3/4/21

Rainy Day People

It rained pretty much the whole live-long day yesterday. I'd complain except that I know Southern California really needs the rain. I've read two articles in the past 24 hours that stated wildflower blooms would be sparse this year. In Death Valley, where we are headed next, they've received only 14% of the rain necessary for a bloom there. Another article showed some last year/this year photos of the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve. You might remember we visited there a couple of years ago and saw these fabulous flowers.


So, that said, I know the rain was welcome, and it was a good rain too.

We had nothing on our agenda, and so we lazed around most of the day. I took an hours-long nap in the afternoon, which surprised me. Since I slept fine last night, I figure I must have needed the sleep. It means I don't have a lot to tell you today. I started on the Liberty Sampler though. This one has lots of different stitches, and so it's going to be fun to do.


It uses only two colors of floss, red and blue, so it's practically another redwork piece with a few blue accents. Of course, my helper cat was with me every stitch of the way.


It's our last day in Vista, and we'll start our trip returning home tomorrow. First stop will be a few days in Death Valley before the long slog to Oregon. 

We'll be getting some groceries this morning. There isn't much in Death Valley, and so we need to get some things before heading off into the wilderness. Also, we're having a final dinner with our friends this evening. While having lunch the other day, we told them we'd prepare our world famous Oysters Rockaway. (I can say it's "world famous" because I've written about it on my blog, and I happen to know some of you are out there...in the world...and so it only makes sense.) Here's a picture from a trip to Fort Stevens State Park last year.


Mike will take his portable Traeger grill to smoke the oysters. And it's really sort of an appetizer, so we always serve it with the Linguine Alle Vongole. We picked up the fresh oysters and fresh clams at a local seafood market, and so things are really fresh. 

Aside from that, there isn't much planned before we leave tomorrow. I'll be taking at least a few days off from blogging. I happen to know we won't have internet access in Death Valley. We expect to be home by next Friday at the earliest. If I can get internet access, and I have anything to tell you, I'll be back before then. If not though, you can expect to hear from me again in about a week when we arrive back at the Three Cats Ranch. Until then, stay safe and healthy. Get vaccinated if you can.

3/3/21

Terrific Tuesday

When we got up yesterday morning, the kitties were still tired in solidarity with us. They didn't go with us to San Diego, but they were sleeping it off just the same. They were waiting for cues from us to perk up after a good night's sleep. Smitty was covering his eyes with his paw.


Sadie was draped over the back of the couch...barely able to hold herself upright.


Is there any creature on earth that can get more relaxed than a cat?

As I mentioned yesterday, we had an impromptu lunch planned with our good friends Tom and Deb. Deb snagged a harbor-side table and was drinking a MaiTai when we arrived. We joined right in.


Here's a picture of Tom and Deb. They are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world.


The reason for the lunch was they had something to give me. When we were at their house the other night, they showed us these wine bottles with strings of LED lights. They make nice little mood lighting lamps. And they also had a bottle of wine selected especially for me. Can you guess why?


So at lunch, they presented the empty bottle with the LED lights inside. So cute. They even taped an extra battery to the side of the bottle. Isn't this great?


Okay, so after lunch, we headed down to "the Strand," which is the road that runs along the beach where the Oceanside Pier is located. It actually extends quite some distance up and down the coast there. Mike had in mind to ride his bike on the Strand. I wanted to take some more pictures. Along our walk, I took pictures of every blooming thing. I don't know all of these.


I've seen this ice plant everywhere, but this was my first opportunity to take its picture.


Possibly the thing I miss most about living in Southern California is the ability to grow Bougainvillea. It's so beautiful, but there's no way we're growing it in Oregon.


Here's a pretty red hibiscus.


Now here's something: It's a kumquat tree growing in a pot on someone's balcony.


Its fruits are about the size of an olive when ripe.


As we headed down the stairs to the beach, I paused to capture these Spanish tile rooftops on the apartments below.


This beach umbrella caught my eye. Our next challenge for The Endeavourers art quilt group is "color theory," and so when I see bright colors from the color wheel, I take notice.


As we approached these little pink houses, I noticed their roofs for the first time. Now I love them even more than I did before getting closer.


These are the little pink houses we can see from the pier. Here's the image from the other day.


