Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Oregon Coast

So different than what we experience in San Diego.

Less crowded, primitive, often bordered by trees and thick forests, haystacks appear in the distance when the fog lifts.

327-foot-high Haystack Rock in Pacific City

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Super Bloom in Anza-Borrego

In mid-March we headed to the desert to see the Super Bloom, which was getting a mass of publicity in the newspaper and on tv.

After a wet winter, 7 inches of rain in the desert, and many years of drought ---- the wildflowers were out in abundance.

Even though we got up at 6 am to hit the road, there were many visitors that beat us to it.

Which is why these first shots are of people taking pictures of the flowers that we were eager to see.

Enough of that, let's check out the blooms.


There was also an abundance of caterpillars. 
Big Ones!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Dutch Birthday Celebrations

Today I am featuring a guest post from my college friend Molly, who met her future husband at a bike race in the desert, the Furnace Creek 508. He is Dutch, so she ended up in The Netherlands and is now a naturalized citizen of that country. Over the years I have received amazing pictures and heard funny stories about life overseas, here is just one:

Last weekend I had back-to-back 50th birthday parties, one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. Over here 50th birthday parties are a big thing. People regularly rent or borrow mannequins (picture the windows of Nordstroms) and set the mannequin in the honoree's front yard, specially dressed in clothes that are related to the relationship of the people setting the mannequin and the honoree, in our case it was running clothes.  

We aim to make our mannequin a spitting image of the honoree, complete with wig and a sort of Halloween-looking mask, except it is a grandma-sort of person. It is set in the birthday person’s front yard, usually accompanied by a rhyming story, written on a large white poster board or plywood that is painted white or an old sheet. 

This is all done the evening before the honoree turns 50. Then afterwards you are invited into the honoree's house for 'a borrel' or a drink, which can turn into a drink and munchies or if you are lucky, a few drinks and lots of snacks. 

Their front yard when Molly celebrated the Big 4-0!

Oil Balls and Sparkling Wine - Molly's signature dish!

I am part of a group of ladies who attempt to run together, about 14 or so in total. And the two gals who had 50th birthdays one day apart are both a twin, and not of each other!  Strange, wouldn’t you agree? Anyway, Ilse has a twin brother Casper, and Irma has a twin sister Yvon. Both Ilse and Irma have kids about the same age, so for two evenings we partied, at different locations, with many of the same people. It was pretty funny. Most of the people did very little on the Sunday after the two parties since both parties lasted until 1 or 2 in the morning! Monday I picked up the mannequins to return them to where I rented them from, and ran into others picking up their mannequins doing the same thing.  I've seen some people with as many as 7 or 8 mannequins in their front yards.
By the way, when I turned 50, three of my neighbors dressed up as the Supreme's and sang during my party in our back yard, that is how crazy people can be. It was hilarious. 

And something else I started doing when a few of our neighbors started turning 40 and 50 was to help them celebrate their 'old year's day' or the day before they turned 40 or 50, by baking them 'oliebollen' which translates literally into oil balls.  They are sort of like donuts. The Dutch eat them during New Years eve, so I applied that thought to the eve of their big birthday. I try to bake oliebollen and bring a bottle of prosecco and some plastic champagne glasses, I’m about ½ way through our group of neighbors turning 40 and 50!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Fish Gaucho in Paso Robles

Paso Robles is known for its abundance of wineries. There are over 200 and most are family owned and operated.

As we went from one tasting room to the next, we asked for a restaurant recommend (we are creatures of habit and usually head back to Cambria to eat at the Sea Chest but decided to mix it up a bit and stay in Paso Robles).

There were three mentions for Fish Gaucho.

Hmmmm, we were kinda expecting to hear about fine Italian restaurants that served local wines.

But, what the neck, we were totally game for Seafood with a Mexican influence at a Tequila Bar, what's not to like about that combination!!!

The restaurant sits on a corner in downtown Paso Robles.

It is loud and energetic.

Love the light fixture as you walk in.

The decor is eclectic.

The tequila is amazing (whether you are trying the pomegranate or the grapefruit margarita).

I was torn between ordering the:

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The French Corner Bakery

This is where we go in Cambria for a morning cup of coffee.

And we stand behind the glass case with a long line of people trying to make the best pastry selection from the vast rows of possibilities!

On our most recent trip (at the end of February) we found this:

The large parking lot was cordoned off with tape and the scene was crowded with spectators who had gathered and just stared in disbelief.

According to news reports, just a few hours before we arrived on Saturday, February 25th, a 40-year old local was driving his truck on Main Street when he ran a stop sign at Burton Drive and hit a parked truck. The driver continued and then crashed into a parked Mercedes propelling both his truck and the Mercedes into The French Corner Bakery. One customer suffered major injuries and 4 others had minor to moderate injuries.

We wish a very speedy recovery for those that were injured and hope that the long-time owners are able to get their business back up and running.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

NOVO in San Luis Obispo

This has become our go-to stop on our annual trip to Cambria.

Not just getting off the highway to walk around San Luis Obispo, but sitting down at NOVO to watch and listen to the water rush down the creek beside our cafe table.

And there was actual rushing this year as most parts of California have been getting quite a bit of rain!

Mixed Lettuces

Salmon Bisque

Fresh Avocado-Shrimp Spring Rolls

Thursday, 9 March 2017

It Was A Sign

Along the pier in Santa Barbara, people meander, birds rest and signs inspire.

For instance, I had no intention of diving in until I was told not to with the international cross out symbol.

And then, frankly, it was a bit like a dare!

For just a split second, my husband was torn between jumping in for a sea rescue and waving from above and wishing me a good swim to shore  :-)