The Final Installment of Princess Rosebud’s Empowering Road Trip

California is beautiful.

Everyone should go on a road trip vacay and drive down (or up) the coast through the central coast along Highway One.

It’s spectacular.

The scenery is amazing and the views are breathtaking, BUT driving around Big Sur, the twistywindytwolanehighway is SCARY, more so if you’ve previously experienced a near death event.

One one side, there’s the vertigo-inducing views of the Pacific Ocean beneath a precipitous embankment, and on the other side, close enough so that if you open a window and reach out, you could almost touch the mountain.

“Mom, why is your lip bleeding?”

“Because I’m biting it to keep from screaming.”

“SLOW DOWN. SLOWDOWNSLOWDOWN!”

“See the red lights on the car in front of us? That is your very obvious CLUE that you need to react and SLOW DOWN.”

“Sssllllooowwwwdddooowwwnnnn…” says the crazy backseat driver.

“Heeheehee.” That’s Angel Boy chuckling at my terror.

“How about leaving a little more distance between you and the car in front of us?”

“Would that be too much to ask?”

My right thigh was becoming numb as I constantly phantom-braked during that entire death defying journey.

I clutched the dash so tightly, I thought they’d have to pry my fingers off of it.

In the back seat, DIL was listening to music and texting, observing this exchange between mother and son.

(I think she was laughing, too.)

My son lives his entire life by multi-tasking every single moment of every single day.

Even while driving, he’s eating, talking to his GPS, and carrying on two conversations.

His new name is Dr. Distracto, because the ONE thing he needed to concentrate on — DRIVING — what should have been his primary focus — was third or fourth on the list of what garnered his attention.

“Geez, pay attention to the traffic, would you?”

“STOOPPPPP!”

I was hyperventilating, fanning my face, telling him, “Do you want to give me a heart attack?”

Remember that film I liked, Guilt Trip, with Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan?
(Read my review HERE of the best Jew-mom film EVER.)

This was OUR version of a road trip.

It was actually pretty funny. In reality, my son is a good driver in spite of being an absent minded professor.

When it was all over and we were once again on wide, straight roads, I apologized for my bout of insanity and praised his patience and even tempered disposition.

I highly recommend camping with one’s adult child and spouse.

I haven’t heard about too many other people who’ve done this. Let me know if you have and maybe we could start a club.

Popping a squat side-by-side on the trail with one’s DIL makes for a great bonding moment.

They had thoughtfully packed two tents, a huge family-sized Hobitat, and a smaller one in case I wanted to sleep in my own tent, and not with them.

I chose the “mother-in-law” unit because I didn’t want to disturb anyone or crawl over them if I had to get up and to to the bathroom at 3 a.m.

Two highlights of our road trip were day hikes  to Jade Cove and Julia Pfeiffer State Park.

I’ve always wanted to explore Jade Cove but I had no idea that it was going to become the challenge of a lifetime.

I had no idea that the only way to get down to where the jade could be found was by rope. THIS was where the EMPOWERMENT really kicked in.

NO WAY was I gonna do that.

Nope. Never. Not in a million years.

It should have been an absolute dealbreaker, but my desire for jade and serptentine treasures made me think I MIGHT be able to take the risk.

It would have been such a shame to come all this way and give in to my fears.

My son patiently coaxed me and DIL all the way and made sure we safely descended the nearly vertical bluffs, while he scrambled down like a mountain goat.

I AM EMPOWERED. 

(My hair looks HORRIBLE, but I’m grinning from ear to ear.)

jadecoveme1

The Jade Cove Trail is a simple flat path that loops out to the coast with a steep but short path down to the water where you can hunt for jade (please follow local regulations about collecting rocks.)

From the top.

Jadecove1 Jadecove2
jadecove4
jadecove9 Animal print kelp?jadecovekelpTreasures from Jade Cove!
JadeCovetreasures2

After that, we drove to Julia Pfieffer State Park for a day hike. This state park is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns, a well respected pioneer woman in the Big Sur country. The park stretches from the Big Sur coastline into nearby 3,000-foot ridges. It features redwood, tan oak, madrone, chaparral, and an 80-foot waterfall that drops from granite cliffs into the ocean from the Overlook Trail. A panoramic view of the ocean and miles of rugged coastline is available from the higher elevations along the trails east of Highway 1.

