Change Is Coming

“Oops, I got a little winded today”.

I think I got sick, homesick would be the right diagnosis. Perhaps it was the cooler weather or not being able to find the right temperature in our home the last couple weeks. Maybe it had to do with crawling into a cold bed because the heat was turned to 65 during the night. For some reason when the heater runs too much, I get all stuffy and can’t breathe (TMI, sorry). My dry chapped skin was slathered in lotion. And the cloudy skies loomed the majority of the time. Signs of spring, well there were no signs of spring and we even had a light dusting of snow last week.

Whatever it was, something messed with my head and I found myself towards the end of our stay quite homesick for sunny California. If laughter is the best medicine, then sunshine is preventative care. Oh never mind me, that was my thought as I woke up to sunshine this morning.

I did some reflecting while there. I thought, “Why don’t I remember any of those things while we lived there”? Sure, we went through the motions but never gave it a thought. It all boiled down to the fact that we moved north with a very positive attitude. We wanted to be there, it was a choice we made. I enjoyed the pretty white fluffy snow (still do) and we embraced life because that is where we were and being together is home. By embracing change, the other little things did not matter. Life was good, we enjoyed our time and would have continued enjoying life right there if that was where we were going to live. I elect happiness; it’s such a pretty way to accept the inevitable changes in this life. As we all know, change is coming.

The beauty of change is allowing new and exciting things into our lives. There’s a certain amount of anxiety when change slaps us unexpectedly but it’s how we deal with it. We must not fight against it, rather work with it and deal with it and allow it to take us in new directions. After all, change is what makes us who we are and takes us where we’re going. And I for one have to say that I love where change has brought us and will continue to embrace it one way or another as change is coming.

I will insert that hubby and I both accepted losing everything in the event he couldn’t find a job all those months ago. We talked about what we would do and where we would go. We debated what we would do with our retirement fund in the event things got really bad. But the one thing that sticks out in my mind is the fact that we embraced life together no matter what. We knew we had each other and that was all that mattered. And we would continue living and loving life together no matter what. It’s not what we have that defines us but how we live and love the ones closest to us. They are truly what matter most. And when we reach the end of our life here on earth, the only thing that will matter is to make Heaven our last great adventure, cause that day and change is coming.

Back to our trip to NY…It’s the first time we’ve really been away for an extended period of time, and it’s when the realization came that California really is home. Of course my head told me it was home but for some reason it had not fully registered. It was somewhere in the nearly two weeks of being away that it dawned on me. It came in the form of an awakening, the kind that comes softly when you turn around and wonder where it came from. The Lord only knows how long we’ll be here, so I want to continue to spend it with a happy heart and enjoy our time in the west. Who knows when the next change in life will come, but we can rest assured knowing, (join with me and say) change is coming.

Last evening, as we were flying from LA into San Diego excitement welled – And all of California seemed to echo “Welcome Home”!  That’s a little island in the pacific just off the coast of southern California.

The same island – I like to think we went flying all day into the sunset

Making our turn into San Diego – The clouds rolling in over the town and coast below

The dense clouds on our entrance into San Diego

A window opened up to the town below

Below the clouds – We’re Home My Love! I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be than right here with you.

I Heard Her Laugh and I Cried

As my feet hit the floor this morning, I knew what I had first and foremost on the agenda for the day. And that consisted of Banana Bread, period, end of conversation. Nothing was going to come between me and the taste of banana bread and coffee.

I wasn’t thinking about the bread pan I would be using. But, the bread pan turned out to be what has weighted heavy in my thoughts ever since I reached for it.

I haven’t used this particular pan yet, but it’s used. It came from my mother-in-law. But it was new to me as I inherited it from her before our move to NY. I still remember her checking to see what I got. She’d ask “did you get that cookbook or what about that.” She’d ask. She wanted to make sure her things were going to be cared for before her passing.

This pan moved from Texas to storage in NY while our home was being built. And I had pretty much forgotten about so many special little things that were in safe keeping.

So today, there in my kitchen, it was just ma and me. She was heavy on my mind from the time I reached for that pan and she was right there with me in my thoughts while I played house in my kitchen.

So as I looked at these burn marks on the bottom of the pan, a story she told came to mind.

She told the story of long ago when she baked bread. The bread she baked was so over baked to the point it was like a rock. And she told of how her sweet hubby tossed it outside and how it was carried off by the dog. Oh how she used to chuckle telling that story. I never did get to meet pa but I got glimpses of him through the stories that were told. And today, I heard her laugh again and I cried.

