We headed south of the border yesterday for a weekend of beach walks, seafood, and enjoying the Sea of Cortez. What a joy to arrive in time for a beach walk at sunset. I was stunned this morning to wake up and see this magnificent sunrise from our room.
Have a great weekend!
What highlights do you have planned for this weekend?
Our good friends, who live at the beach, returned from a trip to Italy right before our beach vacation.
I didn’t expect my friend to bring me something from Italy, but she did. She brought me hand soap that has a rich rose scent. I thought that was so thoughtful. I wouldn’t think to do that, especially trying to get gifts into my suitcase.
The soap has been sitting in it’s lovely wrapper for weeks on my bathroom counter.
I thought about putting it in the guest bathroom where guests could use it. My mom always had special soaps in our guest bathroom — carved little blue roses or scented soaps.
I thought to myself, wouldn’t my friend want me to enjoy it? My other thought was that it’s too nice to use at my own sink daily to wash my hands. It definitely belongs in the guest bath.
Also, I don’t have a soap dish to hold it. it’s a large block of soap.
A quick trip to Target solved that issue. Now I’m luxuriating in the wonderful feel and scent of rose soap imported from Italy and I think of my friend — every time I wash my hands.
Why do we have nice things for guests, but don’t feel like we should use them ourselves?
My beach chair has a pocket on the back with a zipper. That’s where I keep sunscreen and books. I selected two books by Shirley Jackson and my goal was to get through them while I sat on the beach.
I adore reading on the beach.
“We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is one of my favorite books. I’m thinking of assigning it to Book Club when it’s my turn — if book club survives. The last book club turned into a disaster more on track with “The Real Housewives” than a social evening to discuss literature. A spat broke out between two ladies. One woman went way over the top — and the other countered by sending a certified letter telling her she was out of the group.
Since then, two months of book clubs have been cancelled. In August only one person RSVP’d. September’s book club is off because the woman hosting said she needs a break. After that last episode, we all need a break!
Back to the beach. I LOVED reading both Shirley Jackson books. She is such an excellent writer. “Come Along with Me” is the beginning of a novel she never finished due to her death.
In 1968, Jackson’s husband released a posthumous volume of her work, Come Along with Me, containing her unfinished last novel, as well as 14 previously uncollected short stories (among them “Louisa, Please Come Home”) and three lectures she gave at colleges or writers’ conferences in her last years.
Although I’ve hauled “Come Along with Me” from Washington to California to Arizona, I’ve never read it. It was the perfect beach book. I read one short story or a lecture each day at the beach and finished it the day before we left. Her unfinished novel “Come Along with Me” was a joy with a very quirky character who was clairvoyant and communicated with the dead.
At the beach house I had a Liane Moriarity book I was reading but didn’t finish. “Nine Perfect Strangers” may remain strangers to me.
The contrast between Shirley Jackson and authors today was stark. I felt almost smug reading such a talented writer and forgoing my usual beach romances. I have five more Jackson novels yet to read. I can’t wait!
What type of books do you like to read on vacation?
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Have you read Shirley Jackson’s stories or books besides “The Lottery?”
My husband and I named our August 2022 beach vacation, “The summer of dolphins.” Despite the sadness of sea lions infected with toxic Domoic Acid, that I wrote about HERE, the dolphins were thriving.
Every day we saw dolphins. I was mesmerized watching them. I love to watch them cruise, leap and play. One teenager was swimming along with mom and dad. He’d roll over on his back and do a backward flip — showing off.
This video was taken on our second to last night. The water was like glass, the sunset shimmering pink reflected on the sea. You can see the dolphins tails as they dive.
When we lived in Palm Springs, Calif. which is one of the hottest spots in our nation — next to Death Valley — we used movies as an escape from the heat. It didn’t matter what was playing, we’d find something we were mildly interested in. It got us out of the house where we spent most days.
Then COVID hit and movie theaters were closed. I missed movies a lot. I loved the smell of popcorn when you walk through the theater doors. I loved the few hours sitting in the dark, watching the big screen with unbelievable sound.
I remember writing during the shutdown that the first thing I wanted to do when things reopened was go to the movies.
Fast forward to September 2022 — and we hadn’t been yet. The reason why? I was uncomfortable sitting in the theater with a bunch of strangers. Once we moved, the theater was a 30-minute drive, not a few blocks. The Phoenix area has 6 million people, rather than the 48,000 of Palm Springs. Whenever I looked online, the theaters were full.
Labor Day was packed at the beach. We went early and left when floods of people set up their umbrellas and chairs. We came up with the brilliant idea of going to the movies!
We saw Top Gun. I loved every minute of it. I felt like it was a milestone of getting back to “normal.”
Every single day we observe dolphins. At first, it was one or two. Then it became three and four. Now I walk a quarter mile with dolphins leaping, playing, cruising up and down the beach. I can’t imagine how many are in pods that stretch the length of my walk.
Every single day I try to get a video. They don’t do the dolphin magic justice. That is what they are to me. Magic. Or is it spiritual?
My husband was out catching waves with our son’s girlfriend. They both told me how they were out beyond the waves and a dolphin leaped out of the water right before their eyes. It’s mesmerizing.
I can spend hours starting at dolphins. I feel peaceful and in awe.
Here are four fun facts about dolphins from the Monterey Bay Aquarium followed by one fact from the Dolphin Project:
Bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia learned to wear sponges over their beaks while foraging among sharp coral — the only known case of cetacean tool use.
As is true for all cetaceans, a dolphin’s nostrils have shifted to the top of its head, becoming a blowhole that permits easy breathing at the water’s surface.
A bottlenose dolphin contains three times more blood than a human by body weight, increasing the dolphin’s oxygen-storage capacity during dives.
When asleep, a dolphin keeps half of its brain awake in order to keep breathing.
Dolphins have very large brains– their brain to body size ratio is second only to our own! They also exhibit sophisticated forms of communication, tool use, cooperative feeding methods, culture and social learning, and play.
This morning on our beach walk, I first noticed three signs and yellow tape.
We stopped to read the signs and a woman approached us wearing a hat that said volunteer for some marine life organization. She said there was a distressed sea lion ahead. It had been resting on the beach behind the signs and yellow tape.
Then when a young woman was walking her pit bull, the dog pulled out of its harness and attacked the sea lion.
The volunteer from the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute told us the sea lion escaped into the ocean. She explained that the sea lion was suffering from Domoic Acid poisoning, which is caused by algae bloom.
My husband said that algae bloom happens every year. Isn’t that a normal thing? Wouldn’t sea lions be used to it?
She said they were inundated with calls about sick sea lions along the coast and that the Domoic Acid poisoning could be fatal. The volunteers were out observing the sea lions from sunrise to sunset along the beaches. Apparently stress could make the illness worse. She was standing on the beach all day to keep people and dogs away from the sick sea lion.
I asked if we could still take our morning walk.
“If you have to,” she answered. “Please stay along the cliffs and as far away from the sea lion as possible.”
We started on our walk, but as we got closer to the sea lion, we turned around. It wasn’t worth it.
We also spotted the young woman with her pit bull walking down a trail to finish their morning walk. She was avoiding the volunteer who was positioned by the signs. The young woman spotted the sea lion in the ocean in front of her and thankfully turned her dog around and headed back up the trail.