Overlook Trail and the cove with famous turquoise water.

juliap7McWay Falls, one of only two coastal waterfalls in California, where McWay Creek falls 80 feet over a granite cliff onto a sandy beach, or at high tide directly into the Pacific Ocean.Juliap8McWay Creek
JuliaP1 JuliaP2 juliap3 Majestic redwoodsjuliap4Squint your eyes and you can see Angel Boy and DIL at the base of the gigantic redwoods.
Juliap5 juliap6And now FINALLY, tugboat man’s flight has been confirmed and I’ll be driving to the airport tonight. He might not be home long enough to go back to to Montana de Oro or Jade Cove, but here in SoCal, surf is up and the champs on ice, so life is good.

Bottom line: Empowerment is empowering. At any age.

Read the rest of my Empowerment Series here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Three

Hiking at Montana de Oro.

After a horrible night of not much sleep thanks to a bunch of obnoxious college students who must have been too drunk to understand that, to most people, camping means peace and quiet, not a beer binged free-for-all, we embarked on a day hike.

Our goal was Valencia Peak, but we first made a loop up Oats Peak Trail.

Valencia Peak is a coastal mountain located within Montana De Oro State Park. This trail offers gorgeous views of the Central Coast, great views of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and on clear days, you can see Cambria and beyond — with amazing views of Spooner’s Cove to the south.

It’s an easy trail with gentle elevation gain; I didn’t even need the alpine walking sticks I packed.

The spectacular views begin right away as you ascend up onto a saddle, and the rest of the hike is before your eyes.

The trail gets a little harder the closer you get to the top.

DIL and I stopped shy of the peak; my son wanted to run to the top and back, so we took a break, ate lunch, and admired the view of the ocean.

There was cell service, so I called tugboat man to say hi and to let him know we are DEFINITELY going to spend a few days here when he returns.

The views are beyond breathtaking. It feels like you’re on top of the world.

The hike down is much easier, but watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw a baby, whose venom is more potent than the adult rattlesnake.

Not too difficult, right?
montanadeorohike1

Ah-may-ZINGmontanadeorohike2 Kind of a hazy day, but perfect hiking weather.montanadeorohike3My little goat boy.
montanadeorohike4A narrow passage.montanadeorohike5View from the Visitor’s Center.
montanadeorohike6Part Four: Jade Cove, Julia Pfeiffer, Cambria, and Costanoa.

twenty years of conversation: the condensed version

This isn’t an especially sparkly or edible post, no mention of retail therapy —  I thought of this as we were driving home from the gym and running errands.

We’ve had pretty much the same exact conversation fourteen billion times over the last twenty-plus years and now we’re gearing up for a long drive up the coast to San Jose for BlogHer 2014, which means we’ll be spending several hours in the car…here is a condensed version of what a lot of our “car” time sounds like.

(Don’t you think it’d be funny to record it and not have to say a thing for the first twenty miles?)

Tugboat man: “Buckle up.”

Me: “Did you bring water?”

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to get it.”

Me: Did you turn the alarm on?

Tugboat man: “No, I thought you were going to do it.”

Me: “I’m cold. Turn the AC up, OK?”

Me: “But don’t open the window. It’s blowing my hair.”

Tugboat man: “Did you see that guy race through the stop sign?”

Me: “It’s only a suggestion, remember?”

Me: “Look at the car next to us. She’s texting. The light’s green and she doesn’t have a clue.”

Me: (In Trader Joe’s) “Don’t talk to me while I’m thinking. ‘Cos you distract me, and I might forget something that I forgot to put on the list that I forgot and left in the car.”

Me: Can’t you walk faster? You are SO slow!”

Me: “What do you want for dinner?”

