Happy Hibiscus Hues

Variegated Peach and Coral

I don’t think I had seen a hibiscus until I moved to Egypt.  Our villa garden was gloriously full of the original red hibiscus.  Since living in the States I have discovered so many other shades but never as many as I spotted in San Diego at Balboa Park.

Pale pink

Aren’t the colorful stamens pretty?  Such perfection in a flower.

Deep orange

Lemon

I love the matching lemon stamens.

Look at those stamens!

I would love dresses in all of these colors, especially this clear red above.

Pale yellow

This was the first time I had seen clustered blossoms of hibiscus.

Deep pink

Cream and crimson

Mauve

Sometimes it is the small aspects of life that make us happy.  These hibiscus were a distance from the Botanical Garden in Balbao Park and outside the zoo.  Only I seemed to be fixated with the variations of color and taking photographs.  Perhaps they are more common in San Diego?  Ironically, my camera had lost battery power, so all these are taken with my Samsung phone.  My beloved Nikon camera is getting old and slow, so Teddy and I bought me my first proper camera at the weekend.  It is a Sony with a Zeiss lens but most importantly it is really light for my neuropathic fingers to manipulate.

Lush flowers in our garden in Cairo

This is a shot of our beautiful garden in Cairo.  Can you see Toffee hiding in the flowers?  Look for the tail in the path…  Click here if you would like to know more about our adventures in Cairo – Letters from Cairo

 

 

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Meet our new garden guests…

Mother Gray Fox and pup

These are our new residents who use our deck as an AirB&B.  The first time I saw them, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  What were they?  Since then I have swallowed Wikipedia and discovered that they are Gray Foxes.  They are indigenous to the Americas (with a range from Canada to Venezuela) unlike the red foxes which were introduced from Europe to hunt.  Red foxes are now predominant in the eastern states but our gray foxes are not at risk.

Felicia

Felicia, the mama, is sharing a burrow with the armadillos – I wondered why it was so big…  From our nighttime camera we can see 2 adults and 4 puppies.  Since the pair are monogamous we assume it is a breeding pair with their litter.  I believe that they have recently moved into our area from other green belt areas that houses are being built on.  We live in a protected forest environment and back onto a reserve (behind that fence).

Look at those brushes!

Felicia is about the size of a cat with longer legs.  Their coat is exquisitely patterned and lush.  I have had so much fun watching them play and hunt.  Mama is mostly silent but quietly mewed at the pups when she returned with a baby squirrel from a hunting trip.  They ran out from the deck, one went straight to her teats but she slapped him off to encourage them to eat solid food.  They first appeared in the Americas in the Pliocene Era, about 3 and a half million years ago.  Gray foxes are the most basic type of canine species and are related to Fennec Foxes.

Like cats, Felicia can hiss and climb trees to hunt or escape predators.  She comes down backwards like a cat.  I found a large dead wood rat on the deck – do you think it was rent for the deck burrow?? They are crepuscular in nature so that is why we have some shots in daylight but mostly they are nocturnal.  Now we finally know why our squirrels are called fox squirrels – they have exactly the same gray with amber coloring.

They have provided much needed balm to my fragile soul over the last few weeks but also terrified Katniss our outside feral.  She finally came back after a couple of weeks, very skinny, so I have been feeding her up.  The foxes still come and go, so she has fixed her timetable to adjust.  The foxes are not a threat to her but she doesn’t perceive that.  I guess they all scent where they have been.

My psychiatrist suggested that I should write another post after the last one about suicide and here we are!  I have taken two months off work and am beginning to feel better.  My apologies for my absence around my friend’s posts – I need to relax.  These little foxes have made 2018 a marvelous year, especially since so few people have seen these little critters in our area.  I hope you enjoy watching the video of the pups playing in my plants – so cute!!!

 

San Diego Mugshots

…and to another brilliant segue by Kerry – from Folsom to San Diego. There is a lovely little seaside community in San Diego called Seaport. As I was walking about I noticed this fancy schmancy shopping and dining center, The Headquarters at Seaport. Even more intriguing was that this was the original San Diego Police Headquarters built in 1939. What a place to work with magnificent views of the water! As the city increased in size they outgrew the original headquarters and here we are today. Amazingly they kept the original 8 block cell intact with some of the mugshots of the prisoners. This is a link to the history and architecture of The Headquarters.

Since I went to San Diego to research my ancestors, I looked with cautious trepidation at the mugshots. Was one my relative – not to my knowledge? What an interesting bunch they were. Such a mix of ethnicities and most of the crimes seemed relatively minor.

Block of 8 jail cells


The cell blocks themselves looked better than most youth hostels I frequented in my youth. You had a bed, toilet and sink all to yourself – wow! I bet there was even hot water…


As fascinating as it was, I was left with a feeling of sadness that so many of them were drug addicts. How little life changes over the generations. At least they had reasonably sized jail cells with the smell of the ocean just outside the door.

