Archives for the month of: August, 2013

It’s been three weeks since I last posted. But what a great three weeks it’s been. I spent that time stepping outside of my normal comfort zone, and my life is richer and happier because of that.

During this time I visited three countries in which I had never been before (Italy, France and Spain). Doing this was at the top of my bucket list, and I am grateful for the opportunity to actually check this off.

This week alone, I was on a jet ski for the first time in my life; and today, tried Bikram Yoga for the first time (and I sweat more than I thought was possible).

The best part of all of these adventures was spending time with the people I love.

Traveling with my husband, Stephen, was an awesome reconnection in our relationship as we explored other parts of the world. He’s my favorite traveling companion. He loves food and simple adventures while traveling, like wandering streets, sampling food, and meeting other people and having intelligent conversations. We did all of that in Rome, Paris and Barcelona. Another treasure was connecting with our niece Jennifer in Barcelona. She made that part of our trip extra special.

Jet skiing was fun, but spending time with the McCleary family was the best. As my family keeps dwindling down, I treasure those I do have more than ever. Tuesday was a great, fun day. In spite of the fact that I got my first sunburn of 2013.

Today was fun with Lisa, sweating like never before in that heated yoga class. I didn’t know I couldn’t balance on one leg. I must practice that.  I think we’ll both sleep well tonight. Then we had lunch with Roger and that topped off the day. Roger has his moods of engagement, and today he was not “right there” but he enjoyed his lunch and being with his two remaining sisters. I miss the younger Roger who used to be right in our faces all the time, but I think he is happy where he is right now.

What I have learned is that life is one day at a time and being in the moment. These last three weeks were rich with moments that I savored. I am blessed and thankful for all that I have.


Steve and I in a Paris bistro.


Steve and I at the Coliseum, Rome, Italy.


Jennifer and I in Barcelona


Lisa and I on a jet ski, for the first time ever. Great Tuesday.


My cousin Carolyn just posted that she and John are keeping gratitude journals. I think that is awesome. I believe with all my heart that attitude is everything. We can complain about what we don’t have, or what life has handed us, but once you start focusing on what you do have and your blessings, it truly changes your life in ways you can’t imagine.

I’m thinking of posting a highlight of each week. This week, however, I have two. And how awesome is that in which I have two things that brought me so much joy? This week I was blessed, no doubt.

No. 1: Last Saturday (August 3), we had our “kids” up to the house, along with cousins and friends.

Steve and I never had biological kids, but we have several kids in our life who make it rich and whole. We love our many nieces and nephews more than life itself, as well as kids of cousins. But there are two other, non-related humans who have been in our lives for about 33 years whom we love and consider our own: Philip and Wendy.

It’s a long story about how they came into our lives, but Phil lived in the duplex next door and was a couple of days shy of his fifth birthday when we met him in July 1980; Wendy was in utero, born the following November. They turned out to be two kids who needed some stable adults. I now realize we needed them even more.

Because of the busyness of all of our lives and the fact that everyone lives far apart, we don’t see them as much as we’d all like to. But we love them dearly, as well as their spouses and children, and when we see them, it is comfortable, loving and real.

Phil and his wife, Becky, and their girls, Trinity and Keira were here on Saturday, along with Wendy, her husband Josh, and their son Wyatt. Along with my cousins Maureen, Riley and Farlin, and our good friend Steve Lipoma. A great meal, good wine and beer, sitting by the fire telling ghost stories, and kinship.

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No. 2: Last Tuesday (August 6), I spent the afternoon canning with my sister Lisa, with help from her husband, Ron, and her cat, Elvira.

Lisa moved to Alpine from Pine Valley late last year. What a difference in vegetable gardening that move made. Here in Descanso, our growing season is short, and our veggies have been stunted by the extremely nice (i.e., cool) weather we’re having. I like it, but the veggies don’t. Lisa’s garden in Alpine is growing like gangbusters.

She harvested just a few of the HUNDREDS of cucumbers she has. On Tuesday, we made our first attempt at being homestead wives, canning and preserving like our ancestors did. We ended up with 11 jars of pickles, which included red bell peppers, sliced garlic, jalapeno, fresh dill, pickling spices and fresh peppercorns. They smelled awesome and I can’t wait to taste them. We’re hoping to keep canning more in the near future.

I count my blessings everyday and feel very fortunate. I hope you do too! Life is short, so enjoy every moment. And enjoy every pickle.


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