Sailors Braver than we are

by fourteenergirl on February 1, 2016

in Just Stuff, Sailing

Today, we had hours of pouring rain and just after noon, the clouds cleared and the sun came out … the wind was still pretty brisk but after weeks of icky weather, a Sunday with some sunshine was just too appealing for the brave sailors.

We watched them passing back and forth as we had lunch by the shore. These are 35-knot-plus winds folks.

Some sailing glory for you to enjoy.

Sailing 35 knots


Look at this one heel!

Sailing in 35 knots


Sailboat heels


These sailors are hanging on the high-side:

Sailboat in 35 knot winds


Sailboat in high wind


The beautiful Santa Barbara coastline on a sunny ‘winter’ afternoon before the evening wind and rain starts again.

Beautiful Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara Coast

Next, we hung up decorations for Valentines’s day. February is the month we got married, and so these stay up until after our anniversary every year.

Valentines' decorations


So, where were we?

by fourteenergirl on January 31, 2016

in Just Stuff

It’s been a while, I know … things are nutty. I’m putting together new online classes, working a full-time job, working every spare minute on Audible Yoga – it’s crazy.

To catch you up, El Nino arrived with lots of wind and rain. The beaches are a mess – covered in drift wood, rocks pushed up and sand washed away.  This is Haskell’s beach, near our house in the mid-day:

Beaches are a mess

On the flip side, it’s a great time to pick up shells, pretty rocks and beach glass. The waves are high for us and the pounding and crashing can be heard farther away – sometimes in our back yard on quiet mornings before the neighbor’s chickens awake.

Beaches are a mess

Santa Barbara’ans are in full gale force winter gear – puffy jackets, scarves, gloves, hats and my personal favorite – heaters!

Beach heaters


I have to say, this is something I think they get really, really right. Anytime there is any hint of cool weather, the heaters are turned on and bammo! you can sit outside comfortably. You can take off all those layers you put on to get into the car and walk the beach and sip a glass of wine without shivering. We ran into this in Sweden too and Sweden folks would also hand you a fluffy warm blanket to sit under. Again, you were outside, with the heater and your glass of wine and I loved it. Who doesn’t want to be outside when you can? Doesn’t the weather often prevent you from enjoying being outside?

Heaters I tell you – they’re the best thing.

With backyard work at a halt waiting for the brick and the rain to stop, we trotted up to Rideau Winery for a taste.

Rideau winery

The owner is a native to New Orleans, so her style is distinctly New Orleans.

Rideau has lovely wines and you can’t get them outside of the winery because members (that’s us) buy them up. Yes, we have a bunch of their wine in the cabinet, but there was a band and a barbecue cart and a new Syrah that was lip-smacking good. We bought lunch, two glasses of wine and some bottles to go home with us.

Barbecue and Syrah

On the way back home, we stopped to check out the waves – these are high for our area. The Channel Islands block most of the crazy weather and so we don’t get really high waves most of the time. These are frothy ones and even the birds were clustered together to stay warm.

Beach and birds


I love pasta, don’t you? Pasta is so yummy and filling and so carb-heavy. I’ve been eyeing those tools you can make noodles out of vegetables for awhile, but the videos and comments weren’t very impressive and I don’t need more work to do. Really!

So, when I saw this tool online I had to try it.

Zucchini noodles

It’s called Veggeti and I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond. This little tool is great!

  1. You clean the squash.
  2. Slice off the ends.
  3. Stick it in and twist!

That’s it and these long strips of squash come out and they look and act just like noodles. I cook them the same way too – only faster.

I’ve been eating them nearly every day since I got the damn thing too. Last night, after shoveling rocks all afternoon there was no way we had the energy to go and get a dinner out. Saturday night be damned! We were staying home.

So, I sauteed thin slices of onion, red pepper, green pepper and mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, then added 2 cups of vegetable broth and the zucchini noodles and let it cook.

Zucchini noodles

Voila! a lovely bowl of Pho and no carbs.

Delicious. Go get one now.

Can’t wait to try these noodles with marinara sauce.


Never Ending Rocks, but We Have Lights!

by fourteenergirl on January 17, 2016

in Home

The never ending effort of updating the rock beds continues. With the winter rain season coming on, we were worried about the ability to get this work done. We got a bunch of rain last week, but that hasn’t stopped the work.

