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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Mack Grad 2 w Cork

Corky and Mack

My son is here visiting after the great graduation celebration.  It is always wonderful to see him because he lives so far away in California.

This visit is extra special  though –  1) because of the graduation, and 2) because we saw all three grandgirls, 3) because Corky extended his stay and we can catch up on his life, and 4) because he is so darned helpful.

All in the space of a few days:

  • He moved umbrellas  and heavy pots to get us ready for summer.
  • He added a music app to our computers and phones.
  • He helped his Dad with technical things in the car.
  • He found us a highly recommended Handy Man.
  • He solved the problem of stink bugs in the tractor gas tank. (How did they get in there anyway?)
  • He installed dark blinds in the guest bedroom so guests can sleep longer now.
  • And more.

He is our pride and joy anyway, but this visit has to be marked down as special and this is our way of saying “Thank you son.  We love you.”

 

 

 

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Bill and I  have been gone for about two weeks on another Wild West trip.  I missed you, my blogger friends, and though I tried to keep up and comment on your fabulous posts, the landscape and vacation pressures kept getting in the way.  We returned to reality yesterday and have been sleeping things off all day today.  I call it a Travelogue Hangover.

I hope you haven’t forgotten me…….

New Driver Offers to Lead the Way

New Driver Offers to Lead the Way

We discovered a new driver hiring out chauffeur services when we hit Arizona, but he was a bit too short to manage the itinerary.

Where did we go?

Phoenix, Arizona to see friends.   Sedona, Arizona to share vistas and fun.   Las Vegas for heart pounding excitement.  And Carlsbad, California for family and whales.

I know this is supposed to be a “Virginia Views” site, but the next few blog posts will be about a Virginian’s views of an alien world.

 

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{Photo: 10news.com}

{Photo: 10news.com}

Last night my family in Carlsbad, California were asked by the police to evacuate their home.

The effect on all of us – east coast and west – was stunned shock.

The rapidness of the spread, the random fire re-starts, the devastating heat and low humidity all combined to form a brutal enemy.

This morning, at least for now, things have calmed down a bit.

My family are back in their home.

The fire headlines and constant news coverage have seemingly disappeared.

Everyone is safe.  Keep your fingers crossed.

“Life is good.”

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Golden Hibiscus

If I could “show and tell” about my Thanksgiving vacation that began in California, I would send you this golden hibiscus that simply glows on it’s bright blue background.  To me, this one little flower symbolizes the spirit of a state that normally boasts brilliant sunshine, things that grow and magnificent views of everything from stunning valley-scapes to astounding color.

Bill and I began our journey in La Mesa – San Diego – land of (almost) perfect temperatures, great people, food to live for, and stupendous views.

Just lounging on my brother’s deck I could see far far into the distance where the city dwellers bustle about and the lights twinkle along with the stars at night.   But that wasn’t all.

We were taken just “up the street” from their home to the top of Mt. Helix!  I could not even imagine how shockingly beautiful this view could be as I stood with my lovely sister-in-law ooohing and aaaahing in breathless wonder.

From Mt. Helix in La Mesa, CA

Mt. Helix is evidently a photographer’s paradise, but even an amateur Dor can almost capture the fabulous long-range vision.

Sky-lit Cross at Mt. Helix

Sky-lit Cross at Mt. Helix

No doubt about it – California shines.  And the glow takes over even under cloudy skies as they illuminate an entire valley and fill observers with a sense of awe.

And in just a few days we felt drunk with the astounding sights and sounds in California.

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California Palm

Contrary to what you may have heard, California is cool.  Well, I don’t mean “cool” in the cool sense of the word.  I mean “chilly.”  At least it happened to be cool during the seven days Bill and I visited our family there just before Thanksgiving.

Now Californians like to pretend it’s always sunny and warm there.   This is undoubtedly true but when the temperature is in the 60’s and there’s a breeze off the mighty Pacific, well, C’mon guys – California is cool.

But it was our vacation so we happily dined in premier OUTSIDE seating at the local by-the-sea restaurant.  We  ignored the whipping winds and the fact that outside heaters were going.  We northerners donned jackets with our sunglasses and pretended to be regular old beachcombers albeit with slightly blue lips (and not just because we stayed in the water too long).

