Bouncing is Hard

Wi am a writeroke up this morning with an insatiable urge to write! Haven’t felt this way in a longgg time! Thoughts are swarming like a bee hive. Thoughts about retirement, options (i.e., what to do with my time), noise, routine/ruts, relationships, etc, etc. Blog title is indicative of my minds activity this morning. But why today?

Last night I meditated for the first time in months. Two days ago I reduced one of my medications by half. cut a pllYesterday I took a very strenuous muscle building class that sucked out some of the stored fat.  Moved back home. Began taking Vitamin B12 in hopes of restoring my memory cells. Any or all of these things could have triggered this mental energy. But… why ask why? Because, all of my thoughts are connected but each idea deserves its own space.

Speaking of space…. I’m trying to find a creative space in which to work similar to when I used to write at our condo in Ocean City. When looking back at previous blogs, it’s easy to point out the ones written at the beach, because they were so fluent and more importantly…. they were interesting. Makes me want to build a “she shed”, which is one of the latest trends. It’s akin to a “man cave”, but softer, lighter, cleaner, and smells better.

But I digress and considering this mornings’ state of mind with ideas popping, I suspect I will have to continuously pull myself back from my beehive mind. I even find myself editing as I write which is a major no-no­­­­­­­ for writers.

dad deathBouncing began when Dad died and escalated with semi-retirement. Psychiatrists always consider the relationship between childhood life events and ones’ development. Since our childhoods revolve around our parents or other caregivers, it follows that losing a parent is a traumatic event. It’s also interesting that the type of relationship one has with a caregiver doesn’t matter…. their loss still affects us.

Since Dad was my rock and the last parent to “transition”, my immediate experience was a feeling of release. Because, not only was he my rock but my tether. Like a hotair balloon ride… I was able to float off into the world and wow did I float. First stop was Dubai where I taught for a year followed by a four-year sojourn in San Diego to take my dream job that turned into a nightmare which I’m finally ready to talk about in another blog.

Dubai was never a dream. Was not on my radar and I barely knew anything about it. As part of my untethering, I was looking for an opportunity to work in a country where Spanish was the primary language. So, I posted my resume on an education website, and up popped the United Arab Emirates, Ras al Khaimah (aka UAE, RAK, which is like a suburb of Dubai). So, without any other offers, and lots of encouragement from Hubby who had also recently been untethered…. off we went.

San Diego resulted from a surprising rejection. While doing volunteer work at a business development office, I learned about a paid opportunity that completely matched my background and interest. Having been told that I was a shoe-in for the job, I submitted my resume but didn’t even get a call to interview. Not that I am egotistical, but…. I know what I know and I knew I was the best candidate so I was flabbergasted when they hired someone else.

Recognizing how much I wanted that job made me realize that I was ready to work plusnew job my ego was significantly bruised. So I had to “show them” and myself that I could get an even better job. I launched on a deliberate search for what I assumed would be my last paid employment. Won’t go into the details of the job search, suffice to say that I got hired in San Diego.

Funny thing is that Hubby and I previously took two separate trips down south in search of a place to retire on/near the water; in an urban setting; with good weather year-round; walkable; purchase price below $300k; and, with a low cost of living. After two visits to the Carolinas (Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Asheville), Savannah, GA, Charlotte, and Orlando) we decided that what we wanted, did not exist and gave up our quest. Shockingly, our dream was fulfilled in San Diego… except for the part about the cost of living.

The last 4 glorious years were spent between the Washington DC area (home) and onBouncing

San Diego’s Coronado Island “where the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….” As I sit at our dining room table (home) amongst boxes to be unpacked from our latest bounce across country, I am reflecting on the difficulty of bouncing as one gets older. Like most of the things done in my early years… everything is more difficult now. But that’s another story.

Stay Tuned

Life is an Unknown

Snowbird 2Every so often, hubby and I move from San Diego to Alexandria, VA and back again. We are reverse snowbirds, because we usually go east during winter. That sounds crazy, but we want to be with the family for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Plus, the oldest G’daughter has asked us in a threatening way “you will be back for the holidays… won’t you?

