Whatsoever Things Are Good

Well here it is already Thursday.  As I turn around to see where the week has gone, it’s quite puzzling.  For whatever reason, I still feel lost back in Tuesday.  Is it just me?

Breathing a deep sigh today as yesterday did not go so well.  It was something I read online that caused for such disappointment, to the point it hurt.  It hurt so much that by the end of the day, I wrote a little note to the author stating how their words and actions hurt.

It was a day where I could just close the chapters of the internet for a while.  But as I thought about it and talked it over with the hubs last evening, I can see where there is a lot of good out there.  And just like life, there will always be an amount of unpleasant things.   But we must not allow them to rule our heart and destroy our soul.

So for today, this is the verse that I cling to.  Philippians 4:8  New American Standard Bible:  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I’m dwelling on my good night of rest.  Isn’t it amazing how good we feel when our bodies are rested?

I’m dwelling on the fun evening I had with hubby last evening.  We even cut a rug dancing the East and West Coast Swing in our living room.  With a nice little slow dance too.  LOVED THAT!

I thought about that open-faced yummy peanut butter and banana concoction I had last evening.

In fact, it was so good that I had a full sandwich for lunch today.  Don’t let this little thing fool you as there are a whopping 550 calories in this sandwich alone.

But good and yummy calories, yes I’m counting them every day.  Another good thing, as I’m back to my lowest weight after all the yummy things we’ve had going on.  Our trip, that BBQ and my Birthday celebration.

I’m dwelling on how beautiful the weather has been.  Even today, we still have our windows open.  And thus far, we have yet to turn on the AC this year!

And enjoying the sound of wind chimes coming from the great outdoors thru the open windows and sliding glass doors.

When all is said and done, I’m thankful for the good things I have to think about.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Blessings – Debbie

iTherapy Not Included

Good evening, it’s actually getting pretty late.  But I just wanted to log in to say hello out there!

Yes, it’s me.  Totally occupied with that new iPad.  Will I ever be able to put that fun thing down?  I was told that iTherapy was not included.

And this is our home, the entrance to our home.  Welcome!

And our backyard.  Old Glory was such a pretty sight as she waved in the beautiful balmy breezes this afternoon.

It was a day where I feel like I got lots done.  Appointments were made, errands were crossed off the list and I caught up on household chores.

If I don’t put that iTherapy to work, nothing is going to get done.  It’s quite the balancing act, let me tell you.

As of right now?  The coffee pot is all set to brew in the morning.  And all feels right with the world as I look forward to that fresh cup of coffee.

Sweet Dreams…

Blessings – Debbie

Birthday Weekend

My Birthday has spilled over into the weekend.  And what a wonderful weekend it has been.  There were sightings of cookies, a pumpkin muffin for me and a pecan braid for hubby.  Luckily all items were purchased at Panera Bread over the course of more than one day.

On Friday we completely chilled.  And when I say we chilled, that is all we did, all day long.  And it felt so good.

I took this shot of hubby with my iPad and it was played with in a few different apps.  Yep, Friday was not only a chill day, it was also a play day with that iPad, I couldn’t put it down for a second.

But welcome Saturday!  It was time to get up and get out.  These are the boots that carried me thru the day.

I wore these to the mall and out to lunch.

and we even went dancing for a couple of hours.  What a fun day.

Over the weekend, hubby also took me shopping for a new cover for the iPad, love the one I picked out.  I’ll have to share pix later.

It was also a time when I had the hankering to play (with my camera) in the evening sunlight, just before sunset.  I was in desperate need of a subject.

When I asked hubby if he minded giving me a few min, he was all mine.

And I encouraged him to do his thing as I just wanted to play with the light.  I like this natural shot of him.

He was busy sending out picnic invitations to friends.  I like this shot too.

On another note, I spied Stewart’s diet Root Beer in my grocery store.  What a delight!  I’ve enjoyed these guys all weekend too.

Happy Monday!  And Happy Memorial Day!

It sure doesn’t feel like a Monday.  Does it?

In keeping with All American, hubby and I hit Five Guys and Coldstone Ice Cream.  What a way to top off the day.

We have a few plans today but nothing earth shattering.

And with that, so long ’til next time.

Blessings – Debbie

I'll Have My Cake And Eat It too

In other words, happy birthday to me.  🙂

It was a happy day.  I played a bit more as I took more pix of this little flower.  Then played in Lightroom, what fun.  Here’s what I came up with this morning.

