#63- A Night at the Drive-In

This event is pretty self explanatory.  I’ve never in my 30 years been to a Drive In. There wasn’t one around when I was growing up ( I don’t think) and in college, I never had a friend suggest it.  I don’t think I even knew a Drive In existed in Sacramento until much later on in my college life, when I happen to be driving up HWY 50 at night and from the freeway you can see all the screens. Having driven past it often enough it finally made my list- #63.

The deal is ridiculously reasonable- We went on Tuesday Family Fun Night, which is $5 for adults, $1 for kids and free for anyone under the age of 5. So, For Myself, Natalie & Holly I paid $6 to see Pixar’s Inside Out. You just can’t beat that.

I was thrilled to send out a last minute text to friends and be able to round up some accomplices. Beth & Jen had never been to the Drive In either, and were great sports with supplying tons of snacks and foldout chairs. It looked and felt a little bit like we were at a big Campout, or Tailgating party with how many families were also out with their glow lights, crying kids and typical family-friendly nonsense. The surround sound was courtesy of the radios in our cars and from there…we had a great night!

The Drive In itself was pretty decent.  Although the lot was clearly dated, the bathrooms were clean, the inside snack bar was orderly and the playground is a nice touch. Also, they have jumper cables & staff person on hand to jumpstart your car if the battery dies during the movie. I’d definitely do this again.

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#67- On Top of the Bay

Growing up, I had a distaste for the Bay Area in general.  I thought it was polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating. I still think it’s all those things, but since living it (as one does on the Peninsula tucked away from all things polluted, ugly, crowded, and intimidating) I feel that delusional sense of pride and comfort that comes with making a place your home. That’s MY polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating home… hm.

I’ve hiked plenty of areas over the years, but more recently my hikes with little ones in tow often look more like strolls amongst a paved path shaped like a >1 mile loop.  Family friendly but by no means adventurous and that sense of pride and accomplishment is associated with making it the whole mile without a meltdown, an accident, or an incident. Also, when I think about MOUNTAIN tops I’ve stood on, it’s never been because I hiked to that look out point.

So, #67 (climb to the top of a mountain) seemed like a reasonable quest to satisfy the urge. In a far off dream, this Mountain would be called Everest or Kilimanjaro. But until then, I settled on the highest peak in the immediate Bay Area- Mt. Tamalpais.

My friend Gina had posted about wanting to get out of her comfort zone and hike more, so it was easy to find a friend to come along with me.  Not to mention in the past year or two, two women alone on their Mt. Tam hikes turned up dead (I failed to mention this to Gina) so the buddy system was in full effect!  So was my taser gun (I failed to mention this to Gina, too).

The hike itself? We started at Bootjack Trailhead, started off upwards, paused at the West Wind Inn for lunch- now that’s an interesting hike-in resort- and then continued on toward East Peak.  The most challenging part was the rock-climbing and stair-hopping Fern Creek trail but otherwise it was mostly scenic with a bit of shady and a bit of sunny. For those who want the false sense of accomplishment, I guess you can drive to the top, park your car and walk the extra 200 ft up to the Fire Watch Tower. But where’s the fun in that?? It took us 2.5 hours to climb up and then 1.5 hours to climb back down. The view from the top? Amazing of course. Everything from a far-enough-away distance looks beautiful. Sitting there for several minutes taking it in, I felt like the Bay Area was wonderfully peaceful and charming. Home, really.

91- #keeptahoeblue

Hello out there!

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. Excuses here, excuse there. Kids, life, baby, more excuses. Wine.

Last week commenced Summer break (read: Natalie’s done with school) and since we’ve never been good at sitting still, the first thought we had when we woke up was, where should we run off too?  

Lake Tahoe seemed to be as good a choice as any. And, #91- Cruise the lake in a boat has nagged at me since January 2014. Specifically because we spent our first weekend of the new year staying at a lodge and had a cruise booked, only to have it cancelled because of the one-and what seemed to be the ONLY- snow storm of the year. This isn’t the first time Mother Nature interfered with my Bucket List [insert mad face emoticon here].

