Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive
Between Carmel and Pacific Grove

"I’d be safe and warm, if I was in L.A.
California Dreaming, on such a winter’s day”

- “California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas.

I AM safe and warm, as long as I stay inside. But outside, it’s a different story.

Our current bitterly cold temperatures, plus a recent visit to San Francisco by Lila of “Indigo Pears” and a meme challenge by Imelda at “Greenish Lady” have me doing some California Dreaming.

Part of Imelda’s challenge was to name five places I’d like to visit, or return to. So today let's go across the continent and back across the years, for a trip down memory lane - a lane that's covered with flowers and scented with warm breezes.

It’s been nearly 20 years since my one and only trip to Northern California. I left just one part of my heart in San Francisco. The other part stayed in the Monterey Peninsula – at the Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove, the aquarium in Monterey, the quaint shops in Carmel By the Sea.

It meant so much to me, having sat in the Minneapolis airport watching them de-ice my plane just a day or two before, to walk around in a lightweight coat, see primroses and tulips blooming and visit Golden Gate Park on a warm sunny day in February.

To me, the booming surf on the beach at Carmel, the otter-watching rocks and the Lone Cypress on the 17-mile drive between Pacific Grove and Carmel are sacred places. The Monterey Peninsula felt like home to me and still calls to me all these years later.

Carmel, often called the most beautiful city in the United
States, is full of Storybook Style cottages like this one.

That's me in front of the Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove.
We stayed in The Sea Lion Room in the carriage house.

My late brother, his wife and me

The courtyard at the Green Gables Inn.
Flowers!!! In February!!!
And blooming Magnolias! I am in heaven.

Here I am with the legendary Golden Gate Bridge in the
background, and what am I looking at? Flowers, of course!


Here are four other places I'd like to visit/re-visit:

1. Between my sophomore and junior years in college, I traveled and attended school in France. I’d like to return to Paris with more than just a few francs in my pocket. Then, I’d like to re-visit Pau, the semi-tropical paradise near the Spanish border where I went to school. Instead of a bedbug-ridden, curtains-for-doors and cold-water-showers teachers’ residence, I’d stay at a nice hotel.

2. I’d like to spend a week or two in Florence, seeing as many churches and museums as I could, then I’d rent a Tuscan villa for a month. (If you dream, you might as well dream big!)

3. After hearing a friend rave about Budapest and my daughter rave about Prague, I’d like to visit those two cities. They’re close enough to each other to be combined into one trip.

4. I’d like to go to Venice, and I’d like Britt-Arnhild ("Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods") to accompany me as my guide.


As I mentioned earlier, Imelda’s meme had three parts. The second part was to name five weird things about myself. Just five???

1. I hate fresh peas from the garden, and new potatoes. With the new potatoes, it’s because they’re boiled with the icky skins on. With the fresh peas, it’s just that I grew up on canned peas. My grandma and mom never gardened so I wasn't introduced to fresh veggies. Now I love things like fresh spinach - it’s nothing like that “moss from the cow tank” that is canned spinach.

2. I hate “The Wizard of Oz”. When I was a kid, I had to leave the room whenever it was on. I think it was because of those darned Munchkins and a vague memory of some screeching, flying things.

3. I don’t like to have a top sheet. We use a nice cozy comforter on our bed, and I find that to be all I need to cover me. The top sheet always gets tangled at the bottom of the bed anyway.

4. I didn’t have pizza until I was a freshman in college, or Mexican food until I was a sophomore. Lord knows when I first tried Chinese food.

5. I love to go to the movies and eat buttered popcorn and Junior Mints – together.

The third part of the meme is: Five things I never foresaw in my future when I was 25. I dutifully wrote my list and it made me so depressed I tore it up. Instead, let me tell you what I saw in my future:

1. My new husband would continue in the medical profession, perhaps even attend medical school.
2. I would be a newspaper reporter.
3. We wouldn't have children.
4. We'd be living in a medium-size city in the west or southwest, possibly Denver.
5. I'd stay slim and trim.

Nothing turned out that way, except for a six-year stint as a reporter (in Bismarck), and having a child, who is the greatest delight of our lives.
Added Thursday evening:
How could I have left Scotland, Ireland and England off my list?? I must see all those sights in England I have been reading about for 40 years, I must visit my Celtic homelands and I must go to Golspie, Scotland to see my newly-discovered relatives.


Darla said...

I love the Monterey Peninsula and since it is less than a days drive South of us we get there frequently.

As for California Dreaming, let me tell you I'm dreaming of sunshine too. This is our wet season.


Janet said...

That part of CA is magnificent! If I could afford it, I'd live there.

You've already visited more places out of the country than I have! But then that isn't surprising since I hate to fly. I would love to see Paris and Venice. You picked beautiful places.

As for your weird things, you and my daughter would get along fine. She hates peas, too and I love them!

I just found this all very interesting and love to learn more about you.

Anonymous said...

I remember the song and the group. I haven't been to California since I was a very little girl. Your pictures are very nice. It's very cold here as well and I would love to be someplace warm.

Bimbimbie said...

Enjoyed the wander with you, Carmel sounds and looks deserving of it's unofficial title, gorgeous cottage. Ive always wanted to see Prague now you will have me thinking about some of those other places too *!*

Laurie said...

I love that first photo of the storybook style cottage. We lived in Sacramento for 5 years~
You don't like new potatoes or peas ~ I love the little guys!!
Enjoyed your memme

gma said...

Just the other day I was in the theatre watching Juno (cute film)
eating buttered popcorn and Jr. Mints together....LOL
MMMM what a yummy sweet and salty mixture.Aren't they great?
Cool that you were a you have lots of good stories from those memories.
Your Meme was so FUN...I have lots of comments to make...Wish you lived closer we could get together for tea.

Casey said...

Have you ever visited Ireland? You can never really explain how incredibly beautiful the entire country is ~ it just is. And all of the people are super friendly and seem genuinely happy to meet you. Of course it's really expensive, but definitely worth every penny!

GreenishLady said...

Have been busy and away from blogs for a few days. I love your relaxed wander through this meme - there's certainly a lot there. Your pictures of Monterey make me think that has to be on my itinerary for this year's California trip. Beautiful! You know, you'll have a tourguide when you do make it to Ireland!

Lena said...

Well, you know already how much I enjoyed the Carmel area, and I loved the Northern California mountains. It is so beautiful there. One evening we were driving through them, when the full moon appeared between two peaks. It made me feel so full of everything that matters. Trips to beautiful places can truly inspire us.
I never liked the Wizard of Oz either, except for the scarecrow. I related to him.

Lila Rostenberg said...

How did I miss this post last week?

Your photos from the past are still fresh and lovely! Carmel is truly enchanting (I was there in the 70's for a moment!) I love the photo of you with the Golden Gate in the background!
Personally I love new potatoes, but find them rarely! Britt-Arnhald would be a wonderful guide for much of Europe!