Monday, January 1, 2018

My 12 Most Memorable Moments in 2017

Happy New Year to my family and friends near and far.  What a year 2017 has been.  Gerry and I found new places to explore here in San Diego, lost friends and family members, but celebrated the births of new ones, most especially our granddaughter.  When I bump into someone, I'm always asked where we traveled to in 2017, or where we're going to in 2018.  With Gerry accepting a contract position with AT&T, we didn't go anywhere internationally, but we're definitely bound for France and, hopefully, Uganda this year.

Time spent with loved ones is always significant, but my selection for most memorable moments are chosen for its wow factor and what moved me to become a better person.

Here are my 12 most memorable moments for 2017.


A mini-twister tore through my town in January and took down the beautiful California pepper tree that I loved so much.  The giant tree on the backyard slope splintered under the forceful winds and caused it to crash to the ground.  The tree destroyed patio furniture and a hot tub.  Miraculously, it missed the house. 


I've lived in San Diego, off and on, since 1964.  I've also, over the years, visited a few Spanish missions throughout California except for this one, just 19 minutes from my home.  In February, Gerry and I finally toured San Diego de Alcala, the "Mother of the Missions", a National Historic Landmark.  The first of 21 Spanish missions established, in part, by Father Junipero Serra, it was founded in 1769.  It is a very beautiful and serene place to visit.


Here's another place we finally visited after all these years of reading about the gorgeous spring wildflowers in the Anza Borrego Desert.  What took us so long to see this beauty in our own backyard?  I wrote about it back in  March.  You can find that article here.  It was such a delight to see so much nature.


Another San Diego historic place I kept seeing mentioned in newspapers and magazines over the years, the Santa Margarita Ranch at Camp Pendleton.  It has a very long, colorful and vibrant history, and has seen many U.S. presidents and dignitaries come through its many rooms.  Tours of the Santa Margarita complex (Ranch House, Chapel and Bunkhouse Museum) are conducted on the first Tuesday, second Wednesday and third Thursday of the month, from October through May.  These tours are available by appointment only.  You're confirmed for the tour when you receive a letter from the United States Marine Corps at  Camp Pendleton.  It's worth the time and effort to get on the property.  For more information, click here.

The day I earned my disaster responder vest.  This photo was taken at Cinco de Mayo in Old Town, but I actually received my vest two months earlier after months of classroom and online training.  I am so proud of myself!


We traveled to Nashville to do more sightseeing in the city, but especially to visit our little princess-adventuress, Presley.  We hadn't seen her since last December, so we were so excited to see her.  Isn't she a beauty?  It was great to see her mommy and daddy, too! 


The Great American Eclipse on August 21st!  I spent my  morning at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park to witness the total solar eclipse.  It was an awesome experience to be with families sharing their solar glasses with strangers who didn't own one.  I shared mine with an older French woman who hadn't seen an eclipse in years, and with a little girl who was seeing her very first eclipse.  Afterward, I purchased postal stamps that showed a dark planet, but when exposed to the sun, reveals the earth.  Very cool!


Kaylee Marie McMillen was born on August 6. She is our third grandchild, and second granddaughter.  What a blessing.  I was fortunate to be present at her birth.  I was working a Red Cross shelter in El Centro when Summer texted Gerry and I that she just lost her mucous plug.  It was a race against time as Summer had a fast delivery when Kyle was born.  We didn't want to miss Kaylee's birth!  She arrived
past 12:30 midnight, 7lbs. 8oz., 19.5" long, and a dimple in her right cheek.  She's a real beauty!


We went to Catalina Island for the first time ever in June with my sister, Cindy and her husband, Arnold.  Their first time, too.  The island has a very relaxed vibe, so relaxed that our lunch lasted over two and a half hours.  I didn't care much for the long ferry ride going to and from the island, though.  We'll need to take a speed boat next time.


Any time Kyle spends the weekend with us is a highlight.  He's pure joy because his face lights up when he discovers something new in the house or garage, he laughs easily, and he's as witty as his Grandpa G.  One of his favorite things is "his bathtub".  Kyle also likes to call this tub his boat!


On August 27, I deployed to Texas to assist in disaster relief in Hurricane Harvey.  I ended up in the country town of Sour Lake with this great group of Red Cross volunteers.  We offered our support and resources to Bruce, the town's mayor, and his family who ran the shelter.  I served as shelter supervisor, then manager when our manager had to depart, then public information officer.  It's very satisfying to provide support and comfort to those in need following a disaster. You become family with those you serve with in times of need.  I hope to return to Sour Lake in the future and see how everyone's doing.

No longer pass holders, we'll go to Disneyland every few years and make a mini-vacation of it during the holidays.  We enjoyed the park before schools went on winter break.  It felt more relaxed, meaning it wasn't extremely crowded.  We booked a king suite on the Concierge Level to check out the newly renovated Lounge which is stocked with savory and sweet treats, including fruits and vegetables, wine, beer, champagne, milk, coffee, soda and juices all day long.  It was worth it to pay the extra money.  We also celebrated Kat's birthday, my son Gary's girlfriend, at the elegant Cathay Circle Restaurant in California Adventures.  The place is very elegant and the food a foodie's delight.  This was a great holiday getaway!

With the start of the new year, I wish everyone good health and happiness, I wish to see more sunsets, read more books, stay consistent with my blog, and connect with more people on my travels.  Memories can be fleeting, so try to stay in the moment as much as you can.  This is something I need to practice.  How about you?