I told Cam & Sam that for some reason, I am good with the birthdays that are multiples of five.
I'd rather be a nice round number like 35 than 34 any day.
We'd been so busy with our trip to Maryland the weekend before that I was looking forward to not having big plans for my birthday. That morning, Cameron & Sam took me out for brunch at one of our favorite spots.
Afterwards, I opened the present Els had sent all the way from Holland. She'd already called to wish me a happy birthday. It was great to talk with her. She knows what I like. Thanks, Els for the book, the CD and especially the chocolate. ; )
The guys said we could do whatever I wanted to do. I'd been wanting to go to the top of Mt. Tam and explore some of the trails that head out from the East Peak. Since it was a cool day, it seemed like a good time to go for it.
During breakfast, Sam asked for an apple. So, we stopped off at this fruit stand to grab some healthy snacks for the drive and hike.
These flowers were pretty.
Sam had recently returned from his first over-night field trip.
His 4th grade class spent the night in Coloma Gold Country where he learned to wear a bandanna and someone talked to him about becoming a member of the Hard Core Club by eating an apple - core, seeds, stem and all.
Here he is giving it a go.
As we were leaving the house, I grabbed a CD holder full of discs I'd packed for the plane ride to and from Maryland. On our way to the top of Mt. Tam, we listened to Snow Patrol. Cam found them on Pandora. We both like them.
After Spider Man III (which I loved), I wouldn't leave the theater because I wanted to find out who was singing the closing song, as the credits started to roll. It turned out to be Snow Patrol's Signal Fire. We own the soundtrack now. Good stuff.
At home, we'd grabbed sweatshirts, jackets, put on long-sleeved shirts and jeans.
But when we drove up out of the fog and found it was gloriously sunny and beautiful at the peak.
Cam looking suave.
Me wondering, "What now?' since in jeans, we were dressed too warmly and the only comfortable spot was in the shade.
Having succeeded in eating the apple core, Sam is working on swallowing the stem in this picture. He did it. Then I started to remember that I'd heard something about apple seeds containing poison. Thankfully, I later read that swallowing a few seeds won't hurt you but apparently blending them isn't a good idea.
Happy to be free of his apple and able to call himself a member of the Hard Core Club, Sam celebrates.
I don't think he feels the need to eat the entire apple again, at least not the stem.
So, we climbed down from the peak, returned to our car and started driving down the other side of the mountain towards Bolinas.
I wasn't sure where we were heading but wasn't ready to turn back towards home just yet.
A couple of miles from the top, the air became much cooler. As we drove through groves of gorgeous trees, the moisture in the air made it seem like it had just rained.
I put on some Shawn Mullins, whose music told me many years ago, "I know you've got something to believe in, down deep inside your desperate soul. Hey friend, don't you stop believing in dreams that you had when you were just a lad."
As we coasted down the mountain, turning right, then left, then right again with the ocean out one side and gorgeous countryside on the other, I told Cam that it was the best amusement park ride in the world.
It occurred to me that I was living many of the dreams I had when I was a child and when I first heard that song. I thought about how I am no longer working in a corporate job, chained to a desk and how the work I am doing now is meaningful and the closest I've come yet to being a free-lance employee.
Cam pointed out that it was my first birthday in California. What a gift this past year has been.
I decided that rather than turning back towards home, when we reached Bolinas, I wanted to take a right and keep going north on Hwy 1. On that stretch of the drive, Mat Kearney sang to us, "Come on and we'll see, like we were free. Push the pedal down, watch the world around fly by us." We weren't exactly flying. I meandered along at around 20 miles an hour for hours, happily pulling off whenever someone in more of a hurry came up behind us.
Cam had some graphic novels with him. Sam read one and started another.
When I'd decided to continue north, the vision I had in my head was of stopping for clam chowder at one of the quaint little places we'd passed on our way to Salt Point State Park.
We drove past Olema and Tomales Bay. Cam had pointed out Hog Island before and expressed interest in going there. When we arrived, it looked like our only dining option was raw oysters. While Cam does want to come back and have them sometime, I don't have the stomach for it.
So, we went a couple of miles back to Tomales Bay and stopped at a place that was everything we wanted to find.
Sam celebrated being out of the car. He had a Niman Ranch ham & cheese sandwich.
Cam and I shared a cup of delicious clam chowder and some baked Brie with roasted garlic and apples.
He ordered a dozen barbecued oysters.
He said they were very good oysters.
I surprised both of us by eating nearly half of them.
Everything was prepared wonderfully.
Refreshed and ready to get back on the road.
We were all ready to head towards home.
In the first song on this disk they sing about and I aspire to be, "Something altogether different, never just an ordinary girl."
Petaluma, none of us had explored this particular stretch of land before.
It took us past happy-looking cows then Clover dairy where much of the organic milk we purchase comes from. We saw goats, sheep and ponies on the drive as well.
Once we were back on Hwy 101, we asked Rhett Miller to bring us home.
And, I am typing this on the new laptop Cam purchased for our household. He got it specifically so that Sam and I could be on the computer at the same time (and off at the same time) this summer. I am enjoying it and our adventures here immensely.
Happy Birthday, indeed.