Strolling in Savannah

Last weekend Honey and I went down to Savannah for the first time. It was lovely, the demeanor of the city is more in line with the slower pace that the South is known for, which I have only glimpsed at occasionally since we moved. The squares are beautiful, the streets and shops are easy to navigate, and even after only ten minute there we felt so relaxed.  Even in traffic and crowded bars people were still polite and even tempered with each other.  It was a nice break from home.

We walked a lot, as we tend to do on vacation, and I began to notice a interesting trend.  Savannah is an older town, lots of cobblestone streets, uneven stairs that shippers probably trekked up in down in the previous centuries, and well the city is designed to be walked around…so it was easy to notice that most women were wearing flats.  Even the most dolled up Southern Belles and ladies that were bar hopping were sans heels.  I think I have found my people =)  I wore flats or sneakers unapologetically to meals and around town.  I think this is the first trip I have had with my husband that has not resulted in a blister.  (I say that with love).

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IMG_2154.jpg After dinner one night we went to a Martini Bar called Jen’s & Friends which has a menu of hundreds of martinis.  I am not usually the type to have sweet Martini’s but I got a Heath Klondike Bar Martini (two of my favorite things), it even had a good sized piece of Koldike Bar as a garnish and it was pretty damn delicious. Their regular mixed drinks were also very good (that is what Honey had).  And despite the Party Buses arriving and a really small space, everyone was so nice to one another.  I should also mention Savannah has the whole “Go Cup” thing in parts of the city.  When you order a drink they ask if it is for here or out, you can pretty much walk around town with a open beverage as long as it is in a 16 oz plastic cup.  The next afternoon I became a little jealous of a man carrying a Bloody Mary around (why didn’t I think of that?).  I did not partake in the Go Cups, but I might some day.

Honey prepared for the trip by reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil the week before we left.  I was busy with a dinner party we were throwing for neighbors the night before our trip, so I have still yet to crack into it-but I did see the movie.

And yes of course we did walk by Mercer (Williams) House.IMG_2184.jpgOddly enough there was a Camaro parked outside (detail from the book that Honey pointed out).  We wondered if one of the staff or the owner intentionally keep one outside.  We didn’t see a “Camaro Parking Only” sign and when I looked up if there often was a Camaro out front, I couldn’t find anything.  It was just one of those things.

So Honey and I, after walking and window shopping for the last three hours, sat on a bench in Monterey Square, which is the square Mercer House looks on to.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The sun was out, I think it was in the 60s, and there was a cold breeze to make you remember that it was December-but only as a passing thought.  After a few minutes our attention was drawn up.  There was squirrel performing various acrobatics in the oaks and palms above us.  Then the little cheeky guy started talking and chirping at us and did not stop, that is until I pulled out my camera to record it.  Then he stopped, so I stopped recording; so he started talking again.  Apparently whatever he was telling us, he did not want to go on the record as saying. My personal theory was the squirrel had the spirit Danny Hansford and he was complaining about the direction Chevy had gone with the Camaro body style.  Just a theory.

We made out way down to Forsyth Park after a stop in a local shop we went down to the fountain where a couple was getting engaged.

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I didn’t take a picture while it was happening, this is actually three minutes later when apparently their friend popped out from behind a tree to reveal she was taking pictures the whole time.  Thank goodness the future bride said yes!  We hung around the fountain for a few more minutes, soaking up the sun and the very quiet Sunday afternoon.  Another couple came up to the fountain, she was in a wedding dress and their Reverend was with them.  There was a whole lotta love at that fountain.  I don’t know if they were just there for photos or if the ceremony was about to begin so we gave them their privacy and went on to walk down one of the most beautiful streets in America.

IMG_2173.jpgOur trip down there was wonderful, almost over too quickly but I was beginning to miss the kitties at home so it’s good we only stayed for a couple of nights.  I can’t wait to explore more of this lovely city in socially accepted, comfortable shoes.

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Revisit, Refresh

It looked like I had fallen back into the swing of blogging again, didn’t it?  Sorry…again.

The winter blues did sneak up on me a bit, that awkward time when the winter just gets annoying and everything you do or plan just seems to be in anticipation of Spring.  But there was one thing that we did not have to wait for Spring to enjoy, and that was a trip out to the coast to see our lovely friends Kudra and Porter.

