Sunday Stills: #Rain, Rain…Another Day

abstract rainy day

March 1st was the first day of Meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere, and here in Spokane, the temps were in the balmy mid-50s (Fahrenheit) all week. Not much rain, but I do have some rainy-day pics from my archives to share for the theme today.

An abstract view of a downpour in our backyard in Sacramento.

abstract rainy day

Since mid-December when we made the move to Spokane, Washington from Northern California, we’ve experienced snow, clouds, and sun, but oddly no rain. As if to kick us out of California, the rain came in force as we packed the last of our belongings into the truck the morning we pulled out. We hadn’t seen rain in months.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day.”

Old English nursery rhyme

In winter and spring, 2017, the California drought ended with three months of much-needed rainy weather. As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours.”

spring downpour

Another abstract view of a rain/hail mix from my archives.

hail, rain mix abstract

I kick myself for not taking some pics of my grand-niece and nephew jumping in melted snow puddles two weeks ago when we took a walk. The colorful pink boots splashing in the bright reflective puddle is the visual I will leave you with and help from Pixabay free photos to make the point.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

A rain/snow mix in downtown Couer D’Alene, Idaho.

In January 2018, we traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii and stayed on the Hilo side, one of the rainiest cities in the US boasting 130 inches a year. It pretty much rains every day, but sometimes only during the night. We toured the rainforest (while it rained) as evidenced by hubby donning his rain slicker, as we walked through the Thurston lava tube.

Rainy day walk through lava tube

“Thurston lava tube also known as Nāhuku, is the most easily accessible of the lava tubes on the Big Island and is one of the main attractions of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

https://www.lovebigisland.com/activities-to-do/lava-tubes/

With all that rain, there is not only the after-effect of drenching the Earth but also the beauty of enjoying a walk in the rain or shortly after a rain shower. In Hilo, this Morning Glory close-up shows the simple beauty of droplets.

drops morning glory

In my former front yard in Sacramento, I enjoyed seeing the delicate, luminous raindrops on my rosebushes.

rain on rosebush

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”

John Updike

I hope you enjoyed my depictions of rainy days. The floral images are shared for Cees Flower of the Day. Let’s switch gears and enjoy a coffee chat:

If we were having coffee today…

…I would tell you that significant progress was made on the house this week. You can see by our happy faces that we are thrilled with this progress.

Happy almost home

The skirting around the foundation was closed up and the contractor leveled all the excavated soil. The half-acre lot looks huge again in this view of the backyard below! Unlike most manufactured homes which tend to be built higher off the ground, our contractor chose to excavate deeper so we only have one or two steps into the doors of the home. We will appreciate fewer steps up and down in a few years!

Back view of house

Since rain is the theme and has to do with water, we started the application process and paid a substantial construction fee to our public utility company (water). I’m told they will install the water meter next week. Now the septic can get started and more interior work continues.

Please feel free to join Natalie the Explorer for her weekend coffee share.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous week’s post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…please visit last week’s views of a white-washed world.

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

Ashley Smith

I look forward to your creative spin on your “rainy day” this week. You have the entire week to share for the theme. Each week I share your posts on my Facebook page Second Wind Leisure Perspectives or Twitter. Please follow me if you wish.

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Sunday Stills: A #White-Washed World

Whietwashed world

With winter still in full swing in the northern hemisphere, I wanted to challenge us all to look at and photograph objects that are the color white. If you live in or around snow, then show us your snowy scenes. If not, the color white is all around us. I’m still a newbie to living in snow, so I get that many of you are over it and don’t want to be reminded of winter white! Please indulge my rookie winter as I share a few images of snow.

A morning storm blew three inches of snow from every angle and created the white-washed view from my RV.

Whietwashed world

Despite living in an RV park, the white wash of snow makes just about any scene more beautiful.

Bare White Winter Trees

The powdery snow melts quickly in this high desert-alpine environment, leaving abstract snowy tracks from my own boot.

