Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Look-Back

When I look back on 2016, I am amazed, thankful, and yes, a bit exhausted, at all we did and accomplished. Here's a quick rundown:

January - Kicked the New Year off with an RV rally in San Diego county, attended the Palm Springs Film Festival, traveled to Costa Rica to attend Spanish immersion school

February - Continued my time in Costa Rica, went RV'ing at the beach upon returning, then down to San Diego to see our granddaughter, and her mama and papa, upon my return,

March - Attended a Jewish Film Festival in Palm Springs, hosted bloggers from Canada we'd followed for years, returned to San Diego to visit our dear granddaughter.

April - Went backpacking on Catalina Island with friends, left for a six week trip to Europe, starting with a week in Amsterdam.

May - Continued our six week trip in Europe by boarding the River Voyager in Cologne, which would carry us through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Romania. What an amazing trip it turned out to be!

June - Headed to San Diego to see our granddaughter immediately upon our return. Spent a week in Mammoth doing a half marathon and backpacking (the backpacking portion was aborted, sadly, when the altitude became a problem), left for Alexandria, Virginia to help our granddaughter and her mama and papa with their military relocation.

July - Spent the first week in Alexandria, Virginia helping to settle everyone into their new home, including some sightseeing in nearby Washington D.C., then a family trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

August - Backpacking in Sequoia National Forest with our backpacking group, then hunkered down to oversee the addition of a front yard patio to our home. Once completed, realized we'd be spending lots and lots of time on it for the foreseeable future because we ended up loving our new space so much.

September - A week of beach RV'ing, then a three week trip to Minnesota and Virginia to backpack across Isle Royale National Park, tour the Superior Lake shoreline, then visit our granddaughter in her new home.

October - Four weeks of traveling through Portugal and Spain, with a day trip to Morocco squeezed in midway.

November - A week RV'ing along the Central California coastline and wine country, a birthday cruise for my dad to the Caribbean, followed by Thanksgiving with the family in Dad's adopted home state of Texas.

December - Had new hardwood floors laid, then flew to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with our granddaughter.

End result: We spent 202 days traveling in 2016, leaving us pretty exhausted at year end. As glorious as it all was, and it really was, it has left us wanting to stay both closer to both home and to our now-East Coast granddaughter in 2017. Plus, we have a long list of home improvement projects queued and ready to go beginning in mid-January. Once those are done in late March - newly re-landscaped backyard, more new hardwood flooring, new carpeting, new bathroom vanity, new office - we are looking forward to simply enjoying our beautiful updated home, plus doing a whole lot more entertaining than our travel schedule has permitted the last few years.

I have some personal goals as well, which I'll post about tomorrow.

Plans and Goals for Today
Walk 8 miles
Lunch at Corner Bakery using BOGO coupon we received.
Clean microwave
Nap (so I can stay awake till midnight later on!) 
Read 30 pages of Huckleberry Finn (Book club read)
Relax with tea and new January edition of Sunset while, hopefully, predicted rain arrives.
Attend up-the-street New Years Eve party.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Random Thoughts

Well, that was brief wasn't it? My excuse is that shortly after creating this blog we left on a series of trips that didn't stop until just this past weekend. So, now that those are behind us, I'm ready to try this again . . .

We are in the midst of home remodeling upheaval, and I'm feeling at loose ends as a result of not having a quiet, scenic place to land. Only when we are in the midst of having something done to the house, do I realize how much my normally-lovely home means to me. I love keeping it tidy, caring for my display items, looking for interesting art to hang, changing out the decor, and prepping for entertaining, particular at this time of year. Not being able to do those things creates a sense of having no place to land, a very uncomfortable thing for me to deal with. The good news, however, is that the bulk of the work will be completed by next weekend, at which point I will have a gorgeous new marble tile entry and equally gorgeous new wood floors throught the rest of the home's common living areas and hallways, including the kitchen. Re-nesting is something I much enjoy, so next weekend is going to be great, and involve a good amount of celebratory wine I'm quite sure.

What I'm . . . 

Reading:  Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Danticat, a Book Club read rather than something I'd select on my own. Ms. Danticat has a beautiful, authentic voice as she writes about her native Haiti, but the book is not without flaws. Still, I have enjoyed reading it, and look forward to what is sure to be a robust discussion at our meeting tomorrow night.

Watching: Spectre, the lastest James Bond release. Entirely predictable, with the expected car chases, in-the-air chases and breathless females, but still entertaining enough to keep me awake for it's long 2 1/2 hours of run time. Although I'd have been irked if we'd had to pay to see such relative drivle, I did not mind watching it for free.

Cooking/Baking: I made a gorgeous, fragrant vegetable tangine stew for dinner last night, which I'm looking forward to enjoying again shortly for lunch. And after sitting overnight in the refridgerator, I'm thinking it's going to even better today.

Fearing: The growing cold sensitivity around one of my molars. Worried yet another root canal is in my future . . .

Happy About: Mia, our granddaughter now being old enough to Skype with us on her own on Mama's iPhone. This morning Mia 'carried' us through the house as we asked her about her various toys and activities. Watching her struggle to turn the phone in the correct direction to show us things in her world was precious and priceless. She cried when it came time to say goodbye, which we see as being both bad and good. :-(

Happy I Accomplished: Painting the 1/4" rounds for our upcoming flooring project. By ignoring the monotony of painting out over 100 ft of the stuff, it will prevent the much harder job of painting it after installation. Or not, and living with the slight color differential between it's original stark white and the softer Swiss Coffee white of our current baseboards until we get around to having the bottom level of our home repainted.

Looking Forward To: Having the flooring completed! Just a few more days to go . . .

Thankful For: Having the financial ability to create a beautiful home in which to reside.