Monday, December 31, 2012

Out and About

This was a photo I took at Tomales Bay on the coast.  Jay and I took a short road trip over to check out Walker Creek Ranch west of Petaluma.  It is the Outdoor Education site for the schools down here, similar to what many of my friends know as Camp Waskowitz in North Bend, Washington, where many of us and our children had our outdoor education.  Remember Mr. Lemon?
We had a late lunch at a restaurant on this beach, and we walked out onto the pier.  I only had my cell phone with me, so I thought I'd get a couple of shots.  While playing with the phone, my new iPhone5, I found a button that say "panorama" and I clicked it and this was the photo I got.  I love it. I am going to try sending it to the Costco photo online site and get it printed.
An online friend Tina, posted a link on FaceBook for a website which I signed up for.  I think it is called the 365 Project.  You take a photo and upload it to the site every day next year.  They have weekly themes too, which I plan to participate in.
Back to the day trip......I am going to attend my first quilting retreat with these California quilters and Walker Creek Ranch is the spot.  Brings back memories of my very first quilting retreat at Warm Beach in Stanwood so many years ago.  It really was the beginning of some very precious friendships.  I hope this retreat will do the same.
Happy New Year's Eve to any followers out there!  Be safe.

Four Grands

It was my first Christmas without anyone else in my family other than Jay.  Thankfully Krista took some photos of the kiddos together so I could continue to keep track of them.  I love in this photo how Ethan and Carter have their arms around each other.  Jillian is happy to lay back and let them shine, and Henry seems like he wanted them to use a different pose!!
Everyone survived, though some of us have a bit of bruising around the heart.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Few Days Ahead of Schedule

That time of year again, New Year's is approaching.  I'm going to go back to my past years posts and see what I might have posted regarding resolutions, that ultimately were not kept.
One for this year, is I plan to post something here everyday.  Sister Carol will be so surprised!
Today, I was so happy to hear my pathetic little ding of my doorbell, because I knew it was the Fed EX guy!  I have been waiting for some things that I had ordered on Groupon....still waiting.  It WAS however my package from Amazon with my two new cookbooks that I ordered, thanks to my gift card from Jeff and Krista!!!  I ordered two cookbooks that I have been drooling over for quite a while.  One is the Anne Burrell book "Cook Like a Rock Star".  Jeff actually tried to buy this for me when it first came out, and it was not available.  So I'm glad to now get it.  But my gift to myself today is

This is a cookbook written by Deb Perelman, who started out as a food blogger, kind of like Ree Drummond, aka Pioneer Woman.  I do have a couple of her books, on my kindle, a format I am really not happy with as far as cookbooks go.  More on that in a later post.  
Anyway, this book is so AWESOME!!  I love the way she writes, like she was just sitting and having coffee with you.  I had never heard of her blog, but I will be checking it out now for sure on a regular basis.  So far I have gotten through the intro and breakfast section and I feel so motivated.  
Where in lies the problem.  When you want and NEED to lose weight, how do you incorporate that with loving to read cookbooks and love to cook?  That will be my challenge in the New Year.  All things in moderation, right?  I will be increasing my physical exercise for sure and cutting down/out my evening beverages.....Those things alone should help me be more healthy.  
It's getting later here today, I need to finish my shopping list and head out!!  Luckily Jay asked for grilled brats and salad for dinner, so no big prep time will be needed.  Then I am going to make some apple enchiladas for dessert.  It is still 2012 after all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past

 It's the second weekend of  December.  A weekend that is probably the most selected on calendars for Holiday, or Christmas parties.
Today was the Christmas lunch at the quilting guild that I joined when I moved to Napa Valley.  I attended my first meeting with them in September.  Missed November since I was "home" visiting family and friends.  It was an extended visit, 3 weeks, because we had decided that we would not be back up for Christmas.  Too much uncertainty about the driving conditions and the airfare is pretty outrageous.  It was good that Lynn was with me to drive back because it allowed me the time to weep off and on for the drive back.  I didn't have such emotions when I drove down in August, maybe because it was all new and exciting, I had a cat traveling with me, or it could have been because I knew I was coming back in late September for a quilting retreat, and then again in November.  But this time I don't know when I'll be back.  Anyway, back to the party today.
This is a large group, over 100 women in attendance.  There are a small handful that I recall their names, and have spent some time with them in two other small groups they were kind enough to invite me to.  But I still go in, and feel completely, totally alone.  After about 10 minutes I catch the eye of one of the few I recognize and I pull a spare chair up next to share the end of the table she is using.
I look around this room of women, and try to remind myself that I was "new" before.  Twelve years ago when we moved to Lynden and I went to a guild meeting.  It took about 6 months before I really felt like there would be someone maybe saving me a seat nearby.
This group is having a retreat in mid January and I am signed up to attend.  Three days and nights together should enable me to get to know some people.  Worst case scenario is that I'll get more things finished up, quilting wise.  Best case would let me find a new June, Pat, Shirlene......
Or will I become content and happy to be alone?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Kyle

