Plunging into the new year

… and, by “new year” I don’t mean 2023, I mean “new year” as in embarking on my latest year-long journey around the sun. I turned another year older a few days ago.

Birthday celebrations now are very different than they were when I was younger. I don’t want to open gifts or go out to a fancy dinner. I’d much rather spend the day exploring someplace interesting, enjoying a home-cooked meal, and, of course, consuming a piece of the delectable Caramelized Orange Cheesecake my husband makes me every year (happy wife, happy life).

Check, check, and check.

 You may have read about all the rain California has been experiencing lately. Gosh knows we need it, but maybe not all at once. Here in the southern part of the state, the weather has been milder, but the king tides and stormy surf have brought big waves and some flooding to our coastal areas.

On my birthday, following a day of especially high tides, my husband and I drove to a local beach to watch the pounding surf and see the aftermath of surging water, seaweed, and sand.

This boardwalk is usually filled with walkers, skateboarders, and bicyclists. It will probably be a few days before all the sand is back on the beach… where it’s suppose to be.

Although we missed all the excitement, we heard tales of waves plunging over the seawall, leaving a thick layer of sand that will have to be shoveled back onto the beach.

Our walk also took us to Belmont Park, a beachfront amusement park built in 1925.

Although the interior has been modernized, I’m glad they maintained the Spanish Renaissance style façade.

When I was very young, our parents often took my brothers and me swimming at The Plunge, a huge indoor pool located in the park. The building and pool have recently been renovated, but the sound of kids playing, and the smell of chlorine still brought back many happy memories.

After visiting the pool, we walked around the arcade and midway area for a bit of people watching. That’s when I decided I had to ride the Giant Dipper—the historical wooden roller coaster that was also a part of my childhood—again. Although the roller coaster has been refurbished since I last rode it, it still had the bone-rattling twists, turns and downhill plunges I remembered from my youth. 

There is something about a roller coaster that brings out the kid in us.

Topping off the first day of my latest journey around the sun, I dug into a yummy husband-cooked meal before plunging into my favorite birthday treat: Caramelized Orange Cheesecake.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.      


This week’s Sunday Stills prompt is Plunge. Please visit Terri’s site to see how other bloggers took the challenge.

Copyright © 2023 RetirementallyChallenged.com – All rights reserved.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

123 thoughts on “Plunging into the new year”

  1. That cheesecake sounds and looks delicious. And made by your hubby to boot. You lucky woman! (Cute picture! I wouldn’t dare challenge you for that cheesecake!) You’re a braver woman than I am, riding that roller coaster. I rode one once as a teen, was absolutely terrified. Hoped I’d outgrown that, yielded to peer pressure, and tried one more time some years later. Still terrified. Anyway, wishing you a very happy, although belated birthday!

  2. A perfect day. I’m jealous of the cheesecake! My husband, who is a very simple cook (think grilled burgers) is taking me to a steak place for my birthday this week. There will be no cheesecake but maybe I’ll have a margarita. I’m grateful you didn’t have more damage to your seaside. Sand you can move.

  3. I’ll be 70 in a few weeks and I would rather see a movie and eat at home, too. Birthdays around our house are low key events. Happy Birthday to you, and enjoy the ride around the sun!

  4. First of all, Happy birthday, Janis! Enjoy that cheesecake–looks scrumptious! Secondly, yes rain is hitting the West Coast (even in Spokane this week!!), and why does it always come in torrents? Love your take on Plunge and I LOVE the pic of the Mission Bay Plunge (I’d hoped I had a pic of it somewhere but gave up), so nice to see it. I actually had to take a lifeguard test there in 1984 when I re-upped my Red Cross Lifeguard card. But I cannot get over the image of all the sand and debris on the boardwalk! Amazing!

    1. I’m so happy they kept the Plunge and the roller coaster when they re-did the park. They are such an iconic part of our community. The sand on the boardwalk was pretty crazy. Many of the homes had water and sand on their patios and porches… and, I imagine, some had water inside their houses. I got a bit wet when a wave washed up much further than I first thought it would.

    2. And why aren’t the torrents directly over the reservoirs? 🙃 I looked recently, and Orville still looks dejectedly low… imagine if instead of running off into the ocean, the water would fill up those sad looking lakes?

