On Saturday we went to the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops series on the embarcadero. They were doing hits from the 80’s with Debbie Gibson and Sam Harris. It was very entertaining, and we got lucky with good weather…wait, no, the weather is always pretty much the same here (I say that with a slight bitterness in my voice, because I have many friends welcoming the beginning of fall with colorful leaves, hot chai, and pumpkin spiced everything).

The cover band was actually the best part. They coordinated with the symphony beautifully without overpowering the classical instruments. Debbie Gibson was, well, crazy. I mean, I’m sure if you’ve spent your entire adult life performing music, you are going to have a unique perspective. But that girl needed a cheeseburger and a hug. That is what N and I always say to each other when we see a girl (or guy) who is painfully skinny and looks like they could use a little boost of self esteem – “Somebody get’em a cheeseburger and a hug! Stat!” Also, her tone seemed off and her energy was very superficial. But I guess that embodies the ’80’s.

Sam Harris (who I hadn’t really heard of before the concert) was pretty good! He had a strong voice, and he said nice things about his young son and many other people in between songs. And of course I’m partial to the gays.


A leeeetle bit tired






San Diego likes shiny buildings.


The End.




Our neighbor Molly came knocking the other night to recruit us to make some ristras on the back patio. Her friend works at Suzie’s Farm and they had a surplus of chilies (peppers?) so she brought them over to hang. It’s a simple procedure, really, but I am positive our talents paled in comparison to the Mexican women who can whip them out in a matter of seconds. Molly also recruited about 6 of our other neighbors (we all live in bungalows with a shared courtyard). With glasses of wine and a crackling fire, we all did our best to string together the colorful devils.



The lighting was terrible, and I only had my iPhone, so I went back in the morning to take a few photos in the daylight. As you can see, some of the chilies had a little more “character” than others. We were all amused that our neighbor Billy’s chilies all seemed to be quite…erect.


daytime 2
N has already decided she will be gifting hers to her mom for Christmas – they have a “Make one, buy one” rule for gifts. The chilis should dry over the next few months and can be re-hydrated for recipes, or just hanged for decoration.

Leo Carillo


I am a sucker for historical sites. I just love wandering through and imagining what life was like in another era. I also love seeing the creativity and imagination that people used to overcome challenges without the technology we have available today. Yes, I feel a little bit like a 64 year-old tourist when I insist that N pull over to read a plaque or when I snap photos that are perfectly suited to forcing future grandchildren to patiently page through a boring, smelly photo album while I sit uncomfortably close to them on my floral sofa and describe every detail of a trip while chuckling at memories that only I find funny. N will likely be grumbling to let them go play outside while I point out one more unforgettable tombstone or restaurant. Whatever. They should feel lucky that I have preserved so much history to pass on to them, the little brats.

Leo Carillo was a 1930’s actor with enough money that he could play “Rancher” on a life-size scale. He bought 2,500 acres in what is now Carlsbad, CA and refurbished an existing adobe hacienda. Then he added a pool, stables, cantina, hay barn, and a lot of animals. He hosted many mid-century stars and probably had awesome fiestas at his ranch when he wasn’t shooting new episodes of The Cisco Kid in Hollywood.

We drove up to Carlsbad believing that Leo Carillo Ranch was actually a historic Mexican ranch. We didn’t really mind when we found out it was actually the 1940’s Disney-like re-creation of a working cattle ranch, but it did take away some of the authenticity. We still had a good time wandering around the city-owned historical site.




Caretaker’s House



Clearly, from the etchings he left in the adobe on several of the buildings, we know that Mr. Carillo was not only a performance artist, but quite talented in the visual arts as well.


I couldn’t resist.

Oh Hai

Oh Hai!



We did manage to stumble into a wedding at the main Hacienda, but luckily they hadn’t started the ceremony and were still setting up. We did also get to chat with several beautiful peacocks, all whom were very comfortable with human visitors. Of course, other than wedding guests trickling in, we were the only visitors under the age of 55 at the ranch, and possibly the only residents of the United States. If you’re in southern California and have a spare morning or afternoon, swing by to walk through. I wouldn’t recommend bringing young children, because I think they would be a little bored. Unless, of course, they enjoy chasing peafowl around.

Mmmmmm, donuts

N knows where I sit to eat my lunch during my break from work. She also knows what my favorite tasty treat is. Today she surprised me with a giant chocolate donut! San Diego has a somewhat new shop called Donut Bar that is capitalizing on the donut craze. They make specialty donuts (including the ever-popular “Cronut”) and offer a different menu every day. While their pastries are pretty good, I have been frustrated by their method of keeping supply (very) low in order to increase demand. They are often OUT of donuts by 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, and they almost always run out or close their doors in the early afternoon on weekdays. I understand that they’re making buyers work for the donuts by getting their early and standing in line down the block, but I know they could easily make more treats (for very little additional overhead) and not have a surplus, as well as more happy customers. Plus, if they do have a surplus, they can always do what VooDoo Doughnut in Oregon does, and sell them by the box full after midnight. I enjoyed several drunken donut feasts thanks to that practice! VooDoo is down-to-earth, fun, funky, and (in my opinion) the original specialty donut shop. None of this pretentious get-here-first or get-left-out nonsense for them! I’ll get off my soapbox now. All ranting aside, this afternoon’s treat was DELICIOUS, and maybe I’m just a little bitter that Donut Bar doesn’t seem to understand my 24-hour donut cravings.


