Sunday, November 30, 2008

Misty Day

Today was another beautiful and cool misty day - perfect for bike riding!

Cresting the Hill at Torrey Pines

Marine Layer is so thick that the Ocean is barely visible

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Morning Bike Ride

Somehow the day got away from me today. The goal was to get up early and mail my Christmas gifts and then take a morning bike ride.

It didn't quite turn out that way. During my "not quite morning anymore" ride - I saw the sun begin to set over the ocean.

Sun beginning to set. Top of Bluff, Torrey Pines State Beach

Stormy Thanksgiving

I woke up Thanksgiving morning to the pitter patter of rain drops. The rain storm managed to last all night and part way through the morning. By the time I jumped in the car to head to Temecula, the rain had stopped, but the sky was still full of big gorgeous storm clouds.

Picture through my windshield as I headed north on 15

That evening, just as we were about to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, the sunset and we were treated to a beautiful pink sky!

Sunset Sky, Thanksgiving

After dinner we played a group game of Cranium followed by Guitar Hero and Bowling on the Wii. It seems like ages since I have hung out with a group of friends and kicked back and spent an evening playing games. I forgot just how much fun it is!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving. Here are some options

Which will you choose?

Personally, I am leaning towards Make Something Day.

After eleven years in the States I have yet to actually participate in Black Friday. Doing or buying nothing seems like a lame alternative. Absence of action is rarely revolutionary or inspiring. I think change comes when we provide creative alternatives. I have my thinking cap on looking for a craft idea for Friday. Won't you join me?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thought For The Day

Those who thank God are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience.

- Albert Schweitzer (as quoted in Inner Visions 11/26/08)

Gobble Gobble

Friends Recently Added Turkey's To Their Backyard Menagerie

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grocery Store Karaoke

Last night after dinner I put on my spiffy new shoes and set out for a stroll to the grocery store. About half way there I started to feel sprinkles of rain. It has been nine months since our last good rain - so we are due. Normally, rain in So Cal is more like mist or spits of water. Tonight the skies looked determined - so I made a U turn and headed for home. About 20 minutes later the sky opened up and the rain came pouring down. The rest of the evening I enjoyedt he sounds of the pitter patter of raindrops on the balcony.

After last night's aborted trip to the grocery store - today I stopped at the local plaza on my way home from work. What a zoo!! Lots and lots and lots of folks picking up their last minute odds and ends for Thanksgiving. The crowds and lines can be frustrating, but Trader Joes has made a game out of the mayhem that keeps you entertained in line. They call it the "IN-LINE Karaoke Party"!

In-Line Karoake Party Sign at my Local Trader Joes

Butter Tarts

Today is snack day all day at work! Everyone brings appetizers and snacks and puts them out in the kitchen and we spend the day grazing on them.

My contribution is a Canadian tradition ... homemade butter tarts!

Butter Tarts Fresh From The Oven

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Shoe

What To Do With A Sweet Potato

Good bye sweet potato with marshmallows ... hello sweet potato stir fry!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stars In The Sky

This evening I ran a few errands on my way home. I made a MAJOR find at the Carlsbad Outlet Mall. They new have a Merrell Store. Even better they are clearing off some discontinued shoes -- ones that I have been searching all over for! New Shoes. Woot! Woot!

It is hard to rival the excitement of the Merrell store - but the other highlight of the evening was Christmas display that lit the sky up with beautiful lighted stars.

If You're Out There

Driving home tonight I heard this re-mix of John Legend's If Your Out There and Barack Obama's acceptance speech.


Give it a listen...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Merton on Resistance

Very often people object that nonviolence seems to imply passive acceptance of injustice and evil and therefore that it is a kind of cooperation with evil. Not at all. The genuine concept of nonviolence implies not only active and effective resistance to evil but in fact a more effective resistance... But the resistance which is taught in the Gospel is aimed not at the evil-doer but at evil in its source.

- Thomas Merton
from Passion For Peace

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Misty Ride

This morning I was running around like a crazy lady looking for my sunglasses. I needed to head out to meet up with my friend Pete for a coastal bike ride. I was *sure* I needed my sunglasses. I finally left without them. Good thing!
The North Country Coast was consumed by a crazy thick marine layer.

Marine Layer - Moonlight Beach Encinitas, California

Good news is the moist and cool air was perfect weather for riding. We started our ride at Moonlight Beach and wound our way up the coast to the Oceanside Pier and Harbour. It was my first time in this area - so Pete acted as tour guide. We found a Fish and Chip place and some interesting shops at the harbour that it would be fun to explore! When we stopped for a granola bar and water I started to shiver - so we decided to turn around and head back south.

