Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category High Desert Living

Finding the Perfect Pet

Pet ownership is a big responsibility, and finding the perfect pet for your home and family is not always as simple as taking home a puppy from the box outside the grocery store.  Different types of pets have different needs, and among dogs, and cats, different breeds have different needs.  Choosing the wrong pet can turn what should be an enjoyable experience into a stressful situation for both the pet and the owner.

Finding the perfect pet


Check Your Calendar for Bugs, Soldiers, Pirates, and Dickens

Some up-coming events in the High Desert of California will include history, family outings, and my favorite, “bugology” open house. So please read on and check your calendar.


Although the historical day of love and commitment is Feb 14th, if the weather is compromising your plans you can always do more on the weekend with alternative outings.

Restaurants can be too full and any day near the holiday is just fine. Married couples tend to delay such a holiday to avoid crowds. It’s not the day  — it’s the intension that counts. Candy and a card or dinner out can be planned before or after the date.

Head to the Internet and find some awesome places to eat. Too many to post here.


Calico Regional Park

Civil War Ladies stroll down Calico


Civil War Re-enactment at Calico Ghost Town is coming soon President’s Weekend – February 17-19. Union troops battle the Confederates in the hills of the Calico Mountain

civil War at Calico

Smoke is in the air during battle scene

during the President’s Day holiday in February. It’s awesome to watch the battle and smell the black powder in the air. Volunteer reenactors dress in costume and you can watch President Lincoln give his speech to the troops.

General Admission: $10 adults, $5 ages 4-11, under 3 Free!



Have you ever joined in to build a community caterpillar? Don’t miss your chance at “Arthropolooza,” at the San Bernardino County Museum on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18, 12 to 4 p.m. The community caterpillar, butterfly demonstrations, bug pendants, and butterflies and mosquitoes, crafty comparisons are among the family activities you’ll enjoy at this popular annual event.


Cricket with a shiny head — Jerusalem Cricket

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.


The Riverside Dickens Festival
Silver Jubilee —  Feb. 24th 7 25th
25 Years of Wit & Wisdom

Dickens Faire

Dickens Ladies on Parade

Now celebrating its 25  years in Riverside, the FAIRE is full of engaging programs, costumes, and reenactments to fulfill the Victorian era interests of all who attend. Check out the details at the website for maps, dates, prices, and venue presentations.

Dickens Festival Homepage



So you can jump from Civil War reenactments to Pirates on the  Pond at the Hesperia Lakes Park. The Pirate Faire will be held on March 17 – 18 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day at  Hesperia Lake Park, 7500 Arrowhead Lake Rd.,  Hesperia, CA 92345.

Ticket prices range from General, military, and two-day package. Children age 7 and  under are free. For more info please check their website.




Work with a 2018 List — no Resolutions

List Yourself as Done with Resolutions

Resolutions can be as useless as a screen door on a submarine. No resolutions free your guilt-laden soul to do other things that make you happier. Work with a list this 2018 year to help keep you on track.

High Desert Blogging


Promises are easily broken. So for me — even though I have kept some of my personal and work-related resolutions over the years — it’s just not healthy to sweat over the inability to perform under all that angst. READ MORE »

Frightening Food for Halloween

Family-Friendly “Frightening” Foods for Halloween

We’ve been cruising the internet and finding some awesome finger foods. Halloween offers great ways to be creative and entice new flavors to kids. Some are absolutely outrageous, some simple and tasty.

Check out these cool sites and remember these are suggested recipes and we are note responsible for the outcomes or have any direct connection to each website owner.

Baby Boo-nanas

Here’s one of the cutest little treats that toddlers will even enjoy.  With Halloween coming

Choco-covered Bananas

Little Baby Ghosts on a Stick are dipped bananas

soon, I thought I would share these cute, ghost-shaped Frozen “Boo”-nana Pops made with white chocolate and bananas. This is fun to make with the kids and what kid doesn’t like chocolate covered bananas.

Jack-O-Lanterns from Grapefruits

Every party needs a candy dish or simple way to share sticky foods,so you just disguise a grapefruit into a mini-pumpkin posed as a “jack-o-lantern”, so clever.

Grapefruit cups

Tiny Jack-o-Lanterns are made from grapefruit

Check out the carving details at their website for more non-traditional ideas, too.

You Can Eat Spiders!!

Yes, you can. A simple treat that youngsters can assemble as long as they don’t eat all the legs first. Round candies make the eyes on a chocolate donut body with pretzel legs.


