Author Archives: Donna Greene

Santa Claus Beach, photo by Donna Greene

Beachin’ it

Santa Claus Beach

My broth­er and sis­ter-in-law came to San­ta Bar­bara to drop off their ‘baby,’ Sarah, who is attend­ing UCSB. While they were here, we got some good time in at the beach, one of the things they miss most about mov­ing away many years ago. Here are a few cap­tures of the day.

 

Passengers loading a jet

40 Genius Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever

School has start­ed, and that’s when a lot of peo­ple pre­fer to trav­el… when the sum­mer vaca­tion­ers go home and it’s less crowd­ed out there.

I don’t trav­el all that fre­quent­ly, but I found these trav­el tips real­ly great. Some are com­mon sense, but oth­ers I wouldn’t have known. For one, I like #20 since I tend to get motion sick, and I didn’t know that the tur­bu­lence fac­tor dif­fers depend­ing on where you are in the plane. We sort of fig­ured out #22 last time we were on a trip and dri­ving from place to place with­out wifi or data turned on. #31 is cool. And #35! I use Pho­to­shop, but I had no idea about that one. There are some excel­lent tips here. See what you think.

Designer not artist

The difference between designers and artists

I ran across this arti­cle this morn­ing and have to share. It hits the nail on the head. There is a large per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion that doesn’t know the dif­fer­ence (and a few design­ers I’ve run across that don’t seem to get it either). Most peo­ple don’t under­stand that we are, first and fore­most, prob­lem solvers. Not on some mis­sion to ‘leave our mark’ with every job we take on. It’s about pre­sent­ing the best solu­tion in each indi­vid­ual case for each indi­vid­ual client.

If you’re unsure whether or not you know the dif­fer­ence, please take a minute to read this short arti­cle…

Your design­ers are not artists and you need to stop think­ing that way.

Thumbtack

Awhile back, I signed up with Thumb­tack as means of adding new busi­ness. They have lots of cat­e­gories for peo­ple look­ing to have work done, and I think it could be a fruit­ful part­ner­ship. As an design­er, I bid for jobs that Thumb­tack sends me as pos­si­ble job match­es. I input my rate or an flat fee esti­mate and my bid is sub­mit­ted to the cus­tomer. It also works for pos­si­ble music/band-relat­ed gigs. I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what comes of it.

My Thumb­tack pro­file

Hiking Edwards Crossing, South Yuba River

Edward’s Crossing, South Yuba River

My daugh­ter moved to Egypt two years ago and hadn’t been back to vis­it since. But that changed this month. She wasn’t able to bring both kids — imag­ine two hyper kids on an 18-or-so-hour trip — but brought her youngest, Abdu. We trav­eled up to gold coun­try to see fam­i­ly and took the most amaz­ing hike. We even had my mom with us, who turns 80 in Octo­ber. It was a very spe­cial time spent togeth­er, for all of us.

Trea­sure time spent with loved ones. We can’t be with them all the time or always.

Gordes

Provence

Isle sur la Sorgue

Isle sur la Sorgue

Catapault at Les Baux

Cat­a­pault at Les Baux

Cheese vendors

Cheese ven­dors

Taking a nap on the barge

Tak­ing a nap on the barge

Life in St. Remy

Life in St. Remy

Well, we did it. We went back to France this year. I think it’s start­ing to become an addic­tion.

We stayed in the south of France, main­ly Provence. I hadn’t real­ly been to this part of the world before, so it was a real adven­ture and we cov­ered a lot of ter­ri­to­ry. To the left is Isle sur la Sorgue, where they have a ‘bro­cante’ or flea mar­ket every Sun­day. The items for sale on one side of the riv­er are nice antiques, sil­ver­ware, linens and the like while the ven­dors on the oth­er side sell inex­pen­sive cloth­ing, bags, food, and basi­cal­ly cheap stuff.

One place I high­ly rec­om­mend if you’re ever in the area is Les Baux. Plan to spend most of the day explor­ing this his­toric site, then catch the Car­rières de Lumières after­ward in the near­by quar­ry. ‘Klimt and Vien­na’ and ‘Invis­i­bles Cities’ were play­ing when we were there.

We went to the out­door mar­kets in sev­er­al towns and they sell the most amaz­ing local fruits and veg­eta­bles, olives, soaps, hats, cloth­ing, and laven­der. The sights, smells, and sounds are so invit­ing. The French real­ly know how to live. They would gath­er around lit­tle tables at lunchtime for a glass of wine and share some food. Very friend­ly and warm.

Then there were the many cas­tles, vine­yards, laven­der fields, and roads with cir­cles just about every time you blink. And the food. Oh, the food… We stopped to get gas one after­noon and found a place serv­ing food. Real­ly good food. At a gas sta­tion. And espres­sos. Real­ly good espres­so, not your 7–11 crap. How great is that?

We were hap­py to be able to stay with some friends, which was the real high­light. We also stayed sev­er­al places that we found through Airbnb. It was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet some new friends. We even stayed on a barge one night and met some real char­ac­ters who we hope will come vis­it us one day.

We made a road trip, which by Cal­i­for­nia stan­dards isn’t a big deal. It was only about three hours. We drove to Nice and met an online friend who has a music stu­dio he built there. It was great to final­ly meet up in per­son. The ocean off the coast of Nice is an amaz­ing shade of aqua. It was a windy day, and watch­ing those waves crash­ing and the palm trees blow­ing was a mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence.

Barn owl nesting box

Helping out the owl population

In ref­er­ence to my post in Feb­ru­ary, I decid­ed that to keep the rodent pop­u­la­tion under con­trol, it would be nice to have a barn owl nest­ing box on the prop­er­ty. Luck­i­ly, ‘I know a guy’ who was will­ing and able to build it. We hope to have many owlets born in this cool lit­tle pad.

If you are look­ing to build one your­self, here’s a great resource that has all the info you need: http://www.scvas.org/pdf/cbrp/BuildingBarnOwlBoxes.pdf. You can also buy them, but I can’t guar­an­tee that they will be fur­nished with all the right accou­trements need­ed for the sur­vival of the barn owl pair and owlets.

Dead wood

Dead wood

One of the chal­lenges that we’ve tak­en on around here is the clear­ing of our prop­er­ty. Cal­i­for­nia is suf­fer­ing quite a drought and liv­ing a bit out-in-the-sticks, in a canyon no less, can be a bit scary to say the least. So clear­ing dead wood and brush is always a good idea. It’s been quite a project.

One of the ben­e­fits is that the hawks and owls have been hang­ing around more since it’s easy pick­ins’… there’s basi­cal­ly nowhere for the rodents to hide.  I cer­tain­ly have no objec­tion, since the varmints have eat­en most of what I’ve plant­ed. Yes, what the gophers don’t get from under­neath, the chip­munks, squir­rels, rab­bits, and an occa­sion­al deer take care of. There are also mice and rats around these parts. And they’re all pret­ty cute until your invest­ment in time, effort and mon­ey is wiped out basi­cal­ly overnight. And fruit trees ain’t cheap, I can tell ya!

And of course, oth­er ben­e­fits are fire­wood and wood chips. And those cer­tain­ly come in handy.

Loon Point, photo by Donna Greene

New beginnings

Hap­py New Year! I took this pho­to on my walk New Year’s Day. I try not to go over­board on New Year’s res­o­lu­tions, but I do love a new begin­ning and the hope and promise that it inspires. Here’s to new begin­nings and being our best selves.