Pete at the Oceanside Harbour

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts For The Day

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time."
- Nelson Mandela

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Culture Confusion

This week was full of many fun and quirky culture clashes.

The first one surrounded a generous gift from one of our clients. They shipped a case of Tasty Kake treats as a "thank you" for a job well done. I discovered the gesture when I passed through the lunch room and found a crowd gathered around and looking at the boxes of cakes with eyes wide and eye brows raised. I reached for a box to take a closer look and immediately my friends rushed in to save me.

"Better read the ingredients first !"

"Check out the nutritional information"

It was funny watching everyone stand around and look perplexed. Fortunately, we have our own office Mikey who braved the unknown and enjoyed a few of the cakes!

Later that same day an e-mail came out that there was left-over food in the kitchen. Bear in mind that the majority of our management team hails from the midwest and the food was from their meeting. The moment the e-mail hit our inbox we all scrambled to the kitchen hoping to win big at the snack time game. Sigh, just imagine the disappointment when we found greasy pizza stacked and I mean stacked with meat. Once again the looks of confusion and dismay as folks sulked and returned to their desks!

The final fun clash of cultures happened at lunch today. My colleague R- decided to join 'the guys' for lunch out. Apparently, on the way back to the car M- yelled "shot gun". R- had no idea why he said such a funny thing and when they reached the car and he opened the door, she slid right on into the passenger seat and thanked him for getting the door for her :-) I wish I could have been there to see the look on M-'s face. R- had no idea that 'shotgun' was how you stake your claim for the passenger seat. Ahh, the fun and quirky cultural references that are missed when you grow up in a different country!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Super Duper Blender

After 14 months of deliberation - I did it!

Yes, indeedy ... I bought my dream blender. My goal of becoming the smoothie queen is now in sight.

My Super Duper Blender

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loved Locked Down

I first heard this song in the concert Kanye gave after the Nike Human Race. That night was suppose to be the song's debut - but the groove was off and they aborted after the first chorus. A few weeks later the song premiered on ellen. Since then it has become one my iPod faves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thought to Ponder

“The world only spins forward.”

Tony Kushner
Angels in America

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thoughts For The Day

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meaning can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."

- Martin Luther King Jr.
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 11, 1964

Friday, November 14, 2008

Say It's Possible. Messages of Reconciliation and Healing

A time to come together ... for post election healing.

Please check out this amazing site. A New Day IS here. Believe it! WE CAN be the change we wish to see.

A sample of the dialogue of reconciliation from the "52 to 48 with love" website

Seeing all the beautiful messages between the 52 and 48 reminded me of this video - Say It's Possible.

People from around the world to film themselves answering the question "what would you do/want if anything were possible?" in three words or less.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Full Moon

I arrived home a bit earlier than normal today. This afternoon I had a couple of hours of dental work - and was glad to be home early to rest. On my way up the stairs I noticed the sky was lit up by a gorgeous full moon. The moon was surrounded by a rainbow halo effect.

I couldn't really capture the full effect on film - but here is my best attempt!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day

Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Protest At My Neighbour's House

This evening, my normal quiet neighbourhood was alive with activity. As I turned down the street I live on - I found the place crawling with police cars, media trucks and everything lit up bright bright bright bright for the T.V. crews. Normally, not much happens in my area. During the run up to the election I didn't see even one political lawn sign. My next door neighbours (the Mormons) have a big fancy home with a huge front lawn. There are often caravans of cars with foreign license plates. They stop, park, and a family of a bazillion kids get out - they stretch and then start taking family pictures on the front lawn. That is about as exciting as it gets around here. So what's all the ruckus about tonight? ! ...... Then, the light bulb went off. Since the passage of Prop 8 last week the Los Angeles Mormon Temple became a focal point of protest. When I left town a few days ago there was no activity at the San Diego Temple - I guess that has changed.

I decided to skip unloading the car and grabbed my camera and headed over to my neighbours house. Their front lawn was no longer full gleeful families posing for pictures - instead it was full of camera crews and newscasters. When I arrived they were in the midst a live news feed for the evening news. I dodged traffic to stand in the road and snap the picture below. Once the news interviews were over - I went over and chatted a while with the protesters.

