Avocados and Blessed Rain

by fourteenergirl on October 5, 2015

in Just Stuff

Yesterday, we went to the Avocado Festival. Californians are crazy about their avocados and eat them on everything. You can always ask for some avo on the side and almost no meal is served without them. This is excellent because I love avocados too and I needed a morning of doing fun things before a long afternoon of working-on-catching-up.

We started with breakfast at one of our favorites – a place along the shoreline right on the sand. Lots of tables are outside, kids and dogs play together, and families meet up their on weekends to have a meal. Kids are handed beach toys instead of crayons when they arrive – how cool is that?

Breakfast on the shore

We ordered breakfast – seriously we don’t eat all day after a breakfast like this. My throat was sore after two full days of recording and so I had hot tea and a mimosa. Nothing like that to get your throat to feel better.

Sunday breakfast - California style


After eating most of this, we headed to Carpinteria for the Avocado Festival.

Avocado Festival 2015


Who knew there were so many types of avocados?

So many types of avocados


We saw the largest avocados from this year’s local harvests.

Big avos
And despite our huge breakfast, we had some guacamole.

World famous guacamole


According to the stand, this is world-famous guacamole but don’t tell them I like mine better. I use cilantro, tiny chopped onions (just a bit), some chopped tomato, and a squeeze of lime and orange along with salt and pepper. This was just mashed avocados. Kinda boring.

We walked to the ocean to see the Carpinteria beaches in the light rain – it has been a long time since we saw any form of hydration falling from the sky, so this was a welcome blessing.

Rain over the beach


It was raining steadily when we got home and so another nap curled up with Emily was in order.



What’s in the frig pasta

by fourteenergirl on October 4, 2015

in Cooking, Healthy living

So, for the last three weeks I have spent every weekend day, every evening, and many early mornings working on updating my class for Lynda.com. I’m very proud of this class and it’s earned me some great passive income but it was time to do an entire refresh and on top of a full-time day job, AudibleYoga.com, and oh sleep, I was burning the candle at both ends. Yes, again.

So, when I finished up recording yesterday, I came home and curled up for a nap with Emily.

When I woke up, it was time to decide whether to go out for dinner or stay in. We had plans to go out, but I opened the frig and saw the basil pesto I had purchased last week and decided it would be lovely to put on some music and cook. Not everyone finds cooking to be a restful exercise, but I usually do. So, after scouring through the frig, I pulled out:

  • tomatoes
  • a quarter onion starting to turn brown at the edges
  • lemons
  • cooked chicken
  • marinated artichokes
  • baby spinach

I put on a pot of salted water to boil and dragged out the wheat pasta. I poured a glass of wine and started chopping.

Chopping for pasta


After the pasta was ready, I added the onions and olive oil to the pan to cook. When soft, I added the tomatoes and lemon. The key, I’ve found, is always to add one or two ingredients at a time. I believe the fancy cooks call this layering. I call is delicious plus it gives me time to sip the wine and stir – both very enjoyable activities too.

I didn’t have any fresh garlic (horrors!) so I opted to use a teaspoon or so of this marinade along with these other spices – it worked just fine. I also poured the marinade from the artichokes into the vegetables (great idea).

Spices for pesto pasta


Once the ad-hoc sauce was hot and bubbly, I added the spinach leaves, the chicken and pasta and stirred. The last item was several tablespoons of the pesto and man, it was delicious. I cleaned out the frig of all the leftover vegetables and made a delicious meal at the same time. What could be better?

I set the table outside and as you can see the dry brown lawn means we still have no rain. It’s 100% crazy drought here – all hot and dry and scorched. Still, the evening breeze was cool enough and it was cooler outside than in.

Set the table outside

After that, a book and into bed early.  That’s exactly what the doctor ordered.



Getting Out of My Own Way

by fourteenergirl on September 27, 2015

in Just Stuff

You know when you’re in someone’s way and they push you aside or step around you to continue on their path? What happens when we get in our own way?

