Monday, May 14, 2018

The Restaurant on the Cliff

Matt and I have often heard of the beauty of Big Sur, the undeveloped area surrounding California State Highway 1 as you drive south from Monterey. The road winds between the mountains and the ocean, with very little room between the road and the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately our arrival to Monterey in Summer 2016 coincided with a wildfire that closed Big Sur. The road was closed again, and parts remain closed today, due to a landslide in 2017. As a result we haven't taken many trips down Highway 1. When we have visitors to the West Coast we will occasionally lunch Rocky Point Restaurant, a lovely, rustic place where the high food prices are worth the floor to ceiling windows that overlook the rocky coastline. Every time we visit the fog is caught over the ocean by the Santa Lucia Mountains, giving the views an otherworldly look. We enjoyed visiting with Matt's family in the Spring so we could enjoy the wildflowers along the cliffs. I could not resist taking pictures!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Sunday Snapshot

Happy Mother's Day! Photo taken in 2017 on the stunning 17-mile-drive. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Sunday Snapshot

This weekend I did something I've never done before... attended a motorcycle show! Matt's brother Tony was in town for The Quail Motorcycle Gathering with his company to display the motorcycle he designed! This event was classy, and we would not have been able to attend due to the hundred dollar ticket price...but we had a connection! Tony joined us for the catered lunch with cloth napkins and real silverware that we ate as a picnic under the tree to avoid the crowded tables. He also walked us through the restoration displays and described how motorcycles have changed over time. He really did try to explain things to me, but since I'm not entirely sure how a motor works the finer points were lost on me. I appreciated the attempt!  

We stayed to watch the awards ceremony, and an electric motorcycle from Tony's company won an award for innovation! We got to cheer (quiet clapping since it was classy event) for Tony as the judges doled out praise for the design and bottles of champagne for the winners. We're so proud!

In front of Tony's gas powered custom motorcycle...the warhawk!

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Aquarium

Monterey has a famous aquarium, known for its sea otter rescue program and location on Cannery Row as a former sardine cannery. I worked there for a few months, impressed by its dedication to science education and happy animals. While I did not enjoy working in the peak season (imagine thousands of visitors in a concrete former factory), I soon missed the sea otters and jellyfish. Matt and I returned during the off-season local appreciation week where we could visit for free!

The kelp forest exhibit. Monterey Bay Aquarium pumps in water directly from the bay, which is also a kelp forest. 

My favorite marine animal and unofficial mascot of Monterey... the adorable sea otter!

Impressive jellyfish exhibit. 

Matt bought me a stuffed sea otter as we exited through the gift shop!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Evening in an Adobe

Monterey is an old, old town. I did not realize quite how old until I volunteered to teach others about the history of a specific adobe, the Larkin House.

In December I volunteered through the local officer spouses club to help the Monterey State Historic Park with their annual Christmas in the Adobes. All of the 19th century buildings were open for one night, decorated with luminarias, and filled with musicians and volunteers.

I stood beside the portraits of Thomas and Sarah Larkin and explained the history of the home. The Larkins were from Boston and designed their home in the colonial style so that it was the first two story home in California. Thomas Larkin was the U.S. consul to California which was still under Mexican rule. Adjacent to the home was a stone building that served as officer quarters. I did not realize that then-Lieutenant William Sherman was stationed there until there was a Civil War reenactor in uniform walking around as Sherman for the evening. All of the volunteers, including me, were in period dress.

I received a free ticket for volunteering, which I gave to Matt to explore the other adobes. We both enjoy history, so we had lots of fun and learned a lot about our new (but very old) town!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The New Home

Welcome back to our adventures! About twenty months ago Matt, Tilly, and I moved from the island of Okinawa to the coastal town of Monterey, California so that Matt can attend the Naval Postgraduate School. It's my first time living on the West Coast!

We have a whole new EVERYTHING! New townhouse with our very first garage and tiny yard, New gold SUV that we share, New routines as Matt studies and I find new places to work and play.

Monterey is a tourist destination that is about an hour away from Silicon Valley in central California. It is known for its rocky coastline and mild weather year-round. Our house doesn't even have air conditioning because the summers are so cool! My favorite activity here is to walk along the coast with a latte, admiring the seals and otters that you can see from the shore. I can't wait to share more about the locations and events I've found to love in my new town!

Home sweet home!

Hiking in Point Lobos where cliffs overlook the ocean. 
Marine Corps Birthday Ball on Matt's historic campus. 
Gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Home Base

We were assigned housing on Camp Courtney, the base with family housing that is closest to Matt's work on Camp Schwab (still an hour commute away). As our first experience with on-base housing it was wonderful. Camp Courtney is a small base with the basics: a grocery store, library, gym, and movie theater. It even has its own beach, but Matt and I only utilized this amenity a few times due to our fair skin.

On-base in Okinawa feels like a very drab version of America. We have wide fields of grass (while off-base there would just be another building instead), but all of the offices and houses are the same style and color. The concrete tower where we lived is not beautiful architecture, but it withstood all of the Okinawa weather including typhoons and earthquakes. I also appreciate the tower because we became such good friends with our neighbors! We were even able to visit each other during typhoons thanks to the interior hallways.

I did my best to decorate in the absence of a Target, concrete walls, and limited supply of our own possessions due to weight restrictions. The result was hand-made art and furniture pieces purchased from other families leaving the island. It felt like home to us!