Talk about penny wise…

This is a post where I throw my husband under the bus. He wasn’t “pound foolish,” but rather flat out plain foolish. I know I wrote that I wasn’t going to complain about my husband ever again in this post, but that was so last week.

sunrise in the Sonoran desert reflected in swimming pool
Our first sunrise back at home.

We drove eight hours from Santa Barbara to our Arizona home on Saturday. The car hadn’t been driving as smoothly as it normally does. Anytime we got close to 80 mph it shook. It’s never done that before. But we managed to keep it in the 70s and we had an amazing drive home without hitting traffic.

Now for the penny wise part. After we unloaded the car, I noticed the right rear tire had gone flat. I had taken the car into the dealership twice — once for servicing last month and for a recall days before our trip. I was told both times that we needed to replace the two back tires. The first time I was told this, I called my husband. I didn’t trust the dealership because one, I’m a woman, and two, some dealerships try to upsell you. The being a woman thing in my experience is that I don’t know enough about cars and mechanics and dealerships can take advantage of that.

So I relied on my husband. He said the tires were fine. He didn’t want to spend the money — the penny wise part.

We were too tired to deal with the tire after our eight-hour drive on Saturday. We called Triple A Sunday morning to change the tire. The spare tire turned out to be a little skinny thing I call “the donut tire.” Triple A came three and a half hours later. My husband said when he saw the back tire, he was shocked. It was down to metal without tread! That was on the inside of the tire where he didn’t check it — obviously — when he told me we didn’t need new tires.

We called Costco and other tire stores and NOBODY had our tires. They said it was a supply chain issue. Service at the dealership was closed.

Last night, I noticed the donut tire and left rear tire were both losing air. I called the dealership this morning at 7 a.m. and the service person said they didn’t have the tires either! I called back and asked to order tires and the guy in the parts said they DID have the tires.

I told my husband I’d follow him to the dealership. He pumped up the donut tire and put in “fix a flat” and pumped up the left rear tire with a bicycle pump!

I prayed as I followed him for 25 minutes to the dealership, watching the tires get lower as he drove.

I was shaking when we finally made it. I am so thankful we didn’t have a blow out during our eight-hour drive home from California. It could have happened anytime — on the freeway through Los Angeles — or in the desert in 110 plus heat without any cell service. We could have been stuck anywhere along the way with NO tires for days. As annoying and inconvenient as the past two days were, we are safe and it could have been a whole lot worse.

green desert views after monsoons
It must have rained while we were gone. The desert is so lush and green. Even the hillsides are green.

Have you or a family member ever been penny wise and pound foolish? In what ways? Would you do things differently if you had a chance? Have you had any experience with car dealerships or mechanics taking advantage of your lack of car knowledge?

California Day Trip to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach sign at the entrance to the pier.
The Pismo Beach sign at the pier.

Yesterday we drove up the coast to Pismo Beach. My husband, who is third generation Californian has never been there. I’ve never been there, either. It’s only an hour and a half drive north from Santa Barbara and we’ve always talked about exploring it. The drive is easy on the 101 along the Pacific Ocean to Gaviota. Then the highway goes inland through horse country and vineyards.

The boardwalk downtown Pismo Beach.
The boardwalk to the pier downtown Pismo Beach.

There’s a huge state park, lots of RVs and campers. Cars can drive on the sand along the ocean. We walked around downtown and walked out on the pier. We found a restaurant called Splash Cafe that had lines of more than 20 people at all times. It looked great for chowder and fish and chips and had plenty of outdoor seating. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry at the time we spotted it. By the time we were ready for lunch, we were in another town and stopped at a place recommended by friends. It was one of only two times we’ve paid the bill and walked out after taking a few bites.

Although I love the beach and the spectacular views from the pier, I felt so so about Pismo Beach. I think it was the strong wind from the ocean. Also, there’s a hodgepodge of industrial, farming and residential all mixed together. There were some cute beachy residential areas, but all in all, I like Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara more. Also Ventura and Laguna Beach.

Not LA, Not the Bay sign on surf shop.
Funny sign on a surf shop in Pismo Beach.
Pismo sign on a building downtown.
Downtown Pismo.
View of the ocean and beach from Pismo Beach pier.
Beach view from the pier.
The pier in Pismo Beach
The pier in Pismo Beach.

I’m glad we made the trip. It’s fun to explore new areas and see new sights.

Where is a new place you’ve recently visited?

Did you love it or did you want to leave it?

Evacuation and vaccinations in the news

Summerland beach park. Palm and ocean views.
Photo from the park above the beach in Summerland.

While on vacation, I couldn’t help but hear the words evacuation and vaccinations repeatedly. I thought to myself, evacuation, vacation, vaccination. What do they all have in common? They contain “VAC.” I decided to see if there’s a connection of meaning behind the three words.

