Christmas money, he was ready for membership. This entire time I knew he was getting membership gift cards in his Easter basket from family, but I still let him save and work because I figured it was a good lesson in money management. When he came up to me shortly before Easter with 67 hard-earned dollars in his hands, I suggested he hold off for just a little longer. “You should wait until after Easter, Mikey. You never know–maybe you’ll get something Club Penguin related and you won’t have to spend your savings.”
“That’s an excellent idea, mom. You know why? Because I’m cheap.”
We made quick work of the Goodwill. We found a jacket for Mikey and cargo pants for Nicholas, who also wanted to be a paleontologist. I made the shirt for Mikey late that night and survived his micromanagement. I will never forget that Tyrannosaurus has two Ns, I can’t promise you that much.
The Goodwill knows a good opportunity when it sees one, and they took full advantage of Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’s Thrift Shop song. There are posters all over the store with some of the lyrics that Mikey immediately recognized–of course it’s one of his favorite songs. He’s still naive enough that he misses the bleeps and silences injected to mask the bad words when he hears it on the radio. It’s a great song, but I wish it wasn’t so explicit. I’d let him listen to it beyond the infrequent radio play otherwise. I downloaded the “family safe” version but I guess I have a different idea of what family safe means.
This video is NSFW
Body, Mind, Spirit
Drought tolerant plants photographed this week, top to bottom, are as follows:
- Salvia (aka Mexican sage, which is actually in the mint family)
- Alpine daisy
- Bottle brush
- Night blooming iris
This week I decided to focus on drought tolerant plants, partly to protect myself against photo-failure in the event of another heat wave (good move, we had triple digits), and partly to showcase the variety and color you can still achieve for your garden with drought tolerant, hardy plants.
All of these plants require full sun and little water with the exception of the night blooming iris, which is only drought tolerant once it’s established. If you are a completely negligent gardener, then the agapanthus is for you. The Mister and I pulled a huge clump out out of the front yard when we were first married and because it was a long day and agapanthus are dirt cheap here, we tossed them on the backyard patio with the intent to plant them the next day. It never happened until the following weekend, and by that point they looked like wilted green onions. I’m not sure why we planted them anyway, but we did, and those things came back strong within 24 hours and without extra care! We couldn’t believe it. You can’t kill those things. I love the white ones–so rare around here–en masse. They’re hydrangeas for the sunshine state.
I heard from a few people that lantana grows in several parts of the US (and abroad), and it’s always interesting to hear how plants tolerate different zones. I hear on the East Coast lantana is an annual, and that in Australia it’s a noxious weed. In my part of southern California it’s a shrub that stays green all year and flowers nonstop during the summer. It’s made for our environment. The hotter it gets, the brighter and more voluminous the blooms.
I only took pictures of plants I could easily name, so there were plenty of other drought tolerant plants I recognized but didn’t photograph. Not knowing the name and not being able to research it and confirm that it was drought tolerant would drive me bonkers. I should buy a pocket plant identifier book. I’m sure something like that exists.
Our climate in the Inland Empire allows us to grow a wide variety of plants, but there are a few plants you don’t see around around here except for in the refrigerated section of a florist or Trader Joes. Peonies, for example, are a no-go. We could make them bloom, maybe, but it’d be a poor showing. I’ve never seen a garden with lilacs. The closest I have ever come to moss is in craft stores and after years of searching, I’ve let go of the dream of owning a bird’s nest fern. I’ve never seen one around here, not even as a houseplant.
Note that I said Inland Empire in the above paragraph. California is such a big state, and with such a variety of climates, that what works for me wouldn’t work for someone living an hour from me–and for entirely different reasons depending on whether they live an hour east, west, north and south.
The world is so small these days. How do these drought tolerant (cheap, water friendly) plants compare to what’s inexpensive and plentiful in your neck of the woods?
Song of the Week
It is What it It — Kacey Musgraves
This is the best video I could find since there isn’t an official video out.