Winding down…Family heading back…Trip to Kona today…Two plus hour drive…New whale sightings photos!

 

Tom captured this morning’s sunrise.

 

At this house, we are able to see the sunrise whereas as the first house, it is blocked by this house.

We knew this time would come and we’d carefully planned for it. We’re all good about saying goodbye having had a great family visit. We all have our busy and fulfilling lives awaiting us.

It’s hard to say goodbye to the grandchildren knowing they’ll be so changed when we see them again, when that will be at this point, we don’t know.

A whale’s back, spotted yesterday. I took all of these whale shots from the lanai.

The life we’ve chosen has a price to pay. But then, every kind of life we choose has its limitations, restrictions, obligations, and challenges. It’s the way it is. Choosing to be happy in those choices, whatever they may be, is the key.

We choose happiness, not sorrow and sadness for being away from our kids and grandchildren, our siblings, and other family members and friends. For many, if not most, being in close proximity to family is their way to achieve happiness

The dorsal fin.

For me, after years of illness to finally feel well, inspires me to see the world for as long as I can. For Tom, after 42 years of working on the railroad, the regimented schedule, the often long hours, and the hard work inspired him. 

For us as a couple, the adventure, the excitement drives us on with a wild sense of discovering as much of the world as we can, sharing the experience together as lovers, companions, and friends. 

More dorsal fin.

Documenting these experiences only add to the depth of our choices as now we say goodbye to this chapter, rapidly approaching the next months in Kauai, with time spent exploring and, time spent in quiet contemplation of where we’ve been, where we are at the moment and where we hope to be in the future as the planning continues.

After today, they’ll all be gone except for Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent who are staying until January 2nd, a mere five days away. After today when TJ, Sarah, and the two boys leave, we’ll spend our remaining time in the two houses winding down our rental agreement.

not the best angle, the tail known as the “fluke.’

On January 3rd, Tom and I will move back into the first house to spend our remaining days in the Big Island until January 15th when we fly the short distance to Kauai.

Today, we’re driving to Kona to take TJ and family back to the airport after their three-week visit. A stop at Costco in on the agenda in order to pick up the new computer awaiting me that I ordered over the phone yesterday morning.

Another whale spotted a short time later.

We’ll be back with more while spending Tammy and family’s remaining days on the island. They are quite the adventurers so I’m sure we’ll have much more to share in photos on the Big Island of Hawai’i (as spelled by locals).

Have a satisfying Sunday as we wind down to the New Year.

                                             Photo from one year ago on December 28, 2013:

It was one year ago today that we spent time at the Crocodile River wrapped up in the magic of a small herd of elephants engaged in their usual routine.  For more photos and details, please click here.

 

 

Part 1…Another amazing day…Wonders awaiting determined investigation…Pahoa Marketplace closing for lava…

Part 2 is cancelled for tomorrow due to another story about the lava flow fast approaching Pahoa.

Sandy beach spots for enjoying the tide pools filled with fish and turtles at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

 

More sandy areas at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

Yesterday, we took off with a plan in mind; haircuts for the boys at the soon-to be-closed-due-to-lava, Supercuts at the Pahoa Marketplace, a visit to the Lyman Museum, and later to dine at the popular, highly rated Hilo Burger Joint about a mile from the museum. Leaving the house at 1:00 pm, we had plenty of time to leisurely make our way to each location. 

Sarah and Nik, walking along a high ledge at the Onekahakaha Beach Park.

With no GPS in our possession without the availability of SIM cards in the US without a contract, I always find directions online and take photos of them to store on my phone. 

White sand at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

Unfortunately, with many roads poorly marked in Hawaii and the propensity for bad directions from online maps, it’s easy to end up in the wrong spot, not necessarily lost (with Tom’s good sense of direction) but unable to find an exact location.

Easy to maneuver steps into the crystal clear water of the tide pools.

So was the case yesterday in finding the Lyman Museum, which we’d chosen to visit more as a result of it being our namesake than anything else. Although, when looking up its particular, this place could definitely pique the interest of all of us. Finding it, on the other hand, was a challenge.

One of many tide pools at the Onekahakaha Beach Park, perfect for snorkeling.

After driving the general area of the museum, so we thought, we “accidentally” ended up on a dead-end road leading to the ocean. Oh my, were we in luck! 

Lovely views of the beach.

We found ourselves at the most amazing family park, Onekahakaha Beach Park, the most kid and family-friendly park we’ve seen in Hawaii since we arrived almost two and a half months ago. 

