Planning Our Summer Road Trip

IMG_0359 Nothing is better than a summer road trip!

I am starting our plans for our road trip to California, this will be our third annual meandering down the west coast. The anticipation is starting to build and I can hardly wait to get the dogs in the car, load up the iPod with some great tunes, fill the cooler with snacks and drinks and hit the open road.

Our Santa Cruz Beach

View out our window at our little place in the sun.

We have ended up at least in part at little place near the beach in Santa Cruz where the dogs are welcome, the beautiful beach is right outside our door, we have a little kitchen to prepare meals and an awesome burrito place just 3 blocks away.

Our route has changed the last two years, the first trip involved a trip to Arizona to visit my grandfather at his “snow bird” location in Sun City West near Phoenix, a stop in trendy Palm Springs the same weekend as the Coachella music festival (there were some sites and a crazy price for a bare-bones motel in a sold out town – sometimes timing is everything) a stop in Northwest Portland with a visit to my very favorite bakery in the world, the St. Honore’ Boulangerie for a yummy Croque Monsieur and some pastries and bread for the road.

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Our last trip was more of a direct trip to our spot in Santa Cruz with a short stop in Medford, Oregon. We ran into a couple at one of the rest stops in Oregon, they were driving an older VW Eurovan(so jealous) and traveling with their dog. Our dogs had to smell each other, the way that only dogs do, we smiled and said hello and headed back out on the road. We ran into them again the next time we stopped to let the dogs walk and take a break. We laughed and decided to introduce our selves, they were traveling back to their home in Santa Cruz from visiting relatives that lived less than 20 miles from us. Small world. We visted, shared business cards, let the dogs sniff and play for a few minutes and then headed back to the road.

Meeting people on the road is one of my favorite things about a trip, but I have to admit my husband is much better at that (if that is something that can be rated) than I am. He can strike up a conversation with just about anyone about just about anything. I am a bit more shy and striking up a conversation with a stranger is not an easy thing for me, I guess I feel like I am intruding on their lives or maybe that I just have nothing of note to offer them. But when it does happen, I really do love it.

As I begin poring over maps to plan some possible routes and look for dog friendly hotels along the way; my spirit rises, I feel giddy inside and am back to being a kid in school watching the calendar slowly click by waiting for the day school will be out for the summer.

Do you have any summer travel plans or dog friendly hotels to recommend on the west coast?

Things I Wish I Had Asked My Grandmothers

232323232fp-94>nu=3369>734>3;9>245-7344--248ot1lsi  My Grandma Buddy and Great-Grandma Kate with Mom and me around 1967.

I was lucky enough to have 4 amazing women in my life, both of my parents mothers and two of my parents grandmothers(besides my mother of course) that helped make me the woman I am today. I learned many things from each of the women;

From my great-grandmother Kate (my mother’s grandmother) I gained an appreciation for music and dancing from watching hours of the Lawrence Welk show with her in her big white leather recliner. My first memory of being empathetic to someone comes from her as well. I was spending the night with her and she was up on the end of the bed coughing, I got up and put my bathrobe around her shoulders and patted her back. I was maybe 4 at the time.

From my great-grandmother Anne (my dads grandmother) who I unfortunately knew for the shortest period of time I gained a love of shortbread cookies, admiration for hard work(she worked in our families plumbing business until well into her 80’s) and a giggle inside whenever I hear someone refer to a child as a wee one, because she always laughed and smiled when her wee ones visited her at her home or in later years in the rest home.

From my grandmother Jean (my dad’s mom), who was one of the most elegant and beautiful women I have ever met; I learned to play chinese checkers, love green peppers and received my first bottle of perfume(Charlie by Revlon).

From my grandmother Buddy (my mom’s mom) who I was so lucky to have in my life the longest I learned; to play Gin Rummy and Cribbage, to pour a drink, to make potato salad and love blue cheese. I flew on my first airplane with her and my rode on my first train. She helped me with my golf game, worried about my love life and always rode my ass about things I was doing wrong.

I really wish I could ask them so many questions, but here are ten I would love ask:

1.) What brought you the most joy in life?

2.) Who was the love of your life?

