Santas go Surfing

Santas go Surfing on Coronado Beach

Santas go Surfing on Coronado Beach

Part of why this is so strange is that it’s my first Christmas in paradise and seeing people surf on Christmas Eve day is still novel. Trained beach lifeguards gather at 9:00 AM and hit the water in waves. That it’s not so notable to the locals goes to show you how new we are to the area because the surfing crowd easily outnumbered the spectators.

However, you too can gawk with us here.  Continue reading

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A Family of Four

Courtney & Kelsey

When we moved to Coronado it was the first time we’d structured our lives around a house with no kids. Courtney is off working for ICF International in Fairfax, VA and Kelsey is a college student attending UCSD in La Jolla, CA. Our last chapter had ended. Our new chapter had begun. However we certainly expect new chapter to be written.

For now, it’s a wonderful occasion when both girls visit which they did for nine days.

Until grandkids come along, we’ll be very happy when ever this happens.

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Last Moments at Home

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Old chapters end and new begin. After 12 years of living on Lake Audubon we’re moving to Coronado, CA. While Beth and I still have time and process in front of us to sell the Reston home, Kelsey has no such luxury. Today, as we set off to drive across the country, is the day when Kelsey has her last moments in the place she called home for so many years.

It was has been an excellent chapter in our lives.

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Move West?

Cups of yum on Coronado as we work our way down the coast.

Moving East was never in the cards but now we’ve lived in the D.C. metro area for over 20 years. Not planned but it happened. Not since Courtney was six weeks old have we lived in the West. Not since 1990 have we called California home. Not throughout our daughters’ entire childhoods did we call any place other than Maryland or Virginia “home”. Now that the nest is empty Beth and I are considering a move to better living out west.
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Kelsey Goes to College

Another daughter off to college!

After a long process and much hard work, Kelsey checked into her room at UCSD. She visited many many schools, applied and was accepted to several excellent institutions and after much heart wrenching angst she chose this gem in the University of California system. Did I mention it was located in paradise? This’ll be a fun four year ride!
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Visiting Art’s Cabin in Big Bear

Viewing Big Bear Lake from a perch high up on his property.

Kelsey and I were scurrying from a week in Yosemite to meet Beth’s flight from D.C. when we chose to route through Big Bear Lake. Why? My uncle has a cabin in Big Bear, holds an annual JazzTrax festival there, and has had a relationship with the area for 40 years. My thought was I’d show Kelsey his place but little did I know it would be a soup-to-nuts tour!

Thinking he was at his Palm Springs home we called to ask a question about the lake. “Why is the tributary lake almost empty and is that a reason for concern?” Don’t remember the answer he gave but do remember the happy surprise to learn that he was in his cabin. We dropped by, toured his home and property, exchanged stories and had a great visit. Continue reading

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Red Rock Sprint to Yosemite

First hike after Art's was up San Jacinto, first by way of one of the world's longest tram rides and then by foot. We were shooting for the peak but ran out of time.

After Art’s in Palm Springs we climbed San Jacinto, first by way of one of the world’s longest tram rides and then by foot. We were shooting for the peak but even with long days we ran out of time.

What to do between visiting Art in Palm Springs and climbing Half Dome in Yosemite?
Why not sprint through a stretch of Red Rock Country? Book ends to the sprint could include epic hikes. And why not? This was trip with my road-ravaging, outdoor-trekking, college-bound super daughter Kelsey! Continue reading

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Old Rag by Evening Light

Kelsey took this from a new vantage point, exposed by evening light.

It’s not possible for me to go back and count how many times I’ve hiked Old Rag. At this point, I’m probably approaching 100 climbs. Yet, almost all of them have followed the same script: arrive early morning, climb the front, and descend the back to complete the loop. It’s a WONDERFUL hike but obviously not the only option.

Early on I tried various ascent and decent combinations but quickly settled into my current pattern. A few times I hiked in the middle of the day but often found it hot, crowded, and less pleasant. Recently Kelsey and I have hiked the loop in the dark which is really quite an adventure and very likely to be repeated. However, not until today had we hiked Old Rag in the evening and it was a pleasure.

 

The vantage point from where Kelsey took the picture of me.

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Virgin Islands National Park

It was a day for wearing white and orange it seems. And why not? We were on vacation!

My wife is smart. After years of planning vacations she’s become really good at finding the right vacation destinations. In this case it was a Caribbean island which was conveniently a part of the U.S., had all the beach resort amenities that my ladies enjoy and lots of outdoor activities which I prefer.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is two thirds National Park! It has dramatically beautiful beaches, tremendous hiking trails, great undersea coral gardens, historic ruins and all on a compact  island. Seriously, there was plenty to keep me busy while they baked in the sun. Of the 20 official hiking trails within the park I hiked almost two thirds of them. One took Kelsey and me to the sea where we swam to cool off before returning to our mountain starting point.

We had a great time and may be where we head with grandkids … some day.

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Kelsey Graduates

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My little girl grows up and graduates from Holton-Arms high school!

An empty nest doesn’t usually happen in an instant. They leave and they return to the nest for what feel like moments of “how it used to be”. Regardless of this truism, there are moments which feel more like jolts, lurching the family dynamic in the direction and today was such a day.

There were many things of note today. Christine Legarde, the President of the IMF and first woman to ever hold that post, gave the commencement address. Big Sis Courtney was there and family came to participate from as far away as Connecticut. The day was spectacular, the setting gorgeous, and the benches hard. Oh well, it was nearly perfect. 🙂

We’re very, very proud of Kelsey. Congrats, girl!!!

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