Tuesday, April 26, 2016


The acerbic humorist, whose essay collections include 
'Me Talk Pretty One Day', 
enjoys a slow-burn affair with California

(I could not resist sharing this fun article about my town on my blog)

"The first time I went to Santa Barbara I said 'no'. California led the nation in the battle against smoking, so no matter where in the state I was, I considered it enemy territory. Then there was the general Santa Barbara-ness of the place. Often when you buy a picture frame, there's a photo already in it. Frequently it's of a couple in their mid sixties, not just good looking, but privileged, blessed, walking hand in hand on a deserted beach. I used to think they were professional models. Now I suspect they're just ordinary Santa Barbarans, perhaps chosen at random from the phone book. 'No,' I said the first time I saw them. 'No, no, no.'
Most everyone I passed was engaged in some sort of exercise. Their skin was lightly bronzed and their hair was either blonde or silver, for gray does not exist in Santa Barbara: not on heads and most certainly not in the sky. Every day is perfect: meaning sunny with a high in the mid sixties to low seventies. At night it cools down, just so you can wear cashmere.
There are other such towns in California - La Jolla, Carmel - but none seem as satisfied with themselves. The first time I went to Santa Barbara, I thought our plane had been rerouted, and forced to land at an exclusive rehab centre. The airport's been remodelled since then but has retained the same clubby, sympathetic feeling. Most of it is open to the outdoors, which is meticulously landscaped and smells like primrose mulched with shredded money. It smelled even better at my hotel - the Upham - which was located in the centre of town, near the many shops and restaurants I'd rather have died than enter. 'No,' I said to the locally made wines and hand-crafted gnocchi served with salmon tongues. 'No, no, no.'

I looked forward to criticising the Upham some more, but on my next visit I was put up at the Biltmore Four Seasons, which is not in the city centre, but several miles away, along a secluded stretch of coast. My room was a Mission-style one-bedroom casita with a working fireplace. I had a terrace corralled by flowering vines, and over the gentle rasp of sprinklers, I could hear the ocean. 'No,' I said. Then, 'Well, maybe just this once.'
I returned the following year, and the one after that. My room wasn't always a private little house, but it was always horribly magnificent. I didn't realise how much the hotel meant to me until 2005, when it announced plans to go completely non-smoking. 'But,' I said to the woman at the front desk. 'But what about me?'
It wasn't like I'd be returning to the Upham, as that had gone non-smoking as well. All the decent places in California had. This meant that on my next visit I'd be outside the city limits, at a dismal chain hotel on the freeway. It would mean no more of the Biltmore's huevos rancheros, a simple concoction of fried eggs and tortillas they manage to charge a fortune for. Well good riddance, I thought. 'The low-end places have waffle irons in the lobby, so I'll just make my own damn breakfast.'
Then I quit smoking. On subsequent visits to the Biltmore, this new and healthier me has found even more reasons to be disgusted. The Olympic-sized pool, for instance: it's too long. The tennis court is too… tennisy. Then there are the complimentary bicycles. It's a short distance to Montecito, an enclave of wealth and privilege that makes Santa Barbara look like East St Louis. If that's too upsetting you can ride in the opposite direction to Stearns Wharf, passing, along the way, that silver-haired couple returning from a jog. And for one horrible second, you might almost forget to hate them."
David Sedaris's most recent book, 'Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls', is published by Abacus (£12.99, eBook £5.99)
This feature first appeared in Condé Nast Traveller USA Special September 2014
for more information about David Sedaris, click here

Monday, April 18, 2016

Farmers' Market in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Montecito and Solvang

A Trip To Saturday's Farmer's Market

Fresh Mussels

Yummy Cheese, from Mr. Cheese-head!

Avocados...aka guacamole 


Apples from Fair Hills Farms

Best produce ever!

Love the lemon Olive Oil!

A bounty of gorgeous flowers

familiar faces

Lilly's Eggs

more gorgeous flowers

Walnuts, peanuts, and nut butters

Ever seen so many carrots?  Good and crunchy

Asparagus and Brussels Sprouts
(why are they called "Brussels?")

Lash's Pistachios roasted by Phyllis!

delish tomatoes

Sprout Heaven!

Exotic Plants

Oranges, mandarins and more...

Parrot Proteas

Farmers Market Schedule

3-6:30 pm 
Goleta Camino Real Market Place
Carpinteria:  800 block of Linden Ave

8-11:15 am
Montecito:  Coast Village Road

8:30 am - 1 pm
Downtown SB Corner of SB and Cota Sts

10 am - 2 pm
Goleta - Marketplace 

4-7:30 pm
Old Town SB 500-600 blocks of State St

2:30-6:30 pm
Solvang - Copenhagen Dr. and 1st St

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Helping Teachers, one class-room-at a-time!

Thank you to Village Properties!
Posted by Janis Spracher on Tue, Mar 22 at 05:04 PM in 6th Grade

The sixth grade recently received grants from Village Properties' Teacher's Fund, a very supportive benefactor of classrooms and teachers! Ms. Scott's class purchased some new white boards to help make their thinking visible and which also can be used as temporary desks. Mrs. Spracher's class is enjoying alternative seating opportunities with saucer and bean bags chairs and a cafe table. The stand up desk and comfy chairs are a welcome addition to our classroom!

We are so fortunate to have this resource and greatly appreciate Village Properties' generosity!

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fabulous Sewing, Knitting, Notions and Gift Store in Carpinteria

A friend who is a serious quilter invited me to go along to her favorite shop in Carpinteria yesterday.  Here's what I discovered....

 I personally don't sew or knit, but....

what a charming and inviting shop, Roxanne's is!

 Besides the kaleidoscope of gorgeous materials

There were many wonderful gifts, jewelry, crafts...

wonderful greeting cards and "stuff"....  

all beautifully displayed!  We both left with packages!
I might even take up sewing again!
Visit Roxanne's
919 Maple Avenue, Carpinteria
(just behind the Smart 'N Final Store)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Carpinteria Free Flower Farm Tours April 9th, rain or shine!


Flower Farms Blooming in Carpinteria!

Come visit your local flower farmer and the beautiful blooms in Carpinteria! 
Nestled in the mountains of the Central Coast between Santa Barbara and 
Ventura – just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, the town of Carpinteria offers 
a perfect day trip for anyone in the Southern California area!
Ever wonder what beauty lies behind the glass in a greenhouse- now’s 
your chance during the 8th Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour! 
Enjoy seeing a colorful array of flowers from orchids and roses to gerberas 
and more while listening to farmer-guided tours. On this tour you will learn 
what it takes to run a flower farm and the amazing process involved with 
growing fresh, beautiful, CA Grown Flowers. We recommend you wear comfortable 
shoes and layered clothing as many of these tours will involve walking through
 greenhouses or growing areas and in varying temperatures. Don’t miss out on
 meeting your local flower farmer!
This event is FREE and open to the public thanks to our sponsors and hosted 
by the Santa Barbara County Flower and Nursery Growers’ Association. There is 
no specific start point for the tour and no reservations are necessary. Just pick
 to start at any of the participating farms and go! We also will have a location 
with food available and a few special presentations – Rain or Shine!RAINorSHINE
The 2016 map is here! Please click the download map link to the right to view and print.
If you need further assistance, please emailakalins@ccfc.org or call (805) 576-7417.