The most amazing thing about life is the unknown. We don’t know what will happen next year or next month or in the next minute. How could I have not been consciously aware of that! Here I am busy planning for the unknown? Huh… that doesn’t make sense!

So, I’m stymied and in limbo surrounded by packing boxes for our pilgrimage back East. Friends ask if we are coming back to San Diego next year and like a nincomunknown

poop I answer that I don’t know. Then I remind myself that next year is an unknown. Therefore, I am justified in saying that I don’t know so I don’t have to feel stupid because I don’t have an answer.

But I can talk about what “I want to happen next year”. I want to come back to San Diego at a time that is convenient and stay for as long as I want. A “convenient” time is when there is a place available at a reasonable price overlooking some piece of the San Diego Bay near the friends that we have accumulated over the last four years. Wow…. That’s quite a wish list and that’s why it’s so difficult to answer the question not only for others but for ourselves.

We have actually found Paradise and there is a whole island of people who say the same thing literally every day. No-to-low crime; constant sunshine (except for the periodic days when we wait for the “marine layer” to burn off; average year-round temps of 70 degrees; all the essentials (googobs of restaurants; 2 hardware stores; 2 live theaters; live Coronado heartmusic on the Bay every weekend; 1 movie theater; yoga and exercise studios galore including beach yoga, etc. etc. Our neighbors have put together a potluck with games every Wednesday and Saturday night. So, between our community activities and island activities… our dance card is full. And the icing is that everything is within a 1-mile radius, which means you don’t need a car.

So why on earth would we want to move back East!!! The obvious answer is that family trumps everything! Our kids and G’kids live back East. Plus, as strange as it may sound, I miss the changing seasons, which add a rhythm to life. As Summer nears an end, you begin to feel the change in the air as temperatures cool and leaves change colors. When Winter nears its end, you begin to think about Spring and warmer temperatures. Then as Spring is ending you begin planning for Summer and the cycle repeats.Family

Recently, a friend told me that the trouble with year-round sunshine is that you don’t get a chance to rest. You run from one activity to another and exhaust yourself. But the biggest downsides to living in San Diego are high rent/mortgage; noise from our largest neighbor… Naval Air Station; and everyday sounds from urban living. We get truck noise, jet plane noise, helicopters, and dogs  yapping.

Note: I am reading a blog by a couple that sold everything; bought a catamaran; and, are now cruising on the Erie Canal for a year. This is dangerous reading for me because I might start dreaming that it would be a really cool thing to do next!!!

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how life unfolds.

Stay tuned

Too Many Options

DoorsResearchers have shown (my favorite phrase) that too many options lead to the “paradox of choice”. The New York Times refers to it as “The Paralyzing Problem of Too Many Choices”. If the choices are six or less, then one can figure it out. But when choices exceed six,  we tend to talk away. For example, when you go into a grocery store to purchase a tube of toothpaste, you may be confronted with 10 different choices. Oy Vey… which one to choose? Do you want whiter teeth, or stronger teeth, or fluoride, or minty breath, and the choices go on and on and on. At some point (around 6) people just walk away without making a decision!Where to live decision chart 3

Our current dilemma is deciding where to live… to snowbird or not to snowbird. To be around our grandchildren or not; to be near old friends or not; to live urban or suburban; to experience four seasons or two.  Of course, these choices are not mutually exclusive, but it is hard to choose because I want to have my cake and eat it too (especially now that I’m on Weight Watchers.)

So, Clay and I have finally reached a middle-of-the road decision. We will move back home, but pack our furnishings in storage for the likely event that we will return to San Diego. If we don’t return to SD then we will have the storage company sell our goods. Whew… that’s a load off our minds.

Now what should we pack and leave in SD and what should we take?

Stay tuned………..





I Am Starring in the Truman Show

As I power-walk down the street, I observe perfection. Perfectly manicured yards. Perfectly clean streets. Perfect weather. Perfectly behaved children. No two houses the same and many of them architectural jewels. Life moves at a slow pace and what they call traffic is laughable.  The people are southern-friendly. Everyone owns a bike and uses it regularly.  As Garrison Keillor would say it’s a town where  “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average”. Naturally, it was just proclaimed as having one of the top best school systems in the US.

