Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Kasha-Katuwe: Veteran's Memorial Scenic Overview

Giving thanks on this Memorial Day for the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the ideals and liberties this exceptional country offers.  May we always remember our fallen heroes with respect and admiration. 


Veteran's Memorial Scenic Overview 



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bees

A "consortium of universities and research laboratories announced last week that beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies between April 2014 and 2015, an 8 percent spike from the previous year" Washington Post May 19, 2015.  How tragic! and more concerning is that in part these little pollinators are dying as a result of chemicals/pesticides found in GMO crops.  

I was so happy to learn that my dear friends have started beekeeping.  Please follow their journey as they share with us their part in help the planet protect one of natures most important members.

Follow at Promised Land Honey


Friday, May 15, 2015

Vision and Veggies

Only the top half of the beautiful boulder
A little over a year ago I bought the most ideal little house.  Now, if you saw my house you would have advised against the purchase and would have told me it was a bad investment, too much money per sqft.  The property is 100 years old, tiny tiny, with foundation structural issues, a sagging roof, and to top it off it's located in the historical area of town.  Any change or modification requires approval by the Historical Society prior to even being considered for plan check and permitting.  I knew all this prior to making the offer. Even more insane right? why would I buy an old house, with structural issues in a zone requiring so much to make it current, when I could just buy a new home? Because, the minute I saw that house I knew it was mine.  That simple.



Gorgeous Agaves

No fear, no hesitation, only assurance that this was for me regardless of the effort involved to make it what I saw in my mind's eye.  VISION!  "Without vision the people parish".  I clearly saw the new layout, where the kitchen and living room would go.  I saw where the windows needed to be position in order to maximize sight lines.  The massive boulder, 100 year old trees, palms and agaves on the property not only solidified but rather propelled my decision to buy and empowered my vision for this little gem of mine.


Day one of demo work
I've never been one to be intimidated by details, structural damage, sagging roof line, so? As my dad likes to say, "para un ingeniero nada es dificil." Everything around me has become a metaphor for the changes taking place in my life.  How appropriate that I would need to tear down, literally everything came down to bare studs, do away with the old in order to build something bigger, better and in line with the vision.  The process has been laborious, painful and at times I've become distracted but anyone embarking on a remodel/reconstruction (life or otherwise) knows the path from start to finish is never straight, on time or within budget (monetary or otherwise).  "A wise woman builds her home", I'm literally building my home and there's no greater satisfaction than the pain of sore muscles that comes from a full day's work!


Drinking beer while sanding drywall.
No doubt its been a long process and I see no end in sigh, but I have a vision and the plans are drawn. At the moment this property looks like a mess but we're a work in progress. The Architect knows the details of every square inch and the Builder is making progress even when no one else can see it. Little house of mine, I feel your struggle. I know your frustration and desire to be finished.  Hang in there with me, I'll get you there, that's a promise.  "Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" Philippians 1:6. We need to strengthen your foundation before we can build on. Ah! isn't this what life is all about? strengthening foundations and only then building up?

So, while the plan check revisions are being corrected, contrary to everyone's belief, I will get those done! I decided to embark on what can be done at the moment.  Planting a veggie garden.

More growth! it's all around me and I welcome it! can't wait to share pictures of the first fruits of my garden with all of you.

The "Graveyard" as the previous owners called it

I love tearing old stuff up! out with the old.

Ready to produce according to the plan

Friday, May 1, 2015

The La Jolla Half

At the start of this year I was encouraged to do more than just state my New Year's resolutions/goals, to actually write these down and make it a daily habit to purposefully work towards accomplishing these through a series of daily tasks. A great habit to develop!  One of my goals was to finally go for the Triple Crown.  

The Triple Crown consists of 3 half marathons, Carlsbad, La Jolla and America's Finest City.  Of these the La Jolla Half is by far the most difficult because half way through the race there's a 440 foot incline over 1-1/2 miles. Not fun, not easy! 

