Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Presidential Debachery

Valentine’s Day seems like such a drummed up and covered subject that to bring it up feels a bit like a cop-out.  But any reason to celebrate is enough for me, and if the calendar had more holidays I would be all the happier.  While I agree that every day we should celebrate, having a reason makes it all a little less indulgent feeling—let’s be honest, sometimes a reason is really nice.    And my lovely beau surprised me with this lovely painting…


We took the weekend (to celebrate Presidents Day, of course) and drove to Big Sur with bigger ideas than actual plans.  Our idea was to camp at one of the many walk-up sites, but since everyone in California beat us there (like there was a holiday or two this weekend or something?!), we just enjoyed the winding, cliff crawling drive up Hwy 1, took our time hiking and playing, hung out at waterfalls and appreciated the time together sucking air in a wonderfully green space.


(This drive will never get old)
As dusk fell and the sky turned into a layered strawberry and lemon cake (I have been craving cake all day, sorry for the interjection) we rolled into Cambria, and used the money we would have spent on a camp site for a chimichunga dinner instead. Nothing like fried burritos after an active day.  When we got home, I petitioned to build a fort to make it feel like we were still camping, but we decided on a fire out front instead and toasted a day well spent with Prosecco and a Mickey’s 40.

(Can you see the cake in the background?!?!)

While on that hike in Big Sur, I mentioned that I really wanted to visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo before the season was over and the little orange wonders flew elsewhere for the summer.  To my delight, Huck has always wanted to check it out too (who’d have thought)!  On Sunday we woke up early and drove down to the Grove.  It’s probably a little sad that I am so surprised by this, but visiting the grove is FREE.   Like really free—not like free but with a $10 donation. No, you just walk in, look around, follow the path, gaze in wonder for a time, and then head out at your leisure with no need to ever reach for a bill.  It was refreshing, and the butterflies were so cool! 

We followed up our butterfly gallivant with breakfast out on the Old Port in Avila.  Watching those little wonders flick and fly around (or mate, which is what most of them were doing) worked up quite an appetite in both of us (get your mind out of the gutter, Grams).  There are so many grubbin’ options in Avila, but I think we found our new favorite.  Located in the building attached to the boat lift, right where the SUPs and kayaks are rented, is a bar.  That bar serves the most delicious breakfast burritos, and was completely empty.  Until a nice older couple sat at the bar next to us and talked about the fishing boat they own and keep there in Avila.  But other than them, we had the place to ourselves.  We played checkers and drank mimosas and talked with our new fisher-boat friends.  
(The saying really should go "the birds, and the bees and the butterflies"...)
Never letting a dull moment see the sunlight, as we were on our way home Huck decided a detour was in order, and we left hooked it at See Canyon and climbed in Jupiter (a.k.a Uranus #2 a.k.a. our Saturn, which is a car) to one of my favorite vistas in SLO. Glorious mornings like this make me so grateful to be able to explore our new home.

We capped off the weekend with what we thought would be a nice little BBQ back down at the beach in Avila.  But as the fog rolled in, the people deserted the area, high tide came a callin’, and we realized it was very likely illegal to be BBQin there on the beach, our little dinner spot was quickly broken down (hot briquettes and all) and we made a break for it like Bonnie and Clyde. Without the guns or robbery. That night we dined on lighter fluid flavored Salmon and bursting cheddar stuffed hotdogs.  And we laughed at how things just never seem to go as we plan, which makes for the kind of weekend that has me falling in love over and over again with my partner in crime.  Which has nothing to do with Valentines...really.