Covered picnic areas at Onekahakaha Beach Park.

We all oohed and aahed over the prospect of spending plenty of great family time at this park with had every possible amenity of a beach park, clear waters, great snorkeling, ideal swimming conditions, shallow waters for the young swimmers, sandy beaches at several points, playgrounds, grills, well-maintained restrooms, and many covered picnic table pavilions. 

Gorgeous views of a few tide pools at Onekahakaha Beach Park.

Seeing this perfect location put our minds in overdrive, putting a plan in place. Our plan is for the 14 of us to spend Christmas Day at the park, bringing meat to cook, salads, and beverages in the coolers. What an unusual Christmas Day outdoors for our cold weather Minnesota family members, used to snow, ice, and cold weather during the holiday season!

Sign at the entrance to the park.

After spending almost an hour perusing the park, spotting a giant sea turtle in the shallow pools, and numerous colorful fish, we were content that we had a perfect plan in place which only escalated as the day wore on.

Jayden in the “lava” chair at the Lyman Museum.

Back on the road, after taking numerous photos of the park, we were on our way to the Lyman Museum finding from a friendly local passerby that we were quite a distance away. 

Naturally occurring granite in Hawai’i.

Heeding his directions, we were on our way but only after we “accidentally” spotted a sign pointing in the direction of the museum, we were all thrilled to have found it. Of course, the online directions were wrong once again. That’s not to say that GPS is always right either, as we all know from experience.

Fossils on display at the Lyman Museum.

With only a $21 family rate fee for the six of us to enter, we had plenty of time to wander the two floors in the time remaining until they closed at 4:30 pm. Then, we’d head to the restaurant dinner less than a mile down the road.

More fossils on display.

Much to our delight, everyone loved the museum. Snap happy me, shot, photo after photo. But, I won’t bore our readers with too many photos of the museum pieces and spread the photos from our outing over the next few days.

Colorful coral from the coral reefs in Hawai’i.

Before we left the museum, I asked the receptionist if she’d confirm our directions to the restaurant. Good thing I asked. She explained they’d moved over a year ago. Funny, the old location showed on all of the maps. We’d have been driving around for days.

Amethyst on display.

Luckily, the kindly attendant gave us directions to the new location, and once again, we were back on the road, confident we’d find the restaurant which we’d done so easily.

Hawaiian built structure at the museum.

The Hilo Burger Joint is rated #28 of 206 on TripAdvisor. With this information, we were confident that we’d have a passable if not spectacular meal. Spectacular it was, some of us claiming it was the best burger, they’d ever had, myself included. I ordered a burger in a bowl with my preferred toppings of avocado, bacon, and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. Fabulous!

This beautiful Hawaiian lava photo caught our eye.

Discovering that the beef was local and grass-fed, I was in heaven knowing we’d all enjoy at least a chemical-free burger.

Exquisite works of art lined the walls in the Lyman Museum.

When we received the bill, including tip for $152.00, averaging at $25 per person including beverages, we decided to have Tom’s birthday at the Hilo Burger Joint (our treat), making our reservation for 14 at 6:00 pm on December 23rd, next Tuesday.

Interesting works of art.

Considering we’d already spent over $2000 on food since arriving on the Big Island on December 1st, with a few more shopping trips ahead, we realized it would probably cost no more to go out to dinner at this establishment than it would purchase all of the food for a meal for 14. 

An Asian mural on a wall in the museum.

Tom’s primary reason for choosing this option for his birthday is the fact that it’s one less meal for me to cook. Dining out on Tom’s birthday on the 23rd and Christmas Day at the park, bringing food to cook and salads, I’d only make dinner for Christmas Eve. This is a breeze, leaving me more time to spend with the family as opposed to stuck in the kitchen over three busy days in a row.

Tom, after his haircut, covering part of this sign so it reads, “Grandfather’s House.” Now, Grandfather doesn’t have a house but certainly rented two for this family gathering.

After dinner, we drove to the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, which Tom and I had visited when our ship docked in Hilo in October. A kindly cab driver drove us to see the park when we’d boarded the wrong bus at the pier, ending up at Walmart.

More items with the Lyman name.  They all loved it.

With no interest in Walmart, we hailed his cab for a ride back to the pier and the cab driver, who happened to live on Lyman St. (What?) agreed to take us on a little sightseeing tour for $10 plus a tip. We loved the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens and of course, the friendly cab driver.

After we left the museum, I walked across the street to take this photo.

