Category Archives: Family

Cat Sitting Venus – I’m Afraid She Will Never Want to Leave

Venus header

Our friends Leslie, Blake, and Ben left for a few weeks on a trip to Europe recently, and they asked me to take their cat Venus to our house while they are away.  They used to have an evil cat named Raja, who was an Egyptian Mau, who I would check in on at their place while they were gone.  He was mean-tempered, and growled at you just for looking at him.  Not all the time, but it happened, and that’s enough for me.  I watched him several times for Leslie at her house, and I don’t think I ever touched him.  We were both happier that way.  Raja dropped dead, which was very considerate of him, since that really saves on the vet bills, and he was getting up there in years.  I recently had to put down our 19 year old cat Bella, who, was, of course, a saint, and it was heart-breaking.

My Bella.

Saint Bella.

Anyhow, back to Leslie and her new cat Venus.  We all took a trip to the shelter a month or so after Raja died, and after much petting and deliberating, Leslie and Blake came home with Venus.  Leslie is forever in my debt for dragging her away from an Egyptian Mau that looked like Raja that was at the shelter.  It looked very pretty as it tried to claw it’s way out of its enclosure.  We went in looking for a sweet cat, and that’s what Leslie got.  And she is a beautiful black cat, who are the hardest cats to place in new homes, so Leslie got some bonus feel good points. Venus has been at our house for almost two weeks, and she is loving it.  It took a few days for her and Julius to get used to each other (I took it slow and kept her in the kids’ bedroom initially), but now they are pals.  He licks her head, they sniff each others noses and behinds, and have even started chasing each other at 4:00 am.  I could do without the last one.  The cats get to go out in the yard when I am home, and Venus thinks this is the best invention EVER!  She watches birds, swats at butterflies and looks confused when I yell at her to leave them alone, and slinks along the edge of the yard behind the plants, looking and feeling mysterious.

Julius and Venus greeting each other, Venus hanging out in the plants and blissing out on the grass.

Julius and Venus greeting each other, Venus hanging out in the plants, and blissing out on the grass.

Venus in two of her favorite bird watching spots.

Venus in two of her favorite bird watching spots.

I must say that this cat sitting experience has really encouraged me about our own upcoming foray to the animal shelter in August, when we will pick out a new kitty to bring home.  We are thinking about getting a young adult, and Julius has been such a gentleman to Venus.  He is enjoying having her around, especially since Bella was not very energetic her last few years, and sometimes downright grouchy.  He really is the best cat ever (sorry Venus).

BEST CAT EVER.

BEST CAT EVER.

But his time with Venus is soon to end, as her family are back home in a few days.  It’s like John and Olivia said…

Summer loving had me a blast,
Summer loving happened so fast,
I met a girl crazy for me,
Met a boy cute as can be,

Summer days drifting away,
To, uh oh, those summer nights…

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She Was the Softest Cat in the World

Bella.Header

I recently put down our 19 year old cat. It was terribly hard.  Even though I know it was the right thing to do, I will feel guilty about it forever.

Her name was Bella, but she had many nicknames.  Bella Wella, Pretty Girl, Little Girl, Girlie Girl, Little Punkin, Little Bit of Nothing, Little Miss Sunshine, Sun Bear, and Iddle Biddle Diddle.

She was a medium length hair tortie who had the softest fur in the world.  She had orange stripes hidden on the inside of her front legs, mottled skin on the inside of her ears that reflected the patchwork of fur colors on the outside, tufts of fur that stuck out between the pads of her paws, puffy back leg fur that looked like pantaloons, and a small patch of creamy white on her chest (hence Sun Bear).

I loved to bury my nose in her side and sniff her, because she had a nutty, earthy smell.  Not all cats smell the same.  Julius smells like an old closet.  I don’t like to sniff him so much.

She was always tiny.  At her heaviest she weighed about 8 pounds.  For most of her life she weighed about 5 or 6 pounds.  Towards the end of her life she was 3 to 4 pounds.  I held her over my shoulder and carried her cradled in my arms a lot the last few months of her life.  When she was young I would drape her around my neck like a scarf.

