Turns out I’m an early-bird. I don’t think I would have ever predicted that. As a kid and in high school, I was known to sleep until noon on weekends. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to find that I can get up and get going pretty good in the mornings. Even on Sunday, which are no alarm days, I tend to wake up around 7 am naturally. Don’t get me wrong, I like coffee, and drink a mocha pretty much every day to start my mornings, but I have been known to go without and not cause much damage.
I feel productive in the mornings. At work, I’m in before nearly everyone else. That hour or so before the office begins to hum are little spaces of work getting done – before meetings, before chit-chat, before more emails come in. On Saturday mornings, I’ll head to my favorite French cafe where I always order the same thing, and I read, work, write until the afternoon. On Sundays, because the French cafe isn’t usually open on Sundays (but it is now through the end of the year), I’ll try to find a new place to have breakfast. I like to get there right when they open so I don’t have to wait. People love to brunch here, so again, I prefer the early shift, when the restaurant or coffee shop is just getting going. I almost always take a book, and I tend to be leisurely about it all. It’s quite a luxury.
I still tend to stay up later than I probably should. I think most weekdays I get about 6 to 6 1/2 hours sleep, and weekends, a little longer. But I don’t feel tired during the day. I think that’s thanks to my sleep machine that I’ve had now for a number of years. It helps me keep breathing while I sleep so I don’t have fits in the night that cause me to wake up not feeling at all rested. I’ve had this issue since college (probably before), but only got hip to it maybe 10 years ago.
Speaking of early, I woke up early the morning of my birthday (picking up now where the last post left off) so I could drive northeast about an hour where I was going to partake in my birthday gift to myself: ziplining! I had been once before at Safari Park and really loved it. This place, La Jolla Zip Zoom, promised more lines to zip at high speed and varying lengths.
I arrived early, but it was a lovely fall morning so I didn’t mind walking around a bit. The location is pretty remote, but the people were so great, super friendly and nice. Once the others in the group had arrived and we were all harnessed up, it was time to get in the truck and head up the mountain. Here’s my selfie in my harness:
Right before we left, we learned that one of the lines (out of 4 I thought but was told they really only use 3 lines) was not able to be used because of high winds. Bummer. But they refunded a part of the fee right then which was nice. So we head up the mountain in the back of a truck on a very bumpy road. I was the only solo person, so I went last. They had showed us what to do when it was time to stop, and some other tips, but other than that, you pretty much just go. The harness was good, and I felt perfectly safe. I was so excited.
I did the first line, and it felt like it was over instantly. You’re enjoying the sensation of the zipping, then you’re seeing the people indicating to get into the stopping position. I did, and I stopped, and then I was reprimanded, kindly but still sternly, for not doing my position very well. I hate not doing things right. I had one more chance.
The 2nd (and last) line was longer and had a higher drop in elevation (if I remember correctly). This one went through the trees. It was so nice up there. So I took off again, and this one, I was able to enjoy a bit more, but I kept turning when I wanted to be straight, and when I finally straightened, it was time to stop. I really tried to do the stopping position correctly. They didn’t reprimand me, but they didn’t say good job either. I guess since it was the last one, there was no need to worry about it anymore.
It was fun, but it was over way too quickly. I wish we could have gone again, but there was another group gathering back at the start for their turn, so we were done. I would probably go again, if only for the chance to ride all of the lines. When I was leaving, the girl who had been one of our guides gave me a big high five. It made me so happy, but then as I walked out, I burst into tears. I remember being surprised at my sudden emotion, which was probably silly of me to be surprised, I’m pretty emotional as a rule. But this particular outburst caught me off-guard. I had to think about it. I sat in my car crying and thinking. The conclusion I came to is that I think I was just proud of myself and her high five kind of validated me and my little solo adventure. And not just that. But the whole last year and a half. I was proud of myself, and I think happier than I’d ever been.
After that I checked the map and realized I was only 20 minutes from Julian, and I figured that I don’t get up that way much so why not take advantage of my proximity. I love driving those twisty mountain roads (though I don’t care to be a passenger really). It was such a beautiful day. I drove through Santa Ysabel and passed the gallery where Cathy often had shows. Later I drove through Wynola where the acoustic duo had played a couple times. Then on to Julian where…it was packed with people. There were lines out the doors of restaurants with cars cramming the roads and every possible parking spot. I don’t know why I didn’t think that through. November is a very popular time up there. I headed back to Wynola and beelined for Mom’s Pies, where I bought an apple crumb pie to take to work for the Thanksgiving potluck the next day, and I sat and had a slice of pecan pie a la mode. Delicious!
I drove back through Julian, avoiding the main road, and headed toward Lake Cuyamaca. It struck me how many memories I have of that area. In college, my friends and I would drive to Julian fairly often. And later, K worked at a camp up there, where I would go to help her sometimes. Then on through there, past the turnoff to Sunrise Highway, there’s the Meadow, and in that meadow is a tree that is my favorite tree. Because it’s by itself, it’s grand, it’s kind of wonky in a way. One particular friend in college, a boy I had a crush on for a while, we would come to this tree and hang out. He’d play music, we’d talk, I probably read. Nothing ever happened between us, but somewhere there’s a picture of us at that tree. It was a selfie before that was a thing. I’m wearing a red & white sweater, we’re laying on a reddish blanket, there’s a Coke can in the shot, his hair is red. We are smiling our faces off, we are young and carefree and happy. We probably could have sold that photo to Coke and made money. It was just that type of moment.
I spent some time at the tree that day. In the moments when there were no cars passing by, the silence was pristine and overwhelming. Here’s the tree:
After that, I drove on home. I thought about stopping somewhere but I didn’t know where so I just came home, where I lounged a while until it was time to meet the Becky for dinner. We ended up at Searsucker after the original place I’d chosen, Queensborough, was closed for no reason we could figure out. Dinner was fabulous, and it was great to hang with the Becky. I also had my first Old Fashioned, which is a whiskey drink that I really liked!
So that was the 46th birthday, and it was pretty awesome. I still owe you the rest of November, but that will have to wait.