Birch Aquarium San Diego

My husband I loved this aquarium. I joke that this is really the only way I want to see the life teeming in the sea. If I were snorkeling when encountering all these critters, I’d be terrified! But the aquarium is an atmosphere of such peacefulness, beauty and education that being there is bliss.

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There’s a great room that explains global warming and the effects of too much CO2 in the atmosphere. Photos of the polar ice caps before and after are shocking. The CO2 also goes into the ocean turning it acid. We don’t yet understand the effects of that on wildlife, but they do know that all the animals that form shells need a certain Ph to do that. This information was presented in plain and simple terms.

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Individuals can do a bit to make ourselves feel better, but we really need a massive overhaul as we all know. Fortunately there are people and governments working on the issue. Let’s hope the humans’ ability to cooperate, which is what allowed us to get so far, will help us solve this problem in time. I don’t think ocean health is an optional thing, a nice-to-have. I’m pretty sure how they go, we go.

There’s a gorgeous outdoor area at the aquarium.

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Here’s hoping you have a great weekend!


San Diego

Sorry I missed my post yesterday. I was busy relaxing which, for me, includes writing!

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But I was up before dawn today, taking photographs. This is the San Diego Temple. It’s amazing that you can get onto the grounds before 7 a.m. The church is generous to make their site so accessible to photographers and others.

Despite the early hour, people were already in church, and a few more arrived while I was taking pictures. The grounds are gorgeous, the architecture amazing, and the way the landscaping dramatizes the temple is pretty impressive. I keep wondering how much this land must have cost, and the fact that this much land was available. A quick Google search says it was announced in 1984, but to me that date is a bit ambiguous. I assume it was finished then. It stands on 7.2 acres of land.San Diego-5

I think maybe the close-up picture is better than the ones with all the grounds in front. It’s more dramatic.


Google Maps then helped me navigate to Windansea Beach. This is better at sunset, but early morning with fog is good too. Different conditions yield different photo opportunities, and then it is fun to play with editing.

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I encountered an interesting rock formation immediately after the stairs, and later decided my favorite part was the way the sand color bleeding into the black color looks like a crashing wave. Hooray for high-resolution pictures because this is very cropped.

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This palm hut is lovingly maintained by volunteers who replace the palm fronds whenever some blow away.

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Here I played with the image to make the scene feel dark and stormy, which of course it was not.

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In fact it was a lovely morning for surfing.

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Have a great week.

Motivation in writing and San Diego

Happy Monday. What do you have planned this week? I am working on final edits for Third Strike’s the Charm and once that’s done, I’m going back to my special project. I won’t have it completed for NaNo, but at least I wrote 30,000 words!

Do you find you have to juggle goals based on other demands or simply motivation? What about creative goals? Do you fight it if the excitement isn’t there?

I have found that if I don’t want to work on a project, it’s often okay if I don’t because everything always gets done. I prefer to be in the flow and allow my inner rhythm to guide me when I’m writing. I’m inherently goal oriented, so I’m able to work that way. Even when I had a day job, I could work on things when I felt like working on them. There’s a distinction, though. I actually enjoy some of the more tedious work, it’s the creative work that is more difficult, and I prefer to do that when I’m inspired and excited. So I would work on all the routine stuff when I wasn’t inspired and work on the really hard stuff when I was. However, just like with writing fiction, when there was a deadline, I had to push myself, and it could be very unpleasant, working all night and racing against time. I don’t work all night now, but I used to have to do that a lot when I was a technical writer. When I was a project manager at the end of that career, I didn’t have my own “deliverables” and so didn’t have to pull all-nighters.

There are times when I have to push myself to get a story done. In fact, right now, I’m floating along on a magic carpet, feeling happy and light, but I have to remind myself of the intense stress and hard work I had to go through to get Third Strike’s the Charm written and submitted on time. So many times I didn’t think I was going to pull it off. So many times I pushed myself to work every waking hour. I didn’t want to let down my critique partners, especially one of them, who had put in a huge amount of work to help me after she told me the first draft didn’t work as it was. (She was right.)

I also didn’t want to let down my husband. I told him this after I had completed the book. He said I wouldn’t have let him down and not to ever worry about that. But I probably still will worry about that too.

