John and I are trying out a new lifestyle, one where you are not dependent on your car for everything. We rented an apartment in Menlo Park and are now within walking distance of downtown with its restaurants and supermarkets, the library, tennis courts and a small, neighborhood gourmet market. Yesterday, we walked the mile or so to Trader Joe’s and picked up some ingredients for dinner, stopped at the hardware store, and bought a couple of bagels for today’s breakfast (not at the hardware store.) Then we walked home. The whole outing took an hour and a half. Being retired makes this sort of thing much more plausible. We do need to find a better way of carrying stuff home, though.

Another thing I like about our apartment is that since you don’t need air conditioning on the peninsula, we keep the front door open. Our living/family room is in the front so you can see outside. There are kids on hot wheels, moms (or maybe they are caregivers) pushing babies, delivery trucks, and gardeners. I feel connected to what’s going on. In our house in Pleasanton, the family room is in the back and you never see what’s going on. We seem to have gone from a front porch society to a back deck society. This whole new living situation feels like a throwback to when I was a kid.

Of course the best part is that we are near to our kids. They’ve already come over to dinner and we met Ryan and Jon for lunch. Sarah stopped by to drop something off and stayed to dinner. Another day she just hung with us for a while. Getting together used to be more of an ordeal. Is it the right time traffic-wise? Are we too tired to drive over? Do they want to commit a big block of time to mom and dad? Now it’s easy and we are loving it.

Who knows? After this year is up maybe we will have had enough of the walking, the hot days and the noise. But right now, it seems pretty wonderful.

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