Quick Timing

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Is it just me, or does time seem to fly by quicker than it ever has before? 

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Discovery Bay at Sunset

We went to an amazing party in Discovery Bay this past weekend. I’d never been there before and was so impressed with the quiet that I found there. It’s serene and sits out in a place where you would never expect to find waterways.

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West Cliff Drive During Open Streets

Then we moved on to my hometown, Santa Cruz, CA. We went to one of my favorite lighting stores, Illuminee on Ingalls St. The owners have beautiful lights and all kinds of interesting additions for the home. We ate lunch at West End Tap. We’ve never had a bad meal there and it is filled with memories from former visits.  We moved on to San Mateo and shared some time with our newlyweds. I’m (a little) sad that the weekend seemed to go by so quickly. I certainly could have used more time in all of the places that we visited. We need to move a little slower, through our quick timing. 

 

Peace & Quiet

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A couple of weeks ago we walked the trail to Frasier Falls that was covered with snow. I didn’t realize at the time that this photo would take me to a very quiet and peaceful place during the holiday rush.

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Snowy Bridge

While we were there, we didn’t know that our car battery was dangerously low and about to give out completely. It would have been a very long, icy walk back to a spot where the cell phone could have found a signal to call for help. I guess someone was watching over us. 

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Frasier Falls

I try to reflect on the blessings from this year as I hurry to this year’s end. In the month before Christmas, it’s often hard to find a moment to be still and silent. I think it is important to carve out a little down time to help us all keep our sanity.

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Shattered Ice Pond

So, I think of you as I mail my cards, wrap the boxes, and stand in the long post office lines. I think of you and hope that you have a safe and sane holiday season. I hope that you will find time to spend with family and friends ringing in the year that is soon to pass and the year that is about to be. Happy Holidays   

 

 

Beauty Fully

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Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight. 

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Peaceful Sand Pond

This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.

Tower Bridge

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Just over a week ago, we were fortunate enough to be asked to attend the Tower Bridge Dinner, that takes place on the bridge that spans the Sacramento River, in Sacramento. I never thought I’d get to go to this event. The tickets are very hard to come by and sell out immediately. When we got the call, we dropped everything else we were doing and said, “Yes!” It was a Farm to Fork event and the weather, people, and sunset couldn’t have been better. The photo doesn’t do it justice as it was taken with a phone but I hope you can see the magnitude of the event and get a feel for the good time that was being had by everyone.

 

What a difference a week makes. The tragedy in Las Vegas is now weighing on all our minds. I can’t make sense of it. It makes me force myself to listen to my own words. My poem, Daffodil Spring, has a final stanza that goes like this:                     So I give to my children                                                                                                         Advice through their years,                                                                                                   “Look for life’s colors,                                                                                                                 Lest you drown in life’s tears.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I leave you with that thought, and this photo, taken last weekend in the Sierra’s. What an explosive sight, this weed going to seed, gives off. So try to remember that the world, though it may be cruel, is also a magnificent place.

Sea of Agapanthus

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While I was waiting for these photos to download, or upload, I could see that this year has led me to photograph bodies of water more than anything else. You might see that I was in search of water again but was pleasantly surprised to see this, lovingly placed, field of Agapanthus perched above the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1.  I had to turn the car around and get out to take a shot and walk in the coolness of this cliffside. It was a busy place and I was not the only person who stopped with camera in hand.

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Just as I had finished taking pictures and started to return to the car, this caught my eye. What a wonderful surprise to see this white flower with one tiny pink bloom in it’s center. How did that happen? 

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It made me think about the likenesses of plants, scenery, people, and creatures. I thought about how we look at things and think they are the same, but they are not. We are all unique individuals with something that is extremely special about each of us. Just passing by, you might only see the white cluster, but take a closer look and the true beauty of the plant is so small yet brilliant.

Do you think we eventually could end up with pink flowers with one tiny little white flower in each of the centers? Seems unlikely that would ever happen, but it’s fun to consider such a metamorphosis.  

 

Sunny Skagit Valley

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We took a little tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State this last weekend. We were so lucky to find sunshine and acres upon acres of beautiful flowers. We began by crossing the Salish Sea on a twenty car ferry to Lummi Island for a short stay and a meal at The Willows Inn. The sun was setting and the evening was divine.

