64: Giving Thanks

(Shadow family.)

Praise the bridge that carried you over.  ~ George Colman

M and I are having our Thanksgiving dinner with friends, something that has become a tradition with us since our sons are now a good distance away and the rest of our families are back east.  We have been blessed with friends who have become family to us, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them.  We’ve all been living busy lives lately and haven’t had much time together.  Life is like that at times.

(A daylily at the beach.)

I have a great many blessings in my life and could write a long post about them, probably forgetting some here and there.  But what I really want to do today is say thank you to YOU, all of my wonderful visitors to the blog.  Thank you for stopping by.  Thank you for reading and looking at my photos.  Thank you for commenting (or not commenting, because I am thankful for my lurkers too).

I appreciate and am grateful for you all.

Thank you.  😀

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you out there celebrating it today!

Today’s walk

Will be filled in later.  It’s been raining like crazy here for the past few hours.  The prediction is for up to 2-3 inches of rain.  It came in as a warm front.  Imagine if it had been a cold front!  We’d be buried in snow.  The snow won’t be here until tomorrow when the temperatures drop.  I think Saturday is our best chance for the lake-effect stuff.

So.  I’ll either come back later and fill this in or add today’s walk to tomorrow’s post.  Either way, I will get outside, even in the pouring rain.


59: Wondering

(View from the airplane window.)

I wonder.  I wonder a lot.  I even wondered about the word wonder and had to go look it up just to see if it is all the things I think it is and I was delighted to find it’s true:  Wonder is a wonderful word.

(Looking to see what’s out there.)

To think or speculate curiously

I wonder about blogging and life.  I wonder about the ups and downs of it.  I have a few blog mates that have dropped off the blogosphere for a while.  Some have come back for NaBloPoMo.  Some have made brief appearances for NaNoWriMo.  And others are showing up in comments here and there remarking about how this is the first year they have missed NaNo or NaBlo.

(Looking up while standing inside of a sculpture.  Shelter Island.)

I wonder about some of those folks.  Is life keeping them so busy that they no longer have time to blog?  Did they grow tired of it?  Have they moved on to some other aspect of online life?  Or are they so immersed in life that blogging about it doesn’t even enter their minds anymore?  (I like to think it is the last option because I want to imagine them happily going about life.)

To be filled with admiration, amazement or awe

Some of those I am missing from blogland are people I admire, people who amazed and awed me with their use of words.  I’ve often wished that I could put together letters, string together words, and make sentences and paragraphs the way they do.  I know there is a certain amount of skill involved in writing as with any art, skill that comes from knowing the basics and practicing them, but I also know there is a gift to it as well.

(Balanced rocks.)

I miss their gifts and I hope they are still sharing them somewhere so that others can experience the wonder of their use of words and their ability to draw one in to a story or a poem.

To doubt

I’m committed to this — blogging and the outdoor adventures challenge — for a good long while and I have to tell you, I wondered (a lot!) after making the announcement if I wasn’t making a great mistake.  A whole year???  How crazy is that??  Did I aim too high?

(Becoming part of the sculpture.)

But day after day it has become easier, mainly because it has become part of my daily routine.  I am habit building.  A day without some outdoor time doesn’t seem normal anymore.

I also wonder if I’ll be able to catch up.  I tried to keep up with blogging and my blogging friends while in San Diego but I could only devote so much time to it as my days were filled with enjoying being in San Diego.  So I think I’ll give up on catching up and start from where I am.

Today’s Walk

Today’s walk was filled with wonders, too.  It always is.  Today I admired the silvery sheen of the sunlight and clouds, especially as they were reflected in the water of the pond.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The sky has been milky today.  Even the blues, when they were showing, looked washed out.  It’s an unseasonably warm day.  Perhaps that is what is causing the haze and milkiness.

(Reflections through the grasses.)

