I’m Not Dead, I’m Just Busy

by fourteenergirl on May 17, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

So, when I decided to start an online yoga company I had no idea that it would take so much of my time. Really, it’s hard not to feel a little like a fake or a flake when I’m reminding people all day long that they have to carve out time for self-care and I can barely remember to wash the laundry and get out of bed on time. So, my apologies to all who used to read this blog. I never intended to take such a long break from blogging, but I have really been struggling to keep up with things.

Yesterday, however, I took a ‘break’ and got to some much needed and very  healthy for me gardening. A local friend was kind enough to raid – and I mean raid with a shovel wielding vengeance – her succulents which had overgrown their pots. I would like to say it was for her benefit, but I think I got the most out of it.

I’ve wanted to fill in the planting bed along my back fence with more plants for some time, but you’ve probably heard there is a drought in California and so planting anything that needed to be watered regularly was out of the question for me. I miss flowers, but if they’re not drought tolerant they can’t live here. So, I have a long bed of succulent babies under my palm trees.

Succulent bed!


These, a  few colorful rocks, and I should have a nice spread to enjoy in no time.

I also pulled up, separated, and replanted these flowers around the St. Francis statue. I don’t remember what they are called, so don’t ask me. They bloom about half of the year and I love them. They close up in the night time too so they’re shy that way.

Daisy-like flowers

I stuck all the succulents too small to plant into the pot so they could grow up. I stuck the branches that looked like they might be able to adapt and develop into something in there too because at that point is was tired and getting a little punchy. Seemed like the wrong thing to throw them into the green bin so I didn’t. I’ll report back if they do something interesting like not die.

Succulent starter garden

So, if you want to know how to run a tiny tech company, give me a call.

Need to know how to run a social media campaign 24 hours a day, answer email in your sleep, and handle a podcast interview from your parked car in the rain, I’m your girl.

Want to know how to work 10-hour days at one job, then spend the next 3 or 4 at home on your ‘side business’ while petting the kitties, cranking on the laundry and trying to eat something, let me know.

Now, we do have an interesting week coming up provided I survive the work week. We are taking another sailing course, and so we’ll be studying all evening. I will be frantically cramming, but my husband has been able to study like a proper student should – steadily and without any sense of frantic. We are taking the ASA 106 which is fancy labeling for a course that sounds like it could be wonderful fun or a terrifying death march. I’ll let you know soon. Since I’m a ride-along on this course and not the student taking the test (I opted out in the interest of time and my own sanity) I  have the unique opportunity to consider enjoying this trip. I shall be doing that with camera in hand. Right after I learn how to tie some more knots which I promise to do after a shower, a walk, and good lord could I have a short nap?



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Crew Overboard Drills

by fourteenergirl on April 12, 2015

in Just Stuff

As we are getting ready for our advanced sailing class, my guy wanted us to practice the crew overboard maneuver.

sailing santa barbara

It’s one of the top things he worries about – that and when his wife is scrambling all over the deck putting away ropes. That makes him kinda nervous – especially if the winds are high or there are significant swells. He thinks I’m going to fall off the boat and, well it could happen. Hasn’t happened yet, but it could.

So, we practiced the figure-eight maneuver using buoys as our ‘crew overboard’ and we did really well. We worked out when to come in windward or leeward, that was actually confusing in our ASA books.

The wind was coming from the East – Southeast this time, so the sailing was different and we noticed it right away – as we cem out of the harbor and rounded Stearns Wharf, we felt the pull to head into the wind. This time, however, that meant turning left out of the harbor and heading east. Very interesting – our first time noticing that.

We saw a pack of seals swimming along and munching on fish. What do you call a bunch of seals traveling together? Is it a pod? a herd? Who knows … these are the kinds of discussions we have out there as we sail along.

sailing santa barbara

Another thing we tend to do: study the houses along the coast that are certain to fall into the ocean on the next earthquake. So many of them are built right up to the edge, no lawn to protect them and many of them have remedial work done – like big concrete bases built right into the cliff. You can’t really see it from this photo – I should get some up close, but you can see how many houses are built along that sandy cliff.


One good shake is all it will take and some of them will most certainly fall. Eek! Yeah, we’re mean. I know it. We even like to get out the binoculars and study the houses and what the homeowners are doing to try to save them.

sailing santa barbara




So, as you know Steve and I work hard – all the time, all days, most weekends, often in the evening – all the time. We have a lot going on and we enjoy most of it, but we work. Some would say too hard, and yes that’s true, but we gotta earn our retirement after all and well, that’s what we’re doing.

