Black Clouds

Interesting how things can turn from purple rain to black clouds so quickly. That CBD was selling so nippily and the BCS was finally making some money. Then a postcard arrived. At first it sounded as though the postcard was sent and directed to us. Then we learned that every shop who is licensed by the health department in the county received the same postcard. The card stated that CBD added to food or drinks is illegal to sell at this time. Ugh! Fortunately, things are moving swiftly through the proper channels and they think a bill to make it legal will pass before summer. For now we’re back to selling the very benign coffee, espresso, latte, etc. Hopefully that will all change eventually, as we had a bit of a corner on the Morro Bay market for a moment there. The city has been dinging us for our signage because they don’t want the place to “resemble Las Vegas” and all. We say it won’t remind us at all of Las Vegas until we put a chunky raisin-skinned ex-stripper out on the walk in a wheelchair with electrical tape on her pasty parts.

That black cloud followed us home, despite the sunny days. It turns out that there’s some sort of trifecta employed here. Or maybe it’s a kind of bad karma. Ivy’s father and friend Kari came to visit a week or two ago. Everyone had big plans. Though Ivy’s father is in his early seventies, he was still eager to explore any and all of the volcanic plug mountains from Morro to SLO as he could. Kari wanted to spend as much beach time in the area as she could. Ivy had her list of cool places to take them and show them too. Then they arrived and it was not as any of us had expected. The normally high-strung, eager-to-explore daddio was barely communicable and quite the Donny Downer. Kari explained that he was recovering from the flu, despite having a flu shot, and in the process she believed his thyroid became messed up. We looked up thyroid issues and many signs convinced us of the same. Ivy’s father was also quite aggravated, so when we’d suggest he go to a Redi-Care type of facility, he’d get upset and spew quite the potty mouth. No one was sure how far to push it, but for the time being, he just wanted to rest, so he went to one of the rooms in our Common House that can be checked out and slept. The next day was similar, with him being unmotivated to do much. Anyone who has ever known Ivy’s dad would say that Pete is not the ‘sit and rest’ kind of guy. Still not knowing how far to push the doctor visit, we tried calling on Moonstone Beach and were even willing to go on and do more, but after a short stay at the beach, he just wanted to go home. We all knew Larry’s surgery was coming up, so Kari told us they would leave that morning. Pete had agreed to see his doctor back in Tucson, so off they drove as we drove off to the surgery office to have Larry’s second hernia repaired. Of the trifecta, this was the highlight because it was easy, he had been through it before so knew what to expect, and it was a really quick in, then out.

The third event for males related to Ivy was the scariest of all. It was Calvin’s turn. He was complaining of gas pains one evening, so we waited for them to subside. With the help of some over-the-counter medication, he said he felt better. The next morning, he complained of some pain near his groin area. We looked for swelling and asked him to let us know how he felt later. Larry’s planned surgery was on Monday, and we headed for Calvin’s very-unplanned-super-surprising-never-want-to-scare-a-mother-ever-again surgery on Wednesday. They thought he might have to stay overnight, but thankfully he was released so Ivy could care for two invalids in the same space and time. But of all the things a teacher may find part of her job over the years, Ivy learned early on that nursing is not her strong suit. Stitches + goop + groins = gnarly!

In the midst of this trifecta, Larry was offered and took a job at San Luis Powerhouse. He had been working at Paso Robles Chevrolet as a Service Writer, but the job was not a best fit (he’s a fixer, not a salesperson). Upon confirmation of his hernia surgery, he told the dealership he was moving on. When he’s healed, he’ll drive from Paso to SLO each day (about a 35-minute drive, but gas is really expensive out here, so moving closer to there and the BCS makes sense, plus SLO and Morro do not have such giant swings in temperatures as Paso, which Ivy would love).

So we’ve been looking to move to San Luis Obispo or Morro Bay. It’s been more of a challenge than anyone can imagine…seriously! There is a major housing shortage in these parts. The best places are AirBNBs. We eluded to this last year when settling in Paso, but we guess we didn’t realize it was all of this area and not just Paso Robles. In fact, Paso isn’t as highly acclaimed as Morro or SLO, despite the vineyard appeal. It is not uncommon for there to be multiple offers and applicants for homes for rent and we have found nothing under $2200 per month. And as you may have guessed by now, those $2200 places are tiny, less than 3 bedrooms, or just downright revolting. The first place we looked at was $3000 and a really short walk to the beach. Inside the microscopic place was the obvious stench of mold and/or mildew, so that was an easy no…despite the short walk to the beach. We feel like we’re in a marathon competition with other renters. We see them at the places we like and we know we need to move fast before they snatch it up. And, the places we like are rare at $2200, if not impossible to find. This is about the time we need a decrepit, rich uncle with no kids of his own. He doesn’t need to leave us money; just a fully-paid-for beach house around here. That’ll do.

In the meantime, we are excited to have Ivy’s mom and Vic arrive. They’re bringing Larry’s giant toolbox (thank you!) from where it has been stored in Michigan at Greg’s extra garage (thank you!). Then Larry will be able to do the work he loves…figuring out those puzzles of the computer-electric kind…using the tools he loves…he will probably kiss them a whole bunch and maybe even spend the night with them when they first arrive.

For now, we continue to enjoy our lovely setup in this community. We live amidst some amazing people who strive to create a welcoming world for all who live here. We really wish we could transport these 15 acres, inclusive of everything/everyone, to wherever we end up next. Ivy was talking divorce for a while there. No, not divorce from Larry, you silly! Divorce from all we’ve come to love and realizing she can’t have the best of both worlds (beach + awesome community living all in walking distance). It will be kind of like a divorce, as we make a decision to lose our tight-knit makeshift, progressive, extended family or our proximity to the beach and work. But after several weeks of looking, it seems as though the decision will be made for us. Stay in the intensely dry heat amidst grapevines and a swimming pool instead of moving to the coast with the most…until that rich uncle surfaces.

Morro Bay seems to have a lot of fun activities. Last weekend was the Kite Festival. Ironically, the windy beach wasn’t very windy last weekend, so not many kites were a-flyin’. This weekend was the Car Show and this place was just blowing up with classic cars. Larry was drooling all over. It was a little obnoxious. The whole refurbishing of autos out here must be so much easier than in Michigan. There’s no rust, no worn out chassis, nothing that can’t be easily restored. What will next weekend bring? Oh yeah, a play that some of Ivy’s former students are in…Annie Jr. The next big star, Tom Cruise or Jennifer Aniston, coming from lil’ ol’ Annie Jr., we’re certain.

So, from sunny Paso Robles for at least another year, we wish you adieu for now.