If you think you can’t get in your own way, you’re wrong. I get in my own way all the time. Just a few examples:

  • I’m gonna get up early and do a workout but I sleep in thinking I’ll do it later. Then work happens, and meetings get scheduled and I spend the entire day not getting a workout. Why? Because I got in my own way.
  • I’m gonna stretch that hip before bedtime and stand up more often at work so it doesn’t continue to bug me, but I forget or I get busy and that damned hip pain comes back and I am reminded that I got in my own way.
  • I’m gonna get to knitting club to keep my stress levels down and have a little chatty fun but decide that if I could just work for a few hours that tomorrow will go better. I work, tomorrow goes the way it was going to go anyway and I’ve lost my opportunity to destress. I got in my own way.

Call it what you will, but I am owning this thing I do. I am owning the fact that my working like I do has put me in the hospital and in pain this summer. I am owning that this thing I do is getting in my own way.

Emily does not have this problem. She doesn’t get in anyone’s way of a good nap in the afternoon with the breezes softly blowing and mama’s knitting all around her.

Emily has no stress

So, this afternoon I am going to take a walk and then head out to my lawn chair with a margarita and a book. I’m getting out of my own way. I am owning the fact that I have to stop working. I have to get rest. I have to take breaks.

Oh look, here’s my margarita.

De-stress margarita




Is there such a thing as having too much wine?

by fourteenergirl on September 22, 2015

in Just Stuff

It’s hard to say. Let me explain the question, however. Last weekend, we visited a new-to-us winery and had a lovely time. First, a photo to set the mood.

Vineyard view


That’s the view we were enjoying last weekend at Hearthstone Vineyard where the owner of the vineyard sat around with all the member-visitor-guests and poured more wine and chatted up all that winemaking is about. Feet up, restorative views to soak up, and plenty of wine – what could be better?

Why I’m glad you asked – it’s a wine club membership, of course!

If you aren’t familiar, here’s how these work: you give the vineyard your email address, credit card number and address and every 3 or 4 or 6 months or so they send you a bunch of bottles of wine. The number depends on your choice, but it’s at a discount because you’re a member of the winery. With membership, you also get free access to their parties, to bring friends to taste, vineyard tours and the like. I’m not being sarcastic, it’s a good deal and depending on the vineyard’s level of engagement, it can be pretty darned fun. We love Gainey for these little celebrations and, of course, their wine.

So, what happens when you like a lot of the wine you are so innocently tasting?

Well, it just so happens we are members of 4 maybe 5 wineries right now and that means we get about 12-15 bottles delivered to our door every six months or so.

Is it too much wine? Of course not. Especially when you always have a lovely bottle or two to take to friends’ houses or a bunch to take when you visit family or a bottle to slip into your suitcase when you have an overnight get-away. You know, just in case the wine you taste is icky and you really need an emergency bottle.

Trust me, it’s never too much wine. We may have, however, too many wine clubs and so the selection process begins. Hold on to your seats, folks, this can get bumpy.

What does the process look like?

Well, we start with a perusal of the wine cabinet. How many bottles from that winery do we have now and why aren’t we drinking them? Are we tired of them? Did we just forget they were there?

Then, we think about what extras we get – did we go to their parties? Did we have time? Do we know anyone when we get there or can we make friends when we do go?

Next comes the really tricky part if you have two people with opposing views on the particular tastiness of a wine. One might be in love with a particular vintage and the other may think, eh it’s OK. This can be a tough spot to be in, especially if you feel you must defend your winery.

In the end, you’ll still have plenty of wine but perhaps fewer wine club memberships. Our UPS guy is so used to giving us boxes of wine, that he no longer chuckles when I look back into the house and yell ‘dinner’s here!’ when the box arrives. He used to think that was funny. Might have to come up with another joke.

Now, to pour a glass.



Big long catch up post … end of summer

by fourteenergirl on September 20, 2015

in Just Stuff, Traveling

So, it may be the ‘end’ of summer but it’s still hot here – really hot. Not sure about where you are, but I’d like summer to just end already. The sidewalks are too hot to walk on barefoot and who wears shoes in this place?

