Thursday, December 31, 2009
Dateline: Emerald Hills, 12/31/09
I haven't been posting much recently, at least in part because I haven't been doing much travel. Since returning from the Yellowstone/Teton trip in early September, I've made only two short in-state trips. But on this last day of 2009 (and according to most, last day of the 00's decade), I thought I should post a bit about what I've been up to for the last few months.
In early October I attended the Bead Unique Retreat in Lake Tahoe with 3 friends from my beading group. We had a great time. We enjoyed classes with 3 wonderful teachers, shared a suite and beaded together while watching season 2 of the Closer on DVD, and ate a lot of good food. It was nice to see some snow on our last day, but even nicer that most of it was gone in time for us to drive home.
Jim and I decided to spend Thanksgiving weekend in Mendocino, a picturesque small town on the north coast (often said to resemble a New England village, something I don't really agree with). Since we moved to California, Thanksgiving has presented us with a dilemma. We don't like to travel for the holiday, especially not all the way to the east coast, where most of our family is. When we lived in the Boston area we had a great group of friends, mostly single and without children, who also lived far from their families. We would invite them to our house for what we called the "orphans' Thanksgiving", and have a wonderful time. Here in California, we haven't developed that type of friendship circle, and most of the friends we have are busy with their own families for the holiday. At a time in our lives when, if we had children, they and our grandchildren might be coming to see us, we are left with the choice of either making a turkey just for us, or going somewhere and having Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant. This year we chose the latter.
We've been to Mendocino several times before, and while the area is beautiful, I don't love it as much as other coastal areas such as Cambria or Pacific Grove. Like Cambria, it's very isolated. You get there via either a gorgeous, slow and winding trip up the coastal Route 1, or a slightly faster and also pretty trip through the woods on Route 128 (not to be confused with the Boston beltway). The town of Mendocino has never been lively; we spent new year's eve there once and didn't find anyone on the streets after 9 p.m. This time the town seemed especially small and unexciting to me. I think I was a bit depressed about the Thanksgiving-in-a-restaurant decision, although our dinner at the Albion River Inn was very good. We took some nice walks, visited Fort Bragg (a nearby, slightly larger town that has some funky stores), and spent some quiet time reading and beading in front of the fire in our apartment at Cypress Cove, a mile south of Mendocino, with a beautiful view of the town.
None of this should be read as regret of the childless life that we chose, or of our move to California. Most of the time, I love my life, and I feel very fortunate that it's turned out the way it has. 2009 was our first full year with both of us retired, and that's been a success. We've developed an enjoyable routine for times when we're at home, and managed to do some type of exercise almost every day (usually just walking in the hills near our house). For the first time in our lives, we set a budget for ourselves, and managed to keep to it through the year without feeling deprived. (Believe it or not, in the last few days of the year I've been struggling to spend what's left over in my crafts budget, ordering some beads and some yarn but still ending the year with a surplus.)
On December 24, 2008 I posted that at the end of my first year as a blogger, the unique visitor count had just passed 1000. Today it is at 3362, which means an average of 6-7 visitors per day for the year. Maui-related searches are still the most common way that people find this blog, and it's near the top of the Google results for searches such as "maui yarn", "maui beads", and "maui knitting". Searches related to New York's bead district have also been popular this year, and also Pat Riley, the Cambria handpainted clothing artist, who recently announced her retirement. There are also lots of visitors from Google Images.
As we prepare to start the next decade, I wish the readers of this blog a very happy new year, and a wonderful 2010.