Mail Musings...

 I'm on a postal kick currently, and had to share some of it with you.

My Canadian pen pal, Lisa, owns a darling Etsy shop and wanting to support her, I gifted myself this amazing Winter Collection of papers and accents to adorn cards and envelopes with. So fun.
I also joined the Victorian Letter Writers Guild (Jane Austen enthusiasts perhaps). In doing so, I also asked for a new pen pal, "Hope you're all enjoying a happy holiday season! A new year is coming and with it, a chance for new beginnings, new goals, and new friendships. If you enjoy handwritten correspondence with like-minded women, The Victorian Letter Writers Guild may be for you. Follow the instructions below to be matched up with a pen friend and start the new year right!"
Recently, I received my first wonderfully newsy and delightfully filled letter from Lisa who lives in Las Vegas. She and I have a great deal in common and to meet someone new, in this old-fashioned way, was pretty rewarding.
Another talent I follow on Instagram is Italic Illustrator. When she offered this Pen Pal Planner, I knew it was for me. I wish I had it last year. I would have loved to know just how much mail I sent out. I can only imagine (A LOT).
This is my pile for Valentine's Day. I still have much to do but a good amount has been sent out into the world for Mailbox Love to arrive soon.
And if it isn't enough to send mail, I'm reading a book to learn how truly important the United States Postal Service is and how it really did create America. I am getting so much from this interesting book. It's a slow read but that allows me to savor it a bit more and absorb the history. Wow.
This book, The Romance of the Postage Stamp : An Illustrated History of Stamps and Stamp Collecting, is now in my "to read" pile. Published the same year in which I was born, this guide is on the Top 18 Books about Stamp Collecting. I don't think a lot has changed in philately in the last 58 years. I'm intrigued.

I'm certain, if you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you have learned my obsessions. Mail and the United States Postal Service are pretty high on that list!

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter!
To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person,
to sit at your desk and pick up a pen,
to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”
-Haruki Murakami

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Best Rainy Day Book Ever...

Life is Good: The Book was recommended to me so I picked it up curbside and read it, in its entirety, in one glorious rainy day. WOW.

In 1994, after five years of less-than-stellar sales and just $78 left to their names, brothers Bert and John Jacobs designed their first Life is Good t-shirt—and discovered how those three simple words could help people to focus on the good. But this book isn't just a rags-to-riches story, it is a guidebook on how to live life more contentedly. I dare you to read this book and not feel better about yourself, armed with their sage wisdom and simple, yet profound, advice.

The book begins with three sentences: Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. Life is good. It introduces us to the superpowers we all can possess: Openness, Courage, Simplicity, Humor, Gratitude, Fun, Compassion, Creativity, Authenticity, and Love. Each chapter then gives tools to attain said superpowers, along with the brothers' personal stories of their own personal journey. Wow.
I loved #3 in Three Ways to Stay Open: Everything is a Once-in-a-Lifetime experience. "If you don't go, you don't see" is not necessarily about travel but more about changing up our routine and physical surroundings to help us open our minds to fresh perspectives. #3 in Ways to Tap Your Creativity was one I already knew to be true (thank you my crafternooners), "Creativity is not something you keep to yourself. In fact, the more you use it and share it, the more you have. Let it double as a social bonder by inviting others to join you. Not only does creative collaboration elevate your output, it builds quality bonds and trust. Connect, collaborate, and create." Soon again, I hope.
Each chapter has lists that apply to the subject being discussed (books, movies, songs). Like Bert and John, we all know the benefit of a road trip. Theirs just happen to be accompanied by a soundtrack: TEN GREAT ROAD TRIP SONGS •   Glory Bound Martin Sexton •   Willin’  Little Feat •   Stickshifts and Safetybelts Cake •   Radar Love Golden Earring •   On the Road Again Willie Nelson •   Going Up the Country Canned Heat •   Miracle Mile Cold War Kids •   Ramblin’ Man The Allman Brothers Band •   Thunder Road Bruce Springsteen •   Wagon Wheel Old Crow Medicine Show. Fun right? I would totally go on a road adventure with these guys.
There is a lot in this book that needs to be read and read again. And while the advice is mostly what we already know, the way it's told and the enthusiasm in which it is lived by these brothers, makes it a must read. The ultimate reminder, we all need to take away from it is that Life is Good.

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Tenaja Falls Trail...

 A new hike for us was found in the Cleveland National Forest.

The Cleveland National Forest is the southernmost national forest in California. Named in honor of President Cleveland, the land was designated a national forest in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Concerns about watersheds and wildfires were the driving forces behind establishing national forests at that time. Within this forest are mountains covered with chaparral and coastal sage which dominate the landscape of San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (our destination). Many deep drainages hide a lush growth of vegetation, with oak woodlands thick in the lower elevations. Hidden here is Tenaja Falls.

