Birding Saudi’s Riyadh Province

Welcome to my son, Greg, who’s joined the WordPress community. If you’re a birder and/or want to learn more about birds in Saudi Arabia, take a look at his first post.

Saudi Birding

Visiting birders to the Kingdom’s capital will be happy to know that Riyadh Province boasts some very fine birding with several quality hotspots. Each is a relatively short drive from the city center—about one to two hours—and would make for quite a full weekend of exploring. Tracking down the highlights at each, however, might require a repeat visit or two. As these spots appeal to more than just avian interests, you won’t mind either way.

Al Ha’ir (الحائر)

A little less than an hour south of Riyadh, following the running of the Riyadh “River”, the voluminous flow of treated wastewater coming out of the capital by way of Wadi Hanifah, isAl Ha’ir. On account of the mix of habitats, Al Ha’ir likely offers the most avian diversity anywhere near Riyadh at any time of the year. Therefore, there’s no “best time” to visit. Even during the summer, the…

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Pandemic 2020 ~ November

November 2020 will surely go down in history as the most memorable during this pandemic. After grooming his followers with expectations of massive voter fraud, the president set the tone that the only way Vice President Biden could ever win would be through fraud via mail-in ballots. Meanwhile, states began preparing for a different kind of election because of COVID-19 and put in place a process of requesting ballots early and voting early. In my state alone a majority of the Virginia votes cast in this election were done through early voting to the tune of 2.7 million. From all accounts the process worked well for most states and I learned that there are already some states who have been successfully doing only mail-in voting for some time.

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The Pandemic has also changed the way we are approaching the 2020 holiday season. On going warnings from the CDC and medical professionals brought many to reconsider travel and large family gatherings for the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s expected that the next months are going to be even worse than what we experienced in the beginning. For those of us who are elderly and/or dealing with health conditions that make us more vulnerable, the best option was to avoid exposure to infection in any way. I was grateful to be able to spend Thanksgiving Day with Pat at his long-term-care facility. They served a wonderful turkey dinner and, because it was a gorgeous day, we were able to take a walk outside.

COVID-Wise Thanksgiving 2020

President-Elect Biden continues to be certified as the winner in all states at this time yet there are still steps being taken by this president to ‘steal the election’. It appears that the two main reasons that he lost the election were his disturbing performance in leading us through the pandemic and the fact that he encouraged his base not to trust the mail-in ballot process early on which might have contributed to some not voting at all. In any case, this election brought about the highest number of voters than in any other election totaling more than 155,000,000 votes. To date, Joe Biden is 7,000,000 votes ahead of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, world-wide case of Coronavirus totaled 63,071,670 with the USA at the top of the list with 13,750,608 (according to worldometer.com). We’re told that a vaccine is coming in the next few weeks. Virginia is getting 70,000 doses which will be given to healthcare workers and the elderly living in long-term-care facilities.

I turned to watercolor paints to help me through this month and keep me distracted from all the ongoing drama in our news. I signed up for Joanne Sharpe’s Holiday Greeting online course. We had a lot of fun sharing our creations and now I’m deciding who gets which card. The next two or three winter months ahead of us are predicted to be bad so I’m looking for ways to keep the stress level down and remain lowkey through it all. Meditation, reading books, watercolor sketching and basically just keeping a calm routine are all a part of my plan. My connection to family and friends is very rewarding and the daily love and support connection over the phone with Pat keeps me going.

My Holiday Card Assortment ~ Watercolor Online Class

To My Blogger Friends here in the United States and all around the world: Be Well! Stay Safe! Happy Holiday in whatever way you celebrate!

Me in the Middle of Being Grateful 2020 during COVID-Times

November Grid

A Dozen Gratitudes for 2019

(This Dozen Gratitudes List was originally written for 2017. It still remains a very meaningful list for 2019. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! )

  1.  For the cup of hot coffee I’m holding in hand while I ponder about this year and how quickly it’s flown by.  Grateful for still being here!

  2. For the ability to distance myself from the noise and drama of this year’s political events.

  3. For the hope that still swells up in my heart with a belief in the goodness and kindness of most people.

  4. For a safe dwelling and a supportive community that recognizes the needs of those of us who are aging.  I’m grateful to those who have filled a need for me this past year. 

  5. For my ‘young-at-heart’ mind that continues to love being creative in my retirement years.  Here’s to more watercolor sketching and creative writing.

  6. For our ‘genius’ system of government which continues to weather through all sorts of abuses yet, hopefully, continues to survive and thrive.  “The presidency is bigger than one man.” ~ President G. W Bush

  7. For the knowledge that my life on this earth is drawing to a close and I’m leaving behind five children, and their families, who strive to make this a better world.

  8. For a stronger sense of resilience and knowledge that I have it within me to face anything that comes my way with strength and grace.  No one is going to rescue me.

  9. For lessons learned this past year about myself, about where some people deserve to be in my life and setting healthy boundaries.     

