Last year, I was in the botanical garden around this time as well, but this year, they have a newly rejuvenated wildflower meadow and it’s amazing.

santa barbara botanic garden

Really, truly amazing to see this huge field overflowing with wildflowers and the peak in the background.

santa barbara botanic garden

Wow! from all angles Wow!

wildflower meadow

The trails and paths are surrounded by wildflowers.

paths through the wildflowers

The are covering the rocks.

california wildflowers

I knew that the Botanic Gardens had been working on this big meadow and hoping for something spectacular, and I think they have achieved it.

california natives

Just spectacular.

spectacular wildflower show

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So, you’ve probably seen those ads for the Nutribullet – it’s a terrible name for something supposed to be healthy, don’t you think? Probably targeted to men because when I was thinking about it, I remember that I have a really nice blender that should do the same trick – and it does!

Since I am not a big fruit eater – I know, I know, healthy eater all ’round but I struggle to eat fruit because I like it when it’s all cut up and placed in front of me but oddly there is no one around here doing that. I have to do it myself. If I’m going to get out the cutting board and knife, I tend to pull vegetables out of the frig instead and so I don’t eat enough fruit.

As I’m working toward getting even healthier, I decided that getting my fruit was no longer an option. We’re supposed to be eating like 11 servings of fruits and vegetables these days according to the ‘experts’ that will later change their minds and tell us something else but I can see that 2-3 pieces of fruit couldn’t be all that bad.

So, I put them ALL in one smoothie. No kidding. Here’s a picture of this morning’s ingredients.

fruit smoothies for breakfast

I start with about 4 ice cubes. I add some flax seed, soy protein powder, a little light yogurt, and some almond milk. This is one high protein drink, let me tell you.


Those ads for the inappropriately named device show you adding a WHOLE APPLE, so I tried that too and the blender grinds it right up. It’s lovely. I take out the seed core though – I don’t need that in my smoothie.



The ice makes it cold and the flax ads more fiber and heart-healthy nutrients.



This one was purple-ish from the blueberries.




Here are some tips to make this a quick thing in the morning:

- chop and freeze bags of fruit – you can drop them in frozen and be on your way

- put the ice in first, then the liquid so they blend first and draw the other stuff in

- blend it a little longer than you think to get all the chunks


Try different flavors you like together. I’ve used fresh orange juice as my liquid instead of almond milk.



blueberry-apple-almond (try a spoonful of almond butter, yummy!)



You can go nuts with this and in the end, you still get a big tall glass of breakfast and you can even take it with you with the right cup. My girls and I used to make these in the summertime when they were taking classes and I was working way too hard – it’s a great way to get nutrients into kids, I think. Plus all the servings of fruit I need in one fell swoop! Plus it’s cheap.


A Walk Along the Gaviota Coast

by fourteenergirl on April 14, 2014

in Hiking

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to join a group of people for a walk along the Gaviota coast. Luckily, it’s about 5 minutes from where I live. This piece of the coastline has some history, which the Gaviota Conservancy folks can tell you about way better than I can.

The story goes loosely like this: rich people in the 1890s or so buy a big chunk of coastline because it reminds them of Naples, Italy. They plan to build a Naples of their own. They parcel up the land and get started selling lots. People buy into the dream of warm ocean water (hah!) and a bunch of other fun things and then the stock market crashes. An earthquake happens. Another recession (this time in 2008) after the land was sold to another developer and now it’s owned by a bank. The bank tried to disallow people access to this bit of coastline, but the people got together and made a big stink and now we can access it if we follow the rules which include no bothering the horses and cows that roam here – they’re allowed on leases.

Gaviota horses and cows

One thing I LOVE about this area is that they are rabid – absolutely rabid – about access to the coast. No one owns the coast and personally I think that makes sense. So, they have rules about access, easements, etc. to ensure that we can all GET to the coast no matter who builds a big fancy house and tries to fence in the coastline.

Now, for the really good part – the pictures! This is one beautiful bit of coastline folks.

The sandy beach leads to rock – rock that has been molded and shaped by the waves, it even looks like waves.

Gaviota coast walk

And there are so many critters living here in between the high and low tides … like this one. One biologist went to see if this was an empty shell and it wasn’t.

Gaviota critter

And these critters too.

Gaviota birds

So many birds, all wading in the water, picking at bits and finishing their dinner.

Here’s another picture of the rocks worn into wavy patterns all along the beach.

Gaviota coastline

There was a seal on this rock, but he dropped off into the water before I could get a picture of him.

Gaviota beach rock

And one of the fluffier birds – this might be an egret.

Gaviota bird


It’s just not a weekend without some time at the beach.


One Way to Chase the Monday Blues

by fourteenergirl on April 8, 2014

in Home,Just Stuff

Now, normally I try to take it easy on myself on Mondays. No appointments, no meetings, no interviews, but a good long workout. Mondays are NOT my favorite day – I like Saturdays. Saturdays where I don’t have to work like a demon hoping to catch up on all the stuff that got pushed along the track during the week until it falls into the weekEND.

A conflicting obsession of mine is to have the first appointment. No matter what, if you get the first appointment of the day you get the staff fresh (if maybe a tad sleepy) and on time. They can’t be ‘running late’ because it’s the first appointment of the day. This is true of mechanics, doctor’s offices, dentists, etc. I like the first appointment always, so when my mechanic – who was rightfully pissy with me because he was sitting on a $400 part for my car and I ran away to Colorado instead – wanted me to get the Rodeo in soon I took the first appointment uncharacteristically on a Monday.


