The last night of our stay. We were a tad exhausted.As for alcohol consumption, well, it's safe to say that I've never consumed so much alcohol in a 4 day time period. Champagne was the drink of choice with many tequila shots thrown in the mix. One of my favorite things is that almost every single bathroom had a place to set your drink down. I was highly impressed with cup holders and ledges in the bathrooms. It doesn't take much.
There's much more to talk about and many more photos that'll come tomorrow. As for now I'm going to drink my super-large coffee and try to stay awake all while mourning the fact that I can't walk around anywhere I want while drinking from a large bottle of champagne.
In an effort to get there earlier and spend more time with my friends I'm going to attempt to fly stand-by on the earlier flight. There's are supposedly 20 available seats so I should be golden. If not then I suppose I'll start pounding back drinks while at the airport.
Happy weekend everyone and if I don't ever post another blog it's because I won lots of money and I moved to Tahiti and got myself a hot cabana boy who feeds me grapes and massages my back on demand.
Here's my bookcase. It's solid oak that I got for a bargain at Costco of all places. The shelves are move able and it's simple enough that I think it goes with most decorating styles which is a good thing since I'm constantly re-doing my house.
On top of my bookcase is part of my Blenko glass collection. I have several other pieces but this bookcase is so tall that I can't fit the larger pieces. The silhouette "photo" is of my two boys and the likeness is so accurate. I have no idea how the woman did it what with Jackson being 1-year-old and not sitting still. The small sunflower inverted glass carving is a piece from Europe that my parents brought me. Those encyclopedias are from the 60's and they are engraved with my mother's maiden name. Her dad, my grandpa, used to sell encyclopedia's door-to-door.
More encyclopedia's! In front of them are Happy Birthday Candle Holders that were featured on Style Lushs blog. (I realize they are backward, it's my attempt to be clever.) I couldn't resist. The donkey, on the shelf below, is my own interpretation of my late great-grandma's collection of donkeys. She collected donkeys as long as I can remember and they aren't easy to find, trust me! When I saw this one in Houston a few months ago I knew I had to have it. It's a heavy cast iron donkey piggy bank. Love! When I was a kid I had a Crayola Crayon record player (that I still have!) and a set of Little Golden Book books that came with records. Somehow I managed to keep my records and books together, with the exception of one, and I proudly display these in my bookcase.
That green bowl thingy? Something few people would fall in love with. My grandma B picked it up at a garage sale in her hometown in Missouri. It's so strange and fun that I toted it back in my suitcase last summer. It hides bubbles so Jackson won't ask every 4 seconds to play bubbles.
A few of my childhood books reside here. The Children's World Atlas is torn to pieces and it has my crayon pictures all over the pages. The Secret Garden is the first "real" book I read as a young adult. There's also a skiiiiiny book about Cinderella that I used to love as a little girl. If there was a fire in my house one of the first things I'd grab are those little foam bunnies. My grandpa, who passed away June 08, used to do magic tricks when I was younger. Those bunnies represent him. See that book that's turned backward? The one on the top?
It's the book The Guide to Getting It On. You guys are super smart and I'm sure you can figure out what it's about. Honestly I haven't ever opened this book because I'm exceptionally single, but someday...
My books aren't just confined to a bookcase, they've spilled over into my entry way and many other places. My one and only Halloween decoration on this table is the cute little ghost pail. The bowl is from a neat little place in Cumberland, Maryland. It was handmade and signed by the artist. It holds rocks and shells from past adventures. The photo in the plastic sleeve is by a local artist in Carmel, California. It makes me happy to see that photo and remember my short, but exceptional trip, there.
- At my local mall there are two stores across from each other, the Gap and Wet Seal. I used to roll my eyes at the obvious old people going into the Gap to buy their button up shirts, boring solid t-shirts, and sweaters while I was buying cool stuff such as things with glitter, sparkle, and shine with a touch of shimmer. These days I purposely walk past Wet Seal and into the Gap and I buy sweaters. And solid t-shirts. I'm slowly inching toward button up shirts now, too. I may have even purchased a pair of slacks while I was at it. Maybe.
- I bought some books recently that I would never have bought ever, ever, ever. Unless required by some college class. You may recall that I'm part of a new blog, Style Lush, and I wanted to really put my best foot forward and since blogging is mostly about words I decided to start with these two books. I am actually reading them and I'm sort of proud of myself. Trying to remember grammar rules from high school and college is obviously not working for me. Hopefully these will.
- I'm going on vacations. This may not sound like a very grown up thing to do but, trust me, it is. You see, in order to go on vacation, one must save money and not spend it on frivolous things like cute shoes or shiny earrings. I devised a plan to help me save money and so far it's working like a charm. When I get paid I put $5 - $10 each time into an envelope and that's my vacation money. I also have a savings account that earns interest but that's for real expenses like stupid house repairs and car maintenance. That small amount of money is so tiny that I don't even miss it and yet over time I have a small chunk of change to spend. Case in point : Next week I'm going to Vegas (YIPEE!) and now I've got a few bucks to spend on crappy souvenirs or whatever my heart desires and I won't even feel guilty about it.