So, last Saturday, we had a rare opportunity to get out of the house TOGETHER. We were going to sail, but drat! all the boats were rented except the ones with no motor and braving Spring Breakers on the water in a relatively tight harbor with no motor makes my blood run cold. No.

So instead, we pulled out our bikes and we rode to a new place I just discovered was there – and it’s 5 minutes from our house!

Look to the left

Haskell's beach

and look to the right

Haskell's beach

It’s a clean beach – not a lot of beach-goers and lovely surf, but of course winds were high.

After we wandered on the beach for a bit and watched the kids and dogs playing, we took off again on our bikes. Now, there are those bike rides that are distance-and-time focused. They’re workouts with the bonus of being outside and breathing fresh air, but they are workouts. Then, there are those wandering rides where you have no real agenda, no particular place to be at a particular time, and you turn down random streets looking for the trails that lead along the bluffs by the beaches.

This was one of those rides. Just 17 miles and an hour and a half of breathing fresh air, feeling sunshine on our shoulders and legs, and wow – look at that! and that! and did you know that a blue agave could get THAT big?

We saw the ice plants blooming on the bluffs.

ellwood bluffs

Ice plant is very aggressive – I won’t have it near my house – but they use it because it shores up the ground and keeps it from sliding. It’s a pretty stabilizer.

pink ice plant

It’s a succulent too so it never needs water – very smart.

After the lovely bike ride, we went out to try a wine place that we’d never been to before. Santa Barbara Wine Collective – they have multiple wineries there so you can taste along different trends – by red or white, but winery, but type of wine (syrah, etc.) – it’s very fun.

wine tasting


We had a glass each of two very different wines and drank a lot of water too. Don’t you love those wine-bottle glasses? Must find some of those. Ah, a day off is a good thing. A very good thing.






How Did My Cat Learn the Calendar?

by fourteenergirl on April 5, 2015

in Just Stuff

emilyEmily, my older kitty, LOVES to go outside. She sits in the sun, she chases bugs, she races around, and she’s purrfectly happy. Then she wants to come inside. It’s the inside-outside game with a cat.

Somehow, since I started working a job outside of home, she has figured out the calendar. She somehow knows when it’s Saturday – the one day I get to sleep in with complete abandon as long as I want and she starts early.

Like 5 a.m. early.

She meows. She paws at the door. She jumps on and off the bed. Then she ramps it up.

She meows LOUDLY, jumps on my HEAD, and meows in my EAR and then runs off before I can grab her for corporal cuddling (the only punishment that works on cats, in case you’ve never known that).

I have reinstated the squirt bottle by the bed, but she’s so much cleverer than Max ever was about the squirt bottle that she almost never gets wet. She’s implemented this spectacular method of staying under the bed, sticking out her head to protest her incarceration, and then pop back under the bed before I squirt her. Usually, it’s the rug, curtains, and our bedspread that get wet and not Ems.

She’s good. Dastardly good.


What’s in there Mama? A friend, Emily

by fourteenergirl on March 30, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

After we lost Max, we pretty much spent a month or two mourning him. He was the most amazing cat and a real friend. It was super hard to let him go. Emily has been pretty bored by herself, and she’s gotten quite demanding, so it was time to trot on down to the local kitty shelter and see if we could find her a friend.

We found Luna.

Meet Luna

She’s getting used to her new home from the safety of the guest bedroom. She is compact – only 8 pounds – and all fluff. Long hair and the cutest tufts on her ears. She kept us up last night meowing softly and trying to open the door, so Steve went in there to keep her company.

Emily has only seen peeks so far.

Emily peeking at Luna

We keep the door a little cracked so they can introduce themselves slowly. I have my fingers crossed that they become great friends. Luna is shy like Emily is, so I think they will get along nicely.



Everything is Blooming!

by fourteenergirl on March 29, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

The lemon tree and lime tree have succulent friends and everything is blooming!

lime tree with succulents

lemon tree with succulents

Next project? Getting a roof over this outdoor area so we can sit outside more often and enjoy the lovely weather.



New Bathroom Almost Complete

by fourteenergirl on March 28, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

So, we’ve been working on the bathroom reno and last week, the glass was put in for the shower.

glass wall in bathroom

We got this vanity as one unit online – and it turned out really cute even though it was a terror to assemble (no instructions).



We got these cute palm tree hangers for towels, bathrobes.

palm tree hooks

Have we tried out the fancy shower yet? Nope, because there is still some more sealing to do.



