Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Sorry for the delay folks- April, May, June, July, August, and most of September has slid by without comment from me! I'm not sure exactly why I stopped blogging. We could psychoanalyze my actions and hypothesize that I made the final decision that I had seen what I wanted to see and it was time to stop traveling while driving the PCH. It'd be a good hypothesis. Why stop blogging though? What do you say when you've decided the adventure must end? Like a good little procrastinator, I hesitated to share "the rest of the story" prior to my own knowledge of how things would turn out. And so it ends, but not without finishing the story. Here's what I was doing all those months... --Ramblingspeech 9/21/10

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Southern California Roadtrip (April 17-21)

April 17th: San Diego was beautiful. I explored Mission Beach, toured San Diego Zoo, and met up with friend Adrienne (see posts regarding crossing the United States!!!) for an exciting night of Indian food and partying at the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel. The outfits at the Hard Rock Cafe were amazing--I was vastly underdressed in my very best travel "nice" outfit.

The Meerkats were just as cute as they appear on TV.

April 18th: After dropping Adrienne off at the airport, I drove up the highway 1 to Santa Monica Pier where I had that free night in the Holiday Inn Express. I love Holiday Inn- they gave me a great ocean view that also had a view of the pier at night- I watched the ferris wheel change colors for awhile the night I arrived. I explored the pier, rode the roller coaster and the ferris wheel, wandered and took pictures, then headed up to the promenade to enjoy the street shows. There were some people set up to salsa in the street, magic shows, solo musicians, acts... it was great. I landed in a tiny restaurant (my favorite type) called Manchego which turned out to be everything I hope dining alone will be. And in dining alone, I mean sitting at a bar having a fascinating conversation with a German girl who is working for a studio as a casting agent assistant and a fellow who was an out of work actor. The food was great- I don't remember everything but there were goat cheese stuffed figs and bacon wrapped scallops and that was enough! I wandered home after dark, slightly fuzzy and excited about finally seeing Hollywood the next day.

April 19th: I drove into LA and rushed to Warner Brother Studio for the VIP tour. I had read on the website that you should buy your tickets ahead of time or risk not getting one. I had not planned ahead but was able to jump on the next tour. I highly recommend it-- we toured the back studio on a small golf cart with about 10 other tourists, wandered the set of the Mentalist, touched the walls of the set used for the musical ANNIE, which was also used for the main street scene for FRIENDS and a whole bunch of other shows. We also stopped by a small museum which housed a whole floor dedicated to Harry Potter (I was sorted into Slytherin) and another floor with costumes ranging from the Matrix to Edward Scissorhands. We saw the golf cart belonging to Mr. Lopez (it had sparkles) and the set for Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a wonderful tour--one of the best and most informative I've ever been on. I was sad to inform my parents that they were truly disassembling the set for Two and a Half Men (it had not been officially cancelled yet, but the set was being torn down).

After the studio tour, I became star struck and headed down to Hollywood to walk the star path and place my hands in the handprints at the Chinese Theater. My favorite handprints included the Harry Potter cast (of course), Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Douglas Fairbanks...and R2D2. I finished my star gazing with a massage at a nearby hotel- the spa entrance fee allowed me access to the roof for views of the area and it felt right to get a massage in Hollywood. :-)

April 20th: I went to Disneyland and California Adventures. Yes it was smaller than Disney World (which I grew up going to); yes I liked it anyway. If you were planning a trip to Calfornia I'd recommend the Warner Brother Studios and a drive up the PCH-- but if you have excess time then a trip to California Adventures would certainly be fun. I had fun. Holiday Inn Express wow'd me again with a free upgrade to the whirlpool suite and a cheaper price than I was expecting for a hotel within a 15 minute walk to Disney. The night ended in Fireworks and a churro (as all nights should).

April 21: I drove back to reality, through the rain, up Hwy 5. It was dreary. It was done.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Driving South

My frantic tour of the south has begun.

Today, left San Jose at 6:30am (dragged myself from the bed).

Drove down 101 for a very long time.

Arrived in Santa Barbara at 11:30am and toured around the courthouse, which was absolutely beautiful. Old wood, murals, and tile- I'd show up to traffic court just to look! Ate at a place called Jeannie's just around from the courthouse- loved the turkey and cranberry wrap. Shopped at some spiritual store and bought some CDs on a whim- didn't need them, and not sure why I bought them, but I shall endeavor to listen to them. Drove around the lovely little town and then headed south on hwy 1 to Santa Monica.

Halfway there I finally got ahold of my Holiday Inn rewards program and realized I could get a free night at a Santa Monica hotel on the pier-- but only for SUNDAY night. Reshuffled the schedule and continued to head south past Santa Monica.

And hit L.A. traffic. 2 hours later, (for what should have taken 40 minutes), I arrived in San Luis de Capistrano. Parked, called around, and reserved at Best Western Inn by the Sea in Dana Point. Cute hotel, nice desk person, but very tricky. They promised me a view of the ocean and I have one-- about a 12 inch view from behind the elevator. Tricky tricky. If he hadn't of said it was a ocean view room I'd be perfectly happy- it's a very nice little inn with a courtyard, a sun deck that DOES have an unobstructed view of the ocean, and a jacuzzi. It's a one block walk from several restaurants and a bar. You can hear the ocean from the rooms (even from behind the elevator!). It's clean and well kept. I just feel a little scammed for my "ocean view". Ate eggplant parmesan at a local Italian restaurant and am now typing and eating some skittles (taste the rainbow).