      And, I too, am a huge believer in celebrating birthdays with a cake! Ever since I was a little girl, my mom always made a cake for me, and now my husband does … yummy 😋 The only thing we differ on is that my favorite is a chocolate cake 🤤 In fact, any sentence that begins with “chocolate” sounds promising to me 🙃

      1. They need to put you in charge of torrents… it makes no sense that all that water not only gets wasted but also does such damage. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I’m one of those weirdos who isn’t a big chocolate fan… not that I’d turn a slice of your cake down should you offer 🙂

        1. You and me both? 🙃

          I once made my mom’s chocolate cake and a friend told me she hates one of the main ingredients, but tried a small slice. Then she had a second (larger) slice followed by a third slice. I think my mom’s cake is magical 😁

  5. I am afraid, I would not be able to bake you such a wonderful birthday cake, Janis. Your husband did a great job. Happy belated birthday greetings and a Happy New Year!

  6. Going on an adventure sounds like a great way to spend a birthday. Crazy about the waves and such. I’m sorry I missed seeing that. I’m sure the people in the beach front homes got quite a show.
    And, Caramelized Orange Cheesecake??? You don’t live too far from me, right? Has your husband considered selling those? No reason… 😉
    And happy birthday!

    1. I imagine that you had some high surf up in your area too. The day after we were at the beach, the surfers were back out (it was too blown out when we were there) and getting some BIG waves.

      That cheesecake is pretty amazing… I can “anonymously” send the recipe to your husband, if you’d like 🙂

      1. That’s very sweet of you to anonymously send it to my hubs. Actually, my daughter is the baker. I could let her have a go at it. She’d probably enjoy the challenge.

        I’ll bet the surfers loved those waves. Fun for them. Hope no one got hurt.

  7. Happy Birthday! And love your plunge theme photos. Jumping into a experience is exactly how I desire my birthdays to go as well. I’m past the age of needing a gift and would much rather create a memory! Cheese cake gifts are amazing too esp made by your hubs. Love it.

  8. Oh, Happy Birthday Janis! You know, I know how delicious that cheese cake was. Time to try that recipe again soon! How clever of you to sneak all those plunges in there!

  9. I’m with you, Janis. I’d much rather have experiences than gifts for my birthday. (I’d also like that cheesecake, LOL.) What a fun day you had, and YAY for you riding the rollercoaster! Wishing you another year of fun adventures, creativity, and delicious moments!

  10. Happy Birthday, Janis! May you have loads of adventures.
    ps-is that Mission Beach Boardwalk? We had a few family adventures there when our kids were growing up and we’d rent a place for the week…wow that was a loooong time ago!

  11. OMG!!!! I can’t believe you’re a San Diegan!!! (Or are you?) That’s where we lived before we moved up here to Tehachapi, and where we’re going to be living once we get this house sold. Huge hugs to you… I have to ask if you remember a female lifeguard there at the Plunge–tall, brunette with glasses and a sweet smile. Her name was Mage Gunthorpe-Bailey and she was a lifeguard there at the Plunge for YEARS. She was a dear, dear friend of mine and a fellow blogger. She passed away on August 3rd last year. Such a loss… her blog is https://urban-archology.blogspot.com/ Missing her like crazy.

      1. Oh, absolutely! Would you mind telling me what part of San Diego you live in? I was in North Clairemont for most of our married life. Moving back, we’ll be in Santee.

  12. Well Happy Birthday Janis! I hope you shared some of that cheesecake 😉 One of my son-in-laws grew up in SD but when I visited there they didn’t take me to Belmont Park- probably knowing I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I however grew up 1 block from the location of our famous WA state fair grounds and got to see all the terrified people riding our own version of the iconic wooden coaster.

  13. I can not believe you found a building with the word plunge on it!! How perfect for the challenge and then to plunge into that perfect cake after the plunging on the roller coaster (way to go with being spontaneous!!). Another January birth blogger. Glad you had an awesome day! Bernie

  14. Happy birthday to you Janis and I agree ‘Happy Wife, Happy life’ 🙂 Love the Plunge building and could hear the laughter, squeals and chlorine smells all the way from around the world! Well done on the rollercoaster, I’m not sure I could that these days, the plunging feeling in my stomach is just too much!

  15. Happy Birthday Janis. I know The plunge well and wore the wrist bands that let me ride that roller coaster over and over again, in the front car, with both arms up!

  16. Congratulations on another orbit around the sun, Janis.
    It looked like fun on that rollercoaster! I am with you on birthday gifts. An experience is more desirable than a surprise present. How first world is that?
    I am glad you got rain but hope the damage is easily repairable. The weather here forecast a El Nino now after 3 years of La Ninja and flooding rains. That means we will face droughts, no doubt. Are you still facing any water restrictions, after the rain?

