Tag: Carmel

Family, Friends and Neighbors, Pandemic Prose

I’m Grateful for My Neighbors!

sweet peas
Sweet peas, grown by my neighbor and friend Rebecca. I found them when I opened the door this morning and popped them into my favorite vase.

Dear Reader:

It’s been a year and a half,  since we drove our packed cars out of the blanket of fog in Carmel to rendezvous with the moving trucks in sunny Sacramento. The move came as a bit of a surprise to both acquaintances and friends. It was generally received with a puzzled expression that was predictably followed with an adamant query: WHY?!

If you’re not familiar with the geography of my beloved state, I’ll explain. It’s easy to find adjectives to describe Carmel:  picturesque, enchanting, and even inspirational. Carmel sits on the Pacific Coast and it’s known for its stunning natural beauty, mild Mediterranean climate and charming homes and shops. Sacramento is the capital of California and though it has a great deal to offer, there are no ocean views…and it gets very HOT in the summertime.

I remember the day I received an email from Trip Advisor entitled: “Visit the Place of Storybooks!” I eagerly clicked on the link only to find that, according to the author, I was living in storybook land! This was shortly before my husband and I decided to explore the idea of moving.

We had a very good life in our tiny home (there aren’t many big houses in Carmel), but there were good reasons to find another residence. As it goes in marriage, one spouse is usually the driving force for major change and the other agrees to jump on board. It was  my husband’s idea, but I was persuaded out of respect for him, the logic of his arguments and, most significantly, the anticipation of having neighbors again.

When we moved into our home in Carmel Woods, we were blessed to find good friends. We enjoyed their company and felt the comfort of knowing that we could walk across the street or down the block for the proverbial “cup of sugar.” The camaraderie of a close-knit neighborhood is very important to us as we do not have extensive, close family ties. In fact, many of our previous neighbors have become life-long friends. (Cheers to you…Beth and Malcolm, Marietta and Frank and Courtney and Chris!)

But, over time our neighbors moved on. And, unfortunately, a pattern developed. Their homes were purchased, as vacation homes, by mid-westerners seeking to escape the cold and snow. The first thing that each and every one of them did was to embark upon a major house remodel. The week after our closest neighborhood friends left, we woke up to find our driveway blocked by a fleet of contractor’s vehicles and a port a potty. We hadn’t even met the new owners. They came and left without a handshake. We were left to negotiate terms with their hired help who were not always cooperative or considerate. By the time we moved, there were four remodels in progress on non-owner occupied homes in close proximity to ours. This is the reality of living in a tourist town.

During the day it was noisy and at night it was dark. I had the feeling that I was living on a deserted island, despite the fact that I had friends only 5, 10, 15 miles away. It was not the stuff fairy tales are made of!

Our new neighborhood could not be any more different. My husband noticed even before we moved in that the streets were active. Google maps showed people walking dogs, pushing strollers and riding bikes. We met neighbors before we moved. We visited several times to view the property and to walk the street and found a friendly group of people who did not hesitate to tell us how good it is to live in East Sacramento.

It’s practically impossible to step outside our door without seeing someone (and some dog)! The everyday smiles and greetings made me feel welcome from the beginning, but now they have become essential to my mental health.

I am so grateful that we are sheltering in place in a lovely tree-lined neighborhood filled with warm and generous people who are reaching out to one another during this difficult time. I am blessed with neighbors who have become friends. I hope you are, too.

Hugs,

Michele

Physical Fitness, Mental Health and Growing Older

Shopping for…Cannabis

Dear Reader:

I’m smelling a bit earthy this evening, but feeling quite wonderful. Both conditions are due to the purchase I made at Big Sur Canna Botanicals, Carmel’s first cannabis dispensary. I never thought I’d write those words!

There’s a pot dispensary 2.5 miles from my home in the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center. My hair salon, a French bakery, my husband’s favorite sandwich shop and the SPCA Benefit Shop are all located in the same shopping center. And, I’m a happy customer.

But, I don’t want to mislead you, dear reader. I count two puffs from a joint when I was in my late teens as my total prior experience with pot. Just wasn’t my drug of choice. As you know, I’m an eat, drink and be merry kind of gal; I’ve got a whole category with this title here on my blog. This, of course, could be resolved as the dispensary offers cannabis infused chocolates. Maybe next time…I’ll let you know!

I visited the store with butterflies in my stomach (is marijuana really still taboo?) seeking to buy a topical to relieve the arthritic pain in my fingers. Whoa…I am so not cool! I’d been talking about going shopping for three weeks before I made it into the store. I just needed a little encouragement to get there. It came from my hairdresser.

“You okay,” she asked in her concerned voice. I think she’s a psychic.

“Oh, ya…I’m great…working out, feeling strong…sure, of course,” I answered. Followed by, “other than this (expletive deleted) pain in my fingers that’s starting to turn me into a crab!”

