Saturday, August 11, 2018

16 Months After Our Move: Further Downsizing of Possessions

We have lived in this house long enough to know how our storage is working, what we are using and what is just sitting there and for the storage areas to get dusty - sigh.

I'm doing a round of closet and storage cupboard cleaning out while pulling out things that haven't been used and have no sentimental value. Throw in deciding what summer clothing in my wardrobe is on its last season and you have a minor downsizing in progress.

This is going to take some time!

Good. I need a new project.

What is up in your home in August?

Friday, August 10, 2018

16 Months Later & It Feels Like Home

I don't know why it is that each time I have moved as an adult I am surprised by how long it takes to feel like the new location is home. This time it took almost 16 months. It sure was easier as a student where you met lots of people also new to the area because of school!

So what makes this feel like home now?

1. I can find my way around without thinking about it and have identified key places to go for what I want and need.

2. I have made a few local friends and am seeing the potential for others.

3. I have gotten involved in 2 organizations which gives me some scheduled activities. I've also tried and decided against quite a few activities/organizations.

4. I've adjusted my exercise activities and wardrobe somewhat to fit the change in climate.

5. We have finished fixing the things that were identified as problems when we bought our new home and have found that the homes spaces are working for us.

6. We have found ways to integrate ourselves back into the daily lives of family after 20 years of being across the country and flying in for brief visits. This is still a work in progress though. If you move to be close to family again please don't be surprised if after the initial flurry of time together  you find that they are back in their routines and you don't exactly have an ongoing place in those. It doesn't mean they don't want you to - its just an adjustment.

If you are quite outgoing or are passionate about hobbies or activities that you can jump into in your new location, you may find that feeling at home comes about much faster. If you are even more introverted than I am, have few hobbies that involve others or feel sad about leaving your former home, it may take you longer and require a lot of concerted effort to feel at home.

I recently read a book that might help if you are struggling in a new location or planning a move and feeling anxious about how well you can adjust.

This book is partly a memoir of how she tried out various strategies to become connected to her new hometown after moving very frequently and partly reporting on social science research and/or experiences and data from other sources.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

July in a sentence a day

I've rejoined the group of lovely bloggers (organized by Leslie) who are keeping a diary by writing a sentence a day and posting each month. See what they all were up to by clicking on the links at the end of my post.


1st - I had a quiet day at and near home doing laundry, walking the dog and doing all the June month-end financial bookkeeping.

2nd - Kicked off the week right with a one and a half hour yoga class and a Pet Club board meeting.

3rd - Attended a fun Independence Day lunch and show where a quite good trio called The Sweethearts sang songs of the 1940s and 50s.

4th - Cleaned the house thoroughly, washed our clothes, stretched, did some paperwork and made a healthy lunch of poached egg over a spinach salad.

5th - OMG, about 6 months after starting the effort to add DH as co-owner of an online CD I was finally able to do it after they changed their online site and we spent about 2 hours struggling with how to make the changes required online; I followed this success with a one hour massage - happy!

6th - Another OMG as I finally went to a podiatrist and found that the toenail problem I thought was due to a fungus is the result of an injury 4+ years ago and can be fixed but I have been using the wrong treatment all these years!

7th - Finally found the bride and my online style group approved dress for my older son's outdoor "I Do BBQ" wedding where it will be hot or hotter - and it was on sale too.

8th - Tired of being in the house and too hot to hang out outside unless in the pool so I went to the library to hear the AHH! Capella group sing and the AC was out at the library lol.
9th - Sad news this morning as we learned my husband's 91 year old uncle died so we spent part of the afternoon with his aunt and cousin but also made it home in time for me to go to the Pet Club event about raptors.

10th - Had quite a stimulating discussion with my hair stylist about world events, politics and the reason he lowered his prices for short hair cuts for women (to charge the same for women as he does men who have short hair - cool!).

11th - When the highlight of your day is going to the dentist you need to plan better.

12th - We attended an uncle's funeral this afternoon and as our aunt said, "it wasn't sad" but rather uplifting.

13th - I locked myself out of the house without my phone, but security was able to get in through an unlocked window (bonus is that now know are locks are not keyed to the master so need to be changed).

