Your Smiles Make Me Smile

If you really want to get the most out of my blog, it's best to start with the first post written in July to the present since some blogs refer back to earlier posts; but any order is just fine... Thanks for visiting! Now scroll on down to the good news! ~Renae~

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I wanted to do something. Anything.  Staying home was not an option because the walls of San Ramon were closing in on me.  I was feeling overwhelmingly smothered by the City I’ve spent the last 20 years calling “home”, San Ramon; population 72,000.  Come to think of it, it’s ironic that home ended up being “here” because I am an extrovert in need of a LOT of people, and I left Anchorage, population 250,000 because it was “just too small.” 

So Friday night I told my better half, Richard, that we needed to get out of town.  True to form he said: “Whatever you want to do Renae.” My daughter Nicole  has a saying that could solve some of the world’s problems. “A Happy Wife Makes a Happy Life.”   Although we are not married, I give kudos to Richard for subscribing to this philosophy.  So this is how it went:

Me: “I want to take the trailer and I want to go camping.” 
Richard:  “Okay, let’s go camping.”
Me:  “All the campsites are too crowded.” 
Richard: “Then what do you want to do?”
Me: “Let’s go hiking!”
Richard “Ok.” 
Me: It’s too hot in this area to go hiking and I want to get out of the heat. 
Richard: “Ok, let’s get out of the heat.” 
Me: But, I don't want to go far because we can't leave the dogs. (Being Beagles, they are spoiled rotten and conditioned to eating small meals four times a day.  It's a little trick I play to make them they they are eating all the time, because if you've ever had a Beagle, that's what they do best).
Richard: “Ok”. 
Me: “The freeways are too crowded, let’s keep it under an hour drive. 
Richard: “Whatever you want, just tell me and we’ll do it.” 

I spent hours on Friday night researching places to hike, camp, retreats, I even looked into local hotels so we could stay far enough to feel like we were gone, but close enough to be able to run back and forth to tend to the dogs….like ten minutes away at most.  I found the perfect hotel, pool, exercise room, Jacuzzi.  An upscale Marriott.  I didn’t think I was asking too much. Priceline apparently did.  They didn’t accept my $35.00 bid. So much for -- “The Negotiator!”

I was pissy, I admit. I hate not having the means to go on a real vacation without adding more debt to the credit cards, and I’m tired of staying in town.  The fancy term "Staycation" is nothing more than code for not having the money to travel; a transparent marketing ploy for spending your money locally, and the bragging rights when your neighbors are traveling the world are, um.....zilch. And so, Richard and I watched this really cool episode of Twilight Zone, he went to bed, and I stayed up watching Perry Mason because I had never seen it before and I was hot, frustrated, and….did I mention, frustrated?

Fortunately, I jumped out of bed in the morning and said “That’s it! By gosh darn golly I KNOW where we can go!”  “Where?” asked Richard.  “We can go on a one our drive to Half Moon Bay and take the dogs WITH US so they can see the ocean for the first time ever! It will be so fun!”  Obviously, a good night’s sleep did me good.

We hit the road, hit no traffic, ran the dogs on the beach, and laughed at their confusion about the ocean waves.  Then again, Bailey is a Hurricane Katrina survivor so he was understandably skeptical. But Lilly, in her first attempt to run into the water decided she was thirsty and ended up with a mouthful of...ocean.  Then she made a statement in dog speak that she adamantly was not going back into the water.  As I tried to pull her in with her leash, (okay, admittedly I was dragging her), she thrust her little Beagle Body down onto the sand with the force of a Rottweiler, all four feet straight out hugging the ground with a wrinkled look of desperation on her face.  And so we compromised.  We ran next to the water on the cool sand (unlike the other dogs who were fetching and swimming and shaking it off and running back in).  I accept that like our children, even our dogs have limitations.  We proceeded to talk to strangers, introduce Bailey and Lilly to the sweetest little one-eyed Chiwawa, and checked out four campgrounds.  When I am finally ready to take the trailer out for the first time ever, (which I purchased over five years ago), we will know where to go.  For now, I enjoy having it parked on the side of the house where I often escape with a good book and a nap and no one can find me.  At least I have a refuge, and the trailer gets its use.

All in all it was a most beautiful day at the beach and I was ready to come home.  As we exited the freeway back into San Ramon, I noticed this huge American Flag swaying at the entrance; I had never noticed it before.  Then, I realized, there were no walls holding me in; those are rolling hills with full grown Oak trees and roaming cows picturesquely framing our City….oh, oh, oh, AND I spotted two little baby deer right next to the highway running through the tall grass and wildflowers.  I was soooo excited! Less than a minute later into my very own neighborhood Richard asked if I had seen the 15 Redwood trees lined up by the street.  “Huh?  There are 15 Redwood trees by my house? I never noticed them.”  We stopped and I counted, and like my grandpa Joe used to say every third sentence, (only he used the expletive) I too exclaimed “Well I’ll be danged.” 

When we pulled onto my driveway, in my quaint little neighborhood, in front of my cute little house with the overgrown front lawn and the weeds begging to be pulled, things didn’t look so bad after all, and we made it home just in time for our Saturday night old-person documentary.

I was happy to be home. 
Funny, the things we don’t notice when they are right in front of us. 

Sweet Dreams and Always, GOOD Dreams,

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