Bike Yoga Bike Breakfast Bike

by fourteenergirl on November 23, 2015

in Just Stuff

The weather here has gotten cooler – thank goodness – but it’s still warm in the daytime. On Saturday, I really wanted to go to yoga at our local studio and Mr Man agreed to go with me! So, we talked ourselves out of bed in the morning and onto our bikes. It’s a quick ride – about 15 minutes – to the yoga studio and we had a nice, long yoga class with loads of surprises in it. Specifically poses we aren’t up to doing yet, which is fine. Something to strive for, eh?

We got back on our bikes and headed to the little shopping center to see what we could rustle up for breakfast. We never pass up on Mexican food. It’s hands down our fav, so we had breakfast with lots of fresh verde salsa!



We gathered our bikes and headed home – as I said to Steve, it was a bloggable morning.

Bike yoga bike

Of course, after that it was work, work, and work until time for mass, but hey we had the morning so it’s a winner.


No Pain No Gain

by fourteenergirl on November 22, 2015

in Healthy living

A little web research indicates that the expression ‘no pain no gain’ has very early origins. As a spiritual lesson: without the pain in doing what God asks, there is no gain; and as an axiom to support early industry (via Ben Franklin’s persona Poor Richard). In my own case, however, these words have come to mean something more related to my physical well-being.

I’ve been working on a painful issue that has made life somewhat miserable for me. I believe the origins of the issue were in sitting too long (yes, I’ve read the articles “sitting is the new smoking”) and in constricted positions. I love sitting cross-legged curled up in my chair and typing away with a kitty on my lap. It’s just plain one of my favorite ways to craft lovely writing and the kitty likes it too!

Still I would do this for hours at a time when I was in that creative zone and letting the thoughts slide through my tapping fingers and onto the screen. So, it’s clear to me that I caused the initial damage, but what happened after, as I tried to heal, is a different story.

I started with massage therapy – a lovely place to start when your hip and inner thigh muscles lock up  and you are hobbling upon standing up. No kidding, I am/was looking like a really, really old lady. I’m nearing the mid-life range and not really interested in hopping hobbling that far down the bunny path that fast. I would literally stand up after sitting and be in so much physical pain that I’d have to slowly stand fully upright. My massage therapists – all of them over a year – said the same thing, variations of: “ … be gentle with yourself. Your body needs to heal. Stop if you feel any pain. Don’t go further. Wait. Rest.”

I believed them. I was gentle. I stopped bike riding because it was causing that area to clench and tighten. I stopped the stretches when there was any twinge of pain. I waited.

As the pain and stiffness continued to get worse, not better. I added physical therapy and heard the same thing: “… stop pushing it so hard, be gentle, stop when you feel any pain at all – don’t go further.

All the while, I noticed that I was Not Getting Better. I talked about it with my guy and he noted times when he had locked and tight muscles that he had to push through the pain – no surprise – and I decided finally to go his route to heal.

We are pushing through the pain.

I take the exercises given to me by the physical therapist and I gently push to the limit, wait, then push further. I’m in tears a lot of the time because it really is painful, but here’s the wonder of it – it’s finally getting better.

I take the yoga poses that cause me pain in that area home with me and I move slowly into them to the point of pain, then go a little further, and a little further and I stay in the pose for many minutes and just about the time I’m ready to collapse, I feel that area release. That area will feel warm and tingly after and it is so open that you cannot imagine how good it feels. Does it tighten back up? Sure it does, but every time we start stretching again I start at a more open and less painful place.

Is medical science wrong?

I don’t know – how could I? What I can say, and it’s something I’ve learned and re-learned all my life, is this: we have to find ways to know our own bodies, be honest about what we are doing to and putting in our bodies, and find our own way to health. No medical pro can tell you what that is – you have to find it yourself.

Another thing? I’m completely convinced that the health issue I experienced over the summer is related to this tightness. Want to know how I know that? Because that issue is clearing up slowly and steadily the more I work on this other issue. It’s all related. Unhealthy in one place leads to unhealthy in others.


A Case for Nesting to Recover

by fourteenergirl on November 10, 2015

in Home, Just Stuff

What happens when you put a near-introvert into a 3-day conference after multiple days of noisy, busy vacationing? She crashes hard into nesting upon returning. The weather finally turned cool here in Santa Barbara and it’s time for pants and warm fluffy socks around the house. After a week in New Orleans, I was shot. I needed to clean house, clear my head, rest and nest. I needed to get outside in the sunshine and hear the birds and the ocean.

