Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gardens & Road Trip & Hiking - OH MY!

If you received this update via e-mail, please note there's a photo slideshow available only on the actual blog. Visit site to see the latest.

My friend, Karen, has placed her order. This is all she wants from this blog each and every week:
- one major editorial effort on some special topic
- two on the girls and their education
- one on whatever else it is we're up to
- one travel-LOG
- one on humor

That gives us one day off each week. Thanks, Karen! I'll take that into consideration!

Seriously, though, I appreciated the immediate feedback of a handful of family members. What about the rest of you? Go ahead and leave your comments and wishes here. I'll see if I can measure up!

MEANWHILE - here's a little family update, which includes a little of everything Karen asked for, and all in one post! Categorize it at will.

Research for Best Family Adventures: Santa Barbara County is wrapping up. I'd hoped to have it out for this summer, but I'm behind schedule because I've dilly dallied, because I've allowed the what-ifs to get the upper hand (ie. will the economy support a book, will people understand the difference between my book about the entire county and any of a number of others that only focus on southern SB County, etc.). But I'm committed to it, whenever it might be available to local bookstores (mid-summer?).

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. B gave me an entire weekend to myself to run around to some of the quick stops on my south county tour. I've heard north county residents complain about the disparity in county facilities, in parks, in recreational facilities, in just about everything. I thought the were just whiners. Now, I understand.

That Saturday morning, I was out the door by 5:30 a.m. and headed south, bound and determined to stop at EVERY cove and secret spot along the coast between Gaviota and Santa Barbara. (We'd already done the public access points on the north coast and from Santa Barbara south to the Ventura County line.) I ran through parks and up and down trails 'til after dark, then slept under the stars at Carpinteria State Beach before doing it all over again on Sunday. I visited more than 50 parks and beaches, saw fantastic scenery, ran great trails, met nice people, traveled more than 300 miles in a single county and lost five pounds that weekend. I can now tell you that the publicly-funded recreational facilities in southern Santa Barbara County by FAR outweigh those provided in the northern half of the county.

Oh, I understand south county residents, businesses and learning institutions bring in huge dollars for the county, but what about north county agriculture? But let's not turn this update into a rant.

The girls are also enjoying the research. We've revived our weekly outdoor exploration schedule with visits to new spots and returns to old favorites. Last week, we enjoyed a fantastic morning at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, followed by the red tile walking tour of downtown Santa Barbara. We, like so many others, have been guilty of seeing the sites around the country before taking in all that's available in our own backyard, so to speak. This first Wednesday Out brought us lots of local history, architecture, native plants and local secrets.

Last weekend, we headed north to Stinson Beach to visit family and enjoy a restful, cool, drizzly weekend in slow-mo mode. We took in story time at the local library (a treasure), walked on the beach, played in the creek (yep, I played, too), got wet and cold (what a nice change!), visited the video/ice cream store, and just lived. It was tough to tear ourselves away, but the violin lessons beckoned.

Today was another Wednesday Out. This time, the 7-mile (round-trip) Snyder Trail from Paradise Road 2,100-feet up to Knapp's Castle. Each of the girls has been carried up here at various times in her young life, first as infant, then toddler. E walked it when she was five, but only because the promise of a "castle" compelled her. (We kept describing it to her, trying to avoid disappointment on her part, but she was STILL driven!) Today's adventure included three breaks on the way up: two to watch mountain bikers pass, bells ringing; one just for the shaded rest and a snack. Both girls did wonderfully under their own power, despite temperatures nearing 80 degrees. The wildflowers are beginning to pop. Some are already spent. The bay groves are wonderfully cool and the views from the top are as spectacular as ever. And bear tracks? You bet! We found some DOOZIES! The reward for this hike? A dip in the Santa Ynez River...nice, cool, clear water...ahhhhhhh.

For funnies, well, we have pretty funny girls. It's hard to keep track of all the gems they throw out there. One today had me laughing like my Auntie M. Just before the sermon began at mid-week church service (a tradition during the Lenten season at Mr. B's church), V showed me a picture. On it was a little loopy squiggle topped with a firework and surrounded by concentric dashes.

"What is that?" I asked as delicately as I could.

"It's my seal," she said. (We've been studying medieval times this year, and recently discussed sealing wax and seals.)

"Uh...OK. But what does it mean," asked I, again trying to be delicate about her artistic endeavor.

"It's a pig tail with a bomb on it that's blown up."

WHAT THE???? Where did THAT come from!? And why is it her seal?

I couldn't help myself. I fell out laughing. Tears streamed down my cheeks. The girls thought EYE was the funny one. THANK HEAVENS the sermon hadn't begun!

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  1. Would my crest have some road kill on it?

  2. Definitely road kill, plus a hammer, power saw, turtle and shot glass. (Or have you grown out of that crest?) ;)


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