New Years Eve was a dream. I loved it. It mixed my family and my Chicago worlds. You see, after our Kansas trip we decided we needed another trip. I volunteered the ol' Cohen homestead. Sometime in the fall New Years Eve was chosen. Everyone arrived precisely according to schedule. I did send out the itinerary, and it needed to be adhered to.
After a quick tour of the house and the BBQs, we made lunch and headed out to the coast. We took the 46 and stopped at the look out for our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. And, for a photo shoot.
We jumped over to Cambria for lunch.
And ate Taco Works chips! Delish!
After lunch we attempted to find the elephant seals, buuuutt... well, I just couldn't find those beasts. So we went a little early to our next stop: Hearst Castle! My fav! You know I can't go home without a HC visit. We are chillin' in the visitors center in this pic. What I like about it is that you can tell Sandy and Jimmy are about to tell some jokes.
Right before you get on the bus to the Castle, they have you take a picture. Everyone said they looked dumb, and that it was going to be a bad picture. I said I looked super hott, and I was probably going to buy the photo in the end. Well, I was right. I looked hott. And so did everyone else. I love this photo.
Usually, on the bus ride, you listen to old timey music and listen to a recording of someone talking about the Castle. Well, this time it was Alex Trebek! I love the 'hood as much as Alex does, so I wonder why they didn't get me to record? I would be good at it. Well, there's still time.
We went on the Upstairs and Suites Tour. Or something like that. Laziness is prohibiting me from finding out the specific name, but did not prohibit me from typing out this explanatory sentence.
Anyway, our tour guide was named Bev. First she accused us all of being on the wrong tour. I knew immediately I was going to have fun with her. And I did. She said phrases like, "When he was feeling a lot of emotionalism," "December 23, 2003," and "Mad doggin'." Or was it "Mad eyein'."? Either way, I loved her.
Story of my life
Haha, just kidding!
If I ever get invited up to the castle for a little sleepover, I would choose this room:
It has amazing views, windows on both sides of the room (for a nice cross breeze) and it's pink!
But that's enough of the inside. Since the last time I visited, they changed protocol, and now you can hang out and explore the grounds after your tour. It's kind of awesome. The only thing I don't like about this concept is that you don't get the history of many of the art pieces found on the grounds.
Opposite sides of the Castle. The room I want would look out onto both these views.
At the end of the tour, I said thanks to Bev, and then she went around and hugged each one of us.
I planned it almost perfectly, and we got to catch the sunset.
Everyone loved this fountain. There was a cute little peeing lamb on the other side.
We hung out by the Neptune Pool. The Neptune Pool wowed my guests even more than I could
have imagined. When you share something you love, you hope others love it too.
Our prom photo. Sandy was kind enough to let us all be Jimmy's dates.
In light of recent engagements in my branch, I have been thinking about how I would want to be proposed to, and as of right now, I'm thinking I would love to be proposed to at Hearst Castle. It's gorgeous, has great views, it's public, but private enough, I will look pretty (I can't understand people who get engaged while sweaty, or while in their pajamas), it's the perfect place for picture taking, it's magical, I have fond memories there, and we can stare into each others eyes until the sun goes down.
Okay, that's enough grossness for now. I'm just saying, if you have the opportunity to make your proposal awesome, then why don't you do it?
We finished up at Hearst Castle and jetted home, just in time for a tri tip dinner. It was so good. I loved it. And those people who have never had tri tip loved it too. Dad used his fancy new knife (Christmas present), the kind of knife they use at Brazilian steak houses, you know, the kind without a tip. He looked so cool with it. He was able to just walk around, cutting meat.
We played a few games, laughed a lot, and ate a lot of tri tip. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
However, I'm interested in multiple perfect days.
The next morning we woke up to find Mother had prepared pancake batter and had bacon in the oven. She would have been there manning the pancakes, but she had to go to CrossFit instead. I'm fine with that. I'm an advocate for an increase in awesomeness.
While we were getting ready I told everyone that we were going to the beach, and wondered if I needed to bring towels, just in case anyone needed to get in the Pacific Ocean. Everyone said they would not be getting wet.
Morro Bay rose to the occasion and was absolutely gorgeous.
Me and The Rock
We headed out to the sand. Nelly didn't come down to the sand because of some sand issue. We respected her beliefs, and she chilled in the parking lot and read about The Rock.
Well, we were on the beach, took some pics, and then Jimmy convinced me to get in the water. It wasn't hard. I knew I would want to get in, but I thought I was mature enough to keep my shoes on.
I'm not. We LOVE the ocean!
I guess Sandy had had enough of all of Wendy's Mean Doggin'.
But they made up in time to take this pretty jumping pic. Jumping pics are hard. You are either going for cool, or pretty, but most of them end up looking dumb. Just check Facebook for a bunch of dumb wedding jumping pics. But this one is pretty.
Jimmy chose Wendy to be his prom date for life:
Or maybe he was just trying to convince her to do this:
Mom and Dad met us at the beach:
They took a walk south while we went north to the Embarcadero. We went in a few shops, got a few souvenirs, and just soaked up the sun and surf.
We found a great spot for taking pics, and I'm going to post every single one.
After we went to my favorite taffy place (I forgot how much I love taffy; I should have bought more.)
We ran into these guys!
Pops, Torah, and Brandon.
We took some family pictures (I wish Paul and Marissa and chillin' could have been there!)
And then some pics of my Chicago family. It was truly a great experience to have my worlds collide.
After the photo shoot we went right over to Montana de Oro.
Bryn and Elle. I love this shot, even though you can't really see their faces. I think, because of their relationship, that maybe I might have liked having a sister. Maybe. Or maybe Bryn and Elle are really lucky to have parents that foster friendships between siblings. That might be it too.
Diana posted this pic as her Facebook profile pic, and someone mentioned how awesome it is that she's in India. That's what I like about California, it's such a chameleon.
I couldn't decide amongst these Jimmy ocean shots, so you get all three.
I love a good jog in the sand.
And I love Wade.
But he was ready to go to Firestones, so we had to leave this joint.
Wade ate half a chicken and turned into Super Wade.
Firestone was great. The food was fabulous, their outdoor eating area is charming, and I love the twinkle lights, the outdoor fireplaces, and my family and friends.
Afterword we went to Bubblegum Alley which was like, five blocks away. I forgot how little SLO's blocks are, and I forgot that I live in Chicago. We were there in under 7 minutes. I have tons of pics of Bubblegum Alley, but they were all gross, so you'll just have to use your memory/imagination.
We went home, and lazed about the house. Tara came over to meet my peeps and ring in the New Year. Brandon and family were there, Mom, Pops, and Mary, and G-ma even made an appearance.
We played games, took naps, laughed a lot, ate amazing nachos (good work, Jimmy) with amazing guacamole (good work, Brandon), popped poppers, laughed some more, rang in New York New Year (for the kids), rang in Chicago New Year (cause that's where we live), and rang in California New Year (cause we live in the present), and watched a movie and discussed unbelievably important topics. I loved every minute of everything. I am so glad my friends were able to visit. Being surrounded by friends and family is the perfect way to ring in the New Year.