Summer 2015 in Fairhope, Alabama

I’ve lost track of how many people asked us if we were sure we wanted to commit to a long-term sit in Alabama. So glad we decided to go for it.

This was a fairly simple assignment. We had only one critter in our care, along with a very well-kept property. Kiwi isn’t an overly affectionate cat, but she did enjoy our company (typically from a few feet away). She only jumped onto our laps every now and then. Her preference was for Paul, which I tried not to take personally.

We were walking distance to both Mobile Bay and Downtown Fairhope and spent many a morning and evening (when it was the coolest) on the water. It was an unforgettable summer full of new adventures and friends. You can click on any of the photos in the gallery below to make them bigger.

I am still processing our time there and will most likely add to this post in the coming days. For now, I wanted to get these photos out (like I promised a few weeks back). Also,  I am not currently on Facebook but will be back soon. In the meantime, you can find me on LinkedInInstagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Paul and I are now in Orlando, Florida and will be renting an apartment in Winter Park as of November 1. We plan on staying here until Paul retires. Winter Park is gorgeous and we are smitten. It is going to be a fantastic fall! We miss all of our friends, old and new, so please keep in touch until we see you again. XO,

Valynne & Paul

PS I’ve been having some technical issues with the blog. At present, your comments are not being displayed (along with all kinds of other quirks). Please bear with us as I have found someone who is going to help me rebrand Caretaking Couple altogether in the coming weeks. Exciting!

Our Route 10 Travels From California to Alabama

Our Route 10 Travels From California to Alabama

It was an exhilarating two weeks, driving across Route 10. The plan was to drive from California to Florida (Paul will be working in Orlando soon), but that changed somewhere along the line and we are now on a house and pet sit on the Alabama coast. That is not very surprising to those of you who know us well, is it? I promise to post all about how we ended up in Fairhope and what it is like here soon. First, Route 10.

 

Route 10

Route 10

 

After our lease was up on the Ojai rental, we moved back in to Linda’s place. Linda is our friend with the ranch – the horses, the goats, the chickens and the cats, and one very fun little Whippet named Giselle. I took English and Humanities classes from Linda’s late husband Hugo – that is how far back we go. So, we stayed at Linda’s for a few weeks before hitting the road, sometimes sitting, sometimes rooming with her. Thank you, Linda. We love and appreciate you.

 

The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea

 

Our first night on Route 10 was spent in Palm Springs. Since I’ve recently written about Palm Springs (click on highlighted text for that post) and we didn’t do much there aside from sleep and revisit our favorite spots, I will carry on.

It didn’t take Paul long to stray from our original route. Neither of us had been to the Salton Sea so we decided to take a detour on our way to Arizona. What we saw of it was eerie and abandoned, sad and beautiful. What will become of California’s largest accidental lake? I encourage you to Google “Salton Sea” if you don’t know the story and would like to. If you feel like discussing it, leave a comment and I will happily reply.

 

The Arizona / Mexico Border

The Arizona / Mexico Border

 

One thing I should mention is that most of these pictures were taken with my new iPhone 6. I normally use my Canon for blog pics, but this phone is so handy and I thought I would try it out. This border shot was taken while Paul drove and it looks like a movie set to me. The border is actually behind those dunes, but the metal barriers are what piqued my interest. My guess is that they are to stop someone from 4wheeling it through the border wall, over the dunes and onto Route 10.

 

Casino Pool

Casino Pool

 

Our first stop in AZ was at a Harrah’s casino. This was Paul’s idea, because he knows I like to play poker. Texas Hold ‘Em is the only game I care to play. He doesn’t gamble, so it was very sweet of him to pick this place. I turned $40 into $300 at one of the tables and had a great time doing it. Paul sat at a restaurant bar, away from the smoke and the noise.

 

Poker

Poker Room in The Distance

 

Neither of us had been to Tombstone, Arizona. We heard that it was touristy but worth it, and Paul loves Wild West history, so we put it on the itinerary.