It made me wonder if this was not the bread pan she used. Was it? I wish I could ask her. This pan has untold stories all over the outside showing lots of wear. But I wouldn’t trade it for a brand spankin’ new pan for anything. It really grew on me today.

See ma?  The sides are all buttered up and another batch of bread is ready for the oven.

Fresh from the oven again.  Makes me wonder what you baked in here last ma.

My banana bread turned out so Mmmm, mmmmm good. Thank you ma for the pan! I prolly used too much butter on that warm slice but it added to the yumminess of the bread.

I’m left with some pretty amazing things from ma. But the memories are what make these precious things so valuable to me. I’m so blessed.

Coming or Going

Today’s the first day since we’ve been here that we’re or somebody is not coming or going.

We met the buyers the other day. They are such a very sweet young couple. The lady of the house is getting ready to graduate from Yale University School of Medicine as an MD and the man of the house is a practicing young Doctor. They have both accepted jobs here at the local hospital and are so excited to be moving into the area soon. They warmed our hearts and we feel so happy our home is going to such a very lovely couple. She told us several times that they would take very good care of our home.

They have already extended to us a warm welcome and that if we ever return to the area that we are not to stay in a hotel. Instead, they welcomed us to stay here any time. Although we have no strings here, it made me smile to think they would open their home to us.

The inspector was here Monday. The appraiser was here yesterday. And by all indications it looks like things are right on schedule.

I have no idea what got into me today, but whatever it is, it’s a wonderful thing. For starters, I slept in this morning. I think I rolled out of bed sometime after 10. The sleep was so nice. The sky was all pretty and blue, the sun was shining, the heater was working making me feel all nice, warm and fuzzy.

It’s such a pretty day and as long as I stay inside, I’ll be nice warm and toasty. For that matter, I think I’m going to stay in my nice warm jammies all day long and make a joyful noise unto the Lord. It’s a wonderful day! And all will be right with the world when hubby returns home tomorrow night.

Coming Home

Our return home has produced quite a range of emotions. The night we arrived, we had no internet or cable TV (those things were scheduled for the next day). We had each other, the home we built and everything that we’ve collected over the last 13 years.  It’s hard to put into words the feelings we experienced that evening.

This trip was planned all winter. We waited for the snow up here to subside. We waited so that we could just come up here and take a chill pill. After all that, we got an offer on our home the week before we flew in. We have buyers. We have a signed contract. We have a closing date. We are excited.  We have bitter sweet emotions. More so than we could have ever expected.

So the first night as we walked through the house, a huge lump developed in my throat. It hit us like a ton of bricks that we were in the midst of enjoying home and saying good bye all at once. But the best feeling that night – As we looked into each others eyes, we didn’t have to say a word. We knew exactly what the other was feeling.

We enjoyed a visit with friends over the weekend. Hubby put steaks on the grill and dinner was a snap.

The boys and Little Chic went fishing out back while the cleanup crew took care of things.

Then an evening of Texas Holdem Poker topped off the night. I’ll never forget what a fun night we had. At this point, I have no idea if that will be the last time we see them. No matter what, they will never be forgotten.

Hubby is off on a business trip the next couple days (we planned our trip around his business trip out east) and as he left, the pretty blue skies vanished.  This was taken the day he left.

From the inside looking out. The weather matched my loneliness.

And even though the house is all lit up, it’s just not the same without him.

There’s a dense blanket of fog hovering yet this afternoon. That’s reason enough to keep the coffee pot busy all day.

I’m really looking forward to these guys ripening up a bit more so that I can make some Brown Sugar Cinnamon Banana Bread in the next day or so. The thought of warm bread and a cup of coffee makes me smile.

We have a little more time to enjoy home sweet home. Then we’ll be back in the very near future to pack and move.

Exciting days are ahead and when the time comes, we’ll be ready for the next chapter.

One Last Hurrah

I had a last little hurrah here in CA before packing up for our upcoming trip to NY.

I met with Karen yesterday for a walk along the beach

Karen is on vacation and I felt like I was on vacation.

We enjoyed the boardwalk to the right of the beach.  Can you spy the 9 ATV’s to the left riding along the beach?

Anyway, we noticed guns on their right hips. It caused us to raise our eyebrows, but just for a moment as we kept right on walking. I still have no idea who they were or what they were doing.  Hubby thought they could be border patrol since Mexico is a stones throw from here.  Who knows?

Rescue was out in force

We stopped for lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack. This is the view from our seats on the second floor.

After lunch we walked to the end of a (very long) pier. It was so windy that we could actually feel the pier rock. Twas a bit unsettling, but I had faith that all would be fine.

