Best of 2015

What an epic year!


Yoga Teacher Training (more coming soon).

Running and half marathons.

Anza Borrego.


Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas.

It was a great year. Thanks 2015. I can't wait for next year.

Happy New Year everybody!



Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from the Pacific Northwest! I am up near Seattle braving the weather and eating so much food! I hope you all had a fabulous day!


Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Winter has made an appearance in Southern California and frost was on the roof one morning this week during my run. The early morning family workers have reported temperatures in the high 30’s and I have looked like a snowman with all my layers when I head to work. Just a few more days until the Winter Solstice and it is time for cozy comfort food.

This week it was Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore.

It was finals week at work and I wanted something easy for T and I for dinner. I pulled out the Art of the SLOW COOKER cookbook by Andrew Schloss, that I love, and decided to try Chicken Cacciatore. The prep work took about a half hour and then I cooked it on high for four hours while I enjoyed the boat parade with the family. I let it sit in the fridge the next day (the author recommends this) and served it over quinoa that night with some Kitchen Sink red wine.

T loved it! He was going to have a beer with dinner and I said I thought the red wine was the better option. I was right. It complemented the robust flavors of the dish and brought out the earthiness of the mushrooms. I was not as in love with the dish as T was, but thought it was good. I think the quinoa might of made it a little too heavy for me. The author recommends rice or noodles, but I was trying to be healthier. I think it would be perfect if we started with a salad dressed with olive oil and lemon and then served the Cacciatore with some crusty bread and red wine. If it was a fancy dinner, some sort of baked apple dessert would be a good finish. I am working on being mostly paleo, so I might modify a few things for my individual plate, but I will make this one again. Especially as the days get colder…..

Do you have any cold weather slow cooker recipes you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Stay cozy this holiday!



Pomegranate Jelly 2015

Happy Holidays! I know it must be the holidays because Pomegraniate Jelly has been made with my Mom and the Sisters again. We are on the fifth year of this childhood process and have started to work out a routine. You can see past years HERE and HERE and HERE.

My Mom picks the pomegranates before we arrive and we have a big breakfast together. This year it was corneal pancakes and bacon with a sweet potato hash and some fruit. Cornmeal pancakes and bacon are my favorite breakfast foods from childhood! My Mom has also started making hot carob (also from childhood) but we can't get it to taste the same....

Once breakfast is over we start the Pomegranate Jelly making assembly line. I am the start. I open all the pomegranates and deseed them. The Middle Sister is usually second and she also takes the seeds out of the pomegranates and then squeezes them to get juice. The Little Sister works with my Mom measuring everything and then makes the jelly and cans it. This year the Middle and Little Sisters switched jobs and the Middle Sister helped make the jelly and can it.

My Mom does not water her pomegranate tree and every year I wonder if we will have any when it is time to make jelly. The drought in California has been pretty bad but so far, except for the year the tree was pruned, we have had enough pomegranates to make jelly. This year we made three batches for a total of thirty-six jars. Pretty impressive.

In past years we have gotten creative with the jelly, experimenting with less sugar or adding lemon juice. This year we kept the recipe close to the original but added lemon zest. I just realized I have yet to taste this years' batch! I wonder how it is? I remember it goes really well with brie..... I will need to test it before I give any out. You know, quality control and such.....

Happy Holidays!



Anza Borrego and the Salten Sea

The weekend before Thanksgiving Mo and I headed out to Anza Borrego and the Salten Sea for another Field Studies scouting trip. I have done a few of these scouting trips with Mo in the past. One to Zion and Bryce and one to Pinnacles National Park. They are pretty fun and I love going to places I havn't been before and helping her out. We got a van from the college and ended up staying in a motel instead of camping this time.