14th - I seem to be getting too good at ordering things that don't fit and then having to return them by driving around as I did this morning.

15th - Met Son and DIL for ice cream as they drove by on the way back from a visit to friends.

16th - Cleaned the house - enough said.

17th - A very fun evening at an outdoor concert right here in Leisure Village with jazz and blues performed by the “Groovin’ Easy Big Band” with friends to chat with and homemade pineapple upside down cake served.

18th - Hosted a volunteer board meeting.

19th - Called my big brother with happy birthday wishes and met with a potential dog sitter for upcoming wedding weekend.

20th - I finally went in my community's pool but kept getting water in my mouth when trying to take a breath - why is that?

21st - A 3 activity day: visit to the modern Port Hueneme lighthouse on a gray day with a good explanation of how a Fresnel lens works and how the old lighthouse was moved across the port on a barge, lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, and then a 90th birthday celebration for a beloved aunt.

22nd - Latest round of returning online clothing and shoe orders - le sigh.

23rd - Went to sign up for 2 week long private swim lessons starting 7/30 (as my attempt at lap swimming showed me I need a brush up on swim technique) and learned that everyone goes on a wait list until the instructor roster is final and then they call you if you get a space.

Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate24th - It was a tough assignment, but I stuck with it and researched in person the best bakeries in town with justifiable sampling along the way.
Spiced chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, whipped cream, cinnamon dust, and chocolate shavings. Photo from website as mine was eaten before thinking about pictures!

25th - Lunch at a new to me restaurant with a new friend and I would go back again as it was tasty and pleasant.

26th - I volunteered to be the Pet Club rep at the new resident welcome meeting so that was my evening.

27th - We had planned to be driving to Berkeley today for a weekend visit with our son and his family but their house closing was delayed so we have 4 unplanned days to fill.

28th - Saw the latest Mission Impossible movie with my sweetie and then we had dinner at the Thai Peru restaurant and, yes, the owners are Thais from Peru.

29th - It was so satisfying to be able to provide an online friend with lots of recommendations and connections in the part of Atlanta where she is moving.

30th - My first of 8 private swimming lessons was early this morning and I learned a lot to help me swim laps more effectively and I won the picnic basket raffle at my Trader Joes - look at all that and a basket too!

31st - Its a wrap with another swim lesson and the dog's routine monthly shot at the vet.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Getting out of my comfort zone

Joining in with a monthly update (organized by Leslie) of what I have done to shake things up a bit as I try things out of my comfort zone. Check out what everyone else has been up to by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post.

I started private swimming lessons in hopes of making lap swimming a exercise habit!

After finally going to my neighborhood pool and trying to swim laps but, after getting mouthfuls of water when gasping for breath, I decided it was time to learn to swim laps effectively. Enter the private swim lessons offered at my town's aquatic center.

Since the last time I took swim lessons I must have been about 10 years old and now I am a month short of 69, I wasn't sure what to expect. Sure I know the basics of 3 or 4 strokes but my technique is sloppy and I really haven't gone lap swimming for about 12 years.

First lesson was at 8:45 am yesterday and I learned a lot including that basically my freestyle stroke was good but has room for improvement and that my legs were rubbery after the lesson LOL.

What did I learn? We focused on freestyle only and I learned that my breathing technique had lots of room for improvement.

o   I need to breathe out through my nose instead of my mouth & in through a "small" mouth rather than fully open
o   2 strokes – breath – 4 strokes – breath for a good breathing pattern to reduce hyperventilating
o   Keep kicking while breathing and let my toes kick out of the water. Also glide a bit with left arm forward while taking (gasping?) a breath
o   Kick a fuller range of motion and be sure to kick equally to using arms

o   Lift my arm up with bent elbow then skim water as come forward instead of doing an arm circle

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Little Gems and Fun Finds in July

As I am feeling so much more settled here in S. Cal I have been finding little gems to appreciate and things that are making life more fun.

Right now I am having a snack of Trader Joe's Pink Grapefruit Marmalade on sourdough toast. I love pink grapefruit and I don't like sweet jellies or jams. This is perfect and it was a chance find.