Purple Rain

One Saturday when Larry was transitioning out of main barista/cashier/shop owner extraordinaire and Ivy was transitioning in, we realized we had very little skim (fat-free) milk left. Since we were already at the shop, we texted our ice cream extraordinaire friends across the way (who come in much later than us because…who wants ice cream in the morning?!) to ask if they could pick some up on their way into their shop. John had already left their home, so Susie said she would pick up skim milk for us before heading in. Apparently the word “skim” is a foreign term to the West. At first, Susie had deemed it an “old person” term, but now we’re convinced it is a Midwest term, but please correct us if you think otherwise! Susie went into the grocery store and – unbeknownst to us – had no idea what skim milk was! She looked and looked, but could not find any. She asked the workers and they weren’t sure either. They googled it and eventually discovered that it was another term for “fat-free milk”…and in the process, they asked her, “Are you buying this for some older people?” She reported that they all thought that was an old people term for fat free milk. We all thought it was settled then, laughing that we’re considered old. Then, a day or two later, Ivy was chatting with some customers who were originally from Dearborn. The woman asked Ivy to make her drink with skim milk. Ivy laughed out loud because this couple looked to be in their 20s, so by no means were they old! And that’s how we came to the conclusion that “skim milk” is an Eastern-Midwestern term and “fat free milk” is for the Western folks. What do you think? Share more information with us on this topic if you have it, please!

Morro Bay’s kite festival is coming up. Somehow we missed it last year, but not this year, dangit! Maybe we’ll just leave the coffee shop open and people can help themselves…haha! April Fools (that’s what we’d be if we left it open)!

Ya know those reflector thingys on the road? We didn’t see them a lot in Michigan, nor did we see many as we traversed across the country. So once again, maybe it’s more of a California thing. They are on every road in every town, for the most part. We guess they serve two purposes…one to reflect (both the sun and headlights at night) and the other to create a bump sound if you drive over them. We’ve decided that’s why things are so expensive out here. They must have invested thousands of dollars in these little buggers.

We may have mentioned this before, but we cannot understand how a town of 30,000 people – and nearby SLO (San Luis Obispo) with its whopping almost 50,000 people – including Atascadero, which is in between Paso and SLO with its equally populated 30,000 people would cause the highways to be so packed. It is rare to drive them and not find them packed with traffic. We question this all the time. We lived near Lansing, with a population of almost 117,000 and we are quite certain the traffic was never quite like it is here. What gives?! Are all the homeless people car-full? It is probably one of those mysteries we will never solve.

In some ways, we’ve completely forgotten about mosquitoes and pot-holey roads, since there aren’t a whole lot out here. It reminds Ivy of an old MEAP (Michigan’s previous standardized test that you took when you were a kid if you grew up in Michigan) question. It basically asked how potholes develop or are created. A child had to know about water frequently freezing and melting, and that when it freezes it expands, chipping and breaking away at the cement or asphalt. It required a great deal of thought and explanation, as well as some background understanding of basic scientific concepts. Anyway, it comes to mind because in January and February, Paso Robles would have some freezing nights where it would get just below freezing, then warm up during the day. We’re far enough from the ocean and separated by mountains to cause a greater peak and dip with extreme temperatures compared to ocean cities/towns that have a more mellow high and low. So it begs the question, then, why don’t we have more potholes in Paso Robles? Well, this winter the “why” became more apparent. On freezing nights, it was dry. On wet/rainy nights, the temperature would not dip below freezing. In fact, the temperature when rain was present was always quite warm compared to dry nights. So, no rain would be able to fill cracks in the road, only to freeze that night and expand, which happens so often in Michigan that they should change their state logo to something like, “We like crack,” for example. We hope you have enjoyed this mini science lesson and loving dig at Michigan’s potholes. How do the mosquitoes fit in to this little sidebar, you may wonder? Well, they must be scared of earthquakes.

Seriously, though, Michigan’s (and probably Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc.) road repair budget must be the highest in the nation, simply due to the freezing & precipitating climate. How special that must feel. And to think that Michigan was proud enough of their potholes to write a whole MEAP question around it.

Ivy has been enjoying settling into a job where she has a really great relationship with the boss. Of course, she’s never been one to show up late to any job, but there are other challenges. She’s finding that homeschooling 1 is – in some ways – trickier than teaching 27 (that was her all-time highest class size). The main reason for these difficulties is tricky to imagine, but we’ll try to give you an example, as Larry would completely agree with this, though he’s grateful to be free of homeschooling…so you sit down with your lovely daughter and begin to do some phonics. A customer comes in, and you know (but want desperately to believe differently) that no matter what you assign to your pupil while you help this customer, she will slaughter and quickly become lost, confused, and need your help.

Just as you are done taking the customer’s order, your little sweetheart is saying as whinely as possible, “I don’t get this.”

Your reply is oh-so-polite because now the customer has noticed the little head of hair fidgeting back there behind you. “Try to figure it out,” you reply.

Now you’re pulling the espresso shots as she gives up on her second try, “It’s still not working.”

You take your eyes off of your milk frothing for just a moment to see if you can give her a hint, which causes some pretty hot milk to splash onto your hand.  You offer, “When two vowels go a’walkin’ the first one does the talkin’”

“Oh yeah!” You add your finishing touches to the best drink this customer is ever going to glug and you send her on her way. Heading back over to that daughter, you begin to notice she’s written the wrong sounds on all the lines of the entire page. You wonder to yourself why this type of activity is completed by your little cherub so easily when you’re sitting right next to her, but so very incorrectly when you leave her alone for five minutes. Her eraser is already worn to the metal band, as this has happened just a few hundred times before, and you start to have dreams of ordering the largest eraser that ever existed on Amazon. Nope, you remind yourself, she’d probably eat the thing right when you stop to make someone a latte.

Like Michigan, California begins standardized testing in third grade. This will be Arbor’s first experience with this. We have explained over and over to specialists that this girl will do whatever she wants if she is left on her own. She’ll be in a small group, thank goodness. And, we’re not worried about her bringing the state average down…it’s the least she can do to support these kinds of tests that don’t take the time or care to glean what the students really know and understand – much less to show how far they’ve come from rough beginnings in life.

Ivy began teaching when the pendulum had swung so far over to the side of relaxed, no pressure testing. She left teaching when she began to wonder if the pendulum was stuck on the opposite side, full of high stakes and stressed-out kids, teachers, and sometimes parents. Ivy used to be one of those parent-teachers…but then she remembered herself as a student. In case you aren’t aware of her as a child, Ivy had no clue about academic rigor until she began college. Prior to that, school was simply a social institution. She may not be so different from her daughter after all!

Let’s talk CBD. We don’t know much more than you on this, but the gist is that the recent Farm Bill that was passed in Washington D.C. okay’d CBD to be used by people if it is derived from hemp. This is the kind that does not get you high or have any psychoactive effects. It does, however, come with many health benefits and cancer patients are using it in addition to their other medicines. It comes as an oil, but maybe in other forms too. On this coast, CBD is rockin’ and everyone seems to have their opinions about it. Our local kombucha (fermented tea that’s supposed to be good for the gut) maker created a CBD kombucha called Purple Rain and asked us if we’d like to try selling some. He said we were the only ones in Morro Bay to have this option. We sold out in two days and some people have already reserved some from the new order we’ve placed. According to our research, CBD is a plant alternative to ibuprofen, used as an anti-inflammatory and also anti-anxiety. Larry did not want to try any because, though they say it has no THC and therefore cannot be mistaken for marijuana use, he did not want any erroneous complications with any possible drug tests in a new job. Ivy drank some of the Kool-Aid. It tasted like apple cider vinegar and she felt nothing. That’s probably because of her stone-cold heart, LOL! Anyway, they said that it wouldn’t give you any sort of high, and they were right, according to Ivy. The ice cream owners across the hall that we have come to know and adore keep joking that we’re now drug dealers. We checked and double checked to be sure it’s legal, so we’re good to go. Frankly, the coffee shop business is slow at our location, so this is the boost we need. We haven’t had any Prince (or the Artist Formerly Known As Prince) weird interactions, nor did Ivy think the drink tasted anything like grape precipitation, others who are buying us out don’t seem to mind.

