Apr 8, 2015

The Road Home

I drove the first leg of the trip home while my kids got some more sleep.  I'd had very little sleep myself, and as the dark countryside rolled by and I reflected on the weekend I started forming some prose in my head.

When we stopped eventually and Jack took over driving for a bit, I needed to get the words out so I typed them into a facebook status to remember.

The road took me home because her laughter mixed with mine is the best wellness elixir there is. Because he went north and I went south and it's been twenty one years since we were both pulled home at once. Because there's comfort in so many old friends and familiar faces. Because this son is about to leave the nest and inspires me to return to mine, and because that son had never played in the creek who's stream had watered his mother, soaking through the roots of my bare feet as i grew into a woman and left this place, and because it settles my soul to see it all still there, and reassured, I now leave it behind and take the road back to the blessed life I've built elsewhere until the grapevines of my girlhood twist around me, tug at my heart, and pull me back again.

After three days of nonstop being on my feet, a day on my ass in the car caused my feet to swell up like a pregnant woman!

That's how you break in a new car!  My grill is covered with bugs, thanks to the central California farmland.  I'm planning another trip very soon, because I've realized how therapeutic these trips are for me.  I tend to be very controlling, and always have a plan.  Taking a trip in which I don't have much of a plan seems to allow me to give up control, I loosen up and when I do, I remember who I think I really am under all this anxiety, how I crave adventure and how I'm wild and free and I need periods of time in which I am not being tamed, in which I can roam free and come home relaxed and in more control of myself having given up my control of my surroundings and those around me.

Apr 7, 2015

Hike 2 of 52 - Armstrong Woods

On our last day in Sonoma, I drove my kids an hour or so to Armstrong Woods, the local Redwood forest.  Tucker has been clamoring to see the redwoods, and I promised him I would take him.

In every picture you'll notice Tucker is giving a thumbs up and nodding his head.  At one point I started to take his picture and he went into this, and told me it's his signature pose.  Oh, that kid.

After the Redwoods we zipped over to Petaluma to tour Gina's work and go to lunch at her favorite spot, Native Kitchen. We shared a cheeseboard, then got lunch. I had a wellness elixir and a salad, and then we got a Starbucks and headed back to Sonoma.

It was our last night, and we headed to the square for dinner at Burgers and Vine.

I like to try new things, so I got a duck burger.  It was pretty good, and the goat cheese on it was delicious.  I also got truffle fries, which were okay as far as truffle fries go.

Back at Gina's, we relaxed and packed up.  Josh came over with dominoes and we played until almost one in the morning.  I didn't want to say goodnight and goodbye and go to bed, because that would mean it was over!  I did plan on getting up at 4:30 in the morning, though, so we finally had to call it a night!

Apr 6, 2015

HIke 1 of 52 - Benecia Lake

While I was in Sonoma last week I was way more active than usual.  I usually struggle to get 5000 steps in a day, and on Saturday I got over 15,000 walking around town.  Sunday I got over 12,000 hiking to Benecia Lake, and Monday I got over 10,000 hiking in Armstrong Woods, an hour away.

After coming home, I saw a challenge to complete 52 hikes in 52 weeks, and I realized if I start now, I've got two down already in one week, so I'm starting.  I'm calling this hike one, taken on March 29, 2015.

Here we go!

Looking back on the trail.  I'm not gonna lie, this hike was a real struggle for me and made me realize just how out of shape I have gotten.  I've been having horrible back muscle spasms and pain, and it is time to get serious about my health and my strength and general badassness. I was panting like a prank caller and practically crawling up the steps carved in the hillside because when I tried to step up them my leg shook so bad I thought I was going to fall back down the hill.

Paul (Gina's husband) had gone ahead with the kids, and when we met up with them at the top he patched my bleeding arm and gave me a hunk of bagel and a handful of cashews.  I was very happy to discover there was a bench because I really needed it.

These two little girls are still giggling together in the corner.


Tucker plays in the creek.

My badassness shines through.

The kids caught this lazy frog.  I can't help but wonder if he is the descendant of one of the millions of tadpoles I caught and released as a girl, downstream where the creek trickled past my house.

Tucker and Frog.

Zoe and frog.

This.  This is who I am.  I remember now.

We started at the trailhead, took the little cut across and hiked up the right side of the loop to Benecia Lake, then hiked down the left side of the loop back to trailhead.

We rewarded ourselves with a well earned trip to Happy Dog.  While we were feasting, Paul (who grew up in nearby San Francisco) asked Gina and I (who are both multi-generation Sonoma family folk) how long Happy Dog had been there.  Um, the beginning of time?  It's been there as long as either of us can remember, probably all our lives, and I will be sad if it's ever not.

French Burger - that's a burger on a Sonoma french roll, for those of you not from those parts.

Gina's fries.  I forgot how good their fries were, but quickly remembered and stole more than a few of Gina's stash.

That night, Josh (who is a chef) came over with sacks of groceries and prepared roast cajun beer can chicken, collard greens, and mac and cheese.  It was all delicious!  After, we played a game of Taboo and all was well with the world.

Apr 5, 2015


Day one of my trip to Sonoma last week we walked downtown to check out the film festival haps and say hi to Gina's daughter Riley, who was working the Dutch Bros. Coffee tent.  I could not resist stopping to camp it up in the Sonomawood sign they put up every year for the festival.

Gina and I walking to the festival.  Seriously, I am so lucky to hail from such a beautiful place.  I do so love San Diego, but my hometown takes my breath away and I can't believe I didn't appreciate it as a youngster.

Zoe rocks the free souvenir glasses.

No chocolate for Tucker.

We had lunch at Mary's, which is a must every time I go home.

Riley's signature pose.

Gina and I at lunch, looking like the sexy milfs we are.

This is a Mary's signature salad, half the reason I go.  The other reason is the minestrone soup, but my past two visits they haven't had it that day.  Next time I'm calling ahead!

Apr 4, 2015

Just as Hard to Mow

Road Trip to Sonoma

Sometimes (a lot of times) I get a little wanderlust and I need to hit the road.  I've been feeling it lately, and a new car was a perfect excuse to let the road clear my head.  I took the kids and headed for Sonoma, my hometown.

It was nice that Jack can pitch in with the driving a bit now and I can take a break.

Look at all those cows.

Look at all those trees.

Happy road tripper.

We arrived at my best friend Gina's house and headed to dinner with her and her daughter Zoe.

One of the reasons I headed to Sonoma is that someone I was pretty close with in high school was back in town after living in Alaska for years and years.  That first night, after the kids were settled and playing, Gina and I headed out to meet this old friend Josh for drinks and to catch up.  We visited two local watering holes and at the second one our friend Cat strolled in with a half dozen people in tow, one of which was David Arquette.  That's what happens when you grow up in a small town that is also a vacation destination and hosts it's own international film festival.