From Miriam Webster online:

Definition of evacuation

1: the act or process of evacuating 2: something evacuated or discharged

Definition of vaccine

1: a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious agent or disease: such as a: an antigenic preparation of a typically inactivated or attenuated (see ATTENUATED sense 2) pathogenic agent (such as a bacterium or virus) or one of its components or products (such as a protein or toxin)a trivalent influenza vaccineoral polio vaccineMany vaccines are made from the virus itself, either weakened or killed, which will induce antibodies to bind and kill a live virus. Measles vaccines are just that, weakened (or attenuated) measles viruses.— Ann Finkbeiner et al.… a tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine might be recommended for wound management in a pregnant woman if [greater than or equal to] 5 years have elapsed … .— Mark Sawyer et al.In addition the subunit used in a vaccine must be carefully chosen, because not all components of a pathogen represent beneficial immunological targets.— Thomas J. Matthews and Dani P. Bolognesi b: a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein)… Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine … works by injecting a small piece of mRNA from the coronavirus that codes for the virus’ spike protein. … mRNA vaccine spurs the body to produce the spike protein internally. That, in turn, triggers an immune response.— Susie Neilson et al.The revolutionary messenger RNA vaccines that are now available have been over a decade in development. … Messenger RNA enters the cell cytoplasm and produces protein from the spike of the Covid-19 virus.— Thomas F. CozzaViral vector vaccines, another recent type of vaccine, are similar to DNA and RNA vaccines, but the virus’s genetic information is housed in an attenuated virus (unrelated to the disease-causing virus) that helps to promote host cell fusion and entry.— Priya Kaur

NOTE: Vaccines may contain adjuvants (such as aluminum hydroxide) designed to enhance the strength and duration of the body’s immune response. 2: a preparation or immunotherapy that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against noninfectious substances, agents, or diseasesThe U.S. Army is also testing a ricin vaccine and has reported success in mice.— Sue Goetinck Ambrose… many of the most promising new cancer vaccines use dendritic cells to train the immune system to recognize tumor cells.— Patrick Barry

Definition of vacation

 1: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. I had a restful vacation at the beach 2a: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee 3: a respite or a time of respite from something INTERMISSION 4: an act or an instance of vacating

vac
This ROOT-WORD is VAC which comes from the Latin vocare which means TO EMPTY. There seems to be a difference between our ideas of VACancy and the continental idea of the same word. To us VACant means EMPTY, exactly as the Latin Root says. To the French and British it means freedom from the job, time off from the job.

After doing more searches online, I’ve discovered that vaccine comes from the Latin vacca, the root word for cow — not vac for empty. Here’s a tidbit of information I found interesting:

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner infected a young boy with cowpox. Later, when he injected the child with the deadly smallpox virus, he did not get sick. And thus, the first vaccine was born, saving millions of lives and immortalizing cows in public health. (The word vaccine is derived from the Latin word vacca for “cow.”) Or so the legend goes. But the story is probably wrong, according to a report published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. That’s because the vaccine used to prevent smallpox was likely horsepox, not cowpox, researchers say. The latest bit of evidence comes from the historic containers above, which held a smallpox vaccine

Why the word ‘vaccine’ is probably all wrong

In conclusion, the only thing vaccinations and evacuations have in common is the wall to wall coverage in the news. Vacation and evacuation do share the same root word and are all about vacating.

Do you have any thoughts on vaccinations, evacuations or vacation? Two out of three are hot topics. If you want to share your opinions, I’m open to hearing them.

A taste of the Santa Barbara Harbor

One of the best things about beach vacations to me is fresh seafood. For more than 30 years, we’ve gone to a restaurant with fresh, fresh seafood in Santa Barbara. It’s called Brophy Bros. and it overlooks the boats at the Marina.

steamed clams at Brophy's Santa Barbara
Linguine and clams at Brophy Bros. at the marina in Santa Barbara

Brophy’s added a small taco shop with outdoor tables downstairs called On the Alley.

Whenever we’re in Santa Barbara we stop at On the Alley. This past trip we went twice for fish tacos. And we took our good friends to Brophy Bros. to treat them to dinner after enjoying many of their home-cooked meals. They introduced us to the restaurant in the early 1990s!

Yesterday, my husband and I went to the Farmer’s Market and had a hankering for a fish taco. On the Alley had a huge line out the door to order. They had people milling around in droves waiting for picnic tables to sit. They held on to their order numbers, hoping to to sit down before the food arrived. I saw some people sitting on the curb.

wave crashing at breakwall Santa Barbara marina
A wave crashing over the breakwall at the Santa Barbara Marina. We walk here after meals.

My husband suggested going upstairs to the main Brophy’s restaurant. The hostess stationed at the bottom of the stairs told us it would be an hour wait for a table. But the bar was first come first serve.

