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

Posts in category So Cal

Brights lights, Cheering fans? Maybe…

Oh my goodness, it’s time for assessments/auditions in the High Desert for the next school year. It’s nerve wracking. We enrolled our son in a performing arts school and he has an assessment this weekend.

Imagine a junior high school as a version of Fame. Oh, yeah…

He’ll play his guitar and must have enough musical pieces to fill up a 10 minute audition. The good news is it’s only an assessment. They’ll be gauging where his skill level is so they know where to place him in regards to his classes.

According to the 11yo, quite a few other kids from his school will
also be attending the same school. This includes his best friend. They are both pretty jazzed about the new school.

I spoke with the BFF’s mom because her son already had his assessment. He did wonderful. He chose theater and his audition was for an hour (yikes!).  But according to his mom, he wasn’t nervous and did a great job.

Both kids have big personalities and have been working hard these past couple of weeks to be ready for their auditions. Talent is great but if you don’t hone your craft, it can go to waste. I’m so proud of both of them.

Remember Debbie Allan, in her leotard, holding a stick and talking
to her class in the opening scene for the show Fame, ““You’ve
got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweat.”

It always stuck with me because there was a grain of truth in it.

Wasn’t that one of the best opening lines ever?

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom you can follow me on Twitter @MGEdwardsWrites and/or join my blog

Who Sets Your Course?

Another election has come and gone in the United States, and many people are convinced their next four years will be determined by the outcome.

But you and I both know that’s not really the case.

The reality is that good things and bad things happen  to all of us, but we make our own decisions. We make the decisions that ultimately determine our fate.


Choose Your Path!

Imagine having a mind that is “programmed” to make the right decisions. Imagine instinctively moving through each area of your life on the best path to success and prosperity.

That’s what NLP training does for you– it gives you the mental programming to change the way you think.  It puts you in control. Your life changes as you automatically follow the best path.

  • Marti and John Browne are both certified as a NLP Master Practitioners and Time Empowerment Master Practitioners, trained by Dr. Matt James and Empowerment Partnerships.
  • They use NLP techniques along with Time Empowerment Techniques to help clients make massive shifts in any area of their lives including business, relationships and career. These are successful techniques also used to overcome and release self limiting beliefs, anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt and grief in just a few sessions.
  • They are both also certified as a Reiki Masters/Teachers and are certified Master Hypnotherapists and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Practitioners and are able to use all of these additional tools in a personal breakthrough session designed specifically for you.

For more information and to book an appointment with Marti and/or John:
Call Now: 760-868-1434 or 760-265-1055
Browne Hypnosis Center
(Located in Phelan, CA in the High Desert)

Help in the High Desert for Cancer Victims and Survivors

Did you know that this fruit has amazing properties in it that can help prevent and can help cure cancer?


I purchased this very sweet tasting fruit in the late summer and early fall at the Wrightwood farmers market.


To find out more about this amazing fruit and other nutrition and healing modalities that can help prevent and help cure cancer CLICK:

High Desert Day Trip to The Bottle Tree Ranch on Old Route 66

The Bottle Tree Ranch

This was a spur of the moment Day Trip in the High Desert.  I love doing things at the spur of the moment.  On Monday while John and I were out doing some errands out in Apple Valley we decided to see if we could find the Bottle Tree Ranch.  First, we wanted to make it to Linda Marie’s Treasures in Oro Grande, CA before she closed at 5:00pm.  After we were finished visiting with her, we discovered that the Bottle Tree Ranch was just down the same National Trails Highway about 6 miles!  It is on historic Old Route 66 in the Mohave desert.

We heard that it is open to the public all of the time and if Elmer is there, he will come out and talk with you.  So off we went.  Elmer was there and what a treat to get to visit with him.  He gave us the grand tour and even invited us into his home.  What an amazing artist he is.  If you want to read more about our awesome High Desert Day trip to The Bottle Tree Ranch and see some amazing photos of things that Elmer Long has created visit Marti’s Muses and Marvels Blog

We highly recommend taking time to visit the Bottle Tree Ranch and meeting Elmer Long, the man that created this unusual for of art.

The Pajama Game Musical comes to Phelan in the High Desert

My husband, John, loves the theater. For an early Father’s Day present, I treated him to dinner at Mexico Lindo Mexican restaurant in Phelan and then to The Pajama Game, a Musical Comedy, Friday night at Serrano High School Performing Arts Center in Phelan in the High Desert. The Snowline Players did a marvelous job. What a wonderful cast of characters and very diversified. Some are even members of the same family. They are a non-profit organization dedicated since 1961 to providing quality entertainment, learning experiences, and scholarships in the theater arts to people of all ages in the tri-community, here in the High Desert. It’s great to be able to enjoy going to the theater so close to home.

“The musical comedy, The Pajama Game, was based on Seven and a Half Cents, a comic novel about labor relations written by Richard Bissell.  The play takes place in 1954, in and around the Sleep Tite pajama factory in Cedar Rapids Iowa.”

For more details about The Pajama Game visit Marti Muses and Marvels.

There is still time to enjoy a night out or a matinee.  Performances are on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00PM and on Saturday and Sunday at 2:00PM for the Matinees – this weekend and next weekend. The last performance will be on Sunday June 24th at 2:00PM.

Seeing The Pajama Game Musical is a great way to celebrate Father’s Day and support our local community in the High Desert.  We look forward to going to more performances put on by The Snowline Players.

High Desert Angie Introduces Her New Book at the Phelan Library

Angela Horn at Phelan Library Book Reading

Angela Horn kicks off the summer adult reading program today at the Phelan Library with her new book, Phantom Seven Secret Heroes of WWII and OSS.

