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happiness | ˈhøpin1s |
1 feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
2 inclined to use a specified thing excessively or at random
3 an abundance in your life of that which makes you happy and giving it away (darwin's definition)

Monday, June 22, 2009

1st Row at the A's vs. Giants

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Adventure of a Lifetime

I have been on the most amazing adventure. No, I didn't go backpacking in the Himalayas. No, I didn't goto to a music festival in Berlin. And I didn't fly around the world in 80 days. In fact, I was only gone a couple of days and burned through less than a tank of gas.

Most importantly, my adventure had no agenda, destination or expectation for success. Equipped with little more than the clothes on our back and some camping gear (which we never used), my five year old son and I headed out on Tuesday for destination unknown.

I know what you're thinking. Yeah sure, this was a fun trip for the kid and as a father you probably had an good time too. And in the this you would be correct but there something else was going on. I decided the morning of our trip that we would have no destination in mind when we hit the road but it wasn't until we we're driving that I decided to let my son make all the decisions.

As we headed out of the city I asked if he wanted to stop at the Golden Gate Bridge. He agreed but when we stopped he wanted to head out onto the pier below the bridge. Now this is where you Type-A type people start getting nervous:

The bridge...it's right there. If we don't get to the bridge quickly it will be hours before we get on the road. And we don't know where we're staying. We don't even have reservations.

And before you know it you're steering away from the pier and walking straight towards the bridge. But a funny thing happened walking away from our intended destination. My son started asking me questions about what we encountered. Ranging from why the men we're fishing from the pier to what's poison oak, our journey started to turn into much more than a vacation.

We took the most out of the way route up to the bridge and we did in fact walk on the bridge. But half way across my son looked up and me and said, "I'm done, let's go." And that is exactly what we did. Good thing too, because that put us in Petaluma precisely in time for lunch. It was there that we saw the sign for Bodega Bay and decided that it was time that we steered West instead of North.

Upon crossing into Bodega Bay we were both struck by the beautiful countryside. And the wind was really kicking so when we passed a kite store I figured it wouldn't be long before we we're trying our luck at some flying of our own.

"Do you want to stop and get a kite?" I asked.

"Nope, we're on a scavenger hunt and I'm not looking for a kite," he responded.

"What are we looking for?" I asked.

"Something round, something cool, peaches and gold," said the magical five year old.

North of Bodega Bay we spotted some cabins at River's End Dining and Cabins. "Do you think we should get a cabin instead of camping?" I asked.

Stone checked out cabin #4 before agreeing but instantly decided to stay when he took a look at the world of adventure awaiting us below the cabin. Surf, a private bay, seals, ducks, rocks, mud...everything a five year old boy loves and more.

The restaurant was closed but our camping gear provided us with a stove for cooking and many of the amenities one needed to rough it in a cabin without preparation. We found the closest grocery store (which was anything but close) and picked up a feast made for a king:

  1. Bratwurst
  2. Orange Juice
  3. Beer (for Dad)
  4. Chips
  5. Cookies
  6. Red Grapes

The next 24 hours was filled with scaring seals, four wheeling up the Russian River (thank you Range Rover for making a vehicle that can handle the untrained driver), throwing rocks in the river, exploring Fort Ross, flying and losing a kite (we went after dinner to buy one), hunting for sea shells and getting to know one another in a memorable way.

In fact, we couldn't handle much more.

PS: There is a journal in the cabin that every guest has written in for over a decade. There are many great stories but I thought I'd share with you our entry and another one that I found particularly amusing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Adventure Begins: Tidal Waves & Seals

Stone and I put on our shorts and ventured down to the beach across the bay from our cabin. We intended to climb on the mammoth driftwood but soon found ourselves fifty feet away from a cadre of California sea lions in their natural habitat.

The surf here is treachorous. On the walk down the beach a lifeguard drove up to warn us that kids and adults get sucked out to sea all the time on this beach. "Yeah, I'm not stupid," was the essence of my reply (in a much more polite manner).

So further down the beach we find ourselves face to face with all these sea lions. There were a pack of about twenty-five a short distance away from us and about one-hundred feet away was another pack. To get where the second group was resting, required walking across this somewhat narrow strip of beach that separated the ocean from the bay. We, of course, started walking across this narrow strip and noticed that the sand was wet beneath our feet. It was obviously wet for a reason.

As we walked by the first set of sea lions I cautioned Stone to be quiet so as to not to scare or disturb the sea lions. They watched us carefully and some of the teenagers scurried into the bay as we walked by.

When we got to the other side we found ourselves in this little lagoon sheltered by a large rock. Nestled beneath the rock we watched the sea lions leisurely swim back and forth watching us carefully.

And then all of a sudden the ocean behind us reared up and sent a wave our way with no warning (or at least no warning to stupid people like me). Seemingly all at once Stone and I were scrambling to scurry back up the beach and get out of there before a set of bigger waves emerged. Stone's little hand gripped mine tightly as the strong surf beneath us ripped both of our flip flops off.

"My shoe!" he screamed.

"Forget the shoe!" I panicked like a school girl. "We gotta get out of here."

In our haste to get back to dry land we ran screaming straight into the pack of resting sea lions and they all scrambled into the water. Up above on Highway One, I could hear the jeers from the onlookers, "You moron!"

Soaked, shoeless and ashamed we walked back to our car and prepared ourselves for the next leg of our adventure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Destination: River's End Cabins North of Bodega Bay (photo)

Stone and I had lunch in Petaluma and then cut over to Bodega Bay to run up Highway 1. Along the way we noticed a fun beach to explore and spotted some cabins dropping down along the bay.  This shall be our home base for "the adventure."

First Stop: Golden Gate Bridge (photos attached)

First stop on our unplanned adventure was the Golden Gate Bridge. Stone decided we should take a side trail up to the walking path and we discovered Poison Oak along the way. Great nature learning opportunity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cowgirl Up (Tea style)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Don't you just love homemade puppetshows?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

T-Ball is Life

If you're ever depressed and wondering what's the point in life, I encourage you to make your way over to a t-ball baseball game. The game is like nothing else that you'll experience as it is a unique fusion of fun, passion and appetite for excitement. Their skills have yet to develop but their love of the game is clearly shown on their faces everytime they take the field.

They care not if they're practicing or playing a game. They just want to play. And don't we all long for that approach to life?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tortilla Boy Attacks Family

Can someone tell me why we spend all that money on Halloween costumes in October? All you really need is a tortilla and an appetite.