Friday, January 3, 2014

up in the air

These are just a few photos I snapped on my phone when flying from Wisconsin to California after Christmas. When flying 30,000 feet even some of the most impressive geographical landmarks seem small.

Snowy rural Wisconsin

A ridge of the Rocky Mountains, near Boulder

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon (first time I had ever seen it)

And a more personal one, Big Bear Lake (site of our wedding next this year)

I'm so glad I picked the window seat on such a clear cross-country flight--I usually go for the aisle since I get claustrophobic once the plane lands.

If you traveled for the holidays, I hope you had a wonderful and safe trip! Hello, 2014!

Monday, November 18, 2013

the lion sleeps tonight

Achieving the status of Best Present Ever, Dane took me to The Shambala Preserve last weekend for my birthday to go on their "Safari Tour" they host one weekend a month. The Shambala Preserve is run by The Roar Foundation, which states its mission as: "To educate the public about exotic animals and to advocate for legislation to protect them. To provide sanctuary for exotic animals who have suffered from gross mistreatment and neglect so they can regain their physical and mental health and live out their lives in dignity." (taken right from their website, here). You can also click on that link to read a beautiful mission statement about the exotic cat trade and Shambala by its founder, Tippi Hedron.

Getting to see these amazing big cats up close felt like such an honor, and I was giddy the entire way to the preserve. My favorite animals, lions, didn't seem quite as excited to have me visit. I don't know how vigorous their morning was, but it seemed that we had arrived just in time for their afternoon naps in the warm sun.

But one guy, Zeus, was awake! Unfortunately, he chose to hang out waaaaaay on the other side of the compound.

The good news was that the tigers and the black leopard were much more active. 

The entire preserve was so well maintained, and all of the workers (mostly volunteers sporting "Proud Parent of _____" adoption pins) exuded such a love and respect for the cats.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oh, hi, Ojai!

It's fitting that this post is about Ojai (pronounced Oh-hi) and that I'm saying hello again to my readers after a bit of a break. What can I say, sometimes life and other things get in the way of writing things on the internet; I'm not going to beat myself up about it. But, welcome back!

This trip was in celebration of Dane's birthday this past month. We love taking little day trips out of the city, so the small town of Ojai was a perfect little getaway. Our first stop was the pumpkin patch (a little bit of an upgrade from the pumpkin patch in a parking lot that we visited last year). This one had actual grass and big, beautiful trees!

After the pumpkin patch, we walked to the farmer's market and up and down the Arcade, an outdoor shopping area full of boutiques and small art galleries. We wound up at Bart's Books, a large outdoor bookstore--right up our alley!

All of the book browsing and pumpkin picking had someone a little tuckered out...

And we ended our day with an al fresco dinner during the famous Ojai sunset that bounces its color off of the surrounding mountains, followed by a peaceful drive home. Sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves of the small town life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

...from God

This is the promised Part II of the Santa Barbara Mission. After the mission itself and the graveyard, the path leads back inside to a lovely little Spanish style chapel and mini-museum showcasing the daily life of a monk at the mission. Displays always pique the interest of my inner anthropologist.

I loved these brushes because they look like a line of little hedgehogs!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

we're on a mission...

Visiting a place where time seems to stand still is so refreshing. It seems we are constantly on the go, constantly checking emails and facebook, and constantly falling into the "I'm so busy" trap. There are a couple of things I do to try to combat this-- not having a smart phone is a major one-- but taking little trips on my days off makes me forget about the bills and unanswered emails for a while and focuses my energy on seeing some amazing things less than a few hours away.

The Santa Barbara Mission was a stop on our little trip to Santa Barbara, and it is one of those places where time is suspended as you wander through the grounds. The mission is a charming mix of sacred and haunting, yet inviting and joyful.

The grounds and graveyeard lead to a still active chapel and a small museum that features items from the brothers' daily lives--I'll be sharing that in my next post!

Hope you're having a wonderful week!