 

O.K. Corral

O.K. Corral in Tombstone

 

Paul found us an inn belonging to an English couple. The husband and wife team came to Tombstone for a visit several years ago and fell in love with it. Soon after they were running the Trail Rider’s Inn. I love stories like that. Maybe someday we will fall in love with one place and decide to do something spontaneous like that. More likely we’ll be traveling around in an Airstream or something similar and continuously falling in love with everywhere, though.

 

Trail Rider's Inn

Trail Rider’s Inn Bunkhouse

 

We wandered up and down and all around like we always do. It is an interesting little town, especially if you enjoy eavesdropping. Lots of short story material.

 

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona

 

My favorite place in Tombstone turned out to be Big Nose Kate’s. I peaked my head in when we first got to town and was rewarded with live country music and a woman in neon yellow shorts dancing on the bar. According to Wikipedia, Big Nose Kate was a Hungarian-born prostitute and longtime companion and common-law wife of Old West gunfighter Doc “I’m your huckleberry” Holliday.

 

Big Nose Kate's

Big Nose Kate’s

 

We came back later for karaoke night with the locals. There was some serious talent in the room and I videotaped some of it. I am unable to post my videos here on the blog for some reason but you can “like” us on Facebook for more photos and a few travel videos.

 

Big Ass Beer

Big Ass Beer at Big Nose Kate’s

 

Paul loved the bar at the Crystal Palace Saloon the most. It is gorgeous in person and has been around since the 1800’s. He also loved the costumes that the bar staff wore (I think it had something to do with cleavage). I tried to get him to take an old-fashioned photo with me in one of the numerous booths along Main Street, but he kept coming up with excuses not to. He really doesn’t love having his picture taken and since I take a lot of pictures (of him) I can’t complain (I guess).

 

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace Saloon

 

Our wanders eventually lead us into the The Tombstone Epitaph, which has also been around since the 1800’s. Anyone else have a thing for old typesetting equipment?

 

Tombstone Epitaph

Setting the Type at Tombstone Epitaph

 

And to the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. I’m not much into stories about people shooting and hanging each other, but I did get a kick out of this quote out of George Parson‘s diary back in 1880: “A man will go to the devil pretty fast in Tombstone . . . Faro, whiskey, and bad women will beat anyone.”

 

Tombstone Courthouse and State Historic Park

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park

 

We hit Boothill Graveyard on the way out of town. Again, not something I would typically do but am glad that I did.  See my favorite marker below. Every so often I like to remind people that they can double click on my photos to enlarge them. That’s your reminder.

 

Boothill Graveyard

Boothill Graveyard

 

Boothill Grave

Boothill Grave Marker (Keeping It Real)

 

What can I say about West Texas? Not much. We got ourselves rooms in El Paso and Ozona, but all we really did was eat, sleep, do laundry and watch The Big Bang Theory reruns.  We were both shocked at what $109 a night gets you in El Paso, though.  Our digs at Hampton Inn and Suites included a full kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom and bathroom with a tub.

It wasn’t until Fredericksburg that we really began to appreciate our time in Texas. We had a hearty and traditional lunch at the Old German Bakery and Restaurant which provided plenty of fuel to wander another day away, this time on one of the largest and prettiest Main Streets in America (according to me, anyway).

 

Fredericksburg, Texas

lots of German Food in Fredericksburg, Texas

 

My Kind of Main Street

My Kind of Main Street

 

Pioneer Library in Fredericksburg

Pioneer Memorial Library in Fredericksburg

 

Fredericksburg Flowers

Fredericksburg Wildflowers

 

After that, we headed to Austin. Our friends and fellow adventurers Thyra and David had kindly offered their guest quarters to us and we took them up on it for a couple of nights. They’ve recently moved from California to Texas and it was a treat to see their new home, hang out with their four-legged friends and compare travel notes.