But she was not a cuddly cat.  When I chose her from the litter, I should have been tipped off when she wouldn’t stay in my hand for more than a few seconds.  She would let me hold for a short time, but then would jump away.  She would cuddle in bed at night for 5 or ten minutes, and then jump away.  She was a quirky, freaky little cat, like a lot of torties.

Bella was a bionic jumper.  I found her on top of an open door once.  Perched up there.  Actually, she was kind of stuck.  When we moved into our current house she would jump to the top of an 8 foot tall fence to get into the neighbor’s yard.  I had to fish her out of there a couple of times, thank goodness they were friendly people.

Bella was fiesty.  She lived with big, grey Enzo for 10 years, big, grey Jacque for 2 years, and big, grey and white Julius for 8 years.  Julius weighs 15 pounds.  She was less than a third of his size.  When he started messing with her she would take it for awhile, but if he pushed too hard she would start in on him, and I would come into the room to find him rolled over on his back crying while she dove in to nip him again and again.  When she was very small Enzo used to lick and clean her until she was damp, and then he would start to chew on her.  She learned early not to take any guff from big, grey cats.

She was also stubborn, obtuse and sometimes not terribly bright.  Enzo and Julius were/are my smart cats.  Jacque not so much, evidenced by his running off one night and never making it back.  Bella would jump on the counter, I would take her down, she would jump up, I would take her down.  Rinse and repeat.  When Lisa and Tom were watching her when she was kitten she got her head stuck in a tissue box.  When Mel was watching her she freaked out each and every time she walked past a mirror wall in their house, because she saw the stranger cat in it.  As she got older her stubborn streak became a mile wide.  She got wet food whenever the hell she wanted it, because she would NOT STOP meowing for it.  She never learned the word “No”, which is something smart cats do.  Or maybe she was the really smart cat, and she knew what “No” meant, but just chose to ignore it.

Until the last few years of her life, she had a huge purr.  It was incongruous, coming from such a little body.  Even the tips of her whiskers rumbled when she purred.  But like most things that made Bella Bella, her purr became almost silent.  She, who could leap several times the length of her body straight up into the air, couldn’t jump up onto a chair or climb the stairs.  She became deaf.  She had cataracts and couldn’t see well.  Her right hip was painful and caused her to limp.  She faded.

My eyes are tearing as I write this, because when you live with a pet for 19 years, when you know every little detail about their body and spirit, watching their decline and making the decision to end their life is gut wrenching.  So I tell myself she had a wonderful life, a wonderful family, a wonderful trio of big, grey cats.  We had her cremated, and she is in a little box, on top of a slightly larger box that holds Enzo.  Over the summer we will go to the shelter and look for another little female cat to bring into our home and lives and hearts.  But I miss her.  My little Bella.

The Early Years

Early

The top left is Bella when she was a few weeks old.  She is licking her paw.  She wasn’t the prettiest kitten, she looked more like a scraggly bat.  Enzo would groom her and sleep with her.  He is gnawing on her on the bottom right.  Me with my two besties in the middle.  Bella isn’t the only one who got old!

Fur

A close up of her glorious fur coat, all beautiful earth tones.  She was kind of freaky, especially when she was younger.  You get a sense of that from her wild eyes in the picture on the right.

The Middle Years

Middle

Bella mellowed some with age.  We moved into our current house, and we all enjoyed our expanded indoor and outdoor space.  She loved to sit in pots.  I guess that made her a pot bella cat.

The Later Years

Later

She remained beautiful and healthy, though a lot slower, up until the last year or so.  She went in the yard every day, to sniff the air and sit in the sun.  She slept a lot, and she and I both got creative finding new places for her to nap.

Last Day

Bella on her last morning.  I made a nest for her on the floor downstairs, and during the last week she spent a lot of time curled up in it resting.  Goodbye Miss Bella, you were a good girl.

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Two Days at the California State Science Fair

Science Fair.header

Sam and I headed up to Los Angeles earlier this week to attend the California State Science Fair.  It was held at the California Science Center, in Exposition Park (where the 1984 Olympics were held).  His project was on how seedlings grew in burned vs. unburned areas in Mission Trails Regional Park.  You can check out his science blog for more details, though it is not that up to date (Science Blog!).  This is one of our projects to work on now that the state fair is done!

