“Stay Active!”

by Bob Sparrow

Sharon & Jack

Officially Spring will not be sprung until 5:58 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, but this past weekend temperatures inched into the 80s and more importantly the rain stopped. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the rain, but enough already! If I liked rain that much I would have moved to Seattle.

Linda and I took off for Santa Maria on Friday morning to attend the 80th birthday party of my sister-in-law, Sharon.  Our first stop was at Dana’s bakery in Monrovia, for their famous blueberry pancakes and the best bacon ever. But the best part of breakfast was time with granddaughter, Addison, who never ceases to amaze us.

Addison

We took a detour on our way up through Simi Valley, were we visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to see an exhibit on Pompeii; as we will be visiting Pompeii later this year on our cruise around Italy. The exhibit included lots of information about life in the Roman Empire in the year 79 A.D. and in particular on the date of August 24th when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in a most dramatic style and buried the entire city of Pompeii under millions of tons of volcanic ash. With no planes, trains or automobiles to quickly get out of town, over 2,000 people were killed and fossilized in various positions trying to get out of the city.

While at the library, I took a picture of Linda with Ronnie and Nancy, who appeared a little stiff.

Our cloudless sunny drive continued over to the coast to Santa Barbara and lunch on the water at the Blue Water Grill, just across PCH from Stearns Wharf where we enjoyed the sun and salt air as we strolled the pier after lunch. We continued our drive up the coast and then inland to Santa Maria for a pre-birthday dinner at Jack & Sharon’s house.

Saturday morning we took a drive up the coast on another beautiful sunny day (it was almost like living in California) and had lunch at Wooly’s on the sand at Pismo Beach before returning to Santa Maria Country Club for Sharon’s birthday celebration which was attended by a group of 30 some odd family and friends, including both her children, Debbie and Brad, six of her seven grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Sharon looks 65 and has plenty of spunk. When I asked her what her secret was she said, “Stay active!”

We’re just trying to keep up!

THE BACKYARD BLOG ABOUT NOTHING

by Bob Sparrow

nothing1I know I don’t always succeed, but I always try to write something entertaining about where I’ve been or where I’m going, as I love travel and I seem to look at things from a little different perspective than most others. Or I’ll write about some little, but hopefully interesting, observation of life. Sister Suzanne does a particularly great job of the latter – I mean really, she brought us to tears last week writing about taking her dog for a walk out to the end of her driveway. Me – not so much, as I said, I usually rely on ‘going somewhere’ and hoping to find something interesting to write about.

sb coast

Santa Barbara coast

Last week I was supposed to go on a camping trip along the Santa Barbara coast, exploring the beaches and cliffs of this beautiful area, but for various reasons that I’m sure you’re not interested in – heck, I’m not even that interested – the trip was cancelled. So there I was, ready to regale you with my adventurous treks along the beautiful Central Coast and now I’ve got nothing. Didn’t go anywhere. Didn’t see anything interesting. Nothing extraordinary happened to me. Didn’t discover any special or unique places. I’ve got nothing. Even though Seinfeld made a career out of it, it’s hard to write about nothing. Although some have said there’s a lot of nothing in many of my previous blogs.

pal2

Deck-side umbrella table and palapa

fireplace

Outside fireplace

So last weekend instead of camping in the Chumash Mountain Wilderness, I wandered around in my backyard. No, I didn’t camp there, although there have been occasions, when the kids were younger, when I’d pitch a tent on the back lawn, spend the night in it and be awakened in the morning by the sprinklers that I forgot to turn off. So, this week my ‘going somewhere’ turned out to be my backyard, and while I enjoy putzing around back there, I’m not finding anything of interest to write about this week. Unlike my sister’s backyard, which has Pinnacle Peak, I have no natural landmarks. I do however have some ‘man-made’ landmarks and so I wander around back there trying to find inspiration from them. I look past the pool deck umbrella table where no one is sitting to the palapa that no one is sitting under, and I get no inspiration . . . nothing. I check the ‘Tiki Bar’ to see if there are any stragglers left over from the weekend, perhaps with a good story to tell that would make for an interesting blog . . . nothing. I recently bought a new umbrella for our outside fireplace area, and although it’s nice, it’s hardly blog-worthy. I crank up some Jimmy Buffet music through the outside speakers hoping to get some inspiration from him . . . nothing. We bought this house new 28 years ago and the backyard was just dirt . . . nothing. And today in terms blog inspiration . . . nothing. I’m thinking maybe I should talk to some of the plants; perhaps they’ll talk back and give me something to write about. I bend down and put my ear to the hydrangeas . . . nothing.

bar

The Tiki Bar

plumeria

Plumeria

 

Behind the pool is what I called my ‘Ho’omana’O Honopua’, which loosely translate in Hawaiian to ‘Memorial Garden’. I love Hawaii, so my intent with this garden was to bring Hawaii to my backyard, so I wouldn’t have to pay airfare or expensive hotel rates to enjoy the sights and smell of palms and plumeria. I’ve told my family that I’d like my ashes under the moai (stone monoliths from Easter Island – a bucket list destination) on the right in the picture below. It is already a memorial garden in that when I returned from my best friend, Don Klapperich’s funeral, I purchased the moai on the left in the picture below and buried under it a shell casing from the rifles fired during the military memorial service.

memorial garden

Ho’ Omana ‘ o Honopua

It’s getting dark and there will be no lights turned on in the backyard tonight, no tiki torches lit, no music playing, no adult beverages consumed; there will be, like this blog . . . nothing.