One day Ivy and the kids climbed Black Hill – one of the nine sisters of volcanic plugs in and near Morro Bay. It offers great views of the estuary, Morro Rock, and the towns of Morro Bay and Los Osos. See some photos of this and more here. We’re so grateful to have friends and family visit! Looking forward to the Burris family coming out in November! Can’t wait to see you! Who’s next?

The Rocks Are Leaking

The chosen title for this entry has a lot to do with our realizations about this still-new-to-us landscape. Even when things are dry as a bone, the mountain pass we head through from Paso Robles to Morro Bay always reminds us that rock and mountains are ever dynamic. There is so much leaching (not sure if that’s the correct geologic term for what’s going on) that in some spots around the almost hairpin turns make the road wet. The sky can be blue, but the road near the leaching tricks your mind into thinking we got a giant rainspout kind of shower. Not to mention that this time of year, landslides and falling rocks are at their all-time high. With the rainy season comes pressure on rocks to stop defying gravity. We’ve had to jog the car around some small boulders up in the mountain passes here or there…or maybe we’re exaggerating just a little…but there’s stuff going on in them thar hills, that’s for sure!

There’s one giant mountain pass between Paso Robles and SLO (San Luis Obispo) called “The Grade” and it’s quite an endeavor with a 8% grade. After your car picks up speed from the grade, you arrive in SLO and feel so grateful to be back on normal ground again. Some people say that it’s dangerous to cross during a rainy time. As you may have guessed, it’s not a big deal to drive in rain after you’ve spent years driving in slush, snow, and ice. But we’ll admit that it is often a bit freaky to do this drive. It’s always windy at the top and it reminds us of those tales of the Yugo being blown right off the Mackinaw Bridge.

Now, you may be thinking, I wonder why the Schmidts are blogging when Ivy is supposed to be teaching. Good thinking, you! The response to that no-so-hypothetical question is that we’ve had grand changes in our working lives again. Ivy was feeling that familiar ominous, desperate to-get-out-of-the cavern she created, daunting way she worked as a teacher in the past. Though she promised herself and family that she wouldn’t, everyone quickly became sick of her packed weekends full of planning and preparation, including Ivy. So, Larry started checking around for jobs. Why is it so much easier for a person with a trade and not much college to find a good-paying job than a person with a Master’s degree + to find a job? Well, it probably has something to do with the type of degree Ivy has…and the fact that California is quite different than Michigan in the teaching world. Enough about that…now, on to what happened. Larry first found an opening for a position to repair and maintain a fleet of school buses, but those folks wanted someone with school bus repair experience, which is laughable because Larry recognized their fleet as a bunch of diesel pushers, which is exactly what he came to know and love and work on back at CATA (if you don’t understand this, just understand that he would have been the perfect person for the job). They ended up hiring no one and have begun their posting again in hopes of finding someone with the experience. We still think they’ll be calling Larry at the end of the month because we know that Larrys don’t come around that often (unless they need some random guy on TV, then it always seems to be a Larry, doesn’t it?). Right after that option, Larry almost simultaneously applied for a diesel DOT job and put an offer in on an auto repair place (his dream career) in Morro Bay. Just after that, he found himself back at Bud Kouts…er…., uh, or a replica of BK called Paso Robles Chevrolet. They hired him on the spot as a Service Writer, which he eagerly took. Then the Morro auto repair shop started to develop into a real thing. The bank approved him (us, really) for a giant loan, which is typically unheard of, so we started to move on it, but we could not get the lease worked out to a reasonable amount and Ivy rapidly became as terrified as a baby looking at El Diablo (Calvin’s idea for that simile) as the monthly costs were upped to around $7,000 – yikes! Larry reluctantly refused the terms and continues to seek out his dream business. Why, you might ask, is the coffee shop not his dream business? Well, the location is truly the best, but the income is probably never going to be able to sustain us. Summers are rockin’ but this winter, we found it challenging to even cover rent for the place.

Long story short: Larry is now a Service Writer, until that diesel DOT or school bus job comes to fruition or some sort of auto repair place in good shape comes up for sale. Ivy stopped teaching near the end of February, with some sadness because she was already connected with those adorable little cherubs (that’s the students, not some real cherubs hanging around the place, though they do have a fairy garden). Calvin really wanted to stay at the same school, since he had made some really good friends and still loves the school. We now have to pay tuition, but we’re willing to do that through the end of the school year because we’ve not seen him that happy since we left Michigan.

Good news! We hear we’re out of our rain funk. Yes, yes, Larry keeps saying, “I’ll take rain over snow,” but it’s starting to sound ridiculous after our area surpassed its annual normals in rainfall already! Yes, surpassed – we’re currently at 137% over normal, and it’s only March! In fact, the rain they say we got in February is more than we got all year last year. It began to feel like Michigan to Ivy, with ostensibly continual gray days. We have joked many times in the last few months that we brought this with us from Michigan. But then we take a look at the weather in the Midwest and we are grateful the only thing we’re seeing here are rain and gray days. Hang in there, ya’ll…your spring is coming soon! Spring here has sprung, as you might have guessed. The wildflowers are just beautiful. The California Poppy (the state’s flower; a bright orange beauty) shows up on the sides of roads everywhere, the succulents are blooming, and we enjoyed a memory from Michigan as we ogled the Apple Blossoms in a row in Atascadero.

There really isn’t severe weather here. Once in the past year – yes, that’s one time – did we hear even a rumble of thunder. And it was a quiet rumble. The rains are always mild and more showers than anything else. We have seen so many rainbows that it’s difficult to count them all. Often the ends of the rainbow are in sight and Arbor is always disappointed to find no gold or leprechauns at the ends.

You may remember Linda and Mark Yaske from last year in our blog. Ivy used to teach with Linda back in Okemos. The Yaskes made their coast trek again this year. Last year we met up with them when we were all in the San Diego area, then they went on to Morro Bay before us. This year, they stopped in Morro Bay again for a little over a week and we learned how close the BCS is to where they were staying. Linda met up with Ivy and the kids one day at Moonstone Beach in Cambria. It was a bit chilly, but we still had so much fun scouring the rocks and catching up. On other days, Linda, Mark, and even their dog Eddie came to visit us at the coffee shop. That Linda is now looking good sporting her Skipper’s Brew shirt. Mark would probably only wear things that say, “Iowa” on them. We wonder how he’s feeling about MSU’s intense games and grand wins in basketball lately. We’re sure he wishes Iowa was in the running, but oh well. 😊

You can find a photo of us with Linda at Moonstone Beach and others here.