Since I am posting this from my sisters house, and computer, I don't have any photos that I can include with this post today, but I'll update it when I return home the week after Thanksgiving.
Today I'll share the story of the Birth.
Thirty Six Years - truly, where does the time go.
My due date was November 7th.  Being my first pregnancy, I really did not know what to expect at all.  My Mom's labors all occurred at least two weeks before her due date.  She said, she would go into the doctors office, he would examine her and say, see you next week, and she would deliver the next day.  No such luck for me.
My prenatal course (OB nurse speak jumping right in here!) was uneventful.  Back in those old days, we didn't have an ultrasound unless it was medically indicated.  And being a Group Health patient, they weren't doing anything that might add to the cost.  So my due date came, and went.  And my 41 week check up came, and went.  My OB (Dr White, I will always remember him fondly) said that I just needed to be patient, it would happen eventually.
We lived in Federal Way.  The hospital was in downtown Seattle.  On the 16th I began having some irregular contractions, so we hopped in the car and headed in to see if "this was it!""  After an exam by the nurse with the shortest fingers on the staff, they told us to go walk around for a couple of hours and then come back to be checked again.  Walking around Capital Hill was not the most comforting place to be, but walk we did.  It sure seemed like those contractions were getting stronger and closer together, so I was optimistic when we returned, then concerned when I realized it was going to be the nurse with the stubs for fingers that was going to examine me again!  
No change I was told.  It drove me crazy when she would smack her hand down on my abdomen during a contraction and then tell me "that wasn't a very GOOD one!"".....It felt plenty good to ME!!!
After some discussion, it was decided that since I was so far past due, that I would come back that evening at 7:30, be admitted, given a sleeping pill and then have my labor induced in the morning.
Well, okay, at least it was a plan!!!  Lynn and I hung out at my Mom's in Seattle until it was time to go back. I already had my stuff in the car, thinking I was in labor when we first left the house.
When we arrived at labor and delivery, there was me, and a woman who was scheduled for a morning C-section in the department, that was it.  Which made me wonder why in the world they put me in the labor room that shared a wall with the nursery!!!  I was supposed to sleep with all that commotion going on right next door????   They had me change into the stylish hospital gown, and a different nurse, an older woman who actually wore a nurses cap, came in and said she was there to prep me.  Told me to bend my knees and while she continued to chat, out came a razor and bing, bang, boom, she did a perineal shave!!  Lynn just about passed out.  He decided to go home to sleep while I got turned on my side for an enema.. Then a sleeping pill was given to me and I was to sleep until they started the pitocin in the morning.
 Sleep was not happening.  But something else was.  I found myself up to the bathroom constantly, had some bloody show and I felt so constipated.  And the place started getting busy!!  Patients in labor were coming in like crazy!!  At 3:30 the bed next to mine in my shared room was taken by a very nice woman, who was there in labor with twins!!  Her 16 year old daughter had brought her in.  After a short time, she was whisked off for a C-section since baby A was a footling breech.  It didn't take long before her bed was cleaned and filled with yet another woman in labor.  And I continued my treks to the bathroom every half an hour.  Just before 7:00 AM I heard the day shift nurses gathering in the hallway outside my door.  They were getting their assignments and a report for the day.  The last patient mentioned was me...and it went like this "Who has the induction?" A small voice said "me".  Charge nurse says "you are going to go in and tell her that we can't do her today, we are just too busy".  Which pushed me right off the emotional cliff.
 As this meek pretty Asian nurse named Heidi pulled my curtain back to introduce herself I was sobbing into my pillow.  I told her that I had heard the report.  And then I had to stop to tolerate a contraction.  I told her that I was having some bleeding during the night.  She told me that while they couldn't induce me, if I went into labor on my own, then I could stay.  About 5 minutes later Dr White came into the room and asked why I wasn't hooked up to my IV for induction yet.  Heidi told him that they filled with active patients during the night and could not do an induction today.  He said he wanted to examine me, and while doing so, asked for a ""hook"", which Heidi gave him, and proceeded to break my water!!!  He smiled at me and said, "Now you aren't going anywhere".  Alright then......The charge nurse was NOT happy (years later I understood that feeling!)  Lynn arrived about an hour later and made himself comfy in the chair next to the window.
A few hours into it, I wasn't making too much progress, and the heart rate was starting to dip a bit, so a scalp lead was put on the baby's head and pitocin was indeed used.  Around this time, I was assigned a nursing student who was there to observe.  It was at that moment the idea came into my head about being an OB RN.  It had never crossed my mind before that.  I had wanted to be a cheerleader, but it didn't pay anything....So this nursing student stayed by my side through the rest of the day.  I did have an epidural around noon.  About 5, Dr White again appeared and announced to me that it was time to start pushing.  And so I did.  But I  noticed that every time I pushed, everyone was busy staring at the monitor.  After 3 or 4 contractions of this, he decided we would move to the delivery room and he would "help"......So off we went.  I had taken the required childbirth prep class, and had guilted Lynn into attending one of them.  When it was time to push, he was supposed to help me up into a semi sitting position and count to 10.  It was when he thought counting in spanish might be fun that I told him to knock it off!!!
Dr. White got some forceps (Lynn called them spoons) and slid them in alongside the baby's head.  A few more pushes with him steering from the other end and out came this HUGE baby boy!!!  Dr White's first words werë " ït's a boy and he is hung like a moose!"  
Kyle James Templeton had arrived.  All 9 pounds 12 ounces of him.  He had a couple of small bruises on the sides of his head where the forceps had been and a smallish bruise on the top of his mostly bald head where the scalp electrode had been, but he was perfect.  And he was mine.
He got onto the breast feeding pretty easily.  Our hospital stay was 3 days.  When we checked out and got wheeled to the car parked in front of the hospital I started to panic a bit.  As Lynn pulled away from the curb I started to cry.  And I cried most of the way home.  With fear, happiness, wonder and more fear.
I remember it like it was yesterday.  What an amazing gift this child has been to me.  Happy Birthday Kyle.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

28 Years Later, and Counting!

Tuesday is Election Day!!!  It is November 6th.  On Tuesday, November 6, 1984 it was also an election day.  But I had to ask Lynn last night, who were we voting for back then, because I could not remember.  Twenty Eight years ago today, November 4th (Happy Birthday baby brother Kevin!!)  I was in a state of panic and worry.  Making plans for surgery day.  Thank goodness a wonderful friend Karen volunteered and kept her three beautiful girls home from school and drove from Everett to Federal Way with Darcy, Melinda and Valerie and spent the day with Kyle, Jeff and Todd.  Her girls were the same ages as my boys....I'll be forever grateful for that act of kindness.
But lets back up a bit.  To the beginning of the story.

In December 1983, Lynn and the kids and I were on our way home from the annual Christmas party at my Aunt Adele's.  I had been attending this party since I was a child, so it meant a lot to me to be able to go and bring my kids every year.  Always the Saturday before Christmas, which is why I remember the date.  We would take the Edmonds Kingston ferry over and back.  And we were about 10 miles from home on the way back.  The kids were all asleep, Lynn was driving and I was searching the radio for a particular Christmas song I always loved, but was obscure enough that I seemed to only hear it if I was lucky!  It is called Stop the Cavalry, by the Corry Band.  Canadian I think....anyway!!

I realized that I had some discomfort under the underwire of my right breast.  It was a fairly new bra.  I reached up to adjust it and my fingers grazed across what felt like a lump in the lower inner quadrant of my right breast.  Maybe about the size of an almond.  No, I was not a good breast self exam person, but I knew I hadn't felt it there before.  We got home about 20 minutes later.  Saturday night.  On Sunday morning, I called the Group Health consulting nurse line.  Told them what I had found and felt.  Her first question to me was "how old are you?"  I told her I was 31.  She said I was "too young for it to be breast cancer" but if I was concerned I could call my regular doctor and get an appointment.  No rush.  Okay, that made me feel a bit better.  I knew that my Great Aunt Nanny had died of breast cancer.  Because of that I had kind of kept an eye out on newspaper articles about this disease.  Nanny had never had children, ,which I knew was a contributing factor.  Well, I had had THREE!!!  And nursed them all!!  Which meant I was extra protected, right???  Then I remembered that when I was nursing Jeff I had a HORRIBLE mastitis infection, in that right breast.  The only time I was so sick I wanted to die.  It did clear up with meds and vigorous nursing.  And when Todd was a baby, I noticed the very early warning signs of the mastitis coming again, in the same spot, in the right breast, that this lump now appeared.  Hmmmm....