Last night, we parked at the Liliuokalani Park when the family was anxious to see the ship, Norwegian’s Pride of America, leave the pier to head out to sea. With sunset fast approaching, we were able to see the ship’s bright lights as it pulled away from the dock.

The partial menu at the Hilo Burger Joint.

Returning home around 7:00 pm, we all hunkered down for some WiFi time on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. We’d had a great day.

Nik and TJ waiting for their food to be served.

Today, Tom and I will stay put except for my quick trip to the Pahoa Marketplace to take more photos as the entire mall prepares to evacuate by Thursday night as the lava quickly approaches the mall. This mall and gas station may be completely covered in lava by Christmas Day, sad for the employees and store owners in its path.

Tom sat across from me at the restaurant.

Yesterday, before we took off for the Lyman Museum, the three generations of Lyman boys; Tom, TJ, and Jayden each had haircuts together at the soon to be closed for lava. The staff and the owner of the Supercuts salon in the Pahoa marketplace worked fast and furiously to accommodate their customers in its last few days in business at this location. 

Sarah, Jayden, and Nik at the restaurant while we waited to be served. 

The shop is moving to two locations, Hilo and Keaau, and can be reached at 808-982-5707 or 808 965-5577 with questions. Tomorrow, we’ll share haircut photos of three generations, having cuts simultaneously. How fun was that!

Last night at dusk at Liliuokalani Park.

Have a wonderful “hump day” with the holiday season in full bloom.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2013:

Although the Hornbill house in Marloth Park had a few nuances, we found it the most wildlife-friendly location of the three houses we experienced in our three-month stay in the park. The friendly warthogs were daily visitors as shown in this visitor hanging out by the braaii, hoping for a leftover morsel. For photos of the house, please click here.

 

 

 

Sketchy weather…But, life is good…Two weeks so far on the Big Island…A year ago…Invaders for the day!

 

There’s never a shortage of visitors sitting in lounge chairs enjoying the views, as shown in the right in this photo.

One expects warm sunny weather in Hawaii. When we booked houses here, being situated on the ocean was a first consideration, secondly, affordable houses on the ocean. Yesterday’s optimism over a sunny day was quickly dashed when shortly after I posted it began to rain with 55 mph trade winds.

The swimming area at Isaac Hale beach which we visited on a sunny day, meeting a delightful woman from Colorado. Kathy was a college professor and moved to the island 13 years ago to lighten the load of stressful life. She seemed happy and fulfilled.

At the time we booked this first three bedroom ocean front house, fairly affordable considering the proximity to the sea, we knew that this side of the island had a propensity for gloomy weather at times. Also, at that point two years ago not all of our family committed to being able to come.

Another view of Isaac Hale Beach.

Since being together as a family was of our utmost concern, we forged ahead when ocean front properties often are booked well in advance especially at the busy holiday season, at that point unsure as to how many would actually be able to join us.

Another vegetation lined narrow road we traveled.

It was a year later that all had decided they’d come, leaving us with the only option of booking another nearby house, with at that point, there was no space for four of us; Tom and I, my sister and eldest son, neither of whom are able to come due to recent health developments.

We visited a lava-covered area marked for hikers at the dead end of long road after leaving Isaac Hale Beach, an approximate 11 mile drive down a narrow road. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, at Uncle Robert’s next door to this  hiking site a farmer’s market type party is held where goods, drinks and food is available at reasonable prices beginning at 5:00 pm. A display was already set up for the evening’s activities with tie-dyed type tee shirts at $45 each, not necessarily a reasonable price. After all, this is Hawaii.

We were faced with a total of 14 of us, with 10 planned for this house and four for the house next door, according to our rental agreement. As the six of us have lived in this three-bedroom house for these past eight days, we’ve come to realize that this house is too small for three families. 

Various stations are set up for hikers wanting to explore the lava laden area.

Thus, with the permission of the owner of the house next door, via an email response last night, the six of us are moving next door this upcoming weekend. She’s agreed that we can add two more, over the original four, at no additional cost. For this we are grateful.

See Tom in the bottom right of this photo?  We were checking out the information for the lava hike, not necessarily interested in doing this.

This benefits all of us in many ways;  it frees up cupboard and refrigerator space that is now packed to the rafters with foods for the six of us which we’ll move next door. It frees up another bedroom which the remaining eight can use as they choose. (We’ll stay out of it). This way everyone will have the room they prefer.

Alternate view of the lava covered hiking area.