It was a fun few days.  We were both really impressed with the other projects we saw, and also at how well run the fair was.  Sam is going to continue his project, so hopefully he will get back there next year.  Click on photos to get a better look.

Almost 1,000 students, each with a parent or two.  Plus volunteers and judges.  It was a crowd!

Attending the state fair were almost 1,000 students, each with a parent or two. Plus volunteers and judges. It was a crowd!  On the right is Sam next to his giant poster.

Sam and I were both SO EXCITED when we learned his project would be displayed in the room with the space shuttle Endeavor.  The posters were displayed in rings around the space craft.  We were blown away.

Sam and I were both SO EXCITED when we learned his project would be displayed in the room with the space shuttle Endeavor. The posters were displayed in rings around the space craft. We were blown away.  During the public viewing of the projects Sam hung out by his poster while I sat in my travel chair underneath the Endeavor and read a book.  Coolest place ever to read.  EVER!

More shuttle pics.  The tiles on the bottom had numbers.  The engines were huge.  The shuttle as a whole is beautifully streamlined.  It reminded me more of a sea creature than a bird, like a giant ray.

More shuttle pics. The tiles on the bottom had numbers. The engines were huge. The shuttle as a whole is beautifully streamlined. It reminded me more of a sea creature like a giant ray than a bird.

Sam spent every minute of his break time racing around the science center checking out the exhibits.  Many of them involved motion.  Making waves, lifting a truck on a giant lever, you get the idea.  I think his choices might have had something to do with sitting next to his poster talking for hours.  Nerd alert: He was like a coiled spring, bursting with potential energy just DYING to be converted to kinetic energy.

Sam spent every minute of his break time racing around the science center checking out the exhibits. Many of them involved motion. Making waves, lifting a truck on a giant lever, you get the idea. I think his choices might have had something to do with sitting next to his poster talking for hours. He was like a coiled spring, bursting with potential energy just DYING to be converted to kinetic energy.

Super super cool space exhibits, I mean besides the epically cool Endeavor exhibit.  Gemini and Apollo capsules, a Mars lander, satellites (including Sputnik!) and space probes.

The science center had super super cool space exhibits, in addition to the epically cool Endeavor exhibit. Gemini and Apollo capsules, a Mars lander, satellites (including Sputnik!) and space probes.

The kelp aquarium was a soothing spot to wander about.  Sam liked the small window.  I loved the school fish, they were mezmerizing as they flashed through the water.

The kelp aquarium was a soothing spot to hang out in. Sam liked the small window. I loved the schooling fish; they were mesmerizing as they flashed through the water.

The awards ceremony was in a lovely indoor/outdoor pavilion.  Sam got an honorable mention, which was terrific for his first state science fair.  Maybe next year he will get to go up on stage and get a medal, just like Han and Luke.

The awards ceremony was in a lovely indoor/outdoor pavilion. Sam got an honorable mention, which was terrific for his first State Science Fair. Maybe next year he will get to go up on stage and get a medal, just like Han and Luke.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include Sam’s video of the desert flash flood exhibit.  The flood went through the exhibit every 10 minutes.  We went back to see it 3 times.  It fascinated him.  I got to spend a lot of time watching the desert tortoise sleep, or slowly bang around its enclosure, as I waited for the flood in the other exhibit.  Soothing, but not as soothing as the kelp.  The nice thing about this video, is that you don’t have to wait around, you can just watch it…again and again and again…

Flash Flood Video

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Wind, wind, wind, wind, some pictographs, wind, wind, and wind

Wind.header

Apparently I have been living under the mistaken impression that when camping in the Anza Borrego Desert in the fall and winter, the weather is pretty cooperative.  We have had a few showers here and there, but in general, we have not been assaulted by the forces of nature on trips with Sam’s Boy Scout troop.  This era has now come to an end for me.  A few weeks ago we headed out on our annual troop trip to Dos Cabezas, a primitive camping site near the town of Ocotillo.  The lack of facilities doesn’t bother me.  I can always find a bush or friendly rock to hide behind.  What does bother me, it turns out, is hours and hours of gusting winds.