So I made an appointment with my regular family practice physician.  Dr. Larry Pogue.  I'll never forget him either.  This appointment was 10 days after I had called, and so 12 days after I had found the lump.  I was sitting on the hard cold paper covered exam bed, with the silly paper smock on over my bare chest.  Dr Pogue strode into the room with my chart in hand.  I told him my discovery story, he did was I would consider a "cheap feel up", and said "oh, it is just fibrocystic breast disease, Nothing to worry about".....and actually then just turned and walked out the door, still with my chart in his hand.  I quickly got dressed, and stepped out of the room, and saw him sitting in his office at a desk.  I timidly walked to the door, knocked and said "what?"  He sighed, and said "fibrocystic breast disease.  It will come and go according to your menstrual cycle".  I told him about my Great Aunt, and about my mastitis and he said "stop worrying about it, you are too young to have breast cancer."  And so I left the clinic.

The following spring, I was on the good health and exercise bandwagon!!!    I had lost about 30 pounds, and where do we women lose it first?  Yep, my boobs shrunk!!  However, the "lump" didn't!  It actually seemed bigger!  So I called Group Health again, and asked to see a different doctor this time.  This was in June.  Wow, I can't remember his last name.  I do remember his first name was Eric.  I went in to see him, he did a bit more of an exam of my breasts (maybe because I was trimmer and more appealing - LOL??) and then said he concurred with Dr. Pogue's diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease.  And that I should try to track the lump size according to my menstrual cycle and then come back and see him in 6 months.  Okay, I said and I left the clinic.

Along comes September.  Kids getting ready for school.  Todd getting ready for preschool.  One morning Lynn rolled over in bed, and his arm rested across my chest that damned lump now hurt when it was touched!!!  So I called Dr Eric Idiot office and said I wanted to come in again.  Once again I am sitting on the exam bed with my courtesy paper napkin over me. and he walks in carrying my chart, and without even looking up at me says "has it been 6 months already?"  I said No, but now this lump it painful and I want it taken care of.  Another big medical sigh (don't they teach them that this is a very condescending and rude thing to do?)  He reaches up under my crackly paper and feels the lump.  Then says, "okay, lay down here.  I am going to aspirate the fluid out of it and it will go away".  Again remember, I was not a nurse at the time, so I did not know exactly what that meant., but I did lie down as told.  Put my right arm up under my head, okay.  He turned around with a HUGE syringe and needle and said, stay still and plunged it into the lump.  And began to pull back on the plunger.  Hmmmmmm.....nothing seemed to be coming out.  Well, maybe he didn't get the right spot.  So he PLUNGED it in again.  Withdrew and again nothing came out.  I watched the color drain from his face as he was preparing for one more go at it, I actually grabbed his arm and said "STOP!  Now what do you want to do, because you are NOT doing that again. !!"  He stopped, looked at me and said "well, I think we should go ahead and send you to see the SURGEON."  YA THINK?

Down to Tacoma I went a week later to meet with Dr.Peter Van Waggenen.  And his cute PA, Manny.  He examined the purple breast and said "I really don't think it is anything to be concerned about, you are only 32 years old. But I do think we should go ahead and get a mammogram."   And he wanted to see me back then at the opposite point in my menstrual cycle.

However, now that he Dr Eric Dickhead  savagely attacked the thing, there was already so much bruising that it would be hard to get a clear picture of what was in there, so I had to wait 3 weeks to get the mammogram.  Frustrated, angry, scared 3 weeks.  Plus I had to drive to the Kirkland Group Health facility to have it done.
Go there, on time, and the mammogram girl was very kind.  It was my first every mammogram.  And it was seated!  Which I still think was interesting.  And it did hurt.  After she took her needed pictures, she came back into the room and actually showed me one of them.  She said "see how it looks like an egg?  kind of smoothe edges?  That is a good sign, as cancer is usually mishappen"  I said okay....and then she said "however the radiologist would like you to go next door and have an ultrasound of the breast, so they can see if there is fluid inside".  Alright, I'm here, whatever.  I wait a bit more time, and they call me into the ultrasound room.  Another nice tech.  She lays me down, puts some nice warm ultra sound gel all over my breast.  When I had my babies, it was before ultrasounds were routine, I had never had one before so this was a new adventure.  She placed the wand on the still sadly bruised breast and pointed to the tv screen so I could watch.  After a few minutes, she went out and got the radiologist.  At least that is what I think he was.  He never introduced himself.  After they looked at the results on the screen, ran the wand over the breast another time, the only words this mystery man said to me was "good luck"....and left the room.  I turned to the tech and said "what was that supposed to mean?  Good luck getting dressed?  driving home?"  She at least looked a bit embarrassed and said that the results would be sent to the surgeon.
I looked her right in the eyes and asked "do you think this has ANYTHING to do with my menstrual cycle?"
She shook her head no.  My appointment with the surgeon was two weeks away.  I asked to use their phone, and I called Dr Van Waggenen's office.  I said I did NOT want to wait two weeks to see him.  She was able to get me in two days later.

As I sat, at least I was fully dressed this time, waiting in his office he came in, sat at his desk and said that he still believed that it was just a cyst, but that he agreed it was time for it to "come out".  His nurse called Tacoma General, which is where Group Health did their surgeries at the time, and said that it would be two more weeks, before they could get it done.  I said that was TOO LONG to wait!!!  She actually said to me "well, if it is cancer, two weeks isn't going to make any difference".....

When I got home and relayed this information to Lynn, he was so angry he called and she told him the same thing.  So we had to wait two weeks....wait and worry.

Still with me????  My post from 2009 that I shared previously on FB tells the next chapter.    I really will try to share the next stage in days or weeks to come.

But for now, I keep counting, and living.  Tears are readily at the surface for me at this point every year.  I don't think that will ever get easier.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"First" Friends

  1.  One of the most awesome things about "social media" is the ease it allows for us to "find each other".  I love this photo.  This was taken in probably the summer of 56.  That is my oldest brother on the left.  Then sister Nancy, who was only a year old, Christy Myers then me behind her older sister Deb.  These two truly were my very "first friends".  Their parents are still in touch with mine, and I got to visit with them a few weeks ago.  Let them know I was on Facebook and they let the girls know.  
  2. How about that pool.  How about that water?  This was taken in the back yard in Kennewick Washington, the tri cities.  I hope it was the water itself that was so yellow and not any additives (NANCY!!)

 We moved from Yakima to Kennewick courtesy of this Consolidated Freightways  truck.  My Dad worked for this company.  The house we were moving into was previously occupied by the Meyer's family!  They had moved into I think a new house that was built across the street.  So that is how we met.  My Mom became very good friends with their Mom whose name was Sharon.  She worked at the Welch's juice factory in town and used to bring us home those amazing concord grapes!  That is why I still love them today.  Such a good memory.  
 This is a photo of my brother Steve and I in front of our new house.  I think we only lived here for maybe a year, before we moved just about two blocks away.  Close enough we could all still be friends.  
I know I have another couple of photos of the three of us, but can't put my mouse on them at the moment.
Their Dad became a State Patrolman.  He was the tallest man I remembered as a kid.  
Thought I better put this photo of Nancy here too.  LOVE those Iris's in the background.  They also became and are still my favorite flower.
I wonder if they grow down here?