I love the metallic paint job around his neck. He sparkled so pretty in the sunlight.

We watched a number of kite surfing enthusiasts

And surfers lined the coast

Riding out their waves

All the way to the end

Towards the end of our nearly 4 mile walk, we stopped at a little restaurant and sat by the beach with a cool drink and lots of fun conversation.

It was a full day at the beach, but we decided we had one more stop to make before going home. That stop had Starbucks written all over it. My large Chai Latte hit the spot and with that it was nearing 6 PM. At that time, we looked at each other and asked, where did the day go?

That was yesterday.  But right now, I think it’s time to break out the suitcase and start packing.  I’m one of those last min packers.  The suitcase should be out before midnight and packing should be a snap as usual.  That’s just the way I roll, no biggie.

We’re looking forward to this time together to just chill for a little while.  I’ll be back (on the blog) soon.

Fun, Distractions and Craziness Oh My

Oops, I see the blog has been neglected.  So sorry about that.  On behalf of the blog author, that would be me, I’ve/we’ve had one of the craziest weeks since we’ve been “out west”.  I’ll get into that soon, but for now I just need to digest it.  It’s all good.

On a happy note, we’re taking a much needed trip back to our home this Thursday.  We’ve been tossing the idea around all winter and finally it’s warm enough to return.  Sometimes all we need is a good dose of “home sweet home” to recharge our batteries, no?

Since we’re on the heels of our trip, I don’t know how much posting I’m going to get in, but I do plan to post as time permits.

Last night was filled with fun and laughter amongst friends.  We met at our place and all 5 of us piled in our car and pointed our nose in the direction of a Brazilian restaurant up the road.

We were greeted with music.  He waved for the camera on our way out.

Q and Karen ~ Karen is in town from NJ to see Q.  I REALLY like her!  Isn’t it fun to take pictures of couples in the early boyfriend/girlfriend stage?

Phil ~ So happy he carved us into his schedule.  At the end of the night he said “we need to do something like this at least once a month”.  I concur.

And I got to sit next to my very favorite person in the whole wide world.  I love him, I DO!

Sorry, no pics of my dinner.  I will say it was amazing though.  I’m just kinda in a food funk right now and I need to get back on track.  Too much fun, too many distractions and I know “TOO MANY EXCUSES”!  I’ll be back in touch with reality soon enough.

This and That

My wings are broken; at least that’s how I described my sore arms to hubby this morning. It’s a good sore, but I listened to my body and made the decision not to work out this morning. I’ll be back at it tomorrow and hopefully break those wings a little more.

Back to yesterday afternoon. I was thrilled with my crock-pot find. I hit a nice sale and got this little gem 50% off at Penny’s.

I also picked up this samsonite spinner luggage 50% off.

This wraps up the rest of my Christmas from hubby. I was in need of a new set of luggage as the wheel recently broke on my old lap top bag.

I put off looking for luggage as it was not on the top of my priority list and I didn’t want to pay full price. However, when I looked over from where I was securing a deal on my crock-pot, the big luggage sale was in plain view just steps away. With a deal like that, I couldn’t pass it up.

I was so excited to pick out a new set as I wanted something other than black. This deep burgundy color jumped out at me and didn’t take me long to make a decision.

I’m happy and hubby is delighted that I found just what I wanted. Now I’m all set and ready for our next trip…

This afternoon was filled with friendship. Beth came my way and the goal was to relax and enjoy ourselves. So we had a lunch date. Oops, no pictures. So I’ll tell you what I had. I had white rice with spicy chicken and black beans. Oh so yummy!

Then we had a pedicure together.

I picked the same color as Beth. It’s kind of a purpley, brownish (I’d say more purple than brown) color. We love it! I had them add the flowers to my big toes. It’s hard to get a good picture in the lighting, but this gives an idea.

We came over to my place after our little outing but our time together just didn’t seem long enough. We decided right then and there that next time has to be a full day.

I’m blessed with friendships, but thrilled beyond words to have Beth here in my life.

Cheers to Friendship!

New Beginnings

It was all about new beginning at the gym and pushing to reach for those intense moments.

I arrived before LeeAnn so I got right to work on the treadmill. I wanted to revisit that 15 incline. This is the stats just before I turned off the machine as LeeAnn was there to get started on the weights.

Wow, she gave me a workout! I think the hardest part for me was when she suggested I do some pushups. “Pushups, sure” I said…”I’m willing to do what you suggest”. I did give her 4 really good ones, but the last two bordered on cheating. I’ll be adding those to the weight portion of the workout 3 times a week. It will be interesting to see how things progress.

I spent about 45 min with her, mind you it was not a full solid 45 min as she explained each weight and the proper way to use them. So that did factor in some time. However, I was definitely sweating through the weight portion. Good stuff!

After the weights, I moved over to the Fit Stride Total Body Trainer and pumped out 20 more min. Then I called it a day at the gym.

Post workout fuel – A big bowl of my favorite oatmeal with a med (very ripe) banana. The riper the better, especially in the oats.

I’ve got a little list of things I would like to pick up today, one being a crock-pot. I’ve got a coupon for Macy’s and perhaps I’ll check out some other places before I make the purchase. Hubby is in the mood for stew and the crock-pot back in NY is not doing us any good here in CA. I’ll have some stew on soon, my love.

Cheers to New Beginnings!

Destination – Laguna Beach

The points of interest were to meet up with our friends, gallery hop and have dinner by the sea.  This was yesterday (Saturday), I didn’t get home in time to post.  Thus the Sunday Post.

So mid afternoon we met up with Dan and Kathy.

And set our sights on the galleries.

Admiring works of art was a delight.

Such a picturesque fountain outdoors. It’s hard to see but water is streaming down the front.

We The People, the title of this painting.

Hubby and I fell in love with this work of art. The gallery will be e-mailing me the details of the artist and painting.

The essence of our home (Southern California). Beautifully Done!

No words needed

Can you imagine what a great conversation piece this would be? Hubby and Dan quickly picked up on the Democrat theme.

And the Republicans right along side. I love the idea behind these paintings and if I were an interested buyer, I would want them both. Sorry about the glare from the glass.

What a great way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Dan made reservations earlier in the week and requested a window seat. So glad he did!

The view from where hubby and I were seated

And the view from their seats – sorry about the blur

It was one of those crisp, cool and rainy days so we did not get to enjoy the beauty of the sunset.

Dinner is served – grilled salmon with horseradish mashed potatoes, vegetables and asparagus-chile sauce.

There was absolutely nothing left on my plate.

Hubby and I split the Crème Brulèe Cheese Cake. Again, the plate was cleaned.

We enjoyed a relaxing dinner with friends and look forward to our next visit with them.

On the way home, I did steal a piece of Hubby’s chocolate; it was a gigantic yummy turtle. Didn’t take a picture, but I’m being truthful.

On another note, I squeezed in my last hour at the gym.

It’s been a wonderful week!

Extra Cheerful Friday

I love this day, it’s the kind of Friday that makes me extra cheerful. I had hubby all to myself as it was his Friday off and these three day weekends with him are extra special.

Since we had several errands (Bank, UPS, PO, Radio Shack and hair cuts) on our list, we decided to hold off on breakfast and have a lunch date together.

Pei Wei was just the place that sounded great to both of us.

He wanted to pose for a picture there at the window/pass. That piping hot steam looks so cool in front of his black shirt.

Lunch was a mix of the Pei Wei spicy chicken (330 Calories) and white rice (200 Calories).

The chicken was so good, per usual.

All that was left was this potion of rice.

I opened my fortune cookie just to see what was inside. I normally eat them, but today I wasn’t in the mood.

Hmmmm, I already had plans before I opened this cookie. Let’s just say we’re going somewhere tomorrow that I’ve never been. I’m happy the opportunity knocked before I opened that cookie.

This picture hung to the side of where we were sitting. I thought he was the cutest little fella.

A recent goal is to take pictures of everything I eat when we dine out. I want to be conscious of my choices and feel it helps to be accountable on the blog.

The evening hours are upon us and we’re getting all settled in for the night. It’s been a cheerful day and looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow.

P.S. No exercise today, was busying playing with hubby. I kinda like that excuse. But I have plans to hit the gym before the end of the weekend to get that 5th day worked in. Just keeping it real.

Determination is the Key

So I didn’t get to follow through with my challenge (from yesterday) as planned, but that didn’t get in the way of my determination.

The treadmills were already in use when I arrived so my fried AKA the Fit Stride Total Body Trainer and I got busy. Hi Regis and Kelly and Tom Brokaw.

I was able to bump up the difficulty again today and got my heart rate up to 145 and during the hills it was in the high 150’s. The duration on this machine was 40 min.

Since the treadmills were in use at the time I went to plan B and decided to try the weights. In case you can’t tell, I’m already looking forward to my Monday session with LeeAnn. I thought it would be fun to get ahead start. I did anywhere from 1 to 3 sets per machine.

I worked with the weights for about 15 minutes and got a feel for approximately the right amount of weight for each machine. The goal today was to ease into the weights. Especially since I don’t know what I’m doing with them right now.