Live News Feed of Prop 8 Protest at San Diego Mormon Temple

Shopping and Heading Home

My little get away has passed much too quickly. It is almost time to head back home to San Diego. I am going to squeeze in one last stop before I hit the road. The heart of downtown Santa Barbara is State Street. I am not a big shopper - but I love to wander and browse my way through the wonderful and eclectic mix of shops that line State Street. I also enjoy playing a game of hide and seek, browsing down the various alley's looking for the many displays of public art and fun statues.

Ben Franklin Enjoying A Rest on A Bench

I had such a good time window shopping - and yes, some actually Christmas shopping as well... that I completely lost track of time. By the time I left Santa Barbara I had timed my return trip to hit the northern tip of Los Angeles at the start of rush hour. Fortunately, when you are in a mellow vacation mood and not really in a hurry - the traffic doesn't seem *quite* as bad.

Passing Through Los Angeles During Rush Hour

Queen of The Missions

I have visited the front lawn of the Santa Barbara Mission several times, but have never actually gone in! It seems I am always stopping there "on the way" to someplace else. Today, I planned my day so that I could linger and enjoy the mission.

Santa Barbara Mission

One of things I enjoy about the missions is their beautiful courtyards. I love to sit on a bench and enjoy the tranquility of the fountain and surrounding garden.

Courtyard gardens and fountain

I stumbled across this plaque in the corner of the garden.

He even said
that the brother
gardener ought to
reserve a place
in a corner for a
beautiful small
garden where he put
all kinds of aromatic
herbs and flowering plants
so that they in their season might
invite all men
who looked at them to praise God...
For every creature says and proclaims
"God has created me for you, O man"
- St Francis of Assisi

Words of St. Francis In The Garden

An Altar In The Main Chapel

Monday, November 10, 2008

Riding Along The Coast

This trip, I decided to bring my bike along. I am so glad I did!

This morning it was still a little cool - but that makes perfect bike riding weather. After breakfast I hopped on my bike and set out. I didn't really map out a plan ahead of time. I figured I would head south along the coast and explore a little.

At the end of East Beach I picked up a bike path and was soon following the signs that would guide me along the coastal route. On the edge of Montecito the bike path separates from the road and takes you through gorgeous gardens a top the coastal bluffs. There were lots of lawn maitenance guys out watering the gardens. I stopped along the way to chat and practice a little spanish.

Eventually, I emerged in a residential area of coastal Montecito. I wound my way through the neighbourhood until I I saw a surfer dude. I followed him down to a beach access and stopped for a drink and to watch the surf. It was a pretty flat day. The only other person out in the water had a paddle with them and was standing up paddling along rather than catching waves.

Next, I decided to head inland and found a beautiful path through a tree lined park.

At the end of the path was a wonderful vista with a beautiful view of the foothills and gorgeous estates of the area. Sadly, just a few days later this area was in flames.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Very Scenic Route

By opting for the coast rather than the freeway - I managed to spend ALL day making the drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara. It was worth it for the beautiful views. It was a great treat to see portions of the coast I had never visited before. Of course, stopping in Malibu and Montecito for *treats* was an added bonus.

As I hit Santa Barbara the sun was going down and now it was getting really cold. I think it may have even dipped below 60 degrees! Somehow, In the midst of the morning scramble to pack, I managed to throw in my Fall coat. Not a wimpy Californian jacket - an authentic flannel lined coat from Canada! I enjoyed a long and toasty warm evening stroll on the boardwalk.

East Beach, Santa Barbara, CA at night

After a full day of driving, I retired to my room and spent the rest of the evening curled up with a book by the warm fire.

Toasty Warm Fire in my room

Winding Up The Coast

After church I was in a mellow groove and decided I would take the scenic route up to Santa Barbara. I was already on Sunset - so I left 'the strip' behind and wound may way through Beverly Hills and to the coast.

The drive through Malibu was spectacular as always. I stopped of for a few minutes at Malibu Country Mart. It is an eclectic mix of shops. I chuckled as I looked around - it seemed EVERYONE was wearing Ugg boots and winter vests. It was a chilly California day - the temperatures had dared drop below 70 deg F. At the play ground the parents were lined up on the benches in their winter woolies with steaming Starbucks and shivering like mad. At times like these the CDN in me likes to roll her eyes. However, I must confess I was getting a little chilly myself and picked up a Chai Tea Latte to go with my cookies. The truth is, it isn't only the scenery that draws me to Malibu. There is another draw ... Malibu Kitchen and Gourmet Country Market. They sell these amazing peanut butter cookies that I just love!!!

