If you get lost in Beverly Hills

If you ever get lost in Beverly Hills, get lost at Camden Dr & N Santa Monica Blvd to visit the awesome historic cactus garden.

Location of the Beverly Hills Historic Cactus Garden

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And there you have it

This beautiful Gingko biloba and its sidekick bench caught my eye a few weeks ago in San Diego’s historic Presidio City Park:

Tommy Geta Memorial

After taking the picture, I went over to the bench. Here’s what I found:

Tommy Getz Memorial bench

Since I always have been a fan of history, a memorial created in 1935 really piqued my interest.

I found a newspaper clipping from The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, published on Wednesday, October 30, 1935.

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CA, October 30, 1935

I also found this from the book, San Diego in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to America’s Finest City:

Tommy Getz

I’m quite familiar with the Estudillo House since I did a blog post on it back on February 13, 2015: San Diego Historical Landmarks—#14: Casa de Estudillo.

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

And there you have it.

A little late, but here’s my new year’s resolution

Way back in 1966, my wise old grandmother told me, “You can’t argue with a person’s beliefs.” It was true then, and I believe it is even truer in today’s world.

In less than two weeks I have had experiences with three people and their beliefs. The first was in person when I had sold one of my books, Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, to a person in Carlsbad, a coastal city about 40 miles from me. I consider that “close by,” so they can get personal delivery if they’d like.

When I arrived at her house, she had the beginnings of a beautifully landscaped front yard. Gorgeous river rock lining the curb walkway, the driveway, and the walkway to the front door. I asked her where she got the beautiful river rock. She said that she got it from the South Carlsbad State Beach. When I told her that taking rocks from the beach like that was illegal, she informed me that one could take up to a bucket full of rocks per day.


She said she would send me a link to the site that told her that, and I told her I would send her a link to city, county, and state laws.

When I got home, I found that she had sent me a link to a blog that said one could take “up to a bucket full of rocks on each visit, but no more than one bucket per day.” No citations or links to appropriate law. Well, golly gee. That’s like me saying here in my blog that if you go to Amazon you can get free doohickeys just because I say you can. Many decades ago, if it was in print, often, but not always, it was true. In today’s world that is so far from true that it’s laughable.

I sent her a link to city, county, and state law. Basically, they all say something similar to this, from the State of California government web site:

No person shall destroy, disturb, mutilate, or remove earth, sand, gravel, oil, minerals, rocks, paleontological features, or features of caves except rockhounding may be permitted as defined and delineated in Sections 4610 through 4610.10.

Undisturbed rocks

A-ha! (not the group). I knew when I read “rockhounding” exactly what was going on. Rockhounding is defined as

the recreational gathering of stones and minerals found occurring naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land…. Rock or mineral collection is limited to 15 pounds per day…. [E]xcept for the use of goldpans, no other tools may be used for rockhounding.

In other words, rockhounding is to let children (and even adults) collect pretty or unusual rocks for their home collection. If one is on an extended walk along the beach or up in the mountains, one can collect up to 15 pounds per day, which is about a standard 5-gallon bucket full. Note, though, that one cannot use tools, so shovels and pick axes, as well as actual buckets, are not allowed. They are tools. See a pretty rock siting sitting naturally on the undisturbed surface of the land? Yes, you may pick it up and take it with you. If it’s small enough, you can put it in your pocket. If it’s too large for your pocket, you can carry it by hand. You may not use a wheel barrow or get assistance from your friends to carry a huge boulder back to your car. Yes, even friendly assistance is a “tool.”

I told my new acquaintance two things: First, imagine just 1% of the 1 million visitors annual to South Carlsbad State Beach taking 15 pounds of rocks. By the end of the year, there would be no rocks left for us to enjoy next year. Second, taking rocks for your own personal landscaping is not “rockhounding” by any stretch of the definition. That is defined as theft under the law, making one a thief. It’s stealing.

She got all upset. Yes, facts and citations will do that to people who have beliefs.

The second and third instances were in the new year of 2020 in two Facebook groups of which I am a member. I provided citations, sources, and references, and links to same. As one person said, “Those don’t match my belief.” Indeed, and no facts or truth will.

I like to help people on Facebook when I can. When I can’t, I just scroll on by. I do not find it necessary to leave a comment like, “I don’t know what that is.” Leaving such comments is the written way to hear yourself talk.

After those two Facebook instances, I decided that, for the first time in my life, I would make a new year’s resolution, albeit a few days late:

I resolve NOT to try to help anyone on Facebook that I don’t know well. If I see a post asking for help, I’ll just scroll on by.

There are people sitting behind their desks who know far more than me because they watched a YouTube video, or read it on a blogger’s website. Screw my links to reputable sources in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, books, and—gasp!—the law.

San Diego’s 9 seasons

People say that we don’t have seasons here in San Diego. Ha! We have more seasons than anywhere else in the United States. In my 26½ years here,
I have experienced many seasons:

          1. Spring—January 1 to January 31 (It was 74°F yesterday.)
          2. Summer—February 1 to October 31
          3. Fall—November 1 t0 November 30
          4. Winter—December 1 to December 31
          5. Tourist season – Friday before Memorial Day to Tuesday after Labor Day
          6. Rain season—November 16 to December 15
          7. Mudslide season—November 16 to December 15
          8. Fire season—August 1 to October 31
          9. Margaritas at On The Border in El Cajon, CaliforniaMargarita season—January 1 to December 31

Because the Fall season is short, and we don’t have a lot of deciduous trees, and we don’t have a lot of cold weather which is necessary for deciduous trees to be their most colorful, it’s difficult to get good pictures of colorful trees here in San Diego. That doesn’t mean they are not here. It just means one has to search for them. Recently I found one, a Gingko biloba looking absolutely beautiful in the midst of eucalyptus and oak trees:

Tommy Geta Memorial

Notice the bench to the left of the tree? It was calling to me, and when I got over there, I found additional information about this little site. I’ll have more about it in my next post. Still researching everything about it.

