Where do I start? It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  We have had the annual influx of summer visitors, and Deanna and Annabelle in particular.  Deanna brought a bevy of colleagues with her, so we had to get creative with all the regular beds, the two sofabeds in the Christmas room and Aerobeds in the solarium and my office.  I was lucky if I had a minute to work on my laptop, much less get into the main computers. But we had such a blast.

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First off, of course, we were running to the airport every couple of days.  People arriving then leaving, then Deanna and her group rushing off to their conference.  But we girls had multiple days to hit all the prime shopping areas, including, of course Pasadena, the Americana, our mall here in Valencia and a trip to the biggie, South Coast Plaza.  Lots of driving, lots of take-out, and a ton of buying.

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I have a fancy five day wedding to attend in Carpinteria next month and decided to get all new outfits, all on a color theme, matching each other, jewelry (of course) and new shoes for each. Deanna and I are deadly together as she is just as much a clothes horse as I am. She had to buy an extra suitcase to haul everything back home.

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We also made sure we took several trips to the beach in nearby Ventura, only 40 minutes away.  I will be posting about Ventura soon as it is one of my favorite places now especially since it is loaded with tribal eateries that appeal to a veteran foodie like me. Each time we went, we came home with bags of Indian or Sicilian or Ethiopian feasts. Luckily there was so much activity, I felt I could afford to pig out a little.

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Geoffrey surprised me with a brand new computer with all the latest bells and whistles for the office — just for photography and graphics — for my birthday this week and we had a big party. I love Windows 10 and am now totally addicted to Office 2013.  I have my latest Lightroom and PhotoShop on it already as well as all my Topaz programs. We got a new router and a new modem.  I should really complain about the modem because it was not by choice.

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One day, in the middle of an email to a client, a window popped up informing me that Time Warner had simply hijacked my process, cut off my internet access, and demanded a phone call or visit. Why? Because my modem was allegedly out of date. What the …? Can you imagine? But Geoffrey called them and saved the day,  rushing over and picking up the new one after work. Meanwhile they reconnected me on my old one so I could finish my work day.  I will not tell you what I wanted to say to them, but refrained since they control the levers, clearly! It was just luck that they did upgrade us, because the new computer wouldn’t have worked as fast with the old setup.

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There was so much pandemonium here that I have only begun to discover all its sexy new features. I love Cortana, Siri’s cousin, my very own synth!  She and I chat vocally, and she has learned my voice already, acting as my personal assistant, talking to me in mellifluous, Ooma-like tones.  What a hoot.

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As for Anna. Well, she was really feeling her oats this time.  We got her some new games and books, a few new dresses and mostly played with her in our pool.  It was ungodly hot the whole time, so the pool and the beach featured more heavily than the park this year.  There was a lot of ice cream consumption and I found out that one of the best new flavors at Ben and Jerry’s is Blondie Ambition — I don’t want to admit how much I had.  Anna’s choice this year was Strawberry Cheesecake.  She has patrician tastes like the rest of us too, so we hit Cheesecake Factory and Anthropologie multiple times.  There are a slew of new restaurants around, so the ones we didn’t cover we are saving for Christmas.

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We enjoyed the fact that, while the sun was glaring down full force in Valencia, LAX, each time we went, was socked in with its signature fog.  So was Ventura.  Nothing is more relaxing than sitting in beach chairs on the sand, watching the ships in the distance, bathing in the cool breezes that washed over us from the Pacific, glasses of Passion Fruit ice tea in hand.  We collected shells, seaweed and examined a few little sand creatures.  Anna had the time of her life, trying to slowly approach the gulls that land at the water’s edge looking for tidbits.


Geoffrey, God bless him, has had his surfeit of estrogen and is now recovering nicely — one more week and he would have been living at his office downtown.  He ran around and did everything for us, acting as chauffeur, swim coach, bellhop, chef, and travel agent.  I have to figure out something special for him as a reward.


Now I face a month working on a huge new project on personality disorders.  It will be intense but extremely interesting.  Meanwhile, I have a ton of photographs to develop, edit and share so there will be midnight oil burning here.047

More to come! Stay tuned for my continuing series on the Central California coast and two more towns I love.

(Stay cool — over 100F here right now. TG we fixed our AC in time for this heat wave. And, we are counting the days until the monster El Niño arrives as promised this year.  I think I may put on a bathing suit and just lie outside in it.)