3.) What regrets do you have if any?

4.) When and where were you the happiest?

5.) What did you enjoy most and least about your occupations? (All of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had jobs outside the home at one time or another)

6.) What advice would you give me now to live a happier and fuller life?

7.) What would you tell me to quit worrying about?

8.) Who was your first boyfriend, your first lover, your first kiss?

9.) How do you make this dish? (each of them had a specialty and unfortunately I only have a couple of the recipes)

10.) What part of you do you see in me?

If you have special people in your life, ask the questions now don’t wait until it’s too late.

If you have lost someone special in your life, are there questions you wish you had asked?

 

Changes

The changes to places, I don’t really mind.

But the changes to faces, oh I really do mind.

Lost are the theater, the restaurant and the park,

but not those who’ve touched my heart.

 

Faces change with lines and crinkles,

everyone faces the inevitable wrinkle.

But the soul of youth remains,

no matter how many things change.

 

Our bodies pop, creak and slow down,

some mornings are sore to the bone.

My mind says young, but my back says old,

never more than when I’m on my own.

 

The playgrounds of youth are a subdivision,

the grade school unrecognizable with my vision.

But the friends who’ve known me at my worst,

are still the friends who love me without derision.

 

Yes, the changes to places are fine,

but the changes to faces are so unkind.

To those I’ve lost or who’ve left me behind,

you’ll always live on in love in my mind.

 

 

Mom

232323232fp93232>uqcshlukaxroqdfv-984=ot>278<=-53=73<=369;-5364;339nu0mrj  Mother’s Day

Someone recently asked me what my mom was like; I stammered and smiled and said she was great, but I was caught a bit off guard.

What is my mom like… smart, pretty, a great business woman, a good mother, grandmother, etc. But what is she really like. I have no idea.

I think she is strong, independent, hard working, generally honest unless she would hurt someones feelings, but even then she does not always hold back. Her friends seem to like her, her customers seem to love her, her staff keep working for her year after year so she is a good boss.

But still, I get the feeling that my mom would like to have a different kind of life, but has gone with the cards she was dealt.

She also seems to be a person that plays things pretty close to the vest, well unless she’s had a glass of wine, then maybe a bit of the protective armor comes off and you see more of the loving, soft center. I recognize that in myself, I am pretty self contained and tend to hold my personal feelings to myself, really only revealing the true me on rare occasions with a rare few.

My mother is the one who can hurt my feelings easier than anyone and I think many times doesn’t even realize she has done it. Other times, maybe she is thinking she is being honest for my own good, but is not really helping me. Just making me feel shitty.

But, its a cycle, my grandfather seems to be able to do the same thing to her. We always want to please the ones we love and respect the most. But, I think we find it easier to remember the one bad thing that was said to us, rather than the 100 nice things. Or at least I do.

I know I’m lucky to have the mother I have, so many people have no parent at all or the parent they do have in their lives doesn’t want to be a parent, is incapable of being a parent or is just a horrible person with too many problems of their own to help the person they brought into the world.

So, on Mother’s Day, I say: I love you mom for being a great role-model, a parent that helped me learn to be the person I am today and I hope our relationship continues to grow.

What is your mother like?

Feels Like Home

IMG_0782 I’m home tonight, by home, I mean the place that I grew up. It still feels like home even with all the changes that have taken place over the last 40 odd years.

The place has grown up, like me or maybe out, like me. Lots of sprawl, lots of strip malls, fast food, Starbucks, Costco and all the modern conveniences are here now. We used to have to go to the big city for most of this stuff – either north to Bellingham or south to Seattle/Everett.

The house I lived in as a baby across from the college is now a mexican restaurant, but my grandparents little farm is still pretty close to the same. My highschool has gotten bigger, but some of the berry fields where I earned my first pay checks still grow sweet berries. The local grocery store where we shopped is gone, but “Big Scoop” our local ice cream parlor is still here.

It still feels like home even when I have lived more of my life other places now.  Maybe it is just the concentrated history I have with the place, lots of firsts; first jobs, first kisses, first dates, first drives, first heartbreak, first loss, first loves.

Where do you feel at home?