Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Retirement is exhausting (but I'm not complaining)

It's only been a little over 24 hours since we arrived 'home' in La Manzanilla for our first extended land-based stay here. I love our new two bedroom house on the hill, much quieter than staying at the beach house we've rented for the past several years.

Last night we went to sleep with a grand chorus of cicadas or crickets (loud!), but by morning they had quieted down and the roosters started up. A lot. Before dawn. But it's a sound I relish --- a natural sound, rather than the roar of I-5 in the distance that we've heard for years.

I was still asleep when I heard the sound of hoofs as someone rode a horse by our house --- still dirt roads throughout the town. And even though we're about three blocks back from the beach, I could still hear the sound of waves crashing.

No regrets over this move --- low 80s during the day, 70s this evening. Friends are delighted we're back --- a sense of home and community.

Only downside was discovering a scorpion had hitched a ride out to Tenacatita in my purse --- the really nasty, lethal kind. I was reaching in and for some reason decided to look for my lipstick, rather than just grab. Holy Smoke! It scared the beejeesus out of me --- quite literally --- I couldn't say a word. Just a whole lot of gasps and shrieks, I've been told.

The scorpion climbed up and out and I flung him out onto the road where Michael stomped on him.

Locals tell me that you NEVER leave your purse on the floor. You hang it up. And you ALWAYS check your shoes before you put them on.


I guess paradise can't be perfect. Just almost perfect.

Hope all of you are well and know that I miss you all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Music and Sun in our first day back in Mazatlan

We arrived in Mazatlan today, grateful to have good friends and warm temperatures greet us. Dan and Lorraine on Zephyrus are here doing last minute projects and provisions before they sail south to Ecuador, first stopping by Tenacatita for a long (we hope) visit with us.

Tomorrow we head to Puerto Vallarta for Christmas with Dustin and Cami, importing a load of GrapeNuts for under his tree. It's hilarious what you can't get in Mexico.

This afternoon the Children's Home in Mazatlan, part of the Salvation Army, put on a show for the cruisers. A great greeting and first day back. It raises money for the Children's Home --- they do a month of performances in December around the community.

Hope all of you that we've left behind in the States are staying warm and happy. My New Year's resolution is to avoid all news and especially anything having to do with the election. I'll let you know how it goes.

The Mazatlan Salvation Army Children's Home singers

Sunday, December 9, 2007

An early Christmas with the grandkids

After a marathon day of packing (five day countdown! Eek!), we raced out to Rancho Cordova for an early celebration with Samantha and Kamryn --- Kami's first Christmas!
Grandpa Michael with Kami

Samantha is only one head shorter than me right now, soon to be eating peanuts off the top of my head. She held a short Christmas recital for us on our flute. She's getting great –– obviously practicing and enjoying the music.

Another candidate for the Four Headlamps (gotta do something about that number in the name, apparently).

Sami & Kami

After this week, we probably won't see them for six months or so –– one of the major downsides of adventuring during retirement.

On another note --- today's San Francisco Chronicle had an article about the toll stress is taking on all of us. And how most of our stress is self-imposed, much of it caused by a society that doesn't unplug itself, doesn't go to bed when the sun sets.

I'm definitely guilty. But I'm willing to change. Starting with some rest, right now. G'night all!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Last Great San Francisco Adventure

It was my last early morning trip to San Francisco to give a 5-minute state of journalism education speech to a group of publishers, probably my last official speech of my journalism career, followed by my last board meeting.

It was a glorious, clear day in the city and I considered taking a walk around downtown after my meeting. But I was anxious to get home, and tired, and thinking about all that is left to be accomplished before leaving here in seven (yes, seven!) days --- if all goes as planned.

I knew the subway connection to take the train home would be close but decided to go for it. But as the BART subway reached the Richmond station, I could hear the CHOO CHOO of the departing whistle of the train to Sacramento. I had missed it by less than a minute --- literally.

I raced up the stairs to the train platform in fast pursuit of others who were also trying to catch blasted train to Sacramento.

It was gone.

It was an hour and a half wait for the next one, outside, in the dark, on a cold and windy platform in a city known for its random gunfire.

It called for a New Plan.

Before I knew what was happening, I was on the next train to Martinez with two women who had also missed the Sacramento train. We were to go to a few stops down the line to a small community where we thought we might find a few restaurants across from the train station, then catch the last train to Sacramento.

It worked. And what's even better, I had a great time, one that I wouldn't have had if I had made the first Sacramento connection. We found a pitcher of margaritas, a guitar serenade, good conversation and a lot of laughter.

It was just another lesson that things work out exactly as they are supposed to and I just might as well chill out and enjoy the ride --- the whole ride.

My new traveling buddies