Hubby totally surprised me when he walked in the door extra early.

He totally surprised me with a gift I never asked for.  He’s good at knowing what he thinks I will like.  I Love This Little Toy AKA the iPad!

He treated me to dinner where I had bbq baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, a biscuit and the best carrot cake.

A birthday only comes around once a year.   And when that happens, we should all be able to have our cake and eat it too.  Amen.

While these shots were taken with the cell phone, they will have to make do for my 44th birthday pix.  It truly was a very happy day.

Blessings – Debbie

The Art Of Living

There are days when I have to stop and think.  Think of how the art of living is right under my nose.  It does revolve around me but it does not wait for me to hop on.  I’m trying to latch on and truly take to heart the little things that move me.

Some of those things are not easy to put into words.  Left only be felt with the heart and fueled with the emotions we feel when the right moment strikes.  Does any of this make sense?

Take the shot below for example.  I took that shot out by the pool this morning.  But I knew I had plans, plans to work and play in Lightroom to the point my heart spoke and said yes, that’s what I’m looking for.

The histogram in manual mode looks like this:

Sony SLT – A-55V   Focal Length: 50.0mm  f/5.0  (35mm equivalent  75mm)  ISO:  400

The edit below was not quite what I was searching for. It was cropped way too much and it felt cold and harsh.  I could trash the whole thing and start over, or I could continue to make changes and wait for my heart speak.

So I played a bit longer.  I performed a little edit undo, if you will, to undo the major crop.  Next I fooled with tons of settings until it hit the sweet spot.  Something soft yet full of color, yes, this was exactly what I was searching for.

While it’s hard to put into words, perhaps it’s something you too can feel.

The art of living is not so much about the words, rather the way certain things move us.  What moves you, what stirs your heart to the point you feel it more than any word ever spoken?

Find that movement and run with the art of living.

Blessings – Debbie

Tuesday Thoughts

Well here it is, already Tuesday.  And I really had to stop and think about what I did yesterday.  Ah yes, I remember.  I finished catching up on the blog from the weekend BBQ.  I also went food shopping in the afternoon.  Amongst catching up on a few things around the house.

Speaking of Tuesday thoughts, I was reminded again this week of how fast we forget the little things in life and sometimes even the big things.  It was that reminder that spoke to me and confirmed the joy I feel that I have over 6 years worth of blogging and pictures.  While this blog is just over a year old, my original blog was established Jan of 2006.  I hope to keep these thoughts and the chapters of life tucked away in this blog ’til I’m at least 100 years old.

With that, we’re moving right along on Tuesday.  I took this pic a little while ago.  It was taken out by the pool.  I especially love this little flowering bush, but even more so after I played with it in Lightroom.  Love that program, makes me happy.

So hubby has me thinking about what I want to do for my b-day (Thursday) this week.  I spent some time yesterday thinking about what I would like for dinner on my b-day and I think I came up with the place.  My chore today is to figure out where I would like to satisfy my b-day cake/sweet treat on my b-day.  Hubby made a great suggestion this morning.  After doing my research, this place happens to make – from scratch – one of, if not my very favorite cakes.  I’m pretty excited.

Another thing I’ve been researching this week is dance shoes.  I hope to score a pair this week as we’re really looking forward to some private ballroom dance lessons this weekend.  May I add that I can’t wait to West Coast to Mustang Sally?  That’s our very favorite West Coast song to dance to.  Can’t wait to add some new fun moves, should be fun!  Have I mentioned I’m looking forward to Mustang Sal…Oh right, I think you got the point already.

The phone rang a while ago, it was my mom.  She’s on a train from NC down to FL.  She rode up there with my pop to celebrate my nephew’s graduation and she’s bringing the train home as my pop has several more places to go before he can get back home.  She took the train so that she can put another experience under her belt.  She’s cool like that and I look forward to hearing all about her adventure.

Now that I’ve shared a few thoughts, I hope to continue to keep the blog alive with the things that matter most.  Be looking for the little things as they deserve to be remembered too.

Blessings – Debbie

Summatime BBQ

One of the first things I think of when I think of summer is BBQ.  It brings friends and family together.  And what better way to gather than the great outdoors?  Saturday, May 19th was the afternoon this BBQ took place.

