Spring brings fresh flowers….and

….a big change to my life. Let me begin in early March when the weather was still wet and chilly and buds were just thinking of peaking their heads up through the soil.

I flew to Atlanta for a week’s visit with my traveling buddy Joyce Herring (from now on to be known as Joyce #1 – reason explained later). This is the woman who fell and broke her hip three days before she was to join me in Italy, Athens, and Istanbul. I walked in to find this printed itinerary laying on the guest bed. Here is what this amazing woman had planned for our week together.

To say we had a marvelous time would be an understatement! We shopped; we dined- a lot; I got to meet many of her wonderful women friends and we talked till we were actually tired of talking – can you imagine!

One of the best times was reconnecting with the Atlanta Scotts, my wonderful brother and sister-in-law, David and Stephanie, and their handsome son, Justin.

Early morning a week later, exhausted, I hopped on the Metra and was whisked into the massive Atlanta/Hartsfield airport for the short flight to Wilmington, NC.

Wilmington was my home for 5 years and has been my official address for the past 9 years thanks to my besties, Janet and Bob Stephens. They annually open the door to their guest bedroom for weeks while I go from doctor to doctor, driving Janet’s bright purple car, to every type of exam for an aging body that my doctors can devise.

But I also found time to sit on Kure Beach catching up with old friend Nancy Neubauer who drove over for the day from Raleigh. I took my adorable grandson Hudson and youngest son Sean for a first-time visit to the Ft. Fisher Aquarium. We then went to Carolina Beach to play in the sand, put our toes in the chilly Atlantic and stand in line for the famous Brit’s Donuts – which sadly we didn’t get!

Janet had taken a tumble before I arrived and couldn’t drive, so not only did I drive to my doctor appointments, but I ferried her to hers as well, giving hubby Bob a break. When it was time for me to leave, she actually counted how many appointments we went to during the 3 1/2 weeks I was there – 18!

To celebrate my departure and a great result to an unexpected and scary test, my doctor’s prescription was to enjoy a BIG drink. We went to Janet and Bob’s favorite Mexican restaurant and she and I had their top-shelf tequila margarita. As you can see, they were very good! And yes, Bob is our ‘designated driver.’

From the Atlantic coast, I flew to the Pacific coast to spend Easter with my oldest son, Tobin, his beautiful wife Julie, and enjoy lots of quality Grandma ReRe-time with Stella & JT.

The days flew by as we went to a lacrosse game on Cornado Island where Stella suited up to play goalie for the first time. JT loved the t-shirt I brought him from Istanbul that he could paint and re-paint every time it is washed. We got ice cream at the magnificent Hotel Del Coronado. The grands and their good friends, Carter and Annie had their very first Japanese teppanyaki dinner cooked by the chef on the grill in front of them. After a visit to the once-a-year petting zoo and having a delicious lunch at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, the Easter bunny came to visit before the annual Easter Egg hunt. I even got a hug for the Bunny!

The day after Easter, my good friend, artist, and writer, Joyce Wycoff (now known as Joyce #2) picked me up in Solana Beach to drive to Santa Barbara to tour the area and an active senior residence she had found that she thought I too might like. She also said it was affordable! That’s something you don’t find anywhere in the US nowadays, especially in Santa Barbara, CA where Oprah lives in the next town over! Since I had never been to that part of California, I said sure, I’d love to give Friendship Manor a look-see.

On the drive through LA, I got a glimpse of that famous sign!

We were welcomed to stay by Joyce’s friend Barbara, who is Rotary’s Ambassador for World Peace,. She has an amazing orchard and flower garden in her backyard.

Joyce and I did a walking tour of downtown Santa Barbara which they closed to cars during Covid and is now filled with outdoor dining places and a big Farmer’s Market.

We drove to Solvang to visit with my friend Margy Houtz and walk around this totally Danish-themed town – windmills, wooden shoes, and all! And one evening we treated ourselves to drinks at the Ritz Carlton Bacara resort with its lovely and expensive view of the Pacific.

But the main reason for this trip was to tour this senior residence which is located on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara.