But that's not the reason this half was particularly challenging, unlike Carlsbad, I didn't train for this race. I went from running 20+ miles a week to running 20 miles over 3 months. Everyone knows there's a price to pay for excellence but not many consider the even higher price there is to pay for mediocrity.  I had purposed to run this race and failure to complete my daily tasks towards this particular goal was here to collect payment.  There were no lofty time goals in mind, now the only option was to finish in time to qualify for the TC.  

Mile 5, approaching Torrey Pines State Park
Running for me is a love hate relationship.  I don't like the pain, I don't like the monotony over such distance, I start to get bored and antsy at about Mile 10.  By then I've been running 2+ hours and I'm over it! But I've learned to appreciate the solitude, time and rhythm running allows to develop thoughts and actually meditate on these without interruption. My favorite moment is that sweet spot when your body goes from fighting and resisting to just letting go and taking flight.  It feels like a struggle up until that point when you kick into auto pilot and your body just runs. It's such a life metaphor. Everything is easier when you let go, stop resisting and just go with the flow. A life lesson I'm quickly and painfully learning to accept.

As I waited for my wave to start Hebrews 12:1 "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.." was a reminder that this was my race and all insecurities, lack of planning, and hindrances needed to be discarded.  I needed to reset my mind to persevere.  Mind over matter right? When I was a freshman in college and my sweet roommate would make encourage me run with her at 6am (I'm not a morning person so you can only imagine how torturous this was for me and for her now that I think about it.  Love you Hannah Banana!) the whole time I would meditate on 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 "Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly...no, I beat my body and make it my slave so that...I myself will not be disqualified for the prize" the mind is in control here...13.1 miles? no problem!  

Drummers encouraging us at the start of the Torrey Pines hill
I was feeling pretty good even though a man sounding like he was having an asthma attack and a cute grandma wearing a tutu had both passed me...No comparisons allowed! Feeling strong coming up to Torrey Pines State Park there was no way I would be able to run the hill so I gave myself some grace and fast walked it.  By the time I got to mile 8 a nasty blister I been feeling for over a mile had become unbearable. Fortunately there was a lovely lady at the water station offering Vaseline.  She sounded funny actually yelling "Vaseline? Vaseline?" she was God sent I'm convinced! after thanking her I took off feeling 100% better.  


Mile 10 overlooking La Jolla
By mile 10 my right knee was starting to show signs of injury, bad news! at Carlsbad I had re-injured my left knee so taking precautions I had worn a brace but I didn't consider that it would inevitably affect the right knee. Ah! it sucks getting old, don't do it!! The rest of the race was a combination of mental endurance and sheer will power. I was hurting, tired and bored (insert higher price to pay here). Fortunately it was down hill and miles 11 and 12 were flat.  Nice! easy stride to the finish line right?! NO! of course not...of course there had to be one last hill. One last hill from mile 12.5 to mile 13, only 150' incline, but when you're tired, in pain and bored out of your mind the last thing you need is a hill in the mix.  

"Do you not know that in each race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize" Paul's words kept me focused my prize was simply to finish (the ugly consequence of mediocrity).  I just needed to finish within the qualifying time. Not only was I racing against fatigue, mental endurance but time and of the 3 time was the most pressing. I kept checking the time but about .2 miles from the finish line my phone died, just lovely! With no way of knowing how much time was left I pushed pass the pain and bolted to cross the finish line. It was such a relief to see I had made it, just barely but made it none-the-less.  

the Prize! 
This race was such a reminder that while the price for excellence is high, the price of mediocrity is much higher! I relate to the apostle Paul very much and his words resonate with me. He says "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." Amen.  As I set my eyes on the last and final race I've purposed to make it the best one yet with a time goal of 2:15, that's a delta of 40 min...wish me "luck" training starts now! 


