Family, Real Life, Travel

While I was away

Thank you all for visiting my blog last week while Christa was in charge. I was mostly unavailable because my mother and youngest sister were visiting from Indiana. And now I’m sick, so today I’ll just share with you some photos I took while we showed them some of the glories of living in California. Enjoy.

Our first stop was Monterrey Bay, where we watched the sea lions, gulls, and boats before we ate lunch.

Pride of Madeira at Old Fisherman's Wharf.
Pride of Madeira (echium candicans) at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.
One of the whale watching cruise boats.
One of the whale watching cruise boats.

Next we drove down to Carmel, where I plan to move just as soon as I win the lottery. 🙂 The April sun was warm, the wind chilly, but the sand was light and fine as sugar.

Carmel River State Beach
Carmel River State Beach

We ended our coastal experience at Pacific Grove. The wind was even stronger and colder here, but the view was fabulous. I really need to live by the ocean, people.

Lover's Point
Lover’s Point

Another day we went to Yosemite National Park. My mother had been there before when my father was still alive, but she only vaguely remembered that.

San Joaquin Valley
Starting the drive up. A San Joaquin Valley view, north of my town.
Three ladies about to slide into the valley at Oakhurst!
Three ladies about to slide into the valley below Oakhurst!
Yosemite Valley
The majestic Yosemite Valley

Next we viewed Bridalveil Falls. First from a distance and then up close where the wind blew the falls into their full veilness.

Bridalveil Falls from a distance.
Bridalveil Falls from a distance.
Bridalveil Falls up close.
Try keeping dry when the wind billows the “tulle” as you stand at the bottom.
South Fork Merced River
South Fork Merced River

We ended our visit to Yosemite with a picnic beside this river. It was warm and sunny and perfect. In the same week, I spent time at my two favorite places: the mountains and the ocean. I’m not a hiker, swimmer or surfer, I prefer just to sit quietly and commune with nature. There wasn’t much time to do that on these trips, but maybe someday soon. At least we had homemade chocolate chip cookies—with pecans!

A quick lunch on the way to the airport.
A quick lunch on the way to the airport.

Too soon the visit was over. My mother is 89-years-old and I doubt she’ll make another trip out here, so I’m happy we had this opportunity to take her to some beautiful places. Plus, she loved the cookies. 🙂

signature4

Family, Life, Novel, Real Life, Travel, Writing

An unwelcome delay in the plan

The holidays are over, once again my home contains the usual two human and one feline occupants, and this was supposed to be my first day back to serious work on my next novel. However, there’s a glitch. I’ve pinched the sciatic nerve in my back again, and the pain and discomfort makes it hard to think or to sit for long.

I have a few things in the works for January, but nothing today, so I’ll give you a glimpse of a day trip we took a few days after Christmas. Three adults and three kiddos piled into a van and headed for the coast. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny, warm day with little wind, but, as usual, the water was frigid at the William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach near San Simeon, California.

The water temperature didn’t keep the little ones from playing in the surf, though, and they had an equally good time digging holes in the sand—or making a sand angel. We had to drag their teeth-chattering little bodies to the picnic table with a promise to let them return to the water after they ate and warmed up a bit.

After lunch, we walked on the pier, and I watched the waves. And, of course, I thought about Jalal, Meredith, and Renee in The Brevity of Roses, which only increased my desire to get back to writing. As soon as my back pain eases up, I’ll be back to work.

It made me sad to leave the beach before sunset, but, on the way home, we caught a gorgeous view of the valley looking out toward Morro Bay just as the sun kissed the horizon. It’s a blessing to have these lovely scenes etched in my memory to escape to whenever I want.

(Click photos to view larger.)

Real Life, Travel

Meander through a sunken garden with me

I hope to be back to blogging as usual on Friday. Until then I thought I’d share some photos I took in the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s an amazing, peaceful place. Of course, these photos don’t do it justice, so use your imagination and enjoy.

Please click the photos to see larger images.

“I expect to make this spot the most beautiful place in the city, either in or out of the parks. The ground lends itself perfectly to the making of a sunken garden, and at the same time a spot rich in beauty, at a small expense.”

– E.M. Bair, Lincoln Park Superintendent, November 1930

Books, Family, Reader, Reading, Real Life, Social Media, Travel, Writing

Welcome to the Jumble

In other words, welcome to the inside of my head. (That reads as a total non sequitur if you didn’t read the title of this post.) Anyway, I’m blogging today about a few little things rolling around in my mind.

Yesterday, I downloaded my first library book to my Kindle. It was almost as exciting as getting my first library card eons ago. The print book has been on my request list for two months and I estimated it would have taken another two months before I got to the top of the waiting list. As soon as I found out Amazon had worked things out with Overdrive to allow downloads to Kindle, I added it to my library’s eBook waiting list and five days later, I got notice it was available to download.

My youngest son and his wife bought tickets for my husband and I to fly to visit them in the exotic locale of Lincoln, Nebraska. My son warned us there isn’t a lot to do there, but we don’t mind. It will be the first time we’ve seen them at their home in Lincoln, and we’ll be happy just to sit and talk. He said we might go apple picking, and I realized later, he’s the only son I ever picked apples with and that was thirty years ago.

I don’t know what to think about the new Facebook. I don’t really understand the Subscriptions thing. The Lists, I get because it’s like Google+ circles. When I post a status update, I can choose which of my lists it goes to, but what if I reply to a friend’s status? Do all my Lists see that? People are posting all sorts of scary messages about the increased privacy invasion with the new Facebook, so I’m a little paranoid now. Some people are complaining about the new Ticker, but I don’t even see it on my Home or Wall. If all my friends and family would move to Google+, I’d just forget about Facebook. Well … I do  like to play Gardens of Time or Bejeweled Blitz when I need to veg.

All right, except for this short story I’m struggling with, those are about the most interesting marbles rolling around in my brain today. What’s in yours?

Family, Real Life, Short story, Travel, Writing

Be it ever so humble …

First, I want to thank all who took the time to read my short story, “Perchance to Dream“. I didn’t mean to leave that post up so long. I had hoped to publish a new one this past Sunday, but during my time spent in Indiana, I had even less internet access than I thought I would. I returned to my Pacific Time home yesterday afternoon, exhausted, and went to bed still on Eastern Time. After ten hours sleep, I feel almost normal. So I’m up before dawn writing this post.

Today’s photo is of my son and his grandmother (my mother), taken after his doctoral commencement at Ball State University. That ceremony was the highlight of my trip, of course. The next day, we had a big Syrian dinner with my husband’s family where both the wine and conversation flowed like water. Most of my time away, I spent with my mother and two sisters in the home we moved into when I was fifteen.

It’s always a weird experience when you return to a place that never changes. No, my mother hasn’t kept everything the same since the late 60’s, but the décor in La Maison de Cassidy, for the most part, has not changed since the 80’s. Every mirror where I checked my hair, makeup, and clothes on high school mornings and before weekend dates still hangs where it did then. Unfortunately, I look completely different in them now.

Okay, it’s now over three hours later and I still haven’t finished this post. Life intervened. But what’s life without life? I do have a few writing-related things on my mind, so expect a bit more meat next time.

… there’s no place like home.