Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! It is fun to go on holiday, but it is especially great to be back home.

Traveling to southern California in early December is something we have done for well over ten years. Joe and Anne, very dear and longtime friends, introduced us to a timeshare by inviting us to join them for a week at Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido, CA way back when. Now don't turn your nose up and say 'Lawrence Welk'?

We had such a wonderful time and it was such a beautiful place: two golf courses; four swimming pools and hot tubs; dinner theatre; each villa has two master suites, full kitchen, dining area and living room with a walk out patio and wonderful views of boulder covered mountains and wide open spaces. That and the warmth of the winter sun were all good reasons for us to take a break from the pacific northwest period of rain. Oh, and having purchased several units way below cost on the secondary market was an additional plus.

We have shared these units each year with our family and friends, and this year was no exception as several brothers and their spouses came to spend time with us. Fun, rest and relaxation has always been the order of the day (although occasionally business has occurred).

And it doesn't take much to entertain us: right outside the villa, a flock of noisy birds continuously pecked and scurried around the broad arms of the oak. At first I thought it to be the Downy woodpecker, but upon closer examination it appears to be the Acorn (Melanerpes formicivorus). Approximately 7-9 inches, these comical creatures with their red-capped crown, black nape and white striped band running across the eyes flitted about the tree, pausing only momentarily and flew off with immediacy, only to return and begin the dance again.

Several days prior, as I returned from the gym, resting atop the evergreen was this powerful looking bandit, scanning, searching, and patiently waiting for the opportunity to feast. I am afraid I am hard pressed to identify this species of hawk.

Our visits here have been enjoyable and memorable ones, but at some point all good things usually come to an end. Two days of driving and the ever expanding highway system and horrific traffic have caused us to enjoy that travel less in the past several years. This year the Welk group offered to buy our three weeks, so with the ever increasing maintenance costs, we decided it was probably time to move on, make a good financial decision and explore the next chapter... perhaps closer to home.

So with that we thank you for having shared 2007 with us and making it most pleasurable. I hope you have found something of interest: a nugget to tuck away for future reference; a photo you enjoyed; something which tugged at your heartstrings; a note which 'reminded'; or something which made you chuckle and brought a smile to your wonderful face.

May your 2008 bring you continued health and prosperity, and as we turn the page and a new chapter begins, we look forward to your visits.