I’ve never had the opportunity to stay at the beach longer than 3 days at any given time. Until now. I’m enjoying life on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in Washington state for four weeks right now. And it’s awesome!!!
I’ve made no bones of the fact that the beach is my happy place. I came here to find out if living here, either permanently or semi-permanently, was something I would enjoy. After all, it’s pretty drizzly, windy, and cold most days here. Fall, Winter, and Spring are like that. I don’t come here often in the summer, but there are more sunny days then, I’m sure.
I’m spending more time outdoors. Afternoons are for beach walks and reading in my chair…on the beach.
Anyhow, as I type this, I’m a week in and still totally hooked on beach life. What do I love?
The slower pace and less frantic lifestyle.
Sitting in a chair on the beach after a long walk, just watching the waves.
The friendliness of the people around me. I sit and work in front of the window and they wave as they go by on their beach walk.
Finding beach treasures.
The weather. I don’t mind chilly and windy. In fact, I prefer it to the heat of summer.
What I don’t love:
That we don’t already have a place of our own at the beach.
Seriously, I don’t have anything else on the negative list. The place I’m renting is one row back from beachside, so I have a good view of the water and it’s a short walk to get there. I’m enjoying amazing sunsets, watching the tide roll in and out, and the clouds herald more rain or blowing out to let the sun in. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful, and it’s a world all to its own.
And I am hooked so far. I’ll post again next month about how I feel at the end of the four weeks. In the meantime, I hope you all get to find a beach, or mountain, if you prefer, and enjoy some outdoor time!
I live a ferry ride away from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Until a couple weeks ago, I’d never had a chance to visit the city. I should have made more of an effort because it’s awesome and I wish I could have spent more time there!
We walked on the ferry, choosing to leave the car. That meant walking, something that I’m not great at these days due to hip and back pain. But I did it, and I’m proud of that.
The ferry let us off in downtown Victoria and we walked about a mile to the condo we had rented. Turns out, that mile was mostly uphill. Uh oh. Here’s my reddddd face as I’m on a daughter-enforced rest once we arrived. 🙂
But the condo? Worth it. We had GREAT views of downtown Victoria and even a touch of the bay.
Day one was all about getting there. Day two was adventure day, at least for the two teens with us. We took a city bus out of the downtown corridor and had breakfast at Tim Horton’s, a national chain whose coffee I enjoy. Then it was off to a zipline adventure. Remember that aforementioned pain? I chose not to zipline but the kids had a blast, and their mother was running from tree to tree taking pictures. It was awesome.
Then we went to Chinatown and Fan Tan Alley, another high recommend. It was an amazing place to visit.
The next day, I rested and let those younger than me explore the city. I read, relaxed, and, when they were ready for some downtime, we met at a wonderful Board Game Café. You rent a table (when we were there it was only $6 CAD.) We sat there for hours playing games. They had over 800 to choose from! We laughed, we ate, we let everything go and just stayed in the moment. It was awesome.
I came home relaxed and refreshed and my granddaughters got stamps in their passports. My daughter was thrilled because we made so many memories. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this mini-adventure, daughter and grands!
There were things we didn’t do in Victoria, like Buchart Gardens. I didn’t think I could manage the walk, but I’ve heard from so many people that it’s beautiful there no matter what time of year you visit.
Victoria is a very welcoming city and, as I said at the beginning, visiting is a high recommend from me. I think there’s something for everyone there!
We held our annual winter cabin weekend with the kids and grands in January. When you total up our kids, partners, grands, and great-grands, hubby’s and my family total 22. Soon to be 23 as a great-grandson is due in March.
Eleven made it to the cabin. Since COVID, everyone makes their own decision to go or not go. No pressure. This was our 24th year of doing this and I’m so grateful for this tradition. Our family has spread out along the west US coast so it’s a time to come together in person and catch up on our lives.
And let our lives go for a little bit. No hustle, no bustle, just us. Visiting, eating, playing games, eating, painting rocks and wood and canvases, and yes, eating. (I came home and had to go on a diet!)
The cabin we usually stay in is no longer rented out, so we found a new place for this year. Smaller, but with two separate living spaces so we were cozy but not on top of each other.
I don’t know if I’ve ever relaxed as much as I did at this year’s cabin. Food prep was simple and we only left the place once, to check out a distillery in a nearby town. In fact, that’s really the only “adventure” I can tie to this year’s cabin. I had a lavender-infused lemon drop. Never had anything like that before and it was yummy!
Now cabin is over and we’ve all gone back to our lives. Hubby and I are blessed because our kids are close, not only with each other, but with us. So we talk regularly throughout the year. It’s just nice, once in a while, to gather in person, you know?
Our daughter brought this sand thing and it mesmerized us all. It’s very peaceful to just watch the sand fall. Very meditative.