A lot of the scouting trips involve timing the route, finding bathrooms every few hours, and lining up hikes and speakers. This is my fourth scouting trip and we really needed to scout this one out this time. We (I) missed a turn at one point, there was a fork in the road but no sign of where each fork led. We would pull over and look at maps and re-evaluate what road we were on and where we were trying to go. GPS, iPhones, and maps eventualy got us to where we needed to be, but it took awhile.... For the record we were coming into Anza-Borrego from the Oceanside area and there is a very curvy mountain road you take into Anza-Borrego from that side.

Our first stop was the visitor center and when we parked we were not sure where it was. It turns out it is built into the land and we were near the roof when we were in the parking lot. We followed the path to the visitor center and I loved the huge ram door handles.

From the visitors center we walked to the campground to checkout the group campsite and see a few potential hikes. I am not sure how I felt about the open air bathrooms....

As the sun set we found our motel and watched the last rays of the day over our own little happy hour.

I was up with the dawn and went for a short run. I was trying to find the Borrego Springs Sculptures but didn't have any luck. We had a long day ahead of us and started out a little after 8:30am.

Day two was all about the Salten Sea and I was REALLY glad it was a scouting trip. I was driving the van so Mo could look at the directions she had and take notes for the Field Studies trip. We had a lot of missed turns, confusing directions, and saw a few towns we were not planning on seeing. We finally made it to the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge visitors center. After talking with the volunteer in the office, we took the Rock Hill Hike and I got my first good look at the Salten Sea.

It is huge! And a little strange to have a huge lake in the middle of the desert. The Salten Sea is saltier than the Pacific Ocean and was filled most recently by an enginneering error in 1905 when an outlet canal from the Colorado River overflowed. It took two years to fix the breach and that is how the Salten Sea has water in it today. It is over 200 feet below sea level and sits right on the San Andreas fault line. It is actually a fascinating story and you can read more about it HERE on Wikipedia or HERE from the Salten Sea Museum. The Salten Sea Musuem link has some photos from the 1950s when the Salten Sea was a resort destination. Now a days those resort towns have gone away and pollution and high salt levels have changed the Salten Sea.

From the Sonny Bono Wildlife Refuge we made our way to the boiling mud volcanoes. Turns out there are some geothermal features on the eastern side of the lake and one of the geothermal plants has allowed access to the some boiling mud. Depending on the weather, you could have boiling mud volcanoes like we did, or boiling mud pools after a rain has washed all the volcanoes down like you can see in some photos on this blog, California Through My Lens. All in all, it was a pretty cool stop. You can hear the mud boiling everywhere! Watch your step...

Our next stop was Salvation Mountain and Slab City. What an interesting place. Salvation Mountain is a three story art installation made out of paint, straw, adobe, and cement poured over a "mountain". An art project of Leonard Knight, the mountain rises out of the desert on the way to Slab City.

Slab City is an interesting place. An old military barracks from the mid-century that was removed except for the concrete slab foundations; today it is a place for snowbirds and squaters. A place where people can live off the grid and away from society. There is no water, trash, electricity, or sewage, but about 150 people call it home year round with the population swelling in the winter months when retired "snowbirds" bring their RVs to live for the season. All are welcome to Slab City as we witnessed when we stopped to check out the pool that had become a skate park. A guy living in a brightly painted school bus stepped out and yelled a welcome to us and said to have a great time looking around.

From Slab City, which I hope to explore more in the future, we made our way to Mecca Beach. When we got there Mo and I started walking toward the Salten Sea. Mo told me the "beach" was made out of fish bones. What? Fish bones? Turns out it is true. The Salten Sea is so salty (25% more than the Pacific Ocean) and only one kind of fish lives in it. Tilapia. There are over 400 species of birds that use the Salten Sea, but only one fish. And these fish, a lot of them die on the shores of the lake. I think (no research to support this) that it is a combination of the pollution in the lake (agriculture run off is a big deal), the shrinking lake is getting saltier, and the fish are controlling for their population. Whatever the reason, this is what you see near the water line:

Lots of them. And they all looked like this on the day we were there. On a warmer day this beach can be really smelly. Dead fish smelly. For obvious reasons. Slowly I was starting to realize why so many of the towns we passed on our way around the Salten Sea were abandoned ghost towns or places that had seen better days. In the 1950's the Salten Sea was a resort destination area close to Palm Springs. When the sea started losing fish and becoming polluted, the resort towns slowly died. The recession didn't help either and the east side of the Salten Sea was hit pretty hard.

