March 31, 2010

No, Really

Actual conversation between DS and some teenagers that came to our door the other day:

Kids: Whoa!  What are those?!

DS: *confused* cats?

Me: (safely hidden in the living room) *smirk* idiots

Kids: No way! Like wild cats?

DS: no... house cats

Kids: What do you feed them?!?

DS: cat food.

Seriously, is Winston that big?  He doesn't seem it to me, but apparently we're the only ones that think so.

March 24, 2010

Multiple Successes and Random Updates

After more than a year of periodically going to Goleta Beach looking for sea glass, Samantha makes me go to Arroyo Beach and we find a crap load.  Neither of us had been to that one before, and we were so surprised.  The beach is really rocky along the shore, then turns to sand, and then giant cliffs with uber fancy houses on top.  We made the mistake of walking it barefoot.  It probably would have been nice in the sand, but once we realized that sea glass was abundant, we stayed in the rocks.  Ouch.

Sore feet is a small price to pay for this megaload of sea glass though!  We even found two small cobalt blue pieces.  Most are white and green, and there's a fair amount of brown.

Double Success:  I bought a diamond tipped drill bit for my Proxxon today, and managed to get a nice little whole in my practice piece.  That means I can start making real sea glass jewelry now!!

Speaking of successes, I purchased one of those "as seen on tv" planters that grows vegetables upside down.  This particular one is meant for pepper plants, and I got a "six alarm combo pack" of peppers to go in it.  And then, because I don't like peppers, I got myself basil and rosemary.  I hope it actually works.  Though I'm a little nervous about our sunlight situation.  And also the cats.

While I was at it, I re-potted all of my plants, finally getting rid of some dead ones that had been languishing on the porch for six months.  My aloe and catnip are doing excellent, so if you want some... let me know.  Also, the porch has been cleaned finally!  (it's coated in some kind of high gloss paint, and is always covered a thick layer of dirt due to lack of rain, dust, and occasional fires)  We'll see how long that lasts.

DS is having success as well.  We'll be in Chapel Hill from April 8-12 to see if we want to live there.  Anyone going to be around there then?  Any suggestions for things to do/see that might entice us?  Would you recommend it?

Also, it looks like we'll be in the DC area the weekend of May 22 for a wedding.  I've never been there.  Not sure we'll have much spare time, but just in case, feel free to send me suggestions for awesome things there as well.

March 22, 2010

Hiking Figueroa Mountain

Our friends convinced us to hike a six mile trail up Figueroa Mountain to see the spring wildflowers.  While I'm not much for exercise for the sake of exercise, things like this are easily agreed to.  If only they were easily done...

The drive there was longer than expected, so I hit my inhaler a bit too early.  Plus, on the way, we kept seeing fields and hillsides covered in gorgeous carpets of flowers.  We couldn't resist pulling over to take photos.  As we pass the shorter, paved hikes, we enjoyed mocking the people gathered, calling them "Sunday Drivers" and the like.  We kept going, to the big hike, expecting to be met with rich rewards for our persistence.  Boy were we wrong.  Karma is a bitch.  The hike we had chosen was dry, rocky, and uphill for miles.  UP. HILL.  I thought I was going to die.  It's a good thing I took the inhaler out of the car with me, because that early shot left me hyperventilating five minutes in.  We felt like we were lost in the desert, and in a way, we were.  We had no idea where the "good part" of the hike was, and we plowed forward, our feet creating trails of dust in the air, our shoes full of spiky little pebbles, sure that each new bend or crest would provide us our prize.  There was no prize.  Unless you count that one time I led, and everyone wondered how I could hike so fast.  That was pretty cool, for a wimpy asthma kid.

After several miles, we gave up, ate our picnic lunch, complete with wine, right in the middle of the rocky trail, and went back.  Since it was all downhill from there, we moved quickly, and then drove back to the wildflowers we had mocked people for stopping to see.  Sometimes, following the trail most taken is very good advice.

The lower parts of the trail did have some flowers and greenery, and you'll see that in the photos.  But all of the lush fields of flowers are, unfortunately, from elsewhere.  Honestly though, it was a great day.  You know what T-Rex says... "The worst that can happen is Adventures!"

