Valentine’s Day is coming

Valentine’s Day is coming.

I know this because of the explosion of red and pink that has hit stores.

And yet this year, it took me by surprise.

Normally, I like this holiday.

I used to give my neighbor’s gift baskets containing crafts and goodies for Valentine’s Day.

My boys get cards with money in them (because the little buggers want nothing but money).

And usually I go all out to do something romantic for my special someone. But this year there is no special someone.

Bugger. Everyone should get laid on Valentine’s Day.

Is that my main complaint about Valentine’s Day? Yes. Everyone should get some love and some nookie on V-Day. Except for sociopaths and killers. They should just suffer.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do for Valentine’s Day this year – maybe treat myself to a spa day. Maybe do something fun with my spawn. Maybe show my parents a little appreciation.

It would be wrong to not do anything just because I don’t have a significant other.

Love should be celebrated, in whatever iteration it exists in – romantic, familial, or friendship.

One year, I took my boyfriend to the city and we shared a fancy Thai meal with live Burt Baccarat music playing in the background.

Another year, I took my boyfriend (a different one) to the racetrack and we watched drag racing. That was love, man. Sitting through hours of cars racing 100 feet at 100+ mph. Exciting.

But my favorite Valentine’s memory is when I went to my piano recital, ate too many red frosted cupcakes, and threw up in the squishy stuff between my sister’s bed and my bed and SHE ROLLED INTO IT wearing blue pajamas and got covered in red vomit.

Perfect Valentine’s memory, courtesy of my sister.

Road Tripping with Food

Why do all of my favorite road trips center around food?  It’s bad for my waistline to go on an eating binge as I drive up and down Highway 1.

Take for instance my favorite road trip – driving from Santa Cruz to the Carmel Highlands.

You start out in Santa Cruz at Marianne’s Ice Cream.  I get the cardamom pistachio ice cream.  Yum!  Can’t get this anywhere else.  Or try any of their 40+ other delicious flavors like Oregon Blackberry or 50/50 which tastes just like a 50/50 bar.

Continue to Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola for an instant toothache.  Order something beautiful and delicious.  Scope out all the food in the deli and think about getting some nosh and wine for a picnic on the beach.

Continue down Highway 1.  Stop at the fruit stands by the side of the road.  Pick up delicious fresh fruits and vegetables.  Plan a healthy, fresh dinner for the evening.

Get off Highway 1 to sample the cioppino at Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery where Phil beat Bobby Flay in a throw down for the best cioppino.  Mmmmmm.  Warms you up and is utterly delicious.

 

Back in your car, head down to Menterey and stop at Vivolos Chowder house.  Have their award winning Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl with a Garlic Cheese Lid.  Oh, yum!  Don’t even think about the calories, just enjoy.

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Stop in to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a lesson in all things marine in the Bay.

 

Continue to Lover’s Point and take a much needed walk along the cliffs on Monterey.  Enjoy the sunset , if it’s time or just watch the waves pound the shoreline like they have for eons.

Now is a good time to share a kiss if you’re with someone romantic.

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Take yourself a little way south on Highway 1 to Carmel.  Exit on Ocean Avenue.  Pull over and do a little shopping at their magnificent stores.  Stop in at the Hog’s Breath Inn for a martini.  Sit on the patio, if you can, and enjoy the fire.  Sip and relax.

Back in your car, head south to the Carmel Highlands gas station.  They have a little vault built inside with lots of great wine.  Pick something out for your dinner tonight.  Something special.

And those are the highlights from my gastronomical adventure down Highway 1.

I highly recommend you give it a try if you’re in the area.

 

  • Marianne’s Ice Cream
    1020 Ocean Ave. Santa Cruz, CA
  • Gayle’s Bakery
    504 Bay Ave. Capitola, CA
  • Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery
    7600 Sandholdt Rd. Moss Landing, CA
  • Vivolos Chowder House
    127 Central Ave. Pacific Grove, CA
  • Lover’s Point
    Ocean View Blvd. at 17th St. Pacific Grove, CA
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    886 Cannery Row Monterey, CA
  • Hog’s Breath Inn
    San Carlos St. and 5th Ave. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
  • Carmel Highland Gas Station
    70 Highway 1 Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

 

Running out of things to do?