Q (our host) checking on the brisket that had been cooking “low and slow” all. day. long.  YUM!  He’s so good at what he does.

Our beautiful hostess.  She made some really amazing things including her homemade whip cream for the strawberry shortcake.

Hubby checking out those Craftsman tongs.  Love that cool Craftsman set!

Take a look at this guy, impressive huh?  It has Craftsman written all over it.

The amazing chef prepared a wide variety of meat amongst other fine foods.

Our beautiful hostess Julie and her mom.  I can’t get over how much they look alike.

Daddy/daughter.  Sweet Little Lucy was passing out fresh lemons from a nearby tree.

How sweet, she just woke from her afternoon nap.

And her big brother Lucas.  It’s so obvious they are siblings.  I told mama Deb that they are bound to look like twins when they grow up.

The #1 Chef getting back to the brisket that had been resting.  Yum!

On inside the house, the remote controlled shark was a big hit.

It was such a cool shark with real to life movement.  Shark Attack!!!

Now he’s got the controls.  Can you tell these boys are having fun?

They had the best time playing together all afternoon and evening.

Back outside, we had an amazing spread!

Our hostess getting in some quality time with the youngest (2 weeks old) pary girl.

While I was busy taking shots of the children, there were actually around 25 adults at the BBQ.


It was a picture perfect day.

The Chef serving up Flame Grilled Burgers and Pineapple, so good!

Hubby all set for his hot off the grill burger.

Girls visit.

And boys talk shop.

And this little girl became my buddy.  We played together for quite a while.

I just loved her little outfit and those little red shoes.

But most of all, I was so happy Lucy became my little buddy.

As evening approached, games were enjoyed inside.

Everyone had fun.

A helping hand, made for a lot of fun.

These two, remember them?  Well, they had the moves going on.  And the crowd cheered as they worked it out.  I can report that fun times were had by all.

As children young and old were letting the good times roll.

Cheers to our first summer BBQ with friends.  We hope to continue on with the next BBQ with friends at our home.

Blessings – Debbie

I'm Getting There

Wow, I really did impress myself.  I set a goal to get caught up on the blog and all of the vacation pix by today.  It happened!  I like how the blog allows us to change the date of the entry.  Note:  all vacation blog posts have the correct date assigned to each post.

This is the post where I get caught up from Saturday, May 12 thru Saturday morning, May 19th.

Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13 – This is the picture of what things looked like for us back home.  We chilled, relaxed, rested and basically kicked back all weekend.  And the picture of where we spent hours recharging our batteries.

Monday – While Home Sweet Home was the place to restore our energy over the weekend, we did hit a bit of a rough patch Monday morning.  Why is that?  While we went thru the motions of making coffee and getting hubby off to work.  It was more like, welcome to the day that’s not quite right.  A day I wished hubby could just retire and call it a day.

Tuesday – Tuesday felt much like Monday but better.  Hubby invited me to meet him for lunch.  That seemed just the ticket to brighten my morning and afternoon.  After lunch, I was able to get some much-needed grocery shopping done and I did squeeze in an afternoon nap.

Wednesday – We were getting close to getting back to normal, but not 100%.

Thursday, what did I do on Thursday?  If my memory serves me right, I worked hard on getting those vacation pix in order.  And I blogged.  And enjoyed the garden.

I also discovered I Was Wrong – This fruit tree out back is not a fig tree like I thought the landlord told us months ago.  It’s a Nectarine!  Last Thursday, I walked out to inspect the fruit trees.  Sure enough, the fruit was finally nice and soft and ready to eat.  I had 5 of these guys on the spot with juice up to my elbows while constantly sopping juice off my hands such that I didn’t make a total mess.

Friday Favorites = Wind chimes – Windows open – Birds chirping – Sunshine – A walk in the garden – Fresh fruit from the garden – New shoes – Polish change – and the best part, A lunch date with hubby.  I Love Friday!

Friday Least Favorite Turned Favorites – by the evening = Clean house, laundry done, ironing 100% done, clean sheets and a fresh clean home for hubby to come home to.

Friday – Yes, I finally found my stride and everything seemed back to normal and all was right with the world.

Saturday morning – I enjoyed our beautiful morning and the hand I was dealt.  No alarm, another round of fresh fruit from the garden and it’s the weekend!  Truly a fun-filled weekend to look forward to with the hubs.

This brings us up to speed with Saturday morning May 19th.

