July #TreeSquare Challenge # 16: Ocean Beach, Carmel

Self will try to post every day during the final days of the #TreeSquare Challenge for July: TREES.

Thank you so much, becky, for another fantastic Squares Challenge!

Currently on Road Trip # 3: CARMEL.

Took these shots of Monterey pines yesterday at Ocean Beach. It was a very cold day, but there were people in the water, and families on the beach, all looking like they were having a GREAT time! Kudos to the brave souls swimming without wetsuits! Water must have been freezing.

July #TreeSquare Challenge # 15: Misty Morning

We are in the final days of The life of B’s fabulous #TreeSquare challenge (The next Squares Challenge is in October) Her post today shows EMBROIDERY. Love it!

Since self is currently in the middle of Road Trip # 3 (Carmel and Monterey), her posts are all coastal trees and coastal gardens. It is cool here (refreshing change from the relentless heat of the South Bay) and there is thick morning mist.

She framed her shots this way because of course, she was thinking of the #TreeSquare challenge. She would never have used these angles otherwise. Thank you, Becky, for hosting!

July #TreeSquares Challenge #11: Last Year, During the Fires of September

Self was looking over the pictures in her archives. She was shocked to come upon the pictures of the backyard in September 2020. There were wildfires raging up and down the state. The Lightning Complex Fires in Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, and San Mataeo County began in August and raged through the first half of September. The air quality was so bad, and there were days she could distinctly smell smoke.

For today’s #TreeSquares Challenge, she’s posting these pictures as a reminder. She heard on the news that the fires raging now in California (there are quite a few) have burned four times as much acreage as the fires this time last year. Can you imagine if we get to September with worse air quality than what’s in these pictures. The heat so far this summer is so intense. Cross your fingers and pray.

Question of the Day

How do the pensioners in The Thursday Murder Club know about the Dark Web when self only heard about it a month ago?

She’s on p. 181.

Also, it turns out, the DCI likes Oasis. OASIS.

Normally, she would just barrel through to the end (especially as it’s getting pretty exciting), but today has had all sorts of appointments, and she’s meeting someone for dinner — DINNER! — at the Beach Chalet. Her cousin from Manila, who’s only here for a few days.

Stay cool (it’s hard, that sun’s like a laser), dear blog readers. Stay cool.

July #TreeSquare Challenge #4: Sunday in Golden Gate Park, Part II

For this July #TreeSquare challenge, self is sharing more pictures she took in Golden Gate Park last Sunday, the Fourth of July. It was a beautiful day: cool! What a nice respite from the heat down on the Peninsula.

The statue is a memorial to Marie Bonner. The log cabin was something self stumbled open while wandering around the picnic area:

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Flower of the Day (FOTD): Acanthus

It’s been a week — no, more — since self has posted a flower picture for Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge. Her flower today is Acanthus.

Self posted a picture of it on Facebook and asked if anyone knew the name for this flower, which grows along one side of her yard. A friend from Malta was the first to answer: “It’s called Acanthus, and it grows all over the Mediterranean. Its image is often carved into tombs.”

The man who built this house (in 1939) was from Italy. He planted a magnificent walnut, and all kinds of fruit trees (which have died one by one, over the 30 years she’s been in this house). Perhaps the fruit trees and the acanthus reminded him of his native country. Perhaps he was homesick.

She saw massive specimens in Filoli, the last time she visited, maybe a year ago (They were allowing a small number of visitors, everyone had to be masked)

Funny, another friend, who has a large, beautiful garden, told her it was “a weed” and grew wild. It’s definitely not a weed. She remembers, the first ten years in this house, the spikes were profuse, and very tall. But climate change is a thing: every summer in the last 10 years, that patch of side yard has been exposed to the most punishing sun. The leaves turned brown, and no flowers appeared. Until this year.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

July #TreeSquare Challenge #1: Land’s End, San Francisco

Thanks to The Life of B for the #TreeSquare Challenge!

Self’s first post for the challenge are the trees of Land’s End, San Francisco, just outside the Legion of Honor. She visited the museum in June. (The trees are in the background, not the focal point, sorry)

These coastal California cypresses have endured wind and fog for many years — even, centuries. Hopefully, they will endure for centuries more!

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Lens-Artists Challenge # 154: One Photo, Two Ways

Love the quote on the Travels and Trifles blog:

“A photographer’s eye is perpetually evaluating.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

My One Shot, Two Ways is of Avila Beach, on the Central Coast.