It took ALL WEEKEND to recover.

I picked up a few groceries and flowers to get started on deep nesting, which is not to be confused with basic nesting. This is the hard-core nesting which means every aspect of your home environment is attended to – sound, smell, look. Everything.

Fall Flowers & Pumpkins

I needed to cook up some healthy stuff for lunches next week, so I worked up green chile, chicken enchiladas, and a pearl couscous and quinoa mixture with spices and vegetables.


With one click, you can light an entire fireplace of LED candles – super cool.

LED firelight

The next morning, I headed out for a post-sunrise walk on Sunday along the Ellwood Preserve, which is just minutes from our house. The sun glinting through the eucalyptus trees was great. The smell of fall in the air is very different here, but notable. Just like winter in Colorado or fall in Santa Fe, every place has a particular smell and here it’s eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus on Ellwood preserve

No butterflies yet in the monarch butterfly preserve … they should be along any month now.

Butterfly preserve, Ellwood

Side note: when my girls were tweeners, they could tear/cut/pull holes into their jacket cuffs and lo and behold, now companies are doing this in our jackets. Yes my girls are brilliant, but did I chide them for tearing their clothes? You bet I did. Couldn’t see their vision. Now I get it.


If you follow the trails along you eventually arrive at the ocean and I walked along the coast above the ocean so I could hear the waves crashing below. This truly restores the tired soul.

Ocean View

There is a lovely place along this trail – a fairy glen truly.

Fairy glen

And there was a lovely egret on one of the cliff edges – I snapped this photo and then turned and backtracked. No sense in upsetting the bird.



Exploring More New Orleans

by fourteenergirl on November 8, 2015

in Traveling

We got to visit with my brother, his wife and daughters but my camera was out of batteries or something. The pictures are really awful. I did get one where I look like an idiot but of course everyone else looks great, so I’ll fall on the sword and put it up. We were in the Mardi Gras World, where you can see the parade floats and learn about the history. They also let you try on costumes and explore all around. Very interesting. The photos on my phone are probably better.


We stopped in at the Quarter Stitch – a New Orleans knit shop – to check things out. I went back another day and picked up a lovely lacy frilly yarn which I’m sure I’ll blog about soon.

Quarter Stitch New Orleans

We strolled along the French Quarter – you just have to love how old and green this city is.

NOLA Building with ferns

This is one of my favorite old buildings in New Orleans – the older grey one – doesn’t it look like it has a story or 100 to tell?

Old NOLA Building

The corner of Royal and St. Peter streets in the French Quarter 

Royal and St. Peter streets in the French Quarter

and old doors – many of which used to be windows because in New Orleans, you don’t go through the front door, but the side.

Old door NOLA

This is a creole house – converted because the door would have been on the side -

Creole house

This is a creole kitty

Creole kitty

Creole security system – broken beer bottles

Broken beer bottles

We did another walking tour to learn about the history and go through the cemeteries – very fun. I highly recommend the walking tours. It’s such a fun way to get to know a city and its past and hidden stories. Then, it was back onto the streets for more fun … here’s a fun street performance. This guy stayed in that position for SO long … we never saw him come out of it.

Street performer NOLA

And here’s some New Orleans jazz I managed to record after everyone left and I was out and about with work friends.

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Rainy Halloween in New Orleans (go #NOLA!)

by fourteenergirl on November 7, 2015

in Traveling

So, when Steve or I have a conference or other job-related trip to take, we like to extend it on one side or the other (or both) and take advantage of at least a little price break paid for by the company. I was visiting New Orleans for a work conference and we extended the trip … which meant we landed in New Orleans on Halloween! These lovely ladies: an oak tree, Miss Russia (complete with furry boots and an AK47) and Miss Spain were happy to share their smiles, their acorns and their costumes for the photo.

New Orleans Halloween

The photo was taken in the Hotel Monteleone bar, which is the first hotel I stayed at with Mr Man when he took me to New Orleans the first time. We love the vieux carre drink they have there, but it is not for the timid! We didn’t stay at this hotel for our stay, we stayed at this great little place – the Q&C Hotel, or the Queen and Crescent … and I highly recommend it. It’s quirky and fun, just a short walk to the French Quarter and take a look at the cute room!

