Thursday, October 27, 2016

New England Strong


On our way to work this morning, the sun was coming over the mountains to the east, the sky looked like cotton candy and was just amazing. Every day it is more beautiful than the next. 




Kurt and I drive to work 4 days a week to save money on gas seeing his truck gets a whopping 13 miles to the gallon, but it is a great & comfy truck.  We are always in awe of the sunrises and sunsets as we drive to and from work.  This is a beautiful area.  We work out in the "desert" and live 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean so we see and feel a lot of different things.   The temperature is about a 12 to 15-degree difference from the desert to the coast.  With winter coming I have to learn to dress in layers, sweater in the morning short sleeve by noon and sweater again by 6pm. 

Lately, I have been getting up thinking there will be frost and possibly snow on the ground when we leave the house in the morning.  I read posts from my friends on the east coast and see them freezing and complaining.   I get it.  Winter in New England runs about 5 months. Fall is about 4 weeks. Spring about 2 months with many black flies and mosquitoes.  Summer 3 months if you are lucky with high humidity and more mosquitoes. The missing month here is a cluster of all season, you could have a 60-degree day in December and a 50-degree day in the summer. 

As a former homeowner with no garage and living up a steep driveway made me legit crazy from the end of Oct to mid-April.   Ice dams, roof raking, sanding the driveway to hopefully make it up and I if didn't I would park at the bottom and hike up the icy torturous hill with all my bags and kids.  The snow blowing of the driveway, the path to the generator for when we lost power (because we did 3 or 4 times a winter), having to budget for gas for the generator/snowblower and oil for heat which is super expensive when you have 2 oil tanks in your house to heat your rental property and they might have the heat cranked as we were freezing and bundled up, going out to get the snow and ice off your cars, heating them up before getting in for your 20 min ride and not wanting to sit back due to how cold your clothes are and not wanting them touching your skin.  Oh, and your cute outfits are now ruined with clunky boots that have salt stains from the ice melt, a massive sweater to cover your original outfit cause it gets so damn cold out that you can barely feel the heat. Old lady hands, when your hands get so freak'n cold that your skin on your hands become unrecognizable and like and 80-year-old person.  My hair was always super staticky because of how dry it got inside because of the heat that was cranking and my contacts were like sandpaper.  

Think you get the idea of how miserable it can be or at least for me. 
Those of you who love the winter are the few who don't own a home on a hill, have the cash for someone to snowplow the driveway, enjoy stacking wood, lugging it into your home and stoking the fire to keep the house bearable, like dressing in heavy layers, and chipping the ice and snow off your car.  

Yes, thoes are our cars under the snow and no snowblower that storm.

Guess we won't be grilling 
Adult Snowsuit


Always in shorts 

And shorts again


Now being part of the southern California culture I realize how strong and mentally strong people from New England are.  

People we run into here say they love the snow... really?! Have you been out of power for 10 days because of the ice and snow?  Had to roof rake?  Many have no clue what that is and when you explain it to them they are still baffled by it.  Have you ever had a sporting event outside that was 25 degrees as your kids are running around the field and you are slowly getting frost bite?  

Oh, no? You go to Big Bear and Mammoth Mountain where you ski and have fun for the weekend and then you can escape the snow in just 2 hours and be back in your shorts and flip flops.  That is not winter.  Yes, super pretty and fun but no, not real.  

I watch people here when it rains.  You would think the end of the world is coming.  People drive like there  is a foot of snow on the roads, news alerts all day, and all conversations revolve around how they got to their car or stores in the rain.  Rain in New England is typical and expected.  No problem. And when it does snow back east people drive like the pavement is dry, 65mph is a whiteout is normal.  

I am glad I grew up in New England and could experience all the seasons.  I am glad I learned how to be strong in wild weather and learn how to survive with a lot of hard work.  Many tears and pulled muscles living in that environment.   Glad my kids got to experience this too and have made them tough and now value the 330 days of sunshine.  

