Monday, September 22, 2014

California Visit Part II

Continuing with my trip recap:  The next day Barbara had to teach all day, so Debby very kindly came down for a visit!  I like the way she thinks - she wanted to drive to Pacific Grove (right near Monterey) to go to a favorite yarn store and quilt store.  Of course, we had to have breakfast first; we went to the same place as the last time she met up with me, Kelly's Bakery.  My only complaint about that place is that they have too many choices!  But, we managed, haha.  Then we were on the road to Pacific Grove, which is about an hour's drive south along the coast.  The weather was beautiful and naturally, we were chatting the entire time - I love that an internet friend has become such a good in-person friend!
At Monarch Knitting - a beautiful store with really nice staff.  Wish this one was closer to me!

My haul:
Sweet canvas project bag, Madelinetosh pashmina in Citrus (I was drawn to the orange, unusual for me, but I went with it), Madelinetosh Vintage in Coquette (berry), and Malabrigo Rios in Indiecita (my favorite colorway).  Plus needles and a pattern so I could start on the orange right away!

We also found a bakery there and tested out their products, but weren't as impressed as what we can get at Kelly's.  Then we went on to the quilt store, Back Porch Fabric, where Debby shopped like the true quilter that she is...and I even managed to choose some fun fabrics to make more project bags:
I guess you could say I am a fan of COLOR!

Once we finished up, we drove back to Santa Cruz and had a late lunch/early dinner at Kelly's.  Yep...we ate there twice.  Hey, why mess with perfection?  Plus we needed a little redemption treat after the meh ones in Pacific Grove (which neither of us finished - yay for some conscious eating, right?).

The next day Barbara and I had lunch on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where I saw my first in-the-ocean whale!  For real - its entire body surfaced above the water!!!  It was an awesome sight.  Of course I don't have a picture of that, but here's some sea lions that were sunbathing under the wharf:
And here's me, with the Boardwalk in the background (and a seagull getting a little too close to my head, if you ask me).

We then went on an adventure - a work friend had mentioned to Barbara that she bought succulents at a nursery in Watsonville for $1 each, which is ridiculously cheap.  So, aided by Google maps, we set out for this place.  It was a wholesale nursery but they had a sign out front that said they sell to the public.  There were a couple cars around, but no employees to be seen.  With a little trepidation, we parked the car, walked by a gigantic pile of potting soil (a good place to hide a body, I thought) and into the first very rustic greenhouse...which was filled, floor to ceiling, with trash.  Like, it was so crammed with trash that it was a permanent thing!  There was the narrowest of paths amid the trash, so we kept going, and came to a second greenhouse.  It was really overgrown, but we could see succulents a few rows over, so we went inside.  We were squeezing through the rows of plants and I made Barbara stop for a picture:
About two seconds after this, I was following her when suddenly WHAP WHAP - something hit my legs and it started stinging!  I looked down and saw this crazy green plant that I'd just walked through - it was stinging nettles.  OUCH.  Barbara hadn't noticed them because she was wearing jeans, but I was in capris, so my legs were more exposed.  Needless to say, I was done going down those aisles!  My legs had a bunch of welts on them - it look like I'd had many TB tests done.  The stings kept firing for about half an hour or so - similar to a jellyfish sting. 

Anyway, I stayed on the perimeter while Barbara finished going through this greenhouse.  When she got to the end, guess what we found?  A much more normal greenhouse.  Not overgrown, with no stinging nettle plants growing wild on the ground!  Doh!  Anyway, she ended up with a ton of plants for $25, so the adventure was worth the burn.

That evening, while Theresa was at her piano lesson, we walked along West Cliff Drive, where we got another whale show!  I lived in California for 29 years and went to the beach many, many times, but I've never seen whales before this visit!  Barbara said that the Monterey Bay Aquarium has been working on ocean conservation, and I'd say that it's paying off nicely!  I aimed my phone at the area where we were seeing the spouts coming from the water and tried to take some pictures, but honestly, I was really just looking with my eyes at the water (and not through a camera) so I only came away with a couple of semi-decent shots:
 
 See the spouts?!  Two whales!
 They were moving down the coast.

What I didn't get pictures of, but saw with my own eyes and will never forget, was the whales playfully flipping their tails out of the water, their dorsal fins coming up, and finally, spectacularly, I saw them come out of the water, head-first, mouths open - and it was amazing!  I even saw their white undersides!  It was like we were all watching a fireworks show, with everyone around us going "OOOH and AHHH" when this happened!  What a super special treat!

I'll leave you with this - and will be back with the last of my trip recap on Friday.  Thanks for reading through what basically is the internet version of vacation slides...I can't be the only one who remembers sitting through those as a child, right?