Tomorrow-on to San Diego to meet up with friend Adrienne who may want to explore the San Diego Zoo with me. We shall see. Today was a whole bunch of driving and a few nice views. Tomorrow it's time to explore.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kidnapped by Stress and Fun

I did not get kidnapped in Jamaica. I'd have liked about 2 more days there (the sun actually was OUT our last day- making me desire just a little nap in a warm sun instead of the chilly windy beach trip I experienced instead). It was a grand time though. Old roomie from college was an awesome partner in crime in everything but karaoke (who can blame her need to sit back on THAT one) and really made the trip worth it. We walked up a waterfall, we laid on a beach (slightly chilly due to a cold front) we played checkers with the security guard, we tried lots of sweet drinks, we wandered and swam and ate lots of desserts. It was a nice getaway. Jamaica mainland was scary- and we stayed on the resort to avoid it.

California is still fun, but I find myself slowly disengaging from the traveling life as I contemplate settling down and finding a permanent job. I've been at this 4 years- was only planning for 2 year. The economy and job market scare me a bit and I worry about whether I'll find a permanent job or will I be forced to continue traveling out of necessity?

I've slowly looked at my disposable income and expenses and am ruthlessly chopping back and coupon cutting. I'm examining my retirement portfolio (nowhere close to retiring, but by early 30's I should at least have a better managed plan instead of a target retirement date plan). I'm looking around at my belongings and trying to gauge what is important to me. I'm making lists of things I want to accomplish by 40. I'm slowly getting ready to become boring and I'm slightly scared.

On the upside, a guy at work asked me on a date. I blew him off (politely) but there's hope in that department. I really can't get involved with anyone 2000 miles away from where I plan to be in 2 months. It's not fair to the guy- he's nice though and it was nice to be hit on.

Other fun stuff- went kayaking for the first time in 10 years or so and had a blast. I planned to go again this morning but it rained and I just didn't think cold, wet and worn out was something I wanted to face this week with. Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing, CA is just brilliant to kayak in- calm waters, otters playing around your boat, seals, birds of all varieties, and enough people in the water to feel safe but not crowded. The farmer's markets continue to amaze and thrill me with all the varieties of fresh fruits and veggies- though in the back of my mind I'm telling myself that SC does not have farmer's markets like this. The churches have been nice, but instead of picking one I seem to be slowly rotating through all the Catholic churches in the area. There's a limbo feeling within me as I move through the daily routine. What's next. What comes next?

The only reason I extended my contract is that they gave me 6 days off between my original enddate and my extension start date. I plan to use those 6 days to visit southern CA so that I've seen it. So far, the only firm plan in to stay in Pismo Beach the first night. After that- wandering I will go!

And the weekend after that I head to Seattle for a conference. Those plans are already set- hotel/air/conference fees already paid. Ride to and from airport being provided by co-worker's husband. It's all good.

Of course, signing an extension threw a new stress into life. They unfortunately had rented my apartment by the time the extension was signed. So I have to move apartments. The apartment is on the other side of the complex so for the next few nights I'll be carrying over belongings. Tuesday they move my furniture. Thursday I head South for 6 days. Today I finally got my taxes done, though not printed and in the mail yet. Tomorrow I am working. Just a little stress to make it all fun.

So after my taxes get in, and after I move, and after I frantically tour southern CA, and after I go to class in Seattle, I'll work on my resume and see if there's luck in the air in SC for me. What's next? What comes after all the traveling and moving and adventure? I have a better handle on what's important to me in life, and a great competency in all areas of Speech Language Pathology, but will the ducks line up appropriately or will they continue to wander despite my attempts to organize them? I guess that, in itself, is the next adventure.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Goodbye Bees, Hello Jamaica!

I bid a fond farewell to the now identified yellow jackets that have been haunting my life as late. Goodbye little bee in the corner of my bedroom dying on my floor! Goodbye brother bee in my living room floor! Farethewell nest of fear-invoking swarm living on my porch! Hopefully you will not take up permanent residence whilst I am sleeping on the beach in Jamaica!

The core trip is here again! Last year it was Mexico (with a nice dose of H1N1 thrown in for fun and excitement) and this year it is Jamaica! We'll see what natural disasters or newsworthy events follow me to this poor island with excess sand. I leave tomorrow after work, fly all night to ATL, fly all morning to Ja-MAY-ka man, and meet up with old college buddy (aka des petits moments) who is abandoning life to hang on a beach with me.

I was supposed to pack tonight. Am I packed? Partially so. Will I forget something important (like underware?) probably. But at least I've packed the bathing suits and sunscreen already- so it's all good.

Who needs underware anyway? :-)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bees again!

Geesh Louise. I hate bees. Long time fear of bees.

