Monday, November 7, 2011

Fabulous Friday and #ManCandyMonday

I may constantly bitch remark wistfully, upon rare occasion, how dreamy it would be not to have a day job, but be able to devote myself to writing full time.  That's still my eventual goal.

However, because I'm not there yet, I have to admit that I am extremely blessed in my day job.  I love and enjoy the company of my warm, friendly and entertaining co-workers, and My Three Bosses. (Like My Three Sons, only without the laugh track.  Not that I'm old enough to remember My Three Sons; I swear I saw some reruns on Nick at Nite or something.)

Anyway, My Three Bosses, who are gracious and delightful and extremely generous (and I would say that even if annual reviews were not pending)  make sure to close the office periodically for a day of company fun and bonding.  We're like family, only with less dysfunction.

Friday we started with a train ride from Van Nuys, ending in historic Santa Barbara.

Next up was bike riding along the beach.  I happily chose a blue Schwinn, just like I had when I was a little girl, except the one I had then was purple.  Which is prolly the last time I rode a bike.

They say it's like sex, right, once you learn it always comes right back to you, no matter how long it's been?  Mostly, it did. though I had no clue how to shift gears.  Or how to brake.

Steering was also an issue.  Besides those minor points, I did fine.

See the pictures of me wobbling on the bike?  No you don't, and no you won't.  I feel very proud that I only ate it once, on the pier, and it was really the wind's fault.  Not the fact that I was going too fast for my skillset and I forgot how to brake and that wobbling thing again.  (Let's keep this between us, okay?  Since nobody from work actually got to see my faceplant.)

Next up, wine-tasting!  Nothing like getting snockered enjoying some fine wine in the company of one's co-workers and bosses.  Who insured we could do so safely.

A generous application of wine does minimize the pain of fresh bruises. Taken internally.

The wine country scenery was spectacular. I simply couldn't take my eyes off it. 
Eric O'Donnell & Adam Sachs, our fabulous drivers 
They also do kayaking, horseback riding, paddleboarding... incredibly versatile
And they prepared our lunch.
I could have enjoyed the scenery for much longer than one short day, couldn't you?

Speaking of scenery, there were landscapes, too.

Lincourt's windmill

Did I mention we were drinking wine?

Our lunch was on a large covered gazebo with this view.

The sky was amazing.  We had some light rain, even a rainbow.
Vista from the Firestone wine tasting room.
I love the P.S. on this sign.  And you do look nice today!  That's not the wine speaking; you do.

For those with a sweet tooth, the last stop combined wine and cupcake tasting.  Who doesn't savor a tasty little cupcake?

Eric is a bird-watcher.  Along with sharing the history of the area and the vineyards we visited,
he pointed out to us a peregrine falcon and some black & white birds that only live in that valley
(their name escapes me, but I'd already had quite a bit of wine).

I mean savoring these cupcakes.

At Saarloos, we drank wine, while tasting cupcakes specifically created to complement each wine's flavor.
 Six of them, from a lemon-cranberry to a chocolate maple that was To Die For.

Our wonderful drivers were kind enough to share some interesting stories about their tour guide experiences.  (Naming no names, of course.)  I found much inspiration and ideas for my WIP, and perhaps even the next one.

Adam spotted me taking pictures of the famous fig tree as he was driving out, 
and shared my delight is its utter amazingness.

Moreton Bay Fig Tree - THE largest Ficus macrophylla in the entire U.S
The branches, the size, and the root system are simply breathtaking in person. 
Look at the bicycle in the foreground for perspective.

All good things, even a day in Santa Barbara drinking wine and enjoying mancandy cupcakes must come to an end.

Sunset over the water, seen from the train window.
So while, technically, it was a "wasted" day - no work done at my day job, no editing done at night because I came home, fed the cat, and headed straight to bed, it was a tremendously productive day.

I feel refreshed, renewed, and filled with ideas for all kinds of smutty stories.

How about you?  Have you taken a day off from writing that helped you write?
Or have any of these pictures given you ideas or inspiration?