Not that the trip was no fun.  The kids had a tremendous time clambering over the boulder strewn hills surrounding our campsite.  We had a great hike to the Mortero palm tree grove, we explored the ruins of the old San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railroad Company train station, and we saw the “Horse and Rider” pictograph in Piedras Grandes (believed to be one of the first of early Spanish Explorers in the area) and another set of really striking pictographs at Indian Hills.  There were flowers in bloom in the desert (see my previous post Desert Flowers in Anza Borrego), and the clouds cleared up at night in time to enjoy a beautiful sky full of stars.

That being said…the wind really was blowing hard.  One tent came loose and was blown 30 feet in the air, and a few others lost poles and suffered tears.  Many people slept in cars.  I slept in a car with 3 children.  We had trouble keeping the stoves lit, and while we were cooking dinner someone had to stand by holding various things down, since anything left unattended became airborne.  And just the feeling of having strong winds knocking you around for 24 hours is kind of exhausting.

But we are a resilient group, and despite the challenging conditions we spent lots of time chatting and laughing, and then cleaning the grit out of our teeth.  We had four boys complete their First Class cooking requirements, and the scouts did a great job of cooking and cleaning together as a team.  And we were graced with the presence of not just one, but two Scoutmasters Emeriti.  I am glad we went, but I am hoping for balmier conditions next time we venture east!

Click on photos to enlarge

When we arrived at the site around 9:30, there was enough wind that we decided not to set up tents yet.  The boys clambered on the boulder strew hillsides and explored for a few hours.

When we arrived at the site around 9:30, there was enough wind that we decided not to set up tents yet. The boys clambered on the boulder strew hillsides and explored for a few hours.

JD and I had fun with the panorama setting on my camera.  He ran behind me while I panned so he could be in the picture twice.

JD and I had fun with the panorama setting on my camera. He ran behind me while I panned so he could be in the picture twice.

After lunch we set off of the Motero Palm oasis.  The hike up the palms is  very pretty, though I forget how steep some parts are.

After lunch we set off to the Motero palm oasis. The hike up to the palms is very pretty, though I forget how steep some parts are.

The palms are a great place to hang out.  The trees all have skirts of dried fronds, and a large fallen palm makes a terrific bridge.  Amy found a nice comfy rock chair to while away a few hours in.

The palms are a great place to hang out. The trees all have skirts of dried fronds, and a large fallen palm makes a terrific bridge. Amy found a nice comfy rock chair to while away a few hours in.

More palm oasis fun.

More palm oasis fun.

The canyon continues to rise up at the back of the palm oasis.  There is a beautiful view down to the desert floor.

The canyon continues to rise up at the back of the palm oasis. There is a beautiful view down to the desert floor.

The desert was pretty green (for a desert), and I loved the way the plants dotted the walls.  It reminded me a hanging gardens.

The desert was pretty green (for a desert), and I loved the way the plants dotted the walls. It reminded me hanging gardens.

On the hike down Emma found some moteros (grinding holes created by Native Americans), and an old cattle watering trough.  She is pretending to wash up with some rock soap.

On the hike down Emma found some morteros (grinding holes created by Native Americans), and an old cattle watering trough. She is pretending to wash up with some rock soap.

Two of our recent Eagle scouts.  We will miss them when they head off to college next year!

Two of our recent Eagle scouts. We will miss them when they head off to college next year!

Some desert plants.  The bushes on the top were like a fairy tale spooky forest, though on a much smaller scale.

Desert plants. The bushes on the top were like a fairy tale spooky forest, though on a much smaller scale.  Bonsai shrub and wildflowers.

From the palms we headed to the abandoned railroad station.  This water tower is always a great sight, though I was sad that the sky was not blue this year.  The rusty brown against a sunny sky is very striking.

We left the palms and headed to the abandoned railroad station. This water tower is always a great sight, though I was sad that the sky was not blue this year. The rusty brown against a sunny sky is very striking.

Mikey either rescuing Irvan or attempting to tie him to the railroad tracks.  Andrew is neutral, like Switzerland.

Mikey is either rescuing Irvan or attempting to tie him to the railroad tracks. Andrew is neutral, like Switzerland.

Sam and JD having a race along the tracks.  I was tempted to push them over, but opted for taking their picture.

Sam and JD having a race along the tracks. I was tempted to push them over, but opted for taking their picture instead.

Mr. S. in the "Instant Scoutmaster Machine."  Unfortunately, no one had a quarter to activate him.

