The Bee’s Knees

I just had the most magical experience!

My cat Momo found a dying bumble bee in my fireplace. To her credit, she wasn’t trying to kill it, but it must have been there for a while because it was weak and couldn’t fly. I hate to see anything frightened and dying, so I wondered how I could help.

Since the bee was clearly harmless in its condition, I decided to get tactile. To my surprise, it barely hesitated when it gingerly walked onto my finger. I took it outside and placed it on my hanging petunia plant, hoping it would do whatever it is that bees do on flowers and regain its strength. Instead, it teetered around helplessly and seemed disoriented.

Maybe bees don’t get their nectar from petunias, I thought.

So I guided it onto my finger again and placed it on a cluster of orange flowers in my yard (I don’t know the name.) I sat and observed for a while, but nothing happened. At least this pretty flower is a better place to die than my fireplace, stalked by my cats, I thought. I was about to give up hope and satisfy myself with the knowledge that I’d returned it to a more natural environment, but I had one last idea.

I retrieved a chopstick and some local raw honey from my pantry and returned to the bee. I dipped the chopstick for a small dewdrop of honey and dabbed it on a petal near the bee, and hovered the chopstick nearby. I am no expert on bee anatomy, but what I assume was its tongue darted out and started consuming the honey! Slowly, it regained mobility, and its legs and antennae started to squirm. Within another moment or two, the bee was buzzing and soared off into sky, rising high above my avocado tree, with my other kitty Tetsu gazing on in wonder! 🐝💛 I was elated and awestruck!

I could not believe the honey trick worked. In fact, a Facebook friend commented that Virgil noted back in 31 B.C. that the way to save bees was to give them honey. I was slightly concerned there might be some negative side effect to giving an adult bee honey, so I’m relieved to know that I have validation from ancient Roman poets 🙂 

Anyway, this little episode made my day. Like that Starfish Story says, you may not be able to make a difference for all, but you can always make a difference for one.

Godspeed, Little bumble!

*Note: the photo above does not depict the bee I saved this morning. I snapped that shot at the San Diego Botanical Gardens earlier this summer. 

The Daily Magic

I am all about the little things lately.

I can often dwell on things that can’t easily be helped, at the most futile times (i.e., when I’m trying to sleep), creating a severe case of spaghetti brain that dismantles my balance and subdues my energy. I’ve recently made an effort to focus on the magic present in my life every day, no matter how small or ephemeral.

Like the hummingbirds and butterflies that call my backyard home. Or the classical music I play to fill an empty house with soothing, yet uplifting notes. Or the half-dozen avocados I plucked from our tree that are now ripe and ready to eat.

I know we frown on materialism, but I like to appreciate the small material things with which I have surrounded myself as well, because they make me smile. Like my imperfect, rather damaged rose gold globe. Or my floral tea kettle. Or my lightly engraved Balinese treasure cabinet. Or the rustic wooden arrow that reminds anyone looking to “Find Your Wild.”

Anyway. Follow “DailyOm” on Instagram for regular inspiration and insight. I highly recommend it!

California Zen: Life in the Pink House

When I think about the past four-and-half months, my head spins! Since late May, I lived in a Magician’s Mansion (with a 120-lb tortoise named Henry), bounced East to DC to visit friends and family, moved into La Casa Rosada (the Pink House), and hosted an ongoing carousel of visitors. Throw in a side trip to Santa Monica, a highly anticipated Himalayan salt lamp, goat yoga, and a refrigerator full of kombucha, and you have yourselves a fully christened California Girl 🙂

Each of those random things hosts a story all its own, but I have been negligent in tending to my little online garden. Mostly, this means that my life has been busy and full. And it’s true! I adore my little Pink House. In fact, I probably love it a little bit too much. We did not buy it  (we are simply renting) but it’s the first house that Chuck and I found and chose together, and the first time in quite a while that we haven’t been forced to live in something we didn’t want. After 3 years of involuntary, military base housing, I was ready to regain some control and make ourselves a little home.