We had coffee with the cops. Yeah, maybe we’ve all done that from time to time, but what we really mean is that the Morro Bay Police Department approached us and asked us if we would host their program called Coffee with a Cop at our place in early March. Of course we said yes! Larry went to work late and helped Ivy out, as they brought signs and a whole setup, and we supplied the complimentary coffee. Larry ordered a bunch of donuts, but apparently that old cliché is no longer true, as the cops really wanted the coffee and not the donuts. For such a small town, there are a lot of cops! About 10 regular folks like us showed up. They say it’s usually around 30-75 people, but it was one of those rainy, gray, cool days we mentioned, so we weren’t surprised.

One main difference we’ve noticed living on the west coast, and particularly in California are the ramped-up turn lanes. Sure, you’d expect to find double left or right turn lanes in LA or San Francisco, but in lil’ ol’ Paso Robles with a population of almost 32,000? Apparently! They’re everywhere…and Ivy can’t get used to it. She is always concerned that the other drivers don’t realize that TWO lanes are turning and she’s sure they’re going to cross over while completing their turn and – BAM! But they’ve proven her wrong time and time again. It’s such a norm and probably lends to the feel of a big city within a tiny town. There is a lot that makes this area feel bigger than it is. But there’s nothing quite unnerving as having 2 lanes simultaneously turning onto the freeway – and with enough traffic to require 2 lanes!

We aren’t sure if we mentioned this before or not, but Morro Rock in Morro Bay is gigantic. About a third of it had been mined in the olden days, but even with its 2/3 still intact, it is really large. Pictures don’t do it justice. Anyway, it’s kind of our at the end of the bay, mostly in the ocean. It is the end of a string of nine volcanic plugs called the Nine Sisters. If you drive from Morro Bay to SLO, you can see several of them (Captain Stu says you can see 7, but we’ve counted 5 for sure…and none of us are geologists, so who knows for sure)! Ivy’s father is visiting next month and exploring these is on the top of his list. In his 70s and he still wants to climb mountains…hope we’re all that rarin’ to go when we’re that age, right?!

Until then, we wish you a lovely green day full of Leprechauns, clovers and blue diamonds…uh, wait…cancel that last one.

Fresh Day

Hey There! Yup, we’re still here. It’s trickier to keep in touch when there are full time jobs and 2 kids hanging around. Calvin and Ivy have started their winter break, so Ivy has found that ever-elusive thing…you know…time!

She has been busy before the holidays, though. You might think she’d been busy preparing for the holidays, but nooooooooooo.  Instead, she has been uber-interested in the King Tides. These babies are rare, so she feels compelled to get out there and enjoy them every day. They’re the most extreme tides of the year, more accentuated due to the Moon being closer to the Earth and some other thingies.  There were over 9-feet differences between high and low tide – – – woah! The waves have been astoundingly giant and surfers have been flocking to the beaches each time Ivy is there (hmmmm…) They kind of know each other now…they exchange that look…you know, the one where Ivy is saying, “Yeah, I do wish I could be out there with you, but I don’t yet know how to surf,” and their eyes are saying, “Why are you always standing around gawking at us?” Seriously, though, Arbor joined Ivy on all of the expeditions. Calvin thinks he’s going to make his first million helping out at the coffee shop. So the boys would head to the coffee shop each day and the girls would head to the beach. Nice plan (says the female crew of Schmidts)!

One day on our King Tide adventures, we came across some guys surfing on some unique boards. They had this long (maybe 2 feet) extension of blades/rudders meant to glide underneath the water, lifting the surfer and board up out of the water. It’s called a Hydrofoil and it looked like even more fun than surfing! These guys would catch a wave and be able to sustain their ride much longer, plus the best part was that they were literally 2 feet above the water. The blades that sit below the water must push the board up out of the water when they get enough speed. If you don’t pay attention to that extra extension, it really looks like they’re surfing on air, just above the waves. Hopefully our good videographing of this comes through with our pictures and videos found here.

Our community neighborhood is very active. They were glad to share their perspectives on topics for voting day. Fortunately, most people here think similarly to us. 😊 Many of them are without family in the immediate area, so they stick around for holidays. They do some meals together where others cook for you, and some meals where it’s more potluck style. They had a Solstice Party one week and then a Christmas party on Christmas day. We couldn’t understand why Santa came to the Solstice Party until we realized it was a more formal event with fancy place settings and a Yule ceremony. It was all so lovely. Over 70 people attended and our Common House (where there’s a commercial kitchen, 2 rooms for people to stay – $20 each, so get on over here, laundry room, lounge space, library, kids play room, back patio with grills, and large group meeting space/dining area). We sat near some boys who are Calvin’s age. That was wonderful too because they all seem so verbally challenged at his age (12) and seem to need the awkward silence abruptly interrupted by some embarrassing mom or something. Santa came (a well-dressed neighbor) who turned out to be quite funny for adults as he greeted the children loudly. (His voice reminded Ivy of her Uncle David who used to do this to the littlest, meekest children at our get-togethers, scaring the crap out of them!) Santa gave each child (around 20) a gift card to Jamba Juice. We had been talking with Arbor about how Santa is pretend, so this really confused her, as many things do. We thought she might try to pull off his beard or something, but she just reminded us afterward, “That was a pretend guy.”

As if one Santa looking pretty real wasn’t enough, we decided to go to the beach on Christmas Day. We arrived at the pristine Moonstone Beach for the last King’s Tide of this year. The tide was higher than we had ever seen. This stretch of beach is surrounded by tall cliffs, so these waves would often make it to the cliffs, leaving walkers nowhere to go but in. We knew the tide was going down, so we headed into the depths and watched each other carefully in case the waves tried to carry someone away. Ironically, Larry was the first to be surprised by the rogue waves. He was chatting with another daring soul down there with his back to the water. If you know Larry, you know he can get pretty involved in a conversation. Ivy and the kids looked over at him at just the right time of the approaching wave and – whoosh! It got him…to our delight! We felt bad…about not recording it.

As the tide went out, more and more people showed up on the beach. In fact, we began making a lever and adding a fulcrum to it so we could lift a giant driftwood tree from its side to stand it again. As we worked, Santa (okay, it threw Arbor off a little bit to see Santa carrying a baby dressed as Santa also…and then there was the peculiar elf-mom who took the Santa baby into her arms after big Santa offered to help). So, there we were (Arbor couldn’t help because she was too busy staring), Calvin, Larry, Ivy, and Santa, lifting this giant driftwood tree back to its glory of towering tall over anything else out there. Calvin wedged another piece of driftwood between it and the sand so it could stay erect. That’s a proper word we just used, since, as we panned back to examine our handiwork, we realized it looked quite phallic. We weren’t sure how to share that news with Calvin or with Santa, so we kept it to ourselves for the moment. Ivy snapped a quick picture of the Santas and elf as they left. Then Calvin said to his parents, “Now that the tree is standing, it really looks like a penis.” Thanks, Santa, for helping us erect a giant penis on the beach (that’s what she said – for The Office fans out there)!

