Weekend Wrap Up 3/4 - 3/5

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

Last year my spouse and I decided it would be fun to identify ten of the top restaurants in Orange County, where we live here in California, and slowly work our way through dining at each one. 'Slowly' in that we do need to be mindful of the calories involved in this effort! So after doing a little research, we came up with this list courtesy of those food lovin' folks at Gayot:
  1. Andrea
  2. Broadway by Amar Santana
  3. Leatherby's Cafe Rouge
  4. Provenance
  5. Splashes
  6. Sapphire Laguna
  7. The Ranch
  8. Sushi Noguchi
  9. Raya
  10. Studio
Since launching this endeavor last year, we've dined at Splashes, Sapphire Laguna and The Ranch. Saturday night was tagged for our fourth, Leatherby's Cafe Rouge at the Segerstrom Music Center in Costa Mesa. So convenient in that the restaurant was located in the same building where we'd be attending a Pops Symphony concert afterward featuring the Beach Boys. Yes, those Beach Boys!

We live a quick 20 minutes away from the music center, and with ample free parking at across the street South Coast Plaza, we go to performances there on a pretty regular basis. And it's our routine when we do go, to get dressed up and enjoy a glass of wine together before leaving the house, which we did this time as well. It sets a real 'date night' tone for the evening even before we've departed.

Dinner at Leatherby's Cafe Rouge turned out to be so, so lovely. We had a starter of summer beets served with a variety of interesting nuts, lettuce and cheese, then seafood entrees. Both entrees were prepared to perfection - charred crispy on the outside, moist and flavorful on the inside. Something I can never, ever manage at home. And again, no dessert, as I continue to chip away at my sugar addiction.

It was so luxurious to just stroll out the connecting door between the restaurant and the concert hall once dinner was over. So luxurious we're thinking we'll be doing this again sooner rather than later.

The restaurant location is so wonderful, positioned on the first floor
of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. We had a table by
the window, and thoroughly enjoyed the people watching it afforded

And the ensuing concert was great! In spite of the remaining Beach Boys - Mike Love and Bruce Johnston - having somewhat diminished singing chops their instrumentality is still spot on, and they had terrific, slightly younger band members with absolutely great voices to elevate the overall sound. I'm telling you, those old guys played their hearts out for over two solid hours. What a night!

As a native California girl, I'm particularly partial to this Beach Boys hit. :-)

On Sunday we slept in a bit, then enjoyed a nice walk under gorgeous skies before heading out to our UU services. Afterward we joined a group from our Lifelong Learning program at our university to attend Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Having taken up the study of Shakespeare in retirement, we had previously read this play, and also seen it performed at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival up in Oregon, so we were much looking forward to it. And it delivered - the performance
was absolutely terrific, far superior to the one we'd seen in Ashland in 2015 in our humble opinion. Afterward we enjoyed a stage talk with the director, then everyone trooped over to the university cafeteria for dinner. Talk about a contrast from last night's dinner! But what the food may have lacked, the conversation with our fellow Lifelong Learners more than made up for, and we ended up staying in the cafeteria for well over two hours as we all talked away.

For those just starting out in retirement, I want to say that after a couple of years of trying to figure out how to structure our 'new' lives, we are now having the most wonderful time day after day after day. Little by little we've gotten involved in more and more activities, which have introduced us to lots of new people, many of whom are now friends we socialize with on a regular basis. And though, yes, we absolutely have the occasional bad days, they are the exception, not the rule. We truly are having the time of our lives, even as we work hard to not take any of it for granted. We recognize at this stage of our lives things could change virtually overnight.

Plans and Goals For Today
- Four mile race walk.
- Lunch out with a friend dealing with a life threatening cancer.
- Target to return some items, sans receipt. Dreading this one!
- Read another 10% of our March Book Club selection, The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck.
- 60 minutes of Spanish study
- Contact Road Scholar to 1) Move our 2018 New Zealand hiking trip from February to January, and 2) Add a second trip to Australia. So excited that we'll be 'Down Under' for two full months in 2018, with a stop in America Samoa on the way home to visit American Samoa National Park, one of the remaining parks on our 'Visit All 59 National Parks' Bucket List!


  1. Here's hoping your Target return experience is like ours and a national policy. If you purchased using a credit card they will refund to the card without a receipt. All they have to do is use the same card and their machine will verify it's the right card. If the return window is old say more than 30 days they may refund you at the most recent sales price which could be less than what you paid. If you used a credit card check your statement and bring the printout with you to show the date and amount of purchase. Or they may refund you by Target gift card. Works for me and May for you.
    Your retirement goals sound wonderful. Sometimes I worry there are days when I drift more than I should but try to allow myself to not be too driven as I was in working days. I have goals of which paramount is to remove items from my house I no longer use or wear. I have much older relatives drowning in stuff and don't want my sons to have to deal with it. It's just easier to find things and keep my house clean. My husband is supportive which is great!

    1. Thanks so much for your Target feedback. As usual, the worrying about something is generally worse than the actual doing of it!

      Regarding days where you feel you drift - That's one of the main reasons I started this blog - to make myself more accountable. I find that as long as I'm doing whatever I'm doing mindfully, I can avoid the sensation of drifting. The two biggest time wasters I have to be cautious of are evening TV and daytime internet surfing. As long as I manage those two, time wise, I'm generally at peace with how I spent my day.


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