Making Snow Tracks

As March quickly approaches, I find myself longing for spring, now that temperatures this week are in the upper 40s. No complaints, but I do miss seeing random flowers on my daily walks. These echinacea daisies grew abundantly in early spring, while the paperwhites below grew in January in Northern California. Florals shared are today for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

white and gray flower
Vibrant paperwhites
Vibrant paperwhites

Since we are on the subject of “things that are white,” here is my lovely snowy egret captured with my lens during winter in San Diego a few years ago. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Snowy egret stands in grace
Egret enjoying San Diego

This Just In…If We Were Having Coffee…

…I would tell you that as of 3:00 Saturday, we visited the property and saw that the interior crew has begun work on the inside of the house! Viewing from outside through the dining room slider door, this shows a “white-washed” view of the work being done. A little messy, but it will be gorgeous in a few weeks!

manufactured home interior work

Weird how things worked out timing-wise for the theme this week! I hope you enjoyed this brief coffee chat and I appreciate your indulgence and encouragement each week as I share our home building progress.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Bloggers and Their Feathered Friends

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…join 37 bloggers who shared their fabulous bird photos and stories.

Please join me next week as we kick off March with the theme “Rainy Day.” For March themes, please visit my Sunday Stills Page.

Camera graphic

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Your 2020 #Retrospective

Sunday Stills 2020 Banner
Sunday Stills 2020 Banner

I had originally thought to take a break until January 10, then realized I’m a bit bored, so why not jump back into blogging? Especially with this theme of looking back on our 2020 retrospective.

A retrospective shows our year in words, photos, stories, and other creative endeavors. Share your good and bad, your best and worst, and what your hope is as 2021 begins. I have chosen to share images, old and new, of the highlights of each month of 2020.

2020 was not all bad. Certainly, the pandemic was (and is) a game-changer and we lost friends and loved ones. Some of us tested positive. Our kids and grandkids are still struggling in a two-dimensional world of learning. Most of us cannot travel to the extent we prefer, and too many folks are struggling financially. However, if this was a sci-fi movie, the plot would demonstrate the resilience of humanity as we navigate through these unprecedented times. Many wonderful events happened to countless people in 2020. While we grieve the losses, let us stay positive and look forward to our blessings and futures.

Here is my retrospective written for each month in 2020. This is longer than my usual posts so please be warned!

January Joyrides

In late December 2019, we headed out on another winter road trip from Sacramento, California, to Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. We spent time with Ingrid and her husband, then FINALLY got to see the Grand Canyon!

Winter in South Rim of Grand Canyon
Cold Winter’s Day in South Rim of Grand Canyon

My brother and partner lived for a short time in Vegas, so we all enjoyed a trip to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.

Entering the Narrows of Valley of Fire
Entering the Narrows of Valley of Fire

Later in the month, we made a trip up north to a nearby bird sanctuary to view the comings and goings of the Canadian snow geese that make their winter home in the Sacramento Valley.

looking up at snow geese

Canadian Snow Geese will cause you to look up abruptly as they fly in graceful formations, honking at each other to stay in line. Submitted for Lisa’s bird weekly challenge, birds with long wingspans. Snow Geese have wingspans up to 4.5 feet!

February Fantasy

The land hunt was over. In 2019, we started planning a life change and an eventual move to Washington State. We began the loan process of purchasing a half-acre of property in Nine Mile Falls, near Spokane, WA. We imagined ourselves making payments on the property for a year while fixing up the existing house in Sacramento at a leisurely pace.

Fixing a new deck

March Madness

On March 3rd, my 79-year old mother passed away from complications of age and pneumonia. Little did I know how blessed we were to spend the last days with her in the hospital and say our goodbyes.

Obituary Image

Covid-19 became too real as shut-downs in countries and local communities began just weeks later. Universities and schools began the arduous task of teaching online. We signed papers on our property the day before California counties shut down. Real estate prices fell and we got nervous about the future of the plans for our new home.

A toast to the future
It’s Ours!

April Angles and Angels

Church services were canceled or limited to online viewing. Our spirits were lifted anyway, especially when our pastor and his wife personally delivered the Easter lilies we purchased that were meant as memorials for loved ones.

Easter Lily Close-Up

During the shut-downs, the only fun we could have was going to the grocery store and various big box stores as people flocked to buy materials for home improvement, gardening, and backyard birding. Below, you can see the incredible siding job hubby completed.

Front of house completed

May We Begin Again?

Our delta campground where we windsurfed and paddled delayed its opening by almost 2 months. Honestly, we were lucky it opened at all. At that time, we didn’t know it would be our last summer.

Delta Sunset Painnted

In mid-May, we took a road trip to Spokane once Covid travel restrictions eased. I finally got to show hubby the land we bought! With some advice, we refinanced our property loan to include construction and the home itself and fast-tracked ourselves on the road to move.

