The Great Duck Rescue Face-plant

Monday, I was walking my dogs and there was a malard duck in the middle of the street. It’s a pretty busy street so I was worried about the duck. But also it was early morning so it wasn’t as busy as it will get as the day goes on. I decided that I needed to rescue the duck because a few years ago Bug and I watched a mama duck and her babies get stuck in traffic and much to our horror, one little duckling didn’t make it.  While we screamed helplessly in the car, it was crushed under a wheel right in front of us. We’ve been traumatized about ducks ever since.

I decided to slowly walk my dogs out into the middle of the street to hopefully scare the duck to the other side to safety. Unfortunately, the dogs interpreted my actions to be that we were hunting the duck and not rescuing the duck so of course they got very excited. The closer we got the more excited they got and suddenly Cody lurched forward, pulling me down with him.

The dogs got loose and ran after the duck. 

I fell to the ground on my knees first, then my palm and then my forehead and nose, like a rolling tripod. Now my dogs were running free in traffic, leashes flailing behind them. It was the most horrible thing ever. I got up and ran after my dogs and managed to get them. A car slowed down to see if I was okay but since I was up and running they sped on by.

I managed to catch my dogs and hobbled home. No broken bones, just skinned up knees, an egg on my forehead (that hides under my bangs) and a scraped up nose. I think the effects of adrenaline got the best of me by then. I teared up but made it home and patched myself up.

Now I’m walking around with a large surface gash on my nose and my knees are giant healing scabs. I try not to complain but I think I complain all day. Face-planting onto asphalt is hard when you are almost fifty! My whole upper body was sore all week and I’m still creaking around like I’m 100 years old. Anyway, I thought I’d share since photos of me have been popping up looking a little worse for wear.

I am fine though!

Moral of the story: Don’t rescue ducks. We’ve walked that same route everyday for a year and every day since the great duck rescue, the duck has showed up near the scene of the face-plant, completely unharmed and apparently not needing rescue. I think he must have a brood nearby or something.

Bug Turns 15: The Road Trip to Nowhere, Part 2

pretty-lighting-in-santa-barbara

Wow. I have so much to say about my last post. I did beat myself up a lot about writing that. I’m learning and you are learning with me. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time but I thought it was normal. It’s not until recently that I’m realizing that not everyone experiences the world the way I do. One of my defense mechanisms is to apologize for everything under the sun so that no one can come at me unexpectedly and make me feel bad about something I’ve done. I overthink everything from everyone’s perspective (often reading my own writing over obsessively, imagining how other people hear it in their heads).  It can be a real drag but it’s just something I do and I’m learning that I don’t need to do it. It’s going to take me a long time to overcome probably. I’m a people-pleaser by nature and I hate any kind of confrontation. So let me just smooth over everything! Crazy, I know. So that said, I had (and maybe still have) a lot of anxiety about sharing this trip. I feel like I have a target on me and some troll is going to find my weak spot and shoot an arrow right under my scales into my heart. It’s happened. But I need to be brave. I love sharing. I love sharing my pictures and my experiences. Describing the magic in a moment is my favorite kind of writing.

Before I continue I’m going to talk about the worst moment in Part 3 of this trip so if you are waiting in suspense I’m sorry. I will have to make you wait another day. And now that I’ve talked it up so much it will probably be anti-climatic so let me apologize for that too! Blah!

the-kimpton-canary-santa-barbara

That night we pulled into Santa Barbara. I love Santa Barbara and it seemed like a good place to stay based on past experiences. I was so relieved to find that it was actually very easy to find a hotel that was open. I’ve visited the Kimpton Properties in Huntington Beach before so when I saw that The Canary  had vacancy we jumped at the chance to stay there. I love Kimpton Properties. They are always so clean and chic. No, we are not made of money and it was pricey to stay there BUT it was Bug’s birthday present so we did not skimp. And the Kimpton Canary did NOT disappoint.  The staff waited on us like we were queens. They even sent up sparkling water and small packages of cookies and gummy bears with a birthday wish for Bug. It was so sweet!

The only problem was that our suite was right underneath the hotel roof pool! Yes, that picture you see of the pool was right over our heads! Talk about freaky. I don’t know about you but all I could think about was the pool falling through the roof onto my head! And there was a high-pitched whining sound, probably a pump for the jacuzzi. At first we didn’t notice it, we were so in love with the room but then as things got quieter and we prepared to go to bed it become more and more of a problem. I have trouble sleeping because of worries already. The pool noise was really hard to block out.

So we called the front desk and they moved us to another suite on the other side of the hotel that was just as beautiful! We were spoiled rotten.

We settled in with our hummus, pita chips and farmer’s market snacks and made it dinner while Bug hooked her phone up to the streaming tv and we watched some terribly inappropriate show. It was awesome.

morning-at-the-kimpton-canary-santa--barbara

The next morning we woke up bright and early. We took a few photos in our photogenic hotel room filled with morning light.

