Friday Unwind #4: The Secret Mailbox, The Deepest Breath, Bioluminescent Plankton
Raindrop Sugar Cookies, and Sleep Divorce
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📬 THE SECRET MAILBOX - CARMEL BY-THE-SEA
Psst… Do you want to know a secret? Promise not to tell? 😁
Ok, there’s a secret mailbox hidden along the Scenic walk in Carmel By-the-Sea. My pastor at Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel told me. Now… I’m telling you.
That picture above…. it’s the real deal. Can you see the mailbox? There’s something special hidden inside. Find the bench and you’ll find the mailbox. Find the mailbox - you’ll find the secret inside.
Here’s how to get there:
Head down Ocean Avenue toward the beach.
Turn left on Scenic (If you don’t, you will be in the ocean, which is also fun)
Keep walking along Scenic, stopping, of course, to enjoy the view of Carmel Beach and the ocean
Continue on past the Frank Lloyd Wright House (looks like a ship’s bow plowing through the water, right?)
And on past the Butterfly House
Around the bend to where Valley View Ave intersects Scenic
Look for the steps leading from Scenic down toward Carmel River Beach and the bench part way down
Voila! You have found the bench and the secret mailbox.
Open the mailbox and take out the……
If you just can’t stand the suspense…..and you don’t plan a trip to Carmel By-the-Sea anytime soon, just put a note in the Comments below that says ‘I Want to Know’. If you’ve already been there, let us know in the comments, but don’t share the secret!
🎬 MOVIE REVIEW: THE DEEPEST BREATH
Let your breath out and relax. Count to three. Now take in a deep breath until you feel your lungs fill. Now hold it. Hold it. Hold it for 3 minutes and 38 seconds while you descend the length of a football field (end zone to end zone) straight down into the ocean’s pressure to match Italian, Alessia Zecchini’s world free diving record. 😱
This 2023 documentary begins with a spectacular shot of a diver descending into the depths, visible at first, then slowly disappearing into the darkness with just a tiny light, their own breath and their heartbeat.
The story tells the journey of a ‘perilous undersea love story’, where a champion free diver and a world renowned safety diver cross paths on a fated journey.
The film chronicles Zecchini’s rise to free diving fame and her quest to break the perilous ‘Blue Hole’ dive record with the help of safety diver, Stephen Keenan.
I was fascinated by the serene beauty of the divers and the depths, while terrified watching the divers descend into the darkness and then claw their way back to the surface. The Deepest Breath is a breath taking documentary… educational, exhilarating, and emotional.
Don’t miss the ending…. and the credits.
Have you watched The Deepest Breath? Free Diving is the most dangerous extreme sport in the world. What do you think about people doing extreme sports?
💙🐟 BIOLUMINESCENT PLANKTON
Plankton are microscopic plants carried along by the tides and currents. Think of them as tiny drifters. In fact, the word Plankton comes from the Greek word for ‘drifter’. They are terrible swimmers 🏊♀️ so many spend their entire lives at the mercy of the water.
This photo is taken at Seacliff Beach, Santa Cruz. The blue glow is caused by a common species of plankton called Lingulodinium polyhedra. They are pretty common in Southern California and they cause what is known as the ‘red tide’. During the day they look reddish brown. At night they create a blue glow. I like to think of it as blue magic.
When I first saw this photo, I thought, “What the heck is that pointy object?” It looks like a small mountain with clumps of grass.
It’s not a mountain and it’s not clumps of grass. It’s an old ship. The S.S. Palo Alto. Affectionately called ‘the cement ship’.
It was a 435 foot oil tanker built for WWI in 1919. Part of the ship was thought to be constructed with brick rubble from the San Francisco earthquake in 1906.
The war ended before she was completed. By 1930 she was towed to Seacliff Beach where she was retrofitted with a ballroom, a dance floor, swimming pool, cafe, and carnival concessions. She hosted bands including Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. Visitors could walk down the pier and climb aboard.
Unfortunately, the ship’s owners went broke and in 1932 the ship’s hull was cracked in a storm. More storms in 2016-2017 upended the stern.
Sadly, storms in 2023 destroyed the pier and access to the S.S. Palo Alto. All that remains is the story of her past.
