Kitty is done with us

Olive the cat in the suitcase.
Every time I pack, this happens. Olive is done with our vacations.

We had a tiring but fun weekend. I’ve decided that a six-hour drive on Friday, followed by six-hours on Sunday to get home, is too much for me.

I don’t mind the long drives like we took to Santa Barbara in August. That’s because we stayed for awhile. My body had time to relax and recover.

We arrived in San Diego Friday with one hour to rest and get read for a 30-minute drive to the wedding venue. What saved us on the drive was listening to “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham. It’s amazing how books on tape — or Audible — make the drives fly by.

I made the mistake of booking our hotel room in Santee, SC — instead of Santee, CA. Oops.

Who knew there was more than one Santee and they’d have hotels with the exact same name?

The highlight of our trip happened Saturday. We visited my husband’s aunt and uncle who live in Santee (hence the reason I booked a hotel there — or thought I did. Right town, wrong state.) His cousin surprised us and came too with her son from an hour away.

My husband’s uncle is 93 years old. The last time we saw him was August three years ago to celebrate his 90th birthday. Because of COVID and then moving we haven’t visited. I have to say he looks amazing. He’s full of energy. He drives, he shops, he cooks, he waits on his wife — my husband’s aunt. He makes the best Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Luciano (the uncle) came to the US from Italy when he was 30 years old after marrying my husband’s aunt. She met Luciano while she was the city planner of Rome.

After she graduated with a degree from Berkeley in the 1960s, she couldn’t get hired in the U.S. in her field because she was a woman. However, she did get hired in Italy, so she learned Italian and moved.

She’s a dynamo that I’ve always looked up to. Not only has she had an amazing career, she’s written and published at least 15 books. She’s a world traveler and had a series based on a travel agent/murder solver. If you’re interested, here’s a link to R. Ann Siracusa on Goodreads. My favorite book of hers is “Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears.”

If that’s not enough, she’s a grandmother who actively takes care of her grandchildren. And she quilts. She taught my daughter and I how to quilt.

Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about these inspiring relatives.

What relatives have motivated and inspired you? What’s your limit for drives on trips?

How long would you wait for a taco? Hint: It’s La Super Rica

Line outside La Super Rica Taqueria, Santa Barbara.
Waiting in line to get into La Super Rica Taqueria.

I discovered a new food this week. Adobada.

What is adobada? It’s marinated meat (often pork) in a flavorful, chile-based mixture. It’s chopped into chunks and cooked on a hot grill or pan so it chars on the outside and is tender and juicy inside. The taco and burritos I had included a citrusy flavor and chunks of pineapple.

Before we took our son to the airport to fly home to the Bay Area, we stopped at La Super Rica. It’s a taco stand with a line out the door from the time they open to closing. It became famous as Julia Child’s favorite restaurant.

Adobada tacos at La Super Rica
Adobada tacos.

When our son went to UC Santa Barbara he told us about the best Mexican food that we had to try. It was La Super Rica — our favorite Santa Barbara Mexican restaurant for 25 years before he discovered it!

Tamale with cream sauce.

Sunday, we waited 40 minutes to get inside to order at the window. Then we waited longer than than that to get our food. By the time it arrived, I was famished. I had the adobada taco and a chile relleno. It was so delicious, I wolfed it down. The wait was worth it.

The other adobada I had was in a burrito the day before from a liquor store in Carpinteria. They’ve been there for 25 years and we’ve been ordering breakfast burritos from them for that long. We’re trying to convince the owner to open a store in Arizona! Our son introduced us to the adobada burrito and we’re hooked. The line isn’t nearly as long as La Super Rica, either.

The wait at La Super Rica reminded me of waiting for pizza where our kids live. Although my son’s girlfriend commented that the Cheeseboard’s line goes around the block and has about 100 people and La Super Rica’s line is only about 20 deep. I wrote about waiting in line for pizza HERE.

La Super Rica patio
View of La Super Rica’s patio.

How long are you willing to wait for a taco? How about a pizza? What other food would you wait for?

Celebration hike

Hiking and biking trails at Park City Mountain
The start of the hike at Park City Mountain.

We celebrated our 37th anniversary with a mountain hike. A storm came through the night before with thunder, lightening and rain, and the heat wave broke. Plus, my husband took time off work so we could hike the Dawn Trail in the morning.

I’m so thankful we got to go on the mountain trails. It had been too hot in the afternoons to attempt it.

Here’s info about Dawn’s Trail from AllTrails.

Discover this 5.8-km out-and-back trail near Park City, Utah. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 54 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and trail running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Review from hiker: I wouldn’t rate this trail as easy simply because if you start near the map at the bottom that’s next to the ski lift, it is all uphill and it gets pretty steep at some points. It’s mostly switchbacks up to the top, but it is a pretty strenuous slope, especially for beginners. But, It was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the valley.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/dawns-trail?u=m

I counted 14 different wildflowers on the hike. Here are some photos:

Lush landscape and clouds on Dawn's Trail Park City.
The lush landscape and a view of clouds.
Dawn's Trail view in Park City
A view of chairlifts and Park City from the mountain trail.
Trail winding through woods.
Parts of the trail winds through woods and are in the shade.

Wildflowers at base of moutain.
Wildflowers at the base of the mountain.
Husband on the trail.
My husband of 37 years! Where did the time go?
wildflower yellow stalk
One of 14 different varieties of wildflowers I saw.
On the trail!