Back in San Diego, when we first met them, we had heard from various sources about the incredibleness and the joy that is their St. Patrick’s Day Party.  And this year we got to go.  The evite went out and I said yes before I even knew if we had secured a couch or floor area to sleep on.  When I did speak to her later asking for dibs on some square footage in the living room, she told me that one of their guest bedrooms was available if we wanted it. Uh, yes please!  We also worked out that we would come up a day early so we could hang out and I could be her Sous Chef if needed.

A few nights before we left I started getting a bout of insomnia.  I get it from time to time, there were many things that could have caused it, the time change being the most obvious.  But as anyone who has had a few loss of night’s sleep can tell you, your personality becomes less than pleasant.  The night before we left I went to bed early but only probably got 4 hours of sleep.  I woke up at my usual time (6:30) and started making the two batches of scalloped potatoes that I was bringing for the party.  Once I was done it was time to pack the car and myself to head down the road.  I was a wreck, practically sleep walking but Honey drove and I caught a few hours of a nap on the way there.

When we got to Kudra’s and Porter’s I was a few more steps above sleepwalking, and they were cooking up a storm. At last glance the party was going to be around 30 people (hence the two batches of potatoes).  Kudra had Soda Bread piling high.

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Believe it or not this is not a staged photo, she was just piling up the bread so it would cool.

Porter was in the garage cooking up the corned beef.  Honey kept him company and they discussed beer brewing and various other subjects, while I stayed with Kudra in the kitchen and helped in anyway I could.

cabbage

We talked about what we had been up to the last few months.  Kudra and I used to walk around The Lake often and usually would be talking the whole time.  In the span of time since those walks I forgot just how much we used to share with each other.  The first few times we visited each other’s new homes and cities, we all stayed in a group of four for the most part-so those talks didn’t happen.  We realized it a little too late on one trip and while we were supposed to be saying good-bye we ended up in an almost three hour talk.  Now we try to fit in at least a little walk to talk and catch up without the menfolk around. This trip we had the kitchen to ourselves for hours and lots of talking was had.  I told her about the insomnia and she had some suggestions.  She has been taken a herbalism course and gifted me with a lovely therapeutic oil blend.

As we talked over our cooking prep about all of things that were going on in our lives, I felt more at peace than I had in a while.  My relationships in my new city are still relatively new and I know that I keep a good amount of my feelings and opinions to myself, it was very refreshing to put some more out there and to not be  worried about how it would come across.  Kudra always listens and more times that not completely understands. She has been very open with me, even from our first stroll around the lake and that has (I think) in turn made me more open with her.  Perhaps I can use that logic to have others be more open with me.

When the guys emerged from the large pot cooking we put together a little dinner and chatted together.  The plan was to participate in 5k walk the next morning, but since we were in town the rain had come to the coast once again.  Around midnight we began making promises that we would not do the walk if it was raining (we had already made the donation, so it was no loss to the cause).  We played chicken with time to see how long we could stay up and see if the rain had in fact washed out our early morning plans.  A few hours later  after much more talking and cooking, we hesitatingly got into bed.  Kudra made me a vitamin mixture before bedtime and made sure we had some lavender oil burring in our room as we slept.  Even though we only had a few hours sleep it was the best sleep I had gotten in weeks.

We all woke up the next morning, got dressed and watched as the sky opened up and rained on us the whole way there.  But about ten minutes before the walk started, the rain stopped.  We all walked quickly (trying to keep up with Kudra’s mother who was also there) and not a drop fell on us.  Later we caught a late breakfast at restaurant near Kudra’s Mom’s place and it began raining again.  It then rained for most of the day and throughout the St. Patrick’s Day Party.  It didn’t seem to put a damper on the day and after all of the wonderful food I ate I was thankful to have had morning exercise.

