Recipe for a Perfect Day

Recipe for a Perfect Alpine Day:

Ingredients:
1 cup of fresh coffee
2 eggs over easy
9 hours of sunshine
1 handsome man at my side
11 groomed packed-powder blues
4 fresh, untracked powder black diamonds
5 deck chairs overlooking Lake Tahoe
3 great, fearless friends
1 bottle of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Apres-ski view, Lake Tahoe

Directions:
Mix vigorously until joy and laughter fill the air. Soak 15-20 minutes in hot tub until tender spots are soothed.

Serves: 1-5. Double recipe if desired.

And you thought you look funny snoring?!

Video of the Northern Elephant Seal*

February 14th is a time for romance. Head to the beach and find the mate of your dreams, like this guy! Yes, he snores a little. But he is helping to bring his race back from the brink of extinction.


Valentine’s Day is the peak of mating season for the Northern Elephant Seal. This beach is about seven miles north of San Simeon, near the Hearst Mansion. It’s called the Piedras Blancas rookery, because it is the site to which these elephant seals return twice a year to mate and bear their young. You can view the seals from raised boardwalk viewing platforms on the bluffs. I was impressed that every single visitor was quiet and respectful toward the seals, (and each other.) As you’d expect, this isn’t a place to bring your dog. Mine was happy with the windows down in the parking lot, nose in the cool, fresh breeze.

The largest male elephant seal I saw was, I’d guess, around fourteen feet, but they can grow up to sixteen feet long, and over five thousand pounds! The pictures can’t capture the scale. This large male was larger than our SUV. The pups and females scurried out of their paths as the males hulked across the sand, sometimes pursuing a female, and other times battling other males. The pups’ piercing cries for their mothers, and the bellowing call of the males, were cacophonous. I could have stayed all day.

If you make the trip, you might want to bring a jacket, plus sunglasses and sunscreen if you go in the afternoon, as the beach faces west. And, of course, your camera!

*No animals were disturbed in the making of this video. A zoom lens and great spot on the viewing platform are all you need.

Elephant Seals Take To The Beach

elephant seals san simeon 043

February 14th is a time for romance. Head to the beach and find the mate of your dreams.

Like this guy, stretched out on his back. Yes, he snores a little. But he is helping to bring his race back from the brink of extinction. According to  http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/education/marine-mammal-information/pinnipeds/northern-elephant-seal/ there were fewer than 100 northern elephant seals by 1910, down from around 15,000, due to overhunting for lamp oil. elephant seals san simeon 026

Valentine’s Day is the peak of mating season for the Northern Elephant Seal. This beach is about seven miles north of San Simeon, near the Hearst Mansion. It’s called the Piedras Blancas rookery, because it is the site to which these elephant seals return twice a year to mate and bear their young. elephant seals san simeon 036You can view the elephant seals from raised boardwalk viewing platforms on the bluffs.

I was impressed. Every single visitor was quiet and respectful toward the seals, (and each other.) I was awed by experiencing the intimate lives of these enormous creatures in such close proximity.elephant seals san simeon 024

The largest male elephant seal I saw was, I’d guess, around fourteen feet, but they can grow up to sixteen feet long, and over five thousand pounds! The pictures can’t capture the scale, because volunteers ensure that no humans disturb the seals by going onto the beach. This is for the seals’ protection, but frankly, you wouldn’t stand a chance against one of the big guys. That large,snoring male was bigger than our SUV!elephant seals san simeon 018

The pups and females scurried out of their paths as powerful, blubbery males hulked across the sand, sometimes pursuing a female, and other times battling other males. The pups’ piercing cries for their mothers, and the bellowing call of the males, were cacophonous. The sparkling sea added to nature’s noise. florida 2014 191I could have stayed all day. elephant seals san simeon 020

As you’d expect, this isn’t a place to bring your dog. Mine was happy with the windows down in the parking lot, nose in the cool, fresh breeze. If you make the trip, you might want to bring a jacket, plus sunglasses and sunscreen if you go in the afternoon, as the beach faces west. And, of course, your camera!

*No animals were disturbed in the making of this post. A zoom lens and great spot on the viewing platform are all you need.

Winter Solstice

You know what I love about today? From now until the summer solstice June 21, each day will have more daylight than the last. Oh, yes. And my whole family will be under one roof in a couple of days. We are safe, with Patches the wonder dog on duty. We have shoes, clothing, education, and food for dinner. That makes us richly blessed.

I am so very thankful for these many blessings, and wish them for all.



VOTE!

Today’s the day! Millions of people are headed to the polls to cast their ballots in a very close presidential election. They are also voting in state and local elections, school board elections, and ballot questions. Keeping track of all the choices can be difficult.  I have to admit, there have been times when I looked at a sample ballot and wondered, “what exactly does an Orphan’s Court Judge do, and how do I find out anything about these candidates??” 

The decisions made today will affect our schools, our children, fellow citizens, country, and the world.  That’s where the League of Women Voters can be of help. Just go to Vote411.

I entered my address, then clicked the green “Get personalized information on candidates and issues” box. When I filled out the Personalized Ballot, I was taken to the Voter 411 Voter Guide.

