Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Southern California as expected. 😁


The unexpected day

Posted: February 25, 2023 in Personal
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When we got our tickets for the LA sevens rugby tournament, we expected cool, lovely weather. Instead we arrived to an unprecedented storm, which has dropped snow in Southern California down to about 1000 feet in elevation and has been pummeling the area with rain and high winds.

The view as we drove beneath sunny skies was stunning.

But about an hour from the coast, the weather deteriorated rapidly, leaving us deciding this morning whether or not to weather the weather. We’ll see what happens.

While not a bad day (today, Monday, as I write) it was a busy day where I got a lot done and had a couple of setbacks/irritations. I also had a wonderful moment when, on the way to Costco, the driver in the Jeep that blew by me going about 55 or 60 miles per house in a 45 mph speed limit, was pulled over by a motorcycle policeman. Made my morning! 🙂 Anyway, I don’t have a lot left to put into a long post so here’s a photo from my visit to Illinois in early November. Now I’m back to some rugby-watching, a glass of Burgundy, and soon a three-hour NCIS special. Then “to sleep, perchance to dream.” Cheers!

New Year’s Eve plans generally include parties, staying up late, lots of drinking and eating, and if you’re in the US, possibly watching the ball drop in New York City. But that means staying up until midnight, a time at which I desire to be deep in sleep as my normal wake-up time is anywhere between 5 and 6 am (6 if I’m lucky). It’s not just age; it’s my internal clock.

One year while visiting my parents in Sedona, Arizona, the four of us decided to stay up and watch the festivities. When midnight came, we all looked at each other, said good-night, and headed off to bed. Been there, done that, don’t need to do it again!!

My favorite New Year’s Eve celebrations happened when our girls were young. We would camp out in the living room with all the decorations still up (sometimes until the end of January), the tree lights on, and hors d’oeuvres of various kinds for dinner. (Does anyone else always have to look up how to spell “hors d’oeuvres” every time you want to use it???) The usual chattering would go on as we all snuggled down either on couches or on the floor, eventually waning only to start again in shorter and shorter spurts until everyone finally succumbed to sleep. It was magical.

I don’t have any photos of it and this is the first time I’ve done Six-Word Saturday with words. But this memory is too precious for me not to share and I hope your mind’s eye drew a picture of the four of us (or of you and your family) seeing out the current year, ready to welcome in the new surrounded by those most precious to us. Guess what? There were also no devices to distract us and if we were doing it now, I’d prohibit all phones and other devices.

Our plans this year? Having two small lobster tails from Aldi as our main course, some bubbly, and just relaxing at home. Ahhh, goodbye 2022; welcome 2023!

And your New Year’s Eve plans are?

Ok, I’m back (at least as far as I can tell.) 🙂 Our Christmas season got a bit crazy as just a week before everyone was scheduled to arrive, we had to drive back to the Chicago area to pick up a new vehicle, returning only one day before our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson had to be picked up at the airport. That of course included child-proofing the house as much as possible.

I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth possessed us to do that and I confess it was all down to saving money. Toyota dealers here are not only short of inventory but tacking on $7,000 above MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price), something we weren’t willing to swallow. My husband found a dealer in Illinois (while I was already there visiting) that was part of the Costco program, which means you get a set price below msrp, extras thrown in, and Costco stands behind it. BUT…and this is the reason the season got so cramped…we had to wait for our vehicle to arrive in Illinois from Portland where it had landed from Japan and no way of knowing how long it would take. When it arrived, we did a long two-day drive up, two days there staying with good friends, getting the vehicle and some friend time, then two days back, leaving me one full day before the first arrival. Yikes!

However, dear Reader, (I love being able to slide that phrase in), it all worked out. Older daughter and family are now back home (and therein lieth quite a tale as well), younger daughter is on the plane home, and I’m writing this post for you.

Yesterday we were showing our younger daughter around a bit, driving to Tortilla Flat and a bit beyond. (Yes, it’s “Flat” not “Flats.”)

