Recently, James mentioned that it’s been a while since we did something fun together. After some reflection, I agreed that while we spend time together, we haven’t planned a quality time for a few months. That’s not like us! Soon we e came up with an idea of one activity each weekend. I like to plan ahead, looking forward to what’s to come; while James is more spontaneous. To accommodate our different styles, we agreed that we’ll make a conscious effort to spend one day each weekend doing fun things together but we’ll play by ear what we’ll do, depending on what we feel like, what we can afford, the weather and so on. That way, we can be spontaneous and not committed to a certain activity but still be looking forward to our regular date.
The first weekend, we hiked at a new trail (Crest Canyon Trail, see article). For the following Saturday, I finally made a reservation for a whale watching trip that I purchased last year (time flies!)
Driving to Seaforth Landing took only about 15 minutes from La Jolla. We departed at 10.00am and after a short while, our boat Privateer slowed down far from the shore, with nothing around us but the blue ocean. Following the guide’s instructions given through a microphone, the majority of passengers eagerly gathered on one side of the boat, silently watching the sea with great anticipation. The guide pointed out the “foot prints” which are marks on the water indicating the position and direction of the whales. This time they indicated a presence of a mother Gray Whale heading North with her baby, after relaxing in the breeding grounds in the lagoons of Baja California.
We wondered why wouldn’t the whales just stay South, resting in the warm waters of the Baja lagoons, safe from killer whales and other dangers. We soon learned that the Gray Whale is a very picky eaters and will travel North every year to feed on amphipods. The whales eat krill which is abundant in the South they still make the trip to eat the amphipods the few months in summer that they can. By the time we saw the evidence of the whales’ presence, even though limited, we were familiar with basic facts about the seasonal Migration of the Gray Whale, thanks to our knowledgeable tour guides. It was a fascinating presentation and we appreciated learning something new about this particular species of our cohabitants.
As we started heading back to the shore, we were lucky to view a spectacular show performed by about fifty dolphins. They seemed so playful and cheerful, constantly jumping out of the water everywhere around the boat, mostly in pairs, swimming as fast as our boat. While Gray Whale can swim approximately 4–7 mph, dolphins can be as fast as 25 mph and they are often seen swimming along speeding boats.
Well, since picture is worth a thousand words, I have attached some to share our experience.
This year Janka and I thought it would be fun to shoot photos for our Christmas cards. So we gathered up Wyatt, our cameras, and tripod and headed down to La Jolla shores for a fun afternoon.
As you will see from the photos, Wyatt wasn’t particularly fond of being so close to such a large body of water. From his tender steps I also got the feeling he was wondering if we were walking around a giant litter box! After watching me set up the tripod and adjust the cameras, he decided it was safe to venture out and take a look around his surroundings.
After trying out a few poses (you can find ideas here) we walked Wyatt over and took several shots.
After that it was a quick ride home and the fun with Photoshop began. Here are some tutorials that can help you create your own. Photoshop tutorials
Another couple’s Christmas card idea’s
Merry Christmas and I can’t wait to see what you create!
Return of the Hikers
So after a large Thanksgiving dinner and a quick trip to the scale I realized I needed to get back to my hiking. So Janka and I decided to find a quick trail nearby to visit. Remembering I kept seeing a park sign on my trips to Costco right off the 52, I did some Internet snooping and realized that was the Bear Memorial Park and they did indeed have a nice hiking trail.
We went on a Sunday afternoon right around 12:30 pm. We noticed one family, a couple enjoying the afternoon, and later got passed up by a runner; other than that it was a pretty non-eventful hike. A few water crossings and some decent hills.
While checking Yelp reviews, I noticed that a few reviewers warned about sketchy individuals frequenting this park. We didn’t notice anything of that nature, but our experience could be because it was a holiday weekend or just because it was a lazy Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving.
A bicycler’s view on Marian Bear Park!
Janka and I recently had the opportunity to visit Catalina Island. Well, recently being August 26, 2012. I happened to be going through my computer cleaning out my photos (it’s amazing how much memory they take) and thought I would make a post. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend taking the trip.
Great getaway for families too! Here is one family’s take on the island.
So maybe there isn’t a marriage enrichment program like from Warrior to Soulmate in your area. Or maybe there is and you just aren’t ready to take that step, regardless, there are small things you can do to add to the quality of your relationship.
One thing Janka and I have done that we would like to share is we have begun to take nightly walks to watch sunsets down at the beach. Since our move, we moved about six months ago to be closer to our new jobs, we hadn’t taken advantage of lovely La Jolla shores which is only a 5 minute drive away.