Blessings – Debbie

So Long Yosemite

And so long, room with this view.

We enjoyed our last meal in the dining room.

We hope to come back one day.

We took one last stroll around the hotel after breakfast.

We took a shot of the sitting room from the mezzanine level on our way out.

Wish I could have saved my room key as a souvenir.

True story.  I had my souvenir all picked out in the downstairs gift shop.  It was a lovely onyx platter.  The stone liked to take my breath away.  There was good and bad news.  The good news, a sign said that the stone came from outside Yosemite.  The bad news, as I went to pay for the platter, I learned that the stone not only came from Pakistan, it made there too.  Apparently made outside Yosemite means anywhere in the world.  At that point the bad news did me in and I did not get the platter.

Guess what?  The guys we saw a couple of days ago (at Tunnel View) were at the hotel as we were checking out that morning!  Can you believe we ran into them again?  Well, I can’t.

Another true story.  We had all of our bags piled into the car and ready to go when I realized I left something behind.  So I ran up to the room while hubby waited.  While I was gone, hubby heard familiar voices carrying on across the way (about 20 or so feet away).  Hubby said.  “You guys guests here?  We don’t allow riff-raff around here.”  While hubby caught the boys off guard, they quickly remembered him and got chuckle out of it.

We exchanged info and plan to keep in touch.  Our friends, yes, that’s you Joe, Tom and Mike.  If you’re reading this, we trust all is well.  And if you’re ever in the San Diego area, please let us know.  We would love to see you again.  This was such a total unexpected treat to bump into them again.  Hey Mike, we missed you, wish we could have said hello to you too.  We hope you were getting some amazing shots of that tree…

Joe, me and Tom

We stopped at Tunnel View one last time before we pulled away from the park.  It just seemed the right thing to do.

Then we drove up the road to see the Sequoia’s at Mariposa Grove.

It was the first time for me to see these beautiful trees.

The “Grizzly Giant” behind me is the 25th largest giant sequoia living today. The circumference at the ground is 96.5 feet = It’s HUGE and pix don’t do justice.

Hubby and the Grizzly Giant.

After our little hike and visit with the Sequoia’s, it was time to hit the road.  It was time to go home and we were ready.

I can’t lie, I did reach for that pillow in the backseat and I did close my eyes and I did fall asleep on our way home.

We made it home safe and sound sometime around 9 o’clock in the evening.  The good news, we still had the weekend around home sweet home to rest up before the work week.  I love that we plan at least a day or two at the end of each trip to rest up before work.

This concludes Hubby’s 50th Birthday, an amazing week filled with lots of fun and great memories.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy Birthday Hubby

This 50th Birthday week for hubby has been amazing.  And I feel so blessed to get to spend it with him.  While I wished him Happy Birthday, morning, noon and night all week, this was the real day to celebrate.  The day he picked out just what he wanted to do.

He wanted to ride a mule thru the valley and that’s exactly what we did.

What a beautiful day.

Just hangin’ out waiting to get assigned to our ride.

Our first mule ride.

I was assigned to Shirley.

And hubby was assigned to Girtie.

While I had Shirley on auto pilot, I took my eyes off the road.

Since I didn’t have a rear view mirror, I had to turn around every now and then to check in with hubby and Girtie.

The view, what more can I say?

She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain…

It’s a good thing Shirley knew what she was doing as I wasn’t paying close attention to the path up ahead.

And the views had to be documented one way or another, just for the record.

Hubby somehow got in front of me such that he could turn around now and then to check in.

There were quite a few of us enjoying the ride.

But after the ride, the Birthday Boy and I made our way back to our room for a much-needed nap.  This was the view with my head on the pillow.  We even slept with the curtains open at night as this was an amazing sight in the middle of the night as the moon and stars provided just enough light to show off the falls.

We then went down and found our own little table and chairs for afternoon tea.

 It was quite refreshing.

Dinner reservations were made in the Dining Room and we enjoyed the lovely dinner music.

Looking out from the dining room.

Hubby had the amazing Rotisserie Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

I had the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Root Vegetable Pave, Veal Sweetbreads and Porcini Jus.  Yum!

And we shared this amazing Chocolate Pecan Pie A La Mode.

This was so yummy!

The dining room – pic taken after dark.

The Birthday Boy on his Birthday.

Just the two of us outside the hotel.

And one last Birthday pic before we called it a night.