Tortilla Flat is an authentic remnant of an old west town, nestled in the midst of the Tonto National Forest, in the Superstition Mountain Range. Tortilla Flat started out as a stagecoach stop in 1904 and neither fire nor flood has been able to take away this historic stop along the Historic Apache Trail. (from their website)

We went for the views, a few of which I’m sharing today. Enjoy! But watch out for prickly things!! By the way, our new 4Runner took all the roads and little bits of off-road like the champ we bought it to be!

It’s winter here, although we had some quite warm weather while everyone was here, but even at the higher elevations there are still some plants strutting their stuff.

Lots of beauty and color below as well.

I still owe you lots of photos from my original trip to Illinois and I think I’m up to the beautiful time my friend and I spent in the Japanese garden in Rockford, Illinois. You’re going to love that.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time while I’ve been MIA and I look forward to catching up a bit.

Luke 2: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Merry Christmas! Thanks for being part of my blogging life and may your 2023 be filled with blessings.

Due to travel and family finally being here for Christmas, I’ve been AWOL. I look forward to getting back into regular blogging next week when life calms down. 🥰🎄🥂❤️

John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It was a short walk from my room in The Big Texan motel to the restaurant of the same name…minus “hotel” of course. 😉. I’d already looked at the menu online and for once decided what I’d order before I got there. But I wasn’t going for the free 72-ounce steak! Free? Yes, if you can eat it and all the accompaniments in one hour.

You do not need to make reservation for challenge attempts. When you’re ready, we’re ready! Challenge attempts available during all regular business hours. 72-ounce Steak Dinner Challenge Includes: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad

There are a number of rules that you can find here but even without anything else, 72-ounces of even the best steak would be a challenge…a Texas-sized challenge!

The restaurant is enormous, filled with all sorts of Western decorations.

Everything on this trip runs along or nearby Route 66. There are museums, souvenir shops, and sections of the actual route everywhere, even in The Big Texan.

While I was there, a two-man musical group came on, playing guitar and singing.

I ordered a Whiskey Barrel Stout to go with…

…my meal of smoked BBQ beef brisket, side (salad for me but there are lots of other choice), and two rolls for only $14 plus $7 for the pint of beer. There was so much meat that I finished the rest of it tonight at the motel with one roll while the other was part of my breakfast. Pretty good deal. The meat you can see here was just the meat on top. There was just as much underneath. I did NOT eat the jalapeño!!

I know I haven’t told you about the motel yet but I will. Today’s trip took me through hundreds of miles of endless deciduous trees all changing colors. It was gorgeous. I arrived early and have spent the afternoon and evening watching “Midsomer Murders” and “Hart to Hart”, plus did a few other things. Nice to relax a bit. Tomorrow it’s on to Naperville.

It’s Monday and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Sit down with me for a few minutes, have a cup of tea (there’s enough left in the pot) or some coffee, and let’s talk about random acts of kindness.

Random acts of kindness have been around for some time, but during Covid they became a bit harder to perform because we were staying away from others. I decided that was a perfect time to start sending lots of postcards and notes, thus also propping up the post office. 🙂 Although I’ve only gotten a few cards in return, I’ve received lots of feedback about how much the recipients enjoyed getting real mail. I mean, how many of us get real mail for a live person in the mail once a week or even once a month? But isn’t it exciting when you do? A postcard or card means you don’t have to write too much but it let’s the person know you’re thinking of him/her.

I have two other rather random things I do on a regular basis. I try to return at least one shopping cart other than my own to the cart corral during each visit and I push them all together properly. I’ve actually had several workers thank me, which was surprising but nice.

In Arizona most lawns are rock as are communal areas such as those on either side of walking paths. For a variety of reasons, small rocks are always getting onto the sidewalk and I’ve made it my mission to kick a number of these back into place whenever I walk. Yeah, it’s a bit like Sisyphus, (with my original misspelling of his name, the suggestion from auto-correct was syphilis, not exactly an interchangeable word), but every little bit helps.

