Saturday, July 29, 2006

Back to the real world

As we're leaving San Fran, THIS building caught our eye... Moving out? Or moving in? Either way, someone had way too much fun with this!

There's way too much to post at the moment, but I wanted to let you know that we have survived and have actually been back in the real world for a few days now. There sure was a lot of life happening while we were gone! Click on the photo above, then click on the link on the right for the "Road Trip '06" set if you are eager to see more pics from the trip. I promise I'll post highlights this weekend!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

And we're off...

The car packed, the dog seat-belted in, the cooler stocked (although I have to say, DO NOT buy a Greatland cooler from Target!! Cruddy insulation and it leaks.), the camera battery charged and a back window so full we can't see behind us to back up, we leave for the roadtrip.

I'm posting a bunch of pics here as separate entries just because it is so much easier that way. It has been a great trip so far and we're only on day five! Nine to go! Dixie has done well and we've gotten to see some great places along the California coast; a number of them we're marking down as "we'll have to come back here for a weekend" spots.

Hearst Castle

This was our first big planned stop. Dixie was at daycare at The Tail Wag's Inn (Cambria), so the Nut and I got to wander around Hearst Castle as long as our hearts desired. If you are ever in the vicinity, I highly recommend this stop. There are four tours plus one evening thing. We did the main intro tour, which focused on the ground floor of the main house, one of the three guest houses and two pools. Geez! This was an insane rich man!! Very elaborate, lots of random artwork and relics, and from the sounds of it, too much time on his hands.

Hearst Castle pool

Here's a shot of ONE of the pools... I believe this one is the Venus Pool. The man brought over actual relics from all over the world, including stone statues, sarcophagi, tapestries, etc. However, if you had visited during the time Hearst was alive, you would have paid little heed to these amazing pieces because you would have been distracted by the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Rhett Butler, Amelia Earhart, and the top political and Hollywood stars of the day lounging about for days at a time.


Did I mention that Hearst had a zoo for ten years? And that some of the animals are still around, such as these zebras? Ok, so they're a little far back in this pic, but they really are there, just grazing with the cattle. Zebras are known for being fairly nasty, but maybe the crazy folks in the know are hoping that the happy cow attitude will rub off a little. You know what they say: "Happy cows come from California!" (If you live in Cali, you know the commercials.)

CA Coast

Views like this are one of the reasons why I am so excited about this road trip. Driving along Hwy 1 you get to see some incredible coastline.

Henry Coe SP

This was our site at Henry Coe State Park (night two) just outside Morgan Hill. GORGEOUS! It's a smaller campground with about 20 spots for car campers and a bunch more for hike/bike in. There wasn't a bad site in the entire place, so even though we were the last ones to arrive, we still had an incredible view of the valley below. It did take about a half an hour of driving up a windy hill to get to our campsite lookout, but it was well worth it. And yes, that is our six-foot tall REI Hobitat tent. Definitely not a backpacking tent, but it fits all of us, including the dog and our bags with room to spare; plus Peanut can actually stand up inside! Hey, it'll be great for family camping.

Henry Coe at dusk

This was actually our view when we first arrived at the campground (it was 8 o'clock at night). It was so peaceful, with the colors of the fading day melting into the landscape below. The temperatures stayed warm all night and into morning, so we slept with the rainfly off to look up at the stars all night long.

Fido's Fantasy

Talk about a dog's dream! Upon arrival at our hotel in San Fran, the Harbor Court Hotel, Dixie gets spoiled with a dog bed, food bowl, a doggy magazine and a bunch of snacks, including two rawhides, a handful of misc. treats and a "Chew-gar." She must have felt like I was the "Pup-aratzi" snapping picks of it all! I am now a huge fan of Kimpton Hotels because they are so happy to host the entire family, including furry, four-legged friends.

Bay Bridge

After a few nights camping, this is the view from our hotel. Not bad! I'll be sad to leave this behind as I do love San Francisco. We got to wander around much of the city, including the waterfront, the Financial District (H&M!), and on over to Berkely and Oakland for a great evening with family. The one bummer was that we didn't get to ride the trolley even though I had Dixie's muzzle (it's a requirement if dogs want to ride) with me the entire time. There will be next time! I'm leaving my heart in San Francisco!

We're headed for Phase II of the road trip - heading up to the Oregon Coast. More in about a week!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This Busy Life

- - - Warning: long post! - - -

It's been almost a week since I got home and I'm still not totally caught up with everything. Add on to that the fact that we leave again in less than a week for our roadtrip, and you've got yourself a woman with a whole lot on the to-do list but little idea as to where to start. I've got three clients in need of some sort of paper good before I leave (one surprise birthday party, one bridal shower, one set of custom birth announcements), another that needs round one - 3-5 designs to choose from - for her wedding, and my regular daily/monthly clients. I'm trying to hold on to the creative juice still in my brain, but it keeps getting pushed aside by the excitement and list of things that need to get done in preparation for the road trip!

Still, I wouldn't have traded in last week for anything. It was one of those impromptu visits made possible by frequent flier miles. Funny thing about frequent flier miles; so often we store them up, waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect trip to use them, but too often time just continues to build and we forget to ever take that perfect trip. I finally realized that it would be the perfect trip simply because I chose to take it. I had a deep need to go home for one of my Mom's hugs, my sister's late-night sessions, my Dad's wisdom and my nephew's giggles. It was a fulfilling visit.

We took Aiden to the zoo and I was reminded at how wonderful and amazing the world is when seen through the eyes of a child. He got a close-up view of an elephant through binaculars, laughed at the monkeys swinging above him and was utterly enthralled with everything in the aquarium. You have to see the video I got of his reaction when a whale swam by! He and another little boy next to him were repeating each other's "wow"s for about 5 minutes. It was too cute!

It is so incredible to watch him grow. He finally said "Bean" (my nickname), but I think it'll still take some time for him to fully connect the word with the girl. It just thrilled me when he would walk over to me, hands stretched up, asking with pleading eyes for me to hold him. Ok, so maybe that had something to do with the cookie in my hand, but at this age, bribery has to count for something. Once Peanut arrived, he had no qualms crawling into his lap for story time.

The reunion was also great. I really, really loved catching up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. I got to spend some quality time with one of my best friends, too, which made it feel like little time had passed at all. Thanks, Sixx, for a great weekend! I love you!

Once back home I was able to change some things around in my office. The main impetus was my incredible find at the flea market:

I've been searching for a steel-topped desk for so long now and this one even has a drawer! Of course, it was just about two-inches too wide to fit in the alcove in my office, where I'd been planning on putting it, but with a little rearranging, some paint, and a few nails, I am now ready to go! I'm torn between painting "Blue Bean Creations" (the biz name) above the other desk (in the alcove) or one of my favorite quotes. Of course, then I'd have to figure out which quote...

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” -Kahlil Gibran
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
"Learn as if you were to live forever. Live as if you were to die tomorrow."
"Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child." -Ron Wild

I'm open to suggestions! And I'm leaving in less than a week! S'cuse me while I go make sure I know how to set up the tent...