The party was wonderful, it was a mix of her nearby family and their friends.  The food was incredible, from the corned beef to the cabbage to the vegan shepherd’s pie to the homemade soda bread from a grandma’s recipe book.  Then the guests all brought something, serious dents were made in my scalloped potatoes even tough there were four other potato dishes around.  Someone brought around 50 “Irish Carbomb” Cupcakes and so many other delicious desserts I lost count of how many bites I took off of Honey’s plate. Porter served his incredible homemade Stout and another one of their guests brought his award winning Stout (I actually liked Porter’s more).  I also had my first glass of Moonshine.  I know, two years in the South and this is my first glass?  You can buy the regulated ones in the stores but this was actual moonshine.  It passed the the test without blue sparks and no one went blind.  It was actually pretty good, sweet as all hell, but good in a small amount.

The people at the party were wonderful,l as I expected friend’s of theirs would be.  They were warm and welcoming and tried their best to convince us to move to their town.  Which was very tempting 🙂 We have offers of boat rides and staying at beach houses the next time we blow into town (with hopefully better weather next time).

The next day Porter made corned beef hash with what little leftovers they were able to hide away and the sun finally came out for us to enjoy breakfast on their porch with some Bloody Mary’s.  The time went too quick and it after a while we had to pack our things to head home.  Honey I talked a lot on the drive back.  There has been a certain disconnect with who we feel we are here.  Nothing weird between us as a couple but rather how we are here.  Lifestyle stuff is different and while nature is more prevalent, the connection to it is not.

When we got back home we made decisions and plans regarding our reconnection.  We somehow scored a composter like the one we had in San Diego at 40% off and already assembled (which was a pain the last time).  We decided to say screw if it is “not allowed”, we can’t keep on living in a way we don’t feel comfortable with.  It is hiding behind a bush where only one or two neighbors can see and one of them said they thought it was great.  I picked up an oil diffuser and some lavender to help keep me having the same lovely sleep I had at their house.  I also got the vitamin mixture she gave me and I have felt great.  We grilled some fish in the backyard and ran into another neighbor who complimented the things we had done with the yard and agreed those cedars were horrible.  I have been sleeping better, cooking better, and even communicating better since we got back.  I didn’t realize how disjointed I felt before we left, but two nights among friends seems to have put us back into a more happy place.  As being around such wonderful people has a tendency to do. 😉

Charleston in the Fall

A few weeks back my husband and I went down to Charleston for a long weekend.  I have read various books that take place in Charleston so I was eager to see the city myself.  Most of the stories I read take place in the dead heat of summer, so walking its streets with long pants and a jacket felt odd at first, but a few bourbon drinks later I inexplicably got over it.  There were many pluses and few minuses to the trip, but overall we had a great time and we got explore a new city.

One of the big attractions of Charleston is the food and I can understand why.  In the midst of planning the trip we began watching a show called Mind of a Chef, it is on Netflix streaming and its narrated by Anthony Bourdain.  The first season only prominently featured one chef, but he would have other chefs drop in throughout the episodes.  One of those was Chef Sean Brock, who in the second season got promoted to several of his own episodes.  His episodes were probably my favorite in the series.  Anyway, he has his own restaurant in Charleston called Husk.  While we were watching the show I remembered the name of restaurant from an article I read about the best Southern restaurants.  His food philosophy and menu enticed me to make a reservation and I’m so happy I did.  If you are planning to be in the Charleston area (or Nashville) plan to eat there.  I porked out with the Pig Ear Lettuce wraps to start and pork tenderloin with pumpkin and vegetables for lunch. The Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps are incredible by the way, don’t think you are going to be getting something that looks like it should be in a bin at PetsMart.  And the drink menu is very well crafted.

The previous day we had gone to a restaurant called F.I.G. (Food Is Good), which I had also read about and it was good, in fact it was great.  I tried for the first time a medium/rare steak I figured I would be in good hands at this place and I was.  Everything on the plate was amazing, from the jous to the vinaigrette on the salad.  For dessert we had a Vanilla Malt Cake with banana ice cream.  I was leery on the banana ice cream, but it was wonderful.  The sweetness mixed with the very warm vanilla cake and then at the bottom of the plate there was a pool of butter rum which brought out a saltiness and lemon-like flavor.  On their drink menu you could build your own Manhattan, which has left Honey I searching for limited released bitters and vermouths trying to recreate what we had that night.  Though I think I should also mention the cherry on top, no really I mean the cherry.  They probably made them, but it was a maraschino cherry that tasted like what all imitation cherry flavor has been been trying to achieve for decades.  I only had one, so it wasn’t the booze talking, it was just a perfect cherry that tasted like what all cherries wanted to be when they grew up.