Texas Trains

Look at that! A Texas sky and an old railroad with no barriers. Us Texans are brave…

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Brenham in the Texas hill country for work.  It is a small country town, German in origin, north west of Houston.  The last time I traveled for work was in the UK, to grim industrial towns in England.  This trip was much better with perfect spring weather in Texas (hot summer weather in UK).

I used to be terribly frightened of railroad crossings but since moving here, I have had to get used to them.  Most of them around me have no barriers so the train uses the horn for miles – a sound I love.  Sometimes on a quiet night I can hear them at night about 4 miles in the distance.  Now I just stop briefly at the railroad and check there are no trains (not everyone stops…)  The crossing above was right in the middle of the old section of town.

Santa Fe Depot

These train company names immediately bring nostalgic memories of old American movies and I dream of jumping on a wagon to travel across country.

Abandoned train line

Or at least I think it is abandoned – it is sometimes hard to tell out in the countryside.  As I child I would have constantly been on these train lines imagining the destinations.

Yellow train

This is just one part of a very long train that had dozens of wagons.  They sometimes are so long that it takes 20 minutes for one to pass.

Wildflowers beside the Walmart

As I was leaving the Super Walmart I noticed this field of bluebonnets, followed by red wildflowers and finally yellow.  The sky was very overcast and it gave a surreal feel to the field.  I attempted a photo watercolor below.

Watercolor created by using Photoscape

I am sleeping with a senior citizen…

Celebrating Teddy’s 60th birthday at a rooftop hotel in Mobile, Alabama

…and he snores too. Teddy and I rarely travel together because of our elderly cat but made a special effort to go to a new place for his 60th birthday.  When we married he was 24 years old and I can’t figure out how all this time has passed.  Teddy went ahead of me and I arrived at Mobile Regional Airport on his birthday.  He picked me up in a rental car and we went straight across the fabulous Mobile Bay causeway .  Sometimes water that close to a roadway scares me but this was just sublime.  We started looking for brown historical sites signs and starting learning the fascinating history of Mobile.

View from the original settlement of Blakely near Mobile. The city of Mobile is in the far distance.

This whole city, named Blakely, was abandoned after an epidemic of yellow fever in the 1800s and everyone moved to the new settlement of Mobile on the other side of the vast bay.  Five rivers create a delta into the bay.  From our busy metropolis, this was absolute bliss – very few people and polite drivers.  We went to lunch at an Oyster place with a great view across the delta.  After two glasses of wine I decided ‘we’ would drive to just over the border of Alabama into Florida.  It was wonderful.  Teddy and Bunny decided that there was no reason to change the habits of a lifetime and had a spat about which direction we should be going in…  There was no cell phone service deep in the country and the GPS stopped working.  By the time we had dinner in the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, all was bliss in Teddy and Bunny land. 🐻 🐰

Many more posts of a place less traveled and some funny stories.

My two beautiful girls

TOFFEE

This is the inside Princesa – Toffee.  It is hard to get a good shot of her because she is a darkly colored Tabby (mixed with Egyptian Mau).  In reality, her markings and fur are exquisite.  She has the typical saggy beige fluffy tummy of a Mau and little fluffy Hobbit feet to protect her from the desert heat.  We rescued her as a kitten in Cairo but at age 15, I still can’t pick her up.  For years she hardly spoke but since the other two Egyptian cats died she has not shut up…  She talks about everything with precise vocalizations.  “Thank you” for lunch sounds very different from “Clean up my poo stat!”  Although she and Katniss have never met face to face, Toffee chats to her through the open window.  In some Disney world they would be sleeping together but they are both little ferals, happy in their own worlds.  She hunts sunbeams around the house even though I keep the temperature at 76 degrees or above.  I move Nana’s orange and brown rug about so that her old bones are comfortable in the sunbeam.

KATNISS

This is the outside Princesa – Katniss.  I rudely call her Fatniss because she is a voracious but slow eater.  She is probably about 3 or 4, maybe neutered by the local cat people and I think she belongs to me now?  At the moment I was writing this, I ‘knew’ that she was outside, so I interrupted this post to feed her with newly clean dishes.  The raccoons have been playing with the dishes again and I had to hunt for them around the garden.  From time to time, Katniss rolls in the garden and I get to see her lovely white tummy with a black belt (in Karate?)  She has a lovely mixture of black and pink toes, usually immaculate despite living outside.  She also talks – do they get it from me??  Katniss has a tiny little voice and chats while I feed her.  Sometimes the tone is terse when it is cold or wet.  She also hisses when she is happy – I think she is just trying all her vocalizations.

They make me happy. ❤