Lake Tahoe is a bit of a conundrum for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that despite dozens of trips to this place growing up, I’ve never once really done it ‘right.’  Typically, I have been either too broke, too lost, too drunk, or with a group too big and as a result I’ve either never really skii’d, never swam, never been to the beach on a warm day, never gambled, never got a good night sleep in a nice bed. And at best, if any of these things did happened…. I never remembered. Tahoe must have realized this in my hiatus and has actually done some fabulous upgrades to the entire area.

This time we did it right. Including a boat cruise around the lake- it’s the bluest lake I’ve ever been on, and breathtaking.  We stayed 3 days at the Base Camp Hotel (ahhhmazing), got a private tour of Emerald Bay, cruised the Tahoe Queen around the lake,  tried some new restaurants and shopped all the little boutique shops that are popping up everywhere.  I’ve been told the same Corporation that redid Vail & Aspen are redoing Tahoe. Smart move for Tahoe commerce for sure. Job well done, “We will be back.”

#55- A Man Hunt!

Making my lists, I’ve mentioned before that I draw inspiration from things I did in the past that were so much fun, I’d want to do again.  A few of those things are drawn from childhood memories- building a fort, a snowman, Mac N Cheese, etc. And then I also remembered scavenger hunts. Bored summer days, my mom inventively made up silly lists and we’d run from house to house collecting stuff. It was also a popular youth group activity, and then my youth died away…. *sigh*

Until recently! Even though I put a Scavenger Hunt on my list in 2014 (#55), at the time I had no real plans with it or ideas other than I thought it’d be fun to do around Dixon with old friends.  And this is exactly what happened as it all came together flawlessly with Lisa’s Bachelorette Party.

I’m proud to say, I came up with this list entirely on my own, with only my brain and not Pinterest’s or Google’s input. I’m also thrilled to say I had a dozen enthusiastic friends very willing to take up the challenge 🙂

I’ve been told we checked off every item on the list. I do have a few pictures on my phone that don’t make sense but I think may be tied to the game. When I asked what was the “thing of value found on the floor”Cristy replied, “The Bride-to-Be” which I think is accurate.  All in all, a success!

#85- The Russian River Valley

“I drink a lot of wine.”

After many years reading labels, and looking at wine menus and paying general attention to wine regions of the world, I noticed there are a few wines I like that are grown in the Russian River Valley.  Now, not really putting it all together and looking at a map I just had always thought to myself, “Well, I camped a lot along the Russian River and I spent many summers kayaking it, too. I should go back and wine taste there.”

And that was pretty much it. I put it in my list but still didn’t bother to look up the region until I made a day trip with the Russian River Valley as my destination, and looked at it that morning before leaving.  Turns out, I HAVE gone tasting there. Silly me,  I should know that rivers go for hundreds of miles.  With some of those miles flowing through parts of Napa/Sonoma and stops along the Wine Trail festival that I’ve taken part in a few times.

Duh.

But, not all was lost. Jess & I stopped at wineries we hadn’t tried before and purchased a few that we liked. And I managed to take one picture only…. poop.

So, #85 is done and complete. Sonoma Coast might just be the most beautiful of all of California regions.

Bohéme

Bohéme

#3- Lost

I can only imagine the ridiculous fun this maze would have been for me as a teenager growing up in Dixon.  Sadly, if there wasn’t a house party or gathering in the fields…. me & my friends resorted to TP’ing houses or harassing Safeway and Denny’s (the only two businesses open late back then) employees as a way to pass our time.

Several years ago Cool Patch Pumpkins created a world record setting Corn Maze in my hometown.  I made a few half-hearted attempts to go, but each time my plans fell through.  I hate when my plans fall through, which is why this goal made it to #3 on my bucket list.