OK, enough complaining. It’s been another break on the blog and it’s been (again) because there is just too much work to do. A couple of weeks ago, I got away to a work conference in Portland – great fun that city. We got to see it RAIN! Not just a little rain but something like a vertical flood. Pretty darned cool. The conference was great and I learned a lot for work – the day job, that is. Not much more to say about that right now. On the way there, however, I did stop by the San Francisco Airport’s yoga room.

San Francisco Yoga Room

Lovely room with all the accouterments you need to practice yoga and very quiet. I dropped off a bunch of Audible Yoga postcards to see if we got any takers.

Another weekend in the silence, we got to go sailing. Steve in his Gilligan’s hat.

Steve sailing Santa Barbara


Another great sailing photo …
Sailing Santa Barbara


We finally visited one of the Irish bars in downtown Santa Barbara. This one had burled wood floors covered in peanut shells. They give you a drink – whiskey of course – and a bowl to fetch your own peanuts. The pigeons and seagulls come through the back door to pick up peanuts all the time and people are always shooing the birds out the door. For a hot Sunday afternoon, it was bloody fine entertainment.

Irish bar Santa Barbara


This weekend, we headed up to Paso Robles which is about 2 hours from our house and real wine-making country. We had a Groupon to tour the Hearthstone Vineyard and we found another great winery with another lip-smacking wine. We arrived, dropped off our crap at the hotel and headed out for a snack - and due to Mr Man’s infallible cookie-sending skills, we found Brown Butter cookies. Wow! This version of shortbread was simply fantastic – light and crumbly without being overly shortbready at all. We chose to have them with margaritas and hand made hush puppies. As you can see, this is a carb-friendly weekend.

Margaritas and cookies in Paso Robles

Then, we headed out to the vineyard. To give you an idea of the scale of the vineyards around this area, here’s a sign on just one corner.

Paso Robles Winemaker Sign


We guessed that Hearthstone probably has to put out Groupons just so people can find them. Seriously, we passed about 30 other vineyards before the turnoff so it’s a really competitive market. Plus, most of the wineries around here are small so they don’t really produce enough to get their wines in stores and restaurants far away. Lucky for Hearthstone, the wine is so yummy they don’t have a hard time selling it at all. Here’s a view of the vineyard.

Hearthstone Vineyard


All in all, not a bad weekend. Now back to work!


Knock Me Down with a Feather but HIIT Works

by fourteenergirl on August 17, 2015

in Healthy living, Just Stuff

OK, I was a dubious schmubious … I’ll admit it. I am reaching an age where weight is really hard to get off my body. My hubby and I used to work out for many hours a week, getting up way before we wanted to, dragging ourselves to the gym, staying there for well over an hour each (he did two!) and then heading to work.

This strategy meant we had to get to bed super early in order to get back up super early. We had to rush through our evenings – pack the workout bag and lay out the workout clothes first! – eat quickly, chat for 10 minutes and try to clean something. Whatever is close, we’d get the house cleaning done on the weekend.

UGH! Enough already!

So, he talked me into HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training – and he sold it to me like this: We’ll have time together in the mornings, honey, and we’ll get in the best shape of our lives. He reminded me that we have the responsibility to keep up our health so that we can sail through our older years. I’m paraphrasing, but it was a really good speech.

So I agreed.

He converted our garage, which was already conveniently carpeted with the same ugly thin grey industrial carpet you find at most gyms. He hung the extra TV and moved the DVD player in there.

HIIT workouts

We gathered some hand weights we had around the house (yes, it’s weird that we had them, but they made great door stops!) and laid out an old yoga mat (not my favorite – that one is special).

HIIT workouts

And in two weeks I lost 7 pounds. After recovering from being ill, I have continued to do the HIIT workouts every other day, mixing in walking, yoga, and cycling in between and gosh darn it, this crap works.

