Sunday, July 29, 2012

Everything is Beachy Keen!


I have finally reached the point in life where a vacation IS a vacation and not just repeating my regular routine in a different location. This time it was lots of rest and relaxation.

We stayed at the lovely Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, CA 

...with a beautiful view of the ocean.

 This where I set up camp, my idea of Heaven is sitting poolside, with a nice man bringing me food and drinks, a good book and no tab! Hey maybe I was there--except for the tab part!

 Lucky me--Jake and Katelyn have always shared my love of the sun and a good book--on a Kindle of course!

We did have to get in a little exercise--after all we were laying around in swimsuits. One day I took a Yoga class on the that is an exercise program I could stick with.

And then there is the Boogie Boarding, in some pretty wild waves I might add. I even caught a few of my own--no pictures, just imagine it!

Steve and Katelyn have decided they are "beach people." Jake and I are still "mountain people" but we love to visit.

Fortunately, Katelyn is going to write a bestselling murder mystery and buy us one of these so we can visit her often.

Will it start with a dead arab sheik's body being found on the beach?

No one stares when you have just one boy and one girl and go to the continental breakfast in the morning and look like you waited until you were forty to start your family.

If we did have to leave the hotel--to shop for Katelyn's beach house-we did it in style-Flintstone style!

These trees fascinated us--palm/pines--for the mixed orientation family-beach people and mountain people!

Jake and Katelyn wanted to catch a few waves down the road in Oceanside (I am REALLY not a "public beach" person I decided. )

Aaaah, everyone is a beach person at sunset!

And on paper, I can have it all!

(Next blog...San Diego)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Off We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder---of Idaho!

We went to Mountain Home, Idaho for a small family reunion and to celebrate the retirement from the Air Force of my cousin, Master Sargent Mike!

 In our family nothing says, "Welcome Home" like a pot of Cajun cooking. My Aunt Mary/Martha Stewart was ready and waiting with Nana's Cajun cookbook, Jambalaya and Shrimp Creole--just typing those words makes me all warm and fuzzy inside--and my mouth begins to water again for leftovers!
 And nothing stirs the heart strings like sharply dressed men and women briskly turning on heel to post our nations colors. Then Mike's girls sang a beautiful rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

 Mike was honored for his twenty-one years in the Air Force serving in Egypt, Japan, Iraq and Venezuela--not to mention Mountain Home and Fort Walton Beach! You could feel the love and respect of those young men and women who looked up to him.

So much love and family support was felt during the entire ceremony!

It was touching when Mike called his Mom up to present her with a medal for being the mother of a serviceman. Somehow I think my Uncle R.A. was very close at hand.

Cheryl and Allison worked an entire day making this gift of love--a cake honoring Mike and his service. I once regretfully chided Cheryl that I would rather die than bake cakes (which is still true!) However, I have come to appreciate how much of Cheryl's love goes into each and every cake and now I stand in awe each time I see one, not just of her talent, but of the way she mixes herself, her caring, her skills, her love into the batter and then watches as within a matter of minutes we all eat it--and that makes her happy!! (If I ever do bake a cake--no one will ever get to eat it!)

Andy was part of all the festivities--nothing puts a smile on his face more than relatives--especially the long, lost variety!

Cathy was my travelmate, driver (while my arm continues to heal) and confidant at one in morning when I couldn't sleep--thanks for listening to me rattle on for a ten hour drive--under the influence of a lot of ice and ibuprofen--and a little apple pie....there is nothing like a sister who knows all your flaws, history and still says "ooohh, I'm sorry" and comforts you when you mention Jr. High angst and you are fifty some years old!

Cheyenne was in horse heaven at Mike's place--sharing in the joy of this new colt. I get all teary eyed when I think of how much love there is between Cheyenne and her Caraway family. Seeing her in the pick-up truck with cousin Scott as we were leaving with a gigantic smile on her face sealed the whole trip. The greatest gift I have in life is a family filled with love.

Scott gave Mike a whale vertebrae he found on the beaches of Barrow, Alaska--Scott's stories of the furthermost Northern City of the US are a blog all of their own. He also presented him with an Oosik--ask the Google God--that is what you get for all those years of service I guess!

Mountain Home Idaho may be one of "flattest" places I have ever visited but what an amazing sunset--it gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "Big Sky Country" --I guess that is why the Air Force has chosen to makes its base there!
Congratulations Mike--can't wait to see where life takes you next!