(Don't be fooled by the Klean Kanteen, that most definitely isn't water.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Three Stacks and a Rock

If you’ve never been, Morro Bay should be on whatever list it is you keep that reminds you of important choices.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell you what to do like I have some authority over your life and choices, but trust me on this one.  Choose to go to Morro Bay, because it’s an awesome place with some pretty awesome people.  It has the notorious laid back vibes often associated with the Central Coast— people smile at you and say hi when you walk by, people who work in coffee shops or at the market treat you as a friend, surfers drive by with their heads out their blacked out Tacoma’s saying “Yo” to their homies (okay, that may not be exactly what happens, but there are surfers in Morro Bay and the chances are good they’ll drive by in a black Tacoma) and the occasional guy dressed like Jimi Hendricks plays his electric guitar next to the public bathrooms.  I really wish I had snapped a photo of the latter, but you’ll have to make-do with this raft of otters.
There is something about towns where a notable percentage of people wear trucker hats and sunglasses.  I can’t nail it down for you, but maybe you know what I mean.  Is it the stereotypical embodiment of that before-mentioned laid back vibe?  I can’t tell you for sure, but I sure do love what Morro Bay is putting down.  And then there are views like this:
(That would be the iconic Morro Rock)

Or like this:

Similar to back up in the Foothills, the hills here turn a neon green after it rains (that should be a big IF it rains, but I’ll be hopeful) and the landscapes are vivid no matter which way you point the car.  There also happened to be a storm brewing somewhere in California, which I am going to credit with my very non-scientific insight with stirring up waves worthy of as many surfers were in the water on Sunday. 

Anyways, if you can’t tell, the move has been a good one.  I have beautiful places to explore, enough space to spread out and not think for a while, or think a ton for a while—whatever is needed.  I also spent some time with my roommates this weekend, going to coffee, meeting the whole town, drinking an Old Fashion in a bar I’d never been to (but always wanted to go to). Our roommates are incredibly connected and sitting out in front of a coffee shop for two hours yielded introductions to more people than I kept track of.  I’ve landed in a cool spot, and I’m grateful for the opportunity of newness.  So cheers to Mondays…and here's to looking toward a bright week

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Witness to the Waves

I am currently posted up in a coffee shop with a beach front view, and it's drizzling outside.  It's cozy in here, and the coffee smells rich and mixes with the salted fish smell of the kelp 100 yards away. This coffee shop doesn't have wifi and I think it's probably one of the few left that hasn't opted in. This makes it the perfect place to come and write because it takes the need for self disciple out of the equation.  No wifi means few distractions, and with the sea in front of me and a large cup of coffee to my right, nothing could be better in this moment.

I think the choice to not offer wifi is an interesting one, and I think it's even more interesting that I kind of think it as novel.  When I asked (already semi-knowing the answer but still feeling the need to ask) if they have wifi, the barista (is it baristo if it's man? I can't GTS!*) kind of laughed and said "we havent for a few years. We'd be packed if we did, can you imagine this place?"  What an amusing thought. A coffee shop refuses the pull of wifi to keep people out. I guess for a small shop 10 steps from the beach in picture perfect, tourist-centric Avila, it's a choice that's easy because it involves no compromise.  The crowds come no matter what.  It's rainy and I couldn't even find a table- who goes to a beach town in the rain.  Oh, me I guess. And anyone who knows they won't melt, apparently. So, the cafe with no wifi by the beach in the rain is still packed.  Other humans realize that it's a day to be out. 

Part of the reason I came to Avila was a need to get out of the house.  Working at home makes it very easy to spend all my waking time at home, and one thing I am not is a home body.  But now I guess I kind of am situationally, and apparently that makes me also a rambler... Despite the fact that I don't have wifi to distract me, the people here are equally as distracting.  A friendly, bearded gentleman who smells like butterscotch and wears a twine and metal wedding ring just sat next to me and commented on how beautiful the scene is. And it really is.  I knew I would miss the mountains, the rolling green and brown hills between Angels Camp and Murphys, the local coffee shops (okay, the local Starbucks, which was the only place that didn't give you dirt looks for taking up a table for an hour), the treacherous but beautifully chaotic drive from Main St. to OARS, which involved a series of turns that always astounded me a logging truck was able to make.  The tightness to openness of the area.  Everyone knew everyone but you could drive for five minutes and be so far away. 

