It's a lovely Spring Wednesday afternoon. Warm, balmy breezes, birds chirping. I'm feeling ok.
I stopped for a day in Santa Barbara on my way back form the San Francisco Bay area recently, but I am just now getting around to blogging about it. Santa Barbara is a very beautiful place. Sparkling clean, built on a pretty bay, hillsides behind covered in spring wild flowers. Pretty, touristy town.
In the evening we went to the Crocodile Cafe in the Lemon Tree Inn, a "local secret" place with great modern food and reasonable prices, http://www.treeinns.com/dining.htm .
Heather had rosemary chicken:fresh chicken breast smothered in a creamy rosemary lemon sauce with grilled fresh veggies, a green salad and a baked potato. It was wonderful, the chicken was moist and tender and the sauce was great. The grilled veggies were tasty
I had the pork chops in a mango sauce, garlic mashed and grilled veggies. Also excellent.
For desert we split a Coconut Cake. Now I get the fuss over Coconut cake: this is what it is supposed to taste like. Moist, creamy, full of freshly grated coconut, frosting not overly sweet. Great! I'd go there again in a heartbeat.
Service was friendly and prompt.
The next day we took a cab to the train station and then the 25 cent shuttle downtown along State Street. There was a snake rescue group showing off some boas and fund raising for their non-profit snake rescue.
Sorry about the funny lighting. They were in cool, dark shade to keep the snakes cool, therefore slow moving and easy to handle. Good for snake handling, bad for photos.
The sweet-natured boa around MY neck. No foo-foo yarn and big needles involved in this boa, LOL.
Notice the cool shades I'm wearing, bought on State Street from a sidewalk vendor for $10, lots of rhinestones at the temples, very me.
We also stopped at So Good Collections, a shop of nothing but sparkly things, mostly accessories, www.sogoodcollections.com . I wanted to buy the whole shop, but settled for one bracelet.
And then the Peace Store, where they play old Beatles albums and all their products have a peace theme. I bought a pink fountain pen, which I filled with pink ink as soon as I got home.
We had lunch at the Enterprise Fish Company, http://santabarbara.enterprisefishco.com/fishco.html . We split a chicken quesadilla off the appetizer menu, it was that big. I washed it down with a Humbolt Hemp Ale, which claims to have actual hemp seeds mixed in with the barley as it's brewed. No effect, normal dark ale, just marketing, I think, LOL. The handsome boys working the bar recommended it.
On the train ride back, 2 times we had extended stops for "monkey business". In Guadalupe the train did a panic stop, nobody was hurt on the train, just a jolting, screeching stop. 3 young girls were playing "chicken" with the train. They stood on the tracks until the train came very close, then jumped off to the side. The one to stay on the tracks the longest "wins" the game, I guess. The conductor knows they will jump off, and that he can't stop in time anyway (it takes forever to stop a train) but he must hit the "emergency brake" button by law. Sooo, he does and they laugh at him from the side of the tracks.
The train can damage its brakes with a panic brake, so they have to get out and walk the length of the train, testing the brakes at each axle by pushing a button and then waiting 20 seconds or so to see if a red or a green bulb lights up. On a short train like this, it takes 'bout 30-40 minutes. The train folks were really mad. They called the cops to report it when it happened, and the cops called back later during the brake test to say that they caught the girls when they tried to leave the RR right of way, took therm to the local hoosgow and called their parents to come pick them up. When the conductor told us, the retired school teacher in front of me called out, " I'd bet my next monthly check that they're 8th graders! That's 8th graders for you. " He had been correctly identifying the grade of the kids in the car before they told him anything. Knows kids... I remember 8th grade, crazy time for sure. I knew kids in school like that. All they have to do is trip once when they're on the tracks... I sure hope the girls understand now.
Then, further south in Ventura, a white pickup truck broke through the wooden barrier arm at a protected crossing to "beat" the train across, triggering another "emergency stop" and another 30 minute brake inspection. He made it across ok, so that's good. But he drove off scot free, they couldn't see a license plate in time. So the cops had nothing to go on. The crossing was broken and had to be repaired muy pronto as it was an unprotected crossing until the repair could be made. The train folks had steam coming out of their ears. But we made up the time, as the freight train we were scheduled to wait for was not running that day and we did not have to sit and wait for it on the siding. Along the central California coast, there is a section where Amtrak pays a local freight line for the rights to use their tracks, but the freight trains have priority. After all, it's their track. Funny to see the sleek, modern Amtrak waiting for the rusty ol' freighter to chug by.
So all ended well in spite of a few "crazies". What a world this is. What are people thinking?
Knitting club was tonight. Lots of fun. Took Nate and the girls adored him.
Lilo sez, "adieu" to her adoring fans. Simple life, she knows she is so beautiful. Spoiled rotten... Sigh... Silly cat.
Today I attended a memorial service for the son of a friend who died in his mid-thirties of a sudden, unexpected, massive brain hemorrage. Athletic surfer kid, gone just like that in under 24 hours. So sudden and unexpected. Wow. Hug your honey and tell 'em you love 'em. You never know how long they, or you, have.
Location: at home in San Diego
Music, :Nestor Torres, Dances, Prayers and Meditations, followed by This side of Paradise