Summer Memories

Summer Memories

I have lots of summer memories – great ones that I’d like to share.

Frolicking dogs on the beach.

Frolicking dogs on the beach.

And this one…

Saturday's Tomato harvest - the small yellow ones are the lemon pear tomatoes, the small red ones are the cherry tomatoes, the two green and yellow striped ones toward the back are the Green Zebra, and the orangish one at the front right is the Mr. Stripey (but without stripes).

Saturday’s Tomato harvest – the small yellow ones are the lemon pear tomatoes, the small red ones are the cherry tomatoes, the two green and yellow striped ones toward the back are the Green Zebra, and the orangish one at the front right is the Mr. Stripey (but without stripes).

Plus this…one of these days, Brenda Chin, we ARE going kayaking. This is a promise! My coast or yours, doesn’t matter.

Kayaks, and the garden. Two of my favorite things...

Kayaks, and the garden. Two of my favorite things…

And I can’t forget this! The little dog would curl around the man, then trot out to the end of the kayak, then back to the man – but he was a real good little sea doggie.

Just taking the dog for a!

Just taking the dog for a paddle…lol!

I really hate to say goodbye to summer, so I’m not going to. Especially since I believe we’ll get hot temps into October.

Fight! Fight!

Fight! Fight!

And one of my most favorite memories from this summer. The seal.

Isn't he gorgeous?

Isn’t he gorgeous?

As August winds down and September looms, may the memories you cherish implant themselves into your heart.

Christine, in the wild.

From me to you, with love.


Until next time, be good to one another!

My Retreat, Part 2: San Diego’s Little Italy

My Retreat, Part 2: San Diego’s Little Italy

If you want to catch up, the beginning of this adventure starts with Part One – The Train.

So, I arrived at the Santa Fe Station in San Diego, thrilled with my journey on the train. Now I had my backpack on my back, and basic directions on how to get to where I’d be meeting the hubby. Luckily it was in a restaurant in Little Italy – and there would be wine at the end of my journey.

With the help of a tourist map of the area, I figured out which way to go after leaving the station, hefted my backpack and began the walk. Up “B” St to India St, turn left, then up India until I got there. There? My destination – the Spaghetteria. (And yes -it’s as awkward to say as it looks.)

little italy

As I walked, I passed closed storefronts and open art galleries. The farther up hill I went, the busier the area got – and soon I was in the heart of Little Italy. Aging Italian men were smoking cigars and gathered together outside; little clumps of them, up and down the street. Kids dodged in and out of groups of adults.

Louche teenaged girls straggled behind their parents, giggling and talking. The scent of  pizza and pasta and garlic mingled with the fragrant cigars and a surprising amount of twenty-somethings smoking cigarettes. Lots of people were out and about, and since the time was past 8:30pm, the restaurants were packed. Laughter and music and fun – the street was hopping, and I loved it.

Unfortunately I had milesa long way – sigh…a few blocks that were all up hill to get to my destination. I walked wistfully past the Italian restaurant that The Accomplice (the Without Walls theater production that my hubby Tom Ashworth was doing through the La Jolla Playhouse) had been in, the wonderful Trattoria Fantastica (desserts to DIE for); past Filippi’s Pizza Grotto (more about Filippi’s later); across the street and up two more streets where the nightlife wasn’t anywhere near as vibrant, before I got to the Spaghetteria.

I was surprised. The restaurant was HUGE – but the street, up here, was almost empty. The restaurant, too, held maybe eight people and could easily have seated 200. Maybe 250. Whatever, I made it. Found the hubby, got a wonderful hug and kiss, then he escorted me to the bar. They had two more shows to do that night before we were free to go to dinner.

I ordered a glass of wine. Two groups came in, I sipped, they figured out the end of the puzzle, and “I fought the law and the law won” came on for the last time that night. They were done. The hubs and I hightailed it out of there (as it had a chilly atmosphere and a waitstaff that looked like they’d rather be anywhere but there) and went to Filippi’s.

Best Damn Pizza Ever.

Best Damn Pizza Ever.

Now, Filippi’s is not your typical restaurant. You walk in through a market – a wonderful Italian market. It’s also a bit on the old fashioned side of things, and they make no apology for it. No WiFi, no outdoor seating (which means no cigar or cigarette smoking), no TV sets. (Sounds like heaven to me!) You can’t make reservations, so you walk in and you wait. Often, the line is out the door. Luckily as we go in, we’re the second ones in line. Totally doable. (Before we’re seated, there are 30 people lined up behind us – and it’s almost 9:30pm.)

This is the first place Tom took me for dinner, back when we were first dating. His fondest memory is ordering a bottle of wine – and the waiter brought two glasses, even though I was quite obviously under age. (17 – yep!) So this was a lovely, nostalgic, romantic dinner for us.

We had pizza, a carafe of house wine, the antipasto salad (which had a marvelous, tangy-sharp cheese in it – we found out later that it was an aged provolone? Tom bought some and we’ve been enjoying it ever since), and a boatload of wonderful memories that had us laughing and talking and enjoying each other. And the pizza, let it be said, was fantastic.

Thanks to for use of the photo.

Thanks to for use of the photo.