Christy and I were pretty close buds.  We would play anything and everything.  Deb would join us more often than not, but there was NO DOUBT who the person in charge was when she was with us.....

It was a sad day when they moved away to Spokane.  Luckily the adults stayed in touch, and so our friendship was able to continue for many more years.  They would come over for a visit, and then take me back to Spokane with them for a stay, and then my family would come over and pick me up.

When we moved to Seattle, we still got together occasionally.  It was a BIG BIG deal when they got to take the train over and we all went to the first Beatles concert in Seattle!!  And we also had probably more fun than we should have attending the Teen Fairs that were help at the Seattle Center, courtesy of Pat O'Day.

I remember being in Spokane one summer and we all went to an outdoor affair at the high school Shadle Park.  The three of us with our long hair, short shorts hanging out around the tennis courts with the music blasting and the boys trailing behind......We also had a memorable night at a skating rink as I recall.....

Lots of time passed as we entered our young adult years.  We kept up with each other via our parents.  Once Lynn and I stopped in Ellensburg where Deb was living with her husband and they (being the hippies) they were, took us out into the woods to hunt for mushrooms......didn't find a single one....LOL!!

Deb had her daughter Jessica, Christa got married.  I began having children and we drifted apart again.  Then after my breast cancer treatment was finished, I connected again with Deb, since she was an attorney and married to a medical malpractice attorney to discuss whether I had a legal case.  Turned out I was about a month too late to file.  Life goes on.

A few calls here and there over the next few years, more children, grandchildren, a move to CA for me and now we are reconnected again.  Christy still lives in Spokane with her son.  Deb lives on Bainbridge with her husband, both of whom have retired.  Her daughter is the attorney in the family now, and her son is going to school at Gonzaga.  We are blessed that our parents are all still mostly healthy and well and enabled us to reconnect once again.

I think now that my "first friends" will turn out to be forever friends.  It will be easier to keep in touch.  But it seems to me that it will be worth the effort.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Getting to Know Yountville

 This is such an amazing small town.  Surrounded by vineyards and wineries.  
The harvest is going on right now, and just like in Lynden when I could hear farm equipment running through the night, now I hear the grape harvesters running.  And the wonderful aroma of crushing grapes in the air is amazing.
 I love this little stone garden!  In Lynden it was the PostKantor!  Here it is the Post Office, and it closes at 4:00 everyday, which is annoying!  

This stone mushroom garden is what runs alongside it.  Talk about easy care gardening!

Although having Jose doing the grounds at the condo is pretty low care for me.......
 There are several of these around town, a narrow bridge.  And notice the sign.  One of the town rules is that signs must be 'framed'.  

Even the stop signs are on wooden posts, with wooden frames around the actual stop sign!

 And this is the road sign on my street.  

All the signs around town are these short wooden pedestal signs, they are so cute.

I pass this tree whenever I drive into Napa.  It is in the median of the highway, so I had to take this from a bit away.  Can you see that big bump on the side? What IS that???
Someone told me, like a carbunckle or something, but I don't remember.  And all the bark has been stripped away.

This is a photo of the tree, from further away.  

So happy to have been introduced to a stick reader for my computer, so all my photos have been transferred now to my photo files, and I will be able to keep my blog more up to date!!  
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 14, 2012

If You are Happy and You Know It

I was squinting in the sun even way back then!

This was taken in front of our home in Eastern Washington where the the summers were hot and sunny and the winters were cold and often sunny.

After growing up and moving to the Western (or WET) side of the state, that blue sky seemed to be rare indeed.

And now, in my 60's (well, barely JUST) I am living again in a world of beautiful weather and blue sky.

I've been an official California resident for just over 3 weeks now.  There are still a handful of boxes in the garage waiting to be opened.  And I notice I am missing a few items I am used to having in the kitchen, so I'm hoping to get through those last boxes this weekend.

But it will be busy.  I am planning to attend a community "health fair" here in Yountville tomorrow before noon.  Then I'm heading to Napa for the demonstration at the Art store of someone who does paintings with spray cans.  On Sunday, the Guild I visited last weekend is having their big Quilt show, so I'll go and check it out.

Weber did indeed send me the clips that were missing from my new charcoal grill, and Jay and I will put that together this weekend and he wants me to go ahead and buy that table and chairs for the deck if it is still available.  

I made my first foray over to the pool this week, and it was lovely.  Need to work on my "tan" so when I go back up north at the end of the month, maybe I will be flesh colored instead of pasty.

Can you tell that I am happy?

Friday, September 7, 2012


Was kind of a big day for me.  I went to the Farmer's Market in St Helena.  It was FABULOUS!!  Only problem was that it started at 0730 and ended at noon.  I got there about 11:30 which was good as far as finding a parking spot, but not as good to get a full flavor of this great market.  They only operate until the end of October.  I did sign up for their weekly newsletter so I'll know when they start again in the spring.
While I was there, I picked up a few things.
First was about 2 pounds of Concord Grapes.  I LOVE them.  It is a childhood memory of eating these grapes.  We lived in the tri cities in Eastern Washington, Kennewick to be specific.  The mother of a friend of mine worked at the Welch's factory and would bring us home these beauties.  I love them seeds, skins and all.  On the drive home from ST Helena the bag of grapes had sat in the sun, so when I popped them in my mouth they were even more wonderful...
I also bought a nice (and a bit pricey) collection of some balsamic vinegar and infused olive oil.  And a jar of a peppered pomegranate jam, which I enjoyed with a smear of cream cheese and a spoon of jam on a honey wheat Ritz cracker.
After the market Jay and I went to his favorite cafe and had breakfast for lunch.  Then strolled down the street and stopped in at the hardware store and got some new batteries for my Boze remote controls, so now I can listen to music at home!!
I arrived at home with about half an hour to spare before my appointment with my new hairdresser!  She is only about 5 minutes away.  A very quirky little shop.  Jenn will be my new hairdresser for sure!  My hair is a shade lighter, which only seems right for being a California girl!!
So why was this a big day?
Because I recognized that my old pattern of being up late, sleeping late and being in the house all day was coming back.  And I can't do that again!!!  So it was big because I have re pledged myself to a new life!  Tonight I'm heading to bed before 11 so I am up by 8 and heading to Napa for a Quilt Guild meeting that starts at 10.  They have social time before the meeting, so if I get there at 9:30 it should give me enough time to mingle a bit.
I'll stop at the Napa market afterwards, then head home and plant the few things I bought the other day for my little front planting area.  Then the Husky game is on at 4.
It is gorgeous here, the weather is perfect, and I need to keep moving forward.
Photos to come!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Some Things I Miss

Two weeks I've been here in BEAUTIFUL Napa Valley California!  I'm loving all my little trips out and about.  It takes me 30 minutes to get to Costco (went today) so I will be planning those trips more carefully than I did when it only took me 15 minutes.  Was interesting to not have a parking lot full of Canadians (NOT that there is anything WRONG with that, Camille).  This store is maybe half the size of the big stores, and the layout is so different.  Some products they don't carry I miss, like the Cascade Ice soda for Jay.
The produce section is really small, maybe because of the abundance of Farmer's Market's.  The prices on the alcohol is amazing....yes, I did pick up a few items.......