It comes as no surprise that hubby had a Very Happy Birthday.

Blessings – Debbie

Glacier Point

Good morning from our window.  It was another exciting day in Yosemite.

After a yummy breakfast,

we made our way to Glacier Point.

A little hike…

Led us to the most amazing views.

We had a bird’s-eye view of the hotel.  Can you believe it took an hour to drive from the hotel to this very spot?  We were up there at an impressive 7,214′.

Can you spy our hotel now?  It’s down there, way down there.

A great big wow!  That’s what comes to mind.

The King and I – Glacier Point.

Taking it all in.

Half Dome – what a great view up here.

Here we are on our way back to the hotel making our way thru the tunnel at Tunnel View Yosemite.

We decided to return to Tunnel View that evening to get some shots.

Turns out, Tunnel View drew quite the professional photography group.  Joe, that’s Joe in the hat all set up to get some amazing shots.  He’s visiting with a couple who take shots for the Discovery Channel.

There’s Joe down there getting his shots.  And Roy is here in the blue shirt taking wow shots.  I know these things, I saw some of his work.  Allow me to say wow again.  WOW!

Thanks Joe, Tom and Mike and Roy for all the photography encouragement and advice.  And the laughs too!  It was such a delight to meet all of you!

Roy analyzing his shot.

I hope to one day be half as good as these guys.  Until then, I’ll keep snapping pix.

Blessings – Debbie

We Saved The Best For Last

It’s no secret, we had the best time in Big Sur.  But the time was up and time to move on to a new place.

The night before, we were sure to open the blinds, and prepare the camera for that sunrise, just like the day before.  Only this morning, we wanted to catch it right as it was coming up.

It didn’t work out as planned as the clouds rolled in and the sky was thick and overcast.  It was a sign that it was time to go.

As we made our way out, the hotel lobby seemed void of any moving creatures.

And just like that, we pulled away from the coast and all of the wonderful memories we made back in Big Sur.

As I sat in the passenger seat that morning, the clouds broke and the sky was the prettiest shade of blue.  But, doubt flooded over me.  Doubt that the high we were on in Big Sur would soon be squashed.  As we passed through the mountains, they were just not the same as looking at cliffs and rock and all the shades of the deep blue sea.

During that 4 hour drive, the camera was completely tucked away.  And somewhere in California those mountains turned to flat land and cattle, as far as the eye could see.  I recall piping up to hubby saying “I feel like we’re in Okeechobee, FL” Hubby to me “This feels like Arkansas to me.”  Yeah, I was a little worried that the high of beauty we were just on was totally g.o.n.e.

The question “will Yosemite live up to Big Sur?”  “Will excitement return?”

I took out the camera as we pulled into Yosemite National Park.

I think this Yosemite Valley Chapel was one of my first shots.  It’s not the best lighting but I loved this cute little Chapel!  Turns out, it’s been a place of worship and weddings for over 130 years.

At this point, excitement returned on this little one way road into the park.

On into the Valley we go.  Soon we are surrounded with granite all the way around.  And the falls, o the falls were amazing!

We were two very excited campers as we forged our way deep into the Valley.

Look, there’s Half Dome!

And the Ahwahnee Hotel!  The place we were to call home for the next few days.  We tried to come here last year but learned we needed to make reservations a year in advance, if we wanted to be sure to be here when we wanted.  So last May, we made our reservations to come this year for hubby’s 50th birthday.

We had plans to meet up with friends, so we chilled in the sitting room as we waited for them to arrive.

We meet again, old family friends.  I’ve known this amazing couple since I was 8 years old.  We were neighbors.  I played with their little girl when we were kids.  This amazing gentleman was the Minister in our wedding.  From the time I was a kid, I knew who would marry me one day.

What are the odds that we would be here in the same place vacationing at the same time?  WOW!  This was such a nice treat!

Love them!

The place we had lunch, dessert and coffee together.

It did our hearts good to see them again.

Soon hubby and I were back in our room admiring our view and figuring out how we wanted to spend the remains of our day.

Exploring, that’s all we wanted to do was explore the Valley floor.  And with that, I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking as I am completely out of words other than wow!

On that note, I was completely speechless at day’s end.  I will also say there is no way to compare Yosemite to Big Sur.  And I will say that we both agreed that “We saved the best for last.”

I’m thankful for the unexpected wow’s in life.  For the beauty in creation and nature at its best.  We still have much to see and explore.  I’ll be back!