Spider Donuts

Donuts with pretzel legs turn into spiders


One time I made a cemetery by using cottage cheese with green food coloring, vanilla wafers standing and tilting as headstones, and broccoli for trees. Nobody ate it.





Here’s Looking at You!!

Eyeballs are another treat that could backfire on your frightening foods creative adventure. By using food coloring or avocado in the stuffing, your teens will love the ghoulishness of it, but maybe not the adults. Try it out!

Halloween eyeball goodies

Creepy eyeballs staring back at you!! Ghoulish eyeballs anyone?  another source of creative holiday foods

Crazy Critters

I found these silly green apple bites to be the most clever and healthy for little tots. They get to munch on apples, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, peanut butter or “sun butter” is the glue and the eyes are confectioner’s sugar, or you can use some tubed frosting.

silly apple faces

Clever and silly apple critters

Find these silly apple bites at

And here’s some more resources you can checkout about safety when your little goblins are on the streets.    Traveling around the neighborhood with your ghoulish goblins? Here’s some interesting stats and resources about Halloween Safety:

Why Do So Many Commerce Sites Have a Blog?


If you are new to blogging, and wonder why it’s a necessary tool, I’ll help you see the other side of blogging – the one you really need to help keep your potential customers returning to your site.

The environment of Internet commerce is based on being informative about your business, helpful with access to resources you can provide, and a place they can trust to return to for more products or services.

No one wants a “one-time” customer. We all want repeat business. But with the Internet letting shoppers wander all over the nation (and the world for that matter) it’s a struggle to compete with millions of sites. Blogging breaks down barriers and makes you more personable – more reachable. Besides, blogging is lots of fun, it’s also a great marketing and “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) strategy.  199 – Buy now »

Why blog on a Commercial website?

Inform your audience about you and your products

Blogging is a great way to inform your audience about your product, about yourself, and your company. In a blog post, you can show how to use a product and why people should buy it.  And you’ll be able to tell the story of your products from your perspective. If you’re an author selling your books on your site, a blog about writing and your passion for detail, for instance, is a great idea.

Stay “top of mind”

It’s a simple way of saying: “You want your audience to remember you, even when they’re not going to buy anything just now.” If you blog regularly and post on social media outlets, you’ll stay top of mind of your audience. If a visitor marks one of your posts on how to write a novel, for instance, this visitor may not immediately want to tackle that job now, but might consider you as an expert for later. They visit and read what you have to share. They get to know you and your eCommerce site through your posts. They may even contact you with questions through their email. That way, you increase your chance of a prospective new writer needing your products and services.

Blogging is a great SEO strategy

Nurturing and maintaining a blog contributes to SEO as well. Every time you write a new blogpost, you’re adding fresh content, which Google searches like. You will learn how to title your posts to increase better searches. Keywords will affect the type of searches that are inside your post. In addition to that, maintaining a blog will train your brain to start writing “related” content to those keywords in which you’d like to rank.

Practical tips for your blog on an Commerce site

What to blog about?

A strong way to decide what ideas will work for blog posts is by referring and writing about topics that you find in other blogs you enjoy reading. Follow a circle of friends and bloggers who might let you share a guest blog or make an informed comment. Keep an eye on different sites, and write posts in which you incorporate your views in your niche.

Those ideas are a springboard of a collection of common themed-words that will be your keywords. These keywords should be leading when you choose what to blog about. A keyword, however, is not a topic yet. You need an angle, a story around such a keyword.

Another way to get ideas is to invite your audience to leave comments on your blog. It may take a while to get them, but you could receive some questions or feedback that are excellent starters for your next post. If you write what is interesting to them, they will follow your string of comments, helping you define the keywords you need.

Your Blog Needs Nurturing

Make a Schedule so You Won’t Neglect Your Blog

Another factor for a new blogger is to keep up with a regular writing schedule. If you watch the grocery papers to find coupons, it becomes a routine. Same with a blog for your regular readers. They expect to see what you are offering each week. It’s recommended that you post once a week to nurture your visitors. One day they will make a decision that points to your expertise. You’ll have a new customer — one that will most likely become a loyal returning customer!

Rusty LaGrange

Fireworks Fun in the High Desert


July 1

Faith & Freedom Festival, Phelan

New Life Church of the Nazarene has partnered with other local churches and community organizations to host a free, family-focused Independence Day festival on July 1 at the Serrano High School football field. There will be food, activities, live music and of course, fireworks once it’s dark. The event will run from 6 to 10 p.m. at Serrano, located at 9292 Sheep Creek Road.

