We have now entered wine snob territory

by fourteenergirl on April 23, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

It’s official. We’ve entered wine snob territory.

Before I tell you how we arrived so suddenly at this place, I have to explain a little something. We, like many people here, are members of wine clubs. A California wine club comes with benefits. You give them an email address and your credit card number and you get invited to fun parties and you can take your friends and taste for free – it’s totally worth it.

Our crack dealers vintners even share helpful and informative news about your wine. They tell you how it was grown, how the weather affected the taste, what exceptional things to note about your wine. Plus recipes that you can cook up to pair with each of your wines.

Wine recipes

By the way, we are totally making this seafood bake with fresh seafood from the market on the harbor. It looks fantastic!

The most important benefit, however, is this one: boxes and boxes of lip-smacking wine come TO YOUR DOOR every month.

Case of Carhartt wine

Case Gainey wine

Case Hearthstone

We are members of five wine clubs. Not kidding. Five. That means that we have a lot of wine coming in and since we haven’t been able to drink lately, it’s started piling up.

The wine cabinet was full and the counter over the wine cabinet was stacked with bottles, things were starting to get out of control. We started stacking the cases of wine in the garage.

Our California house is not big, but we’d always wanted a wine fridge. Except where to put it? We had to get creative. So, we stood in our garage and contemplated things a bit. We measured and moved things to find a spot.

Empty space

Then Steve ordered a wine fridge online. We installed it this morning.

Wine fridge

So, the wine fridge is now installed and rapidly cooling 24 bottles of wine. The kitty water fountain has been restored to it’s original place and we can’t wait until they discover the changes – that should be loads of fun.

Wine fridge installed

It’s fitting that the watering hole for the cats is right next to the human watering hole, don’t you think?

Now, where the wine bottles WERE stacked two deep, there is now a little room in the booze cabinet:

Room in the booze cabinet

So, who’s going to come and help us drink up some of this wine?

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On the trails again

by fourteenergirl on April 22, 2016

in Just Stuff

This week, I braved the preserve that’s close to our house as my first attempt at walking off sidewalk. I skipped the uphill bits and any place where climbing over logs was necessary – I stuck to the easy trails in short.

One of my favorite signs in the world:

My favorite sign - trail sign

I took my time. Didn’t rush things. As you can see, the trail is nice and wide and mostly flat – all good for recovering walks! It was great to see how clear it was. I could see all the way to the channel islands.

Flat trail

I’m really glad I’m not allergic to whatever this yellow blooming weed is – it’s everywhere!

Yellow blooming weeds

Finally, I get to why I did this trail – the gorgeous coastline. The waves. The sound is so restful and healing.


You just can’t beat these views.

Santa Barbara coastline views

I wasn’t kidding about those yellow blooming weeds – everywhere! So tall too.

Santa Barbara coastline walk

I finished the walk in about an hour. I didn’t do all of the usual path, but enough to really help my body get moving again. Then, I had a couple of tacos and headed home. Shower. Bed. It took a 2-hour nap to recover, but it was worth it.

My healing continues …


Whack-a-mole Emily Style

by fourteenergirl on April 17, 2016

in Just Stuff

So, I told you about the moles in the back yard, right? Well look who has taken up the game of whack-a-mole:

Emily hunting moles


Once the mole popped up, they both looked at each other unsure of what to do next! Can you see the mole?

Emily and the mole

Since they couldn’t figure out the next step after staring at each other for awhile, the mole went back to digging and Ems thought it was a good time for a snuggle with Mommy and a treat:

Done hunting

All of this effort must, of course, be followed by a serious post-hunting nap:

Post hunting nap


Let the back yard reno continue

by fourteenergirl on April 16, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

In the continued saga of the back yard renovation project, look what we picked out and bought today.

A pallet of stone

Those are blue-grey stones that we’re going to use to build a patio in the lawn, right here:

Patio here

In the space right off the kitchen (sliding door on left) and we’ll have some comfy chairs and a fire pit there. I want ZERO yard – just a big party, resting, enjoying space.

If you remember, a few weeks ago we removed all the rocks from around the deck, replaced the weed blocker and replaced the rocks. We added lights under the trees so that at night the back yard looks ah-mazing! We built a stone wall because the previous wall was made of flimsy logs and looked trashy.

Here are some shots of the gorgeous wall in both directions:

Rocks are back


Wall is finished

We still have a long way to go – the deck has to be refinished because it’s all dingy and we’re putting up some sun shades (we’re thinking of big sails in keeping with the sailing theme and for air flow) over the patio area, but one step at a time.

I am still on the path to recovery. Walking farther faster now. Driving a bit – to see friends. I still hit a wall around 5 p.m. if I haven’t had a nap, but that’s to be expected. I can’t lift anything heavier than a full glass of iced tea so Mr. Man has been the total hero with the yard work.