I went to lunch with a new friend and finally got to try Relm Wine & Beer, a women owned business that started about the time we moved here. Nice lunch menu and the ambiance was perfect. It was fun that we sat under a unique light fixture made of a long tree branch wrapped in fairy lights and hung with clear crystals of all sizes and shapes. A homemade crystal chandelier! I want one.

If I had to pick a 3rd one it would be the excitement (low level to be sure) of deciding to sign up for private swim lessons to see if lap swimming can become an exercise venue for me. I'll let you know how it works out but at 8:45 am for 4 days a week for two weeks I'll be giving it a go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Explore where you moved to in a targeted way

We have mentioned to each other several times that we were surprised there wasn't a really good bakery in our new hometown. So while we were driving Saturday I decided to see if there really wasn't or if we just hadn't found it. Enter a list from Google and a 1 1/2 hour dog grooming session to wait out in a very hot day.

I first went and joined AAA to check off another of those move to-do items I never finished. Then I drove around trying to find all the bakeries on my list.

I now have a list of a very expensive bakery that looks to be quite good or at least quite visually appealing in terms of cakes and pastries, a cupcake place I know is delicious, and a busy Mexican style bakery and lunch spot.

Some samples may even have been purchased and eaten in the name of research - hot chocolate cupcake anyone? Delicious.
Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate
Spiced chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, whipped cream, cinnamon dust, and chocolate shavings

While driving around I also found a newly opened Tifa Chocolate and Gelato which is apparently their second location in the county, a Noah's Bagels, and a charming little bookstore called Mrs. Fig's Bookworm.

I was unable to find one of the bakeries on my list so will do more research to see if it still exists. So many businesses here are in mini-malls and thus are hard to see from the street even if you have an address.

Yesterday I stopped in at the town aquatic center to register for private swim lessons and found it is quite a lovely facility. Waiting to hear if I got a spot to work with an instructor to refine my lap swimming technique. If I do it is 4 half hour lessons a week for 2 weeks. Way to get back into swimming or truly decide it isn't for me.

Tomorrow a new friend and I are going to try the women owned wine bar in one of the mini-malls as a lunch outing. It looks like they have good salads and sandwiches on their menu.

I am now inspired to come up with more lists of things to research and try in my new hometown.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Two dog sitters identified and the world opens up a bit more

Another thing I have delayed dealing with after our move is finding a dog sitter and getting the dog used to and happy with that person. Big steps in that direction the last couple of weeks.

I took the dog over with me to thank the neighbors who helped me call security to get back in my house after I locked myself out. They have to very friendly, calm cats who I have taken care of so I mentioned that Lola loves and is gentle with cats. My friend instantly invited us in and went to get the friendliest cat and we held them about 6 inches apart to meet. They were both quiet and calm so now Lola really wants to go over there to see the kitty! Be association my friend is also now OK to her so she offered to take care of the dog when we are out of town and even sleep over. I'm going to use her as back up or when we are gone more than the 6 hours we can crate the dog.

Then once I decided to leave the dog home for the wedding weekend, I contacted another neighbor who has an elderly dog that has Cushing's disease and was happy with a dog sitter they used for a long trip. We met yesterday with this dog sitter who moves into your house for the duration and Lola was interested in and calm with her so I booked her time. Yeah!

I was initially embarrassed that my typed instructions was 2 pages long but she said it wasn't the longest she had been given.

You may wonder what the big deal is but when you have a dog with Addison's additional stress means they burn through the medicine that keeps them alive at a faster than usual rate so minimizing stress is very helpful. Add to that the fact that she is very unsure of new people due to having been abused before we got her and the right people make all the difference. She only boarded with her foster family in Atlanta and loved them to pieces so was very excited to go to their house. Finding not one, but two, resources here is a great relief.

My son and DIL-to-be have offered to take care of her too but they are across town and work so we would only do that for a weekend away probably. And of course that doesn't work for their wedding weekend.

What we do for our pets!

PS. If you are planning a major move as we did I'd like to add that our to do list was so long that eventually we ran out of steam and simply didn't get everything done. We are circling back now and finishing up some of the not-urgent items that were on that original list. It takes time lol.