She pointed out that the dispensary was just a quick walk across the parking lot and made me promise to go shopping as soon as she’d made me beautiful. What would I do without my hairdresser? I should pay her extra for the counseling.

A  first visit to Canna Botanicals is unlike any other shopping trip. It’s an experience. Large rectangles of contemporary art fill the exterior windows giving the illusion that it’s  just another Carmel art gallery. The visual delight continues when you open the door to find an image of Bixby Bridge nearly filling one side of the room and leading you to a concierge style counter. The greeter was a young man dressed in black jeans stylishly paired with a t-shirt and blazer.

I don’t know what I expected him to say or ask, but it was a simple exchange. Was this my first visit? Yes. May I see your driver’s license? Sure. May I take your name? Please take a seat and we’ll call you when a sales representative is available.

I cozied up into a large leather chair and waited with a dozen other people for about ten minutes. I reached for a copy of High Times magazine so I could glance above its pages to assess the group of people in the room. The 30ish woman sitting across from me was dressed in chic casual wear. I wanted to enthusiastically compliment her entire outfit  and ask where she acquired her purse, but I didn’t. It didn’t seem right. I felt the proper etiquette in a dispensary waiting room should be like that in the waiting room of my doctor.

I eavesdropped to hear a bit of hushed conversation between two people. One was successfully treating the side effects of chemotherapy. I wanted to hear more but the quiet of the room was shattered when a man and woman entered greeting the employees like old friends. They were about my age, I’d guess, but they were …well, weathered…very tanned and wrinkled. They wore sloppy cut-offs, t-shirts and fanny packs. They were the stereo-type, but there were only two of them. There were several tourists, too. There are tourists everywhere at this time of the year. But, overall, the group of people in that room was fairly unremarkable…just a slice of life.

When my name was called I was led to a large rectangular room with a bright clean counter that resembled the cosmetic area of a department store. There was a long line of diverse products inside including pre-rolled joints, cannabis-infused ginger bites, tinctures, salves, candies, drinks and even new chewing-tobacco-like Cannadips. Glass jars of boutique buds lined the shelves behind the counter. It was an artful presentation.

There was a certain energy in the room. The counter allowed space for about 15 people to shop with the personal assistance of a knowledgable sales representative. Cat, presumably short for something, asked what had brought me into the store.

“Well, in addition to curiosity,” I answered, “my hands hurt.”

“Ah, you need Papa and Barkley; people swear by it,” she said.

It turned out that I bought the last container of the balm. She warned me that if it worked for me, I shouldn’t let my supply get low. Seems it’s a very popular product for mature Central Coast residents. I felt like I wanted her to give me a tour through the full product assortment, but it was busy and I’d only come for one thing. I pulled two twenties out of my wallet (cash only in dispensaries) and thanked her.

Well that was quick, easy and relatively inexpensive, I thought as I left the building. I drove home, poured myself a glass of vino, it was 5 o’clockish, and applied the cream. That was two weeks ago and I’m happy to tell you: IT WORKS! So, now if I’m crabby, I’ll have to find something else to blame it on!

Michele

This is what I purchased:

Papa & Barkley: 1:3 Releaf Balm 15ML $36

Our Releaf™ Balm is tougher than pain, bringing a breakthrough new approach and formula. This formula delivers hours of pain relief in an all-natural, botanical pain balm, infused through a coconut oil soak process unmatched for potency and terpene content. With more than 400 mg of cannabinoids per 15ml jar. Available in a CBD Rich 1:3 THC/CBD formulation.

In case you didn’t know:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Glaucoma
  • Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Pain
Dogs, Eat, Drink and Be Merry, Family, Friends and Neighbors

I’ll Just Do That Tomorrow!

 

Hunter Pence
What a stud! Hunter Pence whacked a double in the 11th to bring home the win. During the celebration, his teammates hugged him so tight his jersey was ripped open. I’m a fan! (And, yes, that is a Hunter Pence gnome in front of my t.v.!)

Dear Reader:

My husband left this morning for Fresno, California to rescue his mother, Mary, from the 102° heat and bring her home tomorrow to spend the week with us. Our weather is an absolutely perfect 73°. So, despite the fact that my mother in law’s knee is acting its age (88 years old), she is sure to enjoy simply sitting in our garden.

Just in case you didn’t get it:  I’m saying I’VE HAD THE WHOLE DAY TO MYSELF! I’ve had the entire house to myself. (Kinda, you’re never really alone when you have three dachshunds!) There was nothing on the calendar…nothing at all! Today was a rest day for me as I torched 800 calories in an hour yesterday at the gym. Then I ran errands and made my list for today. I was looking forward to getting a lot done before Mary’s arrival.  This is what I planned to do:

  1. Catch up on the laundry
  2. Clean out the hall closet
  3. Begin writing, if not the great American novel, a really lengthy, profound blog post
  4. Clean out my email inbox and my overflowing magazine basket
  5. And, finally, well, lots more cleaning and tidying…my mother in law is a very neat person; I am not.

