Things to do in downtown Santa Cruz on a Saturday evening:
Admire the gorgeous lamps at Om Gallery.
Have a tikka kebab and samosas and pomegranate juice for dinner at Khyber Pass, then some Princess Torte for dessert at Hoffman’s Bakery.
Visit with some very hep mannequins at one of the various vintage shops.**
Say hello to my friend Gordon the Cheesemonger author on display at Logo’s bookstore.
* If you are wondering why we skipped from part one to part three, it’s because I have not done the part two photos yet. Life just works out that way sometimes.
** that photo of me is from several weeks ago but I needed something to fill the space. and I wanted to show you that I finally made something out of one of those spectacular vintage glass rings I got at the Alameda Antiques Fair months and months and months ago.
The lovely Ms. P. posted some celery and potato soup yesterday and it looked so delicious I made my own. First time! So good!
Celery and potato soup
2 slices bacon
*** or ***
2 T butter or olive oil
1 c. onions, diced
1 heart of celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
4 c. broth
4 c. water
2 large potatoes, cubed
Herbs you enjoy in soup [I used thyme, parsley, and sage from my garden, a big handful of cilantro from the farmer’s market]
In large pan, brown bacon or butter/oil.
Add onions, then celery, then bell pepper. Sauté to brown a little then turn down and cook about 20 minutes til tender. if it starts getting dry, add a little liquid. Puree in blender.
While you’re waiting on that, get out your big stock pot and bring broth, water and potatoes to a boil. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste. I threw in a handful of coriander seeds, too. Turn down to a simmer and cover.
Add the puree in, too, once that’s ready. Once the potatoes are all tendaroni, use your masher or hand mixer to break them down.
We had ours with sourdough toast.
Summer Colour Week on poppytalk — today is red + white for Canada Day — have a cupcake!
I finally found my pluots at the farmers market yesterday! I have been waiting for so, so long for them to show up.
[For the unacquainted: pluots are a DELICIOUS plum-apricot hybrid. Try them. You will love them.]
… some souvenirs from recent trips — sea glass from various locales, pebbles from Moonstone Beach …
… bitty sand dollars from Morro Bay …
… a thrifted green elephant …
… and my reflection in the window of the cutest cabin ever in Carmel.
[that last one was a Green Wednesday highlight]
Spanish and Provencal lavender, check.
[This is their third year. Last year they fruited for the first time and were so, so close to being ready for me to eat, then we went to Portland and the raccoons completely stripped them while we were gone. Very rude!]
[I planted this sorry little thing two years ago and it is still only about a foot high and just now starting to finally bloom. Go bottlebrush!]
There’s a house on the corner with a little white picket fence and the sweetest garden that I’ve been admiring since we moved here. I recently properly met the owner at a meet-up a mutual friend puts together — very random!
I sometimes peek through the knots in her fence — forgive me, her garden is so lovely and I am so curious! — and admired her magical little back yard — I’m envious of her green adirondacks that blend in like camouflage.
Her next-door neighbor has a spectacular tea tree, which is something I tried to grow a few years back but managed to kill within a few weeks. Maybe it’s time to try again.
It is freakin’ WINDY today. I continued census training today on the base, which is this big swath of concrete on the end of the island, which allows the wind to sweep right across at maximum velocity and I rode my bike there and home for lunch and back and home again for a total of 8 miles, pretty much all against some serious gusts [there were points when I could’ve strolled faster than I was pedaling, no joke]. It’s kind of a long walk, especially when I have to be there so early, and I like the option of riding home for lunch, but it is supposed to be windy again tomorrow, so I’m debating…
Chad and I went over to the beach at sunset — the other day I noticed that the sun is setting directly behind the San Francisco skyline if you are along Shoreline near Dead Man’s Curve [this is my own little joke — there is this almost-90° curve which is relatively harmless because 1. the speed limit here is 25 mph and 2. even if you flipped, it would be onto the nice flat stretch of sand, and actually that happened a couple years ago, someone took the curve too fast — they were probably going 30! — and rolled over onto the sand. No injuries, minimal damage.] and I wanted a shot of that, and Chad had been asking for headshots. The kite surfers were flying across the waves and the sand was pelting us in the face and my right ear is still ringing but it was worth it.
That little sliver through the setting sun is the Transamerica Pyramid, and if you look hard, you can see parts of both the Oakland-Bay and Golden Gate Bridges.
