Spring Break: Part 3: Ojai

This is the last post related to spring break as we near summer. 

Ojai was beautiful and it was especially true staying at Ojai Valley Inn. The quaint city just above L.A. is surrounded by green valleys and blue skies. I am not a country girl and I do not particularly enjoy wilderness and its creatures, but Ojai was like a manicured country with no signs of pestilence and stress, if you know what I mean. ;) 

The resort is a vacation spot in itself because they have everything you need to relax–coffee shop, spa, juice store, pools, golf, bikes, great food options; it has everything in order for you to step away from reality and everyday obligations to enjoy some peace. The workers were kind and helpful and everyone staying there seemed happy and relaxed. 

This illustration within The Travels of Babar was exactly like the setting of Ojai and Santa Barbara.

Some highlights: swimming, dinner at The Oak (fresh and excellent dishes), s’mores at the fire-pit, biking and playing at the local park, walking around downtown, eating tacos and playing at the park some more, Bart’s books, Beacon Coffee. My favorite part of our stay was biking because the route was so pretty it felt like diving into a scene from Anne of Green Gables. Bart’s Books was also great because I love browsing through bookstores, especially ones that have labyrinths of shelves filled with old and new titles–hidden gems everywhere!

Spring has gone and now onto summer!

My tentative plans: lavender field, Palm Springs, Boston/Cambridge, NYC, cherry picking, and Universal Studios. Huzzah!

Spring Break Day 2: Santa Barbara

This post is almost two months late, but I like keeping record. With my hard drive breaking down 5 years ago, which contained almost 10 years of photos and documents, I only recently recovered them by gracious tech-savvy friends/acquaintances. Now I keep multiple accounts online to backup my photos. I pay a small fee every month for Google Drive for 100 GB storage space in which I’m more selective about what I save. I also pay an annual fee for Flickr which has unlimited storage space (but the site often freezes or takes too long when uploading large batches), and lastly I have this blog, which also collects an annual fee for limited storage. Prices to pay for memories to keep. The tech-savvy acquaintance who fixed my hard drive recommended saving files on my iCloud or some sort of online storage space because physical hard drives will eventually break down and they will most likely not last forever. Shocking! I still feel iffy about saving files online, because it too feels temporary and unreliable for the long-run.

Moving on to the main content!

Santa Barbara: We stayed at Hotel Californian and they were so thoughtful to put out milk and cookies for Elaine with a personal note to our family. Elaine LOVES hotels and she looks forward to staying at a hotel during vacation more than anything else we do. She loved Hotel Californian so much, the first thing she did was write a note about how much she loved hotels. haha. Also, the kid’s size robe and slippers! So cute. We only stayed one night, but hopefully we can visit again and stay longer to enjoy their amenities. I brought swimming suits to maybe enjoy the pool, but the weather was either too cold or rainy. That evening, we walked over to Bluewater Grill where we enjoyed tasty seafood. It was cold and we were tired from running around Solvang all day, so we went back to the hotel to relax the rest of the evening. The next morning, we walked a few blocks to Helena Avenue Bakery. They had a great pastry selection and breakfast options. I ordered a sesame bagel and coffee while Y ordered their famous green eggs and ham biscuit. We then walked along the pier and decided to stop by the aquarium. It was a bit small, but it was something to do. The rain had stopped at this point and after we checked out of the hotel, we decided to ride the surrey bike along the beach. It was pleasant but quite strenuous for just the three of us. We ended our stay in Santa Barbara with a quick treat from McConnell’s ice cream. They have a few locations around L.A. but we’ve never been and now we are fans.

Next post: Ojai

My Marathon

Some run a 100 meter dash, many others run a marathon. Maybe I was meant to run the 100 meter dash — living life fully for a short amount of time. But maybe I don’t want to run the 100 meters; I want to run the marathon with everyone else.

My 100 meters are up and I stumbled from starting too fast. My hands and knees are scraped, I twisted my ankle. I didn’t wear sunblock so my skin is burning. I didn’t eat enough so I’m already without energy. My nose is running constantly. I wasn’t in shape to run the marathon in the first place and I didn’t train for it either. But that doesn’t matter. I still want to run the marathon.

I’m running with my injuries and disabilities. Everyone is fit, or at least not injured, and running with obstacles that come with the journey: uphills and downhills, curves and uneven pavement. Of course, some trip and fall, some give up or walk, and some seem to prance along in their fancy shoes. But in the end, don’t we all struggle to catch our breath as we near the finish line?

I’m 1/3 of the way, I hope. I’m limping and bleeding, coughing and wheezing, my nose is running, my skin is burning, muscles aching; but I’m running alongside others because I want to finish the 26 miles. When those around me look to see how I’m doing, I smile reassuringly. My family has been my crutches, my daughter pushes me along, my friends have provided water, food, towels, and have cheered me on. And I am so thankful.

I wonder though. Can I make it or will I end up with the ones picked up by the truck for those who couldn’t finish or will I end up with the emergency response team?

For now, by God’s grace, I’m still running.


Spring Break: Day 1: Solvang

It’s been a while, friends. I’ve been well for the most part, living my day to day as normally I have ever felt since being diagnosed almost three years ago. There are days when fatigue or emotions get a hold of me and I lay in bed most of the day, but I am inherently an active person and I try to muster up energy and keep myself busy when I’m feeling unlike myself. With the onset of warmer weather and spring blossoms all around, I am feeling well and happy. Each season is such a gift, I am thankful I can enjoy another spring.

Near the end of March, my family and I took a short trip to Solvang, Santa Barbara, and Ojai (pronounced OH-ha-ee) during Elaine’s spring break. We enjoyed another side of California that we had forgotten about–one that is peaceful and green with prairies and cows and horses, so different from the urban beach cities of LA. A taste of bucolic country near the city hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.

We started our trip in Solvang with typical touristy activities: walking around the Danish-inspired town eating Danishes, taking pictures in the giant red shoe and in front of windmills, and my favorite which was visiting a year-round Christmas shop. Because of our four-year-old, we also sought out a park in which she could run around and play. There was a unique park that I found online, but for some reason we couldn’t find its location because it wasn’t where some links were directing us. I initially saw that it was located at Hans Christian Andersen Park, but it turned out to be a skate park surrounded by greenery with tables, benches, and an everyday playground. It was great, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Later I found out the park was a mile and half away from city-center, so we decided to hang around town for a bit and head to the park as our last stop before heading to Santa Barbara. The park was called Sunny Fields Park. I highly recommend stopping by if you have kids of your own.

Next post: Day 2 in Santa Barbara.