A few weeks ago we began walking on the beach to catch the sunset, and gradually we have begun nightly jogs rather than our strolls and picture taking. We have found this to be a great way to check in with one another and get some bonding time.
So what could you and your partner do to carve out some time together? Once you find your activity if you need some conversation starters Visit our friends at Stependous Marriage for some ideas!
Also here is a great article on the value of spending time together.
Enjoy the photos and we will catch you up on all our adventures shortly.
Recently, James and I attended “From Warrior to Soul Mate” couples enrichment retreat taking place at the Hilton Hotel in Mission Valley. This three-day training, led by Chaplain Dick Millspaugh is designed to help veteran and active duty military couples and teaches couples how to enrich their relationship, improve communication and gain deeper understanding of their partner. From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, we attended workshops provided by Chaplain Millspaugh, his wife Carol and many other skillful instructors.
What we have learned is perfectly summarized in the title of the workbooks we received: “Practical Skills for Successful Relationships”. That’s exactly what this training is about – workable and very useful everyday tips designed to increase harmony and ensure the relationship thrives. The whole weekend was very couple-oriented and the advice and tips we received were incredibly helpful. There were some presentations, kept interesting and to the point, as well as entertaining. Most of the time, however, we were allowed and encouraged to interact with each other through dialogue and various exercises that facilitated it. The time we spent here was an amazing mixture of professional advice, practice through exercises utilizing a variety of useful tips, and an open discussion, all in a very safe and supportive environment.
I will admit that prior to our arrival, I wasn’t sure how much about our relationship I was going to be willing to disclose. However, I gathered very quickly that this was a totally safe environment. We were among people who have all experienced, in one shape or another, what we have experienced, simply because they were all in a relationship! Slowly but surely, everyone seemed to open up and soon statements from the instructors such as: “OK, one more comment and then we have to move on, since we are running out of time!”, were said with more frequency. There was so much to cover, so many people eager to share their experience, and suddenly, the weekend didn’t seem long enough!
It was apparent however, that at the end, majority of attendees (mostly men may I say with a smile) were emotionally drained. Not in a negative connotation; there was simply a lot discussed, a lot disclosed (I assume mostly between partners themselves; even though people opened up to the audience as well), and a lot of emotions let free. I won’t lie if I say I could sense the emotions in the room at the end. Watching people’s faces and hearing them describe what the event meant to them; it seemed to me that this weekend had a great impact on many of us. It seemed to me that in one way or another, every single couple gained a new perspective on their relationship, that the time we spent together had an impact on all of us. I sincerely hope that many more couples will get an opportunity such as this one. The PAIRS couples retreat has an amazing potential to improve relationships and marriages.
Thank you again, Dick and Carol Millspaugh as well as all the amazing instructors, for this amazing experience!
We recently moved into a new place. We left the apartment and the small town in the South Bay area that had been James’ home for the past ten years and we moved up north, along the coast of Southern California. One of the main differences is the time we spend commuting to work every day. At the end of the day at the office, I put on my running shoes and take the 15 minute walk home. I love it! James’ work is not much further either.
Living right next to La Jolla Village Square shopping center is definitely convenient, not mentioning enjoyable (James would say dangerous) for me. Having moved to quiet Chula Vista from the city of Toronto three years ago, I was pleased to discover how lively the new area is. Clothes, shoes and home improvement stores, movie theaters, and numerous cafes and restaurants with people sitting outside any time of the day. Morning joggers and coffee drinkers, groups of friends getting together for a Sunday brunch or couples on a date, grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the movies.
I realized I have missed the city buzz and now I get to experience it, to some degree, again. I have always liked to be part of a busy environment. I enjoy the energy around as shop or walk to get groceries (always getting only what we need, no need to carry heavy bags), or when James and I stroll to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
But the scenery I enjoy the most is the Beach. The beautiful beach just minutes from our house. La Jolla Shores Beach.
Oh, how I love living so close to the ocean… Going to the beach is no longer an elaborate trip involving driving on a highway. I can stop by anytime, for 30 minutes or for a couple of hours. I lay on my blanket, taking pleasure as always in the scent of the ocean, sunscreen and summer. I think about how lucky we are to be living in this amazing popular tourist destination…
Last Saturday, James and I finished our blueberry pancake, sausage and coffee breakfast and headed for a walk on the beach. It was still early and the sun was hiding behind the clouds. I watched the sea full of surfers riding on the high waves as I stepped into the water. Usually, I find the water of the Pacific Ocean too cold, but this morning, due to the lower air temperature, it felt perfect! Well, at least on my legs… After a brief hesitation (“That’s great that it feels good, you enjoy it!”), James joined me and once again we put our tripod and camera to use…
What a great way to start a day, we love our new neighborhood!