When Larry and Ivy explored Alaska BK (before kids), we learned of a cool phenomenon called a Bore Tide that would come in and travel miles up a river. After leaving Moonstone Beach, we headed to Morro Beach for the sunset and more for low tide. Morro’s beach is sandy whereas Moonstone’s beach has some sandy portions and mostly river-rock-type portions. In retrospect, as it came close to low tide, Moonstone would have been the better option for exploring tide pools, but the waves there were still really strong and it didn’t seem like the tide was going down there. When we arrived at Morro’s beach, it was immediately noticeable – the tide was clearly low, winds quieter, and waves minimal. This beach must have been almost level for at least a mile out. There was a light coat of water all along, so it felt like we were walking on water. Then, a wave would come in. It would take a good full minute for it to cover the beach in a Bore Tide fashion. There were sand dollars everywhere and in many ways these moments felt very surreal…until Arbor ran up, tagging someone, yelling, “You’re it!”

See a couple of photos submitted by Ivy for the Kings Tide Project here. It’s a little creepy to see all the flooding of the streets. Photos they’ve posted of Ivy’s – 14, 142, 143, 144, 169

We thought we might have two or even three blog postings over the break, but here we are in the beginning of January with only this one. It does keep getting longer if that makes anyone feel better. It was a lovely New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed a meal with some of our neighbors, then we all played games (Ivy beat Calvin so badly in ping pong) and drank non-alcoholic champagne with the kids.

Calvin and Ivy spent a good half-day at the beach over break too. We were again blown away at how many Sand Dollars there were. Calvin thoroughly enjoys climbing dunes/bluffs and acting like he’s falling. Sometimes Ivy is positive he is actually falling, which makes it that much more hilarious. Enjoy photos of his prat falls and parkour moves in the photos at the link shared above.

We drove the RV into California a little over a year ago on December 19th. While we have flashbacks of some of the best and some of the worst stops along the way, we are still so grateful for the experience and the journey. If we had the funds to make this a true coast-to-coast quest at this point in our lives, we would jump on it, but reality made a call reminding us that we were looking to relocate to our version of paradise.

So far we’re realizing that winters in this part of California (what they call the Central Coast) are decent for people who are avoiding snow, but a bit chilly at night. For some reason, Paso Robles has some pretty giant extremes. It can get below freezing at night, but easily warms up to 60s during the day. Closer to the coast – just 30 minutes away – it never gets to freezing. Whether in Morro Bay or Paso Robles, the rain and fog show up rarely these days. We hear the rain will arrive soon, but we don’t really know what that means.

What a life. While we miss so many of you, we try to look past that (otherwise we’d be sad all the time). We were able to enjoy the Geminids meteor shower because we could be outside and likely to have clear skies, rocket launches, t-shirt days in the winter, no day at the beach is ever the same, and lots of Vitamin D.

Wishing you a blissful 2019,

-Larry and Ivy

Happy Almost Turkey Day!

Greetings from the west! We know we’ve been out of touch for a while now. Gratefully, Ivy has a few extra days off, so she thought she’d send ya’ll a friendly salutation via the blog. For those teacher friends and family, you know as well as we do that teachers get stuck in this sort of cave of living life constantly thinking and striving to reach those kiddos that are seemingly unreachable. Now, with a few days off, in our home, we are reminded that we have two very reachable children of our own. This was exactly what Ivy was trying to avoid…getting caught up in others’ lives so hastily that she forgets her own life. This is a great time of year to remind ourselves what is important in life. And, if you have never viewed any of Gerry Brooks’ YouTube videos, check him out, as he has a great grasp on life as a teacher. Here’s one to give you a smile.

We plan to send out cards to you soon. Some of you have our new address, while others don’t. Hopefully this will help and you will mail us something back. If you don’t receive a card by mid-December, will you please drop us a line? We feel like we’ve detached from people quite a bit and we’re sorry for that. We adore you and don’t want to lose touch with you!

You’ve read much about the BCS (baby coffee shop – this name stays, because we know babies usually start growing, yet this little shop is still tiny as can be). You also know that Arbor and Larry are doing a homeschool hybrid (and Ivy helps him/her out on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays). That’s going well; much better than last year’s homeschool experience. This time, Arbor can move at a pace suited for her. Many of you have been asking about Calvin and Ivy’s school. While it’s difficult to describe, the best way to say it is that it’s more outside living/working/learning than ever the two of us have experienced.

The school has 3 buildings – one where Calvin and Ivy’s classrooms are housed, but in separate rooms, another where the older students learn, and a third building that includes what Ivy would call “The Arts” building…housing a pottery studio, weaving, music, and other arts studio, plus the Spanish teacher’s storage space. The school is situated on 5 acres with plenty of learning and working spaces outside. The weather is perfectly beautiful 99% of the time (aside from being too hot May-Sept). Since school was in session, there has been only 1 rainy day, but even on that day, students still managed to be outside for a good amount of the time and the rain here rarely (ever?) turns nasty, like some storms do in Michigan. The temperatures in these parts get chilly in the middle of the night, but recover quickly. The temperature shift from day to night is astounding! Sometimes it can be 85 in the daytime and 35 at night…a 50 degree shift is not uncommon! The sun seems to have more power here, fully warming a body even when it’s 45 degrees outside, making it possible to be outside in regular clothes, no matter the temp, as long as the sun is shining. No wonder so many homeless folks reside in California.

While we often wonder if we can stay in California (it’s so expensive to live here), we wonder daily if we could leave this climate. Some people say they get sick of the constant sunshine, but Larry and Ivy both feel that they cannot get enough sun. We have toyed with the idea of moving to San Francisco, as Larry would easily find a job with Tesla, but we are well aware that the sun doesn’t quite shine as frequently there. What will the future bring? Who knows, but we’ll try to keep you posted.

There is definitely a drought situation in this part and many parts of California. In fact, we have noticed that our water bill is outrageously high, whereas in Michigan, we paid close to nothing for water. The reverse is true about electricity. Here, we pay close to nothing (maybe because there are a lot more solar panels everywhere in these parts) in California for electricity, but in Michigan, we were paying upwards of $400 a month in the chilly season to keep our home lit and warm.

We had always heard from others who lived in warmer climates that their leaves would change color and all that, but it was “different.” We really did not know what that “different” meant, but this year we were fortunate to experience it. Our take on it is that just now we’re in the peak of fall colors here. There are many Oaks around and some Maples, though the Maple trees here do not grow nearly as large. Those trees and others are changing right now and it’s beautiful! It’s also amazing how much later that transition occurs in this climate. We hear Michigan has already had some light dustings of snow, but here we’ve barely crept below 70s during the day.

Our family has taken a couple of side trips, though we’ve really been adjusting back to the full-time work and school mode. One day we headed out to Carrizo Plain. When we told people we were headed there, most locals gave us a quizzical look, as if to say, “What and where is that?” As we drove there, we began to understand why. This place was empty! There were two campgrounds within the giant acreage of the place, but we actually only saw 1 truck with what appeared to be 1 live person driving it through our entire journey over this vast place. Camping must occur here much more in the summer?

We were drawn to it because we had read that it was one of the few places where the San Andreas Fault could actually be seen doing its jog close to the top crust of the Earth. Our poor children were sadly disappointed as we drove along this dirt road, then that dirt road, and another dirt road trying to catch a glimpse. We did find a ‘sag pond’ (currently dry area that sags when rain comes because of the fault) with the obvious line from the fault running through it. See a picture of Larry straddling it here. This was exciting to the grownups, but the kids were not impressed. We think they did not realize the magnitude of what we had found. Still, we would agree that the time and effort it took to find was probably not worth the drive. That said, Larry and Ivy found it thrilling to stand right where earthquake action had definitely occurred before.

