Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation part one

Over Fourth of July we headed up to San Fran to visit my sister.  We had six glorious days and 
it was a great trip.  

We did the overnight trip again and although I'm still not a fan, joe doesn't seem to mind and it is nice to be there in the morning when we wake up.  

Started our vacay out with a little mini golf

These goofballs

I lost. 

Lisa is fostering some kittens and boy were they cute.  I had no plans of coming home with one but kittens are pretty irresistible and somehow was talked into one of the orange ones.  Lisa will be bringing her to us at the end of the month.  We had to wait until she was spayed.  
Such cuteness!  I really loved the tabby one but it's a boy and joe really wanted a girl.  

Since we wouldn't be with the kids on the actual fourth, we promised them some fireworks. They are completely legal(ahem).  Well, they were, just not in the exact city we shot them off in.  
Fourth of July.  The only holiday where you give your ten year old something flaming and tell them to have at it.  

Some of them were larger than I expected them to be!

My attempt at a patriotic manicure.  

The next day we headed over the bridge and off to our next destination, the Russian River.  

Can you believe I took this from the car window?  I wanted to stop but it was WAY too crowded, it being Fourth of July weekend and all.  

First on the agenda was a canoe trip down the river.  It was advertised as a three hour trip.  We thought oh we can do that.  We'll stop occasionally to rest and to have lunch and it will be fun!

Mandatory life vests.  We ditched those pretty quickly.  Don't worry.  We kept them on the boats with us.  

I think there were 15 of us total.  We had six  canoes and Lisa had a kayak.  

At first it was peaceful, and serene and a really good workout.  Joe and I actually rock a canoe.  We make a great team.  Probably due to the dragon boating.  

BUT although they tell you it's a three hour trip, what they don't tell you is that it's ten miles to the end where you drop off your canoe.  And you have to be back by five.  (We started at 11:00). 

TEN.  FREAKING.  MILES.     For (some) people who have never been in a canoe before!

I did love canoeing but it was much harder on my back than kayaking.  Joe and I paddled for a couple of miles and then Lisa let me kayak for a bit and then it was back into the canoe with joe to try and finish it out.  

We stopped several times for lunch and some refreshments(wink wink).   Well by about 2:30 we weren't even halfway and realized we were going to have to step it up.  

I'll be honest with you, by mile five I wasn't having so much fun anymore.  We had been in the sun for three hours.  It was hot and I was sunburned and just plain exhausted.  That's where my hubby stepped up and told me to lie down in the canoe and relax and that "He's got this".  And he did.  He started paddling and didn't stop until we reached our destination.  Five hours after we started.  Everyone else took another hour to catch up and barely made it in time for the last bus to take us back to our cars.  

Overall it was a fun experience but I wouldn't take that particular tour again.  Next time we will rent the kayaks instead of canoes they have by the hour and paddle as far as we want to and then paddle back.  The big draw was supposed to be that you were  paddling downstream and therefore could float most of the way, and then they picked you up and drove you back.   What they don't tell you is that around three o' clock there is a pretty strong headwind that you are paddling against and there is no floating going on, only paddling.  

Thank goodness for joe.  I'm not sure they offer a pick up service half way for those that can't make it!

After that we were so tired we dropped my sister off at her hotel and headed home(to her house, as we were animal sitting).  Zoo sitting is a more appropriate term.  Two dogs, one cat, six kittens and two baby turtles. 

Lisa was staying at this totally quaint hotel right on the river.  These pictures weren't taken until the day she checked out, thus the vacancy sign.  There isn't an open hotel room to be found in Monte Rio over Fourth of July weekend that's for sure!

So pretty and cute. 

View from their lawn

We headed home to feed the animals and called it a night.  

Next up: one of my (new) favorite places in the whole wide world.   

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Caught this beautiful view on the way to my friend's house for an early morning ride.   It's Lake Elsinore.  

I'm  behind on a whole bunch of things, this blog being one of them. Since I'm home in my pajamas and have done nothing today due to feeling poorly, this is a good time to get caught up. 

This summer is flying by.  I am loving summer in my new home.  I had been warned about extreme heat but so far have not experienced it.  We have had maybe two days of temps above 90 and we didn't even have to turn on the air.  Being up in the mountains we tend to have a nice breeze, and our entire house is covered in oak tress which brings the temp down too.  I know we have some hot weather coming up in late August and September but for now I am enjoying the cool(ish) weather.  

