Farewell to Summer

Our summer here is officially over.  Fall begins tomorrow. The high temperatures will linger into October but the nights will begin to cool. In November  we will experience our “fall” in Southern California.  From now until then we will have dry dusty days without rain, Santa Ana winds, and abundant sunshine. The palm trees will remain green, native plants will flourish, hillsides will continue to brown,  leaves will drop and blow in the wind, but a few splashes of fall colors maybe found.

Summer was wonderful.  Although we spent more time at home than usual, we enjoyed many opportunities to get outdoors and appreciate summer. Rather than bore you with details,  I decided to showcase a few highlights and allow the pictures to tell most of the story.

A visit to Berkeley and the University of California

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Exploring Berkeley and visiting with family.

Visiting a winery near Gilroy, California

Salinas, California-Home of John Steinbeck.

Beautiful Monterey Bay

Camping in Big Sur and exploring the California coastline.

Laughing in amazement at sun bathing sea lions.

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A Phoenix sunrise. One of two trips we made to Arizona.

Who knew Arizona could be so green?

We loved our visit to Oro Valley north of Tuscon, Arizona…

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…and even enjoyed the rain!

Our small garden yielded us tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, and strawberries.

I worked on a few sewing and craft projects.

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We spent a great deal of time with family, friends, and just hanging out.

(and of course eating and shopping!)

So while we say farewell to the Summer of 2016…

I am looking forward to what comes next!

How was your summer?

(or winter-depending on where you live)

Super Bowl Sunday and a day at the beach

Some people love football. Some people don’t. I don’t. Thommmee does. When faced with what to do on game day, he went to watch the big game with our daughter. She does. I picked up the 4 of the grandkids (they don’t) and we headed to the beach.

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It happened to be a beautiful day in Southern California.

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This was so much more fun than watching a football game.

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The Great Date Adventure

You have heard young women say, “don’t hate me because I am beautiful?” Perhaps it is said tongue in cheek or as a joke or maybe because they really believe it-or maybe they are!  I have no idea. No, I am not beautiful. Today, I am asking you not to hate me because I have the most marvelous husband ever! People often ask me how I got so lucky to get ‘one of those’ or does he have a brother? Yes, he has four brothers, all taken. Yes, I am lucky. My theory is that after spending sixteen years married to the wrong man, God decided to bless me with the right one. All I can say is after twenty-seven years-he has only improved with time.  Please don’t hate me.

Marriage, like most relationships, takes work. We don’t take our good marriage for granted-we invest time and energy into it!  Not only do we find common interests, we have friends and outside  interests also. This helps keep us fresh and interesting (we hope) so, when our church offered a couples event, we decided to take part in-

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The event was arranged by Building Bridges, a local Christian Counseling Center.  Selecting a date in the city, desert, mountains, or beach, you were given an envelope with your location which included restaurants, sights, museums, parks, maps, and ideas in which you could work with. The packet  also had questions to be used throughout the day in order to connect and open conversation. Now I know many men might go running at the thought of having to open up and talk but it was actually fun-I promise!

We picked up our packet the night before and found a destination very familiar to us

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Huntington Beach, California

Although I was a bit disappointed at the particular beach that was selected (since our kids live in the area), we decided to just go with it and see what happened.  Bright and early that morning we set off on the familiar 45 minute drive. It  was a perfect morning and our first surprise of the day was this marvelous sunrise.

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Once arriving, breakfast was our first mission (especially since we were caffeine deprived). We immediately headed to the pier and on to a cute diner located at the end.

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It was early so we only passed a few fisherman and walkers.

The suffers were already out

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and it was a glorious morning on the water.

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We stopped to appreciate the early morning quiet and then…

Breakfast!

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It was so early we had the place to ourselves…

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…and picked a window seat to enjoy the unobstructed ocean view.

After breakfast we walked the shops and main street. Still early, most of the shops were closed.

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 We decided to sit in the sand for awhile and soak up the sun…

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…while we opened our packet of questions.

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The questions were non threatening like,  “What is the best piece of advice you have ever received” and ‘When did you realize you had fallen in love with me?” Fun but not deep enough to make a husband go running for the hills (or throw himself into the ocean)!!

Soon enough the stores opened so off we went. Since it was a date, Thommmee humored me while I tried on shoes at the Croc  shop.

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If you have never been in one of their stores or know much about Crocs, they offer so much more than  their signature clog. The shoes are so comfy and I needed a new pair of flip-flops anyway. I don’t know how it is in most places but in Southern California you can wear flip-flops most of the year! Oops…I  got so excited about the shoes, I digressed. Back to the date!

The Surf Museum was not open until noon but we did venture into a quaint little antique shop.

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A street faire and farmers market was setting up and we spent some time touring the vendors.

