We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

WHO-TV Test PatternI remember  the call to attention when the television screen would indicate emergency broadcast messages, colorful test patterns–once color television came along, and the “Please Stand By” image. Technology was rather simple then. Television programming wasn’t on a 24-hour cycle, and people easily mesmerized could sit and stare at a test pattern if it was difficult to move away from the electromagnetic glow. But content was completely shutdown. At least until the next morning.

My daughter asked me the other day if I was still blogging. That was a bit of a wakeup call. I didn’t think anyone would notice that I was peddling twice as fast and getting nowhere.

I could blame it on the heat and humidity. That may be part of the problem. It does seem to slow my mental processes. But I think I’ve simply been too busy. I must admit that I’m responsible for my own calendar, no one takes over and places appointments on it when I’m sleeping, but I am in serious need of an activity diet.  I’m working on that.

And then there are the unexpected time drains–like when your tortoise runs away from home!

Darwin Missing Sign

I’ll not prolong the question…yes, he’s back. But he sure did give us a scare.  We won’t point fingers at someone responsible for leaving the gate open while I was away on a university-related field trip, but Friday, Darwin made the great escape.

He has persistence. He now hides in the shade under bushes along the driveway, and in a matter of moments, he can disappear down the lengthy driveway, and apparently cross the street to find his way into a neighbor’s backyard.

After an anxious night and half of the following day, and after putting up “Missing” signs and leaving notices on homes circling two blocks, he was finally returned to his rightful home. There went Saturday!

All this was going on while we were also spending time with a potential new family member. I don’t feel at liberty to give too much information quite yet. I think we’re being previewed. But we are hopeful that a new little rescue will join our motley crew.


With all the Darwin drama, I hope we didn’t make a bad impression. I’ll keep you posted on how this works out. But wayward tortoises and spending time with a potential new family member takes time.

And I mentioned a work related university field trip. Oh yes! On the hottest day of the summer with humidity worthy of the midwest–that would be Friday–fourteen of us from the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research left behind our usual responsibilities to play together in concert with Urban Adventure Quest. 

We enjoyed ourselves finding dozens of hidden gems while we hop-scotched all over a couple of miles of downtown Los Angeles. Using our cell phones to follow clues and answer questions in order to reach our final destination, we were only loosely competitive. The heat encouraged a lot of cooperation–let’s get to the endpoint and have lunch in air conditioning.

So I’ve been busy. No, I haven’t given up on blogging. In fact, I miss being a more regular contributor and reader. But my previous comments about drinking in the last dregs of summer were true…and have just about done me in! I think I can say I’m officially ready for Autumn, and ready to modify some of the high-intensity activity I’ve been encouraging.

I’ll share a secret with you. I am ready to admit that I’m a little road weary!

So let me also share a few photos from our Urban Adventure Quest, and I will tell you more about them at another time. Many locations were very interesting.

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And I DO still have some of my favorite summer activities to tell you about. I’ll just have to drag myself away from staring off into imaginary test patterns. I’ll get there!

63 thoughts on “We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

  1. So glad to hear about Darwin returning to his nest. I was just at a friend’s place who happens to have a tortoise too–she has a label on her tortoise that has his name and phone number. They get calls all the time about her little guy escaping.

    1. So these guys are notorious for running away from home! My goodness! I’m going to have to consider labeling him. I should have some made that are weather proofed and I guess tape them to him? I will have to see how I can make this happen! He’s intent on getting into trouble. 😦

  2. What a relief that Darwin was found! I remember one in our village when I was little who had his telephone number painted on his shell… not very attractive, but apparently he went off on weekly adventures! Take some time for yourself soon, and glad to hear that you are looking froward to autumn now. 😀

    1. Ha, Cathy, that’s so funny to me that you’d remember the tortoise with his own calling card on his shell. But what a good idea. I’m not sure how to do that with all his pyramids, but maybe after his shell flattens out a bit. In the meantime, I do need to better secure that gate! And yes, I’m more than ready for Autumn. It just took me a little while! 🙂

  3. Your urban scavenger hunt sounds like a lot of fun! I created one when I worked at USC to help the new hires learn campus geography. I just love stuff like that.

