Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winding Down January

We have been so busy since we got back from California last Monday evening; our schedule is packed with the kids' activities which is the absolute best thing about being here for the winter.

Tues. Jan 24 ~ After doing chores and getting settled again, we met Dylan and Shelby after school and took them to Subway for dinner while Sandee got ready to host her book club. Jackson had wrestling after school so we brought his dinner home. Sandee made one of her and Rich's favorite desserts to serve that evening, Caramel Chewy Bars.

Wed. Jan 25 ~ That is Wings Day at Filly's so we reconnected with our neighbors and met some new ones. We have to get there by 3:30 to get "our table" but this week...horrors...others were already seated there! They do a huge business on Wednesdays and it's so great to sit outside enjoying our friends and soaking up the atmosphere.


Thurs. Jan 26 ~ This was an evening of firsts for Rich and me. We got to go to Jackson's wrestling meet, knowing nothing about wrestling. This meet was held at his Junior High and we had not been there yet. The wrestling season started while we were in California so this was his second meet. He is on the left, in position for the start of his match.

Fri. Jan 27 ~ Dylan had a fully scheduled weekend of sleepovers and hockey practice but Jackson and Shelby slept over and we watched the movie, Mr Popper's Penguins.

Sat. Jan 28 ~ The kids played on the playground at the RV park for a while. Then we went to a Swap Meet hoping to score an outdoor rug, not the best one ever but it was a first for them and the kids got the idea of it. We went on to Camping World, bought the rug, and checked out a couple of new RVs. I had read about Canal Park on a blog so we checked it out next. There was a cool playground where Jackson and Shelby could climb and some neat cactus.

When we got home everyone pitched in to lay out the new rug and set up the fence so that we now have a fenced yard for the girls! And do they ever love it! Bella stays on patrol, barking at every dog passing by. Dora is content to lie out there in the sun all day. Oh did I mention that it's in the 70s and sunny and we can leave our door open for Dora and Bella to go in and out whenever they want.

There was time for a rousing game of toss the plastic bottle into the wastebasket before we took Jackson home so that he could go to a sleepover at one of his friends'. The girls watched the action closely!

Sun. Jan 29 ~ Shelby had slept over again and she was so interested in our neighbors' parrot, Oliver, that she was asking Janet questions. Those of us who live here enjoy hearing the many different sounds that he makes when he is perched outside. Janet was eager to share her vast knowledge with Shelby and invited us over so that Shelby could hold Oliver and Janet could show us some of his tricks. After that, Shelby played with their tiny dog, Moose; isn't that name perfectly cute?

Rather than take Shelby home first, we met the rest of the family at the ice rink for Dylan's hockey game. He is in the center in the photo below.

Mon. Jan 30 ~ Rich has joined a fitness center here and after he returned from his workout, I did some shopping and got a much needed haircut. Just another glimpse at how life goes on, wherever we are. That evening we again met up with them at Dylan's hockey game. Here the coach is talking to the team between periods. You can see Dylan's #7 to the right of the guy wearing #15.

Tues. Jan 31 ~ We are trying to get the carpet replaced with a smooth-surface flooring in the RV which is turning out to be much more complicated than we had ever imagined so Rich spends a lot of time making calls and we continue to search for an installer and a product. This evening Jackson had a wrestling meet...of course we were there! He is wearing the red shirt in the photo below.

I'm thrilled to have accomplished the posting of these highlights of the final days of January; Rich and I are so blessed and remain thankful for all the joy we are able to experience; and I'm so relieved that this month has finally come to a close.

Lovin' Life ~~ Appreciating the Good 

Our Return to Arizona

Monday, the 23rd of January was a driving day, as well as being my mom's 85th birthday! When my brother and SIL went to see Mom, my sweet cousin Kathy was there and had brought her some homemade cookies...lucky Mom!

It's nearly inconceivable to me that we have already been back here for a week. Man, life can really throw some curve balls in a very short space of time. We had a fabulous time in California visiting family and friends, returning to familiar places in our life there, and exploring new wonderful places that we just didn't take the time to do when we lived there. It was time to come back to AZ though.

As we approached our winter home, we were welcomed by the most glorious and unusual sunset. The reds and oranges were of such intense colors that the distant mountains reflected a pinkish red color with the cactus and other shrubs appearing orange. None of the photos below have had any color adjustments.

When I turned around from the scene above to shoot directly into the sunset, it appeared that the sky was ablaze! This is what we saw displayed against the fiery colors of the evening sky...