I’m running out of things to do.  I never thought this would happen but it is.

I’ve done so much I’m at a bit of a stalemate to find new things.

Right now I can:

  • Take a jewelry making class
  • Make a glass pumpkin
  • Go skydiving (which I’ve already done)
  • Take a class on how to be a better lover (not that I have anyone to love, LOL)

That’s not much for options.  I think I need suggestions.  Any ideas for what I should do?  Comment below or send me an email at michelle@unblunder.com.

There is one thing I’m doing.  I’m entertaining the idea of dating again.

Today I talked to Nick.

Nick is a father of two who lives in Los Gatos.  His son and daughter?  Duncan and Gabi.  My sons?  Duncan and Gavi.  Cracked me up.

He also has a great dane.

I love great danes.

It’s off to a good start.  So far he seems fun and easy going.  I really enjoyed talking to him.

So cross your fingers we’ll go out soon, and understand this…

Dating is one of life’s great adventures.

Pollock Pines Trip

It took Duncan and I 4 hours to get from the South Bay to Pollock Pines but when we got there it was nothing but fun from start to finish.

To begin with, my son had been BEGGING me to go up there so he could ride his new dirt bike with the boys – Nick, Travis, and Uncle Donald.

We unloaded his dirt bike and then begged with family until bed time.  Aunt Stacey and Jennifer had stories to tell to keep up entertained and I ate them up.

In the morning, my normally lazy son got himself out of bed and took off with the men to go clear some areas around the house.  You’ll remember there was a devastating forest fire several months ago that ravaged Pollock Pines and came within a few feet of my uncle and aunt’s property.

While the guys were out working, the girls were out shopping – Aunt Stacey, Jennifer, Bella, and Nick’s girlfriend Caitlin.  We hit the Walmart in Placerville.

When we got back to the cabin, I started making pineapple upside down cake shots (courtesy of my friend Barbara’s recipe).  It’s cake flavored vodka with tropical pineapple juice in it.  Yum!  We did shot after shot.

Duncan fell in love with Louie, my aunt and uncle’s black lab and he held him like a lap dog and carried him around like a baby.

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 He even tried to sneak Louie in our car when we were heading home.

There was some ping pong playing.  A few people got hit in the face.  There was some dirt biking riding at midnight. Oh wait, no.  That got shut down by Aunt Stacey.  Thank goodness.

And finally on Sunday we all came together to cheer on Green Bay and watch them beat those sea chickens.  Sadly, that did not happen.  But at least it was a old game.

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And on Sunday the boys FINALLY got to burn.

All in all, a stellar weekend with my wonderful family. Love you guys!

Outside my Comfort Zone

It’s no secret I want to dive with Great White Sharks.

In a cage, of course.

What Is a secret is my intense fear of drowning.

You’d think that I, being surrounded by Great White Sharks, would be afraid of all those razor sharp teeth and their prehistoric predatory skills.

But no, you’d be wrong.

What I’m truly afraid of is that the tether from the boat to the cage snapping and me sinking into the dark abyss that lies in Monterey Bay, just like Richard Dreyfuss did in “Jaws.” I’d be faced with the decision to drown or take my chances with the sharks.

Oh, I’d take my chances with the sharks, but that brings up a second fear of mine – SHARKS!

Sharks have rows of razor sharp teeth and hunting skills honed over the millennia.

I’ve heard it said that all the magic happens outside your comfort zone and I have to agree.

Great White Shark diving is the epitome of being outside my comfort zone.

Way outside.

Bucket List

I don’t think of myself as a daring person and yet when I look back on some of the things I’ve done, they seem remarkably daring…

  • Running with the bulls
  • Driving a race car
  • Kayaking with whales in 8 foot swells
  • Skydiving

I’ve got a number of things on my bucket list that are pretty daring…

  • Dive with great white sharks
  • Hike to base camp at Everest
  • Travel to Australia

I don’t know when I started doing these things.  I made a bucket list of what I wanted to do with a partner and then I got impatient waiting for my partner to show up.  So I started checking things off my bucket list.

