Lotusland Garden

We were fortunate to take a tour of the botanical garden, Lotusland, in Montecito. The garden, now a non-profit, was the estate of an eccentric Polish opera singer who, if I remember correctly, married six different men over the course of her life, four of whom were the wealthiest men in the world at the time. She then invested her resources in plants. The result is a truly awesome garden featuring a number of exotic collections, including ferns, cyads, cacti, succulents, and bromeliads.  Reid’s assessment: “It was even better than Costa Rica.”


Cali outings

Locals complained of cold during our week of highs in the low 60s in California, but we were quite happy–kids wore shorts, the rest of us pulled up our hoods, and we all relished the sun. I enjoyed morning walks with Dad and Reid, runs with Bri, and with everyone, lots of outdoor outings to the zoo, the seals up the beach, the public pool, and a surfers’ beach.



California dreaming

The kids and I made our first visit back to California since our move to Maine 7.5 years ago. We were joined by Sal, O’da and Bri in Carpenteria, south of Santa Barbara. The kids’ home state allowed us to re-live so many fond memories: winter sunshine, Mexican food on every street corner, mountains, vibrant February community gardens and farmers markets, loaded citrus trees, tart dried apricots, friendly strangers, Amtrak rides, outdoor winter swimming, seals and pelicans. All of this combined with time with our Quirk family made the week pretty perfect. If only Tim and Anna, who had to stay home for work, had been there!

Carnaval do Québec, 2018 – The Saint Lawrence Canoe Race

The first stage is to race across the ice of the starting harbor, before getting out into the open river.Yes, they are pushing across the ice as it cracks underneath them.
The second stage, after the harbor, is to paddle upstream into the oncoming bergs. They do this on side of the river with less ice, so they can get as far upstream as possible before stage 3.

Stage 3 is when they cross the solid ice floe. This youtube video gives you a sense of how intense this is.

Finally, they tag the post on the far shore, and complete stages 4-6: going back the way they came.

Here’s what the river looks like on a nice, sunny day:



Carnaval du Québec, 2018 – Palaces

The Châtaeu Frontenac.
The ice palace.
I like these geodesic blocks, but the palace is often new-age-y in a bad way.
See what I mean? This is an interactive art thing, where you large ping-pong type balls at those windows, which light up and make a note. They are all different tones, of course, and there is ambient music and a lazer show. New age-y, in the bad way.