Thanksgiving gratitude for family and friends

Santa Barbara sunset
Sunset on Thanksgiving Eve in Santa Barbara several years ago.

I wrote this post about my Thanksgiving several years ago without our kids. Unfortunately, we hardly ever see the children on Thanksgiving anymore. But we do have plans to be together for a week over Christmas. Here’s what I wrote on my first kidless Thanksgiving:

Our first Thanksgiving without our kids. I’m thankful they are with dear friends and their families since they weren’t able to make the trek home this year. Instead of moping around the house feeling sorry about my empty nest, we’re celebrating with our close friends. It was 30 years to the day that I first met them (my husband met the husband through work) and we spent Thanksgiving weekend sailing with them in Santa Barbara.

Here’s to friends and family and creating memories together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Waffles the Ute Pug says Happy Thanksgiving!
My daughter’s team sent out a Thanksgiving message with her pup. The sports marketing team adored him.

Who are you sharing your Thanksgiving with? What traditions do you share with friends and family?

Feeling out of sorts

A view from our beach vacation.

The last few days of our beach vacation, ringing began in my right ear. Then vertigo. I’m a mess. Some days it’s worse than others. Some days it goes away completely. Other days, it’s hard to function.

After two weeks I went to an ENT. I’m worried because a friend’s daughter had a side effect to the COVID vaccine of tinnitus. It’s really bad and they don’t know if it will ever go away. I googled it and it is a rare side effect to the shot, although they aren’t entirely sure that it’s related or due to something else.

In any case, the ENT PA told me my ears are fine, but my right sinus is not — and that might be causing the problems of vertigo and ringing in the ear.

They put me on prednisone. This is my first time taking it and to be honest — it’s not great. My poor son, who suffers from severe asthma has been on it every few years. I remember the first time his allergy doctor prescribed it — I didn’t fill the Rx. When I returned with my son, who was still sick, I got scolded from the doctor who said, “Doctor Mom, WHERE did you receive your medical degree?”


I had heard so many horror stories about kids and prednisone but the doctor assured me he wasn’t prescribing anything that would put my child in danger. Right. Ten years after my son was put on an inhaler for his asthma, they discovered it stunted growth. He was on it from fourth grade until a year ago. But on the bright side, he is alive

I’m alive too although feeling out of sorts. The ringing in the ear isn’t bad today and I don’t have vertigo. In a month I’ll go back to the ENT and hopefully I’ll be AOK. If not, the next step is an MRI and perhaps sinus surgery.

Have you ever not taken an Rx that a doctor prescribed for you? Have you second guessed your children’s doctor? Have you had tinnitus or vertigo and how did you get over it?

Sights and sounds from beach walks

I’m feeling very distressed with the news of 12 of our courageous military killed this morning. I am worried about 24 children from San Diego who haven’t been able to get to the airport in Kabul. I wasn’t in the mood to post, but as I’m waiting to hear from the President, I’m looking through the photos and videos on my iphone.

I’m sharing some of the joyful sights I’ve seen the past week. Horses on the beach with a cattle dog herding them with tireless energy. Pelicans flying and floating on waves. A sunset at Carpinteria State Beach. Shore birds hunting for sand crabs in the waves.

Watch the dog herding the horses.
Curlew at the beach
Curlew.
White egret on the shore
Egret.
Pelicans flying and riding the waves.
sunset at Carpinteria State Beach.
Sunset at Carpinteria State Beach.
Horses and cattle dog in the ocean.
The horses and cattle dog.
Sandpipers.

California Day Trip to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach sign at the entrance to the pier.
The Pismo Beach sign at the pier.

Yesterday we drove up the coast to Pismo Beach. My husband, who is third generation Californian has never been there. I’ve never been there, either. It’s only an hour and a half drive north from Santa Barbara and we’ve always talked about exploring it. The drive is easy on the 101 along the Pacific Ocean to Gaviota. Then the highway goes inland through horse country and vineyards.

The boardwalk downtown Pismo Beach.
The boardwalk to the pier downtown Pismo Beach.