Onto the things that I am missing after these two weeks away.

1.  My toilets........We had the TALL thrones in that house and boy do I miss them!

2.  Bathroom storage space.  I have about 20% of what I had, and I keep finding more not yet opened boxes that say "bathroom".

3.  My mail across the street.  Here it is on the other side of the development.

4.  Putting the garbage at the curb.  Also on the other side of the development.  Driving my garbage is umm....weird.

5.  My computer monitor, which somehow didn't survive the trip.

6.  Jillian, Ethan, Jeff and Krista being a 15 minute drive away.....and knowing I can see Carter, Henry, Kyle and Genie in 2 hours instead of 14 hours.  And having Todd come by.....

7.  Reading the letters to the editor from the ultra conservative in the Lynden paper, this time of year.

8.  Knowing what channel is what.

9.  Being able to actually walk on both sides of the bed in the Master bedroom.  Now I have to kind of shimmy (not a pretty picture) along the shutters on the sliding glass door.  I need to learn to get up and go the bathroom when I am not in a hurry.

10.  My Circle of Friends.....

I'm planning to bike around Yountville in the next day or two and get some photos and share them with you all.
Hope you are enjoying your home....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Have Learned So Far

The boxes are not all empty yet, but I have learned some things already about being a California Girl

1.  Smaller is okay!  So far I really like the layout of this 1200 square foot condo.  Being the end unit is a real advantage as I can pretend all the property next to me is, well, mine.

2.  Having someone else doing the yard work is very nice.  I know, Jay has done 95% of the yard work for the past few years, but Jose is doing a great job!

3.  Having someone else doing the yard work could become a problem  Now that Jay doesn't have the yard work to do, he is trying to find things to do, in the house!  No Honey, please don't unpack anymore boxes.  

4.  Living in a different environment than I have for the past 60 years is a nice adventure.  Waking to sunshine everyday, and learning to schedule around the heat of the day has been fine, and fun.

5.  Cats do adapt.

6.  Fresh is best in the kitchen.  

7.  Ground turkey is fine to use, though some seasoning adjustments will need to be made.

8.  Picking fresh citrus off a nearby shrub is a great feeling!  

9.  No one needs 23 kitchen towels.

10.  Wireless is nice, plugging the computer IN makes it work better.....that battery doesn't last long.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's a New Day

My first Monday in my new chapter.  I've mentioned to some that this big move is almost like an opportunity to reinvent myself.  Instead of preparing for a big change, I can now live a big change.
Some things may seem silly, but I think silly and simple is better way to start.
For instance, using a list to go shopping.  Buying what I know I will USE before it expires!!
Planning ahead, for meals, for shopping trips, for chores.

I asked Lynn last night what he wanted for dinner, and he put in a request.  So that is what I went to the store to purchase today.  The St Helena Safeway will probably be my most often go to grocery store.  Yes, things are a bit more expensive but it sure is fun to see some different labels.  I made the decision while standing at the meat counter to make the marinara sauce with ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Maybe I can make the transition to using turkey where ever I used ground beef.

The Farmer's Market is on in Napa again tomorrow, and I will go there!  I want to also find a reasonably priced placed to get some pots for the deck, and first build an herb garden.  I'm told I can grow herbs here just about year round, how exciting!

I did buy a fresh basil plant to have here on the counter.  Just putting my nose in there and inhaling deeply makes me swoon....again silly.....

More to come after I find my printer, so I can load some photos to use.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Goodbye Birth Center

This one is tough.  Not because it was hard to say goodbye, but because it in my last position I never felt like I got much past hello.  I loved taking care of birthing families.  Those of you who KNOW me, know that this is a true passion for me.  Assisting women and their families welcome a new life into their world.  It was a miracle every time.
25 years ago I went to nursing school.  I went because I wanted to be an OB RN and I was so lucky to have been accepted into a residency at Tacoma General.  I met people who were caring, helpful, frustrating, but mostly they welcomed me as part of the team.  Several of those nurses I first met are still good friends.  After about 6 years I added teaching prenatal classes to the mix and and loved every minute of that.  How fortunate I was a few years later when a local OB hired me to help her in her new practice where she built a free standing birth center for women who wanted an out of hospital birthing experience and provided me a wonderful space and support to continue teaching.  There are clients I had who also have become forever friends.  So many women have touched my life in ways that I will be forever grateful. 
Then 12 years ago Lynn was recruited to a new job in a new area and since I had been married to him for 26 years at the time, I thought I ought to go with him.  I told him that I wasn't going to work nights again, and he said I should do what I wanted to I signed up to work per dium at the local (and only) hospital in the area.
There were a few Doc's who were a pleasure to work with and a few nurses.  But there seemed to always be such a lack of leadership on the management team..  In fact there were 7 different managers in the 12 years I was there.  I shouldn't have been surprised when after taking a pretty good fall while at work, and being off work to recover I never heard one word from anyone asking how I was doing.
Most of the nursing staff were long time employees working in the birth center.  They had worked together for a long, long time so 'breaking in' was hard enough, that given my limited working hours, it just became almost too painful to continue to try.  This was especially hard since I had come from a working environment where it was such a joy to go to work everyday.  Where my experience and knowledge were valued and appreciated.  I've always been really easy to get along with and have lived by the thought that it is so much easier to just be nice.....
Three of the long time nurses passed away during my 12 years.  One was a drowning accident, two from disease.  Three of the nicest people I worked with.  It was a gut wrenching time for the department.
As new staff arrived, I did my best to introduce myself and get to know them, to make them feel more welcome than perhaps I had felt.  But as time went on, it became more clear that you were part of that shift group or you were almost invisible.  An unforgettable moment was when I was overwhelmed with a coughing episode in my clients room, and left the room.  Got to the hall, right across from the main nurses station and leaned against the wall with my legs tightly crossed, hacking and coughing and gasping.  Not ONE of the FIVE nurses at the station gave me more than a cursory glance as they continued to chat amongst themselves.  Not one.  After getting myself calmed down and able to walk to a water fountain I realized that I really was on my own in this place.
Ultimately I spent most of my working hours with the clients.  Listening to them, coaching them, encouraging them, helping them to have the kind of birth experience they told me they wanted.  For the most part they expressed their appreciation and that is really what it is all about.
I've been blessed to be present at the births of thousands of births in the past 22 years.  And privileged to  have been involved in the education process for a thousand more.
Now that I have moved, and visited the two nearest hospitals in the area, I have come to realize and accept that my days of being an OB RN have come to an end.  I just don't have the stamina or energy to do it again, and possibly face that same cold working environment that I just left.
I don't think I am ready to give up the world of birthing women yet, so I might dust off my Doula bag and put myself out there, if I can find a market for that here.  Maybe even doing some teaching on a small scale.  Time will tell.  For now, I'll keep learning as much about my new city, county and state as I can and do some research.
It was a great run......


