Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Down Time

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One knows when you can't remember the date or the day of the week that you've finally accomplished the "chilling out" part!!  HaHaHa!!

So before I begin telling you about what we've been up to, I'd like to post pictures of our hosts, Janet & David White, and our temporary "baby", Bear, 4.5 lbs of happy fur in a tea cup Yorkie body!!

Sunday we loafed around the house enjoying quiet coffee, reading and computer time. Did the daily chores of watering the plants and taking Bear for a walk (15 min is all the little guy can handle but it must seem like running a marathon because of his pint size!!).

We were off in the afternoon to meet up with family/friends, Oren, Michele and Mo, here visiting from Chicago. They used to live in Seattle but moved to the mid West 2 years ago.  This was the first time we've had a chance to see them.  In early October, we will actually be staying with them when we go through Chicago to also see Mike's sister, Laura, and our good friends, Bonnie and Jim.

Anyway, we met up with them in Laguna Beach after a very tiring long trip up there in bumper to bumper traffic only due to volume.  Those of you who've lived in congested areas know exactly how it is.

After enjoying the Art Festival at SawDust, we made our way by trolley (free and fabulous!) to town and a great dinner at Brussels Bistro.  We had no reservations and there were 7 of us, so it was just dumb luck that we scored this well!!  Food was just yummy!!  It truly gave us time to catch up and share some great stories!!  Such a treat for all us!

Yesterday we again just hung out at home in the morning.  The mission for the afternoon was to find a vision center to order me a pair of prescription sunglasses.  After an attempt at Target and Walmart in Carlsbad, we finally found a superstore in Oceanside that had one.  I know this must sound like an awful lot of trouble and why couldn't we just go to the local vision store, well....Walmart has extremely great prices so well worth the trouble!!  Anyway, mission accomplished!!  My new JLo brand frames will arrive next week!!

We then were off to Mike's uncle's place for a nice long visit with him and the cousins plus Linda, Alex' significant other!  A little beer, a little wine and we were all merry!!

Today we've been working on - well - work!  I've had some catching up to do there and Mike is working on chronicling his rare and old first edition books that we've carried along with us. He's hoping to find a good place that will tell us if they have any value at all.  If so, we're going to sell them.

Thought we might go walk the beach later but it's really clouded up so we might just go walk "the Village" of Carlsbad and see if we can't get into some trouble.  That means I want to shop since I'm looking for a few specific items for our trip to Central America where it'll be hot and humid the whole time.

So there you have it!!  Life's getting pretty mundane and we're loving every moment of this down time!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The End of Week 4

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Sunday morning and I'm sitting out on the patio in the beautiful sun having my morning coffee while Mike does his exercises and morning routine. Ahhhhhhh!!  Life's really good!!

We're firmly ensconced in our new temporary home here in Carlsbad, CA. We took our hosts to the airport at 4:30 am yesterday. By now they have arrived in Barcelona Spain to begin their beautiful journey through the Mediterranean.  Happy travels Janet and Dave!!  Thank you for giving us this fabulous opportunity to pet sit Bear!!  We are already in love with him!!

To play a little catch up - again - Thursday we made it to Santa Barbara for lunch at the Harbour! Any time I can be on water, I'm a happy camper. We had to wait for a table on the patio. It it was well with it for the sun, breeze, and spectacular view!  And, the food was outstanding, as well!

From there we headed inland with a destination of Pine Mountain Club, CA a must do! My friend, client, and Realtor, Pam McCain, lives and has her business there.  So wanted to see her and in her own domain. As she has a small Inn above her offices, we were graciously offered one of the rooms. WOW!!  If anyone decides to go to this beautiful community in the mountains, you MUST stay here!!  The rooms are fabulous and very reasonable!!

After giving each other lots of hugs and kisses and meeting Grace, her sweet pup, we settled in with a drink on the balcony overlooking the common area garden/park. After running some errands, Pam picked us up and we had a delightful meal on her patio at her home. A great way to end the day and catch up   Its wonderful when you are such good friends that you just pick up where you left off from the last visit. 

The following morning we had breakfast at the Clubhouse with her and met her good friend, Beverly. A great way to start the day!  Thank You Pam for your gracious hospitality!!

So off we went further south and through LA as quickly as possible on Hwy 5. That's not easy for novices, let me tell you!! Thank you Mr. GPS for keeping me in the correct lane to navigate through the maze successfully and with no missteps!!

With a few hours to kill before our designated ETA for the day, we made our way back over to the coast at Newport Beach. A stroll along the shops and Pier, we ended up at the Pub & Grill at the end of the pier for a snack and drinks overlooking the ocean!  Stunning views of the town Boardwalk, beach, and water views. I never tire of it!

We drove again all along the ocean until we reached Carlsbad, our final destination, right on time.  We were greeted with much more hugs and kisses and hello barking from Bear, our new temporary "baby", a 4.5 lb Yorkie.  We fell in love immediately!  Bear is the reason we will be here for 3 glorious weeks while house and Bear sitting for our hosts, Janet and Dave White.  THANK YOU!! A determined win win for all of us!!

So we are now just enjoying some real down time in a real home.  This was also a real destination for us on our journey because Mike's 95 yr old Uncle Donald and cousins, Alex and Donny, live here also. We will be able to see them and have a good visit rather than just snitches and snatches when we only get to visit for a couple of days.

Today we're off to Laguna Beach to visit and meet up with other family/friends who are visiting the area also from Chicago!  great timing!!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012 & Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where has the time gone already!!  Amazing.  Thought I'd start to feel home sick but I don't.  We're having a blast seeing so many places that we've talked about seeing for years. And, there are so many more to come!