 

Finnigan

Finnegan Says Hello

 

Thyra and David with Paul in the Background

David, Paul and Thyra at Guero’s Taco Bar in Austin

 

For our literary friends, David is in the process of having his second book of poetry published while Thyra completes the cover art. Find out more at MaxMundan. Prepare to have the wind knocked out of you.

 

Walking Into Austin

Walking Into Austin

 

After visiting Thyra and David, we spent two nights at a Hyatt, chosen for its proximity to downtown. Austin was as enjoyable as everyone said it would be. Like California, it was in a draught when we left. Right now, a few of the places we visited are under water owing to the floods. A State of Emergency has been declared. Thankfully, our friends live on higher ground on the outskirts of town.

 

Austin Mural

My Favorite Outdoor Austin Mural

 

My Favorite Indoor Austin Mural (Firehouse)

My Favorite Indoor Austin Mural (Firehouse Hostel)

 

Firehouse Bar

Firehouse Bar

 

We loved Austin – it is a great walking town. Hours were spent inside the Blanton Museum of Art as well, which we just happened to stumble upon. Get there if you can.

 

Lone Star State

Lone Star State

 

Museum

The Blanton Museum of Art

 

Capital

The Capital

 

Best Margarita at B.D. Riley's

Best Margarita?  B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub (Go Figure)

 

Rickshaw Boots

Rickshaw Boots (Because Airstream)

 

The Oldest in Austin, Hotel Driskill

The Oldest in Austin, Hotel Driskill

 

HandleBar

HandleBar

 

Along with the Wild West, Paul loves a good detective series. He is a fan of the Dave Robicheaux novels by James Lee Burke, which take place in and around Bayou Teche. That is how we ended up at Country Charm Bed and Breakfast in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. It was indeed charming, with Norman Rockwell plates on the wall above the kitchen table, a big bathtub with jets (I’ve really missed taking baths) and a pond out front.

 

Country Charm B&B

Country Charm B&B

 

The View From Our Porch

The View From Our Porch

 

Paul wanted to go on a swamp tour while we were in Bayou country. I wasn’t so sure. I was thinking mosquitoes, alligators, and snakes hanging from tree limbs. And rightly so.

 

Champagne's

Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tours Headquarters

 

Paul Loves Swamp

Paul Loves Swamp

 

But then we got there and it was beautiful. Plus, I felt kind of foolish over my initial trepidation seeing as how this five year old was showing no fear whatsoever.

 

Swamp Tour

Champagne’s Cajun Swamp Tour with Gary

 

Swamp Lillies

Swamp Lillies

 

Swamp Turtle

Swamp Turtle

 

Swamp Gator

Swamp Gator

 

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

 

Our guide Gary grew up in these parts and returned here after having traveled the world. He shared with us all kinds of interesting facts. Example: we suffered no mosquito bites thanks to the dragonflies that kept the population low. And did you know that the biggest threat to baby alligators is fire ants? I could have done without all of the ex-wife and mother-in-law at the bottom of the swamp jokes, but that’s just me. Being in a swamp / bayou is unlike anywhere else I’ve been. It was an unexpected highlight.

 

Pont Breaux's

Pont Breaux’s

 

We really wanted to have dinner at Glenda’s Creole Kitchen (a hole in the wall down the road from the B&B) but it had just closed for Mother’s Day Weekend. I almost wept when I read the sign – it still smelled so good from lunchtime. Instead, we found ourselves eating fried food and people-watching at Pont Breaux’s. The tall man dancing towards the front of the stage was celebrating a Birthday. Everyone there knew him and I could have watched him dance to Lee Benoit and his band all night.

 

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

 

We stopped at Oak Alley Plantation on the way to New Orleans. It was random and since we hadn’t planned it out, we ended up having to choose between lunch and the last tour. Guess what we chose?  That is right, we chose lunch. Maybe next time, or maybe not. Lovely on the outside, but with an ugly past. Thoughts?