Everything is so sweet and simple that it is jarring. There is so little crime that all the police have to do is give out parking tickets and chastise residents for going without bike helmets. Housing is in such high demand that rentals are gone within 2 hours of being published in the local paper. Kids roam freely throughout the community and like Cheers…. everyone knows your name. It feels fantastical. I keep waiting for someone to pull back the curtain and show some man pulling strings like the Wizard of Oz.

Waiting to wake up from this dream. In the meantime… I will enjoy life in Coronado, California.

Stay tuned.







Every Day is a New Day

the good lifeI keep having these “best ever” days, because moving to a new place means that all experiences are new. Everywhere I go, every thing I do is new. It’s the life a child lives. The difference is that I don’t have a parent telling me ” no don’t touch that”. I get to fully experience everything.

Yesterday we began the day at a Ted Talks lecture at UCSD and ended the day at a James Bond symphony starring Sheena Easton conducted by one of the original Bond music producers. I was moved to standing applause several times. I simply could not sit still. I had to acknowledge the stupendous music (not often I get to use the word stupendous). Aside from the incredible music, the experience was flavored with a mix of nostalgia for the old James Bond films, with full orchestral sound that they don’t seem to do anymore.

clay at Sheena Easton concert 2Then we discovered another opportunity to be kids again… there was a group at the concert hall that does “walk arounds” in costume. For example, they were at the concert dressed as characters from various Bond films. (That’s Clay in photo with one of the characters.) Then we learned that we too could participate in their “walk arounds”. So, just like children… we can dress up and play.

Life in San Diego is like a drink of water from a freshwater spring….

Stay tuned for more “new day” experiences.

Urban Living – redux

My husband grew up in Washington DC, so whenever I mentioned that I’d like to move into the city, he let me know that I had no idea what that meant. So the compromise was to live in surburbia, but close to the city.

Like most spouses, I love opportunities to hear my spouse say the three golden words “you were right”, but it is now my turn to utter those words. I finally got my wish to live the urban lifestyle, and now I do know what that means.

On the positive side, it means that I can walk one block to the grocery store and numerous shops and restaurants. It means there is free live music on the waterfront just 2 blocks from house, and the added bonus of fireworks over the water at least 3 days a week, and, I regularly see ginormous ships pass by that are so big as to block out half the view of the city. Plus, the navy seals do their water and air exercises right outside of my window.

On the not so positive side, it means that along with the fireworks come the sound of car alarms set off by the fireworks. The free music and restaurants draw large crowds of tourists so the restaurants frequented by the “locals” are now overrun with tourists. It also means that on days when I can work at home, I get a close-up and personal experience with every delivery and trash truck in the area as they beep beep beep during their backups. Just love the people driving by who like to share their music with the world plus, I get to listen to the live music at the Ferry and from across the Bay whether I want to or not unless I close my windows and doors. Then there are the navy seals, as cool as they are to look at, their boats and planes make a lot of noise.

So.. to my husband “you were right”, but even with all the noise and confusion, I’m loving urban living. The picture below is the view I get every waking moment that I am home…. not so shabby huh 🙂

This is the view from my balcony 🙂

Every Day Is A Top Down Day

Where I came from, Washington DC, I could only put the top down on my convertible 5 months out of the year and then ­­­­only if it wasn’t raining. When you consider work days; springtime rains; days I rode with someone else; vacation days, etc… that 5 months gets down to about 15 days.  In San Diego, I can put it down every day, and I’m loving it. Wonder if it will become such an ordinary thing to do that I will stop appreciating it. Sure hope not…

There’s something special about us convertible owners and every ­­­time  we see one another, we wave, wink, or slightly nod as acknowledgement that we’re members of a club. It’s like having a secret that comes with the convertible, and unless you own one, you can’t share our secret. Well, I guess it’s not really a secret. It’s about freedom. Feeling the wind blowing through your hair. Smelling all the scents you pass like a dog with his head out the window. Hearing all the sounds including Rap music being played by yunguns; seeing the sky and clouds pass by (yes… we can look up and all around). An indescribable experience!

In other words, It Never Rains in Southern California. Who cares as long as I can drive with the top down all year ‘roun.

