I truly cannot believe it's been 3 years today since Chris went to heaven. Sometimes it seems like it was longer, and other times, it feels like it just happened.
Since we are not able to gather, I decided to invite several friends to a zoom meeting to have a brief toast to Chris. I opened up a 2014 Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from Chappellet Vineyards. It was a favorite of Chris and I's. I also made lamb for dinner.
I'm so grateful for those that were able to attend, even those that were not able to make it... I know you were all there in spirit. I was able to gather a lot of pictures of our history, so here are some of the photos....
Continue to rest in peace, Chris.
The week of Chris' 40th birthday, I traveled to Cambria. I know that spiritually, he is always around, but I wanted to be in the last physical location where I spread his ashes. I drove up there on Wednesday and met up with my good friend Laurie Island (that's not really her last name); she was my cabin mate during my trip to Antarctica. She drove down from SF, and I drove up from LA. We were wearing our masks the whole time and we even brought our own food for a few days so we wouldn't have to eat out. We enjoyed the sights and had the opportunity to walk around the town, and even visit the sea lions up north in San Simeon. Laurie had never been to Cambria so I was super happy to show her around.
Laurie and I had a great time visiting all the sights, including Nitt Witt Ridge! On Friday, Laurie was headed to San Luis Obispo, and I was going back home to LA. First, I went to where I last spread Chris' ashes and I sat there with him. I told him I was ready to move forward. No longer as a wife, nor a widow, just single me. I felt as if Chris gave me his blessing, and I allowed the tears to flow. I said goodbye and headed home.
Today is September 11th. Chris LOVED his country! Every year on this date, he was extremely reflective of the events that took place. He was always moved by stories of compassion and heroism in the middle of devastating acts. We both made time to reflect and talk about this day in our lives.
Tomorrow is September 12th, and it is a dual anniversary. Chris and I met on September 12, 2012, and he proposed on September 12, 2013. I am grateful to be in a place where I can look back and smile, and not feel pain or heartbreak. I can close my eyes and see his smiling face the first time we met. And I can close my eyes and see him bending on one knee ready to propose. I am a very blessed woman.
Today would have been Chris’s 40th Birthday. I would have thrown him a huge birthday party with all his friends (assuming post quarantine). We would otherwise be staying home and adhering to lock down since both of us would be high risk (cancer).
I connected with a lot of our mutual friends and I was happy to receive pictures of friends from all over toasting to Chris’s Birthday. I’m so grateful to have friends who are so supportive and always available.
Happy Birthday, Angel! I miss you!
My birthday was back in April. I did not expect to have anything eventful to really share, but I actually did. In these days of quarantine, whenever I visit my parents, I am always in the back yard and spaced out from my mom & dad. My brother and his wife do the same, we are all apart from each other, but still able to spend time together.
The last time I had gone to a grocery store was March 15th. I went again April 24th and found ground turkey. So I decided to make Chris's grandmother's turkey meatball recipe. My immediate family was gathering at my parents' house so I decided to cook for them. This one of the trays of meatballs ready to be cooked.
I was honestly not expecting any gifts. I was surprised to receive so many that were incredibly touching.
I also received several texts and phone calls from friends and extended family. So grateful to everyone for making my quarantine birthday memorable. Thank you all!
Today, Chris and I would have been married for 6 years. Sometimes I wonder what kind of life we would have had if he were still alive. I have no regrets, and am so grateful for the love we shared. We always said we wished everyone could love each other just as we did.
I decided to make a carrot cake to celebrate our anniversary. He really liked carrot cake; sadly I only made it once for him. It's very labor intensive and the last time I made it was 2015. He did not like sharing when it came to things that were made especially for him. He cracked me up. Certain things I cooked he was okay sharing, but I do remember - this wasn't one of them :-) I found the recipe in my binder but I wasn't sure if it was the same recipe I used before. Once I made it and tasted it, I realized it was the correct one. So glad I kept it all this time.
Wherever he is in the heavenly realm, I know he's happy and watching over me. Thanks to my friends & family that I connected with - you helped me more than you know!
Happy Anniversary, Angel!
Every so often in life, you get to meet people that shift you in a way you don’t expect. This happened to me while I was on my trip to Antarctica. My cabin mate Laurie was extraordinary, so I thought I’d write about her since she was a significant part of my stories during my Antarctic Voyage. I’ll also explain the “Island” part of her name. I think I might always call her Laurie Island in the future.
In order to afford the trip to Antarctica, most solo travelers opt for the cabin-share option on the boat, otherwise it’s like buying a car. The trip begins in Ushuaia where you spend one night in a hotel in the city. If you opt for the sharing option, this is where you will meet your cabin mate for the trip. I arrived to Ushuaia a day before so I had the opportunity to explore the town a bit on my own. I was already in the room so I had settled in a bit. Our trip officially began on February 14th. I had toured the National Park in the morning so I was in the room relaxing when Laurie walked in. She walked in and right away we shook hands and introduced ourselves. She shared right away about her recent travels to the Arctic and we talked about our travels of the past year. She was quite energetic and vivacious. We decided to go out and walk around the town a bit. Since I had already explored, I took the lead and we walked around and I showed her the main drag. I learned she lives in San Francisco, is retired, and loves animals! We continued to talk about travels and our lives and shared details about what we were expecting for our trip. More importantly, we talked about what brought us to this point in our lives.
