Saturday, August 30, 2008

Last Post - Thank you, California!

There is another way of being that I discovered in San Diego. The six months prior to our time this summer were incredibly stressful. I realize that now. It's amazing how helpful it is to have a disruption in your standard way of life to gain perspective.

A large part of that stress was created by me - I realize that. Much of the stress was not created by me but I allowed it to register with me. There was, most certainly, stress that was unavoidable, undeserved, and demanding. Still, that stress, if recognized and its costs counted, could be balanced with self-care.

Of course not working made it extremely easy to live without stress. My only responsibility was to cook dinner and be home in time to pull it together for my hard-working husband. I did also complete an online course on School Finance and Budgets which required about a day per week of work in July and early August. I found the time I never seem to have to work out at the gym or take part in a regular yoga practice. I read novels and non-fiction. I did a lot of sudoku. A lot. "This is my wife Lisa and she loves sudoku," is the refrain the Mr (literally) sings.

And I was able to smile freely and with good will. I had time to talk to shop clerks and my yoga teacher and other folks I would encounter in a leisurely day. And my muscles were not tensed. My heart did not race. I gave up coffee and did not miss it. Did not NEED it as I have felt that I do in the past.

I want to hold on to this calm, this mellow feeling - this peace! I have long felt that the Lord was telling me to find His peace and live in it. That the lifestyle I had been leading - constantly booked up with appointments, full of anxiety about job expectations, rushing around late for everything - this was no life. This allowed no time for the casual encounters with folks in my life, opportunities for grace and love. This had me on edge and distanced me from Him. My health was suffering and I could not seem to figure out why.

Late in the summer I had a conversation with a friend and colleague from school. As we talked about all the issues of working in an urban school and what the coming year would bring I felt a familiar feeling arise. I was feeling anxiety. My heart beat was louder and adrenaline began to course through my veins. I was getting excited with stress. I could recognize it because of the weeks where this once-familiar feeling had been absent.

I know that working in such a tough environment and living in the city will bring stresses. I hope that I can continue to recognize it when it encroaches because I maintain a lifestyle where such feelings are foreign and not the norm. So that I can take steps to relax when the stress arrives and take steps to return to a place of peace.

Our condo is only 2 miles from school. In one of the late summer days before school opening I walked there and it took about 45 minutes. I felt the familiar peace from the summer in San Diego. I was able to smile at the folks working on some road construction project (and if I had been driving I probably would have been late and irritated at the disruption in traffic flow). I took long notice of the ocean at Carson Beach as I walked along the bay (and when driving it is a quick nod of appreciation to the God of creation). I could think about what needed to be done or just meditate on the sounds around me. It felt great when I finally arrived at school.

It will remain to be seen if I can forgo my comfortable sleep habits to accommodate walking to school in the mornings - I would need to leave the house by 6:15 at the latest. Perhaps I will take the train in and walk home? Most importantly, I hope that I am able to maintain the importance of this level of peace in my life. How it opens my heart to others and makes time in my life to love and listen and live deeply.

So ends Mrs. California Housewife. I am so truly thankful for the gift of perspective that this summer of love and leisure has given me. The adventures of a working wife/daughter/sister/aunt and teacher and disciple in Boston continue...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some of the Best, Some of the Last

This couple is Nate and Hope Peterson. They hosted us for our small group Missional Community on Tuesday nights. The Mr has known them for a number of years and counts them as dear friends. They are earnest and courageous in their love of God and their desire to share with others their faith and commitment to follow Christ. They have two of the loveliest children I have ever met: Kelia and Silas (I hope I spelled their names right!). And they have one more on the way. They have been so incredibly loving toward both of us and we pray for their continued ability to be such faithful ministers of the gospel.

The Mr really bonded with Si and we thought about stealing him away in my Mary Poppins handbag. But we didn't have a car seat. And we are not about to put children in harm's way! Hee. Well, anyway, my husband looks rather nice with a baby boy in his arms, so we'll have to speak to the Big Guy about that one.

We have been blessed by our community in San Diego and will miss them all so very much!

Saving Almost the Best for Almost the Last

Later that evening, the Mr took me to the Hotel Del Coronado on the island of Coronado to witness yet another sunset over water. As the Mr tells it, the folks on Coronado are very proud of their island. You have to take a very long bridge up and over the bay to get there. Everything is just a little nicer, a little more manicured, a little cleaner, a little richer. I quite enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed more was the Hotel Del.

