The Most Beautiful Place in the World

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Homeward Bound

I have been living the dream in California for 7 months now. But recently I got a chance to go back home to Wisconsin where the dream began.

After a 15 hour bout of traveling, an emergency landing in Lubbock Texas, and a  3AM drive  in the yellow convertible VW, I was finally home. . .

My mom peeking out from the top of the stairs enveloped me in her arms after I climbed the stairs. We spent the rest of the morning along with my sisters laughing and smiling over freshly baked blueberry muffins. I remember thinking it couldn’t get better than this, as I slipped into a late morning slumber.

But before I eased into my mostly subterranean  childhood bedroom, I padded around the house to the lovely and warming voices of my family echoing from the kitchen. . .

And so begins the journey, part one of a multi-part series that I hope to bring you over the next week. We start here at home inside the walls where we come to relax, kick back, and share our stories from the day.

DIY: Backyard Tent

This California sun is getting hotter by the day. One particular sunny day I sat outside with my book.

A heavy read but well worth it. As I sat roasting in the sun underneath my giant hat, a bug flew into my face. It was then that I knew I needed something to protect against the elements. But what could I do? I didn’t need something to protect me of the rain that seems in short supply these days.

No, I needed something luxurious. Something to sit under that could make me feel like a queen.

I ventured inside and gathered all the sheer scarves I could find. Using my clothesline, clothespins, and a tree freshly full of leaves, I began to pin up a shelter.
Oh well, that seems nice, doesn’t it? I sat down and dove back into my book. But alas…That lucky old sun was just too hot, and a rare bumblebee still found me. Well the view of my little garden was sure nice, but I was going to need to do a little more work. So I went back to find more scarves.That ought to do it! I stepped back to admire my work.Before I could step inside and get back to my lovely read, someone else found my shelter.

Well, I think there’s room for two.

Yes, that will do.


Are we Adjusted Yet?

I was looking for the hydrogen peroxide to clean my manicuring tools the other day, and I realized I had organized it all the way downstairs in the cleaning supplies area. Why had I done that? I don’t use it for anything outside of cleaning stuff that I store in the linen closet upstairs. What happened is a classic example of over-zealous new home organizing. When everything is brand new, apparently I feel the need to come up with all new ideas and uses for products. But really, a lot of stuff just stays the same.

Sure, you can start fresh, and perhaps that new path will lead you places you never thought you would go, but it’s always good to nail the basics down. This will help stabilize you in your new life.

As for me, I wouldn’t say I have adjusted completely. I still think of my home in Wisconsin as my home, and this new life in California feels temporary. But I sat in my garden tonight and planted some seedlings while the sun set, and for a moment I felt I could just be. That’s the feeling that comes when I am settled, and I look forward to more moments like that.

Another session in the sauna helped the process. Two days ago I was sick as a dog-nauseated all day. Late in the evening I joined my husband for an evening at the gym. I was sick but I had a feeling the sauna would help me feel better.

Well, the sauna was hot-hotter than it had ever been. My favorite sauna acquaintance was there. She is a lady marred by a car accident involving a texter while driving type. She comes to the gym to work out in the pool, and afterwards shuffles to the sauna with her walker. She is always in pain, and every day is a battle. As we sat together, I let it all out so to say. I told her how I haven’t been feeling good, and how crowded grocery stores and aggressive drivers on the highway make me nervous. I told her how I was frustrated that I couldn’t cook to save my life, that keeping up a house was harder than I thought it would be, and that working out had gone completely by the wayside. I told her I was worried about our new business ventures and that I was scared we would fail. She asked me if I was depressed, and I honestly could say no, I’m not depressed but I was in the habit of thinking like a depressed person. Old habits die hard.

We sweated it out for close to forty minutes and when I got out of there, I was as red as a tomato for at least an hour. That night I went to bed and I had a dream that I had expelled all these toxins from my body. The toxins looked like chunks of raw earth.

When I awoke in the morning, I felt light and free. It was as if a new attitude washed over me, one that was indelibly positive. It occurred to me that if I do the best I can and still fail, then there was nothing to worry about. Any impending failure would be there due to forces I cannot control. I zoomed to the store on the freeway with the windows down and visited the grocery store in the evening only to truly enjoy every moment. Furthermore, I worked on our store with total zeal and found that familiar strength that makes me a powerhouse in the area of business.

I know now that I can do anything I want, and have begun serious plans to go into the fashion business with my sisters.

Last night I drifted into sleep mulling over ideas to write a children’s book, and didn’t let myself fall asleep until I had one good idea to go with the next time I picked up the project.

I am sure the ebb and flow of inspiration will change this state of being, but each time I face my dreams and everyday life as a strong, capable woman, I am able to face the dark days with more wisdom and accomplishment.

Are we adjusted yet? Maybe its a very good thing I’m not.


A Walk on the Beach

When I first arrived in CA, I thought I would be at the beach every chance I got. However when I went I seemed to be looking for something-an image, an experience that I had pictured in my mind. I was somewhat disappointed to be honest, the drive was trafficky, the air was too cool, and the sand seemed dirty.

It seems though, that every time I do get out there, I am more and more mesmerized and enchanted by the powerful sea. My new thing is just going and dropping all images of what I think I am looking for. Now I am straight up addicted and can’t wait to go again-just to squish the soft sand between my toes where the water meets the beach, to feel the rush of the waves tuned to the lunar cycle, to notice the sparkling gold specks that are immersed in each tide…I wish you could be there too, but if you can’t this post might help you imagine that you are.

