Pacific Living

Great outdoors, culinary delights, great people

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Funny Little Objects

Since there aren’t a lot of recreational things we can do with relative ease and carefree-ness of old, we’ve taken to look around our own living quarters. My friend Kimmie, who lives in Germany, sent me this pin that she found in her attic. Kimmie knows I like pins — or brooches, as my mother used to call them. It’s a funny looking pin, perhaps Victorian, and maybe once had the braided hair of a loved one looped around its mysterious empty wells. The pin is made from common base metal, the turquoise colored rings are glass, a more affordable alternative for the real semi-precious stone that was purported to have talismanic properties. Since the ancient Egyptians to the Aztecs, who called it ‘chalchihuitl’, turquoise was attributed with powers against evil and sickness; a master healer, manifesting an energy that shielded against negativity. They say that our greeting, “How are you?” came from the Victorian era, where someone was literally showing caring and kindness in asking after your health. When science and medicine did not yet have the power to present greater society of any hope against consumption, infant mortality, or alleviation of suffering from a myriad of illnesses, no wonder turquoise jewelry proliferated and was a favorite of Queen Victoria herself. The Queen was known to give presents to many — her family, staff, friends, studded with turquoise. A lovely way to say, I care for you, stay well and safe, may you be protected from harm. I look at this humble little pin and think someone who could not afford real turquoise, nonetheless purchased the best next thing to represent the incantation to a loved one: don’t forget you are loved, be safe, be well.

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More than ever creature comforts and small treats are important now. When every day carries unimaginable uncertainty it’s vital to keep that feeling of being psychologically hugged to stay grounded. A nice hot cup of tea in the afternoon. A favorite piece of chocolate. Sending and receiving greetings, and touching base with people frequently.

Favorite Jasmine green tea & lovely blueberry morsel.
Amazing smooth & silky chocolate treat with the ultimate pièce de résistance, hazelnuts!

A one line message that can brighten the whole day!

So important now, TLC. Be kind to yourself, forget the laundry, never mind the diet. Hugs rule; virtual ones count! Send Valentines.

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Autumn around the corner, but not yet!

As parents embark on the well worn ritual of preparing their children, young and older, for school to last refrains of summer’s song – here in California, we wait for our Indian Summer. It has been a “normal” summer so far — hot inland and cool on the coast. There are subtle changes – like the marine layer creeping in farther inland than in years before – in fact, I remember when there was at least a 10 degree difference in temperature just by going from San Francisco to across the Bay to Oakland.  This year, San Francisco has kept pace with temperatures in the 70s  — that almost never happened until September!

Still, friends from all over the globe have stopped by – happy faces, fully set to go on with their love affair with California north & south. We just give them the keys to the house; a good GPS route – they get into their Zipcars and they are off to adventure & beauty!


A good breakfast to start


A destination


A companion for the road trip


Oops, a companion redux


On the way


Park the car


Gadding about


Great place to stroll


The view


The real view


Dusk coming


Stopover on the way back


Out of the heat


Great way to end the day

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It’s Summer, It’s Autumn…

IMG_3793Summer has finally come and it’s just as well, because stores are putting out their Halloween merchandise!

But there is still time to enjoy the beautiful foilage and wear summer whites!

Before you know it, pumpkins will be replaced with turkeys.

Some of the highlights so far:

Coming up …Labor Day! But that doesn’t mean the end of summer in California, we’ve got a ways to go..

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From downpour to balmy – what next

We’ve had a waterfall since January and while it was a happy time to put a halt to our multi-year drought, it was a challenge to keep dry and, on weeks without respite, keep morale up.

Gimme shelter because …

Now, it’s warm & balmy one day – no but wait… don’t put the winter coat away just yet! Weather man/woman indicates low pressure system coming our way – can you wonder?  When was the last time it rained in June.

Storm clouds approaching …


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Let the Good Times Roll

Wilhelmina Joyce Jui Wren, the author of Pacific Living,  has lived and worked all over the world.  She admits that one of the best and most beautiful places she has ever been is California.  “So varied and rich is the lifestyle with valleys, mountains, maritime spectaculars and amazing terrain”, that Wilhelmina was inspired to create Pacific Living.  Though admittedly crunched for time with career, family and community/volunteer work activities, Wilhelmina feels compelled to portray the cultural, culinary and great outdoors opportunities for adventure and fun that only her home state can offer in aces and spades!

“I wanted to dedicate it to all my friends and acquaintances, who love California but can’t be here.”  She was struck by a story a friend had told her: driving a foreign exchange college student/roommate to the airport, who wept all the way to SFO because she didn’t want to leave.  And her own experience while living overseas: speaking with acquaintances and co-workers who had once lived in the “other Pacific Rim”, who would happily tell of their California experience – having studied, worked, even dated and found their future husband/wife.  “This look would come over their faces, suddenly they were transported in time”.  Wilhelmina would be regaled with stories, their tellers waxing nostalgic and even becoming misty-eyed at the mere mention of places like Point Reyes, Berkeley, Carmel, and Santa Barbara.

“We all leave school, get jobs and move on with our lives, but never forget the wonderful magic moments of being in the right place at the right time – with good company, good food and great adventure!” And so . . . Pacific Living is born!

“We live in one of the most diverse places in the world in terms of people, lifestyles, food, drink and even climate!”  (Ref. the famous Northern California “microclimates”!)  ” There is a lot to celebrate and for all those who live, love, or just want to be in tune with California’s beauty and abundance.”  We hope you enjoy this and postings to come!