On our way back to Anza Borrego we drove through Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area and saw a lot of people enjoying the area. The terrain changed and we made our way back into the desert of Borrego Springs. We pulled into our motel after dark and Alan, a guy that worked there, invited us to come see his date farm the next morning. The Anza Borrego and Salten Sea area is a HUGE date growing region and we said we would be there.

The next morning we met Alan at his farm and had a tour. We started with the citrus trees he had and made our way to the different date trees. I never knew dates were so high maintance to grow. No wonder they are expensive. Mo and I learned about different varieties and came home with some dates.

All and all it was a good trip. I am glad we moteled it instead of camped on this trip because our days were long and full and getting back to camp after dark would not have been fun. When Mo takes her students it will be after the time change and with more daylight hours. Something we talked about on the scouting trip. We figured out everything for the Field Studies Trip and I got to see a new place. 

The weekend was long, a lot of hard work, but worth it. While Anza Borrego and the Salten Sea are not very high up in my list of things I to see again, I would return if the opportunity presented it self.
Have you been to this area? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments or let me know if there are other off the beaten path areas I should check out.



Happy Thanksgiving

Hello all and Happy Thanksgiving! The neighbor's deer has been dressed up for weeks ready to celebrate.

I love Thanksgiving with all it's comfort food and getting to hang with family. It also means Pomegranate Jelly making will happen soon with my Mom!

This morning on my way to take a free yoga class at Ekam Yoga in Newport Beach (Thanks Ekam!), I was thinking of all the things I am Thankful for and the list didn't have an end. I wanted to say that I was lucky or blessed, but I think the truth is it all has to do with perspective. I chose to be grateful and Thankful and that has made my life blessed.

Have a safe and happy holiday! I hope you too have a never ending list of things to be Thankful for.


Coming soon: Anza Borrego and the Salten Sea

Friends! I am just returning from a weekend trip exploring the Salten Sea and Anza Borrego. I hope to have the full adventure posted before Thanksgiving! Stay tuned.....

Here it is!
Anza Borrego and the Salten Sea


Mindful Eating

When the student is ready the Teacher will appear. -The Buddha

I just finished an intensive 200 hour yoga teacher training.  Well, intensive for me.  I spent thirteen hours Saturday - Monday attending training and then needed to attend at least four yoga classes a week and complete all my homework.  I felt like I used to do a better job at this crazy juggling but maybe I didn’t.  
When I was in graduate school (the first time) I was able to balance work and school.  Work did not require that much intelligence, so my brain could focus on graduate school. I remember listening to lectures while running and always studying.  I lived close to work so I was able to go home and start studying right away.  T was working nights so I had the house to myself and was able to graduate in a year and a half.  I worked really hard to have my degree and was able to be eligible for the job I currently have.

Graduate school the second time was harder in a way but I still survived.  This time I was in a cohort and each term we took two classes together for a course of two years.  By then I had figured out graduate school and knew the formula of earning a passing grade.  In graduate school you need to maintain a pretty high GPA, but professors outline how you need to do that in their classes and I was pretty good at following directions. Additionally this program wanted the thesis project to be something related to work and I was able to create something that we still use today.  The harder part of this was that now I had a commute each day that was digging into my study time.  I realized very quickly that I was going to need to really focus on school and told my family to call me at Christmas.  My social life was on hold for two years, but I made it out.

Since that time a lot of things have changed in my life.  Or as my Dad would say, they have “evolved”.  And not in a bad way.  I have started teaching classes at work.  T and I found the Eastern Sierra and I started snowboarding.  I have done the Whole30 a few times and am very aware of food and how it makes me feel.  Half marathon training has been stepped up.  My sisters both live near me now and I see my Mom at least once a month for Daughter Supported Agriculture (DSA).  T tells me my life is too scheduled and compared to him it is, but it seems to be the only way I can keep balanced.  This 200 hour yoga training upset my balance and I really noticed it with my eating.

