What a day to play means

We get so few of these. I was talking with my mom who mentioned she had to schedule a time to talk with her daughters. When did we get to the point that we have to ‘pencil mom in’?

I’m nearly 50 and the last decade has been trying to say the least. Between the recession, our move to California (don’t call it Cali, we Californians hate that just so you know), and moving from a beloved work at home job to a cubicle again it’s been seriously awful. Of course, awful goes only so far as you let it. We have to take responsibility for our own happiness. Every. Single. Day.

So, this weekend we got to have a day (OK an afternoon, but who’s counting?) to play.

We explored a park we hadn’t had time to really SEE before. Mr. Man was game enough to give me a little leeway but of course, the surf was high and the sailing was a no-go. Since he didn’t have any better ideas, we went with this one.

Folks, it’s ‘winter’ and we have blooming bougainvillea here.

Bougainvillea in 'winter'

Bougainvillea single blossom

Bougainvillea blossoms


There was a pond and little waterfalls and bridges and ducks!

Pond park ducks

Sleepy ducks with turtles

Pond ducks and turtles

Does this look like really huge dill to you? This was rising over my head by many feet.

Crazy dill-looking plant

According to this weird talking box – push the button!

Talking box in the park

The tree above it is a gingko tree. The leaves are green-to-gold-to-orange-to-red


Then, there was this crazy tree with spines and flowers

Spine flower tree

We had some lunch guacomole and margaritas and walked to the wharf where we got to meet this guy

Pelican bird on wharf

Saw a sunset over the boats



If you come to see me, you’ll be introduced to many of these – compasses. It’s for a very good reason. I struggled with directional challenges – more than usual – when I first moved here and this is why. Santa Barbara is weirdly positioned on the California coast. While most of the coast can say that left is west, we say that left is south. Take a look at a map to see what I’m talking about but when you look at the ocean from the Santa Barbara coast you aren’t looking west, you’re looking south. It’s really hard to get used to – that’s why we have a bunch of compasses on the ground across the city.

Compass on the wharf

It’s the ideal way to identify locals though. Ask any person, “which way is west” and if they point at the ocean, they’re not locals. That means you can’t trust them for directions. 🙂

Looking south

Therein lies the value in a day to play … finding new ways to figure out who is local and who is not. It’s harder than it looks here.


fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!

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