Saturday, June 28, 2008


Julie and I were in the backyard and I casually mentioned that someday I would like a patio under the citrus trees in my backyard. Julie looks over the area and tells me, "We can do it."

"Yeah, right! Jules, we need strong guys to move dirt and make it level - and I'm thinking maybe even a professional."

"We can do it Mom."

Well, it seemed pretty near impossible to me and so Julie gave up.

A few moments later, "Julie, do you REALLY think we can do it?"

"Yes, Mom, but you don't really want it right now and so that is OK."

"Oh no, I really want it. Do you really think we can do it?"

"We can do it."

"OK Julie, then let's do it. If you think we can do it - let's go for it!"

And so we did. Amazingly ambitious.......BUT WE DID IT!


Julie shoveled dirt and filled in low spots while I raked it level. Many trips to Home Depot to get sand, imitation flagstone pavers, bark, and planting soil.

We poured on the sand and worked to level it with a couple of long boards and when it was pretty level, we started adding the pavers.

After the pavers we filled in the cracks with planting soil and spread the bark around the edges. BEAUTIFUL!

We moved our yard furniture over to the new patio - and voila! When it gets a little cooler, we will plant baby tears between the pavers.


I couldn't believe it. We did it in two afternoons. Wow! Thank you Julie! One of my dreams come true with not much money and not nearly as much work as I thought. What a wonderful gift.

PS: If you already read COMFORTABLE, go back because I added SWIMMING, READING, AND PIES.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I love my daughter Julie and I am grateful to her for such a comfortable and relaxing vacation.

We are comfortable with each other. Even comfortable with discomfort. We are careful – because we want to be respectful of each other and our different points of view – but we are comfortable with that too – because the tension that comes from different points of view is understood and accepted. Julie and I both have strong opinions about things – so it is important that we give each other wiggle room. She does – and I hope I do too.

This zone of comfort includes Sean (who joined us for 4 days) as well – and perhaps more so because he does not have the angst that children and parents have cultivated and also I think because...everyone is comfortable with Sean :-)

All this leads to an incredibly relaxing vacation time together. Nobody needs to entertain or be entertained. The venue of the day has more to do with what somebody, anybody really wants to do – or not do.

For the last two years, Julie and I may have started a tradition by starting off her vacation in California with three days at the beach…her favorite beach, Carpinteria. It is home to our family. It is the beach where we spent the most vacations and even day trips while our kids were growing up. This year we invited my mom to join us. We had a lovely, relaxing, sometimes even sleepy time together. The weather was perfect.

Mom and I picked up Julie from LAX and stopped at The Warehouse in Marina Del Rey for lunch. We were all pretty hungry - the food was great and the place was beautiful.

We checked in at Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria - and trekked immediately to the beach to catch the rest of the day's sun.

Ah-h...beautiful warm California sun.

I have never enjoyed laying in the sun for very long. The beach always inspires something artistic in me; and this time I started by collecting driftwood of various shapes and sizes. That, and a comment from Julie that one stick looked like a bird, and I was off--creating as I go. I loved it - and Julie loved soaking the sun, and mom loved taking a nap and reading. Very comfortable.

The next morning - Mom remembered a trail along the beach somewhere on the south end of Carpinteria. We searched (with some doubt whether this trail was worth it) and found it. It was a winner! Beautiful walk together in the morning and lots of discoveries :-)

Below is quite a group of seals, sea gulls, and other bird life.

I love the pictures Julie took on our walk of the succulent and the railroad tracks.

More to come later. :-)

Swimming, Reading, and Pies
We picked up Sean from LAX after our beach trip. Our visit with Sean was accented by pies. It WAS vacation - and we wanted pies. Two double cream lemon pies (our favorite), one razzleberry pie, and one german chocolate pie (not our favorite). This is a picture of Sean. He was sent in to Marie Callendars to buy the last two pies. He actually wasn't too happy about the picture - but he obliged. (Thanks Sean)

We spent lots of time at the pool - lounging, swimming, reading. Mostly we were the only ones at this huge pool - and a bit annoyed when anyone else would come to swim. We had come to believe it was OUR pool.

This is either a very sad conversation - or two very tired and relaxed guys. It is the latter. Notice they both have books that they had been reading.

Gorgeous California girl. OK, Colorado girl from California.

See! I told you we had the whole pool to ourselves!

Can you guess whose legs?

Too soon we had to take Sean back to LAX - but we got to stop in Manhattan Beach and eat dinner with Andy, Lyndsey, and Gwen Scout. This is Gwen outside the coffee shop showing us her foot?

Bye Sean, we wish you could have stayed longer :-(
Like Julie, I have delayed posting anything yet in June which includes a wonderful 11 day visit with Julie. Sean got to come and share 4 of those days. Right now I want to share with you Julie's recent blog about Lyndsey, Andy, and Gwen Scout visiting Julie and Sean in Colorado.

I am so thrilled for my grown children to enjoy each other's company and OF COURSE Gweny. So enjoy with me Julie's blog on Andy and Lyndsey's vacation to Julie and Sean's in Colorado: