Week 274 June 29, 2019

It was more than a full week, spent in memorable times with my cousins, and with me taking a robust Bikram Yoga seminar. Hence this post is more than a little late…

Loren and I began our week still in New Hampshire, where the state license plates proclaim: Live Free Or Die. We had another good visit with my cousin and her husband, this time including their children and grandchildren, and her mother. I found a photo of my great-grandfather holding my mother’s cousin – my cousin’s father, on display in her mother’s room. We also helped setup for the big family party to celebrate my cousin’s husband’s 65th birthday.

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Later that afternoon Loren and I took a drive around Lake Sunapee, where I had hoped to be able to spot the cabin I had visited a few times with a dear friend some years ago. Alas, without the address and directions, it turned out to be simply a nice drive around a large New Hampshire lake.

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That evening our AirBnB hosts offered us a ride around the smaller Lake Horace in their motor boat, something they often do with their dog. It was a nice way to finish our day.

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The next day was the big party. It was awesome to have more chances to visit with each of them, their children and spouses, see the grandchildren play, and spend time with their extended family members, neighbors and friends.

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We enjoyed lots of good food and games, and the next day we returned for a delicious brunch, thoroughly enjoying more time to visit together.

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Then Loren and I were off to Massachusetts, where the state license plates proclaim: The Spirit of America. Loren had a mostly relaxing week at another AirBnB, while I attended the seminar each day, well into each evening. I have now taught over 250 Bikram Yoga classes – of those I taught well over 100 just in the past year, so it was time to take my experience and skills to the next level. It was also great to see three of my teacher training Littermates from our 9 weeks spent together in 2014.

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Another teacher brought her family along for the week. It was fun to see her studio’s advertisement for Bikram Yoga on her son’s t-shirt. On one of the days, Loren had the opportunity to participate in a private lesson demonstration for us, and he actually took several classes with us this week.  

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Our week ended with a fun visit to nearby Hampton beach,

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followed by a delicious “lobstah” dinner, ice cream desert, and, my first viewing of the The Princess Bride from 1987 with Peter Falk, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, and others.

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Not only did we have a fulfilling week, I expanded my knowledge for future classes and Loren and I met and got to know more wonderful world-wide Bikram Yoga teachers. 

Week 273 June 22, 2019

This week we celebrated Father’s Day with my brother and his beautiful family at their lake house in New York where we were staying. Despite the overcast and on-and-off rainy weather, my brother was still able to go out on his boat and fish a little. It was his wife who caught the fish while out on the boat with him.

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Otherwise we spent the day relaxing, celebrating his upcoming birthday and enjoying a scrumptious mix of takeout and home made dishes for dinner. 

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My only disappointment that evening was there was no Warriors v Raptors Game 7 to watch… Congrats to the Raptors once again.

The next day, after a too short but memorable visit with my brother and his family, Loren and I drove 4 hours north to visit in New Hampshire. This is the view of Lake Horace from the deck of our AirBnB. Loren has enjoyed kayaking a couple of mornings.

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We enjoyed taking lunch nearby to my cousins here and seeing all the additional work they have put in on the house that they moved into last summer. We also admired the beautiful birds who visit her generous feeders – and she can differentiate all the species!

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Then we had a fun evening with friends who live in New Hampshire who we had met in Italy a couple of years ago. They suggested a restaurant in Manchester that is “an institution in the area—started years ago by a Greek family.”

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The next evening my cousins joined us at our AirBnB for a dinner I prepared, including a desert to celebrate both her husband’s and Loren’s upcoming milestone birthdays…

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While in New York and here in New Hampshire I have enjoyed taking some Bikram Yoga classes, which is what Loren and I did the next morning. We were treated to a class by one of the visiting teachers from my teacher training in Los Angeles in 2014. I love it that I can enjoy the same yoga class when we travel to areas that offer the Bikram yoga style!

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That afternoon Loren and I visited the Currier Museum of Art, and we were both enraptured by the glass paperweights display from the mid-1800’s. 

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We finished the day visiting another Frank Llyod Wright house that is owned by this museum, donated to them by the original and only owners, the Zimmermans. 

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Tomorrow we are looking forward to my cousin’s big birthday bash!

