Tag Archives: relax

Coastal Therapy


Rem and I went to Sea Ranch the day after the election. It was just lucky timing, but I’m so glad we had time away from our computers and phones due to severely limited cell coverage and v e r y slow internet. We also didn’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper.

Instead of focusing on bad news, I took walks and Rem went on bike rides.




Crashing surf churned up extra foam which made it look as if someone had used the wrong kind of soap in a dishwasher.




We sat in front of the fire and watched the flames instead of watching the news.


I took a good, long walk on most days.





One afternoon we baked focaccia.




I spent lots of time crafting too, but I’ll show that in another post.

We also took a long drive one day, going north and then turning inland to follow a road we hadn’t been on before. We ended up in Boonville and visited the Anderson Valley Brewing Company.


Do what you can to keep your perspective.  Treat yourself and those around you with love and kindness.  Long walks, especially on a beach, were great for me.

Thanks for the visit.




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Foggy Sunday Drive


It was a foggy today, in the middle of a three-day weekend, and perfect for a Sunday drive.  I went to the Farmer’s Market and had a walk before we set out, heading for the small town of Graton in west Sonoma County.  It is located between Sebastopol and Occidental.

First stop: Willow Wood Market Cafe.  A friend recommended Willow Wood a few years ago and we had good memories from our first visit. We put our name down for a table then took a look at a few of the sculptures at Graton Gallery, a few doors down.



Once seated at Willow Wood, it wasn’t hard for me to decide what I was going to have. One of their specialties is polenta.  It shows up on the breakfast menu with butter and maple syrup (yum).  It was even more enticing on the lunch menu with sauteed spinach and coppa, cambazola toast (a creamy blue cheese that is like blend of brie and Gorgonzola), the polenta, roasted tomato and (not very) soft boiled egg.


I ordered that and went on to say “I’d like some whipped cream” when what I meant was hot chocolate with whipped cream!  It was served in a big bowl.


After our late breakfast, we strolled around Mr. Ryder Antiques, a shop with a nice variety of art, vintage items and antiques from several different dealers.  It is where we found the star for our Christmas tree a few ago and the beautiful old book that became my first Art Journal.


This time, the only item I bought was a card of old mother-of-pearl buttons.

To support my renewed efforts to get 10,000 steps in every day, Rem agreed to a stroll on the nearby West County Regional Trail.



We saw other walkers including several with dogs, a barking beagle in a backyard adjacent to the trail, a guy on a skateboard, a number of people on bikes, a squirrel,  a robin and a woodpecker.

And an Old Crow (bottle) in a tree.


Next we drove through some pretty scenery and on to Occidental.  We searched unsuccessfully for a geocache, but found this group of turkey vultures.


In town: more browsing through shops.  Although I saw a variety of beautiful objects, I wasn’t tempted to buy anything to take home.  This striking mural is painted on the side of a building.


If you’ve ever driven through the Sebastopol area, you’ve probably enjoyed some of the fun and funky metal sculptures made by artists Patrick Amiot and Brigette Laurent.  We saw several of their pieces in Occidental, including this guy on top of a downtown trash bin.


I surpassed my 10,000 steps* for the day as we walked around Occidental, past several of the Italian restaurants known for their family style dining and extensive menus; the Union Hotel and Negri’s.


Our final stop before heading home was the Wild Flour Bread in Freestone.  They’d been closed for their Winter Break from December 30 to January 15.  I’m glad they were open today, because their bread is really delicious.  We got some biscotti for the drive home, Herb Goat-Cheese Flat Bread to eat with soup for dinner, and a loaf of Egyptian (Pear, Fig, Candied Ginger) to start the day tomorrow.  They have a wood-fired brick oven and offer generous samples of their goodies so you can try before you buy.


Thank you for your visit.

* 7-day step total: 74,466



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Catching Up

Molly in Windowseat

Rem and I are at Sea Ranch enjoying post-holiday down time. Things get a little chaotic before the big day and in the days right before Christmas I was up early every morning and staying up late at night crafting and wrapping gifts and ornaments.