Mr. S. in the “Instant Scoutmaster Machine.” Unfortunately, no one had a quarter to activate him.

Sam, Matthew, and desert graffiti.

Sam, Matthew, and desert graffiti.

Next up, a walk to see a set of petroglyphs believed to be the first depiction by native people of a man on horse back.  Here we are heading out.  Though it looks pretty level, it is actually a pretty consistent uphill slog.  In deep soft sand.  With a brisk headwind.  Did I mention the wind?

Next up, a hike to see a set of petroglyphs believed to be the first depiction by native people of a man on horseback. Though it looks pretty level, it is actually a pretty consistent uphill slog. In deep soft sand. With a brisk headwind. Did I mention there was wind?

The petroglyphs are pretty faded, though there is a sign showing what you are supposed to be seeing.  Stevie is complaining that I keep taking his picture.  Don't sit on a rock like the cutest little Buddha in the world, and then I won't Stevie!  It's as simple as that.

The petroglyphs are pretty faded, though there is a sign showing what you are supposed to be seeing. Stevie is complaining that I keep taking his picture. Don’t sit on a rock like the cutest little Buddha in the world, and then I won’t Stevie! It’s as simple as that.

The conditions were challenging, but the scenery was lovely.

The conditions were challenging, but the scenery was easy on the eyes.

At the trail head, waiting to head back to camp.  The boys are playing a game to see how long they could balance on the poles before wind gusts knocked them off.

At the trail head, waiting to head back to camp. The boys are playing a game to see how long they can balance on the poles before a wind gust knocks them off.

Morning at camp.  After I crawled out of the car, I saw lots of dark clouds.  We busted our butts to get the tents down and get breakfast started.  It never rained, but the clouds did liven up the sky!

Morning at camp. After I crawled out of the car, I saw lots of dark clouds. We busted our butts to get the tents down and get breakfast started. It never rained, but the clouds did liven up the sky!

The "Old Guard" of our troop.  These guys have been mainstays for years, and we hope they continue to come out with us.  We need Mr. H. to tell us where to turn!

The “Old Guard” of our troop. These guys have been mainstays for years, and we hope they continue to come out with us. We need Mr. H. to tell us where to turn!

The last stop on our desert trip was to see another set of petroglyphs.  These were spectacular.  They were painted on a cave in a large grouping of boulders that rose up from the desert floor.  Native tribes obviously spent a lot of time in the area, it must have been a comfy winter home.

The last stop on our desert trip was to see another set of petroglyphs. These were spectacular. They were painted on a cave in a large grouping of rocks and boulders that rose up from the desert floor. Native tribes obviously spent a lot of time in the area, it must have been a comfy winter home.

A long view out from the rock pile.  A short view of multicolored boulders.

A long view out from the rock pile. A short view of multicolored boulders.

On our way in and out we crossed the rail road tracks again.

On our way in and out we crossed the rail road tracks again.

Our scouts at the end of another great trip.

Our scouts at the end of another great trip.

Me and my Sam.

Mother, daughter (if you squint you can see her behind me in the pink), and son.

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Taxidermy With Dr. Seuss

Seuss header

San Diego is a hotbed of Dr. Seuss-iness, which is not surprising as he lived here from 1947 until his death in 1991.  Mandeville Special Collections in UCSD’s Geisel Library is filled with his notes and original artwork, and there is a bronze statue of him sitting at a drawing desk outside the library named after him.  UCSD also celebrates Dr. Seuss’ (Theodor Geisel’s) birthday in the beginning of March each year, and gives away thousands of pieces of free cake.  See my post You Had Me At Free Cake for a description of this whimsical event.

There is another, temporary Seuss-fest in San Diego, at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.  They currently are showing an exhibit of his artwork including sculptures, paintings, and drawings, which runs until December 2015 (Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss).

Sam and Trevor had a half day a few Wednesdays ago, so we headed to Balboa Park, our Explorer Passes in hand.  Explorer Passes give you admission to all of the museums in the park (but not the Zoo), so we had a lively debate (as usual) trying to figure out where to go.  Trevor reminded me of the Seuss exhibit, which ended the discussion.  Off we went!