M has been outside using his new toy, a chain saw.  I can’t get quite as excited about it as he is, but I am glad he has a better chain saw than he had in the past.  It should make it easier and quicker to cut up all the wood lying about out there, especially the huge chunks of elm left from when we had to have the dead elm trees cut down.

One of the places I be sure to visit each day is the back of the pond where a big, old maple tree hangs over the water.  We are going to have to remove it sometime soon.  A strong wind could bring it down, roots and all, and that could/would undermine the dam.  I feel awful about it.  It’s a beautiful tree.  I took a few photos but they all came out blurry (sort of how I look at the tree now, feeling teary-eyed about having to cut it down).

I’ll try again tomorrow to get some decent shots of it.  I will be visiting the tree every day until we finally do the dastardly, but necessary, deed.

I also wondered at and admired the browns.  I know most people don’t think of brown as a beautiful or wonderful color.  I like it.  There are so many different shades of brown now that most of the other color has dropped away.  Sometimes I try to see how many of those shades I can get into one photo.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  🙂


58: Deep breaths

(Simplicity)

San Diego was great.  The sunshine, the warm temps, the ocean views, the fresh seafood and fab Mexican food, and all the long walks on the beach were wonderful.  Certainly worth the anxiety of flying.

But…

The moment I stepped outside today for my daily outdoor commitment walk and took a full, deep breath — the kind that goes all the way to the toes — I felt more than thought:   Home.  The hour of yoga practice just before going outside didn’t relax and loosen me up the way that first breath of outside air did.  The combination of the two was pretty powerful stuff.  Joyfully, happily powerful.

(A glimpse of the pond from the meadow)

My meditation prompt today was:  Look for joy.  While walking around the pond I thought, “I don’t need to look for joy.  I’ve already found it.  It’s right here, right now.”

(A spot of red marks the X.)

How lucky is that, to live where one truly feels at home?  The smell of the air, the colors, the sounds, and the feel of the land are all, for me, just right.   The modern version of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears popped into my head with that last sentence.  The mind works in mysterious ways.

(Meadow grasses and dried flower arrangements)

Or perhaps not so mysterious.  I remember reading somewhere that the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears can be interpreted as finding the middle path, the place that’s just right, rather than choosing from one extreme or another.  Balance, centering, moderation, that sort of thing.

(Mourning dove welcomes me home.)

Our trip home yesterday was long (about 15 hours, door to door) and uneventful.  The planes did not crash.  The two flights (the first to Chicago, the second to Akron) were relatively smooth.  I had a brief moment of panic boarding the second plane.  It was one of those small, commuter jets.  Why that should bother me more than a large plane is beyond me.  Walking out on the tarmac and then up the stairs was more nerve wracking than the usual walk through the jetway/airbridge that connects the airport terminal gate to the plane.

I am extremely grateful for and to the woman who sat across the aisle from me on our second flight.  When M and I boarded the small jet it was immediately apparent that we were not seated together.  It was one of those planes that have a row of single seats and a row of double seating.  While I’m sure I would have survived sitting by myself, the woman that would have been seated with M or with me was kind enough to switch and take the single seat across the aisle.  I explained to her that I have a fear of flying, although the explanation wasn’t necessary as she was willing to move as soon as we asked.  But that’s not all she did.

My fear of flying is worse during take-offs and landings.  The descent through the clouds (and there usually are clouds, especially when coming back to the Bogs) when we land are the worst moments for me.  Just after the pilot announced we’d be descending and landing soon, the woman across the aisle reached over, patted my hand, and asked, “How are you doing?”  It was a simple, sincere question.  I told her I was okay so far.  Still breathing (rather than holding my breath in panic).  She jokingly remarked that at least I wasn’t screaming or trying to escape from the plane.  I don’t know why that relaxed me, but it did.  We talked for a little while and before I knew it, the plane was touching down and we were on the ground.  I never even noticed the bumps and thumps of moving through the turbulence in the clouds (and yes, there were clouds as it was overcast when we arrived).