Week 272 June 15, 2019

Hello from New York! And, Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all our family and friends who are Fathers!

Before leaving California last Saturday night, and after packing up our belongings at our AirBnB, Loren and I enjoyed a delightful meal out with special friends who we made at the AirBnB where we stayed just 3 days shy of a full year. 

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While we were in the restaurant, we received a text message that our flight leaving San Francisco airport that evening was delayed. It was long enough to interfere with our connecting flight and to cause us to be late for our scheduled rental car pickup. We called the airline only to find it would be at least a two hour wait time to speak with an agent…

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A dear friend had offered to drive us to the airport, and we only pushed back our ride with him by half an hour to have enough time to speak with an airline representative at the airport. I am grateful we went early and had the delayed flight because, when we arrived at SFO, I discovered I had forgotten my ID. Loren was kind to me about all the effort it took for us with round-trip public transit and Uber rides to retrieve it. We were also able to rearrange our rental car pickup time. When we returned to the airport, our flight had been further delayed due to severe thunder storms in Georgia. We had actually needed most of that extra time. We ultimately left San Francisco 4 hours late, spent 4 extra hours in Atlanta, and arrived safe in New York 8 hours later than scheduled. I smiled on seeing an advertisement from the amusement park of my youth at the airport. 

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As Loren said, “It was a journey just trying to leave!”

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Fortunately Loren and I had both been able to sleep some on the overnight flight. We rented the car, and drove to Pennsylvania to arrive at my junior high school friend’s place where we had a lovely visit. We extended our stay an additional night, to make up for how late we had arrived. We played cards together and I put together an easy puzzle which nearly had me feeling like I had visited the Jersey shore.

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While in Pennsylvania one evening, we went to a local bar to watch the NBA Finals’ Warriors vs Raptors Game 5. This lounge had 10 televisions, with 8 of them showing the basketball game. Loren and I were thrilled when our team won!

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On returning to New York, Loren and I enjoyed a wonderful Mexican dinner with my brother, his wife and their younger daughter. The waiter prepared our guacamole to order at our table. Similarly he prepared a fiery table-side display for my niece’s desert.

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The next day I drove to the upstate village where my father had said his father was born. My brother and I have known little about my father’s side of the family because his parents both died young. I had driven my father to this town once in recent years before he died, but I had not learned much from that trip. This time I stopped at the Village Clerk’s office and was rewarded with seeing the handwritten record of my grandfather’s birth. Now I know the exact month and day of his birth – in addition to the year which I had previously learned from his headstone – as well as the names of my grandfather’s parents. Then I went to the village cemetery and was fortunate to find not only my great-grandfather’s and great-grandmothers’ tombstones, but also this great-grandmother’s parents tombstones. I was so touched to find these special ones’ graves.

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On leaving the area, I was treated to a great blue heron sitting on a rock in a pond on the side of the road, and just had to snap its’ photo. That evening Loren and I were sorry to see our Warriors lose the Finals to the Raptors in Game 6 of the series. Our team had suffered several injuries in the post season, and another key player had to leave that game due to an injury, dashing the team’s dreams of wining a three-peat championship.

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There have been other aspects of nature that also caused me to pause to snap a photo this week – from a colorful bush that reminds me of Australian eucalyptus, to the density of dogwood blossoms this season, to a cardinal and bluejay on adjacent tree branches.

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The next day Loren and I had an hours-long lunch date with another dear friend of mine. She brought photos of she and me from before I had moved to California. I was shocked to be reminded how I had looked thirty years ago when we had visited Cape Cod together one summer. That evening Loren and I went to see The Secret Life of Pets 2, which was as amusing as my recollection of the first Pets film that I had caught most of during a long flight some year or so ago.

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Today, we had another wonderful time with my brother, his wife and their younger daughter, in driving to and taking a guided tour of historic West Point. We learned its location was strategic at the time of the Revolutionary War to take advantage of a particular narrow passage of the Hudson River, preventing the British to pass between their ports in New York and Canada. It was a lovely day and we were grateful for the information imparted to us with the high caliber of our tour guide – might I even label her a guidess?

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Tomorrow we look forward to spending Father’s Day with my brother, who is a great Dad to two beautiful young women.