We took a couple of walks on Sunset Beach, where it occurred to me, that we had been on Sunset Beach in Hawaii just a couple of weeks prior. Both places are uniquely lovely and well worth spending extended time at. One has soft golden sand and tiny shells while the other has incredible stones from the San Juan Islands. We visited family at Lake Whatcom, ate at EATS in Bellingham, cruised down Chuckanut Dr. to view the oyster farms, walked to Whatcom Falls, and ate at Seeds while taking a short tour of La Conner. I shouldn’t forget the blueberry ice cream. I’m not a great lover of ice cream, it always makes me thirsty, but this was wonderful. Maybe because it’s made locally and is fresh. I always thought that I needed to go to The Netherlands to see the bulbs in bloom. I was wrong. This place is well worth seeing. I’m removing Holland from my list. 

Corner Stone

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A couple of weeks ago we seized the opportunity to go over to Sonoma with some family members and share a day in the sunshine, which was very hard to come by at that time. We went to Corner Stone right outside of Sonoma for lunch and a little wandering through the gardens on that lovely day. The place is rather new and is a really great place to go to relax. I’d say that they have a little bit of everything there with their shops, gardens, restaurants, distillery, etc. There really is something for everyone there.

As Spring approaches, we should step out and find those places that are unique and worthy of our wandering. You never know what you might find in your own backyard, so to speak. 

The next blog will show you the big reveal of the kitchen remodel. It is nearly finished and I am loving the new space. It reminds me of Santa Cruz. That’s a great way to begin and end every day.

 

 

Video Link

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Last weekend we rounded a curve on Hwy 70 and found the sun shining down on the hillside. It was beautiful.

I attempted to put a video, that I just finished, into my blog this week but I no longer have that capability. Here is the link to view it if you are not linked to me via Facebook https://vimeo.com/202985562

 You can copy and paste and this should open up for you. It has photos, and music that I wrote, playing in the background. It’s only two minutes long. I hope you like it. I’ve been waiting for a while to share it with you. I hope you have a wonderful day. It’s a stormy one here in California. I hope this photo reminds you that the sun will surely shine for us soon.

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Colors of Hwy 70

Peacful Blue Sea

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I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been very busy with a kitchen remodel.  There is dust everywhere and it doesn’t even bother me, as I know that the end result should be amazing. I also know that it is my last kitchen remodel ever. That is a joyous thought. With that being said, we did find the time to drive down to Newport Beach, the weekend before last. We just happened to be there between storms.  We’d had it booked for quite a while so we did feel very lucky to catch such good weather.

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Four Caspian Terns & Four Marbled Godwits

Once we were there, we were so taken with the restaurants, the company, and the beautiful beaches.  This was taken from the beach where the movie Beaches was filmed.  It’s Crystal Cove and I can’t say enough good things about the vibe in this place.  They’re raising funds to restore all the little cottages.  Many are still in use but just as many are abandoned and in need of great amounts of repair. I understand that this was quite a happening place in the 1930’s to the 1960’s. I was wondering; what would be said if those old walls could talk?  I’m sure there were many good memories made here.   

We went to The Beachcomber, that sits adjacent to Crystal Cove Beach, one of the mornings because we were told that the beignets would remind us of Cafe De Monde in New Orleans. They were very good so we returned for a sunset and a delightful dinner that very same evening.

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Lone Seagull at Sunset

Here’s what I really want to convey, it only takes a little effort to find a place that fills your soul with joy. I’m finding that true for the remodel as well as taking small trips to beautiful places.

Go out and find the joy.

Weekend Away

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On Labor Day weekend we decided to go down to Monterey and Carmel. It was mostly overcast but extremely pleasant. We went to restaurants that we’d been longing to revisit and had a wonderful time.

While we were in Carmel we decided to go to Hog’s Breath. It was there that we had many very unusual experiences and I seriously doubt that we will ever return. There were many factors that will keep us from returning and I won’t go into all of the strange happenings as it might portray me as being politically incorrect and this blog is not about my little frustrations in life. It did make me feel quite uncomfortable and made me wonder who was in charge of the overall running of the restaurant. To make this long story short, we simply won’t return; problem solved.

We went to Monterey Fish House and had a delightful dinner. Everything there is delicious and works like clockwork. We tried Tarpy’s Roadhouse for the first time and had a delightful brunch in a very old stone house that has a lot of history to it. We had lunch at the West End in Santa Cruz and I found the perfect light, for my kitchen remodel, at Illuminations. It was hand blown by an artist who lives in Santa Cruz so it is the perfect complement to my house. We walked all over Point Lobos and found it beautiful but completely overgrown with poison oak. I am extremely allergic so I found myself having to be extra careful while hiking through a rather remote area of the park. We then had to return home to our very own patio where we had the padrone peppers that we purchased at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. They were the best we have ever had, and in many ways, we felt a little like we had hardly even ventured far from our patio. Truth be told, some of my best experiences have been on my patio. I hope you have a patio like ours; full of fond memories. Have a grand weekend.