Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our best hiking day yet...

Decided to revisit a hike we had done last week but take a detour up to Magu Peak. I told Noah that I wanted to be at the trailhead by 1pm. I woke up at 1230! Not a great start. Our plan was to do the hike and time it so that we finished by 430 or so then we wanted to BBQ at our favorite beach, which is just down the road, and watch the sunset. We got to the trailhead at 2pm and started up. I was so tired I wanted to quit at the beginning. But the trick with hiking is that you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don't look ahead, just keep plodding. My hard work was well rewarded! Check out this summit view looking down on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The views were panoramic! We couldn't even fit into the photo how much ocean we were looking down upon.

We finished the hike just around 430, just how we planned. We drove the short distance to Sycamore Beach and fired up the BBQ. We had brought a gargantuan porterhouse and Noah had put together a coleslaw with napa cabbage, apples, parsley, and watercress with a creme fraiche and red wine vinegar dressing.

Noah manning the grill with the sun going down behind him...

Gorgeous sunset, gorgeous man...

We split a bottle of Santa Barbara Winery pinot noir and ate while we watched the sky turn a hundred different colors. We could see lobster boats bobbing in the distance, a guy was paddling around on his surfboard, seagulls were trying to check out what food we had to offer, and the only other people on the beach were BBQing something that smelled delicious. What a great day!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday laziness..

I love Sundays! I always ask for them off. I think working on Sundays is a sin; not because of God but because it's the one day that all responsibilities are put on hold. No banks, no bills, no appointments or obligations. I also happen to LOVE football and it starts at 10 am and goes all day. What a great excuse to lay on the couch all day and drink beer. *Heaven!* Even better is that my husband, while not obsessed with football, is equally enthusiastic about food and cooking. So while I sloth on the couch, he is busy with all the amazing produce he picked up at the farmer's market the day before. I don't know how I ever ate at any shitty restaurant. I am so spoiled rotten that I have an amazing chef cooking for me every day. And he likes it!! He's perfectly happy puttering around in the kitchen while I lay on the couch watching TV. Disgusting, I know. Here's a typical conversation:

Noah: Can I get you anything?

Me: Another beer would be nice.

Noah walks over and hands me a cold beer, takes away my empty, kisses me. He goes back to the kitchen and continues making food.

Me: Can I help you do anything?

Noah: You are perfect doing what you are doing.

*Sigh!* What a great guy! A few minutes later he hands me this:

Pan seared chicken thighs, lettuce, figs, parsley, and blue cheese in a shallot vinaigrette. Yummy. So in return I baked chocolate snickerdoodles which he had for dessert with a big glass of milk. We played cribbage on the patio this afternoon and shared a bottle of Pinot Noir from the Santa Ynez valley. He's fallen asleep while I type this, it's super cozy in our apartment, smells good. Aaahhhhh, I love lazy Sundays!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More hiking fun

I'm such a lazy person. I hate to exercise and I only do it if I'm motivated to fit into a pair of pants. I always feel great once it's done but I'm bitter and pissed during the actual act. So about a month ago I went on a hike with some friends near Santa Barbara. I couldn't wuss out and I couldn't quit. And, by god, I liked it! So Noah and I have been doing some hikes. I bought a book about hikes within two hours of LA. Noah and I chose some easy ones. The great thing about hiking, and being able to stick to it, is that there is a reward. The summit, the vista, the waterfall, whatever. It's easier for me to have a goal to walk towards. And my wussy ass will walk harder and longer if someone is with me; I won't quit earlier if my pride is at stake. Pathetic, I know, but it has proved to serve me well.
On Monday, Noah and I chose a hike close by that advertised a waterfall at the end. I pretty much figured, in these dry days, that we would miss a spectacular ending to the trail. But it was fun all the same; we hiked through an upscale neighborhood with gargantuan houses, then hit a well used horse trail and meandered through a canyon. As we got closer to the end we saw a small creek along the trail and the waterfall at the end was just a trickle. None the less it was pretty and satisfying.

The view down stream was equally pretty and we imagined how amazing this spot must be after a few days of rain...

Noah decided that this hike wasn't challenging enough for him so he did push ups every 15 minutes or so. Very cute...

The next day we chose a hike out of our guide book that was rated "easy". It was timed at 2 1/2 hours so we thought it was perfect given our late start. We drove up a windy road outside of Malibu and drove through a few small neighborhoods of crazy big houses with even crazier big views of the ocean. The trail brought us down into a wooded, shaded canyon. It was easy to begin with. Then we started climbing out of the canyon, both of us out of breath, and having to take a few water (and pee) breaks. This view was looking down into the canyon we had just hiked out of:

This was basically the summit and I am pooped! I feel tricked by my guide book that said it was "easy". But the view of the ocean, Catalina Island, and the opulent homes was well worth it.

The sun was starting to set when we got to the peak. We started to worry that it would be dark by the time we got down. Thoughts of cougars and rattlesnakes danced through our heads!

We made it to the car with some light to spare. It was rewarding and calorie burning and we treated ourselves to a huge steak, quinoa and yams when we got home!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's been awhile...

It seems like it's been so long since I logged on to the 'ol Blogger site. So many things have happened: the usual life, coupled with crazy shit. It is pretty amazing that life just keeps going on and on. The first and most emotional thing that happened to me in my absence from Blogger is that a friend of mine died. Sharon was 35, has two kids ages almost 2 and 4. She has a wonderful husband, Brice. I went to her wedding, she went to mine. We worked together at the pub, I thought at first that she didn't like me. She was so pretty and had her shit together. I was just trying to get my shit together. She accepted me unconditionally. She was so sweet, such a nice person. We partied together, worked together, even shared a boyfriend at one point! After I moved to LA, she always called me, even visited once with her newborn, Wesley. In March of this year she told me she hadn't been feeling well and was losing weight. She always had a trim, sexy body. She couldn't afford to lose any weight. I flew up to visit her in April, she had been diagnosed with "abdominal" cancer and was getting ready for a round of chemo. After a hard fight, and the realization that nothing could be done, Sharon died on September 29th. I was blessed to spend time with her a couple of days before she died.

Sharon was so beautiful, inside and out. In the picture below is Melanie Lagalo, Sharon, and me. We had so much fun together, going through the phases of our lives, but still connecting.

When I went to see Sharon just before she died, Melanie and I had a chance to reconnect, rediscovering our friendship and remembering the good times with Sharon...
Then I drove up to Portland and hung out with my sister and her kids. What a great time! The girls are awesome and I got to meet George, circa 1 year old. He's soooo cute!

My parents live in The Dalles and my mom took us to a scenic overlook complete with a park for the kids and a gorgeous rose garden.
I fell in love with the Los Angeles Dodgers! We were given tickets and had a blast cheering them on. Too bad they couldn't get past the playoffs. Next year, next year!
A couple of weeks ago we were privileged to attend Noah's nephew's wedding in Santa Barbara. We stayed in Carpenteria for two nights. The wedding was gorgeous, as was the couple.

On the way home from SB we visited McGrath farms. Noah has been a big fan for a couple of years. They had end of summer tomatoes and zucchini as well as fall shelling beans.

For October we carved pumpkins...
I returned to Santa Barbara on my own to visit with Melanie who was visiting some old friends. We went on a great hike in Montecito.
And, as per usual, Noah is constantly involved in some sort of food project. Most recently, curing his own olives.

We hiked Calabasas Peak. It took only an hour and we timed it perfectly to watch the sunset.
Good times, so far, in 2009. I miss Sharon so much but, just as she would want, I appreciate the beauty of the world surrounding me.