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Although the sun was out it was a bit chilly near the water.  We decided to drive  to Bolsa Chica Beach which is about 5 miles north of Huntington Beach. I had packed a light lunch. After a short (and chilly) lunch on the beach, we changed gears and drove up the coast to Long Beach. Parking at the marina (and staying in the car this time)

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we pulled out the lunch questions.

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The lunch questions were a bit different but still designed to spark conversation. We felt  questions like, ” If you didn’t have to work how would you spend your time?’ were directed at younger couples but we did our best to go along. By then we were ready to head home knowing that if we waited much longer the traffic would be horrible.  After we got home we kicked back for awhile then resumed our date with-you guessed it-a game of Scrabble on the patio while barbecuing ribs for dinner…

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 …and dinner questions.

The day ended with two tired but happy people.

On Sunday, there was a luncheon for the dating adventurers.  As I looked around the room at the other couples, I realized we were the oldest couple there. Instead of making me feel bad, I felt good that our marriage was important enough for us to continue to keep it alive and growing. The therapist who organized the dates was there. He talked about marriage and the commitment it takes from  both. After chatting with each other and listening to his encouragements and thoughts, he passed out (what he called) ‘A recreational enjoyment inventory’ to encourage couples to find interests that they might share together. It was quite an extensive list with things like canoeing, archery, watching sports events,  hiking, cards, coin collecting, and things I never would have thought of!

Even if you don’t have an opportunity for an organized adventure or even if you aren’t married-what I took away from this is that all relationships need a commitment. Friends will not remain friends for long if the relationship is one sided. Friendship takes time to cultivate and maintain. Parents and children need to keep their relationships growing as that child matures. Couples of all kinds need to put effort and commitment into their relationships. Finding new interests  can help create new relationships as well as strengthen old ones. I guess that can be said for blogging as well. We need to be interested in others if we want to support a growing and caring blogging community.

At the end of the day it could be said that

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We only get one chance at this!!!

Weather cold, weather hot….

…we’ll have weather whether or not.

When its cold we want it hot always wanting what is not.

(something my Dad used to say)

We didn’t get much of a winter this year. Our weather has been rather pleasant. No, I am not going to whine about the drought in California nor the abundant sunshine. I am going to appreciate that what we have is what we have and that God has it covered. He always does.

Today was a wintry type day for California. Breezy and cool.

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Overcast in the morning. I actually had to put a on a jacket this morning. It rained in the mountains and deserts yesterday with the possibility of more to come. There is a forecast of 30% chance of rain tomorrow but Thommmee didn’t cancel his golf game. This is good news here-but-we will see. Often the hype does not lead to much precipitation.

So…

it is hard to believe that last Friday we were at the beach.

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Thommmee and I made the 45 minute drive to Huntington Beach and it was fabulous!

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I couldn’t help but wonder why kids were out of school.

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(see their toys in the sand?)

Just a beach day I guess. There was a large group of kids picking up trash. It seems they do this often as part of a school class of some kind. Gee, they didn’t have classes like that when I was in school! The high school students did pick up trash, were very polite, took off their shoes, waded in the water, snapped pictures of themselves and each other. Seemed they were there long after the beach was cleaned-up. Oh well. It was a beautiful day.

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Of course we took our travel edition of Scrabble for a little friendly competition.

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We had lunch.

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Thommmee used his metal detector-looking for a big score. He found a nickel. Oh well.  He had fun. Another ‘prospector’ stopped by to exchange stories and brag about his big finds.  I tried to read a few pages on my book. Took pictures of the ships coming into Long Beach. Watched the birds.

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Chatted with some fellow beach goers. Wiggled my feet in the warm sand. Put my toes in the water.

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It was a great day.

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I do love retirement!

Saying Good-bye to Summer

Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer. The stores have been full of back to school shoppers. Already the pens, pencils, and notebooks are being pushed aside to make room for the Halloween goodies.  Kids all around us have started back to classes with a few stragglers  preparing to resume their studies within the next few weeks.

 For us summer for has meant beach outings,

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road trips,

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 playing outdoors,

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and swimming pools.

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It has been enjoying cool mornings before it gets too hot,

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 evening sunsets,

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and tomatoes from our garden.

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We have had some 100 degree plus temps and higher electric bills-but for us in Southern California, this is just the beginning.  September and October will bring us Santa Anna winds, hotter temperatures, higher fire danger, and more serious drought conditions. It will also extend our summer and allow us to enjoy more of the fun… wpid-2013-10-27-11.50.52.jpg.jpeg

…until we are so tired of the heat we will welcome with open arms the coolness of  a late fall.

The best part of the year is still to come!

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November is my favorite month. We will have pleasant days and chilly nights. The winds will have blown all the dust and dirt away.  There will be blue skies.

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We will pull up our blankets at night and run around in jeans and a t-shirt during the day.

We will take a rides

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and go camping in the desert for Thanksgiving.

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Before we know it (dare I say it???)

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It will be Christmas!