Clouds and new friends–a perfect way to exhale!

Are you ready for the weekend? I have a very full weekend planned. We have dinner plans with friends, I’m taking a “class” at the Apple store, and we are hoping to take in the new Bond movie. If the weather is dry we are going to take a few minutes to visit a new park that’s opened in downtown Los Angeles. You may not know this, but in Southern California when it rains “life” can come to a screeching halt. We don’t know how to act!

And yes, we had a little rain. Not much, but after weeks of triple digit heat in October and into November, it was reason to celebrate. Today was my first day in several that I was home and eager to spend a few minutes breathing in the fresh morning air. I thought that after sharing that I was going to read a Bram Stoker novel, I’d give you a peek at what I do that is more congruent with “breathing lighter.”

I spent a good hour outside taking photos of clouds. The sky was just SO beautiful I took dozens of photos. Photos can’t capture the essence of the fragrance after a light rain, or indicate the light breeze that signals a dramatic shift in the weather. But I still had to try!

I took a peek in “Darwin’s house” to make sure that he was warm enough.  He was still burrowed in the timothy hay with the sun’s warmth just beginning to seep in to give him a nudge. He wasn’t showing any interest in leaving his nice warm pad for breakfast. I even followed a bird around the yard. I love my Fridays!

But that’s not all. I had a special lunch date. I finally found a date that worked to meet a blogging buddy! She and I have been talking for months about finally enjoying some face-to-face time! Aren’t you just a little bit curious?

I’ll be sharing more about my lunch date and afternoon visit in my next post. It was such a lovely day. I sincerely hope you all find the chance to exhale, too. Weekends are perfect for just that!

Spam? What Spam? My Friday exhale–letting it go and admiring the simple things all around me.

English: Gordon MacRae and Doris Day in Starli...
Spam you say? Pish Posh! Now we won’t let that spoil our weekend, will we!

What a week! All things important in life have gone well. I have no real complaints, but that has never stopped me from doing just a little bit of grumbling. This Spam issue has me a bit turned on end. I am still being exiled to the place for naughty comments and it’s more than a little time consuming doing what I can to rectify the situation. So far WordPress hasn’t been helpful but I’ll just sing a few bars of “Que Sera, Sera” and truly whatever will be, will be.

I had my camera close to me as I enjoyed the backyard this week. I always acknowledge the summer solstice with a little more time in the garden. My favorite time of day is sunset, and I often find myself quieting after work and spending time just walking about noting how things are growing, which birds are feeding at the feeders and, of course, looking at the early evening sky. It’s difficult to see the actual sunset because we don’t have an unobstructed line of sight. But I enjoy the shadows and the changing light anyway.

The late afternoon sun illuminated the part of the backyard railroad we’ve designated as “the canyon.” I keep teasing with the train, but one of these days I’ll share the photos of the project from start to finish. It was quite a season of backyard transformation.

Here’s a strange little succulent! Those aren’t rocks you see in the picture. It’s a Pleiospilos bolusil…or if that’s too big a mouthful, try Living Stones.  It’s an odd little succulent from South Africa, with the common name split rock. Experts say that the plant is so drought tolerant it can go an entire year without water in our climate. We have some with pink flowers, too, but they aren’t blooming right now.

The backyard stream is part of a larger water feature. The sound of running water is our favored contribution to reducing the effects of daily stress. We do what we can to mask the noise and activity that comes with living in suburbia! I can forget that a major thoroughfare is only one block beyond our front door!

I had a few surprises in the vegetable garden, too! I get so excited with each and every bloom and spend time every evening checking for signs of insects or distress, and admiring signs of healthy growth. But apparently I wasn’t as eagle-eyed as I thought I was.

Just look at the size of this summer squash next to two beautiful courgettes! Courgettes? What’s that you say?

Look how big this guy is? He was hiding all week!
Pattypan squash and two freshly picked courgettes

I can almost hear the question. Why am I calling the zucchini courgettes? Very simple. It’s my new favorite word. Claire, at Promenade Plantings commented on my lovely courgettes, and I fell in love with the word! I hope to impress all my friends with my new terminology.

I also brewed some chocolate mint tea. The mint was an add-on to our weekly produce box and they were extremely generous. We’ve enjoyed the mint tea all week. I picked about 20 leaves, rolled them in my hand just a bit to bruise them, and simply steeped them in some boiling water. It was refreshing and the mint aroma and mild taste (chocolate mint is not as strong as peppermint) was very calming. No caffeine for me in the evening!

But I’ve saved the best for last. The evenings have been lovely and we’ve eaten outdoors. While eating at our little glass table I was still looking around, taking in all that I could see! Looking out, my glance shifted to the power poles in the far corner of my neighbor’s yard. I spied something I’ve never seen before!

Jay ran for the binoculars as I grabbed my camera! This is a hawk family! Two parents and two babies! We have lived in our home for almost 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. Not long after I snapped this picture the two adult hawks flew off in tandem. The babies sat patiently waiting for mom and dad to return, presumably with a little dinner.

I zoomed in as close as I could to admire one of the babies. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to see the little family again, but it was a real treat! How glad I was that we had slowed down long enough to take a leisurely dinner outdoors!

Weekends are often a chance to do the same. Slow down long enough to take notice. Make a mindful exhale, and let’s enjoy the simple things we find this weekend.

Ahhh. Let it go!

Breathing lighter, Debra