Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Favorite Places

I think we all have them...those little places in the world that just resonate with us. Sometimes they are public, sometimes private and sometimes...well a little in between. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was walking out to one of my very own favorite places I found myself getting excited in anticipation for spending a few brief moments there. So here they are, in no particular order, some of my favorite places!

The MSJC Track (local community college that also happens to be where I work) - I'm kind of reluctant to tell others that this is one of my favorite places because I like that it feels like "mine". I wouldn't just take any old person out to the track with me...only the most special of friends! Silly, I know. And it's not necessarily the track that gets me all warm and fuzzy, because, well...it's a pretty jacked up track! It's sand and not that nice squishy stuff that many places have now...and it doesn't drain properly so after a little rain it is covered in puddles and deceptively squishy mud. But it's really the very top of the bleachers sheltered by the announcer's booth. It's the view of North Mountain sitting all majestically forming the top of our valley. It's the way the sky can look so perfectly blue. It's the view of the other mountains that surround us in their various hues of blue looking like a picture perfect watercolor.

Disneyland - I don't think it's any surprise to people that know me that I absolutely LOVE Disneyland. You might even call me a little bit of a fanatic...and you see, the thing is that it is in my genes. I can't help it! My parents (even though the marriage didn't last) honeymooned there. My grandparents took us each summer. My oldest son honeymooned there. My Dad still practically lives there. I practically live there. My kids practically live there. You see...it's not my fault! And I recognize that it doesn't extend to everyone...many people even say how they - GASP! - can't stand it. I don't get it, but to each their own. It's now, and forever will be, one of my favorite places. Just the smell of musty water or diesel exhaust and it takes me there! The sights and sounds...I still get excited like a little kid when I catch a glimpse of Mickey! There are so many memories there when I go, it feels like home.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa at Mission Bay, San Diego - We found this place sort of by accident. A coworker/friend of my husbands was vacationing down in Mission Bay and said we should come down. We checked out the hotel he was staying at, but it was a 3-day minimum and we were only going for two, so we had to find another place. And BOY was I glad!!! This place was amazing and we were transported on one of the most magically spontaneous vacations we have ever had. I have the most amazing memories of watching my hubby sit on an Adirondack in the grass under the shade of a tree with a cold bucket of Corona by his side and a line of brightly colored beach chairs that looked like sunshine, and hibiscus flowers that didn't look like they could possibly be real and the most amazing sunset I have every seen. It was, honestly, probably the most relaxed I have ever seen my husband away from home. We have gone back several times and each time harbors more and more special memories. I definitely have not spent my last time there...I see many more special trips in the future. (I seriously had so many great pictures, I had a hard time deciding which one to use!

Idyllwild, CA - I live in the town just below the mountain and Idyllwild is the main "town" on the "hill" (our little valley way of saying mountain LOL). My memories here go back to probably as long as I can remember. As a child we camped there with family and extended family...groups of cousins and siblings and second cousins and people that were considered family without being blood related. I think of Idyllwild and I think of gazillions of stars, the smell of campfires, the sound of kids playing kick the can, UNO!, the insane ruckus of "one, one, three, four, four, one" that is Pit (one of the funnest card games ever!! and also happens to be the game that gets us a warning to be quiet from the rangers almost every.single.time. No fail), hiking, smells of pine needles and fresh air (what?!? no smog???). Over the years it has become even more special as I have added in anniversary dinners on Christmas Eve with my hubby at Gastrognome, cabin rentals with unexpected snowfalls (two out of three times!), hikes on the Ernie Maxwell and the challenge of getting to Tahquitz Peak via Devil's Slide. Whether it is a snow trip, a hiking trip, a camping trip, or an anniversary dinner - Idyllwild can't be beat for mountain charm.

Home - They don't have the saying "home is where the heart is" for nothing. It may also mean mundane chores like dishes and laundry or it may even have some less than happy memories within the walls of arguments past and the missing sounds of pitter patter of footsteps as the kids leave the nest over time. But it also has a fireplace that burns bright on cold nights and a TV resonating with the sounds of football games and an oven that has cooked more awesome meals than I can count (even the ones that tasted less than stellar but had the best company anyone could ask for!) and candles welcoming in visitors and all the new sounds of baby's crying and a little 15 month old tearing Tupperware and Ziploc bags out of cupboards. You can travel the world and go to so many exotic locales, but nowhere is like home.
Believe it or not, I didn't even have to pose the dog! :-)

What are some of your favorite places and why?