A Rainy Day in California

Another series of rain coming through here this week, something I would normally relish in that we so rarely have it here in sunny S. California. However, in that my backyard grass was recently removed in preparation for artificial turf, it's a now a bit of a mudpit back there. Sigh. Patience, patience, I'm working to remind myself, eventually it will all be complete and beautiful.

It also helps to look out to the front of our home, still so pretty after last summer's re-landscaping. And our new front yard patio has been my happy place from the moment it went in. So I'm looking out there instead, pretending the backyard simply doesn't exist for the time being.

I spent almost all the rainy day yesterday working on our 2017 vacations. The first occurs at the end of March, and I've been procrastinating something awful. We'll be gone for a month, traveling to a variety of locations, so it was a bit of a struggle to figure out if flying lots and car renting little, or doing the exact opposite made the most sense. In the end, I decided that being able to fly one time, non stop to the east coast, with an airline that did NOT charge extra for luggage was the easiest way to go. I'm talking to you Southwest . . . thank you for being an airline I still enjoy flying with.

I ended up deciding to fly us both in and out of Baltimore, MD. We'll pick up a one month rental car from the airport, and head first to our daughter and son-in-law's to see them and our precious granddaughter. Who, while hearing my voice on the phone to her mama last night, burst out with a spontaneous 'I love you Nana!,' the first time she's done so without prompting.

But I degress - a Nana thing.

Once there, we'll enjoy our family, do as much cooking and cleaning and babysitting and entertaining of the granddaughter as we can, and day trip during the week when everyone is either at preschool or work. On the list of day trips is the new African American museum in D.C., plus Baltimore, Dover, Annapolis, and Arlington. Hoping also that the son-in-law will be able to wrangle a behind the scenes tour of the Pentagon for us, where he currently works.

From there, we'll head to Wilmington, NC, where I reserved an apartment alongside the harbor. We'll next head to Kiawah Island, SC, where the family will join us for a week of coastal vacationing in a rental home within the grounds of a resort, affording multiple pools, restaurants, golf courses and spas to visit and enjoy, in addition to the nearby ocean. Once the week is over, our family heads out, and my husband and I make the short drive to Charleston, where we have a little carriage house reserved in the heart of the historic district. From there, we continue on to Richmond, VA, where we have a small historic brick apartment reserved near The Fan. As we head back to the D.C. metro area from Richmond, our last stop will be the colonial town of Fredericksburg, VA. A few more days of granddaughter time back in Alexandria, VA, then we'll finally head for home.

All the places we're staying are VRBO's, and I was pleased to get quick confirmations back on all. So, with air, rental car and lodging in place, I can now start working on our daily itinerary, something I enjoy doing tremendously.

I also made reservations for a fall RV trip we're doing with friends up along the N. California coastline. We now have a one week reservation near Pt. Reyes National Seashore, located north of San Francisco. During our stay there we'll be doing some backpacking, plus sightseeing and cheese tasting. They make great cheeses up there. At the end of week one, we'll head next to Sonoma County for a few days of wine tasting and dining, then south to Santa Cruz for hiking and beach walking. Our friends head back home from there, but my husband and I will stay on another few days, then make one final stop along the Central California coastline before meandering back home.

The majority of our plans for 2017 are now booked, with the exception of a late Fall trip back east, and our usual Thanksgiving and Christmas jaunts. The first will be somewhat complicated in that we'll be traveling around, but it will be out of high season, so the bookings should be fairly easy to nail down. The other two are simple in that they just involve flights. So, for now I'm done. Yeah! February is looking to be a very busy month, with an unusually large amount of social, dining and entertainment events going on, so it's good that I nailed all this down while I had the opportunity.

I was pretty tired once I finally stepped away from my office and laptop, but the dinner I had planned to make looked pretty simple in my cookbook - a BLT salad. Turned out to be not only simple, but delicious! I halved the recipe, substituted chickpeas for the chicken, adding them in straight from the can rather than the complicated chicken prep listed in the recipe, and I used just four strips of bacon.

Photo from America's Test Kitchen. 
Click here for recipe: BLT Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas

My calendar is listing a full day of classes at our Lifelong Learning program - a Current Events discussion class, a lecture on the Cold War, a piano performance by a graduate student, a photography class, and then a Spanish discussion group. Busy day, so for dinner tonight it's homemade tamales from the freezer, plus already made brown rice and fresh veggies.

But first I have Cross Fit Boot Camp class, the beginning of my third week. I can't say I love the thought of going, but I do love how it feels when we're done. And I am getting stronger, already I can tell, so I'm very happy about that. There's a gal in our class that is 70, and she's awesome, so anytime I even think of whining or not going to class, I just think of her.

Make it a memorable day!


  1. This looks a perfect plan, retirement is very hard step to take on but it also open doors of trying something new. RV trip, boot camps a perfect plan.


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