Showing posts from February, 2017

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 event…

On Having Good Energy

I had such a good day yesterday, energy wise. I made conscientious choices throughout the day, and it worked beautifully in keeping my energy high.

I had an acai bowl before my workout, rather than afterward, plus a tall glass of water and a couple of fish oil pills. My workout was terrific, and because I wasn't starving afterward, I unhurriedly did the grocery shopping before returning home, getting my biggest To Do of the day off my list.

I had a high protein, low sugar lunch just before noon, then my spouse and I left for a full afternoon of activities - an appointment with our new tax preparer, a lecture on Civil War art broadcast live from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and an at-the-movies showing of the Oscar nominated film Lion.

The tax appointment was fairly uneventful other than learning that we were eligible to open a Roth due to one of our 2016 deferred compensation payments not being marked as a retirement payout. That was great news, though it would have been…

Backyard Slope Completed

So, so nice to have one element of our backyard completed. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and aside from being very pleasant to look at, it is uber-low maintenance. The slope was first covered with felt to assist with weed control, then a wave pattern of river rock was placed to cover about 50% of the slope, then groupings of slow growing, heat loving plants were positioned across the remaining area. After that, the drip system was put into place to ensure that even while on a sloping hill, water will be delivered directly to each plant's root system.

The barely visible small plants along the slope rock border are ground spreading lantana. They look somewhat colorless now, but will slowly grow into lovely purple and white color spots similar to what has occurred in my front yard over the six months since being planted there:

Pretty much all that is left is to finish the half circle planter you can see roughly laid out in the top photo, plus the laying down of artificial…

Sunday Update

A flurry of social and entertaining events have us on the run this weekend. What's been keeping us busy:

- Breakfast meeting with a speaker yesterday. Topic was tips on maintaining a loving marriage. One can never get too much of this I think, no matter how long or solid one's marriage or primary relationship might be.
- Dinner and auction event with our UC community. The auction was so much fun! Most of the items involved entertainment events put on by the congregation. Things like themed dinners, themed dance parties, henna parties, photography parties, lecture parties. We purchased tickets to a Middle Eastern themed dinner, a Broadway sing-along buffet, a bourbon and scotch tasting party, a meditation session, and tickets to see the LA Philharmonic perform at the Disney Concert Hall. A pretty diverse group of events!
- UC Sunday services this morning, followed by lunch at a new restaurant in downtown Santa Ana, then a showing of the much-buzzed-about movie LaLa Land.

All g…

Acai Bowls at Home

A friend introduced me to acai bowls about a year ago, after we'd completed a long hike and were looking for some sustenance. I had no idea what actually went into an acai bowl, but I'd been hearing about their health benefits for some time, and so was open to giving one a try. When we got to the place that sold them, I admit I was a bit shocked at the price, about $8.00 per bowl. I'd been thinking they were kind of like a thick smoothie up to that point, and $8.00 for a smoothie seemed like A LOT. Particularly in that I make smoothies all the time at home for under a dollar.

Once they were brought out to us, however, and I had my first spoonful, I fell head over in love. For me, they were the perfect food - they looked and tasted a bit like frozen yogurt, were high in protein, and low in sugar. The last being most unlike frozen yogurt(!).

At $8.00 per, however, it wasn't something I was interested in adding to my list of life norms. So, I came home and did a little r…

Rocks, Rocks and More Rocks

We had a large load of grey river rock dropped off early yesterday morning, exciting in that it meant more backyard landscaping progress is being made even as we prepare for another storm to roll through beginning Friday. The crew has been steadily hauling the rocks into our backyard and onto our slope, where they will eventually make a wave pattern all across the bottom half of our 100 foot long, 15 foot wide slope. The portion of the slope not covered with rock will then be planted with heat-loving plants hooked up to a drip system. I'm so excited to see the end result in that my front yard slope has been positively thriving since being re-landscaped and put onto a drip system by the same landscaper last year.

Once completed, our slope should look something like these:

Otherwise, today should be a good mix of productivity and fun. Menu planning from the list below has already been done, with this showing up on our plates for the next week:
    Wednesday - Dinner out (Discussion…

Family Room Updating Complete

With the installation of our new Hunter Douglas shades last week, our latest Family Room update is now complete. I say 'latest' because I change something in my home - furniture, accessories, cabinetry and/or flooring - on a fairly regular basis. I'm pretty confident this tendency was inherited from my maternal grandmother. It was very common to walk into her home and discover she'd added, replaced or rearranged something since the last time I'd visited.