    You have been a busy lady! Our weather is unbelievable, isn’t it? It is decidedly unconducive to extra activity, including blogging.

    Good luck with that beautiful tennis ball chomper and your naughty tortoise!

    1. I hope we will have news soon that our new family member has made the transition! She’s a sweetie. And the Urban Adventure activity was really fun. I’d love to do it again in a different sector of the city, but not with this heat. Gracious! It’s oppressive, isn’t it? But I know you like the San Gabriels as I do, and those clouds have been pretty, haven’t they?

    1. Thanks, Jim. While Darwin was missing and I was so concerned that I was going to need to post a sad story. Fortunately he wasn’t gone too long. We have to figure out some better strategies to keep him corralled! 🙂

  4. I think at some point in our blogging lives we all have something that takes us away from our normal routine, we’re only human after all. So pleased to hear that Darwin is okay and I’m looking forward to being introduced to the new family member 🙂

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Colleen. It was fun to take the camera on our urban adventure. And Darwin–whatever am I going to do with him when he weighs 100 pounds. He may be able to pick the lock. 🙂

    1. The Bunker Hill steps are really beautiful and there is quite a story to the architect. I hope to cover it all at some point. Of course, I should live so long as to cover all the things that interest me. LOL!

  5. I’m so glad Darwin returned home safely. Coincidentally there was a brief article in our local paper last week about another tortoise escapee – a 25 pounder named Yohan. We’re all keeping our eyes open for this guy! Those are such interesting photos you posted, I’m looking forward to hearing about them. It’s so easy to overbook ourselves these days, but I’m glad you’re back. 🙂

    1. Oh I do hope someone finds Yohan! How upsetting for his family. It’s almost hard to express how much personality these big guys have. I don’t know that I could ever adequately describe how he communicates, but he does! I was very relieved to find him. Thank you, my friend. 🙂

    1. A wool sweater? Oh that’s just too funny, Stacey. It’s almost 9:00 P.M. and I’m sure it’s close to 80 degrees outside. I think I’m really ready for a change in seasons! Darwin is so fortunate to have good friends like you. Thank you! 🙂

  6. Time With Thea

    There is nothing wrong with taking a break and regrouping. Life is full of so many other things to do. By the way, you were missed. I am so glad Darwin is OK. ~Thea

  7. Funny how, the more blog-worthy things we do, the less time we have to blog! There will always be slower days coming, in which to reflect upon and revisit these moments that you are living now. Enjoy the last of summer!

    1. You’re absolutely right, Lori. I think that’s it! I have grown accustomed to looking forward to sharing something I have enjoyed. I need to start making lists and just share about them when I can! 🙂 The heat down here has been awful–you remember September! I think I’m ready for Autumn and a bit of a slow down. Whew!

  8. Dear Debra, thanks so much for assuring us immediately that Darwin was home and safe. I’m wondering what your thoughts are to the suggestions of a couple of those who commented–painting your phone # on his back or on some tape. You’ve never before–that I can remember–blogged about his journey into the wide world. So I don’t know if Darwin is a peripatetic turquoise or a real stay-at-home traveler who finds the greenery of his own backyard enough.

    The ending photographs were lovely. So much beauty in the natural world and humans have also done their share of creating it. Peace.

    1. Dee, we’ve been talking about what to do with Darwin to “tag” him for safety. I think our first thought is that we may need to create at least a little bit of fencing. Currently he has the whole run of the place, and perhaps that’s not wise. We are doing a little research to see what might work. Short term–“someone” needs to remember to close the gate. 🙂

  9. This sounds like something that I would love, love, love to do, Debra. Thank you for sharing your always-great photos of your adventure. I really like the skeleton one for some reason. Maybe its the colors.

    I’m glad to hear you found Darwin. Maybe this escapade made him realize how good he has it, and he will stop trying to get out.

    As for blogging, I think everyone is digitally overloaded. I know so many of my blog friends are frustrated with changes beyond their control that impact their blogs. It always feels like I am screaming into a vortex. I really had to sit myself down during my digital detox and decide why I was doing this…………..and I concluded that I enjoy making connections with people through writing. As long as its fun, I will continue to do it.

