Monday, December 29, 2008

A Very Belated Xmas

For Dad's present last Christmas, Kat and I decided that we would take him wine tasting up in Santa Barbara. He loves to drink wine and none of us had been wine tasting up there, so we thought it would be a fun experience for all. It was a great idea, but somehow, most of 2008 came and went and we never got around to going. Time just flew--scheduling conflicts and such occurred and before we knew it, we passed up Christmas this year without following through with Dad's gift from last year! So we finally decided that it was time to go before another Christmas came along. We ended up going yesterday and it was a lot of fun.

Dad wine tasting

Our first stop was in the Santa Rita Hills area, at Lafond Winery and Vineyards. We were the first customers and opened the tasting room--drinking at 10am, can't remember the last time (ever?) I've done that, haha. I'm usually not a huge fan of white wines, but their Chardonnays were good and may turn me into one.

Next stop was up the road at the Sanford Winery tasting room. They had an excellent Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, at $60 a bottle, it is a bit out of my price range. Ah, who am I kidding, I'm po' right now--it's not just a bit, it's completely out of my price range. After the tasting, we grabbed the lunch we packed and enjoyed it in the sunshine on the back patio of the tasting room. Crisp air, beautiful view, quiet and peaceful area, it was a nice place to lunch at.

Before heading home, we made a last stop in the city of Santa Barbara, at the sister winery of Lafond, Santa Barbara Winery. Tasted more good wines that were a little easier on the pocketbook there, then drove back to LA.

A very fun way to spend a day!

SB Co Wine Tasting

Friday, December 19, 2008

All In a Day's Work

Work has been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to teach in a very long time. Everything I've been doing has been great experience, but I really do miss interacting with guests and students. I finally was able to teach one of our preschool programs this past week, and had so much fun doing it. Kids at that age are adorable and are so much smarter than you realize, and things they say can be very entertaining.

Talking about corals, I ask them what the individual animals are called. "Tulips!" one boy answers. Haha, so close.

Talking about breathing, I ask them what sharks and fish use to breathe water. "Scales!" a little girl answers. Very close also, but not quite.

Tulips, polyps, scales, gills--they're practically the same thing, right?! Oh, kids are so fricken cute.

Monday, December 01, 2008

So they don't jump like Shamu?

California Sea Lions chillin' on a buoy:

The prominant dorsal fin of a Fin Whale:
Fin Whale

A pod of 8-10 Orcas were spotted on Saturday afternoon, so I headed out yesterday hoping we would get to see them also. The chances were slim, but I hadn't been out on the water since June, so it was about time I got on a boat again. It was lovely--the cold wind against my skin, breathing in the salty air, being surrounded by the endless blue. I almost forgot how much I liked being out there.

My hope in seeing Orcas dwindled when we came across the sea lions, lounging on the buoy like they always do-- an indication that the Orcas must be long gone. If the great predators had still been lurking in the waters, then we probably would not have found any sign of life. But there the sea lions were, just chillin', which meant I should put my hopes in seeing other whales.

So instead of the Orcas, we ended up seeing a Fin whale, the second largest whale. Fin whales can sometimes be uninteresting to watch, but this one was amazing. It circled around the boat twice, and was so close to us that we were able to see its white right chin. Although it went for a couple of deep dives, it wasn't skittish and pretty much stayed in the same area. This was the best Fin whale sighting I have ever had. One of the ladies on board didn't seem as impressed as I was and asked, "So they don't jump like Shamu?" Oh, people crack me up.