Happy on our half acre

June Jubilee

Opening hydrangeas

This month, I reflected on what would have been my mother’s 80th birthday. She always had a garden full of flowers. Anticipating our move by the end of the year, I eventually rehomed my huge potted hydrangea to a friend in November before our move. My last crop of sunflowers began blooming.

sunflower

Joyful July

This month I celebrated Aeros’ 10th birthday.

Me and My Aero

Covid restrictions eased a bit and some travel was allowed. My gym opened for two weeks and I went every day. I had the absolute pleasure of visiting longtime friend and fellow blogger Marsha at her former home in Central Calfornia.

Two Bloggers

Then, to top it off, we got to see a black bear ambling along the highway near the south entrance of Sequoia National Park! Marsha recently moved to Prescott, Arizona and we have been checking in with each other about how our collective moves have been going!

Golden Black Bear

August Angst

Early August found me on my third road trip, this time to Mammoth Lakes on the Eastern Sierra Nevada. My family had originally made plans to stay in a large condo there and drive to Tuolumne Meadows on the Tioga Pass side of Yosemite National Park to scatter my mom’s ashes. Only myself, my daughter and her boyfriend, and my brother and his partner made the trip, so we saved the scattering for another date in 2021. I cried when I saw my family since we hadn’t been together since Christmas.

Near Mammoth is Mono Lake and we enjoyed a sunset stroll among the tufa towers.

Standing beside Mono Lake

Covid restrictions were well in place in Mammoth and people walked around in masks as if we had been wearing them our whole lives. Entrance into Yosemite was limited to pre-reserved permits. I stood at the Tioga Pass entrance to Yosemite wearing my mask—a sign of the times! Although we could not drive in, we could walk into the park through the nearby meadows. This marked my third visit to a National Park in 2020. Not bad for a pandemic!

Tioga Pass Entrance Masked

Sadly, we endured horrific California fires that engulfed the entire West Coast with smoke and hazardous air quality, along with oppressive heat. To add to an already eventful month, not only did we sell my mother’s home in August, but we also closed on our new construction loan…all in one 24 hour period! Whew!

August and September were unbelievably stressful months. If you haven’t had the chance, you can read more about it: Sunday Stills: Towering Turmoil.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I started September teaching my university classes online. I gave up my third class to another professor because I did not have the energy or motivation to turn it into an online course. I was extremely sad knowing it was to be my last semester teaching after 10 years as a part-time lecturer and also disappointed to not be in the classroom with the students.

We spent the second weekend of September packing up and saying goodbye to the delta, where I had spent 11 summers learning new board sports and camping with new friends.

Sunset over wind turbines

Determined to continue packing and moving, we moved our travel trailer to Spokane a few days later, before winter set in…. Yep, a tire blew out on the trailer in central Oregon, but Hercules Hans (hubby) fixed it and we were safe!

I said goodbye to the last of my sweet sunflowers. Each spring, I grew them from seeds and their lovely blooms gave me three years of pleasure cultivating them, watching them grow, and taking endless photographs of them.

October Obstacles

I would categorize October as the second-worst month of 2020 (behind March) and the month where obstacles stood waiting for us. As we prepared for the last of the two-way road trips to Spokane, we experienced delays with the moving company. We finally had to drive the bumpy, noisy, 20-foot truck there loaded with 60% of our home and return the empty truck. By now we had packed and prepped to the point of exhaustion. As if that weren’t enough, we contracted mild cases of Covid from family members while staying overnight near Bend, Oregon.

super pink moon

Even the blue moon of Halloween was not enough to make the my month better.

Notable November

Once we got the nod from our real estate agent, all systems were “go” for listing the house. We made plans to take yet another road trip, this time to San Diego to visit our collective adult children and family and take some boxes of goodies to them. We timed the home listing and walk-throughs with this visit so we would be gone for a few days. Over 100 families visited the home in three days. My home of 32 years sold in four days, $16,000 above our asking price.

Japanese Maple Fall

Fall leaves finally made their appearance which gave me a sense of peace tinged with melancholy, knowing that this was my last Autumn at my home. We spent a quiet Thanksgiving as my two daughters came to visit and say goodbye to their childhood home for the last time.

We say goodbye to our family home

A December to Remember

December is traditionally a month of festivity and fun with Christmas and our annual road trips south. This month would be like no other December in memory. Mid-month, I said my goodbyes to fellow faculty on Zoom and farewell to my 10-year teaching career. Below is the last look at my walk toward the building and classrooms.

