Archive for the 'Morning Walk' Category


Mr. Slither (…or how I ran over a snake)

It is not every day that you can experience sheer excitement and thrill in your ‘regular’ life. I did!

Setting: The driver of a car waves me through the intersection, although I – technically- have the stop sign.  And while I am already mentally prepared to stop, I take her wave and quickly make my left turn.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see something colorful beneath me… but this being a few days after the 4th of July, I dismiss it as firework debris. When, PLUNK, my tire hits something.


this thing is at least 5 feet long!

My heart skips a beat. A SNAKE!!!  And we do not live ANYWHERE CLOSE where these creatures are common.  At least not in the city. And definitively not in ORANGE.

So I get off my bike and stare in awe at the snake.  What do I do now? Is is poisonous?  Will it lunge at me and give me a deadly venom bite?  As I try to think, I see a dog approaching. Now I am in full panic mode – what if it lunges at the dog? The dog being so much closer to the ground. my imagination runs wild while I calmly (ha,ha!) try to warn the dog walker.

By now, another woman has arrived.  We both stand a few feet away from the unknown creature but she at least whips out her phone and googles the snake. After a bit back and forth, one eye on the snake, one eye on her phone screen, we determine it is a CORNSNAKE. A beautiful one at that. We both want it saved, so we somewhat block his way by standing on the sidewalk. Him in the grass, still.

This being a friendly neighborhood, the kids next door are realizing that something is going on and about 5 of them come tumbling down the sidewalk – with their dad in trail (heaven sent – a MAN, – he sure knows what to do!) Now, they get REALLY excited as dad quickly swoops up the snake. The energy is charged as every kid shouts questions, wants to hold it, stroke it…. which matches my nervous excitement, as I feel responsible for its well-being – I just RAN over it!

look how thick he is!

he has orange eyes!

The dad is great. He patiently handles the snake, hands it to the kids AND he is a biologist.  Go figure. I call a pet store, we get information in what kind of container to put it, to give it some water. The kids name him Mr. Slither. He is okay, I did not break his bones, or dent him. Pheww.

It is a pet snake. Very docile, even friendly. I can hold it. We have an ad on Craigslist to find the owner. The kids and M., the dad, are keeping the snake until we find the owner.

Hopefully soon, because it might need to eat. A live mouse. In about three days. (I’m glad I didn’t take Mt. Slither home)




I’ve got the blues

This morning I woke to the slow pit-pat of rain falling on the leaves. It was actually a very PRETTY sound, even prettier if I lived in the tropics and sat on my lanai enjoying a cool, tall drink and soaked in the evening rain after a hot day. But not so. This is June, guys, right? Even a few days AFTER we had the longest day and the shortest night.

I am seriously thinking about moving.

… but then, there is this.

Maybe I cannot have THIS without the other. Walking by one of these delicious plants makes up for at least half a day an hour of rain.

And since blue is among my top favorite colors, I looked around the store to see what one COULD wear if it actually stopped raining.

Anni Kuan, striped shirt dress

or an circle skirt with a happy top

The skirt is by Hazel and the cowl-neck top by Neesha

Organic cotton Luz skirt by Skunkfunk

This is how I came to work this morning. Notice the TIGHTS. I like Blues. And blue skies even more…


buildings (up and down)

On my walk yesterday, I came across this horrible sight.

The bulldozer looked like a fierce animal eating away at this house. If you look closely, you can see the chandelier of the dining room swinging back and forth from the hitting force. That made me all the more sad. Somebody’s house, somebody’s HISTORY and MEMORIES taken out by the swing of a machine.

While I have no idea what was wrong with the house, or why they may have decided to rather take it down than renovate it, this violent action touched me. Walking around in my neighborhood, I witnessed similar actions; you can read about it here and here.

People build houses rather quickly around here. You go on vacation and when you come back there may be two houses on a formerly empty lot. Yes, I know – building wood houses is a lot faster than putting up brick after brick to build a single wall.

Knowing that the bulldozer probably will haven taken out the house in the video within 24 hours, I walked back over there later last evening.

huge gap between the garage and the house

a gaping, open wound

Again, not knowing HOW one decides to destroy a house like this, I still don’t understand WHY they are not preserving the materials for later use.

A few weeks back, they took down a house next to my shop… and this is what THEY did:

first they removed the windows, then the roof

all the wood carefully removed and loaded up

Granted, it took them about two weeks to remove all the materials. However,  whatever was taken out there can be either recycled properly or resold to someone who is renovating another older home. I applaud companies like this one!

In the case of the above (video) house, I am afraid that all the construction rubbish ends up on a landfill.

For the ‘newly’ made (razed clean) empty lot, I’m afraid to see monstrosities like these going up:

compare the scale of the houses here!

I don’t get it: look at the scale between the older house on the left and that tall, skinny weirdo!

Hey, I like NEW houses. Modern, sleek, well-designed buildings. Just not those functional, non-descript lot fillers.


something blue

Over the past two decades, I have been fortunate to be able to afford to buy three NEW cars.

