Monday, December 6, 2021

More of Joshua Tree

 Hi everyone. Happy new week.

As I have a bit of time before T day arrives, I thought I would share some more photos of our California vacation. It is now almost a month since we left.  Wow.

This post is a bit long, and I apologize in advance for that.

I mentioned in last Friday's post (Joshua Tree)  that Joshua Tree National Park has  these interesting rock formations that are great for rock climbers. 


At several places around the park, we saw people climbing, and they were fun to watch.


I'm not a fan of heights so it isn't for me. Even though these rocks below don't seem that high, it is still too high for me. The climbers scuttled over these as though they were nothing however.


And then on to higher challenges.


I can see why these rocks would be great to climb.


This tight rope walking, called slack lining, on top of the rocks looks frightening, even if they were hooked on belays. Although in this next photo it is hard to say. Perhaps there is a flat area below the line.



I was able to get these photos with my zoom at 400x. 

Speaking of rocks, I thought these were really interesting.  I wonder if they were made from hardened vents or mudpots of some kind.


There were more climbers on this cool rock formation, but we didn't stop to take any photos. I took this through the car window, and the mushed bug on the windshield left that blob in my photo.


There was one spot in the park where you could hike up a small hill to get a million dollar view.





We entered the park on the north side and exited on the south side. We were staying on the south side, and figured a shorter drive was better at the end of the day. As you approach the south side of the park the landscape changes. This is because you move from the more northern Colorado dessert to the more southern Mojave desert. Ecologically they are separated by elevation and precipitation levels. Those 2 factors change the dominant plants growing in the area too. There's no more Joshua trees here in the south, as you can see in this next photo.


I liked this sign.







I believe these must be flowers, but I am not certain.



Instead of Joshua trees, the now dominant plant in the south part of the park is the ocotillo.



The negative part of traveling in November is the days are shorter, and by 5 PM it was  dark. We didn't have as much time to take a walk in the southern part of the park.

 Just as we left the park, I snapped this heading towards sunset photo.


It wasn't very far off.

We had a great day in Joshua Tree National Park. 
It is always surprising to me how different every park is, and yet they all have something wonderful to see and teach you.

Thanks for visiting my blog.







Sunday, December 5, 2021

Door Men

 Hi everyone. I hope your weekend is going well.

 My daughter is visiting this weekend. I haven't seen her since late October (although we chat so often it surprises me its been that long), and she now has a new ring to show off. She just got her engagement ring back from having it sized, and I was excited to see it. 

She and her Dad also went shopping yesterday to get me something I don't know about for Christmas. I  know I am getting another (bee) hive for Christmas so come summer I can have 2. When the hubby asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told him he could  get me another hive.  He must have ordered one because when they arrived, we had been out and were just coming home and he teased me about what I "now" bought in such big boxes that were sitting in front of the garage. Smile. Nope, the boxes were for him.

I was a little worried about him going out shopping in the crowds on a weekend with him being immune suppressed  because right now New Hampshire has the dubious distinction of having the highest covid rate in the nation. And we don't even have a big population, as we are #42 (in population) out of the 50 states.  Not good! I just wish our state government was doing more to get people to wear masks. My husband is fully vaccinated, but being immune suppressed  who knows how effective the vaccines are. I do know he always wears a mask though.

I would certainly rather have him healthy than get a Christmas gift that he bought and caught covid while doing so.

Enough about those things. I am posting because I want to share another page for Valerie's When One Door Opens Another One Closes challenge at Art Journal Journey. I had spent some time thinking about doors, and one thing I thought of was how fancy hotels and some big city apartment buildings have a doorman.


So I created door men.

My first  attempt didn't work, but the door men did, so I cut them out of the page. You can see the blue edge around them. This time I spray painted and inked a piece of watercolor paper and then stamped the fun letter background stamp randomly around the page.  I also added some paper tape (that is really not crooked but my photo is). Then I attached my 3 door men. They are made using a door I drew, colored and fussy cut as well as using parts from a TH person. I had a couple of doors I didn't add people to, and I decided to use them on the page also.


One thing I am having a hard time doing is finding quotes that refer to doors (I will look online I think). However, I had a couple of small unmounted stamps in a bin, and low and behold, this definition one seemed perfect for this page. I added it 3 times because that arrangement looked best on the page.