Lovin' Life ~~ Appreciating Its Glorious Colors 

La Jolla, CA ~~ Sea Lions, Seals, and Much More

I am desperately trying to catch up my blog posts. January has been such a month of turmoil and sadness for our families back home that I just want to start fresh in February.

While in San Diego we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. This view of the building is on the ocean side and the cluster of boats at the top of the museum is an installation called Pleasure Point, created by Nancy Rubin. The angles of the building form a work of art themselves. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the museum so I can't share any of the art.

The scene below is of La Jolla Cove where many sea lions, seals, pelicans, cormorants, and sea gulls hang out.

The first time I was there, on Friday the 20th, these two sea lions were carrying on quite a conversation which I filmed and embedded below.

When we returned to La Jolla on Sunday the 22nd, we spent time watching the Harbor Seals at Casa Beach. Harbor seals are hauled out of the ocean 30% to 40% of the time to rest and absorb oxygen; this beach is a favorite spot for them to haul out. I tried to upload a movie of them but can't stay connected long enough to accomplish that so finally just gave up. Here are the Harbor Seals at Casa Beach.

This adorable squirrel just sat there nibbling on blades of grass while I stood not four feet away at the top of the cliffs when I was taking pictures of the seals. What a cutie!

As we walked from Casa Beach to La Jolla Cove, we saw:

Huge Waves


Wind Sculpted Trees

Arriving at the Cove again, we watched the sea lions for a long time. With such huge waves, they were having a tough time getting up onto the rocks. We watched several of them for a long time and then, just two seconds after I turned off my camera, the two on the left caught a wave and leaped up onto the lower ledge. Another movie I had hoped to upload tonight shows them walking around, so proud of their accomplishment; it is very cool.

Lovin' Life ~~ In San Diego and La Jolla

Friday, January 27, 2012

Balboa Park, San Diego

Sometimes I want to post a bunch of related photos but think that it's just too many for me to upload or for you to scroll through. The photos I took at Balboa Park last Saturday fall into two categories so I created collages of each.

The Spanish-Renaissance style buildings along the El Prado pedestrian walkway were constructed for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition. The arches and columns were of special interest to me. The reflecting pool in the center of this collage lies in front of the building that houses the Botanical Gardens.

Displayed inside the Botanical Building are many exquisite varieties of orchids. 

We also visited the Timken Museum of Art and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum which, at 28,000 square feet, is the largest operating model railroad museum in the world. Of course Rich enjoyed this the most and always gets some ideas for his model railroad.

Although, it appears that they were all enjoying their viewing spot for the toy train layout.

After all that walking and exploring it was finally time to head over to the Old Town Mexican Cafe for dinner. This restaurant was recommended by two of our nieces and for that we say "GRACIAS!" The food was delicious and the atmosphere delightful, starting with the women who make their fabulous tortillas by hand.

The menu listed a dish that was new to all of us, Molcajete, that serves two.

I think both Bill and Deanne would agree that they each could have eaten one! Rich ordered their special Carnitas and I had a combination dinner that included an amazing chicken verde enchilada. When in San Diego, we too recommend this authentic Mexican restaurant.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Days Filled With New Experiences

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tide Pools

I know where the past several days have gone so we won't wonder about that. Last Friday, Rich and I spent the day exploring the Pacific Coast up to LaJolla stopping at several beaches. I love the rocky coast that makes up much of this stretch...it is so very beautiful.

We got out with the girls for a while at one less populated area.

While Rich stayed with the girls, I walked along the cliff until I found this path down to the beach. There were people down there exploring and I wanted to check it out.

After crossing the sand, I walked through these rock canyons which were about shoulder high. That's what had really piqued my curiosity when we were up on the cliffs, seeing peoples' heads moving along the ridge of these which was quite a sight.

At the far end of the rock canyons were tide pools! I had never explored tide pools until then so this was most exciting!

Just look at all the pools.

You may want to click on this one to see the hermit crab in the center of the photo. btw, I'm not a biologist so may not properly name anything in these photos.

The variety of colors was amazing!

Areas closer to the beach were covered with green moss.

Some of the pools were encircled by reefs.

The work of nature-as-sculptor was evident everywhere...just look at that spherical pale orange rock.

And there was life everywhere you looked. Here are a few photos of various species of mussels.

Unlike the #%%&*$@ who left a Coke can out there, I only left my footprint in the sand of the beach.

Lovin' Life ~~ And the Beauty of Tide Pools