The first one was a BLACK Renault5, which I sold when I moved to the US.

The second one was a FOREST GREEN Volkswagen Golf, which I sold when I moved back to Germany.

And the third one was (and is) a DARK BLUE  Mazda3, which I bought when I came back here.

I do have a thing for cars and I do believe that the car you drive says something about you. But I also pay attention the the color of the car. It is important to me that all the colors on the car go well together; and I LOVE all the new colors  (the reds, yellows and weird greens) of newer cars but don’t like how they don’t go well with the brake lights. Call me silly.

Soon after I got the black car, I determined it is probably the WORST color for a car although it looks awesome. Dust and dirt shows immediately and it does not help when your best friend scrapes the side of it with her bicycle… (I have forgiven you, E. – don’t worry!) I think after the black episode, I knew I wanted DARK nonetheless. When I bought the green VW, I actually had hoped for a blue one but they did not have the color on the lot and I wanted the car RIGHT AWAY. (sorry G. for ruining our anniversary dinner that night)

However, I was ready for my next vehicle to be BLUE.

my commuter vehicle. blue. even the helmet.

By the time I was ready to buy my Mazda, I utilized the internet. I specified everything I wanted – dark blue color, 5 speed manual, sunroof. I had the patience to wait for the right one to show up.

and it did. I still love it.

I am still fascinated by cars and I am especially drawn to blue ones. While traveling on the above mentioned commuter vehicle, I found a few:


still don't know the make. but LOVE the shade of blue.

not really blue. Cadillac. gets 5mi/gallon (30l/100km) the owner told me.

Nissan Leaf. electric in all aspects.

now you're shocked. a red Thunderbird.

what a beauty!

I would run away with the owner of this car. Even though it’s red. (or because)

Happy sunny weekend!



I move and see

The other day, a friend of mine posted something to the effect of: moving makes you feel better. Actually, I think the article was about ‘exercising’ and how your mood increases, your stress level goes down and you just feel better when being active.

I do not think that I needed to read the article, just the headline alone says it all. The article described a study done with mice and moving, and being chased and how in the end the one that ran around had better brain readings of some sort. I forget.

What I DO know, though, is that if THIS mouse (me) does not move, I get crabby. Big time. I actually do not so much feel this in my body (stiff limbs and such) but IN MY BRAIN. Something does not compute well up there if I just sit or surf the couch. I need to move to feel good, to feel balanced to feel in sync with myself and the world.

So, I have been rather happy and grateful for the pleasant weather as of late. Because that means that I can ride my bike to work. Biking is fast enough to get me there in 20 minutes and slow enough to take in the smells and the sights.

I have mentioned the pretty houses along the way before but lately I have been seeing CARS. As of today, I gathered a handful pictures that I like to share.

I love the bully front and orange color!

either an Oldsmobile or Chevy... and BLUE!

I want that one. In that color - maybe a few years older than this.

The first electric car that actually looks good.

Nissan Leaf. Zero emission car. Goes 90mi on one charge. Now, if we only discover how to make electricity without polluting the earth.

 And this is what I see at the store:

This one makes my heart move.


my commute (coming from…)

With my camera eye on, I am biking home. (actually, my ‘camera eye’ is my phone, as usual…)

I am leaving work (Citrine), dart through a parking lot, pass a park and then have to cross the freeway:

km 1: not a house, the freeway bridge looking East

km 2: 28th&Tillamook (Irvington neighborhood)

km 2,5 (26th&Thompson), had to throw that one in… it is so well kept!

km 3: 18th&Thompson (Irvington), I got to visit this one on the home tour 2 years ago, it is a total remodel of a one story house

km 4: 18th&Failing (Sabin neighborhood), sits right across from the school soccerfield

km 5: 13th&Skidmore (Sabin), the homes get markedly smaller

km 6: 12th&Jarrett (Vernon neighborhood), I like how they matched their car to the house (?), plus I am just such a fan of dark blue cars (and Volkswagen)

turning a corner and I am >>>home


my commute (going to…)

I know I should keep my mind on more important things than gazing around…but I am so amazed by my discoveries that I have to document them.

I have lived in this town for two decades and am still CONSTANTLY surprised by what really lies between those bridges and within the neighborhoods. Now, figure in a bike, some distance and my incorrigible curiosity… and this is what I find!

Today, I decided to take a picture of a house every kilometer that I was riding. My commute to Citrine is just a little over 6km (about 4mi.), which I know because I have that little bike odometer.

My starting point:

km 0 – my house (King neighborhood)

km 1 – 13th&Prescott (Sabin neighborhood)

all these pretty ground covers!

km 2 – Failing&16th (Sabin)…needs some help

km 3 – 19th (Irvington neighborhood)

km 4 – 19th&Knott (Irvington)…huge house!

km 5 – 26th&Thompson (Irvington)

I guess this might be our version of the White House

km 6 – crossing I84 (I know that is not a house)

almost there – 29th (Hollywood neighborhood)

(I find this apartment building rather ugly, it looks like is has a bad hairdo)

>>>At work.

Flickr Photos


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