October 1, 2020

Peaceful Pajaro

"Time is not the Tide. It moves in only one direction. Go forth with courage and in hope. Change is not loss."

Peaceful Pajaro

After we returned home in July, I could feel the change.  I could see the change.

My girls are grown.  So independent.  Actively creating their own lives.  The need to maintain our old family home is no longer there.  

We make a plan to open up a rental property for Lizzie and Addie.   We start working on a punch list of items that need to be completed prior to the house being listed.  Our goal is to complete as much as possible before September. Then we will head back to Pajaro for a few months of peace.    

When you endure a life changing trauma, the body remembers.  The trauma seems to be on a yearly timer.... embedded in the cells.  The choice of being taken down by grief no longer becomes your decision.  It just happens. Unexpectedly at first. Then you notice the pattern year after year, and you brace for it.  

The first fall after Brandon died, I mentioned to my dad how bad my body ached. How hard it was to concentrate.  I felt overwhelmed at times and fearful of the future. At times I felt like I was going backwards.  

He confessed to me that those reactions were normal.  Grief had taken him down every December for 25 years.  I never knew. He was ridiculously busy and tough, but never the less, suffered terribly.  

I am so thankful I live under more flexible and forgiving circumstances.  Older children.  Financial freedoms.  Open support systems.  

Damon understands the grief calendar.  He has made protective efforts for himself the past few Decembers.  He was super supportive of this plan to return to Pajaro Dunes.

So...... by the middle of August Maddy had returned from NYC and we all shifted into High Gear for the final few weeks!  It wasn't all work.....amid hours of sorting, cleaning, packing, and painting, Lizzie turned 19 and started her Ambassadorship! Scout remained oblivious to any of the changes.  Maddy began her final semester for her MS SLP and kept cooking for us :)  Damon made sure we had fresh sourdough  and negotiated with contractors :)  And I probably forgot I was a lot closer to 50 than 30 ..... and engaged in a little too much manual labor :)

Damon, Macall, Navy, and Cobalt came for a weekend!  We enjoyed the park, Preston's Segway, and some borrowed toys from a neighbor.  (Ours had been packed away:)

Driving onto the property at Pajaro Dunes is always so welcoming.  The cool temps.  The agriculture fields. The smell of pines and eucalyptus.  The fog that rolls in and out. The fire station.  The birds.  The view. I made a make shift bed on the deck and we took turns resting in the beautiful outdoor environment.

A few days into our stay, the fires in California were burning wild and the atmosphere had the strangest orange glow.  

Phil's Fish House.  It's a Delicious Dive of a place in Moss Landing.  They are serious about the virus here, and their copious signs are both hilarious and maddening. But the sea food is amazing and so it has been worth it :)

We mainly cook meals here in the condo and love eating on the deck!  

Damon has made bread each week!   We have brainstormed a business idea called.... Chocolate Toasties!  We have a fun time imagining all the aspects of the pretend business.  Sampling all of our ideas each week is amazing and delicious!!!

We walk the path down to the south gate and then cross over the dunes and walk the beach back to our home every day.  It is between a 2.5 and 3.5 mile journey. It never gets old!  

We have had a few super fun clam finds on the beach.  One day we could see several in a river type inlet that empties into the ocean.  I told Damon I was going to shed my shoes, pants, and coat and go in after them!  He was surprised at first, but super encouraging once I pulled out several clams for a feast that night! Another night we were walking our normal route and came across about 25 clams right on the beach!  We gleefully scampered to pick them out of the surf :)

Both of those were great finds...... but about a week later we hit the Mother Load! 79 clams and 34 sand dollars were strewn all up and down the beach!  I made a basket out of my jumper and I bet it weighed 10 lbs by the time we made it home! We cooked and cleaned all the clams and then made Clam Chowder!  Damon made sourdough bread bowls!  We had the Ultimate Feast!

The next day we both commented how tight our hamstrings and gluts were. I guess neither of us are used to intermittent sprinting followed by a deep squat to retrieve the find :)

I brought some felt projects to hand stitch and my Bernina to work on a few quilt tops.  I have always loved sewing, and this little place puts me in a creative productive zone :)

And I was inspired by a King Arthur Instagram post to try a new type of croissant...... Chocolaty Chocolate :). Oh baby!  

Damon has continued to work on Podium every day.  Teaching classes, attending Zoom meet ups, programming new features.....all while keeping Quest and Basil Books afloat.  I so appreciate his work ethic!  He has amazing programming skills! He is a talented communicator and a wonderful provider!

And last but not least, we made the decision to go down to one car..... once the Tesla lease is up in a few months.  After we sell the house we are planning on doing some traveling to see the kids and experience different parts of the country.  With no house and no garage, One car is all we need!  

In classy and fun Damon style we test drove a few Mercedes models.  He loved the S560.  A Porsche.  And a few Land Rovers.  We chose the Land Rover Discovery! We joked that we feel a bit more married now that we own a car together, and celebrated by grabbing some In n Out on the way home :)

It has a big space for cargo and many nice nice features.  Our favorites are the seats..... heat, cool, massage!  A cooler in the center console.  The quiet power.     I'm super excited for this next chapter in life! (and the new dream car :)  

Damon's been curious how seaweed is turned into something edible. With all the fresh seaweed that washes up on the beaches here, he has mentioned a few times, "If there was some way to make seaweed a delicacy we'd be able to eat it all the time!"

After some research he decided to make a go of turning raw seaweed into edible paper. It's a vegetable, after all.

The process started with blanching the seaweed. It went from brown to bright green in seconds. Then blending it with water. Then filtering out the water and spreading the mush on parchment paper. It baked at 250 degrees for 3 hours.

And out comes seaweed paper. Plain, it wasn't the best. Adding some Mrs. Dash was an improvement. Is it a delicacy? No. But it would keep us alive if needed :)

We found some mini pancakes at Trader Joe's. Mitzi introduced me to sugar and lemon juice and oh my they were delicious!