Add the fact that the six of us are in a groove that works well, its’ an easy transition. Thus, as the rental agreement allows us to move in on Saturday, Tom and I will move all of our belongings over there first, cleaning up as we go.

I imagine our readers may have become bored with our seemingly endless photos of rocky lava shorelines. But, each one looks unique to us as we wander about the island.

The next day, Sunday, TJ, Sarah and the two boys will pack and move in next door with us. This will allow each family one night on their own, a little break as “roommates” over the three week stint. We’ll all pitch in once they move over and clean this house, leaving it ready for the two families moving in on Sunday and Monday.

It’s a good plan. We’re excited to have had the cooperation of the owner next door allowing us to add two more to our rental agreement giving everyone the much needed space. 

This small house at Isaac Hale Beach has been owned for generations by a Hawaiian family.

We’re disappointed and concerned for our loved ones that are unable to come, but hope to see them both during our four month stint in Kauai, starting one month from today.

Interesting driftwood.

Gee, it looks like the sun is peeking out.  We’d better get our swimsuits on and head to the tide pools before it disappears again.

Happy Monday to all. 

                                         Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2013:

Early in the morning we wandered outside to the veranda, coffee and laptops in hand.  Within minutes, we were surrounded by baboons.  Their visit taught us a few lessons about how to handle them to prevent future visits. It was an interesting day to say the least.  For details, please click here.

 

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, kind of days…Is time our friend? Amazing one year ago photo!!!

 

These are Noni fruit growing on our street.

Finally, the sun is shining today and with two, soon to be six grandkids in tow, cloudy days aren’t much fun in Hawai’i when water activities are foremost in their minds. The cloudy rainy days have momentarily passed as have the accompanying rainbows we often spot in the horizon.

Nik and Jayden in the yard checking out the waves.

Here’s the link to this song, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows,” by Leslie Gore from 1965. 

Today, if the nice weather holds up, we’ll head to the Kaholo Tide Pools. With some sun and warmth, it will be an enjoyable outing. Although it hasn’t been “cold” its been cool and damp these past several days.

This is the Cook Pine.  Beautiful, soft to the touch.

This morning after our showers, we put on our swimsuits ready to tackle a perfect day. Tom’s already sprayed the salt off the windows facing the sea and our views are unimpeded by salt while I sit here inside preparing today’s post and Tom checks out his FB. The windows are wide open allowing the ocean breezes to waft inside making the air refreshing. We love it.

Tall evergreens frequently seen in Hawaii.

We now realize why AC is not necessary on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It never really gets hot enough to warrant it, except for perhaps a few days in the summer. Then again, most tourists don’t visit the islands in the summer in their attempt to get away from cold and inclement weather in the winter months.

Dewey flowers, a type of Lily, in our yard after the rain.

Our other family members, a total of eight, will arrive at varying times next Sunday. We’ll be prepared for their arrival with plenty of food on hand, including snacks, Kona coffee, macadamia nuts and a hot dinner waiting. 

After looking through hundreds of photos, I can’t find the names of this unusual fruit. Come on, Hawaiian, help me out here!

Their rooms will be cleaned and prepared for their arrival (no cleaning people here, except us) and we’ll anxiously wait by the door as they drive themselves from the Kona airport to our house in Pahao. 

Shoreline from a walk in our neighborhood.

There are two major airports on this island, Kona (the largest international) and Hilo, a smaller regional airport.  When we booked their flights long ago to and from Kona there were less layovers and more options, as opposed to the Hilo airport. 

We spotted this “package” floating hundreds of yards out to sea.  What could it be? Please comment, if you know.

The stumbling block was the two hour drive. At that point, we assumed we’d be picking everyone up at the Kona airport.  We figured they’d prefer to spend less time waiting at an airport somewhere for the extra 90 minutes drive time through the beautiful countryside of Hawaii. We opted for the later. Hopefully, they’ll all agree once they arrive.

The two families arriving next Sunday have rented their own vehicles and will transport themselves both ways.  Plus, it enables all of us to go out together or in groups at our leisure. This works out well and we appreciate their doing so. 

When the sun peeked out, we took more photos of the sea.

Unfortunately, and to our disappointment our son Richard from Las Vegas is unable to come at this time due to a recent biking accident and major shoulder injury. 

Also, my younger sister Julie, is also staying behind due to an upcoming serious surgery. We’ll be there for her in our hearts and prayers and by Skype on a daily basis. Yes, it’s worrisome, especially being so far away, especially when there is nothing I can do for her except call, with the family here during that difficult period

Often, plants without flowers are colorful in Hawai’i.