The biggest change out this time around was the flooring. Additionally, we decided to add window coverings to our previously unadorned French sliding doors.

 Here is our family room before, with light maple floors and uncovered sliding doors.

 And here is the after with the new, darker flooring, and our newly installed Hunter Douglas shades fully extended.

Flooring tone is now mid-range between light and dark, leaning slightly more toward the darker side of the spectrum:

The new window coverings ful…

Rain . . . Again!

And yet another rainy day, which though it holds up completion of my backyard landscaping project, bodes so, so well for the end of California's multi year drought. So yeah for that, for sure.

My poor landscaper is clearly looking for some way to keep his projects moving forward in spite of the wet conditions. This morning he sent two of his crew over to clear and level our slope in preparation for rock and plant placement. They are working in mud boots, and traversing my yard via long wooden boards to avoid the worst of the mud. It's quite the scene out there!

In that the mud (formerly known as my lawn) is completely contained within concrete and block retaining walls, and in that my actually home is completely protected/surrounded by concrete sidewalks and a patio, I'm finding myself more and more amused at the vast sea of mud. The last time we experienced rain like this was twenty years ago in 1997. And we are actually faring quite well, much better than some of our ne…

On Achieving Balance

One of the things I most enjoy about being retired is the ability to wake up very slowly each morning over a mug of coffee. I tend to gravitate toward our living room, with it's southeast facing windows that allow me to watch the sky change color as the sun comes up. It's also where I most enjoy writing a blog post, particularly if I have the windows open and can hear the sounds of birds calling such as I do right now.

We have blue skies at the moment, but more rain is heading our way tonight. This looks to be the last for a while, and selfishly I'm very pleased about that because until my now-soggy backyard dries out, my landscaping project can not move forward.

In the meantime, other elements are coming together. Yesterday my floor installer came by to trim the door for our upstairs guest bath, which no longer shut once a transition piece was laid down between the new wood floored hallway, and existing bathroom tile. And today my new window treatments for the family roo…

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 lit…

On Being Flexible

I finished up week two of Cross Fit this morning, meaning four weeks and 12 classes to go. Not that I'm counting, but really I am because these classes are hard! There was one element, called body crossovers, that I simply could not do this morning. I wanted to do them, and my mind was there, but my body would simply. not. cooperate. I gave them everything I had, but when I realized it wasn't going to happen, period, I switched over to a similar move I could do, and marked them off as something to grow into in future classes. We did a series of high intensity intervals, which I both loved and hated it at the same time, if that makes sense. These classes are showing both my strengths (primarily my cardio capacity) and my weaknesses (pretty much everything else!), but I am definitely seeing growth in my areas of weakness already. And although I'm depleted upon leaving class, I'm not wasted, which is definitely how I felt after the first class I attended. So, forward mom…

A Romantic Night Out in I Heart Newport Beach

Newport Beach is the city I'd happily live out my dying days in were money no object. Fashion Island, Balboa Island, the Back Bay, Crystal Cove State Beach, miles of canyon and coastal hiking, Rogers Gardens, gorgeous homes, people and cars - I seriously have such a love affair with this city. So just for giggles when we went house hunting a few months ago, I spent some time researching housing prices there, and found that even on the fringes of the city, inland from the ocean, a million will only get you an under-2000 sq. foot condo with no views or outside space. Sigh. So as we continue to ponder a move closer to the ocean in the next few years, I've officially given up on ever living in Newport Beach, instead focusing on more reasonably priced, adjacent cities, like Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo. We're eyeing 2020 to make this change, which is when the first of us turns 65 and begins to collect additional revenue flows via pensions, Social Security and the lowering of …

Hello February, and 2017 Word Update

Many successes in January, and yet, much heartbreak as well. To get the heartbreak out of the way first, I'll only say that who I thought we were as a nation is very clearly wrong. In actuality, I first was confronted with this in the summer of 2014, when my spouse and I spent a total of four months traveling the USA in our RV. We embarked on this trip with rose colored glasses, and returned without them, troubled to our core by the hatred and intolerance toward 'those' people we'd bumped up against over and over again during our travels throughout a total of 12 western states. Perhaps because we were white and drove a Jeep, it was presumed we felt the same and would understand, but the more we heard the less we did. So, as deeply depressed as I am about what has occurred since the new president took office earlier this month, I cannot say that I am surprised even while being utterly dismayed that it took the form of the Republican candidate for president that it did.…