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A Walk to Remember

Yesterday was quite the memory lane for Beautiful and my first time seeing where they lived when they used to live in CA. I got up before dawn at 6am to start my treatments and got to the clubhouse for breakfast around 8am. I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find a lot of food that I wanted. I had 16 slices of ham,  1/3 of a plate of some potato/pepper/sausage/onion skillet, scrambled eggs, and salt. I mention salt in this way because it took up a considerable area of my plate – those silly little packets. I downed all of that and went back for a full plate of the skillet dish, a Mt. Dew, and more eggs… this time with ketchup for more flavor correction.

We were out and on the road by 10am to head to La Mirada, or so I thought. We were going straight for Rancho Santa Margarita for lunch because there could be traffic on the way. There actually was at the customs checkpoint on I-5, but they pulled back into their little loop and let people drive through before we got there. I can’t imagine how much fun it would’ve been to explain all of the prescription drugs in my laptop bag!

We ended up being about 20 minutes early, so we went over a couple of streets from lunch and took a look at their last townhome they lived in before moving to FL. The owner actually pulled up, opened the garage door, and pulled in as we were looking. Not to leave well enough alone some of us couldn’t resist going halfway up the walkway to look in the entry. We walked around the back to the pool (they couldn’t believe how much smaller it looked than they remembered. Oops! Time for lunch.

So, here it is, 3 hours after I’d finished my largest breakfast in at least a year, and I found myself in a pizza place being served one of the. best. pies. I’ve ever had. I didn’t break any of my records, but I held my own, considering how much I’d had earlier.

Completely stuffed, we drove a little ways up the road to where they used to rollerblade and bike to a lake called Lago Santa Margarita. We took some great family and couple photos there and all around the lake. They were nice enough to take a break a couple of times and we took our sweet time going the 2.4 mile lap around the lake in about an hour. The views were gorgeous! I’ll remember that walk for a very long time.

After that, we headed to the hotel for our stay for graduation and then some of us went to LAX to pick up their grandma. What a crazy place!

We got back just a few minutes after the tape delay of the American Idol finale. The coffee tables from all 3 of our rooms were lined up and the spaghetti train was dishing up plate after plate of spaghetti as we walked in the door. I finished my heaping plate in just a couple of minutes (I was darn hungry by 8pm!). Then I finished my bro-in-law’s heaping plate. Then I finished his girlfriend’s heaping plate. Then I felt better. 😉

Enjoy the photos. You can follow our activities on Facebook, as I keep posting from my phone.

Head for the Hills

House on a hillToday the family has planned to drive me around their old stomping grounds in Rancho Santa Margarita (RSM, they call it) and show me Beautiful’s first townhome, school, and some family friends before we end up in La Mirada at the hotel we’ll be staying at for my SIL’s graduation.

Then we will be going to her apartment to see how she lives and meet her roommates before I take my first trip to LAX to pick up a grandma. Their grandma on Dad’s side, to be exact, because my grandparents aren’t going anywhere out of the ordinary this weekend that I know of. I’d just as soon stay with everyone than go, but I HAVE to see the LAX sign and get some photos of it. I mean, It’s LA-freaking-X!

I’m totally chilling, going with the flow, and ready to take on vacation mode – a task much easier once you put your vacation responder on e-mail AFTER arriving in CA, I assure you. I landed to e-mails from people who’d been trying to reach me since 1pm! Yes, that’s the level of service I offer people – they wonder after a couple of hours what is going on, and I need to slowly change that for my own good.

So, I’m sitting in the corner of our living area “puffing on my pipe” as they were joking last night. I can’t believe it’s already almost 10am EDT now, but I should, since I’m always aware of what time it is for my West Coast clients. I just have my sinus neb and Vest remaining, then I’m going to pack them back up and head to the breakfast before we leave around 9am.

We’ll see if walking without luggage is any easier than I had it yesterday.

Here’s to a great day in SoCal as the highest-strung person here… for now… bringing it down about 4 notches for my own good. BTW, last night’s weigh-in: 123.5 lbs.

My Bucket List Took a Huge Hit Today

Pacific first time

I’ve been wanting to come to the West Coast, California particularly, for years now. Beautiful grew up in CA and I wasn’t able to come with her the last time she came with her family when we were dating, so this is my first chance to come out. We were coming into San Diego for landing when the pilot suddenly gave us a big burst of juice when we were at about 300 feet and up we went.

A plane had not cleared the runway, so we got waved off.

Onward we flew to the Pacific Ocean and made a huge round-about back over the Navy base and flew back through downtown for the No. 10 most harrowing airport landings in the world. If we hadn’t been waved off, I wouldn’t have seen the Pacific today, so I’m very glad.

First Pacific Ocean sighting: 4:46pm PDT May 24, 2011.

Time to Take a Real Vacation

West Bay BeachLife is getting to me. Life, not as in just the hum-drum of living life like an ant in an ant farm, but life as a soldier doing battle every day against all odds when it seems like every force that can be mustered against us has been. We are ready for a break. Ready for a reprieve.

We’ve discussed my workaholism on the site before and how its driven by a deep sense of duty to provide for us, even in the event of a catastrophe, so I feel like I’m working against a clock with an unknown buzzer. None of us knows when our or THE buzzer is going to sound, but for me, I know my work is not done. But…

I can’t do that if I’m worn out, and I’m worn to a nub right now.

We’ve been trying to meet with our long-time friends who have been our marriage mentors since we just got married, 4 1/2 years ago now, but this and that kept postponing our time together. We finally got to sit down with them last night and get some much-needed encouragement. I don’t know what it is about hearing it from others with more perspective due to longer years “in service,” but it was what I needed to hear as the man bearing all of this weight.

I heard that rallying Beautiful home from her awful job when we did was a calculated act of love for her, far more than a foolish move that left us in worse financial standing that I had figured in countless math scenarios in my head over the previous 6 months. I heard that we have come down from a mountaintop experience this Spring and now we are in the valley, but the valley is where you truly become strong.

I don’t like the valley. I don’t like it at all. I don’t like the person I am sometimes while in the valley, nor am I as liked when I’m here.

After every valley, though, is what? Another mountaintop! We are about to do great things, bold things, things I could not have imagined for ourselves when we were planning on getting married, and I will not cower in fear of failure any longer. Those attacks will not work on my psyche any longer because they are not the message from my Father.

I have the world’s best cheerleader who believes in me, in what I’m doing, in what I’m capable of, and as a man who always does his best to make sure everything is alright. Not everyone has someone like that in their corner, so I am blessed. Now we have the opportunity to go to California for an entire week to celebrate a Master’s graduation, show me where everyone grew up, and spend some time at a resort recharging our batteries.

I will only do things that are fun (aside from my non-fun treatments) or vitally urgent for the running of the business, and even then only when it is not a distraction or inconvenience to others so that we can all enjoy our time. As exciting as Chicago was for me, it only ramped me up more until I hit total burn-out and I’ve lost my center.

I’m going to come back different.