Sky Views & Attitude

When you live in the desert but are an ocean girl at heart, you’re often hard pressed to find beauty in your everyday surroundings. At least that’s the case for me. The ocean is my happy place. The damp, salty air, the sound of the waves and gulls, the smell of sea creatures and kelp; I love everything about it. Five minutes at the ocean and I am the vision of peace and calm. Seriously.

Like I said, I live in the desert. In Nevada. The wind blows quite a bit here and there’s lots of dirty dirt; nothing like ocean breezes and beach sand. But thankfully, I live in northern Nevada. No, it’s nowhere near Las Vegas. We’re nestled in a valley near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Which is a good thing because after the ocean, my next favorite place to be is in the mountains. And we don’t have to drive very far to get me to the mountains.

Wow, I sound like a whiny brat! Probably because for a while after moving here, I kind of was a whiny brat. It took me some time to decide to make the most of this desert and to choose to see the beauty that it has to offer.

The ever-changing landscape is very noticeable here. Partly because it’s a farming community and much of it is planted and harvested every year and partly because it is a valley nestled between mountain ranges. Though the wind can set me on edge, with it comes diverse weather patterns. A standing joke around here is that you can experience all four seasons in one day. It really is true. One minute you can be sweating because of the blistering sun and the next thing you know, hurricane force winds start blowing, bringing dark, broody clouds that dump gallons of rain in a matter of minutes. Sometimes winters here are wet and snowy and other times they are dry and bone-achingly cold. Sometimes Spring comes early and other times we barely have any springtime. Summers are always hot and Fall varies in length like Spring does. But the one thing I can always count on is the sky.

Our place is situated so that I  have a beautiful view of the morning sky.  When I remember to take the time and look out at the sunrise, I am never disappointed. The colors are breathtaking and the feelings they impart to me stay with me the whole day. When the wind blows, the clouds roll over the hills on the west side and make their way across the land, giving us a show of unmatched magnificence. Sometimes, the clouds lay on top of each other in layers giving the illusion of ocean waves and if I listen closely, I can almost hear them crashing upon each other. Sometimes we get giant puffy white clouds, other times we get flying saucer clouds and the thunderheads we get are impressively intimidating. The sunsets are nothing to sneer at either.  I never realized how many shades of pastel there are. Pinks, lavenders, yellows, grays, various hues of blues…even varying shades of white. Every bit of our northern Nevada sky is amazing.

I often say that our view of the sky is the best part about where we live. And it is. Because if we didn’t have this wonderful diversity in our skyscapes, I might be hard-pressed to find something to get excited about around here. That sounds shallow but it’s how I feel because the desert just isn’t my favorite. But here’s a funny tidbit. For the past few months, Mr. SBF and I have been traveling around a bit, checking out other places here and there, poking around to see if there is somewhere else for us to be and much to our bewilderment, no place else has quite felt like home.  Every time we return to our humble abode from one of our outings, we breathe a big sigh of relief. How’s that for irony? Maybe it’s because this is where we raised our children. Or maybe it’s because the rural lifestyle suits us so well. Maybe it’s because this is our comfort zone. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, it seems pretty clear that, for us, Nevada means home. At least for now anyway. And that’s okay.  For richer, for poorer, at the ocean or in the desert, my sweetheart and I are together and that is definitely what matters the most.

For more amazing sky views, follow our Instagram account!

Remembering to be Present

This year has been quite different for us. Mr. SBF and I were able to take an extended sabbatical and spent the last six months of the year road tripping, camping and visiting with family. The break from the stress of the past decade and from our normal routine was definitely needed and we feel so very blessed to have been given the opportunity.

One thing that I became aware of early on in our break was the fact that I am often not “present” in my everyday life. As an Empath, I am almost constantly inundated with the feelings and emotions of others and I think that retreating into my own thoughts is one of the ways I am able to combat the exhaustion that comes from the constant influx of emotion that I am faced with on a daily basis. And because I am often in my own head, I have realized that I miss out on a lot.

Sometimes when the family is reminiscing about something or even during a conversation with someone I’ll suddenly “snap out of it” and realize that I missed out on part of it because I wasn’t “all there”. Yes, really. Ugh.

And don’t get me started on electronic devices and what a huge distraction they can be! Giving a device to people who are in the habit of retreating into their own thoughts only perpetuates the problem, er, issue! And forget about giving them earbuds. I mean…yeah…just don’t! Can any Introverts relate or is it just me? Haha!