Then I wrapped up the last five minutes on the Summit Trainer.

That is one mean machine and I plan to have another round on that next week.

My goal is to continue to challenge myself daily by taking the right steps to good health.

“Where the determination is, the way can be found.” George S. Clason

A Challenge

I was challenged by my friend LeeAnn (at the gym). She came into the gym yesterday challenged to see what it felt like putting the treadmill on an incline of 15. Well it didn’t take long for her to see it was quite the workout. She walked 3 mph with an incline of 15 for 15 min. Then she went back to her regular workout.

So today I just wanted to see what it felt like. Just like Curious George, ya know? Love him, I truly do. Back to the point. So I set a personal goal to walk 1.7 mph with the incline set to 15 for 10 min. My heart rate after 10 min was up to 150. I’m intrigued with that so I’m going to go at it a little longer tomorrow.

The last 50 min of my workout was on the Fit Stride Total Body Trainer. That was a bit more of a challenge as I bumped up the difficulty on this machine today. The last 10 min on that machine I was talking to myself, saying, “I can do this”! And I did.

Another challenge of mine is to get my heart rate pumping at an average of 140 or so for an hour. I averaged just over 140 for the first time today. I can already see a change in my daily activity and I don’t feel as sluggish as I once felt. Good things are happening!

After my workout I had such a craving for eggs and an English muffin.

Two eggs in a tiny sauce pan. They were poked on purpose allowing the yolk to roam all over the place. Added a sprinkle of salt and pepper, more pepper than salt.

Ready to transfer from the pan to the muffin

The egg swallowed the muffin, but I took care of them both.

I spent some time reading and learning more about exercise this afternoon. I read cover to cover the latest Prevention magazine and found a recipe or two that I can’t wait to try.

Cheers to Challenge!

A Beautiful Full Day

What a beautiful day! I started the day with a fresh cup of coffee and enjoyed a few min here at home after hubby went to work.

Then I got ready for a great dose of exercise.

I got my little spot all set and ready to go. I started bringing a couple wash cloths to go over the handles like so. The remote is there for the TV ~ Watched Reg and Kelly and a bottle of water to hydrate.

I don’t like the feel of my sticky hands on the bare handles so these cloths are the ticket.

Hey, hey after 50 min on the machine. Just 10 more minutes to go!

I finished my hour on the Fit Stride Total Body Trainer. It’s such a fun machine.

After my workout, I got around to meet up with hubby for lunch. I love it when he suggests a lunch date. There couldn’t be a better treat than being with him during the day.

We went back to the Mongolian restaurant. I was in the mood for that food again and it sounded wonderful to hubby.

This is such a delicious combination of veggies, noodles and seasoning sauces.

With a generous sprinkle of peanuts over the top

They serve these tasty sesame rolls on the side. I was more interested in the food on my plate so I turned down the bread basket this time.

It was so tasty and flavorful but there was no way it would all fit. When my tummy signals a comfortable/full flag, it’s time to stop.

Hubby went back to work and I made a beeline for the grocery store to pick up a few things I missed.

The afternoon is quickly passing but I think it’s a good time to wrap it up with a manicure.

I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing evening here at home with hubby. We’ll be watching American Idol and I’ll be watching The Biggest Loser. I LOVE that show, thanks Beth for getting me hooked!

Cheers to a wonderful day!

The Beauty of Balance

Sometimes finding balance can be a bit tricky. It’s something that requires tweaking from time to time but I believe it can be achieved.

A few weeks ago I was teetering between balance and obsession in my day to day workout. I believed I could just keep on going and I did to the point I was working out 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I continued up until last week when I had the lofty idea that I was going to push it up to 3 hours a day 5 days a week. What was I thinking? It was then that I stopped to edit my goals. The goal is to find something that’s reasonable and stick with it.

I may end up shaving the cardio back to 30 min and 30 min of weights 5 days a week, who knows? All I know is that a week from today I start weights with LeeAnn and she’s going to set me up on a weight lifting program.

I’m finding a routine where I can begin to feel the rhythm and focus on the things I want to achieve. It’s a great feeling knowing my husband is taken care of, I’m finding my way back to healthy living and exercise has made its way back into my life.

I thank hubby often for taking the best care of me, for providing encouragement each day and loving me no matter what.

There is beauty in balance.

I’ll leave you with these pretty flowers as I walked to the gym this morning

Looking up into that abundant blue sky

What a cheerful duet

Happy little bumble bee

What beautiful little blessings along the way

May your day be as cheerful as these flowers.