Chocolate Euphoria from Donut Bar


32 miles


In need of burrito(s).

We took our first ride this weekend with the new bike. I only fell over once…and it was in the parking lot when we were having a short break to check our route. Damn clip-in pedals. It was mildly embarrassing, but luckily did no harm to me or the bike. N got a good kick out of it. I’ll admit that I was about ready for a beer and a burrito at mile 20, but I kept pedaling for the last 12 miles. Then, Nutjob with a capital N (see what I did there?) got back on the bike when we got home to ride about 15 more miles on the stationary trainer. I ate BBQ potato chips and impressed the dogs with stories about all the interesting things we saw on the ride (mostly cars, trees, houses and hills).

Dog Cookies

This weekend I baked cookies for my dogs. Does that sound as insane as I think it does? I mean, Milk Bone seems to have this system dialed, so unless you have a dog with food sensitivities, picky palate, or an extremely tight budget, baking your dog cookies must be either an exercise in futility or evidence of extreme boredom, right? Luckily, our dogs don’t seem to have food allergies or other issues except for the fact that if Mabe doesn’t eat every 6-8 hours, she throws up. Clearly they don’t have refined taste, because they not only eat all of my vegetable trimmings that I toss them in the kitchen (bad mom), Cookiesbut they are supremely delighted when they discover anything edible on a walk. Candy wrapper? Score! Banana peel? Yum! Cat Poop? WINNER! And back to the budget thing, I’m pretty sure it’s less expensive to buy cheap dog cookies at the grocery store than it is to buy the ingredients to make them, but I’m not curious enough to calculate the difference.

Anywho, the recipe was super-simple: Whole wheat flour, oats, peanut butter, and water. The dough was much more sticky than any cookie dough I’ve dealt with, but it was manageable. I rolled them into little balls and pressed them out into circles. Then I used a fork to make that cute peanut butter cookie crosshatch on them, because clearly I’ve lost my mind. They turned out a little more like crackers to me (crispy, airy), and they taste pretty bland. However, the dogs think they are SUPER. Given their extremely low standards, I will only give myself a silver star sticker this time.

Moral of the story: Somebody get me a baby to take care of…I have too much time on my hands.

Silver Strand State Beach


Kite Surfing Convention? I think that’s what those are called…

On Saturday, N and I set out to run several errands. Our dogs love to ride in the car, so we let them join us. After picking up dog food, a drain snake, a quick lunch in Imperial Beach, and some new pedals for my bike, we stopped by Silver Strand State Beach to let the dogs run around and swim. New LOVES to swim in the ocean. Mabe likes to dip her toes, but she doesn’t have quite the same affinity for paddling through the waves.


Silver Strand has golden sand. It shimmers in the sun.


Hot Shot

Kit Surfers 3

How do their strings not get tangled up with each other?!?


New Toy!

As if we didn’t have enough bikes in our house already (no, I’m not going to say how many), we added a new one to the collection last night! We have been shopping for a new (used) road bike for me so that I can go on N’s weekend training rides. She rides 40-60 miles on Saturdays, and that’s a long time to be out on your own on a bike. Plus, I’ve just finished my Marathon Mania 2013 (I ran 12 marathons in 12 months to celebrate my 30th year…more on that later), and wanted to shift away from running to something that would upset my rickety old joints just a little bit less. After browsing Craigslist for many weeks, checking out a few bikes that would NOT fit the bill (did someone say “sticky shifter?”) and biding our time, we found this little gem yesterday:

FUJIIt’s a Fuji Roubaix in case anyone is interested…and it’s pretty. That’s what mattered the most to me. Well, that and not having sticky shifters. Or sticky anything really. Now I just need to dig out those super-flattering spandex with the built in diaper…

Left Behind Series

I know I’m about 10 years late to the party, but I just started reading Left Behind. Do you remember that series? In brief summary, it is a novel about society after the rapture. More simply, it is the story of a few people and their journeys after a significant portion of humans simply vanish into thin air (transport magically to heaven). I didn’t know it was quite as “preachy” as it is, but at 100 pages in, it’s at least entertaining. Knowing that it is written by a conservative Christian preacher makes it a little more palatable to me, even though I do not agree with everything they write (there are two authors).

left behind

What I find most interesting is the translation of their message (“repent and be saved”) into a novel that is interesting to read by the average person. It’s a fantastic propaganda tool, if you can pull it off – getting your message, whatever it may be, through to an audience, especially a very large one, through an easy-to-understand and possibly even enjoyable means.

Lastly, I bought the book on a whim at the cutest quintessential used book shop in North Park. It was small, had high wooden shelves of all kinds of books, comfy chairs, two cats roaming about looking for open laps, and a couple of friendly, nerdy, middle-aged women working. There was a narrow staircase leading to another section, and LOTS of people coming and going (browsing books, selling their used books to the store, picking up orders, or enjoying their coffee while reading). I paid $6 for this book, and I’m sure I could have gotten it for $.01 on Amazon, but I’ll take it back to that store when I’m finished and maybe get #2 for another $6. If I enjoy the next 300 pages of #1.