I’d also like to introduce you to our new guests – a family of moles.

Moles in the yard

Well, that’s where they live. We saw one of them this morning as we had a smoothie for breakfast. He’s got big front teeth and likes to toss dirt. Emily is FASCINATED with them and stalks them all day long if I let her. Not sure how they’re going to take to the stone patio but for now, they’re kinda cute to watch.


Healing takes time and it’s not easy

by fourteenergirl on April 14, 2016

in Just Stuff

My surgery went well despite some errors made by the medical team and two follow-up emergency surgeries – blech! I am home now and struggling to recover. The first week was horrid. Pain medications and I don’t get along, never have. So, in between the severe nausea, headaches, and dizziness the pain kept coming. After 5 days of that mess I stopped taking the pain meds. To hell with it – the pain wasn’t really much better with or without them so enough was enough.

This week the goal is walking. I’m not allowed to do any other form of exercise – not even stretching – and so I walk. In the beginning, it was just laps up and down the back yard. Then, I got to halfway around the cul de sac with Steve’s help. Now, I can make it around the neighborhood on my own. It’s a slow pace and a walk that used to take about 20 minutes takes nearly 50 but I do it. The first time around was so hard I had to sleep for an hour and a half when I got back.

Today, I took along my camera so that I could put something on the blog. The springtime flowers are everywhere.

Springtime flowers

This bush doesn’t look like much right now, but it smells heavenly. It’s a honeysuckle and it’s getting ready to go crazy and bloom.

Honeysuckle bush

The bees are loving on the New Zealand Christmas trees in our area. These are really strange trees – this one is trimmed and contained, but most of the time they grow wild and crazy with their branches drooping down.

New Zealand Christmas Tree

The blooms look like this – kinda feathery and soft.

New Zealand Christmas Tree bloom

I don’t smell them – can’t get close for the bees – so I wonder if there is a scent associated. With the jasmine blooming all over the neighborhood it’s hard to sniff out one thing.

Here’s the entrance to the park. The frogs were quiet this morning. I suspect they’re waiting for a little rain before they perk up again. I didn’t go into the park to sit on the swings this time. I felt I could make it around the entire block without the rest.

Secret bridge park

I have a much greater appreciation for people who live with chronic pain and/or debilitating illnesses that keep them close to home. I haven’t driven in weeks. After two stints in the hospital – one for five days, the other for 10 – I have had it with hospitals. I never want to see the inside of one again.

While this surgery was necessary and it was brutal, the worst should be behind me. I’m so grateful for all the cards, flowers, and calls – thank you everyone.


Clarity comes in many forms

by fourteenergirl on April 3, 2016

in Just Stuff

Thank you everyone for the prayers and well wishes as I heal from surgery. It’s been a long, hard haul and I have much recovering work in front of me but the hope is that the worst is behind me. It’s difficult to imagine putting my life on hold for weeks in the hospital and then to face a month of forced down time, but it has brought me face to face with clarity.

Just before heading into surgery, I ran into a woman I had become friends with and was nearly floored with the need to talk with her and tell her what was going on. The time nor the situation were right, but I held that thought while in the hospital and I’m even more convinced that she is going to help be my guide as I reconfigure the next stage of my life.

It’s true that the people  you need show up when you need them. A nurse asked me yesterday if I had support ready at home and I began to cry immediately. Another sign. I have created some community here in California, but have managed to sidestep meaningful connections out of fear. I don’t know how long I’ll be here. I’m too busy. I have friends far away and I love them, how can I split myself into so pieces?

As Steve and I were walking the halls of this beautiful hospital (it is gorgeous – hundreds of original art works are on  every floor and dozens of outdoor spaces for resting outside and looking at the mountains – a Spanish woman separated from her group and came to hold and hug me. She whispered a prayer in my ear and held me as a mother would. It was a blessing. It was beautiful. I thanked her and we walked on.  I felt guilty for a moment that she thought I was emotional due to a loss of a child – we were walking near the birthing unit at the time, but decided that a gift prayer was still a gift even if I didn’t understand the language.

I hopefully head home today and I face plenty of challenges. I am grateful to have this opportunity to recover. I know full well that there are plenty of people who don’t and I am determined to keep this gift close to me.


Happy Anniversary Number 17

by fourteenergirl on March 1, 2016

in Hiking, Just Stuff

Last weekend, we celebrated our 17th anniversary and we popped into Morro Bay again. The plan was to do some hiking and otter-watching, which we did.