Guess what? Two seats smack in the center of the bar — complete with open air marina views — were ours! We each had a cup of chowder and split an order of fish and chips. My year-long quest for the best fish and chips is over! The fish was piping hot, moist, delicious and the batter was light, crunchy and not heavy.

View from the Brophy Brothers bar
View from the bar at Brophy’s Santa Barbara where we had cups of chowder and fish and chips.

Well worth the wait — but even better without it.

Do you have favorite restaurants to go to on vacation? Or certain food you savor? What are they?

Baja fish tacos from On the Alley.
Sunset at the harbor.

A taste of the Farmers’ Market in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Farmer's Market Rocking Chair Farm Markets fruit stand.
I bought white peaches and yellow nectarines here. They are so delicious, they are beyond words.
Bright red tomatoes at the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
Gorgeous tomatoes.
rainbow of colors of eggplants and peppers
The colors of peppers and eggplants are worth painting.
Avocado stand in the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
An abundance of avocados. I took them for granted in California. They are not so available in Arizona.
bright orange dragonfruit
My dear friend from Singapore introduced me to dragonfruit. I’ve never seen it in a market before.
The didgeridoo is a sacred Australian Aborigine instrument. Our friends say this woman has been playing at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market for years.
The Farmers Market in Santa Barbara.

Do you have a farmer’s market near you? I do in Arizona and had one in Palm Springs. But the Santa Barbara one is by far the best. Well, second best to the Pike Place Market in Seattle. What are your favorite things about Farmer’s Markets? What do you like to buy?

A vacation to recover from vacation?

Carpinteria State Beach, known as the world’s safest beach.

I am guilty of over planning vacations. I did this when I was first married and my husband and I would leave Palm Springs to return to my home state of Washington. I’d bring my Daytimer with me and schedule visits with friends and relatives — sometimes on the half hour.

Honestly, I’m not that bad anymore. But this year, after moving from our former home of 28 years in December 2020, we decided to stop for two days in Palm Springs. It’s on the way to the coast after all. We stayed with my dad, took him out to dinner and spent the next morning with him. My husband had meetings with his boss and met with others (they’re still working remotely). These were the first in-person encounters since March 2020. I visited with one of my former swim parents who remains a close friend. I got my hair done by my hairdresser who needs to move to Arizona. That’s a lot to pack into the “start to our vacation.”

Once at the coast, our VRBO was still 24 hours away. We stopped in with other dear friends that we haven’t seen in a year. We had dinner with them, spent the night and hung out until check-in time.

FINALLY — we made it into our VRBO and said “Whew! It’s time for vacation.” My husband set up his remote station and immediately the phone began to ring. It’s his “week off” which turned into days of driving, meetings and no down time. The rest of the time he’ll be working remotely.

I had scheduled an interview. It’s for a story I’m writing about a swim mom of a 14-year-old who is breaking Missy Franklin’s records. I figured if my husband is working, I can squeeze a little work in, too.

Then I got an invitation to a luncheon tomorrow. My friend said I have to go because it’s in a historical landmark and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told her I can’t go because although I packed a few sundresses, I only brought a pair of flip flops and running shoes. She told me either one is fine. I begged to differ for a fancy ladies’ luncheon. She told me to check out the two boutiques in Summerland, which are two blocks from our VRBO.

I told her they wouldn’t have my size. I have very big feet for a 5’4″ frame. Guess what? I found two pairs of sandals that fit. They are a bit dressier than my beach flip flops, but probably not dressy enough. I’ll be gone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. We have dinner scheduled with friends tonight and over the weekend.

When is it truly vacation? What is vacation? I’m ready for the beach and a good book. I’ve brought a stack of them. If I keep up at this rate, I’ll need a vacation from my vacation. Maybe after a year of mostly solitude, being with friends and family is the vacation?

How do you vacation? Do you over schedule? Or are you able to check out and relax?

Driftwood condos at the beach

beach shelter made from driftwood
One of the structures I see during my beach walks.

Somebody is definitely having fun at the beach located down the street from our vacation VRBO. I’ve seen these structures made from driftwood for years, but this year they are more elaborate than ever. The largest oceanfront “condo” has many carved signs and figurines that weren’t there last summer.

figure made from seaweed and driftwood
One of the residents guarding the entrance to his beachfront condo.

This is the most elaborate of the beach condos complete with flags and signs.

Yesterday, my husband and I walked on Carpinteria State Beach for a morning walk. We noticed a for sale sign and open house at a condo complex on the sand. We went in and the place was gorgeous, but it faced the street. It had a peek-a-boo ocean view from the master bedroom. The price tag was $4 million with an HOA of $1,000 per month for the concrete sidewalks and steps.

View from the $4 million condo.
View from the driftwood condos.

I think I’ll take the views from the artistic, fun driftwood condos instead. How about you? Of course, there are lots more creature comfort amenities in the civilized condo. But still…