Wednesday, December 7

Time Flies

When you're having fun. And we are!

Well, I did decide not to put up a Christmas tree, and the heavens did not explode. They have cute little 2' tall trees in the floral section of the supermarket--way dried out I might add, it's SoCal after all--and I paused and thought about it for a moment, but I'd have to get out all the stuff to decorate it, so I passed.

I did get all the prezzies bought and wrapped. This year's color is silver. I have to have a different palette every year, yaknow. It's the artist in me. We don't do a lot of gifts. Nobody needs anything except the grandkids. We're lucky that way.

I've been playing golf. I played twice this week. The shadows are getting long on the 18th, and it's just so pretty and peaceful out there. This is Talega, a very difficult course in San Clemente (that I decided I don't want to play again--who needs it). The golf cart is the group in front of us, and in front of them, Canada Geese, here for the winter. Geese are horrid creatures, they are nasty rascals, and there is goose poop everywhere. Man, was I glad to get this round behind me.

Today we played Arroyo Trabuco, an easier course because they have gold tees for high handicappers, which we senior ladies surely are. We had a lot of laughs out there today, and when we got to the 19th hole (the bar--duh) I pulled out my phone to take a shot of our group. You need to know I cannot see what I am taking pictures of. I have vision issues.

Looking left.

Annnnd right.

I didn't get everybody in the shot...there are about 20 to 24 of us every week, and it's a great group of peeps. My pals, I just love 'em.

Tuesday, November 29

Life and the Holiday Season

Yes, it's upon us once again. Thanksgiving with the family, well half of the family, some were sick with a stomach virus and couldn't come. So it was just the five of us, three generations. 

Chris cooked an amazing turkey, as always. He does brilliant turkey. Look: a turkey and a ham all in one photo...

Here Chris shows 8 year old Savannah the giblets. "Ewwww....."

I attempt a selfie with my darling Michelle. 

I made an amazing gluten free apple tart that I will surely make again when duty calls. I don't bake, and working with gluten free flours is tricky, so we all kept our expectations low, but it was outrageously good. I got the recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry and it looked exactly like the picture below. Beautiful in its simplicity. 

I am just about finished with my annual seasonal cold (caught on the airplane I am sure), so I had a lot of couch time over the Thanksgiving weekend. I have 90% of the shopping done. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you're missing out. Free shipping on everything and it is on your porch in two days. Sometimes one. 

Amazon Prime also has free movies. We had a bit of a movie marathon over the weekend (sadly, no popcorn). This was good:

Yesterday was Cyber Monday and we got JJ a new computer. Saved $400. It's an "all in one." No tower, the processor is part of the screen. We hadn't planned on buying it just now, but JJ's computer has been threatening to die for months and $400 was a huge motivator, so we jumped at it. Score!

I did get outside to drain, clean, and fill the hot tub. It was 80 degrees on Thanksgiving and the day before. But then it turned cold. 

 It's beautiful and sunny, but cold. I love this bougainvillea.

I decided to not put up a tree this year. I waffled for days but the decision is final. No tree.

But we are not completely devoid of cheer and decorations. 

This is what I'll be doing Monday. I think I'm finally well enough to get out there.

Thursday, November 17

Home Again

There's not much to tell you about our transatlantic crossing other than it was uneventful. We flew overnight across the pond in cramped economy but we were able to sleep most of the way with Ambien from my doctor. We were whisked off to the ship by a delightful driver and we discussed politics all the way, which is always fun in foreign lands. We discussed Brexit primarily, but the Trump/HRC subject was hammered to death with everyone we encountered.

I did not take my camera because there's not a lot to take pictures of out there on the deep blue ocean, but I did take a couple photos with my phone & iPad (some I snatched online). Now to see if I can find them and actually insert them into this post. 

Here's one, at Legal Seafood in Boston Harbor, our first port after leaving Southampton a week earlier. You might think it strange to go for food when on a cruise; I did. But truthfully the ship food wasn't that great, and when in Boston... 

I was traveling with Sarah & Bill from Dallas, and Jim. 

We had a mix of weather, we had one calm sunny day and some bumpy days, and some VERY bumpy days. One day the buffet, which is on 14, toppled plates, glassware, cereal and PEOPLE everywhere. We chose to stay low down in the ship that day and eat lunch in the dining room, sitting down. The ocean motion doesn't bother me but there were times during the night I thought I'd go flying across the room. No one got much sleep that night. 

We spent most of our days here. The card room. We played contract bridge all afternoon long.

Celebrity Eclipse is a beautifully appointed floating hotel.

There is actual grass on the top deck! Can you stand it? Not that we ever spent time up there while going across the ocean, it's very windy and cold. 

It was a gorgeous day in NYC but way too cold for us Californians, so we stayed on board. We've been there many times. JJ does a sudoku puzzle while I fiddle with my iPad. The double espresso macchiato is divine. 

We were docked next to the USS Intrepid. Photo taken with iPad. Looking south (Hudson River)

We had an overnight in the City and took an excursion to Harlem and the famous Cotton Club. Fantastic! Solomon Hicks (left) reminded me of a young George Benson. Such talent!

I took this photo through the dirty window of the Sky Bar, with my phone. 
It was an incredible sunset sailaway! 

But there's no place like home!! Thanks for visiting. 💖

Monday, October 24

The Big News Is

It. Is. Raining!

Good thing I rescheduled golf from today (Monday) to Wednesday. Pretty smart cookie I am. Our "golf commissioner" said he doubted it would actually rain, but we are getting a good soaking, complete with lightening and thunder, which happens maybe once in 10 or 15 years in coastal southern California. But I'm hunkered down inside, not going anywhere until golf on Wednesday. 