Sacramento State University

We spent two weeks packing the POD after Thanksgiving, filling it to the brim. Early the next morning, on December 13, I tearfully hugged my house goodbye and took one last look at the empty house as we drove away for the last time, me following behind my husband’s truck in my car.

Huggin my house goodbye

This would be our final, and one-way road trip through Oregon and onto Spokane for 2020. Although it rained all through Oregon, there was no snow, and we made record time on our second day with joy in our hearts as we reached our destination in Spokane. A few days later we visited our property and said hello to our new house!

New home selfie

Someone asked me what I learned from 2020. Like any year, I take away nuggets of wisdom from the choices I made. My husband and I walk in faith, understanding that both good and bad things will happen. The pandemic made 2020 a challenging year, but life went on in its usual fashion. This may sound weird, but the pandemic hastened our move out of California, and the timing for both buying and selling real estate was rather miraculous. Let’s just say, with two homes sold in 2020, Hans and I have enough money to live on for several years if we truly retire.

New Horizons for 2021

What is on the horizon? We are patiently waiting for our house to be ready. Within the next few weeks, it will be set onto the foundation, the two halves joined together, the utilities will get hooked up and the interior will be completed. I’m told this could take another 1-2 months. Meanwhile, we continue to live with my brother-in-law.

Once we get moved into the home, Hans will look for employment. His retirement pension from the City of Sacramento wasn’t as generous as mine, since he only put in 7 years. I am contemplating teaching as a lecturer at Eastern Washington University in their parks and recreation management program. But I prefer to wait until the campus opens back to classroom teaching. Heck, I may not work at all and be truly retired. Our only hiccup is we will have to pay our medical benefits out-of-pocket, at least until age 65 (4 more years). If he works, and he plans to, then our medical benefits will be covered.

I need to get my fitness level back to pre-2019. Between foot surgery in 2019 and gyms closing in most of 2020, I feel very out of shape. Once spring comes, I plan to visit nearby hiking trails and bike paths a few miles from the new home. For now, with winter in full swing, I bought a set of snowshoes and have already tried them. With the poles and 12 inches of snow, it is like an elliptical workout!

me and my snowshoes

As for writing projects, I plan to finish my fitness book, No Excuses Fitness, and get that self-published. I found it difficult to write about motivating others to be physically active when I was not. I am also reading more and have some review posts planned to highlight other bloggers’ books!

Did I mention I’m a bit bored? Living in someone else’s house limits a person. But as you read this post, we plan to drive to Couer D’ Aline, Idaho, just 30 miles away to watch the 100’s of bald eagles feed on the salmon in the lake. If I can capture an eagle with my camera lens, I can check off another bucket list item. Keep your fingers crossed!

I hope this post has inspired you to reflect on your own 2020 experience. The following photo challenges have inspired me as well:
Becky B’s Squares
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Lisa’s Bird weekly

Also linking to the Lens-Artists challenge this week Favorite Images of 2020.

I’m also linking this post to lovely Leslie’s at Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After.

Won’t you join me for Sunday Stills in 2021? Thank you to all who have participated in Sunday Still these last three years!

Bitmoji

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Sunday Stills: Happiest at #Home

Sunday Stills Happiest at Home

People usually are the happiest at home.

William Shakespeare

This week’s Sunday Still’s theme is Home.

I have hinted in a post and in several comments lately that when my hubby retires at 2020’s end, we are moving to the Spokane, Washington area. If you are thinking Seattle, move your finger on the map to the East closer to the Idaho border and Spokane resides there. We will be the area known as Nine Mile Falls to be exact, along the Spokane River. If you missed the post you can read more details here.

We closed on the property in mid-March, just before the disruption of Covid-19 closed the world down.

A toast to the future
It’s Ours!

In mid-May, once both California and Washington “re-opened,” we decided to make the trip to Spokane to meet with the builder for the property. The house in the background is our neighbor’s.

Happy on our half acre

Weather or Not

The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there.

Ellie Rodriguez

I have lived in the same house for over 32 years. My youngest daughter was one month old when we moved in.

People ask me why I would choose to move from California to the cold North of Washington State. Having lived near Portland Oregon for two years as a child, I was old enough to remember many rainy and snowy days. I didn’t hate it!

Being born and raised in San Diego, I remember the weather was fairly mild all year round. Once I made the move to Sacramento in Northern California in my early 20s, did I question that choice.