Our Christmas tree is lovely but putting a large tree in our small apartment means moving the dining table up against my craft desk and eating dinner on the bed. I worked on several craft projects at once, letting glue or paint dry on one while I decoupaged another. The art supplies covered both the table and desk and, as usual, I just kept working on top of the mess, letting my work area shrink down to the size of my hand instead of putting things away as I worked.

So here we are, spending some time with my mom in her vacation home, really relaxing and catching up on our rest.  It is wonderful having free time with no schedules or deadlines.  There are no streetlights outside the windows, no neighbors in apartments above or next door, hardly any traffic and the prevailing sound outside at night is the whoosh of the ocean. We come downstairs to the chilly bedroom after sitting by the wood burning stove in the living room. A soak in the hot tub under a star-filled sky then murmured conversation as we snuggle under a cozy down comforter and sink into deep sleep.

I have brought craft supplies along but without any deadline and with plenty of space, I don’t feel stressed to finish things, and better enjoy the creative process.  We’re heading back home tomorrow and I still have vacation time to enjoy more crafting and cooking.  Maybe I’ll even catch up on blogging.

Thank you for your visit.



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Crafting on the Road

No, I don’t paint while driving but I did bring craft supplies on our Yosemite/Gold Country vacation.  We didn’t have the whole trip planned out and I find crafting very relaxing, so I wanted to be prepared to get creative if the opportunity came up.

Emporium Jamestown

One afternoon we strolled through Jamestown and I found a few interesting bits of paper ephemera for sale, items that were originally meant to be discarded, like tickets or menus, but have become collectibles.

I picked up a small Farmer Memo Book from 1958 with charts on seeds and planting, and helpful information on things like tractor work calculation and gestation periods for farm animals.Rusty Rooster

I bought an April, 1938 local bus schedule for Iowa and Illinois, an order book from Rosa Baking Company circa 1937 and a one-inch map of South East London published in 1946 that has “Jim’s” written on it. I also purchased a few postcards and picked up brochures of places we were visiting.

One afternoon I asked Rem if he’d mind a break from sightseeing and he was very accommodating to my desire for craft time.  He watched a movie while I spread my supplies out in the dining room of the Sonora Inn and put together these two Art Journal pages.

Yosemite Art Journal Page

A shuttle map, a postcard and a photo from a local travel magazine filled the pages for this Yosemite spread.  I covered a little tag and added a bird sticker and some color.

For this Sonora spread, I used a Little Red Church picture from a brochure, and other bits and pieces to pick up the red color including craft paper and washi tape that I brought along.

Sonora Art Journal Page

Business cards, labels and brochures bring back memories from our relaxing and scenic trip.

After we returned home, my mom requested a card and I used some of the ephemera I’d picked up in Jamestown for this tag card.

Ephemera Tag Card

The low-key afternoon of crafting was a chance to sort through my old and new supplies and create something that included pieces picked up along the way.  It was also a nice change-of-pace from walking around and exploring Sonora and the area and some time alone.  This combination of being on vacation, a relaxed schedule and a few creative hours with paper and glue made me feel a peaceful happiness.  What more could I ask for?

Thanks for your visit.


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Long Sea Ranch Weekend

Beach through the Trees

Although we had a few days of really gorgeous weather when we went to Sea Ranch for the long Fourth of July weekend, I kept forgetting my camera when we went on walks.  I only remembered once the weather turned grey.

This mosaic is on a low wall by a gas station in the town of Gualala, just north of Sea Ranch.

Fish Mosaic

Here are some pictures from our weekend… with seals, Molly and Ariel.

Seals at Sea Ranch

Molly & Ariel at driftwood chapel

Shell Beach

Through the Trees

Molly starts a hole

Molly Digging


Silly Doggie

Ariel on the Beach

Ariel on the Rock

Running on the Beach

Thanks for stopping by.