 

Hurricane

Hurricane at The Ice House Bar in Hotel Provincial

 

Paul and I are enchanted with New Orleans; especially the French Quarter. First stop: Hotel Provincial. I freshened up and walked across the courtyard to a small bar across from the lobby and ordered myself a Hurricane from James. A proper one, with premium rums and fresh citrus. In a glass (as opposed to a plastic Bourbon Street cup). It was delicious. This bar was full of friendly locals and both James and Etienne know how to tend.  We love everything about this hotel.

 

Hotel Provincial

Hotel Provincial

 

Below are some of my favorite New Orleans photos. Not my best photos, but my favorites. I have blogged about New Orleans before and have gone on long enough for one post besides.

Thank you for following along with us. I know some of you have been stopping by the blog since Day 1 (back in 2009). Some of you even give me grief when I go too long between posts and let me say that I do appreciate it. And we both LOVE hearing from you, as well. Feel free to leave a comment / question on any of our posts at any time and one of us will respond.

 

Cafe Negril

Cafe Negril

 

eat

New Favorite Breakfast spot = eat

 

Johnny White's

Johnny White’s for $5 Bloodies

 

NOLA Architecture

NOLA Architecture

 

Old Ginger Mint Tulep Mural in the French Quarter

Old Ginger Mint Tulep Mural in the French Quarter

 

Royal St

Royal St

 

Hotel Monteleone

Revolving Bar at Hotel Monteleone

 

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (Oldest Bar in NOLA)

 

Faulkner House Books

Faulkner House Books

 

Walk in Large Groups

Walk in Large Groups

 

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

 

Tarot & Palm

Tarot & Palm Reader – Jackson Square

 

Book Break

Book Break

 

Outside Cafe Negril on Frenchmen Street

Outside Cafe Negril on Frenchmen Street

 

d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street

d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street

 

Early Morning in the French Quarter

Early Morning in the French Quarter

 

The Courtyard at Hotel Provincial

The Courtyard at Hotel Provincial

 

Thank you again for stopping by. As a token of our appreciation, I will be sending one lucky commenter a copy of my favorite southern read so far. Simply leave a comment here on the blog and I will draw a name on June 15th. In the meantime, Laissez les bons temps rouler!  XO,

 

Valynne & Paul

Southern California in Pictures

Southern California in Pictures

Our time in California has flown by.  I love that Paul enjoyed the stomping grounds of my youth so much and that we were able to spend time with friends (old and new) and family.  Next up is Orlando, Florida.  We will road trip it there in the next few weeks and plan on stopping in Palm Springs, Tombstone, Austin, New Orleans, and possibly one more place along the way.  I will share details here and on Facebook as soon as I have some.

We had planned on spending a bit more time here but that was not meant to be, and we are both ready for whatever is next.  I am keeping an eye out for job opportunities and potential sits/rentals, and would love to hear from any Orlando readers.  Below are my favorite California photos.  I will probably be adding to them in the next few days.  Please send me any that you would like me to share, California friends!  Thanks for the memories . . .

The Three Amigas

The Three Amigas (Thirty Years of Friendship and Counting)

 

The Ladies Take Venice Beach

New Friends! The Ojai Ladies at Gjelina in Venice Beach

 

Bukowski Quote on Main Street, Ventura

Bukowski Quote on Main Street, Ventura

 

Paul's Favorite Spot at Azu

Paul’s Favorite Spot at Azu

 

One of My Favorite Ojai Cars

Lots of Classy Old Cars in Ojai

 

Anniversary #9 Selfie

Anniversary #9 Selfie

 

Ojai Farmers' Market

Ojai Farmers’ Market

 

Paul and Giselle on Old Creek Rd

Paul and Giselle at the ranch on Old Creek Rd

 

Old Creek Ranch Winery

Old Creek Ranch Winery

 

Old Creek Ranch Winery

Old Creek Ranch Winery

 

The Farmer and The Cook in Meiner's Oaks

The Farmer and The Cook in Meiner’s Oaks

 

Our Next Door Neighbor

Our Next Door Neighbor

 