- Buying things in bulk. Oh lord. I never thought I'd see the day when I'd stare at my pantry items and think "Jeez, wouldn't it be economical and super duper smart of me to purchase my staple grocery items in bulk?". People, I BUY MY STAPLE GROCERY ITEMS IN BULK.
- I get stressed when I can't balance my checkbook.
- I decline shopping trips because I know my mortgage payment is coming up again. Every month this happens and won't cease for another 11 years, sadly.
Another sign I'm growing up? I'm moving my blog to another place with a new name and a new look and I'm sort of excited about it. Keep an eye out...I'll let you know!
Please, add us to your feed reader, come often, comment and most of all have fun with it. We are all really excited to be a part of this new venture and can't wait to see what happens as we grow and grow.
Josh* and his best friend Jeremy* used to make fun of me and my best friend all the time. We ran into them once at the mall, where all the kids hung out, and practically followed us around to taunt us. Getting on the elevator at the mall was the clearest memory. They made it a point to get on the elevator with us just to be horrible and awful to us. Our hair was stupid, our clothes weren't cool or expensive enough, we were just lame. It sucked because these two boys were in the "cool" crowd and we were below them. They made that last point very clear.
I never made it into the cool crowd, not even close. On the flip side, I don't think I ever went down to the "loser" crowd either but my foot was hovering over the loser line, for sure. I had a few friends that were cheerleaders, some of the geeky kids I called friends and for years I hung out with the guy everyone thought was the James Dean of the school (last I heard he was in prison). I never did fit in with any particular group, drifting around aimlessly. I was in choir which I really enjoyed but that, of course, made me lame to most. I never knew what I could do to make it up the ladder to be cool.
Josh died a few years ago, unexpectedly, and I was just heartbroken for his family. I see his dad on a regular basis because of my job and I always asked how he was doing. His dad and I talked about how mean his son was to me once and I felt a bit better when he told me this Josh was like that to everyone. It wasn't just me that he directed his awfulness at. I never told his dad that Josh was half of the reason I tell my oldest son, on a regular basis, to be nice to everyone all the time, no matter if they are in the cool crowd, the lame crowd or in between.
I actually have seen Jeremy around the area a few times. He's hard to miss, really. He's been in a wheelchair for most of his life. I realize that he probably was a very angry kid and took his aggressions and anger out on others but I don't give him a pass for the awfulness. Many people are dealt an awful set of cards and if they make the choice to be awful than they must accept the fact that people aren't as likely to give them the benefit of the doubt, not that I didn't try. I stopped trying when Jeremy would mow me over in the school hallways with his wheelchair and laugh. Of course I couldn't do anything because he would use the handicapped card. It was widely suspected that he could in fact walk but choose not to. I now doubt the validity of this because I've seen him in his chair.
I saw Jeremy just a few weeks ago. I know he's got a family and he's married. I hear he's still in the neighborhood we all grew up in and I also hear he's doing well. In a way I'm glad because I know he was angry, I would have been too. His carefree preteen and teen years were stolen from him. If I ever get a chance, or the nerve, I intend on telling him how he affected my growing up. He's the other half of the reason that I tell my oldest son to be kind to everyone, no matter what.
*Matt, the third of the boys, just friend requested me on Facebook**. He's got a family now, that looks to include daughters. I'd like a chance to tell him how to prevent his girls from having a negative self body image. Matt was highly interested in the fact that I had boobs at such a young age. It was 5Th or 6Th grade when he would run past me and pop my bra in the back. Once he also grabbed my breast and laughed hysterically as he ran away.
My mother used to point out that I would only wear exceptionally baggy clothes with barely any skin showing, never showing cleavage. I don't think I realized that the reason I dressed like that was a direct result of how Matt was to me. I was a kid with boobs and a bra and my friends were still 6 months to a year behind me and that's a lifetime in kid years. He made me feel ashamed and embarrassed and I just wanted to blend into the background and never be seen. There's a picture of my in high school that sums up my wardrobe back then. I had jeans on, a t-shirt and a man's long sleeve flannel shirt buttoned almost to the top. I remember this shirt so clearly because it was a mans size 2XL and I was maybe a size 8 back then. You can imagine how much excess fabric and shame I was carrying with me.
I get anxiety when I think about Jeremy, Josh and especially Matt. I see them in all the kids that make fun of Derick. I see them in the cocky kids at the mall. I see them walking home from school taunting others. I have had a hard time really getting past their mark they left on me. It's not easy even though it was so many many years ago.
I survived you, I'd say to them. Despite you I made it and I think I've done a good job. Because of you I'm teaching my children better. I'm teaching my boys to respect women and honor women and be respectful of women. I'm breaking the cycle with my boys.