Blessings – Debbie

Big Sur CA

Good morning from paradise!  Who knew the sun would poke me in the eye, in the morning, on the west coast?  Tis true, that big guy in the sky nudged me out of bed bright and early for this shot.  Taken from the balcony.

Since this leg of our trip was planned last min, we were not able to pillow our heads in Big Sur.  But we found a place (Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa) on up the road in Monterey Bay.  Although it was about an hours drive from Big Sur, the drive down was beautiful.

Shot from our balcony.

I was in love with the proximity of the hotel over the bay.  Shot from our balcony.

I caught this shot from our balcony as well.  We also watched fishing boats make a b-line out to sea.

As soon as we were ready to explore Big Sur, we hit the road.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur CA

Panned the camera just away from the bridge to see the stunning cliffs and rocky coast.

We were here…

…having the time of our lives with nothing on the agenda other than to enjoy ourselves and take in the things we wanted to take in at our own pace.  It truly felt like vacation in every way.

I think this is yet another time when I was wishing hubby Happy Birthday.  I wished him Happy Birthday morning noon and night for 7 days straight.  He deserves the very best.

We were still at Bixby Bridge, but this is another shot of the coast on the other side.

After we had our fill at the bridge, we moseyed up the road.  This pic was taken from the passenger seat.

Another shot from the passenger seat.  That mountain running into the ocean is a Navy Facility of sorts.  We both agreed that was a nice strategic place.  If I were in the Navy, I would want to eat, sleep and work from there.

We stopped at Nepenthe for lunch.  It came highly recommended by friends and we can report that the food was amazing and so was the…


What a gorgeous day!

While there was a bit of haze, the weather was spot on.

A testament that this passenger could not sit still.

And the driver was delighted to pull off as we were on a mission to take it all in ’til our hearts were content to move on up/down the road.

Our next planned stop was a little hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

It was yet another beautiful place to get out and stretch our legs.

Something we continued to say about our trip “It is so easy on the eyes.”

A close up of the waterfall as seen in the above pic.

And another.

The little path, what fun!

The trail ended here.  Not a bad place to land.

It was another magical day filled with beauty at every twist and turn.

It’s a place we hope to return one day.  If not, these pictures will serve as a reminder of the joy we experienced while there.

Blessings – Debbie

From San Simeon to Big Sur, CA

Good day from San Simeon, CA!  It truly was a beautiful day.  A nice vacation day where we let the day unfold.

We fell asleep to the sounds of the crashing waves and woke to the same amazing sounds.  This was the morning view just outside our hotel sliding glass doors.

Many thanks to Yelp for helping us find this 5 star hole in the wall for lunch.  The food was fresh and amazing.

My tuna sandwich made with fresh ingredients.

So yummy and HUGE!  I could only eat half.

I particularly loved this old tractor they had parked out front.

Just outside the restaurant was this old schoolhouse that was built for the workers who were employed by William Randolph Hearst in the construction of his castle in San Simeon, CA.  If you look really close, you can see Hearst Castle to the left of the schoolhouse bell, up on the mountain top.

Speaking of Hearst Castle, it was our next stop.

What a grand place.

With amazing detail.

Hubby and I having a grand time.

A bit of detail

A little sneak peek of the side.

Just me, trying to take it all in.

And the views?  I do believe the views were my favorite part.

No doubt my absolute favorite part.

The 90,000 + sq foot Hearst Castle featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo.

One of the indoor fireplaces – From floor to ceiling.

The dining room set up as if they had dinner prepared for us.

Dining room detail from the other end of the room.

Billiards room

While I was fascinated with much of the artwork and rooms inside, I was more interested in the gardens, views and the great outdoors.

There was so much to see and many views to take in.

My heartbeat.

Yet another amazing view.  Currently there is 80,000 acres but Hearst used to own a whopping 250,000 acres which included all of the mountains you see in the far distance.

I was in awe of the whole feeling and area surrounding the castle.

Such beauty at each and every turn.

The indoor swimming pool.

We were able to walk the grounds alone (after our tour) and stay and enjoy the place until our hearts were content.

As we left, I was sure to capture a portion of the winding road that led us to and from the castle.

Once we were finished, we hit the road on up the coast to Big Sur.  Yes, we’re on this amazing road winding along the coast again!

