Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As we're nearing the end of 2012, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  I believe that this day is important because we are reminded that God sent his Son, Jesus, to show Their great love for each of us, individually.  My prayer for you this Christmas Season is that you would be blessed in a real, tangible way that you alone would personally recognize.  A blessing that would give you peace and you would know that you know, that you know that you were blessed beyond measure.

On the evening of Christmas Day, I accompanied my son, daughter-in-law, and their children to Redondo Beach (near Los Angeles, CA).  On the next evening, my son drove his family and me to the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood in Torrance in which a friend lives.  As we entered the first block, we were met with small white Christmas tree bulbs draped over almost every bough of every tree in each yard.  It was a beautiful sight.  Actually, it was like driving through an arbor.  Each property owner, while matching the draping light effect of their neighbors, decorated the rest of the yard in unique ways.  My son and daughter-in-law's friend had little figures of Dalmatians on their lawn. The displays were varied from candy canes to inflated Frosty the Snowmen, as well as other characters.  Although most decorations were too numerous to remember, one house had a strikingly beautiful Nativity scene.  Another had a Ferris Wheel bedecked with lights.  As we drove around, we must have covered 6 or 8 blocks.  Apparently, the residents of this neighborhood been decorating their homes  for years.  While we drove around, I wondered it they had planning meetings during the year with some residents adding more decorations year after year.  I don't know the answer to that.  We were there around 6 p.m. so we avoided what I've read to be a traffic tie-up.  I think that walking would provide even more enjoyment.  While I've seen some beautifully decorated houses over the years, this is the first time I've seen what appears to be a concerted community-effort, providing joy to others.  An Internet search on Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights in Torrance CA will display 2011 pictures of the event.

Last weekend I returned to Famosa Slough.  Below is a photo of a Herring Gull flying over a Western Gull.  When I lived on the East Coast, I thought a seagull was just that.  However, I'm now learning about the different species.  As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I identify the birds by research on the Internet.  In the second photograph is a gull taking off....just can't identify it.


I did spot a few Gadwalls.  Then, all at once, they took off.  I was able to get a photograph of one in flight (shown below on the left).  Someday, I'll get a Canon Digital SLR and then, I'll have more success since I love to take photos of birds as they take off.  The Great Egret is included (below right) because of its lovely reflection.

Gadwall in flight

Great Egret

 Happy New Year!

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Monday, December 10, 2012


Since I returned from my New York visit, I've been walking/jogging 3 miles a day, as well as occasionally walking up long hills in neighboring Ocean Beach.  The long hills are preparing me to reach the top of Mt Beacon in New York on my next visit.  To improve my daily diet, I've been using the Nutribullet since July of this year.  Although I always ate my vegetables and some fruit, I never had a great amount.  I was intrigued by the Nutribullet ads on TV, so I decided to try it.  I'm providing a link to the Nutribullet because I believe so much in this product.   Every day now, I have a drink made with fresh veggies, such as kale, spinach, and/or carrots, as well as fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or cherries, and 1/2 a banana.  To this I add almonds, walnuts and flax seeds.  I use a 24 oz container supplied with the Nutribullet, varying the fruits.  I think it's great.   Nutribullet Superfood Nutrition Extractor (Google Affiliate Ad) 

On one of my recent walks, I noticed some fresh green blossoms dropping from some of the trees I pass on my daily trek.   At first, I thought that some small birds were causing them to drop.  At any rate, the falling of these blossoms made me think of spring.  On another block, I have to do a hop, skip and a jump to avoid dried up leaves (of a different kind of tree) on the sidewalk.  Then, one day at my daughter's house, I noticed birds in nests previously populated by other birds all summer.  The original inhabitants had moved out after their babies were ready to leave the nest.  The silence was deafening.  Now the yard is again a harbor for song.  Possibly, the new birds have just migrated for the winter.  However, the changes in the trees got me wondering if this year, San Diego has such a good climate that it may have two spring seasons.  Some years, we have cold days with heavy rains between November and February.  Thankfully for me and my exercise, this is a pleasant winter.

On my recent walk to the Famosa Slough, there were some migrating ducks.  I was looking for a bird I had not seen before.  After looking at the "regulars" I was ready to leave the property.  Then, I spotted just such a bird.  After I took the photo, I left the property.   A computer search for the name of the bird got me nowhere, so I sent an e-mail to someone I believed could identify it.  He responded that it was a "Say's Phoebe."   Thanks, Ray.

Say's Phoebe

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