Ironic right?  That yoga training upset my balance.  I laugh a little when I think of it.  But it did.  In a big way.  I couldn’t seem to balance everything.  I work ten hour days and have a commute that can take about an hour each way.  I usually have Fridays off, but ended up working a lot of them during training.  I was studying and doing homework for teacher training, not sleeping as much, and one day noticed that all I had eaten for the last two days were powerbars.  Not good.  This happened to be the week we were talking about the “Subtle Body” in yoga and the Chakras.  I think of this as the hippie part of yoga, (not a bad thing!) just a little more mind expanding.  There was a lot of sharing during this class and I had this moment when I realized I had an awful relationship with food.  If I was not doing something where I really focussed on what was going in my body, like the Whole30, then I was
1. Not feeding my body. Or
2. Eating power bars for two days.  

It really was a shocking thought as I love food so much.  Correction, I love eating so much.  And maybe that was the problem.  
Food is fuel not therapy

Leaving class that day I was in my head a lot thinking about this topic.  There were a lot of thought that surfaced and uncomfortable things I didn’t really want to deal with.  I started writing this blog post weeks ago but have only recently been able to able to finish it.  

The answer is Mindful Eating.

I must be mindful about what I eat.  I must be mindful about eating.  I must be hyper aware of the foods around me and make a choice if I am going to eat it or not. As I realized these things, my mind told me eating was not going to be as much fun.  But my body was trying to tell me that I would be healthier and feel better.  

Mindful Eating.  It is going to be a battle for me.  For the rest of my life.  

It will be hard but I think this understanding is the first step.  Mindful eating means more than what I put in my mouth.  It is also about when I eat and what I meal-prep for myself.
A goal without a plan is just a wish

I hate to be that person who has strange dietary restrictions so I hope to be that person who eats before going out so I can eat less of the things that don’t serve me and be mindful in that way.  

Yoga Training graduation is today and I am grateful for all I learned.  Half marathon training starts tomorrow and mindful eating starts now.  

If you have any suggestions about how to be Mindful about Eating, please let me know in the comments.  The journey will be long, but worth it. At least I hope it will be....



Shopping Local

The other day in the grocery store I was on my way out when I saw the (cute) guy who works in the produce department.  I was thinking about Thanksgiving in my head and all of a sudden wondered if they had persimmons.  I walked over and asked and he said they did have persimmons but they were the acorn ones.  I asked if he was going to get any of the flat pesimmons and he said he would order some for me and they should be there in two days.

On my walk home (yes I can walk to my local grocery store!) I started to think how lucky I was to live so close to a grocery store and especially one that had such a great produce department.  T came home from the store a few months ago and said look what the produce guy gave me!  T had asked him if the apricots were any good and the guy gave him some to try for free.  This happened to me a few weeks ago when I was looking at something and he asked me if I needed help.  I asked him what I was looking at and what it tasted like and he gave me some to take home and try.

On my walk home I realized that since this store has opened up I have slowly stopped going to Farmer's Markets.  There were a combination of things that happened that contributed to this such as the market I liked switching locations, the prices going up, and the markets being really crowded even when I got their early.  I also have gotten really busy and find myself going to the store a few times a week to get things I am in the mood for.  This coupled with the fact that some weekends it was really hard to get to a Farmer's Market has slowed my market visits to once every few months.

And it turns out I am getting really good produce locally at my Huntington Beach Ralphs.  There is a big organic section and items are marked "I'm Local" if they are from close by.  Seasonal items are always the cheapest and those items I used to only find at the Farmer's Market are showing up in the produce section.

I think I will continue to stop by the Farmer's Market every two months or so to stay in the loop and see if I want to go back to getting the majority of my produce there, but I have to say, if my local store keeps up the good work, I will just be walking there.



