Friday, January 29, 2010

Only in California...

You meet the most unusual people in California... and appearances can be deceiving.

Since the sun was shining (yay!), Barry and I went for a walk along the sea front. It was SO refreshing!

As we turned a corner in a parking lot to head back the way we came, we bumped into one of California's unusual people.

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. William Earl Walker Sr.

He's standing here, in front of his Superman Van

Yes, everything you see there, has been stuck on, by hand!

Each one of the little 'gems' individually stuck into place.

And Mr Walker excitedly exclaimed about how they all just shine so beautifully in the dark. As he drives along under the street lights, you sure can see him coming!

He's not done with the decor...

You can see he's missed a few spots - he's working on them!

Along with other fancy deterrents, in  his van he has a camera which will immediately take a photo of anyone trying to break in, and it sends an alert and the photo directly to a gizmo hanging on his key chain - so that he can then forward the photo to the police.

Mr. Walker is an avid believer in Jesus, and he has an amazing testimony of how he once was terribly lost in sin; he lost his wife, his children, his job, his car - everything - because of drugs and alcohol.

Until, one day, he had a dynamic encounter with Jesus. It's a long story, and I could never do it justice -- simply to say, he was dramatically transformed. And now he is living for Jesus. He is a retired naval officer, and spends his time now allowing his van to attract people's attention so that he can tell them about how Jesus changed his life, and how He can change theirs.

He certainly got OUR attention.

And you know, if I was you, and I was reading this, I know what I'd be thinking.

But let me tell you, Mr. Walker impressed me with his bold testimony and his very evident love and gratefulness for the Lord's goodness to him.

. He and his wife have been happily married now, for 20 years. His Marine and Gov't pensions are more than sufficient to provide for him and his wife, so that he can concentrate on his ministry of telling people about Jesus, and praying for them in their need.

We attempted to shake his hand as we were leaving -- but he said he couldn't shake hands with a brother and sister -- so he gave us each a big bear hug.

You meet some of the strangest people in California...

but this one was a delight!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Few of My Favourite Things.... my sister's garden:

Thirsty turtles

A shy Mexican...

...with a soggy hat

A fisherman, going nowhere

A bowl of Cacti (which is real and which is not?)

A carrot-eating bunny

The Potting Table

The weather gauge that lies -- well, not really, but I am learning it is always a few degrees cooler than it shows here!

No need for these, since I arrived here!

My sister feeding her birds

They are HER birds, but HIS domain!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Well, the rain is ever-lasting!  We've had a little bit of excitement here -- but not as much as other areas of southern California, and that's ok, we can live without power outages, trees falling and mudslides. Here are some shots, in the midst of a storm we had the other day:

Remember "Old Glory" flapping madly in the wind?  Well, he's gone -- who knows where!

Some flooding on the patio

The birds were in hiding

View of the torrential waves of rain - from the front window

Fence blown down (around a gas station)

Look at THAT storm cloud overshadowing the sunset

But we're ok -- still painting up a storm, and enjoying each other's company!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Painting Up a Storm (in a Storm)

So, we went from this

to this:

We drove down to the beach after lunch, just to see what it looked like. The rain from this, the third storm to pass through in three days, had only just begun - but the waves were already forming.

But by the time we arrived back at the house it was raining cats and dogs -- thundering and lightening, too, later on.

But none of this nasty weather is bothering us. Yesterday, in the midst of the storm, we were painting up a storm:

This was the scene outside, as we gathered are 'tools of the trade' together.
You can see the water pouring from the drainpipe, on the left of the photo. The rain was torrential.

This was the view from the kitchen window - the neighbour's treehouse and flagpole. Old Glory sure was flapping around!

Chris is waiting to begin our water-colour painting lesson. We had a drawing of three horses's heads that we were to paint. It was my very first attempt at painting and I was quite nervous. But as I progressed I began to catch on a bit to the technique.  Not sure if I will post the final product here -- we'll see!

In the meantime, while the elements roared away outside, we were as snug as bugs in a rug -- and so was Bailey:


Monday, January 18, 2010

What to do when it's raining in California?

The dreaded rains are upon us, although, so far, there is nothing wild happening out there. I am sure the rain is only adding to the depression felt by San Diegans today, after their beloved Chargers lost yesterday to the New York Jets.

The birds who frequent my sister's patio are not enjoying their soggy seed today. This was the scene last week:

Chris sprinkles the seed on the picnic table near the patio doors, so that she can take photos of her visitors.
We could never do that in Toronto -- we would be feeding all the neighbourhood raccoons and squirrels, and the birds would be out of luck!

There is an interesting phenomenon that takes place around here.

Early in the morning the birds are everywhere; on the picnic table, around the feeders, in the bird bath and even enjoying the waterfall. The air is full of their tweets and chatters....

...then, suddenly everything gets deathly quiet. The birds are gone, the air is still.

And if you are quick, you will see the reason why. A huge Coopers Hawk invades the garden - sits on top of the bird feeder, looking around as if to say, "This is MY territory now."

I have not been quick enough -- each time he has come, either my camera is nowhere to be found, or, if it is in front of me, the slightest movement to reach for it, sends the hawk away.

Yesterday, we just missed him again, but we heard the racket -- the swooshing of his massive wings and the pitiful cry of a little bird, as the hawk flew right under the patio roof after him.

I wonder if this little one was a near victim of Mr. Hawk?

He sure looks a little roughed up!

So what are we, the housebound during the rains, going to do?

Well, Chris is going to give me lessons in painting with water colours. Last night I sketched out two drawings, ready to apply the paint

Hope my sister is up for this. She's a great teacher -- not sure if I am going to be a good student!

You can go here, by the way, to see Chris's perspective of our time together

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A New Year; A Different Life....

...for a few weeks, anyway!

I am down in California, keeping my sister company while her MOTH (Man Of The House) is away.

 I was not sorry to leave this behind in Toronto:

Very grateful to be experiencing this:

The weather has been pretty idyllic since I arrived.

Bu "they" say that next week we will reap the effects of all the storms, lined up out in the ocean right now, that will make their way inland and cover us with driving storms filled with rain -- ALL next week!.

The surfers along Carlsbad's beaches are already enjoying the effects:

Unusually high waves -- to their delight!

Choosing the right spot

Waiting for the perfect wave

Hope they read the instructions before they headed out

This couple is oblivious to it all - mesmerized with each other.

(I think this is an amazing photo - can't believe my camera took it.
I used the 'landscape' mode for the first time)

This little beach-side squirrel wasn't interested in the waves either --
he was looking for hand-outs.

And even my sister found something more interesting to talk about than surf!
Two former strangers quickly became friends, conversing about art -- one of Chris's favourite subjects!

Stay tuned.
We are hoping to drive down to the beach during the storms next week.
I know -- we're crazy, but we both love storms (as long as we are safe),
and the raging ocean should create some great photos!