Tag Archives: California

California Dreaming

California recap – continued from my last post.

Saturday morning, I woke up and hit the trail. I had my eye on it all week, as it was right across the street from the hotel. Dave and I walk on the rail trail near us quite often, so I thought it would be cool to check out this Southern California edition. It was quite different from the woodsy Connecticut trail I am used to.


I guess they never have to worry about snow and ice, or even that much rain, deteriorating the carving or messing up the stone path. It waas cool to walk along and look at all the funky plants.

I walked about a mile but it was so bright and sunny, I was starting to feel over-sunned, so I went back to my room. The freckles on my legs were popping out like crazy. Annoying.

That afternoon, I went up to Encinitas, which was just a couple of miles north of Solana Beach. My aunt Dotty was going to be in town, so we made arrangements to meet up for lunch.

We ate at the Lotus Cafe, which had lots of yummy vegetarian options. We sat and talked for a long time, which was really nice. We had only met once before, and this was our first one-on-one. I’m so glad we were able to talk and get to know each other better. The time flew by, and I think we would have kept talking for hours if we could have!

Post-lunch selfie!

I had thought I would spend my afternoon at the San Diego Botanic Gardens, but Dotty pointed out that they had been having such a drought lately that the plants might not be looking their best. She mentioned that there was a meditation garden in Encinitas that was free, so I decided to check that out instead.

It had beautiful ocean views. I stood and watched the surfers for a while.
Nice shady trees in the garden


Lots of plants I don’t see back East!

A bee’s work is never done

I would have liked to have stayed at the gardens for longer, but they closed at 5, so I was kindly asked to leave. Oh well. It’s definitely a place I would visit again if/when I get to go back out there!

I drove back to Solana Beach (seriously, it was like less than 5 miles away), and I walked down to the beach to watch my final Pacific Ocean Sunset. *wipes tear*

I took approximately 500 photos, but I’ll just show you one of the cool ones:

Would I watch the sunset every night if I lived there?

The next day, it was time to pack my bags and move on. Next stop: Anaheim. I drove up early in the day, because I was told that traffic would be hideous if I waited until afternoon. I got to my hotel just before lunchtime. So I grabbed a bite to eat and then settled into my room. If it hadn’t been 104° F, I may have taken a walk around and looked at the sights, but I wanted nothing more than to be indoors.

A few months back, when I posted on Facebook that I was going to be out in California, quite a few people messaged me asking if I wanted to hang out. Of course, I would have liked to hang out with everyone, but I didn’t have that much free time!

Jakki and I have been FB friends for a long time now. I don’t remember exactly how we met – it may have been on a FB group for people with ectrodactyly. Jakki also has EEC. She was still in high school when we met, and I have watched her go through college, find a man, and settle down. (Wow, that sounds like I am the ultimate FB stalker, doesn’t it?)

Well, anyway – Jakki and her boyfriend live close enough to Anaheim that they came and picked me up and took me out for the night! It was the first time that Jakki met another person with EEC, so it was a bit emotional. It’s always neat to meet someone else with EEC and see just how similar we are. Like long-lost cousins or something.

We went to Laguna Beach, which turns out has a lot of cool art galleries. We kept popping into them, mostly so we could cool down (it was still like 100° there, believe it or not!).

Hanging with Jakki in the Dr. Seuss exhibit!
This one spoke to me.
We were posing in front of a dolphin, but he didn’t quite make the photo.

















After we explored a bunch of galleries, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was yummy and gave us some more time to talk.

The Mona Lisa watched me tinkle in the restaurant bathroom!

After dinner, we got gelato and ate it down by the beach, but by then the sun had already gone down. I was happy to see some stars though, as I was thinking it would be nice to see the stars over the ocean, but I never stuck around long enough after a sunset to see them.

So that was fun, getting to meet Jakki and her boyfriend. I hope she can make it to one of the NFED conferences so she can meet the rest of the EEC gang!

The next day, I was working from my hotel room and checking in on the booth setup for the trade show. I was pretty excited to get upgraded to a suite at the Marriott. It was hands down, the nicest hotel room I have ever stayed in. It felt pretty weird being in it alone though. It would have been fun to have had Dave there with me. It was too much space for just one person! Not to mention, I really didn’t want to leave it to go down to the tradeshow. haha!

I won’t bore you with talk of the trade show. Blah blah blah. Does anyone actually enjoy these things?

Tuesday evening arrived, and it was time to head home. Despite enjoying my time out there, I was missing Dave and my furballs, and the thought of fall back home. So I headed to the John Wayne Airport to wait for my flight.