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dinner in Napa

First of all, I'm so excited to have figured out how to copy the photo to my blog!!

Hello out there from the Napa Valley!!  I'll do a full post of my trip later, but I wanted to share about our dinner tonight.  I arrived on Tuesday night, and tonight was our first meal out being California residents.  We chose this great spot called the Norman Rose Tavern in downtown Napa.  Lynn had had lunch here with the CEO of the Napa Clubs and liked it.  It had been a while since we had a hot meal together, and we both ended up ordering the half roasted chicken dinner, with potato salad and the best fresh green beans I have ever had.  Sorry I forgot to take a photo, I was just plain hungry...

Downtown Napa is only about a 15 minute drive.  Yes, there are TONS of EXCELLENT restaurants in Yountville, our hometown, but we haven't felt quite ready to try any of them yet.  Maybe next week.

While we were eating a nice looking couple came in and sat at the table next to us.  Several people greeted the gentleman and he sure did look familiar to me.  I think someone called him Kendall, but I couldn't be sure.  He looks like someone I have seen on something like Top Chef.  Will have to search that out a bit.

Our furniture and belongings are due to arrive on Sunday.  I'll have to take some before and after shots of the rooms.  I have to say, I sure enjoy stepping out onto the deck in the late morning with a cuppa coffee and bask in the sunshine and admire the truly blue sky.  I hear there may be rain over the weekend, though there hasn't been any measurable rainfall since Memorial Day.  And then expected to be HOT again next week.

The cats are doing well.  So far Rocco (who traveled with me) is already loving being outside.  Lays under a shrub by the deck in the shade and surveys his new territory.  We did walk over and pick a couple more lemons today.  The limes still seem a bit too firm.

Saturday we are going to the Farmers Market in Napa.  Hopefully I'll remember my camera and get some good shots of the place.  Next week will be busy unpacking, so I'm really enjoying this "down" time.

Until later....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Seven Day Countdown

A week from right now, I'll be on the road, with my van packed with precious cargo.  Most precious will be Rocco, my grey kitty that is already so confused.
The moving van is scheduled to arrive between 8 and 10 and they have allowed 6 hours to load.  I can't imagine it will take that long, but we will see.
With lots of help from Krista (most darling and wonderful daughter in law) and sister Carol I've been making good progress every day.
But today I consider the countdown clock to be running.  Seven more nights.  3 or 4 nights will be sleeping here in the Lynden abode.  The others will be at Sister Carol's, so I can spend a few days saying farewell to friends and family in the King/Pierce county area.

So today I say FAREWELL to the Lynden fair.  It is actually the Northwest Washington Fair.  It is held this week in August.  Starts on Monday, ends on Saturday because goodness, things don't happen much here on Sunday's.  More about that on another day.

When we looked at this property to buy, the agent cautioned us about this week of the fair.  The normally very quiet, peaceful clean neighborhood we live in is only a block from the fairgrounds.  And for this week, it is ANYTHING but quiet or peaceful.  In the beginning, 12 years ago, it was also pretty clean.  But I have noticed over the years that there is more litter each year.  I don't know whether people just quit caring or what.  This year the pick up will be up to me, since Lynn is already ensconced in Yountville in our new home.  So I will go out each morning and pick up the debris that people seem to think is okay to drop in my yard and garden.  Bottles can's wrappers.

This is the first year too that we don't have a pass to get in.  Lynn would always buy a weeks pass so he could go in every night after he got home from work and enjoy some fair food and music from the small stage venues.  He also had gone with Krista for a concert each year.  Their DATE!  This year they were supposed to see Heart.  We have seen many acts.  A highlight for me was seeing Willie Nelson driving his big RV up the street on the day he was performing.

It was very cool for the first 6 or 7 years when every grandstand show (0ne at noon and one at 6) was proceeded by skydivers.  I would sit on a lounge chair in the back yard and enjoy watching them float to the ground.  I do enjoy listening to the concerts in the back yard too.  Unfortunately two days the show is the demolition derby (today and tonight!) and a tractor pull.  I still don't get the whole tractor pull thing.  But it is so loud and overwhelming it vibrates the ground enough to cause my wind chimes to sing.

I have loved introducing my Grands to the fair.  From the year Jillian was just a year and half, then adding Ethan to the day, all the way through having Carter and Henry join us the last two years.  I will miss that part of the fair most of all.  We would go through the animal barns and laugh at the silly pygmy goats, wonder at the baby piglets that are born each year up there.  Cows, horses, sheep.  I grew up going to the Puyallup Fair, and when Fischer Scones finally arrived up here two years ago I was THRILLED. Just texted Todd, who is working sound at one of the stages over there, to have him bring me some scones!

The midway is alive and festive every night until about 11 pm, which isn't too bad.  It is the only week of the year though that I make sure the doors and windows are locked at night and when I leave the house.

One memorable year, darling Sammy (our doggie)who was part border collie, twice escaped the house and yard and would go up and go right into the goat barn and start herding.....

I'll be here Saturday night when the fair ends, and Sunday when all the carnival trucks and vendors and people who trailer in their animals load out...most likely a good cry will happen at that point.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Things I Have Learned This Week

1.  Do your errands and running around in the morning or evening, not during the hottest part of the day.

2.  Don't leave anything in the car!!  My iTouch actually told me it was too hot....

3.  Keeping the blinds drawn during the day really does keep the house cooler.

4.  Fresh is Best!!

5.  The whistle from the train twice a day is really comforting.

6.  Those colorful flowers are called oleander.

7.  There are kind and thoughtful people everywhere.  You just have to be open to hearing and seeing them.

8.  I love my Keurig.

9.  Thick TP is really nice, but the roll runs out so fast.

10.  Being 750 miles from "home" can be managed without as much sadness as I was afraid of.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My first post from California!!!  This is my day 3 of 6 checking out my newest hometown area.  Lynn has meetings all week, so the days are my own.
I did go into Napa and passed the written test to get my official CA drivers license.  36 questions and I could miss 6.  I missed 3.  Maybe I should have actually read the book!!  Did you know that in California it is actually illegal to smoke in a car if children are in it?  Even if they are your own children?  This is not something I would ever have a reason to know.
Spent some quality time at the new condo.  Measured all the rooms and took lots of photos, so when I get home I can really figure out what furniture will fit.
Went into the hospital in St Helena today and checked out the Family Birth Place.  OMG.....ancient, tiny and way too slow for me I'm afraid.  They average about 25 births a MONTH!!  The moms have to go to a shower room, as there are none in their own rooms  The hospital did have free valet parking which is especially nice in this 99+ degree heat.  I thought it was interesting that the two cars in the front were a jaguar and a new Mercedes....You'd think they would invest some money in their birthing center!!
So I'll check out the hospital in Napa tomorrow or Friday.  It is called The Queen of the Valley.
My most exciting stop today was at a very high end grocery store called Dean and Deluca.  It is truly a foodie paradise!!  Lots of cool specialty stuff.  I spent just a few dollars there.  Got some ideas.  I know I'll be stopping in there just to stroll fairly often.  I told then that in Bellingham we were so excited when we got a Trader Joes, and I was thrilled that in Napa (just 9 miles from my house) the Trader Joes' actually shares a parking lot with Whole Foods!!  Well, Dean and Deluca is at least a step or more above Whole Foods!!  You can check then out and order from them online too.
I'm getting even more excited and anxious to get the move done.
Sadly, still no calls on our house for sale.  I really am about ready to go ahead and list it for rent as available in September.  Who knows how long it might take to get a renter in there!!
But, I'm not going to worry myself about that until I get back to Lynden.
Sending you all sunshine, if you need it!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

While cleaning out an old desk, I came upon these twelve watches.  Not one of them is still keeping time.  I wonder how much watch batteries are these days!!

