We had been toying with the idea of taking down the wall between our kitchen and family room for quite some time now. 2017 came, and down came the wall. It has created a wonderful space that we now wish we had done ten years earlier. Since we have decided to stay here, it seemed
Wall still standing.
Midway into demolition.
New view from the counter.
View into the family room.
that it was time to start making changes. It’s not good to wait until you’re too old to find excitement in making a major change. We like the changes so much that we are now going to expand out the back. Best news is that the dust will be outside instead of inside. Anyone who has ever gone through a remodel will understand what I am saying about the dust.
My least favorite part of the remodel was the dust and trying to adjust to everything being in the wrong spot for cooking. My favorite part of the remodel was how the ideas all came together and looked great….basically, the final product was and is my favorite part. Long story short, don’t be afraid of making positive changes in your life; they can often be quite rewarding.
As we returned from the Sierra’s this week we came upon some beautiful sights. The old Mill Pond was nearly frozen-over so we stopped and tossed rocks across the frozen part and listened to the echoing sounds that the pond makes in the Winter.
Later we came across a meadow that had fog hanging near the ground. There was a couple walking through the snowy meadow with a photographer following them. Engagement photos, perhaps; ’tis that time of year. It made me shiver and warmed my soul all at the same time. So I wish for all of you who read this, that you Have a Memorable and Prosperous New Year. We all need something to celebrate. There are days I look about me and realize that the amazing land we live in, and the joys that family and friends bring, gives us cause to celebrate every day that we have here. So go out and celebrate the very fact that you are here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
(I always loved how Dr. Seuss would make up words and so I took some liberties and created the title Meadow Snog. It is the blending of snow and fog which is what I saw in the meadow. Snog had no trouble spell checking, so I became curious. Snog is a british term for kissing and caressing amorously, which is exactly what the fog seemed to be doing with the snow in the meadow and the couple were doing while taking pictures. I suppose it really is the perfect word to use for what I was viewing.)
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.
Carmel By-the-Sea Beach
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.
I am constantly amazed at the critters that grace my yard. They work very hard for their tiny bits of food. I am also inspired nearly every day at the beauty of the flowers and the lift that their colors give my spirit. This begonia reminds me of Santa Cruz and the begonia gardens that were once there. I’m surprised that we are successful at growing them here. It’s hot during the summer but when we find them a little shade they come up and look as if they are hoping they can live in that exact spot forever.
This swallowtail spent nearly all of its time hanging upside down via those spindly legs. It looked perfect but was quite challenging to get a proper photo of. I think a photo of the butterfly hanging this way is appropriate because that was how it was moving about the garden. I always enjoy finding preying mantis in the garden. They look so fierce and annoyed when you find them. I often wonder if they realize how small they are. I suppose they are quite large compared to an aphid. Fall will be here shortly; I can feel it in the air. I suppose those clever critters can feel the season changing too. I’m so blessed they are here and still attracted to this yard.
It’s not often that I arrive at a lake to find it still and perfectly reflected upon itself. I was amazed to find this. I almost felt bad putting the kayak into the still waters. Once I was on the water, I didn’t feel bad anymore. It was quite serene. There wasn’t even any wind to push across the water and force the surface to move.
Still Morning at Salmon Lake
I don’t think about missing silence until I find myself submerged in it. It is completely calming. Fish and Game stopped stocking this lake with fish and word must have gotten out because there was hardly a fisherman to be found. Even the bald eagles were circling the lake and leaving. I loved being there because every little sound became apparent to me. The bees were buzzing, grasshoppers rubbing their wings, and when a person spoke, their voice was perfectly clear to everyone in the lake basin we were all residing in. There wasn’t much talking going on, though; I think everyone was simply enjoying the silence of the morning.
I’ve been recording and watching the Rio Summer Olympics in the comfort of my living room every evening. I’ve noticed many things about the athletes, but a couple of things have begun to stand out.
Lighted Bleeding Heart
As they compete, I can see that they give their all to their sport. At the end of competing, I can quite literally see their hearts beating in their chests. They have exhausted every bit of their energy to achieve their goal. Shortly after their event has ended, they smile a big broad smile, and then they hug the people around them as if they never want to let go. It is an amazing sight and one that I don’t often view on my television. I’ve been picking and choosing the events that I will watch. I’ve been thinking that I don’t have enough time to devote to watching every event, yet it is one of the few times that I can view the world coming together with one goal in mind, excellence.
Bleeding Hearts at The Old North Church
I’ve been deleting after watching each selected event but am realizing that I do need to find the time to dedicate to this. I can feel that it does my heart good to see these people embracing each other. Our televisions are filled with hatred, lies, manipulations, violence, bullying, terror, and tears of disbelief. I’m opting to keep those recordings and watch them to their fullest, even after the games have ended. What I see there is love, honesty, unity, hard work, kindness, pride, and tears of joy. Who wouldn’t want to watch that at its finest? I won’t see that again for four long years, and that matters to my heart.
One last blog with photos taken on my vacation. Perkins Cove in Maine to be exact.
When I put together my photo book from our vacation, I kept coming back to this grouping of photos. There’s something about the place that I want to keep in my mind. Photos have a great way of doing just that. When we are out and about, I always offer to take strangers photos when I see them struggling to get a selfie to commemorate where they’ve been. Most people are very excited when I offer. I go a step further. I think about lighting, shadows, and the general surroundings. I take a shot far away and move in a couple of times. Then I wait to make sure that they are happy with the shots. It takes a few seconds and it makes them so happy. I tell them to have a great day and go on my way. Maybe the world could be a less troubled place if we all just showed a little kindness here and there. Go out and do something nice for a stranger today. It will make both of you feel good.