Tag Archive for Southern California

Southern California in the Fall

Here in Southern California we have been in the middle of a quite a few 100 degree days.  May I remind you it is already the middle of October.  Now I realize that in one sense we are lucky to be basking in the glow of the sun.  But on the other hand it would be so nice just to have a bit of a breather from the heat, and get some cooler weather going here.

1-washington trip 059I have lived in Southern California for over 30 years, but I grew up in Northern Illinois.  So I have experienced the change of seasons, the dreaded winter blues, and the wonder of spring bringing everything back to life.  But today as I sit here sipping my iced tea, while the thermometer reads 97 I am a little jealous of all of you who are able to bask in the colors of fall.  Seeing the leaves change on the trees and the transformation from yellows to oranges to reds is a wonder of nature that will never cease to amaze me.  In order for me to see a real change of seasons I have to take a “Leafer Trip” with my favorite Travel Man.    You know,  we travel to where the leaves are changing just to take in the sights and colors all around us.  We have done a trip like this a couple of times, and have had good success seeing the trees and leaves in their full color glory.

Fall for most of the country also brings the chill in the air, the brisk and cool mornings, and the dusting off of the crock pots to make that first batch of soup. I definitely have an aversion to eating any soup while the temps are hovering in the 90’s.  It has to be just a bit cooler for me to enjoy a bowl of soup.  Here in California-ville we have to wait until closer to November to experience all things fall.  This is ok, but by that time you are staring at the calendar looking at how close it is to Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  So we do have a “fall” season in my opinion, it is just so much shorter.

In the good old days, fall would be signified by the kids heading back to school, much shorter days, probably some sort of sports for the winter season and the dreaded Santa Ana winds.  These are the winds that kickup over the mountains, and bring lots of heat a dust, a very southwestern event.  These days we don’t have anyone left in school or sports, but my ode to fall is my ash tree in the backyard.   The leaves change colors on that tree to a nice golden yellow. Once the leaves are gone on that tree it’s officially fall here for me.

Isn’t it About Time I Wished You All a Happy New Year?

Happy New Year, dear friends.  2014 is already in full swing, and I am just now getting back to my writing.  I’m hoping you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with family and love.  January got off to a bit of a wonky start because of…The Flu.  Ugh.  I’m actually the one who got sick first, on New Year’s Eve of all days.  I was battling the flu beast for a good week or so.  Luckily for me Travel Man was home to take care of me. January 3rd was probably one of the hardest goodbyes that Travel Man and I have had in a long, long time.  He did not want to go, and I didn’t want him to go either.  But, boo-hooing aside I got over the flu, and then almost everyone else in my family had a visit from the flu beast in the past two weeks. That brings us to the point we are at now.  It’s the last week of January, and nearly Superbowl Sunday.

My how time flies.   And this time is was not necessarily while we were having fun.  You would think here in sunny, Southern California we could avoid the dreaded winter cold and flu.  But the reality is we don’t.  The flu that just rocketed through the family (I have coined it the “lightning flu”) is probably the worst we’ve had in over five years.

As of this writing everyone who has gotten the flu, is over it.  Hopefully I haven’t jinxed those of you in the family who haven’t had “it” yet!  The past few days the weather’s been great, doors and windows have been opened, and all the germs have been ordered to leave the building!!

We had such a great holiday season with all of the kids and grandkids here at the Party House.  It’s always so enjoyable when we can get  everyone gathered together  for a little while to celebrate.

family xmas 2013

Christmas Day 2013
Photo courtesy of J.Weise.

Look at all of those smiles, what a great looking bunch.  Hopefully your 2014 has gotten off to an amazing start.  We’re looking forward to lots of birthday celebrations together, an engagement, some mini vacations, and baseball.

Sunrise…Sunset

Yesterday was an unusual day for clouds here in Southern California.  We do not get treated to the picturesque clouds of the Midwest, the mountain ranges of Colorado or Wyoming too often.  But, yesterday was a day filled with clouds, and we were treated to a great cloud filled sunrise and sunset.  And just as luck would have it I was able to capture both ends of the day at just the right moment from my back yard.

Sunrise:

2013-11-013

Sunset:

2013-11-12 16.52.31

I found myself humming “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof as I captured the sunset picture at dinnertime last night.  A wonderful, beautiful sight.  Wishing you all a wondrous Wednesday.

An Eye Opening , “Power-less” Day.

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Transformer repair – lots of trucks and equipment.
Photo courtesy of tspindigital.com

Today is Saturday, October 26.  It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and we’ve been a neighborhood with no power since 5 am this morning.  It’s not our entire area just our little block of a neighborhood.  Weird huh?  When I called Southern California Edison to report the outage the customer service rep says, “Are you sure your power is out Ma’am? I’m not showing any outages in your area.”  I was the first one to call in.  And then she proceeded to ask me if we had checked the breaker box.  Ha!