    1. Other than some flooding along the coast, the southern part of the state didn’t sustain much damage. Not so up north where some homes have been destroyed. I’m not sure about water restrictions. Our city has done a good job with water management for now. It does feel odd, after years of dry winters, to be talking about flooding again.

  17. Happy Birthday, Janis! You got to do everything you wanted on your special day and you shared it all with the love of your life – good for you! I trust that your roller coaster ride will remain a cherished memory for years to come. Truth be told, if I had gotten on that coaster, I wouldn’t have been able to keep dinner and that sensational cheesecake down. Best wishes for the year ahead!

  18. Happy Birthday! You had a nice day adventure, a boat load of good memories, and a delicious dessert you didn’t have to make. Sounds like a successful birthday to me. Birthday celebrations certainly do change as the years pass, and that’s okay with me anyway.

  19. Happy, Happy, Happy (belated) Birthday. How you spent the day is so fun to read. And to end the day on a sweet note with that delicious cheesecake is perfection! Way to have a building to photograph with the word prompt too!! Nice touch. 😁😊

  20. A bit late but a very happy birthday to you! Rollercoasters may bring out the kid in you, but the bring out the nausea in me. 🙂 Now, about that cheesecake… is it a secret family recipe or are you willing to share. I have some cheesecake (and orange) lovers in my life whom I’d love to impress.

  21. Looks like a fantastic way to spend your birthday.

    I do understand the fury of the sea. The last hurricane took out many sea walls in our area.

  22. Happy Birthday Janis! That does sound like a perfect way to spend a birthday going down memory lane and I love that you took the risk on the roller coaster. The cheesecake looks fabulous…I want a bite.

  23. Have you ridden the wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster in Santa Cruz? It’s my favorite. I haven’t ridden the Big Dipper. Now I want to! I’m like you and would prefer a birthday get-away and have strived to do that for awhile now.

    Happy Belated Birthday, Janis!!

    I hope your year around the sun is a great one. 😃🎂✨🎉🎈

  24. A very happy belated birthday, Janis. Getting out and staying interested in activity outside of our homes seems like a great way to usher in a new year. Your birthday cheesecake looked amazing! 🙂

  25. Happy Birthday Janis! Looks like you had a wonderful day mixed with a bit of nostalgia from days gone by. That cake looks scrumptious!

  26. Your celebration sounds perfect, Janis, especially topped off with that cheesecake. Looks delicious! I feel the same as I get older, too, and I love rollercoasters! That looks like so much fun. We’re in Northern Cal. and we’ve been praying for rain, but my goodness, when it comes in buckets and causes havoc, it’s not so good. Be careful what you wish for, right? 🙂 We still need it though and more will come throughout the week. So far, our house is fine, but I feel for those whose homes are flooded. I can’t even imagine. Stay dry and Happy birthday!

    1. We are suppose to get more rain too, but probably not to the extent of NorCal. When the ground doesn’t get a chance to dry out in between storms, it can be a problem. Fortunately, we are on a solid hill (no possibility of mudslides) so we can stay dry and warm. I hope you can too 🙂

  27. The perfect way to spend a birthday…and that cheesecake is the business. The friend I made it for last year is still raving about it.

  28. Happy Belated Birthday, Janis … although I’m a strong proponent of celebrating Birthday Month, so I hope you have plenty to enjoy all month 🙂

    We’ve been watching the news out of California and all the havoc caused by so much rain. Seriously, after so many years of drought, who would ever have guessed that too much rain would now be such a problem?

    Wishing you well, and hoping that the weather gods are a little kinder!

  29. Happy belated birthday, Janis. I’d have been on the roller coaster with you, although not sure about the one I’ve heard about in Las Vegas, which hangs off the top of a building.

    I’ve been seeing all the news about your crazy weather. I hear some parts of California already have their annual rainfall totals. That’s a lot of water in such a short space of time.

    Caramelized Orange Cheesecake sounds fantastic. I hope I can find one in the UK.

    1. I’d be happy to go on the roller coaster with you! And, I’m fairly brave, but those crazy roller coasters aren’t for me either.

      We are expecting more rain here tomorrow but, again, the central and northern part of the state will get the brunt of the storm. I feel bad for them but our reservoirs really need the water… like you said, just not in such a short space of time.

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