I gave up wearing a watch in 2005, when I had laser surgery on my eyes.  The surgery corrected my distance vision beautifully, but it totally ruined my mid range.  So unless I had reading glasses on, I couldn't see what time it was on any watch!!

And it was an interesting lesson.  I went from having to have a watch on and knowing the time ALL THE TIME to giving it up, and not missing it at all.  It has been 7 years.  I have purchased a watch or two since then, and after wearing it for a day or so, I forget about wearing it.  There are so many other options these days.  Either from my cell phone, or in the car, or even the polite "can you tell me the time?"  

So all these 12 watches will go into the garage sale.  Except maybe the Husky watch that has a big W on the second hand.  With the purple band.  I think I need to keep that one a bit longer.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday night

After Jillian's final softball game a few weeks ago, I went over to their house for a visit.  When I walked to the front door and glanced left I was greeted with this smiling lawn art.  

Jeff did this while working in his yard.  What a clever boy!  ( I still have trouble thinking of myself as the mother of 'men')

Since I had arrived before them, I started dead heading their rhodie.  After a few minutes, something underneath one branch caught my eye.
Still makes me shiver even looking at the photo.

I have been on the verge of tears for days.  You know how that is?
It's been a stressful couple of weeks, and it is only going to get harder for the next two months.  
My Mom's health seems to have stabilized, which is a good thing, but again after spending the evening with my parents and siblings, I am reminded that she and Dad are indeed 85.  It is so hard to see the slower shuffle, the positioning to be able to rise without much help, the decline of appetite, the passing of time.  

My BFF after high school is losing her middle daughter to cancer.  From age 18 to about 25 we were so close.  We were in each other's wedding's, bought houses a block from each other, she birthed her 3 girls in the time frame I birthed my 3 boys.  When I went into the hospital for my first breast cancer surgery, Karen was the one who got her girls up at o:dark:30 and drove from Everett to my house in Federal Way to be with my boys that day.  As often happens, time moved along and we began to follow different paths.  
We would still connect once in a while for good conversations and girlish laughter.  As long as we steered clear of religion and politics, we got along splendidly.  And now her Melinda is in her final days of this life at age 34.  Absolutely breaks my heart.  

My house has been on the market for 3 weeks, and after two viewings the first week we have not had one call.  Yes, I know the market is slow, but is this how it is going to be?  Yes, I know it only takes one, but first they need to look.  I'm starting to stress about the possibility of having to make a mortgage payment as well as a rent payment for more than a month or two.  

I have a relationship that I just can't seem to get a handle on.  It is hard, and I keep trying, but I feel like it is a losing battle.  I know it is important to keep at it, but it is only going to get harder when I am living that much further away.  

There is just so much to do.  But then again, I thrive on having deadlines looming and so much to do.  
One task at a time, one box at a time, one room at a time, one day at a time.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Looking Back to Easter

My family,  meaning my parents, siblings and their families get together every Easter and near Christmas.  The actual attendees varies from event to event.  And we meet at my youngest brothers nice home in Federal Way.  I have become the cruise director (self appointed....) and make sure we always have some kind of craft project offered to work on.  

 We share a meal, and get a chance to chat.  

Here is Jillian and Ethan enjoying their lunch, waiting for the egg hunt to begin.

 This year I brought an idea I had seen on Pinterest. We made Peep Wreaths!!!  At least my Mom, sister Nancy, myself and newest member to the family Karlee (nephew Casey's fiance) made them while sister Carol gave advice.

Todd and Jeff explaining to Ethan what a "record player is"......

I always have a new Easter plush for each of the grandkids.  Jillian with her new bunny.  

Lynn enjoying the sunshine and a chat with Dad and BIL Terry.  

Genie holding Henry, while he is tasting his new Easter plus bunny.

Sister Carol with Jillian, Genie and Henry

I brought some bubbles and different wands for the kids to enjoy.

Jeff, Krista, Ethan Dad and Todd 

I also brought some balloons so they could make balloon animals.   

I also get photos of the kids on the couch each year.  Here are Henry and Carter, giving me a grumpy look!

And being goofy!
 Following are all the photos I could catch for the short amount of time they would all sit on the couch together looking foward!!

It  was a special day for us since Genie was able to attend, finally having her weekend off coincide!  And Todd came for the first time in years too.  

A really good time was had by all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What to do first...

Each morning when I get up now, I need to have a list of things that I need to get done.  It can't be a generic "pack" note either.  I need to work in specifics.  There is just so much, that it can be overwhelming if I take too long to think about it.  So instead of thinking about it, I just need to get started.  
Today, I did get a few pesky tasks done, and now, at 7 pm, I'm ready to start on today's list.  I puttered the day away.  Although, I have to say that Jillian and Ethan were here today, and tomorrow morning they are off on their great adventure, flying to Hawaii to spend some time with their Lola Brenda, Krista's Mom.  Pretty exciting.  

So today, right now I am going to clean the carpet in the guest room.  Then I need to decide how I want to put the bed back in there.  Right now I have it on the 'far' wall.

Here are a few photos.  This is a queen sized bed, so it does take up a lot of room.  I wonder why that photo is so dark....

Anyway, once I take down the quilt, and the other doo dads on the wall, I know I am going to need to put some paint on the walls in this room too.

 But part of me wants to turn the bed the other way. Sister Carol thinks having the head of the bed nearer the door may not be the best idea.  I get that, but it seems that if I flip it, I can move it closer to the window wall, and make it appear that there is more room in there.

I guess the worst that happens is that I move it and don't like it, I just move it back.    Most importantly though, I just need to do something!!  So that is what I'm off to do.....right now....really......I mean it.....stop reading.....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cleaning up the Camera

 These are a few photos from the trip to California Lynn and I took in May as we came back up the coast after the conference in San Diego.

This setting made me think of the show Private Practice, the beach where Addison and Sam share a duplex on the beach.

 At a view point a bit further up the coast, these squirrels were quite happy to finish these few crackers we had left in the car.

This was the same viewpoint, getting a shot of the actual view intended!!  There were actually people down on that beach.  I never did see how in the world they got down there.  It was a beautiful drive.