I’m glad we waited until later in the week to do the mountain hiking. We’re more adjusted to the altitude and ready for more. But first, we’re going to hit the jacuzzi!

Views from the hike.

Happy Friday! What are your plans for this weekend in July?

Park City views

Park City view
A view from a morning walk of the ski slopes/hiking biking trails in Park City.
The best lobster roll in the world.
Freshie’s lobster roll.

My daughter and I discovered Freshie’s while she was in college at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. We follow a blog Female Foodie that highlights the best food in nine areas of the country, from New York to Los Angelos — and even Salt Lake City. That’s where we first heard about Freshie’s.

Freshie’s won a contest for the “World’s Best Lobster Roll” which is held in Maine. Who knew you could get the best lobster roll in the mountains of Utah? They fly lobster in from Maine daily. If you’re ever in Salt Lake or Park City, Freshie’s is a must.

Bear statue on Main Street Park City, Utah
That’s me hanging out on Main Street, Park City. Main Street is where you’ll find an abundance of shops and restaurants. I posed with this bear and my daughter a few years ago.

Airbnb condo on the ski slopes of Park City.
The airbnb condo where we’re staying. We stayed here in 2020 also, but had our daughter and a sister of our son’s girlfriend staying with us on that trip. That was a much busier week!

Breakfast at Tiffany's art
I really liked this Audrey Hepburn art in a gallery on Main Street. If I had an extra $7,500 laying around, I might have brought it home with me.

I love Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always been a fan since I watched “My Fair Lady” as a young child with my parents. When my kids were ages five and two, I would borrow Audrey Hepburn VHS movies from the library. I laughed so hard when we were watching “Sabrina” and my son said “YOWZA!” when Audrey Hepburn returned from Paris as a beautiful, sophisticated woman.

The heatwave may be over. We’re supposed to get thunder and lightening later today. This view is from the swimming pool with the ski slopes/hiking trails in the background.

Where are your favorite vacation spots? What are some of your favorite old movies and actors?

On the road again

beach view in Santa Barbara
On our way to the beach!

I need to get packed. But, I need to do laundry first. The kitty is on her way to boarding. The lady at the pet boarding place said our Olive the cat will be boarding with Olive the pug. That should be interesting. Olive our cat is not a pug fan. Waffles is the only pug she’s met and all he wants to do is chase her. I hope they don’t place them in suites (cages) that face eachother.

One thing that definitely helped my stress level was packing and loading the car one day before. What a concept! We only need to wake up, shower and go.

A nine-hour drive awaits. I’m trying to have a positive outlook for the long drive. I’ve downloaded several books to listen to including John Grisham. I tend to have anxiety on the road, so I’m trying to frame the trip as an adventure. As something fun to do for nine hours — rather than dreading it. Maybe a positive outlook will change my reaction?

Instead of breaking up the drive into a couple days, we’re going for it. We’ll stop by my dad’s to drop off his Christmas present at the halfway point. But we’re not spending the night. We want to get to our destination.

The Airbnb is letting us check in four hours early, which I’m thankful for. One of my worries was that the owner hadn’t reached out to me yet. Now she has and we have all the details to get into our Christmas vacation house.

What excitement do you have planned for Christmas week?

Thanksgiving gratitude for family and friends

Santa Barbara sunset
Sunset on Thanksgiving Eve in Santa Barbara several years ago.

I wrote this post about my Thanksgiving several years ago without our kids. Unfortunately, we hardly ever see the children on Thanksgiving anymore. But we do have plans to be together for a week over Christmas. Here’s what I wrote on my first kidless Thanksgiving:

Our first Thanksgiving without our kids. I’m thankful they are with dear friends and their families since they weren’t able to make the trek home this year. Instead of moping around the house feeling sorry about my empty nest, we’re celebrating with our close friends. It was 30 years to the day that I first met them (my husband met the husband through work) and we spent Thanksgiving weekend sailing with them in Santa Barbara.

Here’s to friends and family and creating memories together.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Waffles the Ute Pug says Happy Thanksgiving!
My daughter’s team sent out a Thanksgiving message with her pup. The sports marketing team adored him.

Who are you sharing your Thanksgiving with? What traditions do you share with friends and family?

Highlights from our weekend in the Bay Area

Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Pug at Bettes.
My daughter’s pug Waffles at Bette’s Oceanview Diner. Bette’s is another must.
ping pong table in airbnb
Our amazing airbnb complete with sauna and ping pong table. The ping pong was nonstop with our kids.
airbnb luxe bathroom
My son hanging out in the ridiculous luxe bathroom in the airbnb. I could write a full post about this place.
morning glories in Berkeley
Down the street from the airbnb. Gorgeous neighborhood and morning glories.

Our son found the airbnb for us. It was half the price of a tiny hotel room. I can’t wait to come back. It’s the bottom floor of a two-story house in a gorgeous neighborhood and only one mile from where our kids live.

I haven’t been a fan of the Bay Area. I don’t like the homeless, the damp, the filth that one thinks of when visiting San Francisco. Fortunately, I didn’t see any of that the entire weekend. Only when we’d drive, I’d see the homeless encampments along the freeway and under overpasses. The problems exist, but not where we stayed. I think that’s part of the problem, the people who are in charge aren’t adversely affected and can look the other way.

I do want to go back. The weather, food, the airbnb and of course hanging out with our family was amazing. My view of the Bay Area has changed for the better. I can kind of understand why my kids want to live there.

What places have you visited that you never want to go back? Where are your favorite places to visit?