My husband and I stopped buying each other special occasion gifts a long ago. Not only would we rather purchase items as they are needed, but, like so many people our age, we are more interested in getting rid of things than acquiring them.
What I can’t buy for myself – but certainly need more of – is quality time spent hanging out with my best friend. So, when my birthday rolled around a few days ago, I asked my husband for a day doing exactly what I wanted: a day spent with him, exploring one of our area’s most beautiful cities – Coronado.
We’ve been having an unusual amount of rain in Southern California this winter. It has come in waves… a few rainy days interspersed with cloudy days, then rain again. Because of our persistent drought none of us are complaining, but every so often, in between the rainstorms, we get a day that just sparkles. And, two days after my birthday, they were predicting one of those days – a perfect day.
Coronado Island, a small beach community just west of San Diego’s downtown, is home to the North Island Naval Air Station and the headquarters of the U.S. Navy Seals, but is probably best known for the historic Hotel del Coronado. You might recognize it if you’ve ever see the 1958 movie “Some Like It Hot” (starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon), which was filmed on its grounds.
Surrounded by San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Coronado’s beaches go on for miles and the views are breathtaking.
After spending the day strolling on the beach, enjoying lunch in a lovely outdoor courtyard, admiring the gorgeous views, and exploring the grand Hotel del, we headed home… where the Caramelized Orange Birthday Cheesecake my husband made for me was waiting.
I am so grateful for being able to spend this most perfect day in the most perfect way.
As any blogger knows, once a post is complete, it can be a little unnerving to hit “publish” and watch as our private words become public. Whether we’ve written something we hope will make people smile, or make them think, or we’ve shared an event or an adventure, we always pour at least a bit of ourselves into what we write. When we send a post off into the blogosphere, we never know for sure what will come of it. It’s the likes and comments we receive in return that help us know that our words are being read and appreciated.
Because of this, I want you to know how grateful I am to you for visiting, reading, liking, and (hopefully) following RetirementallyChallenged. I know that there are many, many millions of blogs to choose from, and I am beyond thankful that you have found and spent a moment with mine.
My deepest gratitude goes to those of you who take the time to leave such positive, insightful, and interesting comments – they are often the best part of each post. For the generosity of those who share their thoughts by commenting, I am more grateful than words can express.
One of the holiday traditions in our family was the scrapbook my mother kept of Christmas cards. Beginning in 1945 – the second year my parents were married and the year my father returned from the war – she glued a sample of the card they sent out each year. She faithfully added cards up to 1998, just two years before she passed away. The following year, her health started to deteriorate, and by the next Christmas, there would be no more cards sent.
A few years later, as my brothers and I were clearing out the family home for its eventual sale, I came across the scrapbook and scooped it up. Although the anti-clutter side of me said not to, I knew that I couldn’t throw the book out. I am so grateful that I decided to keep it.
As a little girl, I remember looking through the scrapbook and marveling at all the pretty cards. Now as I look at the pages, I can see a clear timeline of my parents’ lives.
The early cards were small and simple and had their names engraved under the greeting. Several years later, when my oldest brother was born, his name was added alongside theirs.
The next three years, including the year my other brother was added to the mix, my father was trying his hand at photography and printed the Christmas cards in his darkroom. The black and white cards are somewhat unusual, but his creativity shines through.
Over the years, the cards they chose to send reflected different aspects of my parents’ personalities and interests. Their sense of humor, as well as their love of animals and travel was apparent in many of the cards. Several of the cards, instead of a traditional winter scene, depicted the desert or coastline more reminiscent of their Southern California home. And, because they supported many environmental and social causes, they often purchased their cards through such organizations as UNICEF, the Sierra Club, and the National Wildlife Federation.
The last card in the scrapbook is my favorite one of all. Its joyful message resonates with me, as it must have with my mother:
And, written on the inside:
May all that brings you joy,
may all that sustains you and gives you peace,
be yours this holiday season.
I can’t imagine a better wish for us all.
My Thursday Doors post last week highlighted some of the buildings and doors that were constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held in San Diego’s Balboa Park. This week’s post features a group of colorful structures that were added to the park close to 20 years later.
Hoping to mirror the success of the 1915 Exposition and promote the city during the Great Depression, San Diego civic leaders decided to hold a second large-scale event: the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. To help accomplish this bold plan and create whole new areas of the park, San Diego was fortunate to receive the first funds allocated by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The second exposition, quite unlike the first, featured some controversial exhibits and unusual sideshow entertainment, including a nudist colony called Zoro Gardens, a Midget Village (yes, that’s what they called it), and Alpha, a 6’2”, 2,000 pound silver robot.
San Diego architect Richard S. Requa oversaw the design and construction of many new buildings for the Exposition. Whereas the buildings from the 1915 fair were designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, Requa’s “California-Spanish” architectural designs pulled not only from Spain but also pre-Columbian Indian buildings and temples.
Included in the new construction was a group of quaint buildings and courtyards designed to depict a charming old Spanish village. The six buildings featured shops, restaurants, and a children’s theater.
In 1937, after the fair had ended, the Spanish village was reopened by a group of local artists as an artists’ colony. Although the colony was temporarily commissioned by the U.S. Army for barracks during World War II, after the war it was reclaimed and restored by the artists and has been a beloved local art destination ever since.
San Diego artists have continued to preserve and enhance this historical landmark by adding colorful plantings and unique entryways. Today, the Spanish Village Art Center continues to be a thriving community of over 200 independently juried local artisans. The Art Center features 37 working art studios and galleries that are open to the public.
Join the fun at Norm 2.0’s Thursday Door-a-palooza. If you have doors that you love (and who doesn’t love doors?) and want to share, click here for more info, to read other submissions, and to link up your post.