A Sign of the Times, Vacationing in Coachella Valley

We love spending time visiting Coachella Valley in December, visiting friends and family. Only no one was going in 2020. We had to get out, so we packed up the car and headed west for a two week road trip anyway. In our planning for the trip, we knew some of the things we normally do would not be open. However, our favorite thing to do wherever we vacation, is visit National and State parks. This was still an option.

We stopped in West Texas and Arizona for rest and to visit friends, but our ultimate destination was a vacation rental in Indio central to several parks. Shortly after we arrived, California went on a serious lock-down. We even got an emergency alert on our first hike. That night, we had a nice dinner at one of our favorite outdoor dining spots, then stocked up on groceries. We would spend the rest of our time hiking and picnicking during the day, then cooking meals hunkered down at “home” each night.

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Variations of Violet

In response to Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge Views in Violet, I’m scrolling through my photo log recalling experiences where our photography brought variations of the color violet.

The following photos are from Orkas Island, Washington….an absolute dream land. We love the Pacific Northwest and are missing it so much. Here are lavender plants near a harbor restaurant and my favorite pottery place, Orkas Island Pottery (now reopened!)

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What’s On Your Plate: Simply Eggs

Why should I stop writing about eggs? Especially now that Deb at The Widow Badass and Donna at Retirement Reflections have started the “What’s On Your Plate” writing prompt challenge.

I have a love-hate relationship with eggs that started after the end of my first marriage. Broke and single, eggs were a cheap, easy and versatile source of protein. Sixteen years of flying solo and newly into retirement, my first blog was about trying to poach eggs in a Berndes pan. It was a 72 hour disaster that ended in the disposal of an otherwise incredibly good cooking pan. I whined to a good friend who told me to write about it. Suddenly, I was a blogger who wrote about eggs (and then other things.)

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Sunday Stills: Passing Time in the Rain

We’ve been contemplating a move to Washington State for the last year and a half. In January 2020, we took a vacation/house hunting trip to North Kitsap County to see if we could tolerate the wet winter. We expected it to rain, and it did….every day for 10 days. We challenged ourselves to find things to do and to not get in a funk (mainly me) over the weather. We figured if we could have fun and stay busy, we might survive a move there. In addition to house hunting, we went to parks, trails, beaches, museums, restaurants and even grocery stores in every town where we looked at houses. Here are a few photos of how we passed the time in the rain.

Kingston, where I have family, is where we started with a short hike at North Kitsap Heritage Park and a long visit in a local museum of nostalgia. There is so much to see at “My Girl Drive In Museum,” which is good because the rain never let up that day.

A light hike in North Kitsap Heritage Park, Kingston, WA
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Sunday Stills: Birds? What Birds?

The photo challenge Feeding Those Birds is a double challenge for me. I’ve not had much luck with bird feeders or with photographing birds. This little buck has taken to my bird feeders this winter. I’ve started leaving him a pile of corn on the ground, but I think he considers it desert:

So, I moved one of the feeders into our fenced garden – only for it to transform into a squirrel and mole feeder. Here is how we found it this morning. I don’t think any of these creatures are afraid of my fat cat:

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Happy COVID/Texas Winter Fail/Hunkered Down First Anniversary to Us

If we can survive this, we can survive anything. Here is the proof.

Speaking of proofs, here is the artist’s concept for the custom t-shirts I had made for our anniversary beach trip to Galveston. It was cancelled by the vacation rental owner due to freezing weather, lack of electricity and probably frozen pipes. The t-shirts turned out very nicely. I just wish I’d known the Texas winter was going to be such a failure….I would have added some icicles to the design. We are planning on setting up the tripod to take pictures if we ever get out of the 20’s F today.

So, what have we been doing?

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Remembering The White Wave

Over lunch my husband and I were discussing our trip to the grocery store. We couldn’t believe the price of pork tenderloin had doubled since last week, or how many people weren’t wearing masks. “Remember when we used to talk about our vacation plans?” he asked. YES!

The Ombak Putih, aka White Wave, awaits us.

How I long for those discussions and experiences. in addition to talking about what’s for dinner and how long it will be before we get vaccinated. I’m amazed at how focused he can be on on the latter. Cheers to him, for that is the single greatest step back into the world of travel. We don’t just miss traveling, we miss planning it! Suzanne@Picture Retirement covered this phenomenon beautifully in the opening of her blog “Then and Now.” I thank my husband for reminding me to finish blogging about our last international trip – a month long trip that took a year to plan and book. Some of the planning challenges were logistics, shopping and packing for multiple climates and activities, getting vaccinated for tropical climates and achieving fitness goals. I even hired a personal trainer to make sure I was feeling my best while traveling to the other side of the world.

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Moving Forward

Plans to move to the Pacific Northwest squashed. Travel and socialization on hold. Definitely haven’t felt like writing. Taking a tip from a fellow blogger, I started looking at photos from last year’s travels. Celebrating 60 and finally embracing my status as a retiree, I was excited about the international travel we booked. But I stopped writing half way through the year. Moving forward, it’s time to write again. I took a writing workshop this week called “Mining Memories” through Thurber House to give myself a “jump” start!

A mob of kangaroos crossing the road in Western Australia.
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