From the lobby there is a view of a vibrant yellow wall, which is hung with fanciful taxidermy specimens.  Taxidermy as only Dr. Seuss could conceive of it!

Taxidermy with Seuss.2

Here is an old photo of Dr. Seuss under one of the taxidermy heads that hung in his home, holding a little dog.  Is it just me, or is this juxtaposition a tad creepy?

Dr. Seuss with dog

Speaking of Dr. Seuss’ home, one of the first things you see in the gallery is a huge photo of him sitting at his work table.  His home sits on top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, and offers views up and down the coastline.  As a creative person, I can only imagine how cool it would be to do your work with that view outside your giant windows.  Sublime.

Dr. Seuss at desk

The gallery was filled with paintings by Dr. Seuss.  Below are a series of cats.  From the left, “Cat From the Wrong Side of the Tracks”, “Wisdom of the Oriental Cat”, “Joseph Cat and His Coat of Many Colors, and “Green Cat with Lights”.

Different Seuss Cats

The colors were so vibrant.  On the left below are “Free Bird” and “Fire Bird”.  I didn’t get the title of the one on the right.   So I’m going to make one up.  How about “Little Red House in a Big Big Universe.”

Colorful Seuss paintings

Self portraits by Dr. Seuss.  He forgot to put on his happy face.

Self portraits

Sometimes the exhibit strayed into more adult themes, like the “Facts of Life” on the right.  The one to the left is Dr. Seuss’ version of “Abduction of the Sabine Women”, which depicts Roman men abducting neighboring Sabine women to help populate their new city.  Hard to imagine a children’s book based on that theme.  It would be enough to give Cindy Lou Hoo nightmares!

Facts of Life.Sabine

This one is “After Dark in the Park”.  Who knew the little animals were so happy?  I wonder what’s in their water…

Park after Dark

There were also amazing sculptures, including, of course, the Lorax.  It inspired Sam to get all “Hand of God”.

The Lorax

Bitter Teen Trevor found his soul mate, Mr. Grinch.  And Horton is hearing a Who.

Grinch+Horton

Had to get a photo of Sam I Am with some green eggs and ham.

Sam I Am

WHEW!!!  What a great exhibit.  Though they started out chipper as chipmunks, the boys found it a bit exhausting.  Fortunately there were giant poof pillows, upon which they sank gracefully down.

Before and after

If you live in San Diego or come to visit, this exhibit is up in next December.  If you would like more info on Dr. Seuss, there is a nice article from 2004 in UCSD Magazine, where the author visits Dr. Seuss’ house and interviews his widow Audrey (Oh the Places He Did Go).

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Beach Tableau: Kite and Kelp, Stones and Sea Foam

Beach header

December 26th, 2014.  San Diego, California.  A spectacular winter day in southern California.  Recent rains have scrubbed the sky and land clean, and the afternoon sunshine glazes everything with a bright, clear, yellow light.  Seeking fresh ocean breezes, we pack up the kids and head to a local beach.  Some moments from a few hours at at Torrey Pines.

The beaches in North County don't have as much sand over the winter, and instead are covered with beautiful smooth stones of all colors and sizes.  The waves make a wonderful shhhshing sound as they pull back and roll the rocks with them.

The beaches in North County don’t have as much sand over the winter, and instead are covered with beautiful smooth stones of all colors and sizes. The waves make a wonderful shhhshing sound as they pull back and roll the rocks with them.

Emma always brings a bag to the beach to collect stones and shells.  We are never disappointed with the discoveries we make.

Emma always brings a bag to the beach to collect stones and shells. We are never disappointed with the discoveries we make.

Sam found a clear stone the size of a small egg, Emma found a piece of green sea glass.

Sam found a clear stone the size of a small egg, Emma found a piece of green sea glass.

Sea foam left by the ocean waves collects on rocks, where it slowly dissolves, or is washed away by the next wave.

Sea foam left by the ocean waves collects on rocks, where it slowly dissolves, or is washed away by the next wave.

Sam takes a break from hunting to fly his kite.

Sam takes a break from hunting to fly his kite.

Kite is waggling in the sky, in front of the coast highway bridge.

Kite is waggling in the sky, in front of the coast highway bridge.

