Sunday, 28 April 2013

Lemon and Lavender and Meringue

It is fun to bake pretty.

And for that I turn to this website, by Zoe Francois, a gal that likes to Eat Dessert First.

That is a motto I can live by!

She walks you through every step of her recipes with simple explanations and gorgeous photos so it never feels overwhelming...

And the proof is in the end product.

Can you smell the lavender?

Thanks Zoe!

Monday, 15 April 2013


Two explosions took place near the finish line of the Boston Marathon today.

The Boston Marathon brings back fond memories of my early days in New England.

Years (decades?) ago, I worked for a software company in Boston. For months, I lived out of a suitcase at the Four Seasons Hotel on Boylston. The same Boylston that we are seeing today on television. A street now covered in blood and debris.

Back then, one of my colleagues hosted a party on the rooftop of his apartment, which was situated along the marathon route. In my new city filled with history and brownstones and wide tree-lined streets.

Perfect way to celebrate my first Patriots Day (a holiday I was unaware of while living in California).

My first Boston Marathon. With a bunch of twenty-somethings, holding plastic cups of beer, looking down at the crowd and cheering on the runners.

A great introduction to Beantown and its traditions.

It wasn't the only year I cheered on the runners.

But since then I have had to do most of my cheering long-distance.

After moving back to the West Coast, I sponsored a friend (from that same software company) who was running to raise money to help his child and others that needed respite care. It was his first attempt at 26.2 miles. He had the frame of a football player, not a runner, but he finished and laughed that his time was nothing to brag about but money was raised and that was all that mattered.

I have also cheered for one of my fittest and dearest friends (from the same company) that has run the race numerous times.

Today, my first thought was of her when the news broke.

She didn't run this year and is safe, according to her text message.

Thank goodness.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for so many others...the number of those that have died or were injured has gone up as information pours in on the evening news.

A tragic and devastating end.

To a celebratory holiday.

My heart goes out to all in Boston tonight.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Cheetah Sisters

So busy admiring the spotted coats of the cheetahs as our tram rode by that I forgot to take a picture. Went back and walked the trail to get a closer look but the gals were shy or sleepy or both and seemed to be flaunting their looks towards the tram riders and not the walkers.

This is all I got.

And I couldn't even find her sister in the brush.

The cheetah sisters were my favorite animal sighting this weekend.

And here are the runner-ups.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wild Safari

We have been going to the San Diego Wild Animal Park for years and years and years.

It was renamed the San Diego Zoo Safari Park but I can never remember that.

Yesterday I rode the Africa Tram Safari.

Stopped to watch a mom and daughter team traverse the Jungle Ropes Safari.

Watched in awe as the giraffes participated in the Photo Caravan Safari.

Looked up at the Balloon Safari.

Walked the Safari Trail to see the animals up close (and snoozing on parked cars).

So much to see at the Wild Animal Park.

Er, Safari Park.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Butterfly Jungle

Arriving at noon was not early enough to snag a timed ticket to see the Butterfly Jungle exhibit at San Diego's Safari Park.

All of us slackers, that did not arrive when the park gates opened, were forced to kill time.

Looking at wild animals, riding the tram and eating soft serve ice cream.

Fortunately, they allowed the ticketless general public to view the butterflies between 4 and 6 pm.

This was the line at 3:30.

There is a protocol to viewing butterflies. They are allowed to touch you. They are allowed to land on you. Basically, the butterflies can do whatever they want.

Humans, however, are not allowed to touch, flick, pick up, step on or in any way harass the butterflies. Before leaving the enclosure, each person must twirl, I repeat, do a complete spin, in front of a uniformed butterfly inspector in order to make sure that no butterflies are on your person prior to leaving the enclosure.

It seemed like a lot of fuss.

But as I stepped into the exhibit, this gorgeous creature flew onto my left shoulder allowing me to reach my camera out with my right hand and snap a photo. Lovely. I stood still and was surrounded by cameras and iPhones from the crowd until the color-coordinated little fella flew away.

This gal was not so lucky. A beautiful butterfly landed on her upper left butt cheek. She also had a crowd gathered 'oohing and aching' but she could not see the butterfly. And perhaps she did not want so much attention focused on her rear. Of course, I am just speculating.

These are a few more that sat still long enough to be photographed.

One last look before we leave the exhibit.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


A professional arborist evaluated the pine trees growing on the HOA-owned and maintained slope behind our street.

It was determined that some trees would be removed and some would be trimmed.

Green dots indicate the trees that would remain.

Red dots indicate the ones that would be removed.

Poor sad, red-dotted tree.

We have two of them.

Today the crew arrived...and started on our neighbor's tree.

And now it looks like this.

A stump.

By midday, the guys were directly behind our house.

Climbing and trimming branches.

Going higher and higher.

Wielding a chainsaw.

At this point, my hair, clothes and camera were getting covered in sawdust.

So I walked around the block.

To check out the action at street level.

The first truck is filled with wood chips.

This one does all the 'chipping'.

After the trees are brought down (with a thud that shook our house).

Cut into pieces with a chainsaw.

Hefted to the truck by three strong men.

And rolled into the chipper.

A press of a button and chips are flying...

The crew has left for the day. 

Now instead of two full-grown trees with red dots we have one and one-third.

Which will be down to stumps tomorrow or the next day.

Unless I can convince the Arborist, the Board of Directors and the Landscape Committee that the neighborhood could use a few totem poles!