I liked the wide angle shot of the beach, but the rescue station had such an interesting mural. I just had to zoom in. It seems to portray a rescue craft, heading away from a ship? I tried to find out the name of the artist, but so far I haven’t been able to find any information. I’ll keep looking.

It was my first post-pandemic beach trip. And it was a gorgeous day.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

Intelligence Briefing: “Window”

Such fortuitous timing: It is summer, it is hot, and she can’t work in her yard because at the moment it is filled with piles of gravel (She’s having her driveway re-done). What else can she do but read? And she has excellent reading material in Inferno: The Fiery Destruction of Hamburg, 1943, by Keith Lowe.

This book. THIS BOOK. Wow. Until this book, she didn’t think it would be possible for her to be so engaged in reading about the destruction of a German city during World War II (Because — depressing, right? Besides, a lot of other things happened during World War II. Such as the death of two uncles, all the way across the world, in the Philippines. And the horrible hand-to-hand fighting in the streets of Manila. Nevertheless)

What Mr. Lowe is really good at is painting a picture, putting the reader in scene. Just look at how he describes the night before the British aerial attack on Hamburg — important because, as the pilots were told, Hamburg was “Germany’s main center of submarine production.” There was distribution of a quantity of “brown paper packages” filled with “silver foil strips” called “Window.” Window was going to give the British aerial supremacy over the Germans. Window was going to win the war!


Intelligence Officer: “You will already have been told how to drop Window. It has been worked out as carefully as possible to give you maximum protection, but there are two points which I want to emphasize strongly. Firstly, the benefit of Window is a communal one: The Window which protects you is not so much that which you drop yourself as that which is already in the air dropped off by an aircraft ahead. To obtain full advantage, it is therefore necessary to fly in a concentrated stream along the ordered route.”

“Secondly, the task of discharging the packets of Window will not be an easy one. You are hampered by your oxygen tube, intercom connections, the darkness, and the general difficulties of physical effort at high altitudes. Despite these hardships, it is essential that the correct quantities of Window are discharged at the correct time intervals.”

The officer “went on to explain that Window was considered so important the Air Ministry was already developing machines to ensure a steady flow from the aircraft. In the meantime, however, it was up to the airmen themselves to maintain a machinelike regularity when dropping the bundles down the flare chute.”


Unfortunately, the dropping of “Window” did not exactly work out as well as visualized! The long strips of foil got tangled, especially at high altitude, and sometimes blew back into the plane, filling the interior with strips of foil that hampered the crew’s visibility . . . oh Lord, this was hilarious!

btw: Is there any system stupider than the new WordPress block system, which won’t let self indicate that the previous paragraphs are a quote. And if you try contacting WordPress customer service, they will tell you to e-mail. She really doesn’t know why they had to change the old system, when no one complained. And they applied the new system without giving anyone a heads-up. Who’s in charge of decision-making over there?

Anyhoo, they are a quote from pp. 74 – 75 of Inferno.

Stay cool, because self isn’t.

H. G. Wells: Dystopian, 1908

Self started reading Inferno: The Fiery Destruction of Hamburg, 1943 a few days ago, while she was taking a wee break in San Luis Obispo. The sun was shining! It was hot! The surrounding foothills were brown!

In the early afternoon, when it got too hot to walk, she holed up in the apartment (which had a really fabulous blow-up of Dearest Mum’s favorite actor, Steve McQueen; self felt right at home, the minute she walked in) and read.

Self feared this book would be a dreadful trial, a slog to get through. But, surprisingly, it has been a fast and engrossing read. Even from the first chapter, which began somewhere in 1169, the year Hamburg’s harbor was created/christened.

Chapter 6 (Self wasn’t kidding when she said this was a fast read) begins with a quote from an H. G. Wells novel, The War in the Air, which is about “a world war in which aerial bombing campaigns would destroy every major city and bring about universal social collapse.”

Here is his fictional description of “the bombing of New York.” Bear in mind the novel was published in 1908:

  • They smashed up the city as a child will shatter its cities of brick and card. Below, they left ruins and blazing conflagrations and heaped and scattered dead . . . Lower New York was soon a furnace of crimson flames, from which there was no escape. Cars, railways, ferries, all had ceased, and never a light led the way of the distracted fugitives in that dusky confusion but the light of burning.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

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