Southern hospitality was also alive and well at Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe.  While I made a bunch of reservations weeks in advance I realized I had neglected breakfast.  A few days before hand my husband read good reviews about this place and I called to make a reservation, unfortunately they don’t take reservations. She added that they weren’t very busy at the moment and then I had to tell her that I wouldn’t be there for a few more days.  I asked about what time they started getting busy and if we got there early would we be okay. She paused and asked how many were in my party.  2.  She told me she would reserve a table, I thanked her profusely and we said our good-byes. Only after I hung up did I realize  she didn’t ask for a name, maybe she was just betting on us showing up early enough or thought maybe we wouldn’t come.  I didn’t want to call back and harass her in case she was just trying to be polite, so I figured we would just have to roll the dice too. Fast forward a few days and while we were in line in the small but very yummy smelling restaurant with very limited seating, my husband looked over and saw a hand written reservation on an order slip for 2 at 9 am.

The food of course was incredible I had a City Omelet and all I can say why are people not putting brie in more omelets? Oh yeah, heart attacks, but still… worth it.

So I’ll stop talking about food now and get to the other parts of the city. Going by the main street in Charleston I figure most people like to shop, but we much rather walk around. We saw Rainbow Row, White Point Garden, the Atlantic (with jumping dolphins), we walked around a few cemeteries, not to mention various day and night walks up and down King Street.  I enjoyed the cemeteries the most, the history of the city was there and I could understand why there are so many ghost stories.

King Street Residence

King Street ResidenceThat is a left over Halloween decoration, I think-I don’t know.

Below are four  pictures from St. Phillip’s Church.  While we looked around services were being held and singing and music came out of the church.  At one point a stream of what seemed like 20 Alter Boys and Girls in red and white tunics went running through the graveyard from one building to another, shouting and playing.  It was surreal.

St. Phillip's

St. Phillip's

St. Phillip's

St. Phillip's

 

 

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Unitarian Church. They say Poe’s ex-girlfriend haunts the grounds.IMG_8618

IMG_8661The Atlantic

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Overall it was a lovely trip, lot of new sites and wonderful food.  Though the one morning that we could sleep in we got a…how shall I put this…unsolicited wake up call at 7:30 am.  Turns out the walls in the hotel were pretty darn thin and the people next door were awake, really awake….

Awake and involved.

Really involved

..with each other.  😉

Once we realized what had woken us up, and the level of noise and intensity at that we started laughing- perhaps a little too loudly because the noises from the other side of the wall quickly stopped.  I’ll admit that I joked about slipping a note under their door written in red lipstick that said “I know You Were Faking it This Morning”, but I didn’t do it.  We still had another night there and I didn’t want any pre-dawn retaliatory actions. :-O

 

 

 

The Firefly Priority

The main reason why I didn’t blog, write, or really communicate with anyone the last few weeks is because my sister was in town.  And no offense but I wasn’t going to sacrifice a single moment with her just to blog.  For her birthday this year we got her a round trip plane ticket to come see us for a week.  After a few discussions we decided to offer a more extended trip and changed it so she would stay for a month.  I am very happy we did because the poor kid had jet lag for the first four days she was here.  There would have been some serious caffeinated beverage IVs if she hadn’t had more time.  It worked out though because I used the mornings that she slept to help the house recover fro the move and make some sense of where I was going to put things.

At least Firefly got to recover from jet lag in the Guest Suite (we are giving it a fancy name to entice our friends out for a visit).  It was seriously put together only a few hours before her plane got here. and I added more stuff as time went on.  Some day I’ll paint it to match the color scheme.

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Having Firefly here was a wonderful experience for Honey and I, and for her too I suspect.  We had fun showing her around, taking her to the shops and restaurants we liked.  We had excuses for day trips and of course we got to spoil her a little bit.  She’s 17 so we weren’t really baby-sitting or playing Mom & Dad, but she isn’t really an adult yet either so we had some say in the rules.  She was incredibly helpful with cooking and cleaning and a wonderful guest.  I also took her to a local University for her first college tour, it was a beautiful campus but she wasn’t feeling it.  In hind site I should have waited longer into the trip because she was just at that critical moment of homesickness for her friends that made her just see it as being far away from everyone she knew.  I tried unsuccessfully to explain that even if she goes to a college close to home or to the same school as some of her friends that doesn’t mean she will necessarily continue her friendships with them.  It’s hard trying to explain how everything changes once you graduate from high school without completely terrifying someone.  By the end of her trip, her tune had changed.