With all that said, I am slowly becoming acclimated to this SoCal life.  I am typing this as my heater is on under my desk and it is 70 degrees out.  My arches are falling due to my daily wear of flip flops.  I get bothered when it is cloudy out. Things are pricier out here but to me my mental state is worth the extra $$$.  I do still get anxiety when I see the weather posts from the east coast but have to remind myself I am living in one of the best places in the USA, just wish I could have taken some of you with us here and our New England sport teams. ( Yes, Kurt I said it I like the Patriots)






#NewEnglandStrong
#LoveSoCalLiving



Saturday, May 21, 2016

BEACH ETIQUETTE 101

PSA: Please review beach etiquette before heading out this summer.


1. Wind direction and how the sand will fly

2. How you conduct yourself with the people around you.

3. Music, be aware of the offensive lyrics and the families sitting within earshot.

4. Food, don't feed the seagulls cause I don't want a swarm of flying rats near me.

5. I will overhear your conversations when you are talking about the parties and hook-ups from the night before and will judge you accordingly

6. If you run past others kicking up sand and are not under the age of 12, be prepared for a wrath of stares or possible unfiltered comments

7. Smoking, gross. Doing this at the beach makes it doubly gross. Watch the wind direction of your nasty smell and remember you are going to ruin your lungs.

8. Trash, pick up after yourselves and do something above and beyond and pick up any that you see on the way to the trash.

9. Peeing in the water,  go at least waist deep. And try not to be totally obvious.

10. Parking, space is limited don't be a douche and take up 2 spots.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Too Much "Stuff"




One of my greatest fears and that causes me so much anxiety is the call that something has happened to my parents.  Now, I am not panicked about losing them because I have a strong belief in the eternal plan and that we will be together again.

My fear is the "stuff".

With living in California it isn't like I can just help the process now as they live 3500 miles from us.  I know there is a lot of family history that goes way back with furniture, glass wear, art work, tools, and shelves and shelves of books of family genealogy.  When I go home to visit I feel overwhelmed and have to cut my visits short because I can see my future of cleaning out and not being able to let go of items because I know the stories behind the "stuff".

I had a very difficult time cleaning out my own house when we moved from NH to CA.  I cried over a Sharpie, yes a black everyday Sharpie.  As time went on I got in the groove and dropped off my "stuff" at Goodwill over 13 car loads and 15 carloads to the dump.  I met people in parking lots all over southern NH selling the valuable items.  

I know my parents have items that are worth way more than I ever had.  I can't just donate or throw away majority of it.  Many of our dinners growing up we would go over pictures on the wall of who was who and also stories of the art and furniture that family members had created.  They were ingrained in me.  At the time I didn't really have an interest, but as I am older I would like to have the space to keep it all, but that is not an option.  So this is what keeps me up or wakes me up.  

I have asked my parents to start the process on their own.  I don't think it is happening, but in my mind it is.  I am heading back East for a few days in April and will have 2 full days to figure out a plan with them.  I will be returning in July and hoping that my plan will have been implemented.  

I get it, these items are a part of you.  Stories, history, and memories.  I tear up thinking about it but our cleaning out process and the thought of my next one in years makes me realize how much stuff that takes up our daily lives.  I have never felt so free of the crap I had.  I have been to Target maybe 5 times since we moved here, I just can't think about shopping and getting more and having to go through another clean out.  We still have kitchen and bathroom cabinets that are empty and I don't feel like I have to fill them.  

Take a look around your homes and see all the unnecessary stuff you have and items you have no real connection too.  I am not saying clean out all your shizz but take a look at what items are most important. I also understand some people enjoy having a magazine picture homes with beautiful things that people oh and ah over and that is great, but I am so over trying to impress.  I have all I could want and need and that feeling is way better then a shopping spree at Ikea and Target combine (shocking I know, but  the truth)

It has finally taken me 45 years to figure this out and thousands and thousands of wasted dollars.  
I am just hoping that my parents can see the benefits of starting now for their financial gain and my mental well being.  

Just a website I found that has some great options for aging parents.  I will not have to have property to make this happen, but I know my brother and my favorite sister in law have space...













Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rocks and Stuff

I look back on the past six months and realize how fast life is moving!  We left NH on July 27th and arrived in CA Aug 1st just in time to move into our new condo 8 miles from the boarder of Mexico.  While I was very apprehensive about our location I have been so impressed with where we live.  I love the friendliness of the people and have a glimpse what it is like to be a minority. We are close to everything we could ever need or want. Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Rite Aid (personal favorite), and so many restaurants are within 1/4 of us.
Oh, and Costco is 3 blocks west.