Four things I don' t like about treadmills

Last week I was in San Diego for two days for work. The hotel was by the airport but also right on the water. I was looking forward to getting up and having a great run around the bay but when I went outside the next morning it was raining. I sat there for a moment and went back and forth between running in the rain or running on the treadmill. As I didn’t have any rain- running stuff, I elected to run on the treadmill.

About five seconds in I remembered why I don’t run on treadmills.

I feel like a hamster on the wheel. I just keep running and running and not going anywhere.

I'm surrounded by people. When I normally run I'm with myself, the dog, and / or my sister. Running on a treadmill I'm surrounded by tons of people. When I run I think of it like going to church. On a treadmill I'm surrounded by a bunch of people and TV and noise and electronics it just takes that Zen feeling away from the run.

Mirrors. Do I even need to say anything more about this? Who wants to watch themselves run in a mirror? Not me.

I can stop anytime. This might not seem like a bad thing but for me I have to run a certain distance and then have to run back. On the treadmill when I'm bored, I can just stop. I find it really hard to keep going running on the treadmill.

A few miles into my run on the treadmill in San Diego, I started thinking maybe I should just go run outside, but lots of people were getting sick so I decided it was better to stay out of the rain. This little date with the treadmill reminded me why I’m an outside runner and so happy to live in a place where I can run year round.

The next half marathon is February 7 and training starts November 16. I'll see you out there!


Half Marathon Update

The Middle Sister completed the 2015 Long Beach Half Marathon last Sunday (during our current heat wave) with a friend of hers. I ran the miles on Friday (during the hottest day of the heat wave) and they mostly walked the half marathon on Sunday.

Fun fact: I beat their time by eight minutes….. I want to say they are professional speed walkers…. But that would be a lie.

Slow jog, it's how I run….

See you out there!


Tuesday Runner, or not

The Middle Sister and I are in the process of training for a half marathon.  This will be her second and my third.  It started with a text message telling me “Our trainer said we run 3 miles tomorrow”.  My reply was something like “What trainer, and what are we training for?”.  She then told me we were going to run the Long Beach Half Marathon, Huntington Beach Half Marathon, and Orange County Half Marathon so we could get the Beach Cities Medal.  You have to run them consecutively to get the Beach Cities Medal.  I was planning on running the Huntington Beach Half anyway (it is on Superbowl Sunday) and it is nice to train with someone, so I went for it.

She said we should train with the NIKE+ Coach which is on the NIKE+ App.  We use NIKE+ to track our running and in the app you can tell it you are training for a Half Marathon and it will give you a weekly training schedule with miles and days to run them leading up to your event.  When I ran my marathon I followed a training plan in a book and when I ran the Long Beach Half, and HB Half, I just kind of did my own thing.

It was nice to have a training plan and to have someone to train with.  The Middle Sister and I usually run together on Monday and Wednesday mornings. NIKE+ started us running on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  A few weeks in we started running on Tuesdays as well.  The Middle Sister and I continued to run together on Monday and Wednesday morning but the other days we usually ran alone.  I always ran alone on Tuesdays.

We started the training program right before I went back to work and I was able to handle the extra days of running.  I was racking up the miles each week and we were both doing pretty well.  When school started I had to switch my Tuesday run to the evenings after work.

I am a morning runner.  I am not a morning person.  I run in the morning because I can’t run in the evenings.  And by can’t I mean it is a lot harder for me to get a run in at night.  It is so much harder that I would rather get up and run at 5:30am.  Remember I am not a morning person so this should say a lot.  I would rather run at 5:30am than at night.  Kind of insane, but night running is really hard for me.

So right now you might be thinking, why didn’t I just run on Tuesday mornings?  Good question.  The reason I don’t is because I go to yoga at 5:30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  
(I swear, I am not a morning person!)  Yoga is a good balance for running and I didn’t want to give it up especially when I was increasing my miles and the number of days I was running.  So I found myself running on Tuesday nights.

