Well, Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of emotions. On Friday, I had started sobbing twice before 7AM, cried on and off all day, and my entire office wore black. On Saturday, I was revived and so fired up by all of the marches. Here in the tiny city of Santa Cruz, we had over 10,000 people show up to march, and I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. Couldn’t be more thrilled to be be part of the re-LOVE-ution! ❤️💛💚💙💜
We can talk more about that later; right now, I want to back up and tell you about my birthday weekend, because it was wonderful and I feel so grateful. 💝
I took Friday off, mainly to give myself a four-day weekend, and spent the day doing self-care stuffs: journaling, reading, and walking. Friday night, there was a work happy hour, and some of my friends and I talked and hung out for hours. At one point, Adi commented on how exceptional her friends are, and that’s exactly how I feel about all of my people, too. ❤ On Saturday, Danny and I got on the road towards the city of Westport, in Mendocino county, in Northern California. Our destination was about four and a half hours north of us, and we knew it would be a beautiful drive. We actually drove up the entire California coast back when we were traveling in 2013, but I had no point of reference to fully understand where we were. Our original intention was to see the 2000 year-old redwood that you can drive through in Legget, CA, and Northern California is rural: there were, like, six places to spend the night within 45 miles of Legget, and most were B&B’s. We went with Howard’s Creek Ranch Inn, a reasonably-priced and beautiful old farmhouse on 60 acres, whose website stated that they would not accept cancellations because you discovered when you arrived that it was an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. We had zero cell service, weak wifi, and they actually turned off their wifi around 10PM when they went to bed.
It was perfect. 😍
There were actually two large farmhouses and several cabins on the property. The two farmhouses were separated by a rushing creek that went straight out to the ocean. A bridge connected the two properties and made everything even more idyllic.
We stayed in the Blue Balcony room, which had a skylight above the bed. I woke up around 2am to a full (or, nearly full) moon directly above me.
We arrived around 4pm after an absolutely beautiful drive. We met Sally, one of the homeowners, who gave us a tour and got us settled, then we immediately headed out to the beach, which was about 300 yards from our room, just in time for dusk.
The view was breathtaking. I swear: I have an uncertain relationship with a Higher Power, but, for me, nothing makes a stronger case for its existence – and creative design – more than the striking beauty of nature.
We hiked around as the sun fully set, then headed back to our room. We had packed Trader Joe’s food for dinner, as I had been warned when I made the reservation that there was nowhere nearby to eat. I journaled, and we both read by the fire in one of the living rooms.
The next morning, clouds had rolled in along the beach, blocking the sunrise, but creating a dramatic effect when coupled with the morning light. We set out on a hike up the small mountain directly behind the farmhouse. The farm had a herd of sheep that we walked by, but wouldn’t let you get too close. They also had chickens, and used to have cows. I was in heaven, surrounded by both the mountains and the beach.
Breakfast was incredible: quiche, baked pears, biscuits, sausage, and fruit, all fresh, local, and homemade. There were three other couples at breakfast, two of whom had been there before. The third couple commented at breakfast that the highway noise was terrible at night, and we all looked at them confused, as maybe three cars had driven by on the 1 since our arrival. Then it dawned on me: ‘Oh, you were hearing the ocean, not the highway.’ They seemed much less bothered when they realized they were hearing nature.
When we told Sally that our plan was to see the big tree that morning, she broke the news to us that all the rain had caused a huge landslide, so the 1 (highway) was closed going north. The only way to get to the tree involved going back down and around, which would add about 2.5 hours to what was already going to be a 6-hour ride home. We were both so taken with the B&B and the surroundings that we decided that we’d rather just come back soon.
Soon after breakfast, we started the drive back, and opted to drive along the coast (we had taken the 101 on the way there, which is also a beautiful drive). The 1 is a longer way to go, but so worth it for the views.
We pulled over several times on the way back, to enjoy the view and do some coastal hiking.
I started looking at property in Mendocino county on the drive back. I was so in love with all of the beauty and the quiet that I decided that we should definitely move there. We drove through Fort Bragg, which is he biggest city near there. They don’t have a Trader Joe’s, but they have a downtown area and a Safeway, so I think that we could make it work.
People always talk about the immense beauty of Northern California and now I totally understand why. Sally told us that they haven’t had a drought up there, and the difference is noticeable: everything looks a bit more green and lush than it does down here.
The above picture is an example of what I mean when I say that driving around California is like driving through a national park. This is the highway that we took to cut from the coast back to the 101.
We also drove through wine country (above), where the houses are seated on little hills. Here, it was a bit drier. All in all, it was a fantastic little getaway. We arrived home late on Sunday night, in time for my actual birthday.
On Monday morning, I spent the first few hours of the day on the phone, which was lovely. When you live far away from a lot of your loved ones, this is a common practice on your birthday, and makes your heart feel all warm and full because so many people care enough to call. 💝
In the afternoon, I met some of my Santa Cruz friends at Seabright beach to have drinks from the Cooler of Randomness, walk around the beach, and hang out for a few hours.
While we were there, we discovered that the rains had formed a pretty big hole in the beach, filled with driftwood, that the children had creatively turned into a seesaw.
We took a turn on the seesaw, though, there was a huge pointy knot in my leg, so I couldn’t quite embrace the situation the way my friend did. We watched the sunset before heading out, and I fell more in love with my Santa Cruz coworker-friends. I’ve made some really solid choices here. 😁
I came home to this beautiful bouquet from Danny, that came with dinner, a gift certificate for a massage and a float at the new flotation center in our neighborhood (the next day, my friends also gifted me a certificate for a float at the new center – I’m so pumped for all the free floats that I have coming!), and the below tiramisu cake. 🤗
The whole weekend was pretty much amazing and I was so filled up with love, I practically floated into the week. 💝 I am very grateful to everyone who made my birthday brighter, and continue to feel disbelief about how lucky I am.