Headed for Shore

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Yesterday I headed for the shore. It was over 100 degrees in the valley and I couldn’t get the thought of how refreshing the coast might be, out of my mind. My sister-in-law was staying with us so I asked her if she had ever had lunch at The Cliff House in San Francisco. Her answer was, “I don’t think so.” and off we went.

When we arrived it was foggy, the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge were not visible, and it was 60 degrees. We sat at a window seat, had a delightful lunch, and watched the fog move about the coast line and the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful sight. We lingered as long as we could and then took a, barely sunny, walk out to the Sutro Baths. They are long gone but the Cliff House readily reveals the history of the place which makes it easy to imagine just what it must have been like to visit here, many years ago. So, as this heat wave lingers, remember that people on the coast are living a charmed life in the summer fog. Maybe you should go and visit the ocean too.

Be, Stay, & Keep Cool! 

 

Aloha

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Last week we got away to the island of Oahu and spent three days at Turtle Bay Resort before embarking back to Honolulu and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They should really call it the Hilton Hawaiian Zoo. It was so much more relaxing at Turtle Bay. There aren’t turtles in Turtle Bay, it’s got good snorkeling, and the atmosphere is something that makes you want to return, time and time again.

The food on site was wonderful. We were even able to share a rather nice showing of a green flash with the other people who were staying there. It was a bit like the reaction people have to fireworks. You could tell that everyone had seen it. 

I just wanted to share a little of the aloha spirit today as you all started your week. I know you weren’t there to share it with me but these photos depict the feeling well. Open them to a larger size and remember your fondest memories of any one of the islands. Do you think that it’s time that you return to Hawaii?

Peacful Blue Sea

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I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been very busy with a kitchen remodel.  There is dust everywhere and it doesn’t even bother me, as I know that the end result should be amazing. I also know that it is my last kitchen remodel ever. That is a joyous thought. With that being said, we did find the time to drive down to Newport Beach, the weekend before last. We just happened to be there between storms.  We’d had it booked for quite a while so we did feel very lucky to catch such good weather.

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Four Caspian Terns & Four Marbled Godwits

Once we were there, we were so taken with the restaurants, the company, and the beautiful beaches.  This was taken from the beach where the movie Beaches was filmed.  It’s Crystal Cove and I can’t say enough good things about the vibe in this place.  They’re raising funds to restore all the little cottages.  Many are still in use but just as many are abandoned and in need of great amounts of repair. I understand that this was quite a happening place in the 1930’s to the 1960’s. I was wondering; what would be said if those old walls could talk?  I’m sure there were many good memories made here.   

We went to The Beachcomber, that sits adjacent to Crystal Cove Beach, one of the mornings because we were told that the beignets would remind us of Cafe De Monde in New Orleans. They were very good so we returned for a sunset and a delightful dinner that very same evening.

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Lone Seagull at Sunset

Here’s what I really want to convey, it only takes a little effort to find a place that fills your soul with joy. I’m finding that true for the remodel as well as taking small trips to beautiful places.

Go out and find the joy.

Weekend Away

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On Labor Day weekend we decided to go down to Monterey and Carmel. It was mostly overcast but extremely pleasant. We went to restaurants that we’d been longing to revisit and had a wonderful time.

While we were in Carmel we decided to go to Hog’s Breath. It was there that we had many very unusual experiences and I seriously doubt that we will ever return. There were many factors that will keep us from returning and I won’t go into all of the strange happenings as it might portray me as being politically incorrect and this blog is not about my little frustrations in life. It did make me feel quite uncomfortable and made me wonder who was in charge of the overall running of the restaurant. To make this long story short, we simply won’t return; problem solved.

We went to Monterey Fish House and had a delightful dinner. Everything there is delicious and works like clockwork. We tried Tarpy’s Roadhouse for the first time and had a delightful brunch in a very old stone house that has a lot of history to it. We had lunch at the West End in Santa Cruz and I found the perfect light, for my kitchen remodel, at Illuminations. It was hand blown by an artist who lives in Santa Cruz so it is the perfect complement to my house. We walked all over Point Lobos and found it beautiful but completely overgrown with poison oak. I am extremely allergic so I found myself having to be extra careful while hiking through a rather remote area of the park. We then had to return home to our very own patio where we had the padrone peppers that we purchased at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. They were the best we have ever had, and in many ways, we felt a little like we had hardly even ventured far from our patio. Truth be told, some of my best experiences have been on my patio. I hope you have a patio like ours; full of fond memories. Have a grand weekend.

Cooling Down

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It seems that when the valley gets to temperatures in the hundreds, my mind drifts off into thoughts of favorite water shots that I’ve taken in the past.  There’s something almost cooling about them.  With pictures being worth a thousand words, I tend to conjure up old memories of my favorite places too. 

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Westlake Park

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Montage Walkway

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Reflection at Whitehawk Ranch

Even though the temperatures are high, these photos make me think about how cool it would be to dip my toes into any of these waters.  Westlake Park sits on the west side of Santa Cruz and I spent countless hours playing there as a child.  The Montage at Laguna Beach hosts magnificent views of the Pacific.  Whitehawk Ranch holds a serenity that is very hard to find in many places these days.  What are some of your coolest memories and do you have a favorite place you like to go to when things get a bit hot?

Fleeting Time

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A Look Back at Molokini Crater

We went to Maui recently and I was thinking back on the trip.  It seems we were there ages ago yet I know we went recently.  While there, we got up very early one morning to go snorkeling at Molokini Crater.  It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  We were the only boat there and the fish were amazing and brightly colored in the clear cool morning water.  Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?  It was!

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Bumble in the Flowers

After breakfast we went for a quick walk.  It was all we had time for and we wanted to see a little more of the surroundings before we returned back home.  The Hibiscus were lovely, as always but I am always looking for the wildlife, so to speak.  I was fortunate to get a shot of this giant bumble bee as he flew from flower to flower.

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Sunset from The Canoe House

I would be leaving the best part out if I didn’t include this photo.  We had a fabulous time at The Canoe House while the sun was setting one evening.  There had been several evenings when we could not see the setting sun but everything about this evening was perfect.  I love how captured images can take you right back to a special event.  This Saturday, I hope to find more of that magic in Berkeley.

Iris’

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It doesn’t get much better than finding the scent of a favorite childhood treat in your own backyard.  I can’t tell you how this Iris was acquired, and I am sure I did not pick it for its scent.  It popped open last year for the first time and the scent was just like grape soda.  I couldn’t wait for it to return again this year.

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Grape Soda Bearded Iris

This next Iris reminds me of a walk along the cliffs near the Pacific Ocean and the little beauties that we found there one day.  Iris’ come and go so rapidly that, if you don’t happen upon them, you might miss them altogether.  This one grows in my front yard.

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Pacific Coast Iris

Thank goodness that I failed to post this blog last week beacause we went to Bodega Bay last weekend and walked along the cliffs.  We saw Gray Whales and lovely wild flowers and very near the end of our walk we came upon this little Iris, growing out amongst the weeds.  There were very few of them left.

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Wild Iris at Bodega Bay Headlands

At long last, I finally came upon some Water Iris’.  We came around the corner in Vina, CA a couple of weekends ago and there was, what looked like, a sea of yellow.  I jumped out of the car to snap a few photos.  I asked the girl at New Clairveax Winery how long they would last that way.  She said that she had never noticed them, in the last four years that she worked there, until someone brought them to her attention.  I don’t know how one could miss them.  They were amazing!

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Water Iris

So there you have it.  Seasons come and go.  Even the season of the Iris’.  Hope you didn’t miss them because you’ll have to wait almost a year to see them again.