And it was hard!

So hard.  On my way home from work I needed to visualize getting home and out the door in five minutes and starting my run.  I had to think about the food I was eating before hand and the times I consumed that food.  I needed to have clean running clothes ready for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings.  

The first few Tuesday runs were mentally hard, but the miles were manageable (between 3-6) and I would make it home after sunset. Then the Tuesday runs started to have longer miles and I started to dread them.  One week the run was for seven miles and it sucked.  It hurt.  I got home way after dark.  And that is when Tuesday runs and I stopped dating.  Tuesday would call and say, “Hey Elizabeth!  Nine miles today.  You in?”.  And I started to say no.  

Looking back on it now I can see there were a lot of things going on that contributed to our breakup.  Too many things on my plate.  I had started a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training (more on that soon!) at Yoga Tribe and that was pretty intense and taking a lot of my time.  In fact, the yoga teacher training had me break up with my Saturday runs after I ran 12 miles one Saturday then had to go to an hour hot yoga class and teacher training for five hours after that (I switched Saturday runs to Friday). I was wasted that weekend and that might of been when the Tuesday nine mile call came in.  Another contributing factor was Tuesday started asking for too much.  Sure Tuesday, we can hang out for 5 miles, but 9 miles is a little more of a commitment and I am not ready for that yet.  When a run was 5 miles or less, I was in.  

There was also a motivation factor.  When the Middle Sister had first contacted me about the Long Beach Half Marathon, I had looked at my calendar and realized I could not run it with her.  The 200 Hour Yoga Training I mentioned was during the day on Saturdays, Sundays, and on Monday nights.  I wasn’t going to be able to run the half marathon on a Sunday and make it to yoga training.  I told her but said I would still train with her and run the half marathon, just not in Long Beach.  She was cool with that and recruited another friend to complete the half marathon.  I mentioned we were using NIKE+ above and a cool thing about that app is it let’s you see your friend’s miles.  In the beginning I could see my sister’s miles and that kept me motivated.  Then she had to travel for business or couldn’t make a run and I was ahead of her in the NIKE+ miles  and less motivated to run those Tuesday nights.  

It was a strange place for me to be in.  I felt guilty for not meeting the running goals each week on NIKE Plus.  I knew I had too much on my plate and the running thing got bumped in priority.  I had really wanted to follow the NIKE+ Coach to see if my running improved, but I didn’t when I gave up Tuesday running.  I felt like I used to juggle so many things and wondered what was different now.  I am still trying to figure it out.

I guess something had to give.  And at the end of the day, that something was Tuesday night running.  And really, I guess that is not that bad.  It showed me that I couldn’t do everything this time.  I had to let something give, and by letting that happen, was able to balance everything else.  And I will still run the half marathon (this week actually).  And I will do the best that I can when I do.

So Tuesday night running and I had to break up, but I think we “Are still friends”.  And I hope that one day I can complete the NIKE+ half marathon training and see if Tuesday running and I can give it a try one more time.

Until then happy running!  I will see you out there, just not on Tuesday night….



Retaining Wall Dream Come True

Four years ago my sisters and I went to my Mom's house for Mother's Day and planted a "Tea Garden" in one of her overgrown garden boxes. Here is a video we made that day as we got started.

Mothers' Day Garden from everyAugust on Vimeo.
It was a pretty big project that the Little Sister suggested and on the way home the Middle Sister suggested we go out once a month to help my Mom garden. She lives about an hour from us. That ritual started and we all called it DSA. Daughter Supported Agriculture. We would usually arrive about 7am and stay until 10 or 11. There were a few times when the Little Sister made us all breakfast while we worked (she was over gardening) or the time the Middle Sister and I stayed all day and talked my Mom into buying adirondack chairs and considering a fire pit in the yard.

My Mom had a number of "plans" for her yard and each time we went out she would have a new thing for us to do. Sometimes she surprised us by having the whole backyard cleared out, Or the time she tried to cut down the lemon and pomegranate trees. But at the end of the day there were always weeds and more to do.