We get four seasons here but no snow, since we are at 25 feet elevation. I got used to the cold, foggy winters, and hot dry summers. My hubby, on the other hand, has endured Sacramento heat for the last 15 years as his jobs have been outdoors in construction or facility maintenance. He dislikes the heat for that reason!

Spokane is in the alpine high desert although when you drive into the area from the western plains, the landscape changes from rolling hills to evergreens and mountains. It snows there and gets very cold, but the summers are mild. I have visited there during every season and I look forward to the changes in the weather.

As Ilsa from Frozen sings:
“The cold doesn’t bother me anyway.”

A sneak peek at a neighbor’s home along the Spokane River. Our property is a few blocks from this.

Spokane River View

Fixer Upper

Although we are buying a larger home, it will be new and modern. Our current home was built in 1962 and is small and somewhat outdated. In 2015, we built a 300 square-foot room addition which created a large master suite. There is nothing like it in this neighborhood and we expect the house to sell quickly in the Fall when we put it on the market.

The house was in need of new siding. Hubby had already replaced the bedroom and dining room windows. After tearing off the siding, he discovered there was NO insulation on the front of the house. No wonder we froze in winter and boiled in summer!

In the gallery, you can see the metamorphosis of the custom siding job my husband built. The old siding was made of shake shingles, common in our neighborhood, and unavailable. Thanks to the disruptions brought on by Covid-19, we spent our last week in March at home working on the house, instead of our planned vacation to Washington.

We still have a few more small projects. Over the last year, we updated the guest bath with a granite countertop and I recently painted the cabinet and vanity.

Guest bath updated
guest bath updated

Hubby already rebuilt and replaced the old backyard deck. Luckily, he has accomplished most everything, now that windsurf season is here. I still need to repaint the kitchen and cabinets.

A Family Affair

Another reason for our journey north is our lack of family nearby. The kids live in San Diego, along with most of our family, with one daughter in the SF Bay area and my dad in the Sierra foothills. None of these places are retirement options for us.

I have heard about many parents retiring to be close to their grown children. Sometimes things change and those kids move again, leaving the parents alone again.

My hubby’s brothers and their extended families (think 35 people for typical Thanksgivings) live in the Spokane area. When we started exploring the idea of moving, I suggested that it would make more sense to move to Spokane. I always enjoyed visiting there and it is spectacularly beautiful.

Rightsizing and Retirement

What is rightsizing you ask? Rightsizing simply means to reduce something to an optimal size. This is an approach to simplifying your lifestyle while keeping what you need and use the most. For many it means moving to a smaller home, living closer to family or amenities, or changing jobs.

For more information, visit fellow blogger and friend, Kathy Gottberg at her blog SmartLiving365.

My husband and I have always lived frugally. We each raised our children as single parents and counted every dollar. For most years, we lived below our means and paid our bills on time. We have excellent credit and low debt. Five years ago, we refinanced our current home and took out a home equity line of credit to build the addition. Now the time has come to retire and move out of an expensive state.

As we age, it is important to consider what we need in a new home. For example, my knees are bad, so no two-story house for me. We toyed with the idea of having a basement, but when we walked around them last year while looking at homes, I realized I cannot navigate steep stairways any longer.

Rightsizing works for us. In our case, we chose a manufactured home which is reasonably priced, and we can get a lot more for our money. Today’s manufactured homes are built in factories rather than on-site and can be upgraded with custom options. I will say it again, these homes are not your granny’s single-wide with metal siding!

Our home will have a back-entry mudroom/utility room. We, and our dogs, can safely enter the house through the back and wipe off the pesky snow and mud. There is a large kitchen, a family room, and plenty of storage space. Even though this new home has 800 more square feet than our current house, it is thoughtfully laid out with modern features. No fixer-upper projects!

Washington State has no income tax so our retirement pensions will go much farther. We may have to pay more for medical, but we both plan to work until age 65. We are waiting until age 67 to draw social security, then we won’t have to work at all.

Can you tell I am excited about the future?

Peace — that was the other name for home.

Kathleen Norris

For Sunday Stills this week, share your thoughts, images, and other creative ideas about your home. Perhaps you have a favorite vacation home, live in an RV full-time, or are searching for your future dream home. Tell us all about it!

Manufactured home images from The Home Boys. Featured images/banner colored in Color Planet.

Join me this Friday for my book review of Walk Your Way to Better, by Joyce Schulman!

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