June 26, 2014

Take a Long Drive With Me, On California One

(Just a small warning, this post will be fairly picture heavy!)

Hello California View from the porch

On Friday, I left Seattle for a trip to California. My plane took me from SeaTac Airport to San Francisco International Airport. Once there, my lovely cousin Mira Joy picked me up and after a quick stop in San Mateo to pick up her boyfriend, we embarked on a three hour trip to Paso Robles, right smack dab in the middle of wine country, for my uncle’s 60th birthday party.

My uncle rented a house way up in the hills of Paso Robles for this little shindig, and talk about a gorgeous house. Three bedrooms, two amazing bathrooms, a huge wrap around porch, a gigantic kitchen, a dining area and a breakfast nook and two family rooms. It was perfect and fit all 12 of us easily.

My room for the weekend That. Bathtub.

I was lucky enough to get an actual bed to myself. And the bath tub in the bathroom I shared … Absolutely beautiful. I wished several times that I had brought some bubble bath with me. Would have been the perfect tub for a long soak. But there wasn’t really enough time for that anyway.

My cousin and her boyfriend Paso Sunset

Once we arrived on Friday, we unpacked, had dinner and relaxed. We enjoyed the sunset, took pictures and talked. I got to meet my cousin’s boyfriend for the first time (he’s a sweetie and they are adorable together) and I crashed early, around 10 since I had slept about 8 hours total in the span of two days. My uncle filled all of Saturday up with visits to several wineries before the dinner party for his 60th birthday started. The dinner party was pretty amazing. A four course dinner with appetizers before hand. And a wine to go with each course. Woo. Wine tipsy!

Courtyard at Grey Wolf Wineries Hottie chef at Starr Ranch

The appetizers were completely amazing. There was bacon wrapped shrimp, braised lamb on a rosemary sprig and pancetta wrapped arugula drizzled with white truffle oil. Then there was a mixed baby green salad with walnuts, apple slices, pomegranate seeds and dried cherries tossed in a vinaigrette. Next up was a choice of seafood paella or the most tender beef tenderloin I’ve ever had with potatoes au gratin, lavender polenta, amazingly crisp green beans and dinner rolls served with either rosemary or lavender infused butter. And finally a pie bar with the choice of either apple, peach or boysenberry pie or a slice of flourless chocolate cake. Everything was fantastic and I was lucky enough to talk with the hottie chef for a little bit. There wasn’t a better way to spend a summer solstice, that’s for sure.

The family back together California Selfie

Aside from it being the first time I’ve visited California since I left almost six years ago, it was also the first time I’d seen my cousins in that many years as well. It was good to see and talk to both of them. I also got to meet my cousin Jeremy’s wife for the first time and we got a family picture together as well. I look like ass, but I’m wearing a dress! That’s definitely a rare event. In fact it was the first time my uncle had seen me in a dress since I was about 12. He was very happy that I did it, even if I did change back into a tshirt and capris by 11 that night. Before we left Paso Robles, I took a California selfie (I had to, okay?!) and it is actually one of the best pictures I have ever taken of myself. I truly love it.

My time in California was amazing and I miss it. I miss my family. But I am actually glad to be back home. See, that’s the thing I’ve learned. After all the moves, all the running away, I discovered that I actually do have a home. I love it here in Washington. Even with all the bullshit that happened when I first got here. I have made a life here and I missed it while I was gone. California is awesome. It will always be a part of me. But it’s not home anymore.

But I certainly wouldn’t pass up some more trips to that beautiful state ;)