Queen and Crescent Hotel, New Orleans

We then proceeded to eat and drink our way through NOLA – here are Steve and our beautiful girl, Elizabeth on the streets of New Orleans with the requisite drinks in hand.

Street drinking in NOLA

We saw beautiful art:

Beautiful art NOLA

And movie posters – I want to see this movie!

the Roman Spring of Mrs Stone

And we took ourselves to mass at St. Louis Cathedral – would you look at that ceiling!:

St. Louis Cathedral

It poured nearly the entire day we were there – we got SO wet.

More to come soon …



Knitting Therapy Turned Lovely Cowl

by fourteenergirl on October 26, 2015

in Knitting

So, some time ago, I started knitting with this yarn that I adore – the colors are so me – deep red with a little blue mixed in. I can’t remember the yarn or the name, I’m sorry. I had this yarn for so long and I just never could find the right pattern so I just started knitting in a circle to have something to knit that didn’t take any thought and would be therapy. Anytime I got stressed, I would pull it out and knit some more rows. It calmed me right down and the fabric that the yarn made was so lovely and soft.

Knitting therapy


I even did the cast-on so it would be easy to take out. You see, I never intended this to be anything but some light knitting therapy.

I finally decided I was finished with the therapy and I was planning to wind the yarn back into the skein. I dropped by my local knitting store (Loop and Leaf) because I had some other questions about sleeve length for a jumper I’m knitting and I thought they might unwind my yarn with me. Instead, the ladies recommended I bind it off into a cowl. I thought it was too long, but they showed me other long cowls.

So, last night, I did bind it off and low and behold it’s a perfect cowl!

Knitting therapy turned cowl


It’s so soft and warm and it scrunches just right. And I have enough of the skein left over to make a lovely matching hat. Love my knitting friends!


Saturday Afternoon of Play in Santa Barbara

by fourteenergirl on October 25, 2015

in Just Stuff

So, I’ve mentioned that this place is unique … and it is. Yesterday, we were walking toward our fav Irish pub for a little dinner and we met a person walking a pig in a Halloween costume. Don’t believe me? Yes, Steve put some money in the support box for the pig. The pig had the waggiest tail too!


Pig on Sidewalk in Santa Barbara

We had dinner by this lively little fire – it was cozy even though it wasn’t cold outside at all.

fire at dinner

Then we walked all the way out to Stearn’s wharf. Along the way, we ran into the pan-handler guys and they’ve really upped their game I have to say. This one had hung red solo cups off poles and people were trying to toss the coins into the cups.

Art of panhandling


This really is taking begging to an artistic and creative level. I wasn’t sure about the camera on the stand behind the guy. It seemed to be capturing everything that was going on with all the individual spots.

The art of pan-handling




Our favorite wine spot was closed for a private party, so we trucked it across the wharf traffic to find some blood orange margaritas and a view of the sunset.

Blood orange margaritas and sunset


Then, we headed back to the car after some frozen yogurt.

Stearn's wharf in the dark

It was a lovely, restful evening … more soon on wine tasting and knitting solutions!



How did I get talked into this?

by fourteenergirl on October 19, 2015

in Knitting

So, I haven’t had a lot of time for knitting. I try and try but without a regular knitting group to visit and chat with, there just isn’t the urgency. I knit when I travel, however, and I certainly got in some knitting time while flying over 3 hours each way to Colorado and back last weekend.

The three projects I have going right now are:

A 100% silk lacy cowl – it’s really long now and as soon as I get almost finished with the skein, I’ll end it and knit the ends together. I don’t know how the lace knitting will stand up when it’s in cowl form, but I do know that I love this yarn.

Silk yarn cowl - meandering vines

It’s called La Habana and there are 700 yards in this skein. It’s from a company called Textiles A Mano, but I don’t even know if they are in business anymore. I bought the skein in Albuquerque, New Mexico but it looks like the store is in Eugene, Oregon.

The pattern is called Meandering Vines and I’m sure it’s on Ravelry somewhere.

Meandering vines pattern

While on the plane home, I wanted to work on something relatively simple. I’m finishing up the sleeves of a little sweater I started a couple of years ago (that’s how little time I have to knit!). I’m knitting both sleeves at the same time because as anyone who knows me knows, I hate to get to the end of one thing only to repeat the effort. Best to do them both – socks, sleeves, etc. – at the same time.