Week 271 June 8, 2019

As Loren and I make our last preparations to leave California after a year in the AirBnB near Loren’s Mom and sister’s house — now Loren’s sister’s house, we made a priority to have some special connections with important people in our lives. First I want to record how our bedroom has been brightened all week by a bouquet we took home from Loren’s Mom’s Celebration of Life last Saturday.

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We began our week over a patio brunch with dear neighbors from San Jose, who drove up our way with their treasured family member – their dog, Arctic. I regret not taking photos, however our meaningful and deep conversations, and a pleasant connection with our waitress who is originally from Turkey, made for good memories. 

One evening we enjoyed a nice evening with Loren’s sister over a barbecue, and relaxed together afterwards over desert on her back deck. She offered that I could pick more of her scrumptious lemons. Like other brimming bags-full this spring that I have taken to the yogis, these lemons were gleefully snatched up after the next classes that I taught. 

Another evening was spent over dinner with Loren’s Godson at what has become a favorite sushi restaurant. Afterwards we went together for ice cream at the parlor Loren frequented on occasion since childhood. Later in the week we enjoyed a pizza dinner with his godson’s parents. We are impressed with the rig his father is outfitting for off-roading and overnighting in the desert – similar to our van in that its size can neatly fit into any parking spot. We look forward to testing out the 5 seater cab when he graciously drives us to the airport for our flight.

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One day this week Loren and I drove to San Jose where Loren had a meeting with some of the men who were advisors to him in his business. During that time I had a wonderful, though too short catchup lunch with a beloved girlfriend. Again I didn’t capture the time with my camera, though smiles and tears will linger on in my heart.

A different sort of event this week was when one of our AirBnB friends turned 14 years of age. This afternoon we look forward to a belated birthday meal together to celebrate with him and his Mom. She has gaily decorated the door to their spacious bedroom for the occasion, which we also derived pleasure upon seeing…

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Loren and I also thoroughly enjoyed viewing a Warrior’s basketball game in Toronto at a Watch Party over a light meal at a theater in Oakland. We attended with these same friends. Together we rode BART there and back. You may not be able to tell from my photos that we were treated to seeing our team win up close on a movie-theater-size screen. Sadly our guys lost Games 1, 3 and 4 so far in this Finals series, from some of our key players having to miss playing for a variety of injuries. We are still hopeful that they can make a miraculous comeback to win the best of 7 when the competition continues again in Toronto next week… they must win each of the next 3 games. Fingers crossed!

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Loren has reconnected with his bicycle while we have been here and is off for one more good ride before our departure. For me, I am grateful for the many months I have taught classes for the local Bikram Yoga studio. It has been the longest stretch of time that I have been consistently on a studio’s schedule since my training in 2014, and my teaching skills now reflect the benefits of this time and focus. I was moved when one of my newer students, who knows I will be traveling, expressed her appreciation to me with a bouquet of flowers and a card that says how much my classes have meant to her. Personally, I took the studio’s 30 day challenge that was offered in May, and kept up my daily practice for another 7 days beyond its end. Since then with teaching and packing I had to miss a day though intend to take classes as regularly as I can going forward.

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Next week’s post on our blog will be from New York, where Loren and I will have begun a month-long visit with more dear family and friends who live on the East Coast. Farewell for now California!

 

Week 270 June 1, 2019

It was another memorable week in Castro Valley, California and its environs. Loren and I started our week attending an informal dance show put on by one of our AirBnB friends. He is 13 years old and will turn 14 next week. He has been able to claim part of the AirBnB garage for his dance studio. He is quite the gentleman too – of the four women among us in attendance, he invited me – the oldest woman, to share a dance with him.

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The next day was Memorial Day, and with him and his Mom Loren and I went to see Aladdin at the local theater. It was an awesome rendition of the story! At one point I was laughing so hard that I cried, which opened the gates for me to shed more tears as the plot thickened. In that way it exceeded my bar for a movie – they are the best when they elicit me to laugh and also to cry.

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In preparation for the Golden State Warriors Finals Game 1 also this week against the Toronto Raptors, our friend – the Mom, created this appealing poster, which recognizes the team’s recent history, slogans, sport and colors.