29 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying yiur vacation "slides":). Sounds like it was a fun trip.

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  2. Such a great trip and how fun you got to see Debby again.

    And those whales are so special. Needless to say I have never seen them in real life either but that's also because they don't live here. I've seen them in the zoo and they are amazing. What a special treat for you.

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    1. The whales in the ocean were just so cool. I am still in awe over it!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures with us. How cool to see whales up close.
    What are you knitting now? I am working on my first knitted sweater which seems to be endless:)

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    1. Kudos to you for knitting a sweater - that is a BIG BIG project! I'm working on a little shawlette - it's super cute, with a leaf design on the edge. I need to get some other projects going soon...Ravelry, here I come!

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  4. Slide shows!! We loved having our family slide shows!

    Wow!! All the whale sightings! I can't ever remember seeing a whale in the ocean either. One of these years, I'll go down when its supposed to be the best time--oh, I guess it must be early September!

    Your collections from the yarn store and the fabric store are outstanding! I see you started that pattern--do you like it?

    That nursery seems kind of creepy. You guys were brave to keep going!

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    1. Barbara said she's been seeing whales all summer - I guess they never really left this year? Anyway, you definitely need to go down and see them!!

      I started the loopy pattern twice - kept thinking the loops were backwards. Finally, after my 4th loop, I decided to knit something less mentally taxing, so I frogged it and am now making a leafy shawlette, which is going great. I'll do that loop pattern when my brain is less crazed.

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    2. Yeah, now I remember, those loops! I think I kept looking at the picture and finally got it. I think there's a video too, but I never looked at it because it probably shows right handed.

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  5. Very much enjoying your vacation recap & pics! Looks like you had lots of fun - as what vacations are to be. As a child, I stepped in stinging nettle, and I remember to this day the pain from that....OUCH!! BTW, glad to have you back at run club.

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  6. So much awesomeness, love your "vacation slides!" Whales! Fabrics! Stinging Nettles! Bakeries!

    Though I think my favorite takeaway of all it the notion that yeah, a giant pile of potting soil would be an excellent place to hide a body!

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    1. Really, with that thought, I can't believe we went inside. My self-defense instructor would be upset that I didn't follow my gut.

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  7. Well, I love your vacation slides! So glad you went and had a great time - California is on my bucket list - never been!

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    1. You should enter a recipe contest out there!

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  8. I love your vacation shots!!!! (and the words "knit and be happy" on that bag, well, it makes me happy....and I don't know how to knit! :) ) Wanna hear my stinging nettle story? In a nutshell, hiking while camping with former manfriend many years ago. Had to pee. Ducked into bushes. Squatted on nettles. Instant (and completely natural) birth control! You're welcome! Have a great week Shelley!

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    1. Oh Roz. I have no words for your stinging nettles experience!!!

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  9. LOLOL. I read " I saw my first in-the-ocean whale! " at the same time I saw the photo and I thought "ummmm .. Shelley? Those are sea lions". Imagine my relief when I read 3 sentences further. I would have been squealing over the whale sightings. What a fun vacation.

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    1. Glad I could make you laugh with the whale/sea lion confusion! :)

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  10. You got to see Debby twice?? Wahhh!!

    I love the whale shots. Seeing a whale in the wild is on my bucket list.

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    1. Yep, twice in one year. I am a lucky girl. :)

      And seeing the whales, just offshore, was so, so amazing. Definitely felt like I happened to be at the right place at the right time!

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  11. I enjoyed CA part 2; I always enjoy your travelogues. :) travelblogs..
    Oh my word to the wholesale greenhouse, you two!! Bhahaha to the mound of potting soil! (Yikes, autocorrect to "potting soul"....!) How creepy!!
    And the Jumanji pic of Barbara made me laugh.
    I'm really wondering how you found someone to take Barbara's money. Did they startle you? Was the person as mysterious as the place felt?! So funny.
    Chrissy

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    1. Travelblogs - love it. And potting soul? Very nearly!! ;)

      We were wondering if we'd ever find someone to pay - I figured if we got the plants out to her trunk w/o anyone approaching for money, she could just leave a $20 under a rock and call it good.

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    2. Hahahaha I was going to ask if you put the $ under a rock!

      [One time here in Lancaster County, PA I had a repair done, & the owner did tell me to put the $ under a rock! (On a table) For real.]

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  12. I like reading about other people's vacations and seeing their slides - gives me ideas of where I might want to go, or at least lets me visit vicariously!

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  13. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU SAW WALES!! I think I would cry if I ever saw them for reals!

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