(Sunset in Mission Beach on the evening before coming home.)

After the anxiety of flying, a 2am wake-up call to make our flight, and a lack of sleep two nights in a row, I had no trouble at all getting to sleep last night.  Or staying that way.  In fact, I slept in until 10am, having woken up once (at 6am) and decided I’d sleep for as long as I needed to.

As for my outdoor commitment, I was worried I might not be able to fit in the minimum 30 minutes of outside time with the long day of travel yesterday.  United Airlines provided me with the opportunity.  With many conventioneers (there were approximately 30,000 people attending the same conference/convention as M) leaving San Diego yesterday morning, they had to line us all up outside.  The line stretched and looped a long way.  We stood outside for at least 30-40 minutes.  While it’s not the nature walk I’m used to taking, it was outdoor time.  Because the winds were from the west (off the ocean), the fog was fairly thick.  There was a bit of a breeze and it felt a little chilly.

Today, here in the Bogs, it was brisk (45 degrees and breezy) and mostly sunny with the occasional puffy cloud adding white spots of interest to the sky.  I was greeted by a crow, a mourning dove, and a red-tailed hawk.

It’s good to be home, in both the wide view…

… and in the close-up, smaller view.


57: Going Home

(A California rose.)

It’s Tuesday morning as I type this.  I’m sitting on the deck of the condo we’re renting, occasionally getting caught up in watching and listening to the waves of the Pacific as they roll in.  It’s foggy this morning.  They say it will burn off by 10am.

(The Fish Tree.)

This has been a lovely trip with perfect weather.  The only thing missing was a swim in the ocean, something I’ve never done here.  I put my feet in.  I wade.  But I never swim.  I suppose if the weather got hot enough — to counteract the cold of the water — I might.  I love to swim in the sea and play in the waves.

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this on Tuesday if it’s a Thursday post.  We’re heading home.  It’s going to  be a long travel day.  I’m not sure I’ll have the time or energy to post before the day is over.  The solution is a scheduled post.  Gotta love WordPress.

Once again I will have to be up at 2am to get ready to go to the airport.  That makes for a very long day.  It might not be so bad if I could sleep on the plane.  But I have a fear of flying so sleep is out of the question.  I stay awake to keep the plane in the air.  (It’s magic!  lol!)  As I was explaining to someone the other day, the fear doesn’t lessen with each flight.  I never understood the idea (or benefits) of desensitization therapy.  As far as I can tell, it doesn’t work.  Deep breaths, meditation, visualization… tried ’em all.  I still get anxious and afraid.  I spend the first part of the flight in a cold sweat of terror.   Eventually I relax out of sheer exhaustion until the descent and landing.

(Pacific Portal.  Shelter Island.)

I’d give up flying but it’s difficult to travel anywhere if you don’t fly.  It takes longer, for one thing.  A cross-country trip in the car would mean a couple of days travel time to get here, a couple of days travel time to get home, and not much time in between to enjoy actually being here.  So, I get on an airplane and hope for the best.

I don’t want to spend my remaining days here in sunny California dwelling on my fear of flying.  But it does help to sit with the fear using mindfulness techniques for a little while.  I’ve learned that trying to deny or ignore the fear doesn’t work.  Might as well sit with it with mindfulness and compassion for a few minutes.

(Walking the dogs.)

As of this writing, it’s been a great trip.  There has been time to relax as well as see some of the sights.  I’ve taken lots of long walks and had no difficulty at all meeting my outdoor commitment.

(Mission Bay sculpture.)

Home will be good, too.  I miss Izzy and Bella, and wonder how they’re doing.  I’m sure they are fine or I would have heard something from our house-/pet-sitter.  I will also enjoy sleeping in my own bed once again.  The bed here has been comfortable enough and I didn’t have any trouble sleeping, but there’s no place like home when it comes to comfort.