I have to admit I was not planning on spending today with no power to the house.  It’s somewhat inconvenient,  much quieter, and  really making me want to take a nap, and I am not a napper by trade.

We are hosting a birthday dinner/party tonight for our oldest daughter.  My Mom will be handing out flashlights when everyone walks in the door.   It will be an adventure!!

In light of this change in our Saturday plans I have compiled a list of ten things I have been enjoying or will be enjoying with no power today.

  1. What’s that you say, no laundry can be done today? Whoopee , no problem there.
  2. Can’t run the dishwasher, that’s ok, we have lots of paper plates in the pantry.
  3. No TV during the power outage- that’s fine, I probably watch too many home improvement shows as it is.  However, I would like the power to be back on for the World Series game tonight.
  4. What? I can’t be on the wireless internet either? That’s fine I probably spend too much time on the computer.
  5. No baking or cooking (my stove requires electronic ignition) .  Honey, let’s go to Olive Garden for lunch? Yum.
  6. Birthday dinner will require paper plates and plastic cups! Easy cleanup! No problem.
  7. Watching our two cats interact with one another.  They have this love-hate relationship going on.  The older cat is always growling and hissing at the younger guy.  Even when he is doing absolutely nothing.
  8. I’m noticing that having  a technology free day is not a bad thing! Maybe I should do this once a week.
  9. Maybe The Party House needs to “disable” the wi-fi for family gatherings.  Hmmm??  What would the twenty-something crowd do with themselves??
  10. Having Travel Man home today to start-up the generator -priceless.   He loves going into “survival” mode.  It’s a guy thing.

An interesting side note to this day- the power did not get turned back on until 9 pm on Saturday night.  We strung a few lights in the house via my Mom’s RV generator for the birthday dinner.  The conversation was great, not a lot of cell phone surfing going on.  Oh, and my kind brother and Travel Man hooked up the TV so we could see the last few innings of the World Series game.  My family is so great.  Happy Monday everyone!

Summer’s Already Gone?

1-IMG_0184This is the first summer in a long, long, long time that I can remember that we never did make it to the beach.  No sand between the toes, no salty ocean water, and no frozen chocolate malt cup with one of those little wooden spoons.  It’s a little bit of a bummer since we are less than an hour from the ocean’s shore.  But, things happen and life rolls on.  There will be many more summer’s at the beach.

This is me pouting a little, and stomping my feet a couple of times.  I have such great memories of going to the beach with all of my kids, and their cousins.  For a few summers we would go to the beach once a week.  We’d leave right after lunch and get to the  ocean’s shore around 2pm.  We’d take dinner with us.  Cold chicken legs, watermelon, and an assortment of chips and what not’s.  We’d swim and watch the sunset, and would not leave until it got dark.  Such good times and such great memories.  Sometimes I would have 5 or 6 kids in the car with me, along with all of the boogie boards, towels, lots of sunscreen, and food.  My Momster van would be stuffed to the brim.

For quite a few years we had an annual family picnic at the beach.  We would set the date so everyone could be together for a day of fun in the sun.  There would be tons of food, a few e-z ups for shade, lots of chairs, and a wagon to haul it all in.  Then there is a certain Travel Guy in the family who would get to the beach extremely early, I’m talking like 6 or 7 am.  He would stake out a fire ring, take a grill with him to cook on,  and get a spot all staked out for the day.  I’m sure I remember him taking some parking cones to help him stake out our “party zone” for the day.  He’d usually have a few helpers with him, who’d get treated to a breakfast cooked beachside.

Family members would trickle into the “party zone” throughout the day. There would be lots of eating and swimming,  swimming and eating, Frisbees, a few baseball gloves and a ball for the kids to play pickle, and maybe a kite or two.

By dinnertime we’d have a fire roaring in the ring.  Hot dogs and hamburgers roasting, salads galore, and all of the kids just chomping at the bit to roast marshmallows for their s’mores. Of course it wouldn’t be a proper marshmallow fest without a game of chubby bunny first.

We’d roast lots and lots of mallows, eat s’mores, laugh and kibbutz about all things family.  The day would end when  the beach closed, around 10pm, and then it was the long, tired trek home.  Such great memories and such good times.

It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten all of the gang together for a family beach day.  It gets harder and harder every year with all of the kids moving along in their own directions. It was a fun family tradition that hopefully we can revive again soon.

Now fall is upon us.  Here in Southern California we look forward to the cooler days and nights.  Many, many cooler nights.  We still can get to the beach a time or two, it’s just not the same as during the hot days of summer.

Does your family have a  favorite summertime get together?

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