But here I am staring out at the ocean amidst a storm, and I don't really miss those things. I find myself imagining what's ten feet below the surface out there, where it must be untouched by the chaos of the rain and wind and waves. Here we are on the surface exposed to the blowing cold- the changes that come with the days and the seasons passing. And maybe that's the thing about moving away with someone I love.  On the surface changes can be hard, things need adjustment and "getting used to," people's routines and moods and needs have to be taken with grace and understanding and patience.  Living with someone again isn't easy, but it's the surface kind of chaos that doesn't reach too deep. Waves crash and then dissipate on the sand, retreat and then grow again with new water.  But the ocean is wide, and in its immensity it always has a way of leveling out. 

*GTS means Google that shit, mom :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Welcome to SLO

I have been awfully inconsistent on posting, I know.  And I could go on and on about how shitty that is and about how my new years goals went out the window for two weeks, but I have bigger and better news:  I am a newly moved-in resident of San Luis Obispo!  Wahoo, it finally happened.  Despite my skepticism that it would happen the end of January, last Friday my work computer came into my possession and the blessing was bestowed to travel safely. Bon Voyage Angels Camp!  And on that note, I want to highlight all of the little things that I had previously taken for granted while living in a house, and then did without while living in an RV, and now get to take for granted once again.  Let us recognize their sheer amazingness- Such things as: not having to dry off and pack up my shower stuff after every turn.  They can stay in the shower!  Begin able to walk around barefoot EVERYWHERE.  There is no red dirt or gravel that happens when I open my bedroom door, only plush carpet and (mostly) clean tile. Being able to walk from the shower to my room in a towel.  Whoa.  You mean my bosses can’t see me?  That’s just a lovely thought.  And lastly, being able to brush my teeth at a sink every night, wash my dishes after eating dinner in bed, and sleeping in a normal bed.  Life is good.  
(And we have beautiful things growing outback!)

I did love living in an RV.  I would move back in a heartbeat if there was somewhere to park the Huggy Hut down here that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  Turns out, there are a plethora of long term RV spaces with ocean front property, which sounds AMAZING.  And then you find out they cost as much as a three bedroom house to rent.  It took me 10 seconds to let go over that idea... 
It seems that when you’re able to look back at chapters in your life with nostalgia and longing that you’ve done well.  Especially when those chapters were just closed a week ago.   That's how I feel about my time in the RVs (the Huggy Hut and then the newer bigger trailer whose name is TBD).  Isn’t it interesting that according to the world’s standards, I’ve moved up.  I’ve transitioned from an RV to a home, and have been granted the privilege to work remotely.  But I long for my RV, and I will love those times and the lessons in simple living I learned for the rest of my life.  Who knows, maybe I’ll raise my family in a converted school bus or possibly a caravan.  You’ve seen those, right?  Oh yeah, the future is bright.
(She'll certainly be missed!)

But I feel good about moving back into a house, and having minimized my “stuff” collection to fit into a 1996 Saturn S series- besides my food processor and mixer, which I very unfortunately had to leave behind.  But you better believe I’m coming back for them!  The move has gone well, and I’m set up in my new home office.  And I have a friend to hang with every day. 

(Meet Maple, one of my new roommates)

That all being said, it’s kind of amazing to look back on all the moves in the last 7 years.  I have gone from San Luis Obispo, to Berkeley, to Murphys, to Angels Camp, back to San Luis Obispo, and have moved at least twice within all of those cities.  My pattern has nice symmetry to it, does it not?  I’ve come full circle back to SLO, and all the while have weathered some of the most difficult times of my life while having the greatest adventures I could imagine.  Huck and I are now establishing ourselves and our futures with more ground under our feet than we’ve ever had since launching from the home nests.  And by that, I mean a literal concrete foundation that is supporting our joint lives for the first time in just over 5 years together.  This is a new adventure for us, and one that I look forward to exploring how to live simply while living in a place with more space.  And now comes the hopeful sigh of relief...I made it to SLO.

(I promise I'll take some better photos!)

About Me

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I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, ventured south along the California coast for a while, sailed through San Francisco Bay, and have landed back on the Central Coast.  This time I'm a little closer to our rivers and our summits, and a little farther from where I started.