This was a near alcohol-free weekend (Mr Man is taking a med that says ‘don’t drink’ and I’m gesturing support by only having 1 glass of wine on weekend days). Even though we are mere minutes from some of the most lip-smacking wine on the Central Coast at a place where we are already members, so drinking is free, we abstained.

Suffice it to say there are no big dopey drunken smiles in this blog post. It’s all about hiking and walking and walking and walking and some wildlife.  I’ll try not to make it sound boring. Even though it was. Sort of. Probably two rested individuals and one without a terrible head cold would have made it better, but that’s what marriage is about, right? Sometimes you just have to make do.

Morro Bay

We spotted seals often and this one was moving right along beneath the dock so we got a closer shot than normal.

Morrow bay seal

You really can’t beat this coastline though. It’s just gorgeous even when it’s cloudy.

Morro Bay Coastline

Our plan was to hike the Cerro Alto trail, which at 2,624 feet is one of the highest points along the central coast, but along the way we took a wrong turn and found ourselves looking at a bunch of wild turkeys on the road.

Wild Turkeys

They weren’t too disturbed that we invaded their space while they were clearly enjoying a dance. We finally back-tracked and found the right road and the start of the trail. Pretty quick, we ran into a little mountain stream.

Cerro Alto trail

If someone were to ask me: house by the ocean or house by a mountain stream, I’d say mountain stream. Fewer people, less overall noise, lots less stress. The views along this trail were simply gorgeous.

Cerro Alto views

That little bit of rain we’ve had over the ‘winter’ has made a tremendous difference. It’s not enough to be sustaining through the summer months, but we can enjoy it for now.

Cerro Alto views

The views of Morro Rock are incredible along this hike and when you reach the summit, you can see it way out in the distance (it’s the lump along the coast near the left edge of the bush).

Way Above Morro rock

All in all, a very nice trail.

Cerro Alto trail


Even better if you don’t have a raging head cold and can have a glass of wine when you’re finished. OK. Done complaining now. And in closing – sunset over Morro Bay Rock.

Morro Bay Rock


Odd, this is where we were on our last anniversary. We’re getting really, really predictable.


Emily the Jungle Cat

by fourteenergirl on February 29, 2016

in Home

So when the mower starts to make a strange growly sound and your husband is working days, nights and weekends you end up with an unmowable lawn.

Now, I get points for knowing better than to push a machine to keep going when it’s making a weird sound or smoking or some other weird behavior. I also get points for describing the sound the mower is making.

I am not the fix-it person in this house. I’ll carry tools and pick up parts (if you tell me exactly what to get and try to tell me what aisle I’ll find it), but I can’t fix most things so I have to wait.

It’s funny how the grass, weeds and clover don’t sit up and take notice. You might think that after years of drought they might say to themselves, ‘jeez, we got a little rain but summer is coming, we might want to slow it down a little. oh, and by the way, the mower is broken so easing up on this homeowner is a win-win for all of us.’


Backyard jungle

Since I couldn’t mow the lawn, I decided I should just embrace it. After all, Emily has decided she is now a bona-fide jungle cat and now is a great time to take my camera outside with a cup of tea on a warm morning to enjoy Emily enjoying the jungle in the back yard.

Emily the jungle cat

If she slides down onto her belly in the clover she can disappear completely from the view of all other creatures.

Emily the jungle cat hides

And this thought makes Emily very happy. Sleepy too. Very happy and sleepy.

Emily the jungle cat sleepy


Long Weekend of Reading, Sun, and Waves

by fourteenergirl on February 17, 2016

in Just Stuff

My guy is working all hours again and there’s nothing I can do about it. I could, and have, railed against it. I’ve thrown temper tantrums. I’ve pouted. Nothing is going to stop him.

So, I take my self out.

I fill up bird feeders so I can hear them sing and chirp all day long. This gives the kitties plenty to watch and they chitter and quiver until they get exhausted and have to burrow under the covers and rest.

Happy birds


The feeders give the kitties plenty to watch and they chitter and quiver until they get exhausted and fall asleep or burrow under the covers to rest.

Too many birds! must rest


I download a new book and stuff only the bare essentials into my beach bag: coconut oil, water with ice, camera, beach towel and sunglasses.

Reading at the beach


I take pictures and flip over once in a while. I read. Ignore the man in the video – I couldn’t completely avoid him. Focus on the waves and drift away …

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.


What happens when the kitties are your kids

by fourteenergirl on February 16, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

Saturday morning is no longer about jammies and cereal and cartoons  – it’s about noisy paper and boxes!

Kitty paper tent for Saturday morning

Something was delivered and it was packed with this crisp, noisy brown paper, which Luna LOVES. So, Steve created a paper tent village with multiple boxes and she was crazy for it.

It’s the same concept – a big mess and lots of noise, just with small furry people rather than two-legged ones.