Monday, January 8, 2018

Life in CA

It's been about a year since we moved west. Since we are here more than anywhere else and we're here together, this is home for now. We're getting used to what the area offers and know our way around much better. We are familiar with the horrendous traffic, especially Tom. I stick closer to the house and therefore am not traveling the "freeways" (what I still think of as highways) nearly as often.

Helping to build a life for ourselves and make connections, we joined Porter Valley Country Club. I wasn't sure we were country club people, but surprisingly, there are few choices for playing tennis within a reasonable distance. This country club offers the possibility of joining for tennis (gym, pool and restaurant also) without joining for golf. We have no interest in taking up golf. 

Not as many courts as we'd like, but so far, we've been able to play enough. We've been taking various clinics and private lessons and we're starting to see the benefit. 

PV topiary
I transferred my PEO membership from my NJ chapter of 25 years and am now in a local Northridge chapter. The women have been very welcoming, making sure I know what's going on and transporting me to events.  They had a field trip to The Broad (contemporary art museum) in downtown LA. It was the first time (and only, so far) that I've gone to LA on public transportation. Some of us joined a tour that was starting and the rest wandered on their own. 

It was fun to see works by Jeff Koons and Keith Haring among many others. Jeff Koons' work made up a bit for not getting to see the installation of his ballerina in NYC. 

Jeff Koons' tulips

Karen, standing under the table, is quite tall. That's a BIG table!

Karen, PEO president, and Gretchen, VP

by Keith Haring


I've wanted to give quilting a try for quite some time. Coming to California with an absolutely clean slate, I decided this was the time. I found a little quilt shop right in Chatsworth and met Bernice who would become my teacher/coach.  I've started small and easy making a lap quilt for my Dad which I presented to him in the summer. 

fabric chosen because he used to collect stamps
My Mom was the recipient of my second quilt at Christmas. Bernice told me that my quilting improved a lot with the second one. Sadly, the shop will be closing at the end of January. I may still be able to work with Bernice at her home or mine. We'll have to wait and see what happens. 

Mom asked for fabric with birds.

Christmas presentation was a success.

Marisel, Robin and me outside the Chinese Theater in Hollywood

We've even had friends from Zurich come visit us in Chatsworth. We've all moved back to the USA - this was our first time all together since August 2015. Chris and Robin lived in CA before Zurich and were more like tour guides than we were. 

Chris, Ellen,  Tom, Robin, Fred, Marisel

After walking along looking at Hollywood stars and lunch, we headed to Paramount Pictures for a tour. 


The doorways are not the same size - they make the people look to be a different height than they really are. Chris is shorter than Tom (wearing red hat).....but not THAT short!

always a fan of the Belgian hero, Tintin!

beam me up Scotty!

fun accessories to model

To say Fred is a baseball fan is a huge understatement. He suggested that we all go to a Dodger game. Once he heard I'd never been to a professional baseball game, it was a must! 

 outside and inside Dodger stadium

allegiance always with the Cubs!

The photographer didn't realize the plan was supposed to be our hands holding up the ball - oh well. I still think the parking lot markers are very cute. 

Monuments to past successes.  I'm sure they hoped to add another ring this year, but it wasn't to be.

game on
the fans

Rookie's first professional at bat - hits a double and they win! Teammates storm the field to celebrate.  It was quite an exciting game.  (but don't worry, I have not become an avid fan.)


Since Robin and Chris also live in southern California, we try to get together about every two months. Sometimes Robin and I are also able to meet up in between when all four of us are together. We spent a weekend together in the Santa Barbara area. 

yes, Chris, I find this amusing.
None of us had seen so many VHS tapes for a very long time. The men decided they had to help the B&B owner by correcting the alphabetical order! 

tasting held at Gainey's barn

We were collected the next morning by a jeep from The Cloud Climbers  Jeep Tours and headed off for some wine tasting. First stop, Gainey. 

good friends

We always have so much fun together and this time was no different. 

It got very windy in the jeep causing Robin to wear the headband. With that look, Chris named her "Moonbeam". 

Next stop, Firestone.

 Last stop, Bridlewood.

The ride back to Santa Barbara got a little complicated. Smoke ahead indicates a fire. We had to turn around and go another way. Riding along the freeway in the open air jeep was not expected! 

We started off 2018 with a 6 mile hike on New Year's Day. We drove to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and from there hiked the Backbone and Mishe Mokwa trails. We skipped going to the Sandstone Peak because we wanted to get back to the car before it was dark. We were also trying out our new hiking sticks (they fold up smaller for travel) and they worked just fine. I wouldn't want to hike this trail without them.

There were nice vantage points to view the setting sun in the park, but hiking down in low light didn't seem like a good choice for us.  We enjoyed the pretty views from the car on our way home.


What's ahead in 2018? Lots: 
Martin Luther King weekend in Tucson visiting my sister, Karen, and her husband, David.
Sarah comes to visit.
Farmers Open golf tournament in Torrey Pines 

And all that happens in January! I can tell it's going to be a fun year!