Its apartments come in several different sizes and are all-inclusive – all utilities and all meals included. After getting a long and detailed tour from the director and then enjoying a truly delicious lunch with several of the residents whom I bombarded with questions, I officially put my name on the waiting list for the next available 2-bedroom suite -normally a 6-month wait.

OMG – am I actually considering moving into an old folks home??!! And the answer was yes!

Not only is the Manor exceptionally well-maintained with numerous outdoor sitting areas where you can read a book, just enjoy the gardens or swim in the pool, but it’s also a 5-block walk to the beach! You can hop a bus outside the front door to go shopping in Goleta, Isla Vista, or downtown Santa Barbara. You can take classes and enjoy all the extra-curricular programs that are happening on campus and best of all, there is an Amtrak stop that is just a 5-hour ride along the coastline, putting me on the doorstep of my son and the West coast grands. And it IS affordable!

Joyce #2 is moving in on May 15th but I will have to wait before I can also move in. So here’s the plan. I have given notice that on June 26th I will be packing up my stuff and leaving San Miguel de Allende after 5 really happy years here. The Stuff will go into storage in Santa Barbara while I go back to Wilmington for cataract and carpal tunnel surgery. Then onto Atlanta where I have secured a 3-month house and pet sit (thanks to a good friend of Joyce #1’s.) That takes me to December 1st when hopefully, fingers crossed and prayers answered, a lovely 2-bedroom unit will be available for me to call CALIFORNIA home!

I’ll leave you with this beautiful photo that Joyce #2 snapped of the view across the street from where we will both be living. Not too bad – right?

Wish me luck….until next time!

12 Replies to “Spring brings fresh flowers….and”

  1. ReAnn I am so impressed! You seem to have boundless energy!! I love Santa Barbara. My husband and I had a long term client there so we’ve spent a lot of time there. Good luck with your travels.


  2. Wo-ho! What a trip! And what a find thanks to Joyce #2! It must feel really, really good to have your future home secured and the plan for the in between time in place

    I’m so glad we met in Bali and that our paths have crossed however briefly here in SMA. Wishing you the very best as the adventure continues to unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW, you do live a charmed life. Your family is beautiful and your next step sounds fantastic. I can’t believe the price. I’ve been looking at places for years and have never found anything so affordable in such a desirable location – a college town and the ocean. You may have a lot of folk following you there.

    Best of luck. It really does sound like a dream come true. Linda


  4. Congrats on making a good decision that will work for you! There’s so much to do in the coastal and inland areas near where you will be living–I know them well. I met my husband while we were both at UCSB, living the student ghetto of Isla Vista. He was in the PhD program and I was an undergrad–he was my TA for an intro to geology course. We then moved to a cottage in Goleta, where we lived until we headed East for his work and my graduate school. We could have stayed in the Santa Barbara area but, at 21 and 27, we found it just TOO perfect–we needed some challenges and grit and grime, which we got in spades in Jersey City and Manhattan. Anyway, after 40 years on the East Coast we returned to California 9 years ago (San Francisco this time) and have had such a grand time exploring the West again from that base. We still frequent Santa Barbara and Carpinteria on our trips up and down the coast, and it’s still kind of perfect. Sounds like you have plenty of people to fill you in on things to do, places to eat, and other aspects of the area. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your experiences and learning whether your situation might be right for us eventually.


  5. Anita – I know one person, Joyce #2, in the area. Oh, do sorta know her friend Barbara. Margy is way up in Solvang and doesn’t drive much anymore. Will certainly be looking hard for things to do, places to dine and people to meet. Please let me know when you’re next in the area after I move in!


    1. Hello ReAnn, and WOW, WOW, WOW – what wonderful new chapter for you!!! As I’ve already indicated before, my son-in-law’s Mom Patty Bringuel lives in SB and would be happy to meet up w/you & Joyce for happy hour somewhere/sometime to give you all the info. about SB. Let me know when you get there and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with Patty. In the meantime, good luck packing up your belongings and moving them into storage for the very last time in your life and good luck w/your upcoming surgeries. Have a fabulous adventure-filled Summer and Fall. Hugs from Colorado.


    1. I’m one of those people that thinks that change is a good thing – most of the time. Especially when it applies to moving or exploring a new location. Good luck wherever you go – and keep in touch.


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