You spend just 30 minutes on it a day – just 30 minutes! By the time you’re feeling cranky and all over sweaty, bam, you’re done! It’s the best thing ever.

And … deep breath … I have definition in my tummy again.

my tummy on HIIT

Yes I just did that. I put a picture of my tummy on the Internet. I’m gonna hear crap for this, for sure.



If I were a Tonka Toy, I’d be a Bulldozer

by fourteenergirl on August 15, 2015

in Healthy living, Just Stuff

Do you remember Tonka toys? Do they still make them? Best toys ever. As a kid, those where the sturdy toys – they could outlast anything.  We even named one of the horses we had growing up Tonka for the same reason. She was sturdy, reliable and could outlast anything.  Tonka dump trucks would get dirty and, over time, they would rust a little at the edges but they still worked – all the parts moved and functioned like they were supposed to. Like the old Volvo my parents had – that was the first car we kids drove. It had mice living in the engine and holes in the floorboards but dang it that thing would always turn on and run. What more could you ask?

It’s been a roller-coaster. First I felt great. After being in the hospital (no one likes that) and getting through weeks of drugs and feeling like I’d been run over by a truck (not a Tonka!), I got a brief week of energy and sunshine and play. We went wine tasting!

We went wine tasting!

We put our feet up!

feet up

I went for walks along the shoreline!

Lovely Santa Barbara shoreline

it was great until it all of a sudden wasn’t so great. No, I didn’t push myself – those were short bike rides. I just wasn’t over it yet.

This week, I returned to the doctor and was put back on the antibiotics. Now these aren’t your average antibiotics where you feel a little tired and eat a lot of probiotic yogurt and get through your day. Nope, these are lay-you-out-flat, put-you-to-sleep, give-you-the-worst-taste-in-your-mouth, make-everything-taste-nasty, and no-you-can’t-have-any-wine-or-you-will-die antibiotics. In fact, the doctor said as he was digitally prescribing them to me, “these are hellish drugs and I’m sorry you need to take them.”  Huh. Well there you have it.

So, back into recovery mode I go. Like a bulldozer, I forge ahead with determination.

I still have a company to run.

I still have a day job to handle.

I still have a lawn to mow and laundry to do.

… and now, I have to get this rooster out of my yard and back into his!

Visiting rooster


Grateful, so very grateful

by fourteenergirl on July 26, 2015

in Just Stuff

I’ve been quiet for a bit because I’ve been very sick. I’ve begun the recovery process and still have a way to go if my low energy levels have anything to say about it. Suffice it to say that I am better and I’m going to be much better soon. I’m also so very grateful. After my lapse of confidence some weeks ago, I asked the Lord (yes, the actual Lord) for some help. I asked for a correction and wow did I get one. 5 days in the hospital in severe pain has a way of making you see things very differently. I’m so very grateful for sunshine and the ability to be outside. I’m so very grateful for my husband, who was at my side in minutes after and stayed with me through the pain and horror of the hospital.

I’m so very grateful that I got the reminder I needed.

I’m getting back on track. I’m making changes, including one night a week is knitting night, no exceptions

I’d lost sight of my need for the tactile creative aspect of knitting. I didn’t have a regular knit night – nothing tried fit – but my favorite knitting shop changed their schedule and now I can attend. I think that was a gift.

I got on my bike finally after about 10 days of no workouts. I had a great ride – just under 15 miles. I didn’t go fast or push the speed levels, just kept things slow and steady. I also stopped at my halfway point, got off the bike, sat and breathed and looked around.

Trip length at half way point:

Halfway point

The view from the bench where I rested:


This is the view down the coast.


and Steve let me paint our house number with silver sparkles. Hard to see with this picture, but when you see it it glitters!

Glitter house number

Because what’s a side walk house number without a little bling?

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Hey, it happens and usually it happens all at once doesn’t it?

I’ve been blocked from doing the work I need to do. Not really important to explain here but suffice it to say that I’ve been asked not to do the work that I know I can do – that they need other things to happen before they can trust me, just wait patiently.