Yesterday morning I awoke, went out to make coffee, and a bee was on my curtain. We went to war and I was the winner. Tonight- another bee in my kitchen. Not the sweet lovely honey bees (that still scare me, but I recognize they make honey and don't usually stalk me) but a mean looking bee I think is a hornet. It was watching me from the top of my curtain. Again, war (this time with bee spray instead of the hairspray I had on hand to off it's sibling). Outside the window I noticed a whole nest of these mean evil hornets- I sprayed it too. Then I started shining my flashlight around- they were everywhere! Under ledges, by my door, on my porch- surrounding me! I sprayed them all, ran inside, and called the office for the guys to come out tomorrow and check it out. Uggggg! Now I'm all creeped out. I even checked UNDER MY BED for bees. Why I think this is a good place for bees to hide, I'm not sure.

Oh, and the best solution for a broken flashlight (dropped it by accident outside) is apparently to take it apart, change the batteries, take it apart again, give up and bang it in frustration on a counter. Tah-dah! It worked from my very expert banging.

Best quote of the day, "I decided to die so I stopped eating. But that cookie was good. I'll eat now-I'll live now." Saved by a graham cracker- who says Speech therapists don't make a difference??? :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Busy in the San Jose Area

Another famous catch-up blog post!!! Here it is by the week:

Jan. 16/17- waited for the comcast guy. Went to Avatar. Loved the movie- love the cable. Also visited the Basilica of St Joseph, and while it was very lovely, decided this is not the church for me. Silly enough, I'm eliminating it because I have to parallel park in the city (the church has no parking lot). I'm always running late for church-add parallel parking to the mix and I'll have to ask for a lot more forgiveness than previously planned for. But it is a beautiful church and worth visiting if you are in the area.

Jan. 23/24- Capitola, CA, Seacliff State Park and the San Jose Art Museum. I had visited Capitola during my stay up north, but it was so cute that I had to revisit it. It had rained a week straight and Saturday was my first sight of the sun here in California.

On the beach at Capitola the locals had used the washed up driftwood from the storms to build small house-like structures that they planned on burning in the evening-- I did not stay for the burn but I admired their handwork.

SeaCliff State park was beautiful- another place to visit often if I was a local. I even figured out how to sneak in without paying (quite accidently I assure you!) Sometimes it is benificial to follow a crowd over a barrier. The art museum was small and a bit over-priced at $8 for the amount of art they actually have on display. I did love the modern art portion- being a fan of that genre- but only one floor of art does not a museum make!!!! They should merge with another museum.

Jan. 30/31- Carmel-by-the-Sea. Sigh. Such a cute little uppity town. There are no colorful signs, no fast food joints, the roads are pedestrian friendly, the streets lined with little boutiques and unique little browsing shops and the restaurants that I visited had on average 18 tables. I ate lunch at La Bicyclette, a small French bistro that served a delicious grilled monk fish and veggies. I visited the Mission museum and dreamed of old Spanish California with its struggling missions.

I browsed the shops and pretended to have money. I ate at Basil for dinner, another small cozy restaurant that served short ribs that made me want to "slap my momma". At Basil I shared my table with another couple who huddled by the warming lamp outside- we had both failed to make reservations and had elected to sit on the outside tables despite the chill. They were very lovely and they were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. They were from San Jose, were planning to retire to Carmel, and stated that San Jose offered "absolutely nothing to see". Shame on them! I'm out to prove them wrong.

Feb. 6/7- after struggling through a cold all week (sniffy nose sinus type cold that flared my asthma out of retirement), I looked forward to a weekend where I had to work. Eck. So I schedule a massage for Saturday and worked my arse off Sunday. Really? 24 consults? You have got to be kidding me! I had 12 swallow consults and the paperwork for each takes about 20 minutes. The massage in no way prepared me for the onslaught of work Sunday. Usually hospitals are quieter on the weekend- the nurses are relaxed and the patients are a happy bunch because of the increase in visitors. Not so much at the one I'm working at now- no one was relaxed and no one was happy. I ignored the speech/language consults and tried to eliminate as many of the "NPO" patients as possible. 9 were seen and the other 3 cancelled for change in status reasons. It was a rough day.

Feb. 13/14- Yesterday I traveled down to Pillar Point by way of the camera store. I finally bought the telephoto lens I'd been salivating over and headed to the Maverick's Surfing Competition to break it in. Good thing I had it- they had closed the beach closest to the contest due to a rogue wave that tried to carry off some on-lookers. The perch I found to watch the contest was far away from the 50 foot waves. From my cliff side perch, I could see small waves in the distance and a couple of specks- with the telephoto the specks turned into boats, more specks on specks were identified as waverunners.

In the center of this next photo there is a tiny little speck on the inside surface of the wave with a little white line behind him. That's a surfer. A very brave and stupid surfer.

A South African man by the name of Chris Bertish won the competition. I think this is him in the pictures- he was the only guy in orange that I saw and he was doing interviews post contest. My telephoto lens is working well!

I am still trying to find that perfect Pacific sunset picture. I've yet to see the famed green flash on the horizon, and I'm beginning to think it may be a myth along the lines of Snipes. That's no reason to stop looking for it, is it? Here's the best sunset from the last few weekends.