This began our communication which I appreciated. Open and all out there. Right away I could tell Laurie was caring and understanding, with a big heart. She was a combination of go with the flow, with a bit of prep sprinkled in. As we got to know each other during the trip, we had a lot of good laughs and some fun talks. Sometimes staying up late just talking away until we realize it’s 1am. I think the funnest part is when we would be triggered by a single word, and then one of us would break out in song, and the other would chime in. I don’t think I’ve met another person that knows as many songs from Musicals as Laurie. We had a lot of laughs singing to our hearts content. We agreed not to sing publicly because we know we would completely annoy those around us.
Now the name. On the way to Antarctica we stopped by the Orkney Islands. I don’t believe this was a planned stop, it was done on the fly and it was to break up three days at sea. One of the Islands was called Laurie Island. Laurie was beyond excited to have an Island named after her. We were going to stop at the Orcadas Station which had Argentinian military and scientists stationed there for 1 year.
So this is how Laurie became Laurie Island. I am happy to have met such a happy and positive person on the trip. It made it that much more meaningful.
Here are pictures of Laurie Island; until we meet again!
Per my previous post, I know I’m supposed to go into detail of my Antarctica trip, but I’m taking a bit to write about Buenos Aires while I’m still here.
I had a nice day, sleeping in and enjoying the air conditioning. It’s summer and about 90 degrees. I got ready for the day and took a taxi to the Palermo district of the city. I intended to go to a restaurant that ended up being permanently closed. The taxi driver said I should walk a block south to another restaurant called, La Cabrera. Turns out it’s in the top 50 best restaurants of Latin America! Score!! On the taxi ride, I couldn’t help but remember my late husband, Chris. It was almost exactly 6 years ago that we explored Buenos Aires on our honeymoon.
I noticed the restaurant had plates in its walls of guests’ experiences, so I decided to add my own.
After lunch I walked around for a bit and came across a bookstore. I went in and I bought a book on the discovery of the Antarctic Peninsula in Spanish for my dad. It was crazy hot so I decided to get a taxi and then made it back to the hotel.
I can’t believe this trip is coming to an end. In a few hours I’ll be headed back to reality and busy with every day life. I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing journey and people I met along the way. I can’t wait to see my new friends again!
I am back on land after spending almost three weeks on a boat stopping at several islands en route to my 7th continent: Antarctica. I’m in Ushuaia as of this post, landed this morning. I’ll post some pics, and will elaborate on each landing on future posts. It was an epic experience!
I had an amazing day yesterday after getting some good rest the night before. I signed up for a tour of the National Park. It was excellent since there were only 5 of us, and very personal. Our tour guide was really cool, and her name was Macarena, like the song! First we boarded a train that was resurrected in the 1990s. It went through the park and it was stunning. Greenery and beautiful mountains everywhere. Just stunning.
I returned to the city and had a great lunch, seafood! A bowl full of crab meat and shrimp covered in cheese. I even had a crepe for dessert!
I went back to my hotel room and shortly after my roommate for the Antarctica trip arrived. We immediate started sharing of the different places we’ve traveled and went out for a walk. She picked up dinner and I picked up two bottles of wine (for the boat). I dropped her at the hotel and I took a taxi to a restaurant called Kalma. It was good, not great. Service was absolutely slow! I don’t blame the servers, but maybe the kitchen was backed up?? It was taking a long time to get my food so I was a bit annoyed. Regardless I did enjoy the meal. Just not great! I walked back (downhill) to the hotel and my roommate and I continued sharing about our trips.
Today, my roommate had a tour for the morning so after she left, I packed up all my things and got them ready to go into the boat. I went down to breakfast, had a ham and cheese sandwich, then returned to my room for a final check.
I decided to walk through the town a bit, and I made it to the sign at the city entrance. I also learned that there are three flags up next to the sign: Argentinian, Peruvian, and Province. The Peruvian flag is up because during the war for the Islas Malvinas, Peru was the only country that send aid to Argentina. So they show their gratitude but putting up the Peruvian flag.
On the way back, I was walking along the coast line, then came across an Artisanal shop. I went in and bought a journal. I’m going to write daily in Spanish. I will then give this to my dad when I return.
I don’t know if I will have WiFi access on the boat... so ciao for now!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend celebrating love. Whether single or attached, love is a wonderful thing.
Yesterday was a travel day for me. I left Los a angeles on Feb 12th. Flew 12 hours to Buenos Aires, then transferred to another airport for a second flight. It’s like landing in LAX and driving to Burbank airport for the next leg. I then flew another 3-4 hours and landed in Ushuaia, also called, “El Fin Del Mundo” (The End Of The World). I was extremely exhausted but I rallied and walked around the town and had an amazing dinner, Parillada. Grilled meat. Yum!! I booked a tour of the National Park for today, so I’m headed out the door. It’s a beautiful town with snow capped mountains and very nice people. Here are some photos of yesterday. I ended my day with a glass of wine and some SOMM TV. Cheers!