Jamboree Days, Crestline

The Crestline /Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce will present Jamboree Days, which will feature a full weekend of activities including a parade at 10 a.m. and a fireworks show at 9 p.m. July 1 at Lake Gregory. For more information visit or call 909-338-5230.

North Beach celebration, Silver Lakes

With the theme of “America the Great,” the Silver Lakes Association will put on the North Lake Boat Parade on July 1. The parade is open to all Silver Lakes residents and will begin at 11 a.m. sharp, featuring patriotically decorated boats with first-, second- and third-place awards given to the best decorated. Festivities will carry on all day at North Beach, culminating with a fireworks show at dusk. For more information, contact Bob Ward at 951-318-5816 or Anna Ward at 760-963-1623.

Red, White & Boom, Lucerne Valley

Lucerne Valley’s annual Red, White & Boom Independence Day event will be held July 1 at Pioneer Park. Activities including bounce houses, family games, a flag retirement ceremony, with food and craft vendors will begin at 4 p.m., with the fireworks show beginning around 9 p.m.. For more information, contact Sharon Fritz at or 760-248-7048.


July 2

High Desert Yardbirds, Adelanto

The High Desert Yardbirds invite fans to a night of baseball and fireworks on July 2. The fireworks show will begin after the 6:30 p.m. game between the Yardbirds and Hollywood Stars. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased online at or on game day at Adelanto Stadium, located at 12000 Stadium Way in Adelanto. For more information, call 760-246-6287.


July 3

Concert Series, Lake Arrowhead

The Lake Arrowhead Village Concert Series will host the “Women Who Rock” concert, featuring a musical tribute to Heart and Pat Benatar. The July 3 concert will be followed by a fireworks show at 9 p.m. For tickets and general information, visit or call 909-337-2533.


July 4

Freedom Fest, Victorville

The High Desert Event Center will host its annual Freedom Fest at the fairgrounds on July 4, which will include a day of activities, music and food. The festivities will culminate after sundown with a traditional fireworks show and music simulcast. The event will begin at 2 p.m., with the fireworks show at 9 p.m. The fairgrounds are located at 14800 Seventh St. in Victorville. For more information, visit or call 760-951-2200.

Freedom Festival, Apple Valley

The Town of Apple Valley will present its 20th annual 4th of July Freedom Festival, a patriotic day of celebration that will include children’s games, live music, bounce houses, food and shopping vendors, a beer garden and a fireworks show. The Freedom Festival will begin at 2 p.m., with the fireworks show beginning at 8:55 p.m. The festival will be held at Lenny Brewster Sports Center, 21024 Otoe Road in Apple Valley. For more information, visit or call 760-240-7000.

Fireworks Spectacular, Barstow

The Robert A. Sessions Sports Park will host its annual Independence Day party with a 5 K Freedom Run, as well as live music and fireworks. Gates will open at 5 p.m. on July 4 and the fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. There is no admission charge. Robert A. Sessions Sports Park is at 2800 Mayor Katy Parkway in Barstow.

Independence Day Festival, Big Bear

Billed as the largest July 4 fireworks display in Southern California, Big Bear’s Independence Day Festival can be viewed from any of its public parks or on a boat on Big Bear Lake. Fireworks are shot off from a barge on the lake directly off of Pine Knot Landing. The show begins between 8:45 and 9:15 p.m. on July 4. For more details, call the Big Bear Visitors Bureau at 800-424-4232 or visit

Enjoy the holiday. Drink plenty of water and stay in the shade as much as possible.

Rusty LaGrange

(This listing was prepared by outside sources and Daily Press online. Any errors are not the responsibility of the blog  page owner)

Cassini Orbiter’s Shootout is “Grande Finale”

Blaze of Glory or Grande Finale

Scientists decided to give the space orbiter, Cassini, a final shootout in a blaze of glory as it ends its paparazzi- styled swing through Saturn’s rings. Usually a space mission with a camera doesn’t have any “grande finale” and tends to phase out slowly due to a failure in the battery life or an unforeseen system break down.

Cassini final photos

Cassini Orbiter Swings into its final photo shoot through Saturn’s rings

In this case since its launch in 1997, Cassini has served its purpose of sending back thousands of high-quality photos and avoided crashing into any ring debris. It’s a good track record that offered scientists much more than they expected. Remember Voyager? It was doomed to a short life and it’s still talking to Earth as it rides the solar winds and leaves our Solar System!