  10. For the present moment because it is truly a precious gift.  Be aware!  Know what works for you in keeping you grounded and seeking the middle ground.

  11. For the higher power, whatever each person sees that to be, that holds me in unconditional Love through it all.  “You’ve always had the power, my dear.” ~ Glinda (Wizard of Oz)

  12. For the courage I’ve found this year to hold on to my convictions and faith within a very complex culture and society.  Trust your intuition.  You’re the best friend you’ll ever have.

Watercolor sketch © Mary Lou

Pandemic 2020 ~ October

The Right Thing

The graphic above is the Satire DT, not the Real DT. There’s wisdom and leadership in that advice. Something we sadly don’t have. This is pretty much what I’ve been doing since this pandemic started back in early March. And finally I went ahead and checked the right box shown above. I voted very early by mail. It was the only right thing to do. Anyone who has played the kind of reckless games that the current president has played during this pandemic doesn’t deserve four more years.

I continue with my weekly physical therapy wearing a mask yet social distancing is difficult because others are in the rehab fitness center. It’s almost impossible to know when or if you’re exposed even though all precautions are being taken. Here’s a quick photo I took after finishing one of the exercise sessions. Pretty exhausting therapy exercises and I go home and rest:

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The Right Thing
By Jan Beaumont ©️

The New Zealand election has now come and gone
And we’re settling back into our lives
But quite soon they will vote in the United States
And they’ve lately been flashing the knives.

Where we had two women, quite young in their years
The US has two older blokes
One of them seems to be quite dignified
While the other’s the butt of the jokes.

I just hope the American people come through
As their country sure needs to get well
But I trust the majority have some good sense
Or they’re in for four more years of hell! 

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The numbers keep rising (according to Worldometer.com) and medical professionals.

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In spite of ongoing reporting from reputable news media and medical professionals that the virus is going to be getting worse, the president continues to downplay the threat and flaunt the rules of mask wearing and social distancing. In a surreal reality TV show, he’s hospitalized after a positive testing of COVID-19. After a dramatic display of miraculous cure, he continues large campaign rallies and accuses the doctors of lying in order to get money.

In March, the real Donald Trump retweeting this in a sick display of humor:

Pandemic 2020 – September

Well here we are! Nine months since the very first reports of this dangerous virus. For most of us, awareness came in the beginning of March when we were learning how it was spread. And when our president, here in the US, came before the nation on March 11th. And here is some of what he said:

Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”

If we are vigilante and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. “

We must put politics aside. Stop the partisanship. And unify together as one nation and one family. “

None of this happened! He didn’t practice what he preached.

One month out from our presidential election we’ve learned the president has tested positive for COVID-19. He’s been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital. Each day more of those in contact with him are turning up with positive results. October promises to be filled with drama and October Surprises. I’ve already mailed in my ballot and confirmed it has been received. That lifts some of the stress surrounding these crazy times.

As for me, I continue to wear my mask when I go out among people. My source of trust is the medical profession, my son who is a cardiologist and, of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci. I’ve tuned out the politicization of this terrible pandemic. I’m doing the best that I can over the long haul.

The assisted living facility where Pat is living has cautiously opened the doors for visitors again. Wearing a mask, having your temperature taken and being asked covid-related questions is all a part of the routine. My first visit with him was on a beautiful fall day. It didn’t seem like six months had passed by as we have been talking on the phone every day since this all began. What a gift it is to have him for support and encouragement. 💚😷

Lets All Drink to Lockdown
By Jan Beaumont ©

I’m normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can’t go out the gates.

You see, we are the ‘oldies’ now
We need to stay inside
If they haven’t seen us for a while
They’ll think we’ve upped and died.

They’ll never know the things we did
Before we got this old
There wasn’t any Facebook
So not everything was told.

We may seem sweet old ladies
Who would never be uncouth
But we grew up in the 60s –
If you only knew the truth!

There was sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll
The pill and miniskirts
We smoked, we drank, we partied
And were quite outrageous flirts.

Then we settled down, got married
And turned into someone’s mum,
Somebody’s wife, then nana,
Who on earth did we become?

We didn’t mind the change of pace
Because our lives were full
But to bury us before we’re dead
Is like red rag to a bull!

So here you find me stuck inside
For 4 weeks, maybe more
I finally found myself again
Then I had to close the door!

It didn’t really bother me
I’d wile away the hour
I’d bake for all the family
But I’ve got no bloody flour!

Now Netflix is just wonderful
I like a gutsy thriller
I’m swooning over Idris
Or some random sexy killer.

At least I’ve got a stash of booze
For when I’m being idle
There’s wine and whiskey, even gin
If I’m feeling suicidal!

So let’s all drink to lockdown
To recovery and health
And hope this bloody virus
Doesn’t decimate our wealth.

We’ll all get through the crisis
And be back to join our mates
Just hoping I’m not far too wide
To fit through the flaming gates!