Flora and Fauna (& topography): West of the Pacos

Blue Bonnet

On December 1st we left Baton Rouge for points west. We spent two nights in Houston, a week in TX hill country, two nights in Big Bend National Park, then drove up to NM to see Carlsbad Caverns and Santa Fe. We then headed to AZ, NV and finally CA. On January 19th we arrived back in Baton Rouge for a much needed rest from the road of several days.

Below are pictures of the topography, flora and fauna we encountered. Much of this I have never seen. I am very taken with our beautiful western states, especially Big Sur and north in California.

TEXAS

Mud bird nest in the cliff near the Rio Grande

Mud bird nest in the cliff near the Rio Grande

Mr. Spider:  As big as my hand

Mr. Spider: As big as my hand

Blooming desert

Blooming desert

Purple Cactus.  Who knew?

Purple Cactus. Who knew?

Road Runner.  Meep-Meep

Road Runner. Meep-Meep

The kind of cactus one sees in old movie

The kind of cactus one sees in old movies

Texas Long Horn Cattle, Spectacular and LARGE

Texas Long Horn Cattle, Spectacular and LARGE

TX Hill Country

TX Hill Country

Tiny Hill Country Deer, found in abundance

Tiny Hill Country Deer, found in abundance

Live Oak Trees do not get very large in TX

Live Oak Trees do not get very large in TX

Grieving Angel in Glenwood Garden, Houston

Grieving Angel in Glenwood Garden, Houston

Landscaping, TX Style

Landscaping, TX Style

Wild Horses on Rio Grande

Wild Horses on Rio Grande

Cactus growing from the rocks

Cactus growing from the rocks

Cactus and Sage Grass.  This looks and feels like an aquarium scape

Cactus and Sage Grass (& more). This looks and feels like an aquarium scape

Big Bend Beauty

Big Bend Beauty

Life will find a way

Life will find a way

NEW MEXICO

View from the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns, NM

View from the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad, too

Carlsbad, too

Carlsbad

Carlsbad

ARIZONA

Painted Desert National Park

Painted Desert National Park

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Where the deer and the antelope play...

Where the deer and the antelope play…

Petrified Wood in the Painted Desert National Park

Petrified Wood in the Painted Desert National Park

Raven:  Never More

Raven: Never More

Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed

Blooming Cactus

Blooming Cactus

Petrified Wood

Petrified Wood

NEVADA

Who knew the NV desert has mountains?  We didn't expect it at all.

Who knew the NV desert has mountains? We didn’t expect it at all.

Las Vegas Topography (smile)

Las Vegas Topography (smile)

Blooming Ceiling:  Glass flowers at Bellagio

Blooming Ceiling: Glass flowers at Bellagio

Christmas Flowers

Christmas Flowers

Las Vegas has the rare, endangered golden Lion

Las Vegas is home of the rare, endangered, golden Lion

Hoover Lake.  It looks like the shoreline is painted, This is mineral deposits from the lowering water levels.

Hoover Lake. It looks like the shoreline is painted, This is mineral deposits from the lowering water levels.

CALIFORNIA

Panda:  San Diego ZOO

Panda: San Diego ZOO

Koala:  San Diego ZOO

Koala: San Diego ZOO

JP Getty Museum and Gardens

JP Getty Museum and Gardens

Succulent Tree (I do not know the name, they were all over California)

Succulent Tree (I do not know the name, they were all over California)

Monterey Cedar

Monterey Cedar

Agave

Agave

Sea Elephant

Sea Elephant

RAVEN:  This guy is following us from state to state

RAVEN: This guy is following us from state to state

Mexican Fan Palm at Hearst Castle

Mexican Fan Palm at Hearst Castle

Labra Tar Pits

Labra Tar Pits

Caladium:  Rose Parade Float

Caladium: Rose Parade Float

Life everywhere in California

Life everywhere in California

Big Sur in bloom in January

Big Sur in bloom in January

Whales at Big Sur

Whales at Big Sur

McWay Falls, Big Sur

McWay Falls, Big Sur

Eucalyptus groves (the fragrance was wonderful)

Eucalyptus groves (the fragrance was wonderful)

Seals and cubs

Seals and cubs

Red liken

Red liken

Elk:  Reintroduced to the CA National Seashore

Elk: Reintroduced to the CA National Seashore

California, home of fruits and nuts (smile)

California, home of fruits and nuts (smile)

Giant Redwood

Giant Redwood

Giant Redwood

Giant Redwood

El Capitan at Yosemite

El Capitan at Yosemite

Sequoia the Magnificent

Sequoia the Magnificent

Drivng Up Highway 1 In California: Part 1b

San Simeon, CA the Castle built by William Randolph Hearst, a man addicted to creating.