The headshots came out great [this is my choice for the final — straight outta the camera! How awesome is that? I am never this pleased with any of my photos] and I love-love-love this outtake. It makes me think of Steinbeck, through I’m not sure why.
[and that is what’s going on in my creative space — photos.]
Finally getting around to the travelogue for our drive down to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. I figured I’d better get to it because we went again on Saturday and I don’t want to be two road trips behind.
We started off with a stop at Wescafe here in Alameda. They make a mean americano and serve some extraordinary almond croissants.
We used to always take 880 down through San Jose and over the mountains to Santa Cruz, but got in the habit of the slightly longer but less traffic-y and more scenic route across the San Mateo Bridge [which, I have just read, is the 25th longest bridge in the world!]
over the hills to Half Moon Bay then down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean [world’s largest!]. The view is pretty spectacular and there are gorgeous beaches all along if you want to take a break.
I prefer to have the windows down because of the delicious ocean smell.
We often stop in Pescadero, which is a one-light town halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.
We picked up a to-go cream of artichoke soup from Duarte’s and a hot load of artichoke garlic bread from Arcangeli’s and had a little picnic right there.
Another 40 minutes or so and you arrive at the western end of Santa Cruz — Monterey Bay is a big C shape, with Santa Cruz at the very top — which is where one of my favorite beaches is.
Natural Bridges has one of the two monarch butterfly sanctuaries on Monterey Bay [the other’s in Pacific Grove] and if you’re up early enough in the winter months, you can see the huge bunches of them hanging from the eucalyptus.
We were there too late in the year and never get up that early anyway, so we walked down to the beach…
…where we spent some enjoyable hours lolling about doing nothing in particular.
Then it was time to dust the sand off and head home.
Busy bee, lots and not much going on.
Tomorrow night is The Wizard of Oz at the local theater. Too bad the glittered shoes I made for Halloween fell apart, but I’ll probably throw on the gingham if it’s not too cold.
Which it might be, it’s been unseemly cold here lately — low 40s every night, my friend in San Jose had HAIL yesterday morning. Which is kind of getting me down, I am dying to wear my skirts and flip-flops and break out of all the constricting layers of sweaters and just let my skin BREATHE.
Also tomorrow is my return to painting after spring break, especially exciting after seeing Geninne’s The Process. How gorgeous is that? I’m going to water my acrylics way down tomorrow. I’m still working on the succulent flower, though if I was starting the project right now, I might work from my photo of some freesias I got at the farmer’s market last week, I really like how the bokeh here already looks painted.
Write-up forthcoming…how are you doing?
Another one from Sunday:
There is a big patch of these along the shoreline walk, I spotted them and was transported back to the vacant lots of my childhood. I have no idea what they’re called, some of them have purple, pink, white, yellow flowers all on one stalk.
Today was just work, work, work. I worked before I went to work, and then I came home from work and did a little more work. We did go on a walk before Lost came on, down to the beach in the balmy dark. I cannot believe a few days ago it was mid-December cold and pouring like you would not believe. I am sure we are not done with the rain but I hope we are moving on into the warmer part of the year finally.
I am looking forward to painting tomorrow, I liked my butterfly [Project no. 1!] a great deal more at the end of class Monday than I did at the beginning [red is magical!] and will hopefully be feeling at least that much better about it by the end of Wednesday’s class. I still can’t draw my way out of a paper bag but I might end up not being the worst blending texturizer in the world and that’s more than I expected I’d accomplish.
I’m going to try to remember to photographically document tomorrow for A Day in the Life, as N. suggested a week or two back. Anyone else want to do this?
Is it spring there yet? It finally warmed up a teeny bit Sunday, just in time for the time change. We bundled up, dug out the Beach Blanket, and went to the beach here in Alameda. It’s rained so much this winter that there’s a big grassy area on the sand — that’ll dry out in no time, but it’s very nice for now.
There were quite a few people flying kites.
Chad practiced his Mandarin and I raced through Mary Karr’s new memoir, Lit (her first, The Liar’s Club, is one of my favorites) until it got so cold we couldn’t stand it anymore.
Then we walked down along the shore and back on the public path, admiring all the fresh wildflowers.
Today was even nicer so I took an afternoon break and walked over and lay in the sand reading. Hopefully the weather will hold out til my next self-employed day, which is Wednesday.