Other fun we’ve had were Calvin’s 12th birthday, Halloween, and our community’s Harvest Festival. We did drive up through the new road where the giant landslide occurred past Big Sur. It was astounding to see the added land that now juts out into the water, compliments of mother nature moving loads of earth that would cover the trucks that transported tons like a thick, heavy blanket. Calvin was excited to realize there must have been a Porsche rally north of the landslide. We probably passed 30-40 different Porsches that day. He named them all flawlessly, though we’re sure he wishes they were all Lambos.

We do not seem to tire of the beach or the classic cars always around. It is true that cars last decades longer in this climate. Rust? Haven’t heard of it. Rarely see it.

For Halloween, Calvin’s class put on a poetry play. You can see some footage of it here, but it sure was dark! Also found in the photos are both kids’ costumes and some footage from Arbor’s talent show with some friends in our community. So cute!

You may have heard about the fires in the news lately. If you have not, it’s been dry all over this state. About the same time a fire (or more than one?) began near San Francisco, one or more also began near Los Angeles near many mansions in Malibu. Larry had people coming in to the BCS repeatedly saying they had to leave the city due to the smoke and air quality. That’s good news for the coffee shop, but not as good for the people who have lost homes or loved ones. A friend in our community wanted to hold a bake sale to raise money to help pay the firefighters for all their hard work. Arbor offered to bake cookies to add to this bake sale, so we had fun with that. The bake sale raised around $125.

Now we turn to the holidays and begin to think of how grateful we are for our friends and family, most of whom are still far from us in distance but not in heart. We wish you a wonderfully warm, cozy, and loving Thanksgiving.

When reading this over, we realize it might be our least funny blog yet. Sorry about that…especially if you’re reading for the humor. We’ll try to get back into the swing of things and cause some more laughter medicine soon. Ivy is sure t o fall-jump from a surry sooner or later.

Seaweed Art

Do you know that some people eat kelp? Ivy has it in her shampoo. It is supposed to be good for you and your body. But, by far the most interesting thing about kelp, or seaweed, is that it comes in a variety of makes and models. We could have spent time at the beach organizing it all into groups and classifying it, but instead we just digitally recorded a lot of it in its natural state. It’s pretty slimy to touch, so avoiding anything tactile with the green goopy plantfood is fine with us.

As we all expected, Ivy’s school prep is ramping up. This group of both parents and staff are extremely helpful and supportive. It reminds Ivy a lot of Okemos, except a lot smaller and less focused on standards and testing – woo hoo! Larry took time out from his busy coffee shop schedule to help Ivy find a car. Ivy wanted to do a 0% finance of a new car, but Larry talked her into an older car that would not require payments or expensive insurance. We’re still paying on the RV – both full coverage insurance + monthly payments. In the end, she recognizes that he is right, and we remind ourselves that our pay is about 1/3 of what we used to make in Michigan. Seems a bit ironic, eh? We pay about 50% more than we did for our mortgage in Michigan, yet we make way less than we did. Sure, Larry could probably make the big bucks at a dealership, but at what cost, we ask you!? (His mental and physical health, of course.) And, everyone knows that a small business loses money the first couple of years. Ivy wishes she could have had a smaller light-colored car, but the pea-green/yellow Mini was not her style. Plus, we hear it gets kind of chilly in the winter in Paso Robles…not snow-cold, but apparently black ice cold. Ugh.

Back to Ivy’s school, Santa Lucia (named for the mountain range in our area). After much deliberation, the board was kind enough to offer Calvin a scholarship. The place is too expensive for us to be able to pay, but the public schools in the area are not so great, so this is what we’ll do with our boy. And as for our girl…we’re really getting creative! There is a different homeschooling option here in this area than the one we opted for last year in Michigan. This one is less rigorous and offers support to struggling students. She had a rough start in life and will always face challenges. We knew this from the moment we met her and were willing to take it on for such a sweetie who deserves the best in life. So, our plan is to have Larry work with her when the shop becomes less busy. Ivy has Fridays off, so she’ll work with Arbor on Fridays and the weekend, as needed. We meet with the teacher about once a month, so s/he can check up on how things are going, and other specialists will be present for support as desired.

Next, we want to apologize to Mary. We have tried for the past 2 weeks to remember to have Larry don his creepy guy hat and pose for a photo to share with you. So far it has not happened, but soon, we hope!

We were fortunate enough to enjoy at least 2 Ferraris these past 2 weeks. One we saw in San Luis Obispo. Ivy said it was the best Ferrari she had ever seen. Calvin asked why. Can you guess Ivy’s reply? If you viewed our photos here, you might be able to figure it out. She explained to her dear son, the sportscar enthusiast, that all she had ever seen of a Ferrari was either ketchup or mustard colored speedy racers. Never had she seen one that was a pretty sapphire blue shimmering in the sun like it did. Plus, it was a convertible! Who can argue with that? Calvin. He went on to explain that this Spyder version of the Ferrari is so common. His mom replied, “But the color. That’s really uncommon, right?”

He had to admit to his mother that indeed the color is rare for a Ferrari and he dared to go on to say that Ferraris should always be ketchup or mustard colored! We don’t know where he got his bad taste, but rest assured that each night after he’s fallen asleep, we go in and whisper sweet nothings in his ear about best color schemes on the sportiest of cars. It will eventually have an effect, we’re sure…as he approaches the grumbling and grunting years of puberty where he’d rather not speak a clear coherent sentence all day long. Remember that Stuart Smalley guy from Saturday Night Live? We should get his daily affirmations and put headphones on Calvin each night as he slumbers. That Stuart guy really spoke clearly and eloquently…and he mostly was trying to say good things, as we recall. Maybe it’ll help keep the boy in bed too. He sleepwalks like a hilarious doofus mixed with a sly zombie, always popping up out of nowhere onto Ivy’s side of the bed. One night recently, he was carrying the plug-end of his alarm clock, dragging the rest of it behind him. He spoke that night. His words were, “Um, do you think we should take this to Skipper’s Brew?”

The ketchup Ferrari you see in the photos belongs to a guy who was contacted by media prior to doing their grand re-opening of PCH/Highway 1. He said they told him they wanted to have a sportscar present for every year since PCH was first created in 1934. Our new friend was year 1995 and he and his wife stopped in to our coffee shop after the rally. His wife was a bit peeved as she had learned that morning that they planned to shuttle the spouses onto a bus instead, making room for all the reporters as passengers in the rally. So, each sportscar owner drove PCH with a reporter. They had helicopters and drones covering the aerial views. Our 1995 guy drove a Mexican reporter along the trip. He told us that reporters came from around the world for this rally and reopening event. We wished we had known about it beforehand. We would have probably closed the coffee shop for something this exciting. They began with a lap around Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas near Monterey and headed all the way to lil’ ol’ Morro Bay, parking by the rock in the end.

