So, as I predicted, Flynn made it through the entire day of preschool yesterday, without falling asleep. Of course, he fell asleep in the car the last 5 minutes of the ride home, and was so tired, he didn’t even wake when I took him out of the carseat. I laid him down on the couch and let him nap for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I had to wake him or he never would have gone to bed on time. Took some work because he was so, so tired. However, he slept through the night without waking once which as of the past 2 months, is very near miraculous. And, I let him sleep in a little this morning while I got the other two kids dressed. Not as good as a full nap, but one way or another, we’ll find a way to make this work.
It has been unseasonably warm around here. We’ve broken one temperature record already, and are slated to do so again this week. In the low 80’s one day this week. Thank goodness I already stocked up on some summer clothes for the kids. Have a load of t-shirts going right now.😀
As we’re presently facing the reality of moving in the near term, it occurred to me how many preconceptions people have about certain areas of the world. Goodness knows I find myself believing stereotypes about the south, and feeling very nervous about fitting in there. And as we contemplate leaving California, I wonder how closely other people’s vision of it matches the reality of it.
Like, maybe most people think it’s warm here all the time (ummm, it’ isn’t). That we all live close to the beach (nope). That we’re a bunch of bleeding heart liberals (well, me yes, but…have you heard of Prop 8?). Everyone is superficial. And we all must love it here because we pay so g’all darn much to live here.
Truth is, much of California is agricultural. And yellow most of the year. Without any view of the beach. The beaches are generally overcrowded so I personally would never consider a beach vacation in California.
In southern California, which is totally different than northern California, the weather does tend to be a lot milder. Which gets really, really, really boring. I, for one, like having distinct seasons. Something that is hard to come by anywhere in California, unless you live in the mountains. I live in northern California, but really it’s the Central Valley, and we have two seasons: winter (which is mildly cold, occasionally wet) and summer (hot, very hot, and blistering hot). Spring type weather and Fall type weather (which are pretty much the same around here) each last for about 2 weeks respectively.
Although I never technically lived in southern California, I have family down there, and I commuted to work down there for 3.5 years. So, while I never really become indoctrinated into the culture, so to speak, I have a fair amount of exposure.
I love San Diego. Love, love, love! But could never afford it. And I think in time the lack of clear seasons would wear on me. But there is a ton to do (including a seriously awesome, can’t be missed zoo!). As I said, the San Diego Zoo is a must. Also the Wild Animal Park. Check out Seaport Village in downtown San Diego and go shopping at Horton Plaza. There is a really cool old ship called the Star of India (I think, it’s been years!) that we visited many times when I was a kid. San Diego is a must see in California.
The food in the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area is phenomenal. So, so good. Never in 3.5 years did I have a bad meal. I lived at the Hyatt in Newport Beach for 4 days a week for 3.5 years and assuming nothing has changed, it’s a great place to stay. The shopping is supposedly great. I’m not a shopper, so I can’t attest to that. As far as living there? Couldn’t do it. That whole area is so uppity and superficial that I couldn’t stomach the idea of raising my family there. Crazy because I knew, and still know, lots of people in that area, and I love them, but their priorities and expectations, and their subtle airs…let’s just say our values are different. I love them just the same, but it just isn’t how I want to be.
Los Angeles is a complete pass for me. I’ve been several times, and I don’t ever want to go again. I get why people would want to visit it if they’ve never been, but I think it’s overrated.
Disneyland, by the way, is NOT in Los Angeles. It’s in Anaheim which is in Orange County. And, of course, you should go there. If you’ve been to Disney World, you’ll think Magic Kingdom because it mostly is, but it is slightly different and they do have California Adventure as well. I love everything Disney and since I grew up in California and have been to Disneyland many time over the years, it holds a special place in my heart.
Everything between Bakersfield and Sacramento is a pass for me. Grew up in those parts, and it’s just a big black hole. In terms of living there, unemployment is high, it’s miserably hot, it’s mostly agricultural (so many cattle farms it stinks to high heavenand I just don’t think it has much going for it except…Yosemite, of course, is in that area and is a MUST see. The one upside of growing up in Merced, the Gateway to Yosemite, is it’s proximity to…Yosemite. So I’ve been dozens upon dozens upon dozens of times. It. Is. Fabulous.
San Francisco is something everyone should experience. Fabulous food, great culture, beautiful, historic…and expensive. And crowded. And hilly. Like my quads ache right now just thinking about it. It’s a miserable place to drive and even more so to park. I would never live there. Never, never. BUT, it’s one of my favorite places to visit. Fisherman’s Wharf is my favorite place in SF hands down. Walk around the shops, get a yummy bite to eat, do a ferry tour of the bay, go to Alcatraz, visit the aquarium, check out the sea lions. Then take a cable car tour of the city. Visit Golden Gate Park. Do a little shopping. Do the museums, especially the Exploratorium if you have little ones (even if you don’t, it’s so cool). Just remember that it’s freakin’ cold there, even during the summer. I think Mark Twain said something like “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” and he wasn’t kidding. The 4th of July fireworks over the bay are well worth seeing, but wear layers! And stay the night because the traffic is horrific whenever there is an event. Oh, and see a Giants game. That park is amazing! Oh, and the Haight! How I love the Haight, let me count the ways. Takes me back to my late teens and early twenties. If you’re looking for a good vinyl shop, the Haight is where it’s at.
Lake Tahoe is, of course, phenomenally beautiful. I’m only about 90 minutes away in good traffic so I’ve camped there a fair amount over the years. In fact, my first honeymoon was there many moons ago. If you love the outdoors, it’s great any time of year.
Santa Cruz and Monterey are very different, within driving distance of each other, and both have lots of great memories for me. My mom’s family is from Santa Cruz, and while I was born at an Army hospital in Monterey, I was brought home to my uncle’s house in Santa Cruz. We didn’t stay long, but I visited many times a year until I was about 10, and because I’m so nostalgic about it, I’ve gone back a lot even though I no longer have any family there.
In Santa Cruz/Capitola, you have to go to the Boardwalk which is a small beach amusement park. The beach is overcrowded most of the time, parking is expensive and sometimes difficult, but it’s worth it. Check out the Mystery Spot. Go downtown and walk the shops.
In Monterey, hit the aquarium, 17 mile drive, and Dennis the Menace park. Best. Park. Ever. Like ever. Did I say ever?
I could go on and on. Take Pacific Highway 1 all the way up the coast. Camp (Russian Gulch is wonderful!). Check out tide pools. Go on beautiful and inspiring hikes. Visit centuries old redwoods that are taller than anything you can imagine. There really is a ton to do and see in California, and there are many parts of my state that are so beautiful I can’t put it into words. It’s too darn bad that it’s so expensive, and that all the places I want to live are even less affordable than the places I don’t want to live (and still can’t afford!).
Anyway, I feel I have once again sort of meandered off my chosen path so…I’m going to walk away while the going is good. Just don’t forget, there are way more cows in California than there are nice beaches.😀