Wednesday, August 2, 2017

T W E N T Y!

Geez...20 years with the same person.  That's like 7305 days.  And most of them have been highs with just a bit of lows.

Thanks to my BFF, my forever friend, for helping me grow into the human being I want to be.

And thanks to my family for supporting me on this "encumbered" journey!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Millers...

...want to buy our home, our refuge.

I'm practical enough that I didn't vet them too much.  They want the house.  We need to give it to them.  We need to move on.  We have a new place.

They were the 2nd family to come through, and gave us a full price offer.

Life is bittersweet.  All is temporary.  Life is good.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Ranch

We put the ranch on the market today.

It was just as hard as saying goodbye to the kids, one by one, over the years.

Let's hope we find the right family, who has the spirit (and cash) to enjoy this place as much as us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hasta Luego, San Juan

So long, San Juan.  You've been a great time.  You were easy, inexpensive, interesting, and convenient.  

It was easy to find you, passports are not required, the USD is a universal language, and English/Spanglish freely spoken everywhere.

Puerto Rico is 100 miles long and 35 miles wide with almost 4 million people living on the "Island of Enchantment," (with a bit more than a million in the greater San Juan metropolitan area). 

It is vibrant and multicultural, and evidence of Spanish, African, Native American and stateside influences abound. Fascinating!

San Juan is a welcoming community and we didn't spend one minute worrying about where we were or where we were headed.  Their collective reputation is one of kindness and gentleness, and we saw it firsthand.  The sentiment is more than the very enticing "live and let live" - it's more like "Live and let live and BE WELL!" I really noticed it on our bike ride yesterday.  We biked about 10 miles, mostly on busy city streets.  I didn't get any sense that we were honking off anyone.  In fact, to the contrary.  So many smiles and so much courtesy.  

There is so much fun to be had and we are sorry to say adios.  

Backside of the hotel

Park next to the hotel

Our view

He picked us up at ORD and got a souvenir!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Last full day

We've had a great day! It started with a FaceTime session with JSS - he wanted to see the ocean.  He loves to see the ocean when we talk.  We then headed out for one of our last runs, got back, and hopped on the hotel bikes for a ride out to Carolina Beach, near Pinones.  It was great fun to see more of the city.  We returned to lounge one last day by the pool and then cleaned up and ventured to Old Town for a nice, final dinner, at AguaViva.  It was another perfect day.

FaceTime with JSS; showing him the ocean.
Riding the city, oceanside.
At Pinky's they give you the blender, which means seconds on your smoothie!
Love their lattes.
Stepping out, without my stepping out shoes.
I'll have the salmon, and he's ordered the mahi-mahi.
I'm going to miss this place.
Thankfully, he's coming home with me.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's a Holiday!

We started the day with a 5+ mile run to old town and then returned, donned our day clothes, and went to Pinky's… A hole in the wall favorite place only a few blocks from this beautiful hotel. Pinky's is known for cheap healthy food. We ordered eggs and a green smoothie and lattes.  We lounged poolside a lot of the day, then walked over to the local market, Santurce, a tripadvisor recommendation (my recommendation:  don't bother).  In the evening, we walked around and had drinks at the hotel (Ola Oceanfront) and Tijuanas and then brought some pizza (PJ's, across the street, and unback to the hotel. What a perfect day.
At Pinky's West

Sunday, January 15, 2017

El Viejo San Juan, on a Sunday

Sunday fun day...Old San Juan consists so much charm, lots of history, color, friendliness, and many Spanish colonial buildings. There's a lot of history going on around here!

We found our way to old town via a 3 mile easy stroll on Sunday morning.  We were feeling a bit hungry and stopped by CB - Cafe Berlin.  Their service is slow, just what we wanted.

After a luscious and somewhat early breakfast, we headed to the marina (port of call) where all the cruise ships dock, to have a look.  Then, we strolled down Paseo de la Princesa, a charming and shady promenade, restored from the 19th century, and lined with trees and street vendors.  Above, towering 40 feet or more above, are the fortification walls of old San Juan, and at the end of this is the well-known Raices Fountain, which highlights the diversity of the Puerto Rican people and their commitment to family (with the family silhouette at the center of the fountain).  From the fountain, you can look across San Juan Bay and across to Isla de Cabras, now a recreational space, but formerly, a leper colony.  If you continue on the path after encountering the fountain, you will follow the walls of the city, and eventually encounter San Juan Gate.  Continuing on for 1/2 - 1 mile, will take you further on the path, called Paseo El Morro, a national recreational trail which leads you to El Morro Fort, a fort constructed by the Spaniards about 500 years ago.  Just a little history in the middle of so much beauty.

Listed as the collective "San Juan National Historic Site", this includes in one easy afternoon, the following:
  • El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
  • Fort San Cristobal, build by Spain to protect against land based attacks,
  • Plaza de Colon (Christopher Columbus square),
  • Plaza de Armas (the main square, that features a round fountain with 4 marble statues representing the four seasons (not that they know about winter here).
After lots of walking and fort seeing, we stopped by Eclectika for earrings and then a happy hour on the town square at Artesanos Cafe for local beers, before we walked back to the hotel, for more pool lounging, and eventually for dinner at the celebrated Serafina for dinner and a Tempranillo (Lambuena, Ribera Del Duero, Spain).  
Breakfast at Cafe Berlin
San Juan Gate, once the city's official entrance for Spanish dignitaries
Encircling the city are the historic walls of Old San Juan, about 3 miles in total.
Construction started in 1630 and finished in 1790.
A view from Castillo San Felipe del Morro, built by Spain to guard San Juan's harbor
Isla de Cabras - a view from the fortress - in 1876, a hospital was built there as a colony for people sick with leprosy
Cargo ship, loaded up at the marina and took off again we think
Outside our "home" - Condado Vanderbilt
Serafina, with Tempranillo (and with Shawn)

The best tour guide, and history lover, 
Puerto Rican beer - Magna - like Heinekin without the burn