Tugboat man: “I don’t know, it’s only 9:00 a.m. How about if you ask me after lunch?”

Me: “You just missed the BEST parking spot.”

Tugboat man: Laughing…”Do you have any idea how annoying you can be?

Me: “It’s not as if this is breaking news. I’m the exact same person I’ve always been.”

Tugboat man: “Yes, and you’ve always been annoying.”

Me: “But you love it, don’t lie.”

Tugboat man: “Well, you got me there. But for the love of all that is holy, can you dial it down just a notch or two? Give a guy a break once in while, OK?”

Me: “Well, since you’ve asked so nicely…all right.”

I AM annoying. It’s one of the words that describes me perfectly.

But don’t worry, I’m not ALWAYS annoying, and I am a good traveling companion!

31503209

 

Angel’s Landing @ Zion National Park: Photos

A few of my favorite pics from our road trip last week:

Pretty pink flowers growing out of the mountain wall at Angel’s Landing

zionflower

Beautiful bright red bird!

zionredbird

Looking down from the top of Angel’s Landing. Don’t climb this if you have vertigo!!

angellandingSurrounded by beauty.

angellanding2

The view from the top while we ate a snack of nuts and apples.

angellanding3#ZionNationalPark #AngelsLanding #photography #travel #nature #hiking #camping #Utah

 

Wandering to Zion…Part Two

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man
Part One and a Half…Wandering to Zion
***********************************************************************************************************

We were meandering; taking our sweet time getting to our ultimate destination of Zion National Park.  Zion was so crowded that we figured it was the perfect excuse to explore lesser known parks.

That’s how we roll, me and my tugboat man. This was the most relaxed road trip we’ve embarked upon; no stress or pressure — no deadline.

Moving on, literally…we left Payson, Arizona and drove to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. We hiked to the largest travertine bridge in the world — 183 feet high with a tunnel width of 150 feet and length of 400 feet.

There was a bit of scary, slippery rock scrambling with a moderately steep drop; not one of my favorite things to do, but the view was worth it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our next stop was the nearly 700 year-old Salado cave dwellings at Tonto National Monument. To get to them, there’s a steep but paved one-mile round-trip trail that ascends 350 feet to the Lower Cave Dwelling.

Built in the early 14th century, this village was part of a vast multi-cultural network that extended from the Four Corners region to Northern Mexico. While remnants of thousands of similar villages dot the Southwest, this well-preserved building represents one of the last Salido cliff dwellings. Local springs provided water for Paleo-Indians who lived here over 10,500 years ago.

There was so much to see and be amazed by —

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

t am so in LOVE with Saguaro cactus — those arms that dot the landscape all over Arizona. We don’t have that variety of cactus in SoCal. I got a package of seeds and hope they sprout.

Saguaro cactus

Along the road, whenever we saw something that looked cool, we’d stop and follow a trail or hike to a monument or a site.

OldHouseAZ

It began to get late and we couldn’t find a campground again so we stayed at a Howard Johnson in Holbrook, Arizona. There was a quaint little Italian restaurant in walking distance with great pizza and decent chianti.

I’m not overly fond of hotels — I always make hub check for bugs and bring my own sanitizer — but it’s nice to take a shower and wash off the dust at the end of a long day. I don’t care if it’s a a five-star hotel, either. Have you seen those TV shows that expose the dirt and germs? So much ick, right?

Side note: Only in California do all public restrooms provide seat protectors. There needs to be a Federal law that make seat protectors mandatory. I HATE going all old school with toilet paper lining the seat — but I NEED that barrier between me and the rest of the world

Next time, Part Three of Wandering to Zion with Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Day One… Sunday, April 13

Sort of a late departure at 9:30 a.m. ‘cos we still had some packing to do and my tugboat man wanted French toast for breakfast. Since he does 100% of the driving, he deserved a bit of pampering, right?

Vehicle mileage 176,080

We stopped at Vons to get water and ice before heading East on the 78 to North 15.