My old, (previously) trusty Ford Escape finally bit the dust.  It died on me twice(once going up the mountain!) and I decided that since I have a potentially dangerous drive without cell phone service in some places, it was best to start looking for a more reliable car.  Joe has been able to get the Escape working again but it's kind of sketchy and we will only drive it in sporadically or in case of emergencies.  

After looking at my options and what I could afford(which wasn't much), we went on the recommendation of a friend to a used car dealer in L.A. who rebuilds cars. And he takes payments, which was a huge deciding factor given that I don't have a lot of spare cash lying around. Or any spare cash, to be exact.  

Sooooo......behold my "new" car!

It's a 2003 Honda Insight. It's in excellent condition and is like new inside. They didn't make very many of these cars and the guy we bought it from buys them and rebuilds them. It's his hobby but since he can't keep all of them he sells them for a very good price.  And like I said, he takes payments.  He has rebuilt hundreds of them! And if something goes wrong I know I can take it to him to fix it without getting ripped off and he knows what's he's doing. I feel very lucky to have found him. 

Not to mention the fact that I'm in love with this car!  It's so fun to drive. It's a two door with only two seats!  It's also a hybrid and it gets between 48-51 miles per gallon!  I honestly didn't believe it when he told us that.  

But I had a chance to test it out over Fourth of July when we went up north to visit my sister and we made it on one tank of gas.  One tank!  Forty bucks was all it cost to get to San Francisco. I see a lot more road trips in our future.   We'll just be traveling light since the cargo area isn't very big. It IS big enough to fit a small dog though.  I made sure to check that, since I hope to get one in the near future.  

Here it is packed for our trip up north.  

That's enough stuff for a whole week!  I was only able to take what was absolutely necessary.  I only took four pairs of shoes!  And you know what?  It was plenty.   I don't wear half the things I usually bring anyway.   

Now I have a tiny house AND a tiny car.  Simplify!

And the most important thing is that it has air conditioning. I haven't had air conditioning in years. It's awesome!  Oh, and the doors open from the OUTSIDE.  Lol.  Also a huge draw.  And it's super fun to drive.  Overall I'm thrilled with it.   

Let's see, what else.  Oh, I got some glasses.  I honestly didn't realize how little I could see until I got me some glasses.  It's amazing!!  I can see the tv!  And the signs at the store!  And the road!!  

That last one is probably the most important.   They are only to see far away.  I still need some progressive bi-focals to wear all the time but the distance was the most problematic for me.  

Here are the ones I chose: 

I love them.  And the best part?  They were free!  That's right, free.   If you go to you can choose your first pair of glasses for free.  And they have a huge selection of free ones to choose from.  Theses were $80 glasses for zero dollars.  


Dragon boat practices are plugging along.  We've only missed two practices.  I think that's a record for us!  Our last practice is tomorrow and the races are next week which is unbelievable to me. It always goes by way too fast.  In September it looks like we wil gear up for the Los Angeles races again this year so at least we have that to look forward to.  

We went to a Frida Khalo exhibit with some of our dragon boat members and had a good time.  Well, I was tired and sunburned from practice, but it was interesting and I'm glad we went.  She was an amazing woman!

A couple of months ago I posted this picture on Instagram:
Sorry so small and poor quality. I can't for the life of me find the original image.  

Anyway, a few weeks later I got a response on instagram from Uhaul asking if I would submit it to be a part of their face of uhaul campaign and be in a collage of phitos on the sides of their trucks!

So I went to their website and submitted it and a few weeks later got this e-mail:

That's hard to read, but it says "This photo is on 52 U-Haul trucks in 47 different cities". 
 6 of those are in CA.  So basically I'm famous.  I'd be happy to give you my autograph the next time you see me.  Lol.  

It's not just my picture on the trucks(thank god.  I don't want a billboard sized picture of me anywhere!).  It is in a collage of photos on each side.  One of the locations is in a city miles from my work. I thought about showing up there and trying to snap a picture of it but I thought that might be weird.  
Who am I kidding?   I'm totally sending Joe  over there to take a pic.  

We have gone on a few more hikes and I'm always surprised by how beautiful our surrounding area is. 

I have lived in the new place for four months and the only wildlife we have encountered so far is a skunk who comes out nightly and some raccoons in our trees.  So imagine my surprise when I saw this sign on the door to the laundry room:  

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little freaked out. We just have to be careful and smart and be aware that WE are encroaching on THEM and not vice versa.  

Whew, I think I'm caught up.   I'll be posting a couple of posts of our vacation soon. We had such a good time and I took around 100 photos and it was too much to include here.