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San Francisco Ferry Getaway

Ferry Building

It was Spring Break this past week at the community college where I work, so students and faculty were off, but the campus was still open and the staff were still at work.  Until Friday.  After four quiet days of catching up on undone tasks including typing evaluation comments, filing a towering pile of paper and reorganizing my filing system, I decided to enjoy a vacation day.

I’ve been wanting to take the Larkspur Ferry to San Francisco and wander the shops in the Ferry Building Marketplace, and Rem was game.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was so nice being off work on a week day, I enjoyed it all the more.  Hooray for last minute days off!

Our destination, the Ferry Building Marketplace, is a beautifully renovated, landmark building with lots of little shops, cafes and restaurants with a major focus on food, plus beautiful and useful things for the home and garden.

First stop, Sur La Table, where I saw these little cake stands, or maybe cupcake stands.  They were very sweet and also very small.

Cupcake Stands

I love the artwork on this tin of Merula olive oil from Spain.

Merula Olive Oil

I admit, I wouldn’t have known that Pioppini and Nameko were mushrooms.  They are only two of the many, many mushrooms we saw at Far West Fungi.


A beautiful set of nesting bowls made from olive wood was only one of the many items  at The Gardener that I would be delighted to have in our home.

Olivewood Bowls

You can pick up a cute little knit critter.

Little Knit Critters

Or a book on how to knit your own.

Knit Your Own Dog

We already have our own little dog, LLP (Little Little Pup), which is good since I don’t knit.  He came along on our adventure and met a small crocodile.


Succulents – I like their pretty soft greens and purples.


The high ceiling of the Marketplace is topped with skylights.  A few pigeons have wandered in and made themselves at home, adding to the Farmer’s Market feeling.


We sat outside on the esplanade to eat our lunch, overlooking a docked ferry and the Bay Bridge.

Golden Gate Ferry Boat

My spring rolls and peanut sauce were from Out the Door, the take-out counter for the Slanted Door restaurant.

Spring Roll

Rem enjoyed a hot BBQ Pulled-Beef sandwich from Golden Gate Meat Company.  We went back later and bought some steak to bring home and grill.

BBQ Beef

I could have done more shopping but I didn’t want to schlep it all home on the ferry.

Pretty Produce

Bright, colorful produce at Farm Fresh to You.


Pretty shopping bags caught my eye.

Shopping Bags

As did this striped and ruffled pasta at Village Market.

Striped Pasta

After more strolling we stopped at Gott’s Roadside for a cup of soft serve vanilla ice cream to share.

Soft Serve

Back outside into the sunshine, this time we sat on the street side of the building to people watch.

I enjoyed the line of pedicab drivers as they hustled to get customers.  These two were at the end of the line.


We made a relaxed visit to Book Passage where I picked up one new and one used book.  The new one is An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.  What an appealing title.  The used one is Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, a book I loved and read several times included while on a trip to Italy that was inspired, in part, by the book.

I lost my well-thumbed copy and hadn’t thought of getting another until I saw this one. I started reading it right away while sitting on a bench in the marketplace.  It was like sitting down with an old friend.

Soon enough it was time to board the return ferry and head home.  I went out on the deck and took one more shot of the building as we departed.

"San Francico"

We had a splendid day!


A day like that reminds me how lucky we are to live where we do.   I am grateful.

Leaving SF

Thanks for coming by for a visit.


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Sea Ranch Visit

Rem and I went to Sea Ranch last week and celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.

I can’t provide the sound of the surf or the smell of the salt air, but maybe these pictures will give you a feeling for our visit.


Day 1: Seagulls join our impromptu picnic lunch overlooking the mouth of the Russian River.

Mouth of Russian River + Sealls

A pod (herd?) of seals are sunning on the beach.


27 twisty miles of Route 1 to go.

Sea Ranch 27

We chose to have our anniversary dinner at Saint Orres, a beautiful Russian-style hotel with dining room, cabin, cottages and a spa.

