Monday, July 4, 2011


Omar and I just got back from the most amazing trip down memory lane in California. I hadn't been back in 5 years and jumped at the opportunity to go when Omar mentioned he would be attending a poultry meeting there. It was an incredible week long trip and I had no idea that such a visit would conjure up so many feelings of nostalgia and memories of a time when life was so simple. Our first home as a married couple was in Sonoma, California, such a beautiful setting to begin our lives in. We spent a few days there recollecting all our memories and visiting our favorite locations but before getting in to that I'll start from the beginning of our trip.

We dropped off the Elena and Marisa with my parents and flew out of Laredo on a Saturday. The girls had been looking forward to this visit and were excited to see their grandparents and their cousins.

The littlest grandbabies, 3 months and 6 months
My niece

My girls with my sisters kids.

We landed in Burbank and drove to Pismo Beach where the meeting would be held. I had not been to Pismo before but the pacific coast was all too familiar and as beautiful as I remembered. We arrived around sunset at the resort, had dinner, snapped a few photos and called it a night.

The flight and SoCal

Somewhere in SoCal between Burbank and Pismo BeachI'm nursing at In-N-Out one of our favorite burger joints (coming to Texas soon).What a view for a fast food restraunt huh?

Pismo Beach, California

The next morning Omar had his meeting and a golf tournament with clients so Karina and I headed to the beach and downtown Pismo for some shopping. The beach was cloudy and cool. Again, so familiar a feeling. It was a nice change from the 100+ temps we've been having in Texas. I couldn't help but feel serene here. I walked along the shore and enjoyed the quiet.

It warmed up pretty quick as the fog predictably rolled away. A good friend suggested I try the Splash Cafe so I headed there for lunch. The restaraunt is known for the best Clam Chowder in the state and clam chowder is one of my favorite dishes so I couldn't pass it up. When I arrived there was a long line outside. Karina was cooperative and the wait was worth it. I packed it to go and enjoyed my favorite soup in a sourdough breadbowl on the pier overlooking the Pacific.

After Omar's tournament we got ready for dinner. The dinner reception was held on a house on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific. The view had to be one of the most gorgeous views I have ever seen.

The next morning Omar had one last meeting so I had breakfast on my on at Barnes and Noble another chain location with a view. Next we headed to Madera and Fresno in the valley and central part of the state for more meetings. It is supposed to be hot and yucky but I think this is all in relative comparison to the coastal parts of California because it was around the 70's/80's. After Omar's meetings we had Omar's favorite pizza from Round Table at a park under the shade of the redwood trees in not so hot temps.

The following morning we headed north where we once called home. We went to Napa first where Omar was meeting with former coworkers. Napa was where we spent a lot of our time in our first years of marriage because there was more to do there than in Sonoma. We recalled a Christmas dinner at Panda Express. Omar likes to refer to this as our Christmas Story moment since we were in the same predicament not finding much else open on Christmas day. And later, we went to our favorite Barbeque restaurant for lunch. Barbeque was harder to find than here in Texas so we frequented this restraunt a lot.

We spent the following day in Sonoma. This is where my mind was suddenly flooded with memories of our young lives as we approached that little trailer, our first home, and the place with the most beautiful views I'd ever seen. A place where all Omar and I had was each other and we awoke to brisk weekend mornings watching the fog roll in from our living room window and where we would occasionally see that blue heron. We use to predict just how warm the day would get just by the sight of the fog. Unfortunately that little trailer was there no longer. The year after we left the turkey breeding company that Omar worked for moved east. So the trailer and most of the barns were gone. But the view was still there, those rolling amber colored hills with their emerald green vines in perfect rows for miles and miles looked exactly the same as when we left them.

Less than a mile away was another farm that Omar worked at and the house he spent his summer in when he interned there. It was the summer after we were engaged that I made my first trip out there to visit him. I remember the excitement of it all. It would be my first time on a plane and to another state. On that summer visit, I stayed with Omar on the turkey farm in an old spanish colonial historic home surrounded by the sound of clucking turkeys and beautiful grape vines. The house was built in the 1800's and was in desperate need of repair but being inside the house you couldn't help but imagine the beauty of this grand home during it's time and its potential to look amazing. So without hesitation we decided to see what had happened to the house and the plot which was put for sale by the turkey company soon after we left. We assumed it would be bought by the winery owner that owned the vineyard surrounding our previous home but when we arrived we learned that it was bought by the owner of this winery. We approached the old home first since it still looked vacant but instead we met the girlfriend of the owner, a musician from New York, who was sitting atop the balcony with her keyboard and music spending her summer there to be inspired. The view was still spectacular. It's the picture below with the dirt road lined with palm trees. Anyway, despite the runned down appearance of the place, it was obvious it had been worked on some and even the tiniest of additions like the lights made the place look so pretty. Eventually the owner of the winery arrived. He was a bit intrigued by the fact that Omar had lived there and was surprised that there was electricity and water at the time. The owner apparently couldn't find the water source. I thought it funny about the electricity because I never would have stayed in such an old house away from everything without any light. The owner told us that the house was in the process of being renovated. The thought of seeing the finished product makes us want to go back just to see its true beauty.


Our flight was out of SFO. When we lived in CA we spent a lot of time in San Francisco so we decided to stay in Berkeley on our last night. In the evening we strolled on the UC Berkeley campus and had dinner. We stayed on the Marina for the night and had a leisurely walk the morning before our flight. It was a perfect way to end our trip. The last of our photos are below and if you happen to be wondering why I don't have more pictures of Omar or why they are taken from behind it's because he prefers not to have his picture taken so I sneak them in when I can. Ha ha!

Before leaving for our trip, I told my cousin I was going to California and she said, "Don't stay in California!" She must've remembered more than than we did just how much we enjoyed our time there. I love Texas and Austin but sometimes we would just love to go back.


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