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?

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?

“Do good. Be good. We’ll be doing good.”

Every August we’re at the beach. I can look back through my facebook or instagram posts and see photos from the same location this week for the past six or seven years. Before that, we were at Laguna Beach — an entirely different beach, but still… While I’m finally relaxing into “beach mode” here’s a look back at what I wrote in August 2015:

My son learning to dive with the swim team.
My son learning to dive with the swim team. He’s third from the right.

“Do Good. Be Good. We’ll Be Doing Good.”

This was the recorded message our son made for our answering machine when he was four years old. I saved that for years. It was on our landline, which is now non-existent, or I’d probably still be using it.

What a thoughtful thing for our young son to say. My husband and I adopted that saying as our family motto. We repeated those word often to each other and to our children.

A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.
A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.

I try to do good. Be good. Some days it’s a bigger struggle than others. But, it’s something to think about, too. What are we doing with our lives? Are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we are in it? Are we being good to each other? To strangers? To family and friends?

A lot has to do with our outlook. I’m definitely one of the “glass half full” types. I try to look at the positive and stay away from those who are negative. Turning on the TV can put you into negativity land. I truly believe that we can stay positive by removing negative influences around us. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Read interesting books and essays. Swim! Like Ray Bradbury said, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message.
My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message. Vacation pic from years ago.

After spending a week in paradise—otherwise known as Carpinteria, CA—I look back on our vacation as perfect. We have great friends who live there who inspire me. I always come home with so much energy from being around positive, hard working entrepreneurs.

Also, my children spent a bit of the week with us. What a treat that was for me! With two college aged kids, having them together was priceless. We rode bikes, hiked, swam in the ocean, sailed, shared meals together. It’s hard to leave them, but I’m so thankful for the time we had together. That’s my glass half full talking as I sit in my lonely, quiet house once again.

Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.
Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.

I’m proud to say my kids look truly happy. They are definitely doing and being good.

My kids and friend.
My kids and son’s girlfriend.

What good things are you doing today? Is your glass half full or half empty? Can you give an example of your outlook and how it affects your day?

Here’s a link to a swim parenting article I wrote. It’s about Teagan O’Dell, an up and coming swimmer, who broke a second National record of Missy Franklin’s. It’s from her mom’s perspective: Marni O’Dell on Raising Teagan.

A vacation to recover from vacation?

Carpinteria State Beach, known as the world’s safest beach.

I am guilty of over planning vacations. I did this when I was first married and my husband and I would leave Palm Springs to return to my home state of Washington. I’d bring my Daytimer with me and schedule visits with friends and relatives — sometimes on the half hour.

Honestly, I’m not that bad anymore. But this year, after moving from our former home of 28 years in December 2020, we decided to stop for two days in Palm Springs. It’s on the way to the coast after all. We stayed with my dad, took him out to dinner and spent the next morning with him. My husband had meetings with his boss and met with others (they’re still working remotely). These were the first in-person encounters since March 2020. I visited with one of my former swim parents who remains a close friend. I got my hair done by my hairdresser who needs to move to Arizona. That’s a lot to pack into the “start to our vacation.”

Once at the coast, our VRBO was still 24 hours away. We stopped in with other dear friends that we haven’t seen in a year. We had dinner with them, spent the night and hung out until check-in time.

FINALLY — we made it into our VRBO and said “Whew! It’s time for vacation.” My husband set up his remote station and immediately the phone began to ring. It’s his “week off” which turned into days of driving, meetings and no down time. The rest of the time he’ll be working remotely.

I had scheduled an interview. It’s for a story I’m writing about a swim mom of a 14-year-old who is breaking Missy Franklin’s records. I figured if my husband is working, I can squeeze a little work in, too.

Then I got an invitation to a luncheon tomorrow. My friend said I have to go because it’s in a historical landmark and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told her I can’t go because although I packed a few sundresses, I only brought a pair of flip flops and running shoes. She told me either one is fine. I begged to differ for a fancy ladies’ luncheon. She told me to check out the two boutiques in Summerland, which are two blocks from our VRBO.