St. Orres back

Pink Flowers

Sign at St Orres

Rem had warm butternut soup with ginger and I chose the chilled coconut and pineapple.  They were both wonderful although the chilled soup would have been better on a warmer day.  Still, I ate every drop.  A roasted pear salad was the second course, served on mixed greens with endive, with blue cheese, dressed with pear vinaigrette and garnished with a candied walnut.  It was delicious in every aspect, beautifully made and arranged.

The entrees were very good but had the same flaw.  Both plates had a side that should have been crispy but came out soggy.  I don’t know if it was from sitting too long after being cooked but it was disappointing.  Rem’s wild boar had apple latkes and my roast pheasant had risotto cakes with truffles and mushrooms.  The rest of the entree was lovely with perfectly cooked little spring vegetables.  It wasn’t the stellar meal it could have been but still a very nice evening.

Tower Room St. Orres

Day 2: We headed further up the coast, stopping at Arena Cove in Pt. Arena.

Rem with Dog

We’ve been to the Pt. Arena lighthouse in the past but this was our first time to the cove.

Arena Cove

Waves at Arena Cove

Back in the car and continuing north, we stopped in Mendocino.  Some strolling, some (birthday) shopping and lunch at the Mendocino Hotel.

Mendo Hotel

Mendo Coast

We found a geocache along the bluff trail.

Mendo Shops

Next stop: Ft. Bragg and Glass Beach.

Glass Beach I

On previous visits we’ve taken baggies of beautiful, polished glass but this time we were returning some.

Coral on Sea Glass Beach

Sea Glass Beach II

Than on to the North Coast Brewing Company.  Rem enjoyed his Old Rasputin stout.


We shared a delicious plate of Calamari Fritto Misto with spicy aioli.  It included thin slices of lemon and green beans that had been dipped in batter and fried along with the calamari and it was wonderful.


Heading back down the coast, we stopped at the Noyo River harbor, under the Noyo River bridge.

Noyo River Bridge

Fishing Boat

Day 3: A very low key and relaxing day.  Rem set up his ham radio antenna, I started a giant puzzle.  I think we both took a nap.  It was lovely to unwind and not have any schedule.

Puzzle pieces

One of my favorite things this time of year is a visit to see the new lambs in the Sea Ranch sheep herd.

(More sheep and lamb pictures here).

Lamb by bush

Little Lamb

Baa baa black sheep

Day 4: My birthday!  Another day blissfully reading, crafting (I’ll post about my crafting soon), and working on the puzzle.  Rem contacted Japan, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Galapagos Islands, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, Alaska and Hawaii during a ham radio contest.

I got off my butt long enough to go down to the beach.

Damp sand

Gull over beach

And said hi to the seals.

Seals at Sea Ranch

Surf at Sea Ranch

And visit the lambs again.

LIttle Lamb

I (under)baked some brownies.  It was a perfect day.


Day 5: We did 918 pieces of the 1,000 piece puzzle and called it done.

Almost Finished Puzzle

I went into town (Gualala) and browsed through the local bookshop, Four-Eyed Frogs Books. I picked out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook as a gift from Rem.

This is a view of Gualala Point beach from town.

Gualala Point

Every evening we enjoyed a fire in the wood burning stove or a soak in the hot tub, or both.  The canopy of stars on a clear night is awesome.

Day 6: Our last day of vacation.  Time to pack up. We made a last visit down to the beach.  We repatriated the last of the sea glass on this beach covered with shells.

Shells on the beach

It was a very low tide so we did a little tide pooling.

Tide Pool

Dianne and Rem at Sea Ranch

Locking up the house I say goodbye to one of my dad’s baseball caps hanging on a peg in the entry hall.  I feel close to him in this comfortable home.  I feel sure he would be delighted with every visitor who stays, every fire in the stove, every meal cooked and shared, every walk enjoyed and every soak in the hot tub.

Hat in the hall

Thank you for your visit. It is much appreciated.


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