The tide was in, and so I wasn't sure I could back up enough to get the whole row. As it turns out, it wouldn't have mattered whether the tide was in or out. There was a 3-foot drop-off here to get to the water. If I'd been barefoot and in a swimsuit, I might have been able to negotiate it. But no...I was an Oregonian, there at the beach in my shoes and my jeans and my broken shoulder. Without jumping, I couldn't get any farther away than the edge of the sand. I might have jumped, but then I'd still have to get back up again. So anyway...my plans were thwarted somewhat.


So I took the picture in two slices. I figure if I ever get around to making this quilt, I'll just splice the two images together.



Also, I noticed for the first time that there is another row behind the one lining the street. 

On the other hand, I could do just two or three of them. I kind of like this angle that shows off the roofs more.


Or I could do it straight on.


Or, I could say I'm going to do it, and then never do it. Would I do that? Would you?

Okay, so back at the trailer, I went to work on my slow-stitching. I finished stitching the southeast corner of the piece.


When I moved my hoop, I realized it was nearly finished. Also, I needed to go back and finish one of the quilt blocks, and I noticed I'd missed a spot on the pillow in the northwest corner.


And that took about another hour, and it was finished. Phew! I started this embroidery back in January, so I'm happy to finally have it finished.


Next, I'll start on this little "Liberty Sampler" from Kathy Schmitz. It'll be the first time I've done any of her designs. No reason...they just haven't been on my radar before. This one will make a small wall-hanging for a spot in my kitchen. I've been making seasonal table runners, and little seasonal wall-hangings for that spot. I have two table runners for this year's 4th of July. I'm hoping I'll get this little wall-hanging finished by then too.


So that's the news for today. We're expecting quite a storm and lots of wind and rain. You'd never know it looking at the sunshine. Mike brought up a weather map showing the storm on its way, and the wind has come up a little. Not sure if there's anything else on the agenda today, but breakfast is next.

3/2/21

A Full Day

We had a wonderful and tiring day yesterday. It was wonderful because of all the things we saw and new friends we met. It was tiring for all the same reasons. Also...traffic. We country folk are worn out by city traffic, even when the traffic isn't even that bad. But it was worth it to have such a nice day from start to finish.

We met up with blogging friend Darlene, who blogs at Creative Latitude. Darlene and I felt as if we'd known one another a long time...and we have. I think we met up as bloggers right from the Cat Patches get-go. It was very nice to get a chance to meet up in person at Rosie's Calico Cupboard Quilt Shop in San Diego. I visited Rosie's way back in 2011, and wrote a blog post about it then. I didn't write a new post from yesterday, but it was just as I remembered it. It's a huge shop with lots of fabric. The rooms and the fabric seem to go on forever. Just when you think you've seen it all, you turn and find yet another room full of bolt after bolt of beautiful fabrics. You can read about Rosie's right here, and see for yourself what I'm talking about. I took only one picture of these beautiful buttons yesterday.


Darlene was kind enough to act as my "pack mule." It's hard for me to carry around heavy bolts of fabric with my broken shoulder, and so Darlene tended to both her fabric and my fabric. Honestly, thank you, Darlene. And wow...I found some stuff I really loved. They had the most beautiful batiks.

When we got back to the RV toward the end of the afternoon, I laid it out for a "fashion" show. Sadie wanted to help.


This one really needed to be opened up so you can see all the pretty colors and quilt blocks.


This next one was pretty much the first one I laid eyes on. It was kind of unusual, and so it appealed to me.


Since Rosie's isn't featured in either of my Shop Hop quilts, I picked up this regional fabric, and I'll include it in the one I'm working on now. It contains a number of San Diego icons. I'm not sure which image I'll choose for my quilt block.


This one might work in my next challenge quilt. I can't tell you about it, but you can see this fabric.


I was laying my finger out for scale, but then Smitty said, "Let me help." This one will make a pretty binding.


Here's another one that could be a pretty binding.


So I hit the fabric jackpot. There were coupons and gifts for Quilt Shop Appreciation week, and I still have coupons for some other local quilt shops too.

