Tag Archives: San Diego

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Wrong

I don’t like to focus on the negative so when I found out the WordPress weekly photo challenge theme was “wrong”, it left me thoughtless for a little while. Besides showing a photo of the wrong shoe on the wrong foot (for the record, it only happens to my kids, not me), I couldn’t think of anything.

Then I remembered I recently took some cool photos at a San Diego county park a few weeks ago, so maybe something in there would fit the theme. And that’s when I found not one but two photos to share. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

The first one is the photo of a two-third dead tree. I say two thirds because its trunk split in three early on in its growth and two of them had to be cut off, probably because they weren’t doing so well. The three-trunk tree looks wrong, especially with limbs cut off, but I love how nature can make a wrong right by providing shelter in the hollow trunks for animals in need.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Wrong - photo of a hollow tree

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Wrong – photo of a hollow tree

The second photo is of another tree where something else wrong happened with its trunk. But if you look closely, you may find something right came out of this wrong. I describe it as the hooded lady with a scarf. I love finding shapes like that!

Do you see it? If you don’t, maybe there’s something “wrong” with you. ;-)

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Wrong - the hidden face in the tree

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Wrong – the hidden face in the tree

An uninvited guest (not for the squeamish)

We had an uninvited guest in our backyard this week.  An un-welcome guest. And gross. It was a surprising visit because our yard is fenced in on all sides and we have a back wall tall enough to prevent this type of animals from climbing over (it doesn’t stop squirrels or lizards from raiding my garden). So the hypothesis is, this animal managed to get in by climbing the bushes by the wall, and then stretched over to get in.

One afternoon earlier this week, I went in our backyard to take the kids’ pool clothes and towels out to dry after their swimming lesson. Something unusual caught my attention in the corner of my eye. There was something weird looking under my tomato plants so I walked over. That’s when I saw this (reminder: not for the squeamish!):

Unidentified snake with black head, pink belly and brown spots on back

Unidentified snake with black head, pink belly and brown spots on back

This unidentified at least three-foot long snake had a very black head (you can see it in the middle of the photo), a very bright pink belly, and a back covered with brown spots. It didn’t move and just stared at me. As for me, my first thought was, how the hell did it get in here and what am I supposed to do? Sorry, but I’m not touching that stuff, especially when I have no idea what type of snake it is. Living in San Diego, I’ve seen rattlesnakes and rosy boas in the wild before, but never something like this.

Fortunately, I remembered from visiting our local fire station with my son a few months ago that they take care of snake removal, so I called 911 to get help. I was told to lock all pets and kids indoors, and to keep a careful eye on the snake, in case it decided to take a stroll along our yard. That kept the kids busy for a while.

The firefighters were at our house in less than 10 minutes and you can imagine how excited the kids were to see them. It’s not every day you have a firetruck park on your street. So the question is, how many firefighters does it take to remove a snake? Apparently, three and here’s the proof:

Firefighters remove a snake from our backyard

Firefighters remove a snake from our backyard

The firefighters were as surprised as me by the snake’s appearance and didn’t know what it was either (a Google search later on that night didn’t solve the mystery). The snake managed to slither through the netting I have put to keep the pests away from my tomatoes (it doesn’t work, by the way) not once, but twice, so it took a while for the three men to cut through the netting and free the snake.

And what do you think that little sucker did as soon as it was freed? It zoomed over the back wall and disappeared. What??? NOOOOOO!!! I thought the firefighters would jump over and get him but they came back inside and said they were done! Apparently, they judged the snake to be friendly and not a danger to people, so they let it go.

The only thing I hope is, that darn snake learned its lesson and won’t come back. I think it spent some time eating my tomatoes, and for this reason, it’s definitely not welcome again, unless it comes back to eat the darn squirrels that are eating my tomatoes too.

Never a dull moment at our house.

Have you ever had an uninvited guest in your yard or house? If so, how did you get rid of it?

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Dreaming

The bad thing about going on vacation is, you can’t wait to go again. I can find plenty of things to brag about living in San Diego (the weather, the proximity to the beach, mountains and desert, the many activities for the kids) and plenty of things I’m not crazy about (high cost of living and low wages, lack of cultural and intellectual activities, not the friendliest people on earth). But overall I miss the green I grew up with in the suburbs of Paris, and then enjoyed in Connecticut.

So when I find green, I’m happy. And when I capture green on camera, I love looking at it again to remind me it’s out there and I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Here’s some green and some blue I found at Lake Hemet during our latest vacation. There’s something about standing still in front of a large body of water and plenty of trees, feeling the breeze on my face, that makes me dream. I can see myself there again by closing my eyes…

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Dreaming - Lake Hemet, California

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Dreaming – Lake Hemet, California

And then, there’s this beautiful spot I stumbled upon with my kids this past Spring while walking around Dos Picos County Park in Ramona, California. The grass was so bright green, I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to take a picture of it for future dreaming. I wish the grass around here looked like this every day, but… well, there’s no grass. 

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Dreaming - Ramona lilac trees in Dos Picos Park

And sometimes I like to dream by looking up above and trying to find some shapes in the clouds, by myself or with my kids. Clouds are rare in San Diego so it’s a special treat I enjoy very much. It reminds me of my childhood, when I could spend hours laying down in the grass and staring at the sky, in a dreamlike state. Here’s a simple, smiley face in the sky I had to smile back at the day I saw it. Happy dreaming!

 Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Dreaming - happy face in the sky

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Movement

I spent the last few days of June and the first few days of July on vacation with my boys in the beautiful mountains of Idyllwild, California, a couple of hours northeast of San Diego. We used to have beautiful wooded mountains only 30 minutes away from our house, but they all burned down in the San Diego wildfires of 2003, and again in the wildfires of 2008.

Don’t let people fool you when you hear nature grows back from fires. It does, but it takes a ridiculously long time. It takes about five years for bushes to grow back, such as the California Sage Brush, and 20 to 30 years for most trees to recover. I can be the patient kind but 20 years to see some real trees is way too long for me. To be honest, the lack of abundant green is what I miss the most by  living in San Diego.

The closest large wooded area full of fragrant pines is around the small town of Idyllwild. There is a lot of nature to enjoy and some cute small shops to browse. I’m working on sorting through the hundreds of photos I took there and I’ll highlight our vacation in an upcoming post. In the meantime, I wanted to use one of the photos I took there for this week’s wordpress photo challenge about movement.

Movement is actually something I dislike when taking pictures. I try to take pictures of creatures that move (e.g. wild animals, my kids) but their constant, abrupt movements make taking photographs quite challenging, and usually blurry or out of focus. I took the picture below on the morning of the Fourth of July with my cell phone camera and it somehow turned out OK. Idyllwild  organizes a parade to celebrate the holiday, something my kids have never attended before. The parade happened to take place on the street right in front of our cottage, so we had a great view.

The boys were a little uneasy about watching the parade (they thought it’d be boring) until they realized people were throwing candy! After that, I couldn’t get them off the street and they had a great time. Here they are, arm locking each other while running, to see who will reach the candy first.

Safety note: although it looks like they were running right into the street, they didn’t get in the parade’s path. That would have ruined the candy fun.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: movement - Idyllwild Fourth of July parade

WordPress weekly photo challenge: movement – Idyllwild Fourth of July parade