Some day I’ll write about my brief interlude as a pretend monastic this past weekend. But on this cloudy Chicago day, something else is in order. Because the trip wasn’t JUST about going within and communing with God and my gurus, I present some things I love (and already miss) about Southern California.
1. Fish tacos and ceviche
There are not many dishes I like more than fried shrimp tacos with a pinch of slaw and a dousing of chile-spiced cilantro-lime mayo. I hit up this place called Oscar’s in La Jolla. The line was out the door and perhaps you can see why…
2. The way Californians turn every accessible surface into something infinitely more fun than its intended purpose. (example A: this is a standard curb.)
If there’s a wave, they’ll surf it. If there’s a mountain, they’ll bike it. If there’s a cliff, they’ll climb it. If there’s a curb, they’ll skate it. No one makes the most out of life like Californians. Generally speaking.
3. Palm trees
As long as I live, I will never grow tired of this silhouette.
She’s my mexicana and I her gringuita. The years go by and it’s still true love. We ate dinner at a place way hipper than I’ll ever be, stayed up way too late talking, woke up nestled together in her bed, slept in, drank coffee and lingered in the late-morning sun chatting some more. Bliss.
5. Friends with adorable babies
There is nothing like friend love growing deeper despite the passing years. Oh how wondrous it was to reconnect with Amy and Ryan. And, for the record, babies who smile at me and let me snuggle and play with them are absolutely one of my most favorite things about California. (Aside: I look alarmingly amazonian next to la petite Amy here. Yikes. Let me know if you want me to flex for you next time.)
6. Surfer dads. Even better, surf dads who adorably adore their babies.
Ryan and Gavin basically just ruling.
7. This. The Pacific Ocean.
The view from my favorite meditation bench in the Self-Realization Fellowship hermitage.
8. Sandals in March.
Chicagoans, do we really need a caption to explain the joy of this?
9. Brightly colored buildings. Everywhere.
Oscar’s Fish Tacos in La Jolla.
10. Succulents growing wild all over every hillside.
Everything you see that’s alive in this photo is a succulent. (ok, there might be a tree photo bomb, but you get my drift.) Succulents are easily my favorite kind of plant. So alive, so lush, so full of water.
11. Sun on my skin.
This is a funny pic, yes, but one silly little thing I enjoy is when the sun shines on my skin. Always, but particularly when I’m driving. Having experienced none of this simple pleasure for the past six months, I was psyched to be driving up I-5 at 65 mph with my windows down and late-afternoon sun on my arms. Lavish.