    I will say that I miss seeing you as regularly. Your life is very interesting and different from mine, and I always enjoy finding that online.

    1. You’ve come to the same conclusions that I have, Andra–when I’m not writing or responding or reading…then I feel the loss of friendly connecting that I’ve grown to really appreciate. So as I am able, I’m trying to get back to a more even routine. The rest of September is just about as busy as August, but after that, I’m looking at a quieter time. Oh what am I saying…holidays. Yikes! 🙂

  10. Oh phew about Darwin
    Now to you and blogging, take your time my friend, remember it’s your time! But I do know how you feel, my summer has taken up so much of me there hasn’t been much left for blogging, and like you I miss it and my friends, maybe our respective autumns will see us back at the pc’s 🙂

    1. Yes, Claire, I don’t worry at all about how much I actually post, but I miss the “connecting” when I’m not participating in this great big global conversation. I do think that Autumn holds a little promise that I might slow down the activity level just a bit! I think i’m ready…how about you? 🙂

  11. I’s GREAT when “real life” gets in the way of cyber life . . .
    I loved the shot of that Corporate Head . . .
    I enjoyed your digital “scavenger hunt” . . .

    And I’m glad to hear that Darwin is back home.

    1. It’s true, Nancy, “real life” is more important. But recently I’ve felt my “real life” has been too much even for me, and I am kind of an “Energizer Bunny” type. My batteries are a little low. LOL! And I knew my friends would be glad to hear about Darwin being safe and sound. You know, while he was missing and I really didn’t know how it was going to turn out, I was dreading making the announcement! 🙂

  12. I haven’t noticed your post count dropping too much, Debra. It certainly beats mine. 🙂 You’ve had a number of great excuses at the moment anyway, what with Urban Adventure and an adventurous Darwin and the possible great adventure of a new family member. i’m all agog…..

    1. I haven’t posted as often this summer as I would have enjoyed, so perhaps that’s been it more than actual quantity! There are still several large family commitments “on my plate” over the next two to three weekends, so I’m not too open with my time just yet, but I’m working towards that goal. I think my new goal might be to stay in one place a bit more often. I am a bit all over the place, and I’m feeling it. 🙂 Thank you, Perpetua.

  13. My friend, you still post more regularly than I ever will 😛
    Keep enjoying yourself, especially with beautiful Darwin!
    Oh and thank you for sharing the gorgeous slideshow!

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Thank you, CCU. You are so kind. I think I’ve mostly felt sorry that I have been behind in reading the many blogs I so enjoy! But I’m slowly regaining my reading and writing balance. And I’m glad you enjoyed a few little snapshots of Los Angeles. There are so many interesting little pieces of art all over the city that I hope to share when I can. 🙂

  14. Hi Debra
    – I’m so sorry to hear Darwin escaped. “Wot a norty fello!”
    – I loved the slide show – my favorite was the Corporate Head 🙂
    – I look forward to meeting your new family member
    – I think most bloggers reach a point when we need to take a break from blogging! Enjoy!

    1. Hi Rosie. You know I always look forward to hearing from you. Yes, Darwin is certainly a naughty “little” guy! Whatever are we going to do with him! I think I mostly feel a loss when I’m not taking the time I would like to read what I have grown to enjoy from other bloggers. The “me” not writing doesn’t bother me too much. I am going through a time management strain. 🙂 Fall is coming…shorter days, more time sitting! hahaha!

  15. So glad you found Darwin as we all have gotten to know him and would be sad for you if he was permanently lost. I have a friend who raised a bird from the time it was born and he suddenly flew away through an open window, never to be found. Both his wife and my friend were distressed. Enjoyed the slide show, reminds me a little of NY.

    1. Thank you, Marie, for caring about our big guy! Darwin is now a full member of the family and as he gets larger and larger we really do find ourselves sometimes puzzled about making sure he’s secure. I’m not convinced he can’t pick locks! 🙂

  16. Darwin is not the kind of turtle that buries himself in the ground, right? that would be troublesome, and a big hole.
    I think everyone blogging seriously have motivation problems in time, cause it is work for free, and to do it properly you need a good mood, which in many days you dont feel.