It only took 20 years

Ever since stamps.com came along in the late ’90s, I have wanted to use them. I wanted to create my own flower and pet stamps. Each year when I checked them, I found their monthly charge and their charge for stamp labels to be too expensive.

Still is.

Currently, they are $17.99 a month with $5 free postage initially.

I created an account today, though. Only took me 20 years!

I can create custom stamps but those approved by the USPS are too expensive because they have to be printed on USPS-approved labels. I can print directly on an envelope but where I want to print them—just to the left of the meter indicia—is not approved.

So I resorted to doing things the old-fashioned way by putting an image in the lower left corner.

I print the envelopes using Word/Excel mail merge and then print the metered postage on them.

Interestingly, metered postage gets a discount. The 2020 rate for first class postage is 55¢. Metered first class postage is 50¢. If one has a lot of mail each month, it’s easy to make the figures pencil out.

I will be sending Nature’s Geometry: Succulents flyers to horticulture clubs, gardening clubs, cactus & succulent clubs, retirement homes, and libraries in an effort to speak to their members, residents, and patrons.

I am sending flyers to everyone in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. It probably will take me a couple of months since I already have several thousand in my database.

Here is my first envelope.

Envelope using stamps.com

Happy new year

The huge storm that we were supposed to get on 12/30 & 12/31 never arrived, having gotten lost somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean.

Although it was in the 50s and 60s outside, the sun was out both days.

Inside, where it was 74, Little Queen Olivia found a sunny spot in the living room.

Little Queen Olivia

Happy New Year
from our house to yours!

I think I have stumbled

Cover of "Nature's Geometry: Succulents" by Russel RayI had so much fun three months this past summer while I was writing my book, Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, that I decided recently to write another book, tentatively titled SSS: Southwest Succulent Staycation. However, in order to write that book, I have to visit quite a few places in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah to take pictures.

If I’m going to leave home and drive for a long distance, I would prefer to do a lot of things on the same trip. For example, to get to Utah, I have to go through Nevada. I’d rather not make one trip to Utah and then another trip to Nevada.

That started me thinking, which always is dangerous with me.

PR flyerI decided I would simply catalog all the pictures I do have to make it easier to decide what areas I actually need to go to take pictures. While I’m doing that, I also can send my Nature’s Geometry: Succulents flyer to all the horticulture clubs, plant clubs, gardening clubs, and cactus & succulent clubs in those four states in an effort to get invited to make a presentation to their clubs.

If the Ogden Garden Club invites me, I could turn that into a photographic journey and visit a lot of places in Utah on the way to Ogden.

A presentation to the Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society would allow me to visit Organ Pipe National Monument, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and so many other treat places in Arizona that are on my list.

All of that is well and good, but that would mean I wouldn’t be writing a book until 2021 or 2022. I could be pretty bored between now and then. As I was cataloging some pictures, I got the idea for a shorter book that could be written immediately. Then the mail arrived, bringing three books that I had ordered; two of them pretty much are useless for my purposes. The third, however, confirmed my idea. It’s titled Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.

Growing Patterns

The book is only 32 pages and the text is in a half-inch font. Very little text, mostly pictures. In other words, it’s a children’s book.

A-ha! (not the group).

A children’s book! It would be much easier to write and I could begin immediately after a few more dreams…. Yes, dreams.

Whenever I need to think deeply about something, I go to bed when I’m not tired. Thus, I won’t fall asleep. I’ll simply dream about what I want to do, and additional ideas pop into my mind.

I guess it’s a form of daydreaming since I’m what the medical community calls a polyphasic sleeper. In other words, I never sleep more than three or four hours, and that’s very rare. Usually I take a 30-60 minute nap and then work for 3-4 hours. Repeat throughout the day, every day, 24/7, 365 days (except in leap years, 366 days).

I have had several dreams about this idea so far and I’m almost settled on what I want to do: A children’s book titled (tentatively) Numbers, Letters, Colors & Shapes: Nature helps your child learn.

I’m thinking for ages up to 8. I’ll entertain comments about the age.

Stapelia grandifloraNumbers could be the numbers of petals in a flower, number of plants in a landscape, number of tree branches….

Letters could be apple, bear, cat, dog, elephant, fox, goat, horse, igloo….

I could get flora and fauna representing every color on a color wheel….

There are so many shapes in flora and fauna: circles, stars, triangles….

Since it is a children’s book, it should be rather short. Letters would need to be at least 26 pages, so maybe this idea could morph into four children’s books:

        1. Nature Teaches
        2. Nature Teaches
        3. Nature Teaches
        4. Nature Teaches

Gyrfalcon at Hawk Watch in Ramona CA on 1/5/19I might be able to make this into 8 books:

        1. Animals Teach
        2. Animals Teach
        3. Animals Teach
        4. Animals Teach
        5. Plants Teach
        6. Plants Teach
        7. Plants Teach
        8. Plants Teach

I think I might have stumbled upon a way to use the billions of pictures I have!