Training Schedules:

http://www.halfmarathons.net/half-marathon-training-schedule-for-beginning-runners/

http://running.about.com/od/halfmarathonprograms/a/interhalf.htm










Sunday, April 19, 2015

Girls and Guns

I didn't grow up with guns, was never curious, never gave them a thought really until recently when my coworker started sharing her enthusiasm for the sport.  She invited me to go shooting at an event hosted by Empowered Firearms and Training and sponsored by A Girl and A Gun.  This shooting league was started by women for women with the sole purpose of having fun and learning in a nonjudgmental environment.  Having  never shot or even touched a gun before I was feeling judgemental of myself, thanks anyway! 

For this particular event we didn't go out to the shooting range, instead used a simulator much like the one used by the government to train soldiers.  The weight and the feel of the gun are real so it gives you a very accurate experience.  Some of the women there have been shooting for years. My coworker has a license to carry, she's a badass, the sweetest lady ever! Needless to say I was feeling pretty nervous. Not wanting to subject anyone to what I was sure to be an embarrassing spectacle I waited until the last possible minute to take my turn. Standing against the wall, like a seventh grade girl at a school dance, nervous, heart pounding, I heard the words "your turn".  Gulp! All eyes on me I took a deep breath, walked up to the barrel where the gun was laying, held it as the instructor had shown me in a quick 2 min lesson. A pause here to disclaim that up until that day I had never held a gun, did I mention that already? It's worth repeating (insert "my excuse for failing" here) I stood as she had instructed and listened for the queue to start...second gulp!

I totally get it!! I now get why people love shooting guns! long live the second amendment!! It was exhilarating, nerve racking, try to maintain focus, try to maintain physical composure all together wrapped up in one little moment of time. Girls and guns = adrenaline rush = fun!!

Much to my surprise I did not make a complete fool of myself.  As a matter of fact I'm pretty good at this!  Not only was it fun but it was great to do this among beautiful and supporting women. It's decided, I'm getting a gun. Don't ask me what kind, caliber or whatever other question I need to ask to make a decision...all I know is that it will feel great in my hand, be pretty and pink! 

video

Friday, April 17, 2015

On the Road Again

Has it really been almost 4 years since my last post? time waits for no man and I think it's time to be:

On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again


Time to take that camera on the road again and go back to a less complicated time, a happier time, a more blissfully innocent time...time for less words and more beauty, less clutter and more precision, time to observe and patiently wait for the perfect one.  


Where will my camera take me next? the answer is just the start of my wanderlust! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nature

No where else am I so reminded of God and his majesty than in nature.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth." - Psalm 19:1-6





“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” - Jeremiah 17:7-8


"The LORD is my shepherd;
         I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
         He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul;
         He leads me in the paths of righteousness
         For His name’s sake. 
" - Psalm 23:1-3



"He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains." - Psalm 104:10



"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of 
his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38


"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:5-8




"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge." - Psalm 18:2

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who Ever Said Oil and Water Don't Mix?

I love visiting with my endlessly talented aunt Geninne , I always learn something new.  However great or small the lesson is I never leave the same person and for that I'm grateful.  

Today we made body lotion.  Simple, easy, delicious (you could actually eat this), lather all over your body and feel like Queen Esther upon being presented to the King, lotion.

Try it yourself! Recipe link below:


Mirror Image: How to Make Natural Body Moisturizer


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Travel on my mind

Barcelona is on my mind, as was Egypt until that whole liberation movement put a kibosh on my plans.  I was really looking forward to planning that trip but it doesn't look like that's going to happen this year - the Egypt part I mean. None the less the rest of the trip is on and the planning has begun!

On the itinerary: Barcelona (of course), Provence, Paris (I don't think I gave Paris a fair chance last time I was there. Need to make it right) and Prague.  I feel that I should be completing the South America trip instead, but I have been thinking about Spain for some time and I think I need to go with it.