After leaving the quilt shop, our next stop was Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to visit my parents' final resting place. We stopped off first and purchased some flowers and some sandwiches for lunch. We've been to the cemetery before when just my mother was here, and so we were able to drive right to it. My parents are cremated and their ashes are contained in this...what? I don't really know what to call these individual sections of a columbarium, but that's where they are. Just now, I looked it up. It's known as a columbarium "niche." 


Their "headstone" requires a little explanation. "Clarice E" was my mother. She passed away in 1997. Shortly after that, my dad met up with a woman he'd dated before my mother. (My parents were married 52 years when she died.) It was a planned but chance meeting at a reunion he attended, and he and Vera married shortly after my mother's death. They were both in their 70's by then, and so I never begrudged them their marriage. It's not as if they had years to wait around for a better time.  Without getting into too much family drama, I'll just say she tried and succeeded to drive a wedge between me and my father. I blame her for being such an awful and spiteful woman. I blame him for letting it happen. I accept responsibility for whatever part I played in that whole unfortunate situation.  Vera passed away in 2016 at the age of 97. My father passed away in January of 2020, at the age of 96. At the time of his death, we had not spoken in nearly 25 years. 

The cemetery provides little vases that can be stuck into the ground for flowers. It's a nice touch, and so I left these flowers. To be clear, the flowers are for my mother, and nobody else. Even after so much time, I still miss her.


Turning around from where they are, this is the view.


It's really lovely there. We sat on a concrete bench and ate our lunch.


I love the humble simplicity of a military cemetery like this one.


From there, and just about a mile down the road is Cabrillo National Monument. The monument itself is really just a marking place...sort of an outdoor museum, if you will. It honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who was the first European to set foot on the west coast in 1542.


As we parked and walked toward the visitor center, we passed by this lizard. These lizards are ubiquitous in Southern California, and we've seen hundreds already. This was the first guy who would stand still for his picture. I'm thinking it's the "Hollywood" effect.


The biggest reason to visit this monument is for it's stunning views of San Diego Harbor. Oh my gosh. It's absolutely breath-taking.


While we were standing there, we watched a couple of navy boats come in. I only caught one in the image below, but there was another one right on its heels.


Looking to our left, we could see the cemetery.


Looking to our right, we could see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.


Here's a little information about the lighthouses. There are two here. This old one is no longer in service, but you'll see its replacement in a few pictures below.



We had a little walk to get up to the lighthouse. Along the way, we passed these torrey pines.


Because of the pandemic, the lightkeeper's house was closed, but you can see pictures of the interior at this old blog post right here. (There are quilts!)


And here's the information I promised you about the new lighthouse. I believe I said it was operated by the Coast Guard in my last post about the area. Actually, this is Navy.



There's a short trail that takes you to the outermost point of Point Loma. There, one can pick up Mexican cell service, so make sure your "roaming" is turned off or you'll get a surprise international calling rate from Mexico...only if you make a call, of course. Along the way, there are signs acknowledging this as a great place to see the grey whale migration.


And there is an art piece, featuring the actual vertabrae from a grey whale.


Also, there is a whale embedded in the sidewalk here.


Here's a map showing their migratory path from the Arctic Ocean all the way down the western coast of North America.


Also embedded in the sidewalk was some kelp.


The coastline of California features a giant kelp forest. I'd always hoped to dive here one day, but I'm afraid our scuba diving days have passed.


Looking out, those slick areas out in the ocean are probably where the kelp forests lie.


Heading back toward the lighthouse, we noticed this Rain Catchment Basin for the lighthouse keeper's house. You can read more about its form and function in the sign below the image.



There was also a small garden, tended by some unknown person. They seem to be growing herbs here, but I noticed some red chard in the mix too.


As we walked back to our truck, I took pictures of every blooming thing. I don't know the names of any of these.




I think this next one grows along the Oregon coast as well. The flowers are tiny.


And that was our day. We drove back to the RV and collapsed into our naps. When we woke up, I spent some time reading email. When I looked behind me, Smitty was reading over my shoulder.


Today we're having lunch with our friends Deb and Tom again. Deb says she has something for me. Hmmmmm...I love a good surprise. Aside from that, there's nothing planned. We're supposed to meet up with some other friends tomorrow, but there's now a half inch of rain in the forecast. We might have to change our plans.