Monday Musings

Welcome to Monday Musings, where I share a bit of what's been going on in my little part of the world. And I have to tell you guys that I am so, so relieved to be putting up this post! Why, you ask? See item #1 below!

This Week's Monday Musings

1. Our balcony expansion and patio cover were approved by the city this afternoon, hip, hip hooray! Oh my goodness what a process! A full eight weeks from start to finish, involving far more players than I care to ever, ever have to coordinate again going forward - our contractor, our HOA, an architect, a structural engineer, and most challenging of all, our bureaucratic city planning department. Not to mention having no clue what any of them did or needed, instead having to simply trust. And write checks of course!

But all's well that ends well, and we are now officially on our way to having a beautiful new backyard that serves to maximize our gorgeous views and provide a wonderful new space in which to entertain. When all is said and done we'll have a total of five new outdoor places in which to relax, take in the views, and entertain - a space off our family room, off our downstairs master, off our upstairs master, and two spaces adjacent to our rear property line, the area that now has clear views to the ocean. Plus our upstairs balcony, which also has beautiful ocean views, will now have a staircase leading down to the yard for easy up and down outside access. So excited to see it all start to take shape!

2. We have been receiving regular visits from our resident roadrunner. In that this guy seems to enjoy hopping up onto our backyard perimeter post in order to fluff feathers, I'm guessing it's a male trying to attract a female roadrunner. He is so cute as he preens and gazes out into the canyon, occasionally emitting a very distinctive and loud call out.

3. We attended a grunion run at the beach this past Friday night. We showed up at 10:00 PM for a ranger talk about what to expect, along with about 70 other people, many of them families, then wandered down to the water at 11:00 PM to await the grunion. The ranger had said that first to show up would be the Night Heron, and goodness did they. It was so exciting to sit quietly on the sand and watch the Night Heron fly in and land along the water's edge to await the first wave of grunion 'scouts' and enjoy a bit of easy feeding. Then, finally, just before midnight it started. Masses of grunion began to arrive with each set of waves and it became an instant party. After sitting quietly in the dark for about an hour, flashlights came on as everyone excitedly rushed onto the wet sand to experience this amazing phenomenon known as a grunion run. So interesting, so exciting, so much fun, and so very glad we made the effort.

Here's a short video explaining just exactly what a grunion run is all about:

4. My oldest daughter and I had a lovely night out at a restaurant in Laguna Beach as a belated Mother's Day present. I was back in D.C. with my other daughter over Mother's Day, hence the delay. It was a gorgeous evening, so we sat outside as we ate, and we just talked and talked. She and I had a painful transition through her teens and early adulthood, so to now be at a place where we genuinely love and enjoy each other's company continues to be a gift that I think we both treasure about the same amount. She left me this sweet message on Facebook on Mother's Day, which I'll treasure forever: Happy Mother’s Day! You continue to be my inspiration and the person I want to share the highlights of my life with. I love you mom!

A belated Mother's Day celebratory slice of carrot cake. As good as it looks!

5. I have been at the beach almost every single day this past week! I've gone walking in both San Clemente and Dana Point, attended the above grunion run at Doheny State Beach, had dinner in Laguna Beach, worked a volunteer shift at the Dana Point Harbor, and am meeting a girlfriend in San Clemente for a walk and breakfast date tomorrow morning.

These views never, ever get old.


That's it for today's Monday Musings, but would love to know what's running through your heads this morning, so please do feel free to share some of your musings below!


  1. That's great news about your backyard remodeling permit, Tamara, and so exciting to anticipate all the new spaces with ocean view. We have red-winged blackbirds in spring here. They tweet nice bird songs but become aggressive when they're nesting. Your daughter's message is lovely so congrats for doing a great job as her mom despite some growing pains. I go to the lakefront (no ocean near where I live) almost every day and you're right the views never get old. I just came back from a wonderful time in the Baltics and Poland. I'm doing catch up this week.

    1. Well, that lakefront is a large enough body to act like an ocean!

      We have red shouldered birds here, and I wonder if they are blackbirds? I'll have to look into that!

      And welcome home from your trip! I look forward to reading all about it and seeing your photos on your blog. ☺

  2. I am I went to Natural Bridge Park in Winston Co., Al ($3.50) and to Sipsy River in Bankhead National Forest (it is a wild river that is little more than a creek in places) in Lawrence Co., and to Payne Lake ($3.00) in Talladega National Park in Hale Co.. I also went to Miller's Ferry swimming hole near Camden (Wilcox Co.) ($2.00) which is an Army Core of Engineer's Park. So, I went from North Alabama to South Central Alabama exploring parks, swimming holes, etc. It was a fun three days!

    1. It sounds wonderful, and right up my alley! And, of course, the upside to all that activity is getting to enjoy some good eats afterward!

      P.S. Would love to have you add a name to the end of your replies, even if it's made up. Currently I just think of you as 'Alabama' which seems so impersonal! ☺

    2. "Bama" was my nickname at BYU...well, because of the

  3. What a relief to now move forward on your landscaping. I'll look forward to reading the process and seeing pictures. I can dream of having the ocean in my sights living in southern Ontario!
    What an amazing life cycle of the Gulf Grunion!! I've never quite seen anything like it.
    Daughter, granddaughters are precious...mine who is on mat leave, has just left after a full day together. I'm glad the rough patches have smoothed out for you and her. It's not easy when they were younger...enough said! Makes you really appreciate what you have now!

    1. Hi Robin, well, you have the beauty of the Great Lakes, no small potatoes. ☺

      My husband and I say, 'Little people, little problems. Big people, big problems!' But in our case, one rather controlling mother had to learn that her very capable daughter was choosing her own path, and that that was ok. It took a while, but I finally got there.

      Oh grandchildren! The best, the absolute unequivocal best!

  4. Ha! Controlling were not alone in that department....comprising, talking and name a few lessons I learned. Lol
    Yes you're right....Lake Ontario is not too far away....45 mins. The other lakes are a couple hours away. A different set up. ;)

  5. So glad you were able to get together with both daughters recently. What a dear message your oldest daughter left for you. I know it is precious and carefully tucked away in your heart. And that carrot cake! Oh my word.

    I found the grunion a little too slimy and creepy for my tastes. Poor dear female grunions. I thought natural childbirth was bad. But nature is amazing and interesting. And a grunion run would certainly be a different experience for me! Might qualify for outside my comfort zone!

    Glad your backyard project got the green light. Hope the balcony is in place for you to soon enjoy.

    1. Love my girls, and yep, the cake was incredible. It had a cheesecake frosting. As in a cheesecake frosting!!!

      The word I kept using with regard to the grunion was 'earthy' Leslie, so I know exactly what you mean! Nature really is earthy. And messy! But truly, it was so gosh darn interesting to experience, and watching how excited not just the children, but also the teenagers present, was pretty awesome.

      Re: Balcony . . . you and me both! :-)

  6. Oh that carrot cake looks delicious Tamara! Good news about the balcony and patio expansion. My daughter and her husband just finished their renovations in time for the arrival of Elliot! Have a great weekend.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    1. Yeah for Elliot finally making his appearance! Hugs to the grandma!!! ☺


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