Day 2: Groundhog Day.

Today  is Groundhog Day, and word on the street is that the groundhog saw his shadow, so there will be six more weeks of winter.  What does winter look like in Southern California?  Sunny and 70s, y’all. I will for sure take 6 more weeks of that.

I have lived in Southern California for 5.5 years now.  How crazy is that?!  Where does the time go?! I honestly was not planning on staying in California this long, but here I am.  And Dave is stationed in San Diego until at least June 2013 so we won’t be going anywhere for at least a little while.  However, neither of us want to settle in California.   While the weather and availability of outdoor activities can’t be beat, the home prices, cost of living, and traffic leave much to be desired.  Every time I watch HGTV and I see couples buying hideous, outdated, tiny ranch homes for well over $500,000 I swear I will never buy a home here.  And then of course you see episodes where couples are buying gorgeous, updated, spacious homes in places like Texas for under $300,000.  I think Texas is calling me.  It is saying, “Michelle, you will hate our summer weather but I will woo you with an affordable spacious home, no income tax, and plenty of AC.”

In the meantime, while we are still in California, I want to take as much advantage of the outdoors here as possible.  Some of our favorite activities which we can do pretty much all year here:

1) Bike Riding

Dave at Mission Trails.

I like the idea of riding bikes, but the seats always hurt my bum.  Dave fixed that problem by buying a bigger seat for my bike, and problem solved!  One of our first dates, we took his two bikes out to Mission Bay and biked 8 miles around the bay/ocean area.  I LOVED it.  It’s a great way to get outdoors and get some exercise and fresh air!  And the great thing about riding bikes in San Diego is that we are much less likely to get a surprise downpour halfway across a bridge.  While funny to look back at now, bike rides in the pouring rain (which wash the color out of my jeans and apparently shrink my TOMS) are not my kind of “fun” 😉

2) Hiking

Taking the Pups for a Hike in the Angeles National Forest

Being an Oregon Girl, I’ve always loved hiking.  There is just something about getting out in nature that is very therapeutic (and cheaper than therapy, amiright?!).  Plus, I just LOVE natural beauty, and its a great opportunity to take pictures, which I also love.  There is also the whole exercise aspect, which I don’t particularly love, but I know it’s good for me.  What is the downside of hiking? I can’t think of one.

3) Kayaking 

Mission Bay Kayaking

Technically we’ve only done this once so far, but we would love to do it more.  There are several places that rent kayaks for very reasonable prices, and it’s so close… How do we not do this more often?!  A while back, my friend Joni was in town, and Dave had an awesome groupon (I think $15 rentals for all day?), so Joni, Dave and I decided to go try it out.  Joni and Dave were much better at it than me, and I was left trailing behind singing “Alllllll byyyyyy mysssselllffff….” as I attempted to paddle along.   I really did that.  I also really did skin my thumb when I went a little crazy trying to catch up.  And sadly, I have no pictures of any of it because my clumsy nature + water + iPhones don’t mix, so I left the iPhone behind.  I can’t wait to get out there and try this again!

4) Eating Outdoors 

Outdoor Space at Night

When Dave and I first started dating, I noticed he had this GREAT outdoor space that he wasn’t using.  Technically, it does overlook a street and a strip mall parking lot… but there are still trees, and hills, and pretty sunsets.  So this past summer, I helped him pick out some outdoor furniture, pillows, a rug, and an umbrella… And it’s just WONDERFUL out there!   After not using it at all for over a year, it became one of Dave’s favorite spaces (and mine too!).  It’s a little harder to take advantage of in the evenings in the winter, because although it’s usually in the 70s during the day, it drops to the low 40s at night which is just a little too chilly.  And we like it best in the evenings.  The street is much quieter at night, and the sunset and the fun lights on the umbrella create a really nice ambience out there.  But it’s warming up people!  It’s February!  We’ll be back out there for dinners in no time 😉

The dogs love it too 😉

So there you have it.  Four of our favorite ways to take advantage of the year-round beautiful weather in Southern California.  Friends and family reading this:  Come visit before June 2013!!! 😉

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6 thoughts on “Day 2: Groundhog Day.

  1. What about Seattle? Virginia? some parts of North Carolina can be nice too. Though, you also have to pick a place that has a Navy base, right? (Dave is USN?)

    And, of course, both of your careers work near DC. But that’s another high cost of living area, depending on exactly how close to the city you live. My parents picked Fredericsburg, which is about an hour or so out of DC, but is on the commute train line … so not as bad. And there’s other navy facilities in that area (the academy, dahlgren weapons center, newport news if you go far enough south in VA).

    Or, there’s raleigh/durham NC … good high tech industry, with at least one corporate HQ, so they might want/need a lawyer or two there. Pick living half way between that and Newport News, and that might work.

    Just some thoughts 🙂

    Don’t move to FL. Worse than TX for heat. And speaking of TX, they not only have hellishly hot summers, they have freezing cold winters.

    • We like Texas both because of the cost of living there and we already have quite a bit of friends and family that live in and around the area. We’ve also thought about other places but I’d say Texas is definitely a front runner. In the end, it will really depend on where we find jobs and whether Dave goes to grad school after he gets out of the Navy 🙂

      • ah, if he’s getting out of the navy, then that does change your options quite a bit.

        I have family in/around Dallas, as well. Good area. If you’re comfortable with the “conventionality” of it, then I’d personally aim for that over Houston (too many hurricanes there; though, there’s a really good preacher who fills up the Astrodome every week… Joel Onstein or something like that; I read a book of his a few years ago, and I’d probably go see him regularly if I could).

        If you’re not into the conventionality of it, look into Austin. It’s not “like the west coast”, but it’s more like the west coast lifestyle than any other part of TX.

        Avoid the extreme western parts of TX (like the pan handle), IMO :-}

        Anyway… you’ve got a ton of time to figure it out.

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