Friday, May 13, 2011

Painful Bliss: Day 1

I am a natural beauty junkie. Not the no-make-up-and-hairy-legs kind of natural beauty, but the big-wide-world kind of natural beauty. Nature has a way of de-cluttering my brain and calming me down while simultaneously giving me energy and inspiration.  Not to mention nature is so much nicer to look at than a strip mall, or a gas station, or power lines, or people in thongs and wife beaters with tattoos poking out in all the wrong places. 

It's why we'd rather have a mediocre house on a great lot with mature trees than the "perfect" house on a tiny, tree-less lot. It's why we'd rather travel to cool places than buy toys. It's why we'll always, always, always take a National Park over Vegas or the Mall-of-the-America. 

Which is why our anniversary trip to the central coast of California was like a little slice of heaven in the middle of our workaday life and the cold, grey, brown, dead landscape of a persistent Utah winter.  I had no idea just how much I had been missing it until we got off the plane and started driving south on Pacific Coast Highway under a canopy of lush trees. I know this is completely nuts, but I was actually choking back tears. It was like life was being poured back into me and I didn't even know how starved I was for it until it was suddenly right there.

I'm a little hesitant to post the pictures from our trip, only because I know not everyone is in a position to get away for their anniversary, let alone to a warm and beautiful place in the middle of "winter" (the end of April in Utah . . .), and the last thing I ever want to do is inadvertently make someone else feel depressed about their life or give the impression that we travel the world with money coming out of our ears. (That sounds great for retirement though, doesn't it?) 

It's just that blogging thing again. Anyone reading this blog needs to know that I go out of my way to focus on the most beautiful moments of my life as a way to help me keep focused on the positive. (Because the truly lovely stuff of life is only like 5% of our days, right?) The more I focus on the lovely stuff, the more lovely stuff I notice--make sense? On top of that, I like to use photography to chronicle my life, and photography is also a way to focus in on what you want to see--with the added benefit of being able to crop out anything ugly, distracting, or extraneous. (Oh, that life in general could be like that!)

Case in point: the Thanksgiving Point pics in my last post. That little excursion was squooshed in between 2 piano lessons, a soccer game, a harp recital and a dance recital. All good things, but a little crazy and hectic on the same day, so I was only at Thanksgiving Point for about an hour before I had to get Elizabeth in her costume and ready to go. And speaking of Elizabeth, she was pretty much whining and begging for a drink the entire time until we reached the vendor tents.  But you don't see that in the pictures, do you?  I almost enjoy that trip more now, retrospectively, than I did in the moment. 

And that's why I blog, and that's why I take pictures. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, "We write to taste life twice." And I would add, take pictures. 

So just keep that all in mind as I share these pictures. Our real, everyday life is mostly chaos, work, business, busy-ness, rushing, and annoyances, with a few of those lovely moments sprinkled in here and there if we take the time to stop and notice. 

At this stage in our family's life, Brandon and I really have become like the proverbial "two ships passing in the night," so I for one was feeling practically desperate to get away alone together and talk uninterrupted during daylight hours before my nighttime narcolepsy sets in. (That's a joke.  Only kind of.  I can fall asleep pretty much anywhere after about 9pm. Unless I'm blogging.)  

I can hardly believe we pulled off this little getaway! Replacing "Mom" for even a few days is such a major undertaking, it's enough to stop you from ever trying to go on a trip again. You should have seen the pages of information I typed up for our poor babysitter. (Who, by the way, rocked the house. I swear our kids love her more than they do us. She is more fun, by far, and what's more important than that when you're a kid?) From directions to lessons, to special bedtime routines, to mealtime suggestions, to specific homework instructions, to when was garbage day--trying to put on paper and pass off the five million details a mom keeps track of in her head on any given day is NOT easy!  I suppose that's one of the reasons why we've only done this a grand total of 3 times in our 16 years of marriage. (Unless you count the one night-er at a B&B in Iowa. Then it's four.)

Now that we're a little more settled and there are no more babies on the horizon, I'm starting to think these trips need to become the annual norm and not the rare exception. We've failed to go in the past for all the same reasons as everyone else: money, work, babysitters, nursing babies . . . there are so many reasons NOT to go away alone together, but I think it's worth every bit of time and money you can afford.  I wish we would have tried harder to make it work more often in the past, because heaven knows we needed it.

Enough already!  On with the pictures! 

We've talked about driving PCH for years, and only did it one other time two years ago for our anniversary when we still lived in L.A. (Incidentally, that weekend trip was when we decided we needed to move out of CA.) But driving up from L.A. isn't nearly as breathtaking as driving down from the San Francisco area where we flew in.

Off we go:

We couldn't resist stopping off at Carmel-by-the Sea, just about the quaintest little coastal town in the world! We'd love to go back there for our next trip.  (And why do people spend so much time and money traveling to Mexico or Hawaii when they could just go to the California coast? But that's okay, stay away.)

We had so much fun ambling around those cute little streets we lost track of time.  We still had a ways to go and the sun was setting:

For the golf fanatics, that's Pebble Beach on the right:

The one and only bummer of our trip was figuring out about an hour into our drive that PCH was closed a little further down because of a mud slide, so we had to back track and take an inland road the rest of the way, getting us in four hours later than we expected!  I got this shot before it got too dark:
More natural gorgeousness to come another day. . .


  1. Wow! You take some great photos. I love the things you capture. So happy you got away, I am a firm believer in a husband/wife get-away from the craziness of life at least annually. (Even if it is somewhere close)

    Speaking of crazy lives, I forgive you for not replying to my email about next weekend.... ;) And I do still have the blueberries.

  2. Ok, I think my new life's dream is to run a little shop or something in Carmel. I have never been there but it has always sounded magical to me. It looks magical in your photos.


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