Johnny's on The Avenue

Johnny’s on The Avenue

 

A Dog and His Truck

A Dog and His Truck

 

Someone's a Little Spoiled

Someone’s a Little Spoiled

 

Soule Park Blossoms

Soule Park Blossoms

 

Smallest Post Office

USA’s Smallest Post Office

 

Working 9-5

Working 9-5

 

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

 

Almost Famous

Almost Famous

 

Paul's Birthday Spread

Paul’s Birthday Spread

 

Libbey Park

Libbey Park for the Storytelling Festival

 

Airstream Bar in Whole Foods (Oxnard)

Airstream Bar in Whole Foods (Oxnard)

 

Ojai Roasting Co on a Sunday

Ojai Roasting Co on a Sunday

 

Deer Lodge Peace Sign

Deer Lodge Peace Sign

 

The Pier

The Pier

 

An Upper Ojai Meadow

An Upper Ojai Meadow

 

Helen's First Birthday

Helen’s First Birthday

 

Corrale's For a Burrito

Corrale’s For a Burrito

 

Weekly Hikes

Weekly Hikes (See Prior Posts for Hiking Pics)

 

Life is Beautiful at Surfer's Point

Life is Beautiful at Surfer’s Point

 

Christmas on Old Creek Rd

Christmas on Old Creek Rd

 

Kurt Vonnegut at Bart's Books

Kurt Vonnegut at Bart’s Books

 

Madrigali at the Ojai Storytelling Festival

Madrigali at the Ojai Storytelling Festival

 

The Ojai Playhouse

The Ojai Playhouse

 

Yellow Truck on Main Street

Yellow Truck on Main Street

 

OVAC Hiking Group at Horn Trail

OVAC Hiking Group at Horn Trail

 

Yoga and Wine at Majestic Oak Vineyard

Yoga and Wine at Majestic Oak Vineyard

 

Linda and Giselle at the River Bottom

Linda and Giselle at the River Bottom

 

Force of Nature at The Ojai Wine Festival

Force of Nature at The Ojai Wine Festival

 

Lunchtime View at Soule Park Golf Course

Lunchtime View at Soule Park Golf Course

 

CC (Club Cat) at The Ojai Valley Athletic Club

CC (Club Cat) at The Ojai Valley Athletic Club

 

Smitty and Julija at The Lavender Festival

Smitty and Julija at The Lavender Festival

 

Lavender Festival Umbrella

Lavender Festival Umbrella

 

Ojai Raptor Center

Ojai Raptor Center

 

Lavender Lemonade Martini at Osteria Monte Grappa

Lavender Lemonade Martini at Osteria Monte Grappa

 

Before I Die . . at Porch Gallery

Before I Die . . at Porch Gallery

 

Gay Pride at Libbey Park

Gay Pride at Libbey Park

 

The Oaks

The Oaks at Ojai

 

Ojai Museum

Ojai Museum

 

Ojai Music Festival Flag

Ojai Music Festival Flag

 

The Arcade

The Arcade

 

Emily's Cal Poly Graduation

Emily’s Cal Poly Graduation

 

Hanging Out at Porch Gallery

Hanging Out at Porch Gallery

 

Meditation Mount

Meditation Mount

 

Meditation Mount

Meditation Mount

 

Meditation Mount

Meditation Mount

 

July Fourth Parade

July Fourth Parade

 

July Fourth Parade

July Fourth Parade

 

Bonnie Lu's on July Fourth

Bonnie Lu’s on July Fourth

 

Deborah on Her Phone at The Vine

Deborah on Her Phone at The Vine

 

Watching The Game at Osteria Monte Grappa

Watching The Game at Osteria Monte Grappa

 

Surfer's Point

Surfer’s Point

 

Surfer's Point

Surfer’s Point

 

Surfer's Point

Surfer’s Point

 

Sadie and Erik at Los Cap

Sadie and Erik at Los Cap

 