JJ got me an iPad Air for my birthday--which was three months ago, but we don't generally buy each other birthday and Christmas gifts, we get what we want/need when we want/need it, and we stick to a budget so we can afford to take once-in-a-lifetime trips a few times a year.

Which is what we are doing soon (more on that in a minute). So JJ asked me if I was taking the laptop on the cruise, and I said I didn't think so because it's a hassle to deal with at the airport and internet at sea is painstakingly slow. It's sometimes good off the ship in the port terminal, but you can't count on it. So off we went to Best Buy--I already knew exactly what I wanted and they had it in stock. It's an iPad Air.

Man, is it sweet. It is a for-real computer and comes with word processing and spreadsheet software. Unlike my Dell PC laptop, where I had to add ($) a word processing program. And if you can't figure out how to do something, like turn off the bluetooth or set the alarm for example, you can ask Siri to do it. Siri will write a note or schedule an appointment with a reminder, you don't have to type in anything. You can ask it where is a drycleaner or if you will need an umbrella today.

I love technology. Seriously. I'm glad I lived long enough to see all this cool new stuff. I still need my Kindle, because that's where all my books are, and Kindle doesn't share very well with iStuff as far as I know.

We are leaving on a cruise this week. Not a glamour cruise, but a transatlantic crossing, a "repositioning" cruise. Every fall they take the cruise ships to warmer waters (and back in spring) like the Caribbean or South America. People like to go south in winter to get warm and cruise the tranquil, turquoise waters of the tropics.

Because on a repo cruise you spend most of your trip at sea and not in exotic ports, which cost the cruise line big bucks to dock and they pass this expense on to the customer, the price is rather reasonable. Not exactly rock-bottom, but a good value. They are still feeding you and making your bed every day, and shaking your martinis and entertaining you in the evenings.

We are going with our friends Bill & Sarah, who we met on a transpacific cruise last year. I can't find the pictures...I'd ask Siri but I haven't loaded any pictures onto iPad yet. Anyway, these are our Dallas friends, and they invited us to go with them. We will play bridge every day while crossing the Atlantic, which takes 6 or 7 days, and nobody has to cook or do dishes or make a bed for 15 days. We do get a few overnights in port, notably Boston and New York City.

This is Celebrity Eclipse, a sister ship to the Millenium that we were on a few years ago. 

Blu, one of the many dining options onboard.

Wine cellar. 

Martini Bar.

World Class Bar. I like the sound of that. 

I haven't decided for sure yet but I'm considering not taking my big camera, instead using the camera in my cellphone--the iPad has a camera too, and it might be fun to experiment with. There won't be a whole lot to capture out there on the high seas anyway. 

This week we are packing and getting some grooming services done. We fly out Friday evening, arriving in London mid-morning Saturday. Our friends arrive from Dallas around the same time and we will go directly to the ship, where we have been invited to a sailaway party at 5. See you when I get back! 

Sunday, October 16

You'd Never Know

We are completely back to normal around here. All the construction and touch-up is finished and the house professionally cleaned and polished. JJ is back to playing bridge and I am back to playing golf.

Today you would never know they had been here or the extent of the project. They pretty much had to rebuild the frame and secure the interior walls to it.

I thought I'd show you a little B&A (Before and After). I got the big camera working again. The battery had started to swell and I couldn't get it out of the compartment without a tool (paring knife). It too is all better now. Wish I could say the same for my golf game. 

This is one of the corners of the office, which was the room that was pulled up from the slab. It lifted about 3/8" from the floor.

They had to cut all the walls away so they could re-bolt it to the slab.

And they had to re-hang the doors and straighten and lower the jambs.

Here is the finished wall today. 

This was one of many ceiling corners. 

They have drilled into the new frame and bolted the walls to it. 

Here it is today.

This was the shower enclosure before. The whole thing pulled away from the ceiling.



We're so glad to get this behind us. We were at a party last night and our neighbors are all nervous because their turn is coming. 

Now I can work on a new quilt project and my golf game. 

Thursday, October 6


My planets are not aligned today. 

There is a lot of activity in the house today--I think there must be 10 or 15 contractors here. So I got my for-real camera out to take some proper photos but it wouldn't turn on. Dead. Hmmm, must be the battery. I have two others, so I put in another battery and no dice. I went to put in battery #3, but battery #2 seems to be stuck in the camera. Sigh. Fugeddabout it. So these photos come from my phone. We are sequestered in the studio today, and for something to do I decided to make a blog but my blog-writer program wouldn't open. Oh, bother. 

There are so many trucks on our street this morning I joked that we were going to have to get valet parking. Geezers on their morning walks stop to ask what the heck is going on in there. We should post a sign explaining it.

We've got drywallers to patch the cracks.

Painters of course.

We've even got guys to straighten and true-up the door jambs. These guys are real artisans. They see things we don't see.

We've got master carpenters. They work in the attic. But I have seen pictures; there is three days worth of lumber up there. 

This is the insulation being blown in (returned to) the attic. 

And last, but not least, we've got Moe. Moe is the ambassador who comes every day to organize the team and soothe the homeowner's ruffled feathers, laugh at their jokes, etc. He returns at the end of the workday (around 3:00) to give us the plan for tomorrow and make sure everything is cleaned up. 

They are scheduled to be finished tomorrow (Friday). After a walk-through inspection, the cleaning crew will arrive. It will be so good to be done with all this and not have to get up and move the cars out of the garage. These guys show up ready to go at 7:45. They are all great guys, hard workers and very conscientious, and very good at what they do.