Anyway, during our time together, since it was just the two of us and we were traveling in our own car, I was able to sit and enjoy the scenery (and my electronic device) without the “noise” from the outside world. So, when we were around other people, I was able to listen and enjoy it because, during our travel time, I was able to rest and “regroup”.

Becoming more self-aware has been something I’ve been working on for several years now. And I’m grateful that I became aware of this “issue” early on in our sabbatical. I believe that it helped me to focus on making sure the time with my Sweetheart was quality time. And it has definitely made me more mindful of the time I spend with loved ones. I don’t want to miss out on any of the good stuff when my children and grandchildren are home because times well spent make the most treasured memories!

To make sure I’m paying attention to life, follow my social media pages! Let me know if you notice a lack of presence there! Heehee.

 

 

Moringa & Me

 

Have you ever heard of Moringa?  I think I saw something about it several months ago but since I was doing research on something else at the time I didn’t pay much attention to it. But upon a recent visit with family in California, my sister-in-love mentioned that she had been taking Moringa seeds for a few weeks and asked if I knew anything about them. Auntie SBF is diabetic and suffers from both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. She said that since she had been taking the Moringa seeds she had noticed that the inflammation and pain in her joints had gone down, that her blood sugar levels were stable and that she had also lost a little bit of weight. Since this was the second time the topic had come up and Auntie SBF was giving me live testimony about it, I promptly set about educating myself on the mysterious Moringa.

It turns out that Moringa is a tree native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and has a multitude of benefits and uses; from water purification to herbal medicine to treating malnutrition. It really is quite interesting and I encourage you to read more about it here.

Dealing with some health issues of my own about a decade ago brought me to the firm belief that each of us is responsible for our own health. We have unlimited information at our disposal and really have no excuse not to self-educate ourselves on the things that affect us. In as such, I have become my own best “doctor”. After all, who knows my body better than I? So after just enough research to peak my interest, I bought some Moringa seeds of my own.                                                                     

My research discovered that Moringa is packed with nutrients like Vitamins A, C & E, calcium, and potassium. It contains protein, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, polyphenols and ascorbic acid. It fights inflammation, supports brain health, protects the liver and helps wounds to heal faster.  These points alone had me convinced that Moringa seeds were worth a try. Then I found that Moringa also helps with weight loss and that was it. I was on board. Mr. SBF even decided to give them a try! I promptly ordered some seeds from Amazon so they would be waiting for us when we got home.

As soon as we were home, I began taking two seeds per day and Mr. SBF began with one. Let me say right here, Moringa seeds have a very distinct flavor. Mr. SBF and I both agree that they are bitter at the end but for me, they can be overpoweringly sweet. I personally have to chew them with a mouth full of food or the sweetness simply gags me. Mr. and Auntie SBF don’t seem to have that issue with them though.

Other than the flavor, I didn’t notice any other effects from the seeds right away but Mr. SBF did. He noticed an increase in energy almost immediately as if he had just drunk a shot of espresso. On the other hand, after just a couple of days, we both saw a decrease in number when we stepped onto the scale. WooHoo! After about two weeks, though, the weight loss flattened out and we didn’t notice the seeds having any other effects on us. So, I went back to my research and decided that I would order some Moringa powder which is the leaf of the tree, dried and ground into a powder that you add to liquids or foods of your choice. It is now considered to be a “super food”.

Once I received my powder, I immediately began using it. I simply make a cup of “tea” out of it and enjoy it at some point during the day. It has a nice mild “green” flavor. Once I began drinking it, in addition to my two seeds in the morning, I noticed that I did feel like I had more energy and I began to see both a decrease in numbers on the scale as well as a decrease around my middle. Yay Moringa!

It has been a few weeks now and both Mr. SBF and I have recently increased our seed intake. I am up to 3-6 seeds per day and he is up to 2-4 per day. I continue to drink the powder as well. We are definitely reaping the benefits of this amazing plant and I will update you later on our progress. In the meantime, maybe take a look at Moringa for yourself and give it a try. If you do, I’m sure you’ll be glad you did!

Don’t forget to check back with us here for updates on our progress!

 

***Disclaimer: Information shared here is the express opinion and personal experience of the author who is neither a doctor or healthcare professional.

 

Baby is Coming!