So, I decided to make it work for me – I would do my bike ride while the truck was getting fixed.

my car and my bike

So, once I turned over the keys, I mounted up and started pedaling through the airport. No kidding. The Santa Barbara airport is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen and the bike trails go right through it.

bike trail

After you pass the tiny airplanes and the rental car return,  you can hook up with my standard Obern trail, which is part of the Coastal Trail.

rental car return

After that, I crossed the bridge and left the roadway to hop onto the trail. Gorgeous early morning sun and chilly! I wore full pants and a shirt with a windbreaker.

fairview intersect with obern trail

We’ve had some rain lately so the creeks are full-ish and things are green. Well, it’s always green here, just to varying degrees. We’re having a drought but it’s nothing like the droughts I’ve seen in Texas and New Mexico or Colorado.

The trail turns onto Goleta beach, which is still my favorite beach. The stranded sailboat has been removed and the beach is slowly gaining its sand back. Very nice of nature too fix all that after the storm.

trail by goleta beach

This time, I did decide to take the long version of this ride. After all, the mechanics said it would take 2 hours and it took all that and a little more, so I had plenty of time. I continued down the trail …

obern trail

Past the riding paddock – on the weekends there are kids trotting around this exercise ring but today the horses were quietly moving about, watching the walkers and bikers go by.

horse paddock

I turned into Hope Ranch, a lovely exclusive area with beautiful homes and wide lawns. *sigh* And passed their golf course. I know nothing about golf and care even less, but dang this is a beautiful expanse.

hope ranch golf course

A few miles on, I turned out over the shore and could see the Channel Islands in the distance. The marine layer had cleared quickly today.

shore over channel

A mile or so further, and I turned onto Hendrey’s beach where I got to snack on some grapes, glug down water, use the restroom and watch the dogs play.

hendrey's beach

All in all, if you have to have a Monday, this is the way to do it.

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Max on my desk … hiding the mouse.

Maxi on the desk

Emily in a box … ain’t boxes wonderful?

Emily in a box

Max in the bed – after the authorities have abandoned it.

Maxi in bed

Emily on the table outside by my toes … she doesn’t like the wind.

Emily on the table by my toes

Maxi by the pot of herbs.

Maxi by the herb pot

Emily examining the lilies coming up for Spring.

emily examining lilies


Finally, a Sailing Day!

by fourteenergirl on April 6, 2014

in Sailing

So, after a couple of weeks home from Colorado, it’s been work, work, work. Yes, we are both super grateful to have jobs and be safe, but dang, this is way too much work.

Today, we finally got to go sailing again. Only mistake we made? Leaving the damn fender hanging off the side – sure sign of an amateur. Sheesh!

Sailing Santa Barbara

Cruise ship in the harbor – always fun to sail around.


The view was clear all the way to the channel islands too. Lovely clear day with loads of sun.



See the flags all flapping in the nice, brisk wind. It was a very good day.



I think I may have to frame this photo

by fourteenergirl on March 25, 2014

in Just Stuff

Owen, my first grandson Owen, my first grandson


Short video of Owen sleeping

by fourteenergirl on March 24, 2014

in Just Stuff

OK, so I did tickle him but just a little … mostly, I waited so if you watch to the end, you’ll see his face and little fingers wrapped up in their mittens.



Owen is here!

by fourteenergirl on March 24, 2014

in Just Stuff

His little jedi mask was off pretty quick and he now looks like this (although his little face changes all the time).


He’s working on taking a full meal on his own but gets tired and goes to sleep in the middle of it.


He loves sleeping with his right arm up over his head.


I also have a little video of  him … we’ll see if I can get it to load using the free wi-fi.


A new person on the planet

by fourteenergirl on March 20, 2014

in Just Stuff

So two days ago, my daughter called and her water had just broke. He’s weeks early – just a few – but still it meant scrambling to find last-minute airfare and hotel and reconfigure my schedule … all that jazz. I got on a plane to Colorado less than 24 hours later and landed to enjoy a sky like this.

Colorado sunset sky

It was gorgeous and this time, I choked up a little but held the tears back. I’m getting better at this … it still feels like home when I land, but it feels like home when I land in Santa Barbara too so it’s weird.

I drove directly to the hospital and got to see my girl. She was tired and pale and swollen and bruised but perky and happy, which makes sense because the hard part was finally over. Owen arrived in the middle of the afternoon on the 19th and was rushed to the NICU where he stays. She didn’t get to see him for the first day – a little, but not much – because she couldn’t stand up and the NICU tables are higher than she could reach. She could see him a little but he’s wrapped in all kinds of medical equipment pumping oxygen into him and watching his heart and feeding him.

This is what he looks like when they unwrapped him to change his diaper. By the way – he does not like it when he’s unwrapped or fiddled, not one bit. He cries, squirms, and turns beet-red!


Yep, he’s got a full head of hair and he’s 9.6 pounds – big baby boy.

Today, Rebecca got to hold him for the first time.


As anyone who’d had a child knows there is nothing so fascinating as a little person you just created. She said she’s never been so fascinated with anything in her life. She spent hours just holding him as people came and visited and went. It was just what she and baby Owen needed. He knows his parents’ voices too, he turns toward them and reaches his hand in their direction, arches toward them, everything you’d expect and hope for.

The aren’t completely recovered – neither of them – but they are on their way.