It’s looking really good.

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We Got our Irish On in Chicago

by fourteenergirl on March 17, 2015

in Traveling

So, last weekend we visited our eldest kid in Chicago. We stayed in an awesome hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the lake and the city.

Thompson Hotel Chicago

We saw the buildings …

Chicago Water works

We rode the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier …

Ferris Wheel Navy Pier

We took goofy pictures of each other …

Goofy pictures

I don’t normally squint like this but the sun was in my eyes!

Goofy pictures

As you can see, we had lovely weather and we did not freeze (we were worried about that) …

View of Chicago

We heard our eldest kid say things like, “I need to keep an eye on you two … you keep wandering in different directions. It’s like herding impulsive cats.” It’s a good day when you can irritate your kid that way.

We took pictures of strangers texting next to statues with paper and pen.

Strangers texting

More goofy pictures …


We even remembered to take a picture together – this almost never happens:

Virginia and Steve

This is a cool lighthouse …


This was the list my daughter made of things for us to do – is this my kid or what?

Chicago list

We saw the Bean …

Chicago Bean

And took more goofy pictures of ourselves in the reflection …

Bean Reflection

And even more weird pictures under the Bean …

Under the Bean

We saw them turn the river green …

Chicago River turns Green

We went in the Chicago Tribune building and took pictures of the press-related sayings – lots of them – here is one:

Free Press

We took more pictures of the very green river …

Chicago River goes Green

Lots of action on the river …

Irish Flag on the Chicago River

We had Chicago Cupcake Company treats … oh my gosh these were good!

Chicago Cupcake

We drank Bloody Mary’s and ate Twisted Farm Food (great restaurant – HUGE portions!) at breakfast, took an architecture boat tour, and met up with our neice and her boyfriend:


We also RAN to hear the bagpipe players …

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Happy Anniversary California Style – Day 2

by fourteenergirl on March 9, 2015

in Traveling

Continuing our anniversary weekend, we left Morro Bay and continued up the coast. Anniversary weekend Day 1 was all about getting rested and getting some sunshine, Day 2 was about hiking in Big Sur. But first, we had to stop off and see the elephant seals.

elephant seals




You can see a video of the elephant seals too.

Lots and lots of seals sunning themselves and resting. Lots of barking too. Apparently it was also mating season, so there was some fighting among the males and they would chase each other and their lady seal into the ocean.

seals snuggling


We drove a little further and we were in Big Sur. Ah, it is so, so lovely here and when you hike and get to the top you can see the Pacific ocean.

Big Sur Hiking

Big Sur Coastline

Big Sur Hiking

I cannot describe how good it felt to pull on and lace up my hiking boots again. They have not had a good time in California, and it’s not their fault. I have no time to hike with two jobs and it’s just been insane lately. It was refreshing and amazing to be hiking again.

We stopped at the falls, of course, because that view is just incredible.


… and continued up the most gorgeous coastline.

Big Sur Coastline

We rested this night in Carmel where the shower behaved perfectly but the walls were very thin. Adorable little hotel, but zero soundproofing.


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Happy Anniversary California Style – Day 1

by fourteenergirl on March 8, 2015

in Traveling

Last weekend, we celebrated our 16th anniversary … this time very different from our Anniversary Colorado Style a couple years ago. We didn’t want to drive a lot and we only had a 3-day weekend to spend, so we decided to Groupon ourselves some hotel rooms along the coast and drive just a short bit each day.

Our first night was in Morro Bay at a newly remodeled inn right on the bay. Clearly the remodeling wasn’t quite perfect because the shower head pointed directly at the toilet. No problem if you’ve got walls but this was an open shower and the shower curtain did little to retain the water. So, every shower meant a flooded bathroom. We thought it was hilarious but I can imagine the maids might have a different opinion.

Morro Bay is distinguished by having a huge rock on one side of the bay.

Morro Bay Rock

The current in the bay was strong too – we saw many boats coming in for the evening – sails down and they were moving fast toward their mooring balls. According to Wiki, that rock is a volcanic plug, which I didn’t even know existed. We hiked all around the rock – you can’t climb it. and along the shoreline all morning and what we were really super excited to see where these guys.

Sea otters

They were so, so cute!

Sea otter

A whole pod of them were floating in the bay, and we took a little video of them.

According to this sign, you aren’t supposed to swim in the bay either.

Intermittent Waves Sign

Well there you have it.