Weekend Wrap Up 2/24-2/26

As I work to live each day more consciously, I much enjoy crafting fun weekends for my spouse and I. Even in retirement weekends are still weekends!

As I was reading the latest post from the always-wonderful Nina Fussing of Wheeling It, listed in my blog roll on the right, I realized that I was experiencing the very syndrome she was describing; that of having been in one place just a little. too. long.

In her case, they'd been in one location in their RV for three months, and realized that the process of gearing up to return to their more normal pace of being constantly on the go felt a bit foreign. In my case, we've been home for two straight months as of today, and have one more month to go before we return to our more normal pattern of 50% travel/50% at home. I'm getting increasingly antsy to get going, even with the numerous projects occurring here at the house, and the many fun things we've been doing.

Speaking of which, we had a busy weekend full of lots of events and activities. And yes, even in retirement weekends still feel like weekends. There is a different energy on the weekend then during the week, and it still feels festive.

On Friday night we joined our foreign food dining group at a Basque restaurant, Centro Basco in Chino. It was a bit of a traffic-miserable drive to get there, and a great reminder of how lovely it is to no longer be commuting, but the evening was fun and very memorable, with lots of interesting conversation and food.

All but the entrees come family style - big passing bowls and platters of soup, beans, veggies, potatoes, plus bread and cheese.
The plate on the right, in the middle, is their famous beef tongue. I took a pass, but my spouse much enjoyed it.

On Saturday morning my spouse and I did a four mile race walk, then I worked in the yard weeding and reorganizing our storage shed for a few hours. I love being outside, and I particularly enjoy organizing, so cleaning out a shed is right up my alley. After that, we both got cleaned up and left to meet friends at a new-to-us wine bar in Yorba Linda, called OC Wine Mart. It took a few tries to get the gist of the set up, which involved deciding which of the 32 wines on auto-pour that we wanted to sample in 2 oz increments while enjoying music and some tasty small bites.

The musician for the night was a classical guitarist, and when he broke out into a Led Zepplin tune late in the evening, after having played nothing but romantic Spanish ballads prior to that, three of us at the table got very, very excited. Turns out the couple we were with loved 70's rock as much as I did, and that led to learning about a concert series called Classic Albums Live that perform at small venues in our area multiple times a year. Sold! And my classic-al music loving spouse agreed to join in on the fun given that I've been the oh-so-supportive spouse during the attendance of many, many classical music concerts over the years. (Don't get me wrong - I nuch enjoy classical music. It's just that I enjoy popular music a whole lot more. :-)

Sunday started with services at our UU congregation, then another hour of socializing with everyone afterward. We've been attending for about two months now, and in that time we've attended quite a few social functions/groups, plus gotten involved in the small group Chalice Circle, so we're really getting to know people. Today I was asked if I'd be interested in joining the small choir. In that so far they've sung songs from Adele, Styx, John Lennon, Les Miserable, Bill Withers, and Peter, Paul and Mary, I said 'Absolutely!'

We headed to Los Angeles afterward, a quick 30 mile/30 minute drive in that there was no traffic whatsoever until the very last mile, which is where the 101 and 110 freeways come together into pretty much the heart of downtown L.A. This is the area where the Music Center, Disney Concert Hall, Union Station, City Hall, Broad Museum and Grand Central Market are all located. It's a fabulous part of the city, and we were happy to see the sidewalks full of tourists even on a chilly February day. Our destination was the Disney Concert Hall, where we needed to exchange a voucher we'd purchased at our UU auction for two seats to an upcoming LA Philharmonic performance. My spouse waited in the car in a red zone while I ran in to do the exchange so as to avoid the $3.50 for every 15 minutes (!) parking fee the areas immediately adjacent to the concert hall charged.

That done, we drove one short mile to Phillipe's for a late lunch. Phillipe's, famous for its French dipped sandwiches, is positively an icon in Los Angeles at over 100 years old. It first opened in 1908, and moved to it's current location in 1951. Their French dipped sandwiches are absolutely freaking fantastic, hence why the restaurant continues to serve over 3,000 people per day. And considering it's in the heart of LA, the prices are incredibly reasonable at about $7 for a French Dip regardless of whether you want it dipped once, dipped twice, or immersed fully in the delicious au jou.

Beef French Dip with Blue Cheese. Insanely delicious!

The drive home was quick and traffic free as well. Oh that we could get to LA this easily all the time! What a fabulous thing that would be, with so much to do and so many fantastic restaurants to enjoy. But, the reality is that on a normal traffic filled day the drive in would take anywhere from one hour to an hour and a half each way. The ying and yang if you will - the great thing about living somewhere heavily populated is that there is a whole lot of things to do on any given day, but the not so great thing is that you are out there trying to do them with a whole lot of other people.

When we got home we streamed a Great Courses lecture on The History of Opera in preparation for our first full opera in a few weeks. The opera we are seeing, Mozart's Idomeneo  will be performed by The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and then broadcast live to over 2,000 theaters in 70 countries though a program called Live in HD. I'm looking forward to this, and I think it's fantastic that we'll be watching it live along with so many other people. The tickets run $25 a piece, with the opera running a full four hours. A bargain for the price I think.

And no need to cook dinner, because we were both stuffed from lunch, so yeah for that in that I'm still the cook and chief dishwasher for another few weeks.

Goals and Plans for Today
Watch artificial turf begin to go down - yes, this is finally happening!
60 minutes of Spanish study
25 pages of Book Club read
Six mile hike
Lunch out at a poke bowl joint post-hike
Stream the Academy Awards the remainder of the afternoon via Hulu (Being cable free means we have to wait one day for a show to be available on Hulu before we can watch it.)
Make eggplant parmesan for dinner


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