Weekend in review: Meeting a blogging friend and taking care of Darwin, a very cold tortoise.

I know I go on a bit about the weather. But this weekend the temperatures were freezing. Literally.  Los Angeles had a record low and although I don’t know how records are established when we have so many individual microclimates, I do know cold when I feel it. So before we took off for a Sunday in Santa Barbara, once again we rolled out the frost cloth.

I also had some concerns for Darwin. It may seem a little odd, but I worry about that guy! When it’s this cold, an African Sulcata Tortoise doesn’t come out to play. Sulcata’s don’t hibernate, so when he gets very still, how do I know if he’s in distress?  He isn’t eating, he doesn’t move about, and his shell feels cold, despite a belly pad and overhead heat lamp.  So I persuaded my bemused husband that it was best if we brought him into the house!

Darwin in kitchen

I promised it was temporary. I still wanted to give him a confined space to allow the spotlight to provide maximum exposure and to hold in the heat.

For the first 24 hours he still didn’t do much. I poked at him just a little bit. I gently knocked on his shell. But into the second day, this is what we found.

Darwin tipping box Darwin spilled box

Seems he is fine after all. He must have warmed up. If he was active enough to move about the box, it was time to go back outdoors and catch a quick meal.

Darwin coming out of box

Darwin eating broccoli

Back to the comforts of his heat lamp. I will try to resist the need to go out and poke him just to see if he moves. A tortoise is very good at hiding his feelings!

Darwin with heat lamp

Garden plants and Darwin all taken care of, we were off the curb!  In December I read about a concert series in three of the missions, and since Santa Barbara is less than two hours from home, we said “all aboard.”

We had plenty on our agenda, but meeting a friend for breakfast was the first order of the day.

Debra and Lori 1

What fun for me to find myself in Santa Barbara with my blogging friend, Lori! Lori is host to Slow Happy Runner. I have enjoyed reading Lori’s blog for more than a year and was delighted to learn that she was going to briefly leave her Pacific Northwest home for a quick visit to Santa Barbara. How about that?

Click the link I’ve provided and you’ll go directly to Lori’s “about” page. I couldn’t begin to introduce her to you nearly as well as she does in telling about her interests and life experiences. She is a tremendously well-rounded and balanced person with such a positive outlook on living and experiencing the fullness of everyday experiences.

Lori has a second blog as well, Slow Happy Living. Slow Happy Living stems from  the first blog with some new additions resulting from more recent and very nice changes in Lori’s life. I hope you’ll pop over and get to know Lori, and I am sure you’ll find a reason to stay and get to know her better.

There is something very special about a personal encounter with a long-distance friend. Jay and I were so pleased to have met Lori for breakfast. And after a couple of hours of good conversation, sharing about ourselves and looking forward to keeping in touch, it was time to go our separate ways.

There were so many things still on our agenda. Santa Barbara is a beautiful city, but I will need to tell you more about that later. I have dozens of photographs yet to organize.

Now it’s time to take on the rest of the week with the same enthusiasm I hold for weekend activity. A little cold, but enthusiastic. That’s me!

Weekend in review–including time with a new friend!

Many of you commented that our weekend plans sounded a bit crowded. You were right. We did enjoy a very full array of interesting activities, but we ran out of time for the Bond movie. That’s been held over for next weekend. I rationalized the change in plans as preferable given opening weekend crowds.

But we did spend several hours in Downtown Los Angeles enjoying the new 12-acre Grand Park. It is special enough to warrant its own post, so I’ll see which of the several dozen photos I want to share! I have a very patient traveling companion–Jay never complains at my meandering.

But the weekend really kicked off Friday with meeting a special friend. I previously teased that I had lunch with a blogging buddy.

Some of you have already “met” Rosie. “Wondering Rose”  is a delightful blog I’ve been following for more than a year so I already knew that Rosie was going to be interesting and someone I would enjoy.

Rosie’s schedule doesn’t permit her to submit multiple weekly posts, but when she does share, there is depth and very rich context. She has shared intimately about her family, including some powerful early childhood memories from her life in South Africa. She loves poetry and frequently contributes works I otherwise would not know. Her stories come from “Wonderings, Wanderings, and meetings at my Museum cash register.”

I really took notice this past spring when she walked The Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain.  What an incredible thing to do!

I could highlight many things about what makes Rosie’s blog interesting, but how much better was it for me to spend time face-to-face!

Roseanne and I had been emailing for months, trying to coordinate our schedules, although she lives only a half hour’s distance. We had a tremendously complicated time trying to coordinate our schedules, but we finally pulled it off!

The minute Rosie walked in we laughed at how unusual it was to meet for the first time, yet immediately feel comfortable. After all, we aren’t strangers. In another era we would be termed “pen pals.” We quickly learned we are within months of being exactly the same age and have many similarities in tastes and points of view. Our perspectives on health and well-being, cultural and political contexts, family and  life are compatible to a degree that surprised us both.

I was also delighted to have a friend as eager as I to eat at Pasadena’s  Real Food Daily, an organic vegan restaurant popular in other Southern California locations but new to Pasadena. I was so happy to learn that we both enjoy a vegan meal–it’s not a first choice with some of my friends.

After a very leisurely lunch we took note that the weather was milder than predicted and quickly headed to the Huntington Library to take a quick peek at a new exhibit, “Just Cause: Voices of the American Civil War.” The Huntington holds a very extensive collection of manuscripts and printed materials  from the Civil War era.

On display are 80 letters, diaries and writings from Northerners and Southerners, including articles belonging to Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, George McClellan as well as soldiers, physicians and others.

We were awed by the number of exhibit articles and absorbed what we could in one visit. This exhibit is a complement to another current exhibit we weren’t able to yet see, “A Strange and Fearful Interest: Death, Mourning, and Memory in the American Civil War”, 150 works by famed war photographers, including Mathew Brady.  The American Civil War is a big topic. We will have to go back to take in the other exhibits.

Walt Whitman’s hospital notebook

During the Civil War, Walt Whitman spent three years caring for the wounded at a Washington hospital.

A Harper’s Weekly Cartoon

The Democratic Convention met in Chicago in late August 1864. The platform, written by the anti-war wing of the party, called for an immediate end to the war. This Thomas Nast cartoon criticizes the Democratic Party by imagining the result of ending the hostilities.

Joseph Warren Revere, wounding of Stonewall Jackson, ca. 1870

Joseph Warren Revere, Union officer and grandson of Paul Revere, witnessed the scene of Jackson’s wounding during his retreat after battle, and sketched the scene from memory.

It’s an exceptionally complete exhibit. I hope this whets the appetite to explore the Huntington. Rosie and I certainly enjoyed it!

I could tell you  many interesting things about Rosie, but I want you to discover more about her on your own. I certainly encourage you to visit over at her blog, and because I was so fascinated with her walk along the Camino, I’ve linked to the first post shared after her return. You can read about that HERE.

Well, a very full weekend is over! I typically use the week to put some time into planning the activities we might want to enjoy the NEXT weekend. But I think I need to slow down. I will be hosting Thanksgiving at our house…that requires a little planning and effort.

And apparently I am feeling a little subconscious stress about all that goes with end-of-the-year activity.

Last night I dreamed I had a calendar glitch and somehow I was “off by two days” and completely unprepared at Christmas.  I was in such a rush playing “catch up.”

I acknowledge it was a wonderful weekend, BUT…

I think I’ll go to work tomorrow to slow down and rest!