Sunday, January 04, 2015

Happiness is......

I can't even tell you how many times in the last 2-1/2 weeks I've said, "I am so happy"to anyone who will listen to me...or to myself.

We flew from Australia to Seattle and after a day of revelling in being with Brad, Anette and Magnus, we packed up Obi, several suitcases and toddler paraphenalia and drove to Palm Springs.
Traffic jam on Los Angeles freeway going east to Palm Springs
We rendezvoused with them and their friends the Helanders in Palm Springs where they rented a beautiful midcentury house and we stayed in a great hotel just five minutes away.  It was a win-win situation for everyone.
Two wonderful young families:  Brad, Anette, Magnus, and Nolan, Hudson and Eric
 It turned into a week where we shared cooking, had fun with the kids and did a bit of sightseeing.
The most amazing milkshakes I've ever had from "Great Shakes".  Those are little cakes on top of the milkshakes - a true stroke of genius.
Brad rented a cool convertible and had a blast bombing around town. 

Magnus will no doubt like fast cars like his dad
Brad drove the three "girls" to get our nails done.  

We heard of an unusual Christmas light display called "RoboLights" in a residential area of Palm Springs.  It is at the very least, a little wacko.  On the surface the lights are incredible....but as you look closer and find out more, you see there is a quasi political slant to it all, right down to when you pay the entrance fee of $5, and it goes down an actual drain.  Think Tim Burton meets Doomsday Preppers.

Note Santa carrying a rifle.....not the usual falalalala Christmas fare
Magnus was mesmorized by the lights....Roger was mesmorized by the whackiness.
Family shot before we decided to get the hell out of there!  
Christmas morning was pure joy as Magnus and Hudson really got into the spirit of opening presents and playing with them.

Christmas in Palm Springs with my beautiful family --- 10 out of 10
RaRa helping Magnus open up presents...such a look of anticipation!
I'm sure in Grandparenting 101 it states a drum should be given at the earliest opportunity.  Check.

Roger gave Brad a retro, very untechnical gift for Christmas.  Magnus liked it too!
Brad and Roger had fun with it too

Magnus loves books. Of course we bought him, "Curious George and the Boat Show" 

Roger and Brad love holding pillows while they relax and I noticed Magnus holding one while we were skyping with him one day.  I found this beautiful Boston Terrier pillow on Etsy and gave it to him so he'd have his own special pillow.  We noticed Magnus going to it several times and giving it a hug thinking it was a picture of Obi.
Magnus put Roger's running shoes on and merrily clomped around in them.
We drove out to Joshua Tree National Park to see the unique scenery.

These are Joshua Trees showcased against the beautiful blue sky
It dipped down to 3C just before the sun set.  We did some photo ops and jumped in the cars again.

I never get tired of seeing these two together
We went to Palm Springs because that is where Brad, Anette and Magnus were going to be for Christmas.  We ended up loving the area and can see why snowbirds spend the winter months there. Before we knew it the week was over and we packed up and headed back to Redmond where we dropped Obi off.
The trip was long, but had some beautiful scenery
It was then time to head to Vancouver Island where we stayed with our friends, Barb and Rob Perry for 3 days before we got our condo that we've rented for a couple of months.
View from the ferry coming into Nanaimo
The Perrys toured us around and gave us a great overview of the area. Local knowledge is a huge advantage when moving to a new place, and we've appreciated their advice as well as that from other friends, Paul and Jodi Ikert.  
At one point, Roger asked me if I'd told everyone to sing the virtues of the island to him.  I assured him they were doing it on their own volition!

Rathtrevor Beach just steps away from our condo

Our rented place is in a wooded complex just a 2 minute walk from the beach
The combination of snow capped mountains....forests so lush that moss covers the branches like green paint...and the ocean with islands that dot the landscape make this a place we hope to call home in September.  Roger flew back to Australia for the final phase of testing and should be back in a few weeks and we'll have a better look around together to see where we want to end up.  Right now, everything from Parksville south to Victoria is up for consideration.

For Christmas Roger gave me a lovely teapot and cups.  To many, it might not seem like a special gift, but for me it was.  In all of our 11 overseas "homes" we never had a teapot.  Sometimes I would start looking to buy one, but then it was time to move on.

To me, having a teapot meant more than a vessel to make a drink.  To me it conjures up a feeling of being home.  And while we haven't put down roots quite yet, it feels good being here and exploring the island.

I'm so happy... I think I'll have a cup of tea.

"Harry found the hot drink....seemed to burn away a little of the fear fluttering in his chest."
                                                                                                                       J.K. Rowling

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