 Images: BB/LAX, Ventura, Glendale, Valencia and more


26 Comments on “Ghirlwind!”

  1. Beautiful post, Beth. Your young visitor is quite a great model. I’m proud of Geoffrey for repping so well for we men in the sea of you lovely ladies. Treat him well, yes. Well-wishes from back in Syracuse, where we’re expecting 90s today and some showers this weekend. I hope El Nino brings you the rain you so badly need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mark. When I think of Syracuse, I envision those gorgeous, emerald Green Lakes, the Scotch and Sirloin, snow up to my hips, and Victorian beauty. I miss Upstate so much!

      Thank you as well for the compliments. One more week and I think even my patient husband would have run for the hills. 😀

      If we get the rains we were promised, I will be posting all about it here, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

      As for Anna, the older she gets, the younger I become.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to read you had a great time with your guests! Awesome birthday gift, I love your excitement for new technology. I’m still learning to embrace new or should I say, updated technology. Looking forward to your continued California series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, JM! It is fun to get a new computer but it does take time to learn everything and get comfortable with it. Nowadays, computers seems to have to be replaced more often or they are just too slow.

      More coming indeed. Poor California is suffering from drought and fires right now but it still is a beautiful state.

      I appreciate your kind words, always, JM. 🙂


  3. I am late to your birthday party, dear Beth!
    Annabelle’s a doll, so photogenic but you are quite adept, I am sure, at capturing her every mood, too.
    I love warm breezes, sand between my toes, the fog, blue skies and real ocean flowing and waving at you, all fun images. I liked a coffee ice cream this weekend with a butterscotch ripple running through it. I bet I need to find “Blonde Ambition, mmmm!! Sounds yummy, Beth.
    Geoffrey is “The Man!” So excited about your new computer and would love to hear your Sri but my granddaughter, Lara, has hers Call Her DIFFERENT

    Liked by 1 person

    • Different names every day including “Rikki Tikki Tavi….” Then “Your Majesty Lara.”
      This is on her expensive phone not laptop nor computer. She is 11 and my son’s stepdaughter whose Daddy got her this phone. I act in different but know there are others who feel she is too young. Hope it doesn’t get stolen.
      Anyway, your husband sounds like he was the best guy ever.
      °•○●☆●○•°Hope it was a Super Birthday, Beth!
      But remember it was your birthday ♡ and do don’t feel too guilty! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anna already has her own iPad, a Kindle Fire HDX and a Platinum LeapPad. We worried the whole time that they would get lost or thrashed on our watch. In fact, we always worry that we will do something wrong while she is with us but this visit went well — not easily, given her age and being used to having her way — but successfully so we were all in tears parting at the airport.

        For some reason, Robin, I am not feeling guilty about being showered with things this birthday. The older I get, the more I like it, LOL!



    • You and I both like butterscotch and coffee together. Wasn’t there a Good Humor cup with that combo? Whenever I can, I get that, or pour butterscotch syrup on coffee ice cream. Another thing we have in common.

      Thank you for the compliments, Robin.

      Anna is truly a princess, and high maintenance. She has gotten to the point that she notices every single thing we do and say and cannot be fooled for a second. We can’t even spell things because she becomes incensed at being left out. If I contradict myself, she catches it immediately, saying, “Aunt Beth, I THOUGHT you said ….”. We were on our toes the whole time, LOL!


  4. Very cool post, love your talking about places like that in California. Shopping…well, I can do without that! I’m not a shopper at all. Actually dislike it! But I know most people LOVE it, and it even makes them feel good. Opposite for me. Also, I do not like visitors in my space! I guess I’m weird. Great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know any guy who likes shopping. Not a single one. Geoffrey hates it but it was my birthday season, so he was being unusually tolerant and indulgent. He even surprised me with a new camera. Best birthday ever!

      Visitors make me a nervous wreck. I find we end up spending a fortune, running ourselves to a frazzle, getting no sleep — all to make them comfortable. But it is good to have them because we always clean and reorganize in advance. Otherwise, we might not do it for years, LOL!

      Thank you BF! Hey, glad you are out of that region, ala the bombing this morning. You are so brave. Still, it looked like a dream vacation.



        • I have almost stopped giving big parties for good. We used to do it regularly and the house would be ruined. Nope, no more of that for me unless it is just family.

          As for the bombing, Indonesia. I know it wasn’t exactly where you are but it might have been! I used to love to go to the ME and wanted to go to Malaysia but I am too chicken to do it now. Sigh.


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