John and I can hardly wait to get our autographed copy when she gets her shipment in! Today Angie read excerpts from the various heroes including her own father….just enough to give us a taste of some of their personal experiences as these veterans remembered their undercover agent experiences in the OSS.

I love history and especially WWII history. I also love spy adventures so this book is right up my alley!
You can get a copy of Angie’s new book by calling Pleasant Word at 1-877-421-7323 or order online by going to: This is a great way to support our local High Desert Author plus read an exciting WWII Spy story.

Comments welcome.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Raised Bed Gardens in the High Desert

Here’s a great way to have a raised bed vegetable garden and save your back!

Build a Straw Bale Raised Bed Garden.

Building a Raised Garden out of Straw Bales

John and I decided we were tired of having to bend way over to plant and tend our vegetable gardens so we started building raised garden beds out of straw bales.  They are fantastic!  We live in the High Desert in Phelan and have discovered there are so many things that grow well as long as they are planted properly and tended well.

One thing to be sure to do when building raised beds is to make them narrow so you can reach into the middle easily from both sides to harvest your vegetables and also for easy weed control.  This way there is no need to climb inside them.  We make our raised beds using 6 – 12 straw bales depending on how long we want to make each garden.

Since we have alpacas, chickens and horses; we have an endless supply of manure that we can compost. We also add crushed eggshells and vegetable clippings to our ongoing compost pile.  We always have plenty to amend our soil each season of new planting.  You can see more details and photos of how we build some of our raised straw bale gardens by going to a post on Marti’s Muses and Marvels blog.

Ode to the Redbud Tree

One of my favorite trees is the Redbud tree. We had many in our yard in Glendale, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, MO, where I grew up. It was one of my mother’s favorite trees as well. When we moved to the High Desert in Southern CA I got several from the forest service and planted them on our ranch. They have started blooming once again and the butterflies and the bees are are having the time of their lives enjoying the tasty nectar. Even the humming birds love them! This is a photo I took of one of our Redbud trees yesterday afternoon while out enjoying all of our fruit trees beginning to bloom.

Butterfly in the Redbud Tree

The Redbud is a small tree which grows in the forest, on the borders of fields, on hillsides or in valleys…and now on our ranch in the High Desert of Southern CA! The leaves are alternate and heart shaped, three to five inches long, turning to a bright clear yellow in the autumn. The Redbuds bright magenta, pea shaped flowers grow in clusters along the twigs and small branches, and usually appear before the leaves in early spring.

Redbud Tree with Heart Shaped Leaves Unfolding

A Bit of Oklahoma History

Maimee Lee Robinson Browne, my husband John’s grandmother, was instrumental in getting the Redbud Tree to be the official tree of the state of Oklahoma in 1937. Redbud in Poetry as expressed in verse collected by Maimee Lee Robinson Browne is a beautiful book of poetry that was published in 1964, honoring the Redbud Tree and acknowledging her for all the work she did to get this accomplished. She was the leader of a state-wide campaign to plant the Redbud tree. The beautification program took hold all over the state. There are over thirty thousand Redbud trees in Sulphur, OK. They must be a sight to behold when they are all in bloom in the spring. That is a lot of Redbuds compared to the seven on our ranch!

“Whereas in the beginning of this great commonwealth, when the sturdy and hardy pioneers thereof trekked across its rolling hills and plains, one of the first sights to greet them spread out in glorious panorama, was the Redbud tree-a tree, that as it arose in the spring from verdant fields, was emblematic of the eternal renewal of all life; a tree that in its beauty renewed the worn spirit and gave hope to the tired heart of a people seeking homes in a new land, and….” a partial quote from the Senate Joint Resolution Number 5 declaring the Redbud the official tree of the state of Oklahoma on March 30, 1937.

Bees Enjoying Nectar from the Redbud Blossoms

Beauty in Our Forests

Deep in the forests in spring
When the redbird makes her first call
She sees only the green of the cedar
and the Redbud through brown leaves of fall.
Brilliant buds tempt travelers to gather
Small sprays to take on their way,
Denuding the forests of slender
and wasting God’s glory each day.

To protect this miracle of springtime
When drab colors become radiant hue,
Help God keep beauty in our forests
For birds and mankind to view.


Redbud Tree in Full Cycle

This Redbud tree still has its seed pods on from last fall and is in full bloom with its flowers and the beginnings of the heart shaped leaves unfolding.

Comments are Welcome!

Taking those Prickly Cactus Pads to Culinary Heights

I love the taste of chili rellenos, those batter-dipped stuffed green chilies are a taste treat for breakfast or dinner. But did you know that the cactus pads “nopales” that we know are used for deep frying and as substitute for green chilies in other recipes, can also be eaten whole?  Less the prickly spikes, of course. READ MORE »

High Desert’s Improv Class

Guest Blogger Andrew Block from Darwin’s A-Team

Whew. Another Sunday of class and fabulous improvin’… This week we did exercises that help us improve our trust in our partners while in scene. One thing to remember when you’re up on the stage fishing for an idea is to trust in your partner to fill in that space. If both of you flounder, then just grab the first thing that comes to mind and run with it. This philosophy can save a scene and produce some truly funny results.

Also, I noticed that our class is shrinking… Say it ain’t so! Where are all our improv actors?! Did we do something to scare you off? If so, I’m sure all of us are sorry! Those of you that just have bigger, better things to do (though I can’t imagine what’d be more important than improv), we hope to see you return soon.

Once again, we have a show coming up at the end of March and hope to see you Darwin’s A-Team fans out there in the seats! And, as always, you can come to class and also fill the seats there! Until next time… For more details check out our website and our Facebook page Darwin’s A-Team.

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