We got to take a cruise last month! When COVID hit, we cancelled four cruises we had scheduled. Last month, we finally got to take a replacement cruise. And you know what? It was awesome. We did Alaska, which we’ve done twice before. This time, instead of doing the inside passage, we did a round trip Seattle which took a route on the west side of Vancouver Island.
Embarkation, settling in, and our favorite foods.
And we caught COVID. As careful as we were, masking on board ship and ashore, washing out hands, we still caught COVID. Thankfully, we’re vaxed and boosted so didn’t have a bad case. Cold symptoms and I had a headache for a few days. The worst thing was the lack of energy. That took a while to return.
And now that we’re past that, I have to ask myself if it was worth it.
The answer is: Yes.
We’ve always enjoyed cruising. You unpack once and see so many places. Even having been to Alaska, it was great to go again. Like greeting old friends. And we made some new ones on the cruise, which I’m very grateful for.
And now, looking forward, we’ll take more cruises. Maybe not for a few months. I’d personally like to see what COVID does this winter. But we’ll embark again as it really is our favorite way to vacation.
I hope you’ve been able to find a way to get away and relax. Retired or working, we all need a change of scenery once in a while.
Here we are already in the middle of August. It seems unbelievable to think in a few weeks’ time we will be in the ’ember months of the year. Before you know it Christmas will be upon us again. It has already arrived in some of the stores here in the UK, and the children haven’t even returned to school yet from their summer break. But enough of that.
I missed posting last month; my apologies – major meltdown due to extreme heat! Heat that has only today started to climb back down the thermometer, and we have rain. Not a lot, admittedly. We do need plenty here as, like many countries, we are in a drought situation. Keeping the flowers and plants alive in the back garden has been hard work, but we’ve made the most of our grey water from the kitchen, about the only real exercise I’ve had, backwards and forwards several times a day. The vegetable garden and annual flowerbed at the front has, I’m sad to say, been a failure because of lack of rain; we have avoided using the hosepipe. As a consequence, we’ve written this year off on the gardening front and back, because the back garden will be given another make over.
The reason being, we have demolished our large koi pond and intend turning the area into another flowerbed. Whilst we both had a lot of pleasure from the fish, which had grown huge, it was becoming increasingly hard work for Dave to keep it going despite so-say modern filters and UV lamps and fitting a new pump each year – not cheap. We were plagued with pond weed, the water never clear. The fish loved it; we didn’t. We agreed back last October that we would run the pond down as each winter we invariably lost a fish or two. Needless to say, this past winter they all survived.
We gave the fish, some as long as 2-3 ft and weighing many lbs, to a local koi keeper so we know they would be going to a good home. Catching them was another matter. All three of us got soaked! Then began the fun part, demolition of the pond walls. The pond was/is over 8ft deep, with half of it above ground, so we were hoping the bricks and blocks would fill that below ground level. Miscalculation. We now have to dispose of a lot of rubble. This Dave will do in the autumn when the weather is a lot cooler.
The extreme heat here has meant I have not done a lot of art. A special request for a contemporary flower painting was completed and I began working up one for my students to copy at my next workshop at the end of September. They had requested a waterfall, so waterfalls I did. Several of them. It became clear to me that each one was a little too adventurous for some of my group, but I finally came up with a much simpler version that hopefully will stretch them without any duress.
Other than these efforts, I have to admit nothing has been done. Hardly any writing because my office was too hot even with a fan running. No housework other than the basics – no point with all the doors and windows open; little laundry to wash – thank goodness for kaftans to lounge about it in all day. On the plus side, we’ve spent most days and long into the evenings in the garden. Our patio is in shade from midday so it has been comfortable, and I have been able to enjoy uninterrupted reading, getting through 5 books, unusual for me in a short space of time.
We treated the month as a long holiday, being exceedingly lazy and relaxed. It was fun while it lasted; now it’s back to normality. I hope your month has been good too.
Remember paneled walls? Not the cool wainscoting or shiplap, but the old, brown, thin stuff with the dark indented lines to make it look like fake wood? Well, that’s our family room in a nutshell. Straight out of the 20th century. 🙂
We made the decision that it was time to bring the room into the 21st century. The paneling is gone. Hallelujah! My husband did all the demo and is in the process of re-insulating the room.
Then the plumbers come in to re-pipe the last part of the house that hasn’t had new plumping since it was built. After that, it’s sheetrock time! I can hardly wait to see what it looks like, and I’ll have to post finished pics if/when we ever get this done.
Once the sheetrock is done, it’s time for my project. Cleaning the fireplace rock.
I’ve done some research into it and it just takes time. I’m also considering re-painting the grout. The sheetrock will be so light, I think the grout will look dull in comparison. But, I won’t be able to decide until I get the rock cleaned.