I sat on the hood of my car for a few minutes and enjoyed my cookies and chai and the looked down out at the ocean. Soon the 68 deg weather had me chilled to the bone and it was time to continue my trek up the coast :-)

View as I sat on the hood of my car and enjoyed a chai tea and peanut butter cookie

Get Away

I taking a couple of days off for a little 'get away'. I call these trips 'being a tourist in my own backyard' or 'alone trips'. There are so many amazing things to see - so many peaceful and relaxing places here in Southern California to visit. I love to jump in the car and take off for a couple of days of exploring. I am a classic introvert. I recharge by withdrawing and being alone. For me, there is nothing more restorative than a couple of days on an 'alone trip'.

I decided to wake up extra early this morning so I could make it as far as Los Angeles in time for church. A few months ago I stumbled upon a unique little church. Since then, I have been looking for an opportunity to visit again.

I was not has organized as I had hoped on Saturday evening - so Sunday morning I scrambled and ran around like crazy to finish packing. I ran out the door a little later than planned - but lucky for me the traffic heading to Los Angeles was light. I even managed to arrive early for church. My last church visit was on a holiday weekend where I slipped in the back and then left right away . Even so, several people recognized me and greeted me!

The homily this morning was given by the Seminary Intern. Kobie grew up in South Africa during apartheid. She was there during the suppression of the ANC, the riots, the freeing of Mandela and his subsequent election. Her reflections of her faith journey and growing awareness of the oppression around her were powerful. The parallels between her personal journey and the journey of California and the entire country - of which the election this week was just one chapter - were crystal clear.

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail reflection sent out as preparation for this week's message:

As I was watching history unfold in front of my eyes Tuesday, I could imagine myself thirty years into the future, grandchildren sitting at my feet, telling them the story of my life. I, the white girl from South Africa, growing up during Apartheid, reared to be a racist, twice saw the realm of God breaking into this world, overcoming the forces of injustice, prejudice, and evil. It is a story told many times over in Scripture. It tells the story of a God who did not walk away after creating the world, but a God who is involved in the here and now. A God who does hear the cries and laments of a suffering people. A God who became a suffering servant, sharing in our pain and struggle.

Weaved together in Scripture is a multitude of faith stories, people just like you and I, sharing with us not only their triumphs and jubilations, but also their darkest hours.

- Kobie Vermaak

For many in this congregation recent events have brought some dark hours. I was encouraged and inspired by the time of prayer at the end of the service. The joy and peace despite adversity shone through.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Off The Wagon

The last month or so I have been really diligent about eating healthy. Well, today I fell off the wagon and found myself at The Burger Lounge in LaJolla. That satisfied my need to be a rebel - and now I am back on the wagon again.

It's A New Day

Friday, November 7, 2008

Carefully Taught

from South Pacific

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wanna Snowboard?!?

My neck is still recovering from my crash into the ocean floor - but I am getting itchy to strap myself to a board and zip down a snow covered mountain! Looks like snowboarding season is just around the corner...

Mountain High began its first snowmaking operations of the season late last night. Within a 10 hour window the snowmaking crew laid down several inches of new snow on four trails at the West Resort. An opening date has not been set, but long term forecasts are calling for possible natural snowfall beginning Sunday with potential for frequent Pacific storms and snow through mid-November.

We look forward to opening as soon as possible and being the first resort to open in Southern California for the 12th year in a row.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Today was the big one. Everyone was proudly wearing their 'I Voted' stickers at work today. After months and months of of no rain - today we woke up to a deluge. It was a wet morning of long waits for the voters. It was hard not being able to vote in this historic election. I have to admit I was feeling pretty left out ... until one of my colleagues brought me some hand made ballots and my own little ballot box.

Casting My Ballot

SNL Election Coverage

Well it is finally here - election night!

While I wait for the results to roll in - I am enjoying a little election retrospective courtesy of SNL. Tina Fey/Sarah Palin have definitely kept this election cycle entertaining!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Final Weekend

Passions were running high during the final weekend before the election. I was out running errands in my "laugh. dance. vote." t-shirt. Quite a few people smiled when they saw my shirt and stopped to talk with me. Everyone agrees, this is a big one. I wish I could cast a vote this time around- but I am not eligible. Still, I am here, in the midst of it all and taking it all in . This weekend I carried my camera and captured some of the sights and sounds on the streets of San Diego.

Here is a sampling...

Election photostream

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ride In The City

Instead of my normal bike ride up the coast by myself - I decided to change things up a little today. I joined a group of riders in the city and we rode most of the day through the busier areas of town.

November 4th