We had many heart to hearts while she was here, talking about college and our parents and what her real options were vs what she was being told her options were.  I think some of it helped.  We have offered to let her live with us for a while after graduation if she wants to set up residency here and eventually go to school, but we’ll see.  Going to school on the other side of the state would be a change, let alone across country.  I just wanted to let her know she has options, the world doesn’t seem as big as it is when you only grow up in one place.  The trip was good her because she came alone and got to where she needed to be be by herself, it probably taught to trust herself a little bit more.

Since she came here right as we moved in she became part of our lives in our new place.  I must admit saying good-bye to her at the airport was ridiculously hard, in fact the week before she left I was near to tears on quite a few occasions.  She was also upset at the prospect of leaving, we offered to have her stay longer if she wanted (another three weeks) and she deliberated on that for quite a while.  In the end she thought she should go home, I think because she didn’t want to deal with our parent’s reaction.  She told me the day she left that she wished there had been rain and delays so she could had stayed.  She killed me when she said that, it made me want to pull her out of line and call my parents on the way home explaining she wasn’t coming back.  I won’t lie, I gave serious thought to what would happen if we just never put her on a plane back.  But I wanted her to make a decision and have it just be hers, not what others wanted for her.  She has to make a lot of decisions in the next few years, so I figure a little practice wouldn’t hurt.

fireflywfireShe had a lot of firsts on this trip.  First of all she flew across country by herself, with a layover on each side of the trip (even I haven’t done that).  She saw fireflies for the first time, heard cicadas, saw new and unusual bugs, saw many real lightning storms, met relatives she only saw as a child, got to play with fireworks, read different types of books, explored new towns, roasted a chicken, and got caught in a downpour while swimming…what can I say, it rained around 6 inches while she was here. And of course her and I talked to each other in more of a sister way, than in the mom and child way that we have had in the past.

She told me things that broke my heart and then things that gave me hope.  This trip while giving her a break from daily life also gave her a chance to see the world from a different angle, which is probably important at this stage of the game.  It also made her know that even if there is distance, Honey and I have her back no mater what.  Sometimes just knowing that makes it easier to deal with the crap.  While I know the issues she has to face from growing up with the same cast of characters, the setting is a bit different and the plot has way too many twists.   I had Mimi to go to, hopefully Firefly feels like she can come to us.

Of course we were not the only ones that didn’t take her departure well.  Bailey was practically beside himself when he saw her luggage out of the closet and whenever she left the room he followed.  I think he is also onboard if she decides to come live with us, what do you think?

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I do NOT approve

We have talked a lot since she got back, she seems to be doing ok.  She is keeping herself busy with friends and trying a few things to keep her mind busy so she doesn’t get summer brain rot.  I’m trying to keep myself busy too, with making the house ours and starting up my writing schedule again.  Since she was here at the beginning of our life at this house, it has been an adjustment in her absence.   But that just gives us a chance to do some more research into all things fun on the East Coast for her next trip out.

Hello, Again

Hello Blog World! I haven’t written for the last couple of months for many reasons…

The first of which is that I have been a very, very busy bee.

The second was that I wasn’t really being The Novel Housewife, I was more like a project manager of sorts so my material for housewife subjects was scarce.

And the third reason was that for half of my absence I was keeping a big secret.  A secret that had reached its tentacles into almost every aspect of my life, so strategically omitting it seemed wrong.  The secret only spilled to the people I know in mid-December when everything became official and then the whirlwind of preparations began.

