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Showing posts from March, 2017

What's Up Friday 3/31

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Greetings from the East Coast, our home for the next month. A lot of ground has been covered this week, literally!
Flew to Baltimore, Maryland on Tuesday, picked up our rental car and headed straight to Virginia to see our granddaughter before she went to sleep. We made it with minutes to spare! What a joy to see her face light up as her Nana and Baba got out of the car. Life truly doesn't get any better than this. (Insert heart emoji here . . . )Spent all day Wednesday playing with our granddaughter, which was a glorious, sunny day here in the metro-DC area. Played at the park, had lunch at McD's, went grocery shopping - what an adventure with a 2 1/2 year old that was! - and played ball in the street. Having lots of talking time, plus lots of 'show me' time when we weren't exactly sure what she was trying to say, was beyond precious.Saw cherry blossoms. Because, DC in the spring.

Visited the stirring Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine, where The …

Weekend Wrap Up 3/24-3/26

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We had glorious California spring weather this weekend, meaning clear blue skies and temps in the mid to high 70's - a perfect weekend, in other words, for spending as much time outside as possible.

On Friday night we joined our foreign foods dining group for al fresco dining at and Irish restaurant, Macallans Public House. If you'll recall from my last post, I was rather excited about the martini menu I'd seen online, so that was the first thing I ordered when I got to the restaurant - a cherry martini. It was delish - nice and cherry flavored without being sickly sweet. And the hubs and I shared a fish n chips plate because the servings were huge. And the company was great - we had a terrific conversation with two other couples, also retired, that looks like it will turn into a separate get together for the six of us in the not-too-distant future.

On Saturday morning, alas, I sent my husband off to the do the Metropolitan Opera - Live in HD thing alone because our offic…

What's Up Friday 3/24

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Very busy week here at Casa My Retirement Project as we wind down from home remodeling projects and gear up toward our upcoming east coast trip to see family, and travel around the Carolinas. Hardwood flooring goes down tomorrow in my husband's home office, with the accidentally-overlooked countertops not likely to be completed until our return in late April. But once those are in, which should be a quick half-day job, we are officially done, hooray!

In other news:
We attended the always-awesome Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour this past week. I am inspired every single year we attend to do even more in my own outdoor life. This tour travels all over the USA and Canada, plus internationally, and if you have even the slightest yen for adventure, this event is definitely for you!  We are continuing to eat down the refrigerator in preparation for being away. The closer we get the more, ahem, interesting our meals are becoming. Bless my dear husband for being so darn flexible ab…

A Few Things Making Me Happy Today

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You know how when life gives you lemons, if you are a positive-leaning type person, you try and make lemonade? Well, I thought that would be a great exercise for me to practice today in that this happened yesterday:


They forgot to make the countertops for our new office cabinetry. :-(

This really is a reputable company that we have done business with multiple times before. What occurred was that a change order for our countertops midway through the project got filed away instead of being processed. The good news is that they are rushing through the remaining order, though it may not make it in time to be done before our upcoming trip back east.

So onward to A Few Things Making Me Happy Today!

The State Park up the street from us finally opened after being closed for weeks and weeks due to California's ongoing winter rains. We did an eight mile hike there a couple of days ago, and it was glorious! The greenest we've seen it in over 25 years.
I found a group of active women to bi…

20 Things On My Spring Bucket List

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Happy First Day of Spring!

Under the category of Spring Has Sprung! I'm joining in with a host of other bloggers to share 20 Things on my Spring Bucket List. After months and months of desperately needed, but still wet and gloomy, winter rains here in S. California, I'm ready for our more-normal sunshine and warmth to return, and therefore can't wait to get started on this list now that spring is finally here.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see who else is participating, and to visit their blogs for additional spring inspiration!
20 Things On My Spring Bucket List
Make a batch of low-sugar jam with spring berries.Grill spring artichokes.Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner outside at least once.Make three new cocktails.Make three new BBQ dinners.Try three new restaurants.Take a family picture during our vacation in Kiawah Island.Make three lunch dates with girlfriends.Join a yoga studio . . . and go!Strength train two times each week.Take six bike spinning classes…

What's Up Friday 3/17

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the leprechauns smile kindly on you all today!
What a week over here at Casa My Retirement Project! We kicked off the last of our remodeling projects, a complete remodel of my spouse's home office. After a few weeks of not having tradespeople in the house, it was a bit of a shock to my system to once again have to open up the house, lay down protective floor coverings, and deal with noise and dust. Seriously, once we are done with this go-round I'm thinking I'd rather move than go through it all again. It's been much more stressful then I remember from our last remodel go-round in 2003.

So here's a peek at the office progress to date, starting with the Before.