Other things on my bucket list are:

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
The Pyramids of Giza
Swim with the jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake
Stay in a treehouse in Costa Rica (Bellavista)
Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico
Carnivale in Brazil
Petra, Jordan
Stay in a glass igloo in Finland and watch the aurora borealis (so romantic)
Hike to Machu Picchu
Go to Lebanon to see the family doire
Explore the catacombs of Paris
ICEHOTEL in Sweden (listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”) also very romantic
And more…

So even though I don’t feel daring, I hope I’m a daring woman.  The kind who challenges others to do more, be more, and to constantly grow and evolve.

Watch me check things off my bucket list!

Why?

Really?

Do we need to do something like this?

Hanging a pair off your truck… now that’s classy.

balls

You know what I want to do?  I want to go up and kick those lopsided little balls and make them swing.

Truly an awful example of redneck America.

You know who’s got the balls in my truck?

Me.

That’s why I drive a truck.

Kissing The Maestro

It’s no secret that I adore The Maestro.  He is one hell of a man with hands that could make a Stradivarius cry.

The other day we had an extraordinary OM.

I felt every single stroke.  I was so present in the OM there wasn’t a thought in my head besides what I was feeling.

It was undiluted eroticism.

I was transported.  Floating on another plane.  Feeling like I was outside my body.

After the OM, The Maestro and I melted into each other for a kiss.  It was hot.  Reactive.  I felt my body become magnetized to his.

The kiss deepened.  We were pulling at each other, trying to get closer.  And closer.

At a certain point, I realized that I was lightheaded.  The Maestro had kissed me senseless.  I was a 13 year old schoolgirl in the body of a 41 year old.  And it was incredible!  When was the last time someone kissed you so good you forgot your own name?  When was the last time you were kissed back to high school when everything was new and exciting?

I’m not sure if The Maestro and I will ever go any further than we’ve already gone.  But I can tell you this.

I am now confident I’ve experienced a new level of connection in my sex and it’s exquisite.

More, please.

Grief and living

There is a clarity in grief.  As if somehow being unable to hide from the reality of death anymore makes us so much more skilled at living it.

I’ve always found it ironic that the times in my life that I’ve felt critically alive are the time when I’ve been grieving:

  • when my son Douglas died
  • when my friend Andrew and his son Zachary were murdered
  • when I received a difficult medical diagnosis
  • When my dog fell out of my car on Highway 80 and was hit and killed

Shocking.  Sudden.  Instantaneous loss.  It shook me out of my complacent stupor and reminded me that life is fleeting.

That in the end, none of us gets out of this alive and someday it will all be over :-(

And there’s something about not just knowing that but actually feeling it in your body that make us all live a little brighter.  Enjoy our lives a little bit more.  Sometimes, a great deal more.

All we are left with are memories.  Which is why I feel an overwhelming desire to create more memories – with my family, with my friends, and especially with my children.

I have renewed enthusiasm in getting out there and doing something fun.  Starting with this weekend.

I’m taking Duncan and going to my aunt and uncle’s cabin in Pollock Pines.

There will be shenanigans

Oh yes.

Friends

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately, ever since Mark’s death. The truth is that at the time of his death, Mark and I were out of touch.

Oh, I thought about texting him once a week at least, but out of respect for his new relationship I never did.

And a little part of me was hurt that he wasn’t messaging me.

Now, I kick myself for not saying hi to him. For letting my pride get in the way of our friendship.

But how was I to know there was so little time left?

Today, I heard from my friend Olivier for the first time in years. Just a simple “Good Morning.” But it thrilled me to be back in communication with him.

How I miss that guy. How I miss so many of my friends. None more so that Andrew (who was murdered in 2001).

We all get caught up in our lives and forget that what really matters is the love that’s created between two people. The friendship that exists there.

If I’ve learned nothing from this week, hopefully I’ve learned to be a better friend. To be there even when it’s awkward. To hold less pride in myself. And for God’s sake, to never miss an opportunity to say how very much you mean to me.