So what have I been up to…last month the husband and I moved across country to Charlotte, North Carolina.  An opportunity came up with his work and we went for it.  We sold the house, packed what we could into a POD, sold or gave away what we couldn’t, got an XL carrier for Bailey, and drove across country with a massive storm 24 hours behind us.  It was a emotionally freeing and frightening all at the same time.  I will dedicate some future posts to the various aspects of doing a move like this in a little more than 6 weeks, but while it was happening I couldn’t stop to analyze it and write it all down. I feared it would open a can of emotions I didn’t have time to deal with and I wanted to just be present. I did do some video diaries to chronicle some events but more so I could remember things that might get suppressed over time.

If you are on the actual blog page you might have noticed it looks a little different and a little empty.  I figured in a new city I would get a fresh start.  The old entires are still around and I will probably start slowly unlocking them once I have time to see if they are worth putting back up for all to see.  I changed the format because it didn’t seem right to have the flowers that were outside our SoCal home as a featured photo.  I will be playing around with the theme for the next couple of weeks until I find something that works.

I’ll fast forward to the Now part of the story and give you some flashbacks in the next couple of days. It will be like one of those movies that gives away the ending before you even know the story.   Right now I am sitting at my new desk in my new home office, which is in the den of the house we’re renting.   Up until last week this room was pretty much a walkthrough from the stairs to the kitchen.  We had four areas in the house that were furniture-less, now we just have three.  I found my last drops of sanity were going to evaporate if I didn’t have a space to sit down and write, so I made a day trip to IKEA and picked something out.  It seemed like most of things we sold or gave away were flat surfaces so I had nowhere to put my laptop that didn’t cramp up my neck.  Our dining room table was long over due for removal from our house (remnants of a past relationship), my desk didn’t fit in the POD but found a home with another writer, and various other tables were left behind for personal or logistical reasons.  So I had nowhere besides our bed or the couch to run off too.  Since it is shared space, I felt rushed.

desk in the den

It has been hard for me to nest here, since we are just renting I can’t do much and it has made me feel a little unsettled.  I feel guilty for even putting in a new nail in the wall to hang a picture, but I had to just mark a little bit or teritory.  Most of the decorating choices are not in line with my own tastes; nothing horrific, just more pastel and muted colors than I am used to, I’m trying to make it work.

There are actual seasons in North Carolina, something our SoCal skin has been deprived of but we are acclimating.  40 degrees used to be almost painful back in SoCal but now I can go out and hardly notice it.    It was 57 a few days back and I half debated wearing a skirt!  I know- we were spoiled. Spring is just getting underway here and we can’t wait to see the transformation.

This weekend was the first time we have been able to open the windows and let non-machine generated warm air in since we moved in.  Now we try to have the windows open wherever we can, this all-the-time heater thing is new and my sinuses hate it.  The is sun poking in and out here, it’s still warm but a storm is coming in this evening to save me from having to water the yard.  It has rained at least once a week since we have been here, it has already become normal to me.  I haven’t had to water once.  We have also had snow, but that’s a whole other post. =)

 

 

 

 

Out on the Highway

Over the weekend Honey and went on a road trip to Monterey, an actual vacation that was not for a family event!  It was a long time coming, we have taken a few “staycations” over the last few years but we haven’t hit the road and spent more than one night away from the house since we got married.  We hadn’t originally planned to go to Monterey when he requested the time off.  Long story short we thought we were going to go camping but it didn’t work out, we were planning another staycation when I got a bug up my butt about getting out of town.  Luckily  Honey agreed and I made the arrangements, I wanted to make it so all he had to do was show up.  Somehow I scored a greathotel room in Downtown Monterey for two nights at a very reasonable price.  There were some drawbacks to the place but the amazing room made up for it.  The location was ideal because we could easily walk around the town.   We usually prefer to walk around in a new city, rather than drive. I didn’t drive again until the day we left.  I had been to Monterey as a kid and then again at 16 as a stopping point between home and my parent’s friends in Northern California, he had never been so it was a whole new city to us.

Even though we were in the right town for it Honey and I did not go to the Aquarium, it was freaking expensive!  We had walked through Cannery Row (tourist lane) with the intention of going to the Aquarium but we got there and the price made us stop.  We decided to spend the money on a nice dinner instead (also we are spoiled in SD and can go to our own Aquarium).  It was interesting people watching though Cannery Row and there was some beautiful buildings and views.  There are still some old remnants of the bay’s cannery days placed next to the new, shinny cliffside hotels.