I mean, seriously. Doesn’t that look fantastic? It was the perfect meal for the end of a long, fascinating day. Tom and I finally closed the place down and headed for our home away from home for the weekend – The Boat.

Since I lost my small camera, I don’t have some photos that I wish I did. But here’s a photo of the marina at night.

The view from the boat, Shelter Island Marina.

The view from the boat, Shelter Island Marina.

Sleepy and happy to be together, it was great to be back at the marina. The air had that soft quality that it gets when the temperature is just right, the next day promised to be foggy, and all was well in my world.

Thanks so much for stopping by. When was the last time you went on an adventure, either by yourself or with a friend? Let’s talk!

~ Until the next time, cheers! ~


Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


I Heart San Diego, Naval Base and Everything

I Heart San Diego, Naval Base and Everything

San Diego is where I was born. I did not live there long enough to get to know the city well as an adult; the places I drove to when I was 16 – 19 were the high school, the ballet studio, Balboa Park, the beach, my boyfriend’s house. That was pretty much it. Oh, and yeah, the mall. Back when indoor malls were new (late 1970s, for those of you who aren’t sure of the time frame).

Having a boyfriend (aka now the Hubby) meant my horizons got wider. Which means, I never went to the beach before driving there with him. It was our first date, actually – I drove us in my new-to-me Toyota Corolla, a pretty yellow four door, in 1977, to La Jolla Shores and we walked along a spit of land that fell into the sea a few years later.

But This Post Isn’t About That.

Two weekends ago I spent the entire weekend down in San Diego with the hubs. I hope to do so again, very soon, and stay on the boat he’s staying on while he performs there. In the meantime, I want to share some of the beauty that is Shelter Island (and I’ll tell you the story of my first time there in a bit).

Just the most beautiful view. I wouldn’t mind living in one of those houses on the hill. Or, for that matter, one of those bigger boats…You?

Shelter Island is beautiful. Now, my sense of the geography of San Diego is totally off, so forgive me, but I believe Shelter Island is a part of Point Loma. At any rate, it’s also called the America’s Cup Harbor – there are even signs to that effect. More on that later. While I was waiting for the hubby to finish playing banjo and take me to the Starbucks so I could plug in and write, I took this photo.

I’d live on one for a summer. Would you?

And of course, here’s one of the hubby playing banjo…

My man, practicing the banjo. One of the hardest working actors I know, anywhere.

And some dogs I saw, racing along the water together. They looked like they were having SO much fun!

Two dogs having a roaring good time in the water. No, they’re not mine. Yes, their owners were not far away.

But now I suppose you want to know the story of my first time on Shelter Island. Well…hubby gave me really good directions. Except he said the fatal words – “You can’t miss the turn. There’s a huge sign.”

This was my first time to Shelter Island. I was still in The Boot, but I decided to go down, visit my dad for a half day, then hie myself hither to see my hubby. Unfortunately, while his directions got me to the right place, his “you can’t miss it” had me expecting flashing lights and pointing fingers and a sign that said “GO THIS WAY CHRISTINE”. So I kept driving on Rosecrans, passing the small street sign that said Shelter Island, and the sign that said “America’s Cup Harbor”, figuring that the sign to turn must be bigger. In fact, I went so far on Rosecrans that whenever I looked to my left, between the houses I saw water. I figured I was getting close.

And I was. Unfortunately, I was very close to the Point Loma Naval Base. Ahead of me by almost 500 yards I saw a guard shack and two armed military men. Knowing I was in the wrong place, for a few seconds I thought I should make an illegal U turn and flee…but I wasn’t sure if they wouldn’t have a military helicopter after me, what with the strange goings-on in our country lately. So instead, I sedately crept forward, getting my self-deprecating skills polished as we inched ahead. (Everyone was stopped.)

(BTW – I was going to put a photo here of the checkpoint, but I couldn’t find one and OF COURSE I didn’t take one.)

When I got up to the soldier, I rolled down my window and expressed my abject apologies, saying I was supposed to go to the Shelter Island Marina but my sense of direction kind of sucked and could I please make a U turn? He listened, nodded politely, asked for my license, walked around to the back of my car, called in my license plate and probably my drivers license number. When he came back I smiled self-deprecatingly (practice came in handy) and I said that I hadn’t wanted to make an illegal U turn.

He nodded again, politely, and then told me that I would proceed to the armed officer ahead of me, make my U turn, and he would hand my license over to me on the other side of the cement berm.

Um, okay. So I went ahead, turned at the young (SO YOUNG) soldier’s wave, came around to the other side, and accepted my license. The other young soldier waved me on and wished me a good day.

I headed to the hubby and the marina, chuckling at my encounter with the military but still in awe and a bit trembly. SO glad I wasn’t a Bad Guy at that moment. Did I mention the (no clue what type weapon) guns they had slung over their shoulders?

But I finally met the hubby at the Tiki of Bali Hai. And I leave you with that photo…

This is the parking lot not only for the Bali Hai restaurant, but for the Shelter Island Marina. Oh, and at night, the Tiki on the roof only has one glowing red eye. Spooky…


Thanks so much for coming along on this journey. What unexpected encounters have you had while adventuring? Animal, mineral, or vegetable, lol?


Until next time, be good to one another. Cheers!