I had a few hours to kill, so I figured I’d try out Ruby’s Diner, which is supposed to be a SoCal staple.


It was barely 7pm when I went in, and they were already closing up shop. I was able to get a sandwich and fries, and of course, a chocolate shake. I figured I would stuff myself before I got on the plane so that I could sleep without getting hungry.

Another two hours later, and I was on the plane! I should have taken a picture of my ridiculous getup – extra-thick neck pillow, light-blocking eye cover, and earplugs. By the grace of all that is holy, the seat next to me was unoccupied, so I was able to relax even more and not worry about bumping elbows with some shmuck next to me.

I wouldn’t say it was a deep, restful sleep, but it passed the time. Before long, it was 4:50 am, and we were taxiing into Newark.

While I was wandering around Newark waiting for my flight to Hartford, I stumbled into the MET store. I saw they had a little Spirograph kit for $25. I held it. I looked at it. I put it back. I went out to the gate, sat down, and ordered one on Amazon instead.

Because I am 12 at heart.

I had this idea that I could use the spirographs to start a zentangle design. So that’s what I played with this weekend.

Attempt 1
Attempt 2

I think there’s some promise there! But the Spirograph is still hard to use. I had one as a kid and I was always getting frustrated because I would lose control of the pen and ruin the design. Maybe now I will have the patience to master it. Maybe.

Well, that wraps up my California experience. I hope I can go back again before too long! It’s one of those places I’ve always wanted to go, but it took a work trip to actually get me out there!

Now I am sick – I picked up a cold or something on the plane, I assume. I was going to go to bed early tonight, so I guess I should get on that before “early” turns into “late”.

Au revoir!


Good Morning!

I am currently sitting in the Newark airport, trying to keep my eyes open. I had a red-eye flight from Santa Ana, CA that landed here at 4:50 am. My flight to Hartford isn’t until 8:05. I had a hearty breakfast, even though I wasn’t really hungry. I figured it might jump start my body into comprehending that it’s a new day. 

There is a lot to post about my trip to California! I meant to do daily updates, or at least a couple of updates while I was out there, but as you can see, I did not. 

Instead, I spent pretty much every evening on the beach, watching the sun go down and the seagulls and plovers and surfers all doing their thing. Then I would go back to my room and eat dinner. And… I got caught up watching Fuller House. I guess nostalgia really gets ahold of me. I loved Full House when I was a kid so seeing all the same characters return as adults was fun. And honestly, the show was making me laugh a lot. 

Ok, so to sum up my California experience:

I flew into San Diego last Sunday. I quickly picked up my rental car (a Ford Fiesta, which was not nearly as much fun to drive as the name would suggest) and headed up to Solana Beach. The first thing I noticed, aside from all the palm trees, was how wide the highway (sorry – freeway) was. And everyone drives so fast! I never did figure out what the speed limit was, but I was going over 70 and cars were flying past me like I was a turtle. 

Solana Beach was beautiful. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, which I wasn’t all that impressed with at first, but it grew on me as the week went by. I liked that everything was walkable. The office where I was doing my training was only about a mile from the hotel. Each day we would just walk to a restaurant for lunch. There was only one other person in the training class – a woman from New Jersey named Nanci. She was very nice, so we went to lunch together each day and even to dinner one night. 

Each day after the class, I went back to the hotel and did a little work. Then I would head to the beach, watch the sunset and come back. I can never eat very much food in one sitting, so most nights I just had leftovers for dinner. It probably sounds lame, but I also hate eating in restaurants by myself. It’s like eating alone in the school cafeteria. It’s not so bad at an airport, because a lot of people are traveling alone, but in a regular restaurant everyone’s either on a date or dining with friends or family. So it’s weird.  

On Friday, there was no training, so I worked in my hotel room. It was pretty agonizing because I really wanted to go out and explore. But I managed to get caught up on a bunch of stuff and then I let myself go play. 

I decided to check out Torrey Pines State Park. It was a short drive from Solana Beach. Here are some of the pics I took that day. 

It was really neat to see what the natural landscape of the coast looks like. It seems like everywhere else is built up with fancy houses or resorts. To see just how fragile the landscape is was a bit unnerving. These sandstone cliffs aren’t exactly the most stable. 

There’s more to write about the trip, but I will stop here  for now because all this rehydrating is giving me an urgent need to find a bathroom. 

Up next: my lunch date with Dotty and my dinner date with Jakki!