There’s a huge state park, lots of RVs and campers. Cars can drive on the sand along the ocean. We walked around downtown and walked out on the pier. We found a restaurant called Splash Cafe that had lines of more than 20 people at all times. It looked great for chowder and fish and chips and had plenty of outdoor seating. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry at the time we spotted it. By the time we were ready for lunch, we were in another town and stopped at a place recommended by friends. It was one of only two times we’ve paid the bill and walked out after taking a few bites.

Although I love the beach and the spectacular views from the pier, I felt so so about Pismo Beach. I think it was the strong wind from the ocean. Also, there’s a hodgepodge of industrial, farming and residential all mixed together. There were some cute beachy residential areas, but all in all, I like Carpinteria, Summerland and Santa Barbara more. Also Ventura and Laguna Beach.

Not LA, Not the Bay sign on surf shop.
Funny sign on a surf shop in Pismo Beach.
Pismo sign on a building downtown.
Downtown Pismo.
View of the ocean and beach from Pismo Beach pier.
Beach view from the pier.
The pier in Pismo Beach
The pier in Pismo Beach.

I’m glad we made the trip. It’s fun to explore new areas and see new sights.

Where is a new place you’ve recently visited?

Did you love it or did you want to leave it?

Evacuation and vaccinations in the news

Summerland beach park. Palm and ocean views.
Photo from the park above the beach in Summerland.

While on vacation, I couldn’t help but hear the words evacuation and vaccinations repeatedly. I thought to myself, evacuation, vacation, vaccination. What do they all have in common? They contain “VAC.” I decided to see if there’s a connection of meaning behind the three words.

From Miriam Webster online:

Definition of evacuation

1: the act or process of evacuating 2: something evacuated or discharged

Definition of vaccine

1: a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious agent or disease: such as a: an antigenic preparation of a typically inactivated or attenuated (see ATTENUATED sense 2) pathogenic agent (such as a bacterium or virus) or one of its components or products (such as a protein or toxin)a trivalent influenza vaccineoral polio vaccineMany vaccines are made from the virus itself, either weakened or killed, which will induce antibodies to bind and kill a live virus. Measles vaccines are just that, weakened (or attenuated) measles viruses.— Ann Finkbeiner et al.… a tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine might be recommended for wound management in a pregnant woman if [greater than or equal to] 5 years have elapsed … .— Mark Sawyer et al.In addition the subunit used in a vaccine must be carefully chosen, because not all components of a pathogen represent beneficial immunological targets.— Thomas J. Matthews and Dani P. Bolognesi b: a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein)… Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine … works by injecting a small piece of mRNA from the coronavirus that codes for the virus’ spike protein. … mRNA vaccine spurs the body to produce the spike protein internally. That, in turn, triggers an immune response.— Susie Neilson et al.The revolutionary messenger RNA vaccines that are now available have been over a decade in development. … Messenger RNA enters the cell cytoplasm and produces protein from the spike of the Covid-19 virus.— Thomas F. CozzaViral vector vaccines, another recent type of vaccine, are similar to DNA and RNA vaccines, but the virus’s genetic information is housed in an attenuated virus (unrelated to the disease-causing virus) that helps to promote host cell fusion and entry.— Priya Kaur

NOTE: Vaccines may contain adjuvants (such as aluminum hydroxide) designed to enhance the strength and duration of the body’s immune response. 2: a preparation or immunotherapy that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against noninfectious substances, agents, or diseasesThe U.S. Army is also testing a ricin vaccine and has reported success in mice.— Sue Goetinck Ambrose… many of the most promising new cancer vaccines use dendritic cells to train the immune system to recognize tumor cells.— Patrick Barry

Definition of vacation

 1: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. I had a restful vacation at the beach 2a: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee 3: a respite or a time of respite from something INTERMISSION 4: an act or an instance of vacating

vac
This ROOT-WORD is VAC which comes from the Latin vocare which means TO EMPTY. There seems to be a difference between our ideas of VACancy and the continental idea of the same word. To us VACant means EMPTY, exactly as the Latin Root says. To the French and British it means freedom from the job, time off from the job.

