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.

duck

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!

 

 

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Lungs burning, legs pumping, heart pounding

by fourteenergirl on June 20, 2015

in Just Stuff

Sometimes, this is what it takes to shed the stress of the week, clear my head, and find that space wherein which I just am. I got that last weekend, and I’m about to head out to do it again too. I get my bike and I load up the camera, phone, water, a little something in case I get hungry and I head out. With music playing in my ears – an eclectic collection of Blues Traveler, the Bodeans, Caravan Palace, Dave Matthews, Dierks Bentley – I find peace when my lungs are on fire, my legs and heart are pumping in rhythm and I am free.

Last week’s ride was through the June gloom of Santa Barbara …

June gloom bike ride

When I emerge from the University along the Pacific Coast trail over Goleta Beach, it looked like this – cloudy, cloudy, cloudy.

June gloom bike ride

The bike trail was almost empty. For those who don’t know, when it’s cloudy and raining Californians stay inside. They love the rain, they just don’t like getting wet apparently. Haven’t quite figured that out.

Trollspit

It wasn’t a super long ride – about half what I usually do – but it was just right for that day.

mileage

Now, I’m loading up to go again. Lots of sun out there today, though, so it should be really nice. Get outside folks!

 

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Drive by post – Luna

by fourteenergirl on June 15, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

Our new kitty friend, Luna is tiny. She is like our own personal tornado. She only likes paper balls for toys and prefers them to be tossed at her through the air, so she can leap and catch them between her paws. She also carries her paper balls around once she catches them and puts them near me so I can toss them again.

She doesn’t meow except in the middle of the night when she wonders where everyone went and why it’s so quiet. She gurgle-squeaks instead of meowing. I don’t know how else to describe the very special sound she makes as she’s happy to see you and chases her paper balls.

Silly sweet girl.

Luna

She and Emily have stopped trying to kill each other and have settled into a friendly sort of detente. They do, however, chase each other at top speed through the  house at least once a day. No biting or growling, just chasing and tumbling.

I think they are starting to like each other a bit.

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Stress – it’s a killer

by fourteenergirl on June 14, 2015

in Just Stuff

Yes, I’m over worked and crazy stressed out. He works every weekend, I work every weekend and most evenings until I fall into bed. This grown up thing sucks. I realize I am posting this blog one week after the fun happened, but that should only serve to let you know how much is going on and how buried I am. In fact, yesterday I took off on my bike for the first good ride of the season and got a block from the house when I realized the back tire desperately need air, so I turned around. I re-opened the garage door, found the bike pump, and tried to make the damn thing work and broke down in tears.

Hmm, I thought. Yes, I need a bike ride but if the bike pump is reducing me to a crying fit, perhaps a shower and a glass of iced tea on the porch is a better idea? Hard to tell these days. I feel like I crackle with the stress.

So, this blog post is about last weekend. I am going kayaking with a group today, so I full expect to have something fun to blog about tomorrow.

Last weekend, we decided to try a new winery and someone told us that Beckmen wines were tasty, so we headed up the hill. Our day was sunny (we haven’t had sun since, ugh!) and we parked next to this tree. Isn’t this a lovely view?

Tree at Beckmen

This was a pretty popular place according to all the cars parked along the driveway. We finally got to the tasting room and I wondered if this isn’t one of the best signs to see ever?

Tasting room

We decided on the Reserve flight. Now, Beckmen is well known for their reds so the viognier at the top was a surprise to us, but I liked it.

Tasting list

Steve liked the wines so much that he bought several bottles and signed up to be a wine club member. This is how they get you – they give you these tasty little treats and suck you in and soon you’re getting 12-15 bottles every quarter! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and a little bored, do stop by. It’s likely we have one chilled and ready to go.

Tasting over

Another beautiful view on the way out of the vineyard.

Beckmen vineyard

Now, the grass you see here has been watered lightly, but the drought is taking it’s toll on the California land. Here is a shot out the window as we’re passing by fields that are dry as a bone.

California drought

Looking at this grass, you can see why wildfires are one of the area’s biggest fears.  Here’s another field as dry as can be with a lovely oak in the middle.

California drought field

We had some rain last week, which has cooled things off but it’s no where close to enough. We’re in full water restrictions and we have the bucket in our shower to collect water and we use it for the back lawn. We have a beautiful pot in the front of the house that we plan to turn into a recycling water fountain, but we’re not supposed to have any fountains right now and we’ve held off on putting it together.

Pray for rain folks, pray for rain.

 

 

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Wrapping up the Sailing Weekend Review

by fourteenergirl on May 30, 2015

in Sailing

So, I finally got a few minutes to finish telling you all about our sailing class last weekend. We woke up Saturday morning to sun, glass-like seas and a lovely warm breeze. Gone were the clouds, the wind gusts, and the crazy waves. I let the guys fix breakfast and took myself to the bow of the boat to stretch.

bow-sailboat

Way past the dinghy there is a wide space that just fits me. When my family would sail in the Virgin Islands every year, this is where my sister and I would sleep – on top of the deck. A blanket was all we needed and it was quite comfy. Much better than being below where it was stuffy and hot. On this trip, the cabin wasn’t hot – it was perfectly chilly and that’s how I like to sleep – the colder the better. Still, the boat doesn’t have the nice mattress we have at home and let’s be honest, I’m not 18 anymore, so a hard deck is less than comfy. It was, however, the perfect place to stretch and work out the kinks.