There was a squeaky sound near a belt or bearing or something that was annoying hub; I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying — blah blah blah, and we stopped to buy a small can of WD-40 at Lowe’s in Escondido and got back on the road.

11:35 a.m. On Highway 10, OMG, just saw a solo rollover crash on the south side of the freeway; we didn’t stop because so many other good samaritans had already pulled over to render aid  — hope it won’t a driver distracted by texting.

12:30 p.m. Ate lunch at a rest stop just outside Coachella where the music festival is happening this weekend.  35-40 mph winds, crazy windy!

7:00 p.m. Because it’s Easter week and everything’s so crowded, we changed our itinerary a bit and drove all the way to Payson, Arizona where we’re spending the night at a Comfort Inn.

Tomorrow we plan to leave early to hike to 13th century Native American pueblos, and then drive to the Petrified Forest National Park  — after than, we’re on to something hub found called The Grand Staircase or “escarpments” — after that the Grand Canyon, ending up at Zion later in the week.

Or something like that.

We’re pretty flexible. If we see something interesting, we’ll stop and camp and hike even if it’s not on our official itinerary.

The scenery here in and around Payson, Arizona is amazing. It’s in the middle of Navajo country.

We drove through Maricopa County, home to the eccentric and notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but we didn’t see any of his pink-clad chain prisoners, I’m glad to say.

We walked over to Denny’s Restaurant for dinner. I had a veggie burger and hub had grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli. Everything was surprisingly delicious — or maybe we were just starved.

Good night!

Click on each pic to see a larger version.

 

Best JewMom Film: A Review of “Guilt Trip”

Since it’s almost Purim and Passover, this is the PERFECT time for a little JewMom guilt, dontcha think?

First of all, don’t go all hinky on me; I maintain the right to use the term “JewMom” not only affectionately, but proudly, respectfully, and accurately, because I AM a JewMom. Probably the JewMommiest Mommy of them all, to be totes honest with y’all.

ince it’s almost Purim and Passover, this is the PERFECT time for a little JewMom guilt, dontcha think?

I CONFESS (this IS Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife and I DO confess transgressions and deep dark secrets every once in a while just to keep me honest and to keep you guys on your toes)

So, I CONFESS that I saw “Guilt Trip” three times in the last two weeks. CRZY. Cray. Beyond cray.

Why, you ask? Netflix stuck? TV broke? Dementia? (That description is from my snarky son, Angel Boy, I mean DOCTOR Angel Boy.)

Here’s how it happened. I was baking up a storm, a marathon baking sesh ‘cos my son, DIL, AND tugboat man were all arriving at Casa de Enchanted Seashells virtually within hours of each other, which meant that I had one train station pickup and two airport pickups back to back to back.

While the Ginger + Ginger Cake was in the oven and chocolate chip cookies were cooling on a rack, I poured myself a glass of chard and searched through Netflix for something funny with which to entertain myself while i allowed myself a relaxing moment or two.

On Netflix “Guilt Trip” came up a few times in New Releases and Newly Added and Suggestions for me, but I kept looking for something else, cos the thumbnail pic of Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand didn’t really call out to me – film marketing companies need to work on their thumbnails! — but then nothing else did either, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’m so glad I did ‘cos it was an unexpected and sweetly funny surprise. Rogan and Streisand have a great chemistry together; natural, easygoing, playing off each other effortlessly. Road trip films are a tried and true formula; moms and sons is a savory twist to the genre.

I love movies that aren’t full of gratuitous violence, gratuitous sex/nudity, and have happy endings. If you’re like me, you’ll like “Guilt Trip”.

A SHORT SYNOPSIS: As UCLA organic chemist grad and  inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime to sell his product, a quick stop at his mom’s house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride.

BEST MOM QUOTE EVER: “If all the little boys in the world were lined up, and I had to just pick only one, I’d choose you… every time.” (Streisand to Rogan)

Every mother and her adult son SHOULD see this film together, whether you’re a Jewish mom like me or not. They are, after all, always our baby boys, no matter their age. Like I tell my son, there are worse things to endure in this world than having a mother who loves him as much as I do.