We had breakfast early this morning (that would be Tuesday) at Kono’s, a Pacific Beach institution.  On the weekends the line to get in is out the door and up the street.  A Kono’s breakfast is large, especially if you order a breakfast burrito, delicious, and the price is great.  Going early on a Tuesday, it wasn’t very crowded at all.  In fact, we were able to get a seat on the patio that overlooks the ocean.

Well, I guess that’s about it from San Diego for now.  Next time you hear from me, I’ll be back in the Bogs.


56: Torrey Pines

(Christina’s tree.)

Today I met up with Christina.  Christina is one of those friends I met through blogging.  We got together the last time I visited San Diego (you can read about it here and see some photos here).  At that time Christina took me on a wonderful tour of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.  When she asked what I would like to do this time I responded (without hesitation) that I would like to go to Torrey Pines again if she wouldn’t mind.  I wanted the chance to see the area again during a different season.  Although I could have gone on my own (or if M could fit it into his schedule, with him), going with Christina is a special treat because Torrey Pines is Her Place.  It is a place she loves and has taken the time to get to know which makes her a fun and knowledgeable guide.

(On the beach.)

Since this is my last day here and I want to get in some beach time, I’m going to put up some photos and hope to fill in any blanks later.  We walked on the beach and climbed to higher areas where there were wonderful views.  We saw Torrey Pines (the rarest pine in North America), a few birds (including a peregrine falcon and a hummingbird), and even the occasional flowers (although this is not the time of year for flowers).

As usual, the photos are all straight out of the camera and uploaded to Photobucket (which seems to take away some of the clarity, or maybe that’s just me).

(Peregrine falcon.)

(Flat Rock.)

(Rock formations.)

(Christina told me the name of this bird but I’ve forgotten already.)

(We climbed a few stairs.)

(The view was worth the climb.)

(Way worth it.  And the climb wasn’t that bad.)

(Hummingbird.)

(Another lovely view.)

(View through the pines.)

(The wrinkled tree.)

(View of the beach — where we started — from above.)

We had lunch after our hike at a Mexican restaurant where I ate some sort of cactus in a spicy tomato sauce.  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Thank you so much, Christina, for another wonderful outing.  I can well understand why you love it here.  🙂


55: Old Town San Diego

(Walking into Old Town.)

Yesterday morning I went to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.  I wanted to visit Old Town on previous trips to San Diego but didn’t get around to it.  I’m glad it finally happened.  It was interesting and I learned a few things, always a nice combination.

(La Casa de Estudillo)

One of the first things I noticed was the wonderful landscaping.  There were all kinds of trees (including palm trees), cacti and other succulents (including the Century Plant which I’ve written about before and is responsible for some of the visitors that come to my blog via search engine), and a wide variety of flowers.

(Cactus graffiti)

I guess people will carve their names wherever they can, including on greenery with sharp thorns.

(Iron jail cell behind the courthouse.)

In case you want to go, don’t pick a Monday.  Many of the exhibits are closed on Mondays.  Also, don’t go before 10:00am because, it seems, nothing opens until 10am.  You can walk around Old Town and the plaza and look from the outside which is what I did at first.

There were several groups of schoolchildren there, with their teachers.  That got me to thinking of school field trips and how I didn’t truly appreciate some of the historic places we visited on school outings.

As an adult I think I’ve more than made up for my lack of interest as a child.  When M and I were on our sabbatical adventures we even revisited places we were forced taken to see while in school.

Old Town San Diego is a chance to learn a little about life during the Mexican and early American periods of 1821 to 1872.  There is a small core of restored historic buildings complimented by reconstructed sites.  La Casa de Estudillo pictured above the cactus graffiti is one of the restored buildings.  It was built in 1829 and restored by the California State Parks system in  1969.

(The Commercial Restaurant.  No food or drink allowed.)

(Inside the Commercial Restaurant — a recreation.)

They have living history exhibits on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  There are also plenty of shops, restaurants, and museums to explore.