It is a pleasant, scenic .7 mile hike to arrive at the top of the Falls.
Of the 567,000 Cleveland National Forest acres, more than 75% of the vegetation is chaparral, predominantly coastal sage, chemise, manzanita and ceanothus. A few riparian, or streamside areas exist, but they make up only about one percent of the Forest land. There are large oaks in meadows and along streams and Jeffrey and Coulter Pine forests at higher elevations. Some wet meadows are found between the high elevation pines. I was delighted to find some flowers in bloom and a frog, too.

And while the Falls were far from roaring they still made us happy and gave us a location for the perfect picnic spot.

And the view of the canyon was pretty breathtaking.
Being here off season does have its drawbacks: few things in bloom, a subtle waterfall, quiet birdsong. But it does have huge perks, too. There was only one other hiker and our paths never crossed. It was social distancing exemplified and did I mention the view? The mountains were calling and we came. We are so glad we did.

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Kit Carson Park...

Heading home from our lagooning, we detoured to visit this amazing park in the City of Escondido.

Indians of the acorn culture were the first inhabitants of Kit Carson Park. The park was named after Christopher (Kit) Carson, the famous scout who guided Captain John C. Fremont over the Sierra Nevada Mountains during a government exploration expedition. The park sits in a valley that is approximately five miles west of where Kit Carson fought in the Battle of San Pasqual.

According to San Diego Audubon, birding is excellent here. A creek flows southward through willow and sycamore woodland, past grass lawns with scattered trees, and a small pond at its center. Birding is active all year long aided by a good network of trails. Hawks, woodpeckers, ducks, warblers, bluebirds, and sparrows are among the birds to be seen. While we mainly observed ducks at play, the variety was pretty amazing for the short time we were there.

The City of Escondido acquired the land for its largest regional park from the City of San Diego in 1967. One hundred acres of the park have been developed and 185 acres have been preserved as natural habitat. With miles of trails, we plan to come back to this new found urban oasis for hiking and birding. Who knew?!
Like the explorer for whom this park is named, we continue to discover new lands with wonder! What fun and so close to home.

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Cloris Leachman & Me

Today we lost another great, actress Cloris Leachman. I had the opportunity to stalk meet her once. Wow. Since it was pre-blog (September 1, 2009), I sent an email to everyone in my address book sharing my exciting news. I thought I'd share that email in honor of this talented, glee-evoking woman.

I wrote, "Steve and I have been filling our 'alone' time with staying busy. Today,  we headed to the beach for lunch.

We dined on the patio of a darling place called Crepes & Corks.  It was delicious and a great people watching spot. While there, Cloris Leachman walked by.  She has kind of become 'big' again because of her tenure on Dancing With The Stars last season.  I have been a fan since The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Mel Brooks movies. We dropped everything and ran after her, she a willing participant.

We three had a nice chat.  I brought up her family's business, Leachman Lumber and she was blown away that I knew of it. I explained that my parents were born in Des Moines, like her... and probably at the same time. We also discussed that her granddaughter was at an elementary school, here in Temecula, with our older son. She proudly told us that that granddaughter gave her the cutest great grandson three years ago. 

It was fun to chat... like old friends.  The photo is from Steve's phone so it isn't the greatest but it's what we had." 

"I make fun wherever I go, ...
If I go to a restaurant by myself, rest assured, people will be talking about it.
I always have a great deal of fun being with people. It's part of the journey."
-Cloris Leachman

What a wonderful, unforgettable journey and so very, very fun, too.

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Back to Batiquitos...

This Lagoon is such a nourishing spot for us. It is nature in the middle of humanity.

This place is like a treasure hunt and one never knows what will be found.

The hummingbird, truly one of my favorites, made a frequent appearance.

This one, Steve discovered in her nest, was intriguing to observe. Two hummingbird nests in one week. Steve is on fire!

Even the reptiles were outing and abouting for our viewing pleasure.

“Yellow is the perceived color of sunshine.
It is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.”
– Marcia Moses

“In the world of safe hues, like black, red and white,
yellow shouts: ‘Look at me. I’m happy!’”
– Joy Sewing
"Yellow is my favorite, but what is yellow?
Handmaiden to white, it is a slight tarnish of pure light.
Take away a bit of white’s absolute luminosity,
and what remains is yellow — sunlike, golden as a crown,
buttercups in a field, marsh marigolds, a finch’s wing.”
– Richard Grossinger

And this could be our happy place... a place to just be. Pretty magical indeed.

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