This was a very different vacation for both of us, it was more of a relaxation based trip rather than we have to see this, go here, eat there, etc.  We explored, saw some sights, felt cool breezes, and had some yummy food.  With all of this we were still back in our room by 9 pm each night.  I had brought two bottles of wine from home (ones I knew we loved) to enjoy in front of the fireplace and on the balcony overlooking the fountains in the courtyard.  Just those simple moments of snuggling with him in silence (beside crackling wood and bubbling water) were some of my favorites of the trip.  I did find it amusing that when we used the room provided wine glasses on the first night, the maids replaced them with mini wine glasses the next day.  They were cute but didn’t stop us from finishing the bottle of wine.

While we were there we enjoyed 70 degree days and cool nights, it felt like Novemeber-a very nice break after the last month of heat waves.  I realized I was out of practice with packing because I brought all of the wrong clothes.  Too cool in the day for short sleeves and too cold at night for anything but my heavier jacket, not to mention five pairs of shoes-I only wore two pairs!  Oh well, next time I’ll be back to my expert packing level again.

Another part of the trip was of course the driving, I did it all I am proud to say.  Thanks to childhood road trips and now being a nonsmoker I can comfortably drive to up to five hours without a break.  The highways we selected bookended our trip with a bit of morbidity.  When we headed to Monterey took Route 46 a two lane, near empty road-he read the directions to me, I had to stay on it for the next 63 miles-the speed limit was 55. For the first ten miles the landscape was lined with oil rigs , it eventually gave way to small hills with golden colored grass and oak trees sprinkling on the sides.  Beautiful.  Beside the Budget truck riding my butt and the occasional aderlaine rush around passing lanes, it was a very nice drive.  A few more miles in I noticed a Texaco station with a big James Dean cut out on the corner of the lot.

“That’s strange,” I said to Honey, “Why would they have a James Dean poster at a gas station?”

He said, “I think he might have died around here.”

“Really?  I thought he died in LA.”  He disagreed and then whipped out the phone to look it up (how did people survive road trip questions before these things?) sure enough we were on the route that James Dean died on.  We still had quite a few miles to go from the actual location, it turns out he had stopped at that gas station before he died.  The land around the road was still  undeveloped. I began to think that it probably looked similar to how it looked 57 years ago.   It was kind of strange seeing what might have the last sights of someone who died so many years ago.  But I’m weird and I think about those kind of things. We passed the junction where he was hit (I must admit I slowed down considerably) and then went further than Mr. Dean had a chance to.

On the way back home, not only did we have to take Route 46 but we decided to take a “shortcut” around the 5 to avoid LA during rush hour traffic.  We took Route 138, also called Deathtrap Highway.  Though luckily we didn’t know that until we got home and Honey looked it up.  That was quite an interesting road, not only was it narrow and had occasional dips that would remind me of a rising roller coaster cart, but there was no one around for miles and then suddenly there would be a car and it would be right on my ass.  I kept my road rage at bay while on the trip and let people pass me and even occasionally pulled over to the side, but it was crazy how impatient people were out there (and I was going over the speed limit ).  But our shortcut was pointless because the connecting freeway had crazy traffic too, oh well we both saw a part of California we had never seen before.

The cats did well in our absence, though my Mother-In-Law gave herself some unnecessary stress.  We had kept Rocco and Terra  in their room downstairs so they wouldn’t panic when they didn’t see us, we asked my Mother-in-Law and Apple to look in on them and feed them.  Apparently my Mother-In-Law didn’t hear Honey when he said if they got out it was okay, we just wanted to try to keep them in.  The first night Rocco slipped past her.  She came over numerous times throughout the days while we were gone, left messages with the wrong neighbor about the status of the cats, and made little food arrangements around the house so he wouldn’t starve.  Somehow on the last day she caught him and got him back into their room.  Poor Mom, I am going to make her a good dinner to say thanks-she went above and beyond.  When I got home and went down to look at them the two cats were just sitting on the futon as happy as could be.  Bailey nearly tackled us when we walked through the door.

It was a great trip and a nice break for both of us.  It was good to get away from the house for a few days and away from all of the projects we have planned for the Fall, but it was really nice to come home and sit with our purring kitties.

Until next time Monterey!