We’re hoping they will both come to visit us in Kauai during the four months we’ll be living on the garden island beginning on January 15, 2015, a little over a month away.  How quickly the time flies.

The clouds and raging sea over the past few days.

Ah, time, it’s our friend and our enemy. When we have it, we try to remain grateful, using it well. When it is taken from us, we scramble to make the most of what we have. In neither case, admonishing its existence is pointless and frustrating, especially when we see as we age that it whisks past us like a runaway train. All we can do, is “get out of the way” and make the most of it!

That’s what Tom and I attempt to do each day. Are we always successful? No. Ms. Overly Cheerful and Mr. Overly Grumpy may differ from time to time, as do circumstances over which we have no control. 

Interest cement house and old automobile while on one of our drives.

But, we continue on, full of love and full of hope for living life to the maximum, in the moment and ultimately, for time to come.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 14, 2013:

This has got to be one of my most favorite things to have ever witnessed when stepping outdoors one morning from our house in Marloth Park, South Africa, looking through the carport, one year ago today. Long legs. Very long legs. Gingerly, I walked back to the kitchen door and whispered to Tom, ‘Stop pouring the coffee, honey. Quickly and quietly, step outside.” The look on his face when he saw these legs through the carport will be a look I’ll always remember of sheer joy and wonder. But, the fun had just begun when 12 giraffes came into our yard, staying over an hour while we took videos and photos.  To see more, please click here.

 

 

Planning for the future…Eight months and counting…Family time…

 

Taking photos in the souk is a huge challenge.  Islamic law prohibits its followers from being photographed. As a result, the shopkeepers, rightfully so, don’t want to be in the photos. As you’ve seen, we’ve diligently respected this. But, in an effort to illustrate the unique offerings and culture in the old Medina of Marrakech, we hesitantly take photos as appropriate situations arise. 

In seven months we’ll land by a cruise in Oahu, Hawaii, where we’ll stay for 11 days. Tom, a history buff, is looking forward to visiting Pearl Harbor. Staying for this period gives us time to soak in the frenzied atmosphere of Waikiki and Honolulu and then we’re off for six weeks in Maui for sun and surf.

Leaving Maui on December 1, 2014, we’ll fly to the Big Island for 46 days, at first renting one house on the ocean and on December 15th, renting the house next door, a weird coincidence, with neither related in any way to the other.

While walking, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can get.  Sandals and shoes are a common item for sale in the souk and the Big Square.

Beginning on December 6th, our adult children and their families will begin to arrive. Long ago, we had suggested a family gathering at our expense to enable the time together while each would also have a vacation in fabulous Hawaii.

Little did we realize at the time the skyrocketing cost of airline tickets anywhere in the US mainland to Hawaii, ranging from US $1300 to US $1800 per person especially during the busy holiday season. Of course, we knew it would be outrageous. We carefully budgeted not only for the cost of the tickets but also the two houses, food, two rental vehicles, and on and on. 

Not all areas of the souk are filled with active shops and tourists. When searching for restaurants, we often find ourselves in a quieter, less occupied area such as this, wondering how these shop owners can stay in business with limited foot traffic.

We’ve just begun the process of booking the tickets, with one of our four kid’s family’s tickets already set and more to be booked in the next few weeks until everyone has a ticket. Within 60 days, the tickets will all be purchased.

Several times each day we check prices. We have apps that are checking for us as prices change.  Not much is changing at this time. We need to wrap this up soon since we doubt the prices will drop to any degree. The fallacy about prices being lower on certain times or days of the week is just that, a fallacy. We haven’t seen any differences during any specific periods.  

This shop was mainly offering these colorful rocks for sale. A few cats were playing among the items for sale.

Of course, it’s predicated by some formulas and schedules the airlines use that is unpredictable. What motives would they have to make us privy to their best pricing? Duh. None. So we, captive audience that we are, keep checking, hoping to save a few hundred dollars here and there.

Dismissing this financial part, we can hardly wait to see our family, our four grown kids, significant others, and six grandchildren. My younger sister Julie, who lives in Los Angeles, may be stopping by for a few days. Having all of us together is exciting. 

Finally, we found the restaurant after another long and winding walk through the souk.

Feeding 15 to 16 people dinner each night is a bit daunting, but somehow we’ll manage. For dining out in a nice restaurant in Hawaii, the cost per person is from US $70 to $100 per person. Guess we won’t be doing that!

