Category Archives: U.S. Austin, Texas

Our land base home, Austin Texas

Busy, Busy, Busy in the States

A visit to the States is always challenging as we try to squeeze in errands, chores, friends and family across 3 different states.  But this visit is even more difficult as Matt is returning to the U.S. for the first time in 6 years!

Our priority items for this trip are:

  • Trip to Ohio to clear out house
  • Doctor visits and scans
  • Renew Christine’s driver’s license
  • Renew Matt’s driver’s license (brand new driver as license expired more than 2 years)
  • Repair watermaker clark pump
  • Resize wedding rings
  • Pick up huge order of boat parts


We arrive in LA around 10:30am after traveling (20 hours).  My dad picks us up and we head straight for San Diego to drop off our Spectra Clark pump (for the watermaker).  The distributor is in San Diego and will be repairing it as it is only producing at 50%.  We also pick up a new membrane and end caps for the watermaker.  A pricey visit.  We grab a quick bite to eat and head back to Hermosa Beach.  Just a 8 hour diversion.


The next day we fly to Ohio where we meet Matt’s brother and his family.  We spend the next 4 days cleaning their mom’s 5000′ house (plus the basement and attic).  It was a tough job working 13-15 hours a day, but we were all super productive and got a lot of work done.  The weather surprised us with a few days of snow!  We were ill prepared for this part of our visit to the States!

Matt’s family: Mike, Kim, Preston, Clara, Will and Haddy and cousin Margaret.

I even get an opportunity to visit some of my family in Ohio.  My uncle Mike had a stroke a few years ago and although he could not speak, he had a lovely smile during our entire visit.  Thank you Kathy for making this happen.  It was incredibly special to see you both.

My cousin Devin is pregnant with her first child and we got to meet her husband Skylar. Yep, I am wearing multiple borrowed sweaters.


Our primary focus in Texas is to renew driver licenses and see doctors.  My license was easy as it does not expire until January 2023 (15 minute appointment).  However, for Matt we had to jump through a lot of hoops as his license expired more than 2 years ago and he is considered a brand new driver.  He had to take the written test, an online “Impact Driving Test” and the road test again!  But he passed with flying colors.  We celebrate at Hula Hut one of our favorite eateries.

Our friends the Nelson’s were visiting from the East coast so it was truly a grand reunion.

Jamie flew in from Oklahoma in a surprise visit for our big reunion at Heather and Michael’s house.  I just love this girl!

We gathered a spectacular group of people. It has been many years since we have all been together.  What a special treat to see everyone.  The girls (top: Diana, Barbara, me, Lisa, Missy, Kim, Heather, Marcie, Amy, Jennifer, Heather, Stephanie, Traci, Tiffany) and the boys (Matt, Kevin, Daniel, Matt, John, Larry and Chris)

Love the new iPhone 13 Pro Max which takes amazing photos at night!

Heather and Michael created a Cinco de Mateo theme in honor of Matt’s 55th birthday.  Everyone contributed food, beverages, coozies, and lots of good fun.

I had not seen Brian in well over a decade and I got to meet his new beautiful wife.

We got a little obsessive with the girl pics.

The Austin skyline has changed a lot – but what hasn’t changed in the states?


We spend a week in Los Angeles so I can see my family.  My dad is still battling cancer, but he is strong and fighting every step of the way.  We  visit him and his side of the family (uncle Joe, me, dad, Kelly, Adrian, Day, Kimberly).

My dad is a fighter and I am so proud of him.

Somewhere between all the travels in 8 cities, in the snow and in the pollen infested city of Austin, I catch covid.  Seriously!  Somewhat of a mild case, only 2.5 days of real sickness, body aches, sore throat, coughing, stuffy/runny nose.  But it prevented me from spending more time with family and seeing a lot of friends.  

Matt sees our friends Yanell and Missy.  They moved to El Segundo after they sold their beloved boat Hoodoo.

And Matt gets in several long bike rides (35 miles from Hermosa Beach to Santa Monica).

I’m Out of Isolation

Finally after I receive a negative test, I get out.  We visit with our friends on Hoodoo (Yanell and Missy) and our friends on Sea Jay (Fred and Chris) who were all in California (we met in French Polynesia).  What a small world!

Super tasty dinner at Palmilla on the Hermosa Beach pier.

Another celebration of Matt’s birthday….and it continues on and on…

We go for a small hike around Palos Verdes to see a beautiful light house and come across a lot of goats brought in to mow the grass.

So many baby goats!

Such a beautiful day!

Visiting the states is always hard for me as I want to see everyone and always end up spending a little time with many people vs quality time with a few people.  But what can you do?  It is nice to feel loved that is for sure.

Our good friend Deborah came to visit me.  (We know her from Austin)

My aunt Donna drove up from San Diego and spent the day with us.

We both get to see Cameron (my youngest nephew and a senior in high school) in his volleyball playoffs.  He is a rock star and just kills it!

