April 29, 2008

Special Days.

Special days that include one-on-one time with Nana and Papa. Undivided attention. Building projects. A movie. No brothers. Perhaps a walk to feed the ducks. Perhaps a trip to McDonald's (tho Papa says he's done his annual trip there already and won't be returning soon!). But, gosh it's hard to WAIT for Special Day to begin.


Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Oh, WHEN will Papa ever get here?!?

Yay, yay, yay!! Papa's HERE!!!

And the Littlest Dude is exceedingly happy, because Special Days are, well ... Special.

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April 26, 2008

Joshua Tree - Last Day "Camping"

Camping in the Truck
Nap Time in the Truck

Me: Lie down and rest.
Littlest Dude: But I'm not sleepy.
Me: Stop talking. Stop squirming. Stop whining. And rest!
Littlest Dude: [silence]

Desert Blooms


The Big Dude cooks chocolate chip pancakes over an open fire (cause we forgot the propane for the campstove. oops!). And the Little Dudes eat 'em up while the sun sets.



And the "camping" trip ends much as the afternoon begun. With a nap.

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April 25, 2008

The Freaky Salton Sea. The Abbreviated, No-Words Version.

The Salton Sea 2008

For anyone interested in making a photo collage like this one, check out Flickr Toys. Click on the mosaic option and it'll walk you thru the process.

Tomorrow I'll post the last of the "camping" adventure photos.

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April 24, 2008

Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Earth laughs in flowers."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hey, guess what??? I finally got together a photography "storefront". You can read all the details by clicking on the gallery button at the top of the blog. This photo is perhaps one of my all-time favorites. It's the first one I downloaded to the gallery. :-)

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April 23, 2008

This is NOT your grandfather's desert...

Look closely. The only healthy "palm trees" here are the cell phone [faux] trees!

Funny to see soooo much farm land in the middle of the desert. Here's one of the palm tree farms.

I told you the Dog Dude was a better climber than I.

In these 3 former photos you can see the Salton Sea in the distance.





Remember how the Dog Dude fell into the Sea? Here you can see the dried, caked-on salt.

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April 22, 2008

Puppy Sibling Reunion

We adopted Kona, the Dog Dude, almost two years ago. His pregnant mama was rescued from a dog pound and placed with the most wonderful foster family. Mama had 8 surviving puppies who were adopted out to various families. Four of us have remained in contact, and this last weekend we all got together and reunited the "puppies."


It's not easy to get four dogs to cooperate for a photoshoot! We needed the Dog Whisperer's help, methinks!


IMG_3345 IMG_3354
The BoysThe Girls

'Twas a really enjoyable afternoon. The nicest people. The sweetest dogs. I think we all decided this would be a nice annual event. :-)

ps. to the Puppy People: We weighed our beast. The verdict? 64 lbs.

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April 21, 2008

The Salton Sea.

Warning: I'm about to use some words. Lots of them.
And I promise it won't happen again anytime soon. Feel free to skip them if you just want to see the photos. I won't mind ;-).

How do I even begin to explain my strange fascination for this strange place? Even my husband doesn't get it. Didn't know why we were there - thought it was pointless: "there's nothing here." Which is why it's all the more precious that he drove us out of our way to take me there, to humor me, to honor my desires. I think I'll keep him. He's a good man. Even if he doesn't understand why the sea intrigues me. ;-)


I think my fascination lies in the Salton Sea's similarity to my favorite vacation destination of my childhood: The Colorado River. Annually (sometimes biannually) my parents would drive us down to Parker, AZ to stay at my grandparents' mobile home park on the River. There was heat, boating, fishing, walks to the local market, web-mesh chairs on the docks, card games, good food, friends and family. I loved it all. Still do. The Salton Sea, similarly, was once beloved by people for many/all of the reasons I just listed for loving the River. At one time, Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys crooned there nightly, and more people spent their summer vacations sunbathing along the shoreline than hiking in Yosemite National Park. But, the Salton Sea is no longer loved. It's totally abandoned. Falling into disrepair. In fact, being intentionally dismantled. It's like a nature-resort wasteland.






The Aces & Spades Club

Today, the sea has been left mainly to the birds. It's a 300,000-acre saltwater lake that straddles Riverside and Imperial counties in the hottest, driest part of southeastern California and is a stopping ground for nearly 400 species of birds - more than any other wetland in the United States except the Texas Gulf Coast. Millions of migrating birds, including endangered brown pelicans, rare blue herons, and eared grebes flock to the sea during winter months.


Pelikans at the Salton Sea



The Salton Sea is a modern day environmental conundrum. It's undeniably one of the most important habitats for birds in the West. But the sea relies mainly on ["wasteful"] irrigation run-off from Imperial Valley agriculture. The farm run-off is a toxic "soup" of salt, fertilizers, selenium and traces of pesticide - all of which encourage the massive growth of plant life & algae in the water, which both richly feeds the fish (contributing to their health & well-being) and then depletes the oxygen in the water, thus killing the fish. Mass fish deaths = nasty odor that can be smelled all the way to Palm Springs. Bye, bye tourism. So, the conundrum ... conserve water, eliminate waste = the sea drying up and the birds losing an important wetland sanctuary. Congress has spent millions over the last 10+ years trying to find a solution to this tricky equation. All I know is: if anyone offers you a "hot" investment opportunity in a new Salton Sea resort ... just say no.


The "beach" is comprised of barnacles, dead fish, bones, bird feathers, and salt.


See our bedraggled, happy doggy? We gave him free rein - it's not like there was anyone there to tell us not to. Wouldn't you know, he fell off the "marina" edge into the smelly water within 5 minutes of gaining his freedom. I was just relieved to be able to pull him out without dropping my camera in!


Before we left, the Littlest Dude tried to clean the place up.

Unrelated, funky sea details:

Largest lake in CA - twice as big as Tahoe.
Perhaps the most productive fishery in the world!
Surface area of 376 square miles; surface level is 227 below sea level.
25% more salty than the ocean (tho half as salty as Mono Lake and 1/5 as salty as Salt Lake).
Due to salinity & sea level = fastest lake in the nation upon which to boat.
It's a shallow, closed basin (like a sink); thus when it rains more than usual (3 inches per year), the sea floods the surrounding areas - also a contributing factor to the abandonment.
If Congress has its way ... the current legislation proposes spending $2billion (!!) to dry up most of the lake, leaving a small brine pit in the center, and a small lake at the south end and a small lake at the north end of the current sea. I dunno. Somehow that seems a sad, sorry "solution."

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