I finally got to the point where I felt like we were going in circles. If she didn't move forward with some of her bigger garden plans we were just spinning our wheels. But we were spending time with my Mom, so I tried to just go with it. When people are ready, then they do things.

The Middle Sister and I headed out for DSA a few weeks ago and knew something was up as soon as we got there. The front yard had been cleared and something was going on. Below is a compilation of the videos we sent to the Little Sister throughout the day.

Daughter Supported Agriculture (DSA) September 2015 from everyAugust on Vimeo.

A RETAINING WALL! Can you believe it? Probably not as big a deal as it was to me, but I have been talking about this for years. My Mom had a specific idea of what she wanted and she got it.

A few explanations from the video:
  • My Mom loves "butterfly bush" and really wanted it and sage on the hill. That is what is planted there.
  • You can see the pomegranate tree in the background of a few of the shots. When we were kids we sold pomegranates to the neighbors and have recently started making pomegranate jelly with my Mom every year for Christmas. Some time in the last seven years she had the pomegranate tree cut down. To the ground, to be removed, but it came back and had branches everywhere. She is now working with an arborist to bring it back but the drought we have been having in California is not helping. The pomegranates from that tree were the best I have ever tasted. Cross your fingers it makes a full recovery.
  • There is also a grapefruit tree in the video and that tree can just go. As kids we had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice most mornings from this tree. The grapefruits were yellow and bitter. To this day I hate grapefruit juice.
  • The garden boxes (with the sweet potatoes) are newer garden boxes. My Mom had the old ones removed and we helped her make these ones gopher safe.
  • The "black widow" farm is a reference to us gardening one day and coming across a lot of black widows. We joked that my Mom was creating a Black Widow sanctuary.

We did actually garden this day and the ending shot shows some of the iris and other plants we transplanted in front of the first wall. The project isn't finished yet but it was a pleasant surprise and it makes it (hopefully) much easier to garden now because we are no longer fighting a losing battle with all the weeds.

Now I wonder if a fire pit really will be back there....


So busy!

Hi all! Last week was crazy. For me and a lot of people I talked to. On Tuesday I swore the next day had to be Friday. Ever have those weeks? Yep, me too.

I have a blog post I can't wait to share that is an update of my Mom's garden. The Middle Sister and I sent short videos to the Little Sister while we were there and I am working on putting those videos together for an update.

I am also training for a half marathon and DREAD running on Tuesday nights per the Nike+ coach program I am following. So much that I might add that as part of my running blog posts. It gets me down each Tuesday night.....

AND I just started a 200 hour Yoga Certification Program. My weekends and Monday nights are booked. Not to mention all the reading and homework. It is a 10 week program and I know I will make it, but treading water is kind of what I feel like I am doing right now.

Almost a little too much on my plate. I guess that is life sometimes...

I am trying to get back into "Grad School" mode so I can make the most of every moment when it comes to studying and fitting everything in. Samson (photo above) knew what was up as soon as I busted out the wine and popcorn, my stress / get it done foods.

I feel so busy, but I think I am just out of practice. I am hoping that this week (another busy one) get me back into the swing of things and I start swimming instead of just treading water.

Wish me luck!


Photos from Hawaii

California - Hawaii
Four nights
Hawaii - California

This last trip to Hawaii was a whirlwind. T and I returned for another change of command ceremony for his brother and could only squeeze four nights for this trip. We had one "free day" while his brother and family packed to move to Italy (yes we will be visiting them!) but we had a great trip. Here are a few photos from our adventure:

Our flight in. We flew Hawaiian Airlines and I was pretty happy with them. One of the few airlines with free food (breakfast on the flight) and a complimentary cocktail before we landed!

Next we ended up with this rental car as an upgrade when they didn't have the car we booked! Reserving through Costco got the second driver to be free...
We were picking up T's Aunt Rochelle and her flight was delayed so we got a plate lunch at Joe's Grill Express by the airport. You know it's good when the locals are lining up out the door!