What are we trying to do? Create a backyard oasis instead of a lawn of brown, scraggly grass that we can’t use for anything at all. After all, we can’t water much (regulations and guilt and all that) and we did buy a lawn that was ‘older’ so it needs work.

Last weekend, we managed to get one full bed of rocks cleared, replaced the weedblock, and put back, but the effort was maybe more complicated than it should have been. Specifically, there was a lot of dirt and other debris mixed in with the rocks and they had to be sorted and washed.

Yep, shoveling and washing rocks. Sounds like a fun weekend, right? This is why we get college degrees, so we can buy our own house and do manual labor. OK, that’s a little sarcastic. We do the work ourselves for the money savings and the accomplishment. We also do it because it’s fun to hang out together and see our work.

So, yesterday we started on the second section of rocks.

Working on the rocks

Our plan this time is to sort the rocks from the other debris before moving them onto the tarp.

Sorting rocks

So we are sifting them then moving them onto the tarp.

Rocks waiting on the tarp

They’ll be on the tarp for awhile because we’re building a rock wall along the bed. Those silly boards look stupid and flimsy and we want to expand the bed slightly. So, clean rocks can wait on the tarp until we build the wall.

This is one member of a very noisy audience for our efforts.

Our audience of crows

These guys are very noisy but they’re looking for worms and other things we dig up when we move the rocks and soil around. They’ll have to wait.

Take a look at how the succulent pot is looking! Love the colors.

Succulent pot

And we have lights!

Lights in the backyard

Yes, hard to see I know but they light up the trees along the back of the yard and make it very inviting to be outside.


Donde Esta El Nino?

by fourteenergirl on January 2, 2016

in Home

Really, where is this El Nino we keep hearing we are supposed to have this year? Back at home from our Colorado trip, we have taken on the  back yard renovation project and rain would really make things a mess. We are trying to take our boring, square back yard into a semi-oasis but of course every project starts with the ground work – the un-fun stuff that just has to get done first. We started with pulling up the rocks and laying new weed blocker behind the deck with the hot tub.

Bare dirt

We put all the rocks into a big pile and washed them!

Pile of rocks

We took apart parts of the deck to find the timer for the outdoor lights, which have been horribly off since we moved in. If there was ample wiring and power already there, then that would make lighting the back planting bed much easier.

Taking apart the deck

We were in luck! Not only did we uncover (finally!) the location of the elusive timer but we found lines that we  (by we, I mean he) can tap into to put lights into the succulent bed and make things look really pretty.

Then, we found something unlucky. The hot tub is leaking.

Hot tub leak

If you’ve every DIY’d you know that digging into a project is like going on a reverse treasure hunt. You always find something broken, leaking, torn, worn out or otherwise in need of  repair. It’s just the way it works.

Steve also discovered that the steps to the hot tub were completely infested with termites, so this will have to be rebuilt.

Steps - termite damage

Weed barrier back down and rocks returned to their former location.

Weed barrier down

Still, we’re making progress. Of course, little Luna watched all the action in the comfort of the sunny window. She’s no dummy.

Luna in the window

Wish us luck because the rain is supposed to be coming!

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Christmas Morning with Owen

by fourteenergirl on December 30, 2015

in Traveling

… because who else would we rather spend Christmas morning with than our little grandson and our own girls?

Owen has command of a lot of words and one of his favorites is cheese. He refers to all food as cheese but he also loves the stuff. For Christmas morning, he had a couple of slices that he worked on through the morning.

Owen loves cheese

Owen cheese and a flower

He says ‘ba-ball’ for all balls including things that aren’t quite balls, but are definitely ball-shaped.

Owen  ba-ball

He LOVED playing hide and seek in the tissue paper.

Owen hide and seek

And found taking a rest in the blankets in mid-morning a good idea – gave everyone else the opportunity to open presents.

Owen rests

Then he had some milk and played with his toys and all of us!

Owen with Rebecca and Pooh

I think I have THOUSANDS of pictures! Here’s a favorite after we got to my sister’s house and had Christmas dinner.

Owen Christmas


Doing the Colorado Christmas Thing

by fourteenergirl on December 24, 2015

in Traveling

We have a little snow on the ground and some light snow showers in the evenings – perfect.

Snow for Christmas

We have a great guy trying to put together a toy for a wee one … with canine support of course.

Assembling toy for Christmas

We have a vicious game of Monopoly.

