Sunday, March 24, 2019


Spring has sprung with alternating rainy and sunny days here in the foothills of Southern California.  Snow flakes still occasionally descend from the sky, lightly covering some mountain areas, including trees with nesting birds interesting me. 

I checked in via a live camera on a Bald Eagle couple in the Big Bear Mountain area northeast of here to see one of the two birds asleep on the nest, head carefully tucked into wing feathers as snowflakes sifted down around.   

Locals have named the pair Jackie and Shadow.   Jackie is believed to be the same eagle who laid one egg last year, which successfully hatched but the eaglet later died.  Jackie’s mate, Shadow, this year, is thought to be a different male when they constructed their nest. 

1)  Family planning for the couple proceeded on February 8th as they fertilized any eggs produced in this Desert Sun photo link from the Big Bear Mtn live cam:

2)  The couple admires their first egg laid March 6th  in this San Bernardino Sun photo live link:  

The report is:

“Now, for the next 35 or so days, we will see the parents share incubation duties,” service biologist Robin Eliason said. “This regulates the temperature of the egg so the embryo can develop. If all goes well, we should see a hatchling in around April 10.”

3)  Jackie reveals a second egg she has just laid on March 9th  in this photo live link:

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Mama Jackie and Papa Shadow bald eagles are carefully caring for their future offspring as they alternate periodically turning,  steadily warming and consistently protecting their precious two eggs.  

Their little eaglets  are expected to hatch with the first due about April 10th. 

You can continue to take a peek at them in real time now on the live camera link below.            
   Bald Eagle Cam Live – Big Bear:

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The Institute for Wildlife Studies offers chat and some additional live camera links observing Bald Eagles at other sites, Peregrine Falcons, Horned Owls: 

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report to investigate if Russia interfered in the U.S. 2016  national election has been completed and presented to the Attorney General William P. Barr.   

The special counsel’s office is not recommending any further indictments.   

AG Barr and select staff will review, then determine when and how much of the special counsel Mueller’s report contents will be released to the public but have promised “transparency.”

I believe I have a right to the full report containing all the information to the maxim extent according to the law -- my funds paid for that report, so I’m entitled, as are all U.S. citizens.   

I look forward to an imminent timely release of this report in full, and not just some encapsulated summary or an abbreviated version. 

Bald Eagles are a national symbol considered a sign of strength since ancient times.  They have an interesting backstory recounted with a click on this HISTORY link.

Sunday, March 17, 2019


They’re in a hurry -- heading north where it’s temperate.  Must find  a mate -- lay some eggs --   lots of ground to pass over in only two weeks before they die.   They fly fast – “about 20 miles per hour and they’ve been clocked at 25”.    They “...winter in various places in northern Mexico and Southern California like the Mojave Desert...preferring open habitat like desert, sage growth and meadows.”  They’re painted lady butterflies in this Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy video:  

Emerging from my house one morning this week I was enveloped in a river of painted lady butterflies flowing up my driveway, swooping all about me, upward over my garage.  I drove my car to Route 66 with butterflies continuing to dart around the vehicles there, too, as the painted ladies migrated southwest toward ....  where?

Ecologist Jeff Holmquist, a research scientist at the UCLA White Mountain Research Center and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability describes how the painted ladies ate and ate and ate when they were mere caterpillars (before making a chrysalis) storing up an incredible amount of energy – “a backpack full of food...that’s an abdomen full of fat” before emerging as a butterfly.  “You may as well imagine eating like crazy for a week, crawling into a sleeping bag for a few weeks, and coming out as an eagle”. 

“If you see them hit your windshield, you’ll see that yellow spat, and that’s the lipids.  Fat reserves are very important for a lot of insects, and that’s part of why many societies are rediscovering them as food right now, or have traditionally eaten them.  Butterflies are very fatty.” 

“Expect to see earlier migrations, as the climate warms.”   The painted lady is “probably the world’s most widely distributed butterfly, living everywhere but South America and Antarctica.  There’s a very large migration in Eurasia that’s even more striking than what we have right now, and one that goes from the Sahara to England.”

“A lot of species are very specific in their choice of host plants, but painted ladies aren’t picky.  They're real generalists ... eat lots of thistles, sage, sunflower and mallow plants ... so they’re fine.  But we’re in danger of losing so many other species”

Support butterflies and biodiversity by planting some milkweed.  
“Monarch butterflies need milkweed.  People need to plant the native northern milkweed – the southern, more tropical milkweeds don’t have the same seasonal cycle, and that may remove an important migration cue for monarchs.  Other than that, any good nectar plants are good for a butterfly garden”. 

The painted ladies numbers were thick that I encountered at my house and on Route 66 compared to those shown in the 9+ mins. video above.   The Next Morning segment beginning 6+ mins. into the video I thought was of special interest. 

I did slow a bit as I drove down the Route 66/Foothill Blvd. that has a 40/45 mph limit in my effort to minimize painted lady casualties, all the time wishing the butterflies would fly a bit higher in the sky. 

Migrations of all types are fascinating as some readers here have written about on their blogs. 

I think, too, about the many varieties of insects other societies eat, including some butterfly caterpillars as Holmquist has described some native American Indians do.  

Climate warming not only will have humans adapting but vegetation and creatures on our planet will be doing the same.   What will we be doing -- will our diet be altered -- will we care even more for creatures other than ourselves -- so much unknown.   

Sunday, March 10, 2019


Hope you remembered to turn your clock ahead an hour if you live where daylight savings time alternates with standard time.  California voters passed an initiative last November to make DST permanent year ‘round.   Our state legislature has to approve it by a two-thirds vote, then the federal government has to authorize.  We will join Florida awaiting passage of a Congressional bill followed by Presidential signature with the result being we won’t have to change our clocks any more!