  17. Whew! So glad Darwin is back home again. I, also, hope that the potential new member of the household is adapting well. She looks like she’d keep an eye on that rascally Darwin. That Urban Adventure Quest sounds like a fun time. I look forward to hearing more about it. That Minolta building looks fantastic! I love it when architecture has a bit of whimsy in the design.

  18. Oh, Debra, I do understand and seem to be looking at my own test pattern these days (as you can tell by my two day delay at commenting here). Life does get busy at times, especially when welcoming in a new pup and tracking down an escaped tortoise. I’m so glad to hear that Darwin was found. He does bring adventure to your lives, doesn’t he? As for your photos – fantastic! I cannot wait to hear about the Urban Adventure Quest. LIke ChgoJohn, I love the design whimsy, and the sense of humor (the corporate head is a hoot) as well, not to mention the beauty and you eye for detail.

    1. The busier I get, Penny, it seems the more I take on! It makes no sense, but I don’t seem to learn from the past. Ha! So lately I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed, and yet taking absolutely nothing off my plate. But recently it’s been extreme enough to wake me up, so we are really calming it all down a bit. That’s the goal anyway! 🙂 I will be eager to point out a few more of the details associated with the Urban Adventure. I’m glad you enjoyed the examples I showed. The corporate head was a big surprise to me. I had never seen it before, but next time I’ll share the poem that went with it! Maybe the weather will break and we’ll both ease into fall—and breathe! I hope so, Penny, for you and for me. LOL!

  19. Debra, all this news, and here’s me trying not to smile at the thought of the persistent, dogged runaway tortoise. I feel a children’s book coming on. Your possible new addition is just absolutely scrumptious! I am very, very excited…

    1. I do understand the amusement at Darwin’s misadventures, Kate. Maybe in my retirement years I will consider writing that children’s book. I have many little stories I could tell. 🙂 I think the new little pup is going to be coming this weekend. We are working out the details…like getting the rabbit to my daughter’s house. The dog and the rabbit didn’t get along too well. *sigh*

  20. I think we all struggle with the fact that blogging is difficult to juggle with life. I’m so sorry to hear about Darwin – what a scare that must have been for you. I’m so glad the story has a happy ending xx

    1. There are lots of things difficult to juggle with life, isn’t that true? 🙂 And then we add in more. I would think I’d have really learned that concept a long, long time ago. But I do pile on anyway. I think we’re going to get the new little dog this weekend. I hope Darwin doesn’t decide to run away again rather than share our home. Stay tuned on that!

    1. Thank you, Karen. Very sweet comment. I really enjoy my blogging friends and when I’m not ‘around’ in the way I’d most enjoy, I feel a loss. I sometimes laugh and wonder when that switch turned on! 🙂 Have a great weekend…we are hot, hot, hot!!

  21. What a great adventure! The pictures are awesome! Reminds me of when I lived there. Poor Darwin (though my original thought was – how far could a turtle get? Haha. ). Enjoy the end of your summer – looking forward to all of your posts on your adventures!

    1. Thank you so much, my friend. Did you live in Southern California? It’s been SO hot this past month. Darwin, who thrives on heat, probably felt a little energized, and yes, he can move very quickly! Thank you so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  22. It’s funny how blogging can get lost in the throws of every day life. Sometimes I look up and didn’t even realize I forgot to post for that week. It’s taken me a while to not feel bad about that either. It’s just life. 🙂 I’m so thankful Darwin was found!!! I do just love his persistence and sense of adventure. He has such a great personality. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that your brood will be growing too. 🙂 Couldn’t think of a more deserving home than yours!!!

    1. I mostly feel badly when I’m not reading others, Kristy! I really enjoy taking the time to see what others have been up to! But lately, whew! I am just struggling for more time. I think as I move into fall I’ll adopt a slower rhythm. That’s what I’m telling myself. LOL! And thank you for caring about Darwin. He’s very special to us, and he really did give us a fright!

  23. I’m gonna have to find that headless man. Very nice discover.
    Glad for the reunion of your pet. That’d be tragic to hear.
    I may take a break from blogging a time or two but it calls out to me every time. Blogging is sort of a journal and creative outlet, and that is why I can ever fully abandon it.

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