{a slow return to ordinary days}

We have returned from five days travel along the California coast.

After first joining our son and daughter-in-law in their San Francisco Bay Area home, the four of us–five if you count their high-energy pup, Obi– headed for points further north.

When we get on the road and begin to shift from daily routines we often make references to being “unplugged.”


I suppose that turning off a computer and keeping my cell phone slightly less than in reach isn’t precisely living “off the grid,” but I do try to edit my news and media intake.


This past Friday afternoon, as we traveled into the beauty of Marin County, Jay asked if I’d like to switch from the commercial free music we were streaming to find some talk radio. “Do you want to hear what’s been going on in the world?”



My answer, “Not really!”


But within a minute or two of my response, proof of just how connected we really are, phone apps started blaring alerts. Something horrible had happened in France.

We fumbled for adequate radio reception and it didn’t take long for reality to settle in as we grappled to understand the shocking details of the reports from Paris.


So far from home, yet social media has made the world so much more intimate.

I immediately began thinking, and with great concern, of my European blogging friends, several with homes in France.

The visit with our children was wonderful. The beauty of the Northern California Coast– intoxicating. Having an opportunity to be outside of the  worries and concerns that always exist is a gift.


These aren’t easy times. We are barraged by observations, opinions and reports, and it’s  a challenge to stay aware of events as they hold importance, yet at the same time silence and reject the noise that turns tragedy into political opportunity.

But I want to know that you are well.


Now that I’ve returned home I plan to resume my evening “blog reading time,” and I hope to find you in the middle of ordinary days. Days with healthy routines that haven’t been disturbed. Schedules that might not be exciting, but are peace-filled. For those of us fortunate to have our relative well-being undisturbed–thanksgiving.

Right about now, I place a great deal of value on ordinary days.



48 thoughts on “{a slow return to ordinary days}

  1. I agree, Debra, there is a great deal of value in ordinary days. Peace is what we want. People who can live in peace are extraordinarily lucky!
    Being ‘unplugged’ for a little while just enjoying good company and nature is very precious time. 🙂
    Thank you for this beautiful post, dear Debra. 🙂

    1. I think we’re all just trying to absorb the seriousness of the situation while also doing what we can to avoid absorbing the climate of fear, Uta. I certainly benefit when I can take even a few days “away” from reality and instead recalibrate and rest. That’s what this past extended weekend did for me, and I’m glad I could share it with my blogging friends. Ordinary days are sometimes under appreciated, but I’m absolutely certain we need to celebrate as many as possible. ox

  2. Hi Debra! Your post is so beautifully calming! The photos are stunning – looks like you had a wonderful time… and thank you for the much needed perspective during this difficult time…

    1. Thank you for such a warm response, Kelly. The Marin County landscape was so beautiful and peaceful that it definitely provided us a place to still our racing thoughts and just contemplate our blessings. And to be with my son for a few days was pretty great, too! That doesn’t happen often enough. ox

    1. Leave it to you to find the right words, Nancy! Yes! Our time with our dear ones was indeed “extra” ordinary. LOL! We won’t be seeing them again until Christmas, so we packed in as much visiting and as many hugs as we could. It was grand!

      1. OMG! If I have a lot of disruption to my “routine” I get out of whack (not exactly sure what a whack is though). As I have gotten older, I enjoy my routine more and more. I can add good things to it and delete what I don’t like (or at least keep them clumped together).

    1. Bruce, when my son and his wife moved to Northern California about a year ago, after previously living 20 minutes from our Los Angeles County home, I was very torn. I would definitely have enjoyed having them much closer, but I also mentioned to them that their move was one way for me to visit a favorite part of the state much more frequently. We can’t get away as often as I’d like, but we do make plans and when we have the opportunity, we try to make the most of it. Thank you so much for validating that experience! 🙂

  3. As always, your pictures and words mesh together so well. I’m glad you got to unplug and breathe lighter. Looks like the weather cooperated for you. When I last glimpsed that lighthouse, it was fogged in.

    I’ll be off the grid for a month in 2016, undertaking a writing residency in northern Wales. I’m stunned to have been selected and eager to have the time. I’m grateful for digital connectivity, because it makes my relationship with you possible. I’ve been trying to focus on the parts of my digital map that matter and have been less inclined to follow the news or to read invective. However, we’re headed to Brussels next week, not without a few butterflies.