Dawn and Fancy Mike at Los Cap

Dawn and Fancy Mike at Los Cap

 

Ojai Concert Series

Ojai Concert Series

 

The Star Lounge

The Star Lounge

 

Surfer's Point

Surfer’s Point

 

Helen Shops

Live Your Dreams

 

The Breakfast Club at Seafresh

The Breakfast Club at Sea Fresh

 

Lynn and Helen at The Vine

Lynn and Helen at The Vine

 

John E Sings the Blues

Private John E Concert

 

Cheers From Yours Truly

Cheers From Yours Truly

 

Classic Car Show in Ventura

Classic Car Show in Ventura

 

Classic Car Show in Ventura

Classic Car Show in Ventura

 

Classic Car Show in Ventura

Classic Car Show in Ventura

 

Classic Car Show in Ventura

Classic Car Show in Ventura

 

Rocker Mom

Rocker Mom

 

Beach Festival

Beach Festival

 

Food Truck Love

Food Truck Love

 

California Carnies

California Carnies

 

Gallery 525

Gallery 525

 

Ojai Yarn Bomb

Ojai Yarn Bomb

 

Optimist Club at Ojai Day

Optimist Club at Ojai Day

 

Singing Gypsies at Ojai Day

Singing Gypsies at Ojai Day

 

Ojai Day Music

Ojai Day Music

 

Jared, Tending Bar at The Vine

Jared, Tending Bar at The Vine

 

Jacob and David at The Vine

Jacob and David at The Vine

 

Puppy Love

Puppy Love With Lori

 

Nigel and Kara at Taste of Ojai

Nigel and Kara at Taste of Ojai

 

Backyard Bliss

Backyard Bliss

 

Helen on Halloween

Helen on Halloween

 

Mom and Helen on Halloween

Mom and Helen on Halloween

 

Yours Truly on Halloween

Yours Truly on Halloween

 

David on Halloween

David on Halloween

 

Greg and Paul at The Vine

Greg and Paul at The Vine

 

Singing at Smitty's Place

Singing at Smitty’s Place

 

Imagine at Monte Grappa

Imagine at Monte Grappa

 

Ojai Christmas Tree

Ojai Christmas Tree

 

Tim and Bernie at The Vine

Tim and Bernie at The Vine

 

A Visit From Portland Jonny

A Visit From Jonny

 

Sunset Over the Channel Islands

Sunset Over the Channel Islands

 

Helen and Mom at CoCo's

Helen and Mom at CoCo’s

 

Pool Shark Sami at The Hub

Pool Shark Sami at The Hub

 

Ojai Retreat

Ojai Retreat

 

Old Truck in Meiner's Oaks

Old Truck in Meiner’s Oaks

 

Book Ends in Meiner's Oaks

Book Ends in Meiner’s Oaks

 

Century 10 in Ventura

Century 10 in Ventura

 

Pratt Trail in Ojai

Pratt Trail in Ojai

 

The Ojai Library

The Ojai Library

 

Paul on Ojai Ave

Paul on Ojai Ave

 

The Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room

The Ojai Vineyard Tasting Room

 

The Patio at Osteria Monte Grappa

The Patio at Osteria Monte Grappa

 

Paul at Surfer's Point

Paul at Surfer’s Point

 

Helen in Her Woody Hat

Helen in Her Woody Hat

 

Emily and Helen

Emily and Helen

 

Joey and Jasmine

Joey and Jasmine

 

Mom

Mom

 

Joey and Helen

Joey and Helen

 

Helen

Helen

 

Chalkboard Sign at Love Heals

Chalkboard Sign at Love Heals

 

Six Months in Southern California

Six Months in Southern California

Most of you know that I (Valynne) spent a good twenty years of my life in Southern California. I was born in Connecticut, but did most of my growing up in Ventura, CA. Paul and I had visited CA together a handful of times (mostly Northern as the company he works for is headquartered there) and we both liked the idea of living somewhere along or near the coast, if only for a few months. It took us a while to get here, but we are happy to say that we are officially California residents (tempted to post my driver’s license pic as it is that bad…Nope. Can’t do it).