Traveling Back to French Polynesia

When Matt left he carried back (2) 50lb bags and a 30lb back pack.  When I left I had (2) 50lb bags, (1) 30lb bag and a 20lb backpack.  Talk about a lot of “stuff”

A quick 9 hour flight from the States to Tahiti, a 3 hour layover and a 90-minute flight to Raiatea.  During my layover, my good friend Eve brought me a beautiful floral crown.

Now back to the boat on the  hard.    Hope to splash soon.  

Sugar Shack goes on the hard at Raiatea Carenage to get lots of work done.  Events from this blog in early April, 2022.  Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.

Family in LA

Stateside Whirlwind Visit

Will spare you from the boring details of my stateside visit, but wanted to post a few of the highlights.

I flew non-stop from Papeete, Tahiti to Los Angeles on Air Tahiti Nui.  It was a lovely flight on their new dreamliner.  They offered me a super soft, pretty turquise blanket and pillow. In addition, I had a small pack with ear plugs, socks and an eye mask.  They served dinner and breakfast in addition to offering entertainment.  No bad for a coach seat.

I landed in LA, but didn’t stay long.  Two hours later I was on a flight to Austin. The next day many of my amazing friends showed up for happy hour at Abel’s on the Lake.  For some reason, I did not manage to take a single photo.

I stayed at the exclusive resort of Michelle and Jeremy Martin and enjoyed super special visits with all my friends.  Especially, Jamie who flew in from Sedona.  Top photo Sharon, Sidney, and I, then Deborah and I and Jamie and I.

My amazing friends.

My amazing friends.

After a week in Austin, I flew back to Los Angeles to visit with my family.  My dad is pretty sick as he battles with cancer, but he is fights on.  I was able to spend many days with him which is just what we both needed!

Disneyland & California Adventure

My sister spoiled me with a rare day off at Disneyland.  I had not been to the park in over 30 years and had never seen California Adventures.  It was a true treat to spend the day with her, Cole, and Cameron (my nephews).

Cole, Cameron, Kimberly and I at Disneyland

Cole, Cameron, Kimberly and I at Disneyland

A few of the rides like to capture a look of pure terror on your face – but we fooled them!

Konis Klan and I At Disneyland

Konis Klan and I At Disneyland

On the new Indiana Jones ride it broke down just as we were finishing the ride…got to see the behind the scenes of the adventure.

Indiana Jones Behind the Scene

Indiana Jones Behind the Scene

My family came over for a tasty BBQ at my sister’s house.

My loving and crazy family

My loving and crazy family

Somehow I convinced Kathryn and Gene to join the craziness.

Kathryn and Gene visit

Kathryn and Gene visit

My fabulous sister, Kimberly and brother law, Troy

Kimberly, Troy and I

Kimberly, Troy and I


My sister and I spent a lot of time at my dad’s house.  He is very ill but was having a god day below.  This is my sister and I, my dad and two uncles.

Dad, and 2 Uncles

Dad, and 2 Uncles


Michelle and Heather

Visit to the States: Part II

Visits to the States, especially my home town always put a lot of pressure on me as there are so many people I want to see in between all things I have to do.  Squeezed into a very short amount of time.  I only have 2.5 days to get everything done and its not enough time!

After I arrived in Austin, I met Sharon Popp at Hula Hut for happy hour.  She drove all the way from Houston (3 hour drive one-way) to meet with me.  Which makes me incredibly honored.  But I am disappointed that we didn’t get a photo.  We were too involved in catching up to whip out the phones.

Afterwards, I met my friend Michelle so we could pick up Jamie who was flying in from Arizona for a short visit during my stay.  We took advantage of some quiet time and enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Bartlet’s.  Again, forgot to whip out the camera.  Its been years since the three of us have been together, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

The next day, I met the renter of our house, visited with my neighbor, and saw my oncologist.  Dr. Patt at Texas Oncology gave me great news: labs showed me to be “perfectly average”.  In fact, she was so happy with me that she changed my appointments to annually.

That night, Heather Newbby planned a happy hour where I was able to see a large group of friends at one time.  Thank you everyone for showing up!

Image:  Jamie, Missy, Heather, Michael, Michelle, Aimee, Kim, Selma, Oscar

Austin Friends

Austin Friends

The next day, more errands and had a fabulous lunch with my sweet friend Diana at Nordstrom Cafe. I was hankering for their tasty saladsand it did not disappoint!  Then our really good friends, Shawn and Sharon drove in from San Antonio (over 90-minute one way drive) to have dinner with me at Maudie’s.

Managed to run all my errands too:

  • Pharmacy
  • Market
  • PO Box
  • FedEx
  • Norstrom
  • Sephora
  • LuLu Lemon
  • Walgreens
  • Bank

Quick 2 weeks in and out of the States, but managed to get everything done that I came for – blessings.