We sold our home in Southern California. The escrow closed on December 7th. We drove one car with a small trailer carrying our important belongings and some essential items and left Orange County, California at 6:30 am on that day to beat the Downtown Lost Angeles traffic. People seem to get on the road earlier and earlier to get to work. At 6:30 am, traffic was bumper to bumper for at least 30 miles. I remember getting on the road around 6:00 am to be at work by 8:00 am. It seems people these days must start at 5:00 am or earlier if they work in the Los Angeles area. We took two days to reach my daughter Mercy’s home in Portland, Oregon.
We left California at 63°F and arrived in Portland, Oregon at 42°F. I bundled up the first few days. Eventually, my body got used to the cold. The weather got freezing the last few days. It was 21°F on Thursday, December 22nd and we woke up with snow on the ground on Friday. The grandkids had fun playing sleds. Lynton joined the kids sliding down the hills. The snow is melting this Saturday morning. We may not have a white Christmas tomorrow.
My daughter’s backyard
After we arrived in Portland, we started going to the home showings. We visited four homes and fell in love with one. By December 13th, we made an offer on one house. The escrow will be closed on January 10th. The home was built in the early 1990s and it was a custom home. The kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities are original. We got a break from the sales price to do the upgrades. It will be lovely when the improvements are done.
Our new home is about 18 to 20 minutes from Mercy’s home. The gym, nature parks, shopping, and our basic needs are within a 10 to 15 minutes drive.
We’ll move into our new home upon closing escrow. Lynton’s niece is getting married in February. So we’ll wait until February to return to California, attend Lynton’s niece’s wedding, then rent a moving truck to bring the rest of our belongings.
The prompt from Linda G. Hill for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “resolve.”
I don’t sit down to write my New Year’s resolutions. I resolve to do most of the things I had done in 2021 and try to do them better in 2022. In fact, there were too many interruptions in 2021. It wasn’t a good year to accomplish things I wanted to do. I had better years than that of the last year. I expect a better year in 2022.
Let me just say that whatever I do, I keep my basic values in mind which are: family, fitness, fun, friends, and finance. There are many subcategories in the area of fun.
My family always comes first. I have resumed my schedule of visiting my daughter’s family every six weeks.
It’s important for me to be close to my granddaughters. I remember starting a new family with a baby with no relatives to help. It was the most stressful time for me. During one particular year when Mercy was a baby, I started my first-year full-time teaching at the Los Angeles Unified School District and doing full-time (12 units) studies of Child Development at California State University, Los Angeles. Three full-time jobs all at once. I was a rehabilitation counselor prior to that and just switched over to education. I didn’t want to lose my teaching opportunity and didn’t want to wait any longer to finish school. Of course, my baby was most important.
I never want Mercy to have a stressful experience like mine. I always encourage her that if she could afford it, do one thing at a time. The Covid turned out to be a blessing to her in that she didn’t work during her pregnancy. She stayed home to take care of baby Nora for sixteen months. Right now, she is working part-time on the days when Autumn and Nora go to school.
My husband wants to get together with some of his siblings once a month. Most of them live 40 miles from us. They are coming our way to meet this month and we’ll go to them to meet next month. We’re also talking about taking a family vacation to Australia and New Zealand.
I see fitness as a way of life. When my dad came to the US to visit us at the age of 84, he got up at 6:00 a.m. The first thing he did was to stretch for half an hour.
I have been going to the gym, swimming, walking in the neighborhood, or on the trail consistently for years and years. My husband and I started working out together two days a week since his retirement in 2016. There were interruptions during the pandemic. But we resumed going back to the gym several months ago.
We do some modifications to the workout. We keep our routine of using the different machines, the number of sets, and the duration of time (such as walking on the treadmill) but reduce the intensity or weight. As we’re getting older, it takes longer to recover from the sore muscles.
There are many things I do for fun which include reading, writing, blogging, painting, gardening, photographing, singing, learning, and traveling. I always say it would take three parallel lifetimes to fully enjoy my hobbies.