The View from the bridge looking back at downtown San Diego:

The Hotel Del - what's not to love???

We got there just in time to see the last sliver of sun disappear behind the clouds. No green flash for me (this time). The Mr and I had a very memorable conversation about life and location. We had the orange glow on our faces as we sat facing the west, looking out over water, land, and sky. We were in love, and married, and uncertain of our future. Wait - that's all still true! Well, it was romantic and wonderful. What a way to say good-bye to San Diego for the wife.

Later, upon exiting the hotel we managed to catch with the last of our camera's battery juice, a picture with a most strangely dressed man who claimed he was a psychic. I should have asked him, "What am I thinking right now?"

Interestingly, given our conversations, as much as I would like to know what the future holds for us, I did not feel tempted to ask this man with his claims to see the future. Need an explanation? Because (1) I know that the Lord knows and will reveal it in time - it is better to trust him in this, I know. (2) Look at this man's hair? Can I really take him seriously? His name is Gary! and (3) I honestly did not think to ask him such a thing. I know where my focus should be, strong and certain on the Lord. But do enjoy the picture (even though it's blurry)!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last of sightseeing in San Diego

Friday and Saturday found me and the Mr attending to some last minute sightseeing. He did save some of the best for last, I think. Midday we went in search of the secret insider beach at La Jolla Farms. Even though the Mr has been going here for four years, he still consulted the map to find it. That's how secret it is!

We found the last open parking spot in the neighborhood that hides this gem and ducked under a closed gate to get into the UCSD Biodiversity Trail. Walking along I tried to avoid rattlesnakes, lizards, and gophers. That occupied most of my lazy summer brain's thinking until the path brought us right to the edge of cliffs we estimated were 300 feet above "the best surfing in San Diego." The surfers were like little ants - little floating ants with ant surf boards. The waves were exactly how a surfer described to me a short time ago - blue corduroy. The Mr asked if I could see any naked people - there is a clothing optional beach about 600 feet into the distance (and 300 feet below). If they opted for no clothing it makes no difference at this distance. Not even arms and legs are visible.

It was stunning. Stunning. Just as we were about to leave a para-sailor came swooped in and glided past us on the cliff. He pulled a cord and floated up on a thermal away down the cliff top and out toward the sea. Then another pull - Swoosh! He was back in front of us again, so close we might be able to touch him if we tried. Back and forth - it was thrilling to watch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

When we met in 1970

The Bachelor Mr in the 70s

The Bachelorette Mrs in the 70s

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Aquarium at Scripps

Managing to wake up in the AM hours the Mr and I headed for a little sight-seeing in the city we will soon be leaving. Scripps is one of the oldest and largest institutions for oceanographic research. They have a cute little aquarium with tanks of local Pacific coastal creatures from Alaska through Mexico. We almost died in a shark attack - well not really. But we did see them getting fed in a tank. And we saw many creepy creatures - including sting rays, one little octopus and one giant red octopus, jellyfish, nettlefish (like jellies but orange and shaped like a nuclear mushroom cloud), and the super-creepiest of all: rock fish that blend in with the rocks and are absolutely deadly!

After we were thoroughly creeped out we went and ate at a local crepe shop. Yum.

Santa Barbara and then home

We spent the last of our California honeymoon in Santa Barbara. The city actually faces south to the coast - pretty unusual. It is not set into a cove and the ocean is expansive. We could see those off-shore drilling rigs in the distance from the pier. It is pretty windy out by the water, but refreshing in August.

We checked out the Courthouse which has beautiful European interior decorative touches - including painted ceilings and a huge mural room detailing the history of Santa Barbara over the centuries. At the top of it all is the tower and the stunning 360 degree views of the city.

Later we had some yummy sushi (from a female sushi chef - a first for me, and I've been told that the Japanese believe that women's body chemistry negatively affects the taste of the fish...hmmm?). After another lovely evening at The Storybook Inn we headed back down the coast through L.A. and back to TLN. It was good to be home.

On the pier in SB:

The direction we will both be traveling soon. Strangely from this point on the West Coast you must pass over the Pacific to go East.

My new friend

On the tower

In front of the loveliest little city on the coast

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our trip to Europe

We've spent the last couple of nights in Solvang, California. Sounds European, doesn't it? Well, we had been discussing how likely it would be for humans to discover how to go back in time in the car ride over. We discovered when we got to Solvang, that we had found a fold in the space-time continuum and somehow drove over the Santa Maria mountains and into Northern Europe. The German architecture of the town's buildings play up the history of the town as a settled by Danish educators just after the turn of the century.