Today we started a bit slow just taking our time trying to decide in what direction we'd head in first.  After packing up since we got a room at the hotel next to this one, we went back to Cannary Row and had breakfast in a diner on the "strip".  Then off we went to the aquarium!!

What a fantastic day exploring all there was to see!  This aquarium has the dubious honor of being one of the best in the country and it truly lived up to that billing!!  We spent almost 5 hours going from exhibit to exhibit and marveling in the beauty of the ocean's wonders.  The only way to share is with pictures, so please enjoy!

After the joy of seeing all of these wonderous beings, we stopped for a drink and pork sliders at the local brewery and sat by the firepit on the patio.

It was then time to make the drive along the coast to Carmel by the Sea.  The drive is called the 17 Mile Drive and you actually have to pay $9.95 (?? go figure ??) to enjoy this portion of the coast.  It includes beautiful beaches and homes but most of all many golf courses with challenging holes - Spyglass & Pebble Beach being only two of them.

We arrived in Carmel with time to enjoy some window shopping and then found a quaint bistro call La Bicyclette.  Mike had pizza and I had a glass of wine - the slider didn't leave any room for anything else.  But the coup de gras was the Chocolate Mouse for two that we ordered for dessert!! OMG, was it excruciatingly awesome!!

Today we continued south along Highway 1 with many stops along the way to enjoy the beauty of the coast. We had lots of fog early in the day and then a mixture of both fog & sun, then total sun with beautiful puffy clouds.

A stop in Big Sur for lunch proved to be a great choice at the local bakery/restaurant. Even did a little shopping at an eclectic shop. Quite the Bohemian spot that was right up our alley!!

Our next stop was at the Hearst Castle and it will be an excursion we will not quickly forget!! Beautiful, stunning, jaw dropping, spectacular, etc, etc, doesn't even come close to how breathtaking it was!!

We ended the day at the icon SLO Brewery in San Luis Obisbo. Mike's uncle was actually an original investor in this very successful venture.  The place was hopping and it's only Tuesday evening!  Our timing is off a bit as Jeff Bridges will be here on the 23rd to play with his band.  We felt a bit better since both of his shows are already sold out.

Tomorrow we're off to Santa Barbara and then up into the mountains through Ojai to Pine Mountain Club to visit a close friend and client, Pam McCain.  On Thursday we will be heading straight to Carlsbad where we will be house sitting for 2.5 weeks for a good friend of mine from Spokane, Janet White, who is now living in Carlsbad after getting married.  Mike also has a 95 yr old uncle and 2 cousins who live there so we'll be able to really make the most of this "down" time, which we're really looking forward to.

It's now almost tomorrow, so until later......

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oh What A Party!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

After Mike and I spent the morning at a leisure pace catching up on things and doing some laundry, we decided to head over to Healdsburg and play "tourist".  We'd been to the town several times but had never spent any time just strolling around and window shopping. So that's what we did after having a wonderful lunch at the local Bear Republic Brewery. I do believe many brewery stops are going to be a part of this journey!!

The highlight of Saturday, however, was going out with Lily & Bret to Aubergine After Dark in Sebastopol.  They were having quite the caberet show and we attended in costume!!  Ladies doing aeral acts, hoolahoop dancing, fire performance, great band, etc., etc.!!

A good time had to come to an end around midnight!  Paid the price for it the next day.  Just not able to party this hearty any more!!!

Below is a picture of our "cabin" that we called home for 3 nights at Bret & Lily's.  Thank You!!

On Saturday, August 18, we headed over to Modesto to meet up with our grandson, Azuriah, and take him to lunch.  It was fortunate for us that there was an UNO Chicago Pizza restaurant right around the corner from where he lives.  Mike and I hadn't been to one in years and Azi hadn't been to it either.  So off we went for lunch!  Had a wonderful time catching up!

We then hit the road again and headed for Santa Cruz. Actually we were off to see friends, Pat & Larry Worley from Colville past. They live in Ben Lomond just north of Santa Cruz and even though we had just called them that morning, they were gracious enough to cancel plans and cooked us a delightful tasting dinner. 

What a sweet place they have!! Their 1920's home is gorgeous after their renovations and with all of the gardens in bloom, it was like being in paradise!!

They were even gracious enough to invite us to spend the night and we happily accepted!!  Another beautiful evening catching up with friends!!

This morning, Sunday, August 19, off we all went for a delightful breakfast at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz.  The morning turned out to be beautiful and sunny and actually did warm up while we were out on the patio enjoying our luscious breakfast!

But actually before we even made it to Santa Cruz, Larry & Pat treated us to a tour of their artist coop facility right in Ben Lomond.  What a gem to have in the community!  Larry is quite the basket weaver and Pat does amazing things with fabric!!  Here's a small sampling to enjoy.

They then gave us a quick tour through Santa Cruz and a quick stop at their other showroom before we headed back south along the coast.  We arrived in Monterey after several side trips down meandering coast roads about 1:30 pm.

Finding a parking space pretty quickly in the Cannery Row area, off we went to do some sight seeing.  Unfortunately, after doing a bit of walking and having a drink stop overlooking the bay, I developed a huge headache.  We then headed back to the car and did a little driving around town before checking into our hotel.

So I took a small nap and am now doing the blog while Mike is working on downloading his pictures from his camera to his computer.  We've decided to eat some left overs and chill for the evening.  Since we're spending another day and night here, there seems to be no need to push the headache issue.

Nite, nite!!