I raised 20 Monarch butterflies in 2021. I’m ready to do it again this summer. The milkweed should grow nicely and hopefully, I’ll have a better way to set up the butterfly cages.
The Chorale group didn’t meet most part of 2021 but resumed meeting to sing with masks on later in the fall. I’ll continue to sing in this group.
I haven’t done watercolor painting for a while. I may pick up the watercolor painting at least for one quarter during 2022.
Hopefully, my husband and I will take one trip this year. We wanted to go to Banff, Canada last August but the border was closed. We may consider going sometime this year.
It’s important for me to keep in touch with my friends.
The pandemic wasn’t too helpful in this area with the social distancing requirement and the gathering restriction. I hope to get together with friends even when we meet outdoors.
Financial independence means freedom.
I don’t have the impulse to buy things. I only buy what I need, not just what I want.
My husband and I just went through stacks of old documents when doing decluttering. It reminded me of the number of times I refinanced our current home and the previous two homes. Whenever the interest rate went down, I refinanced the homes. Prior to refinancing, I created a spreadsheet to calculate the total interest paid during the financing periods.
I know it takes money to save money or make money. I count it as a blessing to use my resources to save money and have extra money to put in the stock account to make a little money.
How do I do it? Here is an example:
Family is the top priority. It’s the motivation behind what I do every day.
I exercise (fitness) regularly, keeping in mind that I need to be strong and healthy in order to be with my granddaughters as often as we want. I can’t be with them if I’m sick.
I follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines carefully to avoid contracting the virus, even when it means reducing the social contact with my friends.
I try to reduce unnecessary expenses (finance) to have more money to travel every six weeks to see my granddaughters.
There are three more hours in the year 2021 PST. I’m writing this post torecap our Christmas.
My daughter Mercy is my only daughter. When she was a small child, she received Christmas presents from us as parents and from her paternal grandparents. She also received presents from a few of our friends. Most of my family members are in Hong Kong and they don’t have the tradition of sending Christmas presents. In another word, there were few presents for Mercy to open. Her paternal grandparents sent one large present and several stocking presents. I did the same thing–had some large presents, and several small presents. Mercy had fun opening all the presents even though they were not from many people.
This Christmas, my husband and I spent Christmas with my daughter’s family. My granddaughters received so many presents from grandpa and grandma, aunts and uncles, parents’ friends. They opened some on the morning of Christmas day. We had to ask the girls to take a break, then opened some more in the afternoon. It took longer for the younger one, Nora, to open hers. She had to open some of them the day after Christmas.
Last year, when Autumn was three, she wanted to play with the new toys right after she opened them. It took longer for her to open all of them. This year, she wanted to keep opening them. It took longer for the two-year-old Nora to take off the wrapping paper. After she took the wrapping paper off, she had fun playing with the paper.
Several presents from Amazon came with gift bags tied with strings. Mercy and her husband Will only helped the girls to loosen the knots but let them untie the strings. The girls were eager to open the bags to see what they were inside. At some point, there were three pairs of hands trying to get a hold of the knot. Autumn was good at helping her little sister to open the bags but let Nora take out the presents.
The adults were sitting on the couches and on the floor while Autumn went under the Christmas to take out the presents. She handed the presents to the individuals to open them. For a while, the living room was full of wrapping paper, strings, bags, and boxes. New clothes unfolded and toy boxes opened. The excitement and laughter filled the entire house. During the lunch break, Mercy and I picked up the wrapping paper for recycling.
Whenever we visit my daughter, I offer to put Autumn to bed. On three nights, she asked me to read her five books, then colored four pages on her coloring books. The night before we left, Mercy and Will went on a date night. Autumn asked me to read ten books to her. I told her we wouldn’t have time to do coloring, and she was okay with it.
My husband, Lynton, and I arrived in Portland on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. It snowed overnight. We woke up to a blanket of snow on Christmas day.
