Sunday, October 19, 2008

You can take the girl out of California, but you can't take California out of the girl!

Sometimes, you just need to get back to your roots. This weekend, for me, that meant heading home to California--at least in my imagination. Here's how it turned out...

Yes, that is a 30 foot long pin up mural of a beach on the wall of my dining room! The rest of my California adventure was complete with a dinner of steak sandwiches, sourdough bread, orange juice with little umbrellas in the glasses, potatoes and salad. I decorated with sea shells, colorful paper lanterns, beach blankets, and stars on the ceiling to gaze at while lying on the "beach".

It was quite the adventure to plan, and I had SOOOO much fun! There were a few moments when I could almost hear waves crashing on the cliffs and smell the fresh sea air.

I love California! Even after seven years in Utah (which I have loved), I still consider California home. It has so much personality. Here are a few of the things I miss about the Golden State:

STRAWBERRY SEASON - There's nothing better than eating juicy perfection fresh out of the fields, still warm from the sunshine.

FARMERS' MARKETS - Not only did I love the fresh nectarines, white peaches, plums, etc. that we got from the market, I love the ambiance there as well. It was fun to wander down the streets of Old Town Clovis during the summer months listening to folksy music and meeting people from the community as you shopped for tasty food.

GRAPE PICKING - Every August is grape picking season in the valley. While the smell of the winery was nauseating, I loved going to the welfare farm run by the church and picking grapes. It was dusty, sticky, spidery, tiring work, but it was so satisfying to work down a row side by side with other ward members, knowing that you were doing your share to help out. Plus, the Slurpees from 7Eleven afterwards weren't too bad either.

NO SNOW - Try as I do to enjoy it, I still don't like the winters in Utah. I love being able to go outside year-round in California without worrying about losing appendages to the cold. Brrrr. I'm trying not to think about winter yet.

DIVERSITY - I love how different everyone is in California. Not to say that there isn't a fair amount of diversity in Utah, but it's completely different. I loved going to school with people of all different religions, races, and backgrounds. It was fun to talk to people with such different life experiences than mine. I need to look for it a little more here in Utah.

SUNSHINE - I am addicted to sunshine, and it seems to abound in California. That's all there is to it!

What do you love about California?


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood

Every fall, I look at the leaves changing colors and I remember one of my favorite poems: The Road Not Taken. It's not really about fall--just about life. But the opening line always makes me think of fall. This last weekend, I went for a drive in the canyon and once again was reminded of Robert Frost's poem when I saw this picturesque landscape...

Isn't it perfect? It makes me much more willing to deal with the chilly weather when I can see such beauty. It's about time to break out the woolly sweaters and hot cider for the coming winter, I think. Not to mention, time to stock up on some good literature to read by the fire (anybody have a fireplace I can borrow?). To start off the literary marathon induced by cold weather, here is Frost's poem for your enjoyment.

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

P.S. - Here are some other fall pictures of my trip up the canyon.