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Gypsy Kitty: My New Look

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Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Every time I move, or experience a transition, I tend to rebrand myself and my little corner of the internet. When I got married and moved to North Carolina, I went from DC party girl “Bad Kitty” to “Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake,” documenting my attempts at domesticity and “blooming where I’m planted” as a new military spouse.

When I moved from Georgia (yet another “keep calm” sort of location) to Okinawa, Japan, I still felt the need to keep calm and bloom, but decided to revamp my blog to suit the Asian adventure upon which I was about to embark: lotus flowers, better photography, menu items, a new template. Mostly, Keep Calm & Have a Cupcake became a travelogue.

Now, I am living in Southern California, and it is time for a change!

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Taipei, Taiwan

My experience in Asia taught me to explore anything and everything. I had taken DC for granted in my youth, mostly staying within my comfort zone and only occasionally venturing beyond what I knew. Of course, much of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t have a lot of disposable income with which to have such adventures. Still, there was plenty in my own backyard that I failed to become acquainted with, because I was too busy with work, family obligations… and being a Bad Kitty.

With Asia – and with growth – came a greater understanding and appreciation for the nooks and crannies all around. Sometimes that was an exciting new country, and other times, it was a particular corner of a particular street in the village outside my gate. With all of my transience, I’ve learned to make the time to explore the world around me, whether it’s a foreign country, a different state, a new city, or even my own backyard. (Not to mention my own state of mind!)

At the same time, I continued to explore the nooks and crannies of my own life  – learning from others, as well as myself. Now that I am starting over yet again, I’m ready to blend that curiosity and wanderlust with the fun girl that loves to dance, sparkle, and drink wine with her cats. A Gyspy Kitty, if you will! Purrfect. For now 🙂

As always, this blog keeps me connected, introspective, and contemplative as my definitions of home and self continue to evolve. I’m surely enjoying the ride!

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La Jolla, California

My Favorite Little Corner of the World

Goodbyes are never easy. It’s an old cliché, but we all know it’s true. My Okinawa goodbyes were not particularly graceful or memorable. They were actually rather abrupt, but in some ways, I like that better. As my friend Sally said, it’s like ripping off a BandAid. Or diving head first into cold water. You’ve just gotta do it. And in the end, most of my goodbyes were not that serious, because I know I will see many of these people again. But there was one goodbye that was harder for me. Because I know I will never see my Uken family again.

IMG_0099_20160207124157It’s hard to explain what Uken Beach means to me. On the surface, it may seem obvious: I like cats. Cats are my spirit animal. And believe it or not, I haven’t always been as obsessed as I am today. Sure, I’ve always loved them, but it wasn’t until my mother got rid of my cat while I was in college (without my knowledge) that I truly realized their significance in my life. As my mom struggled with mental illness and my home life disintegrated, Sammy was my consistent source of comfort. When I didn’t have her anymore, I felt her absence on a very deep level, and from then on would obsess over when I could finally get another feline companion of my own. Continue reading

Okinawa: Eating Our Way Through the Last Stretch

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Cafe Pipineo is about 10 minutes from my apartment and serves the most luscious cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had my whole life.

Welp! We are just about 6 weeks from our presumed rotation date, and the Marines still haven’t given us orders for the next assignment. Never mind that pretty much everyone else in our lives knows where they are going. Chuck and I are masters of the “hurry up and wait” philosophy, at this point. That said, I continue to assume that we will depart Okinawa this spring. With our time here drawing to a close, I am hoping we can squeeze a few more adventures into our remaining weeks – however big or small.

One thing I will surely miss are the darling cafés that dot the island.  They typically offer just 2-4 menu items at any given time, which sounds limiting but actually ensures a more memorable culinary experience. Of course, the ingredients are always fresh and local, and the décor is consistently unique and charming.

I won’t mind having more options (especially vegetarian and/or gluten free) when I return to the States, but I don’t know what I’ll do without a hearty guarantee of savory Japanese curry, garnished with local vegetables known to bless Okinawans with the longest lifespans on the planet.…  Continue reading