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March 20, 2010

Winston Hunts Finches

Now that spring is here, Winston spends a large amount of time each morning frantically stalking finches through the kitchen window.  I've had to keep the counters clear so he doesn't break anything.  He gets so anxious, like he actually thinks he has a chance of catching one through the screen.  I actually think the birds enjoy taunting him.  They hang out in groups of five or so in the top of the tree, which is right at our window.  When they fly past the window, Winston flinches, his tail flicks, and his eyes become giant black discs.  Have you ever noticed that cats' eyes dilate when they're hunting?  It cracks us up.

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March 19, 2010

Arroyo Beach

Photos below of Arroyo Beach, where I discovered sea glass is abundant!  The beach isn't bad either.

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March 11, 2010

Professor Science for Real

Every time I talk to real people, I spend the next three or four hours feeling like I said something wrong, but I have no idea why.  It's very troubling, and makes me think it's a good thing that I'm a hermit.

That being said, I love my book club, and it's one of the things I will miss when I leave Santa Barbara.  Which, by the way, will before the fall semester, because my husband has a job offer.

Every time the universe delivers a solution to a problem of mine right as it's close to spiraling out of control, I sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Right now though, we're still in celebration mode. Say hello to PROFESSOR DRAGONSLAYER!

Professor Science?  Remember when I bought him this shirt?  The one I had him wear under his suit for his PhD defense??

March 08, 2010

Enjoying It

I am what "they" are referring to these days as "underemployed".  Yes, I have a job.  And yes, it pays me real money.  But it's of such limited quantity that I'm thankful for public libraries and 99¢ bread.  I'm not exactly in danger of missing payments on anything.  More like we make exactly the amount of money we need to get by, but anything else is problematic.  This is hard for us.  Just this Saturday, we went to see a matinee (did you know those were cheaper?) with some friends, who all decided to go eat at Outback afterwards.  Previously, we would have been all over going out to eat with friends.  I mean, we are typically the type of people that wonder what our friends are doing, but don't bother to find out because we're socially inept.  So when an easy opportunity to do said socializing presents itself, and with food, you can safely bet we'll be there.  Lack of money is something restaurants sort of frown on though.  DS and I spent 10 minutes, while the other four were joking around and settling on which restaurant, sending furtive glances at each other.  Was this something worth dipping into our savings for?  Are we bad people for thinking along these lines.

In the end, it apparently was worth it, because we went, and enjoyed ourselves.  And you know what else I enjoy about being underemployed?   I've had the last 2 months of Monday's off.  I'm spending today playing Sims 3, because I can.  Also, I've read a hojillion books since Christmas.  I got rid of cable, and haven't even noticed because my laptop has an hdmi output and hulu is amazing.  And when we just can't stand to be in the house any longer, we do things like go see waterfalls.

Truly, there are worse things than being underemployed.  As long as I can put food on my table, I am totally fine with it.  I'm sure that feeling is bolstered somewhat by the fact that DS will hopefully have a job soon.  But still, right now, working 15 hours a week isn't too shabby.

Originally thought I'd spend the whole day playing Sims 3.  Well, until people come over for BSG night at any rate.  But you know what sounds good?  Bacon.  And I have plenty of time to make it.  Those of you who know me well can appreciate that statement at its fullest.

March 02, 2010

Hiking Cold Spring Trail

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On Sunday, DS and I decided to take advantage of the rains on Saturday, and went to see a waterfall.  Living 4 miles from the mountains means we have lots of waterfalls, but living in an arid climate means they only show their faces in "winter".  Our plan did not disappoint.

We hiked around 3 miles round trip, much of it up steep hills and over boulders.  But it was totally worth it.  At the end, we were right under a magnificent waterfall with a view of Montecito below, then ocean, and finally, the Channel Islands.  We ate our lunch there, attempted to take photos without tumbling down the mountain (no joke, that was a serious possibility; it was slippery and steep).

The whole trail was nice though, crossing the creek several times, with lots of little waterfalls along the way.  We saw lots of cool wildflowers, and a patch of clover full of yellow flowers being harvest by bees.  DS didn't stick around for that part, being allergic and all, but I enjoyed photographing them and watching. Some of them had fat little sacks of honey on their hind legs, and many of them looked clumsy trying to get deep into the flower, their little legs flailing all over the place.

As this website will tell you, the hike is not for the faint of heart.  But some good shoes that can get wet, and a willingness to scramble, and you can see some amazing stuff.  You don't even have to hike the creek like last time. ;)