Airplane knitting

Not much to see here, but trust me it’s happening. The pattern is Mediterraneo (that’s a Ravelry link) and did you ever see the movie Mediterraneo? Absolutely adorable story set in World War II when an Italian ship leaves a few soldiers on a little island with the mission to spot enemy ships and hold the island in case of attack. It’s an absolute favorite of mine and if you haven’t seen it go watch it right now.

Back to the sweater though … once these sleeves are done all the pieces can be stitched together and a zipper sewn in. On the longer leg of my trip back, I had a row to myself! So I really got to spread out and knit – now this is the way to do plane knitting.

Plane knitting with an empty seat

Now down to the newest project. I got talked into this one by a little person when we visited the new shop in Colorado Springs called Ewe and Me. If you haven’t visited, you must. It’s filled with lovely people and it’s a really lovely space. Very well run. Loads of new stuff all the time, including these little items.

top this hat


You see that ball on the top? Owen loved it, so he’s getting a knit hat for Christmas. The other item I picked up was this awesome project bag.

Knitting project bag


I was informed that I was the only one in the group that didn’t have one of these little treats and now we are all bag buddies because we all have one. Lovely bag – perfect construction and a little zipper pocket on the inside. So, I guess I need to find more time to knit now, eh?


Owen, Colorado and Pumpkins

by fourteenergirl on October 18, 2015

in Traveling

I just got back from a lovely trip to my hometown in Colorado. I have so many people to thank and notes will go in the mail tomorrow. I didn’t have time to see every person on my list, but I did get to spend time with some old friends, my sister and niece, my little girl and her little boy … and a wonderful dog named Annie.

The stars of the weekend, however, are Owen and Rebecca.

Owen and Rebecca


Owen hasn’t seen me in 9 months – since last Christmas, and so most of the time this is the look he was giving me.

Owen is not amused


He was highly suspicious of me and it took a lot of playing and coaxing. I did get to teach him one of my favorite fall things – crunching through the leaves. He took to that pretty quickly.

Owen crunches leaves

We had fun picking out a pumpkin to take home too:

Owen picks a pumpkin

It was here that he finally let me pick him up and hold him.

Owen lets me pick him up

He definitely knows ‘up!’ as a command and when he doesn’t get picked up, he sits down to sort of force the issue. Quite a smart move, I might say. Of course, I didn’t have to be asked twice.

We also had fun touring Old Colorado and looking the big pumpkin contest …

Owen sits on the pumpkin


and the scarecrows …



and the lovely fall flowers …

Fall flowers in Colorado


When it was time to head to the airport, I was trying not to cry and so I took a quick side trip to see one of my favorite sites in the world – Garden of the Gods Park.

Garden of the Gods Colorado


With a sight that beautiful, it would be impossible to cry, right? It worked pretty well.



Avocados and Blessed Rain

by fourteenergirl on October 5, 2015

in Just Stuff

Yesterday, we went to the Avocado Festival. Californians are crazy about their avocados and eat them on everything. You can always ask for some avo on the side and almost no meal is served without them. This is excellent because I love avocados too and I needed a morning of doing fun things before a long afternoon of working-on-catching-up.

We started with breakfast at one of our favorites – a place along the shoreline right on the sand. Lots of tables are outside, kids and dogs play together, and families meet up their on weekends to have a meal. Kids are handed beach toys instead of crayons when they arrive – how cool is that?

Breakfast on the shore

We ordered breakfast – seriously we don’t eat all day after a breakfast like this. My throat was sore after two full days of recording and so I had hot tea and a mimosa. Nothing like that to get your throat to feel better.

Sunday breakfast - California style


After eating most of this, we headed to Carpinteria for the Avocado Festival.

Avocado Festival 2015


Who knew there were so many types of avocados?

So many types of avocados


We saw the largest avocados from this year’s local harvests.

Big avos
And despite our huge breakfast, we had some guacamole.

World famous guacamole


According to the stand, this is world-famous guacamole but don’t tell them I like mine better. I use cilantro, tiny chopped onions (just a bit), some chopped tomato, and a squeeze of lime and orange along with salt and pepper. This was just mashed avocados. Kinda boring.

We walked to the ocean to see the Carpinteria beaches in the light rain – it has been a long time since we saw any form of hydration falling from the sky, so this was a welcome blessing.

Rain over the beach


It was raining steadily when we got home and so another nap curled up with Emily was in order.