After we opened the Christmas presents in the morning, they put on snowsuits and snow boots. My husband and I only had regular pants and boots on. There is a school across from Mercy’s house and we walked to the school playground to play in the snow. By the time we got there, some kids with their parents were there already. There is a slope from the upper playground to the field below. Kids and adults had fun going down the slope in their sleds. After they got home, they built a snowman in the backyard.
I didn’t do it on Christmas day because I didn’t want to get wet. But I went down on the sled the next day because it may not have a white Christmas next year.
It continued to snow for several more days. Many airlines canceled the flights to and from Seattle and Portland. They canceled hundreds of flights two days before we left. We have scheduled to leave on December 29th. We wouldn’t know if our flight was on time until the morning. I woke up every two hours to check the flight schedule, and the airline showed it was on time.
We had to leave around 6:00 a.m. I tried to call Lyft ride services to take us to the airport. I didn’t get a response for half an hour. Finally, one driver accepted the request and said he could pick us up in 19 minutes. It was reasonable, so I confirmed the request. When 19 minutes was up, there was another message showing the driver would be there in 21 minutes. We couldn’t wait any longer or we would have missed the flight. I woke up my son-in-law Will and let him know the situation. He got dressed in less than 5 minutes and took us to the airport.
What an exciting trip and fun Christmas we had. As soon as we came home, I booked our next trip to see them in six weeks.
I enjoy reading quotes. I used to memorize them for encouragement and motivation. Lao Tzu is known for his wisdom and I believe our doing begins with our thinking.
I read 100 best New Year’s quotes for 2021 and included 10 here.
1. “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. “The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.” ―Josiyah Martin
3. “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan
4. “New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.” —Alex Morritt
5. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” —Thomas Jefferson
6. “Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” ―Germany Kent
7. “As we grow older and wiser, we begin to realize what we need and what we need to leave behind. Sometimes there are things in our lives that aren’t meant to stay. Sometimes the changes we don’t want are the changes we need to grow. And sometimes walking away is a step forward.” —Unknown
8. “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake.” —Francis Bacon Sr.
9. “This year, be structured enough for success and achievement and flexible enough for creativity and fun.” —Taylor Duvall
10. “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” —Frank Scully
Our New Year’s tradition used to be watching the fireworks beginning at 15 minutes before 9:00 p.m. PST (12:00 a.m. EST) for the countdown in Times Square, New York, then watching the fireworks around the world. Many countries didn’t have fireworks this year. We watched the video clips of a few countries where they had fireworks. Here is a short BBC clip.
Wishing you a Happy first day of the best possible new 365 days of Year 2021!
Did you watch the New Year count down last night? Many countries put on the stunning lights and fireworks shows. Hubby and I started watching from 10:00 p.m. until midnight and said Happy New Year to each other with hugs and kisses before going to bed.
This morning, we watched the Rose Parade on TV. The Rose Parade is held at Pasadena, California, 31 miles from our home. In order to get a prime spot to watch, some people camped out overnight. The parade traveled leisurely at 2.5 miles per hour for 5.5 miles from start to finish. There were forty Floats, twenty Marching Bands and seventeen Equestrian Units.
Floats – The Rose Parade’s elaborate floats has stayed true to its floral beginnings. Each inch of every float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. The most delicate flowers, including roses, are placed in individual vials of water, which are set into the float one by one.
Marching Bands – Hundreds of thousands of musicians from all over the world have made the famous march through Pasadena on New Year’s Day. The Rose Parade has welcomed high schools, colleges and universities, and Military bands.
Equestrian Units – Each year, the Rose Parade features a wide variety of horse breeds who entertain spectators, each with their own style and grace, including Curly Horses, American Saddlebreds, Gypsy Cobs, Andalusians, Miniature Horses, Draft Horses, and more. Equestrian units offer a variety of special skills and colorful costumes that tie into the Rose Parade theme.