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Loren and I also enjoyed a few meals with friends this week. One evening we had a fabulous dinner with one dear friend at an Italian restaurant. A highlight of the meal was drinking a bottle of Nebbiolo together, an Italian wine from the Piemonte region of Italy, where Lorens mother’s parents each hailed from. 

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Another day we enjoyed a coffee date with a couple who were at our wedding. In fact he was Loren’s Best Man. We lingered over our drinks for a few hours and could easily have spent more time in good conversation together. Towards the end of the week, Loren and I had a fun lunch date with another couple to try a New York style thin slice cheese pizza.  It was doughier than I remember from New York, but the flavor was indeed reminiscent of slices I had as a child. I noticed the smiles on the face of the one friend were so much more pronounced than I had ever remembered seeing, and I attribute that to her recent retirement, or, maybe it is that the preparation for their daughter’s wedding that they recently hosted at their home is now behind them.

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This week too, I completed my 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge! It feels good to have gone everyday for a month, and I continued the challenge – today I took class for my 32nd day  in a row. Not all who attempted the challenge completed it, but at least several gave it a whirl. It was also fun to see the studio manager’s puppy there one day. It seems that just a few weeks ago the manager was holding her puppy in her arms like an infant, but now she is much too big for that. She brought her in to the studio for the first time in a long time, as the pup is recovering from being spayed this week.

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The most important event for us this week is that we formally celebrated the life of Loren’s Mom. It was a small gathering, beautifully coordinated by Loren’s sisters, and it was a wonderful tribute. From the tasty fare, to the photo collages, to the meaningful conversations with special friends, neighbors, coworkers and family, and, the heartfelt remembrances and accolades, I am sure she would have been touched if she could have been there in person. Her daughters even thought to display her favorite poem, Joyce Kilmer’s Trees. To use one of Loren’s Mom’s favorite phrases, the event was Super Duper!

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Week 269 May 25, 2019

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I am especially remembering my father today, who was a WWII veteran. He left Syracuse University to volunteer for the US Army with the intent to preserve freedom, like so many young men of his generation did. He was a lucky one, able to return to finish his studies and have a good, long life. My brother and I had the fortune to escort him to his college reunion twelve years ago, then the next year to commemorate my niece’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday celebration. He died at age 91, just five years ago this month.

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Like my father, when I become interested in a sports team, I am all in. In addition to the Syracuse Orange athletic teams, his was the New York Yankees baseball team. Right now, mine is the Golden State Warriors basketball team. Loren and I are so proud of them for their sweep of the Western Conference Finals. They “Won the West” against the Portland Trailblazers in just four games. 

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Now we will face the Toronto Raptors later this week, starting in Toronto. They similarly took the Eastern Conference Finals, but it took them six games to win the series. During one of their games played in Toronto, a newscaster borrowed a Raptors fan’s placard to show the camera. It said “The Bucks Stop Here!” a witty play on President Truman’s famous statement, “The buck stops here.” I wonder what slogan their fans might come up with for our upcoming series? Regardless, while they were right about the Bucks, I have faith that our two-consecutive-years championship team will clinch the three-peat…

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Other news this week is, my 30 day challenge of taking a Bikram yoga class every day for 30 days is nearly over. Since I am not on the schedule to teach through the end of the month I will not have to spend the more than four hours in the hot room – like I did on the days when I also taught two classes, to complete my own yoga class for the day. What I noticed this week on my drive to and from the yoga studio are the bountiful roses in full bloom along the freeway overpass. 

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Loren and I finished out this week having dinner with friends at a restaurant that Loren and I used to frequent a lot before we began our travels. Before dinner Loren and I took a walk around the downtown of our neighborhood, something we always enjoyed doing when we lived there. It was interesting to note what is new mixed in with what we remember. Later, in the restaurant, it took me aback to notice a familiar chair with the same upholstery as I remembered from that long ago. 

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Loren and I so appreciate our family and friends for keeping up with us here on our blog all this time. It is nearly a year that we have been staying at the AirBnB near what is now Loren’s sister’s house. Next week we will have a small gathering to celebrate their Mom’s life. The following week, Loren and I will begin to resume our travels. We will start off with a visit to New York again, and are excited to share here all that will come next. 

Week 268 May 18, 2019

This week included Mother’s Day, and Loren and I wish a Happy belated to all our family and friends, especially those who are mothers.