There you have it. 

I hope all is well with you and you are enjoying your weekend.







Saturday, December 4, 2021

November Books

 Hi everyone. Happy weekend.

It is already time once again for my monthly book post. As I write every month, this is my way of keeping track of books. I know some of you are book post readers, so please read on if you are interested. I understand if book posts aren't your thing.

Today's book post is a short one. November was not my biggest reading month. Between being busy with getting outside chores done before snow, getting used to the time change, a 10 day trip, and then the Thanksgiving holiday, the amount of reading I did dropped off a lot. 

Much of my reading was finishing up books I had already started.

I did finish this Ken Follett book I started in late October and mentioned in my last book post. I had just under half of the book to read when November rolled around, but since the book was 900+ pages, that was still a lot of read.  It was very well worth the time!   I only wish I had finished it before we flew to California because this was way too big of a book to carry with me, so I had to wait until I came home to finish it.

As I mentioned  last month, this book is the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth. This book is set at around the turn of the first to the second millennium, starting in 997 CE. 


 I also finished listening to this book that I started in October. I  really enjoyed this story. This was one of the best books I listened to/read in 2021. I haven't really read all that many World War 2 books, but I think I need to read more. This book was historical fiction "starring" Nancy Wake, an actual Australian who  ended up working with the British against the Nazis in World War 2. At the end of the novel the author gives a fact versus fiction chapter which I found very interesting and informative. I highly recommend this story. I am now very interested in reading Nancy Wake's autobiography as she was one extremely interesting woman.


Then it was onto another older mystery, a new series for me. I seem to be on a historical mystery kick lately.


I believe Jeanie was the one who mentioned this series a few months back. I wrote it down on a to-check-out list, and I'm sorry if I have the wrong person who mentioned it.  I looked for an inexpensive copy and found one on eBay. This book was originally published in 1940.

Mr. and Mrs. North live in the Greenwich Village apartment, and they discover a dead body in  the empty apartment above them. Of course the police are called and come to the crime scene. The Norths befriend police detective Weigand and his side kick Mullens early on in this book.  I expected the book to be a little more about the Norths investigating the murder, but I did like the detective and his side kick, and I did like this book. I just found an inexpensive used copy of book 2 on eBay so that has been added to my to-be- read pile.

This book, The Norths Meet Murder,  made a great on the plane read. On the way to California, I read the first half. On the way home, I read the next quarter, and then, being tired since we had a 6 AM flight home, I decided to sleep the rest of the way.  When I got home I was able to finish it in one sitting.


I decided I also needed to shake up my reading choices a bit, so  after listening to Code Name Helene, I thought I would give this Cold War espionage story a try.

I've tried to find out how much of this story is actual history with little success, but it was still an interesting listen. In this book there are twin sisters. One of them, Ruth, works in NY in a publishing house. The other sister, Iris, defects with her husband and children to the Soviet Union in the late 1940's. Iris's husband worked for the US state department and acted as a double agent. This book is basically set between 1940 and the early 1950's.

Iris then needs to be rescued from the Soviet Union. I won't say any more, but I did enjoy this story. It was inspired by  some actual British double agents who defected to the Soviet Union. I read some place that the author, Beatriz Williams, uses these same characters at different points in their lives in some of her earlier books. As this is the first book by this author I have read, I can't say for certain, but it would be interesting to see what she has them doing in her other novels.

And my last book wasn't really a reading book. I did read one pattern from it though!


I saw the Hufflepuff hat on the front and thought it would be great for my daughter.  I was able to check out the book and decided there were lots of patterns I would be interested in knitting. I ended up buying the book and also a couple of hanks of yarn, and now that I have rolled them into balls,  I can start knitting the hat. If you aren't familiar with hufflepuff from Harry Potter, I am referring to the black(ish) and yellow hat on the cover.


More about that at a later time.

That's all the reading for me for November.  As you can see, (for me) it dropped off a lot. I'm hoping December will be a bigger book month, as my to-be-read pile is getting rather tall. I hope you had some interesting reading, and if so, if anything excited you, I'd love to hear about it in your comment.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Joshua Tree National Park

Hi everyone. Happy almost weekend. 