I feel like life is much easier for us here. We are renting  and we do not have to take care of the upkeep of the condo but we have been given permission to revamp the back "yard".  Kurt likes simplicity.  Off we went to rent a chain saw (we sold all of our yard tools and power tools), tore out the old dying palm trees, scrubby plants  that I have no clue of what they are, and trim up the healthy mini palms.  Yard/concrete slab is almost done.

 

While walking at well known beach we were amazed at the millions of different color rocks. Every one was more beautiful than the other.   I could see it in Kurt's eyes the thought process of how were we going to get all these beautiful rocks to our home.  When we got home he tried showing me his vision as we stood in the patio area.  I can not visualize things I have to see a pictures.
We were out adventuring trying to find new places in our area and came across the Chula Vista Yacht Club (yes, kinda an oxymoron from what they say around here, sort of like Manchester NH Yacht Club) and went to the beach and saw similar rocks.  Great, closer to home.  Now Kurt could his plan into action.  As I was at work and he was on school break he put the buckets in the truck and  went for it, what he says, moved God's rocks to our location.  After I started to see the transition, I realized this would be great, but he wanted to hit the beach up north that will remain nameless.  Mind you that this is a major tourist attraction area.  How were we going to get buckets off the beach?  No worries, people thought we were working for UCSD in the geology department and needed the rocks.  Classic.  After 4 trips to unnamed beach and 4 to Chula we are just about done.

More about the rocks... they dried and were meh looking.  After having dinner with friends we went to their home on Balboa Island and walked around and saw some beautiful shiny rocks.
What? How?  Then a light bulb went off in my mind, SHELLAC!   Kurt could wait to get to Home Depot.  We had to dodge a few Mexicans driving into HD looking for work.  Where were these guys when I was hauling buckets of rocks up the beach to the truck.  Note to self, I am sure we will have another project soon to hire them.
Got home and with in minutes Kurt was as high as a kite from the fumes of the spray cans of shellac he was popping off. 


So that is some of the fun we have been having in SoCal.  We are loving the winters again, but kinda bummed that New England didn't get hammered with snow like last year as it would have taken the sting out of moving a bit better.

I miss my friends dearly and being able to hop in the car and head to Chatham and RI, also knowing my way around so I don't end up in Tijuana, but in time we will find a support system.  We did find a new church and hoping that is a start to finding people, but not sure they will get our sick and twisted New England humor.

Friday, February 26, 2016

No Perfect Parent or Child...

Having kids comes with great rewards and also with some great heartache!

Think back to when you were a teen, you did so much behind your parents back and were not forthcoming with all the details when asked.  With that said I don't know and don't want to know all that my kids are/were doing and feel that some of their choices to do crazy assed things makes them who they are because of  the consequences of their actions.  (love my kids even w the faults they may have)

Are we responsible for what happens if a child sneaks out of the house while we am sleeping?  Are we held accountable for what happens at a party at our own house while we are away when we forbid them to have anyone at our home?  Do we get looked down on if our kid is doing illegal things and we don't know about it and others do?  How do others view our parenting if we are unaware of the "secret" life our children might be living. So many teens live a double life, one at home (that looks like they have their shiz together), and one out with friends that is nothing like what we have taught them within our 4 walls.


I feel that we as parents need to support each other and not point fingers and judge.  It is hard to parent (no book can prepare you for what it is like to raise kids or how to handle every situation), and each child is so different from the others.  I struggle everyday wondering what I could have done better, could I have been around more, what if we could of provided more financially, should I have disciplined more or less, should we have done this or that.  Totally unnecessary I know, as we did the best we knew how.

 Because of some of our kid's actions, a few have judged us and needed a place to lay blame for the influence they may have had on their kids.  Funny thing though, we all might realize that maybe it is our own kids that chose to participate at their own accords.

I guess what I am saying is that we as parents don't have a whole lot of control on certain situations in the teen years and if my kids were involved in a situation that causes others to judge or point fingers maybe it isn't always the way it looks.  There are always 2 sides. And by no means are we claiming that our kids are perfect, we are SO incredibly proud of who they are becoming in the midst of the challenges they are facing each day, and thank God for them each day.








Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reality Sets In

We are into month 3 of living in sunny, warm and busy California.  The newness is wearing off and finally figuring out our way on the intertwining highways, our best priced place for gas and parking locations at the beaches. 
                                  







With life calming down and normalcy coming back into our lives we are seeing the challenges we are faced with. Like we would anywhere new.



Sophia has been a trooper as far as leaving Goffstown High School her senior year, leaving behind friends that she has known since first grade.  Exciting at first, but now we realize the community we were involved with in New Hampshire was amazing.  Soph goes to a small, I mean small private Christian school where her senior class has 78 students that all have gone through this district together.  That is rough for teens that are new to the school. 


I don't care if you are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or have no belief in anything, treat people the way you would want to be treated.  If you see someone struggling or can see into there eyes that there is something not right, lend and ear or even a smile.  A sincere smile is so powerful. Standing up in a group when that group is being catty and mean, do you have what it takes? 




Even adults struggle in this type of situation as well.  I am working for a conservative Christian college.  If you know me well, I have a hard time filtering and boarder line inappropriate, ok maybe I cross that line at times too.  I am having a hard time fitting in and know the pain of being accepted for who I really am or having a friend in a working environment like I have had in the past.


Yes, I miss my friends more that I can convey in this Blog, I know we will  find a group of fiends like I had back east. I have been hesitant to get myself out there to meet people for fear of them not really getting my sarcasm or my unfiltered thoughts.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being close to my girls and Cruzer.  We have seen them more now them we ever would have back east.  This is why we are here. 

The weather too... AMAZING.  I see the pictures of New England and the breath taking fall foliage and the apple orchards and pumpkin patches.  But I know what is coming.  From mid Nov to mid April you all are suffering and paying for wood and oil to stay warm.  Last winter put me over the edge and also our budget with plowing, oil, and gas for the generator when the power was out.  I know I will love San Diego even more in February. 
Yes, crisp air, beautiful views, but see below...
Photo Credit: Lisa Mazur


This is coming in mere weeks people 

Photo Credit: Susan Linnell

I just put Abby and Sophia on a plane back East to recharge in hopes they see the blessing they have here with family and the amazing weather (thus being said before El Nino gets here).  We are planning on visiting in July, so get your guest rooms ready (Dave Murdoch, get on our "shed" in the back corner.)  Hunker down for the winter and I get it if you "unfriend" us during your New England winter.





Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prayer...

Do you believe in prayer, do you pray often, do you consider prayer similar to meditation? Do you feel weak if you pray, do you pray publicly or keep it private?  
This has always been a struggle of mine.  I am married to someone who survives on morning, midday, nightly and anytime prayer, hence why I stick close to him.




As you know we moved from New Hampshire, the second most spiritual dark state in the US, next to Vermont.  I grew up with many religions in my life from Methodist, Lutheran, Judaism, Catholicism, Mormonism, and non-denominational Christianity. We have always had morning and night prayers with our family.  Friends that came over were included as well if they wanted to, many did to see what this was all about.  This is not a knock on any religion or beliefs, lets get that out there!


I have been thinking, when people and yourself say to others that are struggling or have need "I will pray for you" do you do it, or do you say it because you think you should and it is easy to say? 


Kurt, Sophia, and I are totally involved in the Christian culture here. Kurt works for the Christian Unified School district, Sophia goes to that school and I work across the street at a Christian CollegeTo say it is a culture shock is an understatement for me at least. 


We have prayer in the mornings with our coworkers and Sophia with her classmates. We all discuss who needs prayers and how we can include them in our thoughts.  I must look like a fish out of water in these times.  Don't get me wrong, it is great, but I am a private person in this aspect.  My life is usually an open book but when it comes to my spirituality it is mine and mine alone.  Maybe because of past situations and being questioned or removed from what I thought I should have believed.  Anyways, this is just a different environment then anything I have been involved in and probably most of you as well.


So back to my original question, do you really pray for someone when you say you will or post on social media that you will?  I just hear this a lot now a days and wonder if they really mean it and if they really are doing it.    


I know in our home we do pray for many of you daily.  Sometimes I have to cough or fidget a bit to have Kurt cut the prayer down a bit with all the names he is busting out with.  Totally disrespectful I know.  Just know that when we say we will pray for you we do and I hope you do too. 


Just random thoughts today...