Ventura Highway, in the Sunshine


Dear Family and Friends

I just can’t stop writing. All these long evenings I am driven to sit and write different things, poems, stories, letters and these views of life that I seem to be caught up in lately. Thank you for all your comments and I hope that you enjoy sharing them as much as I enjoy the writing.

I am home now from my two-week escape from Alameda. Although I could easily imagine a kinder time of year to escape and find other weather. The moderate temperature here is better than anyplace else, suits my clothing and yet I chose to go sweat in the warm air of Southern California. Must have to make an appointment to have my head examined.

Okay, it’s on my to-do list. Check sanity levels. Probably I’m off the charts, oh well. I ended up my visit with a party in Port Hueneme – my good friends are moving to Turkey for a year or so, and that was very considerate of them. Its been a while since I’ve had a reliable base of operations in Europe – and have plans to centralize in Istanbul and fan out through southern Mediterranean – Tuscany, especially…sounds like fun to me, eh? Sara is ready to pack and will walk to the airport, if necessary. She really is my daughter, more and more. I don’t think the genetic testing will be necessary. I stayed over the one night and we went out to dinner. It was late and we ended up closing the restaurant ( one of my specialties – closing places) – so Sara entertained us with her comic routines and did cartwheels across the parking lot as we were leaving. She is filled with energy and laughter and all kinds of great thoughts that are only just beginning to come out. I think this next year will be a marvelous one for her.

But morning came and it was time to return home, to bills and laundry and everything that makes vacations so special and fun. Since we were already so far out on 101, I had decided to just continue on up the coast and take the scenic route, rather than the “quick and dirty” trip I always make up and down the 5. I can’t even remember the last time I drove that way, but it seems to me I recall a time when the 5 was closed due to snow, maybe ten years ago already. How quickly we forget.

The lesson that I recalled while in LA was “I am SO happy that I don’t live here anymore”. Sitting in traffic on the 405, the 5, the 101 – I remembered how the distance and the time are as unrelated as any two things could be, and that there is NO time when there is NO traffic. Love so many people in LA and miss so many things, but I couldn’t do it. Not for anything, better to visit occasionally, leave the commute to the terminally Angelino. Remembered how many things I couldn’t stand about LA and why I left.

But the drive up the coast? That was a different memory. That was the memory of why everyone wanted to come to California in the first place. I forgot how exquisitely beautiful and golden this state is. The day was bright and clear, and the rains that have plagued us so this year have made the countryside brilliant with color – russets, yellows, tans, chartreuse and sage – and a hundred shades in between. The sky and sea lend their blues and the mountains reflect the purple browns in a hundred shady spots – punctuated with haze and shimmering rows of eucalyptus. Actually, it made me forget about the time I was making and the speed I was traveling, as I was having such a wonderful time taking it all in.

I even relented at Pismo Beach, and stopped for Sara at the most prevalent natural wonder of all, the outlet mall. Where the consumer is convinced they are getting a deal, as the manufacturers make terrific markups on over-runs and dead stock. I even got out in under two hours, with only a $13.00 dent. Pretty smooth sailing, I’d say. As we moved up the coast, the palette changed, more tan and golden towards the middle, and then greener again as we reached the edges of Northern California. What a beautiful state this is, and how rare it is that we natives stop to appreciate it. Its really the reason for all the downsides to living here in the Golden State. So apt a description.

But I did arrive home. By 5pm on Monday, I was home and the car was unpacked, although I was tired from the long drive. By 1am, everything was unpacked, the car was cleaned and full of gas, the refrigerator was full of food and the mail half sorted. Now its Tuesday nite, and the bills have been paid, the laundry put away, Sara has begun a voice workshop, I’ve answered all my mail and we even had guests over for dinner. Back to the real world. It is what draws the contrasts and makes the other parts so special, if we only stop to take a look.

Please don’t forget to do so. And while you’re at it, the roses are a riot of color, my lavender is in full bloom and the garden smells delightful. Please feel free to come and visit if you get the chance.