Lucky for us, we were not on any deadlines to be anywhere at any certain time.  So in hubby and wifey fashion, we stopped along the way whenever we felt the urge to get out and enjoy the beauty.

Side Note: The stopping along the way part, was the plan.  Say we were on a regular road trip, neither of us would want to stop to smell the roses, unless we had to.

I took so many shots that I find it difficult to know which ones to post.  Thus, a lot of pix!

Another look at the same coastline, we’re just in a different spot.

While we were out there enjoying our surroundings, we heard the loudest noise down below.  We quickly looked down to see THIS!

Have you any idea how excited I was to see this whale?

Again, I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

This was the first time in my life to see a real whale, in the ocean!

Next thing, there were TWO!

I was such a happy lady.

It was hard to pull away from this amazing sight.

This is the rest area where we stopped.  Thank goodness we took the time to smell the roses.  We would have never seen the whales had we not taken the little hike out there to get a view of the ocean.

I was so excited on our way back to the car, that I was telling perfect strangers that if they hightail it to the ocean fast enough, that they too could see the whales.

We hit the road again, but we were no more than on the road and it called for another stop to take in beauty.

Another day on the road where there was no desire to grab for the pillow and take a little rest.  Why, I couldn’t put down my camera long enough to relax.

I did get a bit concerned that I would get carsick.  Last year, we took a similar winding road sort of drive and I got so carsick.  But this trip, I had no trouble.  I wonder if it had to do with the weight loss and the shape my body is in?  I have no idea, but I took these winding roads in stride.

On up the road and soon to pull over again.  That’s Bixby Bridge in Big Sur up ahead.  We stopped the next day on the other side of that bridge for more pix.

Another view

Same view panned out a bit.

Back on the road again.

Taken from the passenger seat.

Next stop, the hotel.  Pic taken from our room that evening.

While we had an ocean view room, we were located in the Bay and did not have sunset views from our room.  So we drove up the the road (approx 10 min) to enjoy the sunset.

I was so taken with our hotel on stilts.  The ground level was where we enjoyed dinner that evening.

And the moonrise from the balcony of our room, could not have been better.

What another amazing day filled with so many great memories.

If you made it to the end of this post, you are a trooper!  Sorry it was hard for me to post less pictures than this.

I need this post with all the details.  After all, this blog is for any who want to visit and for us during our rocking chair years as well.  🙂

Blessings – Debbie

Road Trip From San Diego to San Simeon, CA

Who doesn’t like a road trip?  I do believe I’ve enjoyed road trips ever since I was a little girl.  There’s always a certain element of excitement when the scenery is ever-changing.

In this case, we were just driving up the coast of CA.  Just driving up the coast?!  Well I had no idea all the excitement  and sites that were to come.  Although I did have a little idea of the beauty, I just wasn’t prepared to be blown away like I was, Every. Single. Day.  I had a pillow and blanket packed for passenger comfort but didn’t so much as think about using them.

The happy passenger.

And hubby, the best driver ever.  He never once let me in the driver seat.  And I must admit, there were times I felt guilty as he deserved to sit in the passenger seat to enjoy the beauty as much as me.

I was happy as a clam, bouncing off the walls taking way more pictures than a girl should be allowed.

Snapping away.

First stop = LA for lunch.

After lunch, we were right back on the road again.

We pulled over at the look out place to see what we could see.  There wasn’t much to see, until we climbed a little higher.

We took in this view and snapped a few pix.

Then we were right back on the road.

Although this shot is taken from the passenger seat, I like the feel of the motion and country side.  And I love that we could see the ocean on the other side of the road.

There was another look out place on up the road.  So we stopped in the Santa Barbara County Parks for this shot.  Have I mentioned what an amazing driver my hubby is?  Well he is, as he takes the time to stop along the way to smell the roses.  I love that!

Next stop – the place to pillow our heads for the night.  This is the view taken from just outside our room, on the coast of San Simeon, CA.

We made dinner reservations early such that we could get back to our room to watch this.

This is the spot where we sat on a bench, enjoying the view that evening.

What a treat!

A beautiful day and night we will never forget.

And right on cue, we were right back out to find the Super Moon.  I searched all around to find a place where I could frame it.  I like this spot, it was magical.

And this my friends, is a wrap of the first day of vacation.  I’ll be back with more vacation pix, as there are 6 more days of vacation to come.

Blessings – Debbie