I would like to stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel sometime.  It looks like an interesting place.   They have 10 rooms with authentic furnishings and decor from the 1870’s.  The restaurant serves a modern take on foods from the period.

Outside of the park you will find lots of shops and restaurants.  If I’d had more time, I would have explored Old Town some more.  Maybe next time.

We woke up to heavy fog this morning.  They called it a “marine event” on the weather report.  Clouds and fog rolled in off the ocean, wrapping everything in mist.

(Morning fog.)

After a big breakfast (which I’ll tell you about in another post), M and I took an early morning walk on the beach and out to Crystal Pier.  M took off for the conference and I went out for a long walk/run to help work off some more of the feast I devoured for my morning meal.  It may end up being lunch too, as I’m still too full to even consider more food.

(Clearing.)

The fog has burned off.  There are still a few clouds on the horizon but mostly it’s another beautiful, blue-sky day.

(Green Flash sculpture.  Belmont Park.)

As soon as I finish posting this I’m heading back out for another walk and some reading time on the beach.  I’ll think about lunch later.  Maybe.


54: Beach or mountains?

(Rowing in Mission Bay.  Mountains in the background.)

Today as I was out walking on the beach I got to wondering if I am a beach person or a mountain person.  There was a time when I knew, without hesitation, that I was a beach person.  But having lived in West Virginia and taken two trips to Colorado, I have found that I love the mountains almost as much as the beach.

(Surfing at sunset.)

Apples and oranges, true.  Contrasting is easy but comparing the two is difficult.  One thing both Colorado (at least the parts we’ve visited) and the So Cal beach scene have in common is a relaxed, laid-back attitude towards life, the universe, and everything.

(Saturday’s sunset.)

The answer, of course, is that California offers the best of both worlds:  the beach and the mountains.  It’s too bad it’s so expensive to live here.

(There is a surfer under this wave somewhere…)

The other thing that cropped up in my musings is that I am gaining a greater appreciation for where I live, both through travel and through my daily outdoor commitment.  While I am reveling in the sun and surf, I am pretty sure I would miss the clear-cut change of seasons, the autumn colors, and the snow.  Yes, I really wrote that.  When I start complaining about the snow in January, please refer me back to this post.

(Paddle boarding on the bay.)

Perhaps I am an almost-anywhere person.  I am not, I’m sure, an anywhere and everywhere person.  M and I have lived in places that I just didn’t like and never came to feel at home in.  The southern U.S. comes immediately to mind.  Once upon a time, many years ago, we lived in South Carolina.  We also spent some time in Georgia.

(Serenading Mother Ocean.)

Both southern states have a certain charm and beauty about them, but they weren’t for me.  Too hot and too humid during the summer months.  Too… Old South in some regards.  The people are friendly beyond belief, but it’s a surface friendly.  Those who have moved from North to South know what I mean.  I find it difficult to explain to those who haven’t experienced it so let’s leave it at that for now.

We went to La Jolla yesterday to watch the sunset.  The sea was wild and wonderful, crashing on the rocks.  The wind and waves were whipping just prior to sundown, calm after the sun disappeared below the horizon.

(Harbor seal at sunset at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla)

There were seals “hauling out” while we were there.  I didn’t see them at first, they blend in so well with their surroundings.  Apparently there is a big controversy going on regarding the Children’s Pool Beach and the seals.

(Protest beach scene.)

There are some who want the beach closed to people, leaving it to the sea lions and seals.  There are others who believe people can share the beach with the seals and sea lions.  (That is the “in a nutshell” version.)

(One side of the story.)

After sunset we went to Su Casa for dinner.  It’s one of my favorite restaurants.  The food is excellent and the wait staff are fun and friendly.  Oh, and let’s not forget the margaritas.  Best margaritas ever.  Or maybe it just seems that way after you’ve had one or two.

(Sunday’s sunset at La Jolla.)

(Sunset and waves.)