It was touching for us, as this was our first Mother’s Day since Loren’s Mom died in March. Loren’s sister invited us to join her for breakfast at their Mom’s favorite breakfast restaurant, which was meaningful and nice. At the end of our meal, the wait staff brought 2 roses for Loren’s sister – one for her and one for her and Loren’s Mom. They gave me one too, which I later bestowed on a neighbor of Loren’s sister when she brought a vase of her home grown flowers to Loren’s sister’s home.

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That afternoon Loren and I visited with the mother of friends of ours. Unfortunately she had had a fall just a week after her 98th birthday, breaking ribs and a shoulder. She is in some discomfort, and is recuperating in a local nursing home. It was great to also visit with her daughter, who was in town for Mother’s Day from New York. Then Loren and I came home to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers in the kitchen that belongs to one of our AirBnB friends.

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Loren and I also enjoyed seeing special friends this week, on a date for Indian food with a former colleague of mine and her partner. We had another date, for coffee in Livermore with a yoga teacher friend of ours, where I taught a Bikram class that evening. I also thoroughly enjoyed catching up with two dear colleague friends, each over a lunch date this week. One of them was in the South Bay, and as I drove to meet her I was surprised to see another new street named for another high tech company. It has been that long since I have lived in the milieu of Silicon Valley on a day to day basis, that I was a little tickled at seeing such a tribute.

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Another stunning experience for me this week was noticing a ring on a stranger’s finger in a coffee shop. She was gracious about my interest, as it reminded me in many ways of a ring of my father’s mother. This woman’s has a little different layout, but the basic design in the same, and she explained that he husband had found it at an estate sale. Not only did she indulged me in taking a photo of it, she offered to take it off her finger to have a better angle.

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Otherwise the highlights of our week were spent in taking yoga classes – I am more than half way though my 30 day challenge, and still enjoy teaching a few classes a week locally. And, we cheered on our Golden State Warriors who are competing against the Portland Trailblazers. We were delighted to see them win three in a row of this round of best of 7 playoff games. This is the Semifinals or the Western Conference Finals. Whoever wins will compete in the National Finals. They will play against either the Milwaukee Bucks – who have 2 wins, or the Toronto Raptors. We wish our team all the best in making a sweep of straight 4 wins on Monday evening… GO WARRI🏀RS!

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Week 267 May 11, 2019

This week flew past, maybe because I posted a little late last week? Anyway a good part of it was spent in the local Bikram Yoga studio, where I am still teaching more classes than I had been to help with them being a little understaffed. In addition, it seemed the studio spontaneously offered a 30 Day Challenge for the month of May, which I accepted along with about 30 other students. I had to miss taking a class one day last week, so this week I had to take 2 classes on the same day to make it up. I am excited about this Challenge. It has been a long time since I have taken one. It’s a nice way to trim down a little for the summer and a nice way for the studio to build more community with its students. At the end of this week the Challenge is already one-third complete…

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Loren and I had a brief visit in San Jose with our property manager and her handyman early in the week, to receive a bid for a fixit project. While we were there we found some fragrant sweet pea blooming in our yard…

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Another highlight this week was having a dinner out at a sports bar with one of our AirBnB friends, to see the Golden State Warriors in Round 2 Game 4 of the Playoffs. Sadly, they lost, but we thoroughly enjoyed the evening out together.

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Maybe Loren’s and my grandest highlight this week was seeing Hamilton in San Francisco. I have wanted to see it since a traveler friend who we met in Africa, who lives in Australia, flew to London to see it a few years ago. I think she also wanted to see friends who she had made when she worked there too, but I remember being impressed that that was her reason to travel. It was well worth the hefty price tag for Loren and I to see it here. Even though all the action took place on the same creative set, Loren still found it riveting with no lapse during the entire performance.

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Unfortunately our Warriors’ Game 5 was that same evening, so after the performance we found a bar with a TV and caught the last part of the action. Our Warriors lost a valuable player to injury during that game, but the team went on to make the win.

We enjoyed having a pizza dinner with friends who live within walking distance of our AirBnB, and although they had not been as interested in watching the Warrior’s Game 6, we did turn on their TV in time to see the amazing 4th quarter win that clinched this round. It was especially amazing in that one of the stars on the team was scoreless in the entire first half, then came back with a record breaking scoring streak in the 2nd half.

