Return to Monterey

For our last family vacation before Hubby started work (Yes, he’s coming out of retirement people because retired people don’t build houses!), we took a long weekend trip to Monterey.

My hubs is a California native and yet, already, with this trip, my boys have seen more of California than my hubby ever did and they’ve only be residents for two years. Ha! What we can say? We like exploring in small bits. Monterey came as an idea from my youth. When I was in Sixth grade, our class went on an overnight camping trip to Monterey. What do I remember about this trip? There were tidepools, my group slept in a pop-up trailer, (which I wish we had now), the aquarium, and riding the bus while the boys were blasting Beastie Boys from a boom box in the back. Those were the days. How that bus driver never lost their mind I’ll never know. (JV- if you’re reading this remind me to tell you about Ms.Gruel’s take on that trip…I keep forgetting)

If you think about it, this was a group of twelve year olds. Not an eight year old and a six year old. There were many moments where I thought, what was I thinking? But also some wonderful memories too.

Lodging: Being retired military has its perks. We were able to get a three room suite on the Presidio of Monterey for a fraction of the cost of a hotel on the economy. The boys had their own room and TV!!! (they love having a dedicated television with cable; they do not have either at home). The Presidio is very small and quiet for a military post, but there was still playgrounds, a PX and never ending homey feelings. We don’t miss being in the military as much as we miss being around it.

PFT Anyone? Just me and the deer on the field. So pretty and pristine.

Completely clear at the top of the hill. This was right around our lodging near the bottom-ish of the hill. I went straight up hill for the first of my run, so it would all be downhill for the end. Got lost in the fog and had to run uphill to get back. *FAIL* I loved the trees of Monterey.

The safety of the Presidio allowed me to get up the first morning and take a nice run around post. I needed it after an almost 6 hour car ride (thank you Garmin and traffic) the day before. The boys were troopers, but let me say, we have since decided we are not going in the car longer than three hours as a family again for a long while if we can help it.

Aquarium: The Monterey Bay Aquarium will ruin you for any other aquarium. Hands down the best. (The BEST Jerry, the best!) Fortunately and NOT, this was hubby’s first visit. So much to see, yet two little minions who kept darting here and there in excitement, meant we couldn’t enjoy much for long. With the large crowds I was so nervous one of the boys would go missing; after an hour I was maxed out. Not to mention the lack of available water fountains not helping the situation. So all in all, it was a very enchanting and expensive hour. Now what do I remember most about this aquarium 30 years ago? There was a long hallway for an entrance and a lady with an accent desperately trying to find the bathroom. Oh man, pre-teen girls are ruthless. My girlfriend Javonna and I laughed about it for days (probably months). Even my family knew the story as I retold it in fits of laughter when I returned. It has been quoted tirelessly through the years, “I don’t want to leave yet, I just want to use the bathroom”

John’s face says it all.

Tide Pools: Ya, that didn’t happen. We did make sure to visit the beach and do our yearly dip into the Pacific. Oh how I miss the ocean. So do the boys. We could’ve spent the day at the cloudy beach with them running up and down the sand dunes and they’d have loved it. Probably more than the aquarium.

Other items of note: There is a charming free trolley that runs around town; we enjoyed riding that. Easy on and offs. We visited the oldest church in California and the Denis the Menace playground. The weather was PERFECT. I can’t tell you how nice it was going from triple digit heat to sunny and 65. It was so nice we ended up walking roughly Six miles in one day. Packing the boys at times as well for a bit of cross-training.

Wave dancers.

Must do – fountain in the lion’s mouth. Hubby remembered one from his childhood at the Oroville playground. Cottonwood doesn’t have such things…at least not that I remember.

We rode the trolley as close as we could get and then walked to the Oldest Masonry church in California. Which turns out is still “open for business”, which we listed to on the outdoor speakers.

Eats: We had joked about when we lived on the East coast and would look up places to eat that had been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”. Only to find ourselves in one accidentally. Ha! What are the chances?! I might also point out, the local Cheesecakes could take some tips from this place. If you name your restaurant Cheescakes, you might want to put those bad boys in a case right by the entrance to lure people in and you might also want to make some really good cheesecakes. Like beyond over the top deliciousness. Cheesecakes of Redding, you need to go on a research trip. Rosine’s has you by a mile! (just click the blue text to see what I mean)

Food and a Photo bomb. I heard last week on the radio, pictures of food were “okay” to post for vacation photos. Toes in the sand a definite no, no. So here is the food. I’ll save the toes for the next trip. 😉

The drive home was just as long as the drive down, only with four or five added stops. I lost count. Ugh. It was so painful!! We did stop at Granzella’s in Willows and ran into some friends. I do love when that happens. I don’t know when we’ll be back to Monterey (Any chance there are flights between Redding and Monterey?), but safe to say, it will be when the boys are MUCH older.