Also, I'm letting you go, you three boys. You won't hover over my anymore with your issues. I won't let you cloud my view of people anymore. I'm moving on and leaving you behind, where you belong. I only hope that your children are taught better.
*Not their real names. For you readers who know me and know these people please keep their names and details private, please.
**I denied his friend request.
Our first stop, not far from LA was in Santa Monica at a local cafe called Marmalade Cafe. We drank mimosas and made a toast for a fabulous trip thus far. I ordered the yummiest pancakes, banana/walnut goodness. They were up there with some of the best pancakes I've ever had and I hated that I just couldn't finish them all.
After brunch we walked right next door to a locally owned bookstore. I love a good bookstore more than many other things and this store did not disappoint. I made sure to grab a few books for Jackson. I realize I could have just waited till I got home and ordered them but I love the story of where I got them. Plus who doesn't love adding poundage to an already stuffed suitcase? Harry & Horsie is definitely a favorite of his now. We read it every night (this is a good and a bad thing, especially when you have memorized every word).
Believe it or not our next stop was at another book store. There was a sign on the road that said something about Santa Barbara being the most beautiful town on earth so it was just a given that we would have to stop and see this for ourselves. Our schedule was the opposite of a schedule so we had time to stop and do whatever we wanted. The Book Den was this musty smelling shop filled to the brim with a ton of used books. I covet having a library like that someday, with a ladder, too. The lady who was working there was a lovely woman full of stories and advice and made us feel very welcome. I bought another book for Jackson because I just couldn't resist, Shel Silverstein's A Light In The Attic. I distinctly remember laughing with Derick about some of the off-the-wall poems when he was a little kid.
We walked around Santa Barbara and picked up a quick snack in a small bakery. In the very back of the bakery was Arcobaleno Trade, a tiny little shop that sold fair trade items made all over the world. I gravitate toward items with a story to tell and couldn't resist picking up a necklace and a ring made from the Tagua nut. Both of which I've gotten compliments on! Santa Barbara was a lovely little town, from what I saw, but I'd say the most beautiful town was coming up.
Back in the car again we headed up the coast and I never dreamed I would see so many fields of avocados and grapes. Field after field after field of monoculture farming was in full force. Apparently the company Dole is king out there, from what I could tell, and they proudly touted this by having very large wood cutouts of people "working" in the field with their trusty dog by their side. I had gotten used to these cutout people until I saw a random cutout of a ladies head on the side of a very large hill surrounded by cutout flowers. I laughed till I cried because it was just. so. random. and. creepy. It was definitely a moment I'd hoped my camera would have been ready to snap a photo of.
One of the curious things about our drive was the weather. We were all over the map and I'm surprised Jennie and I didn't end up with some cold as punishment for the temperature change. A change of around 40 degrees was so drastic that I wasn't sure if I should wear my sweater or change into a tank top. The following day we started the day at 45 degrees and went all the way up to 103. California, you are a strange creature!
We finally arrived at out little B&B, The Green Lantern Inn, well after dark and got an awesome upgrade from a tiny room to a spacious room where we had our own beds, comfy beds! I highly recommend you stay at this B&B if you get a chance. We chucked our luggage (just like in LA) and headed out for dinner. Turns out Carmel is not a party place and they roll up the streets early. We managed to find a place to get dinner not far from our B&B. Merlo Bistro was the first place that looked like a great choice. We ended up sharing two half bottles of wine because originally I thought I would only be able to drink half of a half bottle because I just am not a wine person but it turns out that the wine was delicious and I would have bathed in it if I could have. We ordered another half bottle of wine and I asked the waiter if it would have been cheaper to order one regular size bottle and he rolled his eyes at me as if to say DUH! you stupid tourist. Whatevs, dude, just bring another half bottle!
After dinner I consumed the tastiest Long Island Iced Tea ever at a tiny little bar called Sade's where I became a tiny bit inebriated. I tell you this because it explains my next story about a mostly naked man. I'd like to point out that Jennie saw him first. He was wearing an itty bitty thong and walked outside for whatever reason (weather check? seeing if his wet pants were dry?) for mere seconds and then went back inside where we could still see him in his large front window. I really wanted to sneak across the street to his large window and snap a picture of him. FOR THE BLOG, people, not for my own sake. Such a giver I am, I know. Jennie wouldn't let me, which is probably for the best although I am still curious as to why he didn't realize his large window was see through. So people, if you go to Carmel, walk down the block were Sade's bar is and look for the mostly naked man standing in his house in front of his large window and tell him I said hi.
The naked man incident turned into walking into a reception of sorts. We weren't done drinking Carmel, and you need more bars for tourists! It was totally disconcerting to realize 1) that you've crashed a reception very loudly and 2) that you walked inside a building that was open to the outside because it had no roof. Inebriated. It's my only excuse.
Obviously we weren't going to find another place to get a drink at so it was time to get some sleep in preparation of the next day. But not until Jennie and I talked and cried a bit after swapping stories about our babies. It had been a long day of driving and exploring. The next morning I fell in love with California a little more.