After doing more searches online, I’ve discovered that vaccine comes from the Latin vacca, the root word for cow — not vac for empty. Here’s a tidbit of information I found interesting:

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner infected a young boy with cowpox. Later, when he injected the child with the deadly smallpox virus, he did not get sick. And thus, the first vaccine was born, saving millions of lives and immortalizing cows in public health. (The word vaccine is derived from the Latin word vacca for “cow.”) Or so the legend goes. But the story is probably wrong, according to a report published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. That’s because the vaccine used to prevent smallpox was likely horsepox, not cowpox, researchers say. The latest bit of evidence comes from the historic containers above, which held a smallpox vaccine

Why the word ‘vaccine’ is probably all wrong

In conclusion, the only thing vaccinations and evacuations have in common is the wall to wall coverage in the news. Vacation and evacuation do share the same root word and are all about vacating.

Do you have any thoughts on vaccinations, evacuations or vacation? Two out of three are hot topics. If you want to share your opinions, I’m open to hearing them.

It’s all about the sea

Cloudy day at the beach with sun peeking through
Evening at the beach during a cloudy day, looking north. University of California Santa Barbara is at the furthest point of land in the distance.

Our vacation is centered around the ocean. Every morning we start the day with a long beach walk. Then after the strong rays of sunshine and crowds leave the beach, we head back to sit, read and walk some more.

Yesterday was cloudy and I wasn’t sure about going to the beach in the evening. I thought it would be too cold. But it was quiet and peaceful, except for the roar of the ocean. I sat watching perfect wave after wave curl into a barrel. Only two other families were at the mile long beach. I felt so thankful to be here on vacation.

beautiful blue sea and sky that matches
Walking south during the cloudy day. I loved how the blues of the water and sky matched.

One thing that surprises me is that our friends who live here don’t take advantage of the beach. One friend said she’d like to join me for a beach walk this weekend. That she hasn’t walked on the beach since last time we were here! I think that was last August. To give her credit, they do own a sailboat and sail one day per week.

I know if I lived here I’d make it to the beach every single day. At least for my morning walk. I wouldn’t take it for granted having lived for 35 years in the desert.

Where you live do you take your environment for granted? Or do you try to enjoy it to the fullest?

5 takeaways from vacation

The beach at Padaro Lane, California
Afternoon beach walk.

As my days of vacation dwindle, I find myself focused on what makes me happy. I have a finite number of days — and I want to make sure I don’t waste them. I’ve decided I need to takeaway the optimism I’m feeling on vacation and stir it into my daily life.

I’ve listed what makes me smile on vacation:

ONE

I’ve discovered I need beach time every day. A walk on the beach in the morning. An hour or two in my beach chair reading in the late afternoon. I’m not sure how to incorporate beach time in Arizona, but maybe more visits to the lake? Or, maybe it’s time outside in nature.

TWO

I’ve found satisfaction from writing and working. During the last year of shutdowns, I lost motivation. Freed on vacation, I did an interview and had a story published and it gave me a charge that I haven’t felt for awhile. (Most likely I haven’t felt it because I haven’t been writing and submitting my work.) Clear answer to this. Write more often and submit my work.

THREE

Another thing that I enjoy is playing like a kid. On our morning walk, my husband I discovered the park below our house had two permanent ping pong tables. I love ping pong. My husband loves ping pong. We had a ping pong table in our garage at our old home that got covered with dust with years of neglect. We didn’t move it to Arizona. I foresee a ping pong table on the patio.

Summerland beach park ping pong tables
Concrete ping pong tables at the park above the beach.

FOUR

Reading is a big part of my vacation days. I read on the beach, I read in the middle of the day. I read at night. At home, I can definitely find more time to read.

FIVE

Drawing. As a kid, I spent hours drawing. I drew trees, houses, people, flowers. I loved to sketch. I was very judgmental of my work and felt I wasn’t any good at it. Especially when I compared myself to the two kids in my class who were “artists.” The teachers and kids would ooh and aah over their works. I took drawing and art classes in college as electives because it’s what I liked to do. On vacation, I brought a sketch pad and when I couldn’t find pencils or charcoal, I ordered a small set on Amazon. I like to sketch my surroundings here. I can take an art class, watch youtubes or keep on sketching at home.

Horses on Summerland beach
Horses share our morning walks on the beach.

What pleasures do enjoy on vacation that you can incorporate to your daily life?