 

Sharing my old stomping grounds (Main Street, Ventura) with Paul

Sharing my old stomping grounds (Main Street, Ventura) with Paul

 

Surfer's Point in Ventura, CA

Surfer’s Point in Ventura, CA

 

Paul and I came here on a long term sit for a friend that I used to petsit for back in my early twenties. We’ve just spent four months in her sweet little ranch on the outskirts of Ventura with no less than eleven animals (two horses, two goats, four chickens, two barn cats, and one loving and lovable little whippet named Giselle).

 

Momma and Daughter Goats Happy and Mocha

Momma and Daughter Goats, Happy and Mocha

 

Giselle the Whippet

Giselle, taking a quick break on her favorite chair after running around outside (hence the grass on her bum)…

 

During that time, we did some local research and decided to find a rental in the neighboring town of Ojai as soon as our homeowner friend returned from her travels. Ojai has a small village vibe and was love at first wander for Paul. We recently found a great place and are now in the process of making it homey.  Can’t wait to get our books and art out of storage in New Mexico!  For now, the rooms all echo.  We’ve been having fun finding household items here and there via local shops and yard sales.

 

Our New California Digs

Our New California Digs

 

We will be here for at least a year, and most likely longer. The cost of living is more expensive in California than most states we have lived in, but there are ways to balance it out. I have found a job as a Client Services Manager here in town, and Paul continues to work from home, so we don’t have to worry about the time and money associated with commuting. We can walk or take the trolley just about anywhere and our plan is to leave the 4Runner in the carport as often as possible.

 

Ojai Farmers' Market

Ojai Farmers’ Market

 

There are so many community events here, and we love that we can walk to just about all of them. My Ventura family and friends are fifteen or so miles away (see photo below of my adorable niece with her momma at Arroyo Verde Park on her first birthday for reference) and my mom and I get to catch up in person almost every week now. This is a pretty big deal for me, as we’ve gone years without seeing each other in the past.

 

I'd say her Dora the Explorer Birthday cake was a hit...

I’d say that her Dora the Explorer Birthday cake was a hit…

 

As for house and pet sitting, we are taking a little break. It’s been a good (almost five year) run and we are enjoying having our own place to call home again and coming and going as we please. For the first time in what seems like forever, we have no travel plans, other than a quick trip to New Mexico to pick up our stuff in storage. We will be planning another England trip soon (he’s not going again without me!), but there are other things to consider first, like the budget and vacation time with my new job.

There is so much more to say, but I am going to keep this post a simple update and get more specific in future posts. I have taken lots of pictures, and will add a photo gallery again here soon, as well. We love keeping in touch with everyone and would be thrilled to get an update from you as well, either here in the comments box or via your communication method of preference. Feel free to post any questions/comments/requests here, as well.  Happy Spring, wherever you may be!  Lots of Love,

V&P

A Week at Maca Bana in Grenada (in Pictures)

After two weeks on the road, Paul and I were looking forward to spending our third week of vacation in Grenada, a Caribbean Island also referred to as the Isle of Spice (another brilliant idea of Paul’s!). We did a whole lot of relaxing at Maca Bana, a boutique hotel overlooking Magazine Beach in Grenada, and  spent the rest of our time exploring nearby beaches, wandering around St. George’s, meeting lots of locals, and eating lots of fresh seafood.  I decided to create a gallery this time around, as I took so many photos of this very special place.  *Click on the picture to enlarge it.  From there, you can simply click on the arrow to the right of the picture to see the next one.*

If you have any questions or comments about our time in Grenada, please let us know here and one of us will respond quickly.  I left a review of Maca Bana on Trip Advisor, as well.  This was another life-changing experience for us and I am so grateful for these opportunities.  We are now house and pet-sitting in Ventura, California.  Stay tuned for an update!

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