This story is a bit of a tribute to my Substack writer friend, Sharron Bassano, who pens Leaves. Sharron lives in Santa Cruz and likely knows the story of the S.S. Palo Alto far better than I do. If you enjoy well-crafted fiction writing, you will enjoy Leaves.
👩🍳🍪RAINDROP SUGAR COOKIES
I must have rain on the brain. We need it. Rain dances don’t really work for me, but Cumulous Clouds and Raindrop Cookies…. now that has possibilities.
Here’s a fun sugar cookie recipe and icing to get a little rain in your life. I’ve made this recipe many times and the cookies are always delicious.
I use half and half for the milk. I roll some dough to 1/4 inch and some a little thinner because I like them crispier. I don’t have piping bags, so I just use small zip lock bags and I cut off a small (very small) corner to release the icing. I like to use gel food coloring.
I bought this cute ‘rainy day’ cookie cutter set. (I’m not an affiliate)
For me, the secret to great icing is the light corn syrup. The icing looks super shiny. It does take a couple of hours for the icing to harden enough that you can stack the cookies. I always have a hard time waiting, so I kill time by sampling a couple of cookies. Ok, maybe more than a couple. 😁
Do you have a sugar cookie recipe that you like to make that you could share?
PS - As I was writing about the Raindrop Sugar Cookies, we got our first ‘Monsoon’ of the season… nearly a half inch of rain. Maybe they are better than a rain dance! ⛈
💭DISCUSSION: SLEEP DIVORCE
According to a survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), more than one third of Americans have ‘filed’ for a Sleep Divorce.
It’s not as bad as it sounds… there are no lawyers involved.😅
Couples are deciding to sleep in separate beds or separate rooms. The reasons? Snoring, different schedules, temperature preferences, and the old blanket hogging. Ah yes, that feeling of waking up in the night with no covers.
People between the age of 25 and 40 topped the survey, with 43% of them saying they slept separately. Those between 41 and 56 came in second at 33%.
After reading this, I saw an opportunity to spring off my bed and dive down another rabbit hole. Woohoo! What is our history of sleeping in separate beds?
Separate Beds: A Weird History
If you lived between 1850 and 1950, you probably would have slept in separate beds. Victorian doctors warned that sharing a bed would “allow the weaker sleeper to drain the vitality of the stronger.” Gotta love those Victorian doctors. They were the same ones who practiced blood letting…
In 1861, doctor, minister and health campaigner William Whitty Hall wrote in his book “Sleep: Or the Hygiene of the Night”, “each sleeper should have a single bed in a large, clean, light room, so as to pass all the hours of sleep in a pure fresh air, and that those who fail in this, will in the end fail in health and strength of limb and brain, and will die while yet their days are not all told”.
Poetic? Yes. Scary medical advice? A Big Yes.
In 1919 Dr. Edwin Bowers wrote in his book, “Sleeping for Health”, “Separate beds for every sleeper are as necessary as are separate dishes for every eater.” Guess I shouldn’t have ordered that brownie a la mode with 2 spoons.🥄🥄
However, by the 1950’s separate beds were considered a sign of a troubled marriage. I have no proof, but am wondering if our WWII military returning from the war had something to do with the return to one bed. Learning about that would be another rabbit hole. Perhaps you would like to go down that one and report back. 🐇
In 1956, Marie Stopes wrote in her book, “Sleep”, “The twin bed set was an invention of the Devil, jealous of married bliss.”
Well, sorry Marie, but now we flip-flopping humans (both in bed and in our habits) are going back to those evil twins.
What are your thoughts on Sleep Divorce? Do you think it’s age related? If so, what ages? Or maybe it’s just because of snoring, temperature preferences, blanket hogging, or flip-flopping. What do you think? Join the open thread to share your thoughts. I think this is a topic for all generations!
💡 Your Ideas Are the Best
I’m still trying to learn what topics you’d like to read about. I’d love to hear any and all suggestions. I’m considering occasionally including something a little more serious for us to talk about together. What do you think? I am an open book with a blank page…
Special thanks to those of you who are subscribing to After 21 Club. After 2 years writing Kindness Magnet (and still going), I’m excited to start this community of generations. I hope it’s a place where we can come together to share ideas and recommendations for leading happy lives. You can help After 21 Club grow by sharing this post with your friends. I hope you will. Thank you.
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Wherever you are, I hope life is sunny. 🌞❤Heather