December Festivals in California

Everyone loves a festival!!! Here is a link to a few that we have found coming up in December 2015.

http://www.seecalifornia.com/festivals/monthly-december-festivals.html

Southern California in November

This is Why we Pay the Big Bucks
As parts of the country were experiencing their first snow storms of the season, we were walking on the Oceanside Pier in shorts and t-shirts on a warm November day.   This was indeed why we pay the big bucks to live in California.

Walking the pier gives you a great perspective of the coast in both directions. However, what got our attention this day was the ocean and in particular how crystal clear it was. It was a lighter shade of blue unlike anything I have seen in this area. I have traveled to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Florida, etc. and nothing can compare to the clarity and turquoise tint of the water in those areas but, for California, this was the prettiest I have seen it in a long time.

Water clear 3 900
Wave G 900

Because of the clarity, you could see the old pilings of a previous pier, something I have never seen or maybe not have noticed. Far below, we saw a couple of sting rays or sand sharks scurrying along the bottom.   An offshore breeze gently feathered the tips of the waves making the conditions perfect for surfing. However,   the waves were too small for the normal crowd of surfers who were probably home watching football. Except for a few brave souls, the 64 degree water was mostly empty of riders.

Pilings G 900
The pilings from a prior pier

Wave clear Oceanside 900
The water was crystal clear

There is a lone pelican named Charlie that sits on the wood railing by the bait shop. He is the star of the pier with visitors jockeying to take photos and paying to feed him anchovies.   On this Sunday afternoon, he was joined by 3 new friends that were relaxing and enjoying the day, like we were. Charlie finally got up, stretched, and soon eyeballed an Abba Zaba candy bar that my friend just bought.   He started sneaking up behind her while she was looking the other way and only a warning from me kept him from claiming his prize. It probably wasn’t good for him anyway.   The hefty bird would soon be getting left-over bait and anchovies. Plus there were tons of little fish in the water that we could see clearly, way better than an Abba Zaba.

Pelican 2 900

Pelican 900

Later, as the sun disappeared on the horizon, the vibrant orange sky stayed bright for at least a half an hour more. Catalina Island could be seen to the north and a weird cloud illusion gave it the look of a plateau in Utah.

Catalina 900
Pier sunset G 900

All of this eye candy was another reason we pay to live in beautiful California.

As the sun was long gone and on its way to brightening the day in another part of the world, the air was turning cold for us.   It was time to put the parka on, just joking; it was time to put the sweatshirt on.

Unfortunately, in winter the temperatures drop quite substantially in the evening. We babies in California don’t like to be cold, well at least I don’t.

Later on, as I sit down and write the rent and utility bills, I will remember that warm Sunday in November and be grateful that I live here. The digits I am writing on the checks won’t seem as bad knowing that on any given day I can stroll the pier eating Abba Zabas, feed friendly pelicans, watch an amazing sunset, and only ever have to wear a sweatshirt to stay warm.

Well, actually with El Nino on its way, I may have to pull out the parka…but only for a little while.

 

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge

Orange house WP

This weeks photo challenge was “Orange and Green.”

When driving through the wine country near Mendocino California, I had to pull over and take this shot. The Orange and the green were so vibrant on this fall day.

If you have the chance visit that area just north of San Francisco.

Photo: Debbie Colwell

header-image-2015

The star-studded Lexus Grand Tasting is FINALLY here! Join the most talked about food and wine festival in Southern California. 150 wine, spirit, and beer providers, 60 of San Diego’s top chefs, gourmet foods. You don’t want to miss this!

Embarcadero Marina Park North

400 Kettner Blvd

San Diego, CA 92101

Santa Cruz Island

Looking down at beach north

Santa Cruz Island

A description I use quite frequently when writing a story about a place we have visited is that it has many restaurants and shops.    It is the case on a good portion of the trips we take.     One such example is the tourist location of Catalina Island which is about 20-30 miles off the coast of Southern California. It is an island that caters to visitors and includes hotels, condos, time shares, glass bottom boats, para-sailing, zip lines, bus tours, and of course food and shops.

However, we are not talking about THAT island, we are talking about Santa Cruz Island.

Santa Cruz Island has none of those things, so, if you need a cozy bed and a nice restaurant, this isn’t the place for you.   This island has no stores or restaurants.

For sleeping accommodations it has designated primitive campsites with public pit toilets and water spigots. Camp fires are not allowed, but camping gas stoves are permitted for cooking.

So why the heck are we doing a staycation on Santa Cruz Island? Because after hearing about it from a friend, I thought it might be a great place to feature for all of you hikers, campers, adventurers, kayakers, and nature lovers.

The island itself is picturesque with its cliffs jutting far above the ocean, its lush hillsides and pristine beaches. Even if you go just for the day, it seems like an exciting and unique experience.

View from top

Continue reading “Santa Cruz Island”