Wall Art–Slater Style

Driving through Slater, Missouri, we found this train gracing the wall of the local park.

DSC_0024Proof positive wall art isn’t limited to the city.

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Our Year In Review

2012 was a year of travel for Terry and me.  In addition, we began the year, and are ending the year, sharing special time with family. Central to that, of course, is the time we have spent with Meg and Jake.

In January Terry and I met Laura, Michel and Sophia in Siesta Key, Florida.  There is no question in my mind that Terry is happiest during times he spends with Sophia.  At age 3 (as of Dec. 19) she is the center of his life.  Sophia fit in well with the relaxed lifestyle of Florida.  She loved dancing to

IMG_0478Jimmy Buffet, eating ice cream with her granddad and walking the beach.

Our next family adventure was to IMG_0842Petaluma to visit Meg and Jake.  We drove through the wine country together and also had the pleasure of hanging out with John and Carole, Meg’s aunt and uncle.

Couldn’t ask for a better time!

Early in the year we decided to take a Chamber of Commerce trip to Cuba.  It was an exciting opportunity.  It was also the impetus for me to buy my Nikon camera.  I spent months becoming proficient enough to call myself an amateur!  But I did carry it with me throughout the year and between my Nikon and Meg’s Olympus, we have some fun photographs for our blog.

DSC_0078In addition to trying to relearn how to use a camera, I also continued my interest in family history.  Amazingly, my sister, Sherry, and I were able to put together a trip with our cousins to visit Norwich N.Y., where our Lewis ancestors are buried.  Having studied so much about them through the years it was exciting to find the cemetery where they are buried.   I also really treasure the time Sherry and I spent with our cousins after so many years apart.

Cuba was amazing. DSC_0862It is economically impoverished but so beautiful and culturally rich.  I feel truly fortunate to have been able to visit.

Meg and Jake love California.  Despite Jake’s heavy work schedule and Meg’s 9 months working non-stop on the presidential campaign, they have found time to explore California and grow to love it.

Meg and Jake spent Christmas in Kansas City with their dogs.  They arrived just in time to IMG_1544celebrate Jake’s 29th birthday.  Terry visited Amsterdam for Sophia’s 3rd birthday; Christina and Lee visited us for Thanksgiving and Terry spent Christmas eve with family in Texas.  The entire Mesle  clan was together for Christmas.  Four generations of the family celebrated the holiday together.  We had a rare and precious opportunity to be together and to spend time becoming acquainted with the newest members of the family.  I am so grateful.

As I write this post, I am mindful of the losses that have burdened the lives of family and close friends.  Jake’s much loved grandfather died this fall.  We have  lost way too many friends near and dear to us.  We cherish their memories and celebrate their lives.  We are better for having known them.  Their lives and their deaths remind us of the importance of treasuring our friends and family, appreciating the uniqueness of each of them, and letting them know the important place each of them have in our lives.

We wish each of you a joyous New Year.

The Clouds Before the Storm

These are from our drive through Wyoming just a few days ago. We somehow slipped through a little crack in the storm in order to avoid the worst of the weather, but the clouds were beautiful, especially with the mountain background.

Here comes the snow in Wyoming!

More snow and clouds in the mountains of Wyoming

It’s definitely winter, and the holidays are just around the corner!

Watching The Sun Go Down

I have a fascination with sunsets. That much is clear. But finding the perfect sunset? I’ve found a few, and this one comes close. But I’ve never worked as hard to find a gorgeous sunset as I did on Thanksgiving this year. To make room for our big turkey dinner, we hiked up the ridge above Shell Beach. Pismo Beach was to the South and Avila Beach was to the North. It only took 2 miles and about 600 vertical feet, but we finally found the perfect spot. Our reward? A 2010 Roche Syrah, and a beautiful sunset.

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Sunset 3

Happy sunsetting.

Annandmeg Take a Hiatus

Meg has been on a “sabbatical” from our blog for just over one month.  I only see her smiling face on a fleeting basis.  Here is my last “Facetime” contact with Meg a couple of days ago.  Despite her busy schedule she is still smiling.  “Smile Meg”:

Meg will be back in just over a month.  Now it is time for me to take a brief “hiatus”. By definition, I think, a hiatus is shorter than a sabbatical. Consistent with that concept, Terry and I will only be gone briefly. We have been in a mad scramble to get all our projects in order to have this wonderful opportunity to take a break.

Our bags are packed and we are ready to go:

Casey will spend a week as a farm dog, living in the country with his friends, Dick and Patti.  He was very sad to see us leave.  We are sorry we can’t take him with us:

Terry and I will be traveling.  When we get home I hope we wonderful photographs to show, and great adventures to talk about.  Until we return, I hope your lives, and ours, are filled with adventure. I categorized this post under “Family History” because, for all of us, these are times we will remember for the rest of our lives.   I will be back in a week.  Meg will be back by November 15.

And so, dear friends, be well. Peace!

“Suits Us”–Bodega Bay

The casual life style and nonchalance of Bodega Bay is evidenced by this enchanting–if deteriorated–cottage near the coast in Northern California.  “Suits Us” suggests the relaxed lifestyle of the people who live there.  It is the goal of many who travel there. Who needs elegance when you are minutes from one the world’s beautiful beaches?

May the quality of our lives be determined by the beauty, joy and meaning we find around us rather than the number of dollars we have to spend.