Confidence blow #1

Last week I was told by someone that I was ‘assertive, authoritative, taking initiative and honest’ and that she wanted me to change all that because people were offended. I said that these were all qualities I valued in myself and that I was proud of them and would not be making any changes on those, but that I would work on being more diplomatic.

Confidence blow # 2

Recently, my guy explained that he wanted us to start doing a new workout practice – one that would make us super lean and would make us super strong. He said all the right things – he was kind and he included himself in this plan, but underneath it all is the fact that he wants me to look better (yes, he wants to look better too, but still it hurts).

Confidence blow #3

In the book, Why French Women Don’t Get Fat, the author, Mireille Guiliano, mentions that when she returned to France after some time in America her father said she looked like a sack of potatoes. She didn’t hold anger toward him as she knew he was right.

I know that in America, we say it’s OK. That we should all take care of ourselves and just over the whole being thin thing. I get it. Not every body type is the same body type. We’re all different. We have different abilities and desires and strengths. All that said we do need to take better care of ourselves. As a nation of people, we are eating too much, drinking too much, using food and booze and drugs to medicate ourselves.

I have felt like I looked pretty good but I also knew I was gaining weight. I also know that I have come to an age when dropping weight is not easy. I also admit that I have enjoyed not being sore all the time, not pushing myself that hard. I haven’t ‘let myself go’ per se, but I’ve also not been too careful with what I eat or what I drink. It’s been fun and it’s hard to hear that that has to change – even if it is for all the right reasons.

In meetings, I’m more cautious about what I say and I hate it.

In the morning, I’m sweating with a DVD program at home and I like it – it’s nice not to pack the bag, drive, workout for over an hour, and hope for results. This workout plan should work.

In the evenings, I don’t immediately pour a glass of wine. My guy and I work out the meal together and he’s helping me cook and we eat dinner together. I’ll take it – I always wanted that.

So, with my confidence in the toilet, it’s time for me to dig deep and keep working on how I am going to do things differently. Wish me luck.

And pass the celery because I’m hungry.




Yesterday, I took a break from catching up on the Audible Yoga work – did you hear we got the 250 votes we needed to be in the running for a grant?! Thanks so much to everyone who voted for our little company. That money will make a huge difference and it will allow us to build out the company in ways I cannot even imagine. Trying hard not to put too much into this, but it’s hard. We won’t hear until September so for now it’s time to keep our noses to the grindstone (terrible saying, don’t you think?) and have faith while we wait.

Stepping away from the computer yesterday, I took my lovely bike out for a ride in the sunshine this time – no June gloom today.

sunshine bike ride

Clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine all the way down the coast.

pacific coast bike ride

Have I said before how much I like this ride? I really, really do.

The beaches were packed! Yes, snarky ones, that is packed for us. This is a really small town.

goleta beach

All of the families around here gather at the beach. They send someone ahead of time to scout and snag a spot, and they grill all day. Kids play in the sand and the water, parents mill around and chat. It’s really lovely to see.

On the way back, I had to take a detour on the campus because of some construction. I ended up in a courtyard with a pond that had water lilies in it. So lovely to work here.

university of california campus

And there were two cute little ducks hanging out by this water pond.


Proving once again that getting off the familiar path – even just a short way – can make a big difference in your perspective and what you see. When I got home, this is closer to my ‘normal’ ride length, so I’m building back up.

bike odometer

After that, I mowed both lawns and watered my plants. Then, I drank more water, got a shower and I have to say, I fell into bed for a nap. This week I have attended a conference, worked until midnight most nights to get votes for Audible Yoga, and worked out every morning to keep my energy up. After a 22-mile bike ride, there was no energy left at all. It was time for a physical crash. I felt like I was swimming through water just moving around the house. I slept that night for nearly 11 hours straight too. Good grief!

Today? We’re heading out to play but don’t worry, I’ll take the camera and report back. See ‘ya!