Pismo Beach, California
Food for Thought

California Dreaming

For the first time since the COVID crisis kicked off, I loaded up my little family in an airplane and we headed across the country, from Florida to California, to visit my family for Thanksgiving. And it wasn’t just a chance to spend time with family and time at home, but it was time to seriously stop, reflect, and smell the sea salt.

Want this view? The SeaVenture is a family favorite for putting up guests and friends from out of town – and where we hang our hats when the house is already full of family!

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I’m a workaholic. In fact, the main purpose of this little blog was for me to have a hobby to pour myself into that wasn’t work. And it’s probably no secret to you all that I’ve been neglecting it while trying to juggle what’s been the busiest year of my life.

Between getting my family settled in Florida, convincing a very traditional and bureaucratic institution that it needs to look at how we work in new ways, meetings, travel, more travel, and still more travel, I’ve given myself no time to stop and sit and breathe. The most frustrating part is that I know I’m doing it, that I’ve not been spending enough time with my family, enough time on my own wellness, enough time having fun, and yet there’s always one more email, one more call, one more product to produce. Somehow I’ve been letting that win.

Until we escaped back to California for a week. And I got to see the simple joys of the life I lived prior to the Army through my son’s eyes.

It was my son’s first real trip to the beach. He’s still learning to swim, so we haven’t taken him, but I figured out in a hurry that teaching him to swim and taking him to the beach more needed to be high up on our priority list. Little man fell completely in love with the water.

We took him to some familiar spots – the Olde Port pier, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and he still wanted more. Even though we went and played tourist a little bit and visited the zoo and parks, if we weren’t going to his grandparents’ house, he wanted to be at the beach.

He is a hundred-thousand percent my kid. Real math.

Pismo Beach, California

Because honestly, that’s where I wanted to be, too.

If I wasn’t catching up with my family, I wanted to be sitting out on our balcony, bundled up against the cold, listening to the waves crash on the shore, smelling the salt in the air, and very happily disconnecting from the frenetic crush that has been my life.

Sometimes life makes you feel like you’re riding one of those waves. You’re up on the board, you’re flying through the crush of the wave, and even though you know it’s tenuous, you’re holding–until it rolls you. And then there’s sand and salt and foam everywhere and you don’t know which direction is up.

When that happens, you can do one of two things. The first is panic and try to strike toward the surface, but all that does is wear you out and often send you in the wrong direction. Or, you can stop and go still. Let the wave roll over you while you gather yourself and let your feet fall. Wait until the sand settles and things clear enough for you to know where to go, or for your feet to touch bottom. And push.

This week in California, I let myself go still. I left all my work devices at home charging and pretty much only used the camera on my phone. I dug out my good DSLR for the first time in forever. And I let the word swirl around me and settle while I figured out which way was up.

By the end of the week, things had settled enough for me to know when and where to give myself a push and get out of the tumbling wave.

I’m kicking myself a little for not planning a family getaway sooner. The few times I’ve taken time off, it’s always been at home, and there are always home distractions. It’s way too easy to get on a call or jump on the computer or just get caught up in all the other home chores and distractions rather than really taking the time to focus on resetting.

I didn’t think it was necessary to get away to actually be on vacation, but I’m starting to think that’s a must, and I’ll be planning some more little adventures for us over the next year. My job can handle me being away.

In the meantime, I’ve saved away a lot of great memories from this trip for the times I just need a little mental escape.

Want to read more about this awesome winery, Talley Vineyards? I covered it here on the blog a few years ago.

After this trip, I feel rejuvenated and recharged and ready to tackle things with a more relaxed and creative mindset. You’ll see me popping up on the site here more often, mostly to update old posts, repost recipes {I changed recipe plug-ins so I have to go back and rework a lot of them!}, and even share some new ones.

I’m looking forward to reclaiming my space outside of work.

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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