“The majority of Arizona is on permanent standard time, and year-round DST is followed by Hawaii and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.”  The Verge.

There have been studies about how our sleep and health are affected by having to make the DST time changes.  Now that the clock no longer dictates my daily life schedule my arising and retiring to sleep has much more flexibility, perhaps my body is less affected by the changes.

 I was intrigued by some facts revealed in a recent U.S.A. Today article including:

“Though spread over five time zones, China recognizes only one, Beijing time.  It is supposed to promote unity, but for those who live in the far west, the summer sun sets as late as midnight.

If the U.S. observed the one-time-zone policy (Washington, D. C., time, of course), the summer sun in Arizona would set as late as 10:42 p.m.”

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We all are probably aware of the research results that have concluded how important socialization can be for the psychological well-being of older people – especially those who may live alone or don’t have family or friends close-by with whom to interact.  Whatever our situation we make our daily social life with those we encounter on all levels of human interaction.   

I don’t feel compelled to have contact with another person every day.  Some days I find shopping at my local grocery, a visit to my pharmacy or other stores provides all the human contact I want with conversation at a quite sufficient level to nourish me socially.  

Then, there’s the verbal interaction that comes with those scam phone calls.  The latest one I received was a recording allegedly from the prime internet mail order business whose name they used.   I was told my account (what account?) had been “locked” in a city they also named with which I was familiar.   The accented male voice rapidly spewed out all sorts of order and account numbers followed by instructions to respond by choosing one of two phone links for immediate connection with them.   Then finally I was admonished to phone a number they provided for their “Security” Department.   

Of course, I ignored all those instructions.  I did independently phone the real Internet company, confirmed there was no such locked account there in my name.  I was told this was a new scam to them of which they would notify their Security Dept.   Later a friend told me they had received a similar scam allegedly from the same Internet company, but via email.   

Subsequently, my tech guru counseled me there was no need to double check such a call – notification of the account being “locked” would not be given by a phone call -- just ignoring the call whether or not a message is left is sufficient.   A second recorded call alleged to be from that same company was left another day from an unaccented woman speaker.   Do any of these interactions count for socialization minutes?  

Recently, my social life has seemed to center mostly on interaction with various service repair people – the phone calls for appointments, then the calls on service day to learn when they’ll arrive or awaiting a call they’re on their way, re-arranging other appointments.   When these household items on which we’re so dependent malfunction, I’m reminded of how much we take for granted when everything works as it should – whether our appliances, digital devices, or our bodies. 

I do resist looking over the shoulder of the workmen, or engaging them in much conversation when they’re working as don’t want to distract them.   But we do rack up some social gab they often introduce i.e. their experience repairing their house’s plumbing, or their wife is going to have a baby.   My husband used to find talk distracting when he was fixing things.   In later years concentration became more challenging for him with interruptions angering him.   He never really enjoyed being a handyman.   He said he’d rather play a dance job and hire someone else to fix things.   

Finally, and hopefully, my house drains  are all sufficiently open, not only for bathroom but washing machine operations and utility room wash tub emptying.  But...I am considering having the kitchen drain reamed out, just on general principle – am I getting addicted to service person calls?  

Frankly, when it comes to socializing, I must confess  I’d really rather be having discussions with other than my service providers and on topics other than the technicalities of drain pipes, reaming devices, materials causing blockage, aging effects on the old piping in my house’s system.    I’m ready to move on to different topics with other people.

So, what are your thoughts about socialization in your life and/or DST?

Sunday, March 03, 2019


A strange experience occurred here a few days ago.  That wet stuff that falls out of the sky we’ve had for days suddenly ceased.  There has been this golden glow --  blindingly bright yellow rays from the sky during the day,  causing me to feel warmth on my body when I’m outdoors -- though the air is still colder than our typical 69 degree average temperature this time of year.    

This weather situation continued a whole week before more of that soggy wet stuff descended.   I learned it’s called rain.   Some home owners are experiencing hillsides threateningly sliding away from their house foundation.    In the past two months Santa Anita Racetrack, down the freeway in Arcadia, reports twenty horses have died, or had to be put down, raising concern that the rain's effects may be a causative factor.  They refurbished the race track, but news reports as I write this are that another horse was injured in such a way it had to be be put down after the most recent race. 

The good news is so much rain has fallen our drought is officially over, but at least two more strong storm systems are coming.   So those of you living east of Southern California get prepared, more “chilly wetness” of one kind or another may soon be coming your way. 

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What a surprise ... to learn in recent Congressional testimony our Prez is alleged to be a cheat, liar and con man ... would never have guessed.   Isn’t he just a real estate developer, trying to make a buck?   He wouldn’t .....

-- give priority to his personal business interests over that of our nation, would he?

-- compromise our national interests with autocratic dictators of countries dedicated to undermining our form of government, would he?

-- attempt to alter our democratic system to become a dictatorial-type leader, would he? 

--  lie profusely to confuse people, would he? 

--  try to disparage our journalistic free press to undermine this system check designed to protect our democracy, would he?

--  be guilty of committing all the reprehensible behavior he accuses everyone else of doing, would he?  

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If the madness is getting to you, just turn off thoughts of the world and tune into this classic Criterion Collection movie I laughed through the other night to release a few of my mind/body healing endorphins:

“It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” – a madcap movie that elicited gut-wrenching laughter when I first saw it years ago and still elicits laughs from me today.   Some of the funniest most prominent comedians with other celebrities of the day appeared in cameos and slapstick sketches that defied common sense, with a plot revealing how greed can creep into some lives -- even those in respected positions.   That could never happen today .... could it?