While waiting for my turn, I decided to get away from it all and renew my psyche in my happy place. The ocean. Whether calm or blustery, it soothes my soul.
I hope you have a place you can head for to renew yourself. We all need that sometimes, eh?
Most of you may know my family does a winter getaway each year. We call it a winter cabin that we rent, but with our numbers topping 20, it’s really way beyond a cabin. We didn’t do it at all last year because of COVID. This year, also because of COVID, only 8-12 made it.
I’m really proud of how well we did. We were all vaccinated. We all tested before going to the cabin. And now that we’re past the isolation mark, no one has gotten sick with COVID from the cabin. It took a lot of work to make that happen and the kids worried, especially, about hubby and I. But we did it and I’m really glad we did.
There was a LOT of snow.
We saw deer and wild turkeys.
We painted (a lot). Here’s my attempts at art and my granddaughter’s ocean picture.
And we talked, chatted, ate too much, and yes, may have inbibed a bit. This annual catching up weekend is precious to each and every one of us and I’ll be praying that next year, COVID doesn’t put a wrench in our cabin machinery.
I hope you’re having a wonderful, cozy winter that fills you with happy memories.
We spent the month of October in Arizona and are still wondering why we came back though now that it’s less than a week from Thanksgiving the holidays are the reason to again brave the cold wet weather when there … Continue reading →
We usually travel in January to take a break from Pacific NW weather, but this year we decided it would be safer to go to Cancun in April. I loved it and felt completely safe. There were six of us and we have all had our covid vaccine shots except for one person. We’ve been to Cancun numerous times so this time we did stay in the resort which worked perfectly.
Moon Palace has three palaces and we stayed in the Villa at the Grand. It’s the first time we’ve stayed at this one and it’s my favorite so far. We had a private pool, small but it looked down on the huge pool area and they had activities and music for a lot of the day. It was like having a ring side seat. I got a little pink but no burn.
The first dinner we had was at a French restaurant and ‘Oh My Gosh’. For an appetizer I had scallops sautéed in wine and covered in Hollandaise sauce. I could have made a meal on multi orders of just that. But I had steak for the entree. I wouldn’t have recognized if off the menu without help from the waiter. Another night we went to the steak house and it wasn’t even close to this one. Well except for size. French servings are a lot smaller and a good thing as I think it’s criminal to go to a French restaurant and not at least look at the dessert menu. Yeah of course just ‘look’, not. I had Creme Brulee.
The resort was extremely cautious and very generous with the hand sanitizer. Someone posted this on Facebook. “I have used so much hand sanitizer that I’m cleaning the toilet when I go wee.” No kidding, they had people stationed all over that was squirting the stuff on our hands.
Jules, one of our group, is athletic and among other things took a lesson in surfing. We had lunch overlooking the surf pool and enjoyed every minute of the entertainment. The resort wasn’t anyway near capacity so the service was over the top. Some of the surfers were really good. I couldn’t have done it in my best years and I’m a long way from there now.
Again, I think this villa is my favorite. 3 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms (3 attached to bedrooms with 2 extra) a small pool, a hot tub, and 5 patio’s. Here’s some pictures, I am ready to go back to this one.
I’m a water person. I love being near the water. In January, I went to the beach by myself to get some oceanside time. It was a new rental in a new area for me and I keep saying I found my happy place. It was 160 steps down the path to be on the beach. And I could watch the waves from our bottom floor apartment, as well. A couple weeks ago, I went back with hubby and he liked it too. Now, he’s a farm guy, so our little acre of grass and garden is his happy place. But he gladly went with me to see mine.
We got lucky with one day of abundant sunshine and we got out geocaching the area. For those of you who might now know about geocaching, it’s kind of like urban treasure hunting (without the treasure.) People hide containers with paper logs in them and we use our GPS to find them and sign the log, then go online and log that we found it. It gets us out walking and we’ve found some really neat hidden places this way. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can check geocaching out here.
Anyhow, after the day of out and about, we had a very stormy day. Windy, sideways rain, angry waves etc. We were snug in our little place and got to watch the storm blow through for most of the day. That was as cool as the sunny day before.
I can hardly wait to go back, but alas, this particular rental is very popular and I might not make it back there again until fall. But it’s in my heart and I’ve got lots of pictures to remind me when I feel the tug.
Where’s your happy place? Is it at home, at the beach, deep in the forest, in a high rise apartment in the midst of all the hubbub of the city?
In other news, I released a short story last week in my fantasy line. Wolf’s Call was the final time I’d be with the characters I developed for the Earth Legacy series. I’ll admit I cried writing it, cried editing it, and cried when it released. That series, for me, was a years long endeavor and the characters were dear to my heart. You can find out more about Wolf’s Call here.