Loren and I finished up our week having a lunch date with a dear colleague of mine, who we both thoroughly enjoy visiting with although the visits are too far in between.

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Week 266 May 4, 2019

Loren and I have had some nice visits this week, starting with taking lunch to Loren’s sister one day. So much more of her garden is blooming that it was fun to photograph.

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Another visit we had was with one of our AirBnB guest’s at his art show with other local youth. We were happy for him that all his pieces sold during the first day of the display!

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I am still enjoying teaching Bikram Yoga classes this month, and this week I had an opportunity to teach at another local studio. Afterwards I visited with a yoga teacher friend who lives near it, and caught up on seeing her recent wedding photos.

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Then we had an especially meaningful morning with Loren’s sister. We went with her and a friend of hers on a fundraiser walk called Hike for Hope. It was significant in that it benefitted Hope Hospice – the organization that helped with the last month of Loren’s mother’s care. It was a gorgeous day at Del Valle Regional Park, and we did the longer 4 mile hike along the lake and slightly up into the hills, seeing some wildflowers. We stayed  afterwards for the barbecue as well.

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We’ve also enjoyed seeing our Golden State Warriors win the first two of three games this week in the second round of playoff games, and wish them better luck in the fourth and fifth of the series this coming week. 

Loren and I ended our week by taking BART – Bay Area Rapid Transit, to San Francisco to celebrate a special friend’s birthday. On the way to meet up I was thrilled to walk along Columbus Avenue, which is the Italian neighborhood there that I have longed to see.

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Our friend and her husband were visiting from Ashland. It was fun to hang out with other family and friends of theirs at Fisherman’s Wharf, then have dinner together.

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We four enjoyed staying overnight, and, having a farewell brunch in the morning too.

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On Loren’s and my walk back to the BART station we saw another example of San Francisco’s uniquely architected landmarks. We feel very blessed to have had these many great visits this week.

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Week 265 April 27, 2019

Happy Orthodox Easter! The images here include a neighbor to our AirBnB’s decoration light up at night and the eggs that were painted  by one of our AirBnB guests’ family.

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And, Belated Happy Earth Day! A friend sent a link this week to see “80 beautiful photos from around the world for Earth Day.” While slowly inhaling the photos, I realized that Loren and I have been to 30 of these places. Of the rest I counted 22 that I would still like to visit. If you want to view the photos, you can find them online at:
https://www.cincinnati.com/picture-gallery/travel/2017/04/21/80-beautiful-photos-from-around-the-world-for-earth-day/100743930/ 

This week Loren and I helped the mom of a childhood friend of Loren’s celebrate her 98th birthday! We enjoyed one of her daughters’ delicious lemon meringue pies together, yum! We also celebrated the publication of one of her granddaughter’s newest books.

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Loren and I also received the “official” invitation to the wedding of special friends who we made in Romania. I wish we could attend. Since we cannot, I will hold hope that we will see them again someday.

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Loren and I also enjoyed dates with a friend of mine from Bikram Yoga San Jose, and, with friends from our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Sunnyvale this week. While in the South Bay we stopped to pick up our mail and so enjoyed seeing all the growth and blooms, both in our yard,

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and in the yards of our San Jose neighbors.

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I must mention our Golden State Warriors again this week. Loren and I watched the finale of the Round 1 Playoff games. We watched two of the three games at our AirBnB with other guests, one of whom texted me a couple of cute images that perfectly describe our enjoyment at the win of the 4th game. We also agonized together the loss of the 5th.

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Loren and I watched the 6th game with other friends at their home, where we were entertained again by their returning nesting owl to a palm tree, and their lovely garden and yard. The are preparing to host one of their daughters’ wedding here next week. Oh, and our Warriors won, taking them to the starting game of Round 2 tomorrow…

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This time next week Loren and I will have completed the 2019 Hike for Hope with Loren’s sister and a friend of hers. The hike is a fundraiser for Hope Hospice who helped with their Mom’s care. It will take place at Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore. We are on the Team: Colibris for Lil. Colibri, or hummingbird, were among her favorite birds. 

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