Posts in California
Ten.Four Hundred & Thirty-Five

1. Not enough places here open up before 8. But we find a diner in Pleasanton that opens at 7.

2. This trip felt too short. Only two full days. I needed a third. Three is a lucky number.

3. More golden hills and turkey vultures overhead. Crepe Myrtles and succulents and grass and Italian Cypress trees. 

4. My first time at the Oakland airport. It feels so much smaller than SFO. It's much easier to navigate. I grab the latest Saveur, Sunset, and the Beyonce Vogue. Lots of water. Snacks. Playing cards for the boys and coin purse for the girl. We joke that she will fill it with lots of other things like her littlest pet shop toys and shopkins. 

5. I am sad to leave. But I have more clarity about where I think I'd like for us to live. And where and what kind of work I might like to do. 

6. I can see the potential. 

7. Red curly hair and a bag that says California Wines. She's dressed in long skirt, a fitted shirt with sweater tied around her neck. I tell him to peek and see if he can read her boarding pass. 

8. It is her. I introduce myself and gush over how many times I've read her book and how great it is and she asks me what I'm interested in with regard to wine—at least I think that's what she's asking me—and I say something about as far as drinking, old world, but I love viticulture and wine-making. That in another life I'd have been a wine maker or a grape grower but now I think I'm interested in the education side and not the service/hospitality side. I think what I'm saying makes sense but I can also feel my nerves at the corner of my mouth. I feel like my voice is shaking and I'm slightly embarrassed and hope I didn't come off as too odd. 

9. The man next to me in the exit row is also in the business. Works for Dana Estates and Davis Estates. I now have new places to visit next time I'm in Napa. 

10. We'll be home in time for dinner. Fields of corn and soybean. I'm ready to trade them in for the golden hills studded with oaks.

Ten.Four Hundred & Thirty-Four

1. I’m ready for coffee. 

2. We decide to eat breakfast in Danville before heading to San Ramon. A place called Sideboard tucked into a very quaint building on a very quaint street and I understand what everyone meant when they said that Danville is “very” nice. 

3. Mismatched silverware in a drawer. Yes, please.  

4. I like the look of San Ramon more than I thought I would. 

5. And then we make our way down to Pleasanton which is just as pretty. This will be a tough decision when the day comes. 

6. The heat of the sun on the belly. The way the hillsides glow gold. The blueness of the sky.  

7. They went to see The Meg.  

8. By far the most educational wine tour and tasting I’ve ever done.  

9. This is the hipster spot. She tells us that it’s a little more country here but still nice. How much country can I do? 

10. But I can see myself bringing the kids to Loard’s on a Saturday afternoon. Or to Donut Wheel for a hot glazed donut.  

Ten.Four Hundred & Thirty-Three

1. Nerves and excitement in the dappled sunlight.  

2. Belgian waffle with whipped cream and strawberries. I pull a Leslie Knope and ask for another serving of whipped cream. Coffee in a diner mug. 

3. At least I know I am employable.  

4. I stop and grab some flowers from Trader Joe’s. She asks me if I’m visiting. I get to say, “yes! But I’m moving here soon!” 

5. I know where I am. 

6. Her and her belly and mint tea in the most perfect mug.  

7. We’re not going to regret it.  

8. The evening winds are beginning to blow and they furious and cool. I watch the leaves shake and fall.  

9. Of course our server was born and raised here and he loves it. He suggests Panama Bay Coffee in downtown Livermore.  

10. It’s bustling tonight. The guys at the coffee shop make us lattes and give us suggestions on lunch for the next day. And before we leave they welcome us to the neighborhood.  

10.1 A 24-hour donut shop. We split a hot glazed donut and sit on a park bench. Eyes full. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Seven

1. The first thing I see is that our flight has been delayed. 

2. The second thing I read is a text message from my mother at 4:24am asking where the nearest hospital is.   

3. We call to extend the rental car and then get dressed. We argue over where to eat lunch as the sun rises. Nothing is even open for breakfast yet. 

4. It’s chilly but there’s finally some sun. Our walk is peppered with “good mornings,” the cawing of the crows. One day this will not be a vacation. 

5. I stop into Copperfield’s Book Store in Healdsburg for a book on wine country, any book. Just something I know I can’t find at home.  

6. Lunch is a paprika broth filled with potatoes and leeks, clams and cod. We dip a little bit of sourdough into the bowl to soak up the juices.  

7. She’s being admitted and so I shoot off a few texts to neighbors to see who can watch the children while Dad visits her in the next town over. So grateful for community. 

8. Her comment makes us smile.  

9. We eat and drink and talk on the plane. Arms entwined. He says it’s like having an extra date.  

10. From the airport we’ll head to the hospital where she is in order to pick up the car. The waning moon is looking in on me through the window of the Prius. We are all silent. But I am hearing all of the noise. 

Ten.Two Hundred & Forty-Six

1. Deep gray sky but it’s beginning to glow. 

2. Birdsong as the light filters in, pale yellow.  

3. The problem with waking so early in a sleepy town is having to wait for everyone else to wake up. 

4. The most beautiful bowl of granola I’ve ever seen. Honey drizzled over the vanilla yogurt. Granola with soft yet crunchy almonds. Topped with a slice of a blood orange. Hot coffee. 

5. The green in this valley. So much green. But this spot may not be right for us.  

6.  “A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.” - East of Eden

7. Compline. Black and gray and white and wood. One glass of Vouvray Petillant. One glass of Blaufränkisch. One glass of Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. Duck fat fries and terrine and funky cheeses. Natural light illuminating the room. It’s a wine bar for the curious. I can’t wait to come back. 

8. When we live here... When we live here... When we live here... 

9. How is it already the last night?  

10. Tomorrow morning I’ll rub on some more of this lotion, pack up my things, stick my feet into my converse and walk around culinary garden, fill up on coffee and farmer dreams at Fremont Diner.