You very well could see any of these critters:


How to Take a Spiritual Journey

There are a number of journeys that can constitute a spiritual journey. One is the journey you take from one home to another: The man traveling from Wisconsin who sells his Chevy for a bus ticket to California, ends up traveling for three days without a shower or a bed.

Brothers, and Their Baggage, in India By A. O. SCOTT, Published: Sep 28, 2007 NY TIMES

Another journey you take to shed your baggage in order to find something that is missing from your life: Three semi-estranged brothers reunite on a train to search for their mother, who has joined a convent in India.

Another yet, is the one you take to bury a loved one: The daughter comes back to her old hometown to share her mother’s final days.

Some journeys are drawn out and some are short and fast. Some you take alone and some are crowded with voices.

It need not be approached too consciously; getting overly involved in its contents and outcome will cause you to over think.

The point is to release feelings of false control, so let go…

First, you must be called upon. This will come in the form of an opportunity that you will either listen to or not. Be a YES man, take that chance and start your journey.

You begin totally green. 

You, essentially a fool, are
courageous because you don’t know what is ahead of you. “[The fool] is the adventure in us that leaves safe places to find new things, he is the part of us that is hungry enough to want more and silly enough to take the risks to find what we need(1).”

Along the way you will meet characters with their own wisdom.

Some will recognize your journey as one that will continue.

Others will believe you have gone as far as you should go.

Furthermore, you will be presented with trials.

These you must face in light of your history and what brought you there in the first place.

The characters that you interact with and the trials you face play with different aspects of your subconscious and conscious mind.Some call upon your analytic reasoning powers while others will dip into the imagination…About halfway through, you will have a revelation of sorts.

This will transform you.

Go with it and return a new person.

Now, its your turn.

Here is a mini journey for you to take, enjoy:



How to Host Your Father on a Visit to San Diego

Prepare for the visit of your one and only father. Since you are a wife now, and there are new family to meld, don’t worry about anything except getting those sheets washed and toilet bowls clean.  Any other worries will be in vain, as everything will go beautifully…That is until dad leaves and you realize the floorboards are full of dust which could have been the reason he was sneezing so much…

Day One

Pick dad up at the airport and have a hot meal ready.  Since he has traveled all the way from Wisconsin in February, he is going to be cold and could use a warm welcome.

Day Two

Take dad to a church nestled in the hills and valleys that will give him respite from the busy world. Steal him away for a lunch of Oysters Rockefeller overlooking the ocean, followed up with a cloudy walk on the beach.  Collect a few rocks and talk about life. Catch a surfing competition alongside a curious seal. Head home to give the guy a nap.  He is going to be tired of course, so cook him something he can write home about.

Day Three

Its cloudy and cold today.  So uncharacteristic of paradise, but that won’t stop you from having a great day. Head to Seaport Village where he can buy his favorite cigars for dirt cheap. Just before the weather takes a turn for the worse, take him to the top of the city and watch the rain clouds gather. Stop for donuts and coffee and check out the location of the shop your husband is opening up soon.  Head home for leftover and listen to rain/hail pound on the windows until daybreak the next day.

Day Four

Its a beautiful day, perfect for wearing the new beret dad bought for himself at the hat shop. Dad will come down wearing the shirt your husband’s father bought for him.  Your husband’s father will be wearing the same one, and when you visit your husband’s brother at his place of business, you will realize he also will be adorned identically.

Family solidified, check.

Uniforms for the ride, check.

Everybody is happy so celebrate with a quaint lunch.

Spend the afternoon at the lovely Balboa Park ducking in and out gardens and free museums. Hold off on the Japanese Friendship Garden until their renovations are complete. Your husband’s father will have spent half the day with the butcher making sure the Kofta is fresh and mixed correctly for dinner tonight.  Dad will marvel at the Arab cuisine and its use of all the food groups that the body needs. Reintroduce him to dates so he can fascinate about the potassium content. Did you know that potassium is an important part of your diet because it harmonizes your pH levels and balances the fluids in your body? Imagine you are one part salt and the other part potassium. Keep in mind the salty diet we tend to digest and it is easy to see how important potassium is for the healthy function of the heart and muscles, and the brain and nervous system. They are most exquisite in taste too.

Day Five

Accompany your husband to class today, so you and your dad can visit the campus. Browse the art gallery and peruse the library.   

Cap it off with a game of tennis just below a giant hawk’s nest.

Rendezvous with the husband and rest over some delicious frozen yogurt. Decide you want one last visit to the beach and end it with a bang at La Jolla Children’s Pool.

There you can view the real babes on the beaches of San Diego.

Let dad treat you and the family to a farewell of dinner of seafood… the smell of the seals baking in the sun has surprisingly not deterred you.

Day Six

Send dad home dead tired so he can sleep on the plane ride. Get moving a little earlier than usual today and scale a mountain. Take dad off trail so he can do some real climbing…where the only sound you can hear is your heartbeat, if it weren’t for the vultures circling and screaming above your heads.

Surprise yourselves and make it to the top, just to take a breath and descale carefully.

Take dad for the best secret in La Mesa: Schawerma sandwiches worth the drive.

By then it will be time to say farewell…

And dad must head back home to his studies in the priesthood.

But you will always have each other, no matter the distance.