Wow, in writing this post, I’m realizing again that what motivates me is other people. That was true at my day job too. Not wanting to let people down is what spurs me to work extraordinarily hard. Otherwise, I float along on my magic carpet, dreaming and enjoying, until I really have to land back down there on earth and perform or somebody is going to be disappointed.

My preference is to get things done because I want to get them done and to experience mostly joy along the way. I think the key for that is not having too many external deadlines. I still have to find that balance of learning to push myself hard when the going is not easy. That is a matter of holding myself to my own deadline and not letting myself down. I look forward to learning this new ability to push myself out of choice.

What motivates you to perform at your peak?

Here are some photos from San Diego. I took this first one at the end of my photo shoot. This surfer stood here for a long time, just looking at the sunset. I love how he reveled in the moment, how he appreciated the natural beauty. This man inspired me so much more than all the people who stare at their phones, including me. (I’m trying to break that habit.)

Surfer at Scripps Pier La Jolla
Church of Latter Day Saints temple in La Jolla
University City San Diego

And here is a gallery for you. PS I’m saving my best photo for my monthly newsletter, which goes out tonight. So if you’re not already signed up, just click on the link above (monthly newsletter). That will take you to the form. I’d love to have you as a subscriber. You’ll get a recipe and be entered in a giveaway each month, plus see a unique piece of art in medium resolution.




Oh my word, I have been busy. I have so many posts floating in my head, so many things to tell you and lots of photos too. Here is one little installment.


I love the hibiscus because it symbolizes the tropics or at least a place with really nice weather. We can’t grow these in Northern California. Yes, I confess, I went to San Diego over the weekend and passed by this very large hibiscus hedge.

Chronicles of the #Californiadrought

I decided to rename this series because California is not necessarily overcrowded. I’m not sure if it is or it is not. In fact, 80% of our water usage goes to farming.

We have a farm. Not quite, but my husband is a great gardener and has expanded our garden this year. We are already enjoying chard, tomatoes, and squash. We’ve decided to squeeze indoor water usage to the minimum in order to water these plants and some of our landscaping. We eliminated lawns a while ago. We will eventually find out if we made it under the allotment. You can’t really tell with water until the bill arrives. With electricity, you can look at your usage as you go along.

We have a smart meter for electricity, and today is a smart day. These days occur when the temperatures get really high, as they have today. A number of years ago, we had rolling blackouts because of a power shortage. Air conditioning on week days when businesses are cooling their buildings drives up the demand on the power grid. Voluntary reduction of power usage during these peak times helps the grid. So, it’s hot, there’s no AC, and we can use very little water. But I’m happy. I love California!

Here are the things that I enjoy about the drought and heat:

1. A sense of community. We are all in this together, finding ways to reduce water use.

2. Water use is being looked at very carefully, which was really needed.

3. A lot of sunny days. I’ve always liked California and could even imagine myself living in the desert because of the blue skies.

4. Appreciation for and awareness of water. I am aware of every drop that slides down the drain and capture as much as possible to use for other necessities.

5. With hot days I can go for a nighttime walk in shorts and a t-shirt.

Here are some photos of beautiful California:

High Sierra meadows



South bay area

San Diego


Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt California
Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt California
Lake Tahoe


Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley
Lake Tahoe
San Francisco


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Pacific Beach farewell (more beer)

We loved the California Kabob restaurant so much and really thought our son and his fiancee would also like it, so we invited them to meet us there. Well … when we arrived we found out the restaurant is actually a brewery called Amplified Ale Works. If you approach it from the beach there is the kabob sign, but if you approach it from the street, Mission Boulevard, there is the Amplified sign. A tad confusing! We frantically texted our guests, but fortunately, being part of the next generation, they figured it out on their own.

So, how great is it when you love a restaurant for its food and ambiance and then find out it’s a brewery?!

I’m also celebrating receiving a contract for my second book with The Wild Rose Press today, so here’s a toast to a good vacation, family, good blog friends, good food, good beer, and a new book:


Here was the view … a wonderful farewell to PB.






San Diego beer, sand, and water

This brewery is really fun if you like beer. They have small sample sizes and many choices. I tried samples from the dark varieties.


It’s a popular place for bachelor parties and bachelorettes too. There are party buses that bring in big groups.

P1070347Back at the beach we find evidence of multiple species enjoying the sand.


After our walk, we are treated to some delicious flavored water.