Although it has only just begun, it seems that the rain and (slightly) cooler weather that constitutes "Winter" here in Santa Barbara has already been going on for-ev-ver. This is because I am a bit off in my concept of Four Seasons - we pretty much have two here: Warmish with cool nights, or Coolish and Possibly Rainy with Breaks for Warmth. This confounds tourists and the newly-relocated and totally screws with trees and plants' notion of what they're meant to do - To wit- I've seen a tree in flower, with new green leaves, bare branches AND golding/autumn colored leaves - all at once.
Growing up here, it seemed completely normal to me to go round in $0.65 thongs (I mean sandals) shorts and a sweatshirt most of the year. Mornings in my small town were gray, foggy, and long, with a tang of salt air. One minute I'd be huddling in my third-grade classroom, hiding my copy of Moby Dick under my desk and pretending to pay attention and not freeze, and the next tearing around in the warm sun with my sweatshirt tied around my waist. Somewhere, there is a picture of me wearing this outfit (strange shorts, oversized sweatshirt, kooky ponytail) with the attractive addition of a strange ribbon-as-sash OVER my sweatshirt. This is why I cringe when I see those homage to the Eighties outfits at places like Reference and Urban Outfitters. In my defense, I was only a little kid, so fortunately I escaped the worst of that time (All peach makeup, heels worn with socks, Flock of Seagulls hair, etc) - but I was far from unscathed. No, I cannot recount my many style crimes, but suffice it to say: Circa 1991 (age eleven) I wore weird purpley-blue STRETCH PANTS with a sweater in black and purple, white socks and black shoes with sheer "laces" on the first, and other sucessive days of seventh grade. Than I wised up (a little bit) and moved on to my brief "grunge" faze, which worked for a poor kid with access to her fathers' to-small jeans and flannel shirts from his high school days in the 70's. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of this cool swag to go full-on grunge, so I tended to "supplement" with things like bodysuits and those awful half-boots THAT I SAW IN A STORE .... THIS WEEK!
Ummm....ya - so the weather? Sucked big today (more bloody rain) so instead of just getting home all tired and salty and sandy from walking all day, we're just .... at home, and have been with the exception of escaping for some wonderful Thai food at one of our tried n' true favorite places, Your Place. Inside it's gloriously tacky, but the Cashew Chicken, Garlic Chicken (they do this in Beef, Shrimp and Tofu as well) are savory and as spicy or mild as you like. Today we had a special treat - fresh coconut ice cream for dessert. So. So. Good. They make themselves, with fresh coconut chunks still retained in the frozen coconut milk/cream slurry - the simple decadence of this small but dense dessert makes it worth the extra workout you need after eating it.
About half a block from our house, there is a creek, one of the few still "natural" (or at least partially so) creeks around. Racoons, possums, skunks and (I'm told) coyotes as well as some of our local transient population use it as a sort of Underground Railway to get from Point A to Point B with the minimum amount of harassment. Poison oak, millions of weeds, oak trees, climbing vines, the occasional backpack or shopping cart and other flora creep around it as sort of a living lesson of how quickly the earth takes back its own if unchecked by man's efforts. The bottom is lined with sandstone rocks, always eroding and adding to our beaches. When it rains...um.... AT ALL, everything down there gets swept down and out to sea.
This is all great and good - Until I try to step out my door, and hit Lake Meepers.
And thus begins our "Winter" season. Please feel free to bring your jetski the next time you're outside my house.