    1. This was the first time I’d been deep into Marin County, Andra, so I was delighted we had sunshine and mild temperatures. The day after we visited Drake’s Bay and the lighthouse it was very cold, wet and an entirely different experience. We “lucked out” on Saturday. 🙂

      I’m thrilled to hear that you were accepted into the writing residency in Wales! Woo-hoo! That is a fabulous opportunity and I know how much you were hoping. I don’t think I’m quite as stunned as you are, though! I think you were a very worthy candidate for the experience. What fun it will be to later hear how this special opportunity impacts your writing. Blessings to you and Michael with the trip to Brussels. It’s natural to have your thoughts extend into areas of concern in travel right now, but I think you will probably experience “added awareness” of heightened security, and that can add butterflies! That sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving trip! I hope you have a great time and can experience some time away from other responsibilities. ox

  4. Catherine Wade

    As always, I look forward to reading your blog. You rarely fail to give me something new to think about or some added peace. The photos in this blog are especially calming. It makes me want to spend some time driving up the coast of our amazing state. So glad that you were able to enjoy your time with your son and daughter-in-law, even thought bad news filled the air waves and our hearts.

    1. Thank you, dear Catherine. I really appreciate your support in reading and responding to what is clearly important to me. Yes, we did have a wonderful visit. There aren’t many days in our lives when we can really say there isn’t something of grave international concern. We will undoubtedly live out our days with similar concerns, so perhaps taking joy in our friends and families is the ideal way to balance out the sadness. Thanks for taking note that the shared photos are calming, because that is precisely what I noted in that beautiful stretch of coastline. It was indeed calming! ox

  5. Your photos from an elevated vantage point were stunning. Great mood and compositions, Debra!

    Your message is well accepted, too. I personally hope for an “ordinary”, peaceful day. No tragedies or surprises… but because of that want, I realize something from within can destroy this country I call home – and not an external invasion by enemies hitting our beaches or from the skies.

    1. I do understand your concerns and I know how vigilant you remain in defending our liberty, Koji. It’s a fine balance, for me, between holding on to optimism and joy and at the same time living aware of the responsibility to remain in tune with the issues and circumstances that will erode the quality of our lives if we aren’t active citizens. I do celebrate the days that aren’t too trying. My biggest problem today was the heavy traffic coming home from work, and so all is well! Thank you for the compliments on the photography. Such a beautiful part of the coast. It really made taking the time to compose a photograph much easier when everywhere I looked was so appealing. 🙂

  6. This last weekend we attended my step-daughter’s wedding in Florida. Not an ordinary weekend, but one filled with stress, joy, and all the emotions of a wedding.

    After a stress travel day yesterday, I am home now and am looking forward to the return of those ordinary days.

    1. I would imagine you’re going to need to rest a bit after such a big occasion, Andrew. I trust it was a joyful occasion, but long travel days are rough! You sound a lot like me in enjoying the daily rhythms and routines of home. 🙂

    1. I was so happy to have time with my son and his sweet wife, AND we did some wonderful exploring. But I’m always glad to come home and resume my little routines. I’m not very exciting. LOL! Hope all is well with you…I need to pop over. 🙂

  7. My phone has been in airplane mode for almost two weeks. Can’t say I feel deprived. My computer has been on, however, so I’m not really unplugged. But my pockets have been free of the phone, ID, and everything other than pesos. A good feeling.

    1. It sounds to me like you’ve been able to really “get away” and good for you! It does take a certain amount of resolve to choose to find that peace. I do better if I’m away from home, but I really need to “step away from the electronics” more at home as well! It would be good for me! Happy Thanksgiving, Jim.

  8. Beautifully written, Debra. Yes, the events of the past week have been truly shocking and it’s so hard to believe there are people out there whose minds have been twisted to believe attacks on innocent people are justifiable. And so many lives were taken unnecessarily and then of course, that poor dog, Diesel. So horrific xx

    1. You are the only person I’ve heard mention Diesel, Charlie, and I love that you brought him into the innocence of lives lost! We are definitely living in sobering times and I have such a heavy heart. We all do! I hope that you and your dear family are doing well and finding enjoyment this weekend. ox

    1. The word “tumultuous” really fits, Nancy. I’ve been so tired this week, and I think most of the fatigue is probably due to general concern and mental overload! I am glad you could sense the peace of the California coastline. I took so many photos this past weekend I think I could make a photo book and pull it out when I need to take a virtual vacation! 🙂 I hope you have a very nice weekend and that you are doing well! Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Welcome home! … and glad you had a safe trip and a wonderful visit. The California coast is such a beautiful drive. Bummer to hear the news about Paris while driving … heck, I heard about it at our niece’s rehearsal dinner.