Urban living

Been wanting the urban, walk-around lifestyle for many years… and finally got it!!! On top of that… I have a view of the Bay, lots of boats going by and can walk, or bike to EVERYTHING! Talk about a dream come true.  But (and there’s always a but), with urban living comes noise. I am two blocks from the ferry landing where they have outdoor, live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon (nap time). There is a bandstand on the downtown waterfront, and the music travels across the Bay right into my living room. Seaworld is several miles away, but the nightly fireworks are both pretty and loud, and when Seaworld is not shooting off fireworks, the Petco baseball park is. The skateboarders are frequently passing by under my window day and night.

Since I’ve always wanted urban living, .. it seems incongruous to complain. How can I complain about such an incredible view with boat traffic ranging from half kayaks and jet skis and sailboats to tankers large enough to block the entire city skyline! How can I complain about the ability to walk 2 blocks to the Ferry landing with my comfy folding chairs where I can listen to pretty good free music, dance and eat pizza with ice cream. And, apparently I have another complaint coming up about being forced to watch the fireworks from my balcony, because the beach and streets will be packed with tourists.

Be careful what you ask for…..

Stay tuned

New Yorker vs Washingtonian

washington monumentThere are all kinds of preconceived notions associated with the term “New Yorker”…. loud, boisterous, obnoxious, unfriendly, etc. But, I’ve just found out that Washingtonians (as in DC) also have their own attitudes. As a Washingtonian, I was unaware that I have some distinct characteristics that are common among folk who grow up in DC, MD, and VA (aka DMV).

Aside from the fact that we Washingtonians are all important, well educated, and brag about working 60 hour weeks, we are also rule breakers or makers. We “create” our own parking spaces when a lot is full. If traffic is backed up, we drive down the emergency lane. When there is a backup of traffic entering the freeway, we pass all the cars in line and bulldoze our way into the front of the line. We don’t honk as much as New Yorker’s, but we do know where the horn is.

But now that I’m living San Diego, I recognized a trait that I was totally unaware of…. jaywalking. Pedestrians in DC believe traffic lights are only for automobiles. Therefore, they totally ignore traffic lights and cross whenever and wherever they want while blocking intersections, and daring anyone to hit them.

A pedestrian in San Diego will stand on a corner and wait for the light to change even if there is no traffic for miles around. Last week I was on a meet-up walk with 12 ladies on Coronado Island early on a Saturday morning.

There was barely any auto traffic on the island, but every time we came to an intersection with a red traffic light, all 12 of us stopped and waited even though there was no traffic in sight! THIS DROVE ME CRAZY. As I questioned them about this, one lady suggested that I relax, because life here is slower.

I then had another opportunity to observe my Washingtonian behavior when we went to a Starbucks for water. As usual, there was a line of people waiting to place coffee orders, but all we wanted was water. One lady who went into the store with me was patiently waiting in line. I explained to her that we did not have to wait because we could pick up our water from the cooler and take it to cash register. Also, because Washingtonians don’t do lines, because we are too busy, too important, and like to make our own rules.

Oh well…. Maybe I can learn to slow down… NOT

Muckety Mucks

Aleta bio pic - standing - white backgroundSpending most of my life in DC means that I am used to being surrounded by muckety mucks. Every one is a VP of this, Director of that, Presidential Appointee, or the like. So, when having the “girls” over for brunch, I don’t think about them by their titles. They are just “the girls”. When the brunch was over and I walked them to the door, I was looking out at their parked cars, and I didn’t give any thought to the fact that each of their cars had a minimum value of $50k, and everyone’s salary was six figures, because everyone in DC is a  highly paid muckety muck.

So, when I was told that I was being “introduced” to the San Diego community at a reception in my honor, I was flabbergasted. Why, I asked, would anyone come to a reception for me? This was actually the second indication that something was different here. The first was when I wanted to reach out and have lunch with a business associate, but I was told I had to be properly introduced. What? This is California! The land of informality! Unbeknownst to me, it appears I have become an MM. Apparently they don’t have enough of them here.

So, today I am writing my MM speech, and I had my MM picture taken.

Stay tuned… I could get used to being a MM.