Dressclown's Blog


Wounded Warrior Surf Camp June 22, 2010

Filed under: Life,Travel — dressclown @ 1:27 am

I think I could safely say one of the most freeing, peaceful and highly individualistic things I do in my life is surf.

Inexplicably, surfing can be a great magnifier of joy and happiness and also a much welcome mitigator of grief or sadness. So I thought it was a great idea when I heard about Wounded Warrior Project’s annual Surf Camp recently.

Taking to the water makes perfect sense as a way to alleviate stress in all types of people, but particularly for those individuals who have been wounded or affected by war. It serves several purposes; at a very basic level, it keeps the mind occupied particularly at first as you learn. But on a deeper level, it is a great equalizer quite simply because anyone can ride a wave, no matter what their physical limitations might be. With some help, even people who are partially paralyzed can surf. It’s all about riding a wave and not so much HOW you do it.  So I can imagine that this would be incredibly freeing and confidence bolstering to someone who understandably feels that their life as they knew it is over. It would be incredibly freeing to realize that you CAN do things that you never imagined doing before.

There’s also a great feeling of peace out there in the water, and a feeling of co-existence with nature. To someone struggling to fit back into the world they knew, society and even their own families that connection could be very helpful.

And in terms of those able-bodied individuals who are struggling with combative post-traumatic stress disorder and the anxiety comes with it, it’s a welcome chance to be at peace, thinking nothing of what is happening in the moment while having a zen-like quality of letting go.

This years’s surf camp is happening in Virginia Beach, VA, and involves soldiers from Walter Reed Memorial Hospital. But the locale changes annually. I’d highly encourage anyone to donate to this great organization and also to consider volunteering time for the surf camps if they are in your local area. They always need teachers and volunteers to make this happen, though in recent years Billabong has generously sponsored the event so boards, suits and other equipment are usually covered. What a wonderful idea!


Venoco’s Paredon Project Defeated! June 9, 2010

Filed under: Environmental Stuff — dressclown @ 2:58 pm

I’m raising a glass (of coffee, it’s early) to all my fellow voters who quashed Venoco’s awful Measure J propsal to slant drill down the street from our house.

Since they don’t speak English well, I’ll also thank you on behalf of the seals who live at the rookery down the street, too.

Without even remotely overstating it, what happened yesterday at the polls quite literally saved our town from economic and environmental disaster. I couldn’t be more thrilled; now we don’t have to move.

To see just how close this monsrosity would have been to us and the seals, check out this picture from Citizens Against Paredon.  If you look to the left near that group of bushes, you can see me giving Venoco the finger.


Aint No Challah Back Girl…

Filed under: Gear,Life — dressclown @ 12:21 am

Oh, the simple pleasures of summertime.

In 1999, when my husband (let’s call him Mr. E) first moved from the UK  to Sunny SoCal, people were forever asking him what his favorite part of living here was. The answer was always the same: Brunch.

My favorite part of the weekend is still just that. A long, late n’ lazy meal by the beach or on a patio is an ideal way for me to get the weekend started. And so much the better in summertime.

After a few nice sets (early!) Saturday morning at Rincon, we went to our favorite spot in Santa Barbara, Jeannine’s Bakery (uptown location, people, please…no idea why it’s better. It just is.) The parking is always a nightmare at this location. The lot literally has room for one row of cars and goes both ways so it’s a bit of a struggle even on a good day. But we found a spot and E drove like a madman to get into it. The space was teeny and I thought I’d never manage to get out of the car, but once that hurdle was crossed, snagging a table outside was next.  I saw one table for two open and quite literally pushed E inside to order as I raced for the seats. A woman in her early 50s saw the table at the same time as me and we had what can only be described as an Old West style stare-down before I managed to get there first. I felt the urge to make guns with my thumb and forefinger, blow off imaginary smoke and holster them in my jeans, but I resisted.

Then, my phone rang. It was Mr. E asking what I wanted to order. That gave me a good laugh, for two reasons. 1) He was the last person I expected to be calling me especially since I was looking right at him through the window and it hadn’t dawned on me he was on his phone and 2) because for the past TEN YEARS I’ve ordered the exact same thing every time we’ve eaten breakfast there. In fact, what I order isn’t still on the menu but I order it anyway. So I told him, “The usual please.” The usual is an egg white omelette with onions, cheese, tomatoes and avocado.

Now, I’m certainly not ascribing genius, detailed memory skills to, of all people, a MAN. But I admit that part of me did expect him to remember what I get every time.

When he finally came to the table with our huge, decadent lattes (and by decadent, I mean Peet’s in a really large, really heavy porcelain mug) he looked worried.

“I forgot what you usually get. I went blank. Panicked. I just ordered you MY usual……”

Was I mad? God, no. Let me preface Mr.E’s usual by saying that for ten years I’ve sat across the table from him, looking longingly at his breakfast and wondering why I didn’t just order THAT instead of mine. I’ve tasted it twice.  And it was so good I still remember those two times explicitly, though both were probably in 2003.

What we’re talking about here is french toast. Made from home-baked Challah bread. Of course, it comes with sausages, which along with being not too Challah-ish were kindly consumed by Mr. E.  But my point is that it’s something I would have NEVER ordered for myself and it was SOOOO freakishly good.

So I guess, contrary to the entry’s title, I AM a Challah Back Girl. Very, very much so…..

In other news, this weekend marks the fourth time I’ve taken my new Matuse suit out for a spin. I can honestly say that it’s the best suit I’ve ever owned and if you’re in the market for a new one, try them out.

Matuse makes rubber suits from (of all things!) limestone. The result is the lightest, most hydrophobic suit you’ve ever seen/felt/worn in your life. It felt like a second skin and there was absolutely no drag whatsoever. They claim the rubber is something like 400x more flexible than human skin. I believe it. What’s more, I was super warm and there was no clinging at all.  Excellent. The suits do require a bit of extra care. They are thinner and more delicate, so you have to be careful how you handle them (no ragged nails!) and I would NOT take this suit to a place with coral reefs.

My only gripe with them is that they have very limited womens’ suits, in both sizes and styles. They only have full suits for women right now and there’s a wait time on them. Looks like the soonest you can get one shipped is September, but again, well worth the wait.