When I was a young mom I remember people telling me to enjoy the time with my children while they were little because time goes by so quickly. I would smile and nod while wondering to myself if I would survive the toddler years.

Now that my children are grown I realize that I was given wise advice. The child-rearing season goes by extremely fast and before you know it, they are grown and having children of their own. That’s the season we’re in now. “Grandparent Season”!

How can it be that my sweet little round-headed boy, my “Baby Pumpkin”, “ManBoy” is going to be a daddy? Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was enjoying his first Christmas? And then the next day, his first birthday? Weren’t we just struggling with toddler tantrums and experiencing his strong will for the first time? Not very long ago we were dealing with raging hormones and temper flares that challenged us to our core.

Yet, here we are. ManBoy is all grown up and he and his beautiful “Watermelon” are starting a family of their own!

In a month, grandson number three is due to make his entrance into the world, to fill our hearts and our home with insurmountable joy. We are looking forward to this little and can’t wait to spoil him “rotten”!

For us, this winter means, “Baby is Coming!”

Check back with us soon for updates about our little’s arrival!

 

Camping, Tidy Coolers & Bears

In September, just after Labor Day, we went on a camping trip to Twin Lakes in Mammoth, CA.  It was our first time camping there and we loved it. The lakes are beautiful, there’s a LOT to do in the surrounding area, and the town is just a couple of miles away. The best part is that it’s only a two and a half hour drive from home! Yes!

Mr. SBF and I went up on Wednesday to secure our spot and set up camp. We got a great spot nestled in the Pines, close to both lakes and even closer to the bathrooms! Our camp host greeted us right away and the first thing Mr. SBF asked her was, “Have there been any bear sightings?” She confidently answered that “No, there hasn’t been any bear sightings reported all Summer.” We were amazed because Mammoth is definitely bear country and we had heard from friends who had camped there before that there was always plenty of bears around. Anyway, we set up camp, took a short hike, made an early dinner and enjoyed our night.

The next day we did some exploring around the lakes, went into town to pick up some firewood and had an all-around good time. ManBoy, his Watermelon, and Girl2 joined us late that night and we all camped out in our tent. We have a three room tent, so everyone was plenty comfortable. The next day ManBoy and Watermelon set up their cozy little tent and we all went about having a grand time.

The one thing about camping, though, that drives me a little nutty is the coolers/ice chests. They get so messy and unorganized! I am still trying to figure out the best way to keep them tidy and the more people you’re camping with, the more challenging it is! Using resealable plastic bags just simply doesn’t work for me. As the ice melts in the cooler, they all fall to the bottom and finding anything is like venturing into a black hole. My favorite way to organize is with glass containers. There are so many styles, sizes, and colors to choose from these days, I just love it! I use glass containers in my refrigerator at home, but for camping, glass just isn’t practical and makes your coolers way too heavy. So, the next best option for me is to use (BPA free) plastic containers. I have a set (or two) that I use just for camping. It makes navigating the coolers far less frustrating. The only downfall is that they take up a lot more room than plastic bags do, so we have to take multiple coolers with us.

Campgrounds that are located in “bear country” usually provide bear boxes in each campsite. The bear boxes are large heavy- gauged metal lockers with fancy handles that lock and are where you should store your coolers/ice chests, dry foods and anything that contains a scent/fragrance (eg. toiletries, etc.) in order to keep the bears from raiding your camp, stealing your food, scaring the you-know-what out of you and from potentially harming anyone.

On this particular camping trip, we had several coolers on our site because everyone brought one and you guessed it, they wouldn’t all fit into our bear box! Our solution to the dilemma was to put the coolers and bags that contained the food and toiletries into the bear box and to put all of the drinks (which were in cans or bottles) into one cooler and to leave it next to the bear box. This worked. Until the last night of our trip.

We had all gone to bed and about an hour later, just as we were about to slumber, we heard some noise outside of the tents. My first thought was that ManBoy had decided that he needed a snack and was getting into the bear box. But then, there was all kinds of racket going on and we knew that it wasn’t ManBoy. Mr. SBF grabbed a flashlight, slowly and quietly unzipped the tent door flap, shined the light toward the bear box and to his, um, surprise (?), he was looking into the eyes of a medium sized black-bear! Shining the flashlight into the bear’s eyes, he yelled, “ARRGH! GET OUT OF HERE! ARRGH!” and the bear promptly sprinted off, through other people’s campsites, and eventually back into the forest.