A few months ago, I was standing in a line in Best Buy, with a new laptop in my hands, unsure about my selection. Behind me, a petite dark haired woman talked on a cell-phone. From what I gathered, she relied on advice from her friend who seemed to be knowledgeable about computers. I was in a similar situation. I wanted to surprise my husband with a new laptop (the old one developed a suspicious burning smell). We offered each other (computer) advice and started talking. A friendship was formed.
We met a couple of times, talked about our backgrounds, experiences, our marriages… We clicked.
A few weeks later, Anna called me, inviting my husband and I for an afternoon on a sailboat she and her husband Art recently purchased. We met in front of Bahia Cruiser, in a small harbour filled with sail boats. The sun was high up in the sky; it was a gorgeous sunny day. Soon, we were all aboard, with James and Art carefully manoeuvring Art’s small sail boat out of the harbor, into the open sea. The weather was perfect, with indigo blue sky and just the right amount of wind caught in our sails, according to Art’s meter, we were traveling about 7mph.
A little while later, surrounded only by the blue, calm water and an occasional sailboat passing by, we dropped the anchor, did some fishing, (no success), ate some sandwiches, home-made salsa with chips, grapes and had some white zinfandel (not Art!).
A pelican came by floating on the water, looking at us suspiciously and nonchalantly at the same time. He (or she) completely ignored the chips we threw in the water, but did not hesitate for a second to reach for and swallow the frozen sardine we sacrificed (since that was the end to our fishing adventure anyway). We enjoyed the company and the conversation, the food, the sunshine and the refreshing breeze infused with the scent of the ocean.
When the sun started setting, we turned around and headed back, adding speed to our little sailboat by the motor as the wind had quieted down. It got a
bit chilly, so we were grateful for our wind breaker
s. What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Ahoy!
Who knows maybe someday we will live like this couple!
Tags: sailing san diego bay
My lovely husband is constantly coming up with ways to make me feel special. He quietly observes me, notices what I like and what I am about. He pays attention to small details and takes notice of what I enjoy. Then he surprises me with activities he knows I will love.
His most recent idea was drive-in movies. James knows I am a hopeless film lover. I love loosing myself in fiction; wherever the movie is intended to take the audience, I am there. Whatever the characters are going through, I go through, I cry, I laugh, I get scared, I get excited. I love reading fiction and I read whenever I get a chance (you can always find a book in my purse), but movies, movies I could watch non-stop. Movies move me! (James says I am every movie director’s dream).
Drive-in movies have always seemed to me like a very American thing to do. Until I moved to California, I only saw it .… in movies! I remember watching movies outside under a night sky, with my cousins in summer, in an amphitheatre, but a drive in… I had never experienced that before.
I enjoy listing things I have done for the first time with my husband. This drive-in movie experience is one of them! So every other Monday, we take pop-corn (looove pop-corn with the movies), pack dinner and snacks and head to the South Bay Drive In. Drive-In feels more intimate than being in a movie theatre – we are in our car, my feet in white socks (if it’s chilly) propped against the dash board, my lovely husband next to me, munching on food, enjoying two movies back-to-back (for $7 per person, not bad!).
Sometimes circumstances don’t allow us, but we do our best to go regularly, every other Monday. It’s become a ritual, our little tradition I look forward to. We get home from work, prepare the drinks/food/snacks and leave our cat to his nap. I am sure it’s not going to be this easy once there are three of us (I mean three, plus the cat). So, we enjoy this time as much as we can. James says he likes the movies too (most of the time!). We are careful in selecting genres we both enjoy.
What can I say – I am grateful. Thank you baby for everything you do for me!
Tags: Drive in Movie
Well we have traveled another year together and as I was reflecting today I went through a few of our photos. I put a few of my favorites of you together today and thought about how much we have grown over this past year. So many things to be thankful for! I know your family opened presents tongiht but you will have to wait until tomorrow!
At the top of my list of things to be thankful for is this relationship, partnership, and always knowing that you are in my corner. I know myself really well, and, I know I can be hard to love at times. Thank you so much for being up to the challenge.
On to 2012!