In my head, it all seemed easy. Every year there are laughable police logs where people called 911 for being lost. I reasoned with myself that I’d cut thru the field before I’d succumb to such embarrassment.  I reasoned that, my entire childhood I enjoyed riddles and brain teasers and puzzles and mazes. So this should be good fun!

It was.  For the first half hour. the second half hour was a bit frustrating with the long lines of maze tourists traveling behind eachother, riding everybody’s ass to get out of the way. The third half hour I was starting to whine alongside my kids.  Alternatively, Blake grew increasingly silent, which is also a bad sign. About two hours in I started cursing life.  A security guard threatened to evict some people for cutting thru and the threat actually sounded good to me.  I had done this all wrong. I needed to be 22, drunk, and with friends.  That’s the best way to go.

It’s a pretty awesome maze overall.  My critique: wider lanes for passing people. Trashcans here or there would  have been nice cause trash was EVERYWHERE.  $12 per person over 5 just SCREAMS that you’re looking to rip people off.  And selling water bottles or having the occasional haybale to sit on for rest breaks would be great.  And sign markers other than the grid locations would be great to help the maze-impaired.

Lastly, “Starbucks Station” is incredibly misleading.  There were no Baristas or a coffee Bar, and no explanation for why it appears Starbs was sponsoring this Maze.  Where’s the connection? Is Cool Patch a non-profit organization supporting the community and Starbs is joining the cause? Is Starbs buying locally-sourced corn and pumpkins from Cool Patch? What? Why?

#26- Books

Lemony Snicket was quoted as saying, “ It is most likely that I will die next to a pile of books I was meaning to read.” Any avid reader would probably agree, and I am no different.  My pile of books tormented me daily, because I always set them out as a reminder (in my life, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is my motto) but that rarely did me any good because time was one thing I never scheduled myself for.

However, knowing me and knowing the motivation my bucket list has given me, I put this task on as my #26- read ALL the books in my to-read pile.  8 of them (a modest number compared to most avid readers). And in my case, I aimed to get this done BEFORE baby #3 made his debut. No books would be allowed to be purchased or gifted until this task was completed.

proxy, onward, pescadero, steve jobs, david sedaris, three cups of tea

Success!

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to review each book, that would be a bit daunting and there is so much to be said about each one… but maybe a thought for some of them.

1) I have a ton more respect for Starbucks than I started out with.  I typically believe autobiographies are nothing more than delusional people hoping to give you a very one-sided, glossed over and dressed up look of their ridiculously out-of-touch lives (celebrities, politicians). And perhaps some of that is the case with Howard Schultz and his life as founder & ceo of Starbucks, but at the same time… the humanitarian efforts he has made alongside the company is no joke.  I recently had someone refer to their local Starbucks as the “corporate assholes” around the corner, and it just didn’t settle right with me, knowing what I know now.  The list is long, but  the amount of time, effort and money Starbucks and Starbucks employees have given to their communities is astonishing.

2) Steve Jobs is phenomenal.  I thought reading this biography, the longest book in my pile, would be tedious and boring.  But Walter Isaacson is an engaging author and Steve also insisted that the brutal truth be told- even the ugly sides of him.  As mentioned above, I was impressed with the honesty.

3) Three Cups of Tea, a gift from my little bro over 3 years ago:  building schools in Pakistan before 9/11, before the internet, before it was cool. It made me want to travel there, but today that would be a death wish. I’m not muslim, and I’m a woman. Two big red flags working against me.

4) David Sedaris is still the most hysterical writer ever.

Looking at the books I’ve had in my pile to read, I realized after completing them that, with the exception of one book, they were all written by men and 5 of those were stories of them living their passion unapologetically.  Very few times have I been bummed out about being female, and this was one of those times. I was in awe at the moment of reading the books but very quickly afterwards determined I really had no way to of living any similar life.  I suppose “where there is a will, there is a way,” but my will is directed towards my family now.

Anyway, now that I have officially read every book in my home, I went out and purchased my next Thriller: The World According to Monsanto. I’m a sociology kind of girl…..