To my fellow Wanderlusters, feel free to share your insights/recommendations on the cities mentioned. Must see places or restaurant suggestions are welcomed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Welcome 2011

2011...Crazy! is the first word that comes to mind! what in the world?! Weren't we just partying like it's 1999? It feels oddly insane that a whole decade has passed us by and here we are at the precipice of a new one ready to leap off and take flight.  How exciting! the possibilities.  With each new season there is that sense of renewal, and more so with a new year, but this is different.  This is better.

I couldn't think of a better way to start a fresh decade than with a vacation to the East Coast. Many had ask if I would be at Times Square for New Years, as sorry as I was to disappoint, I am glad to have decided against it.  The idea of standing all day among a million or so people, in the cold, waiting for an event that takes 10 seconds to culminate was just not all that appealing to us.  Maybe in my 20's when I was naive and idealistic, but not now.  Now it's all about comfort and style.  And that's just how we rung in the New Year,  choosing fine dinning and jazz over hot dogs wrapped in bacon and a stunning (and not in a good way) comeback of the NKOTBSB...that would be the New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys new "super group" ...see what I mean about a new decade? it's so filled with hope and possibilities...even for the NKOTHBSB!

January 1, 2011 will go down in history as one my favorite days no doubt.  Starting the decade with a fabulous spa treatment was all but perfect.  I had always wanted to take a nap right after a massage and often wondered why on earth more spas (even the really nice ones in SoCal) don't provide you with a room to nap in.  A nap room sounds reasonable to me, who wants to get back to reality after such pampering? Well I'm here to testify that spa heaven does exist and it's called The Spa at Norwich Inn. I have two words...Relaxation Room.  Enough said! 

I used to live in the East Coast and had the amazing opportunity to do the whole New York City tourist attraction thing many times.  It was great to be able to go back and enjoy the City for what it is, a dichotomy of all things and people.  I love walking around in that City, you feel powerful and insignificant at the same time.  Such dichotomy, where else can you buy a beautiful scarf on a street corner for $5 and on the opposite corner, in one of the most extravagant department stores, buy an Hermes scarf for $750 (not the same scarf of course, but I mean silk is silk, except when its the best silk...you get my point..still that's kind of ridiculous). I love it.  The culture, the arts, the food!

Speaking of food...having heard of famed bread guru Jim Lahey we just had to stop by Sullivan St. Bakery (which is actually on 47th St., between 10th and 11th) to assess for ourselves if the no-knead method lives up to all the hype.  Its true...he is a bread guru! I'm no bread expert but yummy! this is good bread!

 I love the simplicity of his technique and style


We had the prosciutto & mozzarella panini along with pizza funghi and pizza zucchini all amazing! 

The arts...The fact that one person can sing, dance and act all at the same time is pretty amazing,  but to do it in ensemble! that's just awesome.  There are no take 2, 3 or 5.  Its live, raw, a true interchange between actor and audience worth every penny.  This go around we watched Wicked.  Much acclaimed and rightly so.  Very much enjoyed it! 
This was truly a vacation, absolute relaxation, spending quality time with friends and people I love.  A great way to start the year!  It was sad to say goodbye but there's a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.  With that I say Welcome 2011!
















Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Trip

A long time ago my beloved uncle shared a wonderful simple truth with me...seasons are a way for us to experience God's renewal. To experience the end of one thing and the beginning of another. A fresh start! Living in California we don't always get to experience much change in weather, but having lived in Connecticut I did get to enjoy the sense of newness that comes with a change in season. I miss it. I miss the fresh crisp air that comes with the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. You can feel it, smell it. The leaves change colors and consequently fall in anticipation of Winter. I miss The Merritt Parkway covered in leaves followed by snow. I used to love driving up and down that highway with my windows down (heater on) and the music blasting, singing at the top of my lungs. It always felt like I was in the midst of a New England postcard.

It's been a long time since I was last there and much like the seasons I too have changed (I don't sing in my car anymore - you're welcome - lol). But as I prepare to go back I'm reminded of that simple truth...with every end comes a new beginning, times of refreshing from the Lord.