NASA scientists held their breath each time Cassini flashed through a spin around the rings of Saturn. This time — going  for the “Grand finale”– as its being called, the spacecraft will purposely dive through the debris rings of Saturn to capture as many photos before hurtling to the planet’s surface.

Retrograding 22 Times

It’s flight path includes 22 swings in and out of the rings as it retrogrades down to the planet. As long as it keeps flashing photos, it will afford a better view of the ring debris as well as the closest view of an alien surface of Saturn. No probe has really done this before.

Saturn rings of debris

Rings of Saturn is Cassini’s final camera shoot

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used the Deep Space Network at Goldstone CA, (one of a group of satellite dishes communicating with distant objects in space) to pick up Cassini’s far-off signal. As it dove through the gap, Cassini came within 3,000 km of Saturn’s cloud tops and within about 300 km of the innermost visible edge of the rings.

“No spacecraft has ever been this close to Saturn before,” said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA.

Blazing a Trail

graphic rendering of rings

Artist rendering of Cassini’s camera view

“In the grandest tradition of exploration, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has once again blazed a trail, showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare,” Green added.

Browse the latest, unprocessed images beamed back from Saturn by the Cassini orbiter. It has returned thousands of great images. here’s one of better collections.

By May 2nd, the first of these close-ups of rock, ice chunks, and other space trash caught in the belt of spinning gases, should give us the best results yet. Watch the news.

Finale in September

While we wait and hope the camera aboard Cassini has a safe flight, I can image a handful of scientists holding their breaths as each await the September delivery of its last photo download to California’s JPL facility in Pasadena.

Rusty LaGrange

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Day Trip Fun on April Fool’s in the High Desert

Day Trip to the High Desert

Wondering what you can do for a day trip on April Fool’s Day in Southern California’s high desert this year? Consider a visit to the California Institute of Earth Architecture in Hesperia. Attend a SuperAdobe open house.  READ MORE »

Our Space Trash Tracked by New Technology

Trash in Space.

Space garbage

We think our trash will never come back to bother  us.

We are silly humans to think that all of our experimental and derelict space equipment will just disappear into the vastness of space. We created space garbage — things that are littering up our pristine space.

Trash in space doesn’t leave the orbit — it just accumulates. And it’s been doing that for decades. So it’s no surprise when the science news arrived that we had found more trash than we expected. Our ability to see and track space debris is better than ever now — thanks to advances in tracking with Interplanetary Radar technology pioneered by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. So the first thing we did was become shocked at the amounts of it cluttering our skies.

Sometimes a bit of debris will fall back to Earth and we see it burn up. But tracking it was never on our list of things to do until it became a problem. The photo taken of our eminent growing problem (above) is from Science World Report.

It’s almost embarrassing. But there’s good news, too.

Our optical telescopes couldn’t see these small distant ones due to the bright glare of the Moon. So this new method successfully located a NASA spacecraft “Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter” (LRO) orbiting the Moon. Another one of them was still active but “lost.” Back in 2009, an Indian Space Research Organization’s “Chandrayaan-1” was spinning around the Moon on a polar obit.

Goldstone Complex near Bartow CA

NASA’s Goldstone Antenna sends radar beam for tracking space trash

JPL’s team of scientists used NASA’s 70-meter  — that’s 230 foot — antenna at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex north of Barstow, CA, to send out a powerful microwave beam aimed at the Moon. They found the Chandrayaan-1. Those radar echoes bounced back to and received by the 100- meter  — that’s 330 foot — Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

Math Does Count

FOund lunar orbit of spacecraft

Indian’s first spacecraft was lost since 2009

Although it’s very tricky, the team used data from the return signal to estimate its velocity and distance to update the orbital predictions. They in turn tracked the signals to verify that the predicted track was correct.

Follow up observations over the next few months were done with Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico — which has the most powerful astronomical radar system on Earth. Doing all this tracking and sharing resulted in a possible new capability. Working together, these super large radar antennas at Goldstone, Green Bank, and Arecibo proved that they could detect and track small spacecraft in lunar orbit.

The Lost & Found Department

This might come in handy for implementing a future robotic and human mission back to the Moon. Hazard assessments and encountering a potential navigation issue far into our future is another possibility.

So basically, space junk and new radar technology just forced us into a lunar recycling program on the biggest scale yet! Now, to clean up the garbage, we need the biggest trash bag ever inflated — and a twist tie to go with it.

–Rusty LaGrange

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