Family selfie on the beach.

Two Decades of Purple

When I was in college, I would do little projects on my parents’ house. Sometimes it was making curtains, painting the exterior of the house, building a concrete cylinder fence, helping build a pump house with my hubby (The one project he was involved in, which *coincidentally* was also my last project.)  I love it and my parents were great sports with the whole thing. Probably why I am very creative to this day.

At least 18 years ago, although possibly close to 20, since it predates my hubby, I went on a mission to repaint their bathrooms. This was long before I had an eye for color and luckily my tastes have certainly matured since then for my clients’ sake. Ha! Mint green for the master bath and lavender for the hall/guest bath.

Why purple? I can’t remember. But I do remember leaving the ceiling white because I had painted the ceiling and walls in the other bathroom all mint green and it was just too much. Did I repaint them? Of course not!

I’ve been in there many times over the years, but never as steadily as since I’ve moved back, as you can imagine. Two solid years of purple assault from my past and there’s been a makeover brewing for awhile now. Just not the perfect timing.

Then, last month, many heartfelt thanks to my sister Celestina, childhood friend Amy E, and my mom taking me to First Baptist Church during my childhood, we were able to cash in on all these small town connections and move to Cottonwood. Just a wee FIVE minutes from my dad’s house. Piece One.

My dad and stepmom took a 10 day trip to Chicago, to visit family. Piece Two.

Talked to above mentioned sister and hubby and was able to get myself all amp’d with enthusiasm and motivation. Piece Three.

Hubby and I gettin’ it done. I took one day to remove everything, one day to clean, one day to tape and then we started painting the next day. In hindsight I should’ve combined some of these days, but many of them I had worked a solid day and/or had the boys with me. Next project. Lesson learned. You might also notice the old purple towels became paint drop cloths. I was so OVER the purple (hopefully they are too!)

As you might be guessing by now, while they were gone I did a hostile takeover of the bathroom and did a complete makeover. My initial partner in crime (sister) went on vacation, Uh, huh. I see how it is. But, my wonderful hubby stepped in and really came to my aide when things got too overwhelming.

I honestly was not prepared for how time consuming the whole project was going to be and working on it each day after work was pretty taxing. It took a full seven days, with one day of forced rest in the middle, to get it finished. Several trips to Home Depot, Cascade paints, Target and World Market later, we had a completely fresh bathroom. In white. Well off-white.

The colors. It took me two days at the paint store and several days (including our vacation the weekend before…more on that later) to think about the colors. I had at least 20 paint chips and brought those home. In seconds Vance picked out the two we would use. He’s pretty good at colors.


The finished product. The mirror had white trim before. If I had more time and energy, I would’ve painted the vanity the same yellow, but It still looks pretty good in the dark walnut. I’m calling this color the Mirror at Pooh Corner. Looks very Winnie the Pooh in person.

Totally lucked out with this curtain. It looked really bright yellow online but people complained it was more dull in real life. Perfect. Thank you Target reviewers for you honest opinions. Matches the mirror so well.

A new towel rack (a wine rack) and towels in a deep blue color.

These paper art “prints” are so pretty in person. My stepmom commented on how she really liked them, but didn’t have a good place to hang them. They originally had pastel mattes on them. I re-matted them in white for a cohesive look. I was going to put up a walnut and brass shelf, but one of the pieces in the box was wrong. I took it as a sign. No shelf. Just art. I hope all the parents and guests enjoy the bathroom as much as I do.

Funny the timing as I read a blog last night about housing color trends. Turns out blue and purple are “in” for bathrooms and white is most certainly “out”. Well, what can I say, I am off trend this time! I was so excited when it was complete that I actually missed the turnoff to my house on the way home. Ha! I have missed doing projects. However, this little makeover has almost cured me for wanting to buy a fixer upper. I think I’ll stick to a new build if I can make it happen.

And a couple funnies:

An actual text message from my sister during my makeover adventure. Yes, it’s true. I grew up on a chicken farm. It is still functioning today.

Love all the glam shots still hanging in the hallway.