    Just wondering … because you were listening to commercial free music, did you hear Follow the Sun (Del Shannon) or Till the Sun Comes Up Again (America)?

    1. It was a “quick” trip, but such a delight! And good recommendations for me “Mellow Road Trip” playlist. I have quite an eclectic assortment mixed with current and oldies! I suspect they’ll be available to me and added for the next trip north. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend, Frank.

  10. Dear Debra, the attacks in Lebanon, France, and Mali have stunned and shocked all of us. We grieve for those who have been murdered, for those injured, and for those who must live with the fear of another attack.

    And, of course, we also think of ourselves and feel fear because it would seem that no one anywhere is safe from terrorists and radical jihadists. I wish I were more certain of the strategy put in place by President Obama with regard to ISIS. I’ve trusted him all these years and yet this threat looms like a tsunami. I’d hate to be in the president’s position and have to decide how best to rid the world of this barbaric hatred which would take us back to the stone age.

    Your posting encourages us to find all for which we can be grateful. As I age I find that gratitude is basic to being content. Peace.

    1. Dee, I really relate to what you’re saying about wishing you had more confidence in President Obama’s strategy in combating ISIS. He definitely fails to inspire that confidence, and I, like you, have been generally supportive of policies until now. We are living in very complex times and I am concerned that fear is going to continue to divide us as people, when it’s an opportunity for us to focus on making a stronger community. I really appreciate how deeply thoughtful and reflective you are, Dee. You always have so much to say and it’s what I need to hear! ox

  11. Very well said Debra. It is important to stay connected, but equally (if not more) important to know when to silence the noise. Your photos are absolutely stunning! I love the shot of the waves coming up to the shore. I could stare at that for hours. I’m so happy you enjoyed a wonderful trip with your family. Here’s to a beautiful, peaceful and ordinary Thanksgiving. 🙂

    1. I hope you and your family also have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Kristy! I am sure you’ve engaged the children in preparation. 🙂 My son and daughter-in-law can’t be with us this Thanksgiving so our trip north was to have time with them at their convenience. We had such a wonderful time in Marin County and I think I’ve discovered a new “happy place” for me to return. The time passed all too quickly! ox

  12. I love ordinary, Debra. Sometimes, after a particularly stressful time, I long for it. The past fortnight being a prime example. The California coast has some of the most picturesque sights on the planet. How wonderful that you were able to spend some time traveling along it. Thanks for sharing some of your photos with us.

    1. I am never happier than when I’m able to find time to explore along the coastline, John, and I think for many who only know California’s high density/record-breaking traffic cities, beautiful cities like we visited in Marin County are a big surprise. I’ve decided that if I ever win the lottery, Marin County here I come! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. It’s so nice to have your visit today. 🙂

  13. I think I do good enough service for my country and the world, I guess. I hate to say it, but I usually block out the negative things from the news. Whenever I eat at our cafeteria in the morning, I sit as far away from the TV even if it means I’d be sitting alone and distance from my coworkers. I need to stay positive. I need to keep my mentality that there’s good in every person. I know it’s a denial, but for me, I need to focus on the positive. It hurts my brain watching horrible news esp. during breakfast, at the start of the day. You can say gullible, but I’m okay with it.
    I definitely found peace and solitude on my travel to Point Reyes. The drive alone is a magnificent experience.

    1. I try not to immerse myself in negativity or “overdose” on the news, Rommel. At the same time, it’s difficult to be totally unaware, so the choice is what to do with the information and whether or not we let it affect our confidence going forward. We are definitely living in interesting times, which I think every previous generation has also felt. There’s little new under the sun. My son and daughter-in-law live very near Point Reyes, so I’ve been saying it is my new “happy place,” and I’ll be visiting a lot more often, I think. I hope your holidays are peaceful and bright. It’s always so nice to see you’ve stopped by. Thank you!

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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