It is SO funny. I saw a lot of myself in it — the zillion phone calls, screaming out his name at the airport, the son going to school 3,000 miles away from home (we don’t even want to GO THERE) — Angel Boy and I haven’t gone on a road trip together, but it might look pretty much exactly like this one if we did, except for me winning a steak eating contest.

Actually, we did something similar when I flew to Goettingen, Germany to visit him for his junior year abroad at the University of Goettingen when he was at UCSD. We spent a week together traveling around Germany. I had an amazing time, even though we got stuck in a blizzard, and even if I was prolly a bit annoying. OK, maybe a LOT annoying, but still, to spend time like that with my Angel Boy was priceless. Spending the night at the airport in Frankfurt is still something that makes us laugh.

Aside: In the film, there’s a LOT of blatant product placement from Kmart to Costco to QVC, but it wasn’t too distracting and i had to admire the chutzpah.

The second viewing was with Angel Boy and DIL. I think DIL probably enjoyed it more than my son; he cringed a bit during some of the scenes of Rogan with Streisand that we thought were HILARIOUS. I think it all hit a bit too close to home at certain moments, LOL. And yes, I too have purchased underwear for my adult son. I confess…

DIL thought that UCLA as Rogan character’s school and the UCLA sweatshirt was “art mimicking life” and perhaps a SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE because Angel Boy recently interviewed for a teaching job there (fingers crossed!) and because all I wear are t-shirts and sweatshirts from the universities my son has attended. Right now I’m sporting  a “Someone at Yale loves me” t-shirt under a “Yale Mom” sweatshirt. I am SUCH a cliche, I know, I know.

And i’m drinking out of a Yale/Hello Kitty water bottle. Pathetic, right? I know.

The third viewing was with my tugboat man and I know he liked it mainly ‘cos he didn’t fall asleep once, ha ha!

I hope I’ve “guilt tripped” you into seeing it, too, and I hope you like it as much as we did.

I totes recommend “Guilt Trip” (2012)
I give it 5 Louboutins out of 5
Christian-Louboutin-Pigalle-Plato-Spring-2013Christian-Louboutin-Pigalle-Plato-Spring-2013Christian-Louboutin-Pigalle-Plato-Spring-2013Christian-Louboutin-Pigalle-Plato-Spring-2013Christian-Louboutin-Pigalle-Plato-Spring-2013

The path (or post) not taken

Dear Darling WordPress,
You lost another post, probably an award-winning post, full of levity and wit and irony, and all the best things in the world rolled into one post. Ahh, such is life….

So, there I was,  in a quandary about what path to take and just like that — click –the old lightbulb snapped on!

Clap on, clap off…cat clap on

I had to THINK which involves a level of introspection that I rarely attain. Here’s my brain on any given day: “…work out, clean, garden, cook, bake, shop, read, shop…”

Rinse and repeat. Deep thoughts? Not so much.

 

As I was looking out our patio doors, I noticed all the different paths in our yard.

Curvy paths of rocksRocks of dry river bed

straight paths of pavers to the pond

pathtopond1 or a meandering path to the greenhouse and beyond

pathtocompost

and the steps that lead you to another level.

steps up yard

I thought about how that’s another one of life’s important lessons.

If one path doesn’t work, you can choose another. And if none of those work, you can change course by moving the rocks or the pavers just a little bit to reflect a different direction or to avoid an obstacle in your way.

It doesn’t really matter where you go, the success is in the path you take to reach your goal or your destination.

Today I wrote about something other than my original idea because WordPress threw up a barricade that blocked my way.

I toyed with the idea of giving up altogether or trying to recreate my initial thoughts, when, for the first time, I became aware of the paths in my yard.

It opened my eyes to a deeper reflection, not unlike the reflection you’d find if you followed the path to the pond and gazed in the water.

So that’s it for my philosophical sputterings, I have no idea what came over me!

Now I have to pack fourteen outfits to accompany hubs to San Francisco for a two-day business meeting. Road trip! And yet another road taken.