Although the closest Costco is 90 miles from our location, I’m sure a few trips in the SUV will be warranted.  What we’ll do about Christmas is up in the air, hard to plan or think at this point. Tree? Decorations? Wrapped gifts for the little ones? We definitely don’t want this period of time to be spent “doing too much” while not spending valuable time together. We shall see.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, the sun began to set and we both were chilled. For the first time since arriving in Marrakech, we are indoors at a comfortable banquet.

Our old days of “doing too much” are over. This may come as a surprise to those of our readers who personally know us. The focus will remain on the quality of time with our loved ones, not spending full days baking and cooking. The name of the game will be simplicity and lots of fun.

Had the fireplace been lit, we certainly would have sat close to it.  We still haven’t acclimated to the cooler (but getting warmer) weather in Morocco after over a year in hot climates.

This morning as we sit in the salon of the riad in Marrakech, Morocco, Hawaii is a million miles away. But as we’ve seen, especially those of you who have followed us since the beginning in March 2012, all of these booked events are coming up, tumbling over one another. In two months we’ll be settled in Madeira.  At one point it seemed so far in the future.

My dinner, although small, was good.  Carefully, I avoided the raw vegetables. Luckily, they served nuts and olive as an appetizer which helped fill me up.

Over the past several weeks as we continue to research for the unplanned time after May 2015, we’ve decided to add another element to our travels, winging it. With the excitement over the endless possibilities and after having booked over two years in advance, we are feeling knowledgeable enough with our recent experiences to wait until we pin down what is to follow. 

When Tom heard that the chef was Italian he ordered this lasagna which didn’t disappoint. With bread on the side, he was satisfied.

Doing so, in itself, adds a sense of adventure we both welcome. After spending seven months living on four islands in Hawaii, seeing the sites, whale watching, checking out volcanoes, and reveling in the exquisite scenery, we’ll be ready for the next phase of our world travels. 

With the hope to visit all of the continents, with four under our belts, we still have three more to go. But within each of those continents that we have visited, we have so much more to see. One could spend an entire lifetime traveling and still see so little. 

After dinner, as we were leaving, this colorful seating area jumped out at us. Wouldn’t that be a fun spot for a gathering of friends, food, and drink?

We take it at our own pace, in our own way, seeing what appeals to us, sensing no urgency, with no time constraints other than maintaining a level of health that allows us to continue on. 

Being with our family next Christmas will fulfill a longing in our hearts to see their smiling faces once again, recharging us to continue on and, we will.

Tonight, we’ll dine in while Madame Zahra makes lamb for us. Tom, who doesn’t care for lamb, ordered it on my behalf, knowing how much I love it.

Thanks, my dear hubby!  I owe you one!

________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2013:

The piece of driftwood decorates the beach by our villa in Belize The sidewalk to the center-left is the sidewalk directly in front of our villa. For more photos, please click here.

 

A holiday message…

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate with warm wishes to those who don’t and to those who may celebrate another holiday this time of year.

Comfortably ensconced in this Henderson, Nevada home, from which we’ll leave in 48 hours to head back to Scottsdale for our final four days of organizing and packing. 

The five-hour drive awaits us as a time to unwind after the busy but enjoyable eight days of precious time spent with family reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future.  It’s all so clear to me now.  More than ever.

The preparations for Tom’s birthday party on the 23rd, again last night, Christmas Eve, and today, Christmas Day flowed with ease for me.  I over-bought food, more than we could possibly need, throwing my cooperative house guests into an eating frenzy when they say so much less would have been fine. I agree.

Never in my past have I ever over-bought food as I have done this time. Perhaps knowing this was my last cooking “hurrah” for what may prove to be years to come, my association of “food is love” was definitely overdone. 

I couldn’t get enough, the preparation or the love, the laughter, the memories, the photos or the stories, old and new, or the sound of Tom’s laughter in the background. 

Saying goodbye.  For us now, it was all about saying goodbye.  A repeat of the sorrowful goodbyes in Minnesota.  As I have written in the past, our choice to embark on an amazing journey doesn’t make us exempt from feeling sad about leaving everyone behind.  It’s now becoming more real as we’re only 9 days away from leaving the US.

Today, Christmas Day is yet another family-filled day, the third in a row with too much good food, an abundance of stories we’ve all heard before, laughter filling the air, and love all around. Sound familiar? Ah, the human spirit gathers to celebrate this joyous time of the year.

Merry Christmas to all of our readers, the people we know, and the people we don’t know, and to the people all over the world as I see in the stats are somehow finding this blog reading it regularly. We’ll see you soon.