Bug-likes-hotels

Bug drank her sparkling cider she is so obsessed with and then we headed out in search of coffee for me and another great breakfast experience.  I don’t know if this is normal or if I am passing on an eating disorder to my daughter but we love a good foodie moment. We get all warm and fuzzy remembering the great breakfasts we’ve had in different places. We definitely don’t grab a granola bar and eat to live. We live to eat great food.

breakfast-picnic-on-the-roof

Even during a pandemic Santa Barbara has plenty of options for great food. We asked our concierge for a recommendation and then headed off to the Cajun Kitchen right up the street. Have you ever had Cajun juevos rancheros?

The next challenge was where to eat our delicious breakfast. All the outdoor eating areas are shut down, naturally. Then we had a brilliant idea: let’s eat on the roof! Santa Barbara parking structures are known for their rooftop views. Bug’s dad and I used to frequent them often to get our bearings and take a few photos. So we drove to the top of a building and set up a picnic in the parking lot. It might look kind of silly but there weren’t really any parks nearby that we felt comfortable in and this spot was super sunny and nice and totally deserted. We spread out our trendy tapestry, added our sleeping pillows and had a fabulous breakfast picnic.

cajun-breakfast

It was perfect.

Except there was a homeless guy on the street below us bellowing in pain. That’s Santa Barbara for you. Wealth everywhere and a huge population of mentally ill homeless people. It’s really really sad. The pandemic is probably only making it worse. Everywhere we went there were homeless people wandering aimlessly. I was so sad for the guy in pain. He was rolled up in a fetal position crying and yelling. We wanted to give him some of our food (we had plenty) but he seemed really scary and violent so we gave him a wide berth.

stay-six-feet-apart-santa-barbara-pier

After breakfast we packed up our little picnic and got back in the car and headed for the coast. We took a quick detour down to the beach. We watched the skaters in the skate park on the boardwalk for a bit and then wandered down the deserted Santa Barbara pier. I did feel guilty for being out in such a well-known tourist spot. It did seem unfair that we were out enjoying the ghost town that is Santa Barbara these days while everyone else hunkered down at home.

bright-winter-sun-in-santa-barbara-pier

The sun was super bright so we took a few photos and then got back in the car ready to hit the next spot.

beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

That spot was El Capitán State Beach. We drove down a gravel road through a wooded area and at the end of the road we were greeted by the most lovely little rock-and-stick-covered shallow beach that wasn’t that crowded at all.  We quickly learned that it wasn’t crowded because it’s not that comfortable to lounge on a rocky stick-covered beach but it was soooo pretty!

little-sun-shelter-on-the-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

The sun was out in full-force so we set up a little shelter with our tapestry and made a little camp. I wished we had brought our pillows with us as I moved my butt around to avoid the pokey-ist of sticks but if propped up against a log just so, you could enjoy the beautiful fresh air and mist from the crashing waves. It was pretty enough to paint!

painting-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

And so I did of course! That’s the fun of these stops with no plan or schedule. We have all the time in the world to paint! We don’t need made-in-China souvenirs to capture our memories when we can capture our own with my handy dandy little makeshift water-coloring kit. I was in heaven.

my-little-model-on-the-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

Bug seemed pretty content too.

I keep a parasol in my car because I am that photographer who knows it will come in handy for shade AND photo-opportunities.

side-eye-at-the-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

Have parasol, will pose. :)

bucket-hat-selfies-on-the-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

Lots of “us” photos.

time-to-pack-up-and-leave-the-beach-of-sticks-and-rocks-el-capitan-state-beach

We stayed until I finished my painting and then packed up again to head north. Every time I say the word “north” it makes me want to sing the North to Alaska song. Why do I even know that song? It’s something from my childhood and super catchy.

onwards-north

We took a detour up the 101 towards Solvang and stopped to take a few photos of some emus on the side of the road. If you look really close you can see them. I guess during normal times when there is not a pandemic going on you can actually get close enough to the emus so that they don’t look like bushes but that part was closed, of course. Mental note to visit that emu farm someday.

When we got to Solvang I started to realize that this trip was probably a mistake. Solvang was so crowded.  People were everywhere eating ice cream and wandering the shops. It was too crowded to stop. We did stop but we quickly realized it wasn’t for us. Of course right about then I realized I neeeeeeeeeded to use the restroom but there wasn’t a public restroom anywhere. Long gone are the days when you can pop into a Starbucks to find a clean empty restroom. What a nightmare. We drove all over trying to find a place we could stop but nothing seemed safe. Finally we just decided we would head north to the next town: Pismo Beach. There’s got to be something there…

And that is when things got even worse.