Then we made it to our beach cottage on the military base that we shared with some childhood neighbors of T's. I know, right? Amazing. And our home for four nights. Last trip we stayed with his brother to help out but this trip the Aunt stayed with them as they tried to do everything for the change of command ceremony and pack! I think it was a gift to us because it was great to stay with the old neighbors (I met them once ten years ago) and wake up to the ocean every morning.
We still got to hangout with the family and meet Elliot the newest addition,
Photo by Kanan

And watch T and his niece have a blast.
Photo by Rochelle

There were a lot of events we attended for the change of command ceremony, and we had a good time.

Photo by Rochelle

Our trip home included an extra package as we are cat sitting once again while the family moves. Amelie will be hanging out with us for a bit....

I am not sure when we will return to Hawaii as we have always gone to visit T's family and now they have all moved away again. T used to live there and talks of returning one day. If we could have a cottage like the one we stayed in for those last four nights I might consider it! Until next time Hawaii, whenever that may be.... aloha....


Pearl Harbor Remembrance Tour

The Pearl Harbor Remembrance Tour was part of the VR-51 Change of Command festivities this time around and we were up early and on our way after a quick run for me. I was glad I looked this event up before we packed as there was a bit of a dress code for civilians and military personnel.

Please note the following:

1) Check in is at 8:30am at the COMPACFLT Boathouse.

2) Active duty military: uniform E-7 and above is Summer Whites

3) Civilian guests: Please ensure you are wearing appropriate attire. From the attached information flyer: "High heels, flip-flops of any kind, sandals without a back strap, short skirts, extremely inappropriate short shorts, cut offs, drug or alcohol related tops, and tank tops are NOT allowed. Sandals with back straps are accepted but not recommended. Comfortable closed-toe shoes are recommended."

We met everyone at the COMPACFLT Boathouse, down the road from the Arizona Memorial. We were told to be there by 8:30am and showed up at 8:15am. The event didn't start until 9am so we wandered a bit and I admired the knot board that someone had made. T and I were sharing a beach cottage on the military base with some neighbors from his childhood, Cathy and Bob. While we waited Cathy and I asked for a bit of line (rope) and mastered the Spanish Bowline after getting a lesson from the navy boatman and YouTube.

The Rememberence Tour started with a movie about Pearl Harbor and then moved into a small museum room with original photos. From there we boarded a small boat and toured Pearl Harbor (not this boat, but a boat next to it....).

Right about this time I was very glad I had read about the dress code. This event was a memorial of sorts and a history lesson. I like history and seeing all of Pearl Harbor up close was very moving. We toured battle ship row and stopped by the ex-battleship Utah that had capsized when hit by two torpedoes. The navy tour guide told us there were 64 soldiers and a baby girl buried on board. It turns out one of the soldiers had the ashes of his baby girl with him to scatter at sea when the boat was attacked and capsized. The tour guide said they now say, on the Utah is a baby girl guarded by 64 men.

You can see the part of the Utah in the photo below.

We continued up battleship row and each dock had the name of the boat that was docked there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Eight battleships were attacked and four of them sunk. All but the Arizona were raised and returned to service during the war. The Arizona was attacked and sunk during Pearl Harbor having the greatest number of casulities at 1177 lives lost. It was decided to not raise the Arizona and instead a memorial was created to honor those who lost there lives during Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial was our last stop on the Remembrance Tour.

Bob (T's old neighbor) was a marine who had served in Vietnam. He brought a flag to fly at the Arizona Memorial and T's brother helped him raise the colors.

I spent some time wandering the Arizona memorial and saying my silent thanks to all the service men and women who have served our country. I don't always agree with what the govenment does with them, but I am greatful to have the freedom and safety the military provides. The lives lost in the world's military chess game weigh heavily on me at times and this place brought those feelings to the top of my heart. It truelly was a Remembrance Tour and I felt honored to attend.