The roosters are so loud.
What is that clanking sound? It feels like it must be time to get up.
It’s only 50 degrees. I did not plan properly. I grab a sweater and my shawl and my camera and head out to the gardens.
We find the coffeehouse that opens at 7. The case is filled with homemade pastries and empanadas. I must come back for an empanada.
The baby goats. But I could do without the flies.
The best goat cheese I’ve ever tasted. I will be back for more.
I’m looking at her and she thinks I’m confused but I’m actually just searching for the words. Finally, “Estamos comemos.” He says her face lit up when the Spanish came from my mouth. I ask her to come back tomorrow. “Hasta Luego!” “Hasta Luego!”
The power of language as a bridge. Words build connection. The right words lay a foundation for intimacy and belonging and compassion. This is why I try to be so careful with what comes out.
Roederer. Phillips Hill. Drew Family Cellars.
She asks me if this is the kind of place I want to move to when the rental is done. I tell her that this is the kind of place I’d come to after her and her brothers have made a life of their own. But that yes, I love to be in places where I know names and faces and everything feels familiar and walkable. I like feeling like I belong.
Today is the day.
The third tickling session in order to coax him awake.
They start asking about the length of time we’ll be in the car. I don’t want to tell them the truth. I give them vague answers like “It will take some time. It won’t feel too long. We’re breaking it up.”
The temperature drops 6 degrees as we enter Bodega Bay. No one is hungry like we thought they would be so we get back in the car for another long leg.
He pulls over at a turn about. Her iced chai turns over. Only three of us get out to look at the ocean. The fog is beginning to recede. Waves with white caps. The sounds of cars passing by.
Gualala. I’ve never heard of this town but Upper Crust Pizza gets 4.7 stars so we stop there for lunch. The owner tells us to just settle the tab when we’re all done. Small town things. The couple at the high top beside us is from Wisconsin. I could live here.
They warned us that it might still be foggy in Point Arena. I still want to go to the lighthouse. I’ve never been to one. I say that if I had an official bucket list, I think going inside of a lighthouse would be on the list. Today, I’m checking it off.
My thighs are burning.
Mountain View Road is not as scary as they made it seem though 22 miles of those twists and turns do a doozy on the stomach before it dumps you out into Booneville.
Not even here for an hour and I’m already planning a new retreat.
1. I don’t know what time it is but I know it’s early. Too early to be awake.
2. Tossing and turning while trying to practice some breathing to help me fall asleep.
3. The sound of splashing water on the concrete. The feeling of the coldness setting into my hands.
4. TSA pre-check.
5. She’s from Rockford but California has been home for 40 years.
6. No wi-fi.
7. I’m just so tired.
8. In the back is an orange or grapefruit tree, a bird of paradise plant, something else I can’t yet name. They love the house. I am relieved. The patio table was left. There will dinners outside soon.
9. We eat a big lunch/dinner. Artichoke dip ad Gorgonzola and pesto ravioli and a glass of Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands. I remember how much it’s going to be to have access to so many other Californian wines.
10.1 CBD gel on the temples and the neck and my arm.
10.2 5:30 and it’s bed time for me.
1. It’s after 6 and still really dark but I need to get up.
2. Oh, this sunrise is going to be good.
3. There isn’t a way to capture it, really. Not the way I want to. Not in a way that would do it justice.
4. It’s cuter than I thought it would be. The farmer’s market is setting up. We go into the diner and get some breakfast. Orange juice, water, coffee. Scrambled eggs and bacon with hash browns and wheat toast.
5. Persimmons in their glory. Flower bunches and ugly gourds. Lots of tomatoes and eggplant and squash. Blackberries almost as big as my pinky.
6. We stand in the driveway while his wife brings the keys. The sun is so hot that I’m sweating in my sweater. I like this neighborhood. I like being on top of a hill. But.
7. The owners might be changing their minds but she gives us the code to go in anyway. Enough rooms for the both of us to have an office. So much light. And the view from the back—that would never get old.
8. I use my Safeway discount card.
9. This one. This one could be good. And since it’s apparently the last one we’ll be able to see today, it has to be this. But I just wish they could tell you on the spot. I pray that this one comes through.
10. Johnny Salami’s for a sandwich and chips before a bottle of rosé at Hannah Nicole. Darcie Kent for a surprisingly refreshing Chardonnay.
10.1 Range Life. Olives, a sea bass crudo, the best steak tartare I’ve ever had, roasted squash with burrata and pepitas, apple cobler. Bründlmayer and a beaumes de venise.
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.