It is a little tourist destination with way too many gift shops and a strong penchant for Hans Christian Anderson, the Danish author of many famous children's fables. Also heavily encouraged is the Danish breakfast treat, aebelskivers. These are golf-ball shaped pancakes draped in raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar. The Mrs. says Yum! The Mr. says Not worth the hype.

Some other crazy things we found out about Solvang:

* Much of the Oscar-winning 2004 film Sideways was filmed in Solvang and in nearby Buellton
* Patricia Hitchcock, the only child of the film director Alfred Hitchcock, currently resides in Solvang
* Rancho del Cielo, President Ronald Reagan's ranch which served as the "Western White House" during Reagan's two terms in office, is located about six miles (10 km) outside of Solvang.
* In The Simpsons episode "Little Orphan Millie", it was revealed that Milhouse has an uncle from Solvang named Norbert "Zack" Van Houten. Bart has a telephone conversation with a switchboard operator in Solvang, and a wooden "Solvang Air" airliner, whose fuselage resembles buildings in the town, is shown landing at Springfield Airport. Uncle Zack's overwhelming pride in his Danish heritage also reflects Solvang's history from its founding by Danish citizens.
* Ska-punk band Mad Caddies call Solvang their home.

This is the Inn we stayed at in Solvang

Yum, Aebelskivers. This was the first three out of the 15 we managed to put back while we were there.

Lavender Farm

The Mr was happy to tour the Motorcycle Museum

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Into the Oaks

We have headed into the valley for the homestretch. Today we were in Paso Robles for the day. The town name means "Valley of the Oaks." We were able to visit a vineyard or two and Ben was able to taste Firestone Walker beer at the town's brewery.

Driving into the valley

The mountains

Saturday, August 9, 2008


There are many photos posted in our public gallery on Picasa. The link is at the bottom of this blog's page, for those who haven't reached their limit with pics of the newly-married California couple.

We just finished a very adventurous day driving north from Cambria to Big Sur. One word: Stunning!

The mister is a real trooper for keeping our little family safe as we drove windy roadways clinging to California mountainsides. There were times I shrieked - with irrational fear of the heights - and also when I spotted whales (WHALES!) in the waters below.

Our lunch was quite tasty (though one might say over-priced. we did pay for the view!) and we enjoyed ourselves from a supremely beautiful vantage point. The restaurant we stopped at was perched high on a point jutting out over the waters and looking back on several other rugged cliffs and the expansive Pacific. Truly a destination worthy of a honeymoon!

Love to you all from
The Honeymooners

The Honeymoon Adventure has begun!

We are in lovely Cambria, California on the central coast. Thursday morning we left San Diego and headed to the "Gateway to the Channel Islands," Oxnard, California. Here is our route so far:

Thursday night we had dinner at a lovely restaurant in Santa Barbara called Opal. Delish!

During the day we took a boat out to one of the Channel Islands, Anacapa.

We did a Wildlife Tour, but didn't see tons of wildlife.

Still, it was stunning! Only 55,000 people visit this most undeveloped region in North America. It is called the Galapagos of North America for its surprising number of indigenous species (145).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Visit from the Lovely Bowmans!

We went biking along the boardwalk and the bay.

Then our favorite San Diego restaurant that night.

So yummy!

We love the Bowmans! Check out their trek across our fine United States:
From Sea to Shining Sea

Friday, August 1, 2008

July Photo Updates

The July photo album has been updated. See link at the bottom of the page.

Day in the Life

This is my bike. I call it "The Beast"

Long after the Mr has headed to an honest day's work, I roll out of bed and get dressed for the gym. It takes about 10 minutes coasting downhill to get there. About 15 minutes to get back. You'll see why.

This is my local gym. Nothing special. I tend to do weights and the elliptical machines. Except Wednesdays, when Gena is around for YOGA!!

This is why I delay leaving TLN. As I have mentioned, we are OTM. Coming back up is so laborious. I don't ride The Beast. I push her.

Here is where The Beast feels like a heavy piece of junk.

Back in TLN by about 3 pm and it's time to start dreaming about dinner. Vietnamese chicken tonight? Or maybe burritos with guacamole?