I told her they wouldn’t have my size. I have very big feet for a 5’4″ frame. Guess what? I found two pairs of sandals that fit. They are a bit dressier than my beach flip flops, but probably not dressy enough. I’ll be gone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. We have dinner scheduled with friends tonight and over the weekend.

When is it truly vacation? What is vacation? I’m ready for the beach and a good book. I’ve brought a stack of them. If I keep up at this rate, I’ll need a vacation from my vacation. Maybe after a year of mostly solitude, being with friends and family is the vacation?

How do you vacation? Do you over schedule? Or are you able to check out and relax?

Driftwood condos at the beach

beach shelter made from driftwood
One of the structures I see during my beach walks.

Somebody is definitely having fun at the beach located down the street from our vacation VRBO. I’ve seen these structures made from driftwood for years, but this year they are more elaborate than ever. The largest oceanfront “condo” has many carved signs and figurines that weren’t there last summer.

figure made from seaweed and driftwood
One of the residents guarding the entrance to his beachfront condo.

This is the most elaborate of the beach condos complete with flags and signs.

Yesterday, my husband and I walked on Carpinteria State Beach for a morning walk. We noticed a for sale sign and open house at a condo complex on the sand. We went in and the place was gorgeous, but it faced the street. It had a peek-a-boo ocean view from the master bedroom. The price tag was $4 million with an HOA of $1,000 per month for the concrete sidewalks and steps.

View from the $4 million condo.
View from the driftwood condos.

I think I’ll take the views from the artistic, fun driftwood condos instead. How about you? Of course, there are lots more creature comfort amenities in the civilized condo. But still…

Skimming and soaring on the waves

What do you call it when birds fly down low and seem to draft off the ocean waves like these pelicans? Skimming and soaring.

Soaring and skimming pelicans I spotted on my morning walk.

Here’s what I found out from a search online. Stanford University had this post:

Skimming: Why Birds Fly Low Over Water

A flock of sea ducks, pelicans, or sandpipers skimming low over the water’s surface is a common seashore sight. Far from shore, shearwaters often closely follow the contours of the waves, and gaggles of auklets fly rapidly just above the water. Skimming permits the birds to take advantage of an aerodynamic phenomenon known as “ground effect.” The patterns of airflow around a wing that is operating close to a surface are modified by that surface in a manner that reduces drag, the resistance of the air to the progress of the wing. Sometimes overloaded airplanes are sometimes incapable of climbing out of the ground effect even though they can maintain flight close to the ground.

Thus, everything else being equal, it is more efficient to fly close to a surface than far from it. But things are rarely equal, which is why birds most often tend to take advantage of the ground effect when the “ground” is water. The ground effect only occurs when the flying object is much less than a wingspan from the surface — and at such an altitude over land a bird would be continually flying among obstacles, through grass, and so on. Only water is sufficiently uncluttered to permit such close safe passage.

Skimming: Why Birds Fly Low Over Water

Time for a road trip!

Last summer we went on two roads trips. One to Park City, Utah and the other to a tiny town on the California coast called Summerland. We skipped Utah this summer with our big move and all, but we’re heading out to Summerland. First we’ll stop and visit my 89-year-old dad in Palm Desert. Then head to a Vrbo near the beach.

VRBO beach rental near Santa Barbara
This is the cute house we’ll be staying in. The first year we stayed here I had just had knee surgery. I wasn’t prepared for all the stairs or the steep hills.

We’ve stayed in this house for a couple summer vacations. I’m not worried about COVID because it’s just the two of us. I wish our kids could join us as they have in the past, but with my son’s surgery, he’s not allowed to travel. And my daughter is working.

brother and sister photo at the beach.
I’ll be missing these two.

We’ve spent summer vacations since my son was born on the California coast. That’s because the weather is so inviting. Palm Springs and Scottsdale are both hot! I can’t wait for an ocean breeze. The beach vacation is my favorite part of the year. I think a change of scenery and weather will be motivating.

ocean views from living room windows
Ocean views and breeze in the living room

Where is your favorite place to vacation? Are you a mountain or a beach person?