Now it’s your turn. What random act/s of kindness do you practice and why? Answer in the comments or if you write a post about it, please link it in the comments.

OK, now go out and meet Monday with a smile and some joy in your heart!

It’s Thursday again and thus time for Thursday Doors, one of the best challenges out there. We’re still in Hermosa Beach, California living the beach and grandson life for a few more days so here are a few of the more unique doors I’ve seen on my walks. Sorry I couldn’t avoid reflections in the first one but I think it stands on its own (so to speak) anyway.

Tough to beat an old-fashioned mail box.

I drive a van, but it certainly doesn’t have a door like this one. But then I don’t live where there’s any surfing, either.

Most of all, happy 38th anniversary to my a-door-able husband. Thanks for putting up with me for so many years and you’d best be prepared to put up with me for many more! ❤

Day 2 didn’t start well as I had some trouble at the gate. The stadium has stringent rules about what you can and can’t bring in, rules that I’d looked up in advance thankfully as the “what you need to know” information came in an email about halfway through the day before the tournament started, a bit late for people to adjust. “A small clutch purse 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ ” was part of the worse-than-TSA rules and mine came in at about 5″ x 8″ as well as only about 1/2″ in thickness, good enough for day one but not two. Not only that but I saw plenty of people with items that extremely exceeded or flouted the rules. Sigh. Not the way to start the day. I was not happy!

As mentioned yesterday, many fans wear costumes. I didn’t catch most of them on camera, but there were some escaped convicts near us. There were people dress in fake chain mail armor, Irish fans in green tutus, Romans in their togas, and so on. There was also a group of men in Speedos and nothing else but thankfully they were quite a distance from us. No need to make me nauseous! We’d discussed dressing up but it never came to anything.

Rugby fans are as enthusiastic as any fans around but unlike soccer/football fans who get into fights, wreck grandstands, and send death threats to players they feel didn’t perform well, most rugby fans just want to have fun while supporting their favorite teams. Of all the teams, Fiji had the most fans and flags even though there were plenty US fans in attendance. Three of the Fiji supporters sat in front of us and when they left for a time, we told them we’d watch their seats. They didn’t come back for several hours and we wondered what had happened, finding out later that lots of people are there mostly to watch their teams play and then go back to their vehicles to tail gate until the next game. We were there to watch all the games, so we mostly stayed in place, sustained by the snacks I’d packed and plenty of water. I was happy to find we weren’t far from drinking fountains and one of those spots where you can refill water bottles. At $5 for a water in the stadium, I figure we saved about $50 just on water.

When these three came back, they thanked us for keeping their places (not that we had to run anyone off) and bought me a lemonade as a thank-you. Later another lemonade followed. And after another prolonged absence, they came back with food not only for them but something for us to share.

The Hawaiian chicken was SO good but we felt bad taking all that without something in return, hence the four beers for $75, an absolutely ridiculous price but when you’re in the stadium, you’re captive. Meeting them made day 2 even more fun and we talked about seeing them again in February as we’ll be trying to get the same seats.

The winners of the tournament were the New Zealand All-Blacks, a perennial rugby power but held back in the hunt for the series title this year by COVID flight restrictions that kept them as well as Fiji out of a number of the first tournaments. Confetti shot from a confetti canon obscured the players.

The series championship went to Australia, giving them a double as the women won the women’s series as well. My Blitzboks ended two points away from taking the series. I have hopes that in the World Cup tournament in Cape Town in less than two weeks, they’ll play the way they did during the first part of the series. But no matter the outcome, we had a wonderful time and plan to be back in February for the LA Sevens 2022-23 series. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a see-through bag that will fit in the shoebox-sized box at the gate and will put all my odds and ends either in there or in my pants pocket. Can’t wait! And yes, Brian, I’ll have not only a hat but lots of suntan lotion along with everything else. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even be in costume. 🙂