After waiting several minutes to make sure that there weren’t any other surprise guests on our site, we went out to see what the bear had been up to. Upon inspection, we found that it had started to drag our drink cooler away. It was toppled over on its side with some of its contents strewn about. And then Mr. SBF saw it. An empty bacon wrapper.

It appears that earlier in the day when I had lined up all of the coolers to reorganize them, I had temporarily put the bacon in the drink cooler and had accidentally forgotten about it. Ugh! Now, Park Rangers and Camp Hosts will tell you that bears have a very keen sense of smell and that they recognize coolers and know what we put in them (hence the bear boxes). But we had kept the drink cooler out there for several days without incident. My theory is that the bear smelled the bacon (because, yes, the package had been opened and was stored in a “bleeping” plastic bag) and he was on a mission to get it. And get it he did! Upon further inspection, I realized that he had also run off with a half a quart of milk! The actual container was gone! Picture that; a bear running off with a fist full of bacon and a jug of milk!

I felt like a heel. But the next morning we found out that the bear had raided several other campsites before visiting ours. It made me feel a little better, but not much.

The moral of the story is this: if you are camping, are an A-type personality and have an incessant need for order, when you reorganize your coolers, MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF THE FOOD IS LOCKED AWAY IN THE BEAR BOX! Seriously.

Our bear encounter makes a great story (and look at the fun t-shirt Watermelon got for Mr. SBF) but the danger was real and the adrenaline crash was terrible. I will certainly be more conscientious about this matter when we go camping in the future. And I still haven’t quite solved my cooler storage/organization dilemma. Perhaps a larger, bear-resistant cooler will be this year’s camping gear addition. Hmm.

All-in-all, though, we had a great time. If you’re ever in the Sierra Mountains, we highly recommend the Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth, CA. It is beautiful. And if you’re ever in Mammoth and want one of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever have, visit Black Velvet Coffee. It really is like velvet in your mouth!

For more breathtaking photos, follow our Instagram account!

Northern Nevada Local

It’s a funny thing, living in Nevada. When we first moved here from California and would tell people that we live in Nevada, they would say, “Oh! Do you live in Las Vegas?” No, no we don’t. So, we learned early on to say, “We live in northern Nevada.” Now people ask, “Oh! Do you live near Las Vegas?” No, no we don’t. Las Vegas is about 360 miles south of us. We live near Reno. Sort of.

The state of Nevada spans 109,781 square miles and has a LOT of vacant land. The Las Vegas area (southern Nevada) has more population than the rest of the state’s cities and towns combined. Northern Nevada is rural. Even the cities, like Reno (“the Biggest Little City in Nevada”) and Carson City (the state’s capital) have a rural feel to them. In between the various towns and cities are wide open spaces with an abundance of wild horses and plenty of other desert fauna to see.

In order for us to get to a shopping center with retail chains, we have to drive a minimum of fifty miles. Reno is the only city near us with a shopping mall and it’s about 75 miles northwest of us. But we’re not complaining. We’ve been here for going on fifteen years and the rural life suits us just fine.

Much of the area still has an “old west” feel and even though the towns and cities are spaced far apart, there is a genuine sense of community in northern Nevada. One of the things we love about it is that every city has a plethora of small, locally owned and operated businesses. Sometimes we will take a drive to another town specifically to visit one business or another. Fernely, NV has our favorite Chinese Restaurant, Fallon, NV is home to our favorite distillery, Gardnerville, NV has our favorite pizza place, Dayton, NV has our favorite hair salon, Carson City, NV is where our favorite panaderia is, Reno, NV is where our favorite sushi restaurant is located and Lake Tahoe, NV is where most of the snow is. Oh, and Yerington, NV (aside from being where we live) is home to our favorite florist!

Sometimes I wish that shopping was a little more convenient (by that, I mean that we lived closer to shopping centers) but then again the internet makes shopping these days pretty convenient! In fact, I did most of my Christmas shopping online this past Christmas and I am seriously considering subscribing to one of those grocery delivery programs!  But I digress. Living in northern Nevada, for the most part, is pretty nice. Like I said, rural living agrees with us and I honestly don’t think we would ever be able to go back to the city life.

Oh, and the real purpose of this article is to let you know that the “Local” tab at the top of our website is where I am going to be sharing more about our northern Nevada area, so come back soon and see what there is to do when you’re in Nevada (but not in Las Vegas!)