Today I thought I would share a few photos from Joshua Tree National Park. This park is located in the desert of southern California, not far from Palm Springs and about 2 hours east of Los Angeles.

I must say it was the busiest National Park  I have ever been too. It probably didn't help that we went on a Saturday. This park is one that rock climbers love because there are some great climbing spots here; the rock formations are not too high nor anything that only the bravest daredevils will attempt.

There was a half mile back up just to get up to the entrance of the park. And we left at 8 in the morning to beat the crowds.



A ranger  at the Visitor's Center told us that if you found a spot to park, then take it. Everyone drives past the first parking pull off, so we pulled in. We had a nice quiet walk and some beautiful views. All those trees you see are Joshua Trees.

Joshua trees are  related to Yucca plants. They are actually not trees, but are called that because the shape they grow in.  If you are interested, here's a bit about them from the Park Page: Joshua Trees-NPS.



The rock formations in the park were interesting. According to what I learned in the park, these giant rock structures were originally solid rocks that were cracked from earthquakes. Rain got into those cracks and starting eroding some of the rock. Now what you have are these formations made of lots of interesting shaped boulders stacked together in some unusual forms. This process took hundreds of thousands if not millions of years to occur.


At another spot we found, we saw this forest of Joshua trees.









Here's me next to one of the ones in a forest area.


My husband's family friends who live out in that area told us that although much of California is in a severe drought, this desert area is not (in a drought)  because they don't get a lot of rain to start with.  I would say there is definitely a water issue here, especially because down on the flat lands outside of the park there is a lot of agriculture. People are pulling water from the Colorado River and it's water drainage area. The water situation in California is definitely going to be an even bigger issue in the future if rains don't arrive. 

 Although temperatures were in the low 90's (about 32-ish degrees C), there was a wonderful light breeze. Because it is so dry, you didn't feel sweaty. But you do have to remember to drink fluids so you don't dehydrate. This heat was actually a little warmer than usual for November in this area. It was nice to put on shorts for a change.


To keep this post from getting too long, I'll share more another day. 

Have a great start to your weekend. 











Thursday, December 2, 2021

Doors

 Hi everyone.

Happy Thursday. Another week is flying right by, isn't it?

Today I have 2 art journal pages to share with you. One is for for Valerie's challenge at Art Journal Journey and the other is for Second on the Second over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog.

This month the new ART JOURNALING  challenge at AJJ is When One Door Opens Another One Closes.


I call this page What Goes On Behind Closed Doors. It is my new page to share.

I used a stencil and some light modeling paste to create a bit of texture in the background. Then I used a few colors of spray paint.

I found the doors in an Art By Marlene punch out booklet. I glued them down in the middle of the page. I also found the rainbow image and added that. Of course we want everything going on behind closed doors to be good. I added the gold metallic paper sun to the rainbow just to make sure all is good, and of course the sun adds lots of warmth also.

I added some white paper trim as a place for the doors to sit, as well as a few small plastic pearls too. Then I stamped the keys underneath for a bit of interest. I also stamped the quote on the top of the page. 

Finally I stitched the border around the page. That didn't completely show up in the top photo. In this next view you can see it better. At least some of it is easier to see. 

Don't forget we only accept art journal pages of any size. No cards, tags, ATC's or dimensional art please.

And here is my second look.


This is a spread from a journal I made in 2018. Here is the link to the original post: Merry Christmas. Noticed I picked a couple of pages with lots of doors.

This was a great journal  for the holidays because I made the whole journal in advance, leaving spaces to write in my daily story.  I could even sit on the couch, watch TV and fill it in. I'm going to try to remember this for next year because it would be a good November project. 

I hope your week is going well. No complaints about my week. So far it's been relatively quiet, as I've been busy putting out holiday decorations, making art, and reading. I did get to see some friends last night, which was great as it's been close to a month since I've seen any  friends. Hopefully my walking friend Jo and I can get back into a weekly walking routine. With my trip and the Thanksgiving holiday, it's been several weeks since we've been able to do that.  Today we have rain, which did start off as snow. It's just a dark dreary morning as I write this.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.