But, you know, sometimes life just does not go as planned. After, strongly encouraging my husband to get an early start this morning, I fell into a leisurely, impromptu rhythm.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Made another pot of coffee
  2. Poured a cup and sipped it in the sun
  3. Caught up with a dear friend via email… we’re both writers who don’t love telephone conversation
  4. Made a quick lunch and settled in to watch the Giants game
  5. Heated up leftovers for my dinner and fed the dogs
  6. Read the N.Y. Times
  7. Called my husband to say “good-night” and tell him that I missed him
Max
Max is exhausted…
and so are the girls!

Sometimes the best days are the ones you don’t plan. However, tomorrow I do have plans! I’ll be up very early to begin working on that list!

When was the last time you had a day to yourself? What did you do?

Michele

P.S. I’d recommend viewing the shirt ripping for yourself.

Creativity

Creativity Calls

  • FullSizeRender
      Even the garages in Carmel are cute!

Dear Reader:

This cute little garage is attached to a cute little house in a cute little neighborhood in a cute little town. Sorry… couldn’t resist being so cute! But, seriously, I think “Paws Awhile” is good advice. No matter how much one enjoys an activity (or a person, for that matter), a little break can be a good thing.

I didn’t blog/write much during the holidays, but I did express my creativity in other ways. Our home was decorated top to bottom, the presents were wrapped in grand style, the gingerbread houses were sweet pieces of art, the table was set with my beloved collection of china and our doors were open to family and friends.

Today, I’ve returned to the page after having a restless night immersed in ridiculous, but unsettling nightmares. In one vivid scene, I can see myself frantically searching for my site. From the pink shed has disappeared. It is gone, because I have neglected it! 

I’d say that is a very good sign that I should return to the shed to enjoy the creative adventure that is my blog.

I’ll talk to you again soon!

Michele

Eat, Drink and Be Merry, Family, Friends and Neighbors

A Competition of Elegance

Dear Reader:

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (French, literally a competition of elegance) is ten years older than me and considered to be the most prestigious event of its kind. It is a charitable automotive show open to both prewar and postwar collector cars in which they are judged for authenticity, function, history and style.  Only the 200 best collector cars in the world roll onto the celebrated 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links where one will be awarded Best in Show.

i-02-elegantopen-1
2017 Winner: 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer

 

But the Concours is only the finale of Monterey Car Week held annually in my home town every August. The entire week is packed with events celebrating the classic automobile. Most of those events come with a high ticket price, but if you have the resources you won’t be disappointed and you’ll be contributing to a good cause. Last year, over 2 million dollars was raised for various children’ charities.

I remember the first August we spent on the peninsula; I vowed to never do it again.

“Let’s just leave!” I told my husband.

I’d had a bad day. It took me 45 minutes to get to the grocery store. The parking lot in front of my favorite restaurant had been reserved for show cars and I missed my lunch date. The town was packed and I was crabby. Then… I saw a lipstick red Ferrari that took my breath away! I truly admire beautiful things of any kind… including cars. My father had been a vintage car collector and I’d spent hours watching him toil in the garage of my childhood home restoring several Model T’s and a gorgeous 1929 maroon Ford Phaeton. Cars are in my blood.

IMG_4394
Look what I found on the streets of Carmel: a Triumph TR6

I’ve learned to appreciate and look forward to car week. I’ve only attended one official event, but I enjoy the spectacle each year. There are so many opportunities to view cars all over Monterey County…  no ticket necessary. I enjoy getting dressed up throughout the week and strolling the tiny streets of Carmel hand in hand with my husband. We point and ogle and marvel at what we see drive by and occasionally we stop to sneak a photo! It’s fun, despite the disruption to our quiet lives!

Michele

 

 

Creativity

I Remember a Tree

“People don’t remember each tree in a park but all of us benefit from the trees. And in a way, artists are like trees in a park.”

Yoko Ono

IMG_3927
Carmel Valley Ranch

Dear Reader:

There once was a tree. I remember it well…a large oak, in the center of a parking lot, that regularly shaded my car. Unfortunately, the beautiful oak reached the end of its life a few months ago. I remember the day; the entire property looked different without its grand  presence.

The tree is once again part of the landscape in the form of a bench. I’ll remember a particular tree every time I pass by or stop to rest on a particular bench.

Michele

 

 

Creativity, Flowers, Quotations

Lavender Blue for You!

lavender
Lavender in bloom at Carmel Valley Ranch

Dear Reader:

I love the site, smell and taste of lavender, and there is no better place to enjoy it than at Carmel Valley Ranch. I also love this old English nursery rhyme dating back to the 17th century.

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green,

When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen.

Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?

Twas mine own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.

Wish I could send you a bouquet,

Michele