Lynn, on one of his internet surfing sessions, had discovered what he thought was the PERFECT beach town for a potential retirement.  Called Morrow Bay.  So we were heading there to check it out and spend a night or two.  Sadly, once we got there it was really just an old fishing village and the beach, once we found it, was lovely, but really not part of the town at all.  There was a big refinery right next to it, and when I said the area reminded me of Tacoma, that was the final nail.  So instead of staying there we headed up the coast a bit further and found Cambria, which was CHARMING!!!  We stayed at a hotel right across the road from the beach.  This will be one of the places I go and visit for a weekend once we move.

When we left there we headed to Capitola.  This is a beach town that we found rather by accident the previous time we were in the area.  When I booked the hotel from my phone ahead of time, we were sure disappointed that the hotel wasn't really in the village, but up nearer Santa Cruz, not on the beach at all.  We did have a fabulous dinner down in the village though, and found a nice girl for Todd......too bad she lives 1000 miles away.

From Capitola we headed up to Calistoga, in the Napa Valley.  We stayed two nights there and had a great chance to check out the area, prior to Lynn's interview for the job there.

It was the first time we had taken a road trip in quite a while.  We had a really great time, despite the price of gas!!  Too bad I didn't have a hummingbird nest in the front light fixture to come home to like I had the last time we were gone from home for two weeks.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Next Chapter

Here is the story.....
Yep, I'm moving to California.  To an amazingly beautiful very small (population about 3000, of which 1200 live on the grounds of the California Veteran's Home) Town, not even a city, called Yountville.  It is the first stop of the 'up valley' of Napa Valley.  It is one of the communities with the highest rated Michelin stars collections of restaurants in the country.  And we all know how much I like good food.  To add to that the CIA, Culinary Institute of America is between St Helena and Yountville.
Lynn was hired to be the new CEO of The Boy's & Girl's Clubs of St Helena/Calistoga.  St Helena is about 10 miles up valley from Yountville, and Calistoga is about another 7 miles north of that. Each of those cities have populations of about 5000 each.
It is GORGEOUS!  Vineyards, wineries blue skies, rolling hills.  Warm, sunny.
Anyway.  My lovely home in Lynden is for sale.  Pretty slow market up here.  We have been on market for 2 weeks and only had two viewings.  But I'm assured that it is just a slow time of year these few weeks, with end of school and should pick up soon.  If it doesn't sell by Sept 1, we will list it for rent.
Our new place will be quite a difference for us.  We are going from a 1950 square feet home, on a 11,000 square foot lot, to an end unit townhouse that is 1213 square feet.  We have a lot of green space around us, but no responsibility to keep it pretty!  Someone else does that!!!  So it really will be a downsizing experience for us.
Lynn starts work on August 6th, and will move into the new place on August 1st.  I'm hoping that we'll drive down around the 25th and get him moved in, then I'll fly back home in time to get to have Carter and Henry come and stay with me for a few days while Kyle and Genie have their annual Vegas getaway with her family.
Prior to that we are flying down for a week in mid July.  He has work stuff to attend to, and I'll continue to scout out the area, and check out the two nearby hospitals for potential employment.  I will be sure to have my camera then and get some shots of the area to share here.  
Lynn has been wanting to move somewhere that the weather would be better, and this is going to meet that desire.  For about 20 years I have "felt" that we would have a California residence at some point.
Yes, I will miss my children and grandchildren tremendously.  Our timing is good though.  As my SIL Kathy pointed out, we aren't facing the challenge of finding new schools and services for our children.  Jillian and Ethan are in school, and are growing up so fast.  By next summer, they will probably be spending more time home alone.....Carter and Henry are another story.  I'm hoping that with the amazing world of Skype and Facetime, I'll still "see" them often and get to chat.  Right now my plan is to come back to Washington at least 3 times a year for 2+ weeks at a time. Hopefully worked around my favorite quilting retreats up here! Kind of will depend on what my employment situation might be.
We will still be loyal UW Husky fans, and plan to be decked out in all our purple and gold and go the games they play at Cal and Stanford.  And for Mariner action it will only be an hour away from seeing them when they play in Oakland (and we'll get to take the CalTrain and the Bart!!) instead of traveling almost two hours up here.
Yes, I'll miss my family.  My parents are 85 and only getting older, so that will be a bit of a challenge.  Sister Carol will come to visit often, especially since she was the one who took the road trip and helped me find my new home!!  Sister Nancy and BIL Terry will come to visit, they LOVE wine tasting, and this is the capital of that!!  Brother Kevin and SIL Sandi will come to visit as a side trip to their annual Reno trip.  Brother Steve and SIL Kathy?  Now that they are mostly retired, maybe we will get a chance to visit with them more often.
As far as friends?  I hope they will come visit!! I was so happy that I was able to find a 3 bedroom just so I could have a guest room for friends and family.  Thankfully we have the internet to keep in touch.
Next to selling the house, our biggest concern is moving the CATS!!!
So pretty much that's the story.  Between cleaning carpets, painting the master, keeping the house sparkling I'm hoping to write more stories here on my blog.
Stories of Looking Back, and Moving Forward.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

California Bound

The truck is packed and Lynn is ready to go.  We made the decision to drive to his national conference this year which was being held in San Diego.  After a 3 drive down, then 5 nights there, we are going to meander up the coast, then cut inland and cruise through the Napa Valley to see if it looks like an area that we could live in. 
I packed some picnic type stuff in a cooler so that we could do our daytime meals at rest stops, which worked out really great.
We got into San Diego right on time.  I sure do love the GPS feature of my phone.  Gas prices were right around the $4 a gallon mark.  We tried to hit Costco's along the way, also nice to use the GPS for that. 

When Lynn is busy in his meetings, I get out and about in whatever city we are in.  San Diego, it turns out has a wonderful light rail system.  Right across the street from our hotel was a station.  This is a photo I took from inside the train.  It is a great way to check out the city. 

I love checking out new flora in different areas.  Here is a nice shot of some of the native greenery, again, taken from the train window.

While stopped for a few minutes, I happened to glance down at the rails, and had a bit of a giggle to think that those two little metal strips were holding
the ties together....

One day I took the train, and a bus out to a wonderful little knit shop.  Found a great project and bought some yarn to make a gift for Krista.  I wish I had gotten some photos of this shop to share. 

Once back in the city, I kept my trusty camera with me.  This was an amazing PURPLE tree!!   

I haven't yet found anyone to tell me what kind of tree this is....

This is how the malls work in southern California.  Outdoors. 

And I thought this was a FABULOUS idea.  People really were playing checkers and chess together with this big painted boards, and large pieces. 

Can you see these orange flowers on this cool tree???

And the trunk and branches were amazing too.

I did get a close up of the flowers, just love it!

I caught just the last moment of this beautiful sunset, from our hotel window on the last night of our stay in San Diego. 

Tomorrow, I'll post some photos of the trip heading back up the coast.