30 November 2007

People are talking about the weather in California

Recently the university paper had a comic strip about the fact that people are talking about the weather here in California these days. Talking about the weather isn't the least bit out of the ordinary for a couple of Danes like us (which is why we're bringing it here) - but there has actually been occasion to talk about the weather. When Heidie and Mads came to visit us recently the weather looked like this (and no, that is not a black-and-white photo!):

Thick, thick fog - we could see neither the ocean nor the mountains from here where we live. Some afternoons the fog cleared up enough for us to see that the sun was somewhere up above.. so there was hope.

The week after that the sun came back. Very much indeed. So much that it was too warm to sit out in the sun and eat lunch. We're doing our best to enjoy this kind of November weather; we saw how the forecast told of snow in Geneva during this same period...

It is a little fall like here though. We found at least one tree on campus that has changed it's color:

27 November 2007

SB is for Santa Barbara

Lisbeth recently discovered that the ’alphabet crime novels’, by Sue Grafton, actually take place here in Santa Barbara. Her curiosity was peaked and Lisbeth had the first book in the series ordered - an easily read but still quite entertaining little book, not least of course due to the (recognizable) descriptions of places.

Grafton has her private detective, Kinsey Millhone, live in the city 'Santa Teresa', but the descriptions of the town itself and such neighborhoods as 'Montebello' and 'Horton Ravine' fit quite accurately for both Santa Barbara and the neighborhoods of Montecito and Hope Ranch, respectively. Furthermore, lots of other places in the area occur by their own 'real' names (amongst others Lompoc, Ventura, and Thousand Oaks).

So if anyone feels like reading a fictional description of our area, don't hesitate to go get A is for Alibi at the library.

If Lisbeth is going to make it all the way through the alphabet isn't known at this point - so far books up to T have been published. But she is tempted to read more, if nothing else to see if the city continues to be described in the same indirect fashion.

22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

A Melon on The Ceiling

Recently we were informed that workers would come to install new lamps in and around our apartment. This was supposed to improve the safety and reduce the power consumption. The first thing we noticed was that the new lamps are quite a bit stronger than the old ones. For example, one now has the impression that you could shoot a movie in our bathroom.

We were told that the new lamp on our patio was equipped with a sensor, so that we shouldn't ever need to turn it off using the switch. Naively we of course assumed this meant a motion sensor, so that the lamp would come on if/when we made any moves on the patio after dark. It turned it was simply a light intensity sensor, meaning that the lamp was on all night long - very good for cutting back on the power consumption, right?! ... but now we did turn it off at the switch as also this lamp gave a ludicrously bright light.

The new lamp on the ceiling in our kitchen/living room area also is somewhat brighter than the old one, but much more remarkable is that it now appears as if we have a giant, milky white mammary on the ceiling in the middle of the room...

15 November 2007

More about our election day

Now that the election is over in Denmark it's about time we tell a little more about or voting-trip.

Due to Halloween we wanted to back in SB before too late, but we did manage to get a little more out of the time in LA than just our visit to the consulate.

We decided to use this opportunity to visit the Page Museum. Where Hancock Park is located today there was around the time of the last ice age an asphalt pool. In warm times the asphalt was soft enough to trap several animals over the years. The area was untouched untill around the year 1900, and during the past century several thousand fossils have been uncovered here, amongst others mastodons, mammoths and saber-toothed cats. It was a nicely organized museum with a nice exhibit and the option of seeing a scientist working (!) but unfortunately we didn't actually take any pictures of how big the mastodons were.

The museum building itself is rather interesting too. It's located as a box on top of a small hill and all the way around the building there's images of ice age landscapes and animals cut in the stone - perhaps this can be seen in the picture.

We found it an interesting coincidence that the Danish consulate and the Page museum is located on the same street, but since some streets are very long in LA this was still two different neighbourhoods - with Beverly Hills located between them.

13 November 2007

Sideways blogging

After our trip to LA we suddenly realized that Heidie and Mads would arrive one week earlier than we were expecting. Together we spent the Saturday hanging out in Goleta and Santa Barbara, but Sunday a car was rented. We drove over the mountains to the Santa Ynez valley (where Solvang is located) and found ourselves a small Sideways map at the tourist information office in Buellton ("Home of Split Pea Soup").
Heidie and Mads by the Firestone wine casks

At Firestone we spent quite some time: tasting a selection of their wines, following a tour of their facilities, and sitting in their garden and eating the picnic we had brought along. Later we drove by Foxen, where we had just about the time needed to taste their wines before the tasting room closed. After a day in the sun we had extended our stock of wine glasses by 4 since you can keep the glass that you get for tasting.

In the week that followed we didn't get round to much more than the basics - changing back from daylight savings time and unusually (for this area anyway) grey skies didn't leave with much extra energy.

11 November 2007

There was a special day last week..

It was Halloween last week. The attentive reader might be able to figure out where we most of that day just by looking at the picture with the beautiful pumpkin display. The shopping cart (which we didn't dare move in order to take the picture) looks like it belongs to a homeless person, and therefore we were - obviously - in LA. Not that there are not any homeless people in Santa Barbara, but we've never seen them be allowed to bring their cart this close to goods for sale at the stores.

Anyway, we had to make a day trip to LA because the prime minister of Denmark decided to have an election with short notice! So short in fact that the week before our trip to LA the Danish Consulate still didn't know the deadline for voting there.

It became a longer trip with other experiences too. Therefore we unfortunately couldn't make it back in time to be home for kids going trick-or-treating around here. And now we had prepared and bought some candy for the occasion. That turned out nicely for the guests we had the following weekend. While chatting with Heidie Thursday morning we suddenly realized we would have visitoers one Friday earlier than we were expecting...

07 November 2007

Lemon City Fest

A couple of weekends ago there was Lemon Festival here in Goleta. Apparently the area once was famous for its lemons and the local businesses use this as an excuse to arrange an annual lemon festival. Since the event took place in the nearest park from where we live we of course had to go and take a look.

There were quite some similarities with town fairs as they can be experienced in smaller towns in the countryside (of Denmark, if not more generally): a travelling fun fair, yellow balloons, a stage where we saw performances by students at the local dancing school, bales of hay, and an area with exhibit stands representing the local fire brigade (nice to know they're around!), the karate club, and Red Cross amongst others. Furthermore there were a few stands selling such items as African drums (!) and bonsai trees and a lot of information stands from a range of local organisations.

But other than that the main purpose of the festival appeared to be to eat and drink as much as possible of lemon containing foods and beverages. There was yellow candy floss, lemon marinated chicken, lemon ice cream, lemon pies, lemonade, and lemon beer. We tried the lemon ice cream, the lemonade, the lemon pie, and the lemon beer - the two of us sharing all of it. And that was a good idea, because neither of us would have been able to finish a piece of that lemon pie on our own.

In the picture above you can see Tue with the lemon beer, complete with the special 'California Lemon Festival in Goleta'-mug. How about that!? - it doesn't get much grander than that does it?!