What better way to start a New Year than with a trip to NYC!! I think Alicia Keys sang it best:

Now you're in New York,
these streets will make you feel brand new,
the lights will inspire you,
lets hear it for New York, New York, New York

Friday, April 9, 2010

Torrey Pines

Today my college BFF and I decided to meet up and enjoy the beauty San Diego has to offer, while doing something productive - of course! We decided to "hike" Torrey Pines. The day was perfect, sunny but not too hot and with just enough breeze to keep us cool during our ascend. Here are some pics of our time there.


At the top

This was my favorite picture of the day



The following are little flowers we founds along the way.







Cliff view from the beach


It may be more expensive to live in San Diego but its so worth it!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

Spring is most certainly in the air! we have been having the most beautiful weather here in Southern California and the trees have started to bloom. I was washing dishes when I spotted these lovely flowers in the back yard.


If you've never tasted orange blossom honey you're missing out! delicious!!

I wish you could smell the orange blossoms...absolutely delightful!

the blossom of a nectarine tree - amazing color

Our God is indeed an awesome God...his creation is complex and yet beautifully simple.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Up-Date

So its been a little over 3 months since my last post but today I decided that I should get on here and write something, anything. Since my travels have ended for the time being (Spain, Eastern Europe, the Maldives and heck the rest of the world still awaits me) we move on to more mundane posts.

I love that my friends have blogs for their children! what a great way to stay in touch and up to date on the little ones. But what about us who are not so privileged? can we blog about our furry babies? who think of furry babies when you have real babies, right?! well, turns out us peeps who don't have them and some of us who do. I want to thank my talented and lovely aunt Geninne (Geninne's Art Blog) for the blog she created featuring her furry baby Turbo (A Day in the Life of Turbo). I love that I get to see him grow. These four legged creatures are a constant source of entertainment and lets just say that the next best thing to actually having children!

That being said, here are some pictures of my two four legged fur balls:



The two of them were napping and Ginger's leg was literally over Buddy's neck...too cute!


Ginger chilling.

Buddy listening attentively.

Gotta get my camera out of the closet and start taking pictures again...the iPhone camera is great but not for blogging!


video

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grandma's Birthday

On Saturday my aunt Xochitl and I loaded her truck and made the 6hr trip southwest to Bejucos. It has been 17 years since the last time I visited my grandmother's house but this was a special occasion, we were there to celebrate her 80th birthday! My grandmother truly amazes me, at 80 years old she lives alone and still manages her shoe store, the same store she's had for over 50 years. Every day she opens shop and on Sundays she participates in the town's weekly "farmers market." She has always been ahead of her time. In an era when women where expected to be home "barefoot and pregnant" she was a true business woman, traveling to Mexico City and Leon to buy merchandise for her store while at the same time raising 9 children!

waterfall in Bejucos

She was so cute asking everyone if they were having a good time. How could we not? she made Mole de Pavo, Tamales de Elote and Arroz from scratch for 25+ people. Everyone ate till their hearts were content. After dinner the party moved to the courtyard where there was a DJ set up. Now, you have to remember, these people are her contemporaries, people in their 70's and 80's and yet, they where the ones who got the party started asking the DJ to play un zapateado. The zapateado is a very particular style of dancing characterized by a lively rhythm punctuated by the striking of the dancer's feet. It's a work out! and at 80 these folks were going to town.

Xochitl and Grandma zapateando

Grandma and uncle Julio

Grandma and her 92 year old brother

Grandma and 3 of her 9 kids

I can only hope that when I'm 80 I have as much energy and joie de vivre as my grandmother does!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Morning Walks

Every morning I take Ginger and Buddy to the Unidad Deportiva to walk around the soccer fields. A few weeks ago a lovely couple from Maryland told me about a hiking trail behind the park and so we've been walking there ever since.

Here are some pictures:

The tiny flowers along the way are just beautiful:
Here are Ginger and Buddy after we're done: