Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RAK at the Beach

Today I spent 2 hours wandering up and down a small beach area practicing random acts of kindness.  I picked up three bags of trash (no litter laws and people seem to think it is okay to just get up and leave their garbage behind).  Smiled and said good morning to everyone I met (something unheard of in this culture for the most part).  And gave money to a couple of street cleaners (they work long hours for little pay).  My reward was joy in doing something nice without expecting in return.  Plus, I got a healthy dose of Vitamin D, fresh air for mental clarity and the sound of lapping waves to soothe the soul.  

 I also found two heart rocks.  One embedded in the sand and one that I brought home.  I'm always on the lookout for them but never have any success.  Perhaps it was a sign.

Of life's two chief prizes, beauty and truth, I found the first in a loving heart and the second in a laborer's hand.

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Treasure Hunting

Whenever I am out on my walks, my eyes are always peeled for treasures to bring home.  Smooth stones that can be transformed with crochet.  Feathers. Leaves and weeds that can be pressed.  Anything of interest that catches my eye.  I find that doing that turns my walks into an adventure rather than a chore.
 Yesterday I even found a perfect little tile and a stick that can be used for hanging either a cross-stitch or crochet project.
This evening I happily painted and crocheted and have started a nature journal, too.  I'm no artist, but I'm having fun and that's all that matters.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Walk With Me

Yesterday I took a nice long walk around the neighborhood.  An hour and a half to be exact.  Meandering slowly up and down streets capturing beautiful things.  Plants and trees, bushes and bees, butterflies and flowers.
It was everything a walk should be.

And yes, I also walked along the new walking path.  I honestly just can't get over it.
I do hope that everyone who takes their children there teaches them that artificial grass and trees are a novelty.  Not the way of the future.  This Counting Crows song is on my playlist as I walk and is one of my favorites.  
I think of it every time I walk by the new walking path which most people think looks nice, but since when is artificial normal? It will not provide shade or the absorption of heat in summer.  It does not provide shelter or food for feathered friends and insects.  It will not purify the air.  And there are toxic properties to it that I am sure will be leached when the extreme heat of summer sets in, not to mention the amount of glue that had to be used to tack it down.  I just wonder if anyone on this project really did their homework?  

I promise I won't mention the walking path again.
As you can tell, it just really hit a nerve with me.
Wishing you all a wonderful day surrounded by all things natural and beautiful.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Break Has Sprung

Of course, as is always the case, I left the office 2 hours later than everyone else on Thursday.  A straight 6-1/2 hours at my desk trying to get everything done, but finally, I could officially say that Spring Break had begun.
Lunch out with hubby and then an afternoon walk was a nice way to start it off.
 The refurbished walking path closest to our house is open and tonight they had a grand opening.
But no matter how hard I try, I just can't like it.  An instragram friend from Egypt called it visual pollution which totally sums it up for me.  The artificial grass, fake trees and the vibrant walking path are not soothing or peaceful or appealing at all.
Thank goodness we still have the other walking path.

So far the weather hasn't been the greatest.  Very windy yesterday and just rather dull and dreary for the most part. Yesterday was spent in the kitchen experimenting and cooking.  I made my very first herb bread using fast rising yeast.  The recipe is from my China Study Cookbook so it is vegan, no added oil.  I used zaatar in place of the herbs since we have a lot of it on hand.
(Zaatar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of dried herbs, sesame seeds, sumac,
salt and other spices.  Each country has its own mix.)
It turned out great!  I made a curried vegetable soup to go with it and used olive oil and balsamic for dipping.
I also cooked up some fresh beans that I bought last Saturday at the farmer's market.
My husband and son loved them which was a surprise to me.  I cooked them with diced potatoes in vegetable broth and seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper.  Simple and delicious.  I also made a fiesta cornbread, another recipe from the cookbook, also vegan, no oil.
 And finally, mujadara and salad with dried mint.
Friday seems to my day to cook up a storm.

Today I did some much needed (much hated) spring cleaning.  7 hours of it to be exact.  Ugh!  But if I do some every day, I imagine I will feel better in the end.  At least that's what I tell myself.
We walked for an hour tonight and made sure that we passed by our neighbor's house with all the beautiful flowers.  Very much needed to clear the unappealing walking path from my mind.

My reward after today's hard work was an ice cream sandwich also bought at last week's farmer's market.
It's vegan and paleo and absolutely delicious!
I plan to blog hop and crochet the rest of the evening.
Hope you are having a super Saturday!
Best wishes,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Birds From The Balcony

One of my favorite things to do on a good weather day is bird watching right from our balconies.  Fortunately, we do have trees around us and in the morning and late afternoon the birds are quite busy chasing each other, singing their songs and flying from tree to tree.  To me it is a very peaceful time.  Of course, it's also a chance to use my Canon to get up close and personal without them expecting a thing.

When I first looked at the above pictures I gasped.  The red stains made me think that somehow the birds had gotten hurt, but when I realized they all had the same sort of stains, it finally clicked.  I had recently been finding berries on the balcony and wasn't sure where they were coming from.  Sometimes the boy upstairs throw things from the roof so I suspected it was from him.
 It finally dawned on me that directly off our bedroom balcony is a tree filled with berries.  I hadn't paid much attention to it and don't ever recall it being loaded with so much fruit before, but the birds are obviously having a field day with it.  Turns out it is a mulberry tree.  

 I've also noticed in the past few weeks a lot of baby birds.  Even though they are about as big as their parents, they are still being beak fed and learning how to fly.  So sweet!
Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. I will have even more time for bird watching.
Spring Break begins.
10 days of blissful freedom.  
I'm so excited.
Hope you are having a great week.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sight for Sore Eyes

This is the walking path that is closest to our house.  At this time of year when it is used the most, it has been closed for refurbishment.  I'm all for improvement so expected great things.  Unfortunately, those who did the planning were not thinking clearly at all and certainly were not considering the environment.
When we walked by there the other day, I was disgusted and disappointed to see what had been done.  It's still cordoned off so it was hard to get a good picture, but the track has been painted like a garish rainbow, the trees in the middle are fake with fairy lights and the green stuff, it's basically a carpet.  All of the real grass was ripped out so they could roll out fake grass.  And that fake grass has to be glued down with what I am sure is toxic glue.  Now I know we live in a desert country and during the summer it is hard to keep things alive, but people waste water each and every day cleaning their cars.  This walking path is right next to a Hardee's where they wash the drive thru area with a hose every single day.   
The walking path is 1 kilometer around so you can image how much fake stuff has been used.  Such a waste.
 Fortunately, there are people who do care about the environment and their surroundings.  Our neighbor just around the corner has created a beautiful oasis around his property.  Everything is well maintained and cared for and the butterflies were having a field day when we walked by there on Saturday.

It still boggles my mind that anyone would think it is a good idea to create a fake landscape on such a large scale.  I for one do not even want to go there once it is open again.  I'm sure at night it will look nice with all its fake fairly light trees lit up but I much prefer a natural environment.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. 
― Anne FrankThe Diary of a Young Girl

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