We recently toured the William Randolph Hearst Castle.  What struck me almost immediately about this beautiful place was his love of doing it.  He was a world-class antique collector (today we might call him a hoarder).  He was a serial builder.  He built publishing businesses, one of the most productive film studios of the time and homes.  He had between 30-40 homes all over the world.  He loved the creative act of building.  He was daily, actively involved in the act of creating.  He inherited a fortune, but created his own over and above that.

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Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27 NASB)

To be creative is part of who we are because we are created in the image of the original creator.  We are a unique and personal creation.  I have found and many researchers concur that there is a deep and abiding satisfaction in the act of creating.  There is great satisfaction in the doing of a project, not just the accomplishment of the project.  Some find it in their professional life, or in the act of building a business or raising children and making a home.  It is different from recreation, community service or social activities, but it can become a part of these activities.  Some sing, write and play music, some are artists and crafters, some cook and bake, some garden, some decorate, some sew or knit, there are woodworkers/builders, some write….some enjoy the doing of several of these.  Just for the pure joy and (sometime) frustration of the act.

It is okay to be afraid, in fact it is required.  No one has ever created anything worthwhile they didn’t fear would not work.  Once we understand and accept it, we can only then finally live with our fears and create our best work. I’ve heard it said, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”  I am discovering many people who really live this way.

I have a cousin (June McClary) who has turned, “Lunch With Friends” into an event.  She and they make the most wonderful hats and dress accordingly for these festivals on a regular basis.

June1 June2

Another cousin (Frances Peterson) who gardens, cans, bakes and cooks; then lays down at night to have the energy to get up and do it all over again.

Fran

Both my brothers, a couple of my male cousins and my nephew all are musical.  They write music, sing and build instruments.  They play music even when no one is watching/listening.  Sometimes they would rather do that than eat.

Patrick IMG_2919

My brother-in-law purchased the Theater Organ from The Saenger Theater in Baton Rouge.  He then took it apart and reassembled it in his den – REALLY!  He built an extra room for the pipe chamber.  It is an amazing sight and sound.  He also rebuilds player pianos…these are ongoing projects of love.  If you are ever in the Jackson, MS area, let me know and I will assist you in a grand tour. (No picture available at press time)

I have a friend (Karen Clark) who paints…beautiful still life and landscapes and portraits.

Karen

I have another friend (Toby Morgan) who absolutely loves working with wood and building furniture.  You can see the joy in his face when he talks about a project. (No picture available at press time)

Lastly, I have a life-long friend (David Gray) who finds, rebuilds/restores, and resells pinball machines. He has enlisted his son in this fun activity.

David david2

I write.  I write because I love it. Even if no one but me, myself and I reads it or enjoys it.  I also love to garden and do crafts with my Grand-Wonders (or alone).  I have another life-long friend (Trish Holland) who turned the love of writing into a profession.  She writes children’s books.

Trish Holland

These people above are all part of the Baby Boomer generation, so they (we) have taken “hobbies” to a whole new level.  Follow our lead; find what you love and what makes your heart smile and fear, then do it.

This is an interactive blog post, please add, in the comments, what you do that makes your heart smile and add pictures.

Fatigue. . .

We have been on the road in our minivan since May.  I have pretty much covered our driving through New Mexico…then we got busy(er) and busy(er), it seems.   We have been overwhelmed by the beauty and enormity of what we have seen and done daily.  We literally fall asleep by 8:30 each night and sleep until 7:00 the next morning (unless there was a football game that Sweet Husband needed to see-I can actually through them).

Sweet Husband and I are over 60.  I know, I know. . . I’m shocked, too!  We are like toddlers we get really tired and grumpy w/o a nap.  We do not get naps, there is no time, which is why I haven’t posted on the following as yet.

Here is a list of the amazing places I will still report on (I promise):

  1. Sedona, AZ (3 nights)
  2. Las Vegas, NV (2 nights)
  3. Ronald Regan Library (one night & one FULL day)
  4. John Paul Getty Museum (1/2 day…not enough)
  5. San Diego, CA (5 nights)
  6. The Tournament Of Roses Parade (Pasadena, CA—4 nights)
  7. Continue up Hwy 1 to Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, San Francisco, Muir Forest, the Avenue of the Giants and Yosemite (weather permitting)  [Many nights]
  8. Then we head back to our neck of the woods (I’m assuming)
  9. Big Sur (to me) is the closest thing to heaven here on earth!  REALLY

Pictures below, to tease you, from each location. . .

Ragged Point (South end of Big Sur)

Ragged Point (South end of Big Sur)

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

IMG_1078

La Bra Tar Pit

La Bra Tar Pit

Van Gogh @ Getty

Van Gogh @ Getty

DSC02828

Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

Roman Bath, Hearst Castle

Pacific

Pacific

Getty Museum

Getty Museum

Princess Float

Princess Float

Coronado Hotel

Coronado Hotel

IMG_0682

Regan's Oval Office

Regan’s Oval Office

What happens in Vegas . . .

What happens in Vegas . . .

IMG_0663 IMG_0660

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Painted Desert, AZ

Painted Desert, AZ