Posts in California
Ten.Four Hundred & Ninety-Five

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. Costco. 

10.1 CBD gel on the temples and the neck and my arm.  

10.2 5:30 and it’s bed time for me. 

Ten.Four Hundred & Seventy-Six

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.

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.