One day we took a little side trip to – where else? – Moonstone Beach! We just can’t get enough of that place. But Ivy had been talking about stopping in Harmony, a tiny town with a population of 18 people each time we pass the tiny town. If you know her at all, you know she loves glass and glasswork. There’s a big sign you can see from PCH that says, “Glassblowing.” That squeaky wheel finally got some grease and we stopped into the town of 5 or 6 buildings. It consisted of a wedding parlor (so cute!), post office (!), glass studio, and 2 or 3 private homes. There is also a wine tasting room up the road a bit. Larry and the kids almost left Ivy at the glassblowing place. It was her dreamland. There was someone working with glass right there in front of everyone and it appears as though anyone can do that, for a price. So, Ivy’s saving her pennies! It reminded Ivy of the good ol’ days when Mr. Watson made her stay after school in 6th grade because she couldn’t/wouldn’t light the Bunsen burner during science class. She finally got the guts up to do it and then no one could pull her away. In class over the weeks following, he gave the 6th graders tubes of glass that they could melt and re-form, which she absolutely loved and spent hours doing. She didn’t even crowd around Christy like everyone else when a glob of hot glass fell off her tube and into her shoe. It’s not that she didn’t care; she just knew Mr. Watson would handle it. Poor Christy was on crutches for weeks after her severe injury.

Moonstone Beach was different this visit. The smooth stones, which some may say are so tiny they act more sand-like than stone-like, were all buried under a layer of sand. We found ourselves digging some to get to them. Meanwhile, Calvin was building again with the driftwood. The fog snuck in and we hardly noticed. Afterward, we drove (or could walk) – literally – a third of a mile, and hello sunshine. Fantastic fog phenomenon in the month known on the coast as Fogust. That said, we have not seen a cloud or a drip of rain since we’ve lived in Paso Robles (mid-May). We hear some rain will come maybe in October. We’ll see…

Many schools have started around here. We think of you and yours often.

Well, Well, Well

One week after we say we’re going to post less often, we find ourselves frantically typing away to share events that only you would enjoy.

We made the local paper! Writer Karen Garcia made a visit the other week and had a sweet story to write.

We paired up with Chef Angelica, who lives in our little community. She makes gluten-free treats, so we purchase them from her and sell them at our shop. They’re expensive, so Ivy was sure they would not sell. As of today (first day selling them), we’ve sold 7. Thanks to those of you vacationing around here and willing to spend extra $ on some tasty treats. We really don’t mind if they don’t sell, as we’ll munch them all up, no prob!

Larry has been dealing with another hernia situation, trying to heal it without surgery. Soon after, Arbor announced that her booty was hurting. When asked what she thought might be wrong, she was pretty sure she had a hernia on her rear right cheek.

We’ve enjoyed swimming on the hot days when we aren’t at the shop. Yes, the kids took their squirting guns you sent, Vic. They very much enjoyed shooting their mom in the back. She didn’t tell them this, but it was like a lovely massage.

We took Larry’s birthday and one other day off mid-week. The main reason for 2 whole days off was to revamp our menu boards. People kept telling us our prices were too low (not customers, of course!), so we painted over the prices with chalkboard paint, took off “scones” and some other items we can’t find around here, and upped our prices just slightly. It was a very Pinterest-y project, bringing out Ivy’s creative side…except that she didn’t really get that creative with it…seeing as how it took her almost the 2 whole days to let the paint cure, get the prices set, add items that weren’t previously offered, etc.

TWICE now, customers at the coffee shop have mistaken us as Calvin and Arbor’s grandparents! What’s up with that!? We know, we know…we took longer than most to decide to bring up little tykes, and technically, we could have grandchildren their age, but reeeeeally?! It’s funny how much of a conversation stopper that topic brings.

There is so much fruit around these parts! Ivy made a tasty nectarine cobbler thingy for Larry’s birthday. We’ve been involved in so many community projects that Larry enjoyed spending his birthday in this manner. He really embraces the heat. The man could probably be out there all day in his creepy hat, looking like a shady character. One neighbor stopped in her tracks when he was out there. She said, “I don’t think I know you.” Larry reminded her he lives just a few doors down from her. Granted, she is quite a bit older…and maybe had some dementia, but still, if you saw Larry in his creepy hat looking like a shady character, you might try to avoid him too.

There have been giant and serious wildfires in several areas of Cali. None near us at this time, but many people from Fresno and Bakersfield have come in telling us they’re escaping the bad air of that area, since it is like a bowl, holding all the smoke and heat from the fires. Apparently there are some in the L.A. area too, and they’re valley folks as well, so the smoke and heat simmers and sticks around. Most amazing of all, however, are the fires called the Carr fires. Google it; they had a tornado spawned from the fires. That’s a real thing!

No photos this week. Wishing you a fantastic August,

The Schmidts

How Could We Forget?

Hello there again! If you aren’t aware, we posted just a short while ago, so be sure to read this post and the one right under it for a complete idea of the happs…including 2, that’s right -2 surveys! We cannot believe it, but we spent the past week going through our months of our adventurous journey, then forgot to post our “bests” in the blog…so, without further ado, here we go!

Favorite place we visited in the past 12 months –

Arbor = Devil’s Tower

Calvin = All of San Diego

Ivy = toss up between Danish Alps and any beach

Larry = Garden of the Gods, CO

 

Favorite boondock –

Arbor = Grandpa Pete’s (that counts, right?!)

Calvin = Carlsbad, CA

Ivy = Round Lake Vineyards

Larry = Carlsbad, CA

 

Least favorite place or thing –

Arbor = eye smash (when she ran into the open undercarriage door of the RV)

Calvin = the casita we stayed in Albuquerque, NM

Ivy = that dang logging road, MI

Larry = the giant fish from afar, MN

 

Favorite roadside attraction or activity –

Arbor = petting the stingrays, AZ

Calvin = Rodeo Drive, CA

Ivy = all the bikes, SD

Larry = tidepools

 

Most fun or WOW! –

Arbor = airplane restaurant, CO

Calvin = Las Vegas, NV

Ivy = totality eclipse, NE

Larry = Meteor Crater, AZ

 

Favorite animal seen along the journey –

Arbor = horse

Calvin = prairie dogs

Ivy = Sea Otters

Larry = Elephant Seals

We posted our Tour Builder a while back, but in case you’re interested… https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com/tour/ahJzfmd3ZWItdG91cmJ1aWxkZXJyEQsSBFRvdXIYgIDA-839tQsM

Happy Friday!

Could An RV Be An Uber?

Greetings from the West Coast. Hope you’re all well. We realize some of you are feeling somber about this being our last ‘regular’ post, but cheer up, buttercup! – we’ll still post (just less frequently). So, if you haven’t subscribed to the blog, do so and then you will receive an email when we post.

Okay, we’ve created 2 surveys. If you really like – or even mildly like – our surveys, please do both! If they’re barely tolerable, don’t tell us ☹, but still do at least 1 of them, will ya please?!

Survey 1, AKA The Hardest Quiz is here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZJX9FS2 and Survey 2, AKA The Easiest Quiz is here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5NX3F8B . When you fill these out, they’re like a gift to us, as some of you aren’t so good at keeping in contact, amIright?! We love hearing from you and this is our fun way of doing it.