The Before looks better by photo than it does up close. The built ins were done by one of those 'quick' closet installation companies about 15 years ago, and they were showing their age because of the fairly cheap materials that were used. Additionally, my spouse is no…

A Few Frugal Things 3/15

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Inspired by the wonderful Kristen over at The Frugal Girl, I enjoy trying to do five frugal things each week to offset those parts of our life where frugality doesn't necessarily reign.
Used a $10 off $10 JCPenney coupon to purchase a cute spring outfit for my granddaughter. Final cost after coupon was $2.13.Remembered to bring and use a $5 off coupon for a local restaurant we meet at each month with our movie group.Used a $25 savings coupon on dinner for four at Buca di Beppo, where food is served family style (another savings), plus a second coupon for same restaurant to have a free birthday cake delivered to our table in celebration of my sister-in-law's birthday.Took a nice bottle of our own wine to 3. above and paid a small corkage fee instead of buying it at the restaurant for everyone, which would have run at least three times the retail price of the bottle, plus tax and tip on the inflated value. Menu planned, including utilizing what I already had in my freezer. As a …

Weekend Wrap Up 3/10 - 3/12

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Monday morning here, and I am oh. so. tired.

Our weekend was jam packed with fun events, and as we turned in late last night for the third night in a row, the phrase 'Party like a rock star' went running through my head even as my body was clamoring at me to knock it off.

So much fun, but no way could we do this on a regular basis!

Friday night found us at an OC Wine Society winery tasting event in reasonably nearby* Costa Mesa. These events, held several times a year, combine dinner and wine tasting from one specific winery, tonight's featured winery being Brander Winery from Los Osos in the Santa Ynez wine region. (If you've seen the movie Sideways, you're familiar with Santa Ynez, because that's where the movie was both shot and took place.) Because these events involve either the owner or wine maker giving a talk about the process of making each of the wines being sampled, there is always a large turnout. And it has been our experience that people who enjo…

What's Up Friday 3/10

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Things are really picking up around here lately - as I was plotting our my menu for the week (my week runs Wed - Tue, since Wednesdays are double deal day at Sprouts, where I get the majority of my groceries), I realized that I only had to meal plan out dinner for two nights because we were going to be out for the other five. This would have never happened prior to retirement because we would have been too tired, so yeah for the ability to take middle of the day naps, which allow us to keep going until as late in the day as needed. 
Yesterday we took one of those two dinners over to my eldest daughter's, a monthly tradition we started a year ago. Originally we met at a restaurant, but that started to generate a whole host of issues. Like, who pays? We're retired and technically on a set income while she's an upwardly mobile professional, however we simply don't feel comfortable letting our daughters pay for us, or even themselves when we are all out together. Because,…

We Have Grass! Backyard Project Completion.

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At end of day, Friday, the crew had the two underlayers of crushed stone and decomposed granite laid down, compressed into a smooth shape, and ready to receive the artificial turf. They were unable to return until Sunday to lay down the actual artificial turf, and with rain in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, it ended up turning into a bit of a race to see which was going to get here first - the completed lawn or the rain. The crew managed to get everything completed other than the last and final step of working in several hundred pounds of silica sand into the laid-in-place turf, which they will return and complete today.

Quite the process! I looked up how to install artificial turn on the DIY site, and found this interesting tutorial.

Steps 13 and 14 of the above tutorial not withstanding, to the naked eye the blessed thing is done! Here are photos at long last (I say this to myself, primarily - this 'easy' relandscaping project stretched out to almost nine full weeks tha…

Weekend Wrap Up 3/4 - 3/5

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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:
AndreaBroadway by Amar SantanaLeatherby's Cafe RougeProvenanceSplashesSapphire LagunaThe RanchSushi NoguchiRayaStudio 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 …

About That Bucket List . . .

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The topic at last night's Chalice Circle pertained to bucket lists. We were asked to make one ahead of time, and bring it with us prepared to discuss. Going in, this is what mine looked like:
Visit all 59 National Parks. 'Live' in a variety of cities around the world via one month apartment rentals. On that list would be the USA cities of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and NYC, plus the foreign cities of Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, London, Auckland, and Sydney,Live within walking distance to the Pacific Ocean, preferably in either San Diego or Orange County here in California.
When we got to the meeting, we were presented with a list of questions related to our bucket lists. These are the questions, along with my answers:

What kinds of emotions came up for you in creating your list? Excitement! Every. Single. One.Looking at your complete list, do any of the items point to some underlying unmet needs? Does your list in some way reflect some larger or broader longi…

So Close! Plus Wednesday Words of Wisdom

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So darn close . . .

The crew arrived to lay our new artificial turf (sample of which is sitting tantalizingly on our patio to the left) on Monday as planned, and got right to work. The project involves putting in two layers of under materials, the first of which is shown in the photo above, with the turf going in last as the third and final layer. All went well for the first two hours, but then, alas, it started to rain. Again. No!!!

They waited it out for about half an hour before calling it quits for the day, and told me they'd return later in the week to pick up where they left off once the ground dried out. The weather is currently warm and dry, so fingers and toes crossed that they show up soon, as we have out of town company arriving on Friday and it would be sooooo nice to have a pretty, completed yard to enjoy when they do.

In other news, I experienced two situations recently that left me with some very wise words to ponder.

The first occurred this past Sunday, when the s…