Monopoly game



And a clogged sink … it’s looking like Christmas!

clogged sink


SBA – PHX – DEN but first Butterflies!

by fourteenergirl on December 22, 2015

in Uncategorized

Home for the holidays as they say. We are meeting family in the middle of the country – my former stomping grounds, Colorado. Before heading on a late flight, I took a walk to see how the butterfly grove is doing.

It was a Monday, so the people traffic was low and it was chilly, so the flying butterflies were few but the resting butterflies were amazing!

Monarchs resting

… using the zoom shows you how that big brown clump is not leaves.

Clumps of monarchs

Now with a beam of sunlight

Monarchs in sunlight

Wow, totally wow. Followed by a brisk walk by the coastline …

Goleta coastlin

A few errands and a maitai and tacos to fuel the long flight

Maitai by the beach

See you on the other side.


What a day to play means

by fourteenergirl on December 13, 2015

in Just Stuff

We get so few of these. I was talking with my mom who mentioned she had to schedule a time to talk with her daughters. When did we get to the point that we have to ‘pencil mom in’?

I’m nearly 50 and the last decade has been trying to say the least. Between the recession, our move to California (don’t call it Cali, we Californians hate that just so you know), and moving from a beloved work at home job to a cubicle again it’s been seriously awful. Of course, awful goes only so far as you let it. We have to take responsibility for our own happiness. Every. Single. Day.

So, this weekend we got to have a day (OK an afternoon, but who’s counting?) to play.

We explored a park we hadn’t had time to really SEE before. Mr. Man was game enough to give me a little leeway but of course, the surf was high and the sailing was a no-go. Since he didn’t have any better ideas, we went with this one.

Folks, it’s ‘winter’ and we have blooming bougainvillea here.

Bougainvillea in 'winter'

Bougainvillea single blossom

Bougainvillea blossoms


There was a pond and little waterfalls and bridges and ducks!

Pond park ducks

Sleepy ducks with turtles

Pond ducks and turtles

Does this look like really huge dill to you? This was rising over my head by many feet.

Crazy dill-looking plant

According to this weird talking box – push the button!

Talking box in the park

The tree above it is a gingko tree. The leaves are green-to-gold-to-orange-to-red


Then, there was this crazy tree with spines and flowers

Spine flower tree

We had some lunch guacomole and margaritas and walked to the wharf where we got to meet this guy

Pelican bird on wharf

Saw a sunset over the boats



If you come to see me, you’ll be introduced to many of these – compasses. It’s for a very good reason. I struggled with directional challenges – more than usual – when I first moved here and this is why. Santa Barbara is weirdly positioned on the California coast. While most of the coast can say that left is west, we say that left is south. Take a look at a map to see what I’m talking about but when you look at the ocean from the Santa Barbara coast you aren’t looking west, you’re looking south. It’s really hard to get used to – that’s why we have a bunch of compasses on the ground across the city.

Compass on the wharf

It’s the ideal way to identify locals though. Ask any person, “which way is west” and if they point at the ocean, they’re not locals. That means you can’t trust them for directions. :-)

Looking south

Therein lies the value in a day to play … finding new ways to figure out who is local and who is not. It’s harder than it looks here.



High Winds and Surf Advisory

by fourteenergirl on December 12, 2015

in Just Stuff

So, this weekend we had hoped to go sailing but it appears the weather is against us. We stopped by our favorite little beach restaurant – well, one of our favs, they are all so great here – and we thought we saw a wall of snow!

Wall of sand snow

It was actually a wall of sand that had been pushed from the beach into a berm. Last year, this restaurant was hit by a wave in a pretty bad storm that left a sailboat up on the beach.

Winter sand berm

Interesting stuff.

This morning, I needed to clear my head and get outside, so I headed to Ellwood to see what the butterflies were doing.

Ellwood hike

There were plenty flying around as I headed to the monarch grove, but it was hard to get my camera to get a shot of them – they move so fast! I did get this lovely gentleman to take a break and let me snap photos of him. Or her.

Monarch in December

Pretty little guy, eh? He was happy to have his picture taken.

Monarch with open wings

After the butterflies, it’s up the hill to the open plateau to cross before reaching the ocean …

Ellwood hike to the beach

… and here is where it was apparent that the high wind was churning up the surf pretty good.

High wind surf

High wind surf

Coastal high surf

Looking across the plateau toward the Santa Barbara mountains, you can see how very very dry it is.

Dry mountains

And this is my favorite place to stop and contemplate – lovely, isn’t it?

Favorite spot

No sailing today. It’s just a tad too gnarly out there folks.