Not much new to report here. We had some super-hot days in Paso Robles this week, so the kids made their crayon art. Arbor’s can be seen here and we hope to include a pic of Calvin’s next time, as it was still cooling.

As usual, we had unusual visitors at the coffee shop this week. There were lots of folks from France. A few of them were wearing Space X attire…so we had to ask. Sure enough, they are living in the US for now and working for Space X. They were preparing for a launch that occurred early in the morning (for us on the west coast) on the 25th. We almost woke up at 4am to view it, but opted instead to watch it recorded a little later, as Larry needed his beauty sleep.  The French people would not tell us what they were all doing here, as it was top secret, but we think it had something to do with the giant gray boats that were being convoyed out of here a few weeks ago. Conspiracy theories abound, but one thing we think for sure…Elon Musk will drop by here any day now.

We leave you on this (almost) eve of Larry’s 576th-month birthday. It still seems surreal with all that has happened over these 12 months…he began to walk and talk, then potty training finally occurred…and he got in that terrible fight at school. Oh, wait – – that was Larry the puppy. You can see him in the photos too. He’s so cute – just like the 576-month-old human Larry.

A big smooch goes out to you. Please keep in touch and we’ll do the same!

Ginger…the Redhead or the Root? And Turkeys…the Bird or the Country?

It has been thoroughly amazing watching the buzz about Highway 1 (aka PCH) as it opened…2 days early! People can once again get to Morro Bay, among many other fun stops, staying on PCH the entire trip. We don’t notice increased traffic yet, but we hear things will pick up. In one sense, it is fine with us if it stays less busy. That’s why we chose this area. It’s a lot less congested than San Fran, L.A., and San Diego and still has a small-town feel.

We did have a newlywed couple come in today. They had arrived from England and were traveling from San Fran down to L.A. They had no idea, but they had driven the new portion of PCH only 1 day after it had opened. We told them how fortunate they were, and only then did they realize what amount of road they were able to avoid backtracking.

We learned that the county fair is in our town, Paso Robles. San Luis Obispo is the ‘big’ city (48,000) in the county, so we can’t figure out why they chose Paso as their county fairgrounds (31,000). We hear the fair will make it pretty busy in our little town, but so far we’re not noticing a change, except maybe for the seemingly older/classic planes flying around. We have seen so many seemingly older/classic cars since our time in this state. It’s just such a common thing around here that we forget how very old cars can last an eternity out in Cali versus dank, humid, rusty Michigan.

We know we are probably driving you crazy always bragging about the weather, and also by always comparing the differences in climate and temps of Paso and Morro, but it continues to amaze us. While it appears that it will be 106 in a few days in Paso, Morro will boast low 80s. It is kind of like living the dream…perfect days in Morro and perfect nights in Paso. We have not seen rain or clouds that might rain since spring. Calvin thinks we should buy a boat and “use it on the weekends,” but we like the idea of mooring it in the bay and walking out each morning to the coffee shop, just steps away. Of course, there is that tiny problem of funding a purchase like that…time to play the lottery!

You may recall that on our drive to and fro Morro Bay each day, we pass the dinosaur ranch. Today was extra interesting when passing through, as there were probably 10 Turkey Buzzards hanging out near one of the dinos. It looked like a prehistoric feast fest. Turkey Buzzards are some of our favorite birds around here. It makes us think of the Jungle Book, though we think those were some sort of vulture. But that’s the sort of personality these avian authorities have in CA.

We keep sharing footage of the Dragon Boat wannabe; sorry about that. Larry keeps thinking it’s the real one, so Ivy rushes out with her photo taker and then has to lecture him about how the real one is so much more. We’ll definitely share if/when we see it again. Speaking of sharing beyond August…Linda suggested we do an “occasional blog” which we think could work. We know it won’t be the same and we have heard from several folks who want us to keep going on the weekly basis. Maybe this alternative will help with Ivy’s sanity, but also help us to keep in touch with ya’ll. Please keep in mind that we LOVE hearing from you too! If you reply on the site here, we always read it, but can’t figure out how to reply to you via the site. So, whether you are willing to trust that we’re reading and loving hearing from you, or if you’d rather send us an email once in a while, please know that this is a 2-way street and your feedback and support are mucho appreciado! (A little Spanglish since we’re so inundated out here.) Fun fact – Ivy spent over half of her elementary years in Spanish immersion classrooms…and another fun fact – While she remembers the colors and most of the days of the week, she could not say, “I love nectarines in my coffee,” to save her life…or much else, for that matter.

You will find some pictures of the moon in its waxing stage here. We were too lazy to go downstairs that night, go outside, and snap the shot. Yet it was so neat, we still had to try to capture it because Jupiter was right there next to it, shining so brightly. It was kind of cool how it resembled the flag of Turkey. Hmmmmm…is there a theme developing among turkeys in this blog entry?

One warmer day when Ivy and the kids stayed home, we tried that crayon art project that people do, where they secure crayons to a canvas, then blow hot air from a hairdryer onto the crayons, causing them to melt and hopefully create an artistic piece. We decided to try this without the hairdryer, and wanted to see if the Sun’s rays and heat could melt the crayons. The kids chose the ‘ugly’ colors out of the box for our experiment, saving the ‘lovely’ colors for their artsy canvases if the experiment worked. It was a 95-degree day and it took a while, but almost all of the crayons melted to some extent. It was fun discussing why the white and light orange didn’t melt. This Wednesday is supposed to be 101, so we’re planning to try the advanced version of the art with the ‘lovely’ colors then.

As you may recall, Larry is a coffee drinker. He loves a good cup ‘o joe each morning. Ivy may enjoy coffee scents, but she does not enjoy any hot drink of any kind (Really, world, do we need more heat?!?). So, if one is going to talk her into a coffee, it had better be an iced or blended something or other. This all makes sense with her history of the Taste-Test Game from her childhood with those cousins of hers. She’d say yes to most anything being thrown into a smoothie-type drink…yes to throwing in some kale. Broccoli? Okay! Ginger? Why, yes, of course! You know, ginger is a great anti-inflammatory agent, acts as a pain reducer, and anti-nausea – and so much more! If you can stand the somewhat overpowering taste, throw it in your next smoothie. Incidentally, Ivy’s maternal grandmother’s (the one who would actually allow us crazy cousins to play the Taste Test Game, creating much more repulsive combinations than one would willingly choose) name was Ginger. If you’re learned on gingers via the Urban Dictionary or elsehow, you know we’re feisty, fun, and somewhat fanatical. (Surely, Ginger passed her redheaded freckle traits onto her offspring.) So, with Ivy’s Greek (paternal grandfather) and Ginger combo, Larry is a lucky lad, wouldn’t you agree? Ivy’s always spraying Windex on everything. Ivy’s students used to ask her where the red in her hair went. She would tell them the solid truth…”My grandma went gray when she was 16. It’s genetics, kids, aright?” Truth be told, Ivy had a few streaks of red in her almost entirely brown hair as a child. Happy now!? The secret is out! (That’s her feistiness coming through.) Don’t mess with her anymore.

Can you believe summer is half-over? We can’t!!! Be sure to enjoy it before it has slipped away completely.