Would you like to see some shots from the inside of the boat? Sure you would.

Here’s the dining area – yes it fit all 5 of us comfortably.

Sailboat dining room

And the teeny-tiny kitchen – the guys fried up all those potatoes and onions for breakfast. We ate like kings on this trip, I tell ‘ya!

Sailboat kitchen

On the first sail, we got all the way around the front side – the windward side – of Santa Cruz. You can see the full map of our trip plotted out by Steve here.

Our sailing trip plotted out

The second day, the guys did a lot of navigational practice. We circled around, and practiced heave-to and the heave-to crew overboard drill multiple times.

Shoreline from the sailboat

It was a good day, plenty of fair winds and nothing too gnarly. We scooted into a second bay (can’t remember the name right now) early to rest and let the guys study – they had to take their test the next morning. steve and I hopped into the dinghy to get some land time here – isn’t it beautiful?

Santa Cruz Island

There were probably 12 or 15 boats in the cove before nightfall.

Lots of boats

In the evening, a good strong wind came up (it dies down at midnight every night) but it was pretty strong. That’s Anacapa in the distance.

Anacapa Island

We set up the anchor watch schedule and headed for sleep and just as everyone was almost out, we heard BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! That’s 5 blasts on the air horn which is the danger signal. Everyone was scrambling to get on deck and see what the risk was. BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP! Again. Turns out, one of the small power fishing boats had lost their anchor and because of the relatively high wind that sprung up right around dark, they were drifting fast toward us and another sailboat.

The two boats got their anchor lines tangled, there was a lot of rushing around and shouting. The sailboat got yanked around pretty badly, but no real damage done. Somehow in the dark they got their lines figured out and everything settled down again, but it was a little while before anyone in the bay felt safe.

We sailed the next day across the channel in between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa with the guys navigating sans electronics the whole way. They got lots of practice and we found Becher’s Bay on Santa Rosa for our anchorage that night.

In the morning, the guys settled in and studied after breakfast and then took their tests.

Taking the test

That night, we had to sail at night back to SB. This meant getting bundled up in layers, and putting on safety harnesses and setting jacklines. The sailing back was just as swell-ridden and gnarly as the sail to the islands. It was also very frickin’ cold! And wet. And cold. After battling sea sickness and trying to keep my eyes open for many hours past any normal bedtime, I couldn’t take it anymore. I crawled into the berth and pulled everything on top of me. I was shaking all over and probably near hypothermia, so it was the only call I could make. Steve crawled in around 2:30 a.m. exhausted and cold and said, “The second it’s dawn, we are getting off this boat!” So we slept in the harbor. In the morning, we packed up as quietly as we could and escaped.

 

 

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A Harrowing Weekend It Was

by fourteenergirl on May 26, 2015

in Sailing

So, last weekend Steve and I took the ASA 106 course which is a relatively advanced course involving a number of things that turned out to be quite harrowing. The idea was to prove to ourselves that we were ready to take a boat – perhaps one packed with precious friends – out to the Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast.

Just in case you’re curious, you can read about the Channel Islands on Wikipedia.

Our trip entailed a multi-day sail and Steve was actually taking the course – I was a ride-along. I did not have time to study for the course and wan’t keen about the timing, so we compromised. He takes the course and the test, and I get some experience without all the pressure. Cool beans.

There were 5 people total: 1 captain (our teacher), two other male students, Steve and me. Yep, once again I’m the only damn woman on a life-endangering trip with a bunch of guys. (Here we are – me at the wheel, teacher Ken on the left, Rob on the right.)

sailing-ginnie-at-wheel

 

That said, everyone was completely polite and kind. The guys even provisioned the boat all by themselves and no, I did not have to do all the cooking – just my fair share. I didn’t even have to do many dishes. It was really nice and low-key, very adult.

We took the 50-foot boat, the Jenny Lane aka the Stinky Boat. I do not like this boat. It’s too big and a bit tubby. She also stinks because it takes a couple of days and plenty of pumping at the head to get the lines cleared of human waste. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Otherwise, the boat is perfect for bigger groups – 4 cabins each with their own head (bathroom) and it’s reliable. After a few days, it doesn’t stink and I’ve found that a few drops of lavender oil on the pillows helps a lot. You can get an idea of the size by this photo with me in it for reference.

stinky-boat

Yep, it’s big.

The trip started out well. The weather was clear and we had plenty of wind and sunshine. As we headed toward the farthest island, San Miguel, we realized we did not load the safety harnesses and jacklines (more on that to come). The wind was kicking up pretty well by that time – gusts of 20 mph and rising swells. It was to be a long weekend, so safety was needed and we turned back to get the safety gear. We bailed on San Miguel and opted for the larger, closer island of Santa Cruz.

channel-island-map

So, here’s where things start to get a little hairy. Swells of 5-6 feet, serious heeling on both sides of the boat, and me very sick despite plenty of Dramamine. It’s hard to get a good image of the scene and it got much darker and stormier after this, but here you have one image.

sailboats-heel

Things got calmer as we got closer to the island and out of the channel. We set anchor, cooked dinner, cleaned up and crashed for the first night … more to come tomorrow.

 

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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.

IMG_3713

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

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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