This was my first excursion with the camera and it was a great time. I loved wandering around the picturesque grounds and viewing them through the camera lens. It taught me to view everything with a different perspective. This has been one of my favorite locations for several years now ever since my kids were babies. They have grown up crawling around here in the walled garden and we love scouting for frogs at the lily pond. It’s tranquil, clean, and inspiring.
The Record Store
One day over winter break, I took my daughters to Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. We walked into the dimly lit shop and were greeted by Lou himself, the owner and one of his associates. This was an opportunity to bring my girls up to speed on a little music history and I briefly explained what vinyl records were. They saw cassettes and looked at 45’s on the wall. A record player was on display and I told them about my little blue portable one that I had as a kid and how Joan Jett “Put Another Dime in the Jukebox” was my first record at age 7. Every kid should know those things. Thanks to Lou and his staff for being so cool and accommodating to my girls and I as we strolled through.
The small schoolhouse immediately reminds me of the beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House on the Prairie” books that I read as a child. The wood floors and desks have achieved a weathered patina that comes from hundreds of little boots and young hands spending their days in this compact space to learn their ABC’s and follow the rules. It’s like stepping into the past and smelling history, feeling it’s dust, and walking on it’s creaky floorboards. Loved this experience! Location-Knott’s Berry Farm
Sitting home and listening to jazz is supposed to be relaxing. It evokes images of coziness, security, and peaceful introspection. Sometimes it provides a backdrop for artistic endeavors. Today, it sounds sad. Wait, I didn’t say I’m sad. The music conveys: sadness, loss, longing, unrequited love, slow acceptance of a bad hand in life. Some jazz can be a subtle background, a layer to build upon, sometimes even outright annoying and elevator appropriate. Today I’m solely focused on what I’m hearing.
If I closed my eyes, I’d be sitting on an old, expensive blue velvet couch in the lounge of a landmark hotel in Manhattan on a cold, gray day while a steady stream of drizzle coats the city streets. The yellow cabs drive by and splash the dirty water into the gutters as mostly black umbrellas make their way up and down the sidewalks. A fire is crackling in the corner and fills the room with an orange glow. The immaculate bartender slowly and precisely makes drinks to order for the few seated at his mahogany counter with well-polished shoes dangling off the stools.
It is quiet and understood that idle chatter is not preferred. An unwritten code is followed in this lobby and it smells of tradition and class. Old oak and leather combined with the fragrant arrangement of exotic flowers that dwarfs an entire antique buffet speaks of the type of establishment we are in. I sip my stiletto sour and close my eyes to drink in the sounds and lovely experience.
A road trip with a classic paper map by Rand Mc Nally and an ink pen to mark our route. Kings of Leon coming through the speakers and the wind in our hair. This old GMC is taking us on an adventure to see our country and indulge in culinary specialties from every region.
First stop the South for some hot deep fried crispy hush puppies and the tangy smell of barbecue underneath the white magnolia trees. We’re laughing because we really did it and here we are living out one of many shared dreams. I steal the last puppy and run off laughing. Time to get back in the car and head to New Orleans where we’ll settle into a dimly lit blues bar for a bit of soul infusion. Ice-cold beer contrasts the sticky, thick humidity and we set off into the night air to see the great unknown.