But yes, California is definitely cool.  And I don’t mean “cool” in the coolest sense of the word.  I mean California is also “hip” and a very fun place to be.  This only goes to show you can have it two ways.

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews of the sights, sounds and charm of Southern California, or How I Spent My Vacation in the Wild West.

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California Impressions

Pal Camera and I walked a bit in sunny California

among the swaying palms and sprinklers’ irrigation

of green lawns and people on vacation.

A baby ran in utter joy enjoying freedom

amid the green of a grassy stretch so wide

it must have felt like Eden.

He turned in glee and waved back at his family,

Look! Look! Look what I found – a great big birdie!

I felt myself grinning for

this baby’s joy in life was just beginning.

Mom Look – A Birdie!

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CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME! 

We somehow found our way to a very comfortable timeshare in Escondido, California (in the Wild West).  It’s about an hour from San Diego and 30 minutes from Carlsbad.  My brother and sister-in-law live in San Diego.  Our son and his family live in Carlsbad.

I know California is supposed to be civilized because the settlers struggled and endured all manner of hardships to tame it and that settled that.  Nevertheless, I consider a trip to California is still only for the bravest explorers.  Imagine what the pioneers experienced in their Conestoga wagons.  I wonder if they had traffic jams like today.  Maybe if one wagon got stuck, the others would bottleneck behind it.  Did they know they could drink from cactus?  Did they travel the road we are now lost upon?  But I digress.

Our Wonderful Timeshare in Escondido

Timeshare Morning Walk

If Only the Pioneers Had Lola!

Although we felt like perpetual pioneers, we were fortunate enough to have a GPS guide named Lola.  However, once outside our vacation unit and in a car, we were inevitably lost; lost within the timeshare itself; lost on roads and freeways; lost in parking lots.  Remember I predicted this?  And we took along our Garmin thing too with the GPS gal we named Lola.  And by the time we found our way around, it was time to go home to Virginia.  Gripping the door handle or the overhead thingy, worrying about the next wrong turn has left me slightly arthritic and perhaps perpetually paranoid.  I never did have this eye tic before or the twitching in the neck.  Could it be that because Bill is left handed he manages to consistently turn in the wrong directions?  How can anyone make four wrong turns in a parking lot in broad daylight under clear California skies? And no, I am not exaggerating.

But How Was Our Trip?

Well, we did get to visit with family and friends even though one family member had just been in the hospital for chest pains (that turned out to be nothing), another getting intravenous antibiotics for a skin infection, and another with a kidney stone waiting to descend!  All of these things happened two days before our arrival, and all of them had happy endings about the time we left (with the exception of the kidney stone which is still lurking somewhere).  And no, we are not all really that old and decrepit even though it seems so.  My hair color was black before we left and now, a week later, it’s white!  Try to picture me with black hair, o.k.? – and without the tic.

California weather was HOT upon arrival… like up around 100 degrees, then cooled off a bit in a few days.  Skies were oh-so-clear and there were lovely breezes even inland, but especially toward the beach areas.

What Did We See or Do?

Well, we went to a Beatles concert that was so real the old-time fans in the audience were swaying and singing along with the  young impersonators who were truly fantastic.  I wanted badly to sing too but my voice is so bad it makes people flee the room.  When my grandgirls want their father to leave they say, “Sing Grammy!” Did you really want to know that?

The Beatles Live Again

We also went to a funny cowboy town called Temecula and cruised on foot in and out of the shops but didn’t buy anything much. At least on foot we found our way.  I think Old Temecula is sort of like a ghost town where you walk on plank sidewalks and everything is the way it probably was.  They do have food and water and bathrooms though – not like when the pioneers arrived.

Temecula Court House

Temecula, California
An Odd Wild West Building

We took a ride around Carlsbad and had a wonderful dinner there.  We had dinner at our son’s lovely home.

We had a lot of wonderful dinners in California – and lunches – and breakfasts – and snacks – and bread!  We found the most scrumptious bread ever.  I would have gone back for more but we found it on one of our lost detours and I’m sure we could never find it again.

And having gained at least five pounds, we went home.

I like California a lot, but –

I like home better.

I love home.

We don’t get lost here.

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