You just click on the down arrow to the right of “Vote 411 Voter Guide” and select the information you would like to see. I chose “All my races.” 

You can view all the choices that will appear on your ballot when you go to vote, and also research further on the site to get information about the candidates and both sides of questions on your ballot.

 I voted early this year, but am still excited about election day. So, no matter whom you choose, remember to get out and vote!




One more reason to love the Rocky Mountain states

One more reason to love the Rocky Mountain states! 🙂
I love the way someone understands how a family might pass the time in the car as they cross this beautiful country. I’ve played the alphabet game dozens of times, and someone in the highway signs department must have, too. These are always the letters I need! Something posted on Facebook by The Wyoming Highway Patrol is below. Thanks, Folks!
Playing the alphabet game as you travel? In Wyoming we like to help you out with even the little things. Check out this sign on Togwotee Pass east of Moran Junction. Be safe as you travel this holiday weekend. And as always, please buckle up!
Photo: Playing the alphabet game as you travel?  In Wyoming we like to help you out with even the little things.  Check out this sign on Togwotee Pass east of Moran Junction. Be safe as you travel this holiday weekend.  And as always, please buckle up!

Be THAT guy!

I’ve been laughing, and sometimes cringing, when driving lately. There are drivers on the road whose bodies may be behind the wheel, but their attention is elsewhere. Is it on their coffee? Are they on phones? The open newspaper on the seat next to them? I’m not sure, but I was amazed to see that in one case, it was the blue glow of an open computer screen, and the driver had only one hand on the wheel. I’ve learned a lot of lessons, cautionary tales, but they were all bundled in the same theme:

Don’t be THAT guy!

Mindfulness is a way of focusing your attention fully on where you are and what you are doing, right at that moment. I usually think of it as a way to keep myself healthy, focused, grounded, and aware. It’s good for me. But lately I realize that keeping one’s mind on the present moment is also good for the people around me. When parenting, being fully engaged with my child. Intentionally noticing the beautiful things around me and feeling gratitude. Seeing the humanity in the people around me and feeling compassion. And, yes, realizing that my car is not just transporting me; it is interacting with many people’s lives.

A wise person recently told me that he wants to make a difference in the world, and initially thought it had to be through his career choice. Lately, though, he said, “Maybe I can just be the guy in a car who is kind to the other drivers, waves someone ahead, smiles in beltway traffic, and just makes a few people’s days easier.”

My goal is to be THAT guy 🙂

National Suicide Prevention Week

This is Suicide Prevention Week. Are you, or someone you know, in pain? 

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US, and third among adolescents. What would you do if you, or someone you loved, couldn’t go on? 

If you had any other condition that required treatment in order to save your life, wouldn’t you seek medical advice? The brain is one of the organs in the human body, and it deserves at least the same care and attention as all the others.

Today I am grateful for the yellow flower that was growing out of the pavement in the Safeway parking lot. I noticed how full my cupboard was, and bought extra tuna packs and granola bars to keep in my car for those without. How kind was the grocery clerk who asked how my day was before ringing up my purchase? I am comforted by the fact that, if ever I or someone I know is distraught and needs medical attention, there is a local ER equipped to help, and 1-800-273-TALK, 24 hours a day.

For more information, you can read this article from the National Institute of Health

Be well, everyone. I am so glad you are here.  ♥ 

More books I’m reading, Part Two: International Assistance Dog Week

I’m about two-thirds of the way through Bob Goff’s book, Love Does… It’s Bob Goff’s memoir, with anecdotes about his life and how they relate to his understanding of his faith – Christianity. He’s a great storyteller. As a reader, I’m enjoying it, and as a writer, picking up some tips.

In my previous post I also listed Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him. It’s a powerful autobiography about the importance of his service dog, Tuesday, in dealing with the physical and emotional wounds suffered by Luis Carlos Montalván. While some of the details of the story have since been questioned, the book made me look into the training of service dogs for veterans. This particular author’s tale is the one that was published, but there are many others whose stories have not been told who need the support of a service dog.

August 5-11, 2012, is International Assistance Dog Week, which recognizes and celebrates assistance dogs around the world. It was started by a woman who has dealt with paraplegia for decades, according to International Assistance Dog Week‘s website. They provide a link to Assistance Dogs International, which establishes standards for assistance dogs, programs, and trainers, and provides education and information.

People dealing with disabilities who use service dogs have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Getting a dog can be a long process, though.

Dogs are used in the field for combat stress relief, in military and veterans’ hospitals as facility therapy dogs, and as guide dogs and hearing dogs. These dogs can be trained to perform specific tasks that are difficult or impossible for the human, as well as to respond appropriately to his psychological needs. The author’s dog, Tuesday, was specially trained to perform the services Luis Carlos Montalv. 

The VA provides information about, and links for, service dogs for the military. VA Service and Guide Dogs I found a few other links as well. There’s the program Puppies Behind Bars, featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, that provided a service dog to a veteran in addition to the home rehab. These organizations need volunteers, and foster families for early raising and training. They also don’t turn down donations.

I found this organization near my home; it’s based in Brookeville, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. Hero Dogs

Hmmm 🙂