Not too much kelp on the beach, but a few of the small leaf floats were artfully arranged on the sand and rocks.  Below is a large piece of kelp, the squiggly structure in the front is the hold fast, which the kelp uses to anchor itself to the ocean floor.

Not too much kelp on the beach, but a few of the small leaf floats were artfully arranged on the sand and rocks. Bottom right is a large piece of kelp; the squiggly structure in the front is the hold fast, which the kelp uses to anchor itself to the ocean floor.

Emma's foot prints in the sand.  The sand on the northern beaches has a fair bit of black mixed in, which makes for beautiful swirling patterns.

Emma’s foot prints in the sand. The sand on the northern beaches has a fair bit of black mixed in, which makes for beautiful swirling patterns.

Heading home.  A quality afternoon's endeavor.

Heading home after a quality afternoon endeavor.

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Ingredients for a Scarylicious Halloween

Today is Halloween.  All the pancreases the country over, in particular those encased inside younger bodies, are cowering in fear.  All that sugar, aiiieeeeee.  If they could run away screaming, they would.  As it is they are hiding behind the stomachs, clutching their blankies and whimpering.

But Halloween is so much more than candy.  Here I have listed a few of the wonderful ingredients we have included in our Halloween this year, to make it extra special.

1.  Obsessive sewing of spooky Halloween dolls.
I bought the book Zombie Felties and have been having fun sewing patterns from that book and making some of my own.

I bought the book Zombie Felties and have been having fun sewing patterns from that book and making some of my own.  I modified their zombies into a zombie doctor, librarian, and bride and groom.

2.  A visit to Legoland, even though the kids are little old for Brick or Treat.

Legoland.Halloween

3.  Creepy yard decorations.
Our front yard was invaded by crabgrass, and I dug it all up. Just in time to put up a spooky graveyard. Always be careful to leave a plate out for the zombies, so they don't eat you. Or any stray kids.

Our front yard was invaded by crabgrass, so I dug it all up. Just in time to put up a spooky graveyard. Always be careful to leave a plate out for the zombies, so they don’t eat you. Or any stray kids.

4.  A mini graveyard.
You can't have too many graveyards on your property for Halloween.

You can’t have too many graveyards on your property for Halloween.

5.  An amazing mini haunted house.
I made this tiny haunted house out of two fruit boxes, a little wooden house that I spray painted, small figurines, coffins, and pumpkins, and votive candles. Yes, more mini stuff.  I like little things. See two of my other posts for more little things! (https://shibumo.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/turning-an-antique-printers-drawer-into-a-shelf-of-tiny-wonders/ and https://shibumo.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/microworlds/)

I made this tiny haunted house out of two fruit boxes, a little wooden house that I spray painted, small figurines, coffins, and pumpkins, and votive candles. Yes, more mini stuff. I like little things. See two of my other posts for more little things! Turning an Antique Printer’s Drawer into a Tiny Shelf of Wonders and Microworlds.

6.  Costumed kids.
The kids are older this year, so no more pirates or fairies. The kids went anime this year. Sam is Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist and Emma is Road Kamelot from D. Gray Man. I also got to dress Trevor as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. He is covered in giant germs, including, of course, ebola. Down in the bottom corner we have Sam again, J.D. as Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist, and I am wearing a tee shirt I made with Izuma Curtis, the housewife.

The kids are older this year, so no more pirates or fairies. The kids went anime this year. Sam is Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist and Emma is Road Kamelot from D. Gray Man. I also got to dress Trevor as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control. He is covered in giant germs, including, of course, ebola. Down in the bottom corner we have Sam again, J.D. as Roy Mustang from Full Metal Alchemist, and I am wearing a tee shirt I made with Izumi Curtis on it.

7.  Finally, of course, Pumpkins, the orange heart of Halloween.
Pumpkin fun

Kids are never too old for a pumpkin patch, or for carving pumpkins. Emma paints one of hers every year, it was particularly evil looking this year!

In a few hours we will be heading out for the annual ritual of trading the candy I bought for the candy that our neighbors bought.  We will check out the Kalal’s haunted house